Sunday, Feb 11, 2018
free easily and I'm so I do different things some things that I do are are somewhat different than a lot of most people do.
I like to leave so I have four looms at home that I use primarily three of them. I like the spin my own yarn. I have a spinning wheel. I do that because I don't have to talk to anybody. I don't have to deal with any problems. This is something very easy to deal with. You know, when you're just manipulating wolves France to make into twist where you can use for for weaving or whatever you do with it. Another thing that I like to do and I do this usually at night is I get on YouTube and I watch sailing videos.
you know, I'm I don't know if I'll ever get a sailboat.
My wife is is against it. So I probably won't. But I enjoy watching the show. So I'm watching one that I just picked up about a week ago. It's about a an English a gentleman. In his 60s and he is he is a sailing alone by himself and he is selling in Europe right now, but he's about ready to cross the Atlantic into the Caribbean by himself and in an episode that I watched a couple nights ago. He talked about the difference between English sailing and American sailing. He says Americans like all the electronic gadgets. They like all the different things, you know fill their boat with with things that require electricity. And if you're familiar with sailing specially in a cruising lifestyle is is managing energy is very important, and it's very challenging. and and so he's talking about keeping things simple.
And I was thinking about that yesterday keeping things simple and how even as Christians. Sometimes we are more interested in the complex the difficult the challenging the Deep we want to go deep. I've heard a lot of people we want to go deep. We want to we want to know all the secrets.
But here's the challenge without the so often. We're trying to chase all the secrets. That we forget the main thing. Until this morning. I want to reconnect this to the main thing.
And here's the question and when I ask this question, I want you to think about it. It's in a sense of rhetorical questions not meant to be shouted out. Some of you like to shout things out but this question is is meant to meant to for you to to to wrestle with internally. What does it mean to be a Christian?
Bouncer that's too simple. We want the Deep stuff. But I want you to wrestle with that question. What does it mean to be a Christian? Let me let me ask this question a follow-up. Are you living a life that truly identifies with Christ?
See Jesus has a way of helping his disciples grass the truth. of who he is and how we affect their lives and when you read the gospels you see his incredible ability to connect.
his followers with Kingdom truth What's the challenge that the disciples faced is what Jesus is saying? Is oftentimes misinterpreted?
It's just now I'm going to say this but I don't see any of my kids in here. So don't tell them because I load the money.
But we we had a conversation the other day. I was a part of both sides of the conversation because it actually was in two parts. The first conversation was a parent named who the parent was was talking to a child and I won't tell you the child was giving this child certain instructions.
What was interesting was the second conversation where the child was?
Informing the parents what? he or she heard the parents say now I heard the parents say such and such
what the child? misinterpreted it
one said one thing the child received those words in a completely different way.
And so often when you look at the life of Jesus interacting with his disciples. They would share what Jesus said, but they would interpret what Jesus said differently as to what Jesus intended. And I wonder how often we do that today. We read a scripture. Let's do a for instance. We read the scripture that says that we are to love one another. We see it in Scripture. weave Reddit when it said we could say yes, this is the words of God saying this. But then how we interpret it is that I love those who love me back. Or I love those that are easy to love. but that's not exactly not at all what Jesus said, but see we We impose our beliefs are prejudices. Our interest are values on to what Jesus said rather than asking the question Lord. What did you mean? And then following those words as Jesus intends them to be bottled. The truth be told everyone of us struggle with this.
I asked a question all the time of myself more damn. I truly reading and studying and receiving from your word as you intended to be interpreted. Am I imposing my own interest upon your word and twisting the words to to fit my agenda?
What's look at? Encounter Jesus had with his disciples and see if we can learn some things from this encounter. It begins in in Luke chapter.
Luke chapter 9
Jesus had just performed this amazing miracle.
He took five loaves of bread and 2 fish. I was wondering if if I had a little time and I almost went to the store to get a loaf of bread in a can of sardines, but I didn't do that.
one is the can of sardines just grosses me out, but But he took these Five Loaves two fishes and he sat down this crowd In This Crowd was huge. It was 5000 men plus women and children. Could have been 15,000 people on the mountain side. Jesus had them sit down in groups.
Heatblast the meal and then he began to Serve the People. And when it was all said and done everybody ate to the foal. It was this amazing. There. It is. One of the stories in this gospel that's actually recorded in all four Gospels. Because everybody that witness that were absolutely Blown Away by what had happened. It was impossible that Jesus did The Impossible. But in a way it was a setup for his disciples.
