Summary: Let today be your "Rock Bottom"

Rock Bottom

“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind n earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:18-19

Intro: We have all heard the term “Rock Bottom.”

For the most part it means: The lowest possible level.

We have all heard someone say, “They will never get better until their life hits rock bottom.”

You know exactly what they are talking about.

Those “stop and cringe moments.”

Those times that still come back to haunt you

in certain situations

in unexpected flashbacks.

For our purpose today I want us to agree that there are different types of “rock bottom.”

Some are sever, life and death

Others are lows that while they are dramatic

They resulted in a change in your life

A transformation that resulted in bringing you out from your new low…, up to a better place.

Wednesday morning at about 6:00 I was at Super America to get cheddar cheese combos

When I pulled in there were two cop cars.

I noticed they had this guy in handcuffs.

Now I know looks can be deceiving.

And we are not supposed to judge others.

But my first thought was this guy doesn’t look like someone who you normally see in handcuffs.

The guy in handcuffs was the victim of a hit and run.

Let that sink in for a moment.

His car was hit by a guy with no license and no insurance.

So I am thinking this doesn’t make sense.

Come to find out the guy was in handcuffs car had been hit,

He called the police.

He followed they guy who hit his car to Super America.

But then he took out his phone and started filming.

Now there is nothing wrong with that.

But he started yelling at the other driver.

And then to make things worse he had been yelling at the police.

And even began pushing and shoving the police in a belligerent, and aggressive manner.

As they put the victim of the hit and run the back seat of the police car.

The title to today’s sermon came to my mind “Rock Bottom.”

At the same time I was thinking…, could that have been me?

Under a slightly different set of circumstances, could that have been anyone of us?

“Rock Bottom” could be something as simple as:

Maybe when you were younger

when you sang along with a song with your friends

and when it came to that obscene word you just kept singing

knowing that the word wasn’t funny

but you just kept singing anyway.

Not a life and death moment, but a life changing moment

Because later in your life you would realize words do have meaning,

Even words in rap and music.

Words that your little five year old gets in trouble at school for saying.

And suddenly you are in the principal’s office with your child

And instead of thinking “Rock and Roll” you are thinking,

This is a new “Rock Bottom.”

Rock Bottom could be the time when you joined in a nasty-toned conversation tearing someone down

only to walk around the corner and find that person standing there staring you in the face.

Having heard every word you said.

Or maybe it was when you were trying to offer a compliment

Or be polite.

You ask the lady when is the baby due?

Only to find out she is not pregnant.

We could all be nominees for the “Foot in Mouth Award.”

Whether out of ignorance or callousness or cruelty, we have all found ourselves sunk to a new low.

Doing something wrong for the wrong reason.

It is falling-face-down-and-sinking-over-your-head.

Life is complicated and often painful.

Your mother falls and is put in the hospital.

A house fire causes someone in the church to lose their home.

Life is not always easy,

and living the Christian life in the midst of all of this is more than just saying I believe.

Sometimes we hit rock bottom, before things start to get any better.

I want to challenge you today.

Let today be your “rock bottom.”

Just turn to someone you are sitting beside and say to them

Let today be your “rock bottom.”

Don’t go lower tomorrow than you are today.

Let today be the lowest day for you, and there is nowhere else to go but up from here on.

"When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples,

‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’

They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’

Simon Peter answered, ‘you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’

Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man,

but by my Father in heaven.

And I tell you that you are Peter (Peter means rock)

And On This Rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades (hell)

will not overcome it (not prove stronger than it).

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be (have been)

bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be (have been) loosed in heaven.’"

[Matthew 16:13-19, NIV (parenthesis contain footnoted interpretations from NIV text)]

I want us to get practical about our responsibility of being a disciple of Jesus is supposed to be.

Athletes make bold claims.

But when they are out on the field or on the court they have to back them up.

Jesus made bold claims about his church.

Jesus said the gates of hell or the forces of evil would not prevail against it

or overcome it

or stop His church from completing its mission.

But we look around the world and it seems like the church is being overcome at times.

There are divisions, negative talk, fights, church splits.

The main stream traditional church is not winning many converts,

And it struggles to keep the ones it already has.

Some would think the church is no match for the forces of evil.

But I am convinced that Jesus meant what He said. Hello?

Thom Rainer in this his book “The Unchurched Next Door,” cites a study

that study shows that most unchurched people do not sense that Christian actively try to share their faith.

