We live in a culture that expects performance, drives performance, and rewards performance. But is that how God operates with us? Is a relationship with God all about following the rules and doing all the right things? As we return to The New You, we’ll look at the difference between the expectations of religion in light of what Christ has done. With change comes the opportunity to become better versions of ourselves, and lean into Christ-centered living. Join us Sunday as we learn to live in the reality of Done.Read More
FULL SERMON SCRIPT
First time or just joined us the last few weeks … rejoining a series we’re calling The New You
The question … do we want to return to what our lives were? Who we were?
An opportunity to “return” as a better version of ourselves
Our lives really can be new, with different or greater meaning and purpose
The way God designed us to be, because of what Christ has done IN us
Week 1… Jesus’ power and presence are with us
how big is Jesus?
life with a powerful God is a life of risky faith, fearless obedience, and passionate leadership
Week 2… Christ IN us, the hope of glory
The difference between Christ AND us and Christ IN us
A hope based on a promise, that could not be broken and lived within us
Week 3 … We live in God’s grace
The one thing the church has to offer that the world cannot get anywhere else
God’s undeserved, unearned, unending grace
One of the most used apps on my phone is a task manager
a ToDo list
My mom always had a list, checking tasks off
I get a weird sense of satisfaction checking off items
Ties into our performance culture … getting things done
our work expects us to perform, to DO
employees dedicated, determined to get results
High achievers that lead to greater success and bigger profits
when you DO well, exceed expectations or goals, you’re rewarded
often with more to DO!
We can carry this performance thinking into our relationship with God
we must DO for God for him to be pleased with us, accept us, love us
it’s what He expects or demands
Think of it this way…
How would you answer, What does it look like to be a Christian?
Often described by a list of DO’s
obey commands found in a book … follow the rules
attend church / watch online
involved in compassion activities
join a small group
say all the right things / none of the wrong things
There’s also the DON’Ts
for me growing up no movies, no alcohol, no secular music
Christian High School … no long hair
No dating until 16 … wait, that’s a good one
Some have left church because of DOing expectations
you weren’t DOing it right
you’re DOing it all wrong
Some of us are experiencing tremendous guilt from feeling we aren’t DOing enough
This performance driven idea of religion isn’t new to us…
Paul, who wrote this letter, is writing to the Christ-followers in Colossae who were facing the same pressures
Here’s where we’re headed over the next few minutes…
We’re to Live in the reality of what Christ has DONE, not the nature of I must DO
there’s a truth that counters the expectations and pressures we put on ourselves or others put on us
it’s a truth we’re to live in
Colossians 2:16, 18
“Therefore” is important.
Connecting what he’s about to say with what he previously said…
Because of the grace Jesus has extended to us through his death and resurrection…
Because we are now alive with Christ…
Because we are now free from all that would condemn us…
Colossians 2:16, 18
16Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day…18Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you…
There is a danger that we must be aware of
The pressure to return to old patterns
let no one judge you in food or in drink or in religious practice …
Do not let anyone disqualify you…
Don’t let anyone put external expectations on you or guilt you
Don’t let anyone stand in judgement of you
legalism … acceptable to God on the basis of our actions
idea of works … a focus on the DO’s
my relationship with God is dependent on what I DO
20Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21“Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”?
The rules of religion
The Pharisees … they defined what “religion” was supposed to look like
They felt their duty was to hold everyone accountable to DO it right
Super religious of their day
Believed the way to please God was meticulously following long list of rules and regulations
613 laws of Moses
365 negatives (one for every day of the year … how encouraging)
equated “spirituality” with how they acted, what they did for God to please him
earning God’s favor
looked down on anyone, everyone who didn’t “live” like they did
The Church Lady
some of you may remember the church lady from SNL
Dana Carvey created the character, an uptight, smug, and pious host of Church Chat.
Interviews were a guise to call out guests on their various sins
Interviews degrade into a tirade against their lack of piety and secular lifestyles, culminating with judgmental admonishments and condemnation
Based on women he knew from church growing up who would keep track of people’s attendance
What is looks like today…
If you knew more of the Bible, you’d know better
You didn’t obey … you deserve what you get
That’s not what we wear to church
Talking more about what we’re against than what we’re for
We can do this to ourselves
I can believe that God loves me, but I’m probably not DOing enough for him
I’m not enough based on my actions or non-actions
God isn’t pleased with me
We compare ourselves to other Christians and what they’re DOing
We make them the standard
I’m not DOing enough
The problem is when keeping rules and regulations are held as the mark of true spirituality and relationship
Paul has past of religion, observing and enforcing DO’s and DON’Ts
He was a pharisee, a super-religious type
Then he met Christ and his life was radically changed
His critique … this was about external appearance rather than the inward spirit
It missed the point … and he doesn’t want us to miss the point…
17These are a shadow of the things that were to come, the reality, however, is found in Christ.
