Picture of Pastor Gettys

Sermon delivered June 5, 2004 by Pastor Donald J. Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version NIV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

Builders

I am not Jim Frost. You were expecting Jim Frost and he called this week and he said, I've got the flu. I just don't think I'm going to be able to preach. He notified me Thursday morning, so I thought, "Oo, I don't have any sermons to rely on. I've used them all up." So, I came up with a new one for today. It is called, "Builders." I think we should be builders because Jesus was a builder.

So, my first question to you would be: What is a goat? It's not a sheep. It's a goat. What is a Goat?

    A goat is
  1. a four-wheel-drive SUV version of a sheep,
  2. a sheep with hair instead of wool and it might even have a goatee,
  3. could be a lost person living in the last days.

Come over here to Matthew 25:32,33. When Jesus comes... He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. So, the Lord knows the difference between a sheep and a goat.

What is the criteria that Jesus uses to determine which is a sheep and which is a goat? If you keep reading this scripture you'll see that the sheep fed, they clothed, and they gave water to others. The sheep invited visitors over lunch. The sheep went out visiting at the hospital: the goats didn't. The sheep went to the jail and visited the prisoners: the goats stayed home and watched TV. In other words, Jesus' sheep are caring creatures. They are concerned about the welfare of other people.

Look at Matthew 25:40. "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'" So, when you go out here and help somebody in need, you're doing it to Jesus. You go over to your neighbor or over to the hospital, or over to that person that just got out of the hospital and you bring them a dis of food. You're doing it to Jesus.

All these are important but you are going to be judged by the acts of kindness you show to somebody else. That's the criteria in the great judgment day. By observing how we treat our needy fellow humans God can tell how much we are becoming like Jesus! How you treat your neighbors.

There might be more benefit in a cold glass of water than in a whole evangelistic series. I believe all 33 years of Jesus' life were devoted to hunting for chances to show kindness and love to other people. We need to do the same thing. Jesus was a builder of people. He was in the construction business. That was His business.

Now, many of us are builders, but not of other. We're trying to build ourselves by tearing somebody else down. We figure if we can throw enough mud at them, it'll make us look cleaner. We're not to do that. We criticize others, but the Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Therefore encourage one another and build each other up. That's what the Bible says. You are all in the construction business. You're not in the radio business, you're not the machine shop business, nor the janitor business, nor the nursing business. You are a builder to construct people, to help people to be more like Jesus. That's our business.

The Bible sanctions a compliment but never should we tear down someone to build up someone else. Not even our own family. Try not to criticize anybody.

There was a conductor one time that got on a train and he was taking everybody's tickets. Finally he got all their tickets. He got their attention and made an announced, "Everybody please prepare to get off at the next stop. You are all on the wrong train. The passengers looked at each other in amazement. They couldn't believe it. Finally it turned out that it was the conductor himself who had gotten on the wrong train! Be careful when you criticize somebody else, you could be the one that is wrong.

I think it is high time to stop hurting people and begin to build up our fellow human beings. Jesus was a builder. If you're ever going to be like Jesus you are going to have to be a builder of people, building up others. Kindness loves others, more than they deserve, even. You may say, "Well, my neighbor doesn't deserve love." Well, do you deserve the great love that God showers on you? He loves us better than we deserve. Too many of us behave like we're on a daily diet green persimmons. We go around tearing down and picking fault with others. I think we ought to light a candle instead of bad-mouthing the darkness. Forget the darkness; light a candle. That's what we ought to be doing. Let's be like Jesus. Jesus was the light of the world: not the great condemner of darkness. Do a little acts of Kindness. Touch someone's life and do something nice for them. Treat them like Jesus would treat them. Ellen White say this: "Jesus came to the world to be a reconstructor of character, building and transforming the characters of people by His diving power."1 He was in the remodeling business. He's helping to remodel us, to make us and fashion us into what He would have us to be. "The reward, the glories of heaven, bestowed upon the overcomers, will be proportionate to the degree in which they have represented the character of Christ to the world2.

Jesus built up the lives of people. His sheep will also be builders. Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up... We ought to be building others up.

What is your profession? Be a Builder! Build people. Everybody ought to be happier because you passed their way, you connected with their life, because you talked with them on the phone, for you happened by. As you look back over the trail of your life, have you made a difference for good in the lives of the people you contacted? Have you left in your wake a string of souls who were made better because you touched them? That's what Jesus did. Everybody he left in his wake had been healed or benefitted in some way. He tried to benefit them.

Galatians 5:13 says, ...serve one another in love. Zig Ziglar said: "He climbs highest who helps another up. The greatest work is not building up skyscrapers but building up people."

