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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Mike Novotny » Mike Novotny - Even if I'm Prideful?

Mike Novotny - Even if I'm Prideful?

Mike Novotny - Even if I'm Prideful?
TOPICS: ME on Team Jesus?, Pride

Like, think of your childhood, think of your school years, think of your romantic life, think of your professional life, think of athletics, think of academics. Doesn't so much of how we feel about ourselves come down to that simple question, "Did they choose me"? If someone chooses you, if they look you in the eye and invite you, if they want you, if they accept you, if they include you, oh, like, life is so good. But if they don't, if they reject you, if they don't want you, if they don't have time for you, if they don't include... If you're outside of the circle.

Oh, let me give you a few examples. When you're a kid, if your parents choose you, if both your mom and your dad choose to be with you, they choose to keep you, they choose to want you, they choose to give you your attention, you don't really know this when you're a kid but that is so foundationally important for the development of our hearts and our minds, because if they don't, like if Dad takes off or he doesn't want custody, like, that's hard. Even if the kid does nothing wrong, it's just hard to process that. It's hard to feel good about yourself if someone doesn't choose you. Homecoming comes around, all your girlfriends get asked out on dates... If there's a boy who chooses you, I've heard these days, homecoming, like, asks are really dramatic, right?

If he does the big thing in the hallway with all of his friends, oh my gosh, like, you float your way home, and if someone doesn't which was my story in high school, I think my senior prom, I watched Star Wars at home. Yeah. Did someone say, "Aww" in the back? Yeah, I could tell you that, You know that, I laugh about it now because I'm married but in the moment... And it keeps happening. You apply to a college, are you good enough? Do they choose you? You apply for a job, are you good enough? Do they choose you? You get into a relationship, are you good enough that they choose you and choose to stay with you. You try out for the team, are you good enough to make it? Are you good enough to start? Like so, so much of life just comes down to this question, "Are you chosen"?

But here's the hard part about that question... You probably know this but if you're taking notes, I'd love for you to write this down. In this world, to be chosen you normally have to be good, or you have to be better, or finally, you have to be the best. Like, are you a good enough friend that a classmate wants to be a partner with you? Are you good looking enough that you caught that girl's attention? Are you good enough at volleyball that you make the starting squad? Are you good enough at taking tests that the college invites you... You normally have to be good. In most cases, you have to be better. Not everyone's going to get the job, you have to be better than all the other applicants. You have to be, you know, better at relationships and all these other people in the online dating pool. And in a few cases, you just have to be the best.

Only one person gets the spot. There's only one valedictorian. Maybe a lot of people are interested in him but he's only going to choose one for a long-term relationship. And so, in this life, right? There's this deep longing, this ache to be chosen but the fact is if you're not good or if you're not better, or if you're not the best, it often doesn't happen. I've been on both sides of that in my life. I can picture the spot where I was sitting my college senior year, they were giving away two scholarships that would pay for all of grad school. I held my breath, and they said my name. Oh, woah. I don't think I skipped up to the podium but that was happening in my heart. And then two years ago, I was working on a really big Ministry project, poured my heart into, more like thought, intentionality, just did the best that I could possibly do.

We presented it and the people said, "Uh, no". And just thought they didn't understand it. I can realize... That's like, "Well, no, no, what I was really trying to say is," and then I talk for about five minutes, and they responded with, "Yeah, no". And it just kind of hit me like, it wasn't because I ran out of time or I didn't put in the effort. Like, this was the best I could do, and it wasn't good enough. That's life, right? With family, with friends, with school, with sports, we want to be chosen. In your life, sometimes you will be and sometimes you will not. But here's my big idea for this sermon series and I think it is insanely good news. God isn't like that. God is not at all like that. The God that Christians worship did not come down from Heaven, walk around the Earth and look for people who were good or who were a little bit better or who were the best. He wasn't taking applications and resumes from the Sanhedrin and the Pharisees to see who were the best and the brightest.

