April 27, 2022 9:00 am
Are you a sheep or a goat? Are you a lukewarm person? We all struggle with seasons where we are lukewarm, where we are striving to maintain a commitment to Christ but we falter.
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Today on Summit Life with J.D.
Greer. Jesus' life was not defined by what he avoided. Jesus' life was defined by what he entered into. Had Jesus merely avoided sin, none of us would be saved. We're saved because Jesus not only avoided sin, he entered into suffering and if you're a follower of his, your life is not going to be defined by just avoiding sin.
It's also going to be defined by entering into suffering just like he did. Welcome back to Summit Life with J.D. Greer. As always, I'm your host Molly Vidovitch. Today on the program Pastor J.D.
asks us a couple of very blunt questions. Are you a sheep or a goat? Are you a lukewarm person? I mean we all struggle with seasons where we are lukewarm, you know, where we are striving to maintain a commitment to Christ, but we falter.
I've been there, but does that make me lukewarm? Luckily Pastor J.D. doesn't just ask these questions, but he shows us how to find the answers that can help propel us toward a life on fire for the Lord.
As always, if you miss any of our programs or if you're in search of our featured monthly resource, you can find it all online at jdgreer.com or by calling us at 866-335-5220. But right now let's rejoin Pastor J.D. in this message that he titled, Either a Sheep or a Goat. The sign of genuine saving faith is a passionate commitment to the people of God and a passionate commitment to the mission of God. You see there are two ways for us to tell what you believe.
One is what your mouth says, the other is what your life says, and one of those is way more reliable than the other one. And if what your life says is different than what your mouth says about what you believe, God accepts the testimony of your life every single time. So the question is not what does your mouth say you believe about Jesus? The question is what does your calendar and your bank account and your daily habits, what does that say about your belief in the lordship of Jesus and the generosity of Christ? Which leads me to number two.
This question presents this question. Is it possible to be a lukewarm Christian? Is it possible to be a lukewarm Christian? Now if you're not familiar with church lingo lukewarm christian that's a concept that comes from revelation chapter three where Jesus is talking about a church where he says listen you're neither hot nor cold you're lukewarm and I just want to spit you out of my mouth.
It's like I mean hot coffee is awesome, cold brew in the afternoon is awesome, room temperature coffee you just want to spit it out of your mouth. And Jesus is saying something similar he's like I wish you were hot I wish you were cold but this kind of lukewarm half in half out sort of committed not committed it just makes me nauseous. Lukewarm Christians are Christians who sit in churches believe the message but are not really sold out to Jesus and not meaningfully engaged in his mission. It is these kinds of Christians that Jesus is describing in these three parables. The maidens consider themselves friends of the bridegroom but they don't live in a way anticipating his return. All they're thinking about is how to be comfortable for the evening not how to be faithful in their assignment to the bridegroom.
The wicked servant considers himself in the employ of the master but he has never offered his talents without reserve for use in the kingdom. Lukewarm Christians are Christians who sit in churches and come on a regular basis but are just not sold out to the mission. There's no middle ground. There's no third category. There's either sheep or goats.
There's no shoats or however you would combine them right. There's sheep or goats you either you're either committed to the mission using your resources for the kingdom all in for Jesus or you're not. Either a sheep or a goat and see that puts lukewarm Christians in a very precarious position. I've told you before that one of the things in these parables that has always gripped me is how when the master in the when the master in the second parable comes back and rewards the first two servants for their investment in the kingdom. The third servant who remember buried his talent just buried his money and you just gave it back to the master. The master refers to him as wicked and the question I ask is well what wicked thing had he done right. There was no immorality in there. He didn't take the money and blow it on prostitutes or gambling or embezzle it or anything like that.
He gave it back. He gave back a hundred percent of everything that had been given to him and Jesus calls him wicked. What wicked thing had he done and here's my conclusion. I've told you there's more than one way to be wicked in the kingdom of God. You can be wicked through an egregious violation of the ten commandments. Yep you can go out and be immoral and that would classify you as wicked but you can also be wicked by simply failing to leverage and invest what God has given you for his kingdom for the purposes for which he gave it to you. The first the first breaking the ten commandments we would call that becoming wicked by the sins of commission. The second one not leveraging your life and using it for the kingdom would be becoming wicked by the sin of omission.
We preach a lot here about the first about not breaking the commandments but what about the latter. Let me ask you have you ever offered your life your talents your time your talents and your treasure without reservation as a blank check to God. For those of you who are in high school middle school college have you ever said to God I'm glad you're trying to be a good Christian I'm glad you're here learning the Bible I'm glad you're trying to be a good person at school but have you ever said God every second of my life from this point on all my talents all my treasures all my time is a blank check to you you show me where you want to use it and how because my life belongs to you.
