Sorry I did not get this posted Sunday, but here is Sunday’s sermon anyway. It was a busy start to my work week.
Sermon Script: Ephesians 2:1-10; 5:14: John 12:21
Sermon Purpose: If we want to see Jesus we have to wake up to accept the Son’s grace which shines like the bright summer dawn on the hard frozenness of our spiritual slumber.
Sermon Title: “Rebellious Thoughts”
Some of you are aware I am big fan of C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia. In the Magician’s Nephew the boy Diggory and the girl Polly accidentally wake up a terrible witch; the queen Jadice. As Jadice was quickly leading the children out of her ruined palace she told them things about the place she wanted the children to know.
“This was the old banqueting hall where my great grandfather bade several hundred nobles to a feast and killed them all before they had drunk their fill… They had rebellious thoughts.”
I wonder church. Do we have rebellious thoughts?
Sisters and brothers, have you ever considered this world is controlled and ruled by the sons of disobedience who march lock step behind the prince of the power of the air. To be clear, I am not talking about specific political leaders. The Apostle Paul tells us,
“we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
There is darkness all around us. Lust for power, lust for things, lust for the passions of the flesh, and all manner of excuses for losing our temper fill our world, our nation, our city and our community. James Madison once said, “All those who have power, will when they can, increase it.” You may be thinking I want that power. You may be asking, “How do I get that power?” “How do I get that job, or that promotion, or that house, or those retirement benefits?” “How do I get that game, or those toys, or that vacation?” “What can I do to not feel my age?” The answer is simple. We have to want it. We have to want it enough to push people away. We have to want it badly enough to be willing to give up who we are to conform to who this world tells us we should be. If we want it badly enough it is pretty easy to get what we want, and join those who march in unison behind the prince of the power of the air. The prince of the power of the air makes it pretty easy to follow him so long as you don’t mind chasing after something you can never have that continually costs us more and more of who we are. Yes. If we want it badly enough it is pretty easy to become a son or daughter of disobedience.
Let me ask you church; Yes or No? Do you want to be a son or daughter of disobedience? No. Do you want to follow the prince of the power of the air?! No! I certainly hope you don’t because more than anything I want you to want something better for yourselves. I want you to want something better for our church. I want you to want something better for this community and this town. (pause) But I can’t want it more than you. Hear the good news church! We do not have to conform! We don’t have to give up our true selves in order to fit in. We can have (pause) rebellious thoughts. We are allowed to have rebellious thoughts. Jesus Christ died to free us so the Holy Spirit can give us rebellious thoughts. Jesus died for us while we were yet sinners. Do you know what that means? Jesus died for us while we were still marching as the Sons and Daughters of Disobedience. And I am willing to bet money I don’t have there are still some here today who are trying to conform to be like everybody else. There are Sons and Daughters of Disobedience in our congregation today. It should not matter whether we are like everybody else because we were created to be something different. The only way to find joy, and more abundant life is to live into the purpose for which we were created. We were not created to be like everybody else. Jesus Christ died so that we could have the freedom to be a rebellious people. Amen? Amen. Amen?! Amen! But here’s the thing. We have to want it.
If we want to be a rebellious people with rebellious thoughts we have to be willing to turn away from the things of this world. Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34). You see while we were conforming to this world we were dead asleep and didn’t even know it. Now, we must die to the lusts and passions of this world. Christ is calling us to turn away from those things, and to accept the free gift of God’s grace. Jesus died for us while we were yet sinners – that means God reaches out for us first with God’s wonderful gift of grace. And before that God gifts us with Saving Faith to be able to accept God’s grace. To put it more simply God gives us faith like an alarm clock that we should;
“Awake, O sleeper,
And arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you,” (Ephesians 5:14)
The light Christ shines on us is the light of salvation. We are to wake up from our death to conformity with rebellious thoughts. Instead of being concerned with looking good, or sounding smart, or whether or not we like the music in worship – instead of being concerned with whether we are like everybody else we need to be concerned with seeking Christ. We have to want to have rebellious thoughts. We have to be looking for ways to stand out in a good way for Christ. We have to be looking for that opportunity.
In preparing this morning’s sermon I came across a story about Pastor Mike Slaughter. Mike Slaughter is the author of the Rebel Gospel and the lead pastor of Gingamsburg United Methodist Church just north of Detroit, Michigan. Pastor Mike and his family were traveling from their home in Michigan down to the Gulf of Mexico on vacation. Sure enough before they crossed the Kentucky state line on I75 they heard the familiar question, “Are we there yet?” So like every parent on a road trip they came up with a game to play – the license plate game. Have y’all ever played that game on a road trip? Pastor Mike said, “I’ll give you 200 points if you can find a Canadian license plate.” He thought that would keep the kids occupied for a couple of hours, but within 30 or 40 minutes they had found a Canadian license plate. How did they find a Canadian license plate? They were looking for it. They wanted those points, and they wanted them badly enough to look for a Canadian license plate. The same is true for us church. If we really want to be the hands and feet of Christ we have to want it. We have to want it badly enough to look for those needs the church can meet for the glory of God in our community. And once we have found those needs we have to want to get up off of our pews to fill those needs.
Brothers and sisters we are all sinners. We are all a little too comfortable in our pews, and God is still reaching out to us. The alarm clock of God’s grace is ringing. Now is the time to wake up. There aint no time left to hit the snooze button. The time to act is now, but nothing can happen if we don’t want it to happen. If we don’t want to be the hands and feet of Christ, if we don’t want to have rebellious thoughts then all that’s going to happen is we are going to sit back in our pews and die. So let me ask you some yes or no questions church? Are you dead yet? No. Do you want to die? No. Do you want to live?! Yes! Do you want to live! Yes! Do you really want to live? Yes! Then now is the time for rebellious thoughts.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
 Focus On The Family Radio Theather – Narnia: The Magician’s Nephew, [Disc 1, track 7, 6 min, 55 sec].