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Watch 2022 online sermons » Andy Stanley » Andy Stanley - Lifetime Invitation

Andy Stanley - Lifetime Invitation

Andy Stanley - Lifetime Invitation
TOPICS: Investigating Jesus

So quick question to get started. And I know the answer is yes, but just to kind of get our head to the game a little bit. So have you ever been invited to something and you said no? And then you regretted it later, like what, who showed up? They did what, they won, what you had front row, you know? It's like, oh my goodness. I just missed out because I just should have gone. But you were busy or you had something kind of a lame excuse or you weren't excited, then afterwards it's like, "Oh, if I could, you know, just turn back time, you know"? And you feel like in some ways you missed not the opportunity of a lifetime, but maybe a once in a lifetime opportunity. And then the other side is, have you ever been invited to something and at time it just felt like more of an obligation than an opportunity, but because of who invited you and your husband's like, "Come on" or your wife or, you know, your kids. And it's like, "Oh, I don't wanna go". But you went anyway.

And then something so amazing happened every once in a while, when you think back to that moment or that event, whatever it was, you think, "Oh, my goodness, what if I hadn't gone"? You know, you are just so close to missing out on something, you know, kind of epic. I think we've all to some degree another had those experiences, the big one for me, that all that builds up to is when I was in my late 20s, a friend of mine who's actually here today, Gary invited me to do an event or to show up at an event and participate in an event down at Georgia Tech, in downtown Atlanta. For those of you, not from the area and as a Monday night. And I had something on Monday night, in fact, I had something every Monday night, I met in a home with some high school students to do a thing. So I told him, no, I can't go.

So sometime later weeks or month later, he asked me again. And I'm like, "No, I still can't go. I have something every single Monday night". And then third time, he's like, "Andy, why don't you come participate in this thing" and I'm like, "Gary, I have something I can't ever come to your thing. I have something every Monday night," he said, "Well, what if we delay it and start an hour later"? I'm like, "Really"? And so honestly I just felt kind of obligated. It wasn't the event so much, it was this friend of mine who just insisted that I participate and experience this thing. And I'm like, "Okay, you know"? so I went and I met a girl and we've been married 33 years. Yeah. And thanks to his persistence, you know? And the fact that, you know, the point of the story is you never know what hangs in the balance. You never know what hangs in the balance of an invitation more on that in just a minute.

If you haven't been tracking along with us today, we are in part three of our series, Investigating Jesus, How We Know and Why We Follow. How We Know and Why We Follow. And these are really, really big issues. You know, how we know and why we follow specifically, how do we know there's anything to the story in the message of Jesus? And why in the world would someone in the 21st century choose to follow a first century rabbi, day laborer that was crucified by the empire? And became an enemy of his own people. I mean, why in the world would we take anything about Jesus, seriously? How do we know? And why do we follow? These are super important questions or issues. And the reason being, because the credibility of Christianity, the whole thing, the church, everything that has anything to do with Christianity, the credibility of Christianity, the veracity of Christianity actually rises and falls.

It rises and falls on the identity of a single individual. Jesus of Nazareth. I mean, this is the whole thing, which means this is why we're talking about this. Which means if you are considering faith, if you are considering Christianity, or if you are leaving faith, if you're leaving Christianity, or you got your hand on the doorknob, you got your hand on the lever, and you don't know how you're gonna explain this to your parents, or your grandparents, or your family, or your friends, or even your church friends, but you are kind of done with faith and you are headed out the door, whether you're leaning in or leaning out the question I would encourage you to wrestle with, because it is really the only question worth wrestling with is not, does God exist? I mean, that's fun to talk about, you know, there's things on both sides of that written on both sides of that that's fun to talk about.

