Sunday, March 11, 2012

Family Sunday - Later...


This past Wednesday evening we discussed the fact that:

The work of God is not accomplished at a distance.

We surveyed the Word of God from Genesis to Revelation and found that every conversion, each miracle and every work of the Gospel, from the little woman who pressed in to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment to the demoniac of Gederah, close counted and close changes!

· Even Jesus, when He wanted to change mankind, moved Himself closer.

· Cornelius did not receive salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit until Peter arrived at Cornelius’ house. It required someone to come close … distance didn’t do it … distance would not have worked

· The lame man who was lowered through a hole in the roof by his friends did not get healed until someone brought him closer to Jesus.

· Saul of Tarsus had no knowledge as to what God wanted of him until Ananias obeyed the Holy Spirit and went to see him – he got close …

· The people in Nineveh were destined for destruction until Jonah finally obeyed the Lord and went there and preached to them.

We could go on and on and on – but suffice it to say that it is evident from any reading of the scriptures that close counts and that:

We must get closer to change.

Let’s not distance ourselves from the people or those situations in life which God intends to change. He may use us to change them or them to change us … either way – close changes … *** A brief word of caution: Be conscious of “who is changing who” and of who is changing you! Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed … that you may prove what is that good, acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2)

If you would like to know more about this incredible power and God’s strategy for change, go online to ChurchOnline.TV and view the archived message, “Closer to Change”.

And remember … we must not distance ourselves from those with whom we should be walking alongside.

This morning is “Family Sunday” and today is also “Time Change”. No doubt some of you viewing our broadcast in the US this morning have forgotten to run your clocks forward. Do it now … it may be later than you think! Hence the title of today’s message: “Later …” Later than we think, later than we feel, later than anyone realizes … It might just be a little later than we readily imagine … more about that - Later …

You know what happens when I realize that it is later than I thought? I usually have to hurry a bit, work a little harder, smarter, faster to get everything done that has to be done before it gets too late.

It is the same way when it comes to the work of the Gospel. Jesus said that we should do the work of the Gospel while it is still daylight for the night is coming when no man can work. (John 9:4) What did He mean?

Don’t wait too late to do what must be done.

I know this sounds so simplistic, but the whole Gospel is simple, yet powerful. This critical element of life, that of not being too late, is one which often determines the difference between success and failure in jobs, businesses, relationships and it can even determine where someone will spend their eternity. We cannot afford to wait too late to do what must be done … And for some things we are facing – it might be later than we feel, think, or readily imagine it to be – either for ourselves or for others.

Perhaps this is why at 12 years old Jesus was surprised that His mother and Joseph did not immediately understand where He would be spending time in Jerusalem. In answer to their concerns, Jesus responded: “Did you not know that I must be busy about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49)

The business of God is called the Gospel. Each Church and every Believer in each Church is an agent of the Gospel. We are ambassadors of God, called individually and collectively to spread the Gospel into all the world as a witness. We must do this before it gets too late.

The Gospel includes the message of salvation but it is also an agent of heavenly assistance for those who sit in need around the world. God has a heart for the hurting and He fully intends that each Believer make a living, make a life and make a difference in someone else’s life as well.

God has aimed the work of the Gospel much like a sharpshooter would aim an arrow set upon his bow string. The aim of the Gospel is to:

· The Least

· The Last

· The Lost

Matthew 25 NKJV

31 "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.

32 "All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.

33 "And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.

34 "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ’Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35 ’for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;

36 ’I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

37 "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ’Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?

38 ’When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?

39 ’Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’

40 "And the King will answer and say to them, ’Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

Volunteerism is on the rise among the youth of our nation. I am told that more than 500,000 young people will take advantage of some mission oriented opportunity and volunteer to serve in a cross cultural missions setting at some point this year.

We have experienced this rise in volunteerism even in our own Church. In order to make the most of every opportunity it is imperative that when we send others out to serve the cause, we must make certain that the cause is worth their service.

We must feed the poor but while we are feeding the poor and ministering to the needy we must also insure that it is the Gospel we are taking into the world and not just aimed at social reform. We must preach Jesus and Him crucified to our lost and hurting world. For only Jesus saves.

For what would it profit a man if he gained the whole world but lost his soul … What would a man give in exchange for his soul? (Mark 8:26-27)

The Gospel is the answer for every heart, every home and every hope of the future. And nowhere is the Gospel of Jesus more needed today than in the family. Jesus likened His family to sheep who belong to one shepherd.

Luke 15:4 "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?

This passage confirms that the work of God is not accomplished at a distance. We need to get closer to change, even when it means going into all the world or perhaps only going right next door. Today I am asking you to get closer to the need –especially the needs of your family … both your biological family and those God has given you to be family.

Don’t let your those closest to you become the least, become the last or for heaven’s sake, become the lost … Be willing to help meet their needs and in doing so, show them Jesus! The work of the Gospel does not stop with your family but it may well begin there … and consider -

It may be later than you think. Get closer to change!