Summary: This is the first of a 4 part series comparing the early church of Acts 1-5 to today. This message looks at the idea of falling in love with Christ.
Pt 1 ¡V Falling In Love
I want you to know that I spent a long time searching for what I am going to begin sharing with you today. It is perhaps the most important series of messages that I have shared in a long time.
Listen to these passages of Scripture ¡V
Tell me this morning ¡V do these passages describe the church of the 21st Century?
Where is our power, our passion, our witness, our boldness, our integrity.
Let me share with you some frustrations that have been building over the last 15 years of ministy.
ƒß I become frustrated with Christianity that is content to be less than we are called to be.
ƒß with Christianity that is polished on Sunday and Tarnished on Monday.
ƒß with Christianity that Talks and doesn¡¦t walk.
ƒß with Christianity that praises God in one breath and curses His people in the next.
ƒß with Christianity that is more loyal to a man-made denominations than it is to Christ.
ƒß with Christianity that lacks power, conviction, and passion.
ƒß With Christianity that is afraid to go over the allotted time limit for worship.
ƒß With Christianity that demands it¡¦s rights more than it offers it¡¦s sacrifice.
ƒß with Christianity that beautifies the outside while leaving the inside empty.
ƒß with Christianity that doesn¡¦t make it hard for people in our community to go to hell.
The apostle Paul writing to young Timothy said this (reading from The Message) ¡§You¡¦re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food¡Xcatchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They¡¦ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages. But you¡Xkeep your eye on what you¡¦re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God¡¦s servant.¡¨
I want to share with you over the next several weeks some of the characteristics of the Early Church that I find lacking in today¡¦s Christian world. My heart is for our return as Christians of the 21st Century to the heart of Biblical Christianity.
Look with me this morning at Marks Gospel Chapter 14:3-9 The woman was Mary.
I believe that if we are to return to Biblical Christianity that we need to fall in love with Jesus like Mary did.
1) Mary loved Jesus. Jesus is winding down ¡V He has returned to Bethany for the evening. This is Jesus last week in Jerusalem. He has made it plain to his disciples that his departure is near. The tension around the table is palpable. Then a woman bursts into this room full of important men. She strides boldly over to Jesus and before anyone can stop her she does the most irrational, extravagant, nonsensical thing anyone has ever witnessed. She pulls out a bottle of perfume (worth almost a years wage) breaks the neck and gently pours it over Jesus head (and John tells us His feet). This is what Pastor Glenn Newton writes about love. ¡§How many of you have done something crazy because of that thing called love? You say things you wouldn¡¦t normally say. You spend more time looking in the mirror. You try to write poetry even though you don¡¦t have a clue. Being in love makes you do irrational things. You carve your names on tree trunks. You hold hands while trying to eat burritos. You can sit two people where normally one person could barely sit. Being in love can be excessive. The practical question ¡§Does this make sense?¡¨ doesn¡¦t apply to people deeply in love.¡¨ Here is a truth that may not be comfortable this morning ¡V I believe that many of today¡¦s Christians are more in love with the idea of Christ than they are in love with Christ. Heavens what¡¦s not to love in the idea of Christ? That God loves us so much that he sent Jesus to die for our sins and give us eternal life ¡V all free of charge. Peoples love becomes engorged with what God does for them, how He makes them feel. This is the Judas ideal. Judas followed Jesus as long as he saw gain in the venture ¡V this very night Judas will decide that there is no more profit in following Jesus ¡V the high has worn off ¡V the thrill of being on the inside has turned to the risk of associating with an outlaw. Verse 10 says Judas went off this very night to the chief priests to betray Him. Judas loved what following Jesus gave Him ¡V Mary loved Jesus for who He was.
2) Mary¡¦s Love was Extravagant ¡V Have you noticed the paradox of love. The longer we are in it the less we feel constrained to demonstrate it. There is nothing like getting married to suck the romance out of a man. It¡¦s kind of like fishing ¡V you use the right bait but once the fish is in the boat the bait just smells the place up. This is what had happened to the disciples ¡V ministry that had started in extravagant love had turned to practical living. What was once extravagant (leaving the nets, and home) has now become practical. The men who gave up their business and livelihood to follow Christ ¡V now see the extravagance of Mary¡¦s gift as a waste of precious resources. What the disciples had forgotten was the extravagance of love. Mary moved by love for Jesus ¡V took what was probably her life¡¦s savings blew it on Jesus. There is a depth of passion in Mary¡¦s love for Jesus that is lacking in today¡¦s Church. We spend more time thinking about how little we can get away with than we do finding new ways to give. Mary had an encounter with Jesus ¡V the giver of extravagant love ¡V the one who changed her life. Now He was talking about death and dying ¡V in an uncalculated, extravagant gift Mary did the only thing she could think of ¡V she broke open her life¡¦s savings and poured it out lavishly on Him. King David said ¡§ I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.¡¨