Because he was going to enter a conversation that was going to change their lives. But I will tell you it was going to take some time for the change to take effect. inverse 18 of Luke 9
the scripture says now it happened that as he Jesus was praying alone. The disciples were with him and he asked them who do the crowds say that I am.
A few weeks ago we talked about prayer and I want to bring bring a thought up concerning this every time it just seems like everytime. Jesus is going to do something. He's going to bathe it in prayer. and if the infant Son of God
Needed to pray. How much more do we need to pray? So he was praying he hit the atmosphere was prayer. The atmosphere was was being in tune with the father. And then there were the disciples and Jesus turned to them and he ask them a question. Who do the crowds say? that I am What people say Jesus has this amazing way of teaching through asking questions actually one of the best forms of teaching at it invites a person to to engage in what's in what's called inductive study the best way one of the best ways to learn. It's a Jesus. Ask them this question. What what are people saying about me?
What are people saying about who they think I am?
Let's see the answered the question in verse 19 John the Baptist some say but other say Elijah and others. One of the prophets of old who is risen.
So the disciples answer Jesus is question about the crowd.
and the obvious effect of this at least from a reader's point of view is that the crowd did not understand who Jesus was.
And one could even say I wonder if the disciples really didn't understand who Jesus was.
Because even though the crowds were seeing these incredible Miracles and and the incredible Miracles was not just relegated to two feeding, you know a group of people, but but they saw Jesus heal people. He healed blind people make it see lying. People naked walk deaf. People make it here demon possessed people and they were set free. They saw Jesus do incredible things, but but as so often. when we live in our preconceived notions, they did not see Jesus as the As the Redemptive plan of God, they saw Jesus as another Prophet another teacher even though even though they probably felt that he was in some ways you need. they settled on on their preconceived notions
So we got to ask ourselves the question. How do I see how do you see Jesus? Is he merely the painting on the wall that we might encounter? Are represented in the cross that might hang around our neck.
Is Jesus just somebody that we involved that we think that you know, this is a nice person. Where is Jesus far more than that? But Jesus Doug a little bit deeper with his disciples and inverse 20 you said but who do you say that I am?
Could you say that I am? and Peter answered the Christ of God
what the disciples do understand at? This point is that Jesus is more than a prophet more than a teacher more than a rabbi. that Jesus Is the messiah? And something is about to happen with this Maasai enough. Another problem is they too are hinge to their preconceived notions of what the Messiah is to be all about.
Venom verse 21 of Luke 9 we see those in Jesus strictly charged and commanded them to tell them. death to no one Meaning Peter what you just said disciples what Peter just said don't tell anyone right now, it's not time.
See Jesus knew when thanks should be unfolded. At that moment in time. It was it was not it was because people would misunderstand. Sea bass off the Messiah as the one coming and liberating Israel from the bondage of Roman tyranny. They started as a physical Freedom issue. It was a political issue that was their fault. It was it was politics that that the Messiah would come and wood would liberate them. That's how they focus their attention on this matter. and if the disciples started proclaiming that it would hinder the plan of God.
Because I will tell you the plan of God is far greater than politics.
You hear what I'm saying?
As I said before, I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook.
for some reason people who have friended me saying that I do not read Facebook at all. because of some of the things that are put on Facebook
an n in the last couple of years in this very politically charged adversarial experience in our culture. People say things on Facebook. Sometimes it almost gives me a coronary in what some people say.
And so I want to say this and I say this with gentleness and love and in your you're looking at somebody that when I was growing up, I was a political Junkie.
Before you had cable news, I would watch the news 5 hours a day. UK I was sharing with my Wednesday night bible class that as a teenager. I I want to know who was it who was who in government? I could name all of the Supreme Court Justices like a name. I could been many of the legislators and what state they were from and I could name all of the Congressional leaders and I named the the cabinet and and and in all of the key advisors to the president and end and for for a split-second there was a time that I was even interested in wanting to go into politics.
