Summary: Assumption, Grace, Loving the Least, Purpose
THE YEAR OF THE TOWEL – The Towel That Brings Hope to the Broken
Luke 4:14-30 (pg. 718) January 17, 2016
The other day I was watching a TV show called, “The World’s Most Dangerous Jobs.” Here’s a little of what I saw:
SHOW VIDEO CLIP OF “The World’s Most Dangerous Jobs”
The Alaskan Monarch was trapped in an ice field. The captain and first mate are swept overboard...They are getting beaten and crushed in the ice flow and freezing to death. I found myself moving toward the TV and screaming “get them out of there!”
The coast guard helicopter did an amazing job....sending down a basket and rescuing the 1st mate and the captain.
Later in an interview from his hospital bed the captain said, “We broke our rudder...and with no rudder we had no control of the ship.”
“We couldn’t control where the ship went so we were driven into the ice pack and it broke us apart.”
A ship without a rudder is useless. It will be driven by the wind and waves and eventually be torn apart.
When Jesus picked up the towel in John 13 to wash His disciples feet, He was asking His crew to put their hands on the same rudder that had directed His life...and now would direct His death...after the resurrection He would only have a short time with them before ascending back to heaven....He was leaving the ship in their control.
[“My children I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now; where I am going you cannot come.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:33-35)]
The mission of the church is its rudder...It guides and gives direction, even in the winds and storms...so from the very beginning of His ministry, His rudder was firmly in the water and controlled by God’s Spirit.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He anointed me.”
Our mission statement here at Gardenside Christian Church is “Passionately Preparing All People for an Eternity with Christ.”
I love the passionate part...because what You’re passionate about always directs your life.
I. OUR PASSION ALWAYS INFLUENCES WHAT WE PURSUE
True isn’t it? I’ve seen people camp out for 4 days in the cold for basketball or football tickets. I’ve seen people get up at 4:30 am on the Friday after Thanksgiving so they could get a TV for 200 bucks.
Passion is loving something on steroids. You’ll fight for it...sacrifice for it...even die for what you’re really really passionate about.
Passion makes you step out of a landing craft on D day in Normandy. Passion makes you run into a burning building to save your children. Passion directs you to sell everything you have to start a new business or win the girl you love.
Passion isn’t liking something...it’s much much bigger.
By the way, our passion as Christians is spiritually produced and spiritually sustained.
The Spirit of the Lord must be upon us...annointing us...or THERE IS NO PASSION for lost and broken people. And this new commandment from Jesus to love people is clearly the rudder that is to guide our ship. Because without a doubt it was the rudder that guided His ship.
Luke 4 is the official launching of Jesus’ ship...it the mission statement of the Messiah...it’s about people...poor people...imprisoned people...blind people...and oppressed people...
When He rolls up the scroll...prophecy from Isaiah...verse 21 says “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
“Today the hope of poor, imprisoned, blind and oppressed people is HERE.”
What happened to the spiritual passion of people in the Church for these broken souls?
Could it be that there was never a spiritual passion to begin with?
Maybe for many their Christianity, or so called Christianity, began with an outward obedience to be baptized...or join the church but there was no passion about their sin and the need for a savior. There was no real new birth, or death burial and resurrection. I will tell you plainly “yes” and because of that the purpose of their lives never really changed, nor does their thinking.
Listen to what the Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthians:
1 CORINTHIANS 2:9-16 (p. 794)
Folks, there is no such thing as a non-Spirit filled and influenced Christian.
The mind of Christ is our rudder...The Holy Spirit is the one who keeps us on course and directs us...not the world.
Churches that end up spiritually like the Alaskan Monarch...have lost their rudder or are piloted by people who don’t think you really need one. You can drift along for a while, but eventually you will crash...and the crew will be swept overboard.