Friday, January 16, 2015

Touching Base - Part 261

SUNDAY, JANUARY 18th, 2015
Kent Bandy

This 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 the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

Is God busted? If you look at His people, does it resound with “Wow, He must be really something!”

As Christ followers, we always need to come back to the word of God to be reminded of God’s changeless truth and we need to be willing to wrestle with the implications in the complex, pluralistic culture in which we live. When it comes to brokenness, most of us can see that our culture is full of it. But why is the church full of it if God is so amazing?

Let me outline my talk on Sunday, and then I encourage you to wrestle with the many implications of putting feet to God’s truth in 2015. Welcome to the second of a four-part series in Crucial Conversations.

Big Idea: This is not “as good as it gets”.

You don’t have to be a rocket-scientist to notice the brokenness in the church. Why is it there if God is so incredible? The reality for most of us is that our need for Jesus as Saviour is far deeper than we realize. If that’s true, then our need for restoration also goes far deeper that we know. The need is real, but do we not see it, or just not know how to go there?

In the Bible we read of God “saving us” in many places. In fact, as Mark pointed out last week, our Bible is laid out in terms of a covenant, the Old Testament/Covenant and the New Testament/Covenant. There are several examples of covenants being made that include friendship, national and international relationships. These could be called horizontal covenants. Then there are vertical covenants between God and man. This definitely involved the Greater coming into relationship with the lesser; the Creator versus His creation.

The root word in the Bible for salvation is the Greek “sozo”: (it appears over 100 times in the New Testament)
- to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction a one (from injury or peril),
to save a suffering one (from perishing), i.e. one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health, to preserve one who is in danger of destruction, to save or rescue.
(Thayer and Smith. "Sozo", in The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon,1999)

The heart of salvation is to be saved (rescued) and healed (restored).

Ever since sin entered God’s people, His desire has been to rescue them and heal them. Throughout the Old Covenant he promised His forgiveness, rescue, healing, deliverance and restoration.

Check out the following texts:

Psalm 103:3-6
Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.

Note the promise of restoration.

Isaiah 53:5
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Isaiah 61:1-4
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.

Note the progression of this: first, the Saviour comes to bring God’s restoration to the broken. Then the broken, having been restored, become testimonies of God’s glory who then go and give to other people what the Saviour gave to them. The restoration they bring will renew places that have been dead for generations – that’s a long time!

So this suggests that what we give to others is something we have experienced firsthand from God himself. We duplicate or reproduce who we are. If we experience Gods restoration then we pass that on to others.

Luke 4:16-20
He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Notice that Jesus states Himself that He is fulfilling the words spoken through Isaiah the prophet. The promised restoration is not only becoming a reality, but all of the promises come with it.

Now what?

Here are some questions for further discussion:

- What do you think holds us back from experiencing the whole of what Jesus offers?
- What role does fear play in your estimation?
- What role (if any) do “simple answers” play in holding us back?
- What role does not facing the reality of our lives play?
- How serious is that reality?
- Do we see any chaos, messiness or complexity in taking disciple-making to a deeper level?
- What could be the implications if we were to see people demonstrate a greater level of change in Christ?
- If you were to believe that Jesus can heal our deepest brokenness, what would you want Him to rebuild in you first?

Take some time to pray into the issues raised. We need grace and truth as we have these crucial conversations.

Kent Bandy
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