Sunday, February 7, 2010

Touching Base! Part 73

The Spoons
(This article can also we found on our website at under the tab called “Blog”)

This touching base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God’s Word needs to be discussed in community.

This morning we are starting a teaching series in the book of Luke. Specifically, we are going to be looking at Jesus’ ministry in Galilee, which takes place from chapter 4 through chapter 9. Some might ask: why Luke and why now? One answer is that Luke does a thorough job in detailing many of the events of Jesus’ life, and he primarily has Gentiles (you and me) in mind. This is timely because one of the greatest gifts we can give people is a clear portrait of who Jesus Christ is. We want people to encounter Christ and to reflect back to the world His image and character as they are empowered by the Holy Spirit. As Christ followers, we need a clear picture of the One we follow.

On Sunday the big idea was- Jesus Christ is an outside/inside Saviour. He takes those who are on the outside and brings them inside. Luke demonstrates this clearly throughout the book. Much of this book has the outsider in view as the person to whom Jesus reached out.
  • Luke wrote from a Gentile/outsider standpoint in the best Greek for the broad Greek-speaking world.
  • Luke explained Jewish commonplaces to his Gentile/outsider readers, e.g., that Nazareth was in Galilee (1:26) and that the feast of Unleavened Bread was called the Passover (22:1).
  • Luke shows how the genealogy of Jesus goes back to Adam (3:38). He is not just King of the Jews (Matt 2:2).
  • Luke says that the good tidings are for all people (2:10), even outsiders.
  • Luke shows how prophecies are emphasized that include all flesh (3:5, 6) and illustrations are given of God’s ancient concern for Gentiles (4:25-30). Throughout the gospel, the Gentiles are part of God’s plan of redemption and one of Jesus’ concerns.
  • Luke’s Gospel has been called “the Gospel of the outcast, of the Samaritan, the publican, the harlot, and the prodigal” and “the Gospel of tolerance.”
  • “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost/outsiders” (19:10).
  • He presents Jesus Christ as the compassionate Son of man, who came to live among sinners, to love them, help them, and die for them.
The text we looked at was Luke 1:1-4. Luke was an outsider (Gentile) writing to an outsider (Theophilus). No doubt both men knew what it was like to be on the outside looking in. They knew what it was like to be on the receiving end of racial discrimination. Many Jews had a hard time (to say the least) with the idea that the Messiah would come and extend His ministry to Gentiles. Many Jews were hostile to the idea of Paul going to the Gentiles (Acts 22:21, 22).

Take some time to talk about circumstances in your life when you felt like an outsider, times where you felt like you didn’t fit in or didn’t belong. Note: There are times when we should not feel like we belong nor should we want to belong.

What (wrong) things do we Christ followers sometimes do and say and even impose on people that make them feel like they don’t fit in? For a biblical example read Acts 15 and discuss what unrealistic expectations the Jews were making of the Gentile Christians.

In terms of one’s relationship to God, is there ever a time when feeling like an outsider is healthy and productive?

Look at the text we discussed on Sunday (Luke 1:1-4)

Who may have been some of the eyewitnesses Luke interviewed? What would have been some of the more interesting interviews?

What do we know about Luke? (From the immediate text, and from Colossians 4:10-14?)

One thing I appreciate about Luke is that he took the time to investigate things “from the beginning” because outsiders mattered to God. He not only had Theophilus in mind but all those who would struggle with being accepted and loved by God.

Each and every day we are surrounded by people who struggle with feeling like outsiders for a number of reasons. Think of the following scenarios and discuss how you can help people overcome being an outsider.
Scenario #1 - For some, the “Church gathered” on Sunday morning can be a time where people don’t feel like they fit in. Bethel can be very intimidating to some. Big crowd, awkward traffic flow, and diversity. How can your words and actions extend grace and help build a bridge? What can you specifically do?

Scenario #2 - Our homes - some of us have children that really struggle with feelings of being an outsider. They don’t fit in, measure up or keep pace with the crowd. As a parent or spiritual aunt or uncle what truth about God can help them overcome? What action on your part would extend grace? What Luke did was write a letter, a very long letter.

Scenario #3 - Some of us may be building a relationship with someone far from God. They may feel like the Gentiles felt in the first century around some Christian Jews. What issues in their own lives might they feel disqualify them from God’s love? How can your words and actions (like Luke) bring truth and healing into that situation?

Scenario #4 - Got another one?

As a group, think of the imagery used on Sunday (see below) to communicate the feelings associated with being an outsider. Take some time to pray for those outsiders. This may be in relationship to their current status with Christ, or have to do with other areas of their lives such as various social settings.


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