Go and Bear Fruit

I chose you from the world,
to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.-John 15:16

Today’s gospel reflection is taken from the antiphon before today’s Gospel reading.  Jesus makes a very direct point and simply says “Go and bear fruit that will last”.  It seems so easy, and yet so complicated at the same time.  To bear fruit you have to start with a seed.  In its journey to become fruit the seed go through various stages.  As a seedling it pushes through the dirt towards the sun, it relies on the rain and the sun to nourish it to maturing, and when the time is right it brings forth fruit to bring nourishment to the recipient.

In the Christian life we look to the Son, Jesus, and he provides nourishment through his scripture and the church.  Scripture says that all of us have a gift that can help with the mission of the church.  Some are given the gift of teaching, administration, leadership, mercy, etc.  Each gift is vital and needed to fulfill the mission of the church.  Are we being faithful in this mission?  Using this gift is fruit that will last.  It lasts because it spreads the Gospel and helps teach the next generation that will pass it on.

Quote

He who climbs never stops going from beginning to beginning, through beginnings that have no end. He never stops desiring what he already knows. –St. Gregory of Nissa

 

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3 Ways To Share The Gospel To Culture

-Featured Guest Post by Jeff Perry-
Presenting the gospel has always been a recurring topic among Christians. I asked a handful of individuals what the gospel was in their own words?

The gospel helps us pray, and get into the Word more and become more like Christ.”

The gospel directs our hearts to love as Jesus did.”

The gospel saves us so we can glorify God

The gospel leads us to remorse and salvation.”

Do you see the confusion? Look again and notice how these answers are EFFECTS of the gospel. Each answer using an action verb; helps, directs, saves, and leads. Paul say’s we are saved by Grace not by works.

What Is The Gospel? The Announcement Of Jesus

  • Creation couldn’t save itself, so God came down in the flesh of Jesus. The promised One (Gen 3:15) to save back His people. Jesus lived a sinless life and willfully went to a cross as the propitiation (In place of) death, the wage of sin. Not only did He sacrifice Himself as payment for sin, Jesus proved His sacrifice was enough with the resurrection. We can be confident Jesus paid the price towards a holy God. By faith, we reunite to God through forgiveness because the debt has been paid on our behalf.

The fullness of the gospel goes beyond understanding and reasoning. Psalm 147:5 “Great is our LORD and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit.” The overlying principle is God’s availability and willingness of reuniting with those who want too.

1, Know The Gospel

We just covered our first step to apply the gospel to culture, knowing the gospel. How can we give something we don’t have? Misunderstanding the gospel will result in a misrepresentation.

2. Know The Culture

This leads us to our second step, contextualization. This is a fancy word that implies, “To know the moment.” In the book Center Church by Tim Keller, this is a continual theme. His definition is best.

“Contextualization is giving people the Bible’s answers, which they may not at all want to hear, to questions about life that people in their particular time and place are asking, in language and forms they can comprehend, and through appeals and arguments with force they can feel, even if they reject them.” ~ Tim Keller

Contextualization is translating and adapting the communication and application of the gospel to a particular culture without compromising the meaning and details of the gospel itself.

  • This does not mean we are surrendering the gospel and changing Christianity to fit within the world view. Instead we adapt the gospel to a particular culture or audience.

In other words, contextualization confronts and completes each society’s cultural account with the gospel as the solution.

3. Share It

The best way to share the gospel to culture, is to share the gospel to culture. Let us be intentionally active. Steps 1 and 2 are meaningless unless it is used. In military terms, we can know the mission and the target, but without activating the missile the mission fails.

How can you be intentionally active within your culture?

~Grace & Peace

 

More Information

Jeff Perry is a writer at Absolute Aspiration.  The goal of his work is to encourage others to share the Gospel of Christ to a hurting world.  You can follow Jeff on his website or on Twitter.  He lives with his wife and three children in Buffalo, New York.  They attend church at the Chapel in Cheektowaga.

Missionary Methods of the Apostle Paul

 “Now at Lystra there was a man sitting, who could not use his feet; he was a cripple from birth, who had never walked.  He listened to Paul speaking; and Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well,  said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and walked”. – Acts 14:8-10

After reading the assigned chapters it is evident that the Apostle Paul utilized many different principles in his missionary journeys.  Paul was willing to obey the orders of the Holy Spirit no matter the circumstance.  Moreau states, “Paul’s strategy was far more focused on the willingness to obey the Holy Spirit than on strategic planning [1].”  Paul often went back into places where death was a possibility.  He did this because the Holy Spirit let him know that there was one issue or another that needed to be dealt with.  Secondly Paul was an extremely good evangelist, and he always had a goal in mind.  He did not lead someone to Christ and leave the person to their own devices.  With everything being against Christianity in his day that individual may have fallen into apostasy.  Paul wanted to create communities of Christians so the could grow and support each other.  Arthur Glasser states, “he regarded it his chief task to preach the gospel to all mankind and to incorporate all those who believed into communal life [2].” Thirdly Paul changed his message based on the audience.  This is vitally important to our missionary and evangelistic efforts.   We must know our audience and know what will reach them.  It may take some homework on our part, but it will pay off.  It also helps to avoid any obstacles that may not be necessary to maneuver.  Fourthly Paul preached Jesus wherever he went.  Though he may have changed how the discussion went based on his audience, he never deviated from the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.  This should be the same for us today.  It is tempted to speak a feel good message and water down the gospel, but if we do that we are not helping anyone’s eternal state.  Fifth Paul worked within a team.  In business we are taught that more is achieved within a team.  There is no doubt that Paul was the leader, and that the “companions were helpers rather than colleagues [3].”  Paul was teaching the newer generation what he knew and how to do it.  When we work in teams we can encourage each other, learn from each other, and minister to each other.  It is also a safety issue as there is safety in numbers especially when going to a land you are not familiar with.

The three missionary journeys that Paul went on apply to our lives today.  We get to see that the Apostle to the gentiles also experienced trials and tribulations, and we see his handiwork today.  We would do well by utilizing some of the principles that he demonstrates for us in scripture.

 

Notes

1.  Moreau, A. Scott, et al. Introducing World Missions: A Biblical, Historical, and Practical Survey. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2004, 61.

2.  Winter, Ralph D., and Steven C. Hawthorne. Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader. 4th ed. Pasadena, California: William Carey Library, 2009, 151.

3.  Moreau, A. Scott, et al. Introducing World Missions: A Biblical, Historical, and Practical Survey. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2004, 65.

Image result for missions and paul

Be A Witness

“But you will receive power hen the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”- Acts 1:8

The book of Acts is an exciting book as it details events that took place when the Christian church was in its infancy.  There are many significant things that happen in the book such as the Council of Jerusalem, and Peter’s sermon which saw 3,000 people come into the church.  However these events started with a command.  That command is found in today’s verse.

Pentecost would not have happened if the Apostles just went about their daily lives after Jesus’s ascension.  They received the power of the Holy Spirit while they were in prayer.  Then they went out into the nations to spread the Gospel.  The command to go to  all the nations with the Gospel still applies today.  How are we sharing it in our part of the world?  During your prayer time this morning ask for opportunities to serve.  There is no shortage of ways to help spread the good news throughout the world.  Your local church is a great place to start.

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