SERMONS & TEACHING

Oct 24, 2017
Filling the House: Sheep, Silver, and Sons: The Pure Desire to Find Dirty Silver
Filling the House: Sheep, Silver and Son Part 3: “The Pure Desire to Find Dirty Silver”
 
Luke 14:23 23 And the Lord said unto the servant, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.”
Luke 15:8-10 8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? 9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
 
Introduction
Today we will continue with our current series, “Filling the House: Sheep, Silver, and Sons.” The title is taken from Luke 14:23 along with the three parables of Jesus found in Luke 15. Jesus has a great desire to fill His house with people. He also desires that those people desire Him as shown in their response to the invitation He sends out by His servants in Luke 14. Luke 15 makes it clear that Jesus has an immense desire for people to come and fill His house and that He is fully committed in God’s task to bring men to salvation. These stories present Jesus as a shepherd, woman, and father restoring the lost at all cost. But there is more to these parables than that. There is rebuke, warning, and a clear view of the economy of God. The sheep, silver, and sons depict people of religious and non-religious backgrounds, each standing in need of a shepherd, a caring woman, and father. Each class needs God. The parables are a reminder that every person, despite their upbringing, needs to be saved by the grace of God. Entering the house of God only comes at the care and expense of God revealed in Jesus. The expense, search, restoring, and rejoicing is all accomplished in Jesus Christ!
 
What We Have Learned
As we journey further into Luke 15 here are some key points to remember from the past two weeks.
God is a gracious God
God celebrates
People are people no matter their grouping
One is valuable to the whole and the whole is valuable to the one
These parables show the character of God and His mission, call to both audiences, and serve as a rebuke to the religious who think themselves better than others.
What’s unique about this parable:
God spends greatly, recovers, and rejoices. This is the common theme of these parables. The theme does not change despite the changing stories. The differences in each story appeal to the audience in a unique way.
When Jesus turns the page from one story to another a woman emerges as the main character. This would appeal to women in the audience from both classes. A woman may not know how a shepherd would feel about a sheep being lost, but she understood a piece of silver being lost. She would understand the lack of light in finding things in a house, the need for a candle and broom to search, and the great relief and joy in returning something to its rightful place.
Jesus also turns from sheep to a silver coin. What is unique about this change? An instinctive animal will wander off by its own urges and does not rationalize like a person. The nature of things drives the lostness of the silver. A silver coin falls to the ground because of the law of gravity. I hope you see where I am going with this. People, because of their natural impulses, wander off like the sheep. People because of their nature are guilty because of God’s divine law. God’s divine law is set in stone because it reflects His being. God’s being is a mystery as gravity is still a mystery to science. The force of His glory forces sinners from His presence and that is why people are called lost.
The arena of the wilderness is replaced with a house. This shows that people can be lost in wide open places or in tight quarters. You can build tight barriers in life and still be as lost as a person wandering in wide open places without fences. Without Jesus, the sheep and the coin are both lost. Without Jesus those with tight moral codes and no moral codes are just as lost.
A light is lit and the house is swept. The light is a revealing agent. God’s Word is the light with which we search for the silver in the morning. The good works and kindness of the church shine bright throughout the week as we look for shining silver that may be overlaid with a thin layer of the world we call dust. The light makes that which appears as earth to glimmer enough that it can be recovered, cleansed, and restored. Is your heart glimmering a little this morning? Is God shining the light of the gospel call on your life?
I hope you can see that Jesus turns the page with the purpose of filling His house for the glory of God and sake of man.
Lessons from the Silver: Who, What, How, and Why
Now that we understand the parable a little better we can move on to apply this to our lives. We are going to do this by asking and answering five questions.
Who is the woman?
What is the symbolic meaning of the silver?
Where was it lost?
How was it recovered?
Why was this exciting?
I know some of you will start reading the scripture and attempt to uncover these as I teach, and that is good, but do not miss what I am about to say for it is important.
 
Who is the Woman (Luke 15:8a)?
She is Jesus- What could be more appalling for a religious man than for Jesus to depict God (Himself) as a woman? At the same time what could be more luring to a woman for Jesus to depict God (Himself) as a woman? Jesus is not aiming at being gender neutral, because God is masculine, but at being gender inclusive. He desires men and women to be saved and fill His house. Jesus also wanted to shed some light on the character of God (Himself) that only could be communicated through a female persona. I read an article this week in preparing for this message about the differences in men and women. It is a little humorous, more so helpful, to me that a team of researchers collected data on differences in men and women. The results verify what many already assume. Men are more analytical and dominate in personality while women are more sensitive, warm, and apprehensive. The woman in the parable shows God as understanding, warm, and sensitive more than that of the Shepherd or Father. It is necessary then, because of limitation of men and women, for God to use both to reveal Himself.
She is the Church- Jesus is talking directly about God (Himself) and indirectly to the Church (His bride). The Church is directed to continue the mission of Christ (John 20:21). We are to warmly care for those that are not yet recovered. We are to be about filling God’s house. We should find joy, as God does, in the restoration of all that are found. Caring, searching, recovering, and rejoicing are the business of the church in this age.
Ask yourself: Are you about the business of Jesus?
 
What is the Symbolic Meaning Behind the Silver (Luke 15:8b)?
The Woman desired the silver- God is God without us, just as the woman was a woman without her silver. We add nothing to God’s being; the silver would add nothing to the woman’s being. I asked David Malachi, Tara and my 4-year-old, why he looked for things when he lost them. He responded, “Because I like them”. This is the reason God searches until we are found! God does not spend all because He is lonely or guilt ridden. God loves us and spends to find us simply because He wants to. The woman wanted her bag or band full of the silver that was rightfully hers, and God wants His house filled with people that are rightfully His.
Image of a King- The woman’s silver coin has an image on it. An image that gives the money certain value. We have on us the image of the King of glory. God is so glorious that those that bear His image are worth finding simply for the image they carry! Our value is wrapped up in Him that sits upon the throne.
Ask yourself: Do you find value in people when they cannot add value to you?
 
