Thursday, March 20, 2014

Day 2 - Integrative Ministry (2014 Timothy Keller Conference in Hong Kong)

God blessed Abraham, so that he may become a blessing to others. God brought him in, then sent him out. God will never call you in without sending you out. We are all in mission. The 2nd night, on the topic of Integrative ministry, Timothy Keller is going to walk through Luke 5 and show us 3 aspects of mission: out into work, out into margin of society, out so that people may return to Jesus.

1st: Take faith out and into our work (Luke 5:1-11)

Meeting Jesus means change your identity and then change your view of work.

Change your identity

If God is infinitely good (beautiful), don't you fell bad (ugly) in front of him. See Isa 6:1-5 and Job 42:5-6. This is exactly what happened to Peter. He feels more truly than he is. His greatness destroys Peter's self-image. So Peter said in Luke 5:8, "Depart from me, for dI am a sinful man, O Lord.” In stead of throwing him away (remember the good vs. bad, beautiful vs. ugly contrast), Jesus included him. Now the true Peter becomes Peter with grace. It's essential. Our faith and relationship with God is not based on what we do, but what he has done to me.

How does this apply to work? The text is not saying quit you time and enter full-time ministry. Of course Peter left nets and boat (his job). But he also left his fishes (property, huge profits). Just imagine what other fishermen will do after his leaving. Now, to Peter, the meaning of property is totally emotionally changed. It means different. You won't sell you soul in order to pursue profits. You resource of security has been changed. 

Ex. 1: An improve comedy actors feels no pressure on the stage after receiving Christ. He said, "Jesus has died for me, all I have to is having fun on the stage."

Ex. 2: NY Times Jounalist, the more I care about the feedback of writing, the worse I will write.

Jesus didn't only take care of devotion, Sunday service, or small group. He is in all areas of our life.

2nd: Take faith out and into the margin of society (Luke 5:12-16)

Leprosy is not merely a physical disease. Due to fear of contagiousness, lepers are banished from the community. So it's also emotionally perished and socially isolated. The are outsiders, margin of the society. So question: what is the leper doing in town? He is risking everything on Jesus and puts hope on him. People may stone him to death due to his presence in town. Under the high risk, he still very police by asking "if you will?" (Luke 5:12) Please notice this leper is asking "cleaned, not healed." Healed is physical, but "cleaned" goes further to ceremonial concept. The result, as you can read, he got it. Jesus did not only speak or command, but also touched him. A human contact represents acceptance. Jesus is dealing with entire condition. He leave the center of power and reach the margin and outcasts.

Ex. 1: Jonathan Edwards thought there is no stronger command than the concept of giving to poor. An professor even suggested that Christianity is the first group in history teaching loving the poor (comparing to giving to poor).

Ex. 2: The beatitude "blessed are those who is poor in spirit." Christians do not only look at our bad actions, but also know that our good things (deeds) are out of bad motivations. That's why we're poor in spirit.

Why loving the poor is the sign of true faith (Jas 2:14-17)? It's only when the word sees us loving the poor, they start to believe our message. 

Ex.: A church woman can bearing and listening his pastor excellent preaching because of his abuse to his wife. If pastors don't walk with faith, the world won't believer our Word of gospel.

3rd: Take faith out so that people may return to Jesus (Luke 5:17-25)

Jesus said "you're forgiven" but actually nobody was asking for this. We are taught repenting then being forgiven. It looks like this paralytic receive forgiveness without any repentance. Most likely, Jesus saw something inside his heart. Jesus can help a person physically, psychologically, or even socially. But the fundamental issue is relationship with God. Others are based on this.

In Luke 5:23, Jesus threw a tricky question, "healing and forgiving sins, which one is easier?" Sins-forgiven is easy for us. Forgiving sins is hard for Jesus. He has to make the price.

Conclusion: we can trust Jesus with our life. The inexpensive, unspoken love of forgiveness of sins, that's what Jesus saw and responded.

Ex.: There is a sad division between main stream churches and liberal churches. One holds the gospel but doesn't know how to reach out. One touches people but doesn't give the ultimate remedy.

One more thins

New identity, great confidence, or any spiritual transformation, they don't grow up overnight. Take Peter as an example, the same theme between Luke 5 and John 21, fishing, seeing Jesus, after 3 years, Peter learn from running Jesus away to running to Jesus.
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