When Jesus, God in human flesh, was walking the Earth, he looked at the most unexpected people and said, "I choose you". So, starting today and in the weeks to come, we're going to try to fill up that part of our heart that aches to be chosen and wanted and included and accepted by looking at Jesus. Life out there is too much of a rollercoaster to out our hope and our peace and our joy in them, so we're going to fix our eyes on him and see in case study after case study, Jesus picked people just like you and just like me. So, here's the big picture, if you're taking notes, I want to teach on the apostle Peter with five separate numbers.

Here's the first number you need to know about this man named Peter, 223. So, you would look up the name Simon or the nickname that Jesus gave him, Peter, you would find those names showing up 223 times in the entire Bible. Not all of those this Simon Peter, there's a couple other Simons that you find in scripture but almost all of them are, which is by comparison a massive amount. You've heard of Matthew, the tax collector? The name Matthew shows up in the New Testament six times to 223. The name Thomas, that famous doubter from Easter morning, his name shows up 11 times in the Bible, Peter, 223.

All the James put together in the entire Bible, there's a bunch of them, 38 times but Peter is 223. He shows in more passages and in more place, I think, than all of the other apostles put together. And in those passage, we learn a lot about Simon Peter. We learned that he had a brother named Andrew. We learned that he was a fisherman. We know that he was married. Jesus healed his mother-in-law. We know that his father's name was Jonah, which I think is funny for a fishing family but I'm bad at jokes so... We know that Peter was originally from Bethsaida, which is a little village just north of the Sea of Galilee but then he moved to the shore to a city called Capernaum where he later lived and met Jesus. Two hundred and twenty-three times, massive man in the history of the New Testament church.

Second number is number 12 because this Simon Peter from Bethsaida was one of the twelve apostles that Jesus chose. You might have heard of these guys, Mathew, James and John, Thomas, Phillip, Nathaniel. Peter was one of the 12, the word apostle, you might recall means 'sent out', so these are guys that Jesus sent out to preach and Peter is one of them. So, if Jesus had a small group, Peter would be around the table.

Next number, number three. Not only was Simon Peter one of the 12 apostles, he was one of the three men who was closest to Jesus. Now, a few of you know this. Jesus normally walked, you know, around ancient Israel with these 12 guys but there were a couple occasions when he took his inner circle which was Peter and James and John. When he was praying just before he died, Jesus wanted his best friends with him, Peter was one of them. When he raised a little 12-year-old girl from the dead, only Peter and James and John were in the room. When he went up on the mountain of transfiguration and revealed his glory, it wasn't all 12 guys, it was Peter, James, John.

So, just like you might join a small group, you know, and try to love all the people in the room, there might be a couple people you connect with and apparently when Jesus connected with people, he chose Peter and these brothers to be his closest friends on Earth. Next number is number two. It's the number of books that Simon Peter wrote that are in your Bible. They're creatively titled "1 Peter and 2 Peter". It wasn't very creative apparently. They're short little books. You could read them, I think, in 26 minutes if you're an average reader. So, Peter was later murdered for his faith in Jesus, crucified they say, upside down. Before that happened, he wrote these two books, and you could read his own words.

And the last number I want to share with you is the number one. Every single time the 12 apostles are listed in the Bible, Jesus or not Jesus, Peter is always first. Sometimes the other names get shuffled around in different orders but at the top of the list in the gospels, in the Book of Acts, always, always, always, always, Peter. Undeniably, he was the natural leader of the group. He was a huge figure in the launching of the Christian church after Jesus left and so maybe as the apostles wrote about Christianity, they always out Peter first. Jesus chose him. Jesus made him one of his best friend. Jesus sent him out to preach and if you read the Book of Acts, you know, it basically is the acts of Peter and the acts of the apostle Paul which is why churches today will out St. Peter on the side of their building because he's huge in the story of Jesus.

So, throw some basic facts about Peter. I don't have time, obviously, to read through all the things that he said and did so I just want to focus in on one part of Peter's personally today and it's this, Peter talked. Period. In those 223 uses, Peter said, Peter asked, Peter answered. The 12 were there, Jesus said this, Peter replied. The disciples had gathered at Jesus' feet, Peter spoke up. It doesn't matter how many people were in the room... Did you ever go to grade school with that one kid who'd always raise his hand? Like, even before the question was done, he'd start talking before he was called on? This is the apostle Peter. He talked... My favorite verse, when Peter's up on a mountain and Jesus reveals his glory, Moses and Elijah appear, the Bible says it was glorious that Peter did not know what to say.