Where Was the Silver Lost (Luke 15:8c)?
The dark- Jesus brings His listeners into a house where it is hard to see. The coin had fallen to the dirt and rolled into some corner, and worse still it was dark. The position of fallen man is darkness.
In a house- The coin was so close to home it was even in the house, but the only thing that makes home real is the presence of the people there. The coin lay without knowledge that it was lost. People are so near God and at the same time far away. We live on His earth, in His solar system, even made in His image. It is as if we are in His house and not yet home.
Covered in earth- Most homes in the day of Jesus had dirt floors. The floors would be swept clean and dust would abound. The coin fell to the earthen floor where it would take upon it the dust of the earth making it harder to find. People far from God, unaware of our position, in the dark, and covered with dirt, yes, are much like the silver coin.
Ask yourself: Would you leave what you loved in such a position?
How Was the Silver Recovered (Luke 15:8d) ?
A lit candle- The woman lit a candle to shed some light in the dark house. The candle that God has lit is the gospel call. Jesus came as the Light of the World (John 18:12) to give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45) and to seek and save that which is lost (Luke 19:10). The church likewise, through good teaching and works, shines forth in areas of the globe as it searches for silver! According to the parable the burning is not in vain for the silver is found! Does your teaching and life light up your area?
The house is swept- Finding a silver coin in the earth is dirty business. Jesus got dirty. He was rejected, stripped, spat upon, bruised, bled, crucified, and buried. Jesus suffered on our behalf. All the labor was His as we remained dead. The church sweeps the earth, getting dirty and stirring up dust as we uncover those silver pieces that will fill God’s house.
Diligence was employed- It was not a quick find. The silver was deeply lost. Finding silver to fill God’s house is not a fill-the-church-quick scheme. It takes prayer, time, desire, and patience.
Ask yourself: What are you doing to fill God’s house with silver?
 
What Was the Outcome (Luke 15:9-10)?
Recovery- The silver was saved! More work was put into the silver than it was worth, but finding the silver was about the woman not the silver. It was about what the woman wanted and how much she was willing to do to recover it. Our recovery is about the glory of God, what He desires and what He is willing to spend to fill His house.
Revelation- The revelation came to the friends and neighbors of the woman. They did not know how much one lost coin meant to her until they received an invitation to a party in honor of her recovery of it. Jesus’ true friends in the audience gladly receive the revelation that the lost and found are precious to Him.
Rejoicing- Rejoicing began with the woman and others were invited to share in that joy. The church is to come to the joy of God when one person repents of sin and joins God’s family.
Reflection- The outcome of the story is simply a reflection of a heavenly truth. God is happy with those He searches for and finds. Heaven is filled with joy for God’s house is filled with redeemed sinners!
Ask yourself: Are you reflecting here on Earth how God feels about lost souls being found?
Conclusion
The title for this message: “The Pure Desire to Find Dirty Silver” reflects the heart of this woman. It also relays God’s great desire to fill His house with His findings and friends. Be filled this day with the joy of God to have you fill His house.
WatchNotesDownloadDateTitle
  • Oct 24, 2017Filling the House: Sheep, Silver, and Sons: The Pure Desire to Find Dirty Silver
    Oct 24, 2017
    Filling the House: Sheep, Silver, and Sons: The Pure Desire to Find Dirty Silver
    Filling the House: Sheep, Silver and Son Part 3: “The Pure Desire to Find Dirty Silver”
     
    Luke 14:23 23 And the Lord said unto the servant, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.”
    Luke 15:8-10 8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? 9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
     
    Introduction
    Today we will continue with our current series, “Filling the House: Sheep, Silver, and Sons.” The title is taken from Luke 14:23 along with the three parables of Jesus found in Luke 15. Jesus has a great desire to fill His house with people. He also desires that those people desire Him as shown in their response to the invitation He sends out by His servants in Luke 14. Luke 15 makes it clear that Jesus has an immense desire for people to come and fill His house and that He is fully committed in God’s task to bring men to salvation. These stories present Jesus as a shepherd, woman, and father restoring the lost at all cost. But there is more to these parables than that. There is rebuke, warning, and a clear view of the economy of God. The sheep, silver, and sons depict people of religious and non-religious backgrounds, each standing in need of a shepherd, a caring woman, and father. Each class needs God. The parables are a reminder that every person, despite their upbringing, needs to be saved by the grace of God. Entering the house of God only comes at the care and expense of God revealed in Jesus. The expense, search, restoring, and rejoicing is all accomplished in Jesus Christ!
     
    What We Have Learned
    As we journey further into Luke 15 here are some key points to remember from the past two weeks.
    God is a gracious God
    God celebrates
    People are people no matter their grouping
    One is valuable to the whole and the whole is valuable to the one
    These parables show the character of God and His mission, call to both audiences, and serve as a rebuke to the religious who think themselves better than others.
    What’s unique about this parable:
    God spends greatly, recovers, and rejoices. This is the common theme of these parables. The theme does not change despite the changing stories. The differences in each story appeal to the audience in a unique way.
    When Jesus turns the page from one story to another a woman emerges as the main character. This would appeal to women in the audience from both classes. A woman may not know how a shepherd would feel about a sheep being lost, but she understood a piece of silver being lost. She would understand the lack of light in finding things in a house, the need for a candle and broom to search, and the great relief and joy in returning something to its rightful place.
    Jesus also turns from sheep to a silver coin. What is unique about this change? An instinctive animal will wander off by its own urges and does not rationalize like a person. The nature of things drives the lostness of the silver. A silver coin falls to the ground because of the law of gravity. I hope you see where I am going with this. People, because of their natural impulses, wander off like the sheep. People because of their nature are guilty because of God’s divine law. God’s divine law is set in stone because it reflects His being. God’s being is a mystery as gravity is still a mystery to science. The force of His glory forces sinners from His presence and that is why people are called lost.
    The arena of the wilderness is replaced with a house. This shows that people can be lost in wide open places or in tight quarters. You can build tight barriers in life and still be as lost as a person wandering in wide open places without fences. Without Jesus, the sheep and the coin are both lost. Without Jesus those with tight moral codes and no moral codes are just as lost.
    A light is lit and the house is swept. The light is a revealing agent. God’s Word is the light with which we search for the silver in the morning. The good works and kindness of the church shine bright throughout the week as we look for shining silver that may be overlaid with a thin layer of the world we call dust. The light makes that which appears as earth to glimmer enough that it can be recovered, cleansed, and restored. Is your heart glimmering a little this morning? Is God shining the light of the gospel call on your life?
    I hope you can see that Jesus turns the page with the purpose of filling His house for the glory of God and sake of man.
    Lessons from the Silver: Who, What, How, and Why
    Now that we understand the parable a little better we can move on to apply this to our lives. We are going to do this by asking and answering five questions.
    Who is the woman?
    What is the symbolic meaning of the silver?
    Where was it lost?
    How was it recovered?
    Why was this exciting?
    I know some of you will start reading the scripture and attempt to uncover these as I teach, and that is good, but do not miss what I am about to say for it is important.
     
