Sermons.love

Andy Stanley - Undercover Boss



So today we are wrapping up the series and we are in part six of You're Not the Boss of Me, and if you've not been with us the subtitle is How To Say No To The Emotions That Compete For Control, because all of us have certain emotions that compete for control of our mouth and our mood, and Jesus said, Jesus said that what's on the inside of us eventually comes on the outside of us and consequently we need to not simply monitor what's going on with our behavior, because all of us are pretty good at monitoring our behavior. We need to develop the habit, we need to develop the habit of monitoring our hearts.

So at the beginning of this series I wrote a little poem. I'm sure most of you committed it to memory but in case you haven't, here's the little poem I wrote to kind of get our head into this content, I wrote this. It says, our need of supervision may some day come to an end if we silence the toxic voices that come from within. That none of us want anybody to have to hold our hand, tell us what to do. I mean, after all, we're adults, or we're emerging adults. And you could get to the place, I could get to the place, where I could actually kind of just live my life without anybody telling me what to do, if I can learn to silence those internal voices that come from within, and Jesus said it's what's inside of you that eventually comes outside of you, that defiles you or messes up your relationship with God, because it messes up your relationship with other people.

So learning to monitor what's going on within is absolutely critical to our personal success and to our relationships. While I was doing this series I listened, I was listening to Tim Ferriss' podcast, and he was interviewing artist Amanda Palmer, and she talked about a conversation she had with a friend and she quoted her friend, and I don't think she gave her friend's name, so I don't know who said this but this was a friend of Amanda Palmer. And I love this quote. Here's what he said, that she remembered, that I wrote down. "If you don't deal with your demons they go into the cellar of your soul and lift weights".

That is a great quote. The only thing I don't like about it is that I didn't come up with it myself. This is so powerful, the imagery is so true, right. If you don't deal with your demons, those things on the inside of you, not literal demons but the stuff that just kinda, got inside of you because of something that happened in your childhood or something that happened in your high school, or something that happened to you, and you're just dealing with that stuff. He so rightly said, if you don't deal with that stuff it doesn't go away. It does not fix itself, it does not right itself, it goes into the cellar of your soul and lifts weights. It gets stronger and stronger and stronger and eventually it impacts future relationships as well.

And one of the ways that we identify what's going on in the cellar of our soul, and one of the ways we become aware that there's stuff in us that's gonna come out of us that we need to deal with before it does, is by paying attention to the emotions that compete for control of our moods and our mouths. The emotions that compete for control of our moods, those dark times when we just go inward, or and our mouths. So, in this series, if you've been tracking along, we've talked about envy, we've talked about guilt, we've talked about anger.

Last week we talked about fear and, generally speaking, those things are pretty easy to spot. But today I wanna spend a few minutes kinda going in a different direction and I wanna talk about the destructive emotions that actually disguise themselves as virtues. They disguise themselves as good things. They disguise themselves as compassion. As sympathy. As care. Concern. They can even disguise themselves as love, because what you know, because you're and adult, is this. That what we consider nice, and being nice, sometimes, isn't really all that nice. And what we consider caring doesn't always feel caring. And love, if you're really gonna love somebody it doesn't always feel loving. And what love actually requires of us, what love actually requires of us, can feel like anything but love.

Now if you're a parent you know this because at some point every parent has to make their child hate them, or just about hate them, right. If you're gonna be a good parent, at some point you have to do something that makes your child so mad they may even say at some point, "Mom, I hate you," or "Dad, I hate you". And you have to be willing to face that fury and deal with that fury, in order to do the right thing, and in that moment it doesn't feel like love and it doesn't feel like care, it feels like the opposite. Or if you were raised with good parents you were on the receiving end of this. Your parents did things, perhaps, in some seasons of your life, that made you hate them. You were so angry with them. And then you look back and you think wow, I'm so glad they did, because sometimes care doesn't feel caring and sometimes love doesn't feel loving.

But here's where this interfaces with our lives as adults. Fear of rejection. Discomfort with conflict, some of you are conflict-adverse. Apprehension around confrontation. These are emotions that basically disguise themselves as what. As sensitivity and concern. When in fact they're just fear, discomfort and apprehension. And I already know the answer to this question but I'll ask it anyway. Do you want fear and discomfort and apprehension to be the boss of you? No. Do you want fear, discomfort, oh I can't do that, it makes me uncomfortable. I can't do that because it just makes me a little nervous. Do you want those things to be the boss of you? No. And here's the challenge, especially for those of us who are Jesus followers. In order to love other people, in order to be for other people what other people need us to be for them, as we're gonna see in a second.

