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Love God, Love Man--It's That Simple
01/07/2007
Scripture: Luke 10:25-28; 24:44-49
Track 1 of 12 in the A Transforming Church . . . Lives By Transforming Values series
Running time: 28 minutes, 52 seconds.


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Chuck Sackett Speaker: Chuck Sackett
Dr. G. Charles Sackett is minister of Madison Park Christian Church.

View all sermons by this speaker.


"Simplify"

The alkaline element and fats in this product are blended in such a way as to secure the highest quality of saponification, along with a specific gravity that keeps it on top of the water, relieving the bather of the difficulty and aggravation of fishing around for it at the bottom of the tub during his ablution.

EASY VERSION: "This soap floats."

Let your extemporaneous descantings and unpremeditated expatiations have intelligibility and veracious vivacity, without rodomontade (thrasonical pomposity).

EASY VERSION: "Let your speech be truthful and lively, yet without boasting."

Eschew obfuscation. Always elude elongated, Latinate, polysyllabic designations.

EASY VERSION: "Avoid big, confusing words."

The easy button is a prodigious (marvelous) idea. Too bad it doesn't really exist. We could simply lay it over those things we don't understand and "presto," it would be--well, easy. There are certainly many places in the Scriptures where that would be really helpful.

When I lay the easy button over our texts for today, Luke's version of the great commission (Luke 24:44-49) and great commandment (Luke 10:25-28), I hear God saying . . . "Love me; love man. It's that simple."

The message of Scripture really is simple: Love God enough to honor Him in your worship and in your life; love man enough to serve him and share with him the gospel of Christ.

That's our mission. That's why Madison Park Christian Church exists. We exist to love God and love His people. We exist to honor God. We live to serve and share the gospel with our fellow man. If you are a part of MPCC, then that's your mission too. If you aren't yet a part of us, we invite you to join us in our mission.

Madison Park Christian Church Chuck Sackett Sermon 1/7/07

They call them super spectators. They are the fan of fans across the United States and they do some rather bizarre things. USA Today has been carrying special articles, you can actually nominate your favorite super fan and they might get their name in the paper if they really do have what it takes to demonstrate that they are the super spectator of the world. I noted just a handful of these people. Geo Vernon makes a 5,000 mile round trip from Philadelphia to Seattle every home game to watch the Seattle Sea Hawks. Mike Prath of Louisville, Kentucky has flown his Cessna to watch every Detroit Lions home game for the last 7 years. Frank Weiscott was 11 years old when he put in a bid for a season ticket to his favorite team, the New York Jets. He waited 8 years. He has not missed a home game since. Every home game for the last 4 years he flies from San Francisco to Boston and then drives to his parents' house and goes to the Jets game and is back to work in San Francisco by 11 o'clock Monday morning. Donna Attenhoffer in Orlando, Florida has made every Indianapolis Colts game including the play-offs. Jan and Dan Vermida attend every Seattle Sea Hawks football game. They make a 6,000 mile round trip from Washington, D.C. My least favorite, and yet may be the epitome of them all, Rula Seedy lives in New Jersey. He leaves on Friday night, he takes a vacation day on Monday, and goes to every Dallas Cowboys home game. He had to be deeply disappointed yesterday. He is a truck driver. It costs him $500 a pop every weekend. It is very affordable. He said, "I started when I was single. I got married. I continued to do that. I am now divorced. It survived through all of that and I managed to find the money and the time to go."

Sold out people will do just about anything for what they value. That is the bottom line. Sold out people will do just about anything for what they value. So here is my question for this morning. Are you sold out on the vision and mission of Madison Park Church? If we have adequately represented what it is that God has called this congregation to be and to do in this community, my question to you is are you sold out to that? Do you value it so highly that whatever it would take for you to make sure that we accomplish what God calls us to do, you would be willing to do it? Do you know what it is even, the mission of Madison Park Christian Church? I am not asking if you have it memorized, I just want to know if you even know why we are here other than the fact that it is Sunday and this is the place to be. We exist to honor God by doing two things -- carrying out the Great Commandment and carrying out the Great Commission. That is the only reason why we would have this building. It is the only reason why we would even meet in this place. It is the only reason why we would run the programming that we run. It is because we exist to give God honor by doing two things--carrying the Great Command and carrying out the Great Commission. If that is too difficult of a concept for you to grasp, let me push the easy button this morning. Love God and love man. It is just basically that simple.

