• Matt Beaney

VISION SERIES - "COME TO ME" PT. 6... BRINGING NON-BELIEVERS TO JESUS (3/11/19)

Updated: Nov 21, 2019


CONTENTS

1. Vision introduction

2. Come to Jesus Daily devotional

Monday – Are you wearing wedding clothes?

Tuesday – The Lord’s Supper

Wednesday – Prayer in the Garden

Thursday– The death of the King makes princes of His enemies

Friday– The Great Commission

3. Community Group/Family Study

For links to the message go to our website,

www.communitychurchputney.com



1. VISION SERIES INTRODUCTION

Whilst praying about this vision series I felt led to the gospel of Matthew. Matthew wrote because he wanted to bring people to Jesus - the promised Saviour. Matthew wrote,

‘She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).’ (Matthew 1:21-23)

God’s wants us to know that in Jesus, forgiveness and His presence are available to you, me, to anyone! This gospel ends with Jesus’ direction to take this Good News to the whole world,

“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt. 28:19-20)

Jesus invites you, and through you, He wants to invite your friends to, “Come to me”.


LET’S OWN THIS VISION TOGETHER

Vision is something that we need to ‘own’ together. Therefore, I encourage you to commit to three things:

Make Sunday special by coming to church each week.Get along to a Community Group so as to learn with others. Use the ‘Come to Jesus Daily’ devotionals each day.

May we, like Matthew, respond to Jesus’ call,

‘He saw Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. ‘Follow me,’ he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.’ (Matthew 9:9)

Let’s whole-heartedly respond to Jesus’ invitation to “come to me”.

Matt Beaney September 2019


VISION AND GOALS AT CCP

Our vision at CCP is, Bringing people to Jesus - Myself, One-another, Non-believers. Two key texts have shaped this,

John 7:37-38 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
Matt.11:28-30“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Bringing people to Jesus is to share in God’s greatest ambition. This is a vision with eternal worth that invites us to give our lives for the worlds’ greatest need.


HOW DO WE BRING PEOPLE TO JESUS?

Bringing people to Jesus involves three different relationships:


1. MYSELF

Goal to help me to bring myself to Jesus: I 'come to Jesus daily' by setting aside quality time daily in prayer and worship out of the bible (20 minutes, using the ‘coming to Jesus daily’ blog is a good start)


2. ONE-ANOTHER

Goal to help bring one-another to Jesus: Every member is in an amazing Community Group (Meeting weekly is a good start).


3. NON-BELIEVERS

Goal to help us to bring our non-believing friends to Jesus: Hospitality Week – on the first week of each month, we ‘invest and invite’ through 'Hospitality Week'.



2. COME TO JESUS DAILY DEVOTIONAL

One of our goals as a church is to,

'Come to Jesus daily' by setting aside quality time daily in prayer and worship out of the bible (20 minutes, using the ‘coming to Jesus daily’ blog is a good start)’

Jesus promises rest for the weary and burdened (Matt. 11:28-30) and ‘living water’ (John 7:37-38) if we will come to Him. During our devotionals in this vision series, we will seek to learn from the Gospel of Matthew how, what it means, and what happens to those who come to Him.



MONDAY – ARE YOU WEARING WEDDING CLOTHES?

Please read Matthew 22:1-14


This teaching section (21:23-23:39) happens in the temple courts on the Tuesday following His ‘Triumphal Entry’ into Jerusalem on the previous Sunday (21:1-11). Jesus knows that His earthly ministry is drawing swiftly to a close - on the following Friday, He will be betrayed and crucified.


The king has prepared a banquet and all are invited

‘The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.’ (Matt. 22:2).

The son (who also features in the previous 2 parables) is Jesus - He is the Son that has been unrecognised by His people. The wedding banquet is that which will occur at the end of history - through Jesus all are invited to this banquet and eternal life. We see a glorious picture of this in Revelation,

‘Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.) Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” (Rev. 19:6-9)

Jesus’ own people, the Jewish nation, those who should have been most ready and prepared for Him, rejected Him and persecuted the church (19:6). However, the invitation is extended beyond Israel to the nations of the world - all who will listen and respond to the invitation can come to the banquet - through Jesus we can have eternal life if we will respond.


