Pastor Dwane Parsons continues the sermon series on “The Way of Jesus” – Part 5 – Living in the Red. Worship with Carrie and her team. CCLI License number 1001973.
Way of Jesus Part 5: Living in The Red
*Way Of Jesus Recap
#1. I have begun following Jesus, and am depending on the Spirit of Jesus in my journey.
We are Christ followers on a journey. We rely on the constant infilling of the Holy Spirit for supernatural power to be overcomers and servants of Christ.
#2. I have been sent by Jesus to bless others and to invite them to follow Him.
We find our significance in obeying the Great Commandment – to love God and others. We define our success in fulfilling the Great Commission – to Go and make disciple-makers.
#3. I am learning to be like Jesus in my Attitudes, Behaviours, Character.
Developing Jesus’ attitude, behavior and character is a life-long journey between learning God’s word, listening to his Spirit, and trusting in His provision and work for our holiness.
#4. I am learning to love God and to love others.
We love God by obeying him and seeking his presence. We love others by choosing to seek their best interests as we would our own.
*#5 I am Learning the Teachings of Jesus.
If we follow Jesus and desire to walk as he walked, we must learn his teachings.
Many people start out trusting Jesus but before long other religious people start influencing them with religious rule keeping.
Why do we spend so much energy on the negative side of morality?
Don’t wear this, don’t drink that, don’t speak to this person, don’t shop there, don’t watch that movie or read this book.
We start out our journey with Jesus walking in His grace and trusting Him for our daily bread, but slowly slip into sin management.
The abundant life we have in Christ is way more that rule keeping and sin management.
In fact, Jesus’ teaching hardly touches on petty rules and regulations.
Jesus teachings to the world, and to us, expose the promise of kingdom life and the heart of God for His people.
There are two key principles to remember when it comes to learning to follow Jesus’ teachings…
Trust and Obey
We trust Jesus at his word, we obey when he directs us.
Most of our struggles in our walk with God can be narrowed down neglect in these two areas.
A hard reality is that much sin in our lives stems from unbelief.
We get into trouble when we think God’s word and His way are not enough for us, or even more dangerous – we judge God to not be trustworthy.
We get into trouble when we ignore God’s commands and fail to obey his word and his will for our lives.
Whether you have been a disciple for 40 days or 40 years, you still need to trust and obey.
You still need to study, learn, re-learn and recalibrate your life to Jesus’ teachings.
*FROM Another Time, FOR Today.
When we study Jesus’ teachings we need to remember:
1) Jesus was an ancient Jew speaking to ancient Jews. They spoke another language, lived in another culture, and existed almost in a completely different world.
Things that were obvious and easily understood to Jesus’ listeners make no sense or are even misinterpreted if we are not careful.
2) Jesus was a rabbi – a teacher. Not everything he said was literal – Jesus used stories, humor, metaphors, and exaggeration to make a point.
3) Just because it’s a hard saying does not mean it doesn’t apply to us today or hold important truth for a Christ follower. Some cultural stuff hides a deeper spiritual principal.
4) Its worth your time to dig deeper and find the deep truths that Jesus is teaching. Some of them are easily discovered, some require a little more digging.
*Red Letter Teachings
In many Bibles, the spoken words of Jesus will be written in red.
Jesus teachings are found all throughout the Gospels, just look for the red print.
In Matthew 5-7, in particular, the red letters contain Jesus’ teachings on everything from human relationships to prayer and faith.
When you dig into Jesus’ teachings you will notice a few things.
-Some of it is light and easy to understand and do.
Mt 6:26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Mt 6:27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
Mt 6:28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
Mt 6:29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
Mt 6:30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Mt 6:31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
Mt 6:32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
Mt 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Mt 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
-Some of it is heavy and hard to do.
Mt 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
Mt 5:44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
Mt 5:45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Mt 5:46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?
Mt 5:47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
Mt 5:48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
And some of it makes no sense at all…
Mt 6:22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.
Mt 6:23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
Jesus was teaching based on a popular saying in their culture.
If a person was generous it was said that they had a “good eye”.
If a person was stingy it was said they had a “bad” eye or “evil” eye.
If I were to use a modern idiom to describe Jesus’ teaching it would be like saying:
If you live your life looking for opportunities to be generous, your whole life will be full of expanding blessing.
If you live your life closed off and selfish, you whole life will shrink and be full of darkness.
Later in the passage Jesus exhorts His people to not hoard material treasures but to store up Heavenly treasure.
He also warns us about not trying to serve two masters – God or money – we must pick one.
He is teaching us the kingdom principle to love God and people more than money and things.
These are directly related to this statement Jesus is making that a disciple sees the world through eyes of faith and hope.
*HOMEWORK: Take some time to read and re-read through those chapters this week.
And ask yourself a couple of questions:
Do I understand the big picture? What kingdom principle Jesus is teaching here?
Does the Christianity I practice look like these “red letters” in my Bible?
What would it look like for me to trust and obey these words, today?
*Red Letter Life
In most Bibles the words and teachings of Jesus are written in red ink.
What will your life look like if you commit to understand, trust and obey the red letters of scripture?
MT 7:24-27 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
If you want your life to stand through the storm, learn to trust and obey the teachings of Jesus.
Jesus’ teachings are the foundation for your life as you follow Him.