The following blog post contains notes and application questions from our July 8, 2018 message, The Outsiders: Warming Cold Hearts. This message is part of our series, "The Outsiders." See other messages in this series.
Do you ever notice your heart growing cold toward people who are different than you, toward outsiders? Have you ever felt bored following Jesus? If we aren’t careful, we are all prone to drifting toward comfort and having our hearts grow cold toward outsiders. Teaching from Luke 7:36-50, Adam Tarnow shows us how to warm up our hearts by reminding us of the breadth of God’s love, the depth of our sin, and our privilege as followers of Christ.
If you’ve been in a Christian bubble for a while, you are prone to get bored…you learn how to play the game—how to play the Christian life—but you know when you look in the mirror that you are bored. The bored Christ follower is so far from what God wants for us.
The breadth of God’s love (Luke 7:36-39)
- God loves everyone, not just certain ones.
- Our culture is obsessed with divisiveness and outrage; we are constantly drawing lines and declaring who we are for and against.
- Christianity is the only worldview with a solution to this divisiveness problem: a Savior who loved His enemies and prayed for their forgiveness.
- If you claim you love and follow Jesus and you draw lines with people, that doesn’t add up. At best, your heart is confused…at worst, you are not a follower of Jesus.
The depth of our sin (Luke 7:40-47)
- When you realize you’ve been forgiven much, you love much.
- “You can’t give people what they’ve already taken.” -Todd Wagner
- Gifts produce gratitude, earnings produce entitlement.
- You did absolutely nothing to earn a relationship with Christ. Salvation is offered to us as a gift, not earned by us.
- If we want to love outsiders the same as Jesus, we must remain in awe of Jesus. How? Simple: spend as much time with Jesus as you can.
- The more time you spend with Jesus, the more you will be remined of your sin, and the more grateful you will become for His free gift of salvation.
- Christianity is one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread, not one beggar telling another beggar I worked for this and you need to work for it too.
Our privilege (Luke 7:48-50)
- One of the most demotivating words is “should.” Should indicates obligations, will power, and discipline. It’s like the kale of the English language. Should indicates something you have to do.
- Jesus freed us from the word should. We don’t have to do anything. We get to do everything.
- Following Jesus isn’t an obligation, it’s an opportunity.
- Following Jesus isn’t about what should be…it’s about what could be.
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- Where (work, family, neighbors, etc.) and with whom are you most prone to draw lines? Confess and repent (share it with your community group and commit to stop drawing lines), and then, identify one way you can pursue that place and person in the next seven days for the purpose of telling them about the breadth of God’s love through Christ.
- Have you ever spent extended time in solitude meditating on the depth of your sin? Has your sin ever brought you to tears? Schedule one hour to sit and reflect on your sin and how it nailed Christ to the cross. But don’t stop there! When you are done, remind yourself of the gospel (Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 6:23) and who you are in Christ (Galatians 2:20, 2 Corinthians 5:17), and then thank God that He died for your sin and it doesn’t define you anymore!
- What’s one way you can spend more time with Jesus this next week than you did the previous week?
- As you think about who God currently has in your life, who do you feel like you “have to” be nice to and have a relationship with? Pray for that person, confess and ask God to warm your heart, and then pursue a deeper and better relationship with that person by grabbing a meal together (or talking on the phone if they live far away).
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