As a people we are called to love God and to love man. And there are some very practical ways in which we have been doing that and some very practical ways in which we intend to do that. And frankly that is what we are going to be talking about over the next several weeks. It is what we stand for, who we are, what drives us as a congregation and we are making no questions about it, we want you to buy into that because we want this to be the place where you can find your own personal mission of honoring God by loving him and loving his people. I want to turn to two texts in the book of Luke, and by the way, over the next several weeks we are going to be looking at the book of Luke. I would encourage to be thinking about that. We are going to start with just a piece of Luke, chapter 10, verse 25-29. We are not going to spend time going through the rest of that particular paragraph and parable. I acknowledge that we are just taking the lead into it but it will help us get a handle on this idea of the Great Command.

Luke 10:25, On one occasion an expert in the Law stood up to test Jesus. Teacher, he asked, what must I do to inherit eternal life? What is written in the Law? How do you read it? He answered, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, 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. Now you know what happens, he wants to know if I am going to have to love my neighbor as myself who in the world is my neighbor and Jesus is going to explain that pretty carefully. The fundamental statement that he is trying to make in that text is abundantly clear. If you want to fulfill that which God has called us to do you have got to do two things, love God and love man. It is just that simple. The Great Command. To carry out our love for God in very practical ways in our relationship with humanity.

Then come to the end of the book of Luke where Jesus is giving his final statements, Luke 24. We come to the end of this first volume that Luke has written. We would pick it up in Acts 1, of course, if we wanted to read volume 2 and we would see that this very discussion that ends the Gospel of Luke begins the book of Acts. The final words that Jesus uses here in Luke 24:44. This is what I told you while I was still with you. Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me and allowed Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. And then he opened their minds so that they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, This is what is written, the Christ will suffer and rise from the day on the third day. Repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my father has promised but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. Here is the promise. The promise is you are going to be my witness.

That hope is built on the fact that God is going to send the Holy Spirit to live within us and enable us to be that witness, and as a response to what happens in Acts 1 when they do exactly what he says, when they obey him. They go into the city of Jerusalem, they gather and they wait until the Holy Spirit comes. They immediately begin the process of doing exactly what this text says. They preach that repentance beings in Jesus, the salvation is found there. And what Luke reminds us is that we are to do two things. We are to love God by being obedient to him and we are to love humanity by sharing our faith and the hope that we have in Christ within. These two texts pull together for us what we exist for at Madison Park Christian Church, to honor God by doing these two simple things. Carry out the Great Commandólove God and love man, and carry out the Great Commissionóobey God and share with man. It is just really that simple. So, if we could push the easy button and we could find out how to do that, make it as clear as possible, I would suggest to you that we have some pretty good evidence of things that we have already done around here that might begin the process of demonstrating what it is that we could do to really show people that we believe that the Great Command applies to us today, to love God.

Now I realize that I have kind of pulled all the pieces together and I have shoved them into one rather simple sort of thing because there are so many different ways that we might demonstrate the love of God. I chose to simply use the concept of corporate worship as one of a lot of ways that we demonstrate that we really do love God. That is, we chose to worship him. We chose to worship him with everything that we are, with our hearts, and our minds, our strength.

I watched just a little of the game, you know, The Game. The Game. QND/QHS. You guys are all crazy. Fanaticism at its best. I cannot wait for second service to see how many of the high school kids that I saw in the crowd last night on the television are sitting up here so I can pick on them. But, I saw some of you out there. Youíre fanatic. I donít know which team you were even rooting for but you were not quiet and you were letting your bias be shown even though you were rooting right in the presence of people who thought differently than you do. You did not hold it back, you were not quiet about it, you just kind of let it all hang out there because you were sold out to one of those teams. You know what my question is. How could a believer ever let excitement over a game _____ their excitement over Christ, or over their church? Or over the mission that God has given them in the world? Now I am not opposed to you going and being fanatical over basketball games. I am perfectly sane with that, as long as you are equally fanatical about you relationship with Christ and your love for God.

Now, I do not know how to measure that. I put some things down on a piece of paper to try to help me measure that. Nearly 800 people met here every Sunday last year to honor God. They chose, many of them 52 weeks in a row, to get up on Sunday morning regardless of the way they felt, regardless of the weather, regardless of their schedule, and they gave themselves to corporate worship because they love God. And I want to be careful how I say this because I donít want anyone to feel bad. You know, preachers are never supposed to make anybody feel bad. But when I read my Bible and I read about loving God with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, all my strength I sometimes end up landing on that all my strength thing and realizing that you know some of us have less strength than others. I have decided that I frankly do not like the aging process. It is just harder than it used to be. What I am learning is that if there are things I want to do I have to try to ration my energies. And when we have the energy to do everything we want on Saturday but we do not have the energy to worship God on Sunday we are not loving God with all our strength. Unless what we did on Saturday . . . was worship. See, God deserves all of who we are and some of you do that.

