Summary: Christianity is not a spectator sport.

Matthew 9:35-38

“Messy People Joining Hands”

By: Rev. Ken Sauer, Pastor--Grace United Methodist Church, Soddy Daisy, TN

As we saw in the video we watched earlier and as we see in our Gospel Lesson for this morning, we, the Church are called to go outside!!!

Recently, a friend told her daughter about a church burning down.

Confused, the child furrowed her brow and asked, “If a church is not a building, but a group of people, how can you burn down a church?”

To those of us living in 21st Century America, we are prone to think of the church as the building, but to that false model the Apostle Paul announces in Acts Chapter 17: “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.”

Jesus taught us that God lives inside of people, you and I, and that our bodies are the temple of God!

That means that wherever you are…

…wherever I am…

…there is the Church!!!

What a huge responsibility!

What a huge privilege!!!

For Jesus said, “On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it.”

We need not be afraid of those who can kill the body.

We need not be afraid of those who might get angry when we share the message of Christ.

We need not be afraid of standing up for the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

The gates of hell will not overcome us.

The minions of hell will not win!

Rather, be afraid of not sharing the Gospel, because Jesus is Lord and Jesus wins!

Jesus calls us to make followers of Jesus Christ to change the world!

Jesus calls us to be people living with ‘Messy Lives’ who join hands with other ‘Messy People’ to follow Jesus!!!

Are we doing this, or is church just a building to us?

Are we hiding inside our building—afraid to go outside and offer Christ to a lost, broken and dying world?

Christianity was never meant to be a spectator sport, but so often we treat it like one.

I don’t know about you but I love to go and watch professional baseball.

My parents live across the Ohio River from Reds Stadium.

To go to a game, all you have to do is walk less than half a mile, over a bridge and into the stadium.

When we lived in Georgia, we used to occasionally go see Atlanta Braves games.

Now that we live in Chattanooga, we enjoy taking Mary Ellen out to AT&T Field to cheer on the Lookouts.

Mary Ellen especially likes the Choo Choo train and the fireworks!

Avid baseball fans arrive at the stadiums hours before the games, carrying coolers and wearing team shirts and hats.

Many of these fans look as if they haven’t played sports themselves since high school.

Watching professional sports requires a lot of eating and standing in lines for the bathrooms.

Occasionally something exciting happens on the field, and people spill beer as they stand to cheer the player who has just scored one for the team.

But as Christians, were we made to be spectators or players—fans or followers?

Being a fan of Jesus is not the same as being a follower.

You and I are invited to step up from the crowd of the curious to join the team of the committed!

Jesus’ ministry was a living out of the good news…

…and as followers or apprentices of Jesus…

…this is our calling as well!!!

In our Gospel Lesson for this morning we see that Jesus “went through all the towns and villages, teaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

In other words, “Jesus was outside preaching the good news and when He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they had such ‘messy lives.’

They were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

The word which is used for compassion here is the strongest word for pity in the Greek language.

It describes the compassion which moves people to the depths of their being!

Jesus was moved to the depths of His being when He saw—the crowd of ordinary people--living with ‘messy lives.’

Jesus was moved to the depths of His being when Jesus saw you and I.

Jesus is moved to the depths of His being when Jesus sees all the other folks living around us with ‘messy lives.’

And we, the Body of Christ on this earth, are called to be moved to the depths of our being when we see our fellow human beings…

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