Luke 4:16-18 Who Would Jesus Want Me to Reach

Luke 4:16-18 Who Would Jesus Want Me to Reach June 28, 2012


Luke 4:16-18 Who Would Jesus Want Me to Reach

Luke 4:16-18 Who Would Jesus Want Me to Reach

 God “has sent me.”
In the Bible, there are two major themes about the direction of the Gospel. In one case, people COME to hear the Gospel. In another case, people are SENT to share the Gospel.
You see this in many places. People are directed to come to hear God:
(Zechariah 14:16, Matthew 8:11, Luke 13:29, Isaiah 66:20, Zechariah 8:23, Micah 4:1, Isaiah 2:2)
There are other examples of God sending people. It is foreshadowed in the Old Testament:
(Micah 4:2, Isaiah 2:3, Isaiah 66:19)
Some references combine both:
(Isaiah 60:1-3, Matthew 5:14-15, Philippians 2:15)
Light goes out and it draws the nations in. Jesus said it in a warning:
“The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at Jonah’s proclamation; and look—something greater than Jonah is here!”
(Matthew 12:41, HCSB)
“The queen of the south will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and look—something greater than Solomon is here!” (Matthew 12:42, HCSB)
Jonah went out, but the Queen of Sheba went in. Jonah is sent from Israel to the north. The Queen of Sheba (or Queen of the South) is drawn to Jerusalem. So the Bible talks about both directions with the Gospel. The Gospel draws people in. The Gospel is sent out.
We do a very good job of “drawing people in” when it comes to events. Are we explicitly sharing the Gospel during these times? No. We are making attempts at drawing the community into the church. As they come in, then we share the Gospel.
The problem here is twofold: When we invite, they are driven only so far. They come to the event, but not necessarily to the church. They hang out for the fun things, but they don’t get serious about following Christ. So doing events or “attractional evangelism” is limited in its ability to bring people to Christ. It draws crowds, but not necessarily converts.
The other problem is that is God called has also called me to be sent. He told me to go (Matthew 28:20). There are some people who can’t come unless I go to them.
God did not say that He would send people to me. God calls us to be sent. God wants us to get out and go reach people around us.
Captive people can’t come to you. They are in prison.
Blind people can’t come to you. They can’t see where they are going.
Oppressed people can’t ask for your help. They are too hurt by others to share.
In each of these cases, the people can’t come.
Now we know that if we provide a service for them: share food, give clothes – they will come. But that is not good enough. We have to be willing to go out and share with them.
We can’t be content any longer with the idea that the only way we share Jesus is if they have the ability to come.
Asking people in prison to come to church won’t work. They can’t get out of their cell.
Asking people who are blind to walk in won’t work. They can’t see.
Asking people who can’t help themselves to get up and come won’t work. They don’t have the strength.
This is why Jesus said that God the Father has “sent” Him. Some people can’t come to Jesus. Jesus has to come to them. Some people can’t come to us in the church. We have to go to them.
The challenge is two-fold:
Who is God sending me to?
The answer to this question can be found when we look at the example of Jesus Christ and who God sent Him to reach.

JESUS’ UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUP

Jesus had His own unique people group, whom He desired to reach. While He did spend time with the religious people of His day, He spent more time reaching to a broader audience.
How did Jesus define His audience?
I came not to be served, but to serve.
I have come to reach the lost sheep of Israel.
The healthy do not need a doctor, only the sick. I have not called the righteous to repentance. I have come to call sinners to repentance.
When Jesus gives His orders for the first visitation team, He tells them to go to the lost of sheep of Israel.
So who were these people?
The rich came to ask Him questions: For example, the rich young ruler. The religious came to ask Him questions: Nicodemus, and Simon the Pharisee
But when you look at the people whom Jesus reached out to, it was: the woman at the well, Zaccheus, Lazarus, Galilean fisher businessmen
He went out to the poor country folk of his region.
He did not seek out the rich.
He did not seek out the middle class.
He did not seek out the religious, observant, Synagogue-attending Jew.
He went out to the poor country folk of his region.
Now, how does that look here in southern Barry County, Missouri?

PHYSICAL MAP VERSUS CULTURAL MAP

A physical map will tell you the physical boundaries of a location and WHERE people live. However, it will never tell you HOW people live. As a result, you need to know more information in order to better understand who lives in a certain area.
People who do this work call this demographics. The map about who lives in a certain area. In order for you to really know who to reach, you have to do spiritual demographics about the people around you.

MY UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUP

Ask some questions about yourself and the people around you.
Who are people I hang out with?
Who are people who have similar interests?
Who watches the same TV shows and likes the same movies?
Who likes the same activities?
Who shares my values and ideas?
The most important question: Who are people I care about the most?

MY CHALLENGE: REACH OUT TO OTHER PEOPLE

List TWELVE people whom I care about.
We will end this sermon by identifying people whom I care about. These are the people whom God has called me to reach. Many will be people in your own family. Some will be people around you. Most should be people in this community.
I want to end with a challenge for you to tear this list off and pray for these people. You can give it to me at the end of the service and I will pray for them with the deacons on Monday evening. You can take them home and put the list on the refrigerator.
But don’t forget to pray, and then as God gives you the opportunity – reach out to them.

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