Summary: The best witnesses for Jesus to an unbelieving world are followers who hold on to what they believe in every circumstance
You know the game where one person stands in front of a group of people and says, “Simon says raise your hand,” and everybody raises their hands. “Simon says raise your other hand,” and everybody raises their other hand. Well the world is like Simon and many are doing exactly what the world says. The world says it’s ok to have sex with someone of the same gender, so they do. The world says to party, get drunk, lose control, and they do. The world says rebel against your parents, and so they do. But Jesus followers play something different called “Jesus says.”
Jesus says the most important command of God for us to obey is this, “To love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind and to love others.” So for the last few weeks we’ve taken some time to define what this kind of love is. We can summarize our last few lessons this way, “Genuine love is faithful especially in very difficult and painful circumstances and full of joy. It’s impossible to love others and God without making sacrifices. And the only way to really love God and love others is to disown yourself and follow Jesus.”
If you’ve been here every Sunday for the last few weeks then you would be very familiar with how Jesus defines love, but, if you haven’t been here, or if you missed a Sunday or two, I would recommend you go to www.weymouthchurchofchrist.com and check out my blog. I post every sermon there so you can read it for yourself.
Jesus defines love. It’s weird according to world standards because love and lust are often confused with each other. The love of Jesus has nothing to do with lust, and everything to do with sacrifice. If you want to be a Jesus follower, the first thing you do is disown yourself. You understand that you belong to God because Jesus Christ bought you with His sacrifice on the cross. Jesus tells us what real love is, “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” 1 John 4:10. Any other definition of love is a lie and there are plenty of lies about love in our world.
Today, and for the next couple of weeks we’re going to make some practical application to what we’ve been talking about. It’s one thing to define love, but, now that we know what God says it is, the bigger question is, “what do we do with this love?” How do we put love into action as Jesus followers? I believe that the best way for us to show love is to do it the way Jesus did. The irony is that spiritually everyone plays “Simon Says.” Our unbelieving friends and those who say they’re Christians but are fans of Jesus rather than followers do what everyone else around them is doing, but, genuine Jesus followers do what Jesus did. We live as Jesus lived, and we love as Jesus loves. But we all slip up. We all sin.
You’ve probably heard the acronym W.W.J.D. “What Would Jesus Do”. I hate that. I can’t stand it when people say this. The problem with it is that its conjecture. How in the world can we know what Jesus WOULD do? I’m not Jesus, I can’t tell you what He might do or might say, but I can tell you what He DID, and what He DID say. The better acronym is W.D.J.D. “What Did Jesus Do.” We know what Jesus did, and we know what Jesus said from the Gospel books in the Bible. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John records some details about His life. One thing I appreciate most about the Gospel of John is that John records more of the intimate conversations that Jesus had with his followers.
In John 17 we are provided some detail about the prayer of Jesus in the garden before his arrest. Jesus shares in verse 20 that his prayer isn’t just about His followers then, but, for everyone who will ever believe and follow Him. Jesus prays for you and I before He is arrested, tortured and executed on the cross. He prays for us. And he prays that just as God sent Him to the world, now He is sending His followers into the world. Jesus is sending us into the world to share His truth and love.
As followers of Jesus our purpose is to live the truth of Jesus. In this way we are continuing His work on the earth. We are living in participation with His ministry. We’re on His ministry team. He is our ministry leader. We know we don’t belong here, but, we have a purpose as long as we are living in this world. We are in the world for the purpose of living the truth of Jesus for others to see and hear. We are sent out as followers by Jesus for this reason.