    Who is the Woman (Luke 15:8a)?
    She is Jesus- What could be more appalling for a religious man than for Jesus to depict God (Himself) as a woman? At the same time what could be more luring to a woman for Jesus to depict God (Himself) as a woman? Jesus is not aiming at being gender neutral, because God is masculine, but at being gender inclusive. He desires men and women to be saved and fill His house. Jesus also wanted to shed some light on the character of God (Himself) that only could be communicated through a female persona. I read an article this week in preparing for this message about the differences in men and women. It is a little humorous, more so helpful, to me that a team of researchers collected data on differences in men and women. The results verify what many already assume. Men are more analytical and dominate in personality while women are more sensitive, warm, and apprehensive. The woman in the parable shows God as understanding, warm, and sensitive more than that of the Shepherd or Father. It is necessary then, because of limitation of men and women, for God to use both to reveal Himself.
    She is the Church- Jesus is talking directly about God (Himself) and indirectly to the Church (His bride). The Church is directed to continue the mission of Christ (John 20:21). We are to warmly care for those that are not yet recovered. We are to be about filling God’s house. We should find joy, as God does, in the restoration of all that are found. Caring, searching, recovering, and rejoicing are the business of the church in this age.
    Ask yourself: Are you about the business of Jesus?
     
    What is the Symbolic Meaning Behind the Silver (Luke 15:8b)?
    The Woman desired the silver- God is God without us, just as the woman was a woman without her silver. We add nothing to God’s being; the silver would add nothing to the woman’s being. I asked David Malachi, Tara and my 4-year-old, why he looked for things when he lost them. He responded, “Because I like them”. This is the reason God searches until we are found! God does not spend all because He is lonely or guilt ridden. God loves us and spends to find us simply because He wants to. The woman wanted her bag or band full of the silver that was rightfully hers, and God wants His house filled with people that are rightfully His.
    Image of a King- The woman’s silver coin has an image on it. An image that gives the money certain value. We have on us the image of the King of glory. God is so glorious that those that bear His image are worth finding simply for the image they carry! Our value is wrapped up in Him that sits upon the throne.
    Ask yourself: Do you find value in people when they cannot add value to you?
     
    Where Was the Silver Lost (Luke 15:8c)?
    The dark- Jesus brings His listeners into a house where it is hard to see. The coin had fallen to the dirt and rolled into some corner, and worse still it was dark. The position of fallen man is darkness.
    In a house- The coin was so close to home it was even in the house, but the only thing that makes home real is the presence of the people there. The coin lay without knowledge that it was lost. People are so near God and at the same time far away. We live on His earth, in His solar system, even made in His image. It is as if we are in His house and not yet home.
    Covered in earth- Most homes in the day of Jesus had dirt floors. The floors would be swept clean and dust would abound. The coin fell to the earthen floor where it would take upon it the dust of the earth making it harder to find. People far from God, unaware of our position, in the dark, and covered with dirt, yes, are much like the silver coin.
    Ask yourself: Would you leave what you loved in such a position?
    How Was the Silver Recovered (Luke 15:8d) ?
    A lit candle- The woman lit a candle to shed some light in the dark house. The candle that God has lit is the gospel call. Jesus came as the Light of the World (John 18:12) to give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45) and to seek and save that which is lost (Luke 19:10). The church likewise, through good teaching and works, shines forth in areas of the globe as it searches for silver! According to the parable the burning is not in vain for the silver is found! Does your teaching and life light up your area?
    The house is swept- Finding a silver coin in the earth is dirty business. Jesus got dirty. He was rejected, stripped, spat upon, bruised, bled, crucified, and buried. Jesus suffered on our behalf. All the labor was His as we remained dead. The church sweeps the earth, getting dirty and stirring up dust as we uncover those silver pieces that will fill God’s house.
    Diligence was employed- It was not a quick find. The silver was deeply lost. Finding silver to fill God’s house is not a fill-the-church-quick scheme. It takes prayer, time, desire, and patience.
    Ask yourself: What are you doing to fill God’s house with silver?
     
    What Was the Outcome (Luke 15:9-10)?
    Recovery- The silver was saved! More work was put into the silver than it was worth, but finding the silver was about the woman not the silver. It was about what the woman wanted and how much she was willing to do to recover it. Our recovery is about the glory of God, what He desires and what He is willing to spend to fill His house.
    Revelation- The revelation came to the friends and neighbors of the woman. They did not know how much one lost coin meant to her until they received an invitation to a party in honor of her recovery of it. Jesus’ true friends in the audience gladly receive the revelation that the lost and found are precious to Him.
    Rejoicing- Rejoicing began with the woman and others were invited to share in that joy. The church is to come to the joy of God when one person repents of sin and joins God’s family.
    Reflection- The outcome of the story is simply a reflection of a heavenly truth. God is happy with those He searches for and finds. Heaven is filled with joy for God’s house is filled with redeemed sinners!
    Ask yourself: Are you reflecting here on Earth how God feels about lost souls being found?
    Conclusion
    The title for this message: “The Pure Desire to Find Dirty Silver” reflects the heart of this woman. It also relays God’s great desire to fill His house with His findings and friends. Be filled this day with the joy of God to have you fill His house.
  • Oct 8, 2017Filling the House: Sheep, Silver, and Sons: The Immense Value of the Shepherd
    Oct 8, 2017
    Filling the House: Sheep, Silver, and Sons: The Immense Value of the Shepherd
     
