Go

New Hope Christian Fellowship

God's Plan For Your Community

As we begin today, I’d like to share with you a devotional thought I had read this past week.  It is written as a reflection on Romans 12:3-13 by David McCasland, a writer for RBC Ministries, dated 27 September 2010.  It goes like this:

            In the New Testament, hospitality is a hallmark of Christian living. It is listed as a characteristic of church leaders (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:8) and is commanded for every follower of Jesus as an expression of love (Rom. 12:13; 1 Peter 4:9). But its meaning goes deeper than being a gracious host or opening our homes to guests.

The Greek word translated “hospitality” means “love of strangers.” When Paul speaks of being “given to hospitality” (Rom. 12:13), he is calling us to pursue relationships with people who are in need. It is not an easy task.

Writer Henri Nouwen likens it to reaching out to those we meet on our way through life—people who may be estranged from their culture, country, friends, family, or even from God. Nouwen writes: “Hospitality, therefore, means primarily the creation of a free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place.”

Whether we inhabit a home, a college dorm, a prison cell, or a military barracks, we can welcome others as a way of showing our love for them and for Christ. Hospitality is making room for people in need.[1]

            We at New Hope Christian Fellowship believe it is of vital importance to be involved with ministering to our community.  Hospitality is certainly one of the ways we can be God’s effective instruments to our hurting and needy community.  Considering that we have been addressing the mindset of God’s plan for His children over the past two weeks, let’s entertain the question of “What is God’s plan for our community?”  Our message today will give some excellent answers as to how we can obediently carry out God’s plan for our community.

PRAYER

CTS:            4 ways to carry out God’s plan in your community.

Carrying out God’s plan for your community includes:

I.            GIVING GOD YOUR CORPORATE ATTENTION            (Ex. 20:8-11; John 4:21-24)

Explanation

            The next statement in succession within New Hope’s Statement of Faith is as follows:

The first day of the week is the Lord's Day.  From Christian tradition, we see this day as being Sunday.  It is a Christian institution for regular observance.  Activities on the Lord's Day should be commensurate with the Christian's conscience under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

 

  • Exodus 20:8-11 – As God’s people, the Israelites were challenged to keep the Sabbath, observing and keeping it holy.  The one specific way of honoring God on the Sabbath was to rest.  Unfortunately, the people of Israel could not keep the letter of God’s Law, and, therefore, failed miserably.  This provides sound advice to us today.  Without Christ as Savior, a person cannot keep the Sabbath or recognize it as God’s day of rest.  The things of God are foolishness to the person who doesn’t know Christ (1 Cor. 2:14).
  • John 4:21-24 – Until Christ came, the place for worshipping God was Jerusalem.  However, with the coming of Christ, every person would have the opportunity to know God personally and to worship God, as directed by scripture.

      From these texts, we can determine that Sunday, our traditionally chosen day to worship God in a corporate manner, is not to be interpreted in a legalistic way.  However, we believe it is proper and needful to give focus to God on Sundays through attending worship at a local body of believers (the church), and to rest as one’s conscience would determine.

Additionally, the church building is not the only place to worship God.  Scripture prescribes that our worship is to be continual (1 Cor. 10:31, Col. 3:17).  In essence, every day is to be treated as holy.  Sunday is significant above the other days, because it is the day that physically affords us the opportunity to gather together for worship, to love and encourage one another (Heb. 10:24-25).

Application

            The point of application for every believer in Christ is to recognize that all of life is an act of worship before our King Jesus.  Being that Sunday is recognized by most believers as the Lord’s Day, scripture points every believer to the importance of gathering for corporate worship.  Choose to be with God’s people on Sunday for Bible study and worship, and, if other opportunities for believers gathering are offered during the week, choose to be a part of the worship and fellowship.

            In addition to being a witness for God in our community through actively attending worship and inviting friends and neighbors to join us, but we should consciously share with others that God is sovereign over creation and His Kingdom.

II.            HONORING GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY      (Gen. 1:1; Jer. 23:5-6; Romans 5:17)

Explanation

            The next statement in succession within New Hope’s Statement of Faith is as follows:

The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the universe and His

particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge Him as King.  Particularly the

Kingdom is the realm of salvation into which men enter by trustful, childlike commitment to Jesus Christ.

 

  • Genesis 1:1 – God created everything as we know it.  If the believer is conscious of the fact that God created all things, the believer can live in confidence.  God is in control!  Nothing breathes or moves without His awareness. 
  • Jeremiah 23:5-6 – God is going to raise up a King, who will rule and reign in righteousness.  This King is none other than His Son Jesus.  The believer in Christ can live with peace and assurance, knowing that Jesus will one day physically rule over all creation. 
  • Romans 5:17 – The believer in Christ has been rescued from the sin of death caused by Adam, and is given new life in Christ.  The believer is a member of Christ’s kingdom. 

