Summary: In order to love in action (not just principle or feeling) as Jesus did and commends us to follow, we must first see the people and world around us as Jesus sees them - from the perspective of the cross.
Second in Series: “Love In Action”
Rev. Todd G. Leupold Perth Bible Church July 6, 2008 AM
- As we celebrate this Independence Day weekend, it is fitting that we take a few moments to reflect on our view of our own place in this world.
VIDEO: “What Inspires You” (BluefishTv) – 1:49
WE SEE FROM FEET OF CLAY,
BUT JESUS SEES FROM THE CROSS
We cannot love God absolutely unless we love others sacrificially.
We can not love others sacrificially, unless we are willing to follow Christs’ ultimate example.
We can not follow Christs’ ultimate example until we first learn to see the world as Jesus does – from the cross!
[slide 6] “To take up the cross daily is to see everyone as Jesus sees them: from the cross.”
[slide 7] “Can we look out on the world from the cross?
I.) WE SEE OUR OWN PROBLEMS,
JESUS SEES OTHERS’ PROBLEMS
Jesus very well could have ’saved himself.’ He also easily could have cursed, tortured and smote His tormentors. Proven them all wrong. Demonstrated His full power. Preached to them about how it’s not nice to mock people. But He didn’t.
Instead, He did what was best and necessary for the very people doubting and tormenting Him. He silently took it all and then still gave His life for them in order that their greatest need – salvation – may be made possible!
Jesus is dying a slow, agonizing death. He can’t breathe without great effort and pain. His reputation in the world has been destroyed. He is all but naked and the soldiers are gambling for His clothes. He is terribly thirsty and dehydrated. So, which of these is Jesus’ greatest concern?
NONE OF THE ABOVE. Jesus’ greatest concern is that His followers are loved and cared for long after His death.
As our dear Cheryl Yost wrote in her poem, Road of Life:
Everyone in life walks down a road each day -
Sending out a message in all they do and say.
And everyone must ask themselves what the end result will be.
Will the steps we take be worthy and glorifying to Thee?
Or will our vision be shortsighted, on self we concentrate.
We need to be farsighted, see where the road will lead.
We’re going to reap just what we sow; so plant the precious seed.
Don’t walk the road of pleasure: let Him lift you from the mire.
Walk down the road that gives your life new meaning day by day -
A life that has some substance, bears some fruit along the way.
Don’t walk the road of emptiness; it’s sad and lonely there.
The benefits are short term; you’ve nothing rich to share.
So choose the road that He walked; the benefits are forever.
They join you in a bond of love no human being can sever.
The road may wind and twist and turn, but He’ll be there beside you.
Through the valleys to the mountain top, He’ll always lead and guide you.
Just trust Him when there’s a fork in the road, He’ll show you where to go.
He’ll always lead the right way – because He loves you so!
II.) WE SEE STUPIDITY, JESUS SEES IGNORANCE
Be careful, the distance between stupidity and ignorance can be a very fine line indeed.
Jesus does NOT, through this example or any of His words, ever allow for ignorance to be used to accept or excuse anyone from personal responsibilities or sins.
Rather, the example and point Jesus supplies here from the cross is that – even so – those in Him need to have compassion even for wanton foolishness.
Even while others may stupidly ignore God’s truth and path to blessing, those who are like Christ will still desire that they be forgiven and delivered from their sin and ignorance.
Illustration: My own early struggles, always hating and judging others b/c of ignorance. Jesus has since shown me otherwise.
III.) WE SEE THE NEED FOR JUDGMENT,
JESUS SEES THE NEED FOR REDEMPTION
Again, we have here a very important, but careful distinction which must be made.
The issue is NOT one of guilt or what is deserved. That is unquestioned. Rather, the question is what to do about the guilt and it’s consequences?!
Where there is a choice (which in Christ there is), are we to insist on rigid automatic sentencing or do we offer the rehabilitation that is possible in Christ?
Jesus, on the cross, clearly favors that a lawful, effective rehabilitation be offered before an irreversible sentencing is required!
IV.) WE SEE AN IMPOSSIBLE TASK,
JESUS SEES A COMPLETED TASK
Everyone looked upon Jesus on the cross – unjustly tried, convicted, beaten and defeated – and concluded that the task of carrying out God’s great renewal and redemption had become useless and impossible. Time to quit, face the facts, smell the coffee and cut and run.