  • Oct 1, 2017Filling the House: Sheep, Silver, and Sons: The House and the Audience
    Oct 1, 2017
    Filling the House: Sheep, Silver, and Sons: The House and the Audience
    Series: Filling the House: Sheep, Silver, and Sons
    Part 1: “The House and The Audience”
    Text: Luke 14:23; Luke 15:1-2
    Scripture:
    Luke 14:23
    23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
    Luke 15:1-2
    Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.
    2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them
    The Aim of this Series:
    There is no place like home. My life experience has been that home is the height of love, acceptance, and comfort. What is home? It is a dwelling with unique smells, surroundings, furniture and so much more. It is a place where love, desire, forgiveness, acceptance, and comfort reside. Home is this because a person or persons dwell there and generate such pleasantness. The dwelling, smell, memories, surroundings, and unique features of home get value from the person or persons that dwell there. Remove the unique person or persons and home is empty and void although the same dwelling, items, and smell still exist.
    The aim of this series is to invigorate in each person’s heart that you are invited to the single and plural nature of God that makes God’s grace your home and heaven a suitable dwelling place for all eternity. God, His grace, and Heaven cannot be separated.
    Introduction to the text “Highways, Hedges, and the House”
    Luke 14:23 lands us in the middle of Jesus’ response to a group of Pharisees that did not understand the mission of God. A sick man that needed healing was eating with Jesus and the religious elite. The Pharisees liked religion their way and people as this sick man did not fit into the formula of their Sabbath. It is from this background that Jesus speaks. Notice that Jesus is explaining Himself to the Pharisees. He is being truthful and compelling.
    The parable that we run into in Luke 14:23 is about a man that made a great meal and invited the most capable of people to come and enjoy it. These people refused for their own reason revealing they prized something more than the master and his meal. The master therefore became angry and sent a group of ambassadors into the highways and hedges to fill the house. This parable highlights Jesus’ teaching just a few verses earlier in Luke 14:12-15. Jesus taught that the need and invitation go together. What you have is most valuable when you share it with those who lack it. This is the position of Jesus therefore He shares openly the meal of eternal life with all those that heed His invitation. The Pharisees were people capable of coming to eternal life because they knew the scriptures, yet they had many reasons why they could not accept the meal of the Master. The broken, blind, and ignorant are the least capable of knowing the Messiah because they lack the knowledge of the Scripture, yet Jesus sends and fetches them from the highways and hedges to the house. I want you to see the house is the grace of God’s salvation and eventually the unveiling of the eternal presence of the thrice holy God of Heaven. This is the house the Lord Jesus wants us to dwell in. He wants all the beggars to come home. He invites us, by the gospel call and Spirit to a home that we never knew was ours! I hope today you are in the house but by chance if you are in the highways and hedges you are still invited home.
     
    A Great Truth About the Invitation:
    When Jesus invited those that were capable to attend the meal of salvation each person had an excuse, revealing they loved something more. Luke 14:24-27 states Christ’s declaration that only those who prize God over all things are worthy to be His disciples. The invitation to the meal of discipleship is to be examined through the lens of truth. You cannot come to the table unless you are all-in. Do you see this truth as harsh? At first glance, it seems harsh but let us apply it to serious matters in life. When you married your husband or wife, were the vows that you exchanged “all-in” vows? Did they read something similar to, “For better or worse, in sickness and in health, until death do us part?” That is a bit radical. Loving a person is a BIG RADICAL COMMITMENT. Being faithful to a person, working over, or quitting a job to care for a person that you cannot benefit from while they lay sick and dying is very radical! Even high school, college, and professional coaches want their athlete’s radical commitment. Only those who do not prize God above all others would think it crazy of God to ask His people to be zealously committed to Him. That is why Jesus teaches to “count the cost” of being His disciple. In Luke 14:28-33 Jesus teaches to consider what must be given to enter and enjoy His house. The ox, the land, the wife and any other thing you prize must be put in its rightful place to follow Jesus and enter God’s grace awaiting the unveiling of His glorious presence in Heaven. You must love, truly love, God to follow Him!
     
    Thus Far and Beyond
    Luke 14 presents a glimpse at the mission of Jesus. He came to prepare a meal of salvation and celebration. Those that are capable to attend are invited as well as those who are not. Also, there is emphasis on prizing God above all things. The Master, house, and meal are all very important. Remember, as it is with your home, so it is with the Master’s house and meal: it is not the same without Him. Keep in mind that Jesus has stated that the house (a place of salvation, celebration and glorious present and future fellowship) is to be filled. Jesus desires that His audience knows the importance of His house and heeds the invitation to fill the house. We will now venture into Luke 15:1-2 and discover the house and the audience.
     
    The House (Luke 14:23)- We have already stated that this house is the house of grace in which God will unveil His glorious presence. It is also a place of salvation, celebration, and glorious present and future fellowship. What else can be learned about this house?
     
    The Owner is Hospitable (Luke 14:16 “Bade many”)- The house is open to enter upon invitation. There are many invitations. The Lord has much room in His house and wants people to fill it for their enjoyment. He truly wants to share what is His with those who have much less than He does. He does not invite us to a house of pride but to a house of humility and hospitality. The Lord wants you. You are being bidden to enter the house of salvation and dwell there. Now, do not think in your heart that you deserve to be there? because you certainly do not. The Master is far above you and me in all manner of living. He is perfect, powerful, and resurrected. We can bring nothing to His meal but scraps and beggar’s bread. Yet, He desires our company! Would it be full hospitality if we were considered good company? Not according to the Lord’s teachings (Luke 14:12-14). We must be the lesser if God is to show His full character to us. We are less so He can share more of Himself!
     
    The Owner Spends Lavishly (Luke 14:16 “Great Supper”)- The Lord has spared no expense when it comes to His preparation. This will be a reoccurring theme through the next several weeks. God has spent lavishly so that many can be filled with His sufficiency. John 3:16 “God SO loved the world” means that God loved the world radically. He loves us to the point of “reckless spending”. The house and meal God has made for His people is a great one that comes at His own expense. You can bring nothing to the table. His expense causes the delivery of great joy. This is seen in Romans 8:32 “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Do you see what Paul is saying? Because Jesus gave Himself and He is supreme then all things have been delivered to us. When you go to a resort you can pay a great price and great service will be granted. The price the Jesus paid on our behalf unleashed the eternal gift of all things to us.
     
    The House Will Be Filled (Luke 14:23 “that my house may be filled”)- The great hospitality and expense of our Lord will be fruitful. All those God allows will come to fill His house. There is a twofold filling in the house: 1.) The house is full 2.) The people are filled. The goal of the gospel is to fill and fill. The message we preach does both because it draws people to salvation and fills them with the joy of God. God’s efforts will not be wasted; many will eat of the great supper. It is true those that eat will not be polished like the Pharisees may think, but they will be welcomed!
     
    My Story: Years ago, I was invited to a party by a single’s ministry. I figured it would be a good idea to go. Maybe I could get to know some Christians that were my age. I showed up with a card with a piece of money in it and sat in one of the seats. Minutes passed and I was unnoticed and quite frankly left out. I went invited, spent for it, and left empty. It was a bad impression and I never returned for another empty experience. Because Jesus fills His house and then fills His people we at Bethany we want to reflect the hospitality and expense of the Lord. We want people to fill the building and be filled at our expense!
     
    Question: Will you labor to fill God’s house and fill God’s people?
     
    The Audience (Luke 15:1-2 “this man recieveth sinners”)- Jesus spoke of His desire to bring people into a household relationship with Him. Exactly who was He talking to? Those that were present to hear Him were both Pharisees and sinners. Of course, both were sinners, the Pharisees just thought they were less of a sinner. Who is the audience, what does it mean, and how does this affect our understanding of Luke 15?
     
