Summary: God has hidden the mystery of the kingdom in the lives of the most needy.
RED LETTERS: Living A Faith That Bleeds
*Introduction: When I Look at the World…
There are key themes – motifs, trends, patterns – at work in our twenty-first century world. We cannot ignore them and live as faithful followers of Jesus. We cannot live the red letters of the gospel without considering issues such as globalization, poverty, slavery, genocide, and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. We must remember that we are global citizens living in a connected world governed by global principles. The horrifying fact is that these diseases and decaying forces are preventable. Poverty is preventable. Slavery is preventable. Genocide is preventable. The HIV/AIDS pandemic is preventable.
As millions of stories accumulate, the Church must do two things. First, the Church must apologize for ignorance and apathy. And second, the Church must not exist in a way that limits motion. The Church must extend reach. This is what a faith that bleeds is all about. This is what it means to live the gospel, to live the red letters.
*How do we typically see Jesus?
Christians need to see Jesus in two ways: Jesus and the world and Jesus and the untouchables. Jesus came to die for the world, the whole world – even the parts of the world ravaged by poverty and HIV/AIDS. Perhaps Jesus came especially for the people in those parts of the world. Jesus came for the untouchables. He is their rescuer, their defender. He takes up their cause.
*Where can Jesus be found?
If we’re focused as Christians on hearing Jesus and seeing Jesus, then we must ask one critical question: where can Jesus be found?
Mother Theresa has said that we see the eyes of Jesus in the eyes of the untouchables. This is Jesus in disguise. God has hidden the mystery of the kingdom in the lives of the most needy. We can find Jesus in the eyes of real people.
*Our revolutionary response
Our response cannot be inadequate & calloused, ignorant & apathetic. Our revolutionary response must be one of obedience, transformation, compassion, and justice.
*A Bleeding Hope
This revolution invites you and me to Jesus’s faith that bleeds. We are caught up in a story soaked with hope.
Blood has great significance in our Christian faith. It was part of the atoning work of Jesus’s sacrifice at Calvary. This blood is represented by the wine (juice) during the Eucharist, Holy Communion, and the Lord’s Supper. Blood also represents injury and need of course. Remember the horrific themes of our world, we come face to face with the casualties of depravity, disease, and decay. But more than all this: blood represents life. It’s not only through Jesus’s death that we are brought into right relationship with God, but it is through his life! Blood sustains and nourishes life. This is why we must live the gospel. We must live a faith and a hope that bleeds.
*Conclusion: How do you see the world?
How should we respond when we’ve encountered issues such as globalization, poverty, slavery, genocide, and the HIV/AIDS pandemic? How should we react when looking into the eyes of Jesus and the eyes of those injured and in need.
Join the 5 for 50 Campaign. Make a commitment that because Christ ‘bleeds’ (lives and dies and lives again!) for you, you will ‘bleed’ for the 50 million children orphaned by HIV/AIDS on our planet.
1. Pray for five minutes each day for those effected by HIV/AIDS.
2. Fast for five hours each week for those effected by HIV/AIDS.
3. Serve those effected by HIV/AIDS for five days each year.
4. Give $5 each month to the Fivefor50 Campagin and support ministries that focus on the victims of this pandemic.
5. Invite five people to join you in this journey.
Note: There are many stories and extensive Scripture references throughout Tom Davis’s Red Letters: Living a Faith that Bleeds that can be easily included in this sermon outline as the preacher/speaker/presenter desires.