Bells Challenge: Living “Questionable” Lives

BELLS websliderBells Challenge

Ons gaan dié kwartaal aandag gee aan geloofsgewoontes, spiritual disciplines, that will help us become missional.  We will discuss five habits that will help us live generous, hospitable, Spirit-led, Christlike lives.  Why?  Because we are missionaries to our own neighborhoods as we heard in our Mission’s Week.

Wat ons gehoor het in Sendingweek moet nou deel van ons lewens raak, en ons gaan julle daarmee help.  Vanaand skets ek ‘n raamwerk vir die BELLS Challenge, die vyf geloofsgewoontes, wat ons gaan inoefen, en ons manier van leef gaan bepaal: Bless, Eat, Listen, Learn, en Sent.  Seën, eet, luister, leer, en gestuur.  Julle kan weereens volg op die Bybel app.

Ontdek jou Gawes

Oor twee weke gaan ons ook die Ontdek jou Gawes kursus saam doen.  Dit is R100 vir die kursus.  Vir alle studente en jongmense – as jy by my inskryf, sal ek vir jou ‘n groot afslag gee … as jy reeds betaal het, praat met my.  Ons begin die 17de Augustus 18:00 in die konsistorie, of moontlik in die Ark.  Ons sal kyk hoeveel inskryf en dan die lokaal bepaal.  Daar is reeds so 25.  Dit duur ses weke, elke aand vir ‘n uur en ‘n half.

My lewe is verander deur die Gawes kursus.  Ek het geleer dat ek drie werkende gawes het, en ek gebruik vandag nog dit as uitgangspunt vir my geestelike en beroepslewe – leierskap, onderrig en geloof.  Ek het ook geleer van my latente gawes en kon vrede maak met die feit dat ek met sommige goed sukkel, en nie daarin hoef te presteer nie.

Dit is Bybels. Dit is fun.  Ons bevestig mekaar se gawes.  Dit sal jou lewe verander – ses weke – maak ‘n afspraak!  If their is a signifcant need for English, talk to me, and we will see what we can do.

Die Ontdek jou Gawes kursus het ‘n dubbele aanpak.  Dit werk met werkende en latente gawes, met dinge wat die Here jou gegee het en jy moet ontwikkel, en dinge wat net in die algemeen van jou verwag word as Christen, dinge waarin jy nie ‘n ekspert hoef te wees nie.

Two-Fold Approach

It is a Two-Fold Approach.  I can illustrate this with the gift of Evangelism.  Contrary to the myth that every believer is an evangelist, Paul assumes a two-fold approach when it comes to the ministry of evangelism.

  • First, he affirms the gifting of the evangelist (interestingly, not the gift of evangelism, but that the evangelist herself is the gift).
  • And second, he writes as though all believers are to be evangelistic in their general orientation.

He clearly places himself in the first category, seeing his ministry not only as apostolic, but also as an evangelist. But it doesn’t appear that he believes all Christians bear the responsibility for the kind of bold proclamation to which he is called.

Kolossense 4:2-6

Ons sien dit in Kolossense 4:2-6:

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone (Col. 4:2-6).”

For evangelists, Paul asks for opportunities to share Christ and for the courage to proclaim the Gospel clearly (verses 3-4).

But he doesn’t suggest the Colossians pray as much for themselves. Rather, the evangelistic believer is to pray for the evangelists’ ministry, to be wise in their conduct toward outsiders and to look for opportunities to answer outsiders’ questions when they arise (verses 2, 5-6).

When it comes to the spoken aspect of their ministries, evangelists are to proclaim and believers are to give answers.

Dit is uiters belangrik.  Ons het ‘n boodskap wat ander moet hoor.  Ons kan dit nie net vir onsself hou nie.  Ons is verantwoordelik om die boodskap baie duidelik te verkondig.  Met wysheid, met genade, met sout – dit is, om mense lus te maak om te hoor –maar sonder om die boodskap af te water dat dit nie meer sê wat die Here daardeur vir die wêreld wil sê nie.

I think Paul assumed that the number of gifted evangelists wouldn’t be great. It seems clear that he thinks the gifted evangelists can be local (like Timothy – see 2 Tim. 4:5) or trans-local (like himself). He seems also to assume that some gifted evangelists would occupy a leadership function in local churches (see Eph. 4:11), building up the church to be increasingly evangelistic.

While it is an essential gifting for all churches, it isn’t a gifting given to every believer. Rather, the believers’ function, as noted, was to pray like crazy and to conduct themselves, in word and deed, in such a way as to provoke unbelievers to question their beliefs and enter into an evangelistic dialogue.

1 Peter 3:15-16

Peter is in agreement with Paul when he writes:

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander (1 Pet. 3:15-16).”

