Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

03/18/2018 A.M.

 

Becoming His Instrument of Righteousness

Luke 10.25-37   Romans 6.13 & 12.1

 

How many of us want to make a difference?

 

If we were to die today…

• What would we be known for?

• What would our friends and relatives remember us for?

• What would the preacher say as he stood by our casket?

 

Sobering questions… RIGHT?

• Would we be known for our ability to make money?.. Is that the best thing said about us?

• Would we be remembered for our selfishness toward... our spouse… and others?

• Would our children talk of our being a good... Father... Mother... Grandparent?

• Would we be remembered for our faithfulness in the Kingdom?… Or for our just coming to church… But not really participating in Kingdom activities and responsibilities.

• As an Elder… Will we be known for our... Faith... Vision... Spirituality...

• As a preacher… Will we be remembered for our sensitivity to people… For foot-washing and serving… Or our desire to be in control of all that’s going on?

• Will we be remembered for our sharing Jesus with others?

• Will we be known for brightening up their lives with acts of kindness?

 

What would... What Could...be said of us?

 

Our text comes from a familiar Scripture... Jesus’ narrative of the Good Samaritan... About three men and how they will be forever remembered... As they became or failed to become God’s Instrument of Righteousness.

 

We’re not gonna do an exegeses of the text... But simply use it as a springboard for our thoughts.

 

Luke chapter 10... We begin at the verse numbered 25... An expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. Teacher… What must I do to inherit eternal life? What is written in the Law?... He replied. He answered… Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind… And… Love your neighbor as yourself. You have answered correctly… Jesus replied… Do this and you will live. But wanting to justify himself… He asked Jesus… And who is my neighbor? In reply Jesus said… A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho… When he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes… Beat him…Leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road… And when he saw the man… He passed by on the other side. So too… A Levite… When he came to the place and saw him… Passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan… As he traveled… Came where the man was… And when he saw him… He took pity on him. Bandaged his wounds… Pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey… He brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper…. Look after him… And when I return… I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have. Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? The expert in the law replied… The one who had mercy on him. Jesus told him… Go and do likewise.

 

Listen to me church… We...You and your preacher… Will be remembered for something… Just like these three men in this narrative…

 

We’ll be remembered for making a difference…

• In our families…

• In our friendship circle…

• In the church… This church?

The question becomes… Are we allowing God to use us to MAKE a difference?

 

The first point I want to make is this…

 

We can make a difference where we are.

We can Become an instrument of righteousness in God’s hand... Make a difference in the world around us...right wHere we are... today!!

We don’t have-to-have some special training...

Don’t need some special set of circumstances...

Don’t have to have some special calling...

We don’t have to be…

• Perfect…

• Rich…

• Retired…

• In good health...

• Highly educated…

• Exceptionally intelligent.

• We don’t have to go on a campaign outside the country.

 

Regardless of... Who we are… How old we are... Or how often we have failed… We can still make a difference... Today... Right here in our own world... For instance...

 

Noah made a difference where he … Saved himself and his family.

Fathers… Mothers…Grandparents… Will we make a difference for God in our families?

 

Joseph made a difference... Because he was willing to be faithful to God even when life was unfair to him.

 

Moses made a difference even though he felt ill-equipped... God used him to lead Israel out of bondage into the Promise Land... How many souls are we leading to Heaven?

 

Daniel made a difference by standing for right in the face of tremendous odds.

Can God count on us to stand for Him against the political correctness in our culture?... At home… At school… At the office… Out on the golf course... Etc.?

 

Esther was God’s instrument to save Israel by yielding His Divine providence.

Let me ask… Are we sensitive to God’s providence… Do we see God working in our lives... Or do we still see life as a series of unrelated accidents?

 

Mary made a difference by allowing God to use her to bring His Son into the world.

The question is... Who will we share Jesus with this week?

 

Barnabas made a difference in the early church… He was God’s instrument of encouragement.

Will we make a difference with a word of encouragement?

 

Notice with me... WHY become His Instrument of righteousness?

 

First...Because our world depends on it.

Our world would never survive if people did not help one another. 

