Open Up Your Heart, Hands and Home.

Open Up Your Heart, Hands and Home.

January 28, 2024

HANDOUT FOR THE SERMON: OPEN UP YOUR HEART, HANDS AND HOME.                                                                                              “Following in the footsteps of Jesus.”  Manchester, TN, January 28th, 2024

INTRODUCTION: Each year the elders adopt a theme for the year and today I want to introduce our theme for the year 2024. Each one of us need to learn how to be a better follower of Jesus.  Are we willing to take an honest and crucial look at ourselves in reference to our growth and maturing as a Christian. Our goal is to grow into the “full stature of Jesus Christ.” There are so many ways in which we become imitators of Jesus.  Sometimes we are not as “well rounded” in our likeness to Jesus. There can be a danger that we focus only on a few items that we deem more important in becoming like Jesus and avoid developing ourselves in other aspects of following Jesus. Our lesson today is meant to challenge us and “push” us out of our comfort zones and grow and develop in other ways in becoming like Jesus.

LESSON:                                                                                                                                                                                                    1.CHRISTIANS ARE TO BE AN EXTENSION OF GOD. Jesus was a living representation of God on earth. Jesus lived to show mankind what it meant to be a true child of God. He proved to us that it is possible to live for God on earth. He declared the love of God to the world. He showed us what it meant to sacrifice for others.  He showed us how to be merciful and humble.

Matthew 1:22-23 “So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’

Scripture: John 1:1-2 & 14-16, Hebrews 1:1-3, John 14:9, Colossians 1:27, Matthew 4:19            Do you see yourself as an extension of God, a representative of God on earth? We are called the children of God! 1 John 3:1-2,  John 15:1-5, Matthew 5:14-16, Philippians 2:15, John 15:18-20, 2 Corinthians 3:2.     

2.JESUS IN THE FLESH OPENED UP HIS HEART, HIS HANDS AND HOME TO OTHERS. When reading in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) you will get a good representation of how the mind and heart of Jesus worked. In looking at His daily interactions with others we can literally see the love of God in action. We learn of HIs concerns, His compassion and His great care for humanity as well as His obedience of the will of God. Jesus in the flesh revealed grace and truth, John 1:14-18. Jesus was selected by the Father to give us a perfect representation of God. Do we truly understand the nature of Jesus? Have you taken the time to dive deep into His heart and His mind? Are you trying to imitate Jesus? Please read the various stories recorded in the Gospels so you can truly get to know Jesus.

THE HEART OF JESUS:                                                                                                                                                                                 How important is the heart? Have you ever experienced a “heartless gesture?” Have you been around a heartless person? What was that like?  Jesus showed us the heart of God. The Bible tells us that God is love, 1 John 4:18. Compassion is a fundamental and distinctive quality of God. There are many references to the compassion of Jesus. Compassion means literally: “A feeling for and with others!” Compassion is at the root of God’s heart for humanity. John 3:16 It all starts in the heart.  It the heart does not love or have deep compassion for others there will never be any good and beneficial action for others.                                                                             Scripture: Matthew 1:32 & 14:14  Examples: Luke 7:13, Luke 8:1-3, Luke 19:10, Matthew 11:29, Galatian 2:20, Philippians 2:5

THE HANDS OF JESUS:                                                                                                                                                                                How important would you rate your hands? What do you associate with hands? In what ways are hands important and valuable? What would your life be like without your hands?  Hands represent that ability to do for others and for yourself.  Jesus was all about doing for others, not just having an emotional attachment or concern for them! His heart moved Him to action!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Scripture: Mark 1:41-43, Luke 7:11-17, Luke 8:40-56, John 11:38-44, Matthew 14:13-21, Matthew 20:34, Mark 1:41

OPEN UP YOUR HOME FOR OTHERS. What do you associate with the concept or thought of a home? What about your home? A good home?  We often associate words such as: security, safety, protection, provisions, belonging, fellowship, warmth, sharing, appreciation, value, forgiveness and a second chance. Jesus wanted people to see He believed in them and could help them move forward to a brighter and better future.  Jesus was all about giving all these concepts to humanity. He wanted to give people value, self-esteem, love, warmth, peace, security, safety, provisions, fellowship, forgiveness and a second chance.

Scripture: Matthew 11:29, Matthew 12:48-50, Acts 16:14-20, Acts 2:41-47. Acts 3:1-9, Acts 4:31-37 First century Christians learned from Jesus and we can see this clearly in the way they lived as described in Acts chapters 2-8.                                                                    CONCLUSION The expectation of Jesus is clear in the Gospels.  Read Matthew chapters 5-7, Matthew 25, Mathew 28:18-20

Brethren, let us be more critical of ourselves and less critical of others. I fear we all have room for improvement in our Christ-like walk. Ask yourself: How is my heart, what about my hands and what about my home? Am I using these in the same manner as Jesus Christ, My Lord? Jesus sacrificed because of His heart, Jesus did and responded using His hands and Jesus offered a true “home” for those who needed it!