6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Building the right church depends on using all the wrong people


“Building the right church depends on using all the wrong people”

Luke 17:20-21 (p742) March 4, 2012


I was sharing Wednesday night in our close encounters with God that he always seems to choose the wrong people…at least that’s what Gideon thought…

I won’t go over the whole story, but God comes to call Gideon to a place of leadership…His people have become complacent and sinful….

The Israelites are under attack and they cry out for help…God hears and he sends a messenger to a guy named Gideon…

God’s messenger finds him hiding in a winepress, threshing wheat…take my word for it…well hidden but the last place you’d thresh wheat…

The Angel of God Greets Gideon “The Lord is with you mighty warrior!”

And Gideon looks around and says…”you talkin’ to me?” “I can’t save Israel…I’m the weakest and least in my family.”

Gideon ends up being used by God to bring about victory…you can visit it in Judges chapter 6-8.

But my question is why does God seem to constantly pick the wrong people? Why does He continually come calling on the winepress hiders? Why does He pick the weak and the least?

And think about it? Rahab’s a prostitute, Moses a murderer, Abraham’s way way too old, and Timothy is way way too young…Noah gets drunk, David commits adultery, (and the Savior Jesus has Bathsheba, the women in the adultery as a direct descendant for the Son of God.)

Jesus picked fisherman and Zealots….you know what a Zealot is? It’s a Rebel…a James Dean rebel against the government. He picked skeptics…and women. Women?!!! Can you believe it? He chose violent, blasphemes, aggressive men…and women who had slept around.

God seems to have always chosen the wrong people in the Old Testament and Jesus, God in the flesh continued that trend in the New.

Why would God choose all the wrong people to build His Kingdom…To rescue His people….to lead His family?

I’d share with you first of all….


The Pharisees thought that power came from observation and control….they believed if they kept the rules better than anyone else (or at least were observed keeping the rules better than everyone else) they had the right to tell everyone else what God expected…they controlled through intimidation, fear and guilt.

Their belief concerning the Kingdom of God was “Cross all the T’s…Dot all the I’s and by carefully obeying all the rules…your in!

They believed they were in more than anyone else.

So when Jesus shows up…”O My goodness…are you kidding?” Eyes roll…heads shake…condescending glances are exchanged with a little wink.

Messiah’s certainly don’t look or act like that…we can tell by our observation.

The Pharisees are the theologians of the day, the Kingdom Monitors, who knew scripture like the back of their hands (instead of knowing it in the fronts of their hearts)….It seems they should have been ready to celebrate the Messiah entrance…Instead they were more prone to condemn. Observing rule and order became more important than people.

Mike Yaconelli writes in “Messy Spirituality”

Religious people love to hide behind religion. They love the rules of religion more than they love Jesus. With practice, condemners let rules become more important than the spiritual life.

John Mackie was the president of the Church of Scotland after World War II. With two other ministers from a rather severe and pietistic denomination, he traveled to remote parts of the Balkan Peninsula to check on missionaries they supported.

The three clergymen called on an Orthodox priest in a small Greek village. Excited to see the visitors, the priest offered the clergymen a glass of rare and expensive wine. Horrified, the two pietistic ministers refused. Dr. Mackie, on the other hand, took a glassful, sniffed it like wine connoisseur, sipped it, and praised its quality. He even asked for another glass. His companions were noticeably upset by Dr. Mackie’s behavior.

Later, when the three men were in the jeep again, making their way up the rough road out of the village, the two pious clergymen turned on Dr. Mackie.

“Dr. Mackie,” they said, “do you mean to tell us that you are the president of the Church of Scotland and an officer of the world Council of churches and you drink?”

Dr. Mackie had had all he could take, and his Scottish temper got the better of him. “No, I don’t,” he said, “but somebody had to be a Christian!”

My hunch is Dr. Mackie didn’t convince his condemners. The rules of their faith were much more important than showing grace. They were much more excited about condemning the faith of Dr. Mackie and the priest than they were about living their own faith.

This is exactly what happens when you teach people church is a “Spectator Sport”

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