RELATIONAL CHRISTIANITY SERMON SERIES-THE JESUS TOUCH
A 70 year old man said, “I have seen in my lifetime the development of man’s inability to get alone with one another, person to person, group to group and even country to country.”
A 30 year old man, took the countryside and then the world by storm with His view on how this would be overcome.
He emphasized the importance of relationships both with God and man- Matt. 22:32-34.He placed the spiritual above the physical, giving heavenly treasure higher marks than earthly treasure. He told His followers they needed to turn their system on its head, and actually forgave and welcomed sinners to come to Him, the Savior. We see:
WE SEE THAT WITH JESUS IT IS ALL ABOUT PEOPLE- Matthew 5:21,22. 6 times He will say “...You have it said, But I Say unto You...” Matt. 5:21,22; 27,28; 31,32, 33-34, 38,39, 43,44. Each time it is about relationships not rules, and each time it corrects or protects people. In Matthew 5:21,22-, “You can kill a person in many ways”. Jesus says “Don’t be angry with your brother!” We need to know that anger, as used here, is from orge, a long-lived, nursed, consuming anger. The kind of anger that can cause stomach ulcers and death. There is another word which might be thought of as a fire in a hay stack, hot and furious but soon gone. Jesus is condemning this awful attitude of nursed anger against a brother or sister, and probably, against anyone who is one of God’s children.
Jesus warns against calling him or her by degrading names, like Raca= fool or More=empty headed. From the latter word we get our word moron!
This is DEATH BY WORDS! Words that race out our mouths reflecting an awful attitude that kills.
Do you ever practice this through unkind words, ulterior motives or gossiping with any of the members of this body? Just try to picture the ruination of the otherwise good reputation of those for whom Jesus died
NOW SEE THIS SERIOUSNESS OF THIS ACTION ACCENTED- “Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.”- 23,24. Jesus knows this is the man’s God-worship. This sacrifice if a specially prepared offering that is dedicated to God. Yet, one more thing must precede that sacred sacrifice. The worshipper must go and find the brother who “has something against him,” make it right, then come and offer the gift.
The late William Barclay, says it like this:
If any sacrifice was to be valid, confession and restoration were involved. The picture which Jesus is painting is very vivid. The worshipper, of course, did not make his own sacrifice; he brought it to the priest who offered it on his behalf. The worshipper has entered the Temple; he has passed through its series of courts, the Court of the Gentiles, the Court of the Women, the Court of the Men. Beyond that lay the Court of the Priests into which the layman could not go. The worshipper is standing at the rail read to hand over his victim to the priest; his hands are on it to confess; and then he remembers is breach with his brother, the wrong done to his brother, if his sacrifice is to be valid, he must go back and mend that breach and undo that wrong, or nothing can happen.
Relationships come before religion!!!
In my own experience, I knew a brother in Christ who would refuse to take the emblems of the Lord’s Supper on certain occasions. He told me that during the week he had been unkind to one or more of his employees and just now, sitting in the presence of godly brothers and sisters, it struck him- he needs to make that right of his worship is vain.
My words, at first, were, “Everyone sins,” but that was too general a statement. In his heart this godly man felt like relationships must be maintained in order for him to faithfully worship his God.
FOR SOME THIS IS STARTLING NEWS. God is the God of peace and is not in need of anything we have to give him. He is interested in, no He demands peace among his children. See these verses: “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”- Hebrews 12:14
“Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else”- I Thessalonians 5:15
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”-Romans 12:18.
We cannot come together hating one another and worship God effectively. That would be simply going through the motions motions!!! This would be an emphasis on religion and not on relationships that are vital.
Further to this point, it matters not if one is sitting in the seat of the one to be blamed or the on who is blaming. First fix the relationship, then proceed to the altar.
With regard to the worship part of this, there are several things we need to know about worship:
Worship involves sacrifice and sacrifice means giving one’s best and “with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”- Hebrews 13:15,16
Notice the upward and outward emphasis within the worship experience as seen in Ephesians 5:18-21. “Do not be drunk with wine which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
Our worship is not exclusively Godward. The worshipper must be conscious of others in our midst when corporate worship is in the picture.
The Jesus Touch is truly seen in the relationship emphasis. Please read this old poem carefully:
The Touch Of The Master’s Hand
Twas battered, scarred and the auctioneer thought it hardly worth his while to waste his time on the old violin, but he held it up with a smile.
"What am I bid, good people", he cried, "Who starts the bidding for me?"
"One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?" "Two dollars, who makes it three?"
"Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,"
But, No, From the room far back a gray bearded man came forward and picked up the bow, then wiping the dust from the old violin and tightening up the strings, He played a melody, pure and sweet as sweet as the angel sings.
The music ceased and the auctioneer with a voice that was quiet and low,
Said "What now am I bid for this old violin?" As he held it aloft with its' bow.
"One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?" “Two thousand, Who makes it three?" "Three thousand once, three thousand twice, Going and gone", said he.
The audience cheered, but some of them cried, "We just don't understand." "What changed its' worth?" Swift came the reply. "The Touch of the Master’s Hand."
And many a man with life out of tune all battered and bruised with hardship Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd much like that old violin.
A mess of pottage, a glass of wine, a game and he travels on. He is going once, he is going twice,
He is going and almost gone.
But the Master comes, And the foolish crowd never can quite understand, the worth of a soul and the change that is wrought By the Touch of the Masters' Hand.
- Myra Brooks Welch
We welcome all to our worship and we desire our members to present an inviting and happy atmosphere.
George speaks every Sunday morning but one per months and is currently in a series of CONVERSION. The next instalment will be on Nov. 19 on an aspect of CONVERSION to be considered of upmost importance. It will be THE MAN, THE MESSAGE AND THE MANDATE OF CONVERSION. Invite your friends
Be reminded that the last Sunday of November, the 26th, we have a Pot Luck and there is no Bible Class. There will be another lesson on Conversion, Lord willing.
On Wednesday Evening we are deep into THEMES FOUND IN ACTS. Please read material from Acts 8 onward, watching for preaching of the Word, reception of that Word and the growth of the early church.