Date Written: June 21, 2013
Date Preached: June 23, 2013
Where Preached: OPBC (AM)
Series Title: Giving Our All
Sermon Title: Stewardship within the Body
Sermon Text: Luke 18:18-30 [NLT]
Over the past several weeks we have studied stewardship & learned that true stewardship has a very basic foundational truth –that is – God Owns it All!
We learned that we are ALL caretakers of the resources God provides for His Kingdom... they are NOT for our own personal gain/pleasure, but for svc to Him...
Last week we looked at our Fathers… our Dads and what ‘Dadly Stewardship’ looked like! Good ‘dadly’ stewardship is when Fathers take a stand! They stand SURE in their Savior and they stand SHAMELESS in the Gospel message! Standing sure and shameless to see God’s kingdom grown and expanded!
But this morning I want us to go back to the overall aspect of Stewardship… Stewardship of the CHURCH!
Our passage this morning is Luke 18:18-30 where Jesus is using a young man’s question as a teaching moment opportunity for the young man, His disciples and ALL who were listening… and ultimately ALL who will ever read about this story!
Let’s all turn to the book of Luke, chapter 18 and I will begin reading from v.18…it is the story we have come to know as “The Rich Young Ruler”… I will be reading from the NLT!
18Once a religious leader asked Jesus this question: “Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” 19“Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “Only God is truly good. 20But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother.’” 21The man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” 22When Jesus heard his answer, he said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 23But when the man heard this he became very sad, for he was very rich. 24When Jesus saw this, he said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! 25In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” 26Those who heard this said, “Then who in the world can be saved?” 27He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.” 28Peter said, “We’ve left our homes to follow you.” 29“Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, 30will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.”
The BIG question asked here was:
What Must I Do To Inherit Eternal Life? We see this in v.18…
18Once a religious leader asked Jesus this question: “Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”
Here this young man was seeking to get an answer from Jesus about eternal life… His question was basically, Jesus, How can I BE what God really wants me to be… and enjoy God’s eternal rewards?
This is a question MANY of us ask… but today I am not focusing as much on the individual as I want to focus more on the corporate body here at Oak Park Baptist Church… I want us to ask the question, “How can we become the church God wants us to be?”
I believe we can look at our passage this morning and find some principles in here that will lead us to BE the church God wants us to be… When we read this passage, the 1st principle I see is:
You must LOOK the PART – v.20-21
20But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father & mother.’” 21The man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”
Have you ever thought about how IMPORTANT it is to LOOK the part if something is going to be successful? There are movies we have all watched where we think, “Wow this guy or this girl is PERFECT for this part… they just LOOK like they belong in this character!”
Take the cult classic movie from 1984 “The Terminator”. We all know who starred in the lead role for this movie, Arnold Schwarzenegger! We all remember that classic line by Arnold [in your best ‘Arnold’ voice… lay it on thick!] “I’ll be back…
We all thought how PERFECT he was for that role, and to think that ANYONE else was even considered for that role boggles our minds…
Did you know that Tom Selleck was asked, but he could not because he was contractually obligated to the TV Series, “Magnum P.I.”
Did you know that Mel Gibson was asked to play the role of the Terminator, but he turned DOWN the role…
Did you know that O.J. Simpson was considered but ultimately not asked because they believed his image portrayed ‘too nice’ of a man to play a cold blooded murderous cyborg role in a movie? [go figure]
Did you know that Randy Quaid…Who you say? RANDY QUAID… Dennis Quaid little brother was also actually considered for the role…
There were also many other men who were considered for this role of The Terminator, but can you imagine ANY of those men in this role… NO! Why? Because Arnold just LOOKED the part!
Well what Jesus said here to this young man when he asked the question about inheriting eternal life… the 1st thing Jesus said was, “You must LOOK the part!”
Now before ANY of you jump up and accuse me of heresy here… I am NOT saying that Jesus said that looking the part is how you inherit eternal life!
But what I AM saying here is that Jesus believed it to be HIGHLY important that a godly presentation to the world around you was critical for the believer!
