Because We Love And We Care
10/29/2000 Proverbs 1:8-19 I John 3:16-20 Text Luke 10:25-37
Today we enter the challenge phase our New Life Campaign. One of our reasons for building the New Life Center is because we love and we care. Our first love is our love for God, for the Scriptures tells us to Love the Lord our God with all our heart, our soul and our strength. Our God is not some creative cosmos out there somewhere. Our God is personal, warm, and a daily living reality in our lives.
Love for God is not some fuzzy feeling inside, but it is demonstrated in our obedience to do the things the Lord calls us to do. To say we love God, and not have it affect the choices we make and the way we live is the equivalent of denying who God is. We care about how our actions affect the heart of God.
Our second love is for people. Loving people is proof of our love for Jesus Christ. There was nothing more important on this earth to Jesus than people. Jesus came into this world because he loved and cared about people. He then set a standard for all of us to follow as was read in our New Testament text. "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters."
At the heart of the New Life Campaign is a willingness to lay down part of our lives for the next three years in order to bring life into the lives of others. Jesus says in John 12:24-25 "I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The one who loves his life will lose it, while the who who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
By our willingness to sacrifice now, we will grow tremendously in the Lord and make it possible for a lot of people to come into a relationship with Christ. The thing about the Lord, is that when there is a willingness to die or sacrifice on our part, he provides an abundance in ways we cannot have foreseen. Even when it comes to money, the Lord says, "honor the Lord with your wealth and your barns will be filled to overflowing. (Proverbs 3:9-10). Jesus put it this way in Mark 10:29-30 "I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields).
God is loving and caring for us, years in advance of our response to Him because of the relationship he wants to have with us. God is also very concerned about the relationships we have with each other. When there is a break in the horizontal relationships we have with each other, there is a problem with the vertical relationship we have with God. One proof of our love for God, is the way we are willing to sacrifice on behalf of each other. If our sacrifice does not involve helping someone else, there is no sacrifice.
For instance if you were down to your last $100, if you said Lord, I’m going to sacrifice this $100 dollar bill to you. If you then took it and burned it up in the fire as an offering to the Lord it would not be a sacrifice. It would be stupidity. With all the needs in the world that the $100 could have impacted, what you have done is simply religious foolishness. Now if you took that same $100 and out of compassion gave it to someone who was worse off than you, that $100 became a sacrifice that was acceptable to God. It’s not possible to have a sacrifice without intending to benefit someone else.
Loving somebody always involves a sacrifice. The amount of sacrifice required let’s us know just how much we truly love. This is why we categorize people into family, friends, associates, acquaintances, and strangers. This allows us to feel pretty good about ourselves as Christians. We believe our obligations to each group continually decreases until we reach the point where for some people we do not have to do anything for them, even speak to them, because of where they fall in our categories of people. Yet we can say, oh yes I love everybody in the world for the most part.
There’s only one problem. That problem is Jesus. Before we discuss the Jesus problem let’s meet a couple of people. Father Jackson is a wonderful Jewish priest. He does his best to live according to the rules for a priest. His time has finally come when he will be serving at the temple. It’s an honor to be the priest on duty. He has made sure he followed all the rules to be considered clean when he enters the temple. His family is so very proud of him. They cannot wait for him to return home and let them know how his turn in serving at the temple went They have all waited for this day to happen. Father Jackson is so excited he traveles by himself to make it to his post.
Meet Robert who is like a lay pastor at the temple. He assists the priest in whatever help they might need. Robert is held in high esteem by the people. Without Robert’s group assistance, the priest would be severely hampered in their work at the temple. Robert assists in the sacrifices the people bring to the temple. He is a hard working guy. He loves his job. He also is running against the clock to make it on time for work. Robert looks as committed to the Lord as they come. Robert went into parts of the temple most of the people could not enter. He is always looking for ways to help out at the temple.
Meet Andre. Andre has never been in the parts of the temple Robert had entered. Andre is not even welcomed at the temple. Father Jackson and Robert would have considered Andre some kind of outcast because of his race. Andre does not appreciate the way he is treated by the Jewish race. He has every reason in the world to be bitter against them. All the jokes, the put downs, the don’t touch me, the separation and segregation he and his people had gone through at the hand of their enemies.
Meet Jacob. When Jacob gets up, he is feeling pretty good. He has gotten paid in the big city and was waiting to make an impression on those back home. He had been to the temple while he was there in Jerusalem after all he was a Jew. Today is going to be a good one. He could feel it inside. So much so, he put on some of his best clothing, tucks his money in a hidden pouch, and heads out alone. He can not wait for his friends to see him now. Before the day is over, all four of these men will have something in common.
