Well let’s see our bibles this morning, word. Let’s see our pens and your lesson plan. Let’s turn to Matthew 4, Matthew 4.
I was watching Larry King a couple days ago, about a week ago. He had on 6 religious leaders and we had a, they had a Christian pastor, a catholic priest, Jewish rabbi, a Muslim imam, a, the president of the American atheist, and another woman which I don’t know what she represented. I never saw her title but she was somewhere, she wasn’t our definition of Christian. And they were asking questions about life, death, just the tsunami, 9-11, all these different questions.
Larry King said to John Mc Arthur who was the Christian pastor said – Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven? And he says – Absolutely. The bible says that there’s no name under heaven by which men may be saved except the name Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ and now this is me talking, Jesus Christ is the only one that died for our sin, that claimed to die for our sin, claim to rise from the dead and did. He said that and of course everyone else had an issue with that but sitting next to him was a catholic priest and the catholic priest says = I appreciate your, you know I believe Christ is the Lord but I believe there are other ways and he gestured to the Jewish rabbi and the, thee ah um the Muslim imam and he said – There are other ways people can experience God. I don’t believe Christ is the only way. And I was like – Man! You know, and on those shows you have to be very diplomatic. I just can’t imagine myself being on this show just saying, sitting there going – Oh yeah whatever you say.
Um and then there was a woman and by the way, this summer we’re gonna go through a lot of the religions and cults and talk about their view of Christ. Cuz right now we’re talking about who is Jesus really and then we’re gonna talk about how other people view Him so you can see the difference because there is a difference. I know in our society we want to include everybody, um in reality that’s not true.
You know I have 3 children. That’s all I have, 3 children and if all these other kids come over to my house, yeah you come over to my house visit, you know eat food, you know play in the pool or whatever but you’re not my kids. I have 3 children. I know who my 3 children are.
Christ knows who His children are and there are certain guidelines to how to become one of His children.
But this lady on there, she was an atheist. She was a, thee president of American atheists and she said – There is not one shred of evidence that a man named Jesus lived and everyone else was silent. They went to a commercial and I’m thinking – Say something someone that she is out of her mind. Now that’s her, her, she represents the devil. When I say that I really believe that. To say there’s no God, the bible says a fool says in his heart there’s no God. And so she’s representing that whole mindset that God does not exist at all, much less Christ never existed. Not that He wasn’t God, He never even existed.
How do we know that Christ existed? Today we’re gonna talk about who the disciples believe Christ was. The reason I tell you story about the atheist is because there’s many ways to prove that Christ existed without even having seen Him. The one way you prove that Christ existed is by what people do and how He’s changed their life.
We do a lot of counseling here. I think we get about a call an hour give or take on a working day. It averages about a call an hour or two for counseling and I do basically none of it but I have counseled many people in my lifetime and whenever I counsel someone who is a, cheating on their wife or mistreating their wife I always, they always tell me – I did this. I did this. I did this or I didn’t do this and then somewhere in that conversation they will always say – But I love my wife. And then somewhere in that conversation, probably right after they say that I will say – you don’t know what that means. You don’t love your wife. You love what you want to do and the way you can tell by, if someone loves somebody, the way that you can tell that they have that person really in their life is really not by what they say. It’s about what they do.
And now the disciples said Christ was God. They called Him the Christ which is the Messiah or the anointed one or the Savior. They called Him Lord. They called Him God. They called Him Rabbi. They called Him king of Israel and we’re gonna hear a few of those titles today but I don’t want to read through all those examples of all the things they called Him because you can read that and we’re gonna read in a few minutes.
I want to talk to you about 4 things they actually did to prove these things were true. Before we do that we have some people who want to read for you so are you ready? Who has the microphone? Here we go. What we want you to is just state your name and then we’re all gonna say when they say their name – We love you whatever their name is and then you’re gonna read the verse. Ok? It’s like an AA meeting.
My name’s Brett, good morning. Thank you, thank you. I’m gonna read Mark 8:29. He said to them – But who do you say that I am? Peter answered and said to Him – you are the Christ. Thank you very much.
Good morning my name is Dave. This is from John 1:49 – Nathaniel answered and said
to Him – Rabbi you are the Son of God. You are the king of Israel. Thank you.
Hi my name is Sarah and I’m reading John 20:28 - And Thomas answered and said to Him – My Lord and my God. Again Lord and God, king, Rabbi, Christ, Lord.
Good morning church. My name’s George, James 1:1 – James a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the 12 tribes which are scattered abroad greetings.
Let me read a few more to you. If you’re taking notes just write down John 20:31. John wrote – These things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God and that by believing you may have life in His name. John 20:31.
