August 20        Luke 19:45-48             Purpose

This text speaks about the priority and purpose of the local church.

First Baptist has a purpose statement.  Anyone like to try to recite it from memory?

The Purpose of our church is to be the presence of Christ in our community and the World through Worship, Ministry, Evangelism, Fellowship and Discipleship.

We cannot properly and obediently fulfill our PURPOSE if we never seek our Kings instruction, guidance and correction!

We must become a house of prayer, preparation and listening intently.

  • Reality: To fulfill our purpose as a church we must gather as a church
    • The police “10 Codes” are fairly well known
      • 10-2 – Signal Good
      • 10-4 – OK
      • 10-25 – Meet in person (face to face)
    • Hebrews 10:23-25 “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”  ESV
    • Reality: By this standard, Wednesday Nights SHOULD BE the biggest attendance night of the week!
      • It is not that we do not pray at our other services, we certainly do
      • Wednesday night is the time we set aside for the church family to gather together and join in one accord as we lift up prayer requests and praises to our King.
      • This is a time of seeking God and supporting each other THEN move into Bible Study.

If we truly were about seeking God

If we truly wanted to hear from Him

If we truly believed He hears our prayer

If we believe that He meant it when He told us to not neglect the gathering of ourselves together as His Children  (Hebrews 10:25)

If we believe that there is power in the gathering together of believers   (Acts:2:40 – 47)

  • Priority of prayer
    • The power of a church is not in the foolishness of preaching
    • The power of the church is not in a denomination or the paperwork
    • The full power of the church is not in the people
  • The power of the church resides in the Lord
    • who designed it,
    • called it,
    • empowers it and
    • uses it to build men and women of faith to serve Him through
  • Prayer is our communication “data port” with God
  • Priority of teaching and learning
    • We call this discipleship
    • We call this Spiritual growth
    • We call this spiritual formation
      • Corporately we do this on Sunday Mornings at 10 AM
      • Corporately we do this Sunday Morning at 11 AM
      • Corporately we do this Wednesday Evening at 6:30 PM
      • Corporately we do this at VBS
      • Corporately we do this at Revival Services
      • Individually we should be about this in our homes, at our workplaces and in our community.
    • Priority of focus/paying attention
    • For our praying and learning to be effective there is one more PRIORITY we can learn from this text:
      • The Priority of Listening INTENTLY
    • Church is participatory
    • Be there
    • Be involved
    • Be focused
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When Jesus Stops       Luke 18:35 – 43

This is one of those scriptures that digs deep inside of our human-American weaknesses.  I hurt when I read this and ponder it for what God is speaking to us.

It hurts because it highlights a problem that is far too common in our country and our world today.

It hurts because of the way we pretty much ignore those on societies margins.  The Periphery People.

The poor, the dirty, the disabled…those who are different.

Acknowledging them only as habit or an uncontrolled reflex…. like sneeze or hiccup.  A quick nod of the head and twisted smile as we hurry about our business.

We know they are there…. but we don’t want to know they are there

We are all so busy…and so distracted by our phones, personal drama and our “self-absorbed selves” that we often have no clue what is going on around us.

We have seen the videos of people laying in the street bleeding as hundreds of people walk by oblivious to the person in need.

We have heard the text of the Parable of the Good Samaritan where 3 people you should EXPECT to have compassion walked away from a hurting man only to have the last person in the work you would EXPECT to help stop and render aid.

We have all provided an answer to a question that was not asked because we were not really listening.

Perhaps God get so busy He overlooks us or stops listening?  We are made in His image after all.  Right?

Luke 18:35 – 43   “As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant.37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.”42 And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.”  ESV

NO!   Jesus is not like His FALLEN Creation!

Time after time in the text we find Jesus stopping, or going out of His way, to hear our cries for help!

Our text today is just one of many examples of His compassion and care for us, His wayward children.

  1. UNMET NEEDS

       Blind man begging

Definitely has needs

Begging only income to meet needs

Heard the crowd coming by and asked what was going on

They told him Jesus of Nazareth is passing by, but

He had heard of Jesus before and cried out for Him…. as “Jesus, Son of David” – different than the name he was told.

I bet the blind man was grateFULL to the one who told him about Jesus, Son of David”

He knew his need for Jesus

  1. SOME HELP/MOST HINDER

People tried to shut him up

Just like people try to keep a hurting world from Jesus today

Why?

Who knows how many times they had walked past this poor man and done nothing.

Who knows how many times he had heard their pace quicken as they approached him ….and slowed after they passed.

Who knows how many folks felt a sense of self-righteousness as they tossed a few pennies his way

Maybe they thought he was not worthy.

Maybe they were jealous because they were “In Front”

Maybe they were embarrassed by their inaction

            They COULD have done something but didn’t

They SHOULD have done something but didn’t

They WOULD have done something but didn’t

WHO are we leaving by the ROADSIDE waiting for Jesus to do something?

