We continue with our sermon series entitled ‘The Church Growth Toolkit’. Preaching from Nathan Gordon. Service led by Beverley Sills.
We have all been there when seemingly it’s just not working! Despite our best efforts, diligence and hard graft, minimal progress can leave us feeling frustrated and depleted. We are not alone because Jesus the Messiah, the living word and God in flesh decided against performing numerous works in Nazareth because of their unbelief. Unbelief is antagonistic to the ideals of spiritual and evangelistic growth and in Matthew chapter 13 we see the sad reality that even Jesus’ hometown was unable to experience a great move of God because of their unbelief.
Let’s consider the following R’s as we seek to gain wisdom on how to deal with a town that is unconvinced about Jesus.
Resolve to make a difference – v54
- Jesus foreknew the hearts and minds of those in his hometown
- Jesus delivered the message of hope despite the negativity in his community
- Jesus had a mission and obligation to fulfil
Challenge – The work of evangelism and ministry requires a strong sense of conviction to rise above negative comments that may come because of sharing Jesus. Are we prepared to be ridiculed for our faith in Christ?
Resolve to overcome lowered expectations – v55-57
- The people in Nazareth struggled to accept the teachings of Jesus because of their familiarity with him and his family
- They were offended that someone of such a humble reputation could be used so profoundly by God
Challenge – Sometimes people will remind you of your former life before you became a Christian and may even look down on you or think you are now a bible basher. It’s important to overcome such opinions and maintain the path that God has ordained for your life.
Recognise it’s all in God’s hands – 58
- Even Jesus the Son of God decided against performing numerous mighty works in Nazareth because of their unbelief.
- Unbelief in any area can cause a lack of growth as the scriptures teach, “And without faith, it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” – Heb 11:16
Challenge – Remember all growth comes from God and all the right tools can be in place and still experience a lack of growth because of unbelief. Let us continue to pray that hearts will be softened, and chains are broken in our community so that people can experience the fullness of salvation and restoration.
- Sunday’s sermon included the parable of the Soils in Matthew 13:1-9 – discuss ways in which the seeds we sow as Christians can fall on good ground in our community?
- Discuss what it was like when you gave your life to Christ. Was everyone in your family or peer groups happy for you?
- When sharing the Christian faith with unbelievers, how can we ensure we don’t take negative responses personally to detour us from sharing the gospel with someone else?
- Do you think Jesus was unable to perform many works in Nazareth because of their unbelief or do you think he chose against doing so?
- For Nazareth they struggled to see past their familiarity with Jesus, what are some of the common reasons why people struggle to accept Christ today?
- What is the remedy for hardened hearts and unbelief in the gospel?