Summary: Jesus never said you have to get your _______ (stuff) together and before you can follow Him. Rather He said come follow me and we will sort out your life as we go.

Title: Get your “stuff” together

Text: Eph 4:1-6

Date: 3/23/17

Bottom Line: Jesus never said get your _______ (stuff) together and then come follow me.


Good morning Real Life… We are kicking off a new series this week called Misquoted. There’s a lot of people going around quoting Jesus, but the problem is a lot of those quotes don’t actually come from Jesus. Maybe more then anyone else, Jesus has been misquoted time and time again.

We’ve all heard these phrases before. Maybe in a passing conversation. A hallway in Church. Or scrolling through your Facebook feed. You don’t have to look far to find someone misquoting Jesus.

We’ve all seen the Facebook post that has a picture of Jesus and says “If you loved me then you would share this photo” Guess what? Jesus never said that. It’s not in the Bible that if you love Jesus you have to type amen…

While we all know that’s not true there are other misquotes out there that are doing actual damage. And we are doing this series because we want to clear the air on a few of these things.

There are some of you in this room that you’ve been hurt by these misquotes. Here’s what you need to know, Jesus never intended that. There are others of you in this room that maybe haven’t been personally effected by these. But you have people in your life that have. We want to address some of these issues and talk about what Jesus actually did say.

This isn’t new, this has been going on since the Church began. Historically the Church has been know for building up walls and telling people you cannot enter unless you look like this or act this way. They misquoted Jesus and kept a lot of people out that desperately need to hear the hope that Jesus brings. From the early Church and the apostles to now, we have a habit of misquoting things Jesus said.

And now we have a divided church over these misquoted things that Jesus never actually said. Jesus came to unite and bring us together. But we’ve taken so many things out of context and misquoted Jesus that we have brought division.

I think that this series is now more important then ever for us specifically. Because I believe we have lived up to the name that is on that banner on the street. Real Life. We aren’t fake, we don’t pretend to have it all together. And this season we are heading into where we are finding a new normal, it’s so important that we intentional focus on this. And make sure that we are standing on the things Jesus said and not misquoting Him.

Maybe this is your first time in Church, or maybe you just started coming and are figuring out who this Jesus guy is. Or maybe you are one of the people that’s been hurt by someone that misquoted Jesus, This is a great series for you to catch a glimpse of what Jesus actually is about and what he actually said.

Maybe you’ve been coming to church for awhile and you’ve been a Christian for many years. This is a great series for you because you represent Jesus everywhere you go, and it’s important that you are representing Him well.


To start this series off There’s many misquotes that we could used… But we landed on this one because it is maybe the most damaging misquote that the Church has told people… Here it is… Before you enter these doors you have to fix _____ in your life. Everyone is welcome here, unless you have that sin in your life. You can’t come in here unless you look like…

See, here’s the misquote… Jesus never said Get your stuff together and than come follow me. He never said, why don’t clean yourself up a bit before you come follow me. You know what I have this image to maintain, so if you want to be my follower you got to look a little better. He never said you know what I’ve seen the way you treat your kids, cheat your employer out of that money, I know what you looked at last night, I know that four letter word you like to use when you stub your toe, your life is just a mess, and I can’t have that kind of person follow me. So if you want to be my disciple, if you want to be apart of my church then you better go get your stuff together first. Jesus never said that.

Yet we today tell that to people all the time. Now we might not come out and say it that, but that’s the perception people have. That if you want to go to church you have to act the part. And there are these unspoken rules that if we are honest we are pretty comfortable with.

Maybe you’ll recognize some of these rules…

No Running in church

No hats in church

No swearing in church

No yelling in church

No dancing in church

You have to dress the right way, act the right way, and put on a mask to hide the real you.

Let me ask you this… Do you want this to be a place, Real Life Christian Church, where everybody is welcome? Do you want this place to be a place where people can come as they are? Do you want this to be a place were people that don’t know Jesus can come here and hear about what He said and make a decision for themselves?