Application

            The point of application for the believer in Christ is to rejoice in that God reigns over all you experience in life and that you belong to the kingdom of God because of your faith in Christ. 

            Because the believer has a peaceful spirit through the toughest times of life, knowing that God’s protective hand is upon him, those who don’t believe in Christ will take notice, and often ask about the believer’s endurance.  This brings us to our next point.  Carrying out God’s plan for your community includes being His messenger to those in your world that do not know Christ.

III.            BEING GOD’S MESSENGER      (Gen. 12:1-3; Is. 6:1-8; Acts 1:8)

Explanation

            The next statement in succession within New Hope’s Statement of Faith is as follows:

The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the preaching of the gospel to all nations. It is the privilege of every child of God to seek to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.

 

  • Genesis 12:1-3 – God told Abram that He would multiply Abram’s seed, and (ultimately in Abram) would bless all families of the Earth.
  • Isaiah 6:1-8 – God had a message to tell the Israelites and was looking for the one willing to carry out the mission.  The believer has the same mission as Isaiah for the world of unbelievers.  Though many will not listen, God has commanded that His message be proclaimed.
  • Acts 1:8 – This is more of a direct message to those who are followers of Christ.  Not only were they expected to proclaim the gospel to their world, but Jesus would send the One to enable the followers of God to do it, His Holy Spirit.

 

Application

            The point of application for the believer in Christ is to be sensitive to those in their sphere of influence, sharing the gospel as God gives the opportunity.  Remember that its not your message or carried out in your own power.  God does it all!

            The last way of carrying out God’s plan for your community is by being God’s faithful Steward.  Let’s look at the next statement within the statement of faith.

IV.            BEING GOD’S FAITHFUL STEWARD   (Mal. 3:8-12; Acts 2:44-47; 1 Pet. 1:18-19)

Explanation

            The next statement in succession within New Hope’s Statement of Faith is as follows:

God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and are we owe

to Him.  According to the Scriptures, Christians should contribute of their means (time, talents, and resources) cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of the Redeemer's cause on earth.

 

  • Malachi 3:8-12 – The attitude of the heart is the issue in this text.  The reality is that everything belongs to God, and as for the believer, the attitude of giving is to give whatever it takes to glorify God.
  • Acts 2:44-47 – As people placed their faith in Christ, personal gain was exchanged for the gain of others.  Whatever the need was, believers gave without regard for their estate.
  • 1 Peter 1:18-19 – When considering what Christ had done for the believer, the believer should give without reservation.  Giving includes possessions, talents, and what our culture believes is most important, one’s time.

Application

            The point of application for the believer in Christ is to be sold out for Christ!  As opportunities for giving of yourself arise, choose to seek God’s wisdom and act.  The challenge is for you and me to do all for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).  Let us give until it hurts, and some. 

Conclusion:

            The points we have covered today are clear examples of how we are to carry out God’s plan for our community.  We need to show our community the importance of God in our lives through faithfully attending worship.  We also need to live with confidence before all men, knowing that God is control of all aspects of our lives and that we belong to His kingdom.  Such blessings are not to be kept to ourselves, but are to be shared with others through spreading the gospel and sharing our possessions with those we believe are in need.  This attitude is not something made up by New Hope, but is the attitude taught by scripture.  As we draw closer to establishing our membership officially, choose to become part of a church family that believes in reaching its community with the gospel and ministering to its needs.

REFERENCES (page 1)

The first day of the week is the Lord's Day.  From Christian tradition, we see this day as being Sunday.  It is a Christian institution for regular observance.  Activities on the Lord's Day should be commensurate with the Christian's conscience under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. 

 

 

Exodus 20:8-11 (New King James Version)

8 “ Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

 

John 4:21-24 (New King James Version)

21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

 

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the universe and His particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge Him as King.  Particularly the Kingdom is the realm of salvation into which men enter by trustful, childlike commitment to Jesus Christ.

 

 

Genesis 1:1 (New King James Version)

 1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

 

Jeremiah 23:5-6 (New King James Version)

5 “ Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD,

      “ That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness;
      A King shall reign and prosper,
      And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
       6 In His days Judah will be saved,
      And Israel will dwell safely;
      Now this is His name by which He will be called:

      THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

 

Romans 5:17 (New King James Version)

17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)

 

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the preaching of the gospel to all nations. It is the privilege of every child of God to seek to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.

 

Genesis 12:1-3 (New King James Version)

 1 Now the LORD had said to Abram:

      “Get out of your country,
      From your family
      And from your father’s house,
      To a land that I will show you.

