Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[a] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
1 Peter 2:12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
1) Live the Word at Home
Your Children are your first ministry not always your first priority. I say that because some people use their children as an excuse to not do what God has called them to do. In are narcissistic societies we have actually harmed our children by making it always about them and we teach them it is about their needs instead of Gods desires. So with that being said we have to maintain the balance of doing ministry over our family or our family over our ministry.
There may be times when God calls us to do things for Him and we have to trust God with our Children. There have been many missionaries who have had to trust God with their families as they answered His call to go and serve. There are several examples in the Bible of how God called men to go and do and their families had to go with them.
Hebrews 11:7-9 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.
You might say that it worked out really good for Noah’s family but remember it was 120 years of building the boat, taking the ridicule and laughter from outsiders, before the flood waters came. That would have been very difficult to endure for Noah and his children but in the end they would have learned how following God was more important than man’s opinion about them.
We have to trust God with our families when we are doing His will but we also must make the most of the opportunities we are given to let them know about who God is. In Genesis 22 Abraham was tested by seeing if Isaac was a priority over God.
“God’s greatest gifts are His greatest test”.
How many times do people put their own children before God?
Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
Of course hate does not mean to despise them but it does mean compared to God everything else seems like hate. Part of the call of following Christ is making sure our own families do not get in the way of His calling on our lives.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Make no mistake your children are being taught something from everyone. There is not a commercial, television show, movie and music that is teaching a philosophy of life. Students and Children are being preached at from every angle of life and if we as parents have to point out the lies of those philosophies.
Not only are we battling different philosophies but now the family is being robbed of time together in the name of business.
According to Dr. Jerry Pipes and Victor Lee in their book family to family
Only 34% of America’s families eat one meal together each day.
The average Father spends only 8-10 minutes a day with his children. This includes television and meal times.
Only 12% of American families pray together
The average couple spends only four minutes of uninterrupted time together a day.
In a culture that has changed so much, we as parents, must raise the bar with what we are doing to instill Christian values in them. Many believe the breakdown in Europe was because of losing its Christian Heritage but further research has indicated that it was the break down of the home first which led to Christian values not being passed down.
One of the best things we can do for our society is have strong families. To have strong families we have to guard our times together and then spend time passing on the values we believe.
2) Live the Word at Church
Romans 12:4-8 For as in one body we have many members,[a] and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads,[b] with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
God has gifted each one of us with abilities and talents that are to be used for His glory and for others.
Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Jesus made it really simple for us. You want to know what the Bible is about? Love God and Love others. Loving others is hard sometimes because of how other people act. When Jesus told us to love others He knew that they would not always be lovable.
It is our love and care for each other that will make an impact on the world.
Ephesians 4:11-13 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds[a] and teachers,[b] 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,[c] to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
You have been given a gift to be used for the church. This does not necessarily mean at the church but for the church or the body of Christ.
“We join our churches expecting others to serve us, to feed us, and to care for us. We don’t like hypocrites in the church, but we fail to see our own hypocrisies. God did not give us local churches to become country clubs where membership means we have privileges and perks…Other country club church members just get mad when they are asked. Some may respond that they did their time in earlier years. They make ministry sound like a prison sentence. .. And yet another group of country club church members gets angry toward the pastors. After all, that’s what we pay them to do. Those pastors are just lazy, trying to get out of work. (Thom Rainer, I am a Church Member, pg 5-6 and 69)
3) Live the Word wherever you go
Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
The call is for us to go not to just come together and sit in a building. (I am not saying we should not come to Church because I believe that is a vital part of growing in Christ) It means as you are going. As you are going to work. As you are going to school. As you are going to the store. As you are going means you are an instrument for God wherever you go.
One of the things we have done in America is model our churches after an attractional way of doing ministry. High Tech worship services, unbelievable Children and youth areas with all the bells an whistles in an attempt to draw people to our campuses. The problem is that we are trying to out entertain the world and it is no longer working. I am not condemning those who do those things because you are making an effort to reach people for Christ and that is our calling. I am saying that if that is our only method of reaching people then we have missed what “Go into all the world” really means.
The church thought they could get people to come to church if they made the topics and the programs attractive enough to draw people in. Although the effort was good there are still many people out there that will never go to a church other than a funeral or a wedding. Who is going to reach those people with the good news of Christ they so desperately need? If we teach people to have an “As you go” mentality then so many more people will hear about what Christ Jesus has done for them.
“It’s time for us to stop asking the same old questions about how to do church, and instead ask what every church must be doing to honor Gods biblical mandates. “ (Hugh Halter and Matt Smay, Gathered and Scattered, pg 27)
The church is about not only being sent but about giving herself away. We exist for others and for those who are not here yet. This was Gods plan all the way back to Genesis to have His people be a guide back to Him.
Genesis 12:1-3 Now the Lord said[a] to Abram, “Go from your country[b] and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Few Worldly communities realize the true worth of the people of God in their midst. But surely, not many of the ungodly would want to live in a world where there were no Christian Influence.” (Henry Clarence Thiessen, Lecture in Systematic Theology, pg 332-333)
Although it seems that Christianity always gets publicized when bad things happen there has been a lot of good things that happened and served people when no one else would. Mother Teresa gets the most publicity but Christians are doing those things all over the world. Red Cross, Salvation Army, Compassion International, Samaritans Purse and many more were all started by Christians who had a heart for those who could not help themselves.
Luke 4:18-19 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
We are called, Just like Jesus to tell the good news and help them physically. People have the wrong view of God, Jesus Christ and the Church because all they know about the church is their bad experience and what they see on television. I am not sure if you know this, but the News does not report many positive things. People tend to remember the negatives over the positives as well so when they hear something negative they tend to remember that more than the positives.
World News: Bad stuff that is happening around the world
Local News: Bad stuff that is happening closer to you.
With the negatives of the church being reported world wide some people have a view of the church and the people in the church that is negative. The only way to overcome this is to live the Word of God in front of them consistently.
Living the Word is simply being Christ to people in your neighborhood, school, sports team, Work and so forth.
You cannot be a follower of Jesus unless you actually follow Him and Jesus made a point of hanging around people who were not followers of God.
Matthew 9:10-13 And as Jesus[b] reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
John 17:15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one
With the attraction model of church we would not only judge how many came but how many times you came to church. When I grew up you went to Sunday School, Worship, Training Union, Choir, Worship at night and then Wednesday night. Your spiritual life was based on how many times you were at the Church building and not if you were loving your neighbor as yourself.
Jesus walked and talked with people and met them where they were at. Did some come to Jesus and find Him? Yes and they will do the same at Church buildings but we also cannot deny the clear teaching in the Bible that we are called to be God’s ambassadors every where we go.
1 Peter 3:15-16 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
“The best argument for Christianity is Christians: their joy, their certainty, their completeness. But the strongest argument against Christianity is also Christians- when they are somber and joyless, when they are self –righteous and smug in complacent consecration, when they are narrow and repressive, then Christianity dies a thoughts deaths…( Erwin Lutzer, When a Nation Forgets God, quoting, Sheldon Vnauken, pg 128)
1 Peter 2:11-12 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
You have to be different in the community. If you are saying you are a Christian and stealing money then no one will see the difference in you. If you are a Christian business owner and you are trusting God for your daily bread and living as if God is going to come through, then you will be asked how you are surviving these tough economic times.
Mother Teresa was known by her actions more than her words and we need to make sure that our actions match our words.