ESTABLISHING GOD’S CULTURE: IT STARTS WITH ME! (& YOU)
Review MATTHEW 6:9-10. What does this tell us about the culture Jesus expects to characterize his church? Let’s examine Jesus and his ministry to learn how to bring about this culture.
MY DECISION TO ACT!
Prior to his decision to leave Galilee and venture to the other side of the Jordan to be baptized by John, Jesus spent most of his life in Nazareth with his family. Think about what Jesus’ life must have been like up to this point. What kind of son, brother, neighbor, and member of the community do you think Jesus was? What might his reputation have been in Nazareth?
Do you think there were fathers in Nazareth who would have wanted to give their daughters to a man like Jesus in marriage? Do you think there were young women who noticed Jesus’ kindness, integrity, spirituality, and overall character who were attracted to him and would have loved to be betrothed to him in marriage?
Jesus did not live a glamorous life in Nazareth, but he most likely did live a “normal life.” He was probably well respected and liked. He could have easily gone along with what would normally be expected and gotten married and had a family. In short, Jesus could have done what was normal, easier, and more comfortable. He could have stuck with the status quo and lived as just “a good guy in Nazareth.”
Instead, Jesus made a decision to act! He knew that if God’s culture was going to be established on earth it would start with him! He left “normal” and the comfort of the mainstream and predictable to resolutely pursue a vision for God! (Luke 13:31-33) Why do you think he did this?
Do you think God wants you to have a vision too? Do you think he wants to use you to establish his kingdom’s culture here on earth? Read the passages below and ask yourself how, if at all, they relate to you? How, if at all, do they move you?
Matthew 5:16 Mk 1:16-20
1 Corinthians 12:27 Luke 5:8-11
We see from these scriptures that God most definitely intends to use you for his glorious purpose! Jesus clearly has a vision for all of us as disciples. We see from these scriptures that this vision involves proclaiming the gospel, helping one another mature as disciples, displaying the love of Christ as we love one another, playing our vital role in the church (his body), and glorifying God through lives lived in submission to Jesus as Lord!
Like Jesus, I must have the attitude that God’s culture STARTS WITH ME!! And you must have the attitude that it starts with you and your DECISION TO ACT!
Just like Jesus, you must leave your “Nazareth.” You must abandon the normal and comfortable to fulfill God’s vision for your life! The circumstances of your life may not have to drastically change. But the focus of why you are where you are, and how you use your circumstances and resources, may need to change a great deal in order to play your role in establishing and strengthening God’s culture!
What about you? What is your vision? What do you desire to do for God as a follower of Jesus Christ? What can you do in your family, neighborhood, workplace, school, etc. to bring the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven?
Start a Bible talk in your home or at your school or workplace?
Initiate some way to serve and meet needs in your community or the church?
Make a list of people you can initiate with to know better, have in your home, etc?
Come up with a creative way to build relationships and meet needs that revolves around a passion or a common interest with people, all with the purpose of glorifying God and impacting lives with his word?
Think of ways your family can reach out together regularly to other disciples and to those you hope to help find God?
We may not know for sure what it is God ultimately has in store for us, but we do know it involves sharing the gospel, loving God and people, serving his church, and living according to God’s word. Start acting on these truths and trust that God will reveal the details as you go.
MY DECISION TO FULFILL ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS!!
When Jesus allowed John to baptize him, he said that he did so to “fulfill all righteousness.” To establish, protect, and nurture God’s culture as our church’s culture, we must make a decision to do whatever is necessary today to be righteous men and women! (2 Corinthians 5:21-6:2)
Where are you today? Is there a decision you need to make to fulfill all righteousness in your life? Regardless of where you are, are you moving in the right direction, towards Jesus, or are you content to remain in sin or spiritually stagnant? When do you think Jesus wants you to take action to fulfill all righteousness?
Read HEBREWS 10:32-39 & LUKE 9:57-62. What, if anything, can we take away regarding the importance of protecting and persevering in our vision and desire to bring about God’s glory and establish his kingdom/culture here on earth? What might we learn about Jesus’ expectation when it comes to our response to his call?
Pray for vision and an ignited (or reignited) passion for God and his kingdom!
Take a step of faith! Pick one area or one thing where you can “leave Nazareth” this week, then do it!
Have a meaningful talk with someone you respect spiritually. Share your thoughts and how you are doing spiritually openly and honestly. Confess sin, even if it is just in your heart or attitudes. Use the community of faith to your advantage and enlist help to reignite your vision and passion!