In order to be for other people what Jesus actually calls and commands us to be, we have to recognize fear for what it is, discomfort for what it is, our fear of engaging in things that are uncomfortable for what it is. Call those emotions out and say you know what fear, you're not gonna be the boss of me. Apprehension, you're not gonna be the boss of me. And so I'm gonna do what I need to do for the sake of this other person, even though it doesn't feel good to me right now. And there's another emotion that cloaks itself in the mantle of kindness and care and sensitivity, and it's this one. It's indifference. This is a terrible thing. It's not so much a feeling, it's not so much an emotion, as a lack of a feeling or a lack of emotion, where there should be one. It's a lack of concern where there should be concern.

And the thing is, we rarely spot indifference in our lives because it's so embarrassing. Nobody's gonna own indifference. Very few people are gonna say you know what, she's making some terrible mistakes but I don't care what happens to her. And he's getting himself in a big mess relationally, but I don't care what happens to him. You know, if that keeps going on in their marriage it's gonna destroy their marriage, but I don't care what happens to them. What we say is this. You know, I see what's going on but I shouldn't interfere. So I'm gonna pretend like I'm just being sensitive, but in pretending to be sensitive you are cloaking, you are hiding fear or indifference. Oh, you know, they haven't even asked for my input so I'm just being sensitive. I'm gonna wait until they ask. I'm being sensitive. No you're not being sensitive. You are hiding your fear and your discomfort with sensitivity.

Oh here's our big one, right. Well that's none of my business. I mean yeah, they're gonna really regret that financial, you know he's gonna wish he'd never met her ultimately. Yeah, that's not gonna work out for him professionally but you know what, it's none of my business. So here's the question. Do you want indifference to be the boss of you? Do you wanna be so emotionally neutral because hey, it's none of my business, they didn't ask me, that that becomes the boss of you?

Let me flip it around this way. When you need someone, and you will if you haven't already, when you need someone to mind your business because you're not doing such a good job minding your business, are you going to want those people, those friends, to give in to fear and discomfort. Give in to indifference? Are you gonna want them to step up and interfere in your business, if it keeps you from making things worse or keeps you from making a big mistake. And the answer is, even though it is so uncomfortable and, again, that's the emotion. It is so uncomfortable in those moments that we need people to step up and speak into our lives, we want people to step up and speak into our lives, even when it's uncomfortable for them. We want people who are willing to say to fear and discomfort, you are not the boss of me. Indifference, you are not the boss of me. I care and it's because I care, I'm sensitive, and it's because I'm sensitive that I'm gonna step in and say what will appear to be the insensitive and the uncomfortable thing.

Now if you're a Christian, if you're a Jesus follower, you can't listen to those unhealthy voices because there's another voice that's already spoken, the voice of the Good Shepherd, whose instructions don't always feel so good. In fact, one day Jesus is speaking, and I'm gonna give you context in a minute, but here's kind of his bottom line in case you have to leave early. Okay, here's what Jesus said. "Hey, if your brother or your sister," somebody you know. This is a relationship, it's not your literal brother or sister but somebody you're in community with. "If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault". To which you may conclude, you know what, that's reason enough right there to never ever follow Jesus because I'm not ever ever gonna do that, right. I mean let me ask you a question. Who does that? People who care. People who decide discomfort's worth dealing with, if that's what it takes to love you.

So what I wanna do, because this is so stark and in your face, I wanna back up a few verses and I wanna give you the context, because Jesus takes this audience on a little bit of a journey through two or three really important things, and then he finally lands the plane around this whole idea that we are supposed to confront people in sin. And as harsh as that sounds, when you hear the whole conversation at the end you kind of go you know what, that actually makes a lot of sense, even though I don't feel like doing it and even though it is so uncomfortable. So here's how the conversation went. At that time, and Matthew was there for all of this. At that time the disciples came to Jesus and they ask a question. They said "Jesus, who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven". And the kingdom of heaven wasn't heaven out there somewhere. The kingdom of heaven was what Jesus was introducing to Earth. A brand new value system that was in conflict with the kingdoms of this world. And he says in this kingdom that you're establishing, who's the greatest.