Now let’s get back to that problem of Jesus. Remember what I said about family, friends, associates, acquaintances and strangers. Well, Jesus never makes this distinction when it comes to love. Jesus has this one all encompassing word called neighbor. There was guy who was very religious, and who wanted to prove to Jesus and to everybody else that he had kept the commandment to love his neighbor as himself. You see he cared a lot for his neighbor on the left side of his house, and the right side of his house and the front and back side of his house.
He was saying, "now Jesus I know I love and I care", but exactly who is my neighbor. What the man is attempting to do is to get Jesus to define the line between those who I need to concern myself with loving and caring, and those who I have no obligation to whatsoever because they are beyond the commandment. In other words, where does my call to make a sacrifice ends. What’s the least amount I can do. I’m willing to obey God, but I do not want to go overboard with my obedience or my sacrifice.
Jesus said, let me tell you something. Now we all know that the road from Jerusalem to Jericho is about 21 miles long. That thing has so many twists and turns in it that robbers hide along the bends just waiting for some unsuspecting soul to come along. It’s even got the nickname, "The Way Of Blood" because so many people have lost their lives traveling alone on that road."
Well this guy by the name of Jacob, is on his way home with his paycheck. His day suddenly turns sour when he turns a bend and sees three guys with sticks smiling at him. He turns to run back only to see three more guys who have jumped out behind him."
They strip him of his nice clothes and then they beat him. They are all Jews so they did not kill him. They left him half dead for the elements of nature to finish him off. This way they could say, they did not kill him. They ran off with his money. It wasn’t that long before Father Jackson comes along on his way to serve at his temple assignment. Now he sees the man lying on the road, but he does not know whether Jacob is dead or alive. If he touches Jacob, and he is dead, Father Jackson will be unclean and unable to serve his assignment. Rather than take a chance on missing the opportunity to serve the Lord in the temple, he quickly crosses to the other side of the road and keeps going as fast as possible.
It was not long before Robert the lay pastor comes by the area. The moment he sees Jacob, he is reminded of the dangers of traveling on the Way of The Blood. Not knowing if the guys who had beaten up the man are still around, Robert wants to make sure he gets out of there in time to get to work at the temple. He never gets close enough to see if Jacob was still alive or dead. It was not his fault the man was there, and he might only put himself at risk by getting involved. He too crosses over to the other side. After all, the man might not even be Jewish.
Finally Andre comes down the road, but unlike the others, he does not stop at the safe point where he sees Jacob. He goes over and stands next to Jacob. He is close enough to tell, that Jacob was from the very race that had constantly put him down. But the closer he leans to Jacob, he is moved to compassion and has pity on him. Luke 10:34-35 He goes to him and bandages his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he puts the Jacob on his own donkey, takes him to an inn and takes care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ’Look after him,’ he said, ’and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
Jesus then asks the man who wanted to justify his limited circle of love, "was it Father Jackson, Robert, or Andre the Samaritan, who was a neighbor to Jacob who had been beaten by the robbers." You see three of the men were Jews. Andre was a Samaritan. The man Jesus was speaking to was a Jew. The Jews and Samaritans hated and despised each other for the most part. The man Jesus was speaking to could not bring himself to say the Samaritan. Instead he said the "the one who had mercy on him."
In telling this story, Jesus has issued a tremendous stewardship challenge to all or us. No longer is the neighbor simply someone near us, the neighbor is anyone who is in need that Jesus sends across our path. It cost Andre the Samaritan to be able to say, "I Love and I Care."
„± He went to him: Andre had to take the initiative in reaching out the man. It meant a change in his plan, his schedule and his time table. He became personally involved with the man. As Christians we cannot simply wait for those who do not know Christ to come to us for assistance. We need to be willing to go to them with a message of healing and of hope.
The man Jacob was not a pretty sight to look at first, but he was still a person created in the image of God. Some of the people who do not look real good to us, may be the ones God is calling us to help. At some point in our lives, we need to vow to stop crossing over to the other side of the road to avoid others. Doing religious things is never a substitute for loving people.
ƒnƒnƒnƒnƒnƒnƒnƒnƒn He bound up his wounds: Andre could see the life that was seeping out of the man. He sacrificed his time to be willing to minister to the man. When we listen to the pain of other people, we have a solution that can help them get beyond the hurts they have experienced in life. That solution is none other than Jesus Christ. People are going through all kinds of problems and carrying all kinds of burdens. Jesus says, come to me all you who are weary and heavy burdened and I will you rest.
