How Did Jesus Reach His Community?

I. Introduction

      A. How are we doing at reaching our community for Jesus?

            l. Builders- 1910- to 1946- 65%

            2. Boomers- 1946 to 1964- 35%

            3. Busters- 1965-1976- l5%

            4. Bridgers- 1977-1994- 4%

      B. SFV- 97% of people don't go to church anyplace

      C. We desperately need to reach our community for Jesus!

      D. How did Jesus reach His community?

            1. Acts. 10:36-38

            2. Luke 9:1,2

            3. Luke 9:10,11

II. Why are good deeds so important to reaching our community for Jesus?

      A. The example of Mother Teresa

            A number of years ago, while speaking to a small group of pastors,

            Chuck Colson described a national prayer breakfast he had recently

            attended.  Colson said that the room was full of powerful people.  The

            President of the United States, Congressmen, Senators, Leaders of

            Industry, and heads of State were all in attendance.  However, he noted

            that the most powerful person in the room had no title, was small in

            stature, and had few resources.  But when she spoke, even Presidents

            listened.  Mother Teresa's power stemmed not from position, title, or wealth but from her role as a servant.  She had earned the right to be heard because of a lifetime of service. 

      B. The importance of service

            1. No one would argue that Christians shouldn't serve.  Jesus said that

                  He had come to serve, not to be served.  The early church served. Service is, and should be, the identifying mark of Christians and the church. 

            2. But every statistic tells us that the church in America today is

                  becoming more and more compromised and less and less

                  influential.

            3. One of the most effective ways to reach people with the message of

                  Jesus today is through real and relevant acts of service!

            4. To tell the truth, we must show the truth.  It's the model Jesus used.

                  He served. He met needs and then people listened.

      C. The truth about service

            1. Two items clearly reveal the truth about what matters most to us:

                  our checkbooks and our calendars.  Regardless of what we claim, how

                  we spend our money and our time exposes what truly matters to us.

            2. Churches talk about service but do we really know how to effectively

                  meet the needs of our communities and reach lost people?

            3. Are we willing to step outside the safety net of our church pews and

                  cross the street into real-life, real-world acts of service in order to

                  share the truth about Jesus?

      D. Remember show and tell in the 3rd grade?

            1. It seems as if the church has become more concerned with telling than

                  showing.  Christians will tell others what they need to do to be right

                  with God, to be better people.  Christians will proclaim what isn't right

                  with the world.  Christians know how to tell about God's love and why

                  it is needed in people's lives. 

            2. For the most part, though, our churches have forgotten to show God's

                  love.  And all too often, what we do show doesn't match up with what

                  we tell.

            3. Today, whether we like it or not, we have to earn the right to be heard.

                  As we've all heard many times, "People don't care how much you know

                  until they know how much you care."  Showing through serving can

                  help Christians and churches tell more effectively the Gospel.

III. What was Jesus' first good deed?

      A. John 2:1-11

            1. He served the host & the people at a wedding

            2. He turned the water into wine

            3. He first did a physical thing- a good deed

            4. Then a spiritual thing happened- and His disciples put their faith in Him

                  - John 2:11- good news

      B. Here are 2 examples of good deeds from today

            1. One church held a Senior Prom.  It was an evening of dancing, food,

                  and fun for the church that sponsored it and seniors from a

                  convalescent home in their community.  Young men danced with the

                  elderly women and young women danced with the older gentlemen. 

                  Walkers and canes were put away for the evening.  That night was a

                  night to dance- to feel the joy of youth and to hear music from days

                  gone by. 

            2. Another church held a Super Bowl Party.  The men pressed close to

                  the TV sets.  The tables were full of hot chicken wings, 5-layer bean

                  dip, meatballs, nacho chips, guacamole, and pizza.  The room was

                  filled with homeless men who were invited to attend.  For an

                  afternoon, community was created for those who had no community.

      C. Matthew 5:13-16

            1. We are supposed to be salt and light to our community- with good deeds

            2. The goal is then to bring a spiritual result- for them to glorify our Father

                  in heaven- as we tell them the good news

IV. Why did Jesus do good deeds?

      A. He did good deeds to show love- John 13:14,15

            1. Unselfish service is what opens the hearts of people to Jesus

            2. Service is what connects people to Jesus- Matthew 25:35-46

      B. The early church did good deeds to show love too- Acts 2:42-47

      C. Service/good deeds are a bridge to salvation/good news!

V. Application

      A. How did Jesus reach His community?

            1. By good deeds first

            2. By good news second

      B. That should be our way too!  Galatians 6:9,10

      C. We should be like Lifeboat 14

            On April 14, 1912, the Titanic struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic and

            began taking on water.  By the time the lifeboats were deployed, it was

            clear that the ship was sinking.  Passengers were loading into lifeboats,

            and the lifeboats were lowered into the icy waters.  Of the 20 lifeboats

            lowered into the water, most had room for more people.  Despite the

            cries for help, those in the life boats were afraid to return to the drowning

            people lest the boats be swamped.  Resisting the cries for help, the people in the boats rowed away from hundreds of people floating in the  water

                  In Lifeboat 14, Fifth Officer Harold Lowe thought differently and acted

            differently.  He transferred many of his passengers to other lifeboats and

            returned to the sinking ship to pick up more survivors.  Though he could

            not save them all, he could save a precious few from death in the icy sea.

            Survivors rescued survivors. 

                  We must be like Lifeboat l4 for our community.  We must not be

            selfish and only let Jesus rescue us.  We must go after those still in the

            water.   We must be involved in pulling people out of the water in the

            SFV- our community.

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