Jesus laid out 5 of the 10 commandments…
Do not commit adultery
Do not murder
Do not steal
Do not lie
Honor (show respect to) your Father and Mother
All five of these commandments are how we interact with each other in this world… they are revealed in our outward actions and they reveal the things people see and will judge us on while here in this world…
These things are the things that help to project an image of Christ-likeness to the world around you when you live by them and adhere to them…
If you live your life abiding by the 5 guided principles Jesus lays out here… you will be SEEN as a super decent person! You will be seen as a GOOD person… all will believe your eternity is secured because of what you portray!
Now I want us to understand a critical principle that I believe FAR too many believers abandon or do not believe to be significant for the believer!
I believe what Jesus is saying here is that looking the part is vital… it carries merit with God! When we make the intentional effort to be obedient to God’s commandments, God is pleased!
BUT looking the part is NOT the end game here! You see we can LOOK the part and still be an ultimate FAILURE as a Christian… in fact we can go thru the motions and LOOK the part and be LOST and go to hell when we die!
What Jesus was implying here is that looking the part does NOT get you eternal life BUT looking the part IS part of living the life God has called us to live!
Jesus told this rich young ruler that 1st he should LOOK the part… but I want us to understand that here at Oak Park Baptist church we too are called to LOOK the part!
Jesus has called THIS church to be HIS church… and what we HAVE TO realize is that Jesus DOES require us to LOOK the part!
Our church must DO the things that churches should be doing!
We must come together to worship (usually Sun/Wed); we come together and we do NOT forsake the assembling together of the saints! We worship on Sundays and Wednesdays and there are even some others who worship on other days… but we come together to worship! WE DO THIS…
We must teach the Bible (SS, discipleship and preaching); we have several SS classes and we try to offer as much discipleship as we can, and each and every week I make it my sole duty to preach the word of God faithfully to this house… WE DO THIS…
We must give of ourselves (Time, talent, treasure); we have member after member who tithes regularly and our offerings to missions are FAR better than most congregations our size! We have many who give of their time… many who give of their talent… WE DO THIS…
We must honor God as a fellowship (be reverent) We come together each week and we give God the glory for our lives! We come together each week to revere the Lord we proclaim and serve! We show Him reverence when we come to worship! WE DO THIS…
We must reach out to the lost (to ALL the lost!) Our calling is to reach out to the lost, and our church IS reaching out in many ways! WE SORTA DO THIS…
When other churches look at us… when other pastors look at our fellowship and see what we are DOING… they come to the conclusion that we LOOK the part! And that is critical because a church that comes across as NOT looking the part… it loses its witness for Christ!
But on the other hand if a church simply goes thru the motions and merely LOOKS as if it is doing the will of the father… THAT IS NOT ENOUGH!
Looking good is a critical MUST for the church as it pertains to our witness for Christ, but this is NOT what Jesus was teaching that was the BEST! Looking good is critical, but NOT the end all!
It is important to project holiness in our lives to those around us…
It is extremely important for the church to project holiness in the lives of its members… when we do NOT project holiness, our church can and will lose its witness in this world!
Holiness is critical for the believer and sometimes your holiness is perceived by those you meet during the very first few moments!
Your holiness must shine forward and you must be intentional about LOOKING the part of ‘follower of Christ’!
So the first thing we must do for eternal life…
The first thing is to realize that God is good! In v.19 the rich young ruler had addressed Jesus as “Good teacher”… and Jesus gave him a very cryptic answer!
“There is NONE good but God” is what Jesus said! So does that mean that Jesus was NOT good? Not at all, because if you look at the Apostle Paul’s writings… or if you look to the Gospels for answers, you will see that the ‘good thing’ WAS Jesus as God professed his pleasure about Jesus and the fact that ALL of God dwelled IN Jesus! This was Jesus reaffirming just what James tells us in his letter [show James 1:17 NLT]…
17Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father…”
God sent His Son, Jesus into this world and all the goodness of who God is was wrapped up in Jesus! Jesus knew that his fleshly body would NEVER be good unless God was working thru Him!