And of course the apostles are thinking, or hoping, he's gonna point to them and say well, you know, somebody like Peter. Maybe somebody like Matthew. And he called, Matthew says he actually called a child to them and he placed the child among them. He sees a kid in the audience, he says could you come up here a second, or asks this mom or dad, would you bring your son or daughter up here. And he sets this child in front of the disciples and they're like did you not understand the question. We're asking who's gonna be the greatest, not the shortest, okay. We're asking who's gonna be the greatest, not the youngest. And Jesus says, I tell you, unless all of you guys, these are his closest followers, "unless you change and you become like little children, you will never even enter the kingdom of heaven".

And he's got their attention. And then he begins this teaching that's gonna land with this uncomfortable command. He says this. "If anyone causes one of these little ones," and now he's expanding the audience beyond this single child, to anyone who has begun following him, and that's clear because this language is used in a previous passage and a later passage. He kind of teases it out.

Now he's not just talking about little kids. "If anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me," that's why we know he's talking now about the adults that have begun to follow him. If anyone causes one of these new people, these little ones who believe in me, to stumble, that is to fall down, to get tripped up, to go out of bounds, to get thrown off course. In other words, if anyone who comes along and causes one of these people who are just beginning to believe in me, just beginning to get their life together, just beginning to refocus and recenter their life around me. Anybody that comes along and throws something down in front of them that causes them to stumble or go backwards or lose their way, "it would be better for that person to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea".

It would be better to take a stone that's the shape of a wheel, that a donkey would push around and around and around to crush grapes, to have that hung around a person's neck and to drop them into the sea. Hyperbole, he's making an extreme point, he's making an extreme case, because he's making an extreme point. He wants everybody's attention and he says this. He says, woe, I love it when he says woe. That's like attention please. "Woe to the world, because of the things that cause people to stumble". In other words, things are gonna come along in our lives that cause us to get tripped up. But such, he says, "Such things must come but woe to the person through whom they come".

Now this is so important for all of us. He says it's one thing for somebody to get tripped up because something they couldn't help or something came along in life. There was an illness or they lost their job or something they had no control over happened and they, you know, in dealing with it, they kind of lost their way for a while. They said you know what, that kinda stuff's gonna happen. But woe to the person that is the cause, for a person to actually throw something in someone's way or to get in someone's way or to cause someone to lose their way. This was Jesus' way of saying the way we say it is. Hey, please don't be somebody's mistake. Don't ever be somebody's regret. Don't ever trip somebody up in their marriage. Don't ever trip somebody up with their reputation. Don't ever trip somebody up in terms of their professional career or their progress. Don't get in the way, don't be somebody's mistake. Don't be somebody's regret. Don't be the reason they lost their way.

When they tell their story and they bring your name up, hope that they don't bring your name up and say, you know, things were going fine until I met, and they say your name. Things were going along fine in our marriage until my husband met, and they say your name. Things were going along well at work and then we hired, and they say your name. Don't be somebody else's regret. And how big of a deal is this whole stumbling thing to Jesus? He keeps going, he says this. Now we've talked about, there are things you can't avoid that might cause you to stumble. We've talked about people who cause people to stumble. And now he talks about us getting in our own way, when it comes to causing people to stumble. Here's what he says, and this is extreme. And don't leave early. "If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off," here's the key word, "and throw it away". It's like okay, literally no. Don't leave early. Not literally.

Now, the interesting thing was hundreds of years later there would be a group of Jesus followers who began to take some of these teachings literally. He didn't mean it literally. Here's his point. If there is something you have control over that has the potential to trip you up or cause you to stumble, deal with it. And if your eye, "if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out," and, again, here's the word, "throw it away". In other words, if there's anything in your life that has the potential to get you off course. To create a regret. To create a season of your life that you'll wish you could go back to and relive.

If there's anything you have control over right now that could potentially trip you up or is tripping you up, he says get rid of it, and the reason he uses such extreme measures is because God loves you so much he would do anything to keep you from being tripped up, stumble and fall out of bounds in terms of your moral life, your financial life, your marriage life, your relationship life. Any area of your life. He says this is a big deal because you're a big deal. This requires extreme response because of how much I love you. And then he says this. "It is better for you to enter life without one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into the fire of Gehenna".

