There is no doubt that we are busy people. Between careers and work, families and friends, gardens and yard work, hobbies and recreation, and school it’s any wonder that we have time to do anything. I want to challenge the notion that we’re too busy with some thoughts from a lesson entitled Make Room for Jesus.
You remember the birth story of Jesus well. Joseph and Mary have traveled back to Bethlehem for the census and when they arrive there is no room in the guest room[i]. The reason there was no room in the guest room is because the people who were occupying it wouldn’t make room for Jesus. John records in John 1:11 that Jesus “went to His own and His own didn’t receive Him.” We must recognize that we are Jesus’ own and He’s coming to us this very day asking if we will make room for Him in our lives. I want to equip you with five ways you can make room for Jesus in your lives today…
Praying on Purpose – Making room for Jesus means we are people who pray on purpose.
If you could use one of two words to describe your prayer life, purposeful or haphazard, which one would you choose? I dare say that many of us, me included, would say that more times than not our prayer lives are characterized as being haphazard. We pray whenever it’s convenient, we pray wherever it’s, and we pray shotgun prayers that have no real sense of purpose.
But we’re wanting make room for Jesus by not just merely praying but praying more effectively, we would say by praying on purpose. The way we make room for Jesus by praying on purpose is to:
- Have a set time for prayer (Daniel 6:10; Act 3:1).
- Getting away from it all to pray (Mark 1:35; 6:46; Matthew 6:6; 1 Corinthians 7:5).
- Targeting our prayers to specific needs (Luke 22:21-23; 1 Kings 3:7-9; Psalms 28, 51, 148)
Reading for Relevance – Making room for Jesus means we are people who read for relevance.
How do you view the bible? You need to realize that way we view the Bible predisposes you to read it in a certain way. If you view the Bible as a book that is too hard to understand then you’re going to be predisposed to not read it and if you do read it you’re going to look for reason why you can’t understand it. If you view the Bible as something that’s just for church then you’ll leave it, rarely use and you’ll find no real use for it in your life. Those attitudes about the Bible don’t make room for Jesus in our lives because those views of scripture actually don’t see Jesus’ words as having any relevance in our lives.
A view of scripture that makes room for Jesus can be found 2 Timothy 3:16-17. If we approach our reading of the Bible with the thought in mind that these words will teach us godly living, correct our faults, instruct us in the way of righteousness and equip us for every good work then we will see the relevance of the scriptures in our lives. Our readings of the Bible will come alive because they will no longer stories of ancient people who lived in faraway lands, they’ll be stores that relate to you today and the circumstances that you live in today.
Let’s be people of the book. Let’s read for relevance seeking to learn the lessons preserved for us. Let’s make room for Jesus and His words in our lives.
Fellowshipping with Friends – Making room for Jesus means we are people who fellowship with friends.
In our day and age the word fellowship is associated with socializing. It encompasses eating together, meeting together, playing together, etc. That’s a correct way of using the word fellowship. I dare say that many of you have been taught that the Bible does not use the word fellowship in connection with social activities. And that’s correct it doesn’t. But we must understand that the word koinōnia, which is translated fellowship, does include those things (socializing events) by virtue of the other English words translated for koinōnia, mainly the word share[ii] (Hebrews 13:16; 1 Timothy 6:18; Galatians 6:6).
But sharing and fellowship with people in general doesn’t help us make room for Jesus does it? Making room for Jesus through fellowship means that fellowship with friends. Do you realize that Christians (disciples of Christ) were also called friends in the bible? Note the usage of friends in 3 John 14, John 15:14-15. If we are going to be people who make room for Jesus then we are to be people who fellowship with His friends. Because when we fellowship His friends we fellowship with Him (Matthew 25:40).
Why don’t you make room for Jesus by fellowshipping with friends this week? Go ahead and before you leave the building make plans to fellowship with friends, and especially friends that you have never fellowshipped with before.
Assembling with Affection – Making room for Jesus means we are people who assemble with affection.