Are we wearing wedding clothes?

Suddenly the joyous image of the party which is ‘filled with guests’ is interrupted,

‘But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless. “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are invited, but few are chosen.’ (Matt. 22:11-14).

What is this all about? The danger with parables is that we press the details and miss the main point. The main point here is that all Christians will ‘wear wedding clothes’. These are two things:

Firstly, We are those ‘dressed in the righteousness of Christ’ as a gift. Through faith in Jesus, we are justified.

Secondly, ‘wedding clothes’ are the fruit of holiness (As we saw in Rev. 19:6) as we see in Galatians 5:22-24.

The gift of wedding clothes - is beautifully portrayed in the Parable of the Lost Sons. On returning home the son says,

‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.  For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.’ (Luke 11:21-24)

Those who come to Jesus, humbled by their sin, truly wanting to be rescued, all such people will be gifted with wedding clothes and will enjoy the banquet.

This son receives new clothes (righteousness) as a gift, and he has left his life of sin and rebellion to God - both aspects are included.


RESPONSE

Are you wearing wedding clothes? Have you listened to Jesus’ invitation to come to Him for forgiveness? If so, are you enjoying the celebration right now? Have you repented of your sin and are you seeking to live a holy life? Most importantly, are you living in light of our glorious hope when, at the end of history, we will enjoy that banquet with Jesus and all of His people? As Paul writes, ‘When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory’. (Col. 3:4)



TUESDAY – THE LAST SUPPER

Please read 26:17-35


The Last Supper took place on the day before Jesus was crucified. According to custom, the Passover Lamb was sacrificed on this Thursday (14 Nisan). This was to commemorate the events of Passover when the ‘angel of death passed over’ the houses of God’s people in slavery, in Egypt who had put the blood of a lamb over their doors. The Lamb was to be eaten in the evening (15 Nisan) as Jesus and His disciples are doing here.


The Lord’s Supper

However, Jesus takes this symbolic meal and repurposes it, making His work on the cross the new central theme.

‘While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.  This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’ (Matt. 26:26-28)

The bread and the wine are symbolic of Jesus’ body and blood - his sacrificial death to free us from the dominion of sin. We are not saved by doing this act or by faith in eating bread and drinking wine - no! These symbols are physical reminders to point us to the object of our salvation - His ‘blood…poured out for many’.


The new Covenant

Jesus speaks of ‘the covenant’. A covenant is a commitment made by God to people who will adhere to the terms of that covenant (See Exodus 24:7-8); In this, The New Covenant, God promises ‘the forgiveness of sins’ (See 1:21), and the terms that we are to keep are faith in Jesus’ death (Our faith being symbolised by this eating and drinking). Wayne Grudem outlines a covenant thus,

‘A covenant is an unchangeable, divinely imposed legal agreement between God and man that stipulates the conditions of their relationship… the phrase ‘divinely imposed’ is also included to show that man can never negotiate with God or change the terms of his covenant: he can only accept the covenant obligations or reject them… the New Testament authors, did not use the ordinary Greek word for contracts or agreements in which both parties were equal (syntheke), but rather chose a less common word, diatheke, which emphasised that the provisions of the covenant were laid down by one of the parties only. (in fact, the word diatheke was often used to refer to a ‘testament’ or ‘will’ that a person would leave to assign the distribution of his or her goods after death.)’

In speaking of this New Covenant - new way of relating to God - He is also referencing the great promise of Jeremiah.


Please read Jeremiah 31:31-34

In summary, Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, God’s people will have a new devotion to obedience through the Spirit; God promises

"I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

As well as new life by the Spirit, Christians are promised:

“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

This is the covenant that all Christians have, which has been paid for by the death of Jesus, symbolised in The Lord’s Supper.


