The doctrine of the sovereignty of God is one that we hold to and believe. Sometimes we don’t live it out but that is another blog for another time. The point is that God is in control of all things. How does this apply to us, and our move to the Colonial Hills area?
God has planned for us to move to the Colonial Hills area. It is not a coincidence or simply because of circumstances falling the right way, or the ingenuity of a group of people. God designed it this way. Therefore, He has a purpose in our church body planting in this area of Southaven.
What is His sovereign purpose for our church?
The church is God’s demonstration of community. We are to demonstrate who God is through our lives as individuals, but also as a community of people from all walks of life brought together by the grace of God in Christ. We are helping people see God. When our neighbors around us and those in our City see Trinity, they should be able to see aspects of God’s character. We are His body.
What are a couple of ways we demonstrate His character?
We do this by loving one another, no matter what. Jesus told his disciples in John 13:35, “…love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
If we are not loving and demonstrating loving ways within the body, then we nullify our testimony to those who are lost.
Second, we are to be zealous in our missionary outreach. Repeatedly, the scriptures teach that God seeks us, He comes to us, and He initiates the relationship, when we could not get to Him. He is longsuffering and not wanting any to perish. He sent Jonah to Nineveh to tell them to repent. Jesus purposefully went into Samaria and shared the good news with a Samaritan woman. In doing so, Jesus crossed cultural “no-no’s.” Samaritans were vehemently hated by the Jews and vice versa, and men didn’t talk to women in public.
What God does in seeking us, He wants us to do the same. Jesus said in John 20:21, “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”
We are to speak the gospel and tangibly demonstrate the gospel. We are to do so both individually and as a church body working together.
Let me give you a simple way of remembering each of our responsibility to reach out and seek the lost. I don’t know who came up with the 4 “I’s”, but I will employ it here. Hope this helps.
- Identify: Identify those around you who need the gospel. Who at your work do you know is lost, who in your neighborhood, or those who play ball with your kids, or the person you just meet by God’s divine appointment. We seek the lost. This will take planning on or part, such as: making plans to walk through the neighborhood around the church to get to know our neighbors. It may mean serving Hope Sullivan or Greenbrook Elementary. And there will be times that you unexpectantly cross someone’s path, and you have opportunity to share the gospel. Whether planned or not, we are seeking the lost and ready to share the gospel through our words and service. You have relationships with people that others in the church don’t have. God by His sovereign design placed you where you are with the purpose to seek the lost.
- Invest: Spend time loving them, listening to them, learning more about the person, living out the gospel before them, and sowing seeds of the gospel through your verbal witness. This investment means meeting needs because you love people as God loves them. It will take an investment of time, treasure, and effort. Make the most of every opportunity to invest the gospel, even if it is just for a moment. You never know whom the Lord has in mind to follow up with that person.
- Introduce: As a believer, you introduce the person to Jesus Christ. You share the gospel of Christ. God has given you a treasure to share. Don’t wait on someone more “qualified” to do it. You are qualified. After Jesus told the disciples in John 20:21 that just as the Father has sent Him, so is He sending you, He “breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit…’” You have the Holy Spirit who indwells you and gives you power to be His witness.
- Invite: Invite them to join you with the rest of the church. You notice that much of the work has been done by each of us prior to inviting them to church. Too often, we “identify” and then skip to “invite” them to church. That is good, but we are skipping over a part of the church (you and me) investing and introducing that lost person to Christ. In other words, your relationship with that person is vital. We are to be about investing and introducing others to Christ and not simply relying on a sermon or Bible study to do that for us. Let’s do both, but make sure we are not skipping steps 2 and 3.
God has uniquely placed our Church where she needs to be in order to display Jesus Christ. We love each other and work together to reach the lost in our community. He has also uniquely placed each of us where we need to be to identity, invest, introduce, and invite those without Christ to follow Him.