Sermons

Summary: God’s amazing grace changes us so that we can change the world.

Children’s Time (Lead-in to sermon)

• This Little Light of Mine

• In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

• God is happiest when the lost is found.

• Our light leads people to Jesus.

Sermon

Living in a strange world

• We’re not children anymore.

• Daytime TV

• Politics

• Science

• Our response

– Wouldn’t you just like to run away?

– Ghetto—an environment of isolation

– Sanctuary—a place of safety

– Oasis—life-giving refuge. In the desert of ideas and the wilderness of morals Jesus calls us to be the light of the world.

o If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. (John 7:37)

o …whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4:14)

o Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. (John 7:37-38)

– We are the light of the world.

o We cannot be a light under a basket.

o A city on a hill cannot be hidden.

o Salt that becomes saltless is worthless.

• Our irrelevance (Cf. man/woman on the street interviews)

– By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35)

– Not by our traditions, our instruments, our worship style, our denomination.

– For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. (Mark 8:35)

– So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you. (Matthew 25:25) Response: You wicked, lazy servant!

Bearing fruit

• Vast variety

• What fruit does God want us to bear? Of all this fruit which is most important to God? Focused fruit.

• God’s favorite fruit—when people come to him.

– Go and make disciples

– You will be my witnesses

– Fruit is about reproduction.

– What is the state of people without Christ?

o Without forgiveness we are without hope. (Rom. 3:23; 6:23)

o There is no forgiveness without faith in Christ.

o Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

o This is the big deal about Jesus.

o Our family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers and fellow students are living in the very real danger of spending forever without God. Think what it would be like with God in your life now.

– I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. (Luke 15:7)

– Everything we do as a church should have this as its highest priority.

– Too often we substitute our fruit for God’s fruit.

– This is not about us.

• Five ministry teams: Discipleship, Ministry, Mission, Management and Worship

– We grow primarily to bear fruit.

– We minister to each other primarily to bear fruit.

– We evangelize and serve primarily to bear fruit.

– We worship primarily to bear fruit.

– We manage our personnel and physical plant primarily to bear fruit.

– How can what I do, what Second Presbyterian does, bear this fruit?

How to bear fruit

• Remain in Christ

• Understand our mission.

– The imagery of slavery.

– It’s hard for us to appreciate because we don’t know what it’s like.

o A wide range of estimates exists on the scope and magnitude of modern-day slavery, both internal and transnational. The International Labor Organization estimates 12.3 million people are in forced labor, bonded labor, forced child labor, and sexual servitude at any given time; other estimates range from 4 million to 27 million.” --Source: Trafficking in Persons Report, June 2006, Department of State, United States of America.

o While traditional chattel slavery is still widespread in such Saharan nations as Niger, Mauritania, Chad, and Sudan, it is immensely overshadowed by what modern antislavery groups describe as “new forms” of slavery–the men, women and children who are physically forced to work, often under the guise of meaningless contracts, in sweatshops or in building roads and pipelines for multinational corporations. Along with the exploitive use of indebtedness as an excuse for forced labor, there is also an enormous international traffic, especially in eastern Europe and south Asia in . . . girls or young women who have volunteered for decent-sounding jobs, only to find themselves coerced into prostitution…

o Stories

 James—an abducted child kept as a slave in the Lord’s Resistance Army, James was forced to brutally kill his own brother who had been abducted with him. He was rescued from captivity, but demonstrates the fragile psyche of a child victim forced to kill or be killed.

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