My Father's Business

Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  56:13
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This broken world...

This is a completely broken world we live in, amen? There is no doubt of that.
This past week has proven just how broken it really is....
Over the last week, we have watched our nation experience a deepening divide that threatens to rip us apart.... And its not just outside the Church!
All over the place, we see people blaming a president… blaming politicians… blaming each other… for the issues in our country…
Spend just a few minutes on Facebook… twitter… or any of the news media channels, and you see it… people blaming people… people hating people!
The saddest part … the worst part… Many of these people have been touting Jesus … as if they are doing His Work… preaching His message… They justify their actions… their attitudes… their words…by invoking Jesus and the Gospel message…
And, let’s not be fooled… this is not simply a partisan issue… people from ALL sides of the political spectrum… and worse… the Church… are guilty of this!
From physical violence to verbal abuse to “shaming” our brothers, sisters, and neighbors.... We Have Failed!
We have failed … to be Christians… to be the Light in this world… to be the “hands, feet, and voice” of Christ… We have failed — in every aspect — to represent our Risen Savior across the spectrum!
We are called to:
Mark 12:31 NRSV
31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
and to
John 15:12 NRSV
12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
This is how Christ said that people… that this world… would know that we belong to Him....
And yet…
We have placed political candidates — on both sides (and not just presidential) — over Jesus in our lives…
We have placed political ideas… political ideologies… social agendas… over top of scripture in our lives… and worse… we have bent scripture in order to JUSTIFY doing so…
We have made worldly media our source of truth… and not even fact checked it!
We have allowed hate… anger… spite… and wrath… to replace the Love of God in our lives!
How did we end up here?!?!
How did we get to a point that is so far from where God wants us to be?
We have forgotten who we are, and what we are supposed to be.
1 John 3:1 NRSV
1 See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
and in verse 2 he tells us:
1 John 3:2 NRSV
2 Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.
We are Children of God… If you have accepted Jesus into your heart… if you proclaim Him your Lord and Savior… then you have been made a Child of God…
John 1:12 NRSV
12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God,
We have lost sight of that!
We have lost sight of what it means to be a child of God… what it means for our lives… and what it means for the world....
We are supposed to live lives that are separated from the world!
1 Peter 1:16 NRSV
16 for it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
look at:
1 John 2:13–14 NRSV
13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young people, because you have conquered the evil one. 14 I write to you, children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young people, because you are strong and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
Do you think what he is about to say might be important?!
1 John 2:15–16 NRSV
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; 16 for all that is in the world—the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches—comes not from the Father but from the world.
We are not supposed to be about the things of this world!
The truth is… the reason we see the things we are seeing within the Church is because… We have forgotten what we are supposed to be about!
Look at Lk 2:41-50.
You do realize that Luke… God bless him… is the only gospel writer to tell us this part of Christ’s life? He is the only one....
Matthew jumps from Jesus’s birth to his baptism. But, Luke plugs in this story about Jesus and a trip to Jerusalem as a teenager.
Why? because… right in the middle, Jesus says something that we need to hear...
Let’s dig into it....
Luke 2:41–50 NRSV
41 Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. 43 When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. 44 Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” 49 He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he said to them.
Can you imagine being Mary or Joseph? Can you imagine what they must have felt?
The panic… the fear… they’d lost God’s son!
We could talk a lot about that, but what we need to hear is right there at the end…
You see, after three days of searching… after retracing their steps… they finally end up back at the Temple....
I’m pretty sure that it was probably in desperation, seeking the prayers of the priests for God to intervene… to forgive them… and to help them find Jesus....
But, what do they find? Jesus!
Now, I have to ask, “Why is the Church always the last resort?!” It should be the first.
Anyway, they get there, and there’s Jesus! Just sitting there, no concerns in the world… talking to the priests… listening to them… asking questions… and answering theirs....
Luke 2:47 NRSV
47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
But that’s not Mary’s reaction is is?!
Luke 2:48 NRSV
48 When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.”
Moms, tell me… is this how you would have reacted?
It’s normal right? You’re worried, you finally find your child, and your first reaction is to scold them for “disappearing” right?
Now, look at Jesus’s response:
Luke 2:49 NRSV
49 He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
How would you react if your child said that?!
We may not accept it from our children… But that statement… that statement is so important for us to hear....
Let him who has ears hear....
Luke 2:49 NRSV
49 He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
Verse 50 tells us:
Luke 2:50 NRSV
50 But they did not understand what he said to them.
I think we often don’t understand it either.... We think, “Well, of course He had to be there… That’s Jesus, He’s God’s son.”
But… Jesus wasn’t simply acknowledging His divine origin, or confessing His knowledge of His future ministry… He was telling them something important!
Jesus was revealing a truth about us… about God’s people… Mary and Joseph should have known where to look for Him, because they are God’s Children, and God’s children should be in the Father’s house!
Brings a whole new perspective on coming to church, doesn’t it?
