Starting With Me // Loving “The Least”
[ECC Lead Pastor Scott Moore, Covington Campus]
Who are the “least of these”?
- Slaves (80% are women, $32 billion business)
- Those trapped in the Sex trafficking industry
- Those suffering from HIV/AIDS
- Prisoners (356 inmates incarcerated in Newton County alone)
Why don't we do anything for the least of these?
- It makes us uncomfortable. (Hearing these stats: the room has gotten uncomfortable, which is hard in a country that idolizes and deifies comfort.)
- It seems overwhelming. (How can 1000 churchgoers really make a difference. Even more, how can I, one person, do anything to even make a dent in these issues.)
- I don't want to set myself up for heartbreak. (It's easier to turn the channel than to watch the commercials for helping the poor. It's easier to walk by the homeless man, not making eye contact, than to stop and hear his story.)
However, each believer is destined to change the world through Jesus Christ.
Jesus cares about those who are down and out..
“But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ (Matthew 25:31-36 NLT)
“When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. It is the same with your grape crop—do not strip every last bunch of grapes from the vines, and do not pick up the grapes that fall to the ground. Leave them for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the L ord your God. (Leviticus 19:9, 10 NLT)
Many of you are fasting right now, so this verse applies greatly right now:
“No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help. (Isaiah 58:6, 7 NLT)
And when I help those who are down and out I am really helping Jesus..
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ (Matthew 25:37-40 NLT)
If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord — and he will repay you! (Proverbs 19:17 NLT)
So, I should care for those who are down and out..
“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’ “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’ “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’ “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:41-46 NLT)
“Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked. The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.” (Luke 10:36, 37 NLT)
“The sermon ends when we stop living the sermon.”
Let's don't let this sermon end.
..fill us up, Lord..and send us out..