LIFE – Bianca Steffen – 29 September 2019

How can we take our church life to our place of work and be excited about it?

We often do not realize the power of our testimonies, which are not meant to be kept under cover, but need to be shared to impact the lives of others. We cannot keep good news to ourselves.

2 Corinthians 5:13-19 – If we are out of our mind [just unstable fanatics as some critics say], it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for your benefit. 14 For the love of Christ controls and compels us, because we have concluded this, that One died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, so that all those who live would no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and was raised for their sake. 16 So from now on we regard no one from a human point of view [according to worldly standards and values]. Though we have known Christ from a human point of view, now we no longer know Him in this way17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Saviour], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life]. 18 But all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ [making us acceptable to Him] and gave us the ministry of reconciliation [so that by our example we might bring others to Him], 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting people’s sins against them [but cancelling them]. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation [that is, restoration to favour with God].

Paul was in legalistic captivity until he encountered the love of Christ. This brought about a major change in his life and conduct, as well as his approach to others.

We tend to categorize our lives into the secular (daily activities) and the sacred (spiritual). But God is in us and therefore with us in every area of our lives.

We need to observe people as God does. We cannot place God in a specific category and expect Him to stay there. There are two question we need to ask ourselves: Lord, do I love You in this space? Lord, do I love people in this space?

Cal Thomas remarks: ‘The Kingdom of God is not going to arrive at Air Force One.’

“Jesus made clear that the Kingdom of God is organic and not organizational. It grows like a seed and it works like leaven: secretly, invisibly, surprisingly, and irresistibly.” – Os Guinness

God is not going to leave our side, but remains in us and therefore we need to take Jesus to people. He wants to use us where we are operational. He does not remain at home when we leave for our place of employment, but accompanies us wherever we go.

Acts 17:16-34 – 16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was greatly angered when he saw that the city was full of idols. 17 So he had discussions in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place day after day with any who happened to be there. 18 And some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to engage in conversation with him. And some said, “What could this idle babbler [with his eclectic, scrap-heap learning] have in mind to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities”—because he was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. 19 They took him and brought him to the Areopagus (Hill of Ares, the Greek god of war), saying, “May we know what this [strange] new teaching is which you are proclaiming? 20 For you are bringing some startling and strange things to our ears; so we want to know what they mean.” 21 (Now all the Athenians and the foreigners visiting there used to spend their [leisure] time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new.) 22 So Paul, standing in the centre of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I observe [with every turn I make throughout the city] that you are very religious and devout in all respects. 23 Now as I was going along and carefully looking at your objects of worship, I came to an altar with this inscription: ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you already worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who created the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, because it is He who gives to all [people] life and breath and all things. 26 And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their lands and territories. 27 This was so that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grasp for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. 28 For in Him we live and move and exist [that is, in Him we actually have our being], as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ 29 So then, being God’s children, we should not think that the Divine Nature (deity) is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination or skill of man. 30 Therefore God overlooked and disregarded the former ages of ignorance; but now He commands all people everywhere to repent [that is, to change their old way of thinking, to regret their past sins, and to seek God’s purpose for their lives], 31 because He has set a day when He will judge the inhabited world in righteousness by a Man whom He has appointed and destined for that task, and He has provided credible proof to everyone by raising Him from the dead.” 32 Now when they heard [the term] resurrection from the dead, some mocked and sneered; but others said, “We will hear from you again about this matter.” 33 So Paul left them. 34 But some men joined him and believed; among them were Dionysius, [a judge] of the Council of Areopagus, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

In verse 22 we see that Paul seeks an area of connecting with the people when he mentions their religious and devout practices. He points to the ‘unknown God’ for whom an altar was built in verse 23, and declares that they worship a God they do not even know. He continued to tell them about this God, knowing that each person has a deep desire for God without their own understanding of this need. By his testimony some people came to faith in Jesus and joined Paul.

This is an incredible story which outlines the power of our testimonies, which should not be disregarded or kept from others.

How can I speak a language others can identify with?

Bianca called Jeanette and Renska to the stage to share their convictions.

Jeanette: We need to really love people and build bridges. One of the ways I do this is to remember their names, which makes them feel important and validated.

Renska: I make use of Christian CD’s in my small business and have a black board on which I write a meaningful message or Bible verse, which the Holy Spirit lays on my heart for each client.

It is important that we become sensitive to the needs of others.

Key strategy:

  1. Love and acknowledgement for the worth of people
  2. Know their world and try to communicate in their language, if possible
  3. Identify their deepest longings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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