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Before I begin, I would like to give thanks for an anonymous gift that allowed this show to go ahead. Thank you!
‘The State and The Disciple of Jesus’
Romans 13:1-2 (ESV)
Submission to the
every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority
except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists
what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
Dear friends, this
talk is a shortened version of a sermon I gave at the Church where I serve as
Pastor. It was part of a series where I preach through all of the Book of
Romans. The series is called, "Grace Shaped Life"
1. The King of Kings
and Lord of Lords, the true and living God, tells His grace-ransomed children,
to submit to human authorities, and to respect and honour them, in a way which
fully glorifies and honours Him.
12 I appeal to you therefore,
brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your
bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your
spiritual worship.[b]2 Do not be conformed
to this world,[c] but be transformed by the renewal of
your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is
good and acceptable and perfect.[d]
I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to
everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For
in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith,[a] as it is written, “The righteous shall
live by faith.”[b]
Good morning. And
welcome to good news in the morning.My
name is Brent Russett. I am the Senior Pastor at Sunnyside Wesleyan Church here
in Ottawa. It is my pleasure to look at some of life’s challenges, and then bring
you some good news in the morning.
glad that you tuned your dial to CFRA. I want you to know that you can also
find Good News in the morning on the internet at Goodnewsinthemorning.ca .
There you can keep up to date with what is happening around Good News Christian
morning’s program has been sponsored by a Donner who wants to stay anonymous.
Thank you so much for your partnership in the gospel this morning.
want to say a special welcome to our international listeners, who listen via
the internet. We are glad that you have found us, and that you are finding this
ministry an encouragement.
morning I want to tell you about how God’s sees you.
Burke in his book
of my favourite paintings is Rembrandt`s masterpiece The Return of the Prodigal Son. It is housed in the Hermitage
Museum in St. Petersburg Russia and
depicts the moving scene in Jesus` parable when, filled with compassion` the
father ran towards his wayward son. The son had squandered his inheritance with
loose living, but came begging for mercy. The father embraced him saying, `My
son was dead but now is alive, was lost but now he`s found` Jesus paints this
beautiful, priceless picture in answer to the religious people`s complaint that
he “welcomes sinners.” The (Rembrandt)painting is worth a fortune.
Now, just imagine if one day you
visit St. Petersburg, and there in a back-alley dumpster you discover
Rembrandt’s masterpiece, but it’s hardly recognizable. It’s covered in mud and
dirt, it’s stained and the canvas has been torn. You wouldn’t recognize it at
all, except you notice the famous hand of the father on the ragged son’s back.
How would you treat the painting?
Like trash? It’s covered in mud, stained and torn – is it worthless? Do you
treat it like it’s worthless? Or would you treat it like a million dollar
masterpiece that needs to be handled with care and restored? I’m guessing that
all of us could see past the mud and even the damage to recognize the immense
value inherent in this one-of-a-kind work of art – simply because it was
created by Rembrandt’s own hand.
We wouldn’t try to clean it up
ourselves; we would bring it to a master, who could delicately restore it to
its original condition.
As I study the life and interactions of Jesus
with very sin-stained, muddied people, it becomes evident that Jesus could see
something worth dying for in all the people he encountered. Jesus could see
past the mud to the Masterpiece God wanted to restore. (Unshockable Love, John Burke Kindle 211-212)
helps me understand what God thinks of me, even when I don’t think that much of
me. But it also helps me when I think of others. Here is what I want you to
know, I think Bill Hybels put it most succinctly. “Lost People Matter to God.”
live in a world where people are valued very differently. I don’t know if it is
because there are 7 billion people who share our planet right now, or because
we are exposed so often to people who seem expendable, like the billion or so
people who live on less than 2 dollars a day. But it seems like people are less
valuable than they used to be.
like some people in our world are valued like Rembrandt paintings, and some are
valued like the Canadian group of seven paintings, and others are valued your
favourite local painter, and then some are valued like high school art
paintings, and some are valued like kindergarten finger paintings.
value depends on your age. You don’t have any value, at least under the law,
until the day you are born. The family that you were born into factors into the
value. We have seen in the U.S. that the colour of you skin factors into your
value. In other parts of the world, your gender factors into your value. Where
you were born factors into your value. One North American killed tragically
will get more press than a 100 Africans killed tragically.
this is not how God sees the world. To him each of the 7 billion people that
inhabit this world is a Rembrandt.