Matthew used over 120 Old Testament verses to verify Christ was the Messiah of the Old Testament.
Mark 10:25 Jesus says, well he wrote that Jesus says – I did not come to be served but to serve and give my life as a ransom for many.
Colossians 2:9 – for in Christ all the fullness in deity lives in bodily form.
So we, and you can go on and on and on and on and read about what Paul, Peter, John, James, Matthew, Mark, Luke all wrote about the identity of Christ. If you just look at all the titles they refer to Him as Lord, God, Christ, Messiah, the image of the invisible God. In Him dwells all the glory of God, etc., etc., etc. So there’s no question that they said they believe that’s who He was and if you hear people, when you witness to people and people say – Well how do we know that the disciples really believe what they wrote? Did they really intend to write history?
Matter of fact people say all the gospel writers are fishermen. They couldn’t have written accurate history. Well 1- All the gospel writers weren’t fishermen. Mark was a businessman/journalist. Luke was a doctor. Matthew was a tax collector. So only 1 of the 4 gospel writers was a fisherman. Paul was a very educated and trained Rabbi. So if someone says they were all fishermen, 1-You say – Well that’s not true. #2-Just because they were fishermen doesn’t mean they couldn’t write accurate history. And #3-If they say because they weren’t journalists you couldn’t have got it right. Do journalists always get it right? No! so when you’re, when people argue that, don’t buy their argument.
The other thing: the effectiveness of the gospels or the effectiveness of the bible is not dependent on the education of the writer. It’s dependent on the power of the Holy Spirit. In other words when you come to church and the preacher’s speaking and God, something the preacher says speaks to your heart, it’s not because the preacher knows you. It’s not because when he was studying he learned something about you. It’s because God spoke to you. And so in the same way God can speak to you through a preacher you don’t even know and has no idea who you are or what your life is, the same way God can speak to these gospel writers to write what’s relevant and has um eternal truth.
There’s 4 things we’re gonna look at that these disciples did, their actions. Their actions spoke louder than words and there’s 4 things they did we’re gonna look at and #1 is that they left all they had to follow Jesus. They left all they had to follow Jesus. Look at Matthew 4, Matthew 4:18. It says – Jesus is walking by the sea of Galilee saw 2 brothers Simon called Peter and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea for they were fishermen and He said – Follow me and I will make you fishers of me and immediately they left their nets and followed Him. Going on from there He saw 2 brothers James the son of Zebedee and John his brother in the boat with Zebedee their father mending their nets and He called them and immediately they left their boat, their father and followed Him.
9:9, Matthew 9:9 it says – Jesus passed on from there and saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s office and Matthew’s the author of this book, sitting at the tax office cuz he was a tax collector. He was a government official. And He said to him – Follow me. And he arose and followed Him.
Very simple. It is one thing for me to say – Christ is my Lord, it’s a whole nother deal to follow Him.
We have a ministry called Miles Ahead Ministries that we’ve had for over 10 years. We do youth evangelism and our mission is to lead a million kids to the Lord by 2012 and we’ve done it through, we’ve had many youth crusades and probably’ve had 25,000 teenagers get saved through these crusades. Well this year we’re gonna produce a youth documentary. It’s a youth program, youth documentary/reality show. It’s a reality show because we’re gonna pick a young person and follow them around for a couple days and learn about their life. It’s a documentary because we’re gonna teach something and what we’re gonna teach is the relevance of the gospel to these young people’s lives. And in this show we’re gonna show their life and I’m gonna be in the show interviewing them and then telling stories about biblical principles of their life, telling bible stories, Discovery Channel stories but all related to the spiritual eternal principle to their life, to teach the audience about how God is very relevant to these young kids lives. This first one’s gonna be about crime and going to jail and we’re gonna talk about forgiveness and second chances and blah-blah-blah-blah-blah.
And as we’re gonna go through the show at the end of the program we’re gonna challenge the viewer to go on the internet, our website and do 1 of many things but 1 of them is to vote that this young person will make the right decision and some of the decisions we’re gonna offer them is to get saved. We’re gonna offer them a decision to get a job that we’re gonna offer them or a scholarship to go to college that we’ll offer them so they can have a jumpstart on changing their life.
Now this program is for secular TV. This is not for Christian TV and so we want to get the word of God into the secular market, our, and we appreciate you praying for this, our goal is obviously MTV. That’s our prize. We’re having a golf tournament and banquet to unveil this and raise money for it. If you want to go in the back and get, pick up 1 of these flyers and come learn about that.
