Summary: The church is the family of God. What are our family values? Love, acceptance and forgiveness. Morton Kelsey wrote, “The church is not a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners.” What does that mean?
OUR FAMILY VALUES: LOVE, ACCEPTANCE AND FORGIVENESS
INTRODUCTION: Welcome to our ‘family’. Every family has different values. Some families are really big on sports, others music, etc. What are our family values at Firestorm?
“Jesus said, "’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ’You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39).
I. THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS:
(a) The ACCEPTING Nature of Jesus:
“As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, "Follow Me." So he arose and followed Him. Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, "Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" When Jesus heard that, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ’I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Matthew 9:9-13).
QUOTE: “Jesus hung around with sinners, and if we’re too holy to allow people to blow smoke in our faces, then we’re holier than Jesus was… Love acceptance, forgiveness. Those three things are absolutely essential to any ministry that will consistently bring people to maturity and wholeness.” (Jerry Cook, from his book Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness).
PERSONAL TESTIMONY: When I was first saved, I experienced the unconditional love and acceptance of my church family. If it wasn’t for that, I don’t know that I would have stuck around.
Morton Kelsey wrote, “The church is not a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners.”
(b) The HELPING Nature of Jesus:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed.” (Luke 4:18).
QUOTE: “When love, acceptance and forgiveness prevail, the church becomes what Jesus was in the world: a center of love, designed for the healing of broken people, and a force for God… One of the greatest services a church can offer a community is to provide a place for people to be brought to wholeness – to be healed physically, spiritually and emotionally… People are fragmented. They are torn. Life doesn’t work for them because they are without Jesus... They need a place to be healed.” (Jerry Cook).
(c) The GENTLE Nature of Jesus:
“Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen. He is my Beloved, and I am very pleased with him. I will put my Spirit upon him… He will not crush those who are weak, or quench the smallest hope, until he brings full justice with his final victory.” (Matthew 12:18, 20).
QUOTE: “Often hobbling through our church doors on Sunday morning comes grace on crutches – sinners still unable to throw away their false supports and stand upright in the freedom of the children of God. Yet, their mere presence at church on Sunday morning is a flickering candle representing a desire to maintain contact with God. To douse the flame is to plunge them into a world of spiritual darkness.” (Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel).
II. THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS:
(a) Jesus said that love is a sign of TRUE DISCIPLESHIP.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35).
(b) Jesus calls us to love others the way He loves us - UNCONDITIONALLY.
“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:12-13).
III. THE STORIES OF JESUS:
(a) The Parable of the Lost Sheep: Jesus came to seek and save SINNERS.
“Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.” (Matthew 18:10-13).