So, do you know what he did? He said something. It's literally in the Bible. The gospel of Luke says, parenthesis, "He did not know what he was saying but he was still speaking". It's like, "Uh, I don't know what to say, let me just start talking". That's the personality of the apostle Peter. So, here's my question for you, "Who's like Peter in the room"? A few of you. If you came in a car with family members or friends, would you please identify the Peter in your group. Who's the person who talks the most in the car? Who's the person at the dinner table that has the highest word count? Who texts more the other people in the family combined? Yeah, that's like me. My wife and are driving in the car, she'll ask, "How was your day"? and by Milwaukee, I get done with my answer. Like, "Oh yeah, there are other people to talk to in this car too".

Some of us are a lot like Peter, we talk, we ask questions, we speak up in a group, we break the ice, we're a lot like this guy that Jesus chose. And here's what I want to say about that. If that's you and this is totally me, you and I just like Peter have a gift from God. The ability to just speak is so beautiful if it's done in love. You might know the story. The day of Pentecost in the Bible, the Holy Spirit comes, thousands of people are gathered, this crowd they don't even know about Jesus. Who speaks up? Peter. He has no notes, he has no outline, he hasn't prepare a few words to speak, he just talks and because of his talking 3000 are baptized on a single day. The ability to just speak without preparation is a huge gift in the kingdom of God. I see this here at the Core on Question and Answer Sunday.

Alright. Some of you would die if they turned the lights on, hit record on the camera, gave you a microphone and we just got to ask you anything about anything. Like me, that's, "Oh, yes. How long can we go"? Right? Just, that's a gift. Some people are like. Like, you see someone new in the lobby at church, someone sits down next to you that you don't know, you're probably very nice, they're probably very nice but most of us just don't know what to say and so we kinda sit here. And you see that person at church for a whole year and you never say anything, and they never say anything. You might be best friends, but no one speaks unless you have the courage of Peter, and you just start talking, and you find out you have a lot in common. People like Peter in our church are some of the best at hospitality, at kindness, at welcoming new faces.

Some of you when you go to weddings, you get assigned at the table with like four, six people that you don't know and that can be super awkward unless there's a Peter sitting at the table who starts the introductions and makes the connections. I mean, the ability to just speak is so good when it comes to love and compassion, and hospitality, and preaching, and teaching. If you have the gift of Peter, you have a gift that comes from God. Your personality is not a mistake. The answer isn't to cut off your tongue, so you never say anything wrong again. The answer is to use that gift that God has given you in selflessness and in love. But when you're speaking a lot of words, it's kind of hard to remember the selflessness and the love.

There's this passage in the Book of Proverbs 10:19, it says this, "Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues". When Jesus predicted that all the apostles would abandon him and leave him alone on the cross, it was Peter who said, "Never". Wait, you're telling the son of God he got this one wrong that you know better? Or when Peter tried to be big and bold and brave and follow Jesus to the cross and he's warming his hands by the fire and a middle school girl says to him, "Wait, wait, aren't you Jesus' friend"? And without thinking he just says, "No". And ask him again, he says, "No, don't know him". And ask him a third time and he just says, "I don't even know what you're talking about".

And then the rooster crows and only then does Peter think, he thinks about the words he just said, and he weeps. Has that ever happened to you? You get in the car after the party and it's only then that your mind starts to, like, read over the transcript of the words you just said. "Oh my goodness. Wow. Why would I say that? How could I say that"? You just realize that you spent so much time talking and so little time listening as if everyone came to the party just to hear about everything about your life. Has that ever happened at like a small group Bible study where it's like you're just throwing comment after comment, after comment, like everyone showed up just to sit at your feet and listen to all of your amazing words? This happens to me with preaching all the time. "Oo, I thought of another thing, let's add that in there. Well, the sermon is already long, I'm sure the people want to hear more from me, let's just keep talking for a while". Right?

