Sunday, April 7, 2013

Redemptive Intervention


Matthew 4: 17  From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Why do you think Jesus preached repentance – a turning to God? Perhaps it was because He knew it was the only thing that would work.

Like Jesus, Christians too hold a very different perspective than many others. We believe and practice what one might call, “Redemptive Intervention”. We believe we should help those in need and therefore we do.

Without hesitation, without apology and without respect to race, color, creed, gender, national origin, religious practice, sexual orientation, age, occupation or social status, we just get involved, get invested and help. We Christians seem to focus more on helping those who are not like us and those who do not like us more than we do on just assisting our own. The only thing we consider before we intervene is: How can we help?

A couple of years ago our friends north of the border were a little upset over the results of a study completed by the University of Quebec concerning Canada’s governmental funding of relief organizations.

In a recent news article by Winnipeg Free Press, (dtd April 6, 2013), reporter John Longhurst repeated the question:

Should taxpayer money be given to Christian organizations for humanitarian work in the developing world?
That's the question being raised by a new University of Quebec study that says Christian relief and development groups have been favoured since the Conservative government came to power.
According to the study by political science professor Franßois Audet, from March 2005 until 2010 government backed funding for religious NGOs increased 42 per cent while during the same period funding for secular NGOs increased only five per cent.
Predictably, the study prompted calls for the government to cease giving money to faith-based aid organizations. In response, a government official said grants are awarded on merit, with funding going to "programs that are most likely to yield tangible results."
Even if it's true that Christian NGOs are getting more funding, would that be a surprise?
Not to former Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s senior correspondent Brian Stewart. During his travels in some of the world's poorest and most conflicted countries, he discovered it's virtually impossible to go anyplace where Christians aren't already busy helping people in need.
"I've found there is no movement or force closer to the raw truth of war, famines, crises and the vast human predicament than organized Christianity in action," he said in a 2004 speech at the convocation of Knox College in Toronto.
"And there is no alliance more determined and dogged in action than church workers, ordained and lay members, when mobilized for a common good.
"It is these Christians who are right on the front lines of committed humanity today, and when I want to find that front, I follow their trail," he said.
He continued: "I've never reached a war zone, or famine group, or crisis anywhere where some church organization was not there long before me -- sturdy, remarkable souls usually too kind to ask: 'What took you so long?' "

Christians have an intervention mentality – a heart and mind to get involved wherever there is need, not to be critical, but to help.

By the way, when I read this article it sparked my interests. I decided to survey some other major religious organizations outside of Christianity and ascertain their efforts to help a world in need. I took only about 2 hours or so to run the rabbit trail concerning efforts under the umbrellas of “Muslim Relief Organizations”, “Hindu Relief Organizations”, “Buddhist Relief Organizations” and as well as “African Relief Organizations”, “Syrian Relief Organizations”, “North Korean Relief Organizations” and “American Relief Organizations” … It was very telling to overwhelmingly find that with the exceptions of the categories “American” and “Christian” most others are organized primarily to help themselves or only people just like them.

Have you ever wondered why Christians are first responders to crisis and need around the world? It is because of what we believe. Wherever you find famine, you will find some Christians feeding people. Wherever you find the diseased masses, you will find Christians giving their time, building clinics, hospitals, giving out medicines and performing surgeries. Wherever you find illiteracy you find Christians building and funding and staffing and operating schools. Wherever you find disaster of any sort, there will be multiple groups of Christians raising awareness and bringing relief. Why?

Because Christians, like our Leader, Jesus … believe in redemptive intervention.

I full well know that some of you here today have come with problems. In fact many of you are in trouble of one sort or another. The trouble some of you are facing has suddenly and unfairly appeared to threaten you life, your peace, your family or future, and you have a hard time figuring out why because you “don’t deserve” it. Others of you know exactly why you are in trouble, you caused it. Either by your actions or your failures to act, you have set yourself up for failure. Everything from poor health to financial ruin, from failed relationships to a wasted life, people often cause their own problems.

Now I did not come here this morning to condemn you or to accuse you or to help you identify who is to blame for the biggest woes of your life or even who is responsible for the problems in America and the world. Rather, I came this morning to give you the remedy and tell you who can fix it.

Today I am following a 2000 year old revelation which helped set the tone of Christianity and the faith we practice.

John 3:17 God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved.

Like I said, I am not here to criticize, condemn or reject. I don’t believe I am interrupting the cycle of karma or dharma on your wheel of opportunity to learn humility before you are reincarnated and ascend to a higher life form; nor do I feel I am in any way interfering with the will of God for your life when I offer you help. Rather I am sent today by the hand and hope of God through Christ to intervene and to offer you redemption.

Without regard as to what problem you have or who caused it – whether or not you are born again and are already a believer in Christ or someone who denies the very existence of God … I am here with a message of hope and a willingness to share the goodness of my Savior with you.

This is exactly what God did when He sent His only begotten Son into the world to give His life as a ransom for the sins of mankind … God was determined to intervene and offer redemption to hurting humanity. In fact, I am the direct result of a “Redemptive Intervention”.

The Bible records how Jesus went about all of the cities and villages healing the sick and feeding the hungry, restoring sight to the blind and forgiving sinners … He lived a life of intervening, and this morning is nothing more than His intervention on your behalf.

I have good news for those of you who are sick, divided, angry, hurt, confused, afraid, lost or alone. Without regards as to how you got that way, God is willing to intervene in your situation and turn it around.

·       This morning I encourage you to recognize that you need help.
·       Next, repent and turn those things you cannot change over to a God who can.
·       Then, receive the love of Christ Jesus who gave Himself, not to condemn you but to redeem you.

It begins with a prayer … a prayer which will change your life forever!

Pray with me now …