Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place,
Pulpit Series Volume 17 Issue 39 10/28/2007
John 3:16 says: for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son
Folks I need you to ask you a very important question. What is the most important word in this verse? I believe this is so important so profound that most everyone who reads this verse misses it.
Here it is are you ready? The most important word in this verse comes after the word "world." It says, “For God so loved the world “that”. God loved so much He did something about it. He actually manifested and demonstrated His love.
In his song, "Asleep in the Light," recording artist Keith Green raised the question: Do you see, do you see, All the people sinking down? Don't you care, don't you care, Are you going to let them drown? How can you be so numb, Not to care if they come? You close your eyes and pretend the job's done.
I have come to the sad realization that most of Christendom has turned inward. Yet we are to be outward. We suffer from selfishness. Keith Green goes on; Oh, bless me Lord, bless me Lord! You know that's all I ever hear. No one aches, no one hurts, No one even sheds a tear. But He cries, He weeps, He bleeds, And He cares for your needs. And you just lay back and keep soaking it in.
I fear we do not understand the power of Christ's words when He said we must die to live and give to gain.
Consider - honestly consider Communion. How much time do you spend following our Lord’s example. No I’m not talking about the Bread and Wine, I’m talking about the wash basin and the towel. We unfortunately focus only on what comforts us. Bottom line - God calls us to "other-serve."
In Luke 19:12-27 Jesus tells the parable of a nobleman - who has gone to a far country to receive his kingdom.
He gives his faithful servants authority over cities in that land. He commands them, in the wording of the KJV, to "occupy" it until he comes.
This is the church's mission - it is our mission "to occupy the land" for the coming King. The key to this "occupation" is us.
God has given us life, talents, abilities and gifts. He wants us to use them humbly for His Kingdom.
Our lives are to make a difference!
With His life, Christ shows us how to serve—how to bring the process of restoration to a fallen world and hope to broken lives. Christ has called us to a basic task—service.
As we come to Christ, we are given new names - sons of God, children of light. Christians, the redeemed, new creations, and more. We like these, they bring identity and joy.
There are other titles that because of our negative understanding we tend to draw away from them.
prisoners Ephesians 4:1,
bond slaves Philippians 1:1,
workmen II Timothy 2:15,
and servants I Timothy 4:6.
As individual servants we have different jobs to do, different offices to fill, a variety of roles to play, yet we are equal before one Master.
Do not seek a title; we are to be satisfied as to having a place together as brothers and sisters.
I Corinthians 9:19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant to all, that I might gain the more.
One of our problems today is that we're running an old Adam improvement society. An unsanctified flesh that has never died to sin and risen to walk in newness of life is running down church aisles to rededicate, and God wouldn't use it even if you rededicated it a thousand times.
Not many wise, mighty, or noble have been called. Why? "That no flesh should glory in His presence."
I wonder how long it’s going to take us to learn that they that are in the flesh cannot please God. I don’t think there has ever been as much flesh glorying in His presence as today.
The flesh wants to be served!
Yet look here at Isaiah 58:10-11 if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then, the Lord will continually guide you
Being a servant is a lifestyle. It is the functioning of our lives.
In this, each of us is the same. However, we are unique persons, and our service is unique - reflecting our unique set of spiritual gifts, personality, abilities, interests, and experiences.
Service is the common assignment of all Christians. Each of us is sent out and placed in different, strategic positions of service. Full-time servants wherever we are deployed.
Our Savior commissions us to represent Him in a hurting world. We are to bring Christ into our world, into the "market-places" of life.
However, in order to be affective we must deal with our apathy. We normally think of apathy as laziness, indifference, or lethargy. But, it is not a neutral word—it is an active word.
Consider apathy's Greek roots, "Apatheia" means the opposite of compassion. When you are apathetic you are basically unfeeling, failing to identify with, failing to act. In your apathy you fail to put love into action.
The work of the church corporately - our work individually is to be a servant to all. This is our God given responsibility, but we cannot fulfill our responsibility without His empowerment.
We need to be anointed by the Holy Spirit, I’m not advocating weird hallucinations or some work of the flesh pretending to be the work of the Holy Spirit.
We need the real deal, it is the only way that we can magnify Jesus Christ.
If you don't believe that the Scriptures are God-breathed and that Christ was virgin born, that He died for our sins and rose from the grave and is coming again, you can't live it like it is.
We're living in a terrible time, in a day of beasts and seals and trumpets and four horsemen and the harlot on the beast and scorpions and dragons and a sea of glass mingled with fire and earthquakes and falling stars and Babylon and the bottomless pit and the lake of fire and Gog and Magog and 666 and the downfall of the devil and the great white city coming down.
However I am living in a Hopeful and Great "until."
What I mean by that is, I am living in Philippians 1:6 He who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ
And He told me, Occupy till I come Luke 19:13
Even so, come, Lord Jesus….
Are you occupying?
Are you a servant of Jesus Christ?
If so, just how did you serve Him this week?
Jesus Christ was and is absolute. He said, He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathers not with me scatters abroad Matthew 12:30.
I urge you to understand that there is no such thing as an inactive church member. If you're not gathering, if you're not drawing people to Christ, you are driving them away from Christ; you are scattering. I ask you again - are you occupying?