The Lens In Which You See People

city harvest sermon notes

The Lens In Which You See People

31 Jan 2015 Service – Dr A.R Bernard

What will be the signs of the end of the age? Matt 24
Kingdom… Political dominions
Nations… Efnas (gr)

More and more ppl are getting entrenched into ethnic identity. It means the world is in transition.
The Bible starts out as a garden but ends as a city.

When people live in rural areas, they are disconnected from the mainstream society. When people move to cities, they experience changes in their political views, lifestyle, society etc.

People of diverse cultures and races start to rise. These don’t just have an impact economically and socially.  All these have a direct impact on ministry, on the church.

We need to develop a different lens on how we see people, because ministry is people.

Whenever you read a parable, you have to understand what problem the parable was responding to.

33 “No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light. Lk 11:33 – He was responding to an encounter where the religious leaders were challenging him as the Messiah.

29 And while the crowds were thickly gathered together, He began to say, “This is an evil generation. It seeks a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. Lk 11:29

They were essentially looking for a sign. The problem is not the need for another sign or miracle. The problem is the lens through which you are looking, dirty by your own fears, prejudices, assumptions. No matter what Jesus did, or what your church or leadership does, you will come to your own same conclusions because your lens are dirty.

Sometimes you’re not genuinely debating with the person, but the lens of that person. 10 people can read the same Bible but come to 10 different conclusions.

When a person is untaught and unstable they can actually twist the word for their deceitful means. For example, the Bible was used to justify the oppression of africans to americas..

16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. 2 Pet 3:16

25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Lk 10:25  – He wanted to test Jesus, his motivation was wrong. Jesus asked him back, how do you read it? What lens do you see it through? Because Jesus knew it wasn’t about the law.

He did not have a problem with loving God because how do you qualify and quantify that? You can’t.. But you can qualify and quantify a person’s love for a neighbor!

This person was looking to justify himself and he wanted to pick his neighbor.
V29-34: 29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

We don’t choose! Whoever crosses our path and is in need, and we have the power to respond, he is our neighbour.

The center piece of the story is the wounded man. In the ministry of reconciliation, the center pieces are the wounded individuals.

How do you see them? What lens are you looking through?
To the expert of the law, the wounded man was a topic for discussion.
To the bandit, the wounded man was an object for exploitation.
To the priest, the wounded man was a problem to be avoided.
To the Samaritan, the wounded man was a social responsibility.

If your assumptions about people aren’t valid, then your responses to them aren’t valid either. In some way, everyone is wounded. Wounded somewhere, no matter how much they think they got it together. That something could potentially undermine everything that we are going to do. Step back and adjust your lens, don’t see people in a lens that are not fair to them, don’t respond to them unfairly. All because you refuse to adjust that lens.

Religious people – Rituals and practice.
They just go through the motion.
6 With what shall I come before the Lord,
And bow myself before the High God?
Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings,
With calves a year old?
7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
Ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:6-8
Ministry of Reconciliation has to be..
Philosophical.. Has to be right and sound in theory. Correct belief
Spiritual.. Praise and Worship. Worship elevates you into transcendence, it is when you view things from a different higher view.
Empathetic.. Consider feelings.
Contextual.. Consider factors that resulted in that persons situation
Experiential.. Move beyond philosophical.. Go and do something about the problem.