Sermon Script: Luke 9:18-20; 23-26
Sermon Purpose: Jesus Christ shapes the way we live our statement of faith.
Sermon Title: “Rebel Creed”
There is an ancient phrase in the Jewish faith; “covered in the dust of your Rabbi.” It means disciples are to follow so closely behind their rabbi the dust kicked up as the rabbi walks would cover the disciple. The disciple was to eat what the rabbi ate. The disciple was to drink what the rabbi drank. The disciple was to sleep when and where the rabbi slept. This was the way Jesus’ disciples lived for a year to eighteen months before Jesus asked them, “Who do you say that I am.” It was Peter who answered, “The Christ of God” (Luke 9:20). This morning we are going to work through some questions together.
- Who is Jesus?
- What does who Jesus is have to do with me and my life
This morning I asked the youth, “Who is Jesus?” You heard their answers. When Jesus asked His disciples the same question, “Who do you say that I am?” it was Peter who responded, “The Christ of God.” Do you know what it means that Jesus is the Christ? In ancient times they would anoint their kings with oil. King Saul was anointed with oil. King David was anointed with oil. The word Christ means Messiah or anointed. Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit at the time of Jesus’ baptism. The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove, and a voice from heaven said, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11). Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit which means Jesus is the King. More than that Jesus is fully human and fully God which means Jesus is God. Jesus is both God and King of all of creation and humanity. Who is Jesus Christ? Jesus is our God and King. However, to fully believe Jesus is the Christ; God’s only Son and fully God requires more than a solid argument.
What is required to believe Jesus is the Christ? What is required is something outside of Human intellect and reason. What is required is faith – a saving faith given freely by God and offered through God’s prevenient grace. Prevenient grace leads us, woo’s us; lures us to Jesus Christ and away from the things and choices which hurt ourselves and others. This grace is offered because of a love we do not deserve and cannot pay back. Prevenient grace leads us to Jesus Christ and is God’s alone to give. Then, in the moment when we encounter Christ and God’s justifying grace we know who this Jesus Christ is and can accept the gift Jesus has given.
Being able to say with the confidence of saving faith Jesus is the Christ is not enough. We are not meant to simply acknowledge Jesus as the King as Jesus passes by. We are meant to follow Jesus. We are meant to follow Jesus so closely the dust of the road being kicked off Jesus’ sandals coats our clothes and our hair. If we can honestly say, “Jesus is the Christ,” then we are to follow Jesus daily. This is not a one and done kind of thing. We are to follow Jesus in all that we do. We’ve all seen or heard of those, “What would Jesus Do?” bracelets. Well let me tell ya. If and when we can honestly confess Jesus is the Christ then we are committing ourselves to follow Jesus in a lifestyle of sacrificial service. We shouldn’t have to ask, “What would Jesus do?” We should already know because we have been following Jesus so closely. Other people should not have to ask, “What do we believe?” because it should be evident by the way we live our lives and the love we offer to others. What did Jesus say, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). Without a doubt there are some here thinking to themselves I do a good job of sharing Christ’s love. I love others. I help out with this or that, or I give money to this or that. I hate to break it to ya, but it’s not good enough. We are called to go out into the world, “to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey all that [Jesus] has taught us” (Matt 28:19-20). That is the command. That is the standard.
Let me ask y’all what grade would you give us as a church? On a 100 point scale what grade would you give? Let me ask it this way. How many people will this sanctuary comfortably hold? (CG around 100 – 120; WH around 120-140). How many people do we have in attendance today? (CG around 30: WH around 45). That’s around 35, 40%. Then that’s our grade this morning, 35 or 40 out of a hundred. Ask the youth what’s a passing grade at your school? 65-70? Church, if numbers alone tell the story we are failing. We aren’t being rebellious. We aren’t living our lives out loud in a way that shares just how good it is to be loved by God. And if we don’t do a better job of letting our rebellious vulnerability, and our rebellious allegiance to God start shining out in the way we live our lives our church is going to die.
Don’t fool yourselves. We all have to answer that question, “Who is Jesus?” If we do not answer, or if we put off answering then our not answering is an answer to the question. We can’t belittle the question, or put the question down, or play dumb like nobody has ever asked that question before. I ought to know, when it comes to playing dumb I could manage the team, and I can tell ya even playing dumb or ignoring the question says, Jesus is not important. But here’s the thing. Jesus is important. Jesus is the most important one. Jesus is the Christ, the King, God’s anointed and more than that, God in the flesh. That being said, we are going to have our set backs, our times of trial; our times of fear and failure. The question is what are we going to do about it? Are we going to sit there and ignore the problem until want for resources forces us to close our doors? Are we going to let bitterness and regret restrain us from sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Or are we going to confidently proclaim to the world, to our coworkers and to our neighbors that Jesus is Lord. Jesus is the Christ. Will we share Him through our time? Will we share Christ through our actions? Will we share Christ through our hopes? Will we share Christ through our failures? Will we live our lives in such a way to say Jesus is the Christ or will we choose to just let our church wither away? If we want to live; if we want our Church to jump, thrive and survive for God’s glory then our statement of faith, “Jesus is the Christ,” cannot be just words. If we can confess Jesus is the Christ then we need to stop asking what is it going to take to keep the doors open and start asking what is it going to take to share the love of God in my life with others, and to encourage others to do the same?
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
  Mike Slaughter, RENEGADE GOSPEL: The Rebel Jesus, (Nashville: United Methodist Publishing House 2014) 59.