Jesus Is About A Relationship Not Religion
Religion is man's attempt to reach up to an awesome God. Christianity is about God reaching down and building a relationship through Jesus. Religion is hopeless.
At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?What is Jesus trying to explain here? It's about having a relationship. Jesus loves you, loves children, the next generation, and people. When you go to Jesus with a humble heart, like a child, that's what it means to have a relationship with him. We need to have a teachable spirit.
2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Matthew 18:1-6 (NLT)
Jesus is trying to get across to the Disciples that he cares for the next generation. We should be drawing kids to the cross, not into sin.
Pastor Matt challenges you to lead your kids to Jesus and the cross. He's also talking about the lost and hurting.
Matt recalls a story with Pastor Billy Hornsby before he passed. He talked about a meeting with the lead pastors. There are two things, he says. Number one: Promise me that you will love each other no matter what. Number two: Never forget the little guy. There are guys out there who need people to pour into them.
Jesus says that people look at the outward appearance, but he looks at their heart.
Jesus Is About People Not Prestige
For John didn’t spend his time eating and drinking, and you say, ‘He’s possessed by a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man,[a] on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’ But wisdom is shown to be right by its results.” Matthew 11:18-19 (NLT)
When we think about who Jesus was, we must remember that he was out there with the dirty. Stop being about titles or how people look at us. We have to get over our need for affirmation and turn to Jesus.
Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. 2 A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore. 3 He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:
“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. 4 As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. 5 Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow.6 But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants.
To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. Matthew 23:1-7 & 12 (NLT)
Jesus Cares About Life Change Not A List Of Rules
Jesus is not against rules, but man made rules go too far. Jesus cares about the heart. Christianity works from the inside out, religion works from the outside in.
Pastor Fry lists a number of crazy laws from around the country.
The Pharisees and Sadducees were about creating laws, where Jesus cared about the individual.
Jesus' strongest words were to the religious leaders.
“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! 26 You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish,[a] and then the outside will become clean, too.
27 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. 28 Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness. Matthew 23:25-28 (NLT)
Matt talks about his youth. He mentioned that as a kid his hair had to be short. Girls couldn't wear pants and guys couldn't wear shorts. There was no mixed bathing (guys/girls swimming together).
As a kid, he was more accepted when he looked good on the outside. Legalism leads to spiritual arrogance and pride. This is why Jesus dealt severely with the religious leaders.
A relationship with Jesus is about the inside. It's not about making man happy, but making Jesus proud.
Jesus Is About You Fulfilling His Plan
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20Jesus made it real clear. Guys, I came, lived, died, and rose again. Now, it's your turn to fulfill my mission. I'm going to send you a comforter who will give you power.
Matt asks us to repeat, "It's our turn!"
When we show up and accept the task, our lives will change. We just need to allow Jesus to work in us and through us.
Jesus could have stayed until the mission was fulfilled, but the plan all along was to use us.
Pastor Fry talks about a recent trip to Nashville, where he grew up. He recounted the visit and shared his stop to the high school he attended. Matt talked about his old wrestling coach and the encounter he had after 10+ years (ok, a few more than 10 - crowd laughs).
As Matt and his coach parted ways, he turned and said, "Hey, Coach! Thanks for your sacrifice." His coach replied, "I'm the one who is blessed to wake up and do this everyday."
Pastor Matt explains that we can use our talents and gifts to make a difference in this world. Join Jesus in fulfilling the mission.
Jesus said that he will never leave you or forsake you.
Do You Need A Fresh Start?
If you need hope or help. God wants you to know that he loves you. Jesus died and rose from the grave. If you would like to know Jesus as your savior then pray this prayer.
Dear God, I realize I've sinned and I need you. Thank you for dying on the cross and rising from the grave. Come in to my heart and save me. Thank you for giving me eternal and abundant life. Help me to live for you, for the rest of my life. In Jesus' name. Amen.
To share your story, want more information about next steps, or just in need of prayer, please contact Pastor Matt Fry.