    Who is the audience? - Two classes of people from vastly different backgrounds heard the words of Jesus on this occasion. The religious class knew more about God from the scripture, or should have known more, and the sinning class knew less about God from scripture. One class looked polished, at least religiously, and the other not so religious. Luke 15:1-2 reveals that the sinners looked for and longed after the teaching of Jesus. They were seemingly always around. The Pharisees often came to judge and ridicule. Today we bash Pharisees as they did not exactly give themselves a good name, but Jesus did not “Baptist Bash” them. Bashing others that are Pharisees does no more than make you what you are bashing. We could call it “the pot calling the kettle black.” Jesus did not run the Pharisees or the sinners off. Instead He invited them into some in-depth teaching and presented truth that would move each class of people if heeded. The audience was different, but Christ was not indifferent toward either class.
    What does it mean to have two different audiences? - The audiences reveal to us that Jesus skillfully put together earthly stories to relay heavenly truth to reach both types of people because He loved them both and longed to save the Pharisee as much as “sinner.”
     
    How does this affect our understanding of Luke 15? - We will be introduced to three parables in Luke 15. One of sheep, the other about silver, and the third about two sons. When we read these stories, understanding the audiences will help us stay on task with the main idea behind the messages. We should look for the message for each group and understand they are sometimes the same. We will also keep in mind that Jesus wants to fill His house with people from both audiences. These parables are a call to His audience to fill His house and be filled by Him!
     
    Question: You are the audience; how will you respond to the invitation and expense of the Master to fill you?
     
    Will You Be Filled?
    Jesus has spoken. Whether you are a Pharisee or “sinner” Jesus went to great lengths to invite you to His house of grace to be filled. Will you enjoy His goodness? If you are not in His house, will you come? If you are in His house, will you be filled with His truth? Will you celebrate with the Master His divine character and supply? Will you join in song, prayer, missions, and purity? Come in the house and be filled!
  • Sep 24, 2017The Great Sin of the Church: Apathy Week 3
    Sep 24, 2017
    The Great Sin of the Church: Apathy Week 3
     
  • Sep 17, 2017The Great Sin of the Church: Apathy Week 2
    Sep 17, 2017
    The Great Sin of the Church: Apathy Week 2
    Scripture
    Revelation 3:14-22
    : 14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
     
    The Scriptures for the Message
    We will use the same text from last week. Our launching text Revelation 3:14-22 and our teaching texts Matthew 24:37-25:46. There is a lot of scripture to cover so I encourage personal devotional time this week from our text.
     
    Introduction to the Cost of Apathy
     
    Last week we began to preach on the “Great Sin of the Church: Apathy”
    We defined Christian Apathy as “Being without emotion or care toward God”. This could be called “so what Christianity”.
    Apathy is expressed within the church when church attendance is scoffed at, baptism refused, lack of involvement in partaking of the Lord’s Supper unresponsive to the call of prayer, uncharitable in giving, lack of service, refusal to engage next steps or joining congregational study, attending life groups, and striving for personal holiness to name a few.
    The church that we are examining in the present text were “so what Christians”. They were neither cold or hot. The church was useless because they lacked any desired quality. The Lord states he wished they were either cold or hot, because to be at the indifferent temperature of lukewarm was detestable.
    If you are interested in what the character of being lukewarm (apathetic) looks please see the message from the previous week “The Great Sin of the Church: The Character of Apathy”.
     
    Review of “The Character of Apathy”
     
    Normal is the Aim (Matthew 24:37-29a)
    Anger at Others (Matthew 24:48-49)
    Appears Adequate but it Lacking (Matthew 25:3)
    Disregard for the Knowledge of accountability
    False Holiness (Matthew 25:43-45)
     
    What causes Apathy?
     
    1.) Cares of the World- You may recall the parable of the "Sower and the Seed". At one point in the parable the "seed" of the Word begins to grow and is quickly choked out with "the cares of this world” (Mark 4:19). It is easy to see how many professed believers become apathetic toward doing the will of God. MY time, My money, My retirement, My vacation, My decisions, My rest, my health, my responsibility, my job, my, my, my! The worry that accompanies selfishness, rebellion, and lack of trust chokes the WORD!
    2.) Non-Responsive to needs of others- (1st John 3:17, James 2:16)
    This non-responsiveness is directly tied to "cares of this world". We find reasons not to respond and before long don't care to respond because we have reasoned away true faith. Our non-responsive nature to the needs of others is evidence that we have not responded to God. 
    3.) Unaware of personal needs (Revelation 3:17). Again, connected to the "cares of this world". We measure our need by things we dig out the dirt or pick out the field like little children. We do not need the bread of life because we have a mud pie we made with our little hands. You can't live off mud pies! We see the lack of personal need for God and His word in our very own prayer request. A pray list in a church generally represents everyone outside the church. "pray for my aunt.... Pray for rain my uncle is a farmer.... Pray for my neighbor they are having it rough." I know it sounds humble, it sounds religious, it sounds proper, but if prayer is simply limited to others and avoids personal needs it stinks of "I have need of nothing"!
     
    The Cost of “So What Christianity”
     
    Today we will look at the cost and the dangers of Christian apathy. Apathy says, “I don’t care”, but the cost of apathy in your daily life toward God screams “you should care”. The very important question we will answer today is “why should I care about the faith I profess to have”?
     
    Scriptural reasons to care or be zealous
     
    1) God rejects so called apathetic Christians (Revelation 3:16)- A professor of Christ without the practice of Christ is an imposter of Christ. There will be professing Christians that are rejected from the true church of God come the judgment.
    “So What Christians” are not who Jesus died for- Jesus gave Himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and purchase to Himself a peculiar people zealous of good works (Titus 2:14). That is Jesus purchased you to be his workmanship (Masterpiece) created in Christ Jesus for good works (Ephesians 2:10). Jesus gave Himself to give people a new zealous nature that pursues and prizes God above all things! Jesus did not die to purchase people to a life of lukewarm apathy.
    “So What Christians” will be vomited out- When John wrote The Revelation of Jesus Christ the idea of Jesus rejecting those who professed Him as Lord but rejected His life style was nothing new. We do not have to evaluate this scripture by itself. You can look up Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name, have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Jesus also asked, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).Obviously those Christ rejects are those that are professing something that is not true. Apathy says, “I am not a Christian, and I do not follow Christ”. Let us labor together to be “yawn resistant” toward the things of God. Let us pray fervently and be holy with our living.
    My Story: Tara and I drink different types of coffee each morning. We are both known to leave our cups about anywhere in our home and every so often I pick up her cup. Recently, while rushing around the house getting the kids off to school, I grabbed her cup and headed out the door. I got in the car and took a sip of her coffee only to immediately open the door and spit it out. It had been sitting idle to long and cooled off just enough to disgust me. It was not what I thought it was going to be. The same is with God. He expects those that claim to be His to have a fire about them.
    Ask yourself: Are you redeemed? Are you Red Hot for the glory of God?
     