But the pro, the purpose that I tell you that story is that while we’re showing and talking to this young person at some point in the program, at some point in our relationship with time with them, we’re gonna challenge them to make a decision to walk away from their old life. They, we’re not, we don’t just want to glorify what they’re doing and show it to you, the purpose is to cause them to make a change and everyone who is watching the show to make a change. So when they go on the website they also will be challenged to accept Christ as their Savior.
When you accepted Christ as your Savior theoretically you said to God – I am walking away from my old life. Do you believe that? Did you really do that? In other words, are you conducting your life your way or are you conducting your life God’s way? What in your life are you still doing? What are you wearing? Things you say? Things you eat? Things you watch? Things you listen to? How you treat people that do not reflect Christ? In other words we go to church on Sunday, you may read your bible here and there, you may pray here and there but basically you’re just a person that’s a little better than you were before doing things the best way you know how but you’re not really modeling your life after Christ.
When these disciples were called, what they did was they got up and they said – Dad I have to leave and they left and they followed Christ and they did what He said to do and they learned to live His way.
And the challenge for you today is yeah you all know Christ is the, Jesus is the Christ, the anointed one, the Messiah, the Lord, the God. We all believe that pretty much but how do we know that they believed it? It’s because of what they did. How are people gonna know you believe it? It’s only by what you do. You can talk about it all day long and people ain’t listening to you. Trust me, they ain’t listening to you. They’re watching you.
I got saved and one of the bigger reasons I got saved because there was a guy on the team who lived it and I watched him. I didn’t know he was a Christian and I watched him everyday and he was loud and he was funny, and everyone liked him, and he was cool but he never cursed. And I sat there and watched him everyday. I was sitting my locker and watching him in the locker and just sitting there look at him and say – He is gonna curse. I know it, I know it and I’m gonna wait for him right now cuz he can’t be, he just can’t be that cool and not be the cool that I’m thinking is cool. He can’t be that cool and not have something, he can’t be that cool and good at the same time. He never cursed. He was a Christian and he ended up discipling me but he would go in the shower, we had a shower about as big as this stage and all these shower heads and it was echoy in the shower and he would be in there singing – I’m born again, and it would be echoing through the whole locker room. That’s how we knew. I mean that, then a light went on. That’s it! He’s saved! That’s what it is. But you know what? That came after I had watched him.
Do you know that everybody you know watches you? And if you ever said you have been to the Rock or a church they say – Let’s see. Every person you know that knows you go to church watches you and they might have already come to the conclusion that you’re no different than them. You know what that means? That they don’t need to be a Christian. That what you do is speaking a whole lot louder than what you say and what you do really is the truth, not what you say. If you really are a Christian it would be so obvious by what you do that everyone that knows you will say – There is something different about you. Why? Because light/Christ and darkness do not go together. Never! And if you walk in the light you will shine bright. Have you walked away from God?
Here’s my challenge to you: Pick one thing, just one that you know you need to walk away from. It could be food that you eat, TV shows you watch. It could be music you listen to, clothes you wear. You may have to go home and go in your closet and say = You know what? I need to get rid of all these clothes cuz it’s just too hoochified. Amen? Uh-hum. Oh I’m gonna wear this to church. Uh-hum.
Turn to Acts 2.
Is hoochified a word? I just don’t understand. It is a word now. And one of the easiest things you can walk away from is wasting time. I would challenge you all to walk away from 30 minutes of sleep in the morning. What does that mean? Get up 30 minutes earlier. Beauty sleep does not work. Whatever you got is what you got. Get up 30 minutes earlier, 15 minutes earlier, it really will make no difference in your day for you to sleep 30 minutes longer verses praying. Actually it will make a difference if you get up early and pray, read your bible. Now you may be a night person, I’m a night person. I could stay up you know, I’m a night, night, night. But if you, if you, if you are one who reads your bible at night, there’s nothing wrong with reading your bible at night but let me tell you what you’ve just done: You’ve spent all day interacting with people without hearing God’s word in the morning. If you don’t pray in the morning, what you do is you get up and you live on yesterday’s fumes and you do the best you can and then you read your bible at night and go, get convicted – Man I better do better tomorrow, and then you go to sleep. Then you live on that fumes verses getting up in the morning and having God empower you in the morning, enlighten you in the morning. Then you have God’s word in your mind and your heart all day long! Now do both, but I’m challenging you to do it in the morning. Jesus got up long before daybreak often the bible says and prayed. Why? Well that very reason and 2-To give us as an example. So walk away from that.
#2-They taught a foolish message. What we have to understand is that many of the things we accept to be true of Christ today were foolishness then. Eg: Let’s read Acts 2:22 – Men of Israel hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth a man attested by God to you my miracles, wonders and signs which God did through Him in your midst as you yourselves know.
