Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Alive In Our Worship, Involved In Our Community

Isaiah 61:1-3; John 21:1-17; Revelation 5:11-14
When our service of worship ends, our service in the world begins. God is calling us to be alive in our worship, and he's calling us to be involved in our community.
Worshipping the Lord and serving Him - we need both, not one without the other.
We are tio be committed to the Lord in the whole of our life - not just part of it.
 * We are not to say, "I will worship the Lord for an hour on a Sunday, but I don't want to get involved in serving Him during the rest of the week."
"It's just an hour on a Sunday." Can we ever truly worship the Lord if we're thinking like this? True worship leads to active service/ If we are learning to worship the Lord, we will want also to serve Him.
 * We are not to say, "I can be a good Christian without going to Church." What does this say about our commitment to the Lord, if we do not take time to be with Him, giving thanks to Him, listening to what He has to say to us, praying for his strength, asking Him to help us to serve Him in the coming week?
There are always two parts in a real commitment to the Lord. the first is "Love the Lord your God." The second is "Love your neighbour."
God is calling us to do two things. At the beginning of each week, He is calling us to take time to be with Him. When we are gathered for worship, God is saying to us, "Go out from this place, go out into the world - and serve Me in your everyday life, in the oplaces where you are, among the people that you meet.
God is calling us to be alive in our worship and involved in our community.
How are we to maintain and strengthen this commitment to worship and service?
The first thing we must say is this:  Our commitment is a commitment to Jesus Christ. It's a commitment to following Him. It's a commitment to living the way He lived.
Let's take a look at Jesus. Let'slearn from Him. Let's look at the way He lived. Let's look at what was important to Him - and let's be challenged to love our lives for Him on Sundays and every other day of the week.
We look at two incidents in Jesus' life. The first is at the beginning of His public ministry. The second is after His resurrection. The first show us the kind of Man Jesus was. The second shows us the kind of people we are to be.
We go, first, to Luke 4:16-21. Here, Jesus quotes from Isaiah 61:1-2.
Here, we see Jesus, worshipping God - "He went to the synagogue on the sabbath deay, as was His custom" (Luke 4:16). There, in the House of the Lord, Jesus reads the words of Isaiah (Luke 4:18-19) - but He doesn't stop with the reading. He adds this remarkable statement: "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing" (Luke 4:21).
Jesus was announcing the beginning of His ministry. His ministry was all about people. He brought Good News to the poor, deliverance to the captives, sight to the blind, freedom to the oppressed. he told people that God loved them. He showed people that God loved them.
Alive in our worship, involved in our community - This is what we see in the ministry of Jesus. If we are to follow Him, we must learn to worship - and we must learn to serve.
When esus began His public ministry, one of the first things that He did was this: He called His disciples. They were to be with Him. They were to follow Him. They were to worship with Him. They were to serve with Him. They were to learn from Him.
This was the beginning of a wonderful three-year adventure. Sadly, this adventure was to come to an end. Jesus was taken away from them. He was crucified. the disciples were despondent. This was the end of their world. What were they to do? They did what they knew best. They went back to fishing - but was that really the end of their adventure with Jesus? No! It was to be a life-long adventure. The risen Lord appeared to them. He said to them, "Have you forgotten? Do you not remember? I called you to be "fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19).
Jesus was saying to them, "There's something more than fishing." Their adventure of worshipping the Lord and serving Him was just beginning. You can read baout it in the Acts of the Apostles. It shows us what God can do when His people are truly committed to Him - committed to worshipping Him, committed to serving Him.
Alive in our worship, involved in our community - This is the life into which the Lord is calling us. He's calling us to "launch out into the deep" (Luke 5:4) with Him. We don't know all that the future will hold - but there is something that we do know: our future is in the Lord's hands, and we are safe in the arms of Jesus.
Among the disciples, there was one man who was especially uncertain about his future. Peter had failed his Lord. he thought that his journey with Jesus was over - but he was wrong!
Jesus loved Peter. jesus came to peter with a question, "Peter, do you love Me?" (John 21:15-17).
What was Jesus really saying to Peter? - He was saying, "Peter, I love you - and I have a great future for you."
What a great futur it was! Peter put the past behind him - and he moved into the great future Jesus had planned for him.
In recent years, we've heard a lot about "the Church without walls." What does this mean? - It means that we do not stop with worshipping the Lord in His House. We go on from there to serve Him outside of our Church buildings, bringing the love of Christ to the many people who need Him.
Alive in our worship, involved in our community - Where will this vision, this mission statement, lead us. In Revelation 5:11-13, we get a wonderful glimpse of God's glorious future. How are we to prepare ourselves and the people of our community for this? - we begin here-and-now by being alive in our worship and involved in our community.