ƒnƒnƒnƒnƒnƒn He poured oil and wine into his wounds: Andre sacrificed the little things he had on him. Sure he was planning on using the oil and wine for something else. When he left home that morning, he had not planned to find someone beat up and left for half dead on the Jerusalem road. Whatever he was planning on doing with it, he decided, it would have to wait. Here was a chance to make a difference to save a life. Each day, if we keep our eyes open, we will see a chance God is granting us to make a difference in someone’s life. The oil and wine was something small, but it sure made a difference to Jacob’s pain.
He set him on his own beast: Andre sacrificed some of his own personal comfort. Obviously the donkey was not going to be able to carry them both. We do not know how close he was to an Inn, but he had to walk in order to get there. There are things we at times think we could never do without, but in reality they are not necessities, just luxuries that have been redefined by us. If we think of all the things we say we have to have or need to have, we’d be surprised at all the things we could let go.
He provided rooming for him: Andre sacrificed some of his long term savings. Andre made a significant financial contribution not knowing if he would be repaid by the man or not. His actions were not based on what he was guaranteed to get back, but rather on being compassionate on another person. He gave the inn keeper two silver coins. In that day, that would have been enough to provide between 24 to 48 days of room and board. At $45 a day for a cheap hotel room and $12 a day for breakfast, lunch and dinner at McDonalds, that would come to between $1368 dollars on the low end to about $2600 on the high end. All this for somebody he barely knew.
He took care of him: Andre sacrificed his right to not get involved. He made sure the man was going to have the opportunity to become whole and well again. He looked after him personally and offered to be there for him in the future. He committed his future resources if they were going to be needed. He told the inn keeper I will reimburse you if what I have given to you is not going to be enough.
Stewardship is not just about money. It involves our attitude about God, about ourselves and about people. Because we love and we care can only become meaningful in our lives when we are willing to reconsider our priorities and make changes to be the most available for the cause of Christ. As a church, there will be people God calls us to invest in, in which we will not see a return on our investment, but that does not mean a return is not being made.
The investment we made in our radio broadcast had a role in Pat and Britney Gillam being a part of our church today. The investment we made in our Newspaper the New Life Times had a role in Barbara Whaley and her family being here today. The investment some of you made in opening your home to others have a role in them being in this fellowship of believers today. Every ministry in this church has had an impact on bringing someone into the life of the church for the cause of Christ.
Our New Life Center Campaign is rooted in not us trying to give equal amounts of dollars, but in all of us being equal in our willingness to make a sacrifice. Your role in stopping to minister to just one person may have a greater impact on the successful building of the New Life Center than any other single factor. God is honoring our commitment to win those who are lost for the cause of Christ. There is no sacrifice, unless our sacrifice is impacting others.
In the story Jesus told, we are often so ready to want to be like the good Samaritan, that we forget, there was a time in our lives spiritually when we were like Jacob who had fallen among the thieves of sin. We could not overcome sin, nor could we escape it. It simply left us bruised and dying without hope. Nothing this world had to offer could restore us in our relationship to God. It was only when Jesus came by, and saw us naked and half dead, and had compassion on us that we came to life. This is the point we need to return to in our lives whenever we think, I simply do not have anything I can offer to God. We only love God, because God first loved us.
As it says again in 1 John 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. Why should we be willing to give tithes and offerings? Why should we be willing to pledge to the New Life Center. Only because we love and we care. We Love God and We Care About People.
