"I have but one passion - it is He, it is He alone. The world is the field and the field is the world; and henceforth that country shall be my home where I can most be used in winning souls for Christ."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday School Message #2

4/13/08

Intro: OK, we’re going to start now. I am very excited and very grateful for the opportunity to teach all of you. But remember that I am still learning Spanish, so if you don’t understand me, just tell me and I’ll try to tell you another way, ok? Well, I have been thinking about what topic we should study in only 2 months. I want to help all of you in the biggest way possible in so short of a time. So I want us to study something from the life of Christ. Do you remember last Sunday how I told you that I have a great burden and love for teenagers because I believe that you are in the most important years of your life and that the decisions you are making now are going to change the rest of your lives? Well, it is because of that that I want us to study this topic. Because we don’t have much time together, I want us to study something that will help you to make your important decisions in the way that Jesus would. For the next 8 weeks, I want us to study “How To Think LIke Jesus.” Why is it so important to know what Jesus would think? Do you remember when many people would wear those bracelets that said “What would Jesus do?” You will often see that phrase in a Christian book store or magazine. That is a very good question to ask ourselves in our lives, because as Christians, we are commanded to be followers of Christ. In fact, the very word “Christian” means “little Christ”. The Bible commands us to “be followers of God as dear children.” So if we are to live holy lives as Christians, we must learn to make our choices in the same way that Christ did. And the only way for us to know why Christ made the choices He did, is to study and learn how Jesus thought. If we can think like Jesus, we will make our choices as He would.

Therefore, in our study today, I want us to examine the thing that was always first in the mind of Christ. Today I want us to examine the mind of Christ and His attitude toward the lost. We’re going to look at several passages of Scripture to try and understand how the Son of God felt about sinners.

The first is in San Lucas 19:10. In the most basic sense, why did Jesus come? Look at what this verse says. Somebody read that for us please. “To seek and save that which was lost.” Jesus Himself tells us his exact purpose for coming to this earth. He came here for the purpose of seeking and saving every person who was lost. What does this verse tell us about the great love that Christ has for the lost? You all know what the Bible says in San Juan 3:16. For God so loved… If we are to think like Christ, we must begin where He began – with a deep love for the lost. Now I will admit, it is often hard to love an unbeliever. Right? When we see a person experiencing the results and the punishment for their sin, it is repulsive to us. It is hard to love a man who lies in the street, smelly, and dirty from the alcohol he has been drinking. It is hard to love a person who has robbed, abused, or killed another human being. But when Jesus saw the world that He had created, He saw sinners who needed a Savior. I remember this one time when my family and I were at a park in Ohio. Well, as we were standing in line together, we saw these two men who were obviously homosexuals. One of the two was wearing nylons, makeup, and lipstick. So my first reaction was disgust. My brothers and sisters and I were talking about the two and how disgusting they were together. But then I remember my dad turning around and saying to us, “They just need Jesus.” And I realized He was right. The love that Jesus had for sinners is something that is not natural to us, and we need to ask Him in prayer to give us that kind of love.

Let’s look at another passage in San Lucas 15. The first thing we’re going to see in this passage is something that you will often see in the Four Gospels. The sinners gathered to hear Jesus teach; the Pharisees murmured and talked bad about them. Jesus often taught the people through parables, an earthly story with a heavenly meaning, and in this chapter He teaches 3 stories that all mean the same thing. The first is the story of the lost sheep (4-7). Notice especially in verse 7 that Jesus says that there is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than 99 people who need no repentance. And remember what two crowds Jesus is talking to. There is obviously nobody who does not need repentance according to other passages in the Bible. But Jesus was referring to those Pharisees standing around who thought that they needed no repentance because they were already righteous. The second is the story of the lost coin (8-10). Notice in this passage the diligence with which the woman was searching for the coin. Jesus didn’t merely walk around Israel hoping to find sinners to save. He was active and diligent and intentional in his pursuit of sinners. The third story is that of the lost son. (11-32). Notice in this story the depth of sin the son committed and the amount of pain that must have caused his father. He took all of his inheritance, moved to a far-away land, wasted his money, and eventually returned with nothing. Yet still, we see that the Father was ready, waiting, and excited for his lost son to return. This is the attitude of Jesus towards the lost.

Look now at San Mateo 9:35(36)-38. Though Jesus was constantly surrounded by people, He never became cold to them or inconsiderate of their needs. He was moved to compassion by the multitudes. And then, He gives us a wonderful view of His heart as he sadly replies, “The harvest is plenteous, but the laborers are few.” If we are to think like Christ, we must never lose that vision that was constantly on His heart. As one of my teachers in college used to say, “Walk slowly through the crowd.” That means to be sensitive to those around you. Don’t just go about your life, busy and preoccupied, ignoring the needs of people around you. Learn to be sensitive to people in your life and take every opportunity to tell somebody about Jesus.

