SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION
- What did you think or feel about today’s message?
- Where do you see silence and suffering in your community?
- What practices will you do or start doing to be able to see where injustice is in our community? Eg. Search not-for-profits in your community and see how they are responding to needs, and is there one you feel more drawn to and why? Ask God to show you things in your own life He has helped you with, God can use the struggles you have gone through to help others and to share his love and peace
- Read the following verses:
- Proverbs 14:31 “those who oppress the poor insult their maker, but helping the poor honours him.”
- Psalm 107:43 “Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord.”
- Micah 6:8 “No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
Who are the oppressed in our community?
What are some things that you can do that would reflect God’s heart for our community?
How are doing these things an act of worship to God?
Worship & Justice
WHAT’S THE POINT?
When we worship, it does something to us.
When we worship God, we imitate the character of Christ.
Luke 4: 12-22
14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. 16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”[f] 20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.
Proverbs 14: 31
“Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honours God.”
WHY DO I CARE?
“You become like what you worship. When you gaze in awe, admiration, and wonder at something or someone, you begin to take on something of the character of the object of your worship.” NT WRIGHT
When we worship we are saying something. We are proclaiming what we believe to be the priority in our life. When we worship, we actually start to become more like what we worship.
(use story of something you personally fall into worshiping (that’s not God) and how that impacts you e.g. sport team, money, relationships)
In Luke 4, Jesus declares his mission: “to proclaim good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.” (Luke 4:18) We worship a God who cares deeply about people who are marginalized, oppressed, poor, and treated unfairly. Consider Proverbs 14:31 and the inextricable relationship between how we treat the poor and our worship of God: “Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt tempt for their Maker; but whoever is kind to the needy honours God.” Justice is always connected to worship. The entirety of Scripture emphasizes that true worship, by definition, must always have us thinking about our neighbours in need, just as loving our neighbour should always flow out of our worship. – Bethany H. Hoang, Deepening the Soul for Justice
So if you are truly worshipping God, if you truly claim that Jesus is Lord of your life, then Jesus mission, BECOMES YOUR MISSION.
Those who are “in Christ” as Paul says, are now in “Christ’s mission”. That means your worship to God now also involves proclaiming good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free. And just like we spoke over the last few weeks. That requires dangerous prayers aligning ourselves with God and what he is doing.
So if Jesus mission is now our mission…. How does that change the way you live?!
What now does the words justice, peace, love mean to you, in light of what Jesus has done and is doing?
WHAT DO I DO?
Jesus said he came to:
- Bring the good news to the poor
- Feed those who are hungry, clothe, give shelter
- Look for where the needs are in the community (in your school, around your neighbourhood, on your sports teams), or maybe in your own family. Have conversations with your family about how to help people experiencing poverty and homelessness in our community.
- Proclaim freedom for the prisoners
- Read up on and get to know the work of justice organizations in our city and around the world(International Justice Mission Canada. https://www.ijm.ca/)
- Who are are people in your life feeling “imprisoned,” how can you speak Gods truth into that?!
- Set the oppressed free
- Check out For Freedom International https://forfreedominternational.com/
- Ask God to show you someone who is silent and suffering. Pray for them, love them, bring the peace of Christ to them. What are ways that you can bring peace to someone?
Last week we spoke about what love looks like when we worship, and how worshipping God can look a lot different to the other things we love. In today’s culture “love” is such a buzz word. There is so much stigma, baggage and definitions thrown towards one little word.
But when we as followers of Jesus talk about love, we have to look to the bible and remind ourselves of what love is.
What does love look like?
- Love honours the other person (Romans 12:10)
- Love lives in harmony with others (Romans 12:18)
- Love accepts the other person (Romans 15:7)
- Love cares (1 Cor 12:25)
- Love is servant-hearted (Galatians 5:13)
- Love seeks to be at peace with the other (1 Thess 5:13)
- Love forgives (Col 3:13)
All of these are formed in us when we worship, and are themselves an act of worship – we are imitating the character of Christ. The kind of love that worship forms in us is a love that always embraces and never excludes, because God always embraces and never excludes.
So when you worship God, in everything you do… what you are saying is:
1. I become what I worship, therefore I am becoming more like Jesus.
2. Jesus is on mission, so I am on mission with him.
3. Worshipping God should lead me to loving like Jesus, loving justice and changing the way I live.