In other words, the biblical model is for leaders to

  1. identify, equip and mobilize gifted evangelists (with gifted evangelistic leaders taking the primary responsibility), and
  2. inspire all believers to live questionable lives. If all believers are leading the kind of lives that evoke questions from their friends, then opportunities for faith sharing abound and chances for the gifted evangelists to boldly proclaim are increased.

Let op dat Petrus ons oproep tot sagtheid en respek, tot ‘n onberispelike lewe waarin jy nooit skaam sal wees vir enigiets wat jy doen nie.  Maar jy kan nooit jou gewete verkrag nie.  Jy moet getrou bly aan die boodskap, terwyl jy alles in jou vermoë doen om van die hoop wat daar in jou lewe, getuienis af te lê.

Questionable Lives

Nou, ek wil die idee vanaand van “Questionable Lives” op die tafel sit, “Bevraagtekenbare lewens” – lewens wat ander kan bevraagteken, lewens waarop jy antwoorde vir ander verskaf as hulle jou vrae sou vra oor hoekom jy doen wat jy doen.

En dit hang saam met wat ek nou net oor die Two-Fold Approach gesê het, wat ook geïllustreer word in die Ontdek jou Gawes kursus.

Die groei van die Christendom

Kom ons gaan eers ‘n bietjie terug in die geskiedenis. Na die tyd van die apostels.

This two-fold approach was so effective it literally transformed the Roman Empire. With evangelists and apologists such as Peter and Paul proclaiming the Gospel and defending its integrity in an era of polytheism and pagan superstition, literally hundreds of thousands of ordinary believers were infiltrating every aspect of society and living the kind of questionable lives that evoked curiosity in the Christian message.

They devoted themselves to sacrificial acts of kindness. They loved their enemies and forgave their persecutors. They cared for the poor and fed the hungry. In the brutality of life under Roman rule, they were the most stunningly different people anyone had ever seen.

Dit was eenvoudig hoe dit was.  Dit was die geheim van die evangelie.  Dit is waarom die evangelie uitgebrei het.  Saam met die geweldige belangrike klem op die Bybel en die geloofsbelydenisse wat in die eerste vier eeue geskryf is, was dit die gewone uitreik na ander met die konkrete liefde van die evangelie wat mense oortuig het van die genade wat daar in Christus Jesus was.

  • So, as mense bv. siek geword het van peste van julle tyd, en hulle families hulle op die straat weggegooi het, het Christene hulle ingeneem in hulle huise en vir hulle gesorg.
  • As ‘n meisie swanger geraak het en deur haar familie verwerp is, het die Christene haar ingeneem en vir haar en haar baba gesorg en deel van ‘n geloofsgemeenskap gemaak waarin die regte waardes gegeld het.
  • As mense op straat was weens watter rede ook al, het die Christene uitgereik en ‘n verskil in hulle lewe gemaak.

Niemand is aan hulleself oorgelaat nie.  Almal is ingetrek in ‘n lewegewende omgewing waarin hulle verlossing en verandering kon ervaar.

Taking Over the Empire

Indeed, says Michael Frost in The Five Habits of Highly Missional People, their influence was so surprising that even the fourth-century Emperor Julian (AD 331-363) feared that they might take over the empire. Referring to Christians as “atheists” because they denied the existence of pagan gods, and believing their religion to be a sickness, he penned this directive to his officials:

“We must pay special attention to this point, and by this means affect a cure [for the “sickness” of Christianity]. For when it came about that the poor were neglected and overlooked by the [pagan] priests, then I think the impious Galileans [Christians] observed this fact and devoted themselves to philanthropy. And they have gained ascendancy in the worst of the deeds through the credit they win for such practices. For just as those who entice children with a cake, and by throwing it to them two or three times induce them to follow them, and then, when they are far away from their friends cast them on board a ship and sell them as slaves … by the same method, I say, the Galileans also begin with their so-called love-feast, or hospitality, or service of tables—for they have many ways of carrying it out and hence call it by many names—and the result is that they have led very many into atheism [i.e. Christianity].”

Julian was besorgd dat die Christene se gasvryheid en mededeelsaamheid sy koninkryk só sou bedreig dat dit sy keiserskap in gevaar sou stel.  Daarom het hy probeer om sy mense so ver te kry om meer liefde te betoon as die Christene.  Hy het voorgestel dat kos gratis aan die armes uitgedeel word, hy het probeer om herberge te bou vir arm reisigers, maar tevergeefs.  Sy sosiale program het totaal misluk.  Hy kon nie sy mense motiveer om lief te wees vir die armes en die behoeftiges nie.  Hulle gode het immers nie omgegee vir mense nie, so hoekom sou hulle?

En die Christene het dié stryd van die liefde “hands-down” gewen.  Hulle het nie net verkondig dat God barmhartig is nie.  Hulle het dit gedemonstreer.

