Summary: Many people feel that Christianity is a crutch, something for the weak. But Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount shows that Christianity is radical and it is not for the feinthearted.
In the late 90’s and early 2000’s there was a very popular children’s tv show called Teletubbies. Each week Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa, and Po would go on a fun adventure in Teletubbyland. They would roll on the ground, laugh, run about, and watching real children on the televisions on their bellies. And everything in Teletubbyland was nice.
The sun would never burn you. In fact the sun had a baby’s face and it would make baby noises right through-out the show.
When the tellytubbies greeted each other they were always so nice.
Eh Oh Tinky-Winky.
Eh Oh Po.
It is all so sugar-and-spice-and-everything-nice.
You know there are people in this world who try and make their life like Teletubbyland.
We want everything to be nice.
We want everything to be comfortable.
We want to feel safe.
We want life to be easy.
But that is not how Jesus wanted it. In fact Jesus has called us to a life which is radically making a difference. Let me show you what I mean by giving you an introduction to the Sermon on the Mount. We start in ...
Matthew 4:16-20 (read)
The basic message of Jesus here is ... this the real world:-
We live in a world of darkness ... its gloomy, it has shady characters, it brings fear.
We also live in a world of death ... we will decay, life always ends.
As we look around us we are faced with the reality that everything here is just going downhill. The big question is:- how are you going to deal with this reality?
Now some people go into Tellytubbyland. They try and make everything in their life look good. They try and cover the darkness and death with all sorts of avoidance techniques.
You hear about these actresses who take an hour to put their face on.
I don’t know about you but when I wake up my face is there.
You can keep trying to keep up the facade but when you get to 85 not even plastic surgery is going to help anymore.
It is an avoidance technique but what a waste of time that is! Ifthat doesn’t work they try something else. A good education. A good job. A good family life. A good holiday. All to avoid the darkness and death. It’s just Tellytubbyland over and over.
And then Jesus steps in and says – let’s try a different way. Why don’t we see what happens when you repent.
To repent doesn’t just mean to turn to God.
It means to turn your life ... your destiny ... your gifts ... your everything ... over to Him.
From that moment everything changes.
Those in darkness ... see a great light.
Those living in the shadow of death ... light dawns into their world.
And they see the reality. And they realise that trying to get by without God’s help is just going to lead to waste and emptiness. But when you repent everything makes sense ... and you have a purpose.
Come follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.
Jesus doesn’t have in mind the fishing that you do when you stand on Shorncliffe pier and drop your line over the edge. It’s fishing from a boat, in the middle of the sea at night. It’s cold and the waves a huge and you’re felling seasick. And you smell, and everything else smells. But you do it for the catch. The catch is the whole focus. You put up with everything for the hope of the catch.