#1-For them to write and teach that God’s Son or God, we saw last week when Jesus made God His Father, He was making Himself equal to God. For them to write that God came and was born of a virgin is not a Jewish concept, that the Messiah was born of a virgin and the Messiah was God’s Son walking around was not a Jewish concept. God was God. And when they, when they said that this man was God, that’s why they killed Christ because He was making Himself equal to God. It was blaspheme to say that any created thing, human had the attributes of an eternal God. So when the apostles wrote these things and preached these things that we accept to be true we have to understand that in their day it was backwards and the only reason they were saying it was because they believed it to be true.
Look what it says next. Verse 23 it says – Him being delivered by the determine purpose and foreknowledge of God you have taken, he’s talking to the Jews, you have taken by lawless hands and crucified Him and put Him to death.
How does God die? If they preached that the Messiah, the Savior of the world was killed backwards. How could God die? You may even ask that question – How does God die? Is He dead? Did He rise? What is all that about? Jesus Christ came as a man and He died and the reason He died was to pay the penalty of our sin. As we know He rose from the dead.
But for them to preach that, to believe, to get all the Jewish nation to believe that their Messiah, their Savior who was gonna usher in this new kingdom was dying as a criminal was backwards. And the only reason that they would preach something that was foolishness to these people was because they believed it to be true.
Do you talk Jesus in plain truth or do you try to water it down in a form that people will believe it? Do you tell people that they’re really not sinners? That just that God loves them and you want them to go to heaven. Or do you tell them – No, you’re a sinner and you’re gonna go to hell without Christ? That is the truth. You don’t water down the message so that people accept it so it’s easier to receive. You just want to say what the bible says if you really believe it because if you really believe someone’s gonna go to hell and you don’t tell them, what good do you do them? If you really believe that Christ is the only way what good do you tell people He’s not the only way? Or what good do you do representing that there’s other ways? And if you think there’s another way you need to clarify that in your mind and heart because Jesus says – I’m the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. He says – I have come not to be served, but to serve and give my life as a ransom. That’s what He said. That’s what He said and what He said was – I’m gonna come back on the clouds with my angels and my glory and I’m gonna sit on my throne and I’m gonna judge the people. We read that last week. Well if He said all that and you believe that, do you represent that? As foolish as it may seem to other people, because people will tell you = Oh who are you to say that you’re the only one?
Let me tell you something – If you came to someone’s house and they owned the house and they paid a mortgage, don’t they have a right to tell you who comes in the house? If you, I mean could you believe because it’s on the street we should all have access to your house and food? So open the door and let us in. Isn’t that what we’re saying to God – God you know how you say how we get to heaven is not up to you. It’s up to us for what we think. That’s foolishness.
So 1-Have you walked away from your old life? And 2-Do you simply represent the gospel, the basics of the gospel to people? Do you?
Look at verse 36. Verse 36 says – Therefore let all the house of Israel know that assuredly that God has made this Jesus whom you’ve crucified both Lord and Christ. Do they believe that? They’re saying it. Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles – Men and brethren, what shall we do? And Peter said – Repent. Let every one of you be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
When you speak the simplicity of the gospel your job is to speak the simplicity of the gospel. Apologetic arguments are great and fine and I’m, I get into those also but the power of your witness is to not how, how good you can argue. It’s how simply you can present the fact that Christ died and rose from the dead. Try it. Sit 1 person down this week as a disciple say – I just want to share with you that God loves you, someone you know. Someone you feel comfortable with. Someone maybe you’ve been witnessing to. Someone who has been watching you and share the simple gospel. Now you may say – well you know what? I’m not an evangelist. That’s not, that’s not the work of an evangelist. It’s the work of a Christian is to share the good news.
You remember when you were getting married, how many people in here are married? Just raise your hand. Most of you, a lot of you all are married. Remember when you got engaged? Forget that, remember when you met that person you married? Did you tell everybody – Oh girl let me tell you, I met this man. Oh my goodness. He’s so fine. He got all his teeth. Oh my goodness. Right? Fellas you told everybody about this woman you met and you love her, how cute she was and how she smelled good, and she, you know she don’t have a mustache and all this stuff.
How do you meet Jesus? How do you have a relationship with the creator of the universe? The only salvation option for any human and not tell anybody? And not tell everybody. How? You can’t and if you feel no desire to then you have to step back and say – Have I really left my old life? Because if you have no desire to, maybe you’re holding onto your, your pride and holding onto your sense of self-insecurity or you’re worried about being embarrassed. Maybe you’re holding onto too much. You need to let go cuz if you truly let go, you will go where God tells you.