By the way, we worship in very practical ways around here. I just acknowledge and stand in awe of the generosity of this congregation that has decided to worship God with everything within them. Nearly $950,000 was given to see us carry out our ministry last year. That is a lot of money. God has blessed us and we have turned around and in worship fashion given that back so that the church could carry out its mission, and it has in various ways, which I want you to think about today. Another $126,000 given to help pay off our facility so that we have a place out of which to do ministry. I do not even know how much more came in for things that were special offerings and various kinds of things. I do know that people whose hearts are given over to God--1,300 of them--came here on Easter in order to worship the resurrected Christ. They chose at least on that day to say I am going to love God today in a very tangible way. Another 920 came on Christmas Eve, just to gather around this place and to acknowledge the birth of Jesus because they felt like that was significant and important. Between the Christmas program and the Christmas Eve service nearly $7,000 was generated for either local agencies or for two of our mission families.

Those are just simple and frankly somewhat insignificant ways in which we try to say to the world around us and to one another we have chosen to love God, to try to put him first, to try to acknowledge him in all that we say and do. And we have tried hard. We have tried hard to love man, to show compassionate ministry to the world around us.

You know it is so easy, you know this is easy. You donít even have to push an easy button to figure this one out. It is a lot easier to be a Christian and just sit in this building on Sunday than it is to actually generate compassionate ministry for the world around us. And yet what we saw demonstrated was 150 or 170 or whatever it was people last spring leaving this building on a Wednesday night to go out and minister to people in their homes, cleaning houses, raking leaves and fixing gutters. This fall we saw another 175 people deliver 175 bags of groceries and provide an additional $2,300 so that people would have food. We saw literally van loads of food delivered to the Salvation Army when their pantry was empty. We saw additional van loads, literally van loads, of toys taken for Toys for Tots. We saw, well some of us saw, and those of you who saw the slides, saw duffel bags full of stuff going to Haiti with our Haiti team and those duffel bags are being refilled right now with socks and pencils to go on to Haiti again, because this people believes that we need to minister to people in ways that are really significant.

As you know, and if you donít know you are about to find out, that the Addicts Victorious mission that the Cornerstone class of our church has taken on as one of their projects has been allowed to put 11 different people through their program this year because of the generosity of Madison Park Christian Church. Eleven people given and opportunity to get over their additions because you people felt like compassionate ministry was in order and that story could go on in its depth about how you have then enveloped those same people, put your arms around them and tried to help them survive after the program so that it is not a failure in their life.

The mission of Madison Park is to love God and to love man but not to do it with our words, but to do it with our lives, to do it with our actions. And as the men begin to gear up their ministry of going out and helping people there are going to be multiple opportunities for us to put hands on that very ministry, that very activity of showing people how we can demonstrate love for humanity in very real ways.

So we honor God by carrying out the Great Commandment. But we also honor him by carrying out the Great Commission of obeying God, waiting, trusting him, allowing his spirit to minister to us and then through us, waiting upon him to open doors of opportunity in ministry, being obedient to him of any point that we can and then beginning the process of sharing Christ with other people. Iíll have some other things just simply to add to my list this next week, butjust some of the things that have happened in this last year:

Fifty-nine people through the ministry of this congregation have given their hearts to Christ and been immersed into Jesus to identify with him in his death and resurrection this last year, fifty-nine.

An additional 40 people have identified with this congregation as already immersed believers and said we think that this is a place where we can learn and grow and help to carry out ministry.

Ninety-nine people have made a decision in some way this last year that they have heard about Christ and they now want to share Christ with other people.

In addition to what has gone on here locally, just in sharing the Gospel with people locally, we spend approximately $170,000 on world evangelism this last year. Sending people to Taiwan, China, North Korea, to Africa, to share the Gospel of Jesus because we believe that the Great Commission is our mandate, we donít have a choice but to help people come to know Jesus. That is the only reason we have for living. It is the only reason we really exist is to honor God in such a way that people will come to faith in Christ, otherwise there is no reason to be here.

So for 14 years two of our ladies have run an aerobics ministry that has very little to do with fitness and a great deal to do with missions and has had an opportunity to send $30,000 to the mission field because you chose to exercise, but they have also for the last several years been able to witness to 25 athletes every year as they get the John Wood teams into condition. It is those kinds of events, those kinds of special offerings, those kinds of trips that our family take, those kinds of ministries that we perform to demonstrate that we at some level have at least bought into the fact that that is why we are here.