Think about that.

Many unchurched people would be open to talking about Christ,

but Christians do not talk to them about their faith.

People love people who listen.

Sharing the GOSPEL is as much a part of being a good listener as it is being a good talker.

We need to love people by listening to them

We need to kind find out who they are,

what they're about

and then you can turn towards the spiritual subject,

So you ask, “Do you go to church anywhere?”

What is your spiritual background?

What are some of the values and beliefs you have?

They going to say for instance, they went to church as a child. But haven’t been going lately.

So you ask who took them to church.

Maybe it was their parents, maybe went with another family member or friend of the family.

But whoever it was…,

you talk about how you admire that person for caring so much about them,

and how much you must appreciate them for taking them to church when they were young.

Talk about how that we you are young is when you learn and develop the beliefs and values

We use later in life.

So you start out on a positive and find common ground you both can agree are important.

Then finally you admit the reason you're a Christian is because life can be so messed up.

You did someone to save you,

that someone is Jesus.

You can tell your story of how you came to Jesus

and then you can share the Gospel story.

So get out your pen or pencil.

Get ready to take down these notes on how to share the GOSPEL story.

In the next couple of minutes I am going to give you a simple tool,

if you will write it down

if you will learn it and commit it to memory it will make it easy for you to share the Gospel.

We going to use the word GOSPEL itself as our tool for memorization.

God created us to be with Him.

God loves us

God cares about us.

God made us to be in a relationship with him.

The next letter O

Our sins separate us from God

because we sin we are separated from God.

He is pure and holy and righteous, we are not.

And there's a wall between us and a holy God.

Separates. Sin separates us from a holy God.

Since we cannot be the sin the sin that separates by good deeds.

You know, you could try living a good life and going to church, but it just covers up our sinfulness

It's like putting white frosting on a burnt cake.

It may look pretty on the outside but on the inside it still tastes awful.

Paying the price for sin.

Jesus died and rose again

Jesus died in our place for our sins on the cross.

It's almost as though if you are walking across the street

And a truck is coming at you at 100 miles an hour

and somebody sees you're about to get hit

you don't notice that truck

but they run out and push you out of the way and boom,

the truck hits them instead of you.

They would have died in your place.

In the same way the wrath of sin was heading straight at you

but Jesus pushes you out of the way and he took the hit instead of us.

He died in our place for our sins on the cross and He rose again.

Now he everyone who trusts in Him alone has eternal life.

It's not about trying. It's by trusting.

It's not a matter of good deeds.

It is a matter of what Jesus has done and the promise you make to trust in him.

Through Jesus we receive everlasting life.

Everyone who trusts in Jesus has eternal life.

It is not a matter of what you have done…, it is about what Jesus has done

It is not about trying…, it is about trusting.

When you are trusting in him your receive forgiveness from your sins, salvation, and grace.

It is about trust in him.

Life with Jesus starts now.

You enter into a personal relationship with God.

Your life becomes filled with grace, mercy, love, and victory.

You begin to live every day in God’s favor and blessing.

You come to church and worship not because you have to but because you understand what Jesus does for

and so you want to worship him.

So walk through the gospel.

And then ask two closing questions.

Number one, does that make sense

if it doesn't explain it again

if it does move on to the next question.

Is there anything holding you back right now putting your faith in Jesus.

If there is…, then deal with that, talk about it.

Be that somebody who is willing to help them navigate through that.

If there's not…,

right then and there…, they can put their faith and trust in Jesus.

And you can lead them through a prayer like the sinners prayer that we worked on several weeks in a row.

And obviously you work is not over.

Your work is just getting started.

You have just had a baby.

A baby disciple.

You now have a responsibility to that new born believer to get them plugged into church

and growing in their faith.

So now you can take the word GOSPEL and share the your faith.

As you go along in life you will meet people who need Jesus.

It may be someone in your own family.

It may be someone at work or school

Someone you know because your kids play sports together or are in the same class

It may be a friend

Or it may be a complete stranger

Don’t just pray for these people.

You have to share the gospel with these people and start a relationship with them.

God is leading these people across your path.

People we meet every day need Jesus.

The Enemy cannot stop us from sharing the gospel message with them.

The church is able to take on the enemy and win.

Hell is no match for the power of Christ and His Church.

But disciple making begins with your being willing to share with those who need to hear the message.

Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do you say Christ is?”

Simon answered and said "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.

Messiah means "king or anointed one."

