Summary: This sermon was part of a series of sermons addressing the need to heal relationships in a local body.
These are also the words of our Lord, preached in a synagogue in His hometown of Nazareth. I can imagine how full that synagogue must have been that day. Jesus was surrounded by His family, His childhood friends, and His new disciples. But, His words fell to deaf ears and blind eyes that day. Even then, a prophet was without honor in his hometown. But an even greater tension still exists; between … The Tie That Binds and the Lie That Blinds.
DIVISION 1: THE TIE THAT BINDS
Explain: The presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of believers has become known as the tie that binds. We are bound together by an inseparable force that this world does not comprehend. That bind allows us to follow all that Jesus demanded of those who become His followers.
Examples of what Jesus commanded:
Love each other Love your neighbor Serve each other
Bear fruit Preach the Gospel Make disciples
Feed my sheep
All these are possible because of the presence of the Holy Spirit that binds our hearts and minds to something greater than ourselves. Today much of America is trying to understand the faith this produces without embracing the basic building blocks God gave us to work with. For example:
Genesis: God ordained the marriage covenant as the starting point for all the binding or bonding miracles He would perform throughout history. The leaving, cleaving and weaving concept we see outlined in God’s plan for marriage establishes a base line for all other relationships. When a man enters a marital relationship with a woman, no other bond is to be stronger, save that of a man’s relationship with His Savior. When you leave your parents, don’t bring them with you to your marriage bond. When you send your sons and daughters into a marriage covenant, do not follow them. “The two shall become one” not the two shall become six.
From the marriage a family arises with a bond like none other. “Blood is thicker than water”. Genetically offspring are closer related than their parents. Spiritually, if parents have bonded as God ordained, you will see that multiplied in their children, who will in turn model that in their relationships. God expects that process to result in new marital covenants with each new generation. That is not happening in our culture. It is not happening in our churches either. Statistically there is little difference in this area between our churches and the rest of America.
The bond the family establishes is the model and the catalyst for the bond the church family is to establish. If our families are not healthy, our church will not be healthy. This Fall we have addressed this in our sermons on Church Health and Family Health. Health is primarily a byproduct of bonding to the Holy Spirit; a miracle we must not overlook. Building a strong connection to the Holy Spirit allows us to experience the miracle of Godly relationships with each other.
DIVISION 2: THE LIE THAT BLINDS
Explain: In last week’s sermon I mentioned Satan’s program of counterfeit miracles. Here we see that topic arise again. As the Father of Lies, Satan offers a less desirable version of the miracle God performs among His people. The lie, the counterfeit bond, is simply “bondage”.
Reason: So many today are in bondage. They are shackled to destructive behaviors, weighed down by meaningless or even harmful relationships, and sentenced to life imprisonment in cells of their own creation.
Satan is their prison guard, daily adding to their tormenting existence.
He is their Warden, forever reminding them there is no hope of relief.
He is their parole officer, offering no chance of ever gaining freedom again.
That is the lie that blinds us, our families and our friends to the truth we read in Isaiah that Jesus sets the captives free.
Illustration: (I found this reference at sermon central, but haven’t relocated it in order to give appropriate credit) In his book, In the Presence of Mine Enemies, Rutledge, Viet Nam POW, gives this powerful testimony. “Now the sights and sounds and smells of death were all around me. My hunger for spiritual food soon outdid my hunger for a steak. Now I wanted to know about that part of me that will never die. Now I wanted to talk about God and Christ and the church. But in the heartbreak of solitary confinement there was no pastor, no Sunday-school teacher, no Bible, no hymnbook, no community of believers to guide and sustain me. I had completely neglected the spiritual dimension of my life. It took prison to show me how empty life is without God, and so I had to go back in my memory to those Sunday-school days in Tulsa, Oklahoma. If I couldn’t have a Bible and hymnbook, I would try to rebuild them in my mind.”