RESPONSE

Let’s share ‘The Lord’s Supper’ mindful of the covenant that it represents - Jesus blood has been given for you, and we gain forgiveness and new life by the Spirit. You have new life and an unbreakable friendship with God through Jesus’ death on your behalf.


Secondly, Jesus says, “This is my blood of the (new) covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Jesus’ blood has been poured out ‘for many’ who, as yet, are still far away from God. Let’s put our faith in Jesus’ promise and so be lavish in sharing the gospel invitation.



WEDNESDAY – PRAYER IN THE GARDEN

Please read Matthew 26:36-45


My soul is overwhelmed

Here, in the Garden, we see a different form of ’transfiguration’ come over Jesus; we see the man of calm authority, seized with terror. We read

‘He began to be sorrowful and troubled.  Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

Jesus’ response to His impending suffering reveal that the events of Easter were more than a physical death - Jesus knows that He is facing the holy justice of God for the sins of the world.


Jesus drank the cup for us

Matthew continues,

‘Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

John Stott wrote,

'...the cup from which he shrank...symbolised neither the physical pain of being flogged and crucified, nor the mental distress of being despised and rejected even by his own people, but rather the spiritual agony of bearing the sins of the world; in other words, of enduring the divine judgement which those sins deserved.'

C. J. Mahaney encourages those who use this account of Jesus in the Garden as a kind of pastoral balm to ensure that they do so in the right way. He writes,

Our suffering does not truly compare to His. Occasionally people speak of their “Gethsemane experience.” But you and I will never go through anything like what Jesus did at Gethsemane, and we’re respectful and wise never to refer to our experiences in those terms. You and I will never be given this cup to drink. Moreover, you and I have never been, and will never be, abandoned by God. I know sometimes it feels that He’s abandoned us; I’ve felt that way. But those are deceptive feelings, because the One who drank this cup says to you and me, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” We may occasionally feel alone, but we never truly are alone. And yet His suffering does become the highest and best source of comfort in our own distress. For if He endured so much more than I’ll ever have to, then can’t He comfort me in my lesser suffering? Yes, absolutely.’

In the Garden, Jesus is horrified at the prospect of taking the sin of the world upon Himself, which He describes as drinking a cup. Jesus drank the cup of God’s wrath for sin in our stead; the grace that we enjoy was not free, it cost Jesus everything!


RESPONSE

We have peace and reconciliation, now and forever, because Jesus drank our cup! Jesus says

“come to me all the weary and burdened…all the thirsty (Matt. 11:28-30, Jn. 7:37-38).

The reason that He can give us the rest of forgiveness and the gift of His Spirit is because He was made ‘weary’ was ‘burdened’ was made ‘thirsty’ for us through his atoning death.

Do you see that you no longer need to fear separation from God? Do you see that no matter how dark the night, it is never the darkness of judgement, it is never the judgment of abandonment!

Jesus said,

‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.’ (John 14:27)

Without God, the peace we experience is dependent upon things that one can lose. In Christ, we have an eternal relationship with God that can never be broken. It’s ours because Jesus’ relationship with the Father was broken for us, as we read,

‘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 53:5)

The words of John Newton’s hymn are a good response,

Thus, while His death my sin displays


'In all its blackest hue,

Such is the mystery of grace,

It seals my pardon too.

With pleasing grief and mournful joy,

My spirit now is filled,

That I should such a life destroy,

Yet live by Him I killed.'


Are you feeling abandoned? Do you suffer from periods of depression? Let’s all learn to sing songs in the night.



THURSDAY – THE DEATH OF THE KING MAKES PRINCES OF HIS ENEMIES


1. Is evil in control?

Please read Matthew 27:1-10


It seems that evil people rather than Jesus are in control of things. We read,

‘Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed.’ (Matt. 27:1)

However, Matthew has made it clear that all of these events, including Judas’ betrayal, although carried out by evil, were in God’s sovereign plan. Here are some examples which show Jesus’ rule, even over His suffering:

‘The Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified (26:2)…When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial (26:12)…Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me (26:20)…The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man!.. before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times (26:34)…Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer! (26:46)…Do what you came for, friend (26:50)…Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way? (26:53-54)…this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled (26:56)…Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price set on him by the people of Israel (26:9)

RESPONSE Jesus is in authority in all situations. He died for you and His church by His loving choice. No matter what, let’s trust that nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus!