I love all that stuff, but that's not the real question. Neither is it is the Bible true? Because some of you, the reason you're exiting faith, as you've decided, you don't believe the whole Bible is true. Well, we could talk about that as well, but that's not even the critical question, neither of those are the critical questions. The critical question is a question that unfortunately, the church is not your fault. It's a question that you haven't been challenged to ask in any kind of critical way or significant way, because the church hasn't challenged you to ask it. That's the fault of people like me, is the fault of the church. But the issue when it comes to leaning toward faith or moving away from faith, the issue, and the question to ask is this question is Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, a reliable account of actual events?

That's it, it all comes down to this, is the gospel we call them gospels, the good news of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John these four ancient first century documents that depict the life and teaching of Jesus. If any, one of these, not even all of them, if any, one of these is a reliable account of actual events. Even if it's mostly reliable, then if that's true, then you need to, and I need to sit up straight and pay attention, because at the end of these four accounts of the life of Jesus, they all culminate with the same end. And the end, there is an event that makes His story worth telling. In fact, and this is hard to fathom, maybe the way that you were raised or Christianity was presented to you, without the event at the end of the story, there would be no story. In fact, without the event at the end of the story, Jesus' story would have never been told because it wouldn't be worth telling. But if these are actual account, or if these are reliable accounts of actual events, then game on that is the question you should wrestle to the ground.

And if you are a Christian, this is the question. And the answer to that question is what we anchor our faith to? So in this series, we're looking at one of those accounts of the life of Jesus. We call it the gospel of Luke. It's named after the person that wrote it and right up front, the author, Luke tells us, and this is so important as well that he's not writing religious literature. This isn't religious literature. He's not writing religious literature. He's basically not basically he is actually documenting someone's life and turns out he wasn't the only one. Here's how he opens this first century document that depicts the life and teaching of Jesus. Here's how he begins. It's not once upon a time or during the time of the Romans or long, long ago, in a country, far, far away, he begins this way. This is amazing many, I'm not the only one, because what happened was so significant. Everybody is trying to make sure this gets to documented correctly. "Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have happened or been fulfilled among us".

So he's not writing a hundred years after these events. He's like, "No, no, I'm living in the time when these things happened, they happen among us, just as they were handed down to us, by those who from the very first were eyewitnesses of the events or eyewitnesses and servants of the word". This is code word for Jesus. So Luke is saying, "Look, many people have tried to document what has just happened I'm one of those. And I wanted to make sure that I got it straight. So I got my information from the eyewitnesses, the people who were the main players, the a players in the events, I'm about to describe". He said, "So I too decided to write an orderly account for you most excellent Theophilus", Theophilus was a first century believer. Who's like, "Okay, I'm a Jesus follower, but I have heard so many different accounts, and so many different orders. I need somebody to give me a chronological order. I wanna know the whole story from beginning to end. And so I put this account together so that you", this is so powerful, "so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught".

In other words, Theophilus, so that you will know, you've not been asked to have faith in faith, or believe and belief that these things you've heard, this person you have placed your faith in it is anchored to something that actually happened. And so I want to give you an orderly account. Now, again, this is so important. Luke is not writing the Bible, Luke has no idea. There will ever be a compilation of manuscripts called the Bible. The Bible, as we think about it the Bible wasn't assembled until the early fourth century, the very first Bible was put together in the early fourth century. He's not writing the Bible. He doesn't know there's gonna be a Bible. He's just saying, "Here's what happened among us". He's telling us what happened. So at the very beginning of his gospel, he depicts, he describes the birth of Jesus. And then after that, he introduces us to the warm up act. The pregame show, John the Baptizer.

We talked about John last week. And the important question people ask him, and then John introduces all the world or specifically John introduces Jesus to the region of Judea. So we're jumping into Luke 4:14. Here's what Luke says happened next. "News about Him, Him being Jesus, News about Him spread through the whole countryside". Everybody is talking about Jesus everywhere He went crowds gather, Jesus was teaching in their synagogues and look at this. "And everyone praised Him". This is so important. When Jesus launched His ministry people liked Him, even though they were nothing like Him. And apparently He liked them back so much so that they felt comfortable coming and crowding around and listening. When we are following Jesus correctly, the same will be said about us.

