Summary: We cannot force people to come to Christ; but, we must let them come by providing opportunities for them to witness the power of God in our lives.
Mark 8: 31 – 38 / Let Them
Intro: It was 1928. A man was at the side of the road working on his Ford auto that he couldn’t get to run. --- A new Ford pulled up, out stepped a well-dressed gentleman in a derby with a cane. He looked at the engine and suggested, “If you’ll adjust this screw here, you car will run.” The man reluctantly adjusted the screw and when he attempted to start it the car sprang to life. In amazement the man turned to the stranger and said, “Just who are you anyway?” The man stuck out his hand and said, “The name’s Ford, my boy. Henry Ford! I made that car! I ought to know what makes it run.
I. Christ Jesus came into this world to tap us on our shoulder and say, “If it’s not working, listen to me! I made you! I know what makes you run! I know what makes life work!”
A. Vs. 34 – “If anyone would come after me, let them . . . “Deny themselves. The Lord wants us to give up everything we are holding onto that might keep us from focusing totally on Him
B. He will ask you for the one thing you said you would never give up. Do we want the kind of relationship that acknowledges the sacrifice He made for us, but doesn’t want to even think about the sacrifices we need to make for Him?
C. God knows the very thing that keeps you from focusing fully on what He wants you to do. That is why he asks you to let go of it.
II. The people to whom Jesus spoke fell into 3 categories. Those same categories exist today.
A. The curious – show up to church, don’t tithe, don’t get involved. They will forever be on the outside, looking in. Observers.
B. The convinced – faithful in attendance and giving. They know ABOUT Jesus; but, do not know him personally. They know God is real; but, are too busy or more involved in other things they feel are more important.
C. The committed – those who have made a decision to walk daily with Christ no matter the consequence. Christ Jesus and ministry are THE TOP PRIORITY of their lives.
III. I once read about those who opened the tomb of Charlemagne in the 1800s. They found his body in a sitting position, clothed in elaborate royal garments with a scepter in one hand and on his knee lay the Bible with his finger pointing to Mark 8:36
A. “For what good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” Like Christ Jesus, we must learn to shut down our clamoring ego; get rid of our preoccupation with “I,” “Me,” and “Mine.”
B. Putting ourselves deliberately in a position where Christ is not only our Savior; but, also our Lord! ---- The life that costs nothing will accomplish nothing!
C. The mark of a real Christian is their dependence on Christ Jesus and allowing him to lead them, no matter what direction it happens to be.
Conclu: The world is looking at us. Society is watching us seeking Jesus through us. They want to see Jesus. They don’t want to get caught up in our church politics, or see our beautiful building or even hear our wonderful pipe organ. They don’t want to hear you gossiping about other church members. They don’t want to hear your personal opinions of the pastor or the programs. THEY WANT TO SEE JESUS! PEOPLE NEED THE LORD!
I will conclude this sermon by singing “People Need The Lord” Greg Nelson & Phill McHugh.