Summary: If we are going to experience what the NT church experienced, to see the lost saved and lives changed, we cannnot life a "safe" life. We have to be close to the "danger."
Danger Close: Is the Christian Life Safe? January 21, 2009
What is the scariest thing that has happened to you? What did you do?
If we are going to experience what the NT church experienced, to see the lost saved and lives changed, we cannnot life a "safe" life. We have to be close to the danger.
Review: Acts 10 - Church in Transition: Peter and Cornelius
1. A new vision: Change the way you see people.
2. Take the risk for relationship
1. Next: They speak in tongues! 10:44-47
When people are hungry for God, God shows up!
2. Peter gets into trouble: 11:2-3 You ate with those people?
Peter was about to lose some of his closest friends.
"Danger Close:" In artillery and naval gunfire support, information in a call for fire to indicate that friendly forces are within 600 meters of the target.
Example: "We Were Soliders" with Mel Gibson
How much risk is okay? How much trouble are we willing to put up for others to experience forgiveness?
When your computer freaks out, it asks some crazy question about “safe mode.” Can we live this Christian life in “Safe” mode?
We have a need for safety and security, but is it really safe to be a Christian?
Illus: Airplane crashes are more survivable! But who wants to try?
How can we live a "Danger Close" Christian life that makes a difference? How does Peter answer his critics?
I. Remember Jesus. 11:15-16
• Do you remember what Jesus said? Do you remember what he did for you? He risked it all for us!
• Whenever I am fearful about my own life, remember Jesus
• Whenever I am tempted to look down on someone, or to give up, I should remember the Jesus did not give up on me!
"When I think about the Lord…it makes me want to shout"
II. Stay out of God’s way. 11:17
Illus: Steve Watt: Forgiving the Dangerous Fugitive
Wyoming state trooper Steve Watt was shot during a traffic stop and left to die. For years, he struggled with hatred toward his shooter, Mark Farnham. But Steve took the risk and now Steve and Mark are friends. Steve did not let his anger get in the way of Mark coming to Jesus.
There are people who are seeking God: Will we get in the way?
"How horrible it will be for you, (people who think you are religious)! You hypocrites! You lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. You don’t enter it yourselves, and you don’t permit others to enter when they try. Mt 23:13
How do we get in the way? When we become the center of attention.
What is the trade off? If I stay with this relationship, is it going help me, them, or both, encounter God?
If a relationship is not helping you or them grow spiritually, take a step back.
What is amazing is some of us are willing to risk our salvation for a sinful relationship, but we are not willing to risk our lives for a spiritual relationship.
But we cannot live “safe” if we expect lives to change – including ours.
What is our message? Salvaiton, Forgivenss…for who? Sinners!
John Wesley said, "Some people want to live within the sound of chapel bells, but I want to run a mission a yard from the gates of hell."
How are we going to reach people who are drowning if we don’t get in the water?
C.S. Lewis Narnia: Aslan is a lion. He’s the King of the Beasts. He’s a great Lion. Now, Susan asks the beavers, “Is he safe?” Mrs. Beaver says, “If there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”
Lucy asks, “Then he isn’t safe?”
And Mr. Beaver says this famous line about Aslan: “Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
Do your knees ever knock in the Presence of God? He is not safe, but he is good!
Danger Close = Potential for Collateral Damage
In a war, there will be injuries. We cannot expect to live the life of a disciple and never by hurt, rejected, disappointed, trampled on, hated.
There are many examples in the Bible of relationships gone wrong. Even Jesus was rejected by his own followers. The church will have some battles.
We will experience pain. But it’s worth it!
Jesus: They hated me, of course they will hate you.
We are pressed down but not destroyed.
What does not kill me makes me stronger.
We need to use wisdom. The Bible is full of situations where people ran to safety (Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, Paul). But ultimately, our safety does not come from our surroundings, events, the economy, or government. Our safety is in God himself. He is our refuge.