Dwight Fletcher | 'Wi Love Strong' : Sharing
As we conclude the 'Wi Love Strong' series, this week we will look at sharing. We started by reading in the book of Acts about the newly formed church, that they enjoyed "... the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." Acts 2:47 NIV. As they loved each other, this gave them influence in the community and other persons were so impacted that they were getting saved.
God has put us in community too and He wants all people to experience salvation, forgiveness, peace, healing, purpose and hope. So 'Wi Love Strong' is not only about looking inward, but also about looking outward and exercising the influence we have in the community where we live. But what does this influence look like for us? Our influence comes out of us being who we are called to be and doing what we are called to do. Matthew 5:13-16 outlines how this is achieved.
GOD ENTRUSTS US TO DEMONSTRATE THE KINGDOM.
1. We are the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13).
Salt is a flavouring agent. So don't miss what Jesus is telling us in this metaphor. He is making it clear how necessary and important we are for the welfare of the world. Because we have come to the kingdom of heaven, and having experienced a transformation in our lives, our presence is necessary as God's means of influencing the world for good.
2. We are the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14)
Light always removes the darkness. Jesus' life and message of salvation brought light to us. Because of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, our transformation has produced kingdom light in us, affecting every aspect of our being, turning us into positive influencers in this world.
But, how do we bring the 'Wi Love Strong' experience to our culture? People will experience Jesus' community when:
1. We live by Kingdom values.
Before people listen to what we have to say they watch what we do and if we are living out the values of the Kingdom of God. We can't separate message from lifestyle - this is about who we are and how we go about our lives. There are three ways in which our Christian character is immediately seen. It is seen when we are:
When I am sold-out I have counted the cost of being a Christian, I will not deny the Saviour and I am not ashamed of the gospel. "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me...I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20 (NIV).
One of the primary reasons God calls His followers to be extraordinarily caring people is because acts of mercy open up people's hearts. There's tremendous pulling power in the expression of even a single act of kindness.
This is demonstrating integrity of faith even when we don't know that we are being watched. It's about being authentic about the struggles that are present in our life, in other words, it is being 'real'.
2. We live our Christianity out loud.
Our regular way of working out problems should be to pray. When we pray and God answers, others also get a testimony of God. We don't know how that will impact them, what we do know is that sometimes some simple acts have far reaching effects.Think about your routine and the people you encounter daily; they will experience the kingdom through you, and those moments become extraordinary as people taste and see from you that the Lord is good.
3. We take the message of Jesus to the streets.
"A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket ... Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16 (NASB).
I hope that if we've learned anything over these last few weeks, we've learned that the church isn't about the building; it's not about the programs. It's about relationships - primarily relationship with God, but also our relationships with each other. But it doesn't stop there. We also have to love those outside of the walls. Then we have to recognise that:
We have a message to share
We have a unique message, a very important message we need to share that: "If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved." Romans 10:9-10 (NIV).
We have the best news in the world, but if it remains hidden, it is of no effect. Share the message, share the love - Wi Love Strong!