And on days when you wonder why you canít have church the way you like church, or if it just does not seem to be what you think is the way we ought to do things ask yourself this. Was it helpful in reaching somebody for Christ because that it what drives our choices. We are driven by the power of the Gospel to change people. And our leadership is committed to doing whatever it takes to make the Gospel relevant to this generation. So here is the question and it is a simple question. Are you sold out to that mission? Are you sold out to what we stand for? Now if you are a believer in Christ, if you are a member or a regular attender of MPCC we make absolutely no apology for expecting you to have already bought into that mission. That is why you choose to be here. If you only come here because you like the way we do things but youíre not sure that we are doing what we ought to do, youíre in the wrong place. We are not here, I apologize for this, we are not here to make you feel better or to give you a comfortable place to go on Sunday morning. If that happens that is a wonder byproduct that you feel better when you come out of here. We hope that that does happen but we are not driven by that. We are driven to be a congregation that wants other people to have the same privilege you have and that is knowing Christ and having your sins forgiven they want their sins forgiven as well. If you havenít bought into that then we need to talk. If you have bought into it then we are not going to apologize for asking you to be committed to that and to be consistent in that and to make the church and its mission and your relationship with Jesus your absolute highest priority. To govern every decision you make in your life by whether or not youíre going to have the energy and the resources to honor God and without apologies we will ask you to share that in corporate worship, to be here and to bring someone with you and to meet somebody that you havenít met, and to turn around and share the gift of hospitality and to be a generous person because that is what it means to love God and to love man when you have bought into what the Bible is about, what the Commission is about. We are asking you to be involved, to generate ministry out of your own lives.

If youíre not a regular part of who we are, well you could have been here for months and months and months, but you are still not certain that this is the place for you or even that Jesus is for you we want to encourage you to stay at it, to keep asking the hard questions, to keep looking at the possibilities, to ask yourself if God had something in mind specifically for you. But to do more than to just sit in a service, to investigate, to get into the opportunity to learn from someone, to take the peace treaty program and to walk through that and to learn what it means to be a believer in a covenant relationship with Christ.

We are asking you to take one more step down the road besides just I am doing something. For those of you who come here and you havenít got a clue what is going on, youíre just totally uncertain, I am just going to ask you, if necessary plead with you, to just stay with it and give God a chance. It may not make any sense today but I guarantee you if you hang around Christ long enough he will begin to come alive to you. So just stay with it and keep asking those important questions. I am asking you, just simply asking you, if you will join yourself to that mission. January 7, 2007 will you put a mark in the sand that says this year I will commit myself to the mission of Christ, which we believe is the mission of the church, to honor God, to--at every turn--honor him, to honor him by carrying out the Great Command, which means to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and to turn around and wherever there is an opportunity to love your neighbor at whatever cost it is to you so that that person has an opportunity to understand something about Jesus. To join yourself in our plans to leave the building and to get outside of our walls, to take the Gospel outside of ourselves in compassionate ministry and in evangelism, to let the world know that Christ is in fact the only answer.

You know it really is easy to complicate things. In fact, my observation is it is a great deal easier to make it harder than it is to make it more simple. And sometimes we are guilty of that. In all honesty, sometimes those of us who preach and teach, some of the times when we try to explain the Gospel of Jesus we end up making it harder than it really is. And if it is too much for you to remember that we exist to honor God by way of carrying out the Great Commandment and the Great Commission then let me make it easy. We will just hit the easy button this morning. Love God and love man. You do that and God will be honored. And quite honestly sometimes we make becoming a Christian so incredibly difficult. It isnít. Do you believe in Jesus? Are you willing to put your confidence in him? Have you looked at your life and recognized that there are some things in your life that are really not supposed to be there and you are willing to repent of that and to turn your back, to change your heart and mind and walk away from things that you ought not do? Are you willing to simply make a public statement of faith, that you believe in Jesus, that you really do believe that he is really rightfully the Lord of you life? Are you willing to identify with him. You know he died for you. Are you willing to die with him? He was buried for you. Are you willing to be buried with him? He was raised to walk a new life. Are you willing to be raised to walk in that same life? It is that simple. The Gospel is such a simple story. Believe in Jesus, repent of your sins, confess your faith, be immersed into Christ so that you can identify with him and you walk in a whole new way. Our goal is not to make the Gospel or the Christian life easy. It is to make it simple to figure out. We are calling you to a real simple decision today to just commit yourself to live like a person who believes in Jesus, which means to love God and to love man.

[Transcribed by CF10]