The Great Commission and Compassion of the Church

See sermon the Great Commission and Compassion by David Campbell

Luke 4: 16-21

16-21 He came to Nazareth where he had been reared. As he always did on the Sabbath, he went to the meeting place. When he stood up to read, he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written,

God’s Spirit is on me;
    he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor,
Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and
    recovery of sight to the blind,
To set the burdened and battered free,
    to announce, “This is God’s year to act!”

He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the place was on him, intent. Then he started in, “You’ve just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place.”

Jesus came to restore us to the Father so we’d be adopted as sons and daughters of God. To do this he had to die for us as payment for our sins. Jesus’ dying was the means he used to reconcile us to his Father by the process of substitution – first seen in the story of Abraham and Isaac where the ram is substituted for Isaac. Christ became our sacrifice so we wouldn’t have to die for our sins.

Now that he died for us we’ve been legally adopted through his blood into the family of God. Now here’s the thing with adopted kids – they can never be disowned. Once you’ve made a commitment to adopt you can’t change your mind afterwards and disown them.

Another strong metaphor used in the bible to show our relationship is that of marriage. The church is called the bride of Christ. He found us destitute and without a husband (metaphorically speaking) and he decided to cover us, that is offer us protection in marriage. Marriage when viewed in this way is also a type of adoption. In ancient times the wife would leave her family and go to her husband’s to start a new life, even adopting his name.

In either case – that of adoption as kids or marriage as a bride – we are being told of a very strong kind of love for us. Not just a like – people can like you one day and then choose not to like you the next, but love in marriage or adoption is a commitment to family. God promises never to abandon us, to leave us, he has shown his commitment by sending his Son to die in such spectacular fashion for us.

God is saying something to us that when we put our faith in Christ to save us from our sins that we become part of God’s family. This is the good news: that we are no longer enemies of God, but rather we’ve bee brought closer to him by Christ’s love. Jesus came not into the world to condemn it but that the world through him might be saved.

The good news is powerful enough to save you from whatever hardships you’re going through. And like the apostle Paul, we ought not be ashamed of it.

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