Written by Stephen Cox
For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness”, has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” (2 Corinthians 4:5 – 7)
Many of our friends are searching for something. At different times in life we look for different things. Sometimes we’re looking for meaning, purpose or hope for the future. Sometimes we’re searching for answers to life’s biggest questions. Sometimes we are just searching for a reason not to be bored! Sometimes we might be looking for answers in the wake of enormous personal tragedy. Sometimes we are just trying to work out where God fits into it all: our world and our lives. Sometimes we are searching for evidence that God even exists at all!
Billions have found answers to all these questions in Jesus Christ.
We live in an age that encourages personal investigation. Many people have questions and they are willing to search for the answers. In their search, we want our friends to know Jesus, but we can struggle to know how to get them started on that journey. There are certainly lots of resources, but what is best for them?
“The Search” is designed to help our friends encounter Jesus in a personal way and reflect on what he means for their life. “The Search” is the gospel of Luke melded with lots of features associated with journals:
– Highlights and notes
– Lots of historical insights
- Questions to think through alone or with someone else
– Places to jot down thoughts
- It also has QR codes that link smart phones or tablets directly to online resources. These videos are designed to address questions that people have about Christianity, like ‘Does God really care about
- suffering?’. In reading ‘The Search’, your friends may even come across issues they’ve never even considered, like ‘the implications of Jesus’ death and resurrection on our lives’.
The Best Attitude
However, even the best evangelistic resources will going to fall short if they are not accompanied with the best attitude. (Refer to last week’s Food for Thought about the starting point for a good attitude).
We want our Lord Jesus to be honoured in the way that He deserves, but how do we get the people we know into that conversation? The aim in putting “The Search” together was to help give all of us the confidence to sit down and read Luke’s gospel with a friend. Our friends, our city and our world all desperately need Jesus – and reading Luke with them gives them the opportunity to meet the One who lived and died and rose again for them.
In Jesus’ story of the Lost Sons in Luke 15, the younger son disowns his father and runs away. He blows all his money, he is irresponsible, reckless and selfish. He basically says to his Dad, ‘I want your stuff but I don’t want you’. It explains the mess our lives can be. Jesus told it because it is actually our story. We are all washed up and a long way from home.
But we also feel the older brother’s pain, don’t we? His younger brother has broken his father’s heart and hurt so many people. But now, while the younger brother deserved nothing, he was getting everything. According to the older brother, it wasn’t fair. And he was right. It’s not fair! It was incredibly generous. But that’s the point. The whole point of the story is to remind us of God’s generosity and grace shown to us through his Son Jesus. The father runs to his son and throws his arms around him and kisses him, he dresses him in a fine robe and throws a great party for him. He doesn’t make him pay – he welcomes him home with joy! This is how God feels about anyone who is far from him. God is longing to offer us his costly generosity in Jesus – no matter what we have done. His heart’s desire is that we would come back to him and come home.
Having a heart like that for the lost will drive us in using resources like “The Search”. It will help us to overcome our fears and take risks. Our Father wants all his children to come home and he wants us to be part of that great work. As we read “The Search” with our friends, we will be part of God’s great work of calling the lost to come home.
Jesus’ mission is to seek and save the lost. Our part in that mission is to point anyone who will listen toward the only One who can save.