This morning I come to you with two things which have been weighing heavily on me recently. The first thing is something which was born in our Luke Tuesday night Bible study and has matured. The Lord keeps speaking to me and tells me it is time to take the words of Jesus seriously and live it. Jesus, the Son of God, sent as the exact representation of God, speaking the words of God. The Holy Spirit speaks and says “take Jesus’ words seriously”! The whole Bible is the inspired word of God but I believe that Jesus’ words were the clarification.
Paul often wrote theological things for God and he wrote rules yet I can’t help but to be constantly turned back to Jesus’ words and yes to answer the question every moment in life “what would Jesus do?” 24/7 You see the second thing weighing on my mind is that the majority of people who call themselves Christians are not living as Jesus, not living as changed people traveling in this world, not living like Jesus 24/7. Am I, are you, taking every opportunity to fulfill God’s purpose in my/you life?
Unfortunately, many times we get so caught up in the details of every day to day living that we just don’t have the time to seize the day that has been given us by the Lord and for His purposes. We’ve got deadlines and commitments, problems, and priorities, distractions and obstacles, and though we really want more fulfillment from each day, it just doesn’t seem to be within our grasp. No one wants life to be just average, at least not many of us are willing to admit it. But by nature, we want our lives to be full and prosperous. That happens when we live like Jesus 24/7.
Remember last weeks Ephesians 5:15-20 portions
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We have been given a mission, we exist on this earth for one reason, we are to be reflections of Jesus Christ. We are to shine His light or the light of His Good News into the darkness. We are to live each day in celebration of our God. Our lives are a testimony to His work in our lives.
The life and work of Jesus Christ set a pattern for the church’s mission. When Jesus came to this earth, God became more than words. The Word himself entered culture in a specific time and space. John 1:14“And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” Jesus full of grace and truth.
What does it mean to live like Jesus lived? How did He live? The word that epitomizes Jesus Christ more than any other would have to be the word “servant.” He was a servant. He was the ultimate servant.
“Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.” Philippians 2:5-8
What does it mean to live like Jesus lived?
1. Jesus gave His disciples two things to help them follow Him. He gave them power and a picture of that life.
Jesus could have just simply given His disciples power but He spent three years “discipling” them to give them a pictue. He modeled the life that He intended for them to live. Many people have rejected the church because of those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ do not come close to living like Jesus. It is very painful but true. “The world isn’t interested in Christianity because we Christians aren’t known as a people who live what we say.” (Michael Slaughter/Warren Bird) Until we move beyond superficial faith, we will not experience supernatural living.
What was Jesus like? What is the picture He gives us as we look and listen to Him? Read the words of Jesus and you will find he: loved the unlovable, forgave the unforgivable, made disciples and followers out of the least likely people, worried about people’s physical hunger, cried when a friend died, took His message to the streets. He hung out with those who needed His message most.
Listen to one man’s story that does sum up Jesus. When he was younger he had been consistently late for dinner. One day his parents had warned him to be on time, but he arrived later than ever. His parents were ready to start eating and he looked at his plate with one piece of bread on it and a glass of water. He hurt inside. Then his father’s hand reached over, picked up his plate and set it before himself. Then his dad gave him his own full plate, smiling. When the boy became a man, he said, “All my life I’ve known what God was like by what my father did that night.”
The Power Jesus Promised
Jesus clearly taught that we were to be like him Him with our lives. We have been given the assignment while on this earth to use our gifts, talents, personalities and resources to live out our faith. When He gave this assignment He also promised the power to do it.
Acts 1 says Jesus was with the disciples for 40 days after his resurrection and it says: While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Jesus promised us the power of the Holy Spirit to fulfill His mission. Think about this for a moment. You have to want to fulfill the mission of Jesus. You have to go after it like you and I pursue our own interest. If we want something or we want to build, buy or possess something we will spend any amount of time and energy going after it. Where am I/you spending our time and energy?
I am in a place right now in my own life where I keep asking God to give me a passion for Him and for His ways. Let me lead a people who are passionate about being Christ followers and not just Christ fans. Fans sit in the seats and get fatter and followers get in the field and play the game.
A man once told his wife that he never wanted to live just being in a place dependant upon a machine. He said, “If I ever get in that shape, I want you to pull the plug.” She got up and unplugged the television. Are you experiencing His power and using it?
2. We are to live our life as Jesus did.
We are to invite people to come and follow us as we follow Christ and we are to live in community with others.
Jesus spent three years showing us community. He surrounded himself with 12 men that he poured himself into. He mentored and gave Himself to pouring faith into someone else. He lived out his life to show His disciples what it meant to follow and do God’s will on this earth. The disciples and followers of that time watched and saw Jesus in order to model their life after Jesus.
We are to pick up this book, (Bible) and learn how to live as Jesus lived because we can see Jesus too right in His words right here. We are then to witness and teach it to others. We are too live our life as Jesus did for that very purpose, simple. Jesus did not say your purpose is to save people, He does that. The Bible says we are to witness and make disciples, followers, not just sit on the couch TV watchers.
In the Samaritan woman at the well story Jesus explains what nourished Him and what should be nourishing us: John 4:34-42 portions “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.”.. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.”
Finally 3. We must be willing to embrace the downward spiral.
Living like Jesus lived is a downward spiral. Not downward in a negative sense but in a realistic sense. We are to evaluate our lives, relationships, action and reactions, priorities and resources in light of our relationship to God and His word. Often Jesus has called people to leave the comfortable and embrace the uncomfortable.
Jesus has always called His followers into a life that is counter-culture but somehow at its core it is an appealing call. What started out as a simple invitation, “Come follow me,” became an incredible command. Common low status fisherman, left their nets as well as Father to follow.
Often God calls us out of our “normal” lives to walk a radically different way. Living in a downward spiral means that we are willing to follow Jesus even to the cross. We don’t run from adversity. We don’t run when life gets hard. We embrace the cross. It may be heavy but we carry it because our Lord carried it. We accept it because it is not the devil who gives us our crosses it is God. It was God, who let His Son die on a cross because it was good for the whole world.
Are you and I willing to be bothered in our busy lives by carrying crosses. Are we to be bothered by touching the “least of these,” with a cup of cold water or a conversation? Are we willing to take the time to be a real “good Samaritan”? Are we willing to step out of our comfort zone and help people we don’t know? Are we willing to give and servewithout expectation of reward? Are you willing to be used by God and to live like Jesus lived?
Jesus said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it” Too many are saving their life in this world, many haven’t given up their old life which looks just like the good people of the world. When Christ comes to ask you to die to yourself and give up your old life, …..do you refuse. You think about all the stuff in your life that you will have to give up. You may even be miserable, but at least you are used to it, and you know how to get by. You are not sure you would know what to do if you really died to your old life.
Many simply don’t want to put forth the effort to change. Many don’t want the responsibility of living the Christian life fully, they prefer to only give a percentage of their life. God knows your potential. He understands what you were capable of. He wants to call you His son or His Daughter and you really are that…when you live like Jesus 24/7. Yes, he wants us to follow Him and represent Him 24/7.