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Summary: Life is a lot like “bumper cars.” Do you want to bump those who bump you? That may be a fun strategy for bumper cars, but it’s a terrible strategy for life. Jesus shows us a better way!

DON’T BE A BUMPER CAR CHRISTIAN

Jn. 13:34-35

INTRODUCTION

A. HUMOR: CHURCH BULLETIN

1. An English teacher was at church reading a poster on the wall (not our church) which ended with “Donations Excepted.” 2. She couldn’t resist and marked through the word “Excepted” and put “Accepted.”

3. After the service, she walked back by the poster and noticed someone had marked through her word “Accepted.”

4. Curiosity drove her to see what the correction had been. It now read, “Donations Expected!”

B. BUMPER CAR CHRISTIANS?

1. How many of you have good memories of bumper cars? Sore necks or backs?

2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqnko_x9KD0

Only the first two minutes.

3. Life is a lot like “bumper cars” at an amusement park. You get in your car, knowing that you will get hit . . . you just don’t know how hard.

4. And when you get hit, you step on the gas pedal, chase the one who has hit you, and hope to bump that person harder than they have bumped you.

5. That may be a fun strategy for bumper cars, but it’s a terrible strategy for life. When you get bumped in life, bumping back only escalates matters and in the end everyone suffers damage.

6. Jesus had a better strategy: Forgive those who have “bumped” us. Like Peter, we may wonder how many times we have to forgive. The Lord’s answer was that there was no limit to grace. (Matt. 18:21-22). [Joe Stowell]

C. TEXT

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Jn. 13:34-35.

D. THESIS

1. This morning we’re going to see how we can better represent Jesus to a lost world, our church, and our families.

2. Title: “Don’t Be a Bumper Car Christian!”

I. NATURAL REACTIONS TO MISTREATED

There are many situations that can provoke us to unChristlike responses:

1. Bad driver cuts in, almost wrecks you;

2. Boss gets onto you without cause;

3. A family member is belligerent, hateful to you.

4. A church member ignores you.

5. Your Christian values are mocked by unbelievers. HOW DO YOU REACT?

A. HURT -- it hurts!

1. Nobody likes rejection, or to be the butt of jokes, but it’s a part of life, to some extent, and also part of our lot as Christians.

2. "All who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" 2 Timothy 3:12. Peter says in his epistle that persecution is a witness that the Spirit of God is within us (1 Peter 4:14).

B. GET DEFENSIVE OR DENIAL

1. Take up for yourself.

2. Or deny the criticism is true.

3. HUMOR

a. Who knows how many pints are in a quart? (2)

b. On her way to a picnic, Julie Guiterrez stopped at a fast food place to order a quart of potato salad. "We don't sell it by the quart," the clerk snapped.

c. "Okay, then give me two pints, please," she replied.

d. Julie added, “I'm proud to say I held my tongue when she asked, "Do you want it in one container?"”

C. GET EVEN – ATTACK YOUR ENEMIES

1. In the flesh, you can even justify revenge or spiritualize it.

2. ILLUSTRATION.

a. Did you hear about the efficiency expert who did a seminar on time management for a company's junior executives? He ended one of his lectures with a disclaimer. "Don't attempt these task-organizing tips at home," he said. "Why not?" someone asked.

b. "I did a study of my wife's routine of fixing breakfast," he said sheepishly. "She made a lot of trips between the refrigerator and the stove, the table and the cabinets — often carrying only one item. So I asked my wife, ‘Honey, why don't you try carrying several things at once so you can be more efficient.' "

c. "Did that save time?" the questioner continued. "Actually, yes," the lecturer replied. "It used to take her twenty minutes to get my breakfast. Now I get my own in seven."

D. HOLD A GRUDGE/ BITTERNESS

"A grudge is the only thing that doesn't get better when it is nursed" (Treasury, p. 113).

II. SPECIFICS OF THE WAY OF LOVE

A. LOVE IN SHOE LEATHER

1. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8; “4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.

2. This is a description of love in practical and personal ways. Are we always patient? Always kind? Do we boast? Are we self-seeking? Easily angered? Do we keep a record of other’s wrongs? [We ALL have a lot of work to do!]

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