Summary: Leading the Church through change and growth.
“Changing Hearers into Doers”
"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only" James 1:22 (KJV)
Intro: Do you think God ever gets frustrated with us? I’m going to give you some time to think about your answer to that question. The answer is not a simple “yes or no.” Because no matter which answer you give the importance, the implications, the consequences, the results, the cause and effect, of your answer is far deeper theologically and spiritually and personal than we could ever explain in the few minutes we have here together today.
I am convinced that God has a plan. Aren’t you? I am persuaded by God’s road map. I am converted to His purpose. I am guided by His direction in life.
And he puts up signs to direct us. Not tiny hard to see signs. I believe God puts up billboards. I believe He uses loud bullhorns so we can hear his voice. I believe He shakes earth and sky to make clear the direction and guidance that he wants us to take. He makes clear his word and where he wants us to follow. He makes plain his message and what he wants us to do.
Unlike human voices and hearing, which can be fuzzy and blurred and distorted, God’s voice can be heard clearly and precisely. It is a symphony of completion and perfection.
The message God gave his followers thousands of years ago is still the message he gives each of us here today. So today we are going to talk about “Changing Hearers into Doers.”
I. Hearing God Will Challenge Our Comfort Zone
"Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside. Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached Jesus. He knelt before him, worshiping. "Lord," the man said, "if you want to, you can make me well again. Jesus touched him. "I want to," he said. "Be healed!" And instantly the leprosy disappeared. Then Jesus said to him, "Go right over to the priest and let him examine you. Don't talk to anyone along the way. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy, so everyone will have proof of your healing." Matthew 8:1-4
I love these stories of Jesus’ healing! They show us the great love of Jesus. They show us the selflessness of caring, the unselfishness of Jesus.
There was no cure for this poor man with his disease. He was banished from his home, his city, his life. Our Lord Jesus – literally – gave him a life changing hand.
Sin is also a terrible disease. One that destroys our home, our community and who we are. From this we learn that in our ministry to people around us today we too must be quick and ambitious to give our self away. To place ourselves at risk to save others by thinking nothing of our own desires but solely on the needs of others.
How many times does Jesus try to teach us to think nothing of our own desires, but to think solely on the needs of others?
An old Paul Harvey story is about a man by the name of Ray Blankenship. One morning as Ray was preparing his breakfast he heard the terrified cries of a little girl. As he looked out his window he saw her being swept away in the rain-flooded drainage ditch beside his Andover, Ohio, home. Blankenship knew that farther downstream the ditch disappeared into a tunnel underneath a road and then emptied into the main storm drain.
Ray dashed out the door and raced along the ditch, trying to get ahead of the sinking child. Then he jumped into the deep, churning water. Blankenship surfaced and was able to grab the child’s arm. Only a few feet away from the culvert Ray’s free hand felt something--possibly submerged tree limb— He clung desperately, but the tremendous force of the water tried to rip and tear him away from the child. “If only he could just hang on until help comes," he thought. But he did better than that. By the time fire-department rescuers arrived, Blankenship had pulled the girl to safety. Both were treated for shock. On April 12, 1989, Ray Blankenship was awarded the Coast Guard’s Silver Lifesaving Medal. The award is fitting, for this selfless person was at even greater risk to himself…, thinking solely on the need of others. Because Ray Blankenship could not swim. And now you know the rest of the story.
Learn this lesson: Hearing God speak Will Challenge Our Comfort Zone.
Ray could have said, “I don’t want to get wet. I don’t want to ruin my breakfast. I don’t want to risk my life,”
BUT God’s voice was unmistakably clear! When Ray heard the terrified cries of the little girl and looked out and saw that little child drowning in the water there is no way that anyone could misunderstand what had to be done!