Summary: Outreach - A Church Expense or a Church Investment?
Loving Your Neighbor as Yourself
Center Point Baptist Church
May 11, 2005
What is a good investment today? Several strong companies that enjoyed a superior reputation not long ago are now struggling to survive - or have gone bankrupt. Companies like Enron, Nextel, Worldcom, Delta, and United have suffered huge losses. Financial investing has always been risky, and the risk has increased with a volatile world economy
*People all over are trying to find out what the best investments are...
• news shows completely dedicated to money
• the financial section of the newspaper – bigger and more confusing than ever
• the number of investing companies that we’ve never heard of – those companies that don’t have a tangible product
• “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen” – who should we listen to now? They’re out of business!
There is more than just the investment of money –
*The thing about investing is that nothing is ever a sure gainer!
An investment that always provides a positive return is investing in the lives of people for the glory of Christ. Almighty God promises a reward for our service if we stay faithful in serving Christ. Numerous passages of Scripture challenge believers to serve. Some describe the special gifts distributed by the Holy Spirit to equip us for effective ministry.
Read Matthew 20:29-34.
1.) Slow Down
Observe the plea of the men - "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!" – twice, while being rebuked.
• They cried in humility and in prayer; Have mercy on us!
• They cried out with faith in prayer; in the title they gave to Christ, which was in the nature of a plea; O Lord, thou Son of David; they confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
• They persevered in prayer, even through discouragement. The multitude rebuked them.
What did their plea result in? – Jesus stopped!
*Jesus was leaving Jericho and was headed toward a new ministry with a large crowd in tow.
Speak of celebrities and their large crowds – who tend to ignore those in their paths.
The difference in reactions:
• the crowd – wanted to continue uninterrupted – self-centeredness
• Jesus – He stopped – regarded these people as important – selflessness
2.) See the Big Picture
Why did Jesus put a hold on His own plans, when so many others would be unwilling to do so?
Read Philippians 2:3-8.
*Jesus modeled the practice of putting others first!
• He put his own plans on hold.
• He inconvenienced His own crowd of followers by making them wait.
• In doing so, He taught those that would learn the value of servant-leadership!
What did Jesus realize that the crowd did not realize?
Jesus’ investment of time and attention paid off with eternal dividends! – Are you investing yourself in eternal matters?
Read Matthew 20:28.
• Never was there such an example of humility and servanthood as we have in the life of Christ!
• Never was there such an example of beneficence and usefulness as we have in the death of Christ!
1. Jesus Christ laid down his life for a ransom. Our lives were forfeited into the hands of divine justice by sin. Christ, by parting with his life, made atonement for sin, and so rescued ours.
2. It was a ransom for many, sufficient for all, effectual for many; and, if for many, then, saith the poor doubting soul, "Why not for me?’’
*This is a good reason why we should not strive for precedence, because the cross is our banner, and our Master’s death is our life.
*The more we all take heed to, and the more we learn from the humility and humiliation of Christ, the more ready we are to imitate His example.
3.) Serve with Compassion
“Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes” (Matthew 20:34).
*Many seek the applause of men instead of the approval of God.
Jesus did not serve for compensation or for His own benefit. Christ-honoring service is motivated by compassion—not compensation. Our reward has been reserved for us in heaven because no bank on earth could contain the incomparable riches of serving Christ.
Note: Benevolence is not a means unto itself – “they followed Him” – oh, that today, we would consider our children and youth and church ministries not as “expenses,” but as “investments.”