One of the things we've learned as Forbes magazine says that you I'm the average senior adult now lives 20 plus years after their retirement. Our question is have you offered those 20 years to God and said God how do you how do you want me to use these next two decades. It's probably not going to be just a coast out into eternity there's probably something God wants you to do for his kingdom.
I don't know what the answer is but have you offered it to him as a blank check. All right if we looked at your giving all of you if we looked at your giving would we say that your giving represents somebody who is all in with the mission of God. Are you a lukewarm Christian? Francis Chan's book Crazy Love has a chapter where he describes the profile of a lukewarm Christian which you could you know I think you could see straight from these parables you could say that everything he got comes straight from these parables.
All the people that he describes are regular in their church attendance and all of them are pretty accurate in what they believe about the bible and the gospel. Here's how he describes them lukewarm people first of all don't really want to be saved from their sin they just want to be saved from the penalty of their sin. You know the difference in other words Jesus is useful for keeping them out of hell but they're not really interested in loving Jesus and eradicating sin from their heart sins that nobody can see. Jesus is useful to them as a way of avoiding hell but he's not beautiful to them as somebody that they worship. Lukewarm people are moved by stories about people who do radical things for Christ. All right you love to hear them in church love to hear these stories of missionaries and love to applaud people who are sacrificing for the kingdom yet they do not do radical things themselves. In fact lukewarm people kind of call radical what Jesus calls normal what Jesus expects of all of his followers lukewarm people say wow that's crazy radical you're just all sold out lukewarm people equate their partially sanitized lives with holiness but they could not be more wrong because Jesus did not call us to sanitation he called us to discipleship to be a follower of Jesus doesn't mean that you live a sanitized life in fact it means you get your hands dirty by bringing healing and salvation to people just like he did so it's like a friend of mine says in the church today we tend to disinfect people rather than disciple them we define holiness by what Christians avoid rather than being like Jesus I mean holiness isn't that what holiness is is being like Jesus Jesus life was not defined by what he avoided Jesus life was defined by what he entered into had Jesus merely avoided sin none of us would be saved we're saved because Jesus not only avoided sin he entered into suffering and if you're a follower of his your life is not going to be defined by just avoiding sin it's also going to be defined by entering into suffering just like he did here about this one lukewarm people rarely share their faith with their neighbors their co-workers or their friends they want to oh they think it's a good idea they love it when other people do but when it actually comes down to the moment where they would share their faith it's just too awkward and see the bottom line is they care more about their comfortability they care more about avoiding awkwardness with their neighbors than they do their eternal the eternal soul of their neighbor and so they just prefer to sit back and hope somebody else does it because they're lukewarm lukewarm people think about life on earth like these maidens did much more often than eternity in heaven lukewarm people love their luxuries and rarely give to the poor in a truly sacrificial way they love the concept of giving they love when other people do but when it comes down to actually giving in a way that would maybe threaten some of these luxuries that they have worked so hard to obtain and they're not going there lukewarm people don't live by faith their lives are structured so that they never have to i mean you can see that from this parable of the of the talents right there's always risk that it's involved in the kingdom there's always kind of a blank check that says i don't know what you're going to do with this but here it is if you are not in a place where you feel desperate for the spirit of god there is no way that you're on the front lines of the mission when you're on the front lines you feel desperately your need for god's help let me give you one more here lukewarm people give god the leftovers and by the way sometimes they're really big leftovers because you're really wealthy sometimes they're really impressive and they get you on list of top donors to organizations and churches but at the end of the day they're the leftovers and they're not your first and your best the prophet malachi talked for example about a bunch of priests who gave to god but they kept for themselves the best spotless animals and passed on to god the less desirable animals and they assumed they assumed that god was pleased because you know at least they'd sacrificed something their name was on the donor list yet god described them and their practice malachi 1 8 as evil not just inadequate but evil if your giving does not represent your first and your best it is evil to god so what i'm trying to tell you and i'm not trying to be a jerk about this i'm just trying to tell you when the offering plate goes by keep your lunch money don't throw your lunch money in there to make yourself feel better god deserves your first and your best and if you're not going to give your first and your best then god doesn't want it at all and stop calling it like too many bills or forgetfulness or i got a busy schedule call it what it is it's evil that's what jesus is talking about here with the lukewarm christian now listen i don't want to give you the wrong idea and i know that i already have some of you we all struggle all of us including especially your pastor struggles with seasons where we're lukewarm and it's difficult to strive to maintain commitments seasons where we falter all of us are are like that but the fundamental question listen here's the fundamental question is this is this when you became a christian did it include for you a surrender to get engaged in the mission of god that's the question i'm asking i'm not asking do you falter and do you go through seasons where sometimes you're this and sometimes you fall back a little bit i'm saying when you became a christian did it include for you a blank check surrender to get engaged in the mission of god or was your christianity more of a belief thing i'd go to church thing i have jesus save me from hell thing a basic morality and avoid the big sins thing or have you personally gotten engaged in the mission of god and offered your time