• God made us for relationships…

• He created us to be dependent upon one another...

• We need each other…

• We’ve been taught to carry one another’s burden.

 

Think about this… Where would this world be without good Samaritans?  What would happen to the... robbed...Beaten... And half-dead… Men… Women… Children… Of our world… If Good Samaritans don’t stop to help?

 

Where would we be without the Mother Teresa’s of the world? Without compassionate people… Our world would disintegrate into chaos. 

 

And here it is church… Most of us would not have made it this far!!! Where would we be had it not been for the... Support... Encouragement... Guidance... of others?

Indeed… We need difference makers because our world depends on it!

 

Secondly…Because there… Are Rewards...We’re blessed by God.

Jesus never told His audience how the Good Samaritan felt when he left the inn… But you and I know he felt good… Because he had done something beneficial for another.

 

We know this because this is the way God made us... Scripture says… We are His workman... His instrument… Created to do good works.

 

And... And... There are rewards for doing good works...

• Jesus did say… Blessed… Happy… Are those who show mercy.

• He said… The Father will reward those who give to the needy.

Not a cup… Not a single cup… Of cold water will go unrewarded.

• After the footwashing of John chapter thirteen... Jesus said... Go and do likewise... And you will be blessed... Joyous... Happy.

No wonder Scripture tells us It is more blessed to give than receive!

 

We should make a difference because God expects it of us.

 

Romans 6.13 tells us that we are to yield ourselves unto God as His instrument of righteousness…

 

Romans 12.1…We’re to be a living sacrifice…

• Scripture says… Do good to all men… Especially those of the household of faith.

• In the sheep and goat Judgment scene… Jesus tells us that our judgment will partially depend upon how we treat those in need... 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.

 

Some of the last words that Jesus spoke on this earth are found in Matthew 28… Go make disciples of all nations… Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit… Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I am with you always… To the end of the age

 

He commissioned each of us to get out of ourselves into our homes... Our neighborhoods... And our workplace… Making a difference in the lives of people. 

 

Well… What kind of people become God’s Instrument?

I want you to notice that many of the people who made a difference in the Bible were ordinary folk.

They had some of the same... feelings... Inhibitions... And problems… We have this morning

• Not all of them were well known.

• Not all were that talented. 

• Not all felt qualified for the work that God called them to do.

• They were not all spiritual giants.

 

For instance some resist their calling.

When Moses stood at the burning bush… He was glad to learn that God was about to rescue the Israelites... Yes! Yes! Finally… The time has come… But when God said… Come Moses… I’ll send you to Pharaoh. Immediately... Moses started making excuses. 

 

How many of us… Here this morning… Are giving God some excuse for not finding our place... In the church…This church… Becoming His difference maker in Bella Vista…Bentonville… Centertown… Gravette… and Rogers… Etc?

 

Some feel unqualified.

Moses said…

• Who me... Not me...

• I am not a good speaker...

• What would I say to Pharaoh…

• Who would I say sent me?

• I am not equipped.

 

Paul… Was not an eloquent speaker… He felt himself ill-equipped… I resolved to know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came to you in… Listen now?...  In Weakness and fear… with much trembling. My preaching was not with wise and persuasive words… But with… A demonstration of the Spirit’s power.

Paul was anxious and scared… But God used him to make a difference in his world.

 

David... Mentioned more often than any person in the Bible... But started life so unqualified that his father forgot to even mention him when Samuel came looking for a King of Israel.

 

Rahab was used by God even though she was a prostitute.

Listen to me... I don’t know what kind of sin is in your life... But I know that God is ready to forgive... Ready to use you for His purpose... For His righteousness.

 

Mary was a simple peasant girl who pleased God… And became the mother of Messiah.

 

The Twelve Apostles... Tell me… Were the Twelve qualified to start a movement… A corporate structure… That would sweep the whole world… Turning it upside down? Were they qualified to start a movement that would last forever and ever and ever?...

I don’t think so.

 

In fact… Listen to what their contemporaries thought of them from Acts chapter four… When the crowds saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled… unlearned… unqualified… ordinary men… they were astonished... But... But they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

 

God doesn’t always use people who are…

• Wise…

• Influential…

• Ambitious...