 We are to be HIS HANDS and HIS FEET and HIS LOVE

 3.    ASK RIGHT …We do not have because we ask wrongly

 What are we missing from God because we are not asking for it or are asking wrongly…… or our asking this so convoluted not even God can figure it out!

James 4:1-10 “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?  But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”   ESV

Asking Rightly:

Humility

Resist the Devil

Draw near to God

Repent

Cleans your hands

Purify your hearts

**BROKENESS – knowing your need for and depending on God

The blind man was broken of all pride, all he knew was NEED and he had heard that Jesus, the Son of David, could help

No one else had

The blind man was determined and yelled more and louder.  

How hard do you work to be heard by God?

What are you NOT WILLING to submit to find help and hope

  1. JESUS CARES – ASK HIM

Cry out to Him…He will Hear and He will Listen

Jesus asked what he wanted … not what he needed

He wanted to see

He was very clear and straightforward in his request

No flowery intro

No KJV language

No hesitation

No “if you would/want too/ etc

Let me SEE! CLEAR and FERVENT

Jesus said ok…. then see

            The Spoken Word of God

                        His eyes obeyed God and he began to see

                                    When Jesus Stopped

  1. KNOW WHY YOU RECEIVE

What God gives you is not for you

For His glory

To help you follow Him

To draw others to glorify God

So they may follow Him

Jesus wants a clean church

This morning I was reading a small bit of scripture in Matthew 21:12 – 13 where Jesus went into the Temple just after His “triumphant Entry” into Jerusalem on a donkey.

Two scriptures. 50 – 60 words or so, depending on the Bible translation you are reading.  But some very powerful words and scriptures they are.

We know the story, Jesus goes into the Temple and started overturning tables and running people out of the premises.

This text really spoke to me in two distinct areas.

  1. Jesus went against most of the popular “seeker sensitive” and church growth models we see in today’s world.
    1. Churches with book stores and national brand coffee houses.
    2. Churches more focused on making the “Crowd” comfortable than making a place where the Gospel is welcome
      1. So many times we are willing to compromise or change so we can “capture” a new demographic audience.
    3. Along the way we forget a few things:
      1. People need the Lord; not entertained
      2. We need conviction, to understand our need for God; not confections.
  • The Word of God must be primary
  1. Jesus went through the church and cleaned house
    1. Driving out the greedy money changers
    2. Driving out the cheating dove (sacrifice) sellers
  • Overturning chairs and tables
    1. Not what we today would call an “effective church growth strategy”
    2. Today we would have called the police and had this crazy man hauled away.
      1. Wow, in Texas He might of gotten shot!
    3. The church was not focused on what is PRIMARY
      1. It was focused on greed, pride and flesh
      2. Jesus was on a mission to cleanse the church
    4. Jesus went to great lengths to cleanse His Temple.
      1. Here this in our context today
        1. First: Are His churches (Christian churches) clean and properly focused on God and His Word today?
          1. Even today it is more important for a church to be Biblically focused and doctrinally correct that have a big budget or a massive auditorium.
        2. Second: (and this cannot be emphasized enough in our world today) THE CHURCH IS NOT THE BRICK AND MORTAR EDIFICE PEOPLE GATHER IN! THE PEOPLE ARE THE CHURCH!!!
          1. The church gathers together in a place to worship God
          2. Technically a Christian CANNOT “go to church” because they are one of the many parts of the church
          3. Denominations define and divide us into groups by a worldly standard, but every Christian, regardless of denomination, are part of the Lord’s Church.
          4. How God centered is your church?
            1. Look in the mirror.
            2. Better yet, open the Word of God and see if the reflection you see there is a reflection of self or a reflection of God.
          5. Jesus went in and brought great conviction and cleansing to the temple
            1. Have you allowed Him to do the same for you?
            2. Jesus paid a very high price for the redemption of His Church; for YOUR redemption
            3. Jesus is able to cleanse everything not of God out of His temple; to cleanse you!
              1. New life
              2. New hope
  • New faith
  1. A New you!
  1. To “borrow” a phrase from most parents on a long car trip:
    1. “Don’t make Him come down here”
    2. Choose for yourself TODAY that Jesus is Lord and accept every good thing He has for you.
  2. Jesus cleansed His Temple and gave it a central purpose.
    1. A purpose from which every other plan and purpose of His Church grows out into this world.
    2. A PRIMARY focus that remains unchanged today.
    3. This primary focus gives us direction, wisdom, strength, conviction, correction and a deepening relationship with God.
    4. “My House will be called a house of prayer!” – Jesus
      1. Today, prayer meetings are the least attended meeting of the church
      2. Today, the daily prayer habits of the average Christian is almost zero.
  • Today, prayer has taken a back seat to programs, promotions and platitudes.
    1. You Christian, ARE THE CHURCH! You are God’s House.
      1. Are YOU a house of prayer?