Summary: This sermon focuses on which type of person or church is your identity - 1. Big Axe Little Cup 2. Big Cup Little Axe or 3. Big Cup and the Axe in the hands of the Holy Spirit?
Scripture: Mark 9:38 - 50
Title: Axe or Cup - Which Church/Person are We?
This sermon focuses on which type of person or church is your identity - 1. Big Axe Little Cup 2. Big Cup Little Axe or 3. Big Cup and the Axe in the hands of the Holy Spirit?
Grace and peace from God our Father and from Jesus Christ our Savior and LORD!
Some companies are famous for their logos and slogans. Companies like:
+Fed Ex +Wendy's +Tostitos +Hershey's
Did you know that each one has a hidden message in its logo?
+There is an arrow in the Fed Ex logo that shows that it is moving ahead.
+There is the word mom right under Wendy's face in the way they made her clothing.
+There is a little picture of two "T's" in the Tostitos logo that creates two people as they dip a tortilla chip into the bowl of salsa on top of the letter 'I'.
+There is an extra little Hershey kiss located in between the K and the I.
Even churches have gotten in on the act of making their symbols more than just a pictorial image. For example the Symbol for the Presbyterian Church contains eight different symbols that speak about their beliefs. When you look at their denominational symbol you can see:
+The Cross +The Pulpit +The Dove +The Fish +The Cup +The Fire +The Bible +The Trinity
The Symbol designed by the United Methodist Church is made up of two flames and a Cross - these images not only represents the Cross and the Holy Spirit but the union of the two main branches that came together in 1968 to created the United Methodist Church - Evangelical United Brethren and what was called at that time - The Methodist Church. Pretty creative!
In our passage this morning it could be said that Jesus and His Disciples may have been doing their best to come up with their own logos when it came to defining what kind of disciples that one should be in following Jesus. Let's look at this passage in more detail and you will see what I am saying.
In verse 40 we see Jesus making reference to a "CUP" and in verses 43 thru 47 you get the sense that Jesus is talking about an "AXE" or some sharp object being used to get rid of those things that would cause a person to slip up in their faith walk.
It got me to thinking about those two images - An Axe and A Cup -
I wonder which symbol would represent most churches and most people who follow Jesus today? Would they be seen as more of an Axe Church or more of a Cup Church?
I. More Axe than Cup
I remember a few years ago visiting a few congregations that from what I could glean would have to be seen as more of being Axe Churches/congregations than Cup Churches/congregation. I remember two of them in particular.
Both congregations were very inviting and hospitable. We were greeting at the door and they promptly handed us a worship folder, shook our hands and helped us find a seat. The church buildings were both well designed and there were signs so that you could easily find the restrooms, the nursery and the fellowship hall.
The dress was what the fashion world would call casual, smart casual and business casual. Very few people though wore business suits or tailored dresses or pant suits. Most people were in very comfortable clothing; the type that you would see every day by people working in retail or in an office building. No one was looking down on any one else for what they were wearing. The lighting was excellent, the seating area was clean and the floors were well maintained. All in all the environment was quite nice and pleasant.
In both churches the worship time was excellent. Both had a praise team but neither team was in full concert or performance mode. Both were doing their best to share the Gospel, to help those of us in attendance be able to praise and worship God. The words were put up on a screen in such a fashion that you could join in even if you were not familiar with the song.
All in all both churches were great churches in hospitality, in warmth, in helping a person enter into the sanctuary and be involved in the service. As you would sit or stand and sing you got the feeling that these were great places. These were places where you could attend regularly, enjoy some fellowship and share some sacred time with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
However, as you began to hear the message you realized that while they were a Cup Church in their hospitality and worship they found a big old AXE somewhere and brought it out. Each of the speakers spent most of their time sharing what a person should not do as a follower of Jesus. The messages were based more on the no's of following Jesus rather than the yes's of following Jesus. They focused on making sure that everyone under the sound of their voice would be able to fully understand where they stood in the sight of God.