Hospital or Refugee Camp
It is my goal that after this message we are more like Jesus, not for just today, but everyday.
We are going to be preaching on the topic of holiness and I want to make it clear before I ever get started that I am not going to be talking about legalism, a works-oriented gospel, or being perfect (sinless). Talking about walking in the grace of God. Having the power of God to have victory over sin.
Glass is half empty or half full. Focus on the half empty.
I. The church is to be like a hospital
People go to a hospital to get physically well.
People go to church to be at a safe place to receive acceptance and love for where they are in their life's journey.
They are also look to Christianity (The Body of Christ) (The Church) for spiritual answers and for a safe place to get spiritually well.
Let me clarify something:
As Christians, one of our main reasons for going to church is to worship God, to give Him praise. It is not to get. The getting is the result of our praise, not the purpose of our praise. Does this make sense?
II. What is the responsibility of the church?
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
19to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
This was Jesus speaking, but we should be doing the same thing.
Have people turn to. Give context
Then Jesus said to his host, "When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
The church is to reach the poor, crippled, lame, and blind. More than physically speaking. Talking about those who are spiritually crippled.
III. Condition of the world-need a spiritual hospital
Does everyone agree that the world needs healing?
· One of the leading causes of death in teenagers is suicide.
· Two-thirds of America's black children do not live with both of their parents. Do you think they need some role models besides Mike Tyson and O.J. Simpson? Almost half of all American families end in divorce.
· Condoms passed out to fourth graders. Planned Parenthood states in some of their literature that there is nothing wrong with incest. 25% of college-age women have genital herpes, which there is no cure. 29% of 15-year old girls and 72% of 17-year-old boys are sexually active. (Girls having multiple partners). Homosexuality is out of the closet and into the grade school.
· Thousands are addicted to alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, pornography, and sex.
· Now, Police with metal detectors stand guard at some of our high schools. 60 years ago the worst offense in school was chewing gum.
· There is violence and atrocities that are unspeakable. Just one example is the killing of over 15 million unborn babies in the United States. There are civil and religious wars throughout Africa, Europe, and Asia.
· And if that is not enough, we as a nation have exported greed, smut, and our own unique style of western worldliness to almost every nation on earth. Islamic countries are more fearful of western materialism than they are of Christianity.
I could mention much more. There is no doubt in our mind that people need a spiritual hospital to get well.
IV. What is a hospital like?
What is the purpose of a hospital-To help people get well. They do whatever they can to bring healing and help make peoples lives better. They provide proper nutrition and a healthy environment that is conducive to bring healing.
· A hospital is very sterile. They take extreme precautions to prevent contamination.
· They have a variety of instruments to treat people and to perform surgery
· A good hospital uses the best equipment and supplies that the medical field has to offer.
· They are staffed with well-trained personnel-No matter what the employees responsibility is from an orderly to the top surgeons
· They have specialists- cardiologists, neurologists, urologists, and all kinds of other ologists.
· They have an executive director that makes sure the hospital receives all that it needs to perform the necessary care and treatment. He also is responsible for proper procedures to be followed by all those on staff.
Even with all of this some people get worse and even die. That is the reality of living in a sinful, fallen world.
Title of sermon is Hospital or Refugee Camp
V. So what is a refugee camp like?
They want to rescue victims of war and violence. They have some of the same goals as a hospital. They want to bring healing to people, provide proper nutrition, and a healthy environment. They have great intentions.
However, there is a problem, most refugee camps are a mess. They are started at the spur of the moment. They do not have many resources.
· Not sterile. Contamination all over the place
· Very little supplies
· They are lucky to have any equipment
· Most staff are volunteers with no experience. They grab whomever they can get.
· Not many specialists, if any. You are not going to find any ologists.
· Refugee camps have someone in charge, but there are not many resources available for him to provide to meet the needs of the refugees.
Sadly, with all their good intentions, many, many people die at refugee camps. The biggest problem is that disease is throughout the camps.
VI. Condition of the Body of Christ-The Church
Are we like hospitals or refugee camps?
In many ways the Body of Christ is no different than a refugee camp. We have great intentions, but disease(sin) is throughout the Church of God. The sad part is that unlike refugee camps, we have all the resources we need. And we have a Great Physician.
What I am going to share is heavy. If you already know as a Christian you are weak and you are feeling hopeless, then wait to the end of this message for hope. Remember:
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus
Pray that no one experience guilt or condemnation, but do pray for conviction and honest, open hearts.
