Sermon:  Model Faith for Ministering

Summary:  Like the centurion, we need a faith that accepts our unworthiness and Christ’s authority.  Only then can we carry out his mission without fear or compromise.

Know:  We need to have a healthy sense of our unworthiness along with his power and authority.  The power to minister is not in us, but in him.

Feel:  A sense of freedom and courage stemming from the knowledge that we do not need to rely on our own strength, ability, and resources, since the power is in his word, not in ours.

Do:  Identify the sources of fear, compromise and pride in your life that prevent you from ministering to the lost.  Reflect on the nature of your sense of unworthiness and how it affects your ministry to the lost.  List ways you can be more effective at carrying out the mission of Christ.

Text:  Luke 7:1-17

Scripture Reading:  Luke 7:9

Meditation Scripture:  Psalm 71:14-19

1.  One of the things that made me uneasy
	a.  My youngest son’s 100% trust in me
	b.  Never thought it was possible I would drop him, or anything like that
	c.  Until I fell up the stairs with him 
	d.  Stacey fell down the stairs, it was better, she acted as a sled
2.  Fortunately our God is better father than I am
	a.  Doesn’t matter what our ability is
	b.  Our job is to be faithful and trust
	c.  That is the theme of this morning’s passage
3.  Key verse 7:9 - A model faith
4.  Characteristics of model faith in this passage

I. Accepts our unworthiness (v.1-7)
	A.  Look at the centurion.  What kind of person was he?
		1.  Had a sick and dying slave 
			a.  Slave considered property
			b.  Centurion’s concern says something about him
		2.  The Jewish leaders came to Jesus on centurion’s behalf!
			a.  Unusual.  He was gentile and a Roman official
			b.  But they considered the centurion “worthy.”  Why?
			c.  He built their synagogue - went above and beyond
		3.  Like the Jews, we would say this guy is a “worthy” guy
		4.  But that is not how he saw himself
			a.  v.6 - Not worthy for Jesus to grace my home
				- Not worthy to even go to Jesus
			b.  May seem odd for a Roman officer
				- He might have had a nice home
				- Probably could host a distinguished guest
			c.  He had no self-inflated notions of himself
			d.  More significantly, he had a good notion of Christ
	B.  What about us?  Are we worthy?
		1.  Isa 64:6 - All our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment
			a.  (Lk 17:10) - We are unworthy slaves
			b.  Rev 5 - Only one worthy to open seals - Lamb
			c.  (2 Cor 10:12, 18) - What matters is who God commends
		2.  None of us are worthy
			a.  When someone does great things, feel indebted to them
			b.  But God does not “owe” us anything
			c.  Nothing we do can put him in our debt
			d.  He saved us because he was merciful
		3.  Since we are not worthy, we should be somber right?
			a.  The song says, “for such a worm as I”
			b.  Compared to God we are as worms
			c.  But we are worth much more than worms
	C.  ILL:  Have you ever watched the antique road show?
		1.  Person brought a whole bunch of stuff, including figurines
			a.  Kept setting one of the vases off to the side
			b.  Asked why?  She said it old, ugly, probably worthless
		2.  Come to find out, it worth a mint, most valuable thing she had
			a.  Why?  Because of who made it
			b.  It was old, ugly, but very valuable!
	D.  You are very valuable
		1.  Not because of anything you did
		2.  It is for two reasons
			a.  God made you in his image
			b.  God is re-making you in his image!
		3.  Ahealthy sense of unworthiness not mean a poor self-image
		4.  You bear the image of our Lord!
			a. That is why you can say “ for such a worm as I “ & smile
			b.  I am unworthy, that is okay, because he purchased me
			c.  May be gaudy, unsightly, but he delights in me

If we do this, will be in a better position to have a faith that...

