11-1-15 YOU ARE IMPORTANT

YOU are important to God!

November 1, 2015

                   We all have times in our lives when we feel insignificant, like we don't matter, and nothing we do has any meaning.  It hurts to feel forgotten, overlooked, and unimportant.  But my message to you today is that you are none of these!  You are never forgotten, overlooked, or unimportant to God.  Quite the opposite!  You are very significant, you matter deeply to Him, and everything you do has meaning.  Now let me use Scripture to prove this to you!

          First of all, God loved you so much that He left His home in heaven to not only come down to earth, but to come down to earth born as a tiny human baby.  Not as the Omnipotent Creator of the Universe that He is, but as one of us in the lowliest form possible.  And he was born in a stable among barnyard animals - not in a royal palace.  In Philippians chapter 2 (6-8) we read that  "Christ Jesus, who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross!"  Yes, born in a stable, having come into this world for one purpose, and that is for YOU.  Not just for the 'good' people or the 'important' people.  Paul, who had literally murdered Christians, told Timothy "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - of whom I am the worst." (1 Timothy 1:15)  Now, I highly doubt that any of you ever murdered anyone.  But even if you had, Jesus would have come to this earth, to live and die and rise again, just for you, even if you were the only human ever born, or the only human that would ever put your faith in Him for their salvation.

          Randy posted something on our church's facebook page a couple of weeks ago, that mentions the apostle Paul, as well as some other unlikely candidates that were called by God.   I think it is really appropriate for today's message:

          https://scontent.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpt1/v/t1.0-9/12109017_1193060590720433_7346979644656469974_n.jpg?oh=55d14caab604980db3519ff6c1e4c149&oe=56931DD0 

          And while Jesus was here on earth, who did He associate with, and who did He call to serve Him?  The disciples were a mixed group - a doctor, fishermen, even a tax collector.  Some educated, some not.   Their societal rank did not matter to the Lord.  He looked at their hearts.  Most of the prestigious religious leaders received nothing more than his disdain, and he even went so far as to call them children of the devil.  And they in return asked Jesus' disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"  (Matthew 9:11)   Yes, Jesus did take time to reveal Himself to people society normally rejected.  Like in John 4, where He spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well, and taught her about living water, and revealed to her that He was the promised Messiah.  A woman who had had 5 husbands and was currently living with a man that was not her husband.  In verse 27, the Bible says Jesus' disciples were puzzled as to why He would talk to her.  I mean, after all, she was a woman, and worse yet, a woman from Samaria.  But she mattered to Jesus, who reveals Himself and shows love to those whom the world has scorned, and turned away from.

          In Luke chapter 18 (vs 15-17) we read, "One day some parents brought their little children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But when the disciples saw this, they scolded the parents for bothering him.  Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn't receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it."  Yes, children also matter to our Lord.  They are not a bother to Him at all.  He loves them just as deeply as He loves adults, even telling the adults they should be like them.  Having a simple faith in God, such as a child would have, is very precious in the sight of our Lord.  Trusting Him with the big things, as well as the little things.  Loving Him as a child would love a Father who adores them and would give His life for them.

          And what about the other end of the spectrum?  Those who are sick, or elderly, or disabled?  Perhaps our Lord loved them the most of all.  Because in the Bible you find countless examples of Jesus healing the sick, even when He was tired or overburdened by the demands placed on Him, such as in Matthew 14 (vs 13-14), where we read what happened right after the disciples told Jesus that Herod had John the Baptist beheaded: "When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick."  Jesus was distressed over the death of someone He was close to and loved dearly.  He just wanted to be alone to pray and to mourn the tragedy of John's untimely death.  But He still had compassion on the crowd that followed after Him and healed their sick.  And not a few special ones, but all that followed Him and were sick. 

          And then in John chapter 5 (vs 2-9) we read the following account:  "Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes. In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, [waiting for the moving of the waters; for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted.] A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, 'Do you wish to get well?' The sick man answered Him, 'Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.' Jesus said to him, 'Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.' Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk."  Jesus cares about your troubles, your illnesses, your infirmities.  He has not forgotten you.  No one else helped that poor man into the water.  He laid there for 38 years waiting for another human to have compassion and help him get into the water first.  No one did.  Everyone else was more concerned with getting themselves healed.  But Jesus cared.  He had compassion on this poor man, and He healed Him, without the water of the pool.  He performed a miracle for someone that society had no use for. 

          So the next time you feel alone, or that no one cares about you, think about today's message.  Remember that Jesus loves you more than anyone else ever could.  That He cares about you every minute of every day.  And He wants you to fully realize that.  And if you still don't, pray to Him about it.  Tell Him how you feel.  Be honest.  He knows what is in your heart.  He understands loneliness, betrayal, even hatred.  He has felt it Himself.  You have a friend in Jesus.  A best friend.  A forever friend.  Amen.