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Fig Leaves and Other Christian Coverings (1 of 4)

Mike Connell

Page 4 of 8
Now if you have a look at those people, automatically in our heart we say: well I wouldn't be those people; I'm not like that. You know this is the kinds of things they did, let's tick them off: one, they knew the Bible and read the Bible, okay. Number two, they went to church regularly. They were actually really committed people, probably more committed than some here today; and third, they fasted - yhey fasted every week - more fasting than some people here do; so they were pretty good people weren't they aye? And what else did they do? Well they tithed. They tithed of everything, very diligent about their tithing, probably more diligent than some of us are, and so they did these things, and they actually had really good behaviour, so if you looked at them, well, they're all really well behaved church-going people, see?

Now here's the problem. Their spirituality didn't go into the heart, and didn't change the way they lived their life. In other words, they had their experiences, and their programs, and their things that they did on Sunday and through the week; but it never overflowed to what God intended. You've got to understand that when God created us, He had an intention. The first intention is that we be an ambassador, a child of God, one of His representatives, His family to represent Him in the earth. The second is, that out of that position, or relationship of friendship, sonship with God, we would then bring His life into the earth, and change the environment. Now what He's showing here is, here's some people who are caught up in church world, but there is no overflow to any person who's in need, no overflow! They are preoccupied and busy with church, and there is no overflow from their life to a genuine person in need, and this is what Jesus is really looking at.

Now what they did was their focus was spiritual matters; oh I need to pray; need to go to church, got a meeting to take; got a lot of things to do. They were absorbed in their own world, their religious world, their world of spiritual things, their world of church activities. Now it's great to be involved in church activities. I'm all in for building the house of God, but Jesus is trying to point something that's missing. He's not saying any of those things were wrong; the problem is, they didn't actually understand what the heart of God was. Notice, that in all of their spirituality, they avoided people in need. Notice both of them saw him, and one actually crossed the other side of the road, to avoid him. Now the last couple of weeks of course, we've been having a simple exercise just getting people to be friendly. What I've been watching is to see who avoids who. Come on - to see if people are actually avoiding talking to people; and if we are, we need to realise we're missing something.

We've come to church. We're all in the right environment, but something is missing at the core of understanding of the heart of God, and that reflects a change we need to address in our lives. Now you see on a Sunday, there'll be people come who are part of the family of God; you're regular here, you come in and you enjoy what God is doing. There's others who come, and they're visitors, they're enquiring, they're new people. My concern firstly, is for every new person, the stranger in our midst; and then I look and I see: is this in your heart to stretch across to them; and smile and say: hello, it's great to see you. Now we actually do extremely well as a church. I reports continually of how friendly we are, but when I look around I see there are numbers of people, who for whatever reason, you've chosen are not stepping up to engage people. This is the lesson Jesus is talking about. People are in need.