Thursday, September 22, 2011

INSIDERS

Jasper Speaks:
I am completely convinced that God has not called us to be out of this world. He has called us to be insiders who are changing the world. Here is a video we made for our latest Reality Check Series called Chosen Generation. We spent all of September 2011 studying 1 Peter 2:9 piece by piece as we prepared for The Lifebook Movement we are taking up later this month. After the video I have placed my notes from week two of Chosen Generation that discusses the idea of being an insider.





Chosen Generation
Week Two

You Are An Insider



But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 1 Peter 2:9

We talked about how we are CG RP HN. We are God’s ambassadors to earth to tell about the love of Christ and God’s redemptive plan. Tonight we are going to rest on the next phrase HOSP. Ithink everyone likes to be told they are special. Nobody wants to be ordinary. We want to be special and in a good way. You know sometimes I may look at you and say you’re special. But its all in the tone. Specail may mean something different to you but in God’s definition we mean, chosen, royal and holy. So if you are special then

God has SPECIAL PLANS for you
Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord, who have no confidence in the proud
or in those who worship idols. O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them. Psalm 46:4-5

I completely believe that God has given all Christians a special plan. He has told us that we are special to him and that he has great plans. In fact the psalmist writes here that those plans are too numerous to count. His plan for each of us is unique and special for us.

So if God has a special plan for you when does it start?

God’s plan for you is about RIGHT NOW

I want to take you back to the Old Testament. We begin our study in the Old Testament. We ask, How did Israel relate to the unbelieving world? We soon discover that Israel was God's message, His vehicle of communication to the rest of the nations. Their message was in their uniqueness, as they lived by the civil, ceremonial, and moral laws God had given them through Moses.' They were not to mix with their neighbors in marriage or take on their customs because such a mixture would blur God's image.' The plan was not to send Israel into the world to reach the nations. Rather, He planted her in the world to attract the nations. That plan worked as long as Israel was faithful.

Esther:

If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

Now times have changed but I believe that God still puts us in certain places for such a time as this?

ME WWII – why wasn’t I born then? Because in the grand scheme of God’s plan I was born for such a time as this. I had a purpose for the right now.

Remember I said that in the OT God place Israel in a place of being God’s messsage to the world. The New Testament opens on a very different note. Israel had fallen into dishonor in the eyes of the nations. Yet Jesus came as a member of this discredited people. He offered Himself to them, but they rejected Him. What we often fail to understand was that He came to the Jews, confined His ministry to them for the sake of the nations of the world.4 God's purpose for His people was not to restore their national splendor so that the world would again be attracted to them. Rather, He focused on the few, capitalized on their heritage, revealed to them who He was, and scattered them into the world.' The fruit of this scattering was a new people: the church. There is a basic difference in strategy for God's people of the Old Testament and His people of the New. Rather than the come and see of the Old, it is now go to and live among. You live among the world today:

You are an INSIDER

What planet are we on? There is a basic difference in strategy for God's people of the Old Testament and His people of the New. Rather than the come and see of the Old, it is now go to and live among. It is as critical now as it was in Old Testament times that we live holy lives. Ungodly living will destroy us and our credibility just as surely now as it did then. But we are to live our lives among the lost rather than separated from them. God's people today are a people sent; we are to go to and live among. So a basic difference between the calling of God's people in the Old and New Testaments is that the arrows have been turned around. Where it was once come and see, it is now "go to and proclaim. It seems we are having difficulty getting out of the Old Testament and into the New in understanding what we're to be about. One of the key players in this New Testament strategy is the "insider." An interesting description of this person is found in 1 Corinthians 7. The first-century Christians of Corinth had been converted out of paganism. But as they struggled their way out of their grave clothes, Paul had to help them get untangled. They constantly fought losing battles with worldliness, giving in to jealousy and quarrels among themselves. They bickered over which of their leaders was the greatest: Paul, Apollos, or Peter. The Corinthian believers tolerated an incestuous relationship in their midst, while others among them questioned whether even married believers should have sexual relations. They had a hard time getting away from idolatrous practices and temptations to sexual immorality. They took each other to court. And in spite of all of their weaknesses, Paul had to warn them repeatedly against their arrogance and boasting. Incredibly, some even doubted Paul's motives in going to them, wondering if he wasn't in it for the money!

