Summary: This message is the fourth in the "I AM" series that focuses on knowing Jesus. It looks at Jesus’ statement, "I am the Good Shepherd" and at the core of our faith - Jesus’ work of salvation.
“I AM: The Jesus We Think We Know”
Part 4 – Jesus to the Rescue
NewSong Church – 08/12/07
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**NOTE: THIS IS A CONCEPT OUTLINE FOR THIS MESSAGE, NOT THE FULL MANUSCRIPT. GRAPHICS AND MULTIMEDIA ARE AVAILABLE TO SUPPORT THIS SERIES.
Video Clip - “Jesus Condemns You”
The Jesus We Think We Know
This morning we continue our series, “I AM: The Jesus We Think We Know.” We can find many misconceptions about Jesus concerning his identity, and this video illustrates a very common perception of Jesus. Many people believe that Jesus came to earth with one goal in mind: to tell me how much of a loser I am.
If you have ever read Douglas Adams’ “Hitch hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” you may recall a character named Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged, an immortal being driven by one goal: to insult everybody in the Universe, alphabetically. In the story, the main character, Arthur Dent, has been stranded in the prehistoric earth era when a spaceship appears, lands and a tall figure strolls out, looks at Arthur and says, “You’re a jerk, Arthur Dent. A complete kneebiter.”
Jesus Condemns You
This is often the idea that some have created about Jesus. They don’t see Jesus, the Son of God who came to earth because of love. They don’t see Jesus, the miracle-worker, healing the sick and ministering to people in need. They don’t know Jesus, the Savior of the World who died for the sin of all humanity in order to make us right with and acceptable to God. They aren’t aware of the Jesus who works within us and is returning for us.
But they have heard of the Jesus who condemns them. They know all about the Jesus who looks at them and says, “You’re not good enough.” They have experienced rejection from the Jesus who is too busy, too important, too holy.
For many people, their understanding of Jesus is that he came from God or somewhere in order to tell us how much wrong we’re doing, to highlight the failures and flaws in our lives, and to guilt-trip us into doing something good, usually for a church.
Perhaps you’ve even experienced these feelings? Maybe the last time you failed in something, came up short in some area of your personal life – you know, those areas where we find ourselves involved in something that we know we shouldn’t be involved in, and we get caught up, and afterwards we sit there feeling angry with ourselves, or disappointed, or guilty… and what is our view of Jesus at that moment? Do we think of Jesus beside us, hand on our shoulder saying, “it’s gonna be ok, I understand”? Or do we have the more common view – that Jesus is looking down from heaven, going “Tsk, tsk, tsk,” or shaking his head in righteous disappointment, or just sitting there watching and muttering, “I’m gonna get you for that. You are gonna pay, big time.”
People have a messed up view of Jesus.
This view, this “Jesus Condemns You” mentality is not even close to the truth about Jesus Christ. In fact, we have Jesus’ own words, found in John 3:16-17 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. I have come not to judge the world, but to save it.”
But people hold on to it – and it keeps them from experiencing any kind of relationship with God. Even when confronted with Jesus’ very words of love and forgiveness, some people refuse to accept them. Why?
In this case, the root cause is usually Christians. We’ve all heard of the phrase, “holier than thou.” We use it to refer to people who are “too good” to participate in some activity that we are doing, people who hold themselves to a higher standard than the one we’ve set for our own lives. And usually, the attributes we associate with these type of people (besides an infuriating arrogance and sickening smugness) is that they are always quick to judge. They are always ready to criticize. And their lives are always perfect and our lives are always full of problems, according to them.
Remember what I said in the first week of this series – image is important. Impressions are important. No matter how open-minded we may be, we still form them and images and impressions drive our decision making process. And because these people claim to be representatives of God, followers of Jesus, people see their actions and believe that is what Jesus is like too. It is a point for us to remember – that if we tell people that our lives are modeled after Jesus, how we demonstrate our faith and our relationship with Christ will create in people images and impressions about who Jesus is.