Now, interestingly enough, it's in this context, Jesus teaching in synagogues, that Luke then introduces us to Jesus, most famous follower, Peter, the fisherman. So here's what happened after listening to Jesus in the synagogue on a Sabbath, Peter invites Jesus over to his house, apparently for lunch or brunch, we don't know exactly what and because Peter was married. And so he and his wife hosted Jesus in their home. How cool would that be, right? And when Jesus gets there, He discovers that Peter's wife's mother Peter's mother-in-law is living with him and she is ill. And while He's waiting for lunch, Jesus goes, "Yes, she has this really high fever". Jesus goes in and heals Peter's mother-in-law, oh my goodness. And word spreads. And so at the end of the day, which was the end of sabbath and people felt like they could go out and kind of do things that would be considered work, at the end of the day here's what happened. "At sunset, the people brought all the people in this little village brought to Jesus, all who had various kinds of sicknesses, and laying His hands on each one of them, He healed them".

Now, quick aside as we work our way through this gospel, why healing miracles? Just so you know, the healing miracles and the gospels don't make the gospels more believable. Do they? They make them less believable, but just so you know, not only do they make them less believable to us sophisticated 21st century people, these stories made the gospels less believable in the first century, because even though they were highly superstitious and before you're too critical, many of you are highly superstitious as well, especially when it comes to sports, right? I mean, you wear that Jersey every single game till they lost. And it was like, "Oh, I gotta, maybe it's my socks. Maybe it was the chair I was sitting in, you know? Maybe it was who was here like, you know"?

I mean, you know, we can be kind of weirdly superstitious about buying and selling things. We confuse coincidence with causality all the time. But anyway, even though they were highly superstitious, these people weren't stupid. They weren't crazy. They knew that you don't lay hands on people and they get well, you can't put mud in somebody's eyes and they can see, nobody would believe this anymore than any of us would. So, you know, the question to ask Luke is Luke, why do you keep putting all these crazy healing stories in? And Luke's like, "I know, the reason I put them in is that's what happened". But Luke, "It makes it more difficult to believe the story". Luke is like, "I know, but that's what happened". But more importantly to the arc of the story of the gospels, is this the reason these stories are in there, not only is it because they're true, the reason Jesus healed was this.

The thrust of Jesus ministry is not what Jesus taught. The thrust of Jesus ministry the focus was who He claimed to be. And in the first century, illness and disease was associated with sin. And Jesus would later in the Gospel of Luke claim to have the power, to be able to forgive sin, but anybody can claim that. And Jesus is later going to associate His ability to overcome the power of disease, with His ability to overcome the ultimate consequence of sin. So Jesus begins dropping these breadcrumbs to point to the fact that yes, I not only have the power to overwhelm and overcome the consequence of sin, I have in me the authority to forgive sin more on that later. So Jesus stays up all night healing everybody they bring to the door.

And then the text says this, at daybreak, He left their home and He went to a place to be all by himself to recuperate, and to spend time with the father. And the people in the village are like, "Where is Jesus, where is Jesus"? So they find Him and they're like, "Hey, we want you to stick around. This is working out well, we've got pop up shops. People are coming from all these different villages to see you. And I mean, this could work out well for all of us. Why don't you set up an office here, you know? Stay here, right"? I mean, that's what we would want as well, right? Well, and then Jesus says this, this is so powerful. He says, "No, I gotta go. I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God". Whenever you see the phrase, the kingdom of God in the New Testament, it means the rule of God, the reign of God, the applied authority of God. He says, "I have to go proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God, to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent." Quick aside.

