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Lu 10:38 – 42

As Jesus and his disciples were on their journey, they came to Bethany where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the serving. She came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha,” the Lord answered, “only one thing is needed and Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

I personally feel it is right and proper that as a society we should look after the weaker ones in the community. So when the book of Acts describes how the disciples shared all their money and provided for everyone I thought that was the ideal. The newly converted Christians were selling their property to finance the support of the poor.

That’s the way it should be I thought. With this outlook and belief, I judged the inactivity of others as uncaring and as a lack of love. In my judgemental attitude I thought, ‘no wonder the church is failing.’ So when I went to my first Pentecostal church conference, I was still holding those beliefs, and was delighted with the 1st speaker at the conference. He said that the future success of the church lay in imitating the Christians in the Book of Acts and share everything. I was enthralled by the preachers message, this guy was saying exactly what I believed.

It would be several months before I realised that the preacher and I were both wrong. I felt the Lord reveal to me, that it was wrong to imitate what the Christians did in Acts. He showed me I had NOT to base my beliefs and actions on what the church of Acts did, but base my beliefs and actions on what the church of Acts were based on. And the church of Acts were based on Jesus, on His leading and his guidance.

I was looking at the Acts church for a model and for answers about how to live. Whereas the church of Acts were looking to the one answer, Jesus. Their thoughts, beliefs and actions were based on Jesus. They were responding to what He inspired them to do and when He inspired them, He sent his Holy Spirit to empower them to do whatever He led them to do.

The biggest selling book of all time is the bible. And I’m informed that the 2nd best selling religious book is The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas à Kempis, a medieval catholic archbishop. Like Thomas à Kempis countless Christians have thought that by working out how to imitate Jesus they were doing the right thing, their mantra being ‘we must be Christ like.’ The problem with a message of us trying to imitate Christ is that we are so limited in our ability to imitate anyone. So we are not able to do a very good job of it.

Jesus said ‘If you’ve seen Me you’ve seen the Father’. Now that’s imitating. Which of us could say ‘If you’ve seen me you’ve seen Jesus’. We fail to walk on water, heal all who come to us, multiply loaves and fishes, and raise the dead. We fail miserably to follow the supernatural Jesus and resort to, and attempting to follow His humanity, by trying to be loving and caring, yet we still fail. We settle for humanities good works instead of supernatural God works.

The apostle Paul wrote, 1Co 4:16 I urge you to imitate me. 1Co 11:1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. Did Paul succeed in being Christ like? What did he imitate?
He imitated Jesus in listening for the Father’s leading and direction in all things, and in putting the Father’s will before his own. If we want to imitate Jesus or be ‘Christ like’ first do as Paul did, be prepared to die to everything we want in life, in order to put first, front and centre what Jesus wants for us. Imitating Jesus is saying in our hearts, your way not ours Lord in everything. Then leaving it with Him.

Paul wrote; Ro 15:18,19 I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in my ministry, by what I have said and done, by the power of signs and miracles, all through the power of the Spirit. In this one verse Paul has described true imitation of Jesus; just like Jesus, Paul accomplished everything through the power of the Spirit and the Spirit only empowers the things the Lord calls us to do. In that one sentence is my goal, my desire and the plan, purpose and destiny of Liberty. I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through us. I know there are those at Liberty with the same ardent belief, goal, desire and purpose.

Someone who once came to Liberty critically asked, ’Why does Liberty not have a programme of good works like other churches do? The simple answer is that Jesus has not led us that way. He may have led others down that path but He has not led us that way, as yet. We only want the works He leads us into. He leads his children down their own unique path. We want supernatural God works not our own good works. We want to imitate Paul and be truly Christ like and accomplish everything through the power of the Spirit.

Jesus had no home or bank account, He gave up His job left home and trusted God for His next meal and a place to sleep. Jesus instructed his disciples; “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money, no spare clothes.” Mr 6:8 Imitating Jesus, being Christ like. Like Jesus the apostles never did good works only God works. That is the untold story of the beginnings of the church in Acts, Christ like they absolutely trusted God for everything – for everything they needed and for their direction in life.

Jesus waited 30 years for His ministry to begin, the disciples waited in the upper room, Paul waited in the Arabian desert and I waited 20 years for Jesus to call me to start Liberty.
I saw Him, at the appointed time, open every door along the way, clear every obstacle, and to establish it and I’ll still wait patiently for the wind of the Spirit to blow in power.

This is what Derek Prince wrote about good works: “The things we think are good, the things that seem right and that are the result of human beings attempts to do the right thing, are the biggest disasters. God keep all of us from producing an Ishmael, a son of the flesh instead of waiting for Isaac the son of promise because, brothers and sisters, we will live to regret it.
What is the biggest test that God ever puts us through? I can tell you one word, waiting! When God tells you to climb the mountain, you start climbing immediately! But when God asks you to sit at the bottom and wait, you can’t do it.”

I can tell you Jokey Jim for one is sitting and waiting. No matter the cost and there’s always a cost. And before I’m misunderstood I am definitely not knocking any of the good works that go on. Jesus leads his children in different ways. Like Derek Prince, I’m just saying, make sure everything we do are Spirit inspired God works.

Mary of Bethany, the sister of Lazarus and Martha, is mentioned in 3 scripture stories and in each one we find her sitting down. In tonight’s reading we find Mary sat at Jesus’ feet learning, in another story Mary is sat at Jesus’ feet worshipping and in another story she is sat patiently waiting for Jesus to arrive. Joh 11:28,29 Martha went back to the house and said to her sister “Jesus is here, and has called for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. Mary waited until Jesus called her. It made me wonder, how many have not waited for Jesus’ calling.

In 2 of the stories Martha is waiting on, instead of waiting at His feet, and in the third story Martha rushes out instead of waiting in, patiently sat awaiting the call. Mary is criticised by her sister and by one of the disciples and criticism is sometimes the cost of not serving while waiting for Jesus’ direction, but yet Jesus calls this not serving, ‘better’.

I don’t know about you, but I’m sat resting awaiting the call, blow the criticism, I’m waiting on Jesus. I’m not rushing anywhere I’m waiting at His feet learning from Him, worshipping Him. There have been countless criticisms of those that have patiently waited for the Spirit of Jesus, doing only what they feel he leads them to do. I don’t want the serving position of Martha, but the sitting position of Mary. It’s better, so said Jesus.

Isa 40:31 Those who wait on the LORD will be strengthened. They will soar on wings like eagles… Eagles don’t work at flying, they don’t flap, they effortlessly soar on the wind.
Jesus we wait, we wait for your leading in all aspects of our lives. And we wait for the mighty wind of your Spirit.