Are We Jesus?

We are called to make a difference, yet as a church we have to ask ourselves, “Where is the proof of our existence?” Is it in the entertainment industry? Is it in business ethics? Is it in the societies’ views on sex and marriage? Is it in the justice system? But, you say, “That is the world’s system.” That’s my point! When did we abdicate the decisions on morality, love and justice to the world? When did we leave the room? Why isn’t our corporate witness making a difference? Why isn’t the love of  God in His people making a bigger difference in the world? It can, if we choose to live according to His word.
 

Over and over again in the Old Testament we read about God’s judgment on His people for turning their back on poverty and injustice. God was appalled at the fact that the poor were ignored. In his classic book, Visioneering, Andy Stanley also uses the story of Nehemiah as the basis for his book. Pastor Stanley shares what he felt was Nehemiah’s compelling reason for casting his vision of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. What do you think the reason Nehemiah rebuilt the city was? Was it for protection from their enemies? That is certainly important but not compelling. Was it beautification? That is nice but not enough. Was it so they could reunite as a nation and become an economic power? While national unity and pride is important, Andy Stanley pointed out that Nehemiah had another compelling reason for rebuilding the walls. Nehemiah told the people, “Come let us rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” Why rebuild the walls? Because the torn down walls were a disgrace to God and His people. One translation uses the word reproach. They were a disgrace to anyone who called themselves a Jew and brought reproach to God in front of all the nations. 
 

We need to see that the American Suburban Church sitting with all its wealth and resources with neighbors all around in utter poverty is the same reproach to God. Why? Because it is a gross misrepresentation of the love of God. As a result, the world does not see God or His church as a significant influence or reason for hope. Instead, our Government and corporations are seen as the savior of the solution to blighted communities. We need to glorify God by showing what His power through His people, people of all races working together, can do. Then maybe the world will join in on the song, “They will know we are Christians by our love.”  
 

In their book “Calling” Frank Tillapaugh and Richard Hurst gave six reasons why the average person in the pew is not involved in ministry. The one reason that spoke to this issue was what they referred to as Church vs. Kingdom. Their opinion is that the Church has lost the sense of what the word Kingdom means. Jesus spoke of Church only twice. Instead, what Jesus spoke about over and over again was His Kingdom. We are called to make an impact beyond the four walls of our church. The Church is not just for us to worship in, it is not just for edifying the saints but just as importantly, to equip the members for ministry. And not just ministry to ourselves, but ministry that brings the good news of the kingdom to those in the larger community. We are called to live the love of God in mercy and justice in the Kingdom not just the Church. This is what Jesus did. In Matthew 9 we see a poignant view of Jesus and His love for the towns and villages He visited. Matthew writes:
  Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in the synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. (Emphasis added) When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.’

  Brennan Manning in his book “Signature of Jesus” uses a story to ask a critical question of you and me. He writes of five businessmen who take a train from Chicago to Milwaukee for a sales meeting. They promised their wives that they would be back that evening in time for dinner. The sales meeting went late so they had to hurry to catch the train in order to get home on time.

 As the salesmen raced through the terminal, one of them inadvertently kicked over a slender table on which rested a basket of apples. A ten-year-old boy was selling apples to pay for his books and clothes for school. With a sigh of relief, the five clambered aboard the train, but the last felt a twinge of compassion for the boy whose apple stand had been overturned.
 He asked one of the group to call his wife and tell her he would be a couple hours late. He returned to the terminal and later remarked that he was glad that he did. The ten-year-old was blind. The salesman saw the apples scattered all over the floor. As he gathered them up, he noticed that several were bruised or split. Reaching into his pocket, he said to the boy, ‘Here’s twenty dollars for the apples we damaged. I hope we didn’t spoil your day. God bless you.’
 As the salesman started to walk away, the blind boy called after him and asked,

‘Are you Jesus?’

  Let me recite the Biblical passage in Matthew 9 about Jesus one more time.

 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in the synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Are we Jesus?

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For more information on how your church can get involved in reaching the community e-mail Ron Ovitt at ron@calvaryop.org and we will send you a copy of Close To The Heart of God. Also go to www.layministry.com for helpful materials.

Do you want to know more about your Spiritual Gifts? CLICK HERE to download your free Spiritual Gifts Test and Workbook. 

To learn more how you can get started in ministry, CLICK HERE to download your free copy of How Am I Wired For Ministry?

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