Because if you, if you want this place to continue you to be that kind of church, then you have to be okay with it being a little messy. You cannot expect someone who does not follow Jesus, who might even be interested in following Jesus, to act like a Christian. You just can’t.

We’ve put these expectations on people that if they want to come and hear about Jesus then they have to act a certain way. They are welcomed in our doors if they look, act, and say the right things. But if they don’t, they gotta go. But listen Church, Jesus never said that. Jesus never said that you have to get your stuff together to follow him.

In fact Jesus hung out with some pretty messy people. And he often found himself in parties and hanging out with people that we would probably not be comfortable with having inside our doors.

When we put these expectations on people we end up excluding people that Jesus wants to include.

Maybe you are here this morning and that’s your story. Awhile back you wanted to check out this Jesus guy so you walked into church on a Sunday morning and you were told that you couldn’t wear those clothes, say those words, believe those things, have your lifestyle, or even have any doubts of God. You’ve been told that the Church, and ultimately Jesus, isn’t for you because you don’t have your stuff together.

If that’s you I want to say I’m sorry. I’m sorry that the Church didn’t welcome you as you were. I’m sorry that you were forced to act a certain way before you even heard about Jesus. I’m sorry that the Church put those expectations on you when you weren’t even sure who this Jesus guy was.

You should be able to belong before you believe. You should be able to hear about Jesus before you decide to follow him. You should be welcomed in church before you figure out your life.

I was having a conversation with a guy a few months back. And I was talking about doing something at the Church, which wasn’t a church related event, and he made the comment that he could not come in. I asked him why and he said that he would probably cuss and say something inappropriate and you can’t do that in church. And jokingly said God would probably strike him down.

Jesus has been misquoted so much that this guy has heard the message that he can even walk through the doors of a church on weekday because of the way he acts. That’s not okay.

For those of us that have been in Church awhile, don’t miss this this morning… We’ve got to be okay with Church being a little bit messy. Because our Church is not supposed to be a holy huddle that separates itself from the world. The Church that Jesus came to establish is a place for everyone, not matter what they have going on in their life, to come and find hope. We’ve got to be okay with the Church being a little messy. And let’s be honest, the real reason the church is messy is not because we are letting those people in, the real reason it’s messy is because you and I are here.

I love how Eugene Peterson says it: When Christian believers gather in churches, everything that can go wrong sooner or later does… Just as a hospital collects the sick under one roof and labels them as such, the church collects sinners. So Christian churches are not, as a rule, model communities of good behavior. They are, rather, places where human misbehavior is brought out in the open, faced and dealt with. Eugene Peterson

We are supposed to be a hospital for sinful and broken people.

I’m sure we’ve all been in a hospital. I’ve spent plenty of time visiting people in the hospital. And in all my time in a hospital I have never seen someone yell or get mad at someone for being there. I have never seen a sick person walk into a hospital and the nurse say you know what, why don’t you go home and get better first, then come back we will admit you. Nobody gets kicked out of a hospital for being sick or broken. That’s why they are in the hospital.

So why can’t the Church be like that? Why can’t we be the place where sick and broken can come and find healing?

If this is true, and I believe it is, if the Church is a hospital for the sick and broken, why are we all pretending we are okay all the time?

A couple years back I was playing kickball. I was on defense playing 2nd base. On the first play of the game I jumped to catch a line drive. The problem was the short stop on my team didn’t see me and ran towards the ball and did the same thing. We collided mid air and his leg knocked my foot sideways. I landed on the right side of foot with all my weight. I instantly felt a pop and looked at my foot and it was crooked. Once I hit the ground I rolled and felt a second pop as my foot snapped back into place. Even worse I didn’t catch the ball…

Laying on the ground I wondered what had happened to my foot and if I would be able to walk again. Within minuted it was black and blue and a golf ball sized knot on my ankle. My theory in life is to just walk it off. I don’t need the doctor… But everyone there forced me to go to the ER to get it examined.