– YouLove Broke Through – Keith Green
of the world’s big problems is that religious people don’t see the world as God
sees the world. In the New Testament book of James the church is warned not
give rich people preferential treatment over poor people – why – because we are
tempted to value people differently because of the size of their bank account.
But God’s valuation of a person doesn’t take into account the size of their
more than that, religious people are prone to value people based on their
morality. This is nothing new. It was a problem back in Jesus day, and it is a
problem in our day.
with me to our story
Luke 7:36–37 (NLT)
36 One of the Pharisees
asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so Jesus went to his home and sat down to
eat.* 37 When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he
was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive
was at a dinner party thrown by a Pharisee named Simon. Pharisees, you might
remember were incredibly devout, religious people. They studied the scriptures,
they cared about their faith, they shared their faith, they did all the right
things. They were on a mission. They thought their mission was from God. Sadly,
they were mistaken. They were missional, but they were on the wrong mission.
while the diner party was going on this woman crashes the party. The writer
leaves little ambiguity as to who she was. She was an immoral woman, a sinful
woman. Luke tells us that, Simon the Pharisee tells us that Luke 7:39 (NLT)
39 When the Pharisee who
had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he
would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!”
Jesus acknowledges this Luke 7:47 (NLT)
47 “I tell you, her
sins—and they are many—have been forgiven.
is no question in anyone’s mind what kind of woman she is. But Simon the
Pharisee didn’t know that Jesus knew the moral pedigree of the woman.
the woman crashes the party. I want you to imagine this. Jesus and his
disciples are around a table. Not a table like you and I would have supper at.
The tables in Jesus day were about 20 centimeters or 8 inches of the floor. You
kind of reclined around them. Now imagine Jesus and his disciples sprawled
around the table and then- This is what the text says
Luke 7:37–38 (NLT)
37 When a certain immoral
woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful
alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. 38 Then she knelt
behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them
off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.
beautiful but it is awkward. What do you do if you were Jesus. If someone gets
a picture of this and post it in the Jerusalem Post, it is not going to look
very good. This woman who was known for her sexual escapades is kissing Jesus’
feet. Worse than that, letting down your hair in public was seen as very
improper. But this woman does, and she wipes Jesus feet with her hair.
didn’t push her away. You don’t see Jesus cringing. Jesus accepts what she was
doing for what it was.
the Pharisee is looking at what is happening in his own house and this is what
Luke 7:39 (NLT)
39 When the Pharisee who
had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he
would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!”
assumption was that if Jesus was a prophet then he would know what kind of
woman was touching him. And if he knew what kind of woman was touching him,
that he would push her away. He would make her stop what she was doing.
Simon’s assumption was wrong. Jesus did know what kind of a person she was, and
he accepted her for who she was.
Simon’s valuation, this woman ranked about the same as a finger painting
created by your brother’s grandson’s friend. In Jesus eyes, she was a
wish we could see people as Jesus sees people.
master sculptor, the one who created the subline statue of David said,
every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me,
shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough
walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as
mine see it.”
God, the Master Artist, created you, me, and every person in his image. That
image has been hidden under layers of false identities, encased in walls of
insecurity and fear, marred and muddied and damaged by the sins of others and
the sins we have done. What we often see in ourselves and in others around us
is just an unimpressive block of marble with rough, jagged edges protruding.
God sees a Masterpiece waiting to be revealed in Christ.