In the bible days of Jesus, most people thought of the term "king or anointed one" to mean

The one who would lead the people to victory on earth and liberate them from the Romans.

But Simon goes farther than anyone else had ever gone.

By declaring Jesus to be the "Son of the living God,"

Simon has directed attention away from the image of earthly kingship

And toward Jesus’s heavenly relationship with God.

This is the revelation to which Jesus refers to when he says "this was not revealed to you by man . . . "

Then Jesus says Simon you are as the “son of Jonah.”

This is the only place in the four gospels Simon is identified as "son of Jonah";

We know from (John 1:42 and 21:15-17) Simons earthly father was named John.

Peter has just used the title "Son of the Living God” to identify who Jesus is

And Jesus uses the title “son of Jonah” to identify who Simon is.

We know the story of Jonah:

Jonah was the one who God told to go and preached the impending destruction of Nineveh.

But Jonah rebelled.

Jonah refused to share the message.

Will you agree with me that when Jonah was in the belly of the whale.

Running away from God.

Swallowed by the whale.

At the bottom of the sea.

Jonah hit rock bottom.

God still invites us to join him in his work.

What will it take to cause you to be willing to join in with Jesus today?

What is your rock bottom?

Well let’s go back to where it all starts.

It all starts at the rock of Golgotha

Where is Golgotha?

From the old city of Jerusalem, just outside the Damascus gate, is a cliff of rock known as the place of skulls.

and faces the major east-west road that runs just north of Old Jerusalem.

It is precisely the type of location where the Romans liked to crucify rebels

so that their gruesome death would put fear into the passing crowd of people.

This is an example of what not to do.

If you do like these two thieves.

If you do like this man Jesus.

You will also be crucified.

Now we don’t know precisely where Jesus was crucified.

Most historians agree that Jesus was crucified with the skull-faced cliff in the background.

In other words His cross was at the bottom of this cliff, at ground level, not on top of it.

Nowhere in the bible does it say Jesus was crucified on a hill.

The Romans crucified people along the roads, not on hard-to-reach hilltops,

because they wanted the passersby to see the victims up close not from distance.

Access to the top of this cliff is difficult from Old Jerusalem and requires a climbing a steep and long detour.

So Jesus was crucified at “Rock Bottom” of Golgotha or Calvary.

Let that sink in for a few minutes.

The last “Rock Bottom” I want to mention is the rock bottom at the tomb of Jesus.

I can’t image sinking any lower than to think Jesus is dead.

What happen on Friday when the disciples watched as Jesus hung on the cross and died

stripped all the hope.

Their hope was crucified on the cross with him

Their hope died on the cross with him.

They had hoped that Jesus was going to redeem Israel,

They had hoped that that it was going to be different this time

They had hoped that he was going to break our chains

They had hoped that God was going to heal the people

They had hoped that God was going to take away their addictions

They had hoped that if they prayed, they would get the peace that corresponded with the prayer,

but when Jesus hung on the cross it's over

and when they put Jesus in the tomb what they had hoped for was over.

When Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, along with some other women

went to the tomb to put spices on the body of Jesus to complete the burial of Jesus.

They head toward the tomb with no hope

How can we have any hope when everything looks so hopeless?

They were at “rock bottom.”

I am not talking about feeling sad. Sadness is part of the human condition.

lack of hope goes beyond sadness.

Life is difficult.

Life without Jesus makes it more difficult.

Sometimes even when you are trying to live in faith…, life can still be difficult.

Life is hard because we live in a broken world.

Life is hard because of the choices that you and I make. Sometimes we don’t make very good choices.

Life is hard because of someone else. (Sometimes others make our life difficult. Things are out of our control.)

Life is hard sometimes because of God’s design. (Like the whale and Jonah)

Or even like after the sin of Adam

Adam is given a job to work the ground (Genesis 2:15)

and to work by the sweat of his brow to shape and cultivate the thorns, and weeks, and fruit of creation.

In other words, life has been hard since the beginning.

We may even be persecuted because of our faith.

But don’t be ashamed of the Gospel.

The fact that we are sometimes talked about and criticized when we are doing our best

means we are being faithful.

Rock bottom is not a bad thing when you hit it at the foot of the cross.

Rock bottom is not a bad thing when you hit it at the empty tomb.

Let today be your “rock bottom.”

Don’t go lower tomorrow than you are today.

Let today be the lowest day for you, and there is nowhere else to go but up from here on.