Also in San Mateo 9:10-13 we see Christ’s attitude toward the lost. He said that those who are well so not need a physician, but the sick. Again, we must see past the rough, dirty exterior of sinners and learn to see them as just another sinner who needs to be saved. Tell me this – when you are going fishing, what must you do first? Will you catch the fish first, or clean it first? You have to catch it of course. So it is with the hearts of men. God will capture their heart first; then He will begin to clean up their lives and change them to look more like His perfect Son.

Next, we see an interesting story in San Lucas 7:36-50. This story takes place in the house of one of the Pharisees named Simon. Jesus is sitting there with the Pharisees, when this woman comes in to see him. Now this was a woman who was well known in the town for her immorality. In order for us to understand this story, we need to know a few things about the traditions of this country. It was common that when a person received a guest into their home, they would greet them at the door with a kiss. Then they would have a servant with a basin of water who would wash the guest’s feet before they sat down for dinner and fellowship. And last, they would anoint their head with a sweet-smelling oil. It was their way of showing honor to their guest. Although this Pharisee invited Jesus to his house for dinner, he obviously did not show Him the proper respect. Listen to Jesus’ response to the Pharisees’ judgmental thoughts (44-47). The Pharisees sat there the entire time that this woman was showing her love for Jesus judging her, judging him, and considering themselves better than her. Jesus answered her actions with forgiveness and their thoughts with correction. Hermanos y hermanas, think about this. In Jesus’ answer to the Pharisees, he said, “She loves much, because she has been forgiven much; but he who has been forgiven little, loves little.” Now think about your own life. Nobody knows who you really are except for you. Right? Have you heard the word “integrity” before? Pastors will often say that we need to be people of integrity. Well if you would like a simple and convicting definition of integrity, it is this: Integrity is who you are when nobody but God is watching you. Think about that. It’s sad isn’t it? Oh we can all put on a good face at church. We can all look, talk, and act like a good Christian when there are other Christians around us. But what are you like when there is nobody else around. THAT is who you really are. We like to think we are good people because we haven’t done “really bad” sins. We haven’t killed anybody, stolen anything really big, or had sex outside of marriage. But to God, all sin is equally sin. There is none of us who has been forgiven little. I want you to think for just a minute about your own life, and your own sins. Think about who you really are. When you do that, you will begin to realize just how much you have been forgiven. And the more you have been forgiven, the more you will love Jesus. Though none of us likes to think about our sins, it is helps to keep us humble and to have a greater love for the One who has forgiven us of all our sins. Let’s look at two more passages and we’re done for today.

San Mateo 24:14. Look first of all at verse 3. Jesus is telling His disciples what things will be like just before the end of the world, when He will return to take us home. In verse 14, Jesus tells them that He will not return until all of the world has heard the gospel. Again we see that Jesus’ heart is for all people of the world to hear the truth and have the opportunity to accept and receive it.

And lastly, turn to San Mateo 28:18-20. This is the passage of Scripture known as the Great Commission. These were Jesus’ last words in His physical earthly body. Have you ever thought what you would like to be said at your funeral? Or if you were told that today would be your last day on earth, what would you want to say to your family and loved ones? A person’s final message will always represent their heart’s deepest desires and feelings. Jesus was no different. As His final words to His people, He commanded them, now us, to go to all nations and to preach the gospel to every creature. This was the heart and mind of Jesus. He came to seek and to save those which were lost. And as His final command to His people, He told them to carry on that mission that He had lived for.

Conclusion: So for the first point in our study of “How to Think Like Christ”, we must remember that The Heart of Christ was for the Lost. In everything that we do in our lives, we must not forget that the people all around us are dying. And although they don’t know it, and some will deny it, they are all looking for God. They are looking for something that will give their lives purpose and meaning. God has placed an emptiness inside of every person leads them to seek Him. And we have the answer! Don’t be afraid to share it! Don’t be so selfish that you don’t share it! We fear rejection; but people do not reject us. Sometimes they reject Jesus, but that is not our responsibility. Our responsibility is to share the truth. Somebody once said, “We are beggars showing other beggars where to find bread.” We are not better than unbelievers. But we have found the bread of life. Let us think like Jesus, walk slowly through the crowd, and show other beggars where to find bread. Let’s pray…

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