your talent and your treasures as a blank check to god at whatever age you are if not you are not a follower of jesus don't sit there and hide behind that well i just don't know really what i'm called to people use that with me all the time as a way of just excusing not getting involved and avoiding action here's what i usually ask them back i'm like okay did you hear god calling you to watch tv yesterday no but you did it right did you hear god last year call you and your family to go on a vacation did you come into your family and say you know what i've been praying about this and i feel like god's called us to go on a vacation i'm pointing that is not to say that vacations or exercise or even watching tv is wrong just that we're so quick to rationalize our entertainment and other priorities yet we are slow to commit to serving god so stop using that as an excuse right in fact you like well i can't figure out what i'm called to try about 10 different things and let god call you out of one of them don't write this off by saying well i can't afford it right i'm just not that wealthy do you realize that if you make average household income four thousand dollars a month forty eight thousand a year if you make that in your household you automatically make a hundred times more a hundred times more than the average person on this planet i mean honestly y'all what's more messed up what's more messed up that we have so much compared to everybody else or that we still don't think we're rich that we can make a hundred times more than everybody else and say yep i'm poor i'm broke i ain't got nothing we are neither of those things we are rich all of us are filthy rich how can we have so much but be doing so relatively little to relieve suffering and still call ourselves followers of jesus so what are you doing with your resources a strong challenge from pastor jd here on summit life we'll get back to our teaching in just a moment but first let me tell you about our latest resource created exclusively for our summit life listeners it's a 10-day devotional from the parables of jesus called listen up as with all our resources this is exclusive to our summit life family so you'll want to contact us right away maybe a friend or a relative is in need of these messages as well what greater gift to give away than the timeless truths of god's word so reserve your copy today by calling 866-335-5220 or visit us online at jdgrier.com thanks for being with us today now let's get back to the final moments of today's message here's pastor jd the sign of genuine saving faith is a passionate commitment to the people of god and the mission of god there are two ways for us to tell what you believe one is what your mouth says yeah that's what your life says and one of those is way more reliable than the other one and if what your mouth says you believe is different than what your life says you believe god accepts the testimony of your life every single time the question is what does your life and your checkbook and your calendar and your daily schedule what does that say about your belief in the lordship of christ and your belief in the mercy of the gospel so let's ask our third question who might be the least of these my brothers who we should be serving today let's start with the obvious one the most obvious application or persecuted believers around the world now i'd say we live mostly isolated from this in the united states not entirely we face it in our own different ways but in 2017 3066 christians were killed specifically because of their faith and just as many were abducted or raped for that same reason 793 churches last year were attacked and burned they say that 2017 was by the numbers the worst year for persecution in christian history let me give you a second category here of people he might have been talking about today poor believers around the world many believers in places around the world live on basic subsistence there are about 500 million christians many of whom are children that live on less than two dollars a day which is why we at this church partner with a group called compassion compassion is the best ministry that we found i'm sure there are others but it's one of the best that we found that connects you to impoverished children it's not just charity like an ngo where you come in drop off a bag of rice and zoom off somewhere else it is committed to raising up leaders so that they can raise up the level of their community in a holistic way it will only work through local leaders they work through local churches and if there's not a church in the area they'll work to see one planted and then they'll use that church to start a program for children that will help meet their medical needs education needs and give them spiritual training to come and follow jesus my family we have four children that we sponsor one for each of my kids that we sponsor them monthly my kids write them letters we're involved in their lives we've taken two mission trips and we're planning lord willing a third coming up and that is a way that we're involved and it's a way that you can be involved and by the way for some of you your action step in this could be just to go on a mission trip with us we don't have you go on mission trips so that you can be vacationaries and you know see exotic places around the world is we want you to see firsthand what god is doing in some of these places and so let me give you another category here neglect neglected believers in our own community is a way we could we could fulfill this we could start with with the ones that james the half brother of jesus said widows and orphans or how about this older senior citizens who are in rest homes who are believers and never have somebody come by and just tell them hey man we love you we want to take care of you and we don't want you to be lonely foster kids in our community by the way i heard the greatest story you know we our church we've gotten very committed to the foster system here and we have multiple families that are engaged in it we had a family that wanted to become a foster family you know to do that you got to get a lot of training certification a lot of testing and so they were being interviewed by it was a medical doctor and they were sitting out the doctor and the doctor said okay so why do you want to become foster parents and the dad said well we believe god rescued us when we were orphans so it just seems appropriate that we would take our time and our talents and our treasures and use that to rescue others doctor looks at him puts down the pen and says do you go to the summit church and the wife said well why do you ask that he said because i can't tell you how many times i've heard that very thing and there are always people that are go to the summit church who say that he said i'll tell you something else we can track