We’re in a new series called “Foundations” which builds off of Jesus’ metaphor in Matt 7: “A house built on sand will never be able to stand BUT a house that’s built on the rock will never be able to fall.”
This week, we’re in Practice #4: Grow in Community. Our guest preacher, Scott Stonehouse, emphasized that biblical community is, first, a New Testament model that we see in the life of Jesus and his followers; second, something we imitate as contemporary followers of Jesus; and, third, something we demonstrate to a watching world as evidence of faith.
Today, we will consider how Christian community is an apologetic (or evidence of faith) to those around us who do not yet know Jesus.
Many of us know the Great Commission and take it seriously. It’s a call in Matthew 28:19-20 (NET) for Jesus followers to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything [Jesus] commanded.” It’s a charge to leave our comfort zones, share the good news about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, baptize new converts, and teach Scriptural truth to new believers. It’s a call to evangelize the world.
But, in our zeal to advance the message of the gospel, sometimes another significant passage - the Great Commandment - gets lost. In John 13:34-35 (NET) we learn that Jesus followers are called to love God with everything they have AND also to love one another. Here’s v. 35: “Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples—if you have love for one another.” Apologetics do not only include words of teaching and truth; they also include actions of love.
Our DBC mission statement is an intentional amalgam of the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. We are on mission to “love ALL and help ALL follow Jesus.”
Evaluate your own Christian community. It could be a Life Group, Bible study group, group of friends, or your family. When outsiders see what goes on, do they see supernatural love? Do they sense that God is real because of the way you live?
Consider what it means to be an apologist - to give evidence of the truthfulness of God. How do you use words of truth to attest to your relationship with Jesus? How do you use actions of love?
Let’s end this morning by meditating on this passage from 1 Peter 3:8-17 (NET):
8 Be harmonious, sympathetic, affectionate, compassionate, and humble. 9 Do not return evil for evil or insult for insult, but instead bless others because you were called to inherit a blessing. 10 For the one who wants to love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from uttering deceit. 11 And he must turn away from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous and his ears are open to their prayer. But the Lord’s face is against those who do evil. 13 For who is going to harm you if you are devoted to what is good? 14 But in fact, if you happen to suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. But do not be terrified of them or be shaken. 15 But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess. 16 Yet do it with courtesy and respect, keeping a good conscience, so that those who slander your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame when they accuse you. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if God wills it, than for doing evil.
Lord, let these things be true of us.
Published on 10-13-2021 @ 7:50 AM CDT