• Or of noble birth…

To do His work. 

 

Instead… He uses ordinary men & women just like us… If…If… We are willing to spend time with Jesus…To have His... Heart… Mind… Attitude… Disposition… and Behavior.

 

Some were not expected to be DIFFERENCE MAKERS.

In our text… Everybody expected the Priest and the Levi to stop and help the disabled and wounded man on the road… That was their job... To show God’s mercy and compassion... To be God’s instrument of righteousness... It was expected of them... No one expected the Samaritan to help.

 

Everybody in... Bella Vista… Bentonville… and Rogers… Expects to see your preacher… Charles… Jeff… and Me… at the hospital and in the nursing homes... IT’S part of our job!

 

What they don’t expect is to see you there.

The people of... Concordia…Highland’s Health… Washington Regional… Mercy... Northwest Medical… Are not impressed when your preacher shows up… They are impressed when You show up.

 

Listen to me church…Nothing… Nothing... touches the heart of a community any more than to see... Elders… Deacons… Bible Teachers… People of the pew…Taking time to Make a difference in the lives of…

• The sick...

• The Old...

• the poor…

• The sinner…

• The down and out… 

• The disenfranchised…

• And lost.

Nothing touches the heart of our world more than for others to see us acting like Jesus.

 

Some of those God used got off to a wrong start.

God told Jonah to go to Nineveh… But he went in the opposite direction and ended up in the belly of a fish.  So… God gave him another chance… And he made a difference in the destiny of Nineveh.

Boy!!... That’s what I need another chance... How about you?

 

Think about David…

• He had fought great battles for God and His people.

• David righted wrongs… Stood firm for the faith.

But then he slid into bed with Bathsheba. 

In an attempt to cover up his immorality… David lied and murdered. 

But God gave David another chance... And he became a great difference maker.

 

Indeed... We’ve disqualified ourselves with some ugly sins… But God is a God of second chances... He loves to forgive and restore us to a rightful place in his Kingdom.

 

Peter was one of the elite… But he denied Jesus… That night… When he left the courtyard in tears… Peter probably thought that he was finished as a disciple…But Jesus offered forgiveness and a second chance. 

 

How many of us have been guilty of denying Jesus in front of… Our friends… Our business associates… Or working companions?  Perhaps not denying Him… So much as not standing up for Him… And His way of life.

 

We must know that this does not disqualify us from becoming an instrument of righteousness... Making a difference... today!... tomorrow!

 

Then lastly… Difference Makers must never give up.

Church… We must not forget the promise of Jesus in Revelation 2.10... Be faithful... Even to the point of death... And I will give you the crown of life.

 

God is not judging us on our past successes or mistakes... But on present purpose.

 

Paul said... Forgetting the past... I press on to the goal.

 

How many of us know JIM GREENGRASS?  On the opening day of baseball season... 1954... The Milwaukee Braves played the Cincinnati Reds. Two rookies were in that game... A guy named Jim Greengrass... He batted four times and hit four doubles... An incredible career start. But nobody remembers him. Another guy started his career that day... He struck out all four times. Hank Aaron had a slow start. But who do we remember?

 

It doesn’t matter how we started… But how we finish.... Are we making a difference... TODAY?... right now?

 

Interesting isn’t it... How God uses ordinary people to be difference makers? 

• People who initially resist…

• People who seem unqualified…

• Those who no one expects to help…

• Even broken vessels… People who have blown it previously. 

God uses people like us.

 

This morning… Jesus can make a difference in your life.

• He can... Forgive your sins… Save your soul… Make you a child of God… By Faith… Repentance… and New Testament Baptism.

 

• As a child of God… He can make your life and mine... meaningful… Blessed… Fulfilled… And happy... again… If we’ll just allow Him to use us in His Kingdom.

 

• Perhaps some of us just need to rededicate our life to making a Difference.

 

• Maybe we need the prayers of the church to help us become His Instrument of good works.

 

This invitation is... for us... Each of us… As we stand and sing.