Summary: Does Knowing Your Church's Purpose Statement make a difference in the lives of its people.

Now What--What Difference Will It Make?

NLAC August 31st, 2014 Psalm 15:1-5 Matthew 7:13-27

We are completing our series on “We Accept The Job—Our Mission.” The job we accepted was to love others, to teach the word, to reach the world and to support it all with our giving of our money and our abilities. Now that we have heard the messages, I ask the question, “now what—will it make a difference.” Is your life going to be any different come September than it was in the first part of the year.

Will you be more likely to reach out to someone you don’t know at church or school at work. Will you decide to become a part of one of the small group bible studies to learn the word in order to teach it? Are you going to be more willing to pass out a church card, add a bumper sticker to your car, or simply invite someone to church or to get to know someone as a person? Are you going to give financially as a generous person and are you wrestling with what ministry can yor do, or will be more willing to do it more effectively? Is the fruit that is going to start flowing out of your life going to be sweeter and more productive than it was before? It takes work to produce the right fruit?

Have you ever been around someone the who wanted a job, but had little desire to work. You may have asked them, “why did you take this job?”. I remember the last time I got in an actual fist fight. It was back in eleventh grade, the summer before by senior year. I had a job working for the forestry division at the dam system. Each spring the water from the melted snow would cause the reservoirs to fill up and when they went back down, tree branches would be left behind on the sloping rocks. I had a co-worker name Doug.

Our job was to remove the branches off the rock. Our boss would take us out in the hills and tell us what to do and leave us alone until it was time to quit for the day. As soon as he was gone, Doug would take out a book, lay down and start reading. One day I had enough of this lazy joker. I didn’t want to tell the boss on him. I told Doug to get up and help do the job. He told me, he was not killing himself for anybody. I said, “get up and help”. We began shouting at each other. I remember punching Doug in the face real hard. All I remember after that is that Doug started to help out a lot more even when the boss was gone.

Even though Doug had accepted the job, he really had very little intention of doing the work. Somehow that spirit that was in Doug, has found itself in the life of the church. There are people who want to sign up to follow Christ, but have little intention of doing much work. Like Doug, they are happy to sit back and let others do most of the work, and then accept credit for the work they did not do. They falsely believe, all that’s required to produce fruit is to show up in the building.

Can you imagine meeting a person having an illness who goes to the hospital once every week. You ask the person, what do they do to help you at the hospital? What would you think if the person said, “Oh all I do is go and sit in the emergency room for two hours. After that I get me some coffee and leave.” We come to church because we have been bruised and battered by sin and the influence of this world. In our true worship, God washes the effects of sin off of us and points us in a new direction.

I have seen several people wearing a t-shirt that has bold letters, “Nobody can judge me, but God.” Are they saying, “I get to live like I want to live and you have nothing to say about it? Are they saying, “I’m so right, that only God can know I’m right in my choices.” “Are they saying only God can tell me what’s right and what’s wrong?” By God telling them, do they mean a booming voice out of the sky?

One of the most misunderstood and misquoted verses in the bible is “Judge not, lest you be judged.” The verse is not saying, don’t judge anything. It’s saying the level you use to judge others, will also be applied to you. So if I judge you for being racist, and then turn around and be racist then I’m guilty. Let me ask you something, if you were in the parking lot at a grocery store alone which would make you more nervous. Three white males teens coming towards you or three black male teenagers with drooping pants coming towards you. Why “if a white person says black mechanics are inferior to white mechanics”, you get all upset. But then when your friend says, I went to get my car fix and it still is not working, you have no problem saying, “did you take it to one of us. I knew it.” You see it’s possible to judge others and not recognize you have the same problem.

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