Likewise, as believers, we can do NOTHING good of ourselves, but it is the goodness of God flowing thru the Holy Spirit in our lives that produces the true good in our lives…
Jesus told this young man basically to do what you have been taught to do and he references some of the teachings this young man would have experienced growing up!
This young man was QUICK to respond to Jesus and tell Him that he had learned and DONE all the things he had been taught since he was just a young boy!
In other words, the young man was feeling pretty good about himself! He was thinking, YEAAAAHHH I got this! But then Jesus lowered the boom on him…
You see a church that wants to be the church God has called it to be MUST look the part, but looking the part is NOT everything… just as this young rich ruler found out!
Jesus told him that you not only must LOOK the PART, but you must SELL the LOOK!
SELL the LOOK! – v.22: [show v.22 on screen]
22When Jesus heard his answer, he said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Now any good actor knows that looking the part is important, but if you are going to be great… if you are going to stick in the minds of your fans, you must also sell the look!
Arnold knew that the role of a cyborg assassin would be a difficult role… being the villain is a tough role! But Arnold set out to SELL the look of that villain and NOW when it comes to VILLAINS…
Arnold ranks at the TOP of Hollywood’s all time list! When we think of great film villains… for those in MY generation, the Terminator pops into our heads!
But preacher, what does that have to do with US as a church? What does that have to do with the stewardship of a church?
Well a church that is being a good steward of God’s resources FIRST looks like a godly church… it LOOKs like it is doing the will of God!
But it also SELLS the LOOK… what do I mean by SELLING the LOOK? Well Jesus lays it out for us! [read v.22 again]
22When Jesus heard his answer, he said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Jesus tells this man to take ALL of what he holds MOST dear in this life and give it away and SELL out to HIM! To give all away and follow Him!
How do we as a church, SELL our look as a godly and good steward church? We cannot hold tight to ANYTHING? You see the ‘things’ of this world can trap us and prevent us from serving God as He desires!
Jesus saw that this young man LOOKED the part, but He challenged him to SELL the LOOK by living OUT what he had learned as a child!
As a church we can LOOK the part all day… we can go thru the motions and do the things we hold dear and sacred… but to be the church God wants us to be…HE wants MORE!
Jesus wants us to SELL the LOOK… to the world around us! He wants us to be willing to surrender ALL for Him!
Are we, as a church, willing to give EVERYTHING for the cause of Christ? Are we willing to strip away anything and everything that is preventing us from being a church that reaches this community with the Gospel of Jesus?
Are we willing to let go of sacred cows to DO the work of Christ? OR are we going to react like this young man reacted to Jesus! Read v.23:
23But when the man heard this he became very sad, for he was very rich.
This young man was VERY RICH and Jesus was asking him to give up something he held very dear to his heart… Jesus wanted this young man to see JESUS as the center of his universe, not his material wealth, but this young man could not see it that way…
This young man LOOKED the part, but his actions could not SELL the LOOK! He could not deliver… because he was not willing to give it ALL!
What are we holding onto in our church that is holding us back? What are we grasping firmly to that Jesus is calling us to give up and surrender to Him?
Is it our music? Is it our traditional focus? Is it our view of our community? Is it a ministry in our church that we either LOVE or believe we just cannot let it go? What is it that is holding us back?
God is calling us to minister to this community and God has opened some doors recently for our church to minister to a great number of people…
God is leading me and the staff of our church down a path that is going to require ALL of who we are… ALL of our TIME… ALL of our Talents and ALL of our Treasures! We cannot afford to hold anything back, we must be willing to give it ALL to God!
We have to be willing to not only LOOK the part of a church serving God, but we must be willing to SELL that look to the community around us by surrendering all of what we have to Him and serving Him where He leads us… and that is really the key… serving Christ where He leads… look at how Jesus follows up in this story!