Burke, John (2014-08-26). Unshockable Love:
of the work of the gospel in our lives is that we are given new eyes. Eyes to
see how God sees.
you come to Christ and give him your life, he forgives you of your sin, he
adopts you into his family, he puts his Holy Spirit inside of you, he makes you
transforms us from the inside out. That transformation is progressive and it is
ongoing. But you know God’s transformation in you has started to make progress
when he gives you new eyes. Eyes to see people as he see people. Eyes to look
past the mud and the layers of insecurity and fear and see the Rembrandt. Eyes
to look into the granite block and see the masterpiece.
are conditioned by the society we grow up in to see people a certain way. If
you live in some parts of India you are conditioned to see the lower caste as
untouchable – not of value. If you grow up in some parts of the Orient you are
conditioned to see males as more valuable than females. If you grow up in some
parts of Africa you are conditioned to your tribe as more valuable than others
When you grow up in Canada we are conditioned
to see people with more money, more power, and more educationas more valuable than those who are poor and
powerless and uneducated. But that is not how God sees it.
Canada, because we are somewhat influence by the Protestant work ethic, we see
those who have worked hard and have become a self made person, as more valuable
than those who have not. But God sees something different.
you grow up in some churches, we are conditioned to see moral people as more
valuable than immoral people. But God sees something different.
have not been deeply transformed by the gospel until our eyes have been
transformed so we see people like God sees people.
Burke in his book “Unshockable Jesus” tells the story of Christine. Here is
what he wrote.
doesn’t deserve a raise!” Christina thought as her co-worker boasted about her
salary increase. “Why, Lord? Why do I have to work with such an immoral pagan
who acts like a perfectionist with high work standards, then boasts about her
low moral standards? I don’t want to constantly hear about her wild-child party
endeavors and sexual misconduct, and then watch her get a raise before I do. I
can’t stand her!”
Christina had grown up in the Bible Belt—
Christianland— where people would dress nice to go out to Sunday brunch even if
they hadn’t been to church, so as to look like they went to church in the eyes
of their churchgoing friends. Austin was so different. People didn’t pretend to
go to church. In fact, they didn’t even pretend to be moral! Whenever
Christina’s co-worker Stacy would cuss or boast of her weekend escapades,
Christina felt justified in making sure Stacy knew she didn’t approve.
She kept it subtle, but her disapproval could be clearly felt by Stacy.
The longer they worked together, the higher the silent barrier of differences
grew. “I could feel Stacy’s dislike for me increasing,” Christina recalls, “but
I also felt like I was right and she was wrong. I felt justified, even
righteous. But I wasn’t changing her. In fact, if anything I just provoked her
to shock me with greater detail and more graphic language.”
Then Christina heard a series of messages about how Jesus treated his enemies
and those who deserved nothing good from him. “I started praying for my
attitude at work,” Christina recalls, “but I had to fight judgmental, critical
thoughts that seemed to justify my behavior. In order to fight those thoughts,
I started to pray for Stacy.
God used those prayers to melt through Christiana’s Pharisaical
As Christina kept praying for her mean, immoral co-worker, she began to
get a new thought, “More than just praying for her, I need to care about her.”
Christina recalls, I started looking for ways to serve my co-worker,
which meant I had to take interest in her life and find out what she needed. I
asked questions and listened a lot. I found out she had cats, and when she told
me she was going to be out of town, I volunteered to watch her cats. When she
came down with the flu, I brought her meals. When she got a promotion, I
organized a celebration party with our co-workers— she was blown away.
I could tell my newfound attitude
was softening her attitude toward me. But what I didn’t expect is that in the
process of serving her, God opened my eyes to all the really good things about
her that I couldn’t see through my Pharisee-glasses.