    2) Severe and Unpleasant Surprises- Matthew 24:45-51
    When you read this account a vivid picture is painted. One steward was called faithful and wise. The faithfully wise servant was promoted “ruler of all the master’s goods”. The evil servant was demolished “cut asunder” and then demoted “appointed him his portion with the hypocrites”. What had apathy done to the servant to make him wicked?
    a. Apathy makes you think God is a Liar (48)- The evil servant’s problem began in his heart. He had no love for the Lord and it showed in his personal belief system. When your belief is off your behavior will follow. Apathy led the evil servant to embrace this theology: “God will not return at all and therefore I will not be accountable and can do what I please for there is no higher authority than myself”. Apathy is very dangerous because it reveals in your behavior what is locked in your heart!
     
    b. Apathy lies to you about judgement (50)- Judgement came to the wicked servant in a day he was not prepared. The truth is that no matter the day the Lord would return the evil servant would fail to be prepared. The Lord’s return was not a pleasant surprise. The evil servant may have thought that if the Lord did return just maybe the punishment wouldn’t be severe, but it was very serve, and the unfaithful servant was destroyed in a ruthless way for his behavior.
     
    My Story: When I was a pre-teen I was given a task by my dad to perform a task after school for a week. The task was simple; I had to rake the leaves in the backyard. It was not something I was looking forward to and there were many more things I could do as a kid after school beside rake leaves and besides dad always came home after dark and wouldn’t see the progress one way or the other. What was the big deal? I figured that dad would give me another shot or maybe I could plead with him to get one of my brothers to help me. I knew I would be punished for not completing my task but maybe if I did a little the punishment would be less severe. I was wrong! I remember my dad coming home and turning on the back-porch light on that Friday evening to see my work barely begun. I pleaded my cause and he listened, unmoved by my defense. Then came my judgement. No TGIF that night on ABC, and I was sentenced to raking the back yard by a flash light! I would have been whipped, or restricted, but I was sent to my terrible fate of work in the dark!
     
    Ask Yourself: Will the day of Jesus’ return be a pleasant one for you?
     

    3) Pleading that leaves you without- Matthew 25:1-12
    10 virgins had lamps, 5 of the ten had sufficient oil, and the other 5 lacked sufficient oil. Maybe the 5 that lacked the oil thought within themselves that they needed nothing but what they had. We each know of someone, it could be us, that trust in what they got when it is not the best for them. What can we learn about apathy from these 5 young women?

    a. They wanted to be with the Groom (v1)- There is no doubting that these women wanted to be with the Groom. They had a lukewarm desire. When the Groom was near they picked up their lamps and went to meet Him, but they lacked oil. They had desire but lacked oil. They wanted in on the celebration but they lacked the substance to enter the celebration. There are many who like the thought of Jesus in the church, but only those that love and labor for the Lord are His.

    b. A lamp is no good without oil (v8)- I want to be clear on this point. It is “by grace, through faith” people are saved (Ephesians 2:8). Paul writes “where sin abounded grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20). When we view the teaching of Paul with the teaching of Jesus we discover grace saves and saving grace works through faith and our faith is visibly seen by our works. Be careful not to get those things out of order. God’s grace first saves me through faith and then God’s grace compels me to be zealous about good works by faith. James says it like this, “I will shew thee my faith by my works”. The virgins in the parable had no works which meant they liked the grace of God.
    c. They were disobedient- When we skin the parable back and look at the internal organs of it we find that 5 of the virgins were disobedient and did not prize the Groom over all else. He was not their priority and it showed in their preparation. 1st place in their lives was taken by something else. That something else is not mentioned in the parable and doesn’t have to be, because anything else besides Jesus being prized is not sufficient and will lead to apathy concerning love for God.
    d. Pleading does not take place of practicing (11)- Open unto us they cried. They pleaded with the Groom through a closed door, but it was too late. All the tears in the world would not open the door. The door was opened at one period and time and they were not ready. Do not bank on pleading with God in the last hours of your life for salvation. Hear the voice of the Groom and receive and live by His divine grace.
     
    Ask Yourself: Does my work for God show divine grace is working in me?
     
    Losing that which you were given-(Matthew 25:14-30) The parable of the talents is a parable of chance squandered. Chosen and destined to embark on greatness 2 of the 3 servants labored. The 1 servant that had 1 talent took another route. He decided to do nothing with his opportunity. And when his Lord returned he lost the 1 talent and was severely punished. Apathy cost dearly!
    Seize and Do Not Squander
     
    You and I have been given great opportunity. I mean how great is it that God allowed you to be under the preaching of His word today? Isn’t God wonderful for even giving us opportunity at eternal life? Yes, God is good! But let us not be fooled, every person that we studied today in the parables of the Lord were given great opportunity. They were given task by the Master and even allowed in His visible community for a season, but when judgment came it was proven by their works that they never cared for the Lord and harsh punishment and rejection came to them. Seize the opportunity to be saved and if you are saved wake up and be alert for the Lord will return!
     
    It will be Asked So I must Answer
     
    There is a question I had to deal with during this study. “Can a believer become apathetic for a season?” The answer is Yes. Therefore, Jesus writes through John to the church of Laodicea. The ones in the church that have the Spirit of God will yield to the warning of God. Salvation for the believer is eternal and I do not doubt that. What concerns me is those who do not heed the warning of being apathetic for they are lost and nearer hell than anyone else.
    2nd Peter 2:21-“For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
     
    Next Week
    Join me next week as we study, “The Cure of Apathy”
     
  • Sep 10, 2017The Great Sin of the Church: Apathy Week 1
    Sep 10, 2017
    The Great Sin of the Church: Apathy Week 1
    Scripture
    14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.16 So then
    because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
    (Revelation 3:14-22, KJV)
     
    "And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Revelation 3:14-22 https://www.bible.com/bible/1/REV.3.14-22
    "And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Revelation 3:14-22 https://www.bible.com/bible/1/REV.3.14-22
    "And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Revelation 3:14-22 https://www.bible.com/bible/1/REV.3.14-22
    "And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Revelation 3:14-22 https://www.bible.com/bible/1/REV.3.14-22
    Introduction

    It's my hope over the next several weeks to preach and teach along a very important topic that I really want to encourage you to listen to thoroughly. It is entitled The Great Sin of the Church: The Sin of Apathy.