here in durham county the foster care services we can track the date your church decided to get involved because you've made the biggest difference of anything that has happened in the foster care system over the last thing of when you got involved this is what we're talking about we're talking about you loving people in jesus name give you another category i would mention that one of the ways that we specifically in the majority community can heed jesus's instructions in matthew 25 of of loving the the least of these my brothers and sisters is being committed to justice for anybody in our community who is not treated equally under the law or who doesn't have access to the same opportunities and privileges that we do i mean part of what it means to love brothers and sisters of jesus everywhere is that we are committed not just to justice for us and our kids but we're committed to justice for anybody everywhere even if it doesn't affect us um you know what two more categories real quick here refugees and immigrants listen listen i understand i understand that our government has some really difficult questions when it comes to the best refugee settlement programs and the right immigration policy i get that and i get that there's a lot of complexity in that and personally i'm praying for our leaders in that and i'm glad it's their decision not mine but see i've got a different set of questions when it comes to being a pastor and a follower of jesus and what that means is that when somebody shows up in my community regardless of the legality of how they got there i know what my responsibility is and it is to love them like jesus has loved me i can pray for my leaders and we can even have engaging discussions about what the right best policies are that balance security and fairness and general we can we can talk about all that but i know that as a follower of jesus when somebody's in front of me especially jesus says if they are claiming to be believers which many of them are i know my responsibility is to love them as i would want to be loved or want one of my children to be loved let me add in one final category here and that is future brethren of jesus i can't help but read matthew 25 through kind of a future lens of jesus talking about people that had not yet come to believe on him and he was saying when you reached out to them when you reached out to this person who would become one of my children i took that as being done to me if we believe the gospel how can we not be actively and sacrificially engaged as a church in carrying the gospel to the nations not too long ago a study i was reading showed that listen to this the average american congregation spent no more than seven percent of its annual budget on anything apart from ministry within its four walls 93 got spent on ministry within the four walls only seven percent went outside of that seven percent less than half ever left the united states of that half that left the united states only one third now we're talking with one percent ever went to meeting people's physical needs in other words listen roughly one penny of every dollar of american christian giving to the local church only one penny of every dollar directly implements jesus's vision in this vision in this parable across national boundaries now i'll tell you summit church last year last year 19 of what we took in was dedicated to getting the gospel to the ends of the earth and we want that to be a lot more but it's it's why we are so focused on missions giving it doesn't benefit us it's not a direct it's that we know that we've got to fulfill what jesus says here matthew 25 it's one of the reasons by the way i am getting involved more in the southern baptist convention because that's who we give a lot of our money through and we want to see a leaner and more efficient structure in getting the people to the nations right i mean if we've got people that are dangling on the end of the rope in some of these countries then doesn't it mean we got to do what we need to do on our side to make sure that we've got the best structure to support them and send them i mean i always think of william carrey who was the british missionary who went to india the father of the modern missions movement as he was leaving he told this congregation in great britain he said i'll go dangle on the other end of that rope in india but you got to promise to hold securely on the other side for those of us that god is called to stay here which i'm in that category now i've got a commitment to the people that are carrying out matthew 25 i got to hold the rope which means i give and i pray and i take trips to go support and just lift up their hands and say how can i serve you how can i bless you are you going to be a sheep or a goat our call today is to trust christ surrender to service in his kingdom and actually get involved are you doing that you're listening to summit life with pastor author and teacher jd greer so jd our listeners hear from us every day but it's not as often that we hear from them so it's a real treat when we get a letter or an email or a phone call molly i know i speak for both of us and everybody here at summit life to say that there is nothing we love more nothing that is as encouraging to us as hearing a first-hand account of how god is using this program this teaching this broadcast to change lives for eternity we've heard from people that god has delivered from from sin through this or from struggling with addictions or depression or the most incredible stories of how god has taken a word that was sown at just the right time and used it to bring eternal life you are the ones that are enabling us to to get this gospel message into the hearts of people and to saturate our country with gospel center teaching so thank you thank you for how you have given of yourself to make make these messages these words accessible to others we would love to hear from you you can always call us at 866-335-5220 or if it's easier feel free to email us at the following address requests at jdgrier.com while you're online check out our newest resource it's 10 interactive devotionals from the parables of jesus called listen up and the great thing is it follows along with our current teaching series a little bonus to help drive these truths deeper into your heart we'll send you a copy as a thank you for making a donation to the ministry today you can request your copy when you give at the suggested level of 35 or more call 866-335-5220 or if it's easier you can give and request the book online at jdgrier.com i'm molly vinovich thursday pastor jd greer encourages us to look at our own hearts as he continues our series called listen we'll see you then right here on summit life today's program was produced and sponsored by jd greer ministries
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