2. The king is given for a criminal

Please read Matthew 27:11-44


Jesus is questioned before Pilate. We read,

‘“Are you the king of the Jews?”“You have said so,” Jesus replied.’ (Matt. 27:11)

This ambiguous response (the same as 26:25 and 26:64) is designed to throw the question back to Pilate (and to us); in effect, we could render it, “And you say what about me being a king?”

Pilate will not believe that Jesus is a king; the crowds deny that He is their king and want Barabbas released instead; the soldiers make a mockery him being king; Matthew describes the scene,

‘They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him,  and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.’ (Matt. 27:28-31)

This is a ‘prophetic’ scene; through this hideous parody of regalia, we are to see the reality - He is the true King, He wears the crown, He holds the sceptre, and yet He is choosing to be stripped of glory.

From the gospel of John, we understand that Jesus was ‘flogged’ twice (John 19:1-3). The first was a lighter form, for those committing less severe crime. Pilate hopes this will appease the crowd and secure Jesus’ release. Later, He is ‘scourged’. This was inflicted by a whip of thongs loaded with pieces of bone or metal, making pulp of a man’s back. Matthew wants us to see that, behind the mockery, that Jesus is the King suffering for us.


RESPONSE – This account confronts us with the question, “What do you say about Jesus being king?” Do you see that He is the Lord who has laid aside glory to suffer and save you? Will we choose this form of servant leadership in our own lives as Philippians 2:1-11 encourages?


3. The King makes royalty of us all

Please read Matthew 27:45-65

God’s will to save mankind is being fulfilled through a coward like Pilate and the maliciousness of the leaders. Do we see the gospel here? Jesus the innocent will die, the criminal, Barabbas, will be released. He has died in our place, we, the guilty, have gone free! Evil can never overcome the love of God. Matthew writes,

‘From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land.  About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:45-46)

The King was given over to the ‘dominion of darkness’; He was cast into the night of God’s wrath, as He took our sin upon Himself. Jesus was cast into the dark so that we can enter into the ‘kingdom of light’ – Knowing God’s love forever.

Jesus quotes Psalm 22:1 as He is ‘forsaken’ by God. He is forsaken as He takes the sin of the world upon Himself. This great exchange has been so beautifully put by Paul,

‘God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.’ (2 Cor. 5:21).

This is Jesus ‘drinking the cup’ of our sin and God’s wrath for us. The great goal of Jesus’ death was symbolised in what happens after he ‘gave up His spirit’.

‘At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split.’ (Matthew 27:51)

The King of Kings was mocked and crucified for us in order that sinners - those who have mocked Him and refused Him can have entrance into the very presence of God.


RESPONSE Do we allow Jesus’ identity as sovereign King and suffering King to define our identity? His marred royalty has made you and I royalty. Peter writes,

‘But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.’ (1 Pet. 2:9-10)



FRIDAY – THE GREAT COMMISSION

Please read Matthew 28:16-20

Today we come to the end of our devotionals in Matthew. We end by looking at what is called ‘The Great Commission’. These are the church’s ‘marching orders’ and her great priority up until Jesus returns. Our vision as a church is ‘Bringing people to Jesus’ - which is a summary of what Jesus is teaching here.


What is the mission of the church?

If I were to ask you to describe the mission of the church, I hope that these words would feature prominently in your answer. Too often we can so broaden our purpose so as to lose focus on what is of greatest importance to God.

Kevin DeYoung wrote,

‘We believe the church is sent into the world to witness to Jesus by proclaiming the gospel and making disciples of all nations. This is our task. This is our unique and central calling.’

Social action - seeking to improve the world- is important. Any true Christian or church, moved by Jesus’ compassion, will seek to help others in many ways. However, too often, social action can become our mission; or, slightly better than that, social action is primary with attempts to preach the gospel being accidental but not primary.