    In Revelation, when Jesus is revealing himself to John, Jesus starts off around the second chapter speaking to 7 churches. The church in our text is the church of the Laodiceans. Now, a lot of folks like to group these churches into church ages, but I'm going to veer off from that ideology for a second and tell you that the Laodicean church is an actual church that existed in the time in which John was writing, real people, real so-called believers that professed the name of Jesus Christ, and they had a real problem.

    The problem was they were apathetic. Now, that is where we'll pick up, in verse 15, and I want you to read this again with me in your Bible, underline it, highlight it. Verse 15 says this: "I know.This is Jesus declaring his sovereignty; he knows; he's not in the dark; he's not having to search CNN or track your life like we've been tracking the hurricane and many hurricanes out in the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico; he's not having to pull up a data report on you; he already knows.

    What he knows is your works; he knows what you're doing. He knows why you're doing it, the Word of God is quicker, is sharper than any two-edged sword, and it does dividing, it knows the intent of the heart, knows why you're doing what you do. Even our charitable works, our charitable giving can be found in sin, based on why we're doing it. If we're doing it for self-glory, then we're doing it out of a sinful heart. See, God knows these things, and we ought to honor him for his supreme knowledge and be in awe of him, and humbled before his majesty. Jesus being in the “know” should be humbling to us.

    He says to the church of the Laodiceans "Thou art neither cold," you're not good for drinking, "Nor are you hot," you're not good for cleansing or washing. He says this great statement, "I would that you were cold or hot, I would that you stood in an un- redeemed nature, not knowing the truth, having the ability for redemption, being cold, un-churched, lost, I'd rather you be that, or either hot, fervently zealous, the character of a Christian, in love with me. I would rather you be one or the other, but I would that you were not standing between and be apathetic."
     
    The Aim of the Series   
    If you'll bear with me the next several weeks and give me the chance to unload, to unleash and to preach truth, that hopefully is life-changing for you as a believer, and soul-converting for you if you're lost. Do not look for me to attempt dynamics to woo you and wow you and win you. Please be focused on the scripture that we're going to give to you. The aim of this series is to hit you right at the heart. I'm not attempting to graze you, I'm not aiming to nick you, I'm aiming to wound you in your heart. I'm aiming to prod you with a hot iron, to sear you, to inflict spiritual awakening to your dead and maybe apathetic soul.

    I'm taking aim wholeheartedly, with all my study and all my prayer life and all my preaching and all my demeanor and all the zeal God's given me, and I'm trying to be a marksman, I'm trying to hit you where it hurts. Hopefully, realizing the wound that you have can be healed by the Holy Spirit. Now I think before we go any further, we've got to answer the question..........

    What is Apathy?

    I want you to see the command of God and say, "He matters more. His command matters more. His request of me is supreme. It's more precious than even my own life." We want the church to leave apathy concerning missions, leave apathy concerning volunteering.

    We are thankful that people have been passionate about giving, because the folks talking about giving have given good sound warning and truth and encouragement concerning giving. We took up more last week than we did in our 50/50 giving in July, so people are figuring out to be passionate in those areas. That's good, that's a start, but we want that zeal for God's word to amp up here.

    We want folks to give, but we want to give around the Word and give because of the Word, and give because God is the Word, manifest flesh. We want you to get that. We want the music to be God-centered and Word-centered. We desire marriages to be God-centered and Word-driven. We are aiming to have Christ as the high prize of all that we do and this can only be accomplished by doing away with apathy toward our faith in God.

    The Scriptures for the Next Several Weeks

    Matthew 24:37-25:46

    We will jump around, I will do my best to explain it, but you must do reading on your own time. This morning, I hope I make you one of two things: glad or mad, but I hope that one of those two emotions come to the forefront, because I'd rather you be one of those than a "so what" Christian. Let’s discover the character of apathy from the scripture. Let’s see what it looks like.

    At the beginning of Matthew 24, the Lord is talking about his coming. He is talking about him returning. He's talking about some of the things that come along with it, some were in the present, in the future, but overall he's talking about his return. In Luke, he talks about, when the son of man comes, will he find faith in the Earth? Here He talks about his coming, and then he lays this out: “As the days of Noah were so shall the days be like at my coming.If you'll look and study Genesis, you will see a mirror image of what the characteristics look like in the society that we live in. As to when Jesus comes, look at verse 38. "For as in the days of Noah," here's what it looked like. Before the flood came, (judgment was the flood), before everything was wiped out they were eating, drinking, marrying, giving in marriage, until the very day that Noah entered the ark.” Verse 39: "They knew not," now, compare that to what Jesus says, "I know," and the characteristic of the days when Jesus is going to return. It says, "They knew not." Now link that up in the Old Testament, the prophets foretell that there is a famine coming that is greater than food, and it's the famine of the Word of God. That's where the "know not" comes from, because people don't want to know. Not that preachers aren't preaching it, not that singers aren't singing it, not that missionaries aren't going, but people just do not want to know. They're apathetic, “So what,he says; they don't want to know.

    Christian Apathy Produces a Life Aimed at Normal

     

    The first characteristic of what Christian apathy looks like is that Christian apathy has normal as its aim.The status quo is apathy’s aim. Apathy says, "If this is how society is going, this is how I'm going.” Apathy determines not to think rationally or spiritually. I am gaging what is going on, and throwing everything about me at it.In church we talk about modesty, which begins within and comes out, and that becomes a very, "You're a legalist and you're this and you're that," and I understand that there are boundaries, and I understand that there's the ditch on both sides of the straight and narrow, but what I can tell you is this: If you look at how the world carries themselves, and you have mimicked that completely, ask yourself, “Why?” If what you listen to is what the world listens to generally, ask yourself, “Why?” If the movies you want to go watch and fill your eyes with are the status quo of what's put out all the time, ask yourself, “Why? The answer is you want to be normal. You have set your bar with the world. You want the tattoos like everybody, the ear piercings all over. I'm not here preaching legalism, I'm trying to get you to think, why is that your norm? As a Christian that's been blood-washed, why are we looking there instead of in the Word itself to find out where we are to aim? Their (in the days of Noah) aim was normal, they had a normal life. In the days of Noah, they just wanted to make a living, eat, drink, marry their kids off to multiply. They just wanted to do what they were doing.

    What was normal in the days of Noah? Normal was evil, and you also know the normal of their day, well they heard warnings, 2nd Peter 2:5 says, "Noah was a preacher." Normal was labor, celebration, and apathy toward the things of God, that was the norm, and that was the aim, and that's what they were after. What is your spiritual aim this morning, and what do you promote within your homes and your heart?

