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Going Out on a Limb

Matthew 28:16-20

The Message (MSG)

16-17 Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. The moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally.

18-20 Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”


What have we done lately that was extra ordinary to reach the lost?  I heard a most awesome sermon this weekend while visiting a church and something was said that just hit home…hard!  Our mission is not done until ALL of the sheep are located.  Wow!  So that means a church should not stop inviting people when the space in the pews gets sparse?  Um, we should still be asking friends to church every Sunday?  We shouldn’t stop sharing our testimonies?

I think sometimes we as Christians get it in our heads that we are saved and now we go to church as usual and we hope someone finds all the lost sheep before Jesus comes.  Let’s take a peek at the story of the lost sheep with a different eye.  Now mind you this is only my idea, not to be thought as ultimate truth.  The shepherd left the 99 (already saved) sheep to find the lost.  What do you think those sheep were thinking while the shepherd was gone?  “Man, hope they find him.”  “What’s for dinner?”  “Should we go help?” “What if the Shepard does not come back?”  


There are a million responses to this one plot, however, if the 99 represent the saved in the church, shouldn’t we have been the ones seeking the lost?  Just food for thought.  Our job as Christians is not to stop until all are found.  Don’t turn the church into a resort, let’s make them into healing and equipping stations.  Let’s go search for the lost and let the Shepard do the healing.  Let’s go out on every limb to bring people to know out Jesus.  


Unmerited Favor

“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.

 Matthew 18:15 NLT


So what do you do when someone does something wrong to you and seems to not want to have anything to do with fixing the issue?  What kinds of emotions are running through your mind?  First your anger rises and then bitterness might set in.  Then comes the explosion of emotions that you really did not want to happen.  Pretty soon you probably have said or done some things that really were not so pleasant and a complete misrepresentation of the new you in Christ.


This type of incident just happened to us.  John took our car to a dealership to get a deal on an oil change.  When we then discovered after four days of driving it that the oil light came on,  John popped the hood and found the car to be 3 quarts low on oil.  Upon further investigation it was discovered the dealership had placed the wrong filter on the car at the time of the oil change.  Now, needless to say John and I were a bit steamed.  The final payment on the car was just paid.  We really had no way of getting a new vehicle if the engine blew up in this one, so we were a bit angry when we called.


John spoke to the manager and she said for us to bring it to them and they would take a look at it.  Well, that was not how we wanted it to roll.  We wanted them to come get the car, knowing the dealership was in another town 30 minutes away.  We did not have money for a tow charge.  Some words were exchanged and we even threatened to get a lawyer for it seemed as though the dealership really was not going to doing anything. So John bought the right filter and put oil in the car and had decided to just not deal with it.


How many times do we do that with relationships?  We figure it’s just not worth dealing with because nothing will be resolved.  John waited a day to cool off and then drove to the dealership where he first apologized and asked for forgiveness.  When he took the time to humble himself about the situation, then God could step in and show us just what favor was all about.


John left the dealership with a full refund, a 3,000 mile warranty on the engine, a new oil change with the best oil and the satisfaction that some times it takes humbling ourselves and repenting for our actions for God to do something awesome in our life.  This goes back the one commandment Jesus left us with, love your neighbor.  When we begin to let go of our own issues and accept that people make mistakes everyday, then we can be open to that love.


Is there some anger in you today?  Have you pushed aside something that you feel won’t ever change?  Maybe today, search your heart.  Choose right now to look at some situations in your life that perhaps need some humbling.  As for John and I, we are a work in process and sometimes we have to just take a deep breath and trust God to take care of all of our circumstances so that we can be ready to love and forgive others.