Summary: Some people are turned off from church but the Church Jesus instituted is attractive and approachable.
THE CHURCH JESUS BUILDS
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Pastor Brian Matherlee
• Highlight the heart of God in being approachable
o Adam & Eve in the garden & God was broken hearted when they hid
o God and Abraham had a friendship
o God allowed Pharaoh multiple opportunities to turn away from the path he was choosing
o It is a pattern carried all the way through the Scripture.
What turns people off from the church? What bugs you about the church?
When Jimmy Carter was elected President of the United States, he described himself as a “born-again” Christian. For many Americans this was an unfamiliar term. By the time of the next election primaries, nearly all the candidates were claiming to be “born-again.” Political satirist Mark Russell suggested, “This could give Christianity a bad name.”
Why the Church Jesus builds is approachable:
1. U-Turns are encouraged!
a. A little boy just got saved and sat on a bench next to old man who looked upset. The little boy said to the man, "Sir, do you need to get saved?"
The man startled said abruptly, "I’ll tell you I’ve been a Deacon in this church for over 30 years and Chairman of Deacons for 15 years."
The little boy responded, "Sir, it don’t matter what you done, Jesus loves you and He’ll still save you!"
b. If you’ve been heading in the wrong direction you’re the perfect candidate for the church!
c. Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
2. There are no “Do Not Enter” signs
a. 2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
b. Now people might make us feel unwelcome
i. By what they say
ii. By how they look at us
iii. By what they don’t say
c. Jesus doesn’t make us feel unwelcome. Jesus said in John 3:17, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
d. Think of who Jesus hung out with:
i. Tax collectors (Matthew)
ii. Revolutionaries (Simon the Zealot)
iv. Traitors (Judas)
3. The “Road Map” is clear
a. Even though Jesus hung out with “tax collectors and sinners” He didn’t gloss over sin or leave it unchallenged.
b. Let’s look at John 8:3-11.
i. Jesus defended the preciousness of her life by preventing her physical death by stoning.
ii. Jesus defended the preciousness of her life by commanding her to leave her life of sin.
c. Romans 10:9, That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
d. 1Jn 2:3-6 We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.
You have probably never heard of the island of Molokai. Well, it’s located in the state of Hawaii. And it has quite a history. You have to go way back to the late 1800’s to understand its significance. You see, back then, there was no cure for the highly contagious and deadly disease called leprosy, a disease that would attack the extremities of the body, the ears, the toes, the nose, the fingers. A horrible dreadful disease which today is curable, but it wasn’t back then.
- So, in order to keep the disease at bay. In order to keep it from spreading and creating an epidemic, the government would send lepers to a colony on the island of Molakai where they would be secluded and isolated from those who were not infected with the disease.
- Well, in 1873, there was a young, brave Catholic priest named Father Damien who volunteered to spend his life serving the people secluded on the island of Molokai. When he arrived, he was was startled to see people who were not only suffering physically, but socially, and emotionally, and spiritually. In the leper colony he saw extreme drunkenness, immorality, abuse, and an overall sense of hopelessness. What he saw were people who desperately needed to know the answer to a question we all ask... where is God? They needed God’s presence in their life.
- And so, in 1873, Father Damien lived among the 700 lepers. Knowing the dangers and realizing the inevitable results of so much personal contact with a highly contagious disease he built hospitals, clinics, churches and some 600 coffins. And the whole while he was giving them the answer to that question... where is God?