Its not two different things…

For your consideration:
It’s not two different things. The needs of the church, and the needs of the world. The needs of the people inside the church, and the needs of the people outside the church. The call of the church to serve its members/participants, and the call of the church to serve those around it.
Repeatedly I find myself in conversation, both privately and in church meetings, about the importance of balance between serving those who are here, and serving those in the community. When we look at a particular program area, folks will want to talk about whether it is designed for the congregation, or for the community. Worship: is it for those who are already here, or are we trying to make a place for those not yet here? Education: are we programming for those among us, or for those around us we seek to draw and serve? Fellowship- members or visitors. And on it goes. Youth Ministry: Our kids, or their unbelieving friends?
I’m not sure why it comes to me today, or more importantly why its taken me this long to see it. This dicotomy we try to create is false. In our attempts to be faithful to all that God asks of us, we add layers of complexity and confusion, which we then have to work back through to get around to the things God asks of us: Share the Good News; Serve the Poor; Help the Hurting; Bring Healing, Peace, Reconciliation, Love; Grow to become more like Jesus. And that last one is the key, I think. If we want to be like Jesus, then His mission must become our mission. 1 John 2:6 – Whoever claims to live in God must walk as Jesus did. So, what did Jesus say is His mission? Here are a few scriptures for you to look through:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free,
He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.”
for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
Go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”
For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.”
More verses are at the end of this entry ~
No where does Jesus set up a dichotomy between those inside the community of faith, the people of God, and those outside. When He says, “I have come to call not the righteous, but sinners,” I say, “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.” And then I say, “Lord, use me to call sinners, to seek and save those who are lost.” Blessings come from God for God’s glory, and that through the blessed, God might bless even more – even to all.
When we look at our ministries, programming, or anything that the church is about, it needs to square with this simple statement, which was Jesus’ mission, and thus the mission of His body, the church – “To be a blessing to the world.” My mission is “to be a blessing to my community and world, because of Jesus.” Because of Jesus means: because of what I have received from Him; because of His specific call; because of His power at work in me (Eph 3:7 I now serve the good news because God gave me his grace. His power is at work in me.) because that is why He came, and I want to be like Jesus; because I can; and on and on.
“To be a blessing
to my community and world,
because of Jesus.”
Then, the questions become pretty simple:
  1. What blessings are needed?
  2. What resources and gifts do have with which to bless?
  3. Will this be a blessing?
  4. Will this help others to be a blessing?
There is no “Us vs Them”, Christians vs non-Christians, Church folks vs outsiders, when it comes to deciding what the church is supposed to do. The church exists to be a blessing. No more, no less. There is one group, and that group is humanity. There is one purpose, one mission, and that is to bless.
Now, some might say, “But what about worship? We were created to be in relationship with God.” Yes, I affirm this too, but listen to the teachings of scripture on that subject:
So then, my friends, because of God’s great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you s
hould offer.
But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship Him.
To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise given to Abraham and Sarah (According to Paul’s letter to the Galatians):
Genesis 12:3
I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you.” (Spoken to Abraham)
Genesis 22:18
and by your offspring shall all the nations of the earth gain blessing for themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.” (Spoken to Abraham’s son Isaac)
Galatians 3:16
Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring; F19 it does not say, “And to offsprings,” F20 as of many; but it says, “And to your offspring,” F21 that is, to one person, who is Christ.
Now one may wish to take issue with Paul’s exegesis (the Hebrew text of Genesis [Ge 15:5Ge 15:13 , Ge 15:18 , Ge 16:10 , Ge 17:7 , Ge 17:8 , Ge 17:10] suggest that the writer clearly understood seed (also translated offspring) to be plural, contrary to Paul’s interpretation, much as we currently use the words deer and fish to be either singular or plural. Even so, the argument remains that in the covenant which began with Abraham, we hear God saying to those He has called out to be a peculiar people set apart, “Through you I will bless the peoples of the world.” So, if in any way we have understood that God has called us for any kind of purpose connected to the promises given to Abraham, then the purpose of that promise remains –
Called and blessed to be a blessing.
“Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour.

Then it says, “I will return to my house from which I came.’ When it comes, it finds it empty, swept, and put in order.
He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.”
You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet.
“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it wanders through waterless regions looking for a resting place, but not finding any, it says, “I will return to my house from which I came.’
I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!
I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.”
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own, but he sent me.
Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.”
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
I do not judge anyone who hears my words and does not keep them, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.
I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and am going to the Father.”
for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.
Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

Mt 5:17Show Context

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
When Jesus heard this, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”
I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!
So he said to the gardener, “See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?’
I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; if another comes in his own name, you will accept him.
for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.
They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, “I have come down from heaven’?”
Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I have come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going.
“Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour.
I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness.
And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.
And the one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him.”

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