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We talk a lot about church. But what if everything we’ve ever thought about church really isn’t what He was talking about?

THE CHURCH FOR THE POOR

PASTOR MONTE YOUNG | 6/7/2015

>> READ SERMON NOTES

(Luke 14:21b-23, NLT) “‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full.’”

The Master instructed the servant to invite four groups of people:

1. The POOR

2. The CRIPPLED

3. The BLIND

4. The LAME

(Psalm 40:10, NLT) I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness.

WHO ARE THE POOR?

(Matthew 16:24-26, NLT) Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.  If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?

What does it mean to be poor?

• Lacking ADEQUATE provision

• Lacking ABILITY for provision

What does it mean to be Spiritually poor?

• Lacking SPIRITUAL provision

• Lacking FAITH to believe beyond human ability

Why invite the poor to the Master’s Table?

• It’s His COMMANDMENT and my RESPONSIBILITY

• Jesus is the ANSWER to their circumstance

• Jesus is Provision: JEHOVAH JIRAH – GOD is MY PROVIDER

(Philippians 4:19, NLT) And this same GOD who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

• Jesus is Strength: EL SHADDAI – GOD ALMIGHTY

(Philippians 4:13, NLT) I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

MEETING THE NEEDS OF THE POOR

(1 Peter 4:10, NLT) GOD has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.

• To meet the needs of the poor I must first recognize my RESPONSIBILITY    

(1 Corinthians 12:7, NLT) A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.

Four ways I can help build the church for the poor:

1. Embrace my RESPONSIBILITY

2. DISCOVER the Gift He’s already given me

3. GO to where they are

4. LOVE them to Jesus

FRESH START

• The Community Jesus built is filled with people who NEED Him

(Matthew 11:28-30, NLT) Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Next Step: Focus on WHO He is, rather than on WHAT you don’t have

Church comes from an ancient Germanic word, kerch — place dedicated to worship. Jesus didn’t come to establish a religion, or a house of worship… He came to start a movement!

“The biblical word church is the ancient Greek word ekklesia— a gathering of people around a common theme or cause, a community. We’re not saved to gather in buildings and worship. We’re saved to reach the people whom Jesus died to save!”

THE CHURCH FOR THE CRIPPLED

PASTOR MONTE YOUNG | 6/14/2015

>> READ SERMON NOTES

(Luke 14:21b-23, NLT) “[The] master said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full.’”

(Psalm 40:10, NLT) I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness.

WHO ARE THE CRIPPLED

(1 Peter 5:6-7, NKJV) Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of GOD, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

What does it mean to be crippled?

• Unable to walk without ASSISTANCE

• Severely DAMAGED

What does it mean to be Spiritually crippled?

• Unable to walk in PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP with Jesus

• Severely damaged by INFLUENCES or CHOICES

Three outside influences that can cripple:

1. FAMILY

2. FRIENDS

3. FAITH

Why invite the crippled to the Master’s Table?

• Jesus wants to HEAL them

• Jesus is the only One Who can REPAIR their brokenness

• Jesus is Healing – JEHOVAH ROPHI – GOD Who HEALS

(Psalm 22:24, NKJV) For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from him; But when he cried to Him, He heard.

SERVING THE CRIPPLED

(Luke 14:12-14, NLT) “When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” [Jesus] said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. Instead, invite the crippled… Then GOD will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.”

• Jesus uses us to SERVE those who’ve been crippled Spiritually

Three ways I serve the Spiritually crippled:

1. Connect them with JESUS

(Psalm 46:1, NLT) GOD is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.

2. Love them without CONDITION

(Romans 12:3b, NLT) Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith GOD has given us.

3. Strengthen them with TRUTH

(Nahum 1:7, NLT) The LORD is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in Him.

FRESH START

(2 Corinthians 5:17, MSG) Anyone united with [Jesus] gets a fresh start, is created newThe old life is gone; a new life burgeons!