You know when I was younger my father would always dare me to do stuff and you know he was always challenging me cuz I would always, I would always tell him – Dad you know dare me to do this. Dare me to jump off the roof of the house or you know whatever. And I would, I was just like Gumby you know fall down, roll on the ground, you know go up on the 2nd floor, whatever. And we were in a boat once and he told, he, I said – Dad dare me to jump into the water. We were in this, out in this canal. I said – Go ahead and jump. I can swim real good and I jumped in the water and as soon as I hit the water the current took me away from the boat and he panicked because I was going away and the water you know it was deep and everything and it was, and I swam real hard to get back to the boat but because I was completely surrendered to the water I went where the water took me until I began to resist the water.
When you leave your old life and you say – Lord here I am completely surrendered to you, you go where the Spirit leads and you do what the Spirit says. You do not have the freedom as a Christian to say – Spirit you are wrong. I have, now you have the freedom freewill but if He is your Lord you have surrendered that to Him. That’s what Christian means. Is that your life?
#3-These guys were led and relied on the Holy Spirit. Turn to Acts 1:8, Acts 1:8. It says verse 8 – You shall receive power, everyone say power, you shall receive power. 1 more time say power, when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the end of the earth.
Now turn to Acts 4, Acts 4:13. Acts 4:13 says – When they saw the boat and seated Peter and John and they perceived that they were uneducated and untrained. They marveled and they realized that they had been with Jesus.
Now it’s a compliment to say, for someone to say – It’s obvious you’ve been with Jesus but at the same time they said – It is obvious also that you ain’t got no education and no training. Basically you ignorant. But, there’s something else about you, you must have been with Jesus.
When people meet you do they feel that? It’s not because you’re preaching loud, ain’t because you got, you know you’re very educated but there’s a spiritual power about you, there’s a supernatural peace about you, supernatural focus. There’s anointing in your prayers, something.
There’s a man in our church, he just got saved recently and um, and I had prayed with him to get saved and then he was going through some stuff and I prayed for him about these issues in his life that were a big deal and the things that I prayed for him happened. And so we were at a dinner party the other day and he was telling this group of people that I get everything I pray for happens. Well that’s true to him and it’s not true to me unfortunately but the 2 or 3 things I prayed for him happened. They really did happen therefore he is really convinced that my prayers work. More importantly he’s convinced that prayer works!
Do your prayers work? In other words do you have a life that’s supernatural or do you have a life that’s – I go to church, I read my bible and I try to do well really good but other than that you’re just like everybody else? My challenge to you is when you get up everyday, every single day, every single day you would tell God – God I’m here to do whatever you want and I’m gonna look for the miracle today or miracles. I’m gonna look for something that you’re gonna do that only you could have done, and let me tell you they will happen. They happen anyway. They happen anyway but God will start to show you stuff that He’s doing in your life that is just like – Whoa! And other people will begin to see that in your life. That is not the abnormal but the normal and it can and will happen if you ask God and if you walk in it and by faith look for it and trust Him.
And what am I saying is that if you took all the situations in your life you’re dealing with: the hard decisions, the burdens that you have, the problems that you have, the health issues, financial issues, relational, social, career issues, whatever they are and say – God I’m giving them to you. I’m praying that you show me what to do and you everyday you lay there on a piece of paper and you say – God I’m gonna commit to writing down what you do. Watch what happens. But if you just live your life dealing and dealing and say – God help me. I don’t know. God help me. I don’t know. You won’t even know when He does it. You’ll forget and God’s doing all these amazing things in your life. Why is it important to know what they do? 1-To give Him credit, to give Him credit! Because what’s gonna happen is you’re gonna think you did it. You’re gonna think you did it.
You think you got your job? Fellas you really think you got your wife? Do you really think that YOU got your wife? Do you really think the only reason she’s with you is because you are good? Ladies do you think that you’re that cute? Oh-oh-oh step on some toes now! Oh I’m not saying you’re not cute. Don’t get me wrong but do you think that’s all there is to him? Don’t, God. You think that your house, you’re paying for your house? It’s God. God’s sustaining you everyday. Do you think that you make your heart beat on it’s own? Do you know that they can take your heart out of your body and it will still beat for a little while? Because your brain doesn’t make it beep. It has it’s own what they call SA node and NA node, these 2 nodes in your heart and they set electrical impulse back to each other and the source is in the heart? That’s unexplainable. Take your heart our and it will beat all by itself for a little while, boom-boom-boom-boom-boom. How does that happen? We don’t know, God!
