Someone is behind the door… someone who is broken…body, mind, spirit… Somewhere in your life is a person behind a door:
· a friend with a debilitating chronic illness
· a family member struggling with a mental illness…the world doesn’t make sense to them…confused and they are confusing.
· a neighbor with a devastating diagnosis…facing down a doomsday ahead
· an acquaintance fighting an emotional disease – unable to cope with daily life…paralyzed by anxiety or depression
· an aging family member alone, confused and locked away as the hour glass runs out.
· a co-worker waking up to an unimaginable fate and tragic loss.
Someone is behind a door in your life…you know they are there but you are hesitant to go in…What do I say? What do I do? It’s awkward…painful, they’re not the same person they used to be…I’m at a loss… you mean well but it just can’t get yourself to grab the knob, turn it and walk in…
There are a LOT of people behind a lot of doors who are broken…confused…and in a lot of pain…
We live in a world of broken bodies, minds and spirits. This is one of the 6 broken places of the world.
Series Review: Due to the rebellion of mankind…the ongoing sin and rejection of God’s will… this world has been in decay. Our sin has led to 6 Broken Places.
· Mankind separated from God; vast systems of injustice everywhere; hatred has bred racism, genocide and war; we are relationally isolated from one another; the planet itself is in decay…and today our bodies, minds and spirits are broken
Personally in this past year this topic has moved out of the realm of the theoretical into the world of everyday reality… Penny and I have faced down chronic physical pain and frustration.
In the last year…between the two of us we have seen or consulted with an Internist,Otolaryngologist,Rheumatologist,Allergist,Gastroenterologist,
Urologist, Radiologist, ER Doctor, Specialist in Pain Management, Physical Therapist, a Surgeon, and a Dentist.
We’ve had numerous XRays and blood tests, 2 CT scans, 2 MRIs, HIDA Scan, , Endoscopy, Cholecystectomy, 2 Dental implants, and a particularly torturous procedure called a Ambulatory 24 hour PH test with impedance.
…and we are not alone… let me show you the breadth of impact of this broken place…
Ø if you personally suffer from a chronic physical, mental, or emotional issue you deal with on an ongoing basis please stand along with me.
Ø if you have a close family member who suffers…etc.
Ø if you have a anyone near you – related or not – that you have some relationship with who suffers…etc.
It’s insidious; this broken place and it is all around us… broken bodies, minds and spirits …and it was never meant to be this way… This world was meant to be a good world
· As Tim explained 2 weeks ago… God said his creation was to be beautiful, it was of the highest quality, there wasn’t a hint of immorality in it, it was supposed to do exactly what it was made to do … It was the very best place for us to have a relationship with God and with one another.
But…it did not stay good Genesis 3:14-19
…mankind began and persists in sin and rebellion and that sin unleashed a curse:
14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, "Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." 16 To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." 17 To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return." Genesis 3:14-19
Because of our willful rebellion God put a curse ("to hem in with obstacles, render powerless to resist; immobilize") on us and the world. And that unleashed…
· physical pain, genetic malfunctions, emotional struggles, mental illness, spiritual oppression
The overall malaise is captured in this passage: We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:18-23
The whole creation is behind the door groaning.
What have we, the people of God, traditionally done with this reality? …this broken place?
Historically… I see two primary reactions:
We seek remedies any way we can.
· Primarily though the healthcare system – a fantastic one at that –
· Thank God for our skilled and dedicated health care providers of all kinds!
…but…we all know that the system itself is ailing.
· skyrocketing costs
· insatiable demand for wellness – the great American aversion of pain
· inaccessibility of healthcare to too many
· ultimately as good as the system is… it is not enough to stem the damage, the pain…and still leaves many behind closed doors alone in their agony
Our 2nd typical reaction to all the brokenness has been a form of wistful longing…
· We sigh and look longingly to the future. Try to imagine a day with no pain…
· Go to a funeral and you’ll hear things like “they are in a better place” “they are not suffering any more”
· You’ll hear these passages quoted:
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:4
No longer will there be any curse. Revelation 22:3
This is, of course, is all true, and right, and sometimes the only hope someone can cling to. But let’s be honest…
· it is scant support to the dad whose son took his own life just months ago
· it is faint encouragement to the teenager facing decades of crippling illness
· it is true…but hollow to the mom holding her newborn struggling with a paralyzing disability … or the 50 something man balancing care between a dad with Alzheimer’s and a daughter with cancer.