Am I just devoured news? I just loved watching news much to the frustration of my siblings who wanted to watch Big Valley. Something about what was that show about angels Charlie's Angels. They wanted to watch that. I was interested in knew. That's what I wanted to watch news. But let me tell you something. Friends as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. We got to keep things in proper perspective. Should we engage in it as a citizen in in in our country? And in in in being a part of of a voting and being activist? I'm not talking about you. I'm not I'm not going to I don't want to hinder you from being fully engaged fully informed being fully engaged fully informed electorate. I want you to but listen as followers of Jesus Christ
We are part of something bigger. Then just being a citizen of the United States of America country that I deeply love. We are part of the kingdom of God. And we got to keep things in proper perspective because if not, what we will do is we will use our politics to interpret biblical truth rather than allowing biblical truth to inform how we ought to live. And I will tell you if we are not careful. What we will do is we will become a hindrance of people hearing the message of the Lord Jesus Christ that he saved he redeems you forgive sins. And if we are not careful we can be misinterpreted as people. Who hates rather than love?
I know this subject right here the very complex one and I am I'm not even mining even the shallow end of the pool of the challenges with it. But I am just going to caution you as Believers of Jesus Christ is so often just like the disciples just like the people in Israel 2000 years ago. We could totally missed that the bigger picture of God's agenda. to satisfy our own
be careful. Jesus said don't say anything because they can misinterpret that he is the Christ because they could say we got our ruler. We got our King. We got our political leader that's going to overthrow the throat of Rome and that was not God's intention at that moment in time. God's intention at that moment in time. What's the redeem Mankind from there since that was the greater issue?
And that's the greater issue today? Denver's 22 Jesus says the son of man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests in the scribes and be killed and on the third day be raised.
Now for the disciples that did not compute at all. Because that was not their agenda that's not how they were interpreting Everything. Jesus was doing so they were arguing who was going to sit at his ride. He was going to sit at his left who were going to be the the cabinet members who were going to be the leaders of this new government that Jesus was going to found that would that would on Champion Israel's independence. That was their agenda, but that was not Chrysler genda.
See Jesus said something they didn't want to hear. That the Messiah. would suffer and he would die. Now look doesn't address this but Mark does. In Mark chapter 8 verse 32 and 33. This is what happens right after Jesus announces this proof.
And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
That was Peter Peter just moments ago. So you are the Christ the son of the Living God. I think that's Matthews rendition of it. Peter who recognized Jesus you're the one you're the Messiah you're the anointed one of God. the same one who said Jesus you're out of your mind. Jesus not so you're not going to suffer you're not going to die. You're going to be the king you're going to be a champion. You're going to be her political leader.
sweet repute Jesus someone saying is that
first 33 in Margate, but turning and seeing his disciples. He rebuked Peter and said weed eaters at get behind me Satan.
How'd you like to be called, Satan? by Jesus
then he goes on to say why he's he's saying this for you or not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man, and there it is.
See what Peter was doing.
He was doing Satan's work.
by rebuking Jesus He was attempting to hinder what Jesus knew needed to be done. And we need to understand the Dynamics or Jesus is not only the infant Son of God, but he is 100% Man 2.
And he knows that that eventually what his Destiny would lead to was the cross and there was nothing there was nothing simple about that cross. There was nothing easy about that cross.
Death by crucifixion is one of the most horrible deaths a person can never expect experience ever. horrible and I will tell you humans know how to do some horrible things. I was watching last night. I was bored. And so I was watching a PBS documentary on the Tower of London. That's what I do. Sometimes I get bored. I do watch silly think but actually was really interesting and they were talking about the torture that people would go through sometimes the rat where they're stretched. Sometimes they would be chained by the Rhythm and lifted up until they pass out. They said usually about 5 to 10 minutes of person passed out so they have to let him down get them to where they wake up again and that they do it all over again.
Some of the things were just so horrendous. I want you to tell you what they did, but the cross the cross was meant to to strike fear in everybody. It was horrible because once a person was on the cross they would they could be up there for hours sometimes days. And they would slowly suffocate. In attempting to to to to keep their body in a position to take an air as well as 2XL. It was horrible. And Jesus knew that that's what he was Too Faced. Remember at the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus said not my not my will but your will be done may this cup pass over me. I mean Jesus knew how hard and difficult it was going to be and then you got your best friend telling you don't do it. Rebuking you because you are are telling them about the destiny that that the father has laid from the foundations of the world and you have somebody that's you've been walking with the teaching and dealing with for for two-and-a-half 3 years and they are our rebuking you and they're trying to convince you that you are going in the wrong direction.
