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Watch 2022 online sermons » Andy Stanley » Andy Stanley - Starting Line (Pregame)

Andy Stanley - Starting Line (Pregame)

Andy Stanley - Starting Line (Pregame)
TOPICS: Investigating Jesus

So here's something to think about and not answer it out loud probably unless you're with some people you really trust, if your life is a commercial, what are you advertising? Yeah, it's kind of a disturbing question. And I work way ahead on these messages so there's a couple things in today's message that sort of just disturbed me in a good way and this is one of them. If my life is a commercial or if your life is a commercial, and I mean, you've got your temperament, your personality, and your gifts and your job and you've got a lot of stuff going on, but when you come to mind or when I come to mind, when people kind of do the one sentence thing, I know Frank, he's you know, I know Trisha, Trish, she's, if your life is a commercial, and I guess and say all of our lives are commercials about something, I wonder what are you advertising? And then I think about, what are we collectively advertising? And what is the church advertising? More on that in just a minute.

Today we are in part two of our series, Investigating Jesus, How We Know and Why We Follow. How we know there's anything to the life of Jesus in the claims of Jesus, and if there is, why in the world do we choose to follow? And these are extremely important questions because the Christian faith as we talked extensively about last time, and I don't wanna redo all of last week, but last week, we talked about the fact that the Christian faith, not all faith systems and not even theism, but Christianity specifically rises and falls on the identity of a single individual, Jesus of Nazareth.

So when it comes to the veracity of Christianity, specifically the question to wrestle to the ground, the question that you have to wrestle with, especially if you're considering faith or maybe you're losing faith or you grew up with faith and now you're not so sure because your childhood faith is not doing so well with the trauma that comes and the pressures that come along with being an adult and your kind of things are up in the air, the question to wrestle with when it comes to is there anything to the Christian faith is not the question, is there a God, although it's fun to talk about is there a God and there's lots of books written about is there a God, that's kind of fun to talk about, but that's not the main question when it comes to Christianity.

And the main question isn't, and this came as a surprise to some of us last week, the issue isn't is the entire Bible true? The real question when it comes to is there anything to the Christian faith is this question, is Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, even one of these, is Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John a reliable account of actual events? And here's why this is the question we have to wrestle to the ground when it comes to Christianity. Because in the Bible, these four books of the Bible, they're really just ancient documents that we call books, or we call these the Gospels because these are the four accounts of the life of Jesus, if any one of these much less all four of these are reliable accounts of actual events, then it means that what Jesus said about Himself is true and what Jesus did are things that really happen.

And if what these Gospels or these ancient documents say about Jesus is true regardless of your background and regardless of what you've thought before, you should sit up straight and pay attention. We should all sit up straight and pay attention regardless of what you think about religion, the existence of God or even the Bible, if any one of these is a reliable account of actual events, game on. So what we're doing in this series, we are exploring one of these accounts, the Gospel or the book of Luke, Matthew, Mark, Luke, the third Gospel in the New Testament. It's named for its author. And right up front as we saw last time, Luke, the author of Luke, tells us exactly what his agenda is, he tells us exactly what he's doing and he tells us why he's doing it.

He explains to us why he took the time, this is amazing, to document the life of a first century day laborer from Galilee that started a movement that was considered a cult. And He was crucified by Rome and rejected by His own people. Why in the world would you waste your time? Why in the world would you spend your time when food is scarce and this isn't gonna go anywhere anyway. Why in the world, Luke, he was a doctor, we discover, why would an educated, sophisticated person like you Luke spend your time documenting the life of a Galilean day laborer who was crucified by Rome and rejected by His own people? Why would you do that? That's a good question, that's a question we don't think about because of the way the Bible is presented to us. But he tells us, and here's how he begins his Gospel, I'll read this quick because we spent a lot of time with this last time and I wanna move on.