I don’t know when or where the term worship service originated. But what we have done by using this phrase and accepting it into our consciousness is that we have turned our assemblies into a time of vertical worship to the exclusion of horizontal edification through affection. How many times have you heard the phrase “we have come to worship God this morning?” I’m submitting to you this morning that when we come together as an assembly you can’t worship God to the exclusion of not seeking to stir up your brethren. Let me illustrate it for you this way. James says in James 2:20 “faith without works is dead.” So it is with worship in our assembly, worship offered to God without an effort to stir up your brethren is dead. Just as worship intended to stir up your brethren without the foundation of glorifying God is dead.
The Spirit didn’t lay down some arbitrary rule for church attendance. What He did though was to help us understand that our attendance and actions are about stirring each other up so that together we may hold fast our confession of hope and that requires affection for one another.
It’s affection that seeks to consider how best to stir one another’s faith (Hebrews 10:24-25). It’s affection for one another that lifts the voice in sweet harmony to build up and teach one another (Colossians 3:16). It’s affection for one another that brings forth AMENS! that encourage the speaker to keep speaking, prayers to keep praying, the song leaders keep singing.
Can we make room for Jesus in our assemblies by coming with affection for one another, considering how we might stir each other up to love and good works?
Speaking of the Savior – Making room for Jesus means that we are people who speak of the savior.
How often do you talk about the Savior? Often? Every now and then? Perhaps Never? What does that have to do with anything anyway? Well Jesus said Luke 6:45 that “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” If we’re not talking about Jesus with our mouths then we need to check and make sure He’s in our hearts.
Making room for Jesus by speaking of the Savior means that Jesus and His words, His ways, His church, His salvation, His love, His mercy are on our lips continually not just three times a week when we come to the assembly. Remember Jesus also said, “If you confess Me before men I will also confess you before My Father in Heaven.” (Matthew 10:32) What better way to confess the Jesus than to make speaking of the Savior a part of our normal conversation.
Conclusion if we make room for Jesus today, He will make room for us at His table in Heaven.
[i] The word translated “inn” in Luke 2:7 (katalyma: Strong’s #2646) is not the same as the word found in Luke 10:34-35 in the parable of the good Samaritan which speaks of an inn (pandocheion: Strong’s #3829) along with an innkeeper (pandocheus: Strong’s #3830). We can be certain the inn in Luke 10:34-35 is the common kind of inn of that day. The word in Luke 2:7 however, is the same one found in Mark 14:14 and Luke 22:11. In these passages (the only other places the term is found in the New Testament), the word is translated “guest room.” It was not a picture of a common inn, but a picture of hospitality, of being welcomed into a home. The reason inns were not as common in Jesus’ day as they are in ours is because folks just didn’t have others stay in inns but practiced hospitality. Keep in mind that Joseph was returning to his ancestral home. This was the town of his fathers. He had family in this city, perhaps distant, but family nonetheless. One more point to note is that this is not a picture of Joseph and Mary arriving the night she gave birth as if she is in labor as she rides up to the inn door. Rather, “while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.” The implication is not when they arrived but rather after they had been there some time. This gives another aspect to this picture. This is not a picture of Joseph and Mary arriving as she begins labor and everyone shuts their doors or the people of the inn wouldn’t let them in. Rather, this is a picture of a couple who have been staying somewhere for some time, but now that the baby is come, no one has room in their home for them. The fact is, whether this verse is speaking of an ancient hostelry or of the multiple guest rooms that were denied them, the picture brings up the same point. When Jesus came on the scene, there was no room for Him.
[ii] Other English words used for koinōnia (and its tenses koinōneō, koinōnikos) Fellowship – (Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 2 Corinthians 8:4; Ephesians 3:9; Philippians 1:5, 2:1, 3:10; 1 Jhn 1:3, 6-7). Contribution – (Romans 15:26). Partaker(s) – (Romans 15:27, Hebrews 2:14; 1 Peter 4:13; 1 Timothy 5:22; 2 John 1:11). Share(d) – (Philippians 4:15; 1 Timothy 6:18, Galatians 6:6). Distributing – (Romans 12:13) Communion – (1 Corinthians 10:16).