Summary: How can we be the church Jesus wants us to be? 1. Lift up the light of the Lord (vs. 21-22). 2. Tune in to God's truth (vs. 23-25). 3. Be willing to work with God (vs. 26-29). 4. Trust God to grow His Kingdom (vs. 30-32).

The Kind of Church God Wants Us to Be

Mark 4:21-32

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - Oct. 9, 2016

*Christians: We are part of the most important organization the world will ever see: The Church of the living God!

*Many of you have heard my favorite description of God's Church. It came from Pastor Russ Blowers when he was speaking to the Rotary Club in Indianapolis, Indiana. Each week, a different member told a little about his job. And this is what Russ said when his turn came up:

*"I'm with a global enterprise. We have branches in every country in the world. We're into motivation and behavior alteration. We run hospitals, feeding stations, crisis pregnancy centers, universities, publishing houses, and nursing homes. We care for our clients from birth to death. We are into life insurance and fire insurance. We perform spiritual heart transplants.

*Our original Organizer owns all the real estate on earth, plus an assortment of galaxies and constellations. He knows everything, and lives everywhere. Our product is free for the asking. (There's not enough money to buy it.)

*Our CEO was born in a hick town, worked as a carpenter, didn't own a home, was misunderstood by his family, hated by enemies, walked on water, was condemned to death without a fair trial, and arose from the dead! I talk with him every day." (1)

*God's Church is the most important organization the world will ever see! Thank God for the church of Jesus Christ! But how can we be the church God wants us to be? -- The Lord shows in today's Scripture.

1. First, we need to lift up the light of the Lord.

*The Lord shows us this truth in vs. 21-22. Jesus started with a question, and said:

21. . . Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?

22. For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.

*For us, candles are usually decorative treats. For them, candles were an essential source of light in the dark of night. And Jesus Christ is the essential source of spiritual light in our dark world. In fact, Jesus is the only source of true spiritual light. As the Lord said in John 8:12, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.'' And John 1:9 tells us that Jesus is "the true Light which gives light to every man who comes into the world."

*Jesus is the Light. So, if we belong to Him, we have the Light, and He wants us to let His light shine. The Lord wants us to help shine the light about His Words, His character, and His mighty miracles. He also wants us to shine the light about His death, His burial and His resurrection. And Jesus wants us to shine the light about His power to save everyone who will turn to Him in faith.

*Jesus Christ's whole life shined the light of Heaven. And now He wants us to shine His light for others. That's why in Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus tells His followers:

14. "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.

15. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.

16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."

*God wants us to shine the light of Jesus Christ everywhere we go!

*Some of you may remember Paul Anderson from the 1970s. At the time, Paul Anderson was the strongest man in the world. In 1956, Paul had won the Olympic gold medal for weight lifting. He only stood 5'9" tall, but Paul weighed 375 pounds! His massive body allowed him to lift weights his competitors couldn't even imagine. One of Paul's feats was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. It was his back lift of over 6,000 pounds!

*Paul Anderson was a very devoted Christian who put on shows to support the boys' homes he ran in Georgia. He did things like lift a table holding 20 of the biggest people from the audience. Paul also drove nails through two boards with only a handkerchief protecting his palm.

*Then he would proclaim: "If I, the strongest man in the world, can't get through one day without Jesus Christ? What about you?" (2)

*God doesn't ask us to lift tables holding 20 people. And God doesn't ask us to drive nails through boards with our bare hands. But He does ask us to shine for Jesus Christ!

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