Here's how he begins his account of the life of Jesus. "Many", I'm not the only one, "Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have happened, been fulfilled right here among us". This happened in his lifetime. "Just as they were handed down to us by those who were from the first eyewitnesses". In other words, this isn't something I read about that I'm regurgitating, I've talked to the eyewitnesses. "And servants of the word". And this is code word in the New Testament for Jesus. With this in mind, he says, "With this in mind, I myself have carefully investigated," I'm not passing along information I just got randomly from other people, "I have carefully investigated everything from the beginning," from the beginning of Jesus's life as we discover, "and I too decided to write," along with a lot of other people, "I too decided to write an orderly account," that is a sequential chronological account, "for you most excellent Theophilus".

And Theophilus was probably best we can tell a first century Christian who had become a Jesus follower and had heard the stories and claims of Jesus but apparently he like many other people in the first century, and Jesus followers were like, would somebody please put the whole story together for us, we believe, but I mean an orderly account would be so helpful, especially when we think about passing this along to the next generation. So Luke wants to provide Theophilus with reliable answers.

Now, here's what you discover when you begin reading the Gospel of Luke. Luke is not writing religious literature, he's not writing religious literature. And as we discussed last time, if you missed last time, you gotta go back and catch up, he's also not writing the Bible. Luke doesn't have any idea there will ever be a the Bible, the Bible which is the title given to the collection of the Hebrew Scriptures along with the Gospels and the writings of Paul's and letters, that happened in the early fourth century. Luke has no idea there's ever gonna be a the Bible. So he's not writing religious literature, he's certainly not writing the Bible. You know what he's doing? He's documenting someone's life, he's telling someone's story, a story that took place in his lifetime.

And here's what you discover when you read the Gospel of Luke and you read his second and ancient document he wrote, it's called the Book of Acts that follows the Gospels, you discover that Luke knew personally Peter, Jesus's most famous disciple, he knew James, the brother of Jesus, and he knew and traveled all around the Mediterranean basin with the Apostle Paul who wrote about half the New Testament, and he knew other of the disciples as well. So he thoroughly investigated eyewitness accounts, he's friends with the main players, the key players in the story of the life of Jesus. And then he adds this in his introduction then we're gonna jump into the story. So that, he says the reason I put all this together, he says to Theophilus, "Is so that you may know the certainty of the things that you have been taught".

And suddenly, we are invited into the story. We're invited into the story because many of you have been taught to follow Jesus as a child or even a young adult or and maybe you're a new Christian. And so like Theophilus is like, okay, I believe and it's impacted my life, but I would love for somebody to put the whole thing together for me so I know with certainty, I can have certainty in terms of what I actually believe so that we can be assured that what we believe is anchored to something, anchored to history, actually anchored to what happened. So this isn't religious literature, this isn't the Bible, he's not writing the Bible, he's documenting the life of someone whose life should never have been documented except for one extraordinary event at the end of that otherwise unknown person's life. But that's a story for another day.

So we're jumping in, three chapters into the Gospel of Luke, Luke, and I'm gonna ask you a question, you can answer this one out loud, Luke actually introduces us to Jesus's pregame show, the warm up act, and who was the warm up act for Jesus, anybody know? John the Baptist, that's right. Literally, it's John the baptizer. But I want you to listen once again, I'm gonna go slow through this text, I want you to listen to how Luke introduces John the Baptist. It's not once upon a time or once upon a time during the time of the Romans. He speaks as if he's giving us history because he is. In fact, in these next few verses, this is what Luke's actually doing to his readers, he's saying, fact check me, fact check me, I dare you. Here's how it begins, "In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar," not during the time of the Romans, not even during the time of Tiberius Caesar, Tiberius Caesar is Caesar Augustus adopted son, he says, no, I want you to know exactly, I wanna put a pin right on the timeline, in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar.