 2 I will make you a great nation;
      I will bless you
      And make your name great;
      And you shall be a blessing.

 3 I will bless those who bless you,
      And I will curse him who curses you;
      And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

 

Isaiah 6:1-8 (New King James Version)

 1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said:

      “ Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
      The whole earth is full of His glory!”

 4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
5 So I said:

      “ Woe is me, for I am undone!
      Because I am a man of unclean lips,
      And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
      For my eyes have seen the King,
      The LORD of hosts.”

6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said:

      “ Behold, this has touched your lips;
      Your iniquity is taken away,
      And your sin purged.”

8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:

      “ Whom shall I send,
      And who will go for Us?”

Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”

Acts 1:8 (New King James Version)

8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me[a] in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and are we owe

to Him.  According to the Scriptures, Christians should contribute of their means (time, talents, and resources) cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of the Redeemer's cause on earth.

 

Malachi 3:8-12 (New King James Version)

    8 “ Will a man rob God?
      Yet you have robbed Me!
      But you say,

      ‘ In what way have we robbed You?’
      In tithes and offerings.
       9 You are cursed with a curse,
      For you have robbed Me,
      Even this whole nation.
       10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
      That there may be food in My house,
      And try Me now in this,”
      Says the LORD of hosts,

      “ If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
      And pour out for you such blessing
      That there will not be room enough to receive it.
       11 “ And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes,
      So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground,
      Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,”
      Says the LORD of hosts;
       12 And all nations will call you blessed,
      For you will be a delightful land,”
      Says the LORD of hosts.

 

Acts 2:44-47 (New King James Version)

44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church[a] daily those who were being saved.

 

1 Peter 1:18-19 (New King James Version)

18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION:         WHAT GOOD IS HOSPITALITY?

TITLE OF MESSAGE:  GOD’S PLAN FOR YOUR COMMUNITY 

CTS:         4 WAYS TO CARRY OUT GOD’S PLAN IN YOUR COMMUNITY.

CARRYING OUT GOD’S PLAN IN YOUR COMMUNITY INCLUDES:

I.         GIVING GOD YOUR CORPORATE ATTENTION

  • EXPLANATION:        READ STATEMENT OF FAITH EXCERPT     

(EXODUS 20:8-11; JOHN 4:21-24)

  • APPLICATION:        BE GOD’S WITNESS; BE AT CHURCH     

 

II.         HONORING GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY        

  • EXPLANATION:      READ STATEMENT OF FAITH EXCERPT

(GENESIS 1:1; JEREMIAH 23:5-6; ROMANS 5:17)

  • APPLICATION:            REST IN PEACE AND ASSURANCE

 

III.         BEING GOD’S MESSENGER        

  • EXPLANATION:      READ STATEMENT OF FAITH EXCERPT

(GENESIS 12:1-3; ISAIAH. 6:1-8; ACTS 1:8) 

  • APPLICATION:            BE FAITHFUL TO TELL

 

IV.         BEING GOD’S FAITHFUL STEWARD        

  • EXPLANATION:      READ STATEMENT OF FAITH EXCERPT

(MALACHI 3:8-12; ACTS 2:44-47; 1 PETER 1:18-19) 

  • APPLICATION:            GIVE ‘TIL IT HURTS, AND THEN SOME

 

CONCLUSION:           

  • OUR CHALLENGE –  ACTIVELY SEEK YOUR COMMUNITY FOR CHRIST

 

 

 

Pursuing Hospitality

September 27, 2010 — by David C. McCasland

Read: Romans 12:3-13

Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. —1 Peter 4:9

In the New Testament, hospitality is a hallmark of Christian living. It is listed as a characteristic of church leaders (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:8) and is commanded for every follower of Jesus as an expression of love (Rom. 12:13; 1 Peter 4:9). But its meaning goes deeper than being a gracious host or opening our homes to guests.

The Greek word translated “hospitality” means “love of strangers.” When Paul speaks of being “given to hospitality” (Rom. 12:13), he is calling us to pursue relationships with people who are in need. It is not an easy task.

Writer Henri Nouwen likens it to reaching out to those we meet on our way through life—people who may be estranged from their culture, country, friends, family, or even from God. Nouwen writes: “Hospitality, therefore, means primarily the creation of a free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place.”

Whether we inhabit a home, a college dorm, a prison cell, or a military barracks, we can welcome others as a way of showing our love for them and for Christ. Hospitality is making room for people in need.

 

Reaching out to needy people,
Showing them our love and care,
Is one way that God can use us
To bring hope to their despair. —Sper

Hospitality can fill the emptiness of a lonely heart. 

Read More
Amen

0

Amens

Tags: