Being & Building Followers & Friends of Jesus
Joe and Mary enter the church and talk to long-term friends. They get a cup of coffee and ask how Sarah how she’s enjoying their new house. Joe and Mary sit down in their familiar seats by the center aisle so they can leave quickly. They sing some songs, hear a message, and then go home.
A church culture has dominated a mission culture in many of our churches. Too many "Christians" are busy playing church instead of seeking the heart of Jesus. As a result, the church is declining in the US. Jesus’ example and teaching
in Luke 5 helps us change a church culture to a mission culture.
After not catching any fish, Jesus asked Simon to let down his nets in deep water for a catch. By obeying His word, their nets broke with so many fish. Simon Peter fell down at Jesus' feet saying he was sinful. Jesus said to Simon, "Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men." They left everything and followed Him (Luke 5:1-11). Obey Jesus' word and admit sinfulness to bear fruit in evangelism.
A leper was cured immediately when he saw Jesus and begged to be made clean. Jesus ordered him to see a priest and make an offering for his cleansing as Moses commanded and as a testimony. News spread as great multitudes gathered to hear Jesus and be healed of their sicknesses. Often times, Jesus would slip away to pray alone (Luke 5:12-16). Pray to provide power for physical and spiritual healing.
Because of the crowd, some men carrying a paralyzed man went up on the roof and let him down through tiles to set him in front of Jesus. So skeptical and condemning Pharisees would "know the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins," the paralyzed man rose from his stretcher where he had been lying and went home, giving glory to God (Luke 5:17-26). Show compassion instead of condemning sinners.
Jesus told a tax-gatherer named Levi to follow Him. He left everything behind and followed Him (Luke 5:27-28). Witness verbally and challenge people to follow Christ so they will repent.
After Levi invited other tax-gatherers and gave a big reception for Jesus, the Pharisees and scribes grumbled at His disciples saying, "Why do you eat and drink with tax-gatherers and sinners?" Jesus answered that since the sick need a physician, He was calling sinners to repentance, not the righteous (Luke 5:29-32). Influence sinners by having meals and personal relationships.
The religious leaders said John's and Pharisees' disciples fast and offer prayers, but "Yours eat and drink." Jesus answered that it was appropriate for his disciples not to fast since He, as the bridegroom, was present with them now and not later (Luke 5:33-35). Delight in God's presence and have fun relating with others.
One doesn't tear a piece from a new garment and put it on an old garment since it won't match the old. You also don't "put new wine into old wineskins, otherwise the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, 'The old is good enough'" (Luke 5:36-39). Use new methods for greater effectiveness in making disciples.
To move from a church culture to a mission culture, I will do the following:
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