Sermons

Summary: Convenience and compromise can devastate the Church, disqualifying us from the work Christ has for us.

Parishioners at Brentwood Baptist Church in Houston are singing the Lord's praises right along with the world-famous McDonald's slogan, "We love to see you smile." The church is the first in the nation to have a McDonald's hamburger franchise on its grounds. The franchise is located inside the church's new $7 million Joe Ratliff Lifelong Learning Center, named after Brentwood's senior pastor. The 75,000-square-foot building houses a basketball court, an aerobics studio, a computer center, an arcade, a banquet hall, more than 60 classrooms, and the McDonald's, which has become a hit with the church's more than 10,000 active members .

I. INTRODUCTION

A. WOW-Now that is convenient-and we love convenience. We look for ways to make day-to-day tasks easier and more efficient, regardless of the cost.

1. Consider the microwave oven; designed to prepare food quickly so that we can eat any time of day or night without a fuss. Here's the rub: we eat alone instead of as a family!

2. How about the convenience store? What is more tantalizing than paying three times market price for things I forgot to buy at the grocery store?

3. Convenience, by itself, is not evil…nor is it immoral. It is the application of convenience in our lives that may be dangerous. For instance:

A Glamour Magazine survey of 25,000 readers, most of them women between the ages of 18 and 35, reflects a powerful swing to life's spiritual side: 77% pray, and 87% feel that God is always helping them or has helped them through a particular period in their lives. These same readers seem to choose aspects of their religion they can live with and ignore what they can't, without discarding their faith. For example, the poll finds that nearly half disagree with the church's teaching on premarital sex and that a third (42% of single women) disagree with its teaching on abortion .

4. A religion of convenience. Think-we may find fault with those responding to the magazine poll, yet there are countless examples of compromise for convenience sake in the modern church.

5. We are going to consider a few of them, but first let's look at a similar compromise made in the church of Jesus' day, and see how Jesus responded to it. OYBT John 2.

[Convenience and compromise devastate the Church, and exclude us from the mission Christ has for us.]

II. BACKGROUND

A. John's placement of this account troubles some theologians. He records the cleansing of the Temple at the beginning of Jesus' ministry while the other three evangelists place it at the end of His ministry.

B. There are valid arguments on either side of this debate; some scholars have suggested that Jesus may have, in fact, cleansed the Temple twice over a two- to three-year period. The arguments make great research projects, but have little value in a Sunday morning message.

C. What is valuable this morning is what we learn from Jesus' behavior, and how we respond.

III. JESUS CLEANSES THE TEMPLE (vv. 13-17)

A. John mentions the Passover feast more than the other evangelists, perhaps to drive home his testimony of Jesus as MESSIAH (Christ). Jewish men are required to celebrate in Jerusalem (Dt. 16:16), so Jesus makes his way there.

B. He arrives at the Temple to find pandemonium in the court of the Gentiles. Merchants sell (gouge) animals for sacrifice while moneychangers (bankers) convert foreign coins at a scandalous cost to those acceptable for payment of the Temple tax.

1. Conducting business is not a sin. Sojourners travel long distances, and can't risk the animal's injury or death; it is safer and more convenient to purchase them in Jerusalem.

2. Currency is exchanged-as today. If you travel outside NA, you change money to the local government. Nothing unusual, but the merciless profits made at the worshiper's expense.

a. Instead of a Temple filled with the soft murmur of prayer and worship, it rings the noise of sheep, cattle, birds, commerce. People buy and sell, creating lots of activity and commotion.

b. Jesus condemns their defiling of "my Father's house", using a sacred place for commerce.

c. In addition, merchants set up in the only area of the Temple where Gentiles can worship.

C. All is done for the sake of convenience. It is more profitable for merchants to be where the action is-inside the Temple, not outside. What's the harm? Worship is hindered and the house of God defiled by the distractions allowed within the Temple.

[Convenience and compromise devastate the Church, and exclude us from the mission Christ has for us.]

IV. COMPROMISE IN THE MODERN DAY CHURCH

A. Three things that compromise a church.

1. Post-Modern Doctrines

a. Accepting sinful lifestyles, expecting no change in behavior

b. Relative truth. Sin is relative to the circumstances you are in.

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