Summary: “A Contagious Message” has been told in many different places and many different ways for many different years. Some have understood it while others have changed it or rejected it because of the cost being too high, or the gift too good to be true. Any
“A Contagious Message” has been told in many different places and many different ways for many different years. Some have understood it while others have changed it or rejected it because of the cost being too high, or the gift too good to be true. Any way you look at it, the story of the gospel is “A Contagious Message”.
Ann Lamott in her book, “Bird by Bird” shares this story:
An eight-year-old boy had a younger sister who was dying of leukemia, and he was told that without a blood transfusion she would die. His parents explained to him that his blood was probably compatible with hers, and if so, he could be the blood donor. They asked him if they could test his blood. He said sure. So they did and it was a good match. Then they asked if he would give his sister a pint of blood, that it could be her only chance of living. He said he would have to think about it overnight.
The next day he went to his parents and said he was willing to donate the blood. So they took him to the hospital where he was put on a gurney beside his six-year-old sister. Both of them were hooked up to IVs. A nurse withdrew a pint of blood from the boy, which was then put in the girl’s IV. The boy lay on his gurney in silence while the blood dripped into his sister, until the doctor came over to see how he was doing. Then the boy opened his eyes and asked, “How soon until I start to die?”
What a picture of self-sacrificing love! We all, at one time or another, have been inspired by acts of heroic selflessness, like when a bystander risks his or her life to rescue someone who is in trouble – or the soldier who, to save the lives of his comrades, throws himself on a live grenade.
NO STORY is more moving or more powerful than that of Jesus Himself, who demonstrated His love by willingly laying down his life for the sake of his friends.
For six weeks, we’ve been talking about HOW to “Become Contagious” as we represent that Message. But we have never actually looked at THE MESSAGE ITSELF. And today we will talk about that contagious message.
We will look at 4 Key Characters: 4 Primary Players in God’s redemptive drama, and we will look at what the Bible tells us about each one, giving us a good overview of the central message of the Christian faith.
I. THE FIRST KEY CHARACTER: GOD
What is it about God that we need to understand in order to best represent the message that we represent?
3 ATTRIBUTES OF GOD
1. He is a LOVING God
John 3:16 (NIV)
16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
God’s love is not just to a certain group of individuals—it is offered to the world. God’s love is not static or self-centered; it reaches out and draws others in. God’s love pursues us and tells us in so many ways that we matter to Him!
READ JOHN 6:40
2. He is a HOLY God
God is Holy which means that he is absolutely pure and separate from everything that is impure.
Psalms 93:5 (NIV)
5 Your statutes stand firm; holiness adorns your house for endless days, O LORD.
ILLUSTRATION: Billy Graham wrote about an experience that illustrates this well. He tells of a time when he was to be interviewed in his home for a well-known television program. Knowing that it would be on national television, they took great pains to make sure everything was clean and nice—including vacuuming and dusting the entire house, and going over the living room, where the interview was to take place, with a fine-tooth comb.
By the time the TV crew arrived, they felt everything was spic-and-span. But then, when the powerful television lights were turned on they could suddenly see cobwebs and dust where they had never seen them before under normal room lights!
APPLICATION: The point of Billy’s illustration is that no matter how well we clean up our lives and convince ourselves we have them in order, when we see them in the light of God’s holiness, the many cobwebs, faults, and imperfections will suddenly show up with embarrassing clarity.
3. He is a JUST God
God is LOVING, God is HOLY, and God is JUST.
James 2:13a (NKJV)
13 For judgment is without mercy…
God is like a good judge who, because of His holiness, MUST deal with our cobwebs, faults, and imperfections. God loves us and WANTS to have a relationship with us, but as the perfect judge he must demand justice fairly.