#908. Clean by the Word (28/9/23)
This, our third and final week in this vision series, we are considering how remaining in the vine will make us effective in reaching our community for Jesus.
'You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.' (John 15:3)
Lesson: Let’s build bridges with people to give them the opportunity to hear the gospel—the message that cleans us of all our sin.
To listen to this devotional, go to:
Our SIV (Serve, Invest, and Invite) strategy is about building bridges with people so that they can hear the gospel message. As they see Jesus in us, I believe they will be much more likely to give us a hearing.
When we think about helping to bring our community to Jesus, it’s vital that we understand the message that has the power to save—the message that has the power to connect them to the vine, to use the words of John 15.
In our reading today, Jesus speaks of our being ‘clean because of the word I have spoken to you.’ To be ‘clean’ is to be justified. Through our receiving the gospel, our sin has been taken away, and we have been gifted with Jesus’ righteousness. If we’ve received Jesus, we are clean!
‘Clean’ (katharós) means to be clean, pure, clear of responsibility, unsoiled, guiltless, innocent, and void of evil. And how do we become clean? By receiving the gospel—by believing in Jesus' death and resurrection for our sin.
In our reading, the idea of being cleaned is followed by ongoing cleaning. Jesus is teaching that there is the initial washing of justification, which is complete and received by faith alone, and this is followed by the ongoing cleaning of sanctification, which is progressive in this life. The washing of justification, which accompanies the New Birth, is beautifully described in Titus as the ‘washing of rebirth’:
‘He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.’ (Titus 3:5)
As we seek to serve, invest, and invite in our community, it’s important that we understand and are ready to share the gospel message. Our good works of service and love are very important, but only the gospel has the power to save people and connect them to the vine.
Let’s build bridges with people to give them the opportunity to hear the gospel—the message that cleans us of all our sin. Our SIV strategy will lead to you being a great blessing in your family, your office, with your friends, wherever you go. However, let's recognise and make the most of every opportunity to invite them to come to salvation through the gospel message. May God give each of us the love and wisdom to do this. Specifically, in your Community Groups, do we share stories of how God has opened opportunities to share the gospel? Let’s aim to do this to inspire one another.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Let's use the icebreaker that we talked about in our vision series: How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you?
3. STUDY AND PRAY TOGETHER
Please read John 15:5, 26-27
This week, as we end our brief vision series I thought that we could ensure that we understand the vision and goals and spend some time praying over it.
Let’s begin by reminding ourselves of our vision and goals as a church:
At CCP, our vision is: 'Bringing people to Jesus: myself, one another, and our community.'
1. Myself(I bring myself to Jesus)
We are seeking to build a church in which every member knows the importance of, and has the skills to come to Jesus each day so as to live as fully devoted followers of Jesus every day.
2. One another (We bring one another to Jesus)
We have an Acts 2 vision of the church where we see their devotion to meeting together. Together, we encourage each other to come to Jesus and put Him at the centre of our lives.
3. Our community (we seek to bring our community to Jesus)
We are a church that has deep compassion for our community and we know that God wants to work through us to bring people to Him. We understand or identity as 'salt and light' in our communities doing good works and sharing the gospel thoughtfully. We love to ‘serve, invest and invite’ in our community - invest in friendships and invite them into our lives, church community and closer to Jesus, particularly through Alpha.
Our 4 simple goals
To help with this, we have 4 very simple but, I believe, powerful goals that encourage every member to work on:
Goals to help me to bring ‘myself’ to Jesus:
1. We 'come to Jesus daily' by setting aside quality time each day in prayer and worship out of the Bible and asking to be filled with the Holy Spirit (20 minutes, using the ‘come to Jesus daily’ blog is a good start)
2. The 'icebreaker' used in our CG meetings is, normally, 'How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you?'
Goal to help bring 'one another' to Jesus:
3. We are devoted to building an amazing Community Group (Meeting weekly is a good start).
Goals to help us to bring ‘our community’ to Jesus:
4. We aim to share, pray and plan about how we are ‘serving, investing and inviting’ into our community every time we meet in our Community Groups. Additionally, we pray and plan specifically during our monthly ‘SIV Week’ (Serve/Invest/Invite).
What is SIV?
SIV stands for Serve, Invest, and Invite. This is our very simple strategy to help bring our community to Jesus. We believe that God has placed us in relationships and in specific locations to be 'salt and light.' We can effectively bring people to Jesus by 'Serving' them, demonstrating the love of Christ in practical ways; by 'Investing' in the people to whom we feel the Spirit is leading us; and by 'Inviting' them into our homes and hospitality, to church events, to Alpha, and ultimately, inviting them to come to Jesus through the gospel.
1. How does Jesus' teaching on remaining in the vine relate to our vision and goals?
2. Please now read John 7:37-39, which is another text that has been very influential in the forming of our vision. How does this text relate to our vision and goals?
3. This week, we focussed on reaching our community for Jesus. Please ensure that you understand SIV and our goals around this.
4. Do you have any encouraging stories of how you are serving, investing and inviting?
4. SIV - Do you have a prayer list of people that God has put on your heart?
5. SIV - Do you have any friends that you could invite to church or a church event? If yes, how have you developed this relationship, if no, how could you make progress?