Hey guys, I am going through a series (the title which I borrowed from YS) where we are following Jesus and watching Him interact with the people he comes across. I am going to post my manuscript here post delivery, just so you can see what we are going through:
Tonight we are going to really kick-off this series – Seriously Ridiculous – where we are going to watch Christ do His thing, and figure out what that translates into for us here in the 21st century. The reason that the series is called Seriously Ridiculous is because that is Jesus is. Jesus is Ridiculous by human standards He does things that are completely contrary to what we would do or even think normal. We’ll see this especially tonight. The word Ridiculous literally means to be silly or to act contrary to common sense or normality; and the word Serious means either to be with out humor or to do to the extreme. Either definition I love, because either Christ is a contradiction, a confusion to us, or he is going to the extreme to be outside of human boundaries.
Before we get to the beginning I am going to jump to the end John 17:15-19” I’m not asking that you take them out of the world but that you guard them from the Evil One. They are no more defined by the world than I am defined by the world. Make them holy—consecrated—with the truth; Your word is consecrating truth. In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world. I’m consecrating myself for their sakes so they’ll be truth-consecrated in their mission.” This is part of Christ’s prayer in the garden before his crucifixion. The important thing in this text is how Christ compares us to Him. In this passage there are three different instances that he compares us to him. The first is in saying we are not of the world as He is not. The second we are sanctified just as he is and through Him. Third, that we have a mission just as He did. This one passage right here should guide us into pursuing Christ-likeness.
Now we go to the beginning. John 1:1. I know that most people believe that Genesis is the beginning but chronologically John 1:1 is first the first chapter of John covers a lot of time in a little text. I am going to use the message version because I like the way it communicates the truth to us. “The Word was first, the Word present to God, God present to the Word. The Word was God, in readiness for God from day one.” If we are to pursue Christ-likeness then we must start at the beginning and mimic to the end. So here is the beginning. In this passage the language of Word is actually a Greek word logos. Now this word logos communicates an action word . . . the word going and doing and acting. This logos, who is Jesus, was ready to act before action was needed.
The first action that the Word participated in was creation, “Everything was created through him, nothing – not one thing! – came into being without him. What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by. The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness, the darkness couldn’t put it out.” Jesus created life, there is nothing that lives that doesn’t live because of Him, but he also created a ‘Life-Light’ which means that life as we normally understand life isn’t life, its dark, we need to live a life of Light.’
Ok now we are going to get to the good stuff, “The Life-Light was the real thing: every person entering Life he brings into Light. He was in the word, the world was there through him, yet the world didn’t even notice. He came to his own people, but they didn’t want him. But whoever did want him, who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said, He made to be their true selves, their Child-of God selves. These are the God-begotten, not the blood-begotten.” These verses are about redemption. From the very beginning, from the word go of creation redemption existed. God knew that we would need redemption; he knew that we would need salvation. He didn’t expect it of us, he didn’t want us to fail, he expected the best of us, but He knew that we would fail. He knew that we would need Him to save us. Here is the application of this whole verse really, when we interact with people and we know that they are sinful, we know that they have a sin nature we know that they are messed up, we shouldn’t expect them to be that person. We should expect and look for the best in them. This doesn’t mean that we judge that person, it means we accept them for who they are were they are and gently guide them into the person God created them to be.
To be able to act this way toward people though we need to continue to be like Christ in another way. John 1:14: “The Word became flesh an blood and moved into the neighborhood. We saw glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, generous inside and out, true from start to finish” Last thing, we need to be flesh and blood to people not Christians, we need to be real, and we need to show them that we are human just as they are. Moving into the neighborhood doesn’t mean that we move into a literal neighborhood, but that we become part of someone’s life we find a common interest that we can relate to talk about and use to get to know someone, this could be sewing, weight lifting, food, even a TV show just about anything within reason.
This might also mean that you need to really stretch outside of your comfort zone to make contact with these people. In Sacramento, I didn’t do a very good job at this in some places, but I was successful in others. My failure came with one of our neighbors. I called him ‘The Crazy Neighbor.” The first time we talked was on the day we moved into our house in Sac. He came and asked if there was a couch for him, or if we had curtains we didn’t want, it was awkward, and his dog was running around and slobbering all over stuff. Every interaction with him was awkward and so I tried to avoid him . . . real Christ-like right? The closest I ever came to actually reaching out to him was letting him borrow my cell-phone so he could call someone to bring his spare key to his house.
So with this one man I didn’t do a very good job. There was another instance though were a man came into our church and he was in a very bad place in his life, lost his job, car, home, going through a divorce. After I failed with this man ,Fred, one time, I decided to step up and start talking to him, and sure it was awkward, but I knew how to pray for him, and we ended up connecting over music, he was in the worship band at the church so we got to hang out a lot. I know that my interaction with one of these men will have the eternal impact that Christ wanted me to have and the other will not.
So this morning may you begin to grasp the meaning of pursuing Christ-likeness, may you begin to take part in the redemptive action of God, may you begin to expect good from people but know they are not perfect and may you find a neighborhood you can move into.