While doing Morph, (My church’s spiritual formation program), one
assignment had to do with listening to a non-Christian’s deepest desires. I
asked Stacy if she would let me ask her some questions about her hopes and
dreams. In the assignment, you basically ask two questions: “What do you hope
for in life?” and “What are your heart’s greatest desires?” You cannot tell,
preach, share your testimony, or do anything except ask clarifying questions,
take notes, summarize, and feed back what you hear, encouraging those desires
that align with God’s.
I listened and asked questions
for over an hour, and when we finished, Stacy said to me, “I have never had a
conversation like that in my entire life.” She was glowing. The following year,
Stacy lost her boyfriend and was devastated. She came to me to talk about it,
and she asked me why I had been so nice to her. That led to a deeper
conversation about life and faith and the work Jesus was doing in my heart.
As a result, she started coming
to church with me, started seeking God, and found faith in him. This woman I
could hardly stand, today, is not only a sister in Christ, but also my good
friend. None of my disapproval changed her, but learning to value her and meet
her at her point of need— that’s what Jesus used to invite her into new life!
Burke, John (2014-08-26). Unshockable Love: How Jesus
Changes the World through Imperfect People (Kindle Locations 1579-1595). Baker
Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Maybe you have run into too many Christians
who have judged you like Christina judged Stacey. Those Christians do not
reflect how valuable you are to Jesus.
going to skip ahead to Luke 15:1 So you can hear Jesus’ heart on this.
Luke 15:1–6 (NLT)
Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often
came to listen to Jesus teach. 2 This made the Pharisees and
teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful
people—even eating with them!
Jesus told them this story:4 “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what
will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to
search for the one that is lost until he finds it?5 And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on
his shoulders.6 When he
arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with
me because I have found my lost sheep.’
suppose a woman has ten silver coins* and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and
sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And
when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Rejoice
with me because I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way,
there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.”
Can you see it?Lost people matter to God. He searches for
them. He cares about them. He calls out to therm. He sees in them not just a
hunk of stone, but a work of beauty.
showed this when he touched the untouchable leper. Jesus showed this as he
talked the Samaritan woman. Jesus showed this as he spoke to the widow. Jesus
showed this when he went to the houses of tax collectors. Over and over again
in the life of Jesus, we see, lost people matter to him.
see something of value, something of worth, something of beauty in them.
is reality from God’s perspective. I wonder if you see the truth about people.
Have your eyes been transformed yet? I wonder if you can see yourself from
player Matt White had an aunt who struggled to make ends meet for years, living
on fifty acres of property in Massachusetts. When her health started to
decline, she was forced to sell her property to pay for health care. As an act
of kindness, Matt bought the land from his aunt for the appraised value of $
While exploring the land to see about building
a house, he discovered outcroppings of stone ledges. Matt contracted a
geologist, who surveyed the land and informed Matt this stone had commercial
value for patios and landscapes and could actually be sold for $ 100 a ton . .
. and he had about 24 million tons on the land. The appraised value on the
surface was $ 50,000; beneath the surface the land was worth over $ 2 billion!
As Jesus looked out at the masses of people,
he saw something of great value beneath the surface. “When he saw the crowds,
he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep
without a shepherd” (Matthew 9: 36). To be like Jesus to others, we must see
what Jesus sees beneath the surface that’s of infinite worth to God.
I pray that you would show each person how you value them, and that how you take
them where they’re at, and you want them to become things of beauty, because of what
you do in their lives.
pray this in Jesus’ name, AMEN.
Pray – for God to show each person who he wants to be
for them right now.
“ If Good News in the Morning has been a factor in
your journey of faith, we would love to hear your story. Nothing could
encourage us more in this work.Contact
us by e-mail or Twitter via the web site – goodnewsinthemorning.ca
Thank you for listening this morning.
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people. A special thanks to the person who sponsored this program anonymously.
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May you knowJesus Christ personally and profoundly.May the Holy Spirit reside deep within your heart.And may the heavenly Father surround you with
His constant and abiding and accompanying love
MUSIC –How deep the Fathers Love for
us – Stuart Townsend 3:35