Titus 2

Dit is immers wat Paulus bedoel as hy aan Titus skryf dat ons die evangelie aantreklik moet maak.  Hy skryf dat Titus die mense moet help om die gesonde leer te illustreer met ‘n gesonde lewe:

“You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.  Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted too much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the Word of God. Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.”

Watter wonderlike Woord!

Die gesonde leer het ‘n aantreklike lewe tot gevolg.  Dit laat ons lief hê en volhard daarin.  Dit laat jou die goeie kies bó die slegte.  En mense sien dit raak.  Ons integriteit en egtheid moet mense oortuig van die waarheid waarvoor ons staan.  Selfs slawe moet hulle meesters se belange op die hart dra om die leer van die Here Jesus vir die uitbuiters van die lewe, die meesters van die slawe van daardie tyd, aantreklik te maak.

En let op, hy sê nie dat ons die leer van ons Here aantreklik moet maak vir God nie, maar vir die gemeenskap daar buite.  En nie net deur wat ons vir hulle vertel en vir hulle preek nie, maar deur ons lewens.  Soos Michael Frost sê: Bless, Eat, Listen, Learn, and Sent.

Ons moet ‘n lewegewende teenwoordigheid raak in die lewens van ander.  Ons moet só lewe dat mense sal vra, maar hoekom doen jy dit?  Hoe kry jy die reg om te vergewe?  Hoe kry jy dit reg om teenstand te hanteer?  Hoe kry jy dit reg om lief te hê, al kan jy nie vinnig resultate sien nie? Hoe kry jy dit reg om ander se belange bó jou eie te plaas?

En dié dissiplines gaan ons daarmee help.

Toepassing

Ek sluit af

A questionable life is a life that is so beautiful, so generous, so gracious, so forgiving, so loving, so pure that it raises questions in others.

Dink bietjie na en maak miskien vir jouself ‘n paar notas op die app.

  • Hoe kan jou lewe lei tot sulke vrae?
  • Waartoe roep God jou?
  • Is daar optredes wat jy moet verander?
  • Is daar iets wat jy moet begin doen?
     

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Kommentaar en navrae

  • Avatar

    Chris van Wyk

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    Hi Pieter

    Jy kan uiteraard lees wat ek self oor Romeine en Efesiërs geskryf het:

    Maar, as jy ‘n bietjie dieper wil delf, kan jy kyk na die volgende bronne:

    • Faithlife Study Bible (korter kommentaar oor die hele Bybel)
    • NET Bible (kort tekstuele kommentaar oor die hele Bybel – gratis op YouVersion se Bible app)
    • Scripture Direct (uitstekende woordverklarings oor die hele NT – gratis as app)
    • Keener, C. S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Second Edition). IVP Academic. 2014.
    • Vosloo, W., & van Rensburg, F. J. Die Bybel in Praktyk (Nuwe Vertaling). Vereeniging: Christelike Uitgewersmaatskappy. 1993
    • Van Zyl, A. H.. Die Bybel verklaar: 1983-vertaling. Kaapstad: Lux Verbi. 1993

    Dan is daar natuurlik volbloed kommentare.
    Op Romeine:

    Op Efesiërs:

    • Lincoln, Andrew T. Ephesians WBC 1990
    • Bruce, F. F. The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians NICNT
      1984
    • Foulkes, Francis Ephesians TNTC 1989
    • Stott, John R. W. The Message of Ephesians BST 1991
    • Fowl, S. E. Ephesians: A Commentary. Westminster John Knox Press 2012
    • Roberts, J. H. Die brief aan die Efesiers. N G Kerk-Uitgewers. 1990
    • William Barclay http://www.dannychesnut.com/Bible/Barclay/Galatians%20and%20Ephesians.htm
  • Avatar

    Pieter

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    Naand Chris.
    Kan jy my dalk help met goeie bronne om studie van Effesiers en Romeine te doen.
    Dankie vir jou wonderlike werk en leeringe

  • Avatar

    Petra Marneweck

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    Die inhoud van die preek bevestig wat hierdie week in ons Bybelstudiegroep bespreek is en versterk my geloof dat Jesus opgestaan het. Baie dankie vir die besondere boodskap

  • Avatar

    Dean van Wyk

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    Baie dankie Rethie vir hierdie inspirerende boodskap. Ek is oorspronklik van PE en woon nou 20jaar lank in PTA.
    In my stiltetyd vanoggend het ek Fil 2:12b-13 gelees en dit kan net deur die Gees van God wees dat ek op hierdie preek afgekom het.

    God seën jou bediening en geniet die see( ek beny julle).

  • Avatar

    Chris van Wyk

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    Dankie Hansie. Die Here is goed vir ons.