Summary: Do we believe that God is relevant to the needs of today? Do we believe that God is applicable to our needs today? If we believe that God is the solution, then what are we doing about it?
Today there is a lot of talk about churches needing to be relevant. What that usually means for those who might believe this way is that churches must change their style – change their music, change their preaching, change their approach, change their methods to fit the culture around it so that they can minister to today's world and not the world of yesterday (or the world as it was 30-40-50 years ago).
There may be many of you here today that either strongly agree or strongly disagree with that position. My goal is not to debate this issue with you, in fact I don't think that the church being relevant is as much the issue as we think it is. See these things, I believe, are not the main problem. These are cosmetic issues that deal primarily with communicating the Gospel to a world we have trouble reaching... so we feel we have to change our approach or method to meet them where they are.
However, I think the main question is not is the church relevant today but do we believe God is relevant today? Do we believe that God is relevant to the needs of today? Do we believe that the God of the Old and New Testament... the God of the Bible... the God of holiness and justice and grace... the God of wrath and judgment and the God who is also love, mercy, and forgiveness... Do we believe that God is applicable to our needs today? Is He relevant to our modern-day-thinking? Is He relevant to our modern-day-problems? Is He relevant to our modern-day-situations?
Because as we answer that question it should shape how we minister. It should drive us with compassion to reach a lost and dying world... the same compassion that God showed us through His Son. If we believe that God is the solution, then what are we doing about it?
As I prepared this message, riots are going on in Ferguson, reporters are being beheaded in Iraq, Christians are being slaughtered, families driven out of their homes to starve in the desert on a barren mountain, reports of unrest and bloodshed in several parts of the World, political scandal, racial tension, warfare, terrorism, threats, and not knowing what's going to happen tomorrow. Greg was talking to me about the news the other day of a woman being tied to two different cars and ripped apart. Hostages lined up and shot, executed. Bodies thrown in trenches similar to the holocaust of Germany during WWII.
But someone dares to ask, “Is God relevant for today?”
As I speak to you today, there are millions of people directly or indirectly affected by some form of cancer... terminal or otherwise. As I speak today, there are millions of people living unashamedly outside of God's will, doing what God's Word specifically says not to. We used to have a phrase, “Living in sin.” Why did we say it? Because we used to understand and care about God's standard. But now marriage is whatever we want it to be, life is whatever we want it to be, a family is whatever we want it to be. There are no words that are considered foul or filthy. There are no lifestyles that are considered taboo or socially unacceptable. We pretty much live under the clause “Everything is permissible.” And the moral code is thrown out the window. Everything is subjective.
There's a lot of questions about the future. A lot of uncertainty. A lot of anxiety. A lot of dis-trust.
More people could be turning to God's Word for answers, are instead turning to escapes or just turning the channel... turning a blind eye. Many are forming opinions but have no solutions.
I want to tell you that I don't come to you with an opinion this morning.
I come to you with the solution – This World needs God! This World needs Jesus!
Relevant means this: closely connected or appropriate to the matter at hand. Pertinent. Related. Needed. Something so closely tied to the subject that if left out, we don't have the full story, the full solution, the full meaning. Is God relevant to what we are going through? You bet He is!
Today I want to talk to you about how the church can be relevant because we believe God is relevant!
How do we make the World see that God is the solution, that Jesus is the Answer for the World today?
Let's try to answer that right now as we look to God's Word.
Please turn in your Bibles (if you have them) to … Mark chapter six.
Context- Jesus and his disciples are due for a break. Jesus had just lost his cousin, John, to a beheading. The twelve had just come back from a work-and-witness trip to the surrounding villages. And the scripture says that so many people were coming and seeking Jesus that they did not even have a chance to eat. So if you can imagine, they're kind of burnt out, peopled out, used up.