If the version of Christianity you were raised on or raised with, if the version of Christianity you are currently a part of does not strike you as good news, it may not be the original version. If the reign and rule of God over you is something you feel like would be bad for you or detrimental to you. It's because you don't understand God as Jesus presented God that the reign and rule of God, the kingdom of God was good news, when Jesus talked about it, moving along. So before Jesus leaves the area He heads on down to the Sea of Galilee and a very famous event takes place. And that's what I wanna focus the rest of our time on today. "One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret," which is the Sea of Galilee, Sea of Galilee is about eight miles wide, about 14 miles long. It's in the valley. You know, it's a sort of the epicenter, a lot of what Jesus did in Galilee. So He's standing there, "And people were crowding all around Him," the text says, listening to this is interesting as well, "The word of God".

Now in our modern Christian world, when we hear the phrase word of God, we think the Bible, well, there was no Bible. When Luke talks about the word of God, this is so fascinating. Luke is talking about the words of Jesus, that when Luke wrote this after the resurrection, He has already so equated Jesus with God, that he is comfortable equating the words of Jesus with the words of God, so interesting. Anyway, so Jesus is teaching "And He saw at the water's edge, two boats left there by the fishermen who were washing their nets". Now Luke doesn't give us any detail because everybody that read this in the first century, immediately had a picture of what's going on, but we don't live in the first century.

So here's, what's going on. It's mid-morning the fishermen fish with nets in the Sea of Galilee. They fished at night because the water was cooler the fish came to the surface, and you could catch fish in a net. And then you would come back in haul in your fish you'd have some, generally women would come clean the fish, while the men pull their boats up on shore, pull the nets out, stretch the nets out on these big wooden racks so they could dry. And it also allowed them to clean all the water bottles and the sunglasses off the nets, and the lounge chairs. It's true I was fishing one time in Lake Lanier with a friend and I caught a lounge chair, but I didn't know. I thought I'd caught the biggest catfish in Lake Lanier, it took me 35 minutes to pull in the lounge chair.

So anyway, they have the nets all stretched out on these wooden racks. So they're cleaning the nets this takes a long time. Then they have to dry the nets and they have to roll them back up, store them. And then they go take a nap. They've been working all night, right? So Jesus sees these two boats and He goes, and He sits down in one of them. The text says, "He got into one of them, the one belonging to Simon Peter," who'd been listening to Him teach, who had visited with Him in his home. Who had healed his mother-in-law. This is not the first interaction. This not the first conversation. This isn't the first time they met. Jesus knows what He has in store for Peter. And again, He's just been dropping breadcrumbs, breadcrumbs, breadcrumbs. And He asked Peter, He says, "Look, if you could just stop working for a minute, get in the boat with me. Let's push off a little from the shore and then I'm gonna sit down. And then Jesus began to teach from the boat".

So you gotta picture this. So Peter has to stop washing the nets. He lets his guys do that. He rose out or pushes off the shore. Now people can come right down to the shoreline, got a little mini amphitheater kind of thing going on there on the shore. Jesus sits down in the boat and teaches the people. And Peter is a captive audience. I mean, you can't fall asleep in church. When you're sitting in the boat with Jesus in front of everybody, you're like, "Oh yeah, I'm gonna take notes". I mean, you're gonna... Jesus has him, right? And when Jesus finished His sermon, "When Jesus had finished speaking, He said to Simon," and most of us know what happens next.

This is so important though, for you and for me, He says something unexpected, He asked Simon to do something that Simon is very capable of doing. He asked Simon or we'll call him Peter, 'cause he's Peter the rest of the story. He asked Peter to do something Peter could easily do. It's kind of a baby step. It was a baby trust me step. And He smiles at Peter and no one can hear this conversation, I guess, but Jesus and Peter, they're still sitting out, you know? A few yards out from the shore. And He says, "Peter," with a big smile on His face, "Here's what I want you to do. I want you to put out into the deep water. Let's get way on out there. And I want you to let down those nets, the ones up there on the shore that are all cleaned and dried for the evening. And I want us to go fishing".