I mean if you if you have those kind of friends. I mean you don't need any enemies.
So Jesus rebukes them. He says he says you are setting your mind on things of man. Not of God.
And see that that serves that screams at me Lord how I am doing wife. I am conducting myself. Am I the filling your plan in my life or am I more eager to fill my own plan?
I got to confess sometimes I deal with this quite off. Because I want it easy. I want it simple. I want everything to work out just perfectly so I don't have to think about it. And then it snows on a Sunday morning.
See we can easily misunderstand God's plan by superimposing our interest and our agenda on it, and that's what the disciples were doing.
So the big question is, how can we avoid misunderstanding God's plan? And how can we align ourselves with God and his agenda? I'm going to tell you I'm going to give you a short answer today. And next Sunday. I'm going to give you the long answer, okay? Luke 9 verse 23 So we're back in the Lux narrative on the subject and verse 23 the scripture says and and he Jesus said this to everybody not just a Peter but to all of the disciples everybody that was around listening. He says if anyone would come after me. Let him deny himself take up his cross daily and follow me.
Jesus tells his disciples there's three things that you need to do. And friends, there are three things that we need we need to do.
preacher in a Bible scholar Made this statement.
Salvation is God's gift to us because Jesus died for us on the cross. Discipleship is our gift to him as we take up our cross die to self and follow the lord in everything. I like that.
The first thing that Jesus says is that you need to deny yourself. the title of my message this morning centered on either self of filament or self-denial and for the next couple of minutes. I just want to focus on this one one area of Jesus's instruction. He says you need to deny yourself.
But see we live in a culture where it's all about self fulfillment.
We want everything to go our way. We want the ease of life. We want everybody to like us we want everybody to do what we say.
We we want our needs to be Mets. And when our needs are met, we really prefer them to be met in the easiest way possible.
We enjoy people giving us things patting us on the back. We want life to be easy. But Jesus says to the disciple to the follower to the to the person aligned with Christ. He says but I ask of you to do something different. It's not about self fulfillment. It's about self denial.
I'm going to tell you that goes the opposite direction of what we want.
See we want everything to go our way. And we want in fact our relationship with God to be something that we're comfortable with. So we treat our relationship with God often times as a smorgasbord. at the buffet
so we we go to Charcoal Grill or we go to Old was that Old Town buffet or something Old Country Buffet. Sorry, we don't make it down to Kenosha that often but you probably went there one time maybe you don't 4 years ago. We we we moved here 4 years ago yesterday me and that's it does fast fast four years came into town and it was negative 5 degrees.
I don't even have a jacket.
Mike Jackson gave me his jacket. I still use that jacket today.
the thing the thing that I worry so much about is that we treat the church we treat our relationship with God as something that we pick and choose what we want.
So we like man, this is great. This is just perfectly cooked. I mean, I I love when it says that he grants me the desires of my heart. That's what I want. I want a lot up there.
I'm not really interested in forgiving my enemies. So I'm going to miss that I'm going to set that aside. But I I really enjoy this Bountiful beautiful blessing.
But to pray for those who persecute me know and what we've done is we have created a religion that were comfortable with. That if we're not careful is absolutely foreign to what the scripture say concerning our relationship with God. Jesus said you deny yourself. It's not about you.
When I thought it was about me.
Okay, I'm going to be so unfair with what I'm going to say, and then I'm going to close.
Listen I of I've been in Ministry. I've been in pastoral Ministry now for meeting senior pastoring a church.
I'm 16 years. three different churches
I wear many different hats as a pastor. One of those hats is the complaint department. type Imma be honest, this is I'm being very honest now then somebody's going to say something like this, but that's okay. That's okay.
I've had many different complaints on everything.
If so, it's too dark in the sanctuary. I've had that complaint too cold. It's too hot. In fact the same day. I've had people say it's too cold and too hot.
Type in the same day. I've had people say the music's too loud, and it's too soft. In the same day. I've had people say I love that the worship. I can't stand the worship same day. Be interesting if it was the same person, but it wasn't.
I've had people complain about one another.
Am I a grin and I Barrett?
I'll cry later, but I grin and I bet but here's interesting. In 16 years of senior past history. I'm not yet had one person complain to me pastor. We need to win the Lost.
Now, that would be a complaint.