A. Is the body of Christ sterile or we as contaminated as those who are sick in the world? I want to clarify something. Hospitals let contaminated sick people into their building. But the hospital still has the goal of having a sanitary, clean environment.
The church is not to close its door to the sick(sinners). We should have an open door policy, and as a matter of fact, if we are doing what God has called us to, there will many lost, struggling people in the church.
However, Born Again Believers should not be like the world. Let me say that again. Born Again Believers should not be like the world. We should be clothed with Christ's righteousness and holiness.
Not everything I am going to mention is happening at New life, but it is happening in the Body of Christ.
· Sexual Sin. Many Christian teenagers and women parade around beaches and pools indecently exposed. I wonder what Christian girls are wearing when it is Church youth day at Wild Waves? And I wonder what Christian boys are looking at when at Wild Waves. Some enter church buildings in lustful display(clinging, revealing outfits). We have fornication happening in the church. Christian men who have phone bills of $200.00 a month for phone sex. Christian men and women are addicted to pornography. Did you know until the Internet, very few women were into pornography, but now women are being drawn into the pornography net. So called Christian chat rooms that have more than the appearance of evil. Churches all over are ordaining homosexual leaders and starting to marry homosexual couples (couples?). This is sin, not an unhealthy or 'alternative' lifestyle.
This is happening in the church of God-some of it in our church
· Disintegration of the family. Marital affairs, divorce, single parent families is happening in the church almost at the same rate as society. We allow violent, perverse, ungodly movies and video games in our homes. As parents we are either too strict and legalistic(as we live a lie) or we have no discipline in the home at all. Children are in rebellion to their parents. Physical and verbal abuse is happening within homes by both men and women. This is sin, not just a bad upbringing. We can't say, it's not my fault, my parents were a bad example.
This is happening in the church of God- some of it in our church
· Materialism. Dominated by the Gods of materialism and greed. Christians are just as much into materialism as the world. I bet in Seattle there are more kids that have computers than teddy bears. We want the best cars, best clothes, best house, best furniture, best restaurants, best entertainment center. Nothing wrong in having the best. But when you put your family into debt and when both couples have to work the rest of their life to pay for it, it is sin. Sin, not just a bad choice. It is the worshiping the idol of materialism.
This is happening in the church of God- some of it in our church
· Addictions. Many Christians are addicted to alcohol, drugs, food, sex, television. There are people who have been Christians for years and years and are still struggling with the same addictions they had as teenagers. Addictions are destructive, no matter what type of addiction it is. Being addicted is being self-centered to the max. And guess what? Until you acknowledge you have an addiction, you can't be set free. This is sin, not just bad habits.
This is happening in the church of God- some of it in our church
Have I been stepping on someone's toes? Or, more importantly, is God putting conviction in your hearts? Yes? No? Good, I hope so! Are some of you are even getting mad. Actually the next group I describe are the ones who usually get mad when you talk about their sin.
· Religious or self-righteous. There are those in church who are religious. Proud. And there is the gossiper, grumbler, slanderer, judgmental, self-righteous, contentious, self-centered. All done in the Name of Jesus. Do you get the idea? I have some strong words for this group. Those who fall into this category are the hardest for God to reach. They are stiff-necked. They think their sin is not as bad as the rapist, or the drunkard, or the abuser. At times there are more of the 'religious, self-righteous in the Body of Christ than any other group.
The last group of people I want to mention is:
· Anyone who did not fit in any of the previous categories. Lazy in regard to things of God. Or at times rebellious. Filthy talk, cheating on your income tax. Or just the reality of living in a sinful body. We all at times make bad choices and sin. If God specifically tells me to spend time with him before I start working on the computer, and I disobey and start work, I am sinning. Nobody is free from the attacks of the enemy. And sometimes we become His prey. Sometimes we get contaminated. We sin.
Listen, everyone. God is looking for a bride that is faithful, obedient, and not willfully and knowingly walking in sin.
After several decades of nonstop preaching and teaching through countless thousands of radio and television broadcasts and innumerable books and tapes, hundreds of seminars, there are Christians who are blatantly walking in sin and even giving excuses for it. As the Body of Christ we should be embarrassed.
Do you now understand how the church, who is suppose to be a hospital for sinners, is a refugee camp full of sick, malnourished, contaminated people? As the Body of Christ we need delivered from sickness and death. We need healing and deliverance. God is calling us to be saints, not sinners. And I am not talking about legalism or a works gospel. As long as we live in this sinful carnal body we will have the ability to sin. And at times we will fall into temptation and sin. But it should be a rare thing instead of so common in the church.
