Sermons

Summary: A study on overcoming barriers in the church.

I. The Barrier of Prejudice - not my family

A. II Kings 5:2 "And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman’s wife."

B. Marauding bands of Syrians crossed over into Israel with object of capturing slaves. These bands took captive this particular little girl, who became the property of Naaman assigned to attend to his wife. Few would blame her for hating all Syrians with a passion. No one would expect her to have any allegiance to or love for a Syrian, especially her slave master.

C. Two shopkeepers were bitter rivals. Their stores were directly across the street from each other, and they would spend each day keeping track of each other’s business. If one got a customer, he would smile in triumph at his rival. One night an angel appeared to one of the shopkeepers in a dream and said, "I will give you anything you ask, but whatever you receive, your competitor will receive twice as much. Would you be rich? You can be very rich, but he will be twice as wealthy. Do you wish to live a long and healthy life? You can, but his life will be longer and healthier. What is your desire?" The man frowned, thought for a moment, and then said, "Here is my request: Strike me blind in one eye!"

D. One sign of jealousy is when it’s easier to show sympathy and "weep with those who weep" than it is to exhibit joy and "rejoice with those who rejoice."

E. William Law (1686-1761) - If I hate or despise any one man in the world, I hate something which God cannot hate, and despise that which he loves.

F. Proverbs 25:21-22 "If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: [22] For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee."

G. Matthew 5:44 "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;"

II. The Barrier of Indifference - not my place or my business

A. The little maid was a slave. Where does she get off thinking that she can stick her nose in Naaman’s business?

B. As D.L. Moody walked down a Chicago street one day, he saw a man leaning against a lamppost. The evangelist gently put his hand on the man’s shoulder and asked him if he was a Christian. The fellow raised his fists and angrily exclaimed, "Mind your own business!" "I’m sorry if I’ve offended you," said Moody, "but to be very frank, that IS my business!" Even if people reject the gospel, we still must love them.

C. It is our business. Luke 19:13 "... Occupy till I come."

D. Mark 16:15 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."

E. Matthew 5:13-16 "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. [14] Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. [15] Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. [16] Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

III. The Barrier of Noninvolvement - not my concern - let someone else do it

A. When Rosina Hernandez was in college, she once attended a rock concert at which one young man was brutally beaten by another. No one attempted to stop the beating. The next day she was struck dumb to learn that the youth had died because of the pounding. Yet, neither she nor anyone else had raised a hand to help him. She could never forget the incident or her responsibility as an inactive bystander. Some years later, Rosina saw another catastrophe. A car driving in the rain ahead of her suddenly skidded and plunged into Biscayne Bay. The car landed head down in the water with only the tail end showing. In a moment a woman appeared on the surface, shouting for help and saying her husband was stuck inside. This time Rosina waited for no one. She plunged into the water, tried unsuccessfully to open the car door, then pounded on the back window as other bystanders stood on the causeway and watched. First, she screamed at them, begging for help; then cursed them, telling them there was a man dying in the car. First one man, then another, finally came to help. Together they broke the safety glass and dragged the man out. They were just in time -- a few minutes later it would have been all over. The woman thanked Rosina for saving her husband, and Rosina was elated, riding an emotional high that lasted for weeks. She had promised herself that she would never again fail to do anything she could to save a human life. She had made good on her promise. (Bits & Pieces, June 24, 1993, pp. 20-21.)

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