Any my point is this: When you start to feel why is this important to understand? It’s because when you understand these things, when some other impossibility comes in your way you go - I got an answer for that.
There was a, I was watching ESPN yesterday and they were doing stories of inspiration. I was crying. My wife walked in right at the end of the first one and I, instead of me trying to hard my tears from her, I just says= I’m crying ok? Just, just and I got to watch the show. The first story was about this kid and I caught it in the middle so I don’t know what kind of condition he had. I think he had epilepsy or whatever but he couldn’t walk and he, he was on the track team. He could walk but he was, he didn’t have good motor skills. And so he ran on the track team but this is how he ran and they ran cross country 2-3 miles and he was always last by literally a mile. He just wanted to be on the team.
So he would run and when I turned the show on he was running across the bridge, cuz they run through these parks and stuff cuz you know it’s a 2-3 mile race and it’s up and down and often he falls. So they were watching him run and as they turned it on they says – so and so often I think it was Dan, Dan often runs by the time, very shortly after the race starts he’s all by himself but by the middle or the last half of the race he’s not by himself because the people who finish the race before him go all the way back around and catch up to him and run with him to encourage him. So then he’s running, 1 person comes up next to him, another person comes up next to him and he’s running and then there’s 50 people behind him clapping, cheering him. Then he falls bham! And because he doesn’t have good motor skills he was falling on his head. His head was hitting the ground the same time his shoulders were hitting the ground. Then they help him pick him up and he had a microphone on and you could hear him go – Oh! And you hear the ground go boom! And his mom said – Every time he falls my heart stops. They pick him up and he runs, boom and he falls down again. They pick him up and he ran, he fell like 5 times in this 1 race. 3 times like within a 100 yard space and the last race, I believe it was the last race of his high school career he literally fell right at the finish line and crawled across the finish line. And they said – What was the best part of it? What are you gonna miss the most about being in high school? He says – Being on the team. But you know all those people ran with him, all those people encouraged him, all those people were there to get him across the line.
Then there was another, right after that I’m like and then they go another story of inspiration and I’m – No, no, no God. It was kid who had down syndrome and he played on the football team. Of course he couldn’t you know he couldn’t hardly run. He couldn’t, but he had a uniform. He went to practices, to calisthenics and then they made a play. His name was Jimmy I believe, it was called the Jimmy shuffle and the play was we’re gonna give Jimmy the ball and have the offense and the defense just let them run for a touchdown. So the coach went over to the other coach and – Look when we give this kid the ball, he’s down syndrome and wanted to score a touchdown. He never gets into practice cuz you know he can’t but we want to get him in the game. Pop warner it doesn’t matter. The touchdown won’t count. Don’t worry, we want him to experience a touchdown. So coach says on the other team – Great no problem, pop warner. They give him the ball and he starts running literally like this and the other team kept running around him and they were falling on the ground doing this and he’s running and all these other people are flying by him over here, flying by him over here and his team’s blocking and people are flying and he’s just running and he scores. His mother’s in the crowd, she’s clapping, crying all the parents on both sides of the ball are crying.
The point is you know what? It was a conspiracy. Do you know that God has a conspiracy for you? Do you really think the Rock Church is big because of something I do? Or the staff does? We probably do .01% of what is necessary. I don’t even know what the % is but it’s not us. God is doing all this incredible stuff in all you all’s lives that we have no idea. Why did you come today? Did anybody in here, did I call any of you all up to ask you to come? No! I don’t even know all you all’s names. Who are you?
You know, and I can honestly say every month especially when we were at SD State I was standing there in the back in the corner of the room and I, and I was, we had 5 services, now we have 6, but I was sitting there going – Where do all these people come from? Who are all these people? I literally ask myself – Who are you all?
The point is that God is doing all this stuff. I get to do, show up, talk, people get to do sound and video but we’re not doing it. The danger is to think you are and if you can understand that God has a conspiracy you can say = Ok God, can you, tell me the whole conspiracy. He goes – Oh there’s so much more I want to do but I need you to let go.
#4-This is, this is the one that’s the deepest. How do we know the disciples really believed Jesus was the Lord is by the fact that they suffered persecution and rejection and violent deaths because of their faith. Turn to 2 Corinthians 11.