Before I go any further lets pray
Is your soul downcast? Is your spirit grieved? Do you see your own sin, not your neighbor's sin? Are you ready for a solution?
Before I go on and offer a solution to what appears to be a hopeless situation, I want to cover one more thing.
VII. As the Body of Christ we have access to the best instruments (better than anything the hospital has) and the Great Physician. But are we using what is available to us?
As Christians we have God's Word, the gifts of the Spirit, and God Himself-The Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.
· But how many of us daily spend time in God's Word-not talking about listening to tapes, listening to the radio, watching preachers on TV. Talking about opening the Bible up yourself and reading, meditating, and living it.
· God's Word says He has given each of us gifts and callings so that we can reach a lost world. How many of you here right now are asking God what is His calling for your life? How many are asking for God's anointing so that you can walk in your calling and the fruit and gifts of the Spirit?
One more question
· How many of us are having intimate relationships with the Godhead? Do we seek the God of heaven for advice? Do we see Jesus as a friend in the good and bad times? Do we ask the Holy Spirit to anoint us for service?
Or something even more profound. What about asking for nothing? Just spending time in God's presence. Just being. Resting in the arms of Jesus. Just meditating on the character of God and being amazed at his awesome beauty and love. I know of people who have been Christians for 20 years and have never spent one hour alone with God.
This is hard for me and my analytical, busy, doing personality. But God says, no excuses for not having intimacy with Him. Excuses are cope outs, lies. And ultimately are sin. Don't get me wrong. I am not talking about beating ourselves up. If God is not bringing conviction, then don't get into guilt trips. It is not what God calls me to do, it is what he calls each of us to do and to be.
At New Life for the last couple of years there has been an emphasis on abiding in Christ. I have a question, how many of us are having a daily abiding time with Christ? I mean, daily and consistently.
And I have something for those of you who say I am doing all these things and more. Take heed, lest you fall. A man or woman who speaks in tongues, but does not have the fruit of the Spirit is a clanging symbol. A man who prays for the sick, but cherishes sin, is a stench to God. More important than the gifts of the Spirit is the fruit of the Spirit.
Our own righteousness is filthy rags. Not one of us has arrived. There may be some spiritual giants in our church. But giants can fall to if their not careful.
Some of us want a 100% restoration of the power and the gifts of the Spirit, even though we may only want to give God 25% of our life. It simply will not happen this way! God is calling a holy bride, not a woman who prostitutes herself with sin. I say it again. God is calling a holy bride, not a woman who prostitutes herself with sin.
Grab your Bibles and turn to:
Romans 6:13 states
Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.
Notice it says we are to be instruments. Just like the hospital has instruments for bringing healing.
So the church is suppose to be a hospital for the spiritually sick, but she is sick herself. Are you ready for a solution?
Well, now it is time for the solution. And the solution is simple. It is so simple that we will only share for a few more minutes.
Actually, the solution is very hard for the human nature, but very easy for God. That is why He gave us Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
There are three things that must happen for us to experience deliverance.
Confession-Everyone say it. Again. Again. Now did you say it because I told you to or because you believe it? Do you believe confession is important in the church.
We need to acknowledge we are unclean. We need sterilized! We need the impurities removed. We need washed.
Listen closely! What I am about to share is powerful. Everything else was preparatory to what I am going to say now. Is everybody listening? Even those who are angry with me right now? Even you stiff-necked ones? Even those who say "Rich Dover is not going to talk about my sin. How dare him."
What happens in the operating room of the hospital when someone has a tumor?
The diseased person climbs unto the operating table. The surgeon gets his very sharp scalpel and starts cutting on the person and reaches his hand into the body and starts cutting away and removing the tumor. And there is blood everywhere. How many are afraid of blood? How many get sick when you see or smell blood?
Listen closely! The first step to conquer sin is to confess we have sin.
Hear what God is saying!
Today the Holy Spirit has called many of you to lie on the table
(or should I say altar) Romans 12:1
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Again Today the Holy Spirit has called many of you to lie on the table because there is a tumor(sin) in your life. Some of you have cancer throughout your body. It seems hopeless.
The first step for deliverance from sin is to confess that you have sin in your life. Acknowledge you need surgery.
And guess what? Once you are on the table and confess you have a tumor (sin), the Holy Spirit will start 'operating' on you.
