Summary: What really counts is a follow up to a sermon entitled IT, faith expressing itself through love, simple church.
WHAT REALLY COUNTS
(All My sermons use illustrations found at www.sermoncentral.com and all scripture is NIV unless otherwise noted)
A few weeks ago I presented a sermon entitled, “IT.” We talked about how simple IT really is, the scripture tells us the “only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” WOW, that really is simple, and yet I feel as if 20 minutes does not do the simplicity of that message the justice it deserves. The truth is that it is really not a difficult concept and it can even be made simpler. I think if we really take time to think about it, we might see that God made us to LOVE.
I noticed lately that one of our area churches had a rather simple concept in their brand new sign. A concept that has been around for a while and was most likely borrowed from one of the many books there are on making church simple. It says, LOVE GOD, LOVE PEOPLE, SERVE THE WORLD. When we think about it, that is the simple message to Christians, not to the lost, but to Christians that God gives to us. Jesus was asked which commands were important, He told us that we should LOVE GOD, and the second is like it, LOVE OTHERS. He also reminded us that whatever we do for one of the least brothers of His, we have done for him.
In my desire to seek out more wisdom on this subject of simplifying church, I came across a Psalm that I think tells the same story, and this morning I would like to share this with you. So if you have your Bible with you this morning, turn with me to Psalm 62 and we will read verses 9-12.
Ps 62:9-12 Lowborn men are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie; if weighed on a balance, they are nothing; together they are only a breath. 10 Do not trust in extortion or take pride in stolen goods; though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them. 11 One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, 12 and that you, O Lord, are loving. Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done.
I. A VAPOR IN THE WIND
In a very popular song by Casting Crowns entitled “Who Am I?” the group sings; “ I am a flower quickly fading, here today and gone tomorrow, a wave tossed in the ocean, a vapor in the wind.” The Psalmist shows us the same thing, he is saying that it does not matter to what circumstances we are born into, whether that be a high society family with lots of money and power, or a low income family that is struggling to get by, we are nothing in comparison to our God. Here today and gone tomorrow.
When you look at the fact that we will live forever, and all of us will, just not here on earth. What in comparison to forever is 60, 70, 80 a hundred years?
Our daughter Charity came into the world six weeks early. We were very excited until the doctor told us that things were not right and they would have to send us over the mountains to Denver, Colorado. We were flown on a leer jet across the mountains and then flown on a helicopter to the roof of a big hospital in Denver. There were many doctors and nurses working for us and Charity came into the world, and we were so happy, she had to stay in NICU for a few days, and I had to go home without my wife and daughter to be with our other three children, but Becca and Charity came home in time for Thanksgiving.
Now I tell that quick story to tell two other stories, first, when Charity was born, Becca and I were really just starting our journey in service to the Lord. Actually, I was going to college and working graveyard shifts at the local convenient store. We really had no money and things were really tight. People from our church stepped up and helped out, but it was a couple that did not attend church that really stepped out. Good friends of ours, we watched their son while they were at work. They had a child that died shortly after being born, and they heard what was going on with our little Charity, they drove to Denver a good four hour trip, they took us to Supper at Red Lobster, they bought Becca some clothes and a outfit for Charity, they offered us comfort and peace, and they drove me home.
A few months later, Becca was giving Charity her first bottle of juice at home. Charity tried to cough and breath in at the same time and the flap on her throat got stuck and she all but stopped breathing. We tried everything, patted her back, pinched her to get her to cry, and finally we called 911. An off duty first responder heard our call for help and was in our apartment complex and rushed down, he tried the same things I did, but to no avail. Her respirations had fallen from 40 a minute to 4! We waited for the ambulance to come, and we prayed that if God was ready to take her home, that He do it without having her suffer. The ambulance arrived, they put a bulb over her face and squeezed air into her lungs, and she was fine.