As you turn there let me say this to you and many um, as our, as time goes by and we start to develop our culture at the church and become a church as years go by we have to continue to ask the question – What does God want the church to be? Because churches can very easily become Christian country clubs and very ingrown, this is how we’ve always done things and really forget the bigger purpose and whenever I visit other churches you know I get to see their church as an outsider and then I get to see things that we, I never want to do or that I want to do good and bad. Or I shouldn’t say good and bad, things we want, things we would like but 1 of the things that you all have to be sensitive to is that the answers to all your prayers and all your desires are not the church. It’s Jesus. There’s only so much that people can do and the church is not here to do everything for the people in the church. The church is here to encourage you to trust in Jesus and the danger is to think that the organization is the answer. It’s not! It’s Jesus and that’s why it’s so critical especially as we look at all we’re getting ready to read is because who has called you out of your old life is Jesus and the constant tension is to trust in Jesus Himself verses an organization. And so when you come here you know people say a lot of times put requests in, requirements on the people on the staff of the church and sometimes they’re realistic but sometimes they’re just can’t happen but it’s Jesus who can supply your every need and how He wants to supply your every need is by you waling by faith in Him and to keep your eyes focused on Him because there’s gonna come a time in your life where you’re gonna experience hard times and Jesus is gonna be the only thing you got.
It’s funny whenever I get hard times and I try to find answers, God shuts all those doors. I can’t reach anybody on the phone. I can’t, I can’t access any help in even someone to just pray for me. There’s, God says = No. There’s nobody around. You will reach nobody and I am convinced that God has all those people’s cell phones off. They’re on vacation, I can’t get them. And He says – You’re all by yourself. What you gonna do? I go – Well I’ll pray to you. exactly! You should have done that first. That’s exactly. And something’s gonna happen to you and you’re gonna be all a burden and people are gonna let you down. Don’t trust in people. That was the mistake in the first place.
I read this book once and it says to be disappointed in yourself is to have belief in yourself. That doesn’t mean you don’t believe you can but don’t believe you always will. You are, it’s not you. It’s Christ. You will mess up. People will fail you. Don’t let that shock you. There are no perfect humans and even if they were perfect it doesn’t mean they do everything for you, you want because sometimes in their perfection they say no to you because what you’re asking is unrealistic and they want you to trust God.
But in this story we’re gonna read, not this story, this passage we’re gonna read Paul’s gonna talk about how many times he suffered pain because of Christ. Are you willing to suffer pain because of Christ? Are you willing to suffer rejection or are you living a life of comfort? I will follow Christ as long as I’m comfortable. That is not Christianity. Christianity is I’m gonna follow Christ period and my friends, some of my family, people will reject me.
Let’s look at it 11:23. He says, 2 Corinthians 11:23 – Are they ministers of Christ? I speak as a fool. I am more and then he says – In labors, more abundant. He’s labored for the gospel more abundantly. In stripes above measure, stripes are the stripes that go on your back when you are whipped. In prisons more frequently. In deaths often. From the Jews 5 times I received stripes, 40-1. 40-1 is what? 39. 39 times he was whipped 5 different occasions for the gospel. 3 times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned and when they stone you and leave you for dead. They don’t just throw a couple rocks at you and run away. 3 times I was shipwrecked. A night and a day I have been in the deep. In journeys often I’ve traveled for the gospel. In perils of water, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren. What does that say? That everywhere he goes and everybody he encounters he has peril. You know what that means? That he’s got a whole lot of enemies.
What does that mean to us? Don’t live your life to just make everybody your friend. Just do what you got to do and accept people aren’t gonna like you.
You know when we have crusades there’s these whole groups of people who hold signs up at Promise Keepers event Billy Graham crusades and I was honored to have them hold the signs up at 1 of my crusades, several. Matter of fact I think they were at Cox Arena – Miles is leading you to hell. You have that, have you, has any one seen them? It’s sort of weird, they got a website. I was so honored that they knew my name. So? Cuz you know who else’s names they have? They have Billy Graham, Chuck Smith, you know and then way down at the bottom they have my name. I was like – Thank you brothers, thank you.
People are not gonna like you. And your point is? No matter what you do there will be people who don’t like you.
Look what he says next verse 27 – In weariness and in toil, in sleeplessness and often in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in clothed and nakedness, and besides the other things what comes upon me daily is my deep concern for all the churches.
What Paul is saying here is = Look brothers, ever since I got saved, my life has been jacked up. Look at my body. Look at my scars. Look at my broken bones. Now Paul, if you get stoned, if you get whipped 5 times, if you get beaten with rods, if you’re shipwrecked that body, his body must have been mangled, mangled! And we’re gonna see in a minute he got his head cut off. You know what he said? That’s just part of thing.
Will that ever happen to you? Probably never. The worst you’ll get it is somebody will fire you from your job, talk behind your back. Big deal, big deal! That’s the worst you got to worry about and that prevents us from speaking the truth. How sad!