The Holy Spirit pulls out the scalpel and starts cutting on you.
"And He(The Holy Spirit), when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment;
You suddenly realize that the sin in your life is much worse than you thought. So the first thing that must happen for there to be deliverance is confession.
After confession there is a second step. This is something that you absolutely cannot do. You cannot do it.
This is powerful, listen up.
After the surgeon cuts open the patient, there is blood everywhere. It is messy.
· But there is something different with this spiritual surgery. As the scalpel is being applied, there is blood. But it isn't your blood. Did you hear me? It isn't your blood! It isn't your blood! It is the blood of Jesus!
When God does surgery on us, He pours the blood of Jesus over us. He immerses us in the blood of Jesus. And guess what? There is no tumor! As soon as the blood touched the tumor, the tumor was destroyed! It evaporated. It is as if the tumor was never there. No matter how big the sin is, or how many sins there are, they are destroyed by the blood of Jesus.
People! Don't be afraid of the altar. Don't be afraid of the scalpel. Don't focus on the tumor(sin). Focus on the blood of Jesus. The blood of Jesus takes away all sin. The blood of Jesus forgives sin.
In order for a doctor to bring healing, He has to get bloody. Our Great Physician got bloody. The patient has to get bloody. We need to get bloody with the blood of Jesus to be healed.
So what is the answer to a sick, contaminated church? Confession and the blood of Jesus. But there is one more step. And that is repentance.
Repentance is the turning away from sin. It is the renewing of your mind, making a choice to go a different direction, and then walking the new path. We must do all three-renew our mind, make a choice, and walk a new way. But we cannot do this on our own. It takes the cleansing blood of Jesus first. We clean a clean slate.
Something more about the blood of Jesus.
Joshua's word picture
Immersed in a pool of blood. Got out. His shadow on the cross. Saw a person with nail scarred hands, feet. Thought it was Jesus. Then looked at himself and saw he had the same scars.
"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.
People we are to think, talk, walk, and live like Jesus.
No more religion. You know what religion is? Religion is hanging around the cross. Admiring the cross. Thanking Jesus for the cross. But never getting on the cross. We need to get on the cross! We need to be living sacrifices-dying to self and living for Jesus.
In just a moment we are going to open up the altars. Just give me a few more minutes of your attention.
(Changing black water to red and then to white)
One last thing before we open up the altars.
True repentance is ruthless with sin and rough on the flesh.
True repentance: It sees sin for what it is and truly sorrows for sin. It not only confesses sin, but it is genuinely ashamed for sin-it hates it and turns away!
Remorse is not repentance. Remorse produces wordly sorrow-a sorrow that only arises because of the ugly consequences of sin without ever recognizing the ugliness of sin itself. Remorse will not set us free. Repentance will.
We begin to believe we can live with the sin. The sorrow goes away. When there is repentance we realize that we cannot live with the sin. We hate it with a passion!
And we are not talking about guilt. Guilt disables us. With guilt, we get stuck in the mud. Satan encourages us to sin and then brings guilt afterwards.
We are talking about responding to conviction placed on us by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus must be all or nothing: he is either king, sovereign, ruler, governor, or absent altogether. Is He on the throne or only on the footstool of your life.
Heaven is not going to be filled with slaves of Satan. Did you hear me? Heaven is not going to be filled with slaves of Satan.
Turn to one more verse before we close
1 Cor. 6:9-11
Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,  nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.
And such some of you were-past tense
So be set free today! Receive the forgiveness and mercy of God. Receive the grace of God to have victory over sin.
COME TO THE ALTARS NOW! DON'T WAIT!
Experience salvation today!
If Jesus, the Great Physician, is allowed to be in our services, in our homes, in our hearts, the church(Body of Christ) will be so much different. Let's start today! Let's be a hospital instead of a refugee camp filled with disease.
God is a God of New Beginnings.
Come to the altars. Receive the Blood of Jesus. Receive forgiveness. Receive deliverance.
Let's be a beautiful Bride for Jesus.
COME TO THE ALTARS NOW! DON'T WAIT! Be a living sacrifice for Jesus.
May the world see New Life Christian Fellowship as a hospital for sinners. Not a refugee camp filled with disease. A place where there is healing, not sickness and death.
Are you sinner in need of a savior, then you have come to the right place.
COME TO THE ALTARS NOW! DON'T WAIT!
Stiff-neck can come to the altars to.