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Responsibility to the Poor

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The church of the Nazarene was founded on service to the poor. They believed that Christians who have been sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ should do as Christ did and preach the gospel to the poor. They felt that so strongly about this that the bulk of their time, money and energy was devoted to the salvation of souls and the relief of the needy in their community.
Jesus Said, “We will always have the poor, you won’t always have me.” What does this mean? Christ isn’t saying that helping the poor and the needy isn’t important for the body of Christ, but is saying now is the time to give him your all. Jesus makes this statement in light of Judas comment to Mary’s response. As long as we have the poor, the church will have a responsibility to the poor. We must be the church. We must preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in our actions and with our words. People see what we do before they hear what we say.
Today’s text is a tale of two reactions. On one hand you have Judas who was pretending to care for the poor, when he actually just wanted a bigger pool of money to steal from. On the other we have Mary, who has perhaps given up the most expensive possesion she owned and took up the position of a servant and poured herself out at the feet of Christ.
Which one best defines you? Are you more like Judas looking out for your own self interests while pretending to care about others, or are you more like Mary who has taken this moment to give her all to Christ? As the body of Christ we are the church, we will always have a responsibility to the poor. Scripture also tells us that now is the time for salvation. There will be a day that every knee bows and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord. If you’re here this morning and have not made that confession I pray that the Holy Spirit speaks to you and that today is your day of salvation.

The Context

-Raising of Lazarus
*Mary’s Response to Christ late arrival ()
falls at Christ feet and says, If you had been here my brother would not have died.
Lazarus lives
Lazarus reclining at the table 6 days before the passover
-evidence of the impossible being made possible there for all to see and share a conversation with.

Mary’s Response

-Her brother who was dead and gone for 4 days now lives and is sitting at the table.
-As a result of what Christ did for her she gave sacrificially. She poured out her life savings at Jesus feet. (John 12:1-3)

Judas’ Response

-Thinking only about himself
-doesn’t really care for the poor
-Judas displays just how poor he is with his statement (John 12:4-5)
Responsibility to the Poor
-Poor goes beyond economic stability
-You will always have the poor
Holiness unto the Lord
John 16:16–33 NRSV
“A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me.” Then some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying to us, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” They said, “What does he mean by this ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Are you discussing among yourselves what I meant when I said, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’? Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy. When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world. So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. On that day you will ask nothing of me. Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete. “I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but will tell you plainly of the Father. On that day you will ask in my name. I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and am going to the Father.” His disciples said, “Yes, now you are speaking plainly, not in any figure of speech! Now we know that you know all things, and do not need to have anyone question you; by this we believe that you came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!”
John 16:16-33
We the church of the Nazarene will always have a responsibility to the poor in our community. It is through ministering the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ through our actions and with our words that lives, homes and communities can and will be transformed. Judas though he carried the purse and had money was poor because he lacked one thing. That one thing is love. His words in this passage display a man who is consumed with himself, because he lacks love he is bankrupt and truly poor.
Mary on the other hand has given her all to Christ. She has given sacrificially. She recognized that now is the time. Now is the time to allow God to transform your life. To pour out you life at his feet and embrace life in him. A life called unto holiness. Through the sacrificial love of Christ on the cross he has once and for all time made perfect those who are being made holy. Are you being made holy? Today, now is the time. Listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit nudging you, calling you by name. Do not delay.
As Christ said to his disciples in In a little while you won’t see me anymore. But a little while after and you will see me again. Christ is speaking about his death and resurrection where their sorrows will be turned to joy. We like the disciples are eagerly awaiting the return of Christ. The day that every knee bows and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Until that day comes we will always have a responsibility to the poor.
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