Take the Next Step: Midweek Discipleship Challenge
Hello friends! Welcome back! It’s me again.
There are always things that pastors tend to leave out of their sermons and so I wanted to offer a couple more thoughts as we process this message about darkness and light and bout bearing light as the people of God and as we take the next steps. Author and retired pastor Tim Keller says that the early church was known for 5 distinctives. 5 ways that they were different from the culture around them; that they were radically different from the Romans around them.
He says that they were known for, number one, being committed to the sanctity of life, because they were the ones who would adopt babies that the Romans tried to kill in exposure.
The second thing is that the early church was known for having a counter cultural sexual ethic, in that the men would respect their wives and they would only have a coupling of one husband and one wife, and the radical thing was that they would actually remain faithful.
The third distinctive of the early church was that they were known for forgiveness and reconciliation. If someone had wronged them or they had wronged somebody else, neither party in the church would seek retribution- eye for an eye type justice- but instead, they radically forgave one another knowing that Jesus had forgiven them.
And the fourth thing was that they were known for generosity and caring for the poor- that all over the New Testament you see the early church caring for the widow and the orphan.
And the fifth thing, the fifth thing the early church was known for, was for being racially and ethnically diverse. Now you see that in the New Testament when the early church brought in Jew and Gentile alike together under one roof to worship one God.
Now Tim Keller points out that each of these five things were crucial for the early church. And he notes that the first two, the sanctity of life and the counter cultural sexual ethic, are true of the political right, they’re true of what we typically associate with the republican platform. The last two they were known for, generosity, caring for the poor, and then racial and ethnic diversity, are typically associated as values of the political left. But the one in the middle, the value of forgiveness and reconciliation, is not necessarily true of either.
And here’s what he says: if you drop some of any of these five, you won’t change the world, the world will change you. So, friends, I would like to challenge us in our midweek, digging deeper, sermon bonus moment, what does it look like for you to embody some of these five?
What do you most struggle with?
How can you connect with people in your community group or family about ways in which you can know, look, and learn and grow in any of these three categories?
Maybe you’re holding onto unforgiveness. Maybe you are struggling with the sanctity of life and you have questions. Or maybe you’re struggling with sexuality, your counter cultural sexual ethic, or generosity and caring for the poor, or being racially and ethnically diverse, and there are questions and there are answers and we as a church can bear the light of Christ. So I challenge you, what does it look like in your moment to embody, wrestle with, figure out what does it look like for the early church to manifest itself here in our moment?
Village Church, it has been so good to be with you for the last two weeks. It’s such a privilege. I’ll be joining you later in the summer. Have a good week!