Jesus Is The Solution--Come To Me All
A. Third--He Poured On Oil And Wine
B. A Little Thing But Big Result
C. Took The Chance To Save A Life
D. Fourth--Sat Him On The Donkey
E. Sacrifice Of Personal Comfort--Had To Walk To The Inn
F. When Luxuries Became Necessities
G. Fifth He Provide Rooming For Him
H. Sacrifice Of Long Term Savings
I. 24-48 Days Of Room & Board
J. $45, $12, $1368, $2600
K. Sixth He Took Care Of Him
L. Sacrificed Right To Not Get Involved
M. Committed Future Resources
N. Whatever Else Is Needed
Stewardship Is More Than Money
A. Attitudes About God, Ourselves, People
B. Love And Care--Forces Changes In Priorities
C. We Are Called To Invest In People
D. Your Investments Today
E. Equal Willingness To Sacrifice
F. Your Little May Bring The Most
We Too Were The One Robbed
A. Left Alone To Die With No Hope
B. Jesus Came Along And Gave Us Hope
C. This Is The Point We Come Back To Before Saying What We Can And Cannot Do
D. 1 Jn 3:16 This is How We Know What Love Is Jesus Christ Laid Down His Life For Us
E. Why Pledge, Why Give,
F. Because We Love And We Care
Sermon Outline Pastor Rick
10/29/2000 Because We Love And We Care
Prov. 1:8-19 1 John 3:16-20 Luke 10:25-37
The Challenge Phase Of The New Life Campaign
A. We Build--Love & Care 2 Ways
B. Love God-Heart, Soul, Body Strength
C. God--Personal, Warm, Daily Reality
D. Love God Affects Choices We Make
E. Love Of People--Proof Of Love Of Christ
F. People Important To Christ
G. Set Standard I John 3:16---Laid Down His Life
Heart Of The New Life Campaign
A. Three Years Of Willingness
B. John 12:24, Unless A Kernel Of Wheat Dies
C. From Single To Many
D. From Death--Comes Life For Many
E. God Honors Sacrifice & Giving
F. Prov. 3:9-10---Honor & Watch Overflow
G. Mark 10:29-30 Give --100 Fold Increase
God Always Has Our Best Interest At Heart
A. Concerned About Our Relationships
B. Break In Horizontal--Trouble In Vertical
C. Sacrifice Involves Helping Someone Else
D. The $100 -Sacrifice Or Religious Foolishness
Love Always Involves A Sacrifice
A. Sacrifice Willingness Defines Love
B. Categories--Family, Friends, Associates, Acquaintances, Strangers
C. Feeling Pretty Good About Ourselves--We Know The Limits
D. Decrease In What We Owe--To Zero Speak
E. Jesus Is A Problem As Usual
A Person Eager To Serve The Lord
A. Father Jackson--Wonderful Jewish Priest
B. Honor To Be A Priest On Duty
C. Clean When He Enters The Temple
D. Family Is Proud Of Him
E. Eager To Get On The Road
Another Person Ready To Help At The Temple
A. Robert The Lay Pastor--Assists
B. Held In High Esteem--Assists With Sacrifices
C. Hard Working---Committed--Privileged
D. Eager To Get To Work
Another Person On The Outside
A. Andre---Never Been In The Temple
B. Not Welcomed By Father Jackson or Robert
C. Treated As An Outcast
D. Tired Of Jokes, Put Downs, Segregation, Separation
E. Reasons To Be Bitter
Jacob -A Person With High Expectations
A. Woke Up Feeling Good--Paycheck In Pocket
B. Jew--Been to The Temple
C. Dress To Impress--Hides Money On His Way Home With Great Expectations
D. Will Meet The Other Three
The Problem Of Jesus
A. Does Not Recognize Family, Friends, Etc
B. Only The Group Called Neighbors
C. Man Wanted To Justify Himself In Love For Neighbors
D. Draw A Line Between My Obligations
E. What Is The Least I Have To Sacrifice
Jesus Tells A Story
A. The 21 Mile Winding Treacherous Road
B. Known For The Robberies--Way Of Blood
C. Jacob--3 Front 3 Behind, Stripped, Beaten
D. Fellow Jews Would Not Kill--1/2 Dead
E. Father Jackson--Temple Assignment- Risk It All And Become Unclean--Miss Opportunity To Serve God In The Temple
F. Robert The Lay Pastor--Sees Jacob
G. Remembers The Dangers Of The Way Of The Blood
H. What If Robbers Still Here--Must Get To The Temple To Serve The Lord
I. Never Got Close Enough
J. Andre---Did Not Stop At The Safe Place
K. Came Close--Leaner Closer-Had Compassion
L. Bandage, Poured Oil & Wine, Put On Donkey
M. To The Inn, The Silver coins, The Account
N. Who Was The Neighbor
O. The One Who Showed Mercy
Jesus Redefines Who Is Our Neighbor
A. Tremendous Stewardship Challenge
B. Who Is It That Needs Me-- That God Sends
Andre Pays A Price To Love And To Care
A .First He Went To Him--Sacrifice of Plans
B . Schedule--Became Personally Involved
C . Can Not Always Wait--Must Go Seek
D . Jacob Not A Pretty Sight At First
E . Second. He Bound His Wounds
F . Sacrifices His Time To Minister
G . Listen To Others Pain--Offer Jesus