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Dirt, sacrifice and following Jesus 

Baptists were challenged to get their hands ‘as dirty as Jesus’ during the Saturday evening session at the Assembly


Dr Jack Sara, an evangelical church pastor and President of Bethlehem Bible College delievered the address, taking Ephesians 3: 17-18 as his text.

He said it was an honour for him to witness the sending of people into the mission field as had happened earlier in the evening. By doing so, we are fulfilling Jesus’ great commission.Jack Sara300

But he challenged people to go deeper still, because the love of Christ compels us. Jesus came not for the righteous, but 'to save the lost'.

One of the first things we need to do to go deeper is to pray, he continued. ‘The world has become more and more difficult, and we need the strength of God to go out there.’ Prayer revives us both inwardly and outwardly. He revealed that the one prayer he always prays as a pastor is not that his church be full of people, but be 'filled with God'.
 
We need to follow the example of Jesus in other ways, Jack continued, referring to the story in Mark 8 where Jesus healed a deaf and blind man. He didn’t just heal him, he put spat on the man's eyes and put hands on him. ‘The reason I’m telling you this is that Jesus was willing to go up into the dirt of human nature.’

He said that we live in a world where the church is removed from the dirt around us. If we want to help the drop outs, free those with drug addictions, ‘we need to get our hands dirty.’

He then asked:  ‘How open is your church to the people who need us? How willing are you to do what Jesus did? People need our fingers stuck in them so their eyes can be opened.’

He shared how his church had started a ministry in the West Bank during a period of 75 per cent unemployment.  It was a ministry involving taking food parcels to the houses of people who were not Christians. ‘But over the years we have seen their eyes and ears opened, so they can hear and come under his lordship.’

This was about going wider. He posed the question: ‘How can we win Western Europe back for Christ? It’s hard to convince people in a materialistic world and who are goal driven that they are sinners in need of Christ.

Doing this work is not without sacrifice, Jack continued, which is why we have to go higher. If we want people to come to know Christ, there will be sacrifice.

For God is calling each one of us to be missionaries, he contended; he is calling his church back more deeply. In closing the session, Jack invited people forward  for prayer. ‘If you have a heart for the lost, are willing to say Lord, here I am, but don’t know how, please come forward.’
 
 
 
 

Baptist Times, 11/05/2014

 
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