We've looked at lots of different ways to know, understand and live God's Kingdom over the last few weeks, but now we're going to look at the mission of the Church to spread God's Kingdom.
Jesus commissions us to share God's Kingdom in Matthew 28, in Acts 2 we see the apostles sharing God's Kingdom and Paul dedicates His life to encouraging churches to live well sharing God's Kingdom and growing the church.
So what about us? What are we supposed to do? Well, I'll break it down into three familiar categories;
live it: Show people in the gospel in how you hold yourself, how you open your home and the way you conduct yourself.
speak it: your words should demonstrate your difference from the world, build people up and speak Christ
share it: Tell people that Jesus died for them to fix their relationship with God, let this overflow from you with joy into the world.
These are taken from an old blog post, but today I'm going to look at some more specific places in the bible to help you fully live these out.
My blog post here, talks about fulfilling Jesus commission which is worth a read to give some background to this blog post.
Your lifestyle should look different to the world around you, I am consistently challenged by the Eden teams from the Message Trust in and around Manchester. They move to the most deprived areas and live Jesus in these communities, at the moment they have been sharing a love where you live programme on their Instagram account and have been challenging each other to be distinctive through different acts of kindness.
When your friends and neighbours look at your lifestyle, what do they see? Do they see the same thing as they would see in your neighbours around you, or do they see someone living a distinctively different life? This is both practical and spiritual.
We sometimes have a tendency to live our lives separated from the un-believers around us in an attempt to make ourselves holy. BUT this is the opposite of what Jesus was doing in His ministry, He spend time with "the worst" sinners and made time for those who were pushed aside by society. Can you say that is what you're doing with your life?
Think about ways you can be more open and distinctive in your lifestyle, try and come up with three challenges for yourself; one that is a small step but manageable within a week, a medium sized challenge that you can achieve within a month and a super-sized-challenge for the year. Put some reminders in your phone to keep you on track.
Speaking it. Colossians 1v15-20, this is who Jesus is, and Jesus is at the centre of the gospel. My challenge to you this week is to take an hour and understand this passage, know it, learn it, spend time desiring to know who Jesus is. Because when you know who Jesus is deeply and personally, you will know how to speak His truth in your life.
This is the Son of God, eternal Son of the Creator, the world is created for Him, and the beauty of the Gospel, is that you can know Him deeply and personally. Jesus desires an intimate union with His people, He allows you to rest in His love, knowing you are made wholly clean by His blood. THIS is the Good News we speak, this is why we desire to speak the gospel with every word we say.
I don't mean that you need to be constantly parroting out a succinct version of the gospel in every sentence, what I mean is that you should have Jesus love and glory deeply embedded in you so that the way you speak is distinctive and makes people hear that you are different.
Share it. We seem to have created an "evangelism" slot in our lives where we invite someone to an event, or build up the courage to share our well rehearsed 4 point breakdown on the gospel. But this is not the way the bible says it should be done, I hope I have showed you in the points above that evangelism is in every single part of your life, from the moment you wake up, to the moment you go to sleep. Danno from Christian's in Sport, still has my favourite bit of advice, "just be normal" he really changed the way I think about howI share the gospel. Begin by changing the way you answers friends questions, "What did you do at the weekend? Well I really enjoyed church online, I was challenged to be more welcoming in my lifestyle." Or when a friend says, "I've got this appointment to talk about insert ailment here on Friday and I'm a bit nervous," respond with "Oh that can be so nerve racking, I will be praying for you, what time is the appointment?" Most people will gloss over the fact you've said you'll pray, but that's okay, you're slowly opening them up to the fact that this is a normal part of your life, show them that God is dependable.
But adding these small drops of your lifestyle being surrounded by Jesus will slowly lead into bigger conversations. Baby steps, but take each one that you can.