Now when I showed up it would have been really foolish of me to have walked in and pretended I’m okay. It would be really foolish for me to try and walk normally… It would have been foolish for me to walk in with something cleanly wrong with me and I just keep telling the doctor, you know what I’m good I’m good, I’m just hanging out here, I’m just going to sit in the waiting room for a little while, You got the new edition of the highlights magazine I’m dying to read, I’m fine. The doctor would look at me like I’m crazy. He can see that half my leg is black and blue and I have a growing knot on my ankle. It’d be foolish to go to the hospital and pretend that you are okay, when you are clearly not okay.

But that’s what a lot of us do every week on Sunday.

So here’s the question… What would it take for this to be a place where when we are hurting and sick that we can come here and be open and honest? What would it take of us to change the perception that you have to get your stuff together to enter these doors. What would it take for this to be a place where people take bring their messed up life and sort it out here?

When Jesus came up with this idea of church this is what he pictured. A place where people can bring their pain out into the open and find healing. He never intended for the Church to be a place for the holy people that have their lives together. He intended the Church to be a place where broken people can find healing, hope, and support.

And listen that’s good news isn’t it? Because if we were honest, we probably fit in better in a hospital full of sinners rather then a building full of saints, right?


The Gospels are full of examples of broken people coming to Jesus. And time after time Jesus welcomed them. Everyone around him seemed uncomfortable when tax collectors, prostitutes, lepers, children, rebels, adulterers, and samaritans came around. But Jesus was never uncomfortable, he loved everyone where they are at. When others when out of their way to avoid certain people Jesus went directly too them.

Jesus never told anyone that they were unwelcome. Rather he welcomed everyone.

Jesus never told anyone to get their stuff together and then follow Him. He called people to follow him and then helped them sort out their stuff. We know what Jesus didn’t say. Now the question now is how do we become the church Jesus intended create. To do that we are going to look at what the Church should actually look like.

Jesus modeled this with his life and years later Paul wrote down some of the qualities that Jesus had in his interactions with others. We are going to look at a passage that Paul wrote to the Church in Ephesus. Paul is challenging the Church to love others as Jesus loved. And I think this passage is a great example for us to follow.

If you have your bibles turn over to Eph 4…

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Eph 4:1-6

I don’t know what you hear when you listen to that passage. But here’s what I hear. I hear a place that is real, that is safe, that is an authentic community. The best shot that you and I have of following Jesus and actually letting his word sink in and change us… The best shot we have at actually experience life change and transformation is when we pursue God’s truth TOGETHER. And the only way that we can do that is in a real, safe, and authentic place.

And that can’t happen if all we do is yell at each other and throw stones at others wrongs. That can’t happen when we are focused on each others shortcomings. We’ve got to face the real enemy and that’s not the person that looks or acts different. We have to create an environment that is real, safe, and authentic. That’s when we grow, that’s when we move forward.

If you’ve studied ancient warfare and learn a little about their tacts and equipment, or if you’ve just watch the movie 300 you’ve seen this principle lived out. A common tool used on the battlefield was a shield. And by itself a shield has very useful. But when used with other shields they could be linked together. Thus creating a powerful offensive weapon because together you can move forward and advance in battle.

That same principle is true for us… We are far more powerful when we all face the same direction. When we link up… Shoulder to shoulder than when we are alone. Paul is laying out how we should act as a Church. He’s laying out the foundation of the Church that Jesus came to start.

It’s not a church that judges. It’s a church that comes around others and together we move forward. We don’t shoot our wounded, we pick them up and help them out.

I want to look back at the first few verses to get this foundation about what the Church should look like.