Braveheart, I was over at friends of my house for vacation and he had this big old big screen and we were going over movies and I had, I never saw Braveheart. I just saw the clips, I thought it was boring, medieval stuff. I know. And he said – Brother you got to see Braveheart. I’m – I ain’t gonna watch that corny stuff. He says – Brother you don’t know nothing. You don’t know nothing. So we watched the Braveheart. So we went in his TV room and he has this big old 97” I don’t know, whatever it is and it was back when the DVD’s were this big. What was that, what was that called? The laser discs you know and he put it in and in the first 20 minutes of it it’s real boring and we’re sitting I’m like – Man what is this? This is boring. He, he’s like – In about 5 minutes it’s gonna be on! I didn’t know. 3 hours later, it was 4 in the morning. We watched it from like 1, it’s a 3 hour movie, it was like 1:00 we put it in and at the end of the movie, you all know the movie. If you don’t know the movie you need to get it. It’s gory, it’s nasty but you need to get it.
William Wallace tied up and they were gonna kill him and all he had to do was deny his belief, his quest for freedom. They cut his stomach open, he’s still alive and they go – Listen just deny the cause and we won’t kill you. That wasn’t to kill him. That was to torture him in front of a crowd of people and of course in real life he couldn’t all say this cuz he didn’t have the stomach muscles to say this but he screamed – Freedom! They cut his head off.
Close your eyes just for a minute and listen to what I’m gonna read to you. Close your eyes, bow your head. These disciples that people say were fishermen and couldn’t have written the truth, didn’t believe Jesus was Lord, the 1 thing if anything proves that they believe it was true was how they died. Matthew was killed by a sword. Mark was dragged by horses through the streets until he was dead. Luke was hanged by idolatress priest on an olive tree. John was placed in a huge basin of boiling oil. Miraculously he lived, the only 1 who died a peaceful death. Peter was crucified upside down on an x shape cross. He said he was not worthy to die the same way Jesus died. James the just was thrown from 100’ off the pinnacle of the temple because he refused to deny the faith of Jesus Christ. When they found him cuz that he survived the fall, they beat him to death. James the greater was beheaded. Bartholomew had his body flayed by a whip. Andrew was crucified on an x shape cross and he was there for 2 days suffering and during those 2 days he preached the gospel the whole time. Thomas was stabbed with a spear. Jude, Jesus’ brother was killed with arrows cuz he refused to deny the faith. Mattais was stoned and then beheaded. Barnabus was stoned and Paul was tortured and beheaded.
Lord these men believed with all their heart you were God so much so they were willing to die for what they believed. They were intelligent, clear headed. They had a mission and a message. There’s no doubt you live. There’s no doubt you died and rose from the dead for our sin and there’s no doubt you call us to deny ourselves and follow you.
As I’m praying there are many of you here this morning possibly, Christians, Christians you need to walk away from your old life. You need to step into another level of commitment to God. I’m gonna challenge you right now as I’m praying and speaking and as the music’s playing that you would step out of your seat, eyes closed, heads bowed, that you would step out of your seat and come down to the altar and kneel down here and we can pray for you. It is time yes to stop being a cultural Christian and it is time to say Lord I want more. I want more. Just get up out of your seat and come down to the altar. Certainly God has had to prompt somebody’s heart this morning telling you these things are true. I really do love you. I really have a plan and I really do have more for you than you know, more for you than you ask for, more for you than you have experienced. It’s true! Believe the preacher this morning. Believe my messenger this morning. Believe the small still voice in your heart this morning. Don’t walk out of here the same. I want more of you. I want your time. I want your mind. Give me a chance. Be my disciple and disciplined learner. Just get up out of your seat and come down to the altar.
Lord I pray you’d prompt people. I pray that they would yield themselves to the Holy Spirit that they would allow you to move their feet, that symbolically they would be walking away from their old self, walking away from habits. Lord I pray you would ignite a flame in our heart, that we would prove your identity by what we do.
I’m gonna ask also the prayer team and the altar call team to just come up to the altar and pray with these people and as we’re praying we’re gonna sing a song here in about a minute I want to challenge you as we pray, all the people who are sitting 2 things. 1-Check yourself this week. In other words ask yourself – Am I a true disciple? Does my lifestyle shout Jesus is my Lord? Does my language, my attitude, what I listen to, how I use my time shout Jesus is my Lord? Ask yourself that question. Pick 1 thing to walk away from that He may have more of your life. And as this song plays I’m just gonna ask all of you so that we can get our next service in here just quietly as we sing just to start to make your way to the door and let me challenge you to bring a friend. Keep bringing friends to church but let’s be a disciple that people can see and experience and just have the prayer team come down and pray for these people. Let’s sing a song.