Summary: to teach the congregation some Biblical priniciples on connecting with others for Christ’s sake
Bring in the newspaper, and at the very beginning of the sermon, take it out, open it up and ask, “Would anyone mind if I preached today’s sermon while reading the paper?”
If others say no, then suggest that we really need to work on finding more appropriate ways to engage in meaningful conversation.
If others say yes, than ask ‘Why?’ and suggest that there are other ways to disconnect from people that may not be so obvious, but are still a turn off.
Connecting with people was important to Jesus because He desired to have them know the Truth and to be set free. In today’s text we find Jesus stepping outside the box, again, to connect with sinners, while the Religious leaders of that day were fit to be tied because of this. We learn that Jesus ate with these sinners, yet this simple act of eating for that culture was far more than the physical act of chewing, but it represented the very act of sharing one’s very life.
Transition from last week to this week:
Last week we preached on the fact that God is awakening people to know Him, and the church better not put them to sleep. Today I want us to take this step to consider how we can connect with people in order to share His life with them.
What we find when we look at the life of Jesus, was that he was able to connect with the masses because He was approachable. He allowed people to come to him with their problems and took the time to minister to them
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Some people, I have seen, give to the poor a lot of meaningless words, never visit the prisoner or shut in, give the oppressed even more oppression.
I know you and don’t see any of you wanting to do that, but I must caution you that good intentions don’t get the job done. You can have chairs set up to invite dialogue, you can have a scrumptious meal to invite your friends to, but that does not mean that people are automatically going to open up. Your good intentions must be fleshed out. Today it is my hope to give you some principles in God’s word that will help us know what it means to connect
To further help each one of you along this path, I invite you to think of our harvest dinner next month, and what a great opportunity it will be to connect with people. Hopefully by the end of this sermon, you will all be, at least, wanting to see beyond the Turkey and pie, and stuffing, to know that God has made you to connect with others in order to tell them the Good news.
I know that I have a lot to learn about connecting with others. Though I do my best, I see my own need to grow. But, there are bright spots like last Wednesday when I went to Heaven Health Care to hold worship service. I determined to go armed with my Bible alone, with the desire to connect with them first and then opening up the Scripture. I usually spend only ½ hour there, but that day, I spend an hour. The people in the room were pretty much all opening up to the issues that were laid before them. God will help us to connect. And that is where I long to be, to not have any prearranged speech to give out to people whom I talk with, but in the process to show them that God is mighty.
This does not come easy, yet this is our mission as a church. In preparing for this sermon, I could not help but to think of another Scripture found in the Gospel.
36 He told them this parable: "No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ’The old is better.’"
Luke 5:36-39 NIV
One of the many things that Jesus sought to get across was that a person needs a total transformation when it comes to following Him. Far too often, people are cerebral Christians, knowing a lot of scripture, but not knowing how it is meant to impact their life. And I find this to be true when it comes to connecting with others. By living in the 21st century, in the United States we are so adapted to plans and schedules that we only can seemingly do our best when it is on the agenda.