But that’s not what we need to hear today — as important as that is…
Look at verse 49 again:
Luke 2:49 NRSV
49 He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
That phrase: “in my Father’s house”… equates with “about my Father’s business.” What Jesus is saying to them is: “Where my Father is, where He centers His activity, there I will always be found as well.”
Christ was declaring, “I have to be about my Father’s business.”
Is that our decree?
Is that how we live our life?
We are children of God… we are supposed to be about our Father’s business.
As Christians, we are not to be identified by anything else, except Our Father’s Business!
So, what is the Father’s business?
The Father’s business is about building a FAMILY.
Romans 8:14–16 NIV
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
God has not called us to be social activists… He has not called us to condemn evil in the world… He has not called us to “fix” the world’s issues.... Only God can do that!
God called us to be His children… to be a family… His family!
And Family is what I believe the vision for and of this church is…
A Family grows, serves, and loves… together!
God doesn’t call us into a church… He calls us into His Family.
And His Family is not like worldly families…
If we are going to be about the Father’s business of building a Family, then there are several things we need to do.
1. The foundation must be LOVE.
1 Corinthians 13:13 NRSV
13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
1 Peter 2:17 tells us to “Love the Family of Believers.”
Hebrews 2:11 NRSV
11 For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters,
Galatians 6:10 NRSV
10 So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.
Matthew 12:48–50 NRSV
48 But to the one who had told him this, Jesus replied, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 And pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
The Church is a family — made up of people of all sorts of backgrounds and opinions, called by God to be UNITED in LOVE!
Not to tear each other apart because of a difference of opinion!
We should love other believers in-spite of our differences of opinion, because God loves them!
Because, that is how we Grow.
2. We must Grow.
Growth is an essential characteristic of a disciple of Christ.
I am not talking about “growth in numbers”… that will take care of itself… I’m talking about growth in Christ… Growth as a body of believers… devoting ourselves to Christ’s teachings, letting go of the world, and growing closer to God.
Because that is how the gospel gets to the entire world.
The gospel does not spread through the divisiveness, hate, anger, and shame this world has engaged in… but through the Church growing together in Love.
Ephesians 4:15–16 NRSV
15 But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.
This is why Peter said:
2 Peter 3:18 NRSV
18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
Growth may not be easy… we may face many new challenges in the future…
It requires intentional effort...
So, let us be praying for each other… that we will grow personally, as a church, and corporately as we reach out to the community and world around us.
“We never grow closer to God when we just live life. It takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.” — Francis Chan
3. We Must Serve.
Romans 12:6–8 NRSV
6 We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; 7 ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; 8 the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.
“Do all the good you can by all the means you can in all the places you can at all the times you can to all the people you can as long as you can.” — John Wesley
1 Peter 4:10 NRSV
10 Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.
The Church is only the Church when it exists to serve others — not by dominating and demanding conformity to our opinions and ideologies, but by helping them and serving them in love and grace.
“[the Church] must tell men of every calling what it means to live for Christ, [and] to exist for others.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Are our actions revealing a life lived for others?
4. We must practice Love.
Christianity without Love is not Christianity.
Love is the single thing about Christianity that changes the world!
It is what sets the Church apart...
John 13:34–35 NRSV
34 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 15:12 NRSV
12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
Love can never be the missing element in ANYTHING we do — whether online, or in person.
“The life function of the Church is to love the God who created it — to care for others out of obedience to Christ, to heal those who hurt, to take away fear, to restore community, to belong to one another, to proclaim the Good News while living it out. The Church is the invisible made visible.” — Charles Colson
Noone should ever be able to look at the Church — look at you — and say that they see no evidence that God exists!
We must BE the Church! AND… we must do it together!
5. Family means together.
1 Corinthians 1:2 NRSV
2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:
We are called to be a FAMILY here in Bonham, but also to be a part of the global family of believers…
That means we have to stop looking… and BE a part!
“Stop looking for the perfect church. It doesn’t exist. Even if it did exist, the moment you, or I, joined it, it would no longer be perfect.” — Nicky Gumbel
Ephesians 2:22 NRSV
22 in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.
3 John 8 NRSV
8 Therefore we ought to support such people, so that we may become co-workers with the truth.
We are called to grow as a church… TOGETHER!
That means growing, serving, and loving together…
We are to be about our Father’s business.... when we do that, growth happens!
Look back at young Christ’s story...
Luke 2:51–52 NRSV
51 Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.
We are all on a growing journey, and we are on that journey together… as a family....
As we look to the future, let us remember, recognize, and repent of our past mistakes, and let us become a church that strives to overcome the divisiveness of this world with the Love of Christ!
Let us focus on our words, our actions, and our deeds becoming words, actions, and deeds that bring unity and love into the world...
“Jesus is the Hope of the world, and the local church is the vehicle through which that hope is expressed.” — Andy Stanley
Let me close with this: We cannot become a family that grows, serves, and loves together… if we are not together!
There is about half of our membership that does not come regularly… for whatever reason… Let us show our love for them by praying for them, and reaching out to them and letting them know that we love and miss them.
Let us seek to become a church that does not engage in the divisions of the world, but comes together in unity and love.
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