Now, let me just say this, when you are writing a fiction that you're going to try to pass off as true, you never ever ever pinpoint the events to a specific period of time, it's too easy to check and debunk, but look at the detail he gives us, "In the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea," I just want you all to know I know what's going on, he says, "Herod Tetrarch of Galilee and his brother Philip, his brother Philip was the Tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis and Lysanias was the Tetrarch of Abilene". Are you follow me? He's like, okay, I just want you to know exactly when we're talking about. Look, you don't do that when you're making stuff up. This reads like history because it's history, he's telling us what happened. Then he says this, in that time period right then, the Word of God, "The Word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness". This is the famous John the Baptist.

Now, I wish we could spend more time on this, the reason he has to tell us which John he's talking about is because when you read the New Testament, there are Johns all over the place, and there are Marys all over the place, and there are Elizabeths all over the place. It's like, hey, if you're gonna make up a story, could you use different names so it's a little easier to track? Why is everybody named the same? Because these were the most popular names in Palestine in this era because of the story of the Maccabees, which I would love to tell you but we don't have time. So he has to tell us, this is John but I gotta tell you which John it is, it's John the son of Zechariah who was actually a priest at the temple.

Now, John the Baptist is not a Bible character, John the Baptist is a historical character that shows up in this Gospel, and in fact, in the other Gospels as well, because he had a specific role to play when it came to Jesus. But John the Baptist is known of outside of biblical literature. The Roman historian that I, excuse me, the Jewish historian that I quote sometimes, Josephus, every once in a while you hear somebody talk about Josephus, Josephus wrote three big pieces of literature, "The Jewish War" which is a fabulous piece of literature, you can get all this stuff on Amazon, is almost free, it's so old. But he also wrote a document, I've read all of these, "The Antiquities or The History of the Jews" where he goes all the way back to Adam and tells the whole history of the Jews.

And he writes, he's writing at about 90 AD, about 60 years after John the Baptist has died. And when it gets to the piece of history that overlaps with the life of John the Baptist, guess who Josephus talks about, John the Baptist. Why? Because John the Baptist was such a leading character in that piece of Jewish history he couldn't tell the story without referring to John the Baptist. And he's writing after Luke writes and nobody thinks he's borrowing from Luke. So here, I'm just gonna kind of give you a little snapshot of what Josephus says about John the Baptist, this is so interesting, then I'm gonna actually read you a couple paragraphs from Josephus so you can just be smarter than everybody else, okay?

So here's what he says happens. And this, if you've read the Gospels, this parallels what the Gospels tells us about John the Baptist. So what he says is this, is that Herod Antipas, who is the son of the Herod the Great who killed the children in Bethlehem, Herod Antipas decides to, and these are Josephus words, kind of a paraphrase. Herod Antipas decides to gently and quietly divorce his wife. Yes, the women are chuckling like, yeah, try that, try to gently and quietly divorce me and you'll. So anyway, to gently and quietly divorce his wife so he can marry his brother's wife. Yeah, that went down well. Well, his wife that he was trying to gently divorce isn't having it. So she runs to her daddy who happens to be Arab king, King Aretas. And none of this is in the Bible, this is just history. She goes to her daddy and says, daddy, this is what he's trying to do, well, her father is not happy and he's already not happy with Herod Antipas for other reasons and they go to war. And Herod loses the battle in a big, big way.

So that's kind of the context for what Josephus says about John the Baptist. Now, here's Josephus' version of all that, he writes about 90 AD. "Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod, Herod Antipas' army, some of the Jews thought that the destruction of his army came from God," that God caused him to lose this battle, "and was a very just punishment for what he did against John called the Baptist". So John the Baptist, he's not a new name, people in this period of history, they know, he just references it, references John the Baptist. Then Josephus writes this, "For Herod had him killed". Now, why is he telling us this? This is part of the Jewish history, I gotta tell you the whole story. "For Herod Antipas had him killed although he was a good man, and had urged the Jews to exert themselves to virtue both as to justice toward one another and reverence towards God". And then he goes on from there.

So when Luke introduces us to John the Baptist, you just gotta know, he's not making this stuff up, this was a historical figure that played such a role and caused such a ripple in culture during his time that he could not be ignored. Okay, so back to Luke. Here's what Luke says, Luke writes, "The Word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness". And then he talks about what John the Baptist did. "And John went into all the country around the Jordan River specifically preaching," and this was his message, "a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins".

