Summary: Jesus saved us to live a wild and adventurous life. But how can we do that? We're not apostles like Peter and John were. We don't have their courage and experience. We're just common ordinary folks... or are we?
OPEN: When we first started this series, I sang the chorus to “Born To Be Wild” (by Steppenwolf). This morning I want to sing for you the 1st phrase of the first verse of that song:
“Get your motor runnin' - Head out on the highway.
Lookin' for adventure and whatever comes our way.”
And the chorus goes this way:
“Like a true nature's child, we were born, born to be wild.
We can climb so high, I never wanna die.
Born to be wild”.
Now what that song was saying was this:
These guys wanted adventure.
They wanted a wild… exciting life.
“Looking for adventure… and whatever comes our way.”
“Born to be wild, and we never want to die.”
And, you know, that’s exactly what Christianity promises us.
If we take our commitment to Christ seriously life can be a wild and exciting experience.
And when Jesus comes again, we’re going to have eternal life.
We’re never going to die.
But I want you to notice something here.
The song said they were LOOKING for adventure.
And, they were OPEN TO WHATEVER came their way.
The same is true of us.
As Christians, Jesus calls us to “look for adventure”.
To seek for whatever He sends our way.
Jesus said "Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19
To the crowds that followed Him, Jesus said:
"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34
Make the decision.
Choose the adventure.
Pick up your cross and follow Me.
Now, not everybody wants to do that.
I recently read a couple of articles by two different CNN reporters (Rachel Held Evans & Laura Sessions Stepp). They were trying to explain why “millennials” (the name for 20 somethings) were leaving church. And CNN was taking it upon itself to counsel churches on what congregations needed to do to start appealing to this generation of people.
Millennials were leaving congregations because the church wasn’t meeting their WANTS.
Now, that’s not quite what these CNN reporters meant to say. But throughout their descriptions of the millennials you saw a repeated drumbeat of: they “want” this and they “want” that.
CNN was saying: unless the church accommodated these WANTS they’d lose these kids
ILLUS: Consider some of the things these “millennials” seem to want.
One of the CNN reporters (Rachel Held Evans) declared that - as Millennials –
• “we want to be known for what we stand for, not what we are against.” What is it they want to be known that they stand for? Among the list “we want our LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transsexual) friends to feel truly welcome in our faith communities.”
In other words: these millennials wanted what THEY wanted.
They’re not particularly concerned about what God might want.
Another CNN reporter (Laura Sessions Stepp) said:
“(Millennials) don't appreciate being condemned for living with a partner, straight or gay, outside of marriage or opting for abortion to terminate an unplanned pregnancy.”
Now notice: these millennials “don’t appreciate” being told these things are wrong.
They’d love to come to church (this CNN reporter tells us) and if it weren’t for a bunch of hardnosed, inflexible Christians they’d love to. But they’d prefer Jesus follow them… not the other way around.
But, the only way to live the life that pleases God and allows Jesus to lead us toward the kind of life He has in store for us - is to do things on HIS terms, not ours.
You see, that was the problem Peter had early on when he was with Jesus.
We’re told in Matthew 10 that Jesus said “…he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
Peter took him aside and BEGAN TO REBUKE HIM. ‘Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to you!’
Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.’” Matthew 16:21-23
You see, Peter USED to think that he could tell Jesus what to do.
He used to think he could make Jesus dance to HIS tune.
But, after a while, Peter realized that that didn’t work out too well.
But now, in Acts chapters 3 and 4, we find an entirely different Peter.
This Peter was now a man who realized the folly of telling Jesus what to do, and who had finally accepted Jesus as his crucified Savior and Risen Lord.
Peter had finally come to the point where he accepted Jesus as someone who would TELL HIM what to do.