#WeAreEmmanuel Values / 01. #WeAreEmmanuel 1 Helping People Find Their Way Back To God

01. #WeAreEmmanuel 1 Helping People Find Their Way Back To God

Originally recorded on Sunday 7th January 2018. Visit http://weareemmanuel.com for more content. Speaker: Joel Virgo

As Emmanuel church, we are here to help people find their way back to God. We want to continuously and deliberately prioritise this goal. If we stop doing this, we stop being Emmanuel.

In John 15 Jesus speaks about his relationship to his disciples by using the illustration of him being a tree and his followers being branches stemming from him but are ultimately from one true vine. He uses this illustration to make the point that if you are a follower of Christ you are one with him. When reaching out to those who don’t know Christ, some of us may think that it may work for other Christians who do well but not for us personally. However, if you are a Christian, you have a desire within you to share Jesus with others because the life of God’s son is within you and he yearns and will go to great lengths for those who don’t know him so they can know him personally. So, because Christ is within you, you also have become someone who wants to help people find their way back to God.

What we are looking at in this story of Acts is an example of some of Paul’s experiences with preaching the gospel to unbelievers. Paul went all over the world and found places that were idolatrous. This provoked him in the same way that it provoked his saviour, Jesus Christ, because we humans were not made to bow down before idols but to have a relationship with the living God that is utterly fulfilling. We as a human race, have rejected the real true God because we’ve replaced Him with other gods we’ve made our own instead. The Bible calls that idolatry and it leads to misery in our lives and provokes Gods anger because it’s the total opposite of His intention for creation. This destroyed our relationship with God and caused us all kinds of trouble and as humanity we are left knowing on a deep level that we need God some form of god. The object of our worship is part of our makeup. We want the world to make sense and have purpose and yet the real God- the God of the Bible is the one we do not want. Instead we find ourselves bowing down to other gods such as money, personal comfort, people who have power in our lives etc.- we treat these things as if they are God. Jesus tells us this in saying that ‘the light has come into the world, but the world rejects the light because its deeds are evil’. When we as humans are left to ourselves, in the end we don’t want the light - we prefer the darkness. Our biggest problem as humans is our idolatry.

We tend to like gods we can make and manipulate into doing what we want. However, you can’t do this with the God of the Bible. You cannot put him into a box of your life- it won’t work for long. He is not like that because He starts doing kind things in your life- blessing you and changing your circumstances, whilst becoming more apparent in your life saying ‘I want you to know that I am better than all the things I give you and if none of them were there I would still be worth it.’ That’s what God is like and maybe we don’t really feel comfortable with that, but God wants to help us get to that point and that’s why he sends people like Paul into our lives to wake us up and teach us to see what is important and the real God we need. It is therefore a miracle when someone surrenders to God because no one left to themselves wants to serve the real living God. God alone can wake us up from our spiritual death.

One of the practical steps we as a church can do to help people find their way back to God is by beginning with prayer. If helping people come to God involves a miracle, we need to remain in prayer. This is where our best work is because God is the one with the real power. We also need to learn how to listen what people are going through so that we can help them see what God may be doing in their life.

When a person becomes a Christian, it is like they are feeling their way back to God. They may not fully understand theologically what is happening, but they feel the sensations, which is evidence of them feeling themselves back to God.

We are daily finding ourselves back to God and learning to enjoy Him to the point where our lives are a testimony to those around us.

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