Summary: Why does God call us to live differently than the world around us? It doesn’t seem fair!
Way back in September, when we started Breakaway for the new school year we introduced our theme for the year as Jump! The whole idea was looking at the importance of jumping into a relationship with Christ. We picked this word for three main reasons.
First, we said that jump communicates no turning back! When someone jumps out of plane to skydive, there is no turning back. You are falling to the earth and there is no way to turn around and get back in the plane. You are all in, 100%, no turning back and that is how Christ wants us to be living in a relationship with Him.
Second, jump communicates excitement and fear. We compared this to a zip line on a ropes course. It takes guts to jump off the platform at first but once you have jumped you experience such excitement and joy. That is what it is like to follow Jesus. Sometimes it is hard to obey and follow but when we do, there is nothing like it!
The last thing we said was that, third, jump communicates something that stands out. As one person begins to jump in a crowded room, they are easily seen and look different from everyone else. They stand out and God uses their example to make a difference in the world around them.
We have spent the last four months going through the beginning of the book of Matthew. Specifically, we have been looking at some of the stories that involve the first disciples of Jesus, the very first ones to jump into a relationship with Him. As we have learned a lot from their examples and stories and how and why they followed this man named Jesus, tonight I want to turn the corner from focusing on those first disciples and look now at the disciples and potential disciples of Jesus that are in this room.
As we just stated, jumping in a relationship with Christ means that our lives should be standing out to others. We are called to live differently in the world than everyone else. What is supposed to be different about our lives as we jump into a relationship with Christ and how do we do that? As we will be answering that question slowly over the next few months, tonight I want to start at square one and think about why God want us to do something like that? At first glance, it doesn’t sound like it is a good thing.
I mean, just this morning, as I sat down to spend some personal time with Jesus, I began reading a new devotional I just got called Devotion (imagine that) by a guy named Mike Yaconelli. Would you believe it, the very first reading was all about how “disciples [of Jesus] are aliens in this world” and then the scripture reading was from the first letter that the disciple Peter wrote to the Jews living in the Roman Empire. In it he says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us (NIV).”
What comes to your guys minds when thinking about being an alien? Maybe if you were seven, the thought of being an alien would be pretty cool when it was connected to Halloween or some kind of game. But to be asked to be an alien around your school, at your home (although I am sure that some of you would say your parents already think you are some kind of weird alien), or in the rest of the world doesn’t seem that attractive.
This term alien is especially a negative one nowadays with all of the political conversations going on about aliens and illegal aliens being in our country. There is a lot of oppression on people today just because they are a different ethnicity or originally from a different country. Again, doesn’t sound like much fun to me!
What about being a stranger? For most of us “stranger” is a very negative word as well. For most of our lives we are told to stay away from “strangers,” don’t get in the car with “strangers,” don’t take candy from “strangers” (thus making the concept of Halloween and very odd thing), and most of all, under no circumstances are we supposed to talk to “strangers.” With all of that being said, why would we want to be an alien or a stranger and even more so why would God ask us to do that?