As followers of Jesus, we are in the business of reconciling people to God. We act like we know people. We assume we know ourselves, but no one knows us better than our Heavenly Father. God sees talents and dreams in us that other may not recognize; God sees abilities in us that we don’t yet realize. As we reach out to other people and share our faith, we have to get past what we think we know and welcome others as Christ welcomes us.
You will learn:
- We form simplistic pictures of others because we are more comfortable dealing with the known.
- We assume we know others, but our assumptions are always inaccurate and/or incomplete.
- God knows us better than anyone, even better than we know ourselves.
- When we think we know others we can be dismissive. God never treats us that way.
- Forgiveness can mean letting go of the things in people’s past that define them in our mind.
- God sees things in us that others cannot see. God sees things in us that we may not realize are there.
- God invites us to step out in faith and to use these hidden talents and passions for His glory.
- God calls us to reach others, not because of what we can see in them, but because of what He can see in them.
People Matter to God
People Business 2: Known Quantities
Sermon Notes by Marshal Blessing
VIDEO “I am about my Father’s business” à “It is finished.”
Welcome Jesus was in the people business; as his followers, we are in the people business.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19a 18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to Himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to Him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself
God is interested in people. We should be interested in people. We are people.
What kind of people are you?
What kind of person are you?
Not in accusatory way. What are you like? What do you like? Lots of ways to answer.
Personality tests. Tell about job, hobbies, family.
If you were in a movie, romantic comedy or horror movie, which type of character would you be?
The heroic guy, the nerdy guy, the party girl… Tests online to tell us what type of person we are.
Which Lord of the Rings character are you? Disney Princess, Type of tree, grocery store chain etc.
Sometimes results can be surprising. I took “Which Starwars character are you?” I got Princess Leia.
Sometimes other people have a picture of us that we don’t expect.
We think of ourselves one way, people around us see us a different way.
I think I’m the smart guy; my friends think I’m the nerd who’s clueless about sports.
How would others describe you? Sometimes it might be difficult to get an honest answer.
Jesus dealt with the same issue.
Mark 8:27-28 27 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
28 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”
They left out some of the negative answers. He’s just the carpenter’s son from Galilee, false prophet, possessed
We like to work with Known Quantities. We’re comfortable when we know what we’re dealing with.
We develop simplistic pictures of who people are, or plug them into templates that we already have.
He’s a tech guy, she’s artistic, he’s a sports nut, she’s good with kids, he’s a carpenter, he’s a prophet…
We want to know who people are and what they do, so we know how they fit in our lives.
Can be good, helps us know how to relate to people, who to ask for help. – Can turn people into tools.
“Love people. Use things. Know the difference.”
Always inaccurate/incomplete. Even when Peter had the correct answer:
“You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” His picture of the Messiah didn’t match who Jesus is.
This is Palm Sunday, as Jesus rode into Jerusalem people had a picture of him as King, but when they found that their picture didn’t match reality of who Jesus is became confused and angry.
Throughout the Gospels people struggled to understand “Who is this?”
Starting next week we’re going to spend a few weeks exploring the identity of Jesus.
Today I want to focus on how we view others, and how Jesus views us.
We like to act like we know other people, even when we don’t. It’s rare that we deeply know and understand other people. Couples married for decades. Sometimes we don’t know ourselves.
No one knows us better than God. We are known quantities to God.
Jeremiah 1:5a Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;…
But He never treats us that way. We can look at how Jesus treated people.
Zaccheus was a known quantity. We know the song – “a wee little man.” Chief tax collector, wealthy,
by his own admission he cheated people, shunned. Called by name. Jesus went to his house.
Luke 19:7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”
Luke 19:9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.”
Luke 7:36-39 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
Jesus knew who she was. He knew her better than the Pharisee, or anyone else.
Luke 7:48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
He had to know her past in order to forgive her, but he was able to look past it to see a child of God.
Not easy to do, but we are called to do same.
Forgiveness is letting go.
Hebrews 8:12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.
We know this message of forgiveness. “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.”
I’m not talking about people who have wronged us. I’m talking about forgiving who people have been, and instead look with hope to who they could be in Christ.
John 20:23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.
Letting go of our pictures of who people are. This can be the most difficult in people we know best.
How many times should we forgive? It’s a continual process to see others as children of God, not what they have done up to this point. Jesus looked beyond people’s past. It’s not easy.
John 14:12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
We are known quantities to God. He knows us better than we know ourselves. Jesus would look at people and see things that no one else saw. He called Simon “The Rock” long before he was as stable as a rock. Throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry Simon was impulsive, but Simon Peter developed a rock-solid faith later in life.
Acts 4:13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
God called Ananias to lay hands and pray with a man named Saul.
Acts 9:13-15“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”
15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.”
God used what was in Saul, his knowledge, his background; to spread the Gospel.
Every person you meet bears the image of the eternal God. Every person you meet is a potential vessel for the Spirit of God. Every person you meet has talents and abilities that can be used to glorify God, some that they don’t even know about. All you have to do is put them in touch with God, and don’t pass them by based on your picture of who that person is.
And the same is true for every person here today. There are talents and abilities in you that can be used to glorify God, some you don’t even know about. Do you know what is in you?
We can develop a picture of ourselves. What we do; who we are supposed to be. And we are reluctant to step outside of that picture. We treat ourselves as known quantities, but we don’t really know all that is in us. God does.
-Jelly bean jar-
Talents – cooking, tech, handywork, art, children
Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. There are things in you that you do not currently know about. You have talents and passions that can be used for God. Some of you may have never considered using some of your talents to serve God, but every good gift comes from God and they can all be used for his Glory. –MUSICIAN–
Every one of you has a voice. Every one of you has the ability to contact other people and share your faith with them. You can invite them to church next Sunday to celebrate the Resurrection of our Savior.
That may not be your picture of who you are, but God is calling you to be something greater. God knows what is in you, God wants to bring it out of you, and give you the opportunity to do greater things.
And God is calling the people in your life. Don’t judge based on who you think someone is; or what you think they’re like; or how you think they’ll react. God knows them. God knows what they can do in his Kingdom, but He’s giving you the opportunity to reach out to them. What if Ananias refused to go pray with Saul? Who is God calling you to reach out to? Maybe He’s calling you to reconcile with someone. You think you know what’s in them, based on things they have done. Maybe it’s time to forgive them.
Altar – God is in the people business, and we are all about our Father’s business. Right now you have the opportunity to talk to him. Talk to him about talents in you and how you can use them to serve Him. Talk to Him about who he is calling you to reach. Ask Him for courage to reach out to others or move beyond the picture you are trying to live up to. Ask Him for help to forgive.