Now this is completely doable. This isn't impossible, it's doable. It's just unreasonable. And it's costly. And it may cost him another day of fishing. If everybody has to go out there and do this all over again, by the time they get back and redo everything, they've just done, recleaning those nets in the heat of the day. But as you may know, there was another reason this was unreasonable and Peter knew it was gonna be a complete waste of time. Simon answered politely. In fact, he says, "Master" a sign of respect, "Master, we've worked hard all night and we haven't caught anything". Translated we went fishing when you're supposed to go fishing and didn't catch anything. What do you suppose is gonna happen? If we go fishing when you're not supposed to go fishing just wondering? And also Peter is looking at the shoreline everybody is watching them, but then he thinks to himself, okay, if anybody else asked me to do this, it's an easy no, but you healed my mother-in-law. Gosh, you healed just about everybody in my town.

I've heard these amazing things you've said about the kingdom of God, I've never heard anyone teach this way. I've never heard anyone teach with that kind of authority. So if you wanna go fishing and not catch any fish, okay, what will it hurt? And then he says, this, this is where the story intersects with my life. And hopefully with your life, Peter says, "But because you say so, because you say so," I would like for all of us at all of our churches, if you're driving, listening online, by yourself at home, sitting with a group, wherever you are, I would like for all of us to say this together, ready together, ready? But because you say so, one more time, but because you say so. This statement has the potential, I'm not exaggerating to change the trajectory of your entire life. It does because for some of you, you're actually wrestling right now with an issue.

And you're not even sure you believe in a personal God, but you have a feeling, you know what you're supposed to do. And you have a feeling, maybe it's God dinging on your conscience, and you got 25 reasons why it's unreasonable. It's gonna cost too much. You have to give up too much, people are gonna look at you funny. It's not gonna work out, but there's just something in you you feel like, you know what? I think this is what I'm supposed to do. This is what God wants me to do. And your response to that tension has more potential and has greater consequence, and has greater potential for good than you possibly could imagine. And the reason I say that is because I can point to times in my life.

In fact, if you're at any of our churches, you are surrounded by people who could right now, in this moment, stand up and tell you the time when they were wrestling with this very question, and they finally quit wrestling. And they said, "Yes," to their heavenly father. And they would say to you, like I would say to you, "Oh my goodness. When I think about the fact that I almost missed it, the fact that I almost said no to my heavenly father, that I just abandoned or rejected. If I had rejected my conscience, I can't imagine where I would be," but because you say so. This is where it all changes because Jesus, wasn't asking Peter to believe something. He was asking him to do something. He was asking him to take a little baby step this was perfectly within his ability. And Jesus knew that if Peter would say yes, that when Peter's faith intersected with God's faithfulness, it would change Peter's life forever.

So Peter is like, "Well, all right, based on what I know, based on what I've heard, based on what you've done, I will let down the nets". Peter knew just enough to take the next step, but he did not know what hung in the balance of that next step. And neither do you, but isn't it true for those of us who have taken those steps? For those of us who can look back at a season in our life when we were at that crossroads, it almost at times, I know it does for me, it almost frightens me to think of what would've happened if I had said no to my heavenly father. We know what would would've happened to Peter if he had said no, in that moment, he would've become just another nameless, forgotten first century fisherman. But instead, because he said yes to Jesus, do you know what he got? He got this, this is the Basilica of St. Peter, have you ever seen this? This is like amazing.

Now, if Jesus had shown him a picture, Peter, Peter is like, "I'm in. I mean, what even is that Jesus? But yeah, I want one of those. Oh yeah. Your name is gonna be up in lights. You're gonna be famous. You're gonna be part of the best seller. I mean, everybody in the world's gonna know your name and you're gonna get this extraordinary building". They started building this in like 1506, it took 120 years to finish it, right? And it's built over the site where perhaps Peter was killed or murdered in Nero's circus, right? The point being, we never know what hangs in the balance of our decision, whether or not to follow Jesus, but probably not this, but I'm just saying, you never know, right? I mean, look at the inside. I remember the first time we visited, I've been there twice. Sandra would let me do this, I don't even know how they would build this now, much less when they build this.