Now the key word here, he's doing a little linguistic thing around this word thrown. Here's what he's saying. It is better for you to throw things out of your life than for your entire life to be thrown into chaos. It is better for you to take extreme measures while you are still in control, before your life spins out of control and you find your entire life in chaos. The word Gehenna is actually a literal place in the south side of Jerusalem, and hundreds of years before Jesus was teaching the Jewish, the Israelite people or the Hebrew people at the time, they actually sacrificed their own children to Moloch, who was a pagan god, and God judged the nation. So this area of Jerusalem became a place that was considered cursed. Eventually it became the garbage dump and there was always fires and things being burned all the time.

So this was a literal thing and Jesus was making a very important point. It is better to throw some things away from your life than to have your life thrown into chaos. It is better to throw whatever you can away from you than to have your entire life thrown into chaos. Because when your entire life is thrown into chaos it becomes hell on Earth, doesn't it. Have you ever stumbled? Yeah, you've stumbled. And once you've stumbled and something becomes an addiction. Once something becomes irreversible. Once something becomes legal that you wish you'd never gotten involved in and now you can't get out of it without doing something illegal.

Isn't it true that you wish you could go back to the time when it began, and throw something out of your life? There's some of you that wish you had thrown away a phone number, but you didn't. And you didn't throw away the phone number and now your life is thrown into chaos, and you wish you could go back and throw away a phone number. You wish you could delete a text, but instead of deleting the text you responded to the text. You responded to the text and eventually it threw your life into chaos and you wish you could go back and throw away the text, instead of having your whole life thrown into chaos. I could go on and on, and some of you wish you'd never taken that first drink. Instead of taking it, you wish you had thrown it away. If you could go back, you would throw it away because it is better to throw that away than for your whole life to be thrown into chaos through an addiction to alcohol, or an addiction to anything.

So why does Jesus say take extreme measures? Because he loves you extremely, and he cares for you. And again, every parent here understands what we would say to our own children, in the same capacity. And then Jesus switches gears just a little bit. He's still on the stumbling theme, so here's what he said so far. Look, you know, things are gonna come along in life that have the potential to cause you to stumble, so look out. Don't be the thing that causes someone to stumble because God does not like people who cause other people to stumble, because he likes the people who stumbled. And then thirdly, if there's something you're involved in that you can get rid of, to keep you from stumbling, get rid of it. It is better to throw certain things out of your life than for your entire life to be thrown into chaos. And then he switches gears and he gets really personal and he says this, and I love this. He says this. "What do you think"?

Wouldn't it be cool to be standing there with Jesus and he's like, so what do you think? And if you're smart, you don't say anything, 'cause you'll be wrong, okay. You just go um, I don't, I don't think I'm gonna share my thoughts right now. You probably already know my thoughts anyway. So Jesus starts this whole conversation off, it's so cool, he says okay you guys, what do you think. And then he tells a very familiar parable that you have heard before, but probably not in this context. Because one of the things that's important to remember is this. Jesus taught for about three years and he repeated many of these parables and many of these stories, over and over and over and over, to make sure the people within Judea and Galilee got it.

So now he takes a parable that you've heard in one context, he puts it in a different context, here's what he says. He says, "if a man owns a hundred sheep," which, to us, is just odd, but to them that was the world they lived in. "If a man owns a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away," or to use the word he's gonna use throughout this teaching, if one of them stumbles away. If one of them stumbles off, if one of them gets lost or loses its way, will the man, "will the shepherd not leave the 99 on the hills and go look for the one that wandered off". And everybody in Jesus' audience is like yeah, that's what you do. You leave the 99 and you go look for the one that stumbled away. And he says this, and you know what happens next. "If he finds it, truly, I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the 99 that did not wander off".

Now we have all experienced this dynamic in a different way. If you've ever lost a credit card, have you ever lost a credit card. And suddenly it's like oh no, oh no, I've lost a credit card and you're thinking, you're looking and you're wondering. And you know what, none of you who've ever done this. You've lost a credit card and you get your purse out or you get your wallet out, and you get out all your other credit cards and go yeah, but I've got these other five. There is no comfort in the five you have when you've lost the one, right. When you've lost the one, which one gets your undivided attention. The obedient ones that had stayed in your wallet or your purse, or the disobedient one that wandered off into the parking lot or you left it at the bar, you left it at the restaurant, or your son or daughter took to the mall. That's the one that you're worried about.