“These are a shadow of the things to come, but the body of Christ.”
If I were walking toward you with the sun to my back, you would see my shadow coming
You would be able to ascertain certain things about me
if I was tall or short, maybe my weight, long hair or short hair
there would be many things that you could get a glimpse of by my shadow
Once I appeared, wouldn’t need my shadow … I’d be standing in front of you
Same is true for Christ
The Law, rules and regulations, gave an outline of Christ
Served as a shadow of WHO was to come
Once Jesus came, there’s no need to focus on the shadow
It makes no sense to pay more attention to the shadow than the person
The writer of Hebrews said the same…
Hebrews 10:1 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves…
That shadow led to a hill where Jesus was nailed to a cross for me, for you
His death … our redemption
His life … our new beginning
His work … our freedom
When you make a decision to believe, you are IN CHRIST and that relationship is defined by the word DONE
God loved us before we knew Him, found us before we looked for Him, saved us before we believed in Him
When we believe, our transformation is a finished and done reality
The penalty and price of our sin has been paid
The separation between God and humanity was removed
When we got Jesus, we got it all!
There is no need to earn his love
Some of us have been focusing on or fighting shadows far too long…
it’s time to live in the reality of what Christ has DONE
If what you’re DOing for God is to earn His acceptance or love … know this, HE ALREADY DOES!
22These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value…
Please understand, Paul is not saying that external actions aren’t important…
But they’re not the transformational activity of our lives
External efforts do not transform us internally; but internal transformation affects us externally
Corinthians 5:12, 17
07 12We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart…17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!
This new reality, what God has DONE for us and in us
it affects our behaviors
changes our values
guides our actions towards those around us as a reflection of Christ IN us
Because the reality is found in Christ.
So (Therefore as Paul would say) … What does it mean to live in the reality of what Christ has DONE?
Does it mean that we don’t have to DO anything?
Jesus was asked what’s the most important commandment
What’s the one thing I better be sure I DO, and he summed it up this way…
Mark 12:29-31 29
08 “The most important one,” answered Jesus… 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
I love that He gave two when asked for one… but He’s Jesus so …
The most important DO to DO …
In other words, to love God is to love others … they go together
… maybe a bit challenging
We use “love” to capture many ideas:
I love my wife
I love soccer
I love Jesus
I love mocha almond fudge ice cream
Love can’t mean the same thing, or it makes them all equal
To love with a God-shaped calling can’t mean the same thing as “have an affinity for,” “I prefer,” or “I’m attracted to,” and still capture Christ’s command to love.
Love, as Christ calls us to love, is not a feeling or a preference or an attraction
To love is a willful act
It’s a love known by the actions it prompts.
It’s a love that is the conscious decision to be all for another.
The word is agapaō: to love unconditionally and sacrificially
it’s caring love, a deliberate attitude that concerns itself with the well-being of another
it’s the purest form of love because it’s not me motivated, it’s not selfish or self-centered
If this is the DO within Christ’s DONE…
How do we love like this?
A simple way to live this out is to ask ourselves, What does love require of me?
challenging … not everyone is lovable!
until we view everyone with the lens of God’s created ones
imago dei … created in the image of God
To love God is to love others created in the image of God
To love God is to love others that Christ died for
it’s an everyday challenge … what does love require of me?
What does love require of me when there’s conflict?
What does love require of me in response to the person whose blasted me on social media?
What does love require of me to the person who has wronged me?
What does love require of me towards the person who is completely “other” than me?
What does love require of me in seeking or extending forgiveness?
What does love require of me to the co-worker who just …. bugs me?
What does love require of me in the midst of a pandemic where I just wish people would _______?
What does love require of me in my marriage?
What does love require of me in my family?
What does love require of me in my community?
What does love require of me?
Love guides our response rather than allowing our emotions to drive our reactions
In another conversation, Jesus said it this way…
09 34 “…Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
What if the description of a Christian was overwhelmingly “they love”?
Jesus said how we love makes us known as a Christ-follower
Imagine what could happen, what would happen in our families, in our communities if we asked, “what does love require of me”, embraced the answer, and then acted accordingly?
what would change in your relationships?
what would change in your home?
what would change in our community?
what would change in our nation?
what would change in me and in you?
So, here’s my hope for us, my encouragement to us, my prayer for us…
Live in the reality of what Christ has DONE, not the nature of I must DO
walk in Christ-centered freedom from the expectations of others
And DO what love requires of you
love unconditionally just as God loves you
We live in a culture that expects performance, drives performance, and rewards performance. But is that how God operates with us? Is a relationship with God all about following the rules and doing all the right things? As we return to The New You, we’ll look at the difference between the expectations of religion in light of what Christ has done. With change comes the opportunity to become better versions of ourselves, and lean into Christ-centered living. Join us Sunday as we learn to live in the reality of Done.
2 Corinthians 5:12, 17
John 13:34-35 34
Blue Oaks Church