Our health care system is wonder…and the hope of eternity is a blessing …but they are not enough to stem the tide of pain, regret and loss triggered by this broken place.
There is a third reaction I’m hoping we understand and adopt…
· We, the church, with faith and courage, move into the broken places of people’s lives with the healing hands of Jesus.
· We, in fulfillment of the mission of God, lovingly bring hope and healing into the lives of the broken.
· You and I show up… and walk through the door.
It’s what Jesus did: Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. Matthew 4:23
Jesus constantly went through doors to touch the lives of broken people.
And he taught his followers to do the same…When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, Luke 9:1
"When you enter a town … Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God is near you.' Luke 10:8-9
Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Matthew 10:8
and they did … They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them. Mark 6:12-13
And he gave them some powerful motivation for all this…when you walk through a door to minister to a broken person…you will be doing it to me…
I was sick and you looked after me. Matthew 25:36
Later the newly established church began to practice this… Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. James 5:14
Later in the 1st century and into the 2nd something quite remarkable happened.
· two tragic epidemics broke out in the middle east that killed vast portions of the population
· There was world-wide panic; bodies, some still alive, tossed into the road, heaped on top of each other; people died with no care
· But followers of Jesus… believing that this was Jesus who was sick…walked through the door…to certain death… and offered healing and care.
Dionysius – 3rd century bishop of Alexandria : Heedless of the danger they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ. And with them departed this life serenely happy, for they were infected by others with the disease, drawing on themselves the sickness of their neighbors, and cheerfully accepting their pain.
It became a driving force of the early church: John Ortberg: “Compassion became the brand of this new religion” John Ortberg, Who is This Man?
· Much of what we know today as health care; doctors, hospitals…began with these brave acts of followers of Jesus.
· Early on the church started to see the picture of Revelation… not simply as a future event but an ideal for today…
o that every tear can be wiped away now
o that the curse can be, at least partially, reversed
o where healing can be a present reality in fulfillment of the mission of God … if…we show up.
Romans 8:18-23 page ___________
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed (note that)
20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, (God, via the curse)
in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.(When God cursed he did so with hope that something would happen)
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:18-23
What did God hope and plan for to deal with this broken place?
· clearly there is a future expectation that in eternity we will all rejoice in our redemption (Vs. 23) …that pain will eventually be a thing of the past
· but that’s not all God hoped for, he also planned for something else to happen in the mean time.
Vs 19 - The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.
· God’s hope and mission for this broken place was that his children would show up…be revealed (unveiled, to come, to appear as we are)
· The whole groaning creation is waiting eagerly for that to happen.
Hurting, broken people are waiting in eager expectation for you to show up.
· to walk through the door and be present
· to show up with hands of care
· to show up with the authority of the kingdom of God – with prayers and anointing for healing
· to appear – not with answers – not with suggestions – not with this book or that website or this new alternate diet
· to walk through the door not with platitudes like “there’s got to be a reason for this” “Something good is going to come out of this” “this too shall pass”
The whole groaning creation is longing for your presence as an ambassador of Jesus Christ and his Kingdom
On the other side of that door is:
Ø neighbor newly diagnosed with cancer
Ø co-worker who just lost a child
Ø friend who is an alcoholic
Ø a brother facing a very long journey of chronic illness
Ø senior citizen in a nursing facility who is alone all day long
Ø a student struggling with an addiction
Ø man who has had demons both real and figurative in his life
They are all waiting for you to walk to their door… knock…and come in.
Hurting, broken people are waiting in eager expectation for you to show up.