One Thing is Needed
One Thing is Needed
One Thing is Needed
Ever go shopping and when you think you are done you realize there is one more thing? Or Ever ask your kid to do something and get the response just a minute? Ever get home from shopping and realize that one item you went looking for your forgot? One thing is needed?
This morning I want to talk with you about that one thing that is needed.
I want to talk to you about setting priorities about how the Bible talks about five significant occurrences of the expression “one thing” in (Psalm 27:4; Mark 10:21; Luke 10:42; John 9:25; Phil. 3:13).
Each of these passages of scripture speaks about our priorities. This morning I want to zero in on Luke 10:42; Psalms 41:7-13; Luke 10:25-11:4
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
This morning I want to talk to you about a vision for this assembly that I have had burned into my heart. I want to share it with you so that we can see right from the start of this season of ministry if this is where you want to go.
First I want to pose a question? What is outreach? We all see and view this differently. I want to share my perspective with you.
Outreach to me is getting outside these four walls and doing ministry thinking outside the box. Building relationships with others. I feel that you cannot go in “cold Turkey” and talk about the things of God and expect good results in the end. Building that relationship with people is essential. Yes its an investment of time, energy and resources but it will and has ended in leading whole families to Christ.
I have said before that I dislike greatly the word “status quo” just keeping everything running. Our church is bursting with enormous potential so why would we keep all that hidden away, locked inside these four walls.
I don’t want to be seen as preserved with pickling spices ready until the rapture. I want to do my best to get out there and share this wonderful life, this wonderful Saviour with all those I can. Are you with me in that?
This week I was honored to spend time at the Global Leadership Summit and while there I felt my bucket was filled up and my passion and desire to do what I have been told to do more adament in my heart and spirit.
This morning I want to share three different scriptures with you talking about situations where outreach is important, scenarios I want to drive home to you to evaluate your heart on where you stand and where you want to be.
I know this is a church that prays, that loves God, but the other question I want to ask is do we genuinely love each other? It is one thing for us to want to go, do and reach out but if we don’t love the ones that are here do we really believe that God is going to entrust us with new babes? We have to be ready to love each other and work together in harmony and love. Then He will entrust us with new babes.
The Priority of Presence
The Priority of Presence
You can know God’s presence and his pleasure in the midst of all the challenges of life.
All my enemies whisper together against me; they imagine the worst for me, saying, “A vile disease has afflicted him; he will never get up from the place where he lies.” Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me. But may you have mercy on me, Lord; raise me up, that I may repay them. I know that you are pleased with me, for my enemy does not triumph over me. Because of my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever. Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen.
David had his worries and distractions, he had his enemies and, like Jesus, he says ‘Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted me up his heel against me’ (v. 9).
This morning there are relationships in this assembly that need to me fixed. This level of distrust and discontentment and even hatred cannot continue. There must be resolve and RESTORATION!!!!!!
Once this happens then we can be confident, ready to receive the work God has for us and reach out and be trusted with the new babes and growth He wants to bless us with!
Be confident as David was in the ultimate triumph over good over evil (Psalm 41:11b). Know that God is pleased with you (v. 11a). David’s overwhelming desire is that God would set him in his presence (v. 12).
This should be our highest priority. This is what we have been created for. The presence of God satisfies our deepest need. And to be right with God and be ready to respond to His leading.
How can we love our neighbour if we don’t love each other?
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: “ ‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’ ”
2. The Priorities of Jesus
2. The Priorities of Jesus
What are your priorities? Is time with Jesus in there? Is it something you try to squeeze into your busy schedule? Or do you schedule your relationship with him as your number one priority?
In our text a learned theologian and lawyer asks Jesus, a layman, the billion dollar question about the way to eternal life.
Jesus gives us a model way to respond. Jesus asks the question “What do you think”? (Luke 10:26,36)
The lawyer gives the correct answer:
He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
This should be our highest priority and the next is to love your neighbour as yourself.
There are times when we are not sure if we love the one who sits next to us in church. But we are called to love your neighbour as yourself. Church this morning, take measure of your life? Where do we stand?
Are we ready to love and support new babes?
Are we able to be entrusted with the care and compassion needed for new babes?
Are we loving and caring for those we share this assembly with?
Jesus then asks another question which shows that the lawyer is looking for a loophole (v. 29). He wants to make ‘neighbour’ a term of limited liability - family, friends, relatives, members of the same people and religious community.
Jesus responds with a story about injustice. It is a familiar one. The Good Samaritan.
A man was travelling down a dangerous road 17 miles long with 3,000 foot decent from Jerusalem to Jericho. He was carrying goods and valuables. He became a victim of injustice. He was robbed, stripped, beaten and left for dead (v. 30).
The religious leaders came along. First, the priest (who had probably just been running the services in the temple in Jerusalem), and then the Levite (the assistant responsible for the liturgy and music). Both ‘saw’ the victim but neither of them stopped. There are at least three possible reasons why they, and we don’t get involved:
We are too busy - in a hurry, don’t want to get involved in a time consuming activity.
We don’t want to get messy - pollute ourselves, touching a dead body would make them unclean. They would not have been able to enter the temple during this period. They might have lost their duty at the temple.
We don’t want to take the risk - vicarious liability - danger of being blamed, or risk of getting hurt because there could still be trouble lurking. This could be a decoy for an ambush.
The hero of this story that Jesus was telling was someone the audience was shocked to hear. Jesus chose their least favorite person. The Samaritans were a race despised by Jews socially, politically and religiously. This is a story about a person of a different race having compassion. The Samaritan provided practical help. It cost him time, energy, and money.
