Summary: A sermon about letting go of the old in order to follow Christ.
A couple of years ago a friend of mine sent me a video clip from the t-v show “Ellen.”
And the background to this clip is about a lady named Gladdis.
You see, Gladdis got onto the Ellen Show because she wrote a letter to Ellen complaining about where the plants were placed on the set.
Apparently, this letter rather peaked Ellen’s interest in “just who” this Gladdis lady was and what she was up to.
So, during one of her shows, Ellen called Gladdis on the telephone.
And Ellen asked Gladdis, “Have you ever been on t-v before?”
And this is Gladdis’ response: She said, “Well, no.”
And then she said, “But I love Jesus, but I drink a little.”
I’m not sure why she answered that way.
Ellen hadn’t asked her a theological question at all.
“I love Jesus,” she said, “but I drink a little.”
So I started pondering, as most pastors do…
…we have some really deep thoughts about things sometimes, you know…
…and so I started pondering this phrase.
“I love Jesus, but I drink a little.”
And as I began to think about it—it started to dawn on me, “You know there is a lot of truth to this statement for a lot of people—including myself.”
Sometimes, in my own life there’s this “type of thing.”
“I love Jesus, but…”
How about you?
For some it may be, “I love Jesus, but I talk a little too much behind other peoples’ backs.”
Or “I love Jesus, but I use words that hurt people sometimes.”
Maybe it’s, “I love Jesus, but I work at a job and make a little too much money—of which I don’t give back to the church.”
Or, “I love Jesus, but my house is just a little bit too big.”
And it could go on and on and on.
We all have weaknesses in our own lives and oftentimes we allow those weaknesses to keep us from experiencing God’s transforming love and power.
So there is often this, “hanging however” in our faith.
What is your “hanging however?”
Is there anything getting in the way of your walk with Jesus?
In the Upper Room for this past Wednesday, a person named Tracy Jensen wrote about something called “Phantom pain.”
This happens to people who have had a limb amputated.
For instance, if it was the person’s arm that had been removed, the person’s brain still remembers the pain and sends out pain signals.
Doctors have to retrain people by having them face a mirror and tell their brain that their arm is no longer there.
Over time, the brain learns; the person gets better and is free of pain.
After accepting Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, our sin and its penalty was erased, or removed…amputated if you will.
Yet, we don’t always live as though we are free from the pain and bondage of sin.
Some of us have a hard time forgiving ourselves because of our past.
We may still suffer from old guilt and self-condemnation.
This is a kind of “phantom pain,” is it not?
And this guilt, and thinking that we are not good enough for God’s grace can stunt our Christian growth, cause us to want to “give up,” or lead us into more sin.
Do you love Jesus, but…?
It may very well be nearly impossible to follow Christ if we “love Jesus, but…”
In Luke Chapter 9 Jesus said to someone, “Follow me.”
But the person replied, “Lord first let me go and bury my father.’
Jesus said to him, ‘Let the dead bury their own dead. But you go and spread the news of God’s kingdom.’
Someone else said to Jesus, ‘I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say good-bye to those in my house.’
Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts a hand on the plow and looks back is fit for God’s kingdom.”
When Jesus calls us, we are to forsake our old lives.
The grace of Jesus’ call bursts all the bonds of sin and legalism.
It breaks all the bonds of the old life, the old self.
The call of Jesus is stronger than any barrier.
As we face the call of Christ on our lives, we are challenged to come face to face with ourselves in the mirror of God’s grace-filled Word.
And as we do this, we can be healed from the “phantom pain, guilt and sin,” and be set free to follow Jesus in grace and with confidence.
I think this morning, as we read the story of the wedding—the Scripture draws us to think about John Chapter 1 in which there was this rag-tag group of disciples who Jesus comes to and asks them to follow Him.