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Evangelism is not about selling 'Jesus' to keep people out of Hell, but about building relationships, connecting with people, and teaching them what Jesus commanded us: People matter, stuff doesn't.
Keywords: - Eugene Peterson, Neighborhood, Love, Community, Family, Body of Christ
Key Scriptures: - Joh 1
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1. Americans have lost a sense of community
a. Our living room chairs all point toward the television
b. We must start being intentional about our relationships
c. We must start investing in each other’s lives, being family to fellow believers
2. Evangelism and the Body of Christ
a. God ‘moved into our neighborhood’
b. Evangelism is about connecting, engaging, building relationships
c. This is our privilege as Christ’s hands and feet
d. Most important to live out and teach others: people matter, stuff doesn’t
In “The Message” translation, John 1 talks about God ‘moving into the neighborhood.’ We are the body of Christ--his hands and feet, and it is our privilege and honor to be Jesus to our world and neighborhood. We must learn to be intentional about building relationships, connecting with one another, building trust and mutual care, investing in each other’s lives and being family. Our culture does not promote this connection. The most telling icon of American family life is our living room. In Uganda all the chairs are facing each other in a circle, but here the chairs all face one direction: the television. We have lost community, our family is often scattered and we do not even find ‘family’ among fellow believers. This church is not about growing or being successful, but about loving each other and our neighbors. Evangelism is not about selling a product to keep people out of Hell, but is about building relationships, sharing Christ’s love, praying for others. It is about engaging with others, not selling. Jesus told us to go into the world to make disciples, teaching them what he has commanded, and baptizing them. Jesus taught: love God with everything you have, love your neighbor as yourself, love your enemies and pray for them, treat others how you want to be treated--people matter, stuff doesn’t! All the rest of Scripture is commentary; Jesus showed us how to live this out. We must keep our eyes on Jesus as we go into our neighborhoods. Let us begin this moment learning to love each other and being intentional about our neighborhoods--living and loving as Jesus’ hands and feet. END