What kind of reputation do you want to be remembered with? When people think of you what thoughts, emotions, and reactions would you hope that they’d have? Looking at the way you live your life right now, would these things be what people remember you by? In the next week of our series Scoreboard, we see how everywhere Jesus went, He had a following of people because of His willingness and His reputation to help people everywhere. But can you say that you’re friends, family, and neighbors would describe you in this way? If you needed to move off your street, would you be missed? In this teaching, we’ll talk about why getting involved in impacting your community is one of the markers of someone growing in their faith.
Scoreboard: We have been in a series looking at the different behaviors of a growing Christ followers – the markers of someone growing in their faith. If I am truly growing closer to Christ, I am going to be more intentional in helping others find faith. Relational with other Christ followers. Generous with what God has given me. Involved in our church family. Devoted by setting a Godly example at home.
This week, we continue by talking about something that many of you have seen lived out by other people in this room before you ever came to Grace Church. For some of you, it is the reason you came to Grace Church in the first place.
Sixth Marker: Responsible – Blessing my community.
We absolutely believe it is every Christ follower’s responsibility to take care of their
community and the people that live around them. And lots of times that means finding creative ways to meet needs and serve others.
Here at Grace Church, we do corporately what we want you to do individually lead by example.
Movie Night: This is a way for us to serve the community together
Today, I want to challenge you to ask ‘what can I do individually to bless my community?’
This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives he has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem: (these are your marching orders) 5 “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. 6 Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away!
Where you are right now is where I’ve called you to be. It’s not by accident. And you are responsible for your zip code.
7And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.”
Sign of a growing Christ Follower: I actively help people around me.
Everyone has a responsibility to take care of their families. And Christ followers are called to a higher standard. We are also responsible for our communities, for helping the people around us. I believe that your community should be blessed because you live there.
To me, an indicator of how responsible I am being for blessing my community is this. How much would the town miss me if I left?
We make decisions at Grace Church based on who is not here yet because
we feel a responsibility to them. We want our towns to be better off because we are
here. For many of you, your first interaction with this group of people was because of this.If Grace Church ever closed its doors, I would hope that the town mourns because there is a hole in the community. Not just the Christ followers that come here, but the town.
Because we aren’t just responsible for blessing the people that come here. We are
responsible for every neighbor. God has tasked us with this.
I want to look at a passage that shows how Jesus modeled this for us…
13As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the
crowds heard where he was headed and followed on foot from many towns.
(Inconvenienced in his grieving) 14 Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the
boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
Do you live with compassion for the people around you? Do you look for opportunities to help bless your town, your neighborhood, your neighbors.If you are struggling to have compassion for someone, start praying for them.
15 That evening the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s
already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 But Jesus said, “That isn’t necessary – you feed them.”
What is the difference in their two responses? The disciples said ‘we are not responsible for them.’ Jesus said ‘yes we are’.
Most people look at what’s wrong with the world around them and say, ‘This world is falling apart.’ Because in their mind, it’s not their responsibility.
But Christ followers look around and say ‘How can we make it better?’
Sign of a growing Christ Follower: I contribute to the well-being of my neighborhood.
17 “But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!” they answered. 18 “Bring them here,” he said. 19 Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people.
Sign of a growing Christ Follower: I care for the disadvantaged.
Jesus saw that they were hungry. Many of them were poor and struggled to feed
themselves. Jesus knew that just sending them away, like the disciples said, meant they may not be able to eat. But Jesus took responsibility for their pain and their needs.
20 They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve
baskets of leftovers. 21About 5,000 men were fed that day, in addition to all the women
Notice something here. Jesus doesn’t preach at them. He doesn’t say, ‘Now that I’ve fed you, you need to repent! And come to the temple with me!’ He blesses them and he lets them go. No strings attached. Why does Jesus just feed them and then let them leave? For this reason:
“One of the experts in religious law tried to trap Jesus with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
What can you do to individually take more responsibility for your community?
What can you do to bless your town? What can you do to bless your neighbors?
How can you care for the disadvantaged around you?
Next Steps: Begin Praying for Community/ Neighbors; Use your passion to get involved