A 2-Way Bridge: The Bridge IN
Introduction • Today is the final message in this series we are calling Bridges We are called to build bridges. The bridges we build must be STRONG ENOUGH to support GOING OUT and COMING IN. • Bridges are important for all of us... think about the number of vehicles a day that pass over a bridge like the San Francisco Bridge each day ◦ This is why there are stringent regulations that cover bridge design and engineering ◦ This is also why there are mandatory inspection requirements both by the owner of the bridge and by outside agencies... • The same goes for bridges... the relationships... that we build... they must be strong so they don’t break down under the 2-way traffic... our going out and their coming in ◦ 1. Is this bridge that we built even being traveled by anyone any longer? ◦ 2. Is this bridge strong enough to carry the traffic being traveled? FOCUS VERSE Luke 14:23 Then the master told his servant, "Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full." NIV • This focus verse is the last verse in the passage that we have been in for this series Luke 14:15-24 15When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” 16Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18“But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ 19“Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ 20“Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ 21“The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ 22“‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ 23“Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.’” NIV • If there is one thing that stands out throughout this passage of scripture it is this: We have been given a message to communicate to others We must be PREPARED for those who ACCEPT it and travel across to COME IN. • When it really comes down to it all, here is the question we must ask ourselves as individuals and as a congregation: Are we prepared for those who accept the invitation and come in? ◦ But we need to be ready and there are some reasons to be ready... that we can observe right here in the passage 1. The invitation given was URGENT. • The invitation was given by the Master with a sense of urgency... v. 21 “Go out quickly...” • When an invitation is given with urgency and it is acted upon, the train car fills up real fast and our comfort level is going to go down quickly... that is why we need to be ready! ◦ Q: How ready are we? How ready are you? 2. The invitation was given to EVERYONE which included those that “DIDN’T BELONG” or “KNOW how to ACT.” • It is important to note who the invitation was given to: Everyone! In vs. 21 it says “the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame” ◦ Those are people that “good upstanding religious people” would not have wanted around ◦ Recall that Jesus is in the home of a “prominent Pharisee” (v. 1) when he tells this parable • Here’s the question we need to ask ourselves: are we ready to receive anyone and everyone? 3. The banquet had been PREPARED BEFORE the invitation had been GIVEN. • This is the key to being ready ◦ Notice in this parable that the banquet had been prepared... everything was ready and the only thing that was missing was those who had been invited ◦ The invitation was given after the banquet was prepared • That says something about the God we serve! Christian love enables me to have a heart wide enough to take in those I meet without seeing any differences. I’m aware of differences of tradition, background, race, all of that, but I don’t feel any different because love is the motivating factor that causes me to reach my hand in fellowship. All I want to know is: Is your heart open enough to receive me? Mine is open enough to receive you. Whether the person is Christian or not does not determine how I relate to them. They are human. ~ Dr. James Earl Massey In today’s post-modern culture, we must live and operate as CROSS CULTURAL MISSIONARIES. Our task is to build A bridge that leads to THE bridge: JESUS CHRIST. • The world has changed... our culture has shifted... what we used to know won’t work anymore ◦ Cross cultural missionaries are those who leave the culture they know to minister to those in a culture that is different ◦ In a sense, that is exactly how we will need to operate with those which means we need to be ready to communicate with people who don’t know our “culture” • If we don’t learn to do this well, the bridges we build will be weak and we will never point them to THE bridge: JESUS CHRIST The mandate of the Gospel requires us to keep the bridge open! Closing • We are called to build bridges... strong bridges that allow for 2-way traffic • I love visiting these old iron bridges from yesteryear ◦ These iron bridges are held together by rivets... • As we focus on building bridges here in 2020 we are going to have what we call “Prayer Rivets” ◦ These are simply some things we can focus our praying on to build strong bridges ◦ AVAILABILITY. Pray that our hearts will be available to do whatever bridge building task God calls us to accomplish • The only ability that is needed for us to build strong bridges is our availability ◦ Are you available?