So it's so magnificent. I decided I'm just gonna lay down on the floor. You can't even appreciate what's up here. So I'm laying down on the floor Sandra is like, "Get up you can't lay on the floor," but I'm anyway. So I couldn't lay on the floor. You know what Peter knew, you know you have the ability to take that next step, whatever it is that God wants you to do. But what you don't know is what hangs in the balance. So Luke continuing the story summarizes what took a couple of hours to happen. He summarizes it with a single phrase "When they had done so". Peter is like, "Okay," so he kind of paddles back over, gets out. "Hey guys, if the nets rolled up in tie, you know, all bring them back over guys, we're gonna go fishing". They're like, "We're gonna do what"? And he's like, "I know it's for the rabbi. We're gonna go fishing. But let's hope, Jesus, if you would dismiss the crowd that would make this all lot less embarrassing".

They get on the boat and again, this takes hours. They get everybody on there. Then they row out to the middle, to the deep water. I mean, this is several miles they probably rode. And then they let down the nets and then they just wait and Jesus smiles. And when they head, this is important. Not when they believed so, when they acted on what they suspected, and this is what Luke wants you to understand, this is why Luke wrote the account. This is what Luke wants us to understand. Okay? The way that Jesus talks about faith, it's an act faith. It's a living to experience God in your life to experience God in my life. It's not just an internal emotional thing that we experience sometimes with songs, or dreams, or reading something. He says, "No, I want you to have an active faith that engages God's activity in your life and in your world. And in your relationships".

This is about an active faith it's about being faith full, which ignites God's life inside of you. And even at times in your circumstances. So when they had done, not believed when they had done what Jesus asked them to do, they caught you remember this part? "They caught such a large number of fish that the nets began to break". Now sidebar, why the nature miracles? I mean, we get the healing miracles, but why the nature miracles? Because the point of Jesus ministry is not what He taught it is who he claimed to be, He was God in a body. So He had authority over nature. He was the master of nature. He was not a reformer. He was not simply a teacher. And suddenly these men who are trapped in the boat with Him realize, oh my goodness, healing disease is one thing.

What in the world, who in the world? And when Simon Peter saw this, he cried out. "We're rich. We won't have to work for weeks. And immediately Peter offered Jesus a three year contract, 30% commission with no noncompete, right"? No. When Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus' knees. And he said, this is so powerful. "Go away from me, Lord, oh my goodness". Brand new title. Now we're not master. Now we're Lord, go away from me Lord, authority ownership. But why away? Well, Luke tells us go away from me, Lord, ready for this? Because I am a sinful man. I know we're just inches apart, but we're were nowhere close. Jesus, if you only knew what kind of man I was, Jesus smiles because he knows, because Peter assumed that God distanced himself from sinners, that's what he'd been taught.

I mean, the religious leaders certainly distanced themselves from people like Peter, but Jesus to come to make a new point. And maybe it's why he tricked him and got him in the boat. I mean, they are literally a couple or three miles out in the middle of the Sea of Galilee, there's no way to distance. And the guys are kind of backing up and Peter is on his knees and Jesus is just smiling. And Peter is like, "Oh my goodness, we're trapped. We're trapped with someone that controls nature, that heals disease". And this, I think just, I'm just making this part up. I think this is when Luke wants to reach off the pages and grab us by the collar, and grab us by the shoulder, and say, "This is why I had to tell this story".

Now, look, this is why I had to tell the story. Not only does God not distance himself from us, God has come near. God came so near that He said to Peter, "Take me fishing". God came so near that He went to Matthew and said, "Matthew, I know everyone in your community hates you and your friends can't be trusted, but I would like to invite myself to your home". It's why he said to Zacchaeus, "Zacchaeus come on down today we're going, not to church. We're going to your Kudi infested, ceremonially unclean home. I'm gonna go into your home. I'm inviting myself into your life. I'm inviting myself into the most intimate setting there can be in the first century Palestine, I wanna eat with you in your home". Luke is like, "This is the point. God is not pulled back. God has come near. But He came so near and He was so much like us, and people liked Him. And He was so likable that He was hard to recognize".

