Broken Reeds

Here are some of my sermon notes from this past Sunday.  If you would like to hear the sermon you can go to

1.       We should rejoice in Christ’s ministry to us.
a.       First, Christ is the only one who meets our needs. There is no hope for us outside of Christ.  It is easy for us to believe that hope lies outside of Christ. In real life we tend to depend on other things. Christ is the delight of the Father.  Beloved is only used in two other places in Matthew, chapters 3 and 17.  Do you want the Father to delight in you? Then you must be in the Son. 
b.      Second, Christ’s ministry to us is ordinary. He avoids worldly pomp and show.  He is not like the rulers of this world, who crush and destroy the weak.
                                                              i.      Who in Matthew is most likely to have a ministry opposed to Christ? It is not Rome. It is the religious leaders.
                                                            ii.      Does our ministry look like the oppression of the Pharisees or the liberation of Jesus.
c.       Third, Christ will not destroy us.  He is here to redeem us, to save us, to drag us up out of the pit. Christ delights in healing broken people. Christ is not going to crush you.  You are a bruised reed. You are a smoking wick. Guess what? Christ is not going throw you in the ditch.
                                                              i.      To rejoice in Christ’s ministry we must recognize our need. We must realize that we are broken. We are bruised. We are useless.  You have nothing to offer Christ.  We are all bent and broken. Illustration: David’s travelling companions. I Samuel 22:1-2. Jesus’ choice of the twelve Apostles, Paul in I Corinthians 1:26-31.  We tend to nod our heads and go yes, yes, that is how Jesus works. But then we don’t put ourselves in that category.  We think of ourselves as the exception to the rule. Yes, Jesus you normally work through losers, but I am the exception. Your bruises should drive you to Christ.
d.      Fourth, Christ’s ministry to us is effective. He will lead justice to victory. He would bring justice to the nations. The point is not that the Messiah will not win. Matthew is not saying all is lost. He is saying all will be won, just not how men expected.  By his gentleness and sacrifice he would win the world.
e.       Fifth, Christ’s ministers to us through his Spirit, his Word, and his people.  Jesus is gone, but his ministry extends until the end of time. But how? Where do we find our Lord?  How do we meet with Christ as those people did 2, 000 years ago?


2.       We should reflect Christ’s ministry to others.  
a.       First, Christ is the only hope for our world. Christ is the only hope for our friends and family members. Christ is the only hope for our children.  We must lead people to Christ. I do not just mean conversion, but the entire Christian life is a regular coming to Christ. Our aim is not just to be friends with people.  Our aim is not just to build bridges, though that has its place. Our aim is not just to be known in the community. Our aim is for them to come to the Hope of the nations. Our aim is to see them healed by the Great Physician.
b.      Second, our ministry must avoid worldly pomp and show. The world loves pomp. We love the glitter, the dazzling dresses, the million dollar homes, the White House. Even the churches we love are the big churches, with big name preachers who sell lots of books and speak at lots of conferences. These men are God’s gifts to us and I am glad they are here. But I wonder if in the long run Christ’s ministry goes through the faithful minister who has little, yet his ministry reflects that of Christ. Christ is often working the unknown parts of our town and our world. Christ does not love celebrity preachers and celebrity churches any more than small ones like ours.
                                                              i.      This means we focus on the Spirit, the Word and the people.
                                                            ii.      The ministry that looks most like Christ is the ministry that is very ordinary. Widows and orphans are at the top of James’ list.
c.       Third, our ministry must be one of compassion to bruised reeds and smoking wicks.  We must look among the needy and hurting and bring Christ to them. To do this we must actually believe number one. We must believe he is their only hope and that he can heal them. If our ministry is to the good looking, wise, noble people of this world, it is a betrayal of Christ.  Our society is an efficiency oriented society. We must be productive. We must get things done. But the church cannot function this way. Here are some examples of bruised reeds and smoking wicks.
                                                              i.      Believers: Healthy and hurting
                                                            ii.      Unbelievers: Hardened and Soft
                                                          iii.      Down Syndrome babies. Children in general are useless. What do they give to us?
                                                           iv.      What about women who have had abortions?  What about abortion doctors?
                                                             v.      Former porn star converted to Christ and now ministers to women who are coming out of the sex industry. Do we believe that Jesus does this? Do we even want Jesus to do this?
                                                           vi.      Former homosexuals who have turned to Christ for redemption and healing.
                                                         vii.      Sexual abuse is a huge problem in America. Some of you here might have endured it.
                                                       viii.      People who have lived in shallow, weak churches where the Gospel is rarely preached.   
                                                           ix.      Our ministry should be gentle, patient, and encouraging.  We must be careful here of course. There are ditches all around us to fall into. Matthew is not encouraging us to compromise with sin. Jesus doesn’t.  Matthew is not saying there is never a time to call someone out. Jesus does that often. But Matthew is encouraging us to want those broken reeds among. It is not enough to say that someone needs to care for those people. We need to care for them. Love, care, and patience can do wonders.