Psalm 10:12. Don't forget those who need help. That's our business. It's helping people.

John Wesley said:

That's our business.

Look at 1 Corinthians in your Bible. 1 Corinthians 10:24. I'm going to read this in the New Century Version. I think it brings out the true meaning. "Do not look out only for yourselves. Look out for the good of others also." Just don't seek your own good: look for the good of others. That's a great principle.

A hospital visitor noticed a volunteer nurse tending to the sores of a leprosy patient. The nurse was taking off the bandages and cleaning the wounds in the leprosy areas, and then bandaging them back up. And the visitor said, "I wouldn't do that for a million dollars!" The nurse answered, "Neither would I. But I do it for Jesus for nothing." True Christians are not in the demolition business. We are builders. I think we need to maybe show people more of Jesus in our lives. Maybe we need to talk less about ourselves and say more about Jesus. We need to whine less, and praise more. To hate less, and to love more.

A tired family had driven 600 miles. It was the end of the day, it was late. They arrived in Memphis, TN to get a motel. They came to the first motel by the exit off the freeway and asked, "Do you have a vacancy?" The manager, who was also the owner of the motel, said, "Well, we've been full since six thirty. Sorry." However instead of being curt, that friendly Christian man said, "Let me see if I can help you find a place. I know the town is pretty full tonight." So he started to phoning around and after the sixth phone call he found a motel with a vacancy for the family. He told them how to get there.

The weary family were so grateful. They stayed a moment longer to find out more about this kind man. The motel owner said, "I came up the hard way. I have been here twenty-two years. We are now filled practically every night. I could have gone home at 6:30, but I have stayed and have been able to assist thirty people in finding lodging in other motels. I enjoy staying around and doing someone else a favor." Now, that's a Christian! That's what we do. We go the second mile, the third mile. We stay by.

Philippians 2:4. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. That's what Jesus did. And we want to be like Jesus. Is that you goal in life? To be like Jesus? So, go the second mile.

Jesus "reached the hearts of the people by going among them as one who desired their good.... He met them at their daily vocations, and manifested an interest in their secular affairs... His strong personal sympathy helped to win hearts."2

Jesus lived to help other people. Ben Franklin said, "If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading or do things worth the writing!

Robert Schuller tells a story about a banker. Every day he would park and walk around the corner to his bank and there at the corner of the bank was a beggar. The beggar was sitting on his tarp. He didn't have any legs. Every day the banker would drop some money into the beggar's cup. And he would talk to that beggar every day. The beggar had pencils there. And the banker would say to him, "You know, I always insist on getting one of then pencils because you are a merchant. I always expect to receive good value from the merchants that I do business with." One day the legless beggar was not on the sidewalk. He was gone. And soon the banker forgot about the beggar. Weeks and months passed until one day he walked into a public building and there in that building in the concession-stand area, he saw the beggar. The beggar had a concession stand. He was selling all sorts of things. The banker walked up to him and said, "I know you." And the man said, "And I remember you. You are largely responsible for me being here. You kept telling me I was a merchant. You never looked down on me as a beggar. And I started thinking of myself as a merchant instead of a beggar. I started selling more and more pencils and finally I got this concession stand. You gave me self-respect. You caused me to look at myself differently. You built me up." And that's what Christians are all about because that's what Jesus was all about. He went around helping people.

Live to build others up. You can=t love someone without helping them and building them up. The strongest argument in favor of the gospel is a loving and lovable Christian. That's what we ought to be. Colossians 3:12 ... clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. That's what we are to be.

Let me ask you a question: Why did Jesus perform so many miracles? Was it to prove His divinity? No, because Satan can perform miracles. They were not done to show His power but to show His kindness. "The greatest significance of His miracles is seen in the fact that they were for the blessing of humanity."4 DA p. 407. They weren't done to help Jesus. Kindness was Jesus= objective: the miracle was just the method of showing it. Therefore, may I throw out a thought for you to ponder, and you may disagree with me, and that's just fine. Kindness is greater than miracles!

The highest evidence that Christ was Divine was in the display of God's kind Character. " Such a life is the greatest of all miracles."5

John the Baptist's disciples one day came by where Jesus was and said, "John wants us to ask you a question: "Are you really the Messiah?" How did Jesus answer that? Did He say, "Well, yes I am." No, He just said, "Look at what I'm doing. Follow me for a day and watch what I am doing. Watch how I love people and help people. And then go back and tell John." The highest evidence that He was God was the way that He helped people. Matthew 11:2-6.

