Summary: Where are the Christians who would stand out in a crowd? The church seems to conform and be idle in sharing the gospel. But Christ call is still alive for us today.
Stand Out- Part 1
Influence with Outsiders
Pastor Ryan Akers
What have you ever done to stand out in a crowd? Life pushes conformity, we are crying to make an impression on this world. We want to because deep down we know there is something more than what we have right now.
The church has grown into this pattern of conformity. (same ministries, programs, service projects). Where is the fire that Jesus had? Jesus stood out. His disciples stood out. They had this untamed faith that made them radical to the common believer. They didn’t get caught up in ritual and tradition they were driven to reach the lost for Christ.
And for that they were persecuted. The church before Christ came was filled with people who had lost sight of the goal, of their mission. They traded fire and passion that David, Moses, and Daniel had shown for traditions, rituals, and rules. It became legalistic. And when Jesus walked into the picture he turned everything upside down. He challenged the thinking of his day and his message from God was the opposite of what they were teaching. It was fresh, it was new, it was a message of love and sacrifice instead of rules and regulations.
And for that he was crucified. But Christ call has not ended. Today you and I are called to this same passion to be filled with fire and passion for Christ. To live to love and to love to live for Him. But our modern day church has seemed to once again fall back into a pattern of rules and ritual. The modern day church has become too focused on how we look then how we live. Its more concerned about attendance numbers than salvation numbers.
My message today is about challenging each of you to rediscover the passion that brought you to Christ. To let go of any mindset of conformity and to learn to unleash that raw untamed faith that God has placed in you. Where Christ is alive and you have to tell somebody about it. We are living in a hurting world and what better opportunity than now to do something about it. To reach out to the lost. To show them that Christ is still alive. To be risk takers and to help reignite the fire of our early church fathers.
Take This Home: You were born to be wild
God did not create us to conform. He created us to be transformed. Romans 12:1-2 I could not think of a better example start this series off with than John the Baptist. Before Christ came to begin his ministry there was a messenger that announced his coming. It was prophesied he would come. Malachi 3:1
There was nobody like John. His zeal and untamed faith for God was infectious. The religious leaders even wondered if he was Moses or Elijah reincarnate. But he was just John. A simple man with a passion for his mission. In reality his background is not important. (don’t ask the western union guy where he comes from). Your not interested in the background of the messenger your interested in the message. John made is clear he was just the messenger. Matthew makes it clear by not focusing on his background but starting right in the middle of his message.
1-6: strange character, unusual dresser and had strange eating habits, not worried about appearance, solely focused on mission. If you worry about things then you lose sight of the mission. Matthew 6:25-34
7-10: Clearly not a fan of the established religion. His fire and brimstone message was entirely focused on the religious not the irreligious. The religion of his day made him sick and he had no patience for those who were drowning in their own self-righteousness.
John is saying to these men that there has to be evidence of a new life in you. You just can’t go through the act of baptism. There must be fruit. (well I’ve been baptized)
“To claim we believe is simply not enough. The call of Jesus demands action.” Erwin McManus
The NT says a lot about fruit. Fruit bearing is the result of having the right kind of fruit. John says the ax has been laid to the root of the tree because the tree is not bearing fruit. Apple trees bear apples and plum tree bear plums, but when a fruit tree bears thorns it won’t produce fruit. It must be cut down.
Where’s your fruit? Fruit doesn’t come just by coming to church. We must work. Do His work, thirst for God’s wisdom. It’s not King ruling servant. We serve because we love. We live to love and we love to live. We obey because we love, we sacrifice because we love and he sacrificed. John sacrificed out of love and obedience, not because he couldn’t afford to live a better more conformed lifestyle. He chose his lifestyle because it kept him focused on his mission.