Now, one of the reasons John the Baptist caused such a stir, this is a problem, because the Jewish people had an entire system built around how to get forgiven of your sin. And it happened in Jerusalem at the temple. And lo and behold, this crazy man comes out of the desert saying, you don't need to go there, the whole thing is corrupt, you need to come to me and I'm gonna baptize you and I'm gonna call you to repentance of your sin so you can begin to live out what you're supposed to live out. And his message was designed to get people ready for the coming of the Messiah, of Jesus, that's why we call him the warm up act.

And here's what he would say, something new is coming, something new is on the horizon, someone new is coming, someone new is on the horizon, and you don't wanna miss it so update your firmware or you're gonna miss it. And the way you update your firmware is you gotta start living out your faith, and he was very direct. One day, you may have heard the story before, he caused such a disturbance. In fact, the Gospels tell us that all of Judea went to hear John preach, that has to be hyperbole. But if only 10% of Judea went to hear him preach, it was hundreds of thousands of people in that region. So word gets back to the temple and to Jerusalem, hey, there's this crazy preacher down there, he's kind of undermining everything we've believed in and done as Jews for hundreds of years.

So the temple leaders, the Pharisees, Sadducees, they take this trip, it takes them over a day just to get to where John is baptizing. John sees them coming and he's so excited that they're there, he looks up and he welcomes them and he says, welcome, you brood of vipers. This is so offensive. These are the most respected people in Judea at the time, "You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the," it's coming, get ready, get ready, get ready, get ready, "the coming wrath," the coming change of God. And then he looks out at them, and these are my words, not his, he says basically, don't come down here thinking you're gonna just put a check in the box, don't come here trying to check a box, well, I went down, I was baptized by John the Baptist so I have a credential, don't come down here playing that game. And don't come down here just to kind of dis my theology so that you can go away and say, well, I went and heard that guy preach, and he's crazy. He said, we're not gonna play that game, he could read their minds. He said, look at me, if you wanna be right with God, if you wanna be prepared for what God is about to do, you have to produce fruit in keeping with repentance.

That is you gotta change your evil ways and you gotta walk your talk, you gotta put some wheels on it, you gotta be doers of the Torah, not just believers and teachers of the Torah, because the day of reducing religion to tradition are over, the days of a personalized, internalized only religion, they're over. And if you don't repent of that kind of approach, and if you don't repent of your lack of compassion, your lack of generosity, your lack of others first, if you don't repent, when the new that God does shows up, you're gonna miss it because you won't see it because you won't be living in sync with it. And then he says, this is so offensive, and do not begin to say, he knows exactly the excuses they're gonna raise, "And do not begin to say to yourself", in other words, don't comfort yourself with, or don't try to hide behind, "And do not say, oh, we're good, we have Abraham, we have Abraham as our father". We're safe, we're sons and daughters of Abraham, we're in, that's enough, right? And he says, no, that's not right. "For I tell you," so offensive, "for I tell you, out of these stones, God can raise up children of Abraham".

Now, when I'm reading this and preparing and it's so powerful, I'm just trying to put myself in that context, it got me to thinking, if John the Baptist were to show up here, what would he say to us? What's the context, what's the crossover? Where's the cultural bridge to us? What might he say? And I'm not picking on anybody, we all different stuff going on, but what would you say to those of us who are, if we're honest, we're just kind of comfortable consumer-oriented Christians, what's in it for me? I don't like this church, I don't like that song, I don't like that music, I don't have time, what's in it for me marginally committed believers. What would he say to me, what would he say to you? He would say something like, "And do not say to yourselves, but I'm a Christian. I prayed the sinners prayer, I've asked Jesus to be my savior". I've asked Jesus into my heart. I mean, I'm good to go, right?

