Waynedale United Methodist Church
Friday, May 26, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

Feb 19, 2017 Sermon

“I Believe: God Loves All, We Love With Compassion”
John 3:16, Psalm 82:3, 4
Ted Jansen  February 19, 2017  Waynedale UMC
 
1.)        I believe all people are loved by God and need Jesus Christ as their Savior. 
            This statement of faith links two key truths.  God loves all and we all need Jesus.  As I think of that statement of belief a three part foundation of faith came to mind.  I call it Good News, Bad News and Great News.             
            These three aspects expresses the statement of belief found in, “Think, Act, Be Like Jesus,” by Randy Frazee.  Let me expand on this three part message. 
 
2.)        Good News.  This is the message that affirms that we are created in the image of God.  This is what Genesis 1:26 tells us.  This first message is what we need to hear.  Each person has been created in the image of God.  This is good news.    
            Bad News.  We are all sinners, we are all imperfect, not holy, like God.  Though we might try to attain to be like God, no one has ever achieved that.  We all fall short of God’s glory as Romans 3:23 tells us.  Each person in the entire world is a sinner, selfish and not able to attain the glory of God.  There is not one person who is better than any other as it relates to the condition of their soul.  This is bad news.      
            Great News.  God loved us so much that He sent His one and only Son and whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal and everlasting life.  This is the truth of John 3:16.     We can be forgiven and restored back in a relationship with God because of Jesus.  We affirm that Jesus’ death on the cross allowed us to have our sins forgiven.  This faith in Jesus is a gift that God gives to each person.  We don’t do anything to gain this gift of faith.  It is free.  We receive faith by God’s grace.  This is great news.    
 
3.)        I heard Dr. Bob Tuttle speaking years ago and he helped me frame God’s love in this threefold pattern.  He said that some preachers would communicate the Gospel by starting with the Bad News and tell people how they were sinners.  People feel bad and then acknowledge their need for good news so they will trust in Christ. 
He said that this approach takes out the whole aspect of being created in the image of God.  It was Dr. Tuttle who said we must start with Good News first.  That makes sense to me.    
            People need to hear a positive message before the negative news.  
 
4.)        As we think about our message of God’s love and the need for people’s need for Jesus what do people hear first?  Do they hear good news or bad news?  Do they hear the great news?
When we interact with people either personally, online, on the phone or other ways what do people say about us?  How do we talk about other people?  Are we for some people and against others?  Do we model what God does in God’s love for all in our relationships?       
             
5.)        Listen to John 3:16 – 18 in The Message translation.  “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.”
            God wanted to make the world right.  God wanted to give people love and life through His Son Jesus.  We have Good News, Bad News and Great News.     
 
6.)        Consider a bridge to guide us as we think of our message.  Why are bridges constructed?  They are built to connect two land masses together.  Perhaps there is a river or a space that divides those two land masses.  The only way to cross the gap is to build a bridge so you can get from one side to the other. 
            Here is my bridge that I am building between two pedestals to illustrate how to connect our lives with others. When you have a sturdy bridge it can support a lot of weight. 
  
7.)        Bridges connect people, like two landmasses, with a gap between them.  Bridges are what we do to reach out to connect to another life. 
We build bridges between our hearts to the heart of another person.  A bridge allows love to travel from our heart to another.  Without a bridge, a connector, love does not connect.    
            To build a bridge you reach out to another person in a caring way.  You build a bridge when you look at a person, when you talk to them, when you use their name, when you reach out your hand, or give something to a person. (Illustrate this.)  You are building a bridge that a message can travel over.  I believe all people are loved by God and need Jesus Christ as their Savior.   May our bridges show how a God who came to us in Jesus, reaching us from heaven to earth.     
8.)        This reminds me of a story of a man walking along a California beach who was deep in prayer. Suddenly, the sky clouded above his head and, in a booming voice, the Lord said, "Because you have TRIED to be faithful to me in all ways, I will grant you one wish."
The man said, "Build a bridge to Hawaii so I can drive over anytime I want." The Lord said, "Your request is very materialistic. Think of the enormous challenges for that kind of undertaking. The supports to the bottom of the Pacific! The concrete and steel it would take! It will nearly exhaust every natural resource I have made. I can do it, but it is hard for me to justify your desire for worldly things. Take a little more time and think of something that would honor and glorify me."
The man thought about it for a long time. Finally he said, "Lord, I wish that I could understand my wife. I want to know how she feels inside, what she's thinking when she gives me the silent treatment, why she cries, what she means when she says nothing's wrong, and how I can make a woman truly happy."
The Lord replied, "You want two lanes or four on that bridge?"  By Cary Dennis 
 