(Jeremiah 29:11, NLT) “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Next Step: Walk away from my PAST and into the FUTURE He’s designed for me

“CS Lewis gave this advice: ‘If you look for Truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or Truth…'”

THE CHURCH FOR THE BLIND

PASTOR MONTE YOUNG | 6/21/2015

>> READ SERMON NOTES

(Luke 14:21b-24, NLT) “[The] master said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.’”

(Psalm 40:10, NLT) I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness.

WHO ARE THE BLIND?

(Ephesians 4:3-4, ESV) If our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of GOD.

What does it mean to be blind?

• Unable to SEE

• Lacking PERCEPTIONAWARENESS or DISCERNMENT

What does it mean to be Spiritually blind?

• Unable to see GOD’S TRUTH for me

• Lacking the ability to PERCEIVE Truth, UNAWARE of His Truth, and lacking the ability to DISCERN GOD-Reality from human inability

Why invite the blind to the Master’s Table?

• Jesus wants to give them His SIGHT    

• Jesus is EL-ROI – GOD Who KEEPS WATCH    

• Jesus wants to give me the ability to see BEYOND myself

Three ways Jesus gives me the ability to see through His eyes:

1. He gives me Divine INSIGHT in every situation

(Proverbs 28:26, NLT) Those who trust their own insight are foolish, but anyone who walks in wisdom is safe.

2. He makes me keenly AWARE of His Presence

(Psalm 139:7-8, NLT) I can never escape from your SpiritI can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there;  if I go down to the grave, you are there.

3. He gifts me with Spiritual DISCERNMENT so that I recognize Truth

(Hosea 14:9, NLT) Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the LORD are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.

HEALING THE BLIND

(Psalm 146:8a, NLT) The LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are weighed down.

• Jesus has called me to shine His LIGHT and LOVE to the blind

(Matthew 5:14-16, MSG) “You’re here to be light, bringing out the GOD-colors in the world. GOD is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light standNow that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with GOD, this generous Father in heaven.”

Three ways I heal the Spiritually blind:

1. Live an OPEN LIFE

2. Live GENEROUSLY

3. Live my life as an EXAMPLE of Jesus’ Character

FRESH START

(Isaiah 35:4-5, NLT) Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear, for your GOD is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.” And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf.

Next Step: Activate my FAITH, and open my EYES to His Reality

“People who are Spiritually blind are overwhelmed by their situation… they’re carrying a weight of darkness. Jesus has called every believer to shine His Light and Love to the blind.”

THE CHURCH FOR THE LAME

PASTOR MONTE YOUNG | 6/28/2015

>> READ SERMON NOTES

(Luke 14:21b-24, NLT) [The] master said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.’”

(Psalm 40:10, NLT) I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness.

WHO ARE THE LAME?

(John 5:1-8, NLT) Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days. Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches. Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches. One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?”

I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.”

Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!”

What does it mean to be lame?

• Unable to WALK

• Weak or FEEBLE

What does it mean to be Spiritually lame?

• Unable to walk in RELATIONSHIP with Jesus

• Too weak or feeble to develop healthy SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES   

Why invite the Spiritually lame to the Master’s table?

• Jesus wants to give them His STRENGTH

• Jesus is EL-SALI – GOD is my STRENGTH

• Jesus wants to give them His IDENTITY

HEALING THE LAME

(2 Corinthians 5:16-17, NLT) We have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

• Society conditions me to identify myself by my CONDITION

• As His Church, I have to choose NOT to make the Mission about ME

Three ways I help to heal the Spiritually lame:

1. Drop the LABELS

2. Focus on the PERSON not the PROBLEM

3. Put their needs before my PREFERENCES

FRESH START

(Colossians 3:10-11, NLT) Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.

Next Step: Receive His STRENGTH and allow Jesus to give me His IDENTITY

“Society encourages people to identify themselves and others by their condition… their choices, their circumstances. This is why so many people have such a hard time believing that Jesus has already paid for their sin. They’ve identified themselves by their sin for so long, if they receive forgiveness, they lose their identity,

“Oftentimes the church continues this destructive practice of discrimination by not challenging people to discover a new identity in Jesus. As His Church, we have to choose NOT to make the Mission about ourselves!”

Our process, our structure… everything we do must be about connecting the lame with Jesus