Summary: A sermon that suggest that living in the wilderness and ministering out of it is healthy for the Christian church
Romans 12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Luke 4:1-13New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness
4 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted[a] by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’[b]”
5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.”
8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’[c]”
9 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you carefully;
11 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[d]”
12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[e]”
13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
Christ still building his ch urchThe wild side
There is a kids movie that came out some years ago called Madagascar – I am sure that you have heard of it - The film opens with Marty the Zebra pining for the wild on his tenth birthday. Living in New York’s Central Park Zoo, Marty and his friends – Alex the Lion, Gloria the Hippo, and Melman the Giraffe – have spent all their years inside this concrete jungle.
The adventure begins when Marty escapes from the zoo with a crack quartet of penguins – Skipper, Rico, Kowalski, and Private – and his three friends follow him, trying to make him see sense but to no avail. On reaching Grand Central Station, the animals are mistaken to be aggressive and are shipped off to a Kenyan wildlife preserve by the zoo authorities.
The animals are no longer tame pets in a zoo but are in the edgy dangerous world they were created to be in.
There is something in Marty itching to be in the wild and there is something in us itching to live outside of the secular world we find ourselves in. Very often Christian can end up being little more than tame exhibits to the communities they are in rather than effective agents of salvation to the world they were recreated to save.
jesus' ministry is launched not out of Nazereth but out of the wilderness.
Maybe to discover our true purpose we too need to return to the wilderness.!!!
The wild – The wilderness – or being outside or on the edge of society has always been the natural environment for the body of Christ.
Even when we are in the world we are not of it!
John 17 verse 16 Jesus speaking of us to his heavenly Father says:- …15I am not asking that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.Often as Christians we can feel that we are in a very very small miniority - but
in the Otago Daily times in 2016, Tim Cooper is associate professor of church history i at the University of Otago writes -(seriously edited by me.)
At the beginning of the 20th century around 96% of people ticked some sort of Christian box in the census.
By the time of the 2013 census that figure had dropped by half.
It is easy to see that as a catastrophe, but 48% remains a high figure.
Think about this for a moment: today, nearly half of the population consider themselves Christian.
Yet we are told this is a secular country.
But in the last census around two-thirds of the population declared their adherence to some variety of religious faith.