John the Baptist was rear back and say, "I tell you out of these stones, out of the stones, God can raise up Christians". It's disturbing. If it's disturbing, you understand John the Baptist, John disturbed people, he was trying to disturb them out of their apathy and their self made religion that was so off sync with what God was about to do that if they weren't careful, rushing to the end of the story, if they weren't careful, even though they were God fearers and God believers, they would miss what God is doing and become enemies of God. And when you rush to the end of the life of Jesus and were wondering, who are all these Judeans shouting, crucify Him, crucify Him, crucify Him, what's wrong with these people? John the Baptist would say, this is what's wrong with these people, they internalized it, they dumbed it down, they pulled it away from what it was intended to do, and they missed God in a body in their midst.

Do you know what he was really doing for them and what he's doing for us if we listen, he's reminding us of what our lives are supposed to be advertising. He's reminding them Torah followers of what their lives were supposed to be advertising. "Produce fruit", he said, fruit, not belief, fruit, not you got it all worked out theologically, "fruit in keeping with repentance". Here's our version, "Produce fruit in keeping with what you say you believe and who you claim to believe in". Again, if this is disturbing, it's like, but what about, then you get it, you get the emotion he's trying to stir in all of us. Because at times, we get so settled into our way of thinking and our way of believing and our way of behaving that we think, well, we're fine, aren't we? And maybe you are fine, but maybe some of us aren't. And if this makes you wanna find a kinder, gentler preacher than John the Baptist, or you wish I would not talk about this and talk about prayer or how to get your prayers answered, how to be comforted in times of sorrow and grief, then you get John the Baptist.

If you want more comfort than requirement, you get John the Baptist, you get Jesus, you get what Luke is about to unleash on us because it reflects what God unleashed through Christ in the world. And here's the thing, John wasn't discounting being related to Abraham, his point was, that's not the point. That being related to Abraham, that's not the finish line, that's actually just the starting line. And what he would say to us is, hey, I'm so glad you put your faith in Christ and I'm so glad Jesus is your savior, way to go, but that's not the finish line, that's just the starting line. And his point to his audience was what's coming is gonna change everything and if you aren't ready, you're gonna miss it and you may find yourself at odds with God because the new that was coming, the new that was about to be unleashed on the world would be fueled by and animated by and characterized by doing for others, the internalized vertical only religion was out.

And here's the thing, John's audience, they got the message. In fact, we know they got the message because of the question they asked, it's a question that we should all ask. In fact, at the end of today's time together, I'm gonna challenge you to begin asking this question personally, is a question honestly that if we were to ask this question corporately, if we were to ask this question as families, if we were to ask this question as teachers and community leaders, if we were to all together begin to ask and answer and act on this question, it would change things. And the reason I believe it would change things is because once upon a time, it changed things. It's why we're here. Before I show you the question, I just wanna say something to those of you who are maybe unwinding your faith, deconstructing your faith, you're reaching for the door about to walk out or maybe you already have.

My hunch is this, and I don't know your story, and I'm not being critical because if I had experienced what you experienced, I'd probably leave faith too so I'm not being critical. But I just wanna challenge you with something if you listen to the end of this message, it could be that one of the reasons it was so easy for you to discount faith and walk away from faith is you were never challenged to ask the question that John's audience asked him. And consequently, over time, your faith became stagnant, it became stagnant and then it became just lifeless. And then you woke up one day and you realize, I don't even believe this anymore, I don't even believe that anymore, it just died and you're not sure exactly when it happened or how it happened. But here's the threat for all of us, when our Christian faith becomes 100% internalized, when we become consumers only, when we become unintentionally what's in it for me only, you are in the danger zone, your faith is dying and you don't know it. Here's what they said, "What should we do then"?

Now what should we believe? "What should we do then, the crowd asked". What should we do to prepare for what God is about to do among us? What should we do so that when it happens, we recognize it? What should we do that when we see it, we understand this is God's work in the world. We don't wanna miss it. If God's about to do something new, how can we best prepare ourselves? And they were of course waiting for some religious answer. If you're gonna prepare, if you're gonna get ready for what God's about to do, you gotta do something difficult, you gotta do something unusual, you gotta do something religious. And John's answer surprised them and it will surprise us as well. They're ready, like, what should we do? John's like, all right, you're ready? They're, we're ready.

