Summary: Finding the courage to testify about Jesus seems to be so difficult for Christian now days because they have no examined the Scripture concerning Jesus.
Scripture: Matthew 11:1 - 6
Title: “Bragging Rights”
Introduction: How many times have we heard someone make the statement, “I’m the man”?
A saying arose a few years ago, “No brag, just facts!”
John the Baptist was languishing in prison appearing to be discouraged and disillusioned.
John had introduced Jesus to the Jewish nation as its Messiah. He had meekly declared: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
John had assumed that Jesus would fulfill the expected role of the Messiah, destroying the foreign oppressor (Rome) and freeing His people from bondage.
But this was exactly what Jesus was not doing.
The question John was asking was literally: “Are You the Coming One, or are we waiting for another?”
In other words, “Are You really the Messiah?”
When John’s disciples came to Jesus and asked this question Jesus sent them back with the report: “the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.” (Matthew 11:5)
I. IN TIMES LIKE THESE.
a. The wrong people were in charge of things. – Caesar was conquering and controlling and changing the world.
b. Herod and his family were building massive and beautiful structures, including the Jerusalem temple.
c. Roman philosophers and teachers along with all the other corrupt people were influencing the world at that time.
d. We find the predecessor of Christ Jesus Himself on death row for preaching the TRUTH.
e. This sounds a lot like things in this present time, doesn’t it?
f. The Who’s Who of our day, most of the time, winds up being an ATHEIS, or a HOMOSEXUAL, or someone with the MORALS of an ALLEY CAT.
g. Most of the time the person who is really trying to live a Christian life and change our society for the better is portrayed as some kind of a NUT.
h. We’ve had our: “Jim Jones” – “Jimmy Swaggarts” – “Jim & Tammy Bakers” to the point that it is hard to have someone to HOLD UP to the world as a “Hero.” (Someone we can “Brag” on!)
II. WHO’S YOUR HERO?
(After September 11, 2001 many of the definitions of the word, “Hero” have dropped from the thoughts of people”)
a. “Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings at a single bound, “Look” up in the sky, it’s “Superman.”
b. What’s the definition of “Hero”? – A man, often of divine ancestry, who is endowed with great courage and strength, celebrated for his bold exploits.
A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life.
A person noted for special achievement in a particular field.
c. If I were to invite you over to my house this afternoon to meet my “Hero” what kind of a person would you expect to find?
d. Will the things that determine what we term as a “Hero” only ENTERTAIN you or will they CHANGE your LIFE for the better?
e. I remember that as a child, I had many heroes.
Through books I remember reading of the great men of history - of pharaohs and kings, of inventors and pioneers, and of presidents like Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln.
On television I would sit for hours watching Andy Griffith, Tarzan, Batman & Robin, Superman, and many others who fought for the cause of good.
I remember in the world of sports, names like Jim Thorpe, Gehrig and Ruth, Dimaggio, Mantle, Staubach, Unitas, Starr & Lombardi, Marovich, Dr. J, Byrd and Magic - how they all stirred-up dreams of succeeding and becoming something bigger than life.
But then I grew up - Someone pointed out to me that Andy Griffith smoked - that Babe Ruth was an alcoholic - that Jefferson was an adulterer!
In the world we now live in, the heroes of my youth have all been stripped of their dignity - the magic torn away from the innocence of childhood.
I even remember as a child thinking my own father was a huge man who could do nothing wrong, but I’ll never forget that day - I entered into the hospital room after my father had surgery, and realized my father’s fragile state, his weakness, his imperfection.
f. Where have all the heroes gone? – Can they be found in “Bart Simpson” – in “Beavis & Butthead” – in “Al Bundy” – “Howard Stern” – “Dennis Rodman” or the “President of the United States of America”?
III. THE NEED FOR A REAL – LIFE HERO.
(Someone we can brag on – Someone we can “Praise”)