II.  Accepts his authority (v.8-10)
	A.  What is authority?  - 1) The right to command and to enforce  2) 
	      Personal power that commands influence, respect, or confidence 
		1.  Not only was centurion under authority, but weilded it
			- He obviously had both kinds of authority
		2.  He also recognized the same about Christ
		3.  However, he saw Christ’s as greater than his!
			a.  Recognized Jesus authority over creation
			b.  Knew all Jesus would have to do is command it
	B.  Do people consider authority important now days?
		1.  Depends on what you mean by it
			a.  People want to be their own authority
			b.  Want to appeal to themselves as their standard
			c.  No one has the right to tell me what to do!
			d.  Usually refer to this as freedom
		2.  But like the centurion, we are people under authority
			a.  Mt 28:18 - All authority has been given to me...
			b.  Acts 2:36 - God has made him both Lord and Christ
				- Not only is he savior - “Christ” or “Messiah”
				- He is Lord!
		3.  (Rom 10:8-9)
			a.  Confess Jesus as personal savior?  No.  Lord!
			b.  Today, that word ambiguous, equate it with God
			c.  Synonymn for Lord = “Master”
			d.  If he is your Master, what does that make you?  Slave.
	C.  ILL:  Jimmy Allen used to tell about the people he wouldn’t baptize
		1.  If say, I want to be saved, you can baptize me
		2.  But, don’t bother me with a whole lot of demands other than 
		     Church on Sunday.  I just want to come to church.  That’s all.
		3.  He would leave them alone.  There’s enough dead weight
		4.  What is important is they accept him as LORD
	D.  Is he your savior?  Is he your Lord?
		1.  What does that mean to say his is your Lord and Master?
		2.  He calls the shots in your life
		3.  Not up to you to decide what to obey and what not to

If you accept your unworthiness and his power and authority, will be able to...

III.  Accepts his Vision (v.11-16)
	A.  What was his mission, his vision?
		1.  Lk 19:10 - Son of man came to seek and save the lost
		2.  That was the theme of LTC - Lost and Found - Lk 15
		3.  Some of the art work in the foyer expresses it
		4.  (Invitation)
	B.  This story shows some of how he carries out his mission
		1.  Imagine the scene
			a.  Funeral procession
			b.  Step to the side of the road
		2.  The widow
			a.  He only son had died
			b.  They didn’t have medicare, retirement homes, etc.
			c.  Relied on family, and he is gone
			d.  Not only missing son, but feeling...LOST.  What now?
		3.  Jesus feels for her
			a.  Tells her - Don’t cry
			b.  If you were that woman, what would you have done?
			c.  I’m sorry, I’ll stop crying.   None of us would say that!
			d.  Who are you to tell me not to cry!?
		4.  Jesus does the unthinkable - He touches the “coffin”
			a.  This is not a coffin the way we think of it
			b.  Would have been a stretcher, body maybe wrapped
			c.  He touches it!  Procession stops!
			d.  He raises up the man and gives him back to the mother
	C.  How does this show how Jesus carries out his mission?
		1.  People’s response - God has visited his people
		2.  In this case, he “intruded”  “inserted himself”
			a.  There will be people who come to us like the centurion
			b.  There will be other times we need to gently insert ourself
		3.  The Bible is full of those who did this
			a.  The missionary journeys in Acts were all “insertions”
			b.  Jesus coming into the word was an “insertion”
		4.  Here, when Jesus touched a hurt, it was an “insertion.”
	D.  You may be thinking - How can I insert myself?
		1.  I can touch a hurt, but how to get to the spiritual need?
		2.  There is a “We Care Seminar” scheduled
			a.  I want to see all of you here for that
			b.  Are you concerned about family, freinds, neighbors,
			c.  Don’t know how to get around to the Gospel
			d.  Come to this seminar!

1.  The idea of carrying out his mission of sharing the Gospel may scare you
	a.  Where does that fear come from?  Not from God.
	b.  Need the kind of faith we have been talking about here
2.  What kind of faith?  Accepts your unworthiness and his authority & vision
	a.  Your joyful, humble lack of authority strengthens your credibility
		- You are focusing on him, not yourself
	b.  Takes the pressure off - Not by your ability, power, but his
	c.  Power & authority is in his word, not yours
3.  If no results, have you failed?
	a.  No - God gives the increase
	b.  Our mission is NOT to convert people, transformation is not our work
	c.  Our job is to be faithful - ministering with the Gospel
	d.  Results are not our job, being faithful is
4.  So don’t fear, don’t put so much importance on your abilities
	a.  Care for people authentically as Jesus did
	b.  Make the opportunity for the Gospel
	c.  The rest is up to God
	d.  That is so freeing

Questions for Small Group Discussion