Summary: This sermon deals with our willingness to step out and stand alone for the cause of Jesus Christ. Not everyone who calls Jesus "Lord" knows Him as such.

Step Out From The Crowd

NLF 9/15/02 OT 2 Chronicles 26:16-20 Mark 8:31-39 Text Matthew 7:21-37

Have you ever seen one of the cartoons in which about 10 people are standing in a straight line. Usually they are in the army, and the sergeant has a tough assignment that needs to be done by one person. He says, “if anyone wants to volunteer for this job, take one step forward. “

All of a sudden at the same time, 9 of the 10 would take one step backwards, and the guy who didn’t move would get the assignment. Usually the one guy left out front is new to the group and is very surprised to know that he has volunteered to do the job. He was out in front of the crowd, but not by his own choice.

If you ever go to a marathon race, there are so many people at the starting line, and many of them look like they could win the race. After the gun goes off, they all take off together, and you have a whole group of people bunched together in the race. But as the race goes on, you notice that a few people start to step out from the crowd and begin to get noticed.

The further away they get from the crowd, the more they are noticed as potential winners. Although it’s easier to hang tough with the crowd, nobody ever won a marathon by staying together with the crowd.

Sometimes it’s not only easier to stay with the crowd, it can be a lot safer as well. Meet one of the baddest dudes you could run into. His name was King Uzziah. Uzziah was a skilled battle leader. He had defeated more nations in battle than most kings.

He was very wealthy. He was arrogant .and he was ruthless. If you made the mistake of getting in his way, you didn’t make it a second time, because you were dead. Nobody was willing to stand against this overgrown bully.

King Uzziah’s head got so big, that he decided to take on the word of God. The word of God clearly declared that no one except for the priests could burn incense on the altar of incense in the temple. Uzziah decided that anything a priest could do, he could do it just as well.

He announced his intention to go into the temple and offer incense for himself. He wanted everyone to see him take on his new role as king and priest. The crowds watched as he prepared to enter the temple.

But to his surprise, somebody was willing to step out from the crowd and challenge him on course of action. A priest by the name of Azariah was the first to step out from the crowd and 80 other courageous priest followed him. They told the king, you have no right to do this, and you should turn around and leave this place right now.”

Uzziah could not be believe someone was bold enough to step out from the crowd and challenge him. He went into a rage at the actions of the priests. No doubt he was yelling about how their heads would roll, and they would pay for this disrespect and dishing of the king with their lives.

But before he could finish, God intervened and a disease broke out all over his body, and he immediately sought the help of the priests to get him out of the temple as soon as possible.

We live in a world that has also taken on the word of God. It ridicules God’s word by calling sin alternative lifestyles and by calling evil first amendment rights. Are we willing to step out of the crowd like Azariah and say, what you’re saying is still wrong and God will hold you accountable for it?

Azariah’s life was at stake, but for us it’s usually just the acceptance and approval of those around us that we are risking. One of the great tragedies of the church is that we often times prefer the approval of people over the approval of God.

The Bible tells us in several passages that God has called us to be a part of His kingdom. In other words, God has told us to step out from the crowd we’re in, and come on over to His side.

The thing about it, is that God may tell us to do this at a very inconvenient time. Like in the middle of an argument, or at a business meeting, or when someone is trying to persuade us to try something everybody else present is trying. God is saying take a stand for me and for what is right.

The reason we call for a person in a crowd, is to pull them out of the crowd so that we can get some information to them. The whole purpose of evangelism is to be an agent of God to pull people out of the crowd, so that they can be brought to God. That’s why we proclaim, our purpose is to bring people into a right relationship with God.

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