    Christian Apathy Produces Anger at Others

    Number two: anger at others. We leave this parable and we go a little further down (Matthew 24:42-51) where Jesus is talking about what the coming days would be like when he returns. He introduces us to two servants that had responsibility, and he said, "I'll come back. I will return. Be responsible. Stay alert.” He used the word "watch", which means vigilant, awake, aware.

    He says, "Be aware that I will return. Keep good accounts, work, be diligent. I will return." One kept it, and the other said, "The lord is delaying his return, or he won't return," and he got this attitude, "Who cares? God will not really judge me," which, by the way, is the very first doctrine of scripture that was challenged by Satan, "You surely won't die, God's not really going to judge you. You're okay, you're okay just like you are." It said that he (the servant) got angry. His anger, you know what it led to? It led to abuse of others. Now pay attention to that, because it's very important. He had apathy toward others, "I don't care about your life, I don't care about your needs, I don't care about you, this is my stuff, my house, my belongings, my money, my job, I work for this, mine, mine."

    When you say, "My, my, my ", you're letting out little smoke signals that you're angry, that you're selfish, and that you're not hearing or heeding the Word of God. Now, there's two things that happen with this anger, he pointed it toward others. Then because he was angry, he turned to addiction. He was probably angry and didn't want to be, or either he wanted to stay angry, or he didn't want to worry about his anger. Whatever it was, he was angry and drunk. Addiction is an outlet to deal with a sin that's not necessarily the addiction itself. The addiction is the manifestation of the sin or the brokenness that's within.

    Now, it's not hard to figure out that we live in an angry society, anti-bullying is where we bully bullies. It irks my nerves to see divisions in society that make people angry promoted within churches, within pulpits. Social media makes me nauseous, makes me zealous for the things of God, and makes me want to tell you if that's the way you are and the way you act, the signs are you will not inherit the kingdom of God. I'd be very cautious. How do you feel about others? Do you see them as intrusive, or are they God's people, and you love them as God does?

    Christian Apathy Looks Qualified but is Lacking Substance

    Three, "Appearances of adequacies that are truly lacking." We begin at Matthew 25, and we start off with a parable about a wedding, and there's 10 young ladies, 10 virgins that are selected to go out and meet the bride and the groom when they're coming back to the home and it's evening and it's dark. You're invited to do this, it's a very important thing, a very precious thing. The bridegroom says, "Look, you need lamps, you need oil, make sure you have them, because you're going to escort us in, this is going to be a big celebration. You're all invited, you're all special to me, you're all precious to me, be involved with it," so they're invited.

    Every virgin had a lamp, that's what they had in common. Now, that is the vessel with which divine grace can reside. It echoes of Matthew 5:16, where he says, "Let your light so shine before men that they can see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” A lamp is made for one reason, to shine.

    Why buy a flashlight if you don't have batteries in it or a light bulb for it? Why have a lamp if there's no oil to burn it, what good is it? It's decorative, but it's no help. Here's what happens, they have just enough to kind of get started, but not enough to carry them through. The picture is this, there's some people that are invited that are within the church that are as tares, that have the lamp, they look like a lamp, they look like they could burn. They could burn, they could be useful, they could give God glory. They could be redeemed, but they just got the lamp and just enough to say, "I have a light, that's enough," and it burns out. Then they go to the people that's got it on that day when they're supposed to be ready, and says, "Let us have some of yours," and they say, "No, you should go purchase what you need, because what we have is what we have. We cannot give it to you, or we'll be found lacking."

    The idea is that divine grace will see you through, and whether you're burning or not for Christ shows if divine grace is in you. I don't care if you're a lamp, I want to know, do you have the oil of zeal? So does Jesus. Five of the virgins had appearances that were inadequate. They had the lamp, the vessel that reveals divine grace, but they lacked the oil, the substance of divine grace. One is our bodies, the other is the spirit himself. Are you burning for the Lord Jesus or are you just a lamp?

    Christian Apathy Disregards What It knows about Accountability

    Four, the disregard for the knowledge of accountability. Apathy says, I don't want to be accountable, don't like the aggravation of it, don't like the stress of it, don't like the work of it. In Matthew 25:14-30 a large sum of money 10 talents, 5 talents, 1 talent, are given to the servants. What did the servant with 1 talent do? Look at verse 18 with me, "But he that had received one talent went and digged in the Earth, and hid his lord's money." Why did he do with it? He didn't care. Look at verse 24 and 25, this matters: "Then he which had received the one talent came when the judgment came, and he said, 'Lord, I knew, I knew that you're a hard man. You reap before you have it sown, and you gather where you have not strawed. I knew who you were, I knew it, you told me. I knew it, no doubt, and so that made me afraid. I was so afraid that I would fail. The stress came over me, so I just decided not to care about what I knew, and so I hid your talent."

    Is this what the master wanted? The answer is no, he wanted the servant to care about him to the point he cared for his things. Disregard for the knowledge of accountability, we live in an age that I do what I want because I feel like I want, and we're returning to what it seems to be brute beast within the church, not speaking of what is without the church, because what is without is without, but those within are supposed to know the name of Christ. We are supposed to be those who are embracing those things for which God is going to hold us accountable. This servant made two choices. 1. The master's character could be swayed. God won't truly do what he said he would do, there must be another interpretation, must be an allegory, must be an illustration, it certainly cannot mean what it means.

    It certainly cannot mean that these people knew the master, and these people were allowed within the master's community. Then we find out that some of the people even allowed within the community while here on Earth, while he was gone, was allowed in, but when he comes back, they're thrown out. That certainly can't be the case. Certainly everyone that professes Christ is saved, certainly that's got to be it. Right?, "For anyone that calls upon the name of the lord shall be saved." There's a lot more to it than that, isn't there? Because then we have, "Not all that will come to me on that day and cry, 'Lord, lord, lord'," there's got to be more than that.

    Paul spoke truth when he said that you believe in your heart, you really believe really from within, really the reasoning factor of your brain has infected and affected your heart to love God and prize him above all things. If you believe with your heart and then confess with your mouth, you shall be saved. There's a little more to it than a tip of the hat, a dive in the Baptistry, a hand clap at church. Salvation is more that: I sing in the choir, I volunteer with the children's ministry. Certainly, certainly, I'm in. Jesus said, "I know your works." The steward with one talent received his sum with excitement, and then he dug, he worked based on his decision, literally dug his own grave. Do you despise the accountability the Word of God drives into your spirit, or do you embrace it in humility and prayer and care for the things of God?

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