090308 Beat Him, Join Him, Or Crucify Him 02 The Cost Of A Free Gift


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A sermon on Luke 6:37-42 presented March 8, 2009, at Palm Desert Church of Christ by Dale Wells

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  • 090308 Beat Him, Join Him, Or Crucify Him 02 The Cost Of A Free Gift

    1. 3. Michka Assayas: Bono in Conversation <ul><li>Conversation with U2 singer & songwriter </li></ul><ul><li>Criticized for salty language & liberal social views </li></ul><ul><li>U2 began as a Christian fellowship </li></ul><ul><li>Many songs plumb biblical themes </li></ul>
    2. 4. Asked if he thought some people were too religious: <ul><li>Bono saw the risks, but added: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ It’s a mind-blowing concept [to me] that the God who created the Universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people … but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between grace and karma.” </li></ul></ul>
    3. 5. Bono explained what he meant: <ul><li>“ At the center of all religions is the idea of karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics – in physical laws – every action is met by an equal or an opposite one … And yet, along comes this idea called grace to upend all that … Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff. I’d be in big trouble if karma was going to finally be my judge.” </li></ul>
    4. 6. He added: <ul><li>“ It doesn’t excuse my mistakes, but I’m holding out for grace, because I know who I am, and I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiosity. Christ took on the sins of the world so that what we put out did not come back to us, so that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. It’s not our own good works that get us through the gates of Heaven.” </li></ul>
    5. 7. The Key is Not Our Works, but God’s Amazing Grace
    6. 8. The gospel according to Bono hits the nail on the head: <ul><li>Impossible to understand the holy God and think for a moment: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ When I meet God face-to-face one day, he is going to be really impressed by my character. He’ll take a gander at all my moral merit badges – church attendance, contributions, community service & voting record, and say, ‘Wow, this guy, Dale Wells, is really going to improve the quality of fellowship here in heaven; let’s advance him to the next round.’” </li></ul></ul>
    7. 9. Like tone-deaf American Idol contestant evaluated by real stars <ul><li>Nothing compared to someone coming smugly before the judgment seat of God </li></ul><ul><li>God lives at perfectly pure & holy pitch </li></ul><ul><li>Our best moral rock stars look like a polyester lounge act in comparison </li></ul><ul><li>God’s light is so brilliant that, unfiltered by grace , it would incinerate anyone stained by sin, no matter how nice they look </li></ul>
    8. 10. A hard concept for religious people in Jesus’ day to take in <ul><li>The Pharisees saw themselves as serious contenders on the Israelite Idol show </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Costumed in pristine robes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Untainted by contact with “sinners” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Years practicing scales of ritual purity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sure that God would be impressed by them </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Great Rock & Star of Eternity came crashing down to earth and gonged them! </li></ul><ul><li>No wonder they crucified him! </li></ul>
    9. 11. We know better now, don’t we? <ul><li>We understand with Bono that we’re not stars in the most important sense </li></ul><ul><li>Like Peter, we know we’re shifting sand: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mark 14:72 NIV Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept. </li></ul></ul>
    10. 12. We know better now, don’t we? <ul><li>We know with Isaiah that we are unclean </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Isaiah 6:5 NIV “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>We know that we fall short of God’s glory </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Romans 3:23 NIV for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, </li></ul></ul>
    11. 13. We know better now, don’t we? <ul><li>We know we don’t get to heaven because we’re great singers, but because Jesus is </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In his final contest with sin & death on Calvary, Jesus sang most remarkable song </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>As the crowd spat at him across the judgment table, Jesus sang: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Don’t make them pay for their tone-deafness, Father. Let me pay instead.” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” </li></ul></ul></ul>
    12. 14. The Condition of Grace
    13. 15. At best, we are given the chance to be roadies for the ultimate Star <ul><li>We’re offered a free pass into the great concert in the kingdom of God </li></ul><ul><li>If we have accepted that pass: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We’re eager to use every instrument we can lay our hands on to play the Master’s song </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We’re singing, wherever we go: “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see.” </li></ul></ul>
    14. 16. But here’s the part that could get a man killed <ul><li>It was so upsetting to some that it made plenty of people want to see Jesus dead: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>There is a condition on God’s grace </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Listen carefully: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>God’s love is unconditional </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>God’s willingness to take me “Just as I am” is unconditional </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We don’t merit it; we don’t earn it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s free, because love is what God is & does </li></ul></ul>