The story Jesus told shows that the lawyer asked the wrong question. The right question is not “Who is my neighbour?” but, “To whom can I be a neighbour?” Jesus teaches the absolute and unlimited nature of the duty of love. Jesus came to destroy all the barriers. The same is true in the church today. We are brothers and sisters in Christ, a common thread of love binds us together here and we need to acknowledge that and love and accept one another. Put the past behind and claim forgiveness and second chances for the future.
Queen Elizabeth II said in one of her Christmas Day messages: “For me, as a Christian, when Jesus answers the question, “Who is my neighbour?” the implication drawn by Jesus is clear. Everyone is our neighbour, no matter what race, creed or color”.
There are so many hurting people around us. Once you have seen, don’t be like the priest and pass by on the other side. The Samaritan ‘took pity’ )v. 33b), he took care of him (v. 34b), and he gave his money (v. 35). Jesus says at the end of this story ‘Go and do likewise’ (v. 37b).
Draw near to people who are in need - get involved and help. You are never more like God than when you are helping hurting people, lifting up the fallen and restoring the broken. Try to make this a high priority in your life.
The next story we are going to look at stems from an even higher priority.
Luke 10 is our next scripture to examine:
She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Mary had her priorities right. She ‘sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he said’ (v. 39). She realized that, although there were many distractions and worries around, there was nothing more important than simply sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to him. This should be our number one priority.
How can we first of all sit at the feet of Jesus and hear from Him and not heed it?
Martha was too busy to take time to enjoy her friendship with Jesus when he came to her home. Not spending time with Jesus is the biggest mistake you can make in your spiritual life. Nobody on their death bed ever says I wish I spent more time at the office. Many regret not spending more time on their most important relationships.
It is probably no accident that the next story Luke tells is about Jesus teaching his disciples how to pray. We see Jesus modelling the importance of spending time with God in prayer, and the interest this sparks in his disciples (Luke 11:1).
The prayer starts with extraordinary intimacy with God, as we are encouraged to call Him Father. A relationship with God should impact the rest of your life as well. Pray for daily provision, think about the sins we need forgiveness in others or ourselves.
There are many different ways to develop a relationship with Jesus. Whatever you do, it needs to be your number one priority.
The next point references Deut. 2:24-4:14
3. The priority of the relationship
3. The priority of the relationship
Moses recorded how God had given them the land and had also given them the commands. Yet the greatest privilege for the people of God is not the land or the law but the love of God.
What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?
There seems to be an intentional connection between the way God’s people were instructed to live and the impact they would have on the other nations. God intended them to be a highly visible example both as to the nature of the God they worshipped and how they reached out in their community.
In other words, following the example of the Good Samaritan has an evangelic consequence.
The law is an expression of God’s love to his people. The law was given in the context of the covenant. It starts with God’s commitment to us and His love for us.
The new covenant starts with God’s commitment through the death and resurrection of Jesus and through God’s love being poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. We have permanent access to the presence of God.
For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
We have been given such a gift to be able to know our Heavenly Father intimately. We have access to Him by speaking His name, calling out to Him in prayer, and spending time with Him.
In the example of Mary and Martha, these ladies were living in a time where women were not allowed to be such leaders in the church. But I love how Jesus saw through all of that. He saw Mary’s desire to spend time with Him learning and yearning the things of God. Jesus is pleased and instead of yelling her out or telling her to join her sister in the kitchen as Martha was hoping he applauded Mary’s actions.
This morning stop looking at how you can fit in one more thing to your schedule. Don’t neglect the things of God and spending time with Him. We need more of Him. Hear His voice in calling this church to make our relationships right before Him and with one another.
I can sympathize with both Mary and Martha. I know the feeling of tearing around trying to prepare something while people are sitting around “being spiritual” and doing nothing when there is still loads of work to be done.
But I also have experienced times when I have been the one seated, while others have been running around working hard. May we never be so consumed with schedules and to do lists and personal agendas to neglect meeting and crying out to God, spending time in His presence or hearing and heeding His call to be used when the time comes to be called in.
This morning, are you hearing His voice? What is He saying to you?
We can feast and feast and basque and basque in His presence but He also wants us to get outside of these four walls and make a difference. Are you like the Pharisee? Not interested in getting your hands dirty or becoming unclean?
Are you like the Levite? Too busy to stop rushing to the next meeting, trying to get the next programmed event, too busy to take on another time consuming activity?
Are you like the lawyer? Don’t want to risk the liability or worried someone else may be there waiting to attack?
We sing Jesus use me, but do the words fall of our lips or sear our heart? We want to see our town radically changed by Christ, how this happens is not only through prayer, we need to be the hands and feet of Christ. We should not be happy with just doing a couple things a year, our commitment to be His hands and feet is a daily commitment, where we mirror His image and are His hands extended to all those we come in contact with.
Food bank volunteers? Breakfast program? Leading in our children’s ministries and youth departments? This is just the tip of the ice berg. God is giving this church the mandate to Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel! That means one or two focus points are not enough. This is a challenge that is ongoing. Get ready He is ready to do a new thing.
Mary chose what was better, the Good Samaritan chose to honor and serve despite the consequences.
There are more than these things and we can respond like the Good Samaritan and reached out despite the fact that the one he was helping would not normally have anything to do with Him, because of social prejudice. The Good Samaritan saw beyond that and went beyond what we required and loved on this injured person life Jesus would.