Summary: A message that encourages Christians to "live" their faith in their vocation. A reminder that we are to be an apprentice and Jesus is our teacher.
In Jesus Holy Name December 10, 2005
Text John 4:7,9-11 Advent II – Redeemer
“Just Do It- A Message to Christians”
The Nike Corporation this past year has been running many of their commercials with the theme, “just do it”. I suppose they are trying to encourage all of us to exercise. Just Do It! Just do something! Walk. Run. Jog. Play sports. But whatever you do …do it in Nike products.
“Just do it!” could also be the apostle’s John’s message to the Christian community, to all of us. Today we welcome into God’s family, and our congregation by baptism and confirmation new members. This is a special day. An exciting day as these individuals profess their faith in the resurrected Lord and Savior, Jesus.
What advice can we give to you on such an important day? “Just do it!”
John writes: “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God…this is how God showed his love among us; he sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.: This is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
True love is not conditional. True love is unconditional. In his book, “Living God’s Love” author Douglas Cooper says: “The average person is programmed from birth to love only conditionally. Consequently, many people grow up feeling that they have to earn love. Earn it by good behavior, agreeing to let someone else have their way, by giving someone what they want, or simply by being nice.”
God’s love is unconditional. God accepts us. Romans 5 says: “God demonstrates his love toward us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
Unconditional love in marriage means “no more criticizing”. Unconditional love in a church means “no more criticizing”. It’s easy to give unconditional love if people are always helpful, kind, responsible, polite, and never made mistakes, never let you down, never tried to have their way.” It’s easy to then give hugs and smiles. But unconditional love means we smile, we hug, even when people are unkind, unhelpful, irresponsible, always let you down. It’s not easy. It calls for us to practice “forgiveness.” So, as a disciple of Jesus….”Just do it.”
Dallas Willard in his book “The Divine Conspiracy” asks this question: “Who teaches you? Whose disciple are you? One thing for sure. You are somebody’s disciple. You learned how to live from somebody else. There are no exceptions to this rule. Human beings are creatures that have to learn and keep on learning from others how to live.
Probably you are a disciple of several “some bodies”, and they very likely gave shape to your personality, your character, your goals.
Originally we are disciples of our parents, to other family members. Usually this is good, but not always. We are disciples of our teachers, then our playmates, our peers and then our teachers again. This could include instructors in the armed services, academic professors, artists, musicians, or other individuals.
Today you are making public declaration that you are, and will be, a disciple of Jesus. Jesus wants his people to live their lives as students and co laborers. He has not only offered those who follow him forgive-ness and eternal life, but the power of the Holy Spirit to help guide us in our imitation of His character.
If Jesus is our teacher and we are his students then we must study under him and thus learn how to do everything we do in the name of the Lord Jesus. (Col. 3:17) on his behalf as if he were doing it.
You enter into the Christian community by invitation from God through the Holy Spirit. You enter his community of believers through baptism and confirmation. Through the study of His word, his teachings, you learn what makes life workable. You enter his kingdom through a narrow door. The narrow door is not doctrinal correctness, (although that is what the Pharisees thought) but the narrow door is obedience to the teachings of Jesus the teacher.
The broad road that leads to destruction is simply doing whatever you want. Jesus said, “the will of my Father….is to believe on him whom God has sent”… and we are invited to walk in his footsteps.
Whether in the epistles of Paul, or Peter or John, they all tell us that our discipleship under the tutelage of Jesus will transform us so that our core personality will be characterized by “agape”: selfless love.
If we are to be someone’s apprentice, there is absolutely one thing you and I need to do. We must be with that person. To follow Jesus means to be with him, to learn from him and to be like him.