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.
That’s what it means to be a Christian.
It takes stamina and commitment.
It’s far from easy.
It’s radical. And it means we are going to stand out.
Read Matthew 5:13-16
Notice the emphasis. You.
YOU ... YOU are the salt ... YOU go out in this world and you seek to make a real difference. YOU bring the flavour. YOU seek to determine the taste. Without YOU this world is bland. But when YOU get out there and do it YOU spice up the world.
YOU ... YOU are the light. YOU show the world that the answer to the darkness and death is not to go into the pretend world of Tellytubbyland. But that YOU have radical values which make a real difference.
This is Jesus saying, “You who are part of my family. That is what I want from you.”
Which says a whole lot about the sort of people that we are ... and the sort of people which the church ought to have within it.
We are not here to be part of a club. Where it is all nice and cosy and where we create our own Christian version of Tellytubbyland. Instead of being rugged fisherman who go out to sea we pull out our little magnetic fishing rods and catch plastic fish out of a dish. We create this illusion that we are doing something useful, but really it is all just a waste.