One of the issues we face as a church is, does the world see us as Jesus.
I saying I have heard many times is the world doesn’t care what you know until they know that you care
A poll from a few years back stated that most people 92% had a favorable view of Jesus but less than half had the same view of the church
What do people see when they see you?
Do they see someone who is confident or afraid?
Do they see someone who rarely gets upset or someone they are always waiting to blow up?
Do they see someone with integrity or someone who is constantly trying to get over on the boss, government or any authority?
Do they see someone who speaks hope or speaks gossip and negativity?
Do they see someone who is always looking to help or someone who feels they are better than others, expecting others to always serve them?
Do they see real love or a plastic Jesus?
I could go on but you get the idea
Paul said this in 1 Corinthians 11:1
“Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”
Can we say that and mean it?
LISTEN, I KNOW EVERYONE IS SO EXHAUSTED FROM COVID, POLITICS, THE VACCINE ALL I WANT US TO DO TODAY IS TALK ABOUT RETURNING TO THE JOY AND FREEDOM OF WHO WE ARE!
Jesus said that we, His followers, would be known by two things
- The way you have love one for another (the family)
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
- The way you show that love to the world
In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
Why are these so important? They fulfill the Father’s heart beat…from the fall of man all the Father wanted was for mankind to be reconciled to him and these fulfill his heartbeat
But Pastor aren’t these works and aren’t we saved by grace….yes and yes
Let me ask you a question…is a good marriage work? Is a good friendship work? Is a love relationship work?
If you are not working on your relationship then you are being selfish and you are a taker and not a giver.
If you truly love someone, you love what they love, you might not value it as much but you love it because they love it, you are not jealous of what they do, you put your selfishness in check for the sake of the love in the relationship and in return, if they too truly love you, they will do the same. Everything we do is done for love’s sake, not for show but for love
You will find what I have just said in the last few minutes wrapped up in 1 Corinthians 13: 1-7
How did they know Jesus was the Messiah?
Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, “We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.”
46 “Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
“Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied.
Over and over again people questioned who Jesus is based on the way that He loved through the work that He did…
Do people know you are a Christ-follower because of how you live your life before them?
Please this is not a “beat you up” sermon this is simply a… this is what God expects from us. Jesus told us part of the Holy Spirit’s job is…
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. 14 He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’
What is the truth about who you are and what you are called to do? The Holy Spirit tells you because God created you to accomplish great things, you have been designed with a purpose that will bring glory to God. So the Holy Spirit talks with you about what you need to be doing to fulfill God’s purpose to bring fulfillment to you because this is how he designed you.
With that in mind I am challenging you this morning to do what God has called you to do, be who God has called you to be…people need to SEE who that is.
My friend, Bill Wilson president of Metro ministries in New York City, the largest Sunday school in the world…speaks to the idea of letting people see what you do….people come to him often and ask Bill, “I don’t know what God’s call is on my life!”
He has a simple answer….”You see a need? You are called to meet it… The need IS the call!”
You and I are designed to impact the lives of other, everyone does, some for good and some for evil. Everything you do or neglect to do impacts someone’s life..
You see someone hurting and you reach out to them, getting over your own insecurities, selfishness, and fears, to love them with the love God has given you and God is glorified and you are blessed you have impacted their life for the good!
You see a need and you feel you are too busy, it is not your problem, you think, that’s not my job, not my call, I can’t be inconvenienced, I have so much else to do, what if I catch something from them, what is this going to cost me?…you and they are impacted you have deafened your ears to God’s voice and hardened your heart to his Spirit, you missed an opportunity to be like Jesus, to show Jesus to a broken world, and a chance to show your children, your friends who Jesus is really like and the person….. well, God will send someone else who will be obedient to the Lord to care of them
Jesus told a story about two groups of people, he gave us a list of inconveniences that one group saw the need and me the need without even thinking about it they were hospitable, cared for the sick, imprisoned, children, the poor physically, mentally, and emotionally and he said of them….Matthew 25:40
‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
The others saw the same thing but refused to help, Jesus threw them out of His presence…both groups claimed to know the Lord! One group everyone saw Jesus in them in the work that they did.
The early church battled the idea of “work for the kingdom”
We have been given this great gift of the love of God, we have been forgiven, given grace for all of our failures and mistakes. We know what it is like to be loved through our brokenness and to be lifted up and loved just for who we are…not all children have that background and I know not all adults are familiar with such a love…how are they going to know…what do people “see” in you….like I mentioned the early church had the same problem, people forgot the grace, love, and forgiveness that was poured out on them. James, Jesus’ half-brother wrote these words to the early church
Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?
James’ argument here is that if we truly love God, understand His love that we will naturally do the things that glorify him, we will touch the lives of others through what we believe…we prove what we believe not with words only but we let people see what we believe by our actions.
Our world has become increasingly selfish and our loving others both in and outside of the church through serving will help bring healing to the selfishness and set people free. They need to “see” it in you.
Practically how do you do this?
Begin each day in the word and prayer and actively ask the Lord to open your eyes to those around you
Look for opportunities to serve, if you have gifts or the heart for something God opens doors.
We need children’s church teachers, nursery workers, worship team, security, ushers, greeters, people to serve in the kitchen, serve with maintenance, help with the global school of ministry, daycare, coffee shop here and in Monessen, tutoring, reading camp, single moms and dads outreach, mentoring. Help with the Mom group, audio, propresenter, facebook, website…then there are always new ideas sitting waiting for someone to say, “I’m willing to help”
But I want to be an elder, deacon, pastor! Show me your SERVE first
There is always much to be done, we are a growing church and our people have many needs, and the community has many needs…and we have a world to change but the world needs to see our hearts to love so they know it is safe to sense this love from us.
Will you commit today to serving, to doing something people can see so they will know your love for them, for their children, for our church, for your community…will you allow yourself to be inconvenienced on a regular basis to love as Jesus loved?
Remember Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 13 I’ll Tim Burganize it for you…we can do all kinds of things and think we are pleasing God but without it being truly motivated by the love of God it is as useless as an screen door on a submarine…