I'm not saying this to be critical or anything, please don't misunderstand me. I'm just saying I battled this to
I be wanting. My relationship with God to be what I wanted to be. When Jesus said it's all about self denial. It's all about laying down. My plans my hopes my dreams my interest my desires my my preferences like a lot of them. He wants me to lay them all down.
And sometime to tell you sometimes it's hard to lay him down.
There's things that I really would like to see about church and and and in all of that it but their preferences but have I come to the place in my spiritual life where I could lay it down and say God, it's not about me. It's about you.
Helmet, would you come to the funeral?
In my last church. I have an associate pastor. Kim Balkan was his name credible man of God. Actually he he was from Wisconsin. Kia Wesley worship Pastor in Madison. In fact, he came to one of the living Christmas trees here at the church.
and Ken was something else 70-something years old.
and He said you know what? I have my interest in my desires and what church should be and what my relationship with God should be. But then what he says to me, he says it's not about me. It's about God and his agenda.
So I I can handle all the different things of church life because it's not about me. It's about God.
And he was he was one person that I can always count on being an encouragement to everybody.
Because he that's what his heart was and see that's what our hearts should be and when you enter self-denial.
you you begin to focus on God's plan in his agenda in your life and the lives of others. Don't get me wrong. What's something's wrong?
I don't know what all that goes on sometimes in church life and it's good that I know.
I'm not on my present.
Churchill said that that criticism actually is a good thing.
We learn from it. So don't get me wrong. There are times when it's important, but I will tell you what's even more important than I was trying to be the church we can possibly be is that we are people. That are fully engaged in God's agenda. That's most important and it begins with the Nile. setting everything down at the foot of the cross.
And when we start doing that as the prophetic message was given this morning. He begins to take those bear burdens and the struggles that we have. and then she begins to replace it with his love and his grace and his Mercy.
And not only will we change but everybody starts to change around us.
So this morning? my prayer is Lorde
help us not to interpret. Your Truth by our preferences and buy our prejudices But Lord help us to see Christ as you and Ken Price to be seen.
and Lord start the work in me see right now. If we're not careful, we say Okay Lord, if you can start the work over that person over there and that person over there and and my mom start the work in my mom then everything going to be really easy.
But we need to say Lord start the work in me.
Father in Heaven, I pray
Lord start the work in the house.
Lay your burdens down at your feet and and part of that is to lay down our self-interest Arts desire self-fulfillment. And Lord that we would Embrace a life of self-denial.
What that's not about religious asceticism where we we we we engage in some kind of physical suffering to somehow. Earn our way to your love Lord. That's not it at all. But it's about laying down our hopes. Our plans are dreams the same God do your will in our life and help us to see Jesus as you intend for him to BC.
Let Stand Together.
You know next week. I'm going to talk about more about self denial but there's two other aspects of what Jesus said in verse 23 of Luke 9. talked about
taking up your cross in the end. Luke says daily.
And there's something about rededicating our life to the Lord everyday.
Until this morning as we are about ready to dismiss. I just want to give you that opportunity.
oppressing the reset button
and saying Lord I want to follow you. And I want to follow you your way not my way. But your way.
And just reconnect without that fundamental basic truth that Jesus died for our sins. Amy Rose again for our justification connect yourself with that truth because he gets that truth that will carry you on through this life. It's that true that really matters.
Everything else is insignificant compared to that truth that Jesus died for our sins and he rose again for our justification.
And just read dedicate yourself to his purpose and plan for your life.
father Search Your Heart
Lord speak to us
Lord remind us of what's really important. We were lost in our sin.
We were separated from you.
Our destiny was an eternity apart from you.
Ward it was because of Christ who took our place in death because for the the wages of sin is death you took our place in death so that we could have life.
More remind us about the importance of the cross.
And Lord God you Rose. Again, Jesus you Rose again on the third date defeating held up from the grave and we serve a risen savior.
God remind us of the resurrection power that this life Lord God lord as we live it we can live. In your good pleasure for filling your plan because of resurrection power. You've given us authority to walk through this life trusting in you. Fulfilling your plan in our life.
Lord help us to rededicate our life right now. Do you and say God today? This Sunday, February 11th today God. Once again, I say Lord, you are my God and my king you have forgiven me of my sins. Jesus you died for me you Rose again. I trust in you I live for you. I want to follow you.
If any of you need prayer we want to pray for you. And I want to invite are proteins very quickly if you would come. And if you have a prayer need some of you need God's healing touch.