Thursday, May 7, 2015

Kainos Movement 2015 Conference | Main Session 9: The Witness of Jesus' Church with Dr. Eric Mason

Emmaus City Church Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church Transcultural Multi-Ethnic Network of Missional Communities Kainos Movement

Kainos Movement 2015 Conference Main Session 9: The Witness of Jesus' Church with Dr. Eric Mason


Previous Kainos Movement 2015 Conference posts:




The following posts will feature my notes from the strong collection of Kainos 2015 pastors, nonprofit leaders, and sociologists who prophetically spoke into our segregated American cultureOur prayer, hope, and striving is that Emmaus City will be a transcultural and multi-ethnic church in Worcester, of Worcester, and for Worcester. As we move forward, we have much to gain from these men and women who have gone before us and lead the way in Jesus' name.

Kainos 2015 Main Session 9: The Witness of Jesus' Church 

 
Emmaus City Church Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church Transcultural Multi-Ethnic Network of Missional Communities Kainos Movement

 

Dr. Eric Mason

Pastor of Epiphany Fellowship
President of Thriving
Serves on the Executive Board of Acts 29
Author of Beat God to the Punch, Unleashed


We need to welcome people to come near us, glean from us, and gain from us more than we bargained for so they get Christ.

In Leviticus 19:9-18, God describes to His people how they are supposed to give to the stranger from and the poor from what He gives to their crops. He instructs them not to exploit others or to hold back from giving or show favoritism. They are not to hold grudges and are supposed to protect their neighbors. 

Jesus' Church, as God's people, are to be a display of God's holiness to one another and to the world. His holiness enacted in us is a witness to how God honors, gives to, and consecrates others. When we live in light of His grace and generosity, He is tailor fitting us to look like Jesus in a special way. He's cut us out of the world's pattern and fit us into a beautiful robe of His righteousness. The people of God were always intended to be a missionary community who did more than take care of their own. They were to be distinctive and give generously to those who are different from them.

But you're not truly a missionary until you're loving people who don't look like you and who don't act like you. Sojourners (Leviticus 19:10) are not lovers of Yahweh. But God wanted His people to give to them and let the sojourners glean from what they had even though they didn't know God yet or love Him.

So we need to ask:

Who is gleaning from us?
Who are we opening the edges of our lives to?
Who are we seeing crossing the boundaries of our time, our homes, and our families?
Who is becoming curious about redemption because of us?

And no matter where God has you and who He has you with, He has you there with them for His good purposes. You are not going to find a place or a people less hard to be like Jesus with than where you are. In Luke 10:25-37, Jesus expanded the definition of who we are to love as our neighbor to be the people that we don't like.

I have the privilege of leading a multi-ethnic church in Philadelphia. And it's harder than you think. I'm always towing the line of offending someone. There are many people to listen to and learn from and many cultures to understand. I need the help of God and my elders with discernment and compassion. But God has always called His people to be a distinct community who are holy in relation to Him, one another, and with others in the world around them.

So, if God's family is of every tribe, and tongue, and nation, why isn't the Church leading the way in race relations? Recently, it has been discussed that hip hop has done more for race relations in America and around the globe than any other cultural icon. Why? Because it gave people a common language, a common voice. You can find hip hop across ethnic and cultural lines, in both rural and urban settings, with people from all classes because it communicates to people in ways they understand. God's loving gospel can do even more than this. Are we willing to go be with people, learn their heart's language, and share the gospel in light of what God reveals about us in them? 

Do we have in mind Godly change for people, or do we only want to give people a piece of our mind? We are to side with His righteousness, which gives us a better understanding of our deep need. Then we will better know how to understand both the needs of the poor and the rich in relation to their need of God (Leviticus 19:15). And when we provide them with Jesus, the Bread of Life, this offering cannot be from a place of entitlement, bitterness, or fear, but from a place that is grateful for His gracious love (Leviticus 19:17-18).

God, may You be glorified, Your people sanctified, and Your enemies horrified.


– Sully

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