Summary: This sermon’s purpose is to recognize that God is searching for humnaity. Humnaity is searching for God. And that Jesus Christ is the answer to completing the search.
Please note: Our church has put up a billboard saying "Search Parties Conducted Weekly" which is one of the themes of the "Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors" United Methodist September Open House themes. This sermon was an attempt to introduce that theme while connecting it to Scripture.
“Searching for Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors”
2003 Searching Series
Matthew 22:1-14 (read for the congregation)
September 7, 2003
Purpose: The search for open hearts, open minds, and open doors is as much God’s as our own. While God is searching for those who would accept his gracious offer, many are searching for that gracious offer. God’s solution is Jesus Christ. The church’s opportunity is to share the solution with those who are searching.
- Mary Ann trying to describe what we have open hearts, open minds, open doors on our pens at
children’s time. Talk to pastor Greg to see what “Open hearts, open minds, open doors
- 9/11 Anniversary – California Recall – Koebe Bryant and former N.D. football players on
trial…all of this can be so overwhelming.
- I believe that a search is on.
God is searching…
God is in the great search for people to come to the banquet (Matthew 22)
Luke 15 tells us that 3x things were lost, 3x things were found, 3x there was rejoicing was what was lost was found.
The Bible is “God’s search for man” – who wrote it? how was it written? In it is everything we need to live a righteous – God-pleasing – life.
Humankind is searching …
When asked people will tell you that they are Christian, but when asked about their spiritual life the last person they mention is the Judeo-Christian God.
Most people will buy on a book on searching for God’s Spiritually than looking in the book that God inspired and wrote for us to help us on the search.
And there are many ways for humankind to search… My first impression of new "Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors" theme for our United Methodist denomination was was not a positive one…
We can have open hearts…and go back to the “free-love” 1960’s
We can have open minds…and except all ideas as the truth, nirvana and enlightenment here I come!
We can have open doors …and put attendance figures ahead of our mission of nurturing, reaching out, and witnessing in our walk with Christ.
Do I really want that for my church? I mean if this was taken to its limits…this could be dangerous.
But then began to think about Jesus…
When the religious establishment began to close their hearts, minds, and doors to the world around them...
It was Jesus who had an open heart (In fact, he loved those that no one else would loved.)
It was Jesus had an open mind (he continually challenged the Pharisees in their close –
mindedness with the message of grace and reconciliation and lived-out faith),
And it was Jesus who was the inventor of the “open door policy”(sinners, prostitutes, thieves, and
the rest were all welcome as he stood out on the hillside sharing God’s message.)
That’s why I believe that when Jesus told the parable of the great banquet, he was doing so to let the people know that while…
“Many people have been called” meaning many want direction, many want clarity, many want some sense that their search is not in vain…
Only a “few are chosen…” not saying that God will turn people away, but that by their own actions, by not accepting Christ as Lord and Savior, by not accepting the free gift of everlasting life, by not searching for the garment of forgiveness and leadership that only God can give, their end is a foregone conclusion.
Jeremiah 29:13 says "And you will seek Me and find ME, when your search for Me with all your heart." The fact is that there are many who are searching, but only a few are doing it with their whole heart.
It’s those who are whole-heartedly searching, that I want to speak to this morning.
Because, in the same vein of that Great Banquet, I believe that everyone is invited to experience the Open Heart, the Open Mind, and the Open Door of Jesus Christ.
God is searching to give it to us.
And I believe that are some in humanity who are whole-heartedly-searching to accept it, to find satisfaction
in their spiritual lives somewhere.
So, let’s look at these three things this morning and see how God’s search and our search comes together.
II. FIRST, SEARCHING FOR OPEN HEARTS
It’s no problem for us to accept the idea of an open heart. Most people would say that an open heart is better than a closed heart. Or that an open heart is better than a pinched or blocked heart.