    15. 17. But grace is something different <ul><li>On one level, grace is being offered a free pass into the great concert, even though we aren’t perfect singers ourselves </li></ul><ul><li>In another sense, it is “conditional grace” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not that we merit grace by our actions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rather, that receiving grace includes a demand on us to show grace to others </li></ul></ul>
    16. 18. Vickie Bare: <ul><li>“ Grace is like being offered a heart transplant free of charge. Until we accept the heart, however, and allow the surgeon to cut us and implant the new heart into us – until we undergo that operation, the heart can’t pump its life-giving blood through our body. The reality is that we don’t just need a ticket to heaven, we need a heart transplant now. Our problem is that severe. And the free gift is that radical.” </li></ul>
    17. 19. Dallas Willard: <ul><li>“ For years, Christians have tended to live with a truncated, withered understanding of this crucial biblical concept. We’ve tended to see it as all about getting a ticket to heaven when we die. That’s important, you certainly want to attend to that. But grace in the sense Jesus taught it is so much more. It’s more than having God scan the barcode on the back of our Jesus ticket.” </li></ul>
    18. 20. Grace isn’t just the way into the kingdom of God someday <ul><li>It’s the way of the kingdom we live in today </li></ul><ul><li>Grace is God acting in us </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Moving us to his music </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Giving us a song to sing with one another </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Grace isn’t a ticket we hold for the future </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s how we live in the kingdom here-&-now </li></ul></ul>
    19. 21. Completing the Circle
    20. 22. What Jesus meant when he said: <ul><li>“ Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you.” </li></ul><ul><li>Grace moves in a circle: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If you’ve been freed by God from judgment & condemnation, you won’t judge & condemn others </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If you’ve accepted God’s forgiveness, you’re going to forgive others their sins against you </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If you’re genuinely conscious of all you’ve been given by God, you’re going to be a generous giver </li></ul></ul>
    21. 23. We’re not perfect in these things <ul><li>We’re not the Rock Star </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We don’t sing the song or play the tune like Jesus does </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But if we’re stirred by his music, then we’ll </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pursue reconciliation in our relationships </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Forgive the people who hurt & fail us </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stop criticizing & condemning everyone else </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If not, then we haven’t gone to the kingdom concert </li></ul>
    22. 24. Even John Calvin recognized: <ul><li>“ While it is true that we are saved not by works but by faith alone, the faith that saves is never alone.” </li></ul>
    23. 25. Jesus said to the Pharisees (& us): <ul><li>The love of God is aimed at completing the circle of grace? Why do you stop it up? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How can you see the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye & ignore the plank in your own eye? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How can you say, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when you can’t see the plank in your own eye? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do you honestly expect God’s grace, when you won’t extend it to others? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Repent, or God will treat you like you treat others! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Gong! </li></ul>
    24. 26. What do you do with a message & Messiah like that?
    25. 27. I start to think: <ul><li>I’ve got to walk further into this concert: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I’ve got to examine my circles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I’ve got to work on my relationships </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I’ve got to root myself in kingdom disciplines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I’ve got to let the Singer sing through me </li></ul></ul><ul><li>And then I think: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Maybe it would be easier to crucify him </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>After all, I’ve got my free pass </li></ul></ul>
    26. 28. Have you got your free pass into the kingdom? <ul><li>Titus 3:3-7 NIV At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. (4) But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, (5) he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, (6) whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, (7) so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. </li></ul>
    27. 29. Has your pass made a difference in how you live here-&-now? <ul><li>If not, Jesus can always take it back </li></ul><ul><li>Repentance: a hard word for a simple idea </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A change in the way you think that results in a change in the way you live </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Your ticket is at “Will Call” waiting for you to pick it up! </li></ul>