And then, when you go out on the driveway and you look beside the car door and there's your credit card, you're like rejoice, the card I have missing is back. And you throw a party because you found your card. Meanwhile all the other credit cards are like what about us, we stayed where we're supposed to stay. We're the good credit cards, right. Because when you lose something of value and you find something of value, your emotions are focused on the thing you lost that then you found. This is what Jesus is talking about.

Now this has personal implications for some of you because right now you've stumbled. You've stumbled off. In fact, the reason you're listening or watching or the reason you decided to come to church today, which, you know, I gotta get my life back together and I'm not sure God will have me. I'm not sure this church will have me. But I'm taking a first step. Somebody told me to watch this or listen to this. Somebody invited me to church today. Here's the great news. Your heavenly father is more excited about you today than he is about me. And I'm a professional, okay. Your heavenly father is more excited about you today than he is about me, at this season of my life. That's how much God loves you. In the same way, he says, in the same way, "your heavenly father is not willing that any of these little ones," should stumble, should perish, should be lost to him.

Now, if Jesus would've stopped right here this is so good isn't it. It's like, we could go oh man, that is so good Jesus. I love this. Okay, so you don't want people to stumble 'cause you love us, that's great. If anything causes us to stumble we should be on the lookout for that. If anybody causes us to stumble we should be on the lookout for them. We should not cause anybody to stumble. And if there's anything in my life I can get rid of now, I can throw it away so my life isn't thrown into chaos that would cause me to stumble, I should get rid of that. This is great, and then it's even better, because I'm like the lost credit card. I'm like the lost sheep.

So if stumble away, you are gonna come looking for me, thank you, thank you, thank you Jesus, give me a J, give me an E. This is so great. And we'll see you later Jesus, thanks for that teaching. And Jesus says no no, we're not done. Come back. Because you're my followers right, we're like yes, we're your followers. He says, well you're involved in this process. No no, we don't wanna be involved in the process. We want you to do it. He's like no, that's not how it works. You're involved in the process. So when you see someone you know, when you see someone you care about, when you see someone you love, stumble, fall, get tripped up, if your brother or sister, because this is the next verse.

"If your brother or sister sins," wanders off, gets tripped up, you go, "you go and you point out their fault," to which we say no no no, we don't go, we pray. We just pray. We pray that somebody would come along, not us, would come along. We pray that you would do a miracle. We pray that you would send a dream, a vision, that something would happen. Jesus says no, don't pray, go. Don't pray, go. I made up the don't pray, he said go. You go, because we default to pray. In fact we don't just pray, we gossip as a prayer request. Like I just need you to pray for my friend Bill, he's having a real hard time. I'm not gonna give you his last name but it's Bill and all of you know him, last name starts with a F. Anyway, I don't wanna go any further than that. Let's just pray for Bill.

And Jesus is going no you don't pray, you go. But that is so uncomfortable. I just wanna be, I wanna be sensitive, I wanna give him his privacy. Jesus is going you're not being sensitive. You're being insensitive. I want you to go, whether you feel like it or not. And don't tell anybody, and don't share a prayer request. And he covers that, he says you just go between the two of you. You just show up and, to our response is, you know, but it's none of our business, it's none of my business, and Jesus' response is, I just made it your business. Their business is your business because their business is my business and I love them and I'm sending you. You're like oh, I don't know if that's the loving thing to do, it's the most loving thing to do. He goes on. If they listen to you, here's some good news. "If they listen to you, you have won them over".

Whenever they tell their story, they'll bring up your name and say then Sally showed up, then Bart showed up, Phyllis showed up, or whatever your name, and then Brandi showed up, and we had this awkward conversation. At first I was so mad at Brandi and then I realized you're right, and I confessed, and I prayed, and I broke up with him, or I decided not to do this or I finally decided not to take that job. I decided not to take out that loan. And, you know, I was so mad at her but then I realized it was the right thing and forever and ever you will be a permanent positive part of their story, right. We're like good, can we stop there. Jesus is like no, 'cause it rarely works out like that.