My son, who works for Southwestern University was recruiting students all over the West, called me the other day and he said, "Dad, I'm here among the Sequoia trees. It's great! These trees are huge!" Well, they get to be about three hundred feet tall. The amazing thing about the sequoia trees is that they do not have a deep root system. Their roots don't go down any depth at all. They are very shallow. Three hundred feet tall up that way and hardly any roots going down. So, how do they stand when the wind blows, when storms come and bad times come? They don't blow down. The roots spread out and they intertwine with other roots of other sequoia trees and they're all bound together and they hold each other up. That's how it works. You seldom see one sequoia tree standing by itself because it will be blown down. They grow in clusters. Their intertwining roots provide support when the storms come.

We should be supported in difficult times by the network of Christian loved ones and friends. That's why we're in a church. That's why Jesus established the church. It's so that we can help each other. When you get home from the hospital, you've got somebody to help you. When you're sick, somebody visits you. Support is what Jesus looked for when He was in the garden of Gethsemane, and who did He look to for support? He wanted it from Peter, James, and John. What were Peter and James and John doing? They were sleeping. He looked to them for prayerful alertness, for compassion. I think that somehow, when He came to them and found them sleeping, it must have made the darkness He had to go through even more painful.

If Jesus looked to human support in His crisis hour, how much more do Christians need one another when they suffer! Let's be alert for opportunities to lend our support to others who are suffering.

Galatians 6:2 says, Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. We ought to be helping somebody else.

Xenophon tells that Cyrus captured an Armenian prince and princess. In captivity, the prince was asked by Cyrus what he would do for his freedom: "What would you do that I would set you free?" The prince said, "Well, as for my kingdom and my liberty, I value them not; but, if my blood would redeem my princess, I would cheerfully give it for her." Cyrus liberated them both. The princess later was asked, "What did you think of Cyrus ?" She replied, "I did not observe him. My whole attention was fixed upon the generous man who would have purchased my liberty with his life." He was an example of Jesus Christ. Jesus purchased our liberty with His life. John 15:13. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

A farmer was out plowing his field one spring morning. He wanted to get his land plowed right away. The spring thaw had just occurred and there were many muddy valleys in the field. When a tractor gets in a damp area, sometimes it goes down and he got stuck. He could not get it out. The harder he tried, the deeper he became stuck. Finally, he walked over to his neighbor's and asked, "Could you help me?" The neighbor came over and looked at the situation. He shook his head, and then said, "It doesn't look good, but I tell you what. I'll give it a try pulling you out. But if we don't get it out, I'll come sit in the mud with you!" Although we may not all be farmers, we do experience getting "stuck in the mud" from time to time. And chances are we probably know someone who is stuck right now. Have you tried "mud-sitting" with a friend? It may be the best thing you can do!

Jesus proved He was the Messiah by coming and sitting in the mud with us. His works of love and kindness in building up fallen humanity. That being true, then that same quality of showing kindness and love is proof that we are true Christians. Matthew 7:20. Thus, by their fruits you shall recognize them.

Jesus built furniture as a lad and built up people as a man. Jesus refused to let the banquet crowd criticize Mary and her perfume. Jesus uplifted Zacchaeus. Jesus welcomed little children that were scorned by others. Jesus treated the woman caught in adultery with kindness. Jesus treats you and me with grace. He was a builder. Can we also be builders?

1 John 3:14, 16. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death... This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. Be involved in helping others.

They did a study of 7000 people. The researchers discovered that if a person is an active member of a club or a church that is trying to help build up people, that that person will live longer than if he is not a non member. In fact he will have a death rate 3 times lower! They concluded that the more involved you are in building up people the longer you will live.6

James 1:27 says, Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. We are here to continue the work of Jesus. Let's build up our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. Let's help our neighbors. Let's show them the love of Christ. I will tell you that a church that is not reaching out is passing out. We need to be doing the work of Jesus Christ. When Jesus comes the sheep will be on the right and the goats on the left. I want to be one of those on the right. The sheep is somebody who is like Jesus, who continues the work of Jesus, who love with the love of Jesus, the builders, the ones who are showing kindness, the ones who are Jesus' people.

 Endnotes: 
1. Vol. 6, SDA Bible Commentary, p. 1104.0.
2. Ibid.
3. Ellen G. White, Desire of Ages, p. 151.
4.  Ibid. p. 407.
5.  Ibid. p. 406/8.
6.Study by Belloc, NB, Breslow L
Preventive Medicine, Social Contacts & Death Rates
1:409-421   1972   
2:67-81       1973
7:449-458   1978.

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Hymn of Praise: #10,  Come, Christian; Join to Sing
Scripture:  Luke 18:1-8
Hymn of Response: #485,  I Must Tell Jesus

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