In v.22 Jesus tells the rich young ruler to sell all he has and give it to the poor… In other words, take your LOOK and what you KNOW to be right and SELL that look to the world around you by LIVING out what you know to be right… and then Jesus adds this:
…Then come, follow me.”
We can LOOK the part… and we can SELL that look to those around us by giving ALL of who we are, but we must remember that when we do these things…Our focus must ALWAYS be on following Jesus! That leads me to my final point this morning where Jesus calls the people to…
LIVE the part – v.24-30
24When Jesus saw this, he said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! 25In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”
In these 2 verses Jesus is relating how many people try to live the part but they cannot… they fail! People we must understand that we cannot do this on our own!
We cannot WILL ourselves to be the church God desires by doing things under our own power. If we try to do things on our own we will be as successful as a camel trying to go thru the eye of a needle!
Basically in these verses Jesus sets up the IMPOSSIBILITY of one reaching eternal life by DOING things on their own! Salvation and eternal life come FROM Jesus and only from Jesus… we cannot earn them with our deeds!
Likewise, becoming the church that God wants us to become cannot be achieved by our congregation simply DOING things… we must FOLLOW Jesus and we must rely on His guidance and strength to bring us to where He desires us to be…
Look what Jesus says in v26-27
26Those who heard this said, “Then who in the world can be saved?” 27He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.”
The people heard Jesus and they came to a stark realization… WAIT A MINUTE! Jesus if what you say is right then WHO in the world can inherit eternal life? Who in the world CAN be saved!
Jesus then replies by telling them… it may be impossible for YOU to ‘do’ anything to gain eternal life… but with God EVERYTHING is possible!
I want us to understand that this principle can be applied to becoming the church that God wants us to become… We cannot do it on our own… we will fail! BUT, where we fail, God is going to succeed! What is impossible for us… is ENTIRELY possible for God!
Point in case… For over a year Ben and I have been praying about what we could DO to reach our community and penetrate our community with the Gospel… we prayed but God did not give us any quick answers… so we kept praying!
At the end of May of this year, God ANSWERED in a BIG way! Without any effort on our part, God basically SENT an entire apt complex to our doors to be ministered to…
God has opened a door to share His love and salvation with… a door that we could have NEVER opened on our own!
In fact we tried, but we were beaten down by defeated attitudes and the enemy discouraging us time and time again as we attempted to set up a program or a ministry team to reach these people… but what was impossible for us IS entirely possible FOR GOD!
But preacher, what if we DO sell out? What if we DO give our all and we don’t see people come to our church… we don’t see our membership increase? Preacher, if this happens have we been wasting our time?
Let me share with you what Scripture tells us… look at v28-30 with me
28Peter said, “We’ve left our homes to follow you.”
Peter told Jesus, “Hey Jesus we HAVE left all like you asked this young man to do… He wouldn’t do it, but we HAVE… We not only look the part… we not only sell the look… but we have been LIVING out the PART as we followed YOU!
Peter was expressing the human fear of ‘what if’… what if we do this God and things don’t go as I think they should???
Well Jesus said
29“Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, 30will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.”
You see for us to ask ‘what’s in it for us?’ is the wrong question! You see Jesus points our focus toward HIM and our eternal rewards…
But He also reminds Peter and those listening of God’s promise to them… it was the same promise that God has made since the dawn of time… and that promise is ‘if you honor ME… I will honor you!’
When we honor God thru LOOKING the part (projecting holiness)… God is going to honor us
When we honor God as a church by SELLING the LOOK to the world around us… God his going to honor us!
When we honor God thru the LIVING out of the PART, God is going to honor us…
Church we are called to honor God and in this passage Jesus reveals that for us to honor God we must be willing to LOOK, ACT and LIVE as He has called us to live… to BE the church He has called us to be…
Are you ready? Are you willing? Are we ready to SELL OUT for Him? I know I am as your pastor… I am NOT going to allow ANYTHING to get in the way of following Jesus… are you?
To be a church that is a good steward… we are called to GIVE our all for Him, are you ready to do that today?
Give invitation here… lost & Christian calling