John gives us His version of a Great Commission in John 20. After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples and said,

"Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit." (John 20:21-22)

The Hebrew word for ‘peace’ is ‘Shalom’. Sometimes Jesus’ words here and this idea of ’shalom’ is used to define the mission of the church as societal transformation. To quote Kevin DeYoung again (from His book ‘What is the Mission of the Church),

‘So what is this peace? Some are quick to point out that the Hebrew word for peace is shalom and biblical shalom entails the right ordering of all things, the way the world is supposed to be. This is no doubt true, but we must always remember (1) that biblical shalom is much deeper than societal harmony and (2) that true shalom comes only to those who have union and communion with the shalom giver.’ John Stott was right, The biblical categories of shalom, the new humanity and the kingdom of God are not to be identified with social renewal. . . . So according to the apostles the peace which Jesus preaches and gives is something deeper and richer, namely reconciliation and fellowship with God and with each other (e.g. Ephesians 2.13–22). Moreover, he does not bestow it on all men but on those who belong to him, to his redeemed community. So shalom is the blessing the Messiah brings to his people.’

Our commission to reach and teach

Jesus’ commission to His people is, firstly, to reach - to make disciples - to give people ‘peace’ through a restored relationship with God through the gospel.


Secondly, our commission it to teach people to ‘obey all that Jesus has commanded us’. We are to teach people, through scripture, how to live in this world for the glory of God, and this, of course, will involve, sacrificial kindness.


Thirdly, our obedience to Jesus’ commission is only possible through the empowering of the Holy Spirit. Again, it’s important to notice how Jesus defines the outworking of the Spirit’s empowering,

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)


RESPONSE

Please read Acts Matthew 28:19-20 again.


This is the last devotional in this vision series, therefore, this application section serves as a bit of a catch-all for all that we have been looking at together. Our vision (Bringing people to Jesus) and our 3 simple goals are our way of seeking to do this Great Commission.

Let’s take a moment, at the end of this vision series, to consider how we are doing in regard to our shared goals.

Bringing people to Jesus involves three different relationships:


1. MYSELF – How are you doing at being a ‘disciple’- bringing yourself to Jesus each day?

Our goal: 'come to Jesus daily' by setting aside quality time daily in prayer and worship out of the bible (20 minutes, using the ‘coming to Jesus daily’ blog is a good start)


2. ONE-ANOTHER – ‘Making disciples’ happens in church community. How are doing at coming to Jesus with others?

Our goal: Every member is in an amazing Community Group (Meeting weekly is a good start).


3. NON-BELIEVERS – Starting with prayer, moving on to action, how are you responding to Jesus’ Commission to ‘make disciples’ - helping non-believers to come to Jesus?

Our goal: Hospitality Week – on the first week of each month, we ‘invest and invite’ through 'Hospitality Week'.



3. COMMUNITY GROUP/FAMILY STUDY

BRINGING NON-BELIEVERS TO JESUS. PT. 2

Let’s begin by reminding ourselves of our vision which is… BRINGING PEOPLE TO JESUS. We do this in three relationships: Myself, One-another and Non-believers. We will conclude our focus on our relationships with non-believers today.


Our Goal to help us to bring our non-believing friends to Jesus: Hospitality Week – on the first week of each month, we ‘invest and invite’ through 'Hospitality Week'.


Please read John 7:37-38

When anyone or a church encounters Jesus, the Spirit’s work will overflow from them into the communities around them.


Please read Acts 1:8

Jesus promises power to witness (tell the gospel) when anyone is filled with the Holy Spirit.


Read Matthew 28:19-20

Here, in the Great Commission, we understand that It’s God’s desire for us to make disciples and that He has the authority in order to make us successful in this mission.


Discuss and pray together:

Please read Acts 2:37-38

  • What has given Peter and these disciples new courage and power to witness?

  • Let’s pray together and for one-another to freshly encounter Jesus by the Spirit.

  • Pray for our Christmas services - that many of our friends will come along.

  • Pray for Hospitality Week which is coming up on 4th November.


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