Jesus’ parable of the Sheep and the Goats has always haunted me. Read Matthew 25:31-46 if you don’t know it.
What determines whether someone is a sheep or a goat? Like every other judgment scene of the New Testament it is made on the basis of deeds. Does this deny “salvation by grace?”
When we stand before the judgment seat of Christ, the only thing that will really matter is our relationship to Jesus Christ–have we trusted (placed our faith) in him? The answer to that question is not in our talk, but in our walk. How we live our lives is the surest way to tell what we believe. Our good deeds don’t save us. But they clearly demonstrate our primary commitments.
Jesus highlights six deeds that are typical of his followers. These aren’t all the things they do but they are characteristic of the kinds of things they do. They aptly summarize the basic needs of humanity: food, clothing, shelter, and acceptance. Those six behaviors require large amounts of personal time and money, the two most precious commodities for most of us.
Historically, the influence of Christianity on American capitalism produced a huge and generally prosperous middle class that provided economic and cultural stability for the nation. Influenced by Christian leadership, traditional American capitalism increasingly promoted a lofty goal–that corporate success is not the consumption of wealth but the creation of it. It was not greed that was good, but doing good was good. The foundational ethic of traditional American capitalism–as influenced by Christianity–was not simply to “do what is good for business” but to “make it your business to do good.” Through the ages, Christian-influenced traditional American capitalism kept producing more and more extraordinary business leaders who also excelled as philanthropists by creating jobs, investing in the community, assisting the needy, providing meaningful public service, supporting the church, and in other ways making communities better.
Yes, there were greedy business leaders, but they were marginalized, and certainly they were not celebrated as they are today. Historically in America, God’s people–the church–influenced American capitalism to practice a biblical model of servant leadership.
Today, contemporary capitalism is influencing the church to practice a model of self-absorbed leadership. Yesterday the church produced effective servant leaders for the world of business. Today the world produces self-promoting leaders who are infecting the church.
Bonnie Ware, an Australian nurse who worked in palliative care for years, wrote about what she learned were the things most regretted by those dying in a blog post at the beginning of the year. CLICK HERE TO SEE HER POST.
According to Ware, these are the top five regrets of the dying:
- I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. “Health brings a freedom few realize, until they no longer have it.”
- I wish I had’t worked so hard. “This came from every male patient that I nursed.”
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings. “Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others.”
- I wish I’d stayed in touch with my friends. “It all comes down to love and relationships in the end.”
- I wish I’d let myself be happier. “Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again. When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind.”
Do any of these surprise you? Which one do you most readily identify with?
Here’s today’s set list at FCC. This will be linked to The Worship Community.com blog where other worship bloggers post their setlists.
Here’s what we did:
Your Love is Better Than Life
Remind Me Who I Am
The Power of Your Name
Message: Church: Opening Day
God You Reign
Where the Spirit of the Lord is
If you have not been tested by fire, you do not know who you are. And if you do not know who you are, you cannot be a leader.
My tough trials?
- Age 13- My sister, Brenda, died in a car accident. It taught me that I’m mortal, but God’s children are immortal.
- Age 14/15- On the eve of my 15th birthday I survived a hotel fire that taught me total dependence on God.
- Age 27/30- I can be such a screw-up, but God forgives and I can be restored.
- Age 30- My mom’s death. Death and suffering isn’t the worst thing–we’ll all do it but the way we do it can point to Christ.
C.H. Spurgeon said, “Let each man find out what God wants him to do, and then let him do it, or die in the attempt.”
4 Qualities of effective pastors:
- CALLING (Gotta Know It!)
- PASSION (Gotta Want It!)- You’ve got to love what you’re doing.
- DISCIPLINE (Gotta Work On It!)- “Before we can conquer the world we must conquer ourselves.” Oswald Chambers
- INTEGRITY (Gotta Earn It!)
Make sure to read the opening lines to understand the whole commercial.
Mark 3:13-15. Please read it.
Jesus had already done miracles and taught. He had already called Matthew and collected disciples or followers. But now He’s ready to give authority. Symbolizing that journey of responsibility and accountability Jesus goes up a hill or mountain. There will always be a lot of people willing to follow Jesus in the easy areas of life but who’s going up the mountain?
People are at different levels of their journey or discipleship with Christ. Some being ministered to…and then others who share in the ministry, who have real authority, who are using their gifts and potential that God gave and recognizes in them.
Apostles=”power of attorney”
There will always be people willing to listen and who need the healing Word of God…but they may never “do” anything. They may never go up the mountain or reach their potential or become apostles. But then there will be others who we will have to help them understand that they have been “called out.” We must train them, spend most of our time with them in order to give them real ministry and authority.