Summary: Are we able to weep with urgency over our friends, family, and people throughout our neighborhoods who aren't in Christ? Are we willing to repent and change that God may use us to bring all the sheep back home?
(Luke 15:1-10; Phil. 3:17-19)
INTRO: I grew up hearing that “real men don’t cry.”
Raise your hands if you’ve ever hear that?
We are told it shows weakness – makes you look kind of lame…so society often tells us.
Now, I have to tell you, I’m a crier….I know I know…It’s hard to believe.
If I watch a movie and something sad happens, or even something good, I’m probably going to cry…I cried in the movie “Armageddon” – it’s not even a sappy movie!
Actually, I call it “misting” because that’s more manly than crying…so we’ll be watching like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, or dramatic movie, and I can feel it coming on…the WORST are the SPCA commercials…b/c I want to go adopt a thousand cats and dogs…and they play that song “Angel” by Sarah McLaughlin…
That song makes me think about a vulture …It circles around and around…waiting...It’s only played when something has died or is in the process of dying…oh boy…I’m starting to tear up now…that song should be illegal.
I get that lump in my throat…you know what I’m talking about…feels like you’re trying to swallow a baseball…
Then I start tensing my facial muscles, squint my eyes – do everything I can to prevent crying…
Then moisture rises up – my eyes begin to water…I start to sniffle…it’s like a flood building up behind a levee – I can feel the imminent collapse, but I try to hold my ground…and then the Levee breaks…a tear falls…and then Kristy asks, “Honey, are you ‘misting?”
Raise your hand if you’re a crier!
As I was writing this, I realized – hey – I’ll cry about a dying ferret or a person who beats the odds to triumph, or even a videogame (elaborate) – even somebody winning “The Sing Off”…but …I don’t cry in the real tragedy.
We do have a real tragedy going on today, church.
People are not in Christ. People are Lost.
I’m not talking about like, “I need to stop in the gas station and ask for directions” lost – I’m talking about people are separated from Jesus Christ and lost and dying in sin and hopelessness.
There are people – all around you every second of every minute of every hour of every day that are not in Christ…they don’t get to experience his love and this amazing life we get to lead b/c of what Jesus Christ has done.
You know – There are many prodigal sons walking our city streets
they are searching for something…for shelter…from life, from home, from themselves…from decisions.
There are broken homes and ruined families all throughout our neighborhoods
People's hopes have fallen to the ground b/c they feel like failures; they feel overwhelmed; they feel…hopeless.
Our children go to schools full of hatred and depression.
Suicide is at an all-time high!
Even today many congregations have forsaken two of the greatest tenants of our faith: Love and mercy.
This is an emergency, church.
I want to take time tonight to talk about the dire situation we are in; not only us, but that our friends, family, strangers, and children are in.
(SLIDE) If you have your Bibles, open to Phil. 3:17-19: 17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.
Why this text?
The book of Philippians is written by Paul.
It’s often called “The Book of Joy” and rightly so – it’s full of great things and the promises we have in God, and God keeps His promises, right church?
However, I’ve missed this text several times…it comes on the heels of my absolute favorite passage (Phil. 3:7-11) about how Paul gave up everything and the only thing that matters is Jesus Christ…nothing else matters.
I’m usually on cloud 9 after reading that and pass right over this.
However, I won’t make that mistake again.
(SLIDE) Paul says, “Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.” (3:17).
Paul says, brothers and sisters, be co-imitators, mimic our (the Apostle’s) example (in the Greek, this means a die, which is struck to be permanent to make impressions on metal, wood, etc.) It also means to carry a scar.
So look like the Apostles who imitate Jesus – look like Jesus, church – carry the mark of Christ with you and follow the example of those who have gone on before us! Keep your eyes on the Son of God!