Sermons

Summary: To challenge to community of faith to a deeper (and more authentic) level of corporate relationship.

Mushrooms or Maple Trees:

Spiritual Growth as God Intended

Sermon #8

Sermon Objective: To challenge to community of faith to a deeper (and more authentic) level of corporate relationship.

PRE-SERVICE INTRODUCTION

We are in a sermon series called Mushrooms and Maple Trees. Mushrooms sprout up overnight and then wither away in a matter of days. Maple trees, on the other hand, grow gradually while learning to withstand the forces of nature that threaten their existence. They result in a majestic fruit bearing entity that lasts for generations.

So it is with people who follow Christ. Unfortunately some wither away very rapidly; but others grow deep and strong and produce the fruit of life that God designed for them.

In chapter 8 and 9 of Mark we are discovering elements of a Christ-follower that produce this depth and substance to life.

Just as Jesus was preparing and grooming the first disciples to be Maple Trees so we will discover that as we apply the lessons to our lives we, too, will grow in kind. Maple Tree style followers live lives that please God.

In past weeks we discovered that a life that pleases God is:

1. A life that follows Him Personally (8:27-33)

2. A life that follows Him in Full Surrender (8:34-38)

3. A life that follows Him in Obedience (9:1-8)

4. A life that follows Him in Close Connectedness (9:14-29)

5. A life that follows Him in Humility (9:30-35)

6. A life that follows Him by Welcoming Others (9:30-50)

7. A life that follows Him in Purity (9:41-50)

Today we will discover that a life that pleases God is a LIFE THAT FOLLOWS HIM IN COMMUNITY (9: 50)

Mk 9:50 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”

This portion of the Gospel ends on a high note … Jesus brings His disciples full-circle and back to His ideal for His people.

In John’s Gospel Jesus says: By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another. (John 13:35)

Jesus is encourages His disciples not to lose that characteristic which the entire world needs. Like salt, love is a seasoning and a preservative. Life would be grand and the world spared if God’s love reigned.

“Be at peace with one another.”

Is that too much for Jesus to ask of His followers? Was Jesus naïve? Was he too idealistic? There can be no peace with one another when there is

• Ambition

• Rivalry

• A desire for prominence

• Finger pointing

• A lack of concern for others

• And an excusing / rationalizing sinful behavior

All of these are addressed in chapter 9. Just as Jesus said instructed them earlier in the book, loving your neighbor as yourself will go a long way in bringing reconciliation and harmony.

Peace can only come when we are purified in our inner self and seeking God’s will.

Can we state in positively? The marks of greatness in the kingdom of God are these:

• To learn to treat everyone the same, without respect of persons

• To take life and humanity seriously

• Be concerned to bless others, and not harm them or injure them

• Judge yourself and to deal drastically with the things in your own heart which are wrong

Fellowships that God uses are fellowships that contain a sense of community … and there can be no COMMUNITY without UNITY.

It breaks God’s heart whenever the body is fractured, angry, suspicious, resentful, and harboring grudges.

“Be at peace with one another.” Again I ask … Is that too much for Jesus to ask of His followers?

God’s Spirit gives us the power and motivation to deal with these things and put them aside. Unless this is done it is a misnomer to call ourselves “The People of God.”

For the past 18 months or so your church board has been wrestling with who we are. We have been attempting to take the mission statement that was on the wall in the foyer and boil it down to something memorable and doable. We think we’re about there. We’re close enough that we want to share it with you and ask you to wrestle with it too.

It is particularly pertinent with this sermon.

• We think the best way to describe our congregation is “family.”

• It also offers many elements of what it means to be “The People of God.”

• However, if we are not really a spiritual family and united then we are lying to ourselves, our community, and to God.

Potsdam Church of the Nazarene: Taking the Gospel to the world by being the FAMILY of God.

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