In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul is writing to the church where there are a lot of questions about how Chrisitans are supposed to act. What are we supposed to do. There was lying and stealing and sexual immrality in the church at Corinth and they wrote him. You know what? Paul didn’t say run away from the world. Go hide. He said something very different. Let’s see what that was:

Each of you should continue to live in whatever situation the Lord has placed you, and remain as you were when God first called you. This is my rule for all  the churches.For instance, a man who was circumcised before he became a believer should not try to reverse it. And the man who was uncircumcised when he became a believer should not be circumcised now. For it makes no difference whether or not a man has been circumcised. The important thing is to keep God’s commandments. Yes, each of you should remain as you were when God called you. Are you a slave? Don’t let that worry you—but if you get a chance to be free, take it. And remember, if you were a slave when the Lord called you, you are now free in the Lord. And if you were free when the Lord called you, you are now a slave of Christ. God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world. Each of you, dear brothers and sisters, should remain as you were when God first called you. 1 Corinthians 7:17-24


He didn’t say, now you are a Christian change everything about your enviroment but he said remain where you are.

I thnk you are an insider and God’s plan is for right now and that

You are an INSIDER for a reason
Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I will gather you and your children from east and west. I will say to the north and south, ‘Bring my sons and daughters back to Israel from the distant corners of the earth. Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them. Isaiah 43:5-7

What does that verse say the reason we are here is? Yes to glorify God. Now how does that work into the fact that we are insiders? Well we are God’s own special people. We are inside and if we are insiders that mean we are in the midsts of others and they can see us. They are watching us.

Glorifying God means revealing something about Him so that people can see Him more clearly. Jesus told His Father, "I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.... I have revealed you to those whom you gave me."" In the same way, God intends that through us, non-Christians will see Him and believe. He intends that those who do believe will be inspired to know Him better as they see His person reflected in us. So we are called to reveal God to believers and unbelievers alike in the context of our families, friendships, and jobs. This is precisely what Jesus was getting at when He said, "You are the salt of the earth ... you are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand.... Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.""

CONDUCTOR – Feels the music – Orchestra watches

I think we need to go back to the idea of really being IN THE WORLD.


God placed you INSIDE the world
So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:1-2

A lot of times we use this passage as a rally call to stay out of the world but God doesn’t say that. I love this translation because it reminds us what we were just talking about. It say we need to leay every part of our life down like an offering before God. It says we need to show our relationship with him. It doesn’t say get out of the world at all. It does say concentrate on glorifying God in the world. Don’t let the things of the world sway you to do the wrong things. Be salt and light.

Paul wasn’t the only one who said that we should stay in the world. Jesus said the same thing in the last prayer he prayed for us on earth:

I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.  Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. John 17:15-18

Whoa! Did Jesus say he was sending us INTO THE WORLD? He did! We aren’t supposed to hide ourseleves away. We are supposed to be IN THE WORLD. Jesus prayed for our protection but I love that part I had you mark. HE SENT US INTO THE WORLD. There is no Biblical support for living away from the world. There is HUGE biblical support for not being like the world.

We often interpret it to mean we are to have nothing to do with the people who live ungodly lives. A distinction needs to be made here. We are instructed to "have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness."The distinction is between the unbelieving person and his deeds. We are instructed to love the unbeliever. We are told to be wise in our relationships with unbelievers so that we can make the most of every opportunity.15 Keeping ourselves pure is not really a matter of our physical proximity to evil. It is a matter of our minds being conformed to God and His Word. Jesus prayed to His Father concerning His disciples, "My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.... Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified."" Jesus was the original insider. He came and lived among us. Sinners gathered around Him. His purpose for His disciples was that they too should serve as insiders. He sent them into the world in the same way that His Father sent Him. So it is with us as well. We need to live as insiders in the same manner that Jesus did.

So what does God want you to do?

God wants you to answer the CHALLENGE
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” Matthew 9:36-38


LIFEBOOK

We are not of the world, but our designated position is in the world. Our safety from evil is not a matter of withdrawing but of  protecting our minds through Christ and His Word. If we are to move beyond just being present as insiders to the place where we become involved in people's lives to help them become followers of Christ, we're going to need help. We will need to team up with others who can fill in the gaps for us.

We all, Christian and non-Christian alike, live in the same environment. It is where we who believe are called to serve as insiders. This constitutes both a problem and an opportunity. It is a problem to the extent that living itself can consume us. Our hands can be more than full just coping with our own private chaos. But this same chaos becomes an opportunity as we learn to survive. By learning to apply biblical wisdom and to rely on spiritual resources, we can live balanced, meaningful lives in the midst of it all. When this happens, the gospel starts to look increasingly attractive to those who are watching. We need to be salt and light. So if you are going to take up the Lifebook challenge, you need to be prepared to be leading a life that is God glorifying every day.










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