Updated: September 20, 2023
Transformation – Audience – Message – Connection
We believe that what Jesus said about Himself is true. Jesus told the crowd, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (John 12:32). Jesus also said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
Every Sunday morning we remember that “Jesus is our Shoreline” means that we are a people who 1) lift up Jesus Christ, 2) we lift up one another in the name of Christ and 3) we share Jesus with the world around us. For us, it is all about Jesus Whose life was perfectly consistent with God’s view of the world as revealed in God’s Word: The Bible.
Because we believe Jesus is the answer to all of the problems of this world, we want others to come to know Him, too. Our lessons will focus upon how we must first transform into His image, how we must consider our audience and shape our message for them and how we must connect through meaningful relationships that will transform. We focus upon the “Fundamentals.”
Our series so far has focused upon how to communicate Christ to the world in which we live. It begins with our own Transformation as we strive to live as Christ-followers. Our view of the world is based upon a biblical world view that calls us to live transformed lives that are in sharp contrast to the world around us. Lifting up Jesus Christ in our words, actions, thoughts and desires becomes more central as we experience transformation into His image (Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 3:18).
Secondly, we focused upon our Audience. Based upon much of the research of George Barna at The Cultural Research Center of Arizona Christian University, we find that much of our culture has abandoned a biblical world view that is based upon the Old and New Testament Scriptures. When we Christians argue with others and each other about the specifics of our faith, the world tunes us out and writes us off without seeing our love and devotion to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This must change.
First and foremost, if we say that our purpose is to lift up Jesus Christ then we must do this. Jesus stated clearly, “…the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life” (John 3:14-15). Note that he states here, as well as in other places (e.g., John 8:28, 12:32), that when we lift Him up, He draws others to Himself. Any approach to sharing the Gospel with others must point to Christ, first.
Our problem is that we often feel that we cannot share the gospel because we don’t like the conflict of debate, or we don’t know enough, we are not smart enough, we are not articulate enough or because we are not perfect enough. These excuses are all focused upon ourselves and our own limitations rather than the supernatural power of God, His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit as presented in the Scriptures: i.e., the very breath of God (2 Timothy 3:16).
MESSAGE: READING THE SCRIPTURES
In today’s churches much of our focus is upon the preaching where we talk about Scripture. This places an emphasis upon the giftedness of the preacher and the application of his lessons to our lives.
What we seem to have lost is an emphasis up the Scriptures themselves beyond brief readings (often disjointed from their context). This unfortunate shift from the tradition of reading the Scriptures is a break from an ancient practice that goes all of the way back to Moses. Kings were commanded to read it “all the days of their lives” (Deuteronomy 17:18-20) and Moses commanded it to be read before the people every 7 years (Deuteronomy 31:8-13). Joshua continued this practice when the children of Israel entered the promised land (Joshua 8:33-35). This practice of reading Scripture aloud would continue (e.g., 2 Kings 22:8-23:3; Nehemiah 8:1-9:5) and was practiced in the early church (1 Timothy 4:12-13; 2 Timothy 3:14-17; 2 Peter 1:16-21).
MESSAGE: READING THE GOSPEL OF LUKE
So, we have decided to go back to the practice of God’s people of publicly reading the Scriptures much as we would in a small group. In addition, because our mission is to Lift Up Jesus Christ, we have chosen to read through the Gospel of Luke followed by the Book of Acts.
What we are doing as we read the Scriptures about Jesus is allowing God to work through His word and through us to reach the hearts of those who would listen. Our lives, then, become illustrations of the power of God as we live transformed lives.
MESSAGE: SMALL GROUP FOREMAT
As we read together, we will pause to encourage questions about the text as we would in a small group Bible study. Therefore, we must be careful with each other to honor and respect one another. No question is silly or irrelevant. Every question about the Jesus of Whom we will be reading, is important and valued.
To help guide us in this process we are encouraging each other to live by some simple guidelines that every group should follow. We will have copies available to hand out on Sunday mornings but you may also download a copy from the link below.
In the final section we will talk about making connections with people who want to know about Jesus. Our primary Scripture for this section will come from Luke 10:1-16.