Let’s look back at this passage.. Verse 1… I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,

When Paul uses the word “walk” Paul is referring to how you and I live our lives. It’s the decisions we make and the direction we take our life. So what he is saying is that the life you live should match with the calling you have been called too. Notice it’s the calling. Jesus isn’t forcing us or commanding us. He’s calling us. That begs the question, what is our calling. What does Jesus want us to do? Jesus summed it up in love God and love your neighbor. We talk about this a lot around here because you can basically sum the entire Bible up in this phrase.

To put this in modern terms. Paul is saying Talk is cheap, your actions should match your words. If you call yourself a Christian then your life should look like Jesus’ life. If you are a follower of Jesus your life should look like the list of qualities that come in the next verse. Maybe not perfectly, but that’s what we should be striving for.

Let’s look at these qualities…

2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love

Here Paul starts going through what qualities we should be striving for. He’s going through what we as the Church should look like.

The first word he uses is Humility. The Church, you and me, should be full of humility. Humility is having a correct estimation about yourself. What Paul is saying is don’t bring your arrogant I’m better then you attitude into this building. Remember the previous verse, we were called by no power of our own. Jesus is the one that called you and give you a mission. So be full of humility. Recognize that it is through Jesus power you were healed not your own. Humility allows us to come here on the same level. Because Jesus saved us, He called us, not because he had too. But because he wanted too.

The second thing that Paul talks about is gentleness. And this is where it becomes very applicable to what we are talking about today. Another way this word is translated is meek. We talked about this last summer, Meek is strength under control. In other words when Paul is telling us to be gentle with each other he’s saying that we can’t be bulldozing over everyone. We must be gentle with each other, we must keep our strength under control.

That really comes into play in the next word, patience. Patience means endurance or long suffering. It’s saying that even when you have the opportunity and the strength to pay someone back, to put someone down, to gossip, or get revenge on someone instead you have patience to differ that.

I love what Paul says next, to bear with one another in love. To put this in modern day terms, here’s what it means: I got your back. It means having patience with the weaknesses of others. It’s being gentle with people when they don’t have it all together. Instead of sharpening your knife to stab someone in the back in the midst of their weakness, you take care of one an other in the midst of their weakness.

This is what we are called to do. The Church is supposed to be a group of people that are full of humility, gentleness, patience, and love. The Church is supposed to be a place where you can come in and say you know what I got some stuff going on. I don’t have everything figured out. I’m a little rough around the edges. And the Church response… Yeah, me too, we got your back.

You shouldn’t have to put a face on. You shouldn’t have to say the right words, dress the right way, or pretend to be someone you are not. Jesus never said that you have to get your stuff together before following Him.

And listen I’m saying these things because I think we are that Church. I think we are the church that says, we got your back… But we aren’t in an easy season. And throughout this season it’s really really important that we remain the Church that says I got your back. It’s really important that we don’t stop loving everything that walks through those doors or whatever others doors we are meeting over the coming months.

We are hospital of sinners. And we always welcome other sinners in. We don’t ridicule them for the stuff in their life. We don’t tell them they have to fix that thing before they come in. Jesus never said that you have to get your stuff together and neither do we.

If you are new here or maybe you’ve been apart of a church that told you that you had fix that broken area before you were welcome… That’s not us. We are a group of broken people pursuing a perfect God. When we fall, and we will, we will help each other back up. Because we are one body, one church, and when one is struggling we are all struggling.

Listen to how Paul ends this passage.

4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Eph 4:4-6

Do you hear that? That is what the Church is supposed to be. Unified. Together. One body. Not a church that throws stones at others. Rather a Church that welcomes everybody in. Regardless of where they are at in life. A church that says I’m going to love you, no matter the cost. A church that models Jesus’ love. That’s who we are. Don’t forget that.


If we want to continue being this Church it’s going to take a commitment by everyone who calls this their church to practice this…

Here’s two ways we can live this out…

Raw Honesty with God and Each Other

Here’s what I mean. If we want to be a place that is real, authentic, and accepts people where they are at, then it starts with us. We can’t put on a face when we walk through these doors. If you had a rough day, don’t pretend it’s okay. If you are struggling with a sin, don’t hide it. Whatever kind of week you’ve had a good week, a bad week, a confusing week, a life changing week, don’t hide it when you come here.