There are very few happy endings, that going to your brother or your sister to point out their sin. Very few times where they're gonna go, you know you're right, thank you. But if they will not listen, because they probably won't. If they will not listen, to which we go okay, if they will not listen, okay, I've done my part, right. I did what you said, I confronted them, it was so awkward, I'm not sure they'll ever speak to me again. But we're done, right, and I get extra credit. Like I'm the best Christian in my whole church, I don't have to go to church for a month, because I did what very few Christians will do, right. Jesus is like no. I want you to go back and this time I want you to take some people. It's like, what? I mean Jesus, give it a rest. I did the most unusual thing. I poked my nose in their business.

Now take a couple of people with you that know them, because every matter has to be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. I mean, what is this, court? Who does this? Seriously, who does this? Good Shepherds. Your heavenly father. People who aren't gonna hide behind sensitivity, and I'm just giving them space, and I'm just gonna pray, when in fact you're just scared. Or indifferent. Or just too worried about what might happen, the consequence, that's who does that. If they still refuse, it's like really, this goes on. Yeah, if they still refuse to listen. I mean this is, Jesus come on, this is so uncomfortable, right. If they still refuse to listen, you take it another step. Tell it to the assembly.

Now in your English Bibles you'll find the word church here, which was, which should never have been translated church, but that's another story for another day. The word actually means assembly and, besides, by the time, when Jesus was teaching this, there was no church. The church didn't start till after the Resurrection. But this common Greek word simply means assembly, and what he's talking to specifically about, because these are small Jewish communities who all, the center of their lives was the synagogue, and everybody knew everybody, and everybody kind of knew everybody's business. He says look, if this person continues to wreck and ruin their life, and maybe wreck and ruin other people's lives with their behavior, you actually take them to the community of people that know them and care about them, and you confront them as a community. The people who love them and can restore them.

In our churches the way we do this is through our small groups. We never bring people in front of the whole church, that would be weird, 'cause you don't know 'em and you don't love 'em, and they don't know you or love you. But multiple times, through the years, we've had people who needed to be confronted, and one went and then two went, and then, it's so cool, I've been a part of this. I say cool, it's actually horrible. It's cool when it works, which is almost never. The whole, seriously, the whole community group shows up at their door. It says, we're the community that loves you and we just can't let it go, and I know you don't think it's any of our business but, you know what, we love you too much for it not to be our business. And then Jesus says, and then "if they refuse to listen, even to the assembly, treat them as you would a Gentile or a tax collector".

Now I have heard this preached that if you confront them and they refuse to change, you just shun them. That is not what this is talking about. What this is saying, this is so important, is see when you confront somebody because there's something going on in their life where they're hurting themselves, the assumption is that they see the world the way you do. When you confront them and said you know what, you're undermining your trust with your wife, you're assuming oh, I care about how much my wife trusts me. When you confront them and say you know what, this is illegal, you could get in big trouble with this. You are assuming they don't wanna do anything illegal and they don't wanna get in trouble. Every time you confront someone you're assuming a shared world view. You're assuming some shared values. Jesus says, when it finally occurs to you that you guys aren't even on the same page, that you don't share the same world view, you don't share the same values, then you choose a different approach. Then you approach them as someone who doesn't share your world view and who doesn't share your values. You back off.

Now it's not any of your business because the assumption going in, it's my business because we have common ground. Now we get this completely the opposite because when somebody's doing something that's gonna mess up their lives or mess up their family, what we do is we don't do anything. Jesus says no, you immediately do something and then eventually you may not do anything. But you don't not do anything until you are sure, you know what, I went, we went, the community went. Clearly they don't care. Clearly, what we want for them is not what they want for them. Clearly the way they view the world is not the way we view the world.

So we're gonna begin treating them like somebody who just has a different world view. Do we love them, of course you love them. But you love them differently. Any questions? This is horrible isn't it. This is terrible. Why would Jesus do this? 'Cause he loves you. If you're, so here's the whole verse. "If your brother or sister sins, go point out their fault, just between the two of you, and if they listen, you have won them over". And you do this whether you feel like it or not.

Now Sandra and I, my wife and I, have done this so many times through the years, and I'll tell you why. Because many many years ago, when we were first married, there were two or three situations where we didn't, and we saw what happened. And in one particular case it was so, we were so overwhelmed with grief and remorse that we didn't say something when we knew we needed to say something, but we were afraid. And we backed off and we would do what most people do. And we decided all those years ago, you know what. If it ruins relationships, if it ruins relationships even with family, we will not be silent anymore, because love is not silent when there's something that needs to be said. Fear is silent. Discomfort is silent. Indifference is silent. Love isn't silent.