That's the point Luke wants to make that people didn't recognize Him, especially the self righteous. And so Jesus over and over and over almost manipulates these circumstances to be near to people, to be near. I don't know how you view God. I don't know what you think about God, but this is Jesus version of God. Jesus, who came as God in a body who came near and Luke is like, "It was so remarkable, it was unexpected. It was like nothing we could have ever imagined". And this is a story for every generation. Then Jesus said to Simon, "Don't be afraid from now on". And Jesus smiles like, watch this, see what I did there. "You're gonna fish for people. See what I did there, Peter, you're gonna fish for Peter". And Peter is like, "Whoa, who is it? He didn't get it right". And you know what Peter did? Peter fished for people. Do you know why you know the name Peter? Is not because he was a fisherman is because he became a Jesus follower, who fished for people like Jesus told him he would. And Peter had no idea. That's what was on the other side of his decision to take Jesus fishing and to follow Jesus. "So they pulled up their boats onto the shore and they left everything and they followed Him".

And you know what? You would have to, if He had done something like that for you. But here's the gotcha. According to Luke, according to Peter, He did more than that for you. Peter would be quick to say, "Look, folks in the future, He did a fish trick for me and I followed, do you know what He did for you? This was nothing, I was there. Do you know what He's done for you"? And then maybe he'd smile and say, "You should know, because I described it in my letter. Have you read my letter? I have actually written a letter that survived antiquity and it got bundled up with Luke's fabulous gospel in Matthew, and Mark, and John's, and the epistles of Paul. If y'all met Paul, my goodness. I mean, he was like such a brainiac and it was all put together and 2,000 years later, you have access to my letter. Have you read my letter"?

Here's what Peter said. When he looked back on the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus, and he's trying to put it in words. And Peter was probably illiterate. He probably dictated this to someone to write it for him. Here's what he said as he describes not a fish trick, but what Jesus of Nazareth did for you, and did for me. "When they hurled their insults at Him, he did not retaliate". And Peter is like, that's a big deal because I retaliated all the time even when people were marginally nice to me and I was there. I was in the crowd in the back and they hurled insults at Him while He was dying, and He was just the same in that moment as He was every single day with us, by the Sea of Galilee and in and out of villages and towns, people claw at Him trying to get around Him all the time. And when He suffered, He made no threats.

And then He would say this, "Have you ever seen a crucifixion? Have you ever smelled a crucifixion? Have you ever seen the aftermath of a crucifixion"? It not just suffering, it's horror. It's torture, it's terror. I mean, everybody else is screaming for their mom and threatening and all kinds of stuff about the Romans. Even in that moment, no threats instead "I was there," Peter would say. And Luke is like, "That's why I'm writing. He did in that moment, what He did every other moment of his life and our experience with Him". This is His word. "He entrusted himself to Him, His father who judges justly". He said, "Father, the outcome of this is up to you". Peter is like, "I watched this, I couldn't believe it. He was in that moment, the way He was every moment He just trusted His heavenly father, just as He had invited us to actively, faithfully trust His heavenly father".

And then Peter would say, "But that's not the best part. Here's the part that goes way beyond a fish trick by Sea of Galilee". In that moment, "He bore your sins in His body on that cross". And Peter would say, Luke would say, "That's why you have to follow. That's why He's worth following. That's why we follow. Not because of what He will do for you, Because of what He has done for you". Luke wanted us to experience what Peter experienced firsthand through his account. But Luke wants you to know and wants me to know that we too, like Peter had been invited to follow. And as I said earlier, when Peter's simple little act of faith intersected with God's faithfulness, something happened on the inside of him. He would never be the same.

