This week, Darrin Miller highlighted a portion of City Central’s heart and mission to reach the lost. Darrin reminded us that we were each lost before Christ found us, and that our mission as Christ’s ambassadors is to actively seek the lost with the heart of Christ. We are not called to have mere knowledge of the Word, but to practice the Word as agents of reconciliation. Darrin urged us to search our hearts and challenge our perspective on the poor and needy, since they are our fellow image bearers of Christ.
Reaching the Lost
Luke 19:10 NKJV
“for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Luke 19:10 NLT
“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
Luke 19:10 NIV
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
The Great Commission: Go!
Matthew 28:18-20 NIV
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The Compelling Love of Christ
2 Corinthians 5:14-21 NIV
“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
God’s Heart for the Poor and Needy
Deuteronomy 15:7-11 NIV
“If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need. Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward the needy among your fellow Israelites and give them nothing. They may then appeal to the Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.”
Proverbs 31:8-9 NIV
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Jeremiah 22:16 NIV
“He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the Lord.”
Isaiah 25:4 NIV
“You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm driving against a wall”
Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.
Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.
Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.
For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’
Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.
Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.
Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.
- Who do you think of when you consider “the lost”?
- What is the heart of God for the lost, poor, and needy? Do you have this same heart for them?
- Read 2 Corinthians 5:16. Have you ever had a worldly point of view or hardened your heart against the poor and needy? Is this something you’re currently struggling with?
- What reasons do we can find to resist living out the Scriptures that call us to give to the needy? How does the reality of them being fellow image bearers of Christ destroy every reason we could give?
- What does it mean to be an agent of reconciliation? How do we practically live this out?
- Has your heart become hardened against the lost? Do you need to seek and receive God’s heart for others? Pray the 4-R’s this week, repenting of the ways you have hardened your heart, receiving God’s forgiveness, rebuking the enemy’s specific schemes against you, and walking forward in the opposite spirit.
- Are you compelled by the love of Christ that saved and rescued you? What are you doing to seek and to save the lost? Ask the Lord to give you His heart for the least of these in your sphere of influence, and step out in a practical way this week.