I have a bucket list. a list of things that I want to accomplish or experience before I die. This list includs such things as:
visit every continent
Go sky diving
Get my pilots licence
Learn at least 5 languages
To be honest I haven't gotten to far on that list as yet, but I am working on it.
But why do we all seem to have these lists? why do we all have to feel like we’ve accomplished certain things before we die?
perhaps it’s because it’s an indication of a life well lived? We all want to live life to the fullest and fulfilling out bucket lists show us and shows others that we are living our lives out and achieving the things we want! after all, no one wants to go to the grave with regrets of things undone. No one wants to think that they may die not having done the things that they really wanted to.
Today we’re going to talk about the monster of inaction - that being the monstor of the things that we didn’t do. This monster is different that the other monsters we have studied so far and it’s why we’ve left it for last. The other monsters are monsters that urge us to act in ungodly ways. the monster Pride causes us to DO certain things. the monster of fear causes us to Do certain things. and the Monster of Lust certainly makes us Do certain things
But the Monster of Inactions is a different kinds of monster. and causes us to commit and entirely different kind of sin. That being sins of omission.
As most of you know there are 2 different classes of sins.
Sins of commission… that is Sins that you Commit or do on purpose. This is what you do when you specifically break a law like thou shalt not lie.
Sins of omission are those sins that you do by NOT doing something. This is when you sin by NOT doing something that you SHOULD have done.
Let me illustrate this with a simple story.
One day, a pizza delivery driver got fired, but couldn’t for the life of him understand why. “I didn’t speed. I never got a ticket. What did I do wrong?” he asked. The manager replied: “You never delivered any of the pizzas!”
See the point of the story is. yes, the pizza boy followed all of the rules.. but it is the one things that he DIDN’T do that got him into trouble. in the same way following God’s “rules” doesn’t replace our responsibility to DO the things He commands us to do, like love others.
The monster of Inaction has a simple and effective trap laid for us, and it is so easy to get trapped by it, because is doesn’t require us to do anything at all. and that probably why it is so successful at catching especially Christians. and don’t be fooled the monster of inaction has been catching Christians and followers of God for ages and ages past.
Let’s see what the Bible has to say about inaction… and for this we will look at the words of Jesus in Matt 25:31-46
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
So you’ll notice first that both groups of people were believers. the sheep who eventually went on into heaven and the “Righteous” (and you just know Jesus was referring to the religious sects. pharisees, Sadducees, etc)
But the thing with the righteous wasn’t that the didn’t follow the “rules” in fact they followed the “rules” well.... religiously...
But Jesus is telling us here that Getting it half right… doesn’t get you partially into heaven.
Jesus is telling us that those of us who are righteous will not get into heave, bot because we don’t follow the rules, but because we failed to DO the most important thing.
Remember the 2 most important laws.
You shall love the Lord with All your Heart , mind, and soul.
This law deals with the internal. the following of the rules. The “living a godly life”
This is the part that the pharisees were actualy good at… they knew the Law.. the Loved the Law and they fallowed the Law. such was their devotion to God.
But you notice that Jesus did not fault them on weather they followed the law or not. He faulted them on their following of the second Law
You Shall Love your Neighbor as yourself
So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
If you look at all the instances of this command you will see that it is not an either or thing. it is not. a take one or the other. If you are excellent at one and fail at the other. you have failed the test.
There are churches out there right now that are LAw abiding, religiousl institutions. the follow the Las that god sent out with ferver and zeal. but you’lll never find them at a soupline. or sorting clothing at the mustard see.
The are an equal number of churches out that that are exceptionally socailly concience. they are out of soupline and, they are to the Mustard Seed, or the dropp-in center. they have large funds to help those in need… but if you ask them about how closely they follow the precepts and laws of God.. you’ll find that they two fall short.
See Jesus is not trying to tell us that one is important and the other isn’t… but that they are both important. the second part puts ACTION to the first part.
but the monster of inaction aims to keep the christian from just this very action.
in Matthew 25. had been caught by the monster of inaction! and the passage in Matthew serves as a dire warning that half way isn’t far enough.
So the Question is:
Do you want to be a sheep or a goat?
now. I am going to have to assume that you all want to be sheep so If we all want to be sheep. than we are going to have to learn how to fight the monster of inaction.
and its rather simple to do.
The Just Do it sloagan was probably one of the most successfull sloagans and ad campaigns ever… even long after the commercials of stopped airing. most people still know it and know that it is associated with Nike.
The campaign was simple. do you want to get healhtier? Just do it! do you want to run a marithon? Just do it!… do you want a super expensive pair of shoes??? Just do it!… and people did… and do in droves!
but this simply nugat of truth applies to fighting the monster of inaction as it does, bying pair of shoes.
Action is obviously the counter to inaction. So any time to DO something about your faith you are fighting the monster of inaction… Look at how Jesus interacts with the two groups in our passage
TO group number one… the sheep He says:
Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
for I was hungry and you gave Me food; (action)
I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; (action)
I was a stranger and you took Me in; (action)
I was naked and you clothed Me; (action)
I was sick and you visited Me; (action)
I was in prison and you came to Me.’ (action)
The Sheep were people who ACTED out their faith. but look at the Goats… the righteous
Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:
for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; (inaction)
I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; (inaction)
I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, (inaction)
naked and you did not clothe Me,(inaction)
sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’(inaction!)
The goats where asking “HEY, why didn’t I get into heaven… what did I do
and Jesus’s reply was “nothing! you did nothing… and that was the problem”
You may remember some time ago I told you the story of the time I took a homeless man for coffee
The thing that set this apart from other instances is that intsead of walking the other way… I took ACTION
No I did not make atypo. I know you want to read “treat people like Jesus would”, but that’s not what we are to do. if we want to fight the monster of inaction we need to start treating people like Jesus.
What is the thesis of our passage… if we look in verse 40 its there
And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
You did it to me.... Jesus is saying to these people… he is saying to us. When you feed hungry you are feeding Jesus
When you give a drink to the thirsty, you are quenching the thirst of Jesus
When you take in a stranger, you are taking Jesus in
When you clothe the naked, you are clothing Jesus
When you visit the sick or those in prison, you are visiting Jesus
As I close. I want us to imagine.
What if Jesus walked into your church, in the middle of this sermon, all activity would stop.
Everyone’s plans, schedules, and appointments, non of it would matter at all
every one of us would drop everything. And if Jesus needed anything, anything at all, you can you imagine how quickly people would scramble to help Him.
There is not one need we would neglect. we would usher him to the best most comfortable seats.
We would run out to make sure that he has the finest coolest water to drink. we would take every fan from the church to make sure that he was absolutely comfortable.
If he needed a place to stay, we would make sure that a limo was brought to take him to the best hotel we could afford. we would spare no expense or effort.
Jesus tells us to help those who need Him in the way same we’d help Him if He were physically with us.
The fact of the matter is that in order to beat the monster of inaction. we need to start treating people like Jesus. for if we did that, when we saw need in the world we couldn’t help but to act!
The monster of inaction is an easy monster to get trapped by, because it requires us to do, absolutely nothing at all… and doing nothing is easy, when we stop doing and acting out our Christianity, we start being trapped by the monster of inaction.
But the monster of inaction is also easy to beat. a little bit of action is all it takes. If we remember that when we ignore a person in need we are ignoring Jesus, we will spur ourselves into action...
and action as I mentioned defeats inaction.