The Key To Ministry
If you can express love and compassion to them, you can also preach the Gospel to them and see them changed by the Spirit of God.
Alright thank you very much. And hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing Alright today? Oh, I trust so, bless your heart. I’m glad to be back with you.
I look for these times, as many of you do, as a beginner for my own heart and life in the early morning hours. And it does me good to get into the Word of God, believe me. I trust there is some blessing there for you. I have just been praying that God would take something that I say and make it custom built, just for you. I trust that that prayer may be answered for you today, my beloved friend. We’re in Mark chapter 2. The Lord Jesus has just been interrupted in His sermon by falling pieces of plaster and then blue sky showing through the ceiling, and then four anxious faces peering down through that whole, and then a sick man being lowered, bodily, on his palette, his stretcher, through that hole, on down into the presence of our Lord. Exciting. And I’m sure that whoever owned that house, Peter I guess, really didn’t feel too happy about seeing what was going on. It’s to his credit that he didn’t say anything.
You know, Peter was a great answerer. The gospel record oftentimes remarks, Peter answered and said, nobody ever ask him anything, but he answered and said. He was always speaking up, and you know, it’s to his credit the he didn’t holler out about this. There’s no evidence that he objected. So, I think that’s to his credit. When we get to Heaven, we ought to thank him for being so patient there, when the ceiling began to fall.
Alright, the interruption provided the basis for the miracle. That’s what I was emphasizing the last time we got together. When your schedule is interrupted, instead of letting it frustrate or irritate you, remind yourself and pray in the direction of God’s blessed miracle working power — so that the interruption becomes the basis, the foundation, for God’s miracle power to be shown.
Well, everybody was criticizing and saying, how can he do any forgiving of sins, only God can do that. Jesus said, “Well I have the power because I am God in the flesh. The Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins. I’ll say the other, you can’t say either one. You can’t say your sins are forgiven nor can you say to this sick, paralyzed man, “get up and walk”. But so that you may know who I am and what I am, and the power that I have”. He says, “I’ll say to the sick man, rise up, take up your pallet, your cot, and go your way into your house”. And immediately he arose and took up the bed and went forth before them all. I’ll tell you, there was no need to clear space for him. People involuntarily moved aside as with shining face and joyful heart. This man who’d been sick for so long, now is walking out before them — with that, a folded up pallet slung over his shoulder. Well, they were all amazed and glorified God saying, “We never saw it on this fashion”. They glorified God. Why? Because Jesus said, “God is doing this in your midst”.
Small thought here. The essence of the best Christian ministry is that which is identifiable as God’s work. “This is the Lord’s doing, it is marvelous in our eyes”, is the Old Testament statement that correlates that thought. “They glorified God”. Now, Jesus had done the work. He said the words. He did the work of healing and of forgiving sin. But it says, they glorified God. The point being that the best possible result of an interruption in your life is that God has a chance to work so that people give Him the glory.
Now, I know that you can’t be religious all day long. Some of the people listening to me are salesman, executives, and traveling men and women– all let, and that. You can’t go around singing, “Holy, Holy, Holy” at the top your voice. I know that. But at the same time, you can be so in tune with heaven — so filled with the Holy Spirit of God — that the usual spate of interruptions and frustrations and problems and flat tires and people late for appointments and the whole business — the usual spate of interruptions and frustrations, can for you, beloved, become the basis for God’s miracle power. See, that’s the genius of the Christian life. Nothing ever just happens to the Christian. “Known unto God are all His works, from the beginning of the world”, and you and I have the inestimable privilege of saying, “Lord, I don’t understand this. It’s not according to my schedule, but it’s according to Yours evidently. Now show me what you want to do you”.
See the idea? They glorified God. Interruptions can become the basis for a miracle work of God in your life. The kind that makes people turn to God and give Him the glory. Not, that was a wonderful sermon, but God spoke to my heart. There’s the contrast, you see? Oh, God grant that that might be so with me and with you and with all who seek to serve our Lord.
