What Did Jesus Just Say?!?

When you hear the word father what comes to your mind? For some, positive images and experiences pop into their mind. For others, nothing but heartache and discouragement. People have all sorts of perspectives and experiences when they hear the word dad; some good and some not so good. In the same way, when you hear the word “judge” or “judgment” what comes to mind? For most, I would imagine, less than encouraging experiences or feelings come to mind. And yes, Jesus speaks to how we are to judge. What does He mean? Surely, He doesn’t mean what we read about in Matthew 7:1-5?!? Let’s walk through this passage together and figure out what Jesus meant and what He didn’t.

Scripture: Matthew 7:1-5

Love Your Enemies

Jesus’ kingdom ethics or family’s characteristics include even aggressive love for one’s enemies. It’s in this – love for one’s enemies – that our relationship with Jesus is clearly seen. Our response to this command revealed whom we belonged to. It didn’t get us into his family/kingdom, it made it known.

Scripture: Luke 6:27-36

The Call of Every Christian

Often what happens when there is not a clear vision for the church people will attach the vision to a place or building, a personality, a group of people and sometimes even a program. God tells us in the Bible that the vision for the church is to make disciples, which essentially means to make more followers of Jesus. Of course, He’s the one who makes this happen but He uses us to accomplish His purposes in people’s lives.

The sermon that follows is Pastor Nate walking through Foothills’ Mission Statement which is to “engage people to put Jesus first for the sake of others.”

Scripture: Matthew 28:18-20

Stand Out Christians

As followers of Jesus we ought to stand out and shine bright in this generation because of who we are and how we speak. Here are a few questions we should ask ourselves.

Who are we meant to be?
A: We’re the children of God on mission as lights in a dark world. We’re meant to make the invisible God clear to our family, friends and neighbors.

What gets in the way?
A: Grumbling and disputing. Jesus said my words start in my heart. When you grumble you’re saying, “I deserve better.” When you’re questioning you’re saying, “I know better.” Grumbling and questioning reveal a self-centered, restless, anxious, agitated, dissatisfied heart that will eventually infect your words and obscure the light and glory of the Gospel in your life.

How do we stand out and shine bright?
A: Only when you entrust yourself to Jesus will you live and speak in a way that stands out from the crowd and clearly lights the way to Christ for them with the Gospel.

3 More Questions:

  1. Are you born again?
  2. Would the people closest to you say you rarely complain, or do your words betray a heart who’s posture is “I deserve better,” “I know better”? Will you repent and entrust yourself to Jesus fully?
  3. Is there a person in your circle of influence who has asked about or commented on how “positive” you are, how you don’t seem to respond negatively as others? If so, have you clearly pointed them to how Jesus in you has made that difference in your life?

The Practical Atheism

A fool is someone who lives their life without the direction or acknowledgment of God. In their heart they say “there is no God” even if they simultaneously confess the contrary with their mouth. Psalm 14 calls us to move from practical atheism and empty forms of religion and lip service to joy in Christ. From a veneer of faith to Christ first for the sake of others.

Scripture: Psalms 14

Beautiful, Ordinary Lives

The conflict in the Christian life is not first and foremost with the culture around us, it’s with the inner self. It’s not our evangelistic events that draw people to Christ, but our life together. Peter calls Christians to abstain from fleshly desires, not simply so we can invite friends to evangelistic events. Rather, our lives are the evangelistic events. Our life together is a beautiful apologetic.

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:11-12

Knowing Who We Are Through Difficulties

Peter wants to establish that Christians are people of hope — a living hope that is rooted in the resurrection of Jesus — so that as they go through suffering they’ll have a perspective that compels them to:

  1. continue to live obedient lives and
  2. not despair…as this is part of following Jesus.

No matter how disciplined, organized and faithful we are, the reality is that we are sinners living in a sin-cursed world with other sinners. Nothing we can do will ever change that reality. We are surrounded by discouraging, hurtful and sinful realities – Jesus is very candid about our diagnosis; it’s bad and we need help; we need a Rescuer AND he is that and so much more. All things need to be made new, but we are not the ones who will accomplish that renovation (Rev 21:3-5). We are exiles and strangers who see the promises from afar and believe them (Heb 11:13), but we are walking by faith now and not by sight.

Yes, a new day when everything will be put right, but in the meantime, while we’re living in the not yet, we need grace; we need Jesus; we need his help, his truth. And we don’t just need it a tiny bit; no, the truth is we are desperate for buckets of it. We need it every hour of every day. We need it when we remember that we need it AND we need it when all we can see before us is futility and trouble and disappointment, suffering, hardships. We need grace.

Scripture: 1 Peter 1:1-2