Sermons

Summary: Risk and reward of the radical life, sacrifice, death.

LIVING WHEN DYING IS GAIN

(THE RISK AND THE REWARD OF THE RADICAL LIFE)

Matt 10:39 (p 688) Oct. 23, 2011

INTRODUCTION: If someone asked you “what does being a follower of Christ mean to you? “ And I suppose I’m asking those individuals who have made the decision public…If you have not done so I might pose this question…”what have you seen in individuals that persuades you this person is a follower of Christ.”

What answers would you give…they go to the church a lot….they pray….they read the Bible…they do good stuff….they give…they’re nice….

Would that definition be different in China…or Syria…would that definition be different in first century…34AD Jerusalem?

My question is really an honest and sincere one…”what does it mean to be a follower of Jesus Christ.”

Does it mean something different now than it did then? Has time, location, culture, politics, changed this definition? It is my firm belief that what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ has not changed…

Its radical…it’s extremely risky…it’s costly and sometimes painful and lonely…

Jesus says to those who would be His followers…

“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

You see most of us would like to add Jesus to our lives…kind of attach Him like training wheels on a bicycle…Help me learn to ride…keep me from eaten the pavement…give me security and safety…and then when we get it figured out…we take him off and ride on our own.

But Jesus said, “anyone who follows me risk their safety, they risk worldly security, they give up all the things that use to give them satisfaction…However…following me leads to a radical reward…not just heaven when you die…but real abundant life now…”you think your losing your life following me? Nope...Following me is when you’ll fine real life….I AM that life.

What did he tell His disciples to remember as they sought to fulfill this call?

I LOSE YOURSELF IN THE NEEDS OF OTHERS:

This challenge in Matt 10:39 comes at the end of a startling speech Jesus gave to his disciples.

He is sending them out into the world…and he shares the risks they will have undertake in following him

He says, you’ll be surrounded by great need….His instructions “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with Leprosy, drive out demons.”

Jesus is saying these are the people you will encounter…the diseased, the dying, the despised and the dangerous…

Lose yourself among these people…show them me.

Walk into the hepatitis soup of New Orleans, and clean out that house and rebuild it for Shavian and her little girl...leave your white collar microwave security for the dirty streets of Haiti and hold that baby in your arms…Head to Joplin Mo…to the trash and rebel of peoples’ lives and seek to rebuild more than a building.

Jesus is good! And His good even when he calls you and me to places that are dirty and disease ridden.

{In the chronicles of Narnia…Lucy the little girl asks Mr. Beaver about Aslan, the Lion…Lucy’s question…Is He safe….and Mr. Beaver response was no child…he’s not safe…but oh is He good!]

It will not always be safe to lose your life in the needs of others….but Jesus will always be good because He has met us at our deepest need and now uses us to show his glory and to advance his gospel among the places of greatest need in the world.

How about these words of Jesus

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves” (Matt 10:16)

II LOSE YOUR SELF IN DANGEROUS PLACES.

Have you ever been around sheep? I have a little, and they are the most helpless and needy animals in existence.

They are idiots {During a live nativity at Anderson C.C. my buddy Clayton borrowed this sheep named Lucy for the presentation…He tied her to the fence…and the entire night Lucy ate grass, chewed grass and did nothing….Lucy was a family pet…As Clayton and I closed up shop for the night…He unhitched Lucy…comatose Lucy…and for just a moment he released his grip on the rope…and Lucy took off….straight toward 127…a busy highway….and I whaled Clayton…[who looks exactly like Elmer Fudd…..break the spread of sound calling Lucy and tackling her before she got run over….sheep are idiots] they have no defiance mechanism, except to run!

As a result, the dumbest thing a sheep can do is to wander into a pack of wolves…

So why in the world was Jesus, the Good Shepherd, telling his followers to hang out with wolves?

He’s telling them and …in truth us as his followers…”I am sending you to dangerous places, where you will find yourself in the middle of ferocious, vicious people. And you will go there by my design.”

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