And Peter would say, "I want you to accept that very same invitation because when you do, when you act on, when you say yes to God, when you say thy will be done, when you say yes, I'm gonna pick up the phone and apologize and no, I'm not gonna, yes, I'm not gonna do that anymore. And I'm gonna follow through, and I'm gonna finally read that book. I'm finally gonna get answers to my questions. I'm finally gonna quit arguing. When you finally say yes to your heavenly father and that little bitty act of faith intersects with God's faithfulness, something is gonna happen on the inside of you as well".

There's some invitations that feel more like an obligation than an actual invitation. And following Jesus may feel that way. But if Luke is telling the truth and Peter is telling the truth, nothing could be further from the truth. Following Jesus is gonna be inconvenient. But let me just tell you something. I've been doing this a long time. Refusing to follow Jesus is gonna be more inconvenient down the road, I promise you. Here's how I know that this may seem a little bold, 'cause I don't know you and I don't know the circumstances of your life, but here's what I would wager on. Your greatest regret would have been avoided if you had been following Jesus in that season of your life. And what seemed at that moment, maybe like the rule of God and the reign of God is the interference of God.

Now that you look back, would've been the salvation of God in that moment, in those circumstances. And so that same heavenly father who loves you and sent His son to die on the cross for you says, "I want you to follow me not so I can spoil your life. I want you to follow me because I'm the author of life". And yeah, it's gonna be inconvenient and yeah, it's gonna cost you following Jesus is always gonna cost you refusing to follow Jesus is gonna cost you. But following Jesus is better. It'll be the best decision you ever make. And I'll end with this, so what's you're next step? What's your version of Sally? You know, Peter, Phil, you know, Rhonda, take me fishing? What is it? It's something you can do or it's something you can choose you're not gonna do, but it's something you have control over. And I don't know what that is for you, but I hope your response will be something like this. But because you say so. Because you say it's gonna cost, people are gonna look at me funny. It's not gonna make any sense. I'll never be able to explain this to my friends. But because you say so.

And you never know, it hangs in the balance of that decision. Luke would tell you, Peter would tell you, just trust Him and follow it is the invitation of a lifetime. It is an invitation that if you accept it, you will never regret that decision. What's your next step? Take it. And we will pick the storyline up next time. As we continue our way through the gospel of Luke in Investigating Jesus, How We Know and Why We Follow. Before you go three questions to keep the conversation going at lunch tomorrow with your friends, your small group, wherever you discuss these things. And I hope you discuss these things three quick questions.

Number one, have you ever acted in response to God's prompting? Has there ever been a point in your life where you said, "Yes," your friends need to know these stories. Your kids need to know these stories. Your grandchildren need to know these stories.

Number two, have you ever intentionally disregarded something you felt God prompted you to do, what happened? The people in your group and your friends they need to know those stories as well. It works both ways.

And then number three, where we just landed. What's your next step? What is God inviting you to not believe? What is God inviting you to do? Maybe it's just investigate the Christian faith further. Maybe it's to finally read that book. They gave you that book, she gave you that book. He gave you that book. And you're just like, "I don't wanna read that book". Maybe it's participating in a starting point discussion. We have these conversations for people who are exploring faith. Maybe it's be baptized. Maybe it's real simple, maybe it's just apologize. You owe her, you owe him an apology and you just are being stubborn. Your heavenly father is like, "Really, that's it? Just apologize, whatever it is," do it follow like Peter, like Luke, you'll be glad you did. It is the invitation of a lifetime. I'll pray for us. And then we're gonna close with one final song. Would you stand as I pray?

Heavenly father, thank you for preserving this extraordinary text that has changed so many of our lives and changed the world. So wherever this lands with us, please give us the wisdom to know what to do. Then give us the courage to not just believe it and think about it and talk about it, but to do it and father for somebody today, it needs to happen today. Thank you for your grace. Thank you for your mercy. Thanks for inviting yourself into the details, the relationships of our lives. I pray that we like Peter would just fall at your knees and just say yes, yes, yes, yes. It is in the matchless name of Jesus, we pray amen.

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