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Summary: Exposing the truth of the way of the master

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OPENING STORY:

“I heard (this story) from a man who works with the down-and-out in Chicago: he stated A prostitute came to me in wretched straits, homeless, sick, unable to buy food for her two-year-old daughter. Through sobs and tears, she told me she had been renting out her daughter – two years old… She made more renting out her daughter for an hour than she could earn on her own in a night. She had to do it, she said, to support her own drug habit. I could hardly bear hearing her sordid story… I had no idea what to say to this woman.

At last I asked if she had ever thought of going to a church for help. I will never forget the look of pure, naïve shock that crossed her face. “Church!” she cried, “Why would I ever go there? I was already feeling terrible about myself. They’d just make me feel worse.”

What struck me about this story is that women much like the prostitute fled toward Jesus, not away from him. The worse a person felt about herself, the more likely she saw Jesus as a refuge. I Wonder Has the church lost that gift? Evidently the down-and-out, who flocked to Jesus when he lived on earth, no longer feel welcome among his followers.”

INTRO: Something is wrong in the church today!

• We’ve forgotten all about God’s Amazing Grace! We have been infiltrated with the Pharasee Spirit . I was watching and listening one day to a service from a mega church that knew little of the grace of God.

• When they sang the famous old hymn, they actually changed the words to: “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved someone like me.”

• The pastor said right from the pulpit, “If I ever ask you how you’re doing, I don’t want to hear about all of your problems. I want you to say: Bless God, I’m on top and rising!” They didn’t understand grace. And was operating by a spirit of the pharasee,

I recently discovered a book that radically revolutionized my understanding of Christianity. It’s called “The Ragamuffin Gospel.”

QUOTE: (Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel).

“The Ragamuffin Gospel was written with a specific reading audience in mind. This book is not for the super-spiritual… It is not for legalists who would rather surrender control of their souls to rules rather than run the risk of living in union with Jesus…

The Ragamuffin Gospel was written for the bedraggled, beat-up, and burnt-out… It is for the wobbly and weak-kneed who know they don’t have it altogether and are too proud to accept the handout of amazing grace… It is for poor, weak, sinful men and women with hereditary faults and limited talents… It is for the bent and the bruised who feel that their lives are a great disappointment to God… it is for anyone who has grown weary and discouraged along the way.”

However, the one quote that impacted me the most was this one: “Morton Kelsey wrote: The Church is not a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners.”

OPENING TEXT:

“Jesus said, "Healthy people don’t need a doctor – sick people do…” For I have come to call sinners, not those who think they are already good enough.” (Matthew 9:12-13, NLT).

BIBLE STORY: Why do so few people really understand God’s grace?

This is a problem they had in the early church as well. The Spirit of the Pharasee!

Acts 15:1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.

Acts 15:2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.

Acts 15:3 And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.

Acts 15:4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.

Acts 15:5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.

Acts 15:6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.

Acts 15:7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.

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