Since its inception the fundamental purpose of the local church is to reach others with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The church is the only organization that exists for its non-members. The church is not intended to be “Christian Hospice”, making the believer comfortable until the end. Instead, our desire should be to thrive in our walk with Jesus so that we can meet the needs of people in our everyday life.
Over the next several weeks we will explore practical, biblical examples of our church’s mission: taking the life-changing reality of Jesus to our neighborhoods, our cities, and our world. Specifically, we will focus on eight verbs vital for anyone passionately living to reach others for Christ.
First and foremost is the command to love. In Mark 12:30-31, a scribe attempts to trap Jesus by asking him to name the greatest commandment. Jesus’ response is the essence of our mission:
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.
Love God. Love others.
Each of us have a tendency to self preserve- to look and live inward. Jesus’ command to love others offers us no place to hide. It offers no loopholes, short cuts, or workarounds. So when you're not sure what to say or do, do what love requires of you. That’s living inside out.
- What are some things you think people today find resistible about Christians and the church? Is their assessment fair? Why or why not?
- How does one love God with their heart, soul, mind, and strength? Why does Jesus emphasize these four areas? How do they differ from one another?
- Think about a person or group of people who you find difficult to love. What are some obstacles you have to overcome to love them? How might you overcome those obstacles? How can this group help?