Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Calling of the Church

  1. Justice is care for the vulnerable: the homeless, the orphan, the battered, the illegal immigrant.
  2. Justice is righting relationships.  Social justice.
  3. Justice includes generosity.  Generosity is digging deep, going beyond barrie
Our greatest example: God's gift to us.

As a church, we want to move toward doing for others.
God loves justice.  God created us to do justice.
Pastor Joe Deckard 

The lesson is taken from the Gospel of Mark, chapter eleven.

Jesus curses the barren fig tree.  Jesus calls out the disrespect and perversion of the temple.
The disciples observe the withered fig tree. 

Being nice is different from being accepting.
Being kind is different from being accepting.
The smaller the church the harder it is to be a part of it.

Who's in and who's out?

We like to help the Lord by doing our part as gatekeepers.  (To make sure the unworthy do not get in.)
Th fig tree is a parallel to what is occurring in the temple.  The temple is that tree.  "Holier than thou" is a description of the temple in Jesus's day.  The temple was designed to delineate who's in and who's out.  The outer court included both Jews and Gentiles.  In the next ring, Jewish women.  Passing through that, Jewish men only would enter the Court of Israel.  Within that ring is the Temple itself.
In the outer court, defiled by inappropriate commerce, gouging those purchasing a sacrifice, we see Jesus in righteous indignation for a just cause, tipping tables, calling out those profaning the temple grounds.  We hear Jesus echoing the Old Testament, "Mine is a house of prayer for all nations."
 Prayer is what keeps our relationship with the Lord from morphing into a religion for ourselves.
 As Jesus speaks, the Jews hear "I have put you here to bless others."  The Gentiles hear, "My house is for you, too."

If there are no sick being ministered to we are missing the point.  If the very people you qualified as "sick" are too sick for you to minister to you are hoarding grace to yourself, even as the Jewish religious leaders of Jesus's day were hoarding grace.

Hearing Jesus's words as a threat that they would be removed, they purposed to remove the threat, that is they determined to kill Jesus.
 Jesus stood up and was counted for the lowly, for the outsider.

Someone said, "Christianity had a way of starting in a grotto with nothing but a message and ending up in a cathedral with nothing but money."

We are the gospel workers of Jesus Christ.  It is we who are called to love of others.
What are we doing for people who are different from us?
God is going to send us people who are unwashed.  Are you okay with that?
God is going to send us people who are not legal residents of the country.  Are you okay with that?
God is going to send us people who have addictions.  Are you okay with that? 
God is going to send us people whose lifestyles differ from our beliefs.  Are you okay with that?
God is going to send us people who are hurting?  Are you okay with that?
God is going to send us people who don't have it all together.  Are you okay with that?

The point is:  We are the ninety-nine and there are lost sheep and we exist to minister to them!
Are you okay with that?
Our job is not to administer salvation, it is to administer grace.

...God gives us grace; we are to give grace to others.
...If grace is not here we are like the fig tree and we will wither and die.

Let us make this place a place for all people, not a den of robbers.
Pastor Johnnie Blair
Sunday morning



Grace said...

So the bolded parts are the 'positive' comments as opposed to the non-bolded parts? 'Cause I am having a problem with "We like to help the Lord by doing our part as gatekeepers. (To make sure the unworthy do not get in.)" - this is NOT what is being argued for, right?

vanilla said...

Grace, right. The point is that that is exactly what we are NOT to do. Those who assume that position are in the wrong. We are to show grace to all. It may be tough but a follower of Christ would want to do as he would do.