Sermon for October 21, 2018
We have started a new series called <strong>Who are the people in your neighborhood?</strong> Most people struggle to build relationships with their neighbors. Why? What would happen if every believer in our city made an attempt to build relationships with the people in the 8 households that are closest to them? The goal of this series is to inspire and equip believers to become neighborhood catalysts that move themselves and others from; Strangers to Acquaintances, and from Acquaintances to Relationship. We need to identify “neighborhood practices” that will help us to take practical steps towards becoming great neighbors.
<strong>Week 7: Living Differently- Matthew 25:31-46</strong>
The first-century church caught the attention of the Roman Empire. But the recognition had very little to do with what the church believed. In fact, the pantheistic citizens of Rome often referred to the followers of Jesus as “godless” or “atheists” because believing in only one god seemed like a weak and anemic faith against the backdrop of the panoply of the gods of the Acropolis. Contrary to our contemporary notions of our distinctiveness being found in a set of belief statements we embrace, the attention paid to the early church had everything to do with what they did. They achieved a level of fame in the Roman Empire for the manner in which they extended mercy and care to one another and to their neighbors. Emperor Julian lamented, “It is a scandal . . . that the godless Galileans care not only for their own poor but for ours as well; while those who belong to us look in vain for the help that we should render them.” Jesus came not only to identify with people but to change their stories. To bring freedom to the prisoner, sight to the blind, and hope to the oppressed. Following Jesus requires that we put the needs of others ahead of our own; that we suspend our doubts and grab onto faith; that we trade fear of the unknown for trust in the unseen.
Listen to the message today and be challenged by God’s Word.