INTRODUCTION: Working as a "FedEx" delivery truck driver is a great job: your sole duty is to deliver, on-time, the gift/message/package--nothing more.
The deliverer does not open and opinionate/evaluate your mail--recommending whether certain phrases should not have been written to you. The deliverer is not late
with your packages/messages.
January 25th, 2004, Sunday Morning
"My Message is Not About Me"
Your Duty is to Take Care of #1: God--not yourself
(Speaker: Max Lucado, pastor,
Oakhills Church, San Antonio, TX)
OPENING: Matthew 28:19-20
Paul, one of Jesus' disciples, gave himself that job description: He declared his purpose in life was to deliver God's Message, the Gospel, to all the
world, as God had not written it--not as man has refined it over the centuries (i.e., "New International Version [NIV]")
The message (Gospel) can be delivered in many contexts (i.e., song, teaching, example, Sunday morning service), but the content (the words
of the message) must be given from the deliverer (i.e., preacher) to the receiver (audience) WITHOUT changing any of the words/meaning of the message (Gospel)--something
seen regularly throughout the churches of the world today for the purpose of attracting people and not fixing on the original Gospel message
(Reference: FOXNews.com, "Religion Gets Supersized at Megachurches", 3 Feb 04)
Matthew 28:19-20: We are commissioned by Jesus to carry His message, unmolested/unchanged, to the unsaved of the world; Per the title, our message to others
should not be about us but about Jesus Christ, so the lost may become saved
- Romans 1:16, 2 Timothy 1:8: Don't be ashamed of telling others about Jesus--for His message is the only in the whole world with the power to
bring salvation to the lost
- Colossians 4:5-6: We aware of those who live around you who aren't Christian (saved) so that you may take every opportunity to offer God's
message to them
- Matthew 5:13-14: What makes you, the saved, different from the rest of the world is that you are the salt that penetrates and stands out from
the blandness of the world--a piercing beacon of light in an overall dark earth
TESTIMONY: Delivering God's message through yardwork
- Blake is a man who was raised in a violent family; He met his Christian wife in 1982 and moved into a home where he brought his violence with him.
- He met a friend across the street and they proceeded to hang out regularly--drinking heavily
- Willy was an unrelated, middle-aged neighbor who jogged daily; as he would jog past Blake and his friend, they would should obscenities at him and hate him, for no reason
- One day at work, an overhead projector fell and broke Blake's arm; Blake had to rest at home for several days
- One day, as Willy regularly passed by, he, out-of-the-blue, asked Blake what happened to his arm; Blake replied, "none of your business--now get out of my yard"
- Willy replied, "neighbor, I'm going to mow your yard," which he proceeded to do for a couple weeks; Blake disapproved but said nothing--wondering what Willy
would end up asking for in return (expecting Willy to want something)
- Blake's brother in Ruidoso, wanting to make amends to the broken family, sent Blake the book "God Came Near" by Max Lucado (yes--the same one who preached this message)
- Upon finishing the book, Blake's mind was opened to realize that Willy did what he did out of love and for nothing expected in return; Thereafter, Willy
and Blake became good friends
- Willy's kindness and love conquered Blake's hate without the use of force or overpowering mental/physical capabilities
- Willy didn't change/dilute/tinker with God's instructions (message) on how to love your neighbor; As a result, Willy produced for God
Today's culture theme is (unlike the title of this message): "My message is about me"
- Today, the question is asked, "Am I accepted? in the in-crowd? 'cool'? Am I dressed 'stylish'?"
- TESTIMONY: When Illinois introduced the personalized license plate to its drivers, the most popular request (in the thousands) was for the plate
to simply read "#1" (and while only one person could have it, the manager of the Department of Motor Vehicles took it)
In the United States' spirit of "freedom of expression," people express their uniqueness to others in the tattoos they wear, the cars they drive
and the clothes they wear, which is supposed to provide the positive answer to the question, "what will they think of me?"
John 3:30: Society's priority is reversed: we must work to "become less" and that God "becomes more" in the eyes of the rest
of the world because what matters is what God--not man--thinks of you
- A degree of self-concern is a good thing: maintain a decent appearance and good hygiene whereas self-absorption leads to, for example, large, diamond-studded
crucifixes around a gold chain on a person's neck
- ASIDE: Christ, a poor carpenter, died on a wooden cross--not a diamond-studded cross
- God's single, unchanging message should be each of our forms of unique expression for the secular people of this world
Keeping God's message from becoming twisted is difficult but not impossible
- EXAMPLE: Churches are regularly called upon by activist groups to actively denounce porn, alcoholism and violence; while this is well intended
and supported by the church, the church needs to maintain focus of 100% of its energy to promoting the Gospel: the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ--which
is more powerful than all the anti-porno/alcoholism/violence campaigns in the world
- To save one soul from hell is worth more than 1,000 Sunday School classes and more than all the successful
anti-drug/alcohol/violence campaigns, put together
EXAMPLE: Of how much Jesus loves you
- Luke 15:3-10: Jesus' told a parable of a shepherd who had charge of 100 flock of sheep (where the average shepherd maintains a flock of 15-25)
- One sheep got away; But while the man still had 99, he left to find that one sheep (the lost soul) as if it was his only one because of its uniqueness
- And when that one lost sheep is found and returned (the lost becoming saved), God and the angels rejoice over you even though the other 99 are perfect because
God (the Shepherd) loves you (the flock) as much as the most obedient, saved person in the world
- LESSON: God will not stop looking for you, even if the rest of the 6+ billion people of the world are saved; Turn to Him before it's too late
Your message (expression) to the world should not be about you--but about God
It's not the physical size of the church that matters (i.e., Megachurches), it's the number of souls that church has saved
Execute and promote the Gospel (God's message) exactly as it's written and you will succeed--just as Willy did;
- Don't try to liven it up for the purpose of gathering a crowd
Matthew 22:37-39: Be a neighbor to your neighbor even if he's not one to you--this is God's second most important commandment to you