Summary: This message was inspired by Dr. David Platt's book, "Radical". This message centers around the question of Pilate, "What will you have me do with Jesus?"
The Crowd versus the Christ
* What words comes to your mind when you hear the term “Radical?” (I.E. drastic, thorough, sweeping, extreme, militant, fanatical, revolutionary, uncompromising)
* What are you radical about? Every person in this room has something about which you are radical. Some are radical about their families, jobs, making money, sports, hobbies, avocation, and much more. I suggest that being radical could involve ‘flags on your vehicle’ or ‘logos on your car’ stating which sports team you support. Perhaps radical is one who wears clothing which bears the name (or number) of a race car driver. The list can go on and on.
* The interesting thing is that bias what is considered radical seems to be subjective. While I suggested that flags, logos, and clothing, could be termed as radical support for a team or a person, many of us would counter, “That’s not radical, but rather, it’s just being a fan.”
* In this sense for the last 5+ years, my heart has been to challenge every one of us to become a ‘fan’ of Jesus. To do the same things for Jesus as we do our ‘sports heroes’, is to not be called fans, but fanatics. Why is that? Why is it that the church is losing her influence, that believers are losing their witness, and that the hunger for Christ is waning? To honestly look at the modern day, Americanized church, is to ask the question, “What is different about us today as opposed to those believers of the past?” I have wondered until recently.
* Dr. David Platt, Senior Pastor of the Church at Brook Hills, has written a book entitled, “RADICAL” (show cover). Within the pages of this book I have discovered some sobering “Bible” principles which cut at my heart because of the ways we have seemingly rationalized, ignored, & even dismissed some of the principles which Jesus taught & expected. If we are honest before our Lord, some of the things which the church in America today thinks are important, Jesus despises; and conversely, some of the things that Jesus thought important the church despises.
* Over the next couple of weeks, let’s take a hard look into God’s word, accept the fact that HIS BOOK contains some hard teachings, & let’s discover God’s plan for us, both individually & collectively.
* In Matthew 27, we read the sad story about Pilate, the crowd, and Jesus. The mob has gathered, Jesus is before them, & Pilate wants to release Jesus. Verse 22 gives us THE QUESTION each of us needs to face. Pilate listened to the crowd. To whom will you listen? READ
* What a startling question! “What should I do with Jesus?” That question has echoed throughout time. The crowd is still yelling, “Crucify Him”, the religious still incite crowd to get rid of Him, and the Pilates of the day are still afraid to stand for right. Through the years preachers, teachers & theologians, have all denigrated Pilate for his lack of courage and yet, like Pilate, too often we hear the ‘cry of the crowd’ instead of the call of Christ. Today, consider this question; “The Crowd or the Christ, who will I hear, listen to, & believe.”
* I ask you two questions that will become your decision point for today. 1) Will you believe Jesus? & 2) Will you obey Jesus? If we refuse to obey, then we really don’t believe. Let’s discover who we follow.
1. What the Crowd declares to be ‘optional’; Jesus declares ‘essential.’ -
a. Saved – While most in this room would say, “DUH”, the world says, “You can do it on your own; you can find God, just do your best.” Candidly, inside the American church, we discover a creeping universalism which supports this philosophy. Please hear this; you cannot attend enough, volunteer enough, work with kids enough, give enough money, sing enough, witness enough, or preach enough to earn to your way into a relationship with God the Father or into heaven. Your best is simply not good enough. The Bible teaches that we are DEAD in trespasses & sin. This means we are separated from the life of God. How about an extra snippet which Dr. Platt startled me with. God detests sin –but hear this, “HE ALSO DETESTS THE SINNER.” He hates or detests those who choose to live apart from Him & in sin. Why do I say this? Simple, the Bible. (Lev 20:23, Psalms 5:4-6, Proverbs 6:16-19, Hosea 9:15, Matthew 7:23, Matthew 25:41) This flies in the face of what the modern day crowd says. Jesus says, “You must be born again!” In fact, unless you are born again you will perish! When Peter was asked about responding to the gospel of Jesus, he responded, “Repent!” When Paul was asked, he said, “Believe.” There is no other way to know God, miss hell, & make heaven. You must be saved, saved from eternal death, eternal punishment, and eternal hell; and saved to eternal life, eternal worship, and an eternity with God. This is essential.