Well, this is our Lord Jesus and I’m looking at Mark 2:13 says, “Our Lord Jesus went forth again by the sea side and all the multitude resorted to Him and He taught them”. Now, in Simon Peter’s house it said, “He preached the Word unto them”, Mark 2 verse 2. Now it says, “He taught them”, and this of course would refer us to Matthew’s account, where he gives us what we call the Sermon on the Mount. The teachings of our Lord Jesus are gathered together in that particular area. Matthew said, “They were given on a mountain”. On this occasion, Jesus was by the seaside. What I’m saying to me is the essence of Christ’s teachings is evidently put together in Matthew 5:6-7. Matthew 5, “God in your character”, to Matthew 6, “God in your prayers”, Matthew 7, “God in your interpersonal relationships”, and so on and in your obedience to His Word. Your light so shine, your works, your Father in heaven. Matthew 5 has to do with, how does the light shine? A blessed person, a clean person, a person full of the Word, a person full of love, a person who knows that eternal issues are the most important, that’s Matthew 5.
How does the light shine? The shining of the light. Chapter 6 — see, your good works has to do with your good works and how you do them and for whom, and so on. And then chapter 7 — your Father in heaven. How do you relate yourself to His commands. Do you obey or not obey? That’s a quick rundown of part, at least, of what the Lord Jesus must of been saying to this crowd. It says, “He talked them”. Alright, what happens? Well, as He passed by he saw Levi, that’s our word Matthew, son of Alpheus, sitting at the receipt of custom. Here’s a tax collector, a person concerning whom we would ordinarily like to detour around him. He was sitting at the receipt of custom and said unto Matthew, “Follow me”, and he arose and followed Him and said, “Come on home to dinner with him”. Now, what is the point here? One of the points, I think, is that people who are the most unlikely choices for religion, often times are God’s most likely choices for renewal and spiritual power. We wouldn’t have that blessed Gospel of Matthew if our Lord Jesus hadn’t interrupted this man’s tax collecting that day and called him to follow Him, right? So, what do what do you make of it? Just remember, that some of the people you look at and I look at as being unlikely candidates for God’s blessing, may well indeed turn out to be God’s choice to do a great work.
“Despise not the day of small things”, the Bible says and, “despise not”. I’ll put the Cook paraphrase on it — despise not the people of small ability, because really, God has plans for people who might not be your choice or my choice for Christian work. Would you have chosen Peter, the man with the mouth that’s always in gear, whether or not his brain was engaged? Would you have chosen James and John, brothers whose fuse was very short and that angry easily so their nickname was called the sons of thunder? Would you have chosen Matthew, this crook? He was collecting more, much more than he deserved, because the way tax collectors were paid in those days, they tell me, was that you get everything you could get. You paid of a basic amount to the Roman Empire and after that everything you could collect was yours. So, they became fabulously rich by gouging the people around them and using the authority the Roman Empire to threaten them and make them pay up. Would you have chosen Matthew? I don’t know. See, I don’t think so. But God knows who was there. He knows whom He wants and so He makes the choice. Here is Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom, collecting taxes in other words would say, Jesus said, “Follow me”. And so He says, “Come on home to my house, we will have dinner.” Jesus sat at meat in His house and many publicans, that’s the word for tax collector’s, and sinners –that’s people who work in moral sin, prostitutes and the like, publicans and sinners, outcasts — sat together with Jesus and His disciples. There were many and they followed Him.
Now, what is your attitude toward people who are really not in your set, not in your social scale? People who are just downright wrong in what they’re doing? Have you ever had the love in your heart — enough to do anything kind in their direction? Most of us avoid contact with people who are out of our particular setting, don’t we? I suppose that’s only human, because we feel to mix with the would make is vulnerable and folk would talk about us, just of the talked about the Lord Jesus. They said, “This man eats with publicans and sinners, if He only knew what they were, He wouldn’t touch them”, But He knew better than anyone else what they were. That’s what He did touch them with a hand of love.
Rethink, will you, your relationship with people who are unsaved and it may well be that God would lead somebody listening to me today to take a step of friendship and love and compassion and helpfulness toward a person who is normally not in your setting at all — whom you would avoid normally, because either they’re in bad sin — they’re doing something wrong that you don’t approve of. If you can express love and compassion to them, you can also preach the gospel to them and see them changed by the Spirit of God. That’s that thought, and then one of the results of being saved, as we would say it, for Matthew, following Christ, was that his home was opened up for the Savior’s ministry. He took his circle of friends and brought them so that they could hear the Lord Jesus. This, I think, is something everyone I was needs to learn. You may not immediately be able to visit mainland China to preach the gospel, but you most certainly can talk to your neighbor who knows you so well, about the gospel.
Take your circle of friends, whoever they are, and let them get in touch with Jesus through you. Well, we get at this some more the next time we get together.
Father God today, may we open our lives, our hearts, and yes our homes, to people who need Jesus, I ask in His name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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