I’ll be honest, this is easy to say. But it’s really hard to live out. I can do a pretty good job of hiding what’s really going on in my life. And ever so often God reminds me that I need to be honest with who I am and where I’m at. In those moments I have a choice to make. Do I want to keep hiding? Or do I want to take a risk and share that sin with a few close friends so that they can help me. Do I want to pretend everything is okay? Or do I want to be vulnerable when someone asks me how my day is going because I’m really not okay.

Here’s what I’m really asking… Is it okay for me to be where I’m at right now? Is this a safe place to be me? Will I be accepted when you see the real me? I doubt I’m alone in this. When we decide to be real, when we decide to be honest, we are taking a risk. It can be one of the most difficult things we can do. But we’ve got too. If we want this to be a church where everyone is welcome, where everyone can find hope, where everyone can encounter Jesus.

Then it starts with us being honest. But it doesn’t end there. We’ve also got too…

Love People Where They Are At

Here’s most our biggest fear… If I’m honest, If I tell someone what is really going on in my life they will kick me out. They will judge me. I’ll lose a friend. They won’t treat me the same… That’s our fear.

So if we are going to practice raw honesty then we have stop shooting our wounded. We’ve got to love people with whatever they have going on in their life. No matter what they look like, act like, sound like, we love them.

The church is a place where people find healing, not condemnation. And we cannot be the church that Jesus came to establish if we are judging people and telling them to get their stuff together first. We’ve got to love everyone where they are at.

We got our work cut out on this because a whole lot of people think Jesus just wants to judge them. A whole lot of people think Jesus wants them to fix their life before He will even consider loving them. A whole lot of people think the church is a place for holy people. And we’ve got to change that misconception.

We can be the church that stops misquoting Jesus and telling those around us that they need to get their stuff together before following Jesus. We can be the Church that is honest about what is going on in our life. We can be the Church that loves everyone regardless of who they are. We can be that Church, I believe it.

And we might not have a building. But we can still be the Church.


What if when people come to Real Life Christian Church we just said we gotcha? What if when we leave this building, and whatever building we will be in, and we go into our neighborhoods and we say to our neighbors we gotcha?

I believe it is possible to create a place where no matter what’s going on people will say we gotcha. When Jesus said I have this idea called church… I think this is what he was thinking off. The world says a lot about the church, but He says His church is a hospital for spiritually, emotionally, relationally, sexually, and physically broken people to find healing and second chances. And if we live that out, we can start changing the misconception out there.

I’ve heard far to many stories of people saying I could never share that at church. Or If my church ever found out about this I’d be kicked out. Here’s what maybe people are wondering. Is it actually okay for me to say out loud that I’m not okay. I’m jacked up. I’m messed up. I have problems. Is it possible to say that and not get rejected by God and his people. Is it possible to say out loud I got “stuff” in my life and the response is just “we gotcha”.

We can be that church. When someone in your life is honest with you, your response? I gotcha. When someone walks through these doors and their life is a mess. Our response? We gotcha.

When you here: I hate myself. We gotcha. I have a secret that about to come out and as soon as it does it’s over. We gotcha. I made a huge mistake and all I feel is guilt and shame. We gotcha. Something happened in my life when I was 8 10 years old and it ruined everything. We gotcha. I feel like I’m not enough. We gotcha. My marriage is dying, my marriage is dead. We gotcha. I’m addicted… We gotcha. How about this… I hate God right now. We gotcha.

If we can be this kind of Church we can change this community. We can bring hope and life to people that desperately need it. If you take this message out of this building and share it with your neighbors, coworkers, friends, and everyone that will listen you will see God start to transform others lives.

Let’s be that kind of Church.