And I've gotta tell you, we've done this so many times, together and separately. It rarely works out well. It rarely goes well, rarely. Every once in a while, eventually, someone will come back and thank us, but, for the most part, it doesn't go well. But we do not regret it and I'll tell you, I'm so proud of Sandra. I'm more confrontational, I'm kind of geared that way a little bit more than her. I should say a lot more than her. Because she is just, she just is so not that way. And through the years, to see her confront family members and to see her confront close friends, when something needed to be said and nobody was gonna say anything, and clearly nobody was gonna say anything. People were just backing off, backing off, backing off. Severing ties with people. And Sandra's like no. If I'm gonna end that relationship they must know why I'm ending it. They have to know.

And to see her step out of, I mean way outside of her comfort zone, in one case drive to a different city and have me praying, okay I'm meeting at two o'clock, I want you on your knees at two o'clock praying, because this is a big deal. But we just decided love, it's not silent. Indifference, uncomfortable. That's what's quiet, that's what's silent. So please, don't camouflage. Don't camouflage your fear, your discomfort, your apprehension and your indifference, with concerns about making someone uncomfortable. Woe, Jesus says. Woe to those who cause someone to stumble, but blessed are those who go and favored are those who declare, you know what. Fear, discomfort, apprehension, indifference, you are not the boss of me. Love forbids me, love forbids me to remain silent. Love forbids me from minding my own business when I notice somebody else needs somebody to mind their business, especially when it's somebody I know.

So here's what I wanna say to you, and then we're gonna close. Because as I'm talking, I won't ask you to raise your hand. Somebody's coming to mind aren't they. And you're like oh. Oh man, maybe somebody else will go, God I pray that somebody here knows them and will obey this sermon, 'cause I'm not going. This is just like, you know. Here's what I just wanna say to you. Please don't let, please don't let your emotions keep you from doing what you know you need to do. Somebody needs to hear from you. Their future may depend on it.

Somebody needs to hear from you and there are no guaranteed outcomes and you don't do this because you know it's gonna work. You do this because Jesus commanded you to do it. And the really cool, amazing thing about this principle is this. You see, as Christians, and if you haven't heard me say this before, you're gonna hear me say it over and over and over, and many of you have heard me say it before. The thing is this, when Jesus, right before Jesus was arrested, he said guys, I'm just giving you one command, just one. This is it, you don't have 10, just one command. And the command is this. You are to love others as I have loved you. And that's all this is. This is simply doing for others what God, through Christ, has done for us. This is just one more way to love. The way that we have been loved.

And we sing about it don't we. Don't we sing about it. This is what we sing. We sing there's no shadow He won't light up, mountain He won't climb up, coming after me. Right, ain't that what we sing. I'm so glad that God didn't decide my sin wasn't any of his business. I'm so glad God didn't look at my sin and go well, you know, it's really none of my business, I'm not gonna interfere, right. No wall, I mean the imagery in these lyrics is so powerful. No wall He won't kick down, lie He won't tear down, coming after me, coming after you. I'm glad God didn't decide to back off when he saw me veer off right. The overwhelming, I love it, never-ending, reckless love of God.

Why is it reckless? Because he didn't do the comfortable thing. He did the reckless thing. Get this. God sent his son into the world to die for your sins, knowing you may not choose to receive the gift. God sent his son to this world to pay for your sins and he announced forgiveness ahead of time. That's reckless. So for Jesus to ask us to do for others what he, then, went to the cross to do for us, that's not unusual. What would be unusual is for us to ignore his grace to us by ignoring our call, his call in our lives, to do for others what he's done for us. Chases me down. Fights till I'm found.

And then here's the imagery, here's the parable Jesus told. Leaves the 99. In my case, 100% of the time, when God chased me down, it wasn't through a dream, it wasn't through a voice in the night. It wasn't writing in the clouds. It wasn't some mysterious thought, it wasn't a voice. 100% of the time, in my life, when God chased me down, he did it through someone who did not let fear or intimidation or indifference be the boss of them. And I am so grateful. So. Who needs to hear from you? Who needs to hear from you? It's your business because you love them. Love is not silent. Love speaks up. Let love, the love of God and God's love for you, be the boss of you. You will never regret that and you have no idea the difference it might make in somebody's life.
Comment
Are you Human?:*