You know, all of us are proud, I think. Some of us are just proud out loud. And that's why I love the story of Peter. I know sometimes I feel like I need a break from myself and if I meet a person who's a lot like me in the room, I just need a little bit of space and silence, but do you know what Jesus Christ never did? He never took a break from Peter. I mean, if there was one dude I would keep, like, in the back row of the 12 apostles, it would be Peter, not Jesus. "Follow me," he said. And as Peter talked his ear off for three straight years, Jesus never once turned around and said, "Enough. Is there another guy we could", no, he, like, stuck with him. He's patient. He had to call him out, he had to rebuke him but Jesus was so full of mercy and compassion, and love, and grace that he loved Peter. Years later the same apostle Peter wrote this letter that we call 1 Peter and in that letter, he spoke these amazing words about Jesus, he said, "When they hurled their insults at Jesus, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, Jesus entrusted himself to the God who judges justly".

How did Peter end up included and accepted and forgiven despite the craziness of his sin? Here's how. The word didn't say a word. Jesus hung on the cross and he knew every secret of those Roman soldiers but instead of eviscerating them with his words, he stayed silent and was lead like a lamb to the slaughter so that Peter could end up a Saint, and so that you and I can too. I'm working on my words, but I'm working as a guy who is loved by God, forgiven by his grace and covered in his mercy, and you are too. One more passage from Peter. I love how he said it, in that same chapter, he says, "As you come to Jesus, the living stone rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house. You are a chosen people".

I think that's why Peter would have loved what the early Christians did to his house. Let me show you a picture that I took in a city of Capernaum where Peter lived. Many archaeologists think that this circular building was the house of the apostle Peter. It dates all the way back to the first century when Peter lived but what caught archaeologist attention is what happened in the mid first century A.D. soon after Jesus went to Heaven. It seems at that house which archaeologist found pots and pans was transformed into some other kind of use. The pots and pans disappeared, and oil lamps started to appear as if someone was there speaking for a long time into the night. Soon after they expanded the home and turned it from a residential dwelling, they added rooms and layers, they plastered over the entire place and many people think this was one of the earliest Christian churches, right in the home of the apostle Peter.

In fact, in the plaster of the walls early Christians started to write messages, little graffiti. One person drew a little boat, another person had mentioned the name of Jesus but one of the things they scratched into the plaster of Peter's potential home was something I think he would have loved. Three words. "Christ have mercy". Have mercy on me a sinner. And as Peter heard the parable of Jesus, of the tax collector who confessed that very thing, I tell you the truth that this man, the sinner went home justified before God because whoever humbles themselves will be exalted. That's the story of Peter and it's our story too. The world might not choose us but by the grace and mercy of God, Jesus does and he always will. Let's pray:

Oh God, thank you for listening. If I were you, I would have blocked my prayer text a long time ago but you're patient and you're kind, and you're unconditionally loving and it's why we love you so much. Jesus, if you forgave Peter, the man who denied that he even knew you, not once or twice but three times, it's proof that you can forgive the proudest person in this room, the most arrogant person who's sitting at home, the most complicated and broken person that we know. Thank you Jesus that you didn't just choose the educated and the amazing. Thank you that you chose the angry and the greedy, the proud and the broken, the stressed and the overwhelmed. The fact that you chose them gives us hope and confidence that you chose people like us today. I pray powerfully, God, today for your Holy Spirit. Now, your word says that the fruit of the spirit is gentleness, and it's patience, and it's love, and it's self-control, and a lot of us, I know I need that so badly, our words are so powerful. Sin happens when we speak too much and too quickly and love happens when we don't, so give us the self-control that we need that our words today at school and at work, in our relationships and with our parents, with our kids, with our fellow saints here in this Christian church, may those words be just like the words of Jesus, full of truth and full of love. God, you changed Peter, you're changing us too. Work powerfully in our hearts so we could be a bright light in this dark world, and in this jar of clay, these cracked pots that we are, your light would shine through so brightly, even through the cracks that people know what a merciful God you are. We pray all these things today with confidence and we pray them in the name of Jesus, and all God's people said, "Amen".

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