Jesus’ final word to his followers and the community called the “Church” involves witness. This word causes various responses from those within and without the church–fear, guilt, enthusiasm, expectation–to name a few. In this beginning chapter of the book of Acts we learn much about the concept of witness–what it consists of, how it’s empowered, and why it’s essential to the identity of the church.
“It’s impossible to be truly religious and socially indifferent”. Would you agree with this quote? More importantly does God agree with it? The prophet Isaiah would lead us to believe so. And, taking it seriously means the church must as well. Our core values of Service and City remind us of this.
In the life of Zacchaeus we see how the grace of God finds people and then finds its way into every area of their lives. When this lost man’s soul was saved, not just his soul was saved–he stepped into a new Calling and Kingdom. The gospel of Jesus means to do no less for us, transforming every area of our lives.
The good news (gospel) of the Christian faith is all about God–through stunning sacrifice–bringing us into relationship with Him, but that’s not all. He also brings us into relationship with a community. When someone is reconciled to God they are then reconciled to others. The church is a reconciled community. Gospel and Relationships go hand in hand at Grace DC.
When Jesus appeared to his followers—risen from dead—they were reeling. It was on no ones radar in the ancient world that a bodily resurrection would occur. And this then became the core of the Christian witness. But it was not just a witness of a resurrected man, but rather a confirmation that the good news of God’s grace was true.
Can you envision a city that represents every nation on earth, is full of joy and dancing, where there is no shame, nor thirst? A city full of former enemies of God, yet built upon the Son of God’s death for those enemies? God can. We find it in Psalm 87. And the point of Missions is to get people to that city.
Whenever we give money toward a cure for AIDS, care about education reform, weed a garden we seek renewal. But, seeking the renewal or welfare of your enemy the people that oppress and enslave that is different. Yet, it’s the very thing to which God calls Israel in Jeremiah 29. And, as the context is seeking renewal in a big, hostile, worldview opposing city, there is some real relevance for us.
Through David’s kindness to his arch enemy’s grandson we’re reminded of the mercy of God–mercy which is surprising and counter-intuitive. David’s mercy is seen in the way he offers protection, provision and position to Saul’s grandson, and we are given a model for showing it to others.
God relishes being the advocate of His people. He purposely puts us in situations where He can show off this way. And in this way he teaches us that our faith has much to do with how we view him, rather than ourselves. Jesus presents a view of God in Luke 18 that draws out our faith.
If someone asked you what you fed yourself today, chances are you could tell them. But what does your life feed upon? That is, how would you answer the question: Life is about __________. Is it your family being healthy? Career? A relationship? Jesus gives us his perspective in John 6.