9.)        I believe God calls all Christians to show compassion to people in need. 
            Compassion from the heart of God is what we are called to express as we build a bridge to the needs of others.  We see the needs of people and let compassion guide us. 
            *In 1952 Rev Everett Swanson was preaching in South Korea to the troops.  After preaching he saw the conditions of abandoned orphans.  He built a bridge and seeing needs and was troubled.  A missionary saw Rev Swanson’s broken heart and challenged him to do something. 
            Rev Swanson continued his preaching meetings in the United States and began telling others the need of the Korean children and collected items and money for them.  He continued to care for children through orphanages and God blessed this compassionate and caring ministry.  Rev Swanson decided in 1963 to get his name off this ministry that he started and renamed it.  This ministry continues today as Compassion International, a worldwide compassion ministry for children and families in the name of Jesus.    
            *In 2002 a group of people in Ft Wayne had compassion on a group of people in this city.  They built a bridge to connect with needs.  They decided to focus on the furniture needs of families who were needing new start.  Mustard Seed was that ministry, expressing the love and compassion of God for all people.    
            *There are many other compassionate and caring ministries that are bridge building expressions of God’s love.  Waynedale UMC builds bridges of love through our money and time and service to: our Food Bank, our Pre-School, a Liberian’s Children Ministry, Associated Churches, Interfaith Hospitality, Operation Classroom, Madina School, Charlie Strong in Costa Rica, Rising Stars, Bashor Home, East Wayne St Center, Henderson Settlement, UMCOR and other needs that God wants us to express compassion for.
 
10.)      Here are two scriptures to motivate us to build bridges as a part of our belief: Psalm 82:3 – 4, and Matthew 25:34 – 40. 
Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.   Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
We are to defend, uphold, rescue and deliver the fatherless, poor, oppressed, and weak.     
             “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
            We are judged on how we loved the least, brothers and sisters created in God’s image. 
 
11.)      I wonder if I fully express compassion.  I help people in need who come to the building once but generally don’t help them a second time.  How do we best help people with needs?  Should we do more?  Should we do less?  One day I attempted to be compassionate but ended up with a bad attitude. 
A man came in my office and told me his story of why he needed gas.  I don’t remember his story and whether I felt the story was true or not.  He needed to get somewhere and needed some gas.  I told him I could give him $10 of gas.  He might have thought I would just give him cash.  I told him to meet me at the Speedway and I would use my card. 
            So, he left my office and gets in his car while I walk over to Speedway and meet him.  He gets out of a big SUV, which surprises me, and after I swipe my card at the pump he takes the nozzle and says to me, “this vehicle needs premium!”  He smiles and pumps the gas in the tank.  
            I got the receipt and wished him a good day and might have said, “God bless you.”  But, inside I was mad, angry, and not compassionate at all.  I felt like I was being taken. 
I walked back to the office and told Kathy that I needed to vent.  I told her what had happened and how I was feeling.  I was very upset.  I was trying to be compassionate and was told what type of gas was needed.     
            I think sometimes the Lord sends people our way to test our attitude.  I expressed compassion but inside was upset.  I have to learn how to have more love.      
 
            Who are the people that we find it hard to be compassionate to?  These are the people that might have the greatest need to experience God’s love through you!