Tuesday, March 31, 2009

They Want to See Jesus. Can You Help?

I planned on preaching from these notes Sunday but didn't. I spoke to the congregation while standing among them in the aisle. I think I hit most of the things I planned but I really let God guide me in what to say. It was basically that our mission field is outside the doors of the church. There are people in our community who want to see Jesus and we may be the only ones they will ever get to meet him through. If we don't show them Jesus who will?

Our lives are one way that they will see Jesus but what if they come to you and want to know more? How will you help them if you haven't been studying God's word. All of us need to spend time in the Word so that we can help others find Jesus when the come seeking him.

Roger Nishioka spoke to the Missouri River Valley Presbytery last Saturday and told us that in a few years the "nones" would have the greatest number of members followed by the Roman Catholic church. These are the folks who say they are spiritual but don't belong to any formal religious group. Think about that.

I pray that if you are reading this and are seeking a church family that you will come and join us on Sunday or any day of the week for that matter. If you are looking for a place where you can find peace and quiet and have time alone with God this is a good place to come. If you want to come in and just talk about this things of the world and how God is in control of it, come in and visit. Who knows maybe together we can come up with something new to talk about on Sunday morning.

Go ahead and read the sermon knowing that it isn't exactly as preached last Sunday.

God loves you and so do I.

Some Greeks who were in Jerusalem for the Passover came to Philip asking if they could see Jesus. Since he wasn’t sure how to respond he went to another disciple, Andrew, and told him what they wanted. Together they went to Jesus with the Greek’s request.
If someone came to you and asked you to see Jesus what would you do? Or maybe it’s you who want to see Jesus. Where would you go? Who would you ask for help?
Let’s say someone came to you asking if you could take them to Jesus how do you think you would proceed? Well let’s think about this together and try to figure out how to help them in their quest to find the Savior.
Just the fact that they came to you lets you know that they believe that you know the way to Jesus. It may be because of the way you live your life or it might be how you have reacted to different trials you have experienced. Whatever the reason, they trust that you are the best person to come to for help.
How does that make you feel, a little uncomfortable? First, if you’re like me you probably feel like you are the last person who would be able to answer their questions. What I mean is I’m still trying to understand how God can make anything good come from the mess I’ve made of things in my life. I have faith that he can do anything I just don’t know how he does it.
So, back to the original question, how can we help someone who comes to us looking for Jesus? Where do we start?
I might begin by bringing them into the sanctuary and walking them right up here to the cross. They won’t find him there since the cross is empty but I think I might start by explaining to them that God so loved his whole creation, that includes us by the way, that he came down to earth as a human being. He took the form of a little baby and was born to a couple who weren’t married yet. This very young couple was given the overwhelming responsibility of rearing God’s Son, Jesus, the Anointed One, Isaiah and Jeremiah spoke of in the Hebrew Bible.
At that point I think I’d get my Bible and show them in the gospels where they could find Jesus. Since we’re reading from John that might be a good place to start but really they could find Jesus in any of the gospels. Do you think that might satisfy them, if I showed them they could find Jesus in the gospels? Maybe for about a minute but I’m afraid that they want to really meet Jesus face to face. So then what do we do?
How do we explain to them that he died on a cross, was buried in a tomb that wasn’t originally planned for his use, and then he only was there 3 days. Do you think they’re going to really believe that he was resurrected and was a living, breathing person who ate and drank and walked and talked with the disciples for a period of 40 days? Do you think they’d understand that he continued to teach his disciples more about the kingdom of God and that after he ascended into heaven these disciples were baptized with the Holy Spirit, who was one with God and Jesus?
That still might not fully satisfy them. After all they asked to see Jesus. What do you think they would say if I told them that he was inside me, that when they looked at me they could see Jesus? Do you think they’d stick around to hear my explanation of how that works?
If they would then you’d know for certain that God was truly at work in all of it, because there’s no way I could explain all that without the Holy Spirit’s help. What do you think?
After all, the Prophet, Jeremiah, told the people that God was making a New Covenant with them. This time God said that he was going to write his law within their hearts. They wouldn’t have to teach each other about him anymore because they’d know him from the inside out. It wouldn’t matter what their IQ, everyone would understand. Maybe that’s the place to start.
If they come to you and me asking to see Jesus it must be because God has written something on their hearts and he sent them to us to explain everything. So now how does that make you feel?
I don’t know. I still don’t think I’m completely qualified but on the other hand if God brought them to us then he must know that we can show them Jesus.
Friends, just remember that God never does anything like the world would do things. The world would never send someone to us and ask us to show them Jesus because, well, the world doesn’t believe that he was the Messiah. He was just another one of the people who thought he was the Savior of the world. And if he was just a man then he’s no longer here so we couldn’t possibly show them Jesus. Does that make any sense?
But we aren’t influenced by the world are we? We know exactly where Jesus is. He is within us, his beside us, he is behind us, in fact he has us hemmed in all around. We can show them Jesus by taking them to the Word. As John said, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God…the Word became flesh and lived among us and we have seen his glory. John wrote these things so that we all might come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing we may have life in his name.”
I don’t know if that would completely satisfy someone who came to me looking for Jesus but that’s where I would start. I’d have to trust completely in God’s Holy Spirit to guide me through the whole process.
Friends, what would you do? Could you help them? We are all on a journey and we have to help each other find our way to the Light of God’s salvation.
Friends, God loved us so much he sent his only Son, Jesus, to save us. God loves every one of you and so do I. Thanks be to God. Amen.

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