Youth Night 4-26

April 27, 2009

Your Box isn’t Big Enough
A Study of Luke 9:18-20

Text: Luke 9:18-20

Intro: In our world we have limited God. In our society we have tried to put God in a box. We cannot comprehend God’s character and so we as a society and a church try to fit him into things we understand. We tend to think that God has a list of deeds we should not do and that these deeds are things like murder, adultery, and lying, but we refuse to see that things like envy, gossip, and simply refusing to do the right thing are also sins. We forget that Jesus offered forgiveness to all men and if hadn’t have needed it he wouldn’t have offered it. We tend to think that God is all about the emotional experiential transformation, but refuse to see him work in the still small voice. We tend to think that Jesus simply spoke some of the word of God that he like the many Old Testament prophets were just mouthpieces of God and not God himself. The real Christ is the one who came demanding repentance not only of the sinner, but also of the religious. He is the one that transforms the world not in one emotional wave, but in the quiet transformation of life after life leading to a whole new way of living. He is the one who was God made flesh that lived a perfect life to bring us to ultimate reconciliation with God. That’s my Jesus.

First Box: John the Baptist or the Moralist
John the Baptist was the last prophet to proclaim the coming of Jesus. He was the voice in the wilderness as Isaiah said. He called for the people to repent. He called for ALL people to repent. He was ignored. The hyper religious did what they always did and ignored the call to repentance because they believed that