Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: In our Scripture today, John the Baptist was with two people who he was bringing and including in the mission of God when he saw Jesus and said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” To be a bringer and an includer means you bring them to Jesus. We have no power to do

Bringer and Includers

John 1:35-42

Teacher Rex Roland at Enka Middle School in North Carolina was recently in the news because he wrote ‘20% off for being a loser' on a sixth grade student's assignments. When the girl's mother complained, he said he was "just joking.” Some parents say it was the teacher's way of goofing around and relating to the kids by using their language.The girl's mother, Patty Clement, says it's no laughing matter. "This is telling her 'You're a loser. You're not going to go anywhere,'" she said. One can only imagine the impact this could have on a child at a time when they are most vulnerable moving into puberty and all the awkwardness that goes with it. When is a time in your life when you have felt the pain of exclusion. All of us have experienced that at one point or another in our lives.

But we have also experienced moments when people have picked us up, encouraged us or challenged us to do something more than we thought we were capable. James Dobson taught in the public school system from 1960-1963. At the final year, he had to say goodbye to 25 to 30 teary-eyed kids. One young lady whom he said goodbye to in 1963 called him in 1975. Julie had grown up. James remembered her as a 7th grader with a crisis of confidence in herself. Her Latin heritage embarrassed her and she was overweight. She had only one friend who had moved away the following year. She and Dr. Dobson talked on the phone about the good ole days. “Where do you go to church?” she asked. He told her, and she asked if she could visit. The next week she came. In the coming months, she became a vibrant Christian. A few months after her initial visit, Dobson asked her, “Julie, I want to ask you a question. Will you tell me why you went to so much trouble to obtain my unlisted number and call me last fall…?” “Because when I was a 7th grade student in junior high school, you were the only person in my life who acted like you respected and believed in me…and I wanted to know your God.” James Dobson was a bringer and an includer. His life showed his faith and as a result he was able to bring Julie to Jesus.

In our Scripture today, John the Baptist was with two people who he was bringing and including in the mission of God when he saw Jesus and said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” To be a bringer and an includer means you bring them to Jesus. We have no power to do anything to save someone but we can point them to somebody who can.

Every follower of Jesus is a missionary. The word is from the Latin which means to send. Jesus looks at us and says, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” You are called to be a missionary. Missionaries always keep their focus on the bigger picture of God’s saving purpose in this world. It doesn’t matter where you work or what you do, whether it be in a shipyard, a school or an office, every missionary understands that they are here to connect other people to God’s saving purpose and His transforming purpose in Jesus Christ. Now when John’s two disciples heard this, they began to follow Jesus who invited them to come and stay with him.

There are all kinds of ways to be a missionary, some good and some bad. Mike Slaughter tells the story of rushing through the airport to catch his connecting flight. He ran into the bathroom and went into a stall. And when he began to pull on the toilet paper and a Gospel tract fell out onto the floor. He picked it up and began to read these words: “Sister Charity was told that she would reign and rule with Satan in Hell but would never be tormented.” Yet the picture showed her burning in these flames as she cries out: “Holy Father, I’m burning in hell. How can this be when I served you so well?” So then he pulled a little bit more toilet paper and another tract fsll out. He pulls some more and another tract falls out. Apparently, a hopefully well-meaning, demented Christian figured out how to turn a toilet paper dispenser into a Gospel tract dispenser. They must have unrolled the toilet paper and calculated just about how much each person would use. And then Mike says, “A true missionary understands that God is not about burning up people in Hell but burning hell out of people so we can be free to live as God intended us to be.”

Missionaries are everyday ordinary people, not religious professionals. When God came to earth in Jesus, he was not a religious professional. He wasn’t a priest. In fact, he wasn’t eligible to be a priest. Jesus was born of the tribe of Judah and to be a priest you had to be born of the tribe of Levi. Jesus wasn’t educated. He worked with his hands and probably was a day laborer. And what we find throughout Jesus’ ministry is that he was in conflict with the religious professionals of his day, the Pharisees and the Sadduccess. because he was deemed as being not religious enough. Who were the Pharisees and the Sadduccess? They were the people running around stuffing tracts into toilet paper telling people how wrong they were in the lives they were leading. The Pharisees believed that if you followed the letter of the law, then you be saved.

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