Sunday, August 11, 2019

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Simple and Direct

Earlier this week, I was talking about business models that used simple and direct methods to reach their customers. It did not matter what goods or services they provided. The real “game changer” was that the methods for reaching their customers was simple and direct. The characteristics of a “game changer” are that it was disruptive and that it significantly changes the manner of doing something.

If you look at large companies that made a mark in their industry, you will see that they embraced and used a significantly new manner of getting goods and services into the hands of their customers. As you look at companies like Ford, General Motors, IBM, Dell, Apple, Amazon and others, you will see companies that changed and are still changing the way we do business with them now and for years to come.

Look at Amazon for example. A small company started selling books online from a small garage. In a few years, Amazon has changed the way we shop. eBay started out as a small website that allowed individuals to sell things to each other like a 24/7 garage sale. In just a few years, it gave individuals the ability to sell their products to the world. Facebook, Google and a host of others started with, what some would call “laughable ideas”, and were able to grow to the giants that we all know today.

If you look at Christianity and compare it to these examples, we can begin to see God’s “business plan” in action and how it started with a simple and direct message that was summed up in a small mission statement in a gospel written by John, the youngest apostle and the brother of James.

In that one verse, John crystallized God’s entire plan for humankind and His desire to provide man with the most amazing of all products, eternal life, for the simple fee of free. John writes in chapter 3 of the gospel named after him, “16 For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

John, inspired by God and taught by Jesus, wrote about this new model that would sweep the world and change the lives of billions. McDonald’s, the fast food giant, used to build locations with large signs that stated how many people had been served. After a while, the signage changed to “billions served”. It got to a point that McDonald’s could not even keep track of the number of meals served to people. Christianity could and does serve billions and saves the lives of billions each day. Every church, in-home worship meeting or small group could put up a sign that simply reads, “Billions and billions saved.”

When you study the rest of John’s message in chapter 3 of that gospel simply named after him, you see the simple, direct message that God has provided to all those who are weary and looking for rest. God’s message is not complicated or difficult to understand. It makes sense and appeals to all. No matter what your station in life is, that simple message is of God sending His son to live among us and die for us in order to give us eternal life, if we choose to accept it by believing in His son.

What a profound and amazingly simple concept, but there are those who find it difficult or impossible to grasp. Some will try to over-analyze it and explain it away as some sort of new fad that will, like the pet rock, fade into distant memory and soon be forgotten just as easy as it came to be.

I am here to tell that Christianity is not a passing fad and it did not easily come into existence. It took time for the idea to be shared and embraced by all who heard the message. Jesus tells us in Matthew 18, “3 I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. 4 So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Jesus tells us that we do not need to over-analyze or try to make things overly complicated. If we just come with an open mind and are humble like children, we will get the message and understand it. Once again, the message is delivered not only in simple, easy to understand words but also it does not require education to truly understand it. God’s plan makes sense from the start. His simple and direct message not only can reach a hardened heart of an adult but it also appeals to the young.

Let us look further into the Gospel of John. John writes about Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus, a very educated man and a Pharisee. He has been schooled for years on end in the religious teachings of the time. In short, he knows a few things. As Jesus is talking to him about the simple and direct message of salvation, Nicodemus gets stuck on a few concepts. He cannot wrap his mind around the concept of being “born again”. He asks Jesus about it and wonders how an adult can crawl back into a mother’s womb. Jesus tries to explain that a person to be born again cannot be born of flesh but of water and the spirit. Nicodemus just does not get it. Sometimes the simple and direct message just takes a little longer for some to understand. In many cases, the message sinks in and they get it, embrace it and live it.

Jesus, still further in chapter 3 of John, says, “18 There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. 19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. 20 All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. 21 But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.

When you look at this simple and direct message of God’s plan for salvation. It, like a well-written business plan, gives all those who hear or read it a very quick understanding of the purpose, desire and goal. God’s purpose is simple. He wants to give each of us the gift of eternal life and a path of salvation. The desire is equally simply. He loved us so much that He gave us His son as our “once and done” atonement sacrifice. The goal so that we can be righteous and do only those things that are right in His sight and bring Him glory. 

Like all simple and direct messages, we can share it with others. With the Internet, you can send someone a link to our website and ask that they read about the simple and direct message of God’s love and Jesus’ teachings and sacrifice. You can tell a total stranger about this message with few and simple words. You do not have to be a theologian or a religious leader to share this message. Just be sincere and tell them the message like a child would explain it.

As I taught Sunday School, I had the opportunity to listen to people try to explain God’s simple and direct message. Some would try to over-complicate the message and use words and concepts that really did not make sense. The best explanations of God’s message came from children. They spoke with unparalleled sincerity and used simple words. They gave from their heart just as God gave us the message from His heart.

We all have opportunities to give the message from our hearts. Remember the message is simple and direct. There is no gimmick or fine print. It is an offer that has no strings attached or that will expire. It does not have a cost or special handling fees. It is simply there for us to understand, embrace and live. Once you start living this simple and direct message, you will definitely want to share it with others. When you do that, you and all those who hear it and live it can stand firm in His grace.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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