Summary: Jesus called us to love God and love people
THE CHURCH JESUS BUILDS
Part 2-Heart to God & Hand to Man
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Pastor Brian Matherlee
“I think that I shall never see A church that’s all it ought to be; A church that has no empty pews, Whose preacher never has the blues; A church whose deacons always “deke”, And none is proud but all are meek; Where gossips never peddle lies Or make complaints or criticize; Where all are always sweet and kind And all to other’s faults are blind.
“Such perfect churches there may be, But none of them are known to me. But still we’ll work, and pray and plan To make our church the best we can! If you could find the perfect church, Without one fault or smear, For goodness sake, don’t join that church - You’d spoil the atmosphere. If you should find the perfect church, Then don’t you ever dare To tread upon such holy ground - You’d be a misfit there.
“But since no perfect church exists, made of imperfect men, Then let’s cease looking for that church and love the one we’re in. Of course it’s not a perfect church - that’s simple to discern - But you and I and all of us could cause the tide to turn.”
James 1:27 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
• Notice the two fold nature of our Christian calling—to live right and to do for others.
As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
• Jesus was sent by God, He said, and in turn was sending us the same way.
As we are sent by Jesus into this world we must consider 3 conditions:
1. The Condition of our heart
a. Holy people in this sense are set apart by their practices
i. In Deuteronomy 28:9 we see God established the nation of Israel as a holy people.
ii. Paul refers to the early church as “God’s holy people” in Ephesians 5:3.
iii. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.”
— Jonathon Edwards
iv. Dr. David Wells (GCTS) observes, "Worldliness is what makes sin look normal in any age and righteousness seem odd."
b. We are to be set apart by our purposes
i. Moses was set apart for the purpose of leading Israel out of Egypt
ii. Paul was set apart for ministry among the gentiles.
iii. We are to follow the “summary commandment” or the “Great Commandment”—“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)
2. The Condition of the world
a. “Jesus pictured his disciples, defenseless in themselves, located in a dangerous environment. This is where he was sending them. The shepherd in this metaphor sends his sheep into the wolf pack. Therefore they must be "shrewd" (GK G5861; i.e., prudent) as serpents. But prudence can easily degenerate into cheap cunning unless it goes with simplicity. The disciples must therefore be innocent as well, toward both God and outsiders.” (Pradis, Zondervan Bible Study Commentary)
b. “In this light the dove image becomes clear. Doves are retiring but not astute; they are easily ensnared by the fowler. So Jesus’ disciples, in their mission as sheep among wolves, must be "shrewd," avoiding conflicts and attacks where possible; but they must also be "innocent," i.e., not so cautious, suspicious, and cunning that circumspection degenerates into fear or elusiveness.” (Pradis, Zondervan Bible Study Commentary)
c. The world is opposed to:
i. The exclusiveness of our message
ii. The practice of our message
iii. The simplicity of our message (everybody wants to do something—that way, they are in control—and Christianity is about God doing)
3. The Conditions of our work
a. Salt and light—we are to be examples for people and we are to proclaim the truth to people.
b. We are to hold the Gospel as precious (“pearl of great price”)
c. We are to be wise how and when to share the precious Gospel. (“do not throw your pearls to pigs.”)
d. To serve
i. “But made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant.” Philippians 2:6
ii. Matthew 10:26, “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, Mt 20:27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—Mt 20:28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”