Archive for April 15, 2012

God’s passion is for the lost. Jesus said,

“I came to seek and save the lost.”

Pastor Mark Bates at Village Seven

Pastor Mark Bates at Village Seven

In Luke 15 the Father shows His heart for the those that are without Christ. The lost coin, the lost sheep and the lost son all illustrate the Father’s love. Jesus said the shepherd would leave the 99 for the 1. Even though 99% were safe, he’d go for that one lost sheep. It should encourage us learning of the Father’s love for the those that have wandered away.

Today, our pastor at Village Seven Presbyterian Church, Mark Bates, shared a great sermon. It inspired me! He said that it was a recycled sermon that he first heard from Randy Pope, pastor of Perimeter Church in Atlanta.

I liked it so much I thought I’d highlight some of my take aways from this morning. I think good sermons should be recycled!

The sermon was from 1 Corinthians 9:19-27. The focus was on verses 19 & 22.

“For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them… I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.”

Paul says he has made himself a slave to all. He’s a slave to Christ. As he follows Christ he too has a passion to win men and women for the kingdom. He recognizes the needs of the lost become more important than the needs of the found. This is alluded to in the parables of the lost coin, lost sheep and lost son mentioned above.

Paul is willing to do whatever it takes to reach those outside the church. Those in need of Christ. We are to do the same. Notice his emphasis here. “I have become ALL things to ALL people, that by ALL means I might save some.” Any unnecessary barriers that keep people from coming to Christ must be removed. We do not exist for ourselves. We exist for the kingdom. What will we choose our comfort, or to join Christ in His mission?

In the last part of 1 Corinthians 9, Paul issues a challenge to the church in verses 24 – 27.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”

Paul has a laser beam focus. He knows what he is serving for. He exhorts us to follow him as he disciplines, beats, punishes his body so that he might finish the race, and not be disqualified. Instead of running for a prize that is perishable, we discipline ourselves for something that lasts forever. We live for Christ.

This sermon pumped me up. I told Mark that even missionaries need mission focused sermons. I know for me it strengthens and reaffirms my faith, and my calling to serve him.

I hope it does the same for you!

In His Grip, Dave