All right, John answered, "Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none". Like what? Yeah, anybody who's got two something and somebody needs one, you should share it. Okay, you had us all worked up, I mean, you just dissed the entire temple establishment, you've criticized everybody, you've baptized everybody, and you're saying, to get ready, all we gotta do is share. I mean, that's not very religious, you can do that anywhere. John's like exactly. See, you've gotten yourself all wound up in something that isn't even all that important to God and you've missed the fundamental. Because when God does what he's about to do in the world, you're gonna discover that He is sharing with the world what is most important. He said, and while we're talking about sharing, and anyone, he goes a little deeper, "Anyone who has food should do the same".

Food sometimes was scarce, food sometimes was expensive, food didn't keep, it was hard to transport. And again, they're looking at each other like, so we just need to share? John's like, yes, if you see a need you can meet, meet it, when you see a need you can meet and it cost you, meet it, when you have more of what you have, you have more of what somebody else has has and they need it, then you step in, whether they're Judean, Galilean, Samaritan, it doesn't matter. When you see a need, you step in and you mean it because the thing that God is about to do is exactly that, He is about to meet the need of the entire world, a need they can't meet on their own. And if you're not living that out, you're gonna miss it when it comes. To the tax collectors, which is amazing that they're there 'cause everybody hates these guys. And for centuries, you've read this and wondered if this was important maybe, they're referred to as the sinners and the tax gatherers.

Have you noticed that? The sinners and the tax gatherers. The tax gatherers were so low, they didn't even qualify as sinners, they had their own category, is like the sinners and the tax gathers. I mean, you could be a sinner, I mean, that's how bad and despise they were because they were thieves, they were leveraging the power of Rome to steal from their own people. And they've come to hear John because you know what, because when you get small, when you get all about you and you begin to wither on the inside, you know there's got to be more. And they're there on the outskirts and one of them raises their hand, says, what about us, what should we do? John looks over the crowd and he says, it's simple, "Don't collect any more than you're required to". That's it, that's it, stop stealing. This is basic stuff, stop stealing. If you see a need, meet it, stop stealing, quit.

And look, tax gathers, don't settle for what's legal and permissible, we know that's the way it's done, the way it's always done, that's how you guys enrich yourself, nobody's gonna arrest you, you're never gonna get in trouble, everybody's come to expect it, stop being so normal, stop being so predictable, do something extraordinary, don't settle for standard operating procedure, do something noteworthy and notable. Stop and stare, oh, my goodness, that's brand new. Do what's just, not what you can justify.

Then this is maybe the most amazing group, there's some soldiers there, and let me tell you about these soldiers. These are not Roman soldiers, these are soldiers that worked and had been employed by Rome, but they're not Italian, they're not citizens of Rome, they've never been to Rome. These are what are often referred to as auxiliaries. Basically these are men who have been hired from the surrounding regions, regions that hated the Judeans and the Galileans, so much racial tension and yet Rome employed them and brought them into Galilee and into Judea to enforce Roman law. So they were hated because they were enforcing Roman law and they were also hated because there was so much racism between these groups. And they're listening to John. I mean, we don't know if they even took the Torah seriously, probably not. But there was something so compelling that God is about to do something, you don't wanna miss it. And the soldiers were like, well, what about us, what should we do?

And we have a bad feeling we already know what you're gonna say. Because this isn't very religious, this is practical, this is one another. It just lowers the bar to where all of us are just one giant mass of people expected to care. Okay, what should we do? And John says you're right, don't extort money, don't extort money. Don't force people to pay you for protection when Rome's already paying you to protect us, stop it. We know it's standard operating procedure, you'll never get caught, you'll never get in trouble, but we want you to stop taking unfair advantage of people. Because on the horizon, God is gonna do something where He not only does not take unfair advantage of people, He's gonna sacrifice Himself for the very benefit of people. And don't accuse people falsely so they have to pay you not to get in trouble that isn't their fault and they didn't do anything to begin with.

So stop with all that and just be content with your pay, quit leveraging your power to increase your pay illegally, even though you will never get caught. Do what is just, not what you can justify. Because there is one coming into this world who is going to choose not to exact justice, but to grant mercy and to allow His Father in Heaven to take out on Him what He could justify taking out on you so prepare the way. Don't use your power to abuse the powerless, use your power to protect the powerless. So upside down, so backward, so unprecedented, but they were smart enough, imagine a world like that. Imagine a world like that where people treated each other with dignity and they use their power to help the powerless. And we discover later that Jesus will say in His own words, look, if you're gonna follow me, remember this, even the Son of Man didn't come to be served but to serve, and to give us life ransom for many. And if you wanna catch a glimpse of me at work in your world, than live like that and you'll see it.

Now, this teaching of John the Baptist, I know it's like, it was so good, they thought he was the Messiah. They're like, I think we think the Messiah has come, John's like no, no, no, don't get excited, not even close, we are just getting started, okay? "I baptize with water and you think my words are powerful, there's one who's gonna be more powerful than me and will come, the straps of who sandals I'm not worthy to untie". Which meant to them, I'm not even worthy to be His slave, much less His follower or His disciple so get ready, get ready, get ready. How do we get ready? Go do something noticeable, notable, noteworthy, stop and stare. Which brings me back to the original question. So if you're a Christian and you believe Jesus is the Son of God, Messiah, and you've accepted Him as your Savior. If your life is a commercial, and by the way, read the New Testament, your life is a commercial.

Jesus said, let me just brand you, He said you're the salt of the earth, you are the light of the world, you are to let your light shine in such a way that people see your, wait for it, good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. We don't even get to decide if we're gonna be a commercial, the only thing we get to decide is what are we advertising. If your life is a commercial, what are you advertising? What version of faith are you advertising? The internal vertical what's in it for me comforting and comfortable version that requires very little of you 'cause you're going to go to heaven when you die and your kids are gonna get into the school of their choice, and all those things that are so important. I'm not making fun, it's important to me as well, but if we're not careful, it just becomes so about us and requires too little of us. Or is my life, is your life, or collectively our lives advertising the John the Baptist version of what we're about to discover beginning next week, the Jesus version, the one another version, the do for others version, the do for one version, the version of Christianity that does stuff.

So I wanna challenge you to begin asking the question that they asked John, it's the right question, it prepared them for what and who was coming, it ensured that their eyes were wide open and they wouldn't miss the king. And here was their question, what should we do? Let me tell you about doing so there's no question, there's no mistaking. Every once in a while, you hear about somebody say like, I want some deep teaching, I want some deep teaching. Okay, look up here, when it comes to the Christian faith, there's no deep teaching, there's deep, deep activities. Do not, please don't, please do not substitute deep teaching for following Jesus. Doing is deep. You know why doing is deep, because when you follow Jesus, when you begin to ask the question, this is a challenging question, when you begin to say to your heavenly Father, what do you want me to do, He is going to draw you out into a place where you can't touch the bottom, that's the definition of deep.

By the way, there's the shallow end, I can touch the bottom, I'm safe, there's the deep end, I can't touch the bottom, I'm having to exert energy and I'm a little bit afraid and I'm over my head. And that's where your heavenly Father is going to invite you because that's where His son went and that's how the world is changed. So when you begin to pray, God, what do you want me to do, get ready because He's going to draw you out into some uncomfortable places, it's gonna be uncomfortable, it's gonna be taxing, it's gonna be beyond your ability 'cause you can't touch bottom and that's okay because that's where God comes alive. You cannot lose faith when you're treading water and asking God to come to your rescue, you cannot lose faith, just try it. And the reason we don't wanna do it, it's gonna cause some of us to intersect with people who have problems we can't even solve, all we're gonna do is just be there to cushion the blow. But that's where you see God at work, that's where your life is in sync with God's activity in our culture and in our world.

Doing is messy, doing is costly. But most of you know this, doing is life changing. And doing is joy infusing. That's why when I walk around any of our campuses, I get the church early, but they're volunteers earlier than me and I always 100% of time when I see those cool shirts, I say thank you, thank you, thank you for serving, thank you for serving, thank you for serving. And you know what I've never heard? Well, I hate it but you ask us to do it so I hear, I got three more months and I'm out of here but thanks for the t-shirts. Do you know what I hear? No, Andy, thank you, I love it, it's changed my life, I look forward to it every week. Wherever God calls you out to do something, it's gonna cost you and it's gonna infuse, there's gonna be so much joy and you're gonna feel like it.

Most of us can point to a season in our life where this was true, you're gonna feel as if you're walking in tandem with God in the work of God in the world. And those are moments that you'll never want back because those are moments well invested. And you come home and you get to the end of that season and you're exhausted and it's a good exhaustion and you feel like, wow, I didn't get it right, I didn't even know what I was doing half the time, but I was available and that's I felt like God wanted me to step into and it's amazing. But if you continue to be a hearer only and a consumer only, as I said earlier, you're in the danger zone because whether you recognize it or not, your faith is wilting and it is dying and you'll eventually become so consumed by yourself for yourself that you may lose your faith. It's why you lost your faith, you were introduced to, surrounded with what's in it for me Christianity. It's not even the real version.

Listen to what Jesus said, and I'm gonna close, this is what He said, I'm jumping way ahead, this is an amazing statement, "Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven, whoever does the will of my Father in Heaven is my brother and my sister". Whoever does the will of my Father. This is why that was the perfect question, what should we do? And John says, I want you to do in your world what God is about to do for the world? And if you do, you'll recognize God when He does it. John did, but if the people listening to him would do compassion and do generosity and do others first and do do for one, they would recognize God's work in the world, they would recognize this selfless other first Lamb of God that was about to step onto the pages of history.

So I want you to pray this every day this week, it's become part of my routine because I live in this stuff and I wanna get it right and I never wanna ask you to do something I'm not doing. And I even in this season of my life, I still wanna get this right, would you pray this, Heavenly Father, what should I do? Heavenly Father, what do you want me to do? Let's just pray out loud together, ready? Heavenly Father, what should I do that? And I want you to say we. Heavenly Father, what should we do, right? Believers didn't change the world, doers changed the world, followers changed the world. The men and women, the men and women whose lives advertise the kingdom of God, the men and women whose lives advertise thy kingdom come, thy will be done right here right now in my world.

So will you ask it, Heavenly Father, what should I do? If you do, your eyes and your heart will be open to what God has next for you and what God has now for your world. And we will pick this storyline up right there next time in part three, Investigating Jesus, How We Know and Why We Follow. Before you go, you got three questions, I'm just gonna highlight one, okay? You can find these on all of our social media sites, all of our church websites and on the North Point top three, and here's the second question I want you to wrestle with over lunch or in your small group, all three of them, but number two, when you think about your faith regarding your faith, have you become more consumer than advertiser? If so, why and what needs to change? When you think about where you are right now in your faith, are you more consumer or advertiser? And if you've drifted in that area, why and what needs to change? I'll pray for us and we'll go:

Heavenly Father, thank you for preserving these text, thank you for Luke who decided to get it all down and thank you for the thousands of men and women through history who protected this sacred text so that made it into our Bibles. And Father, all of us, all of us at some level probably have experienced the joy of selfless serving, of simple sharing, giving sacrificially, I pray that that would become more and more of a lifestyle. I pray that you would raise up a group of Jesus followers for whom that is so characteristic that people can't help but stop and stare and join us as we allow our good works to glorify our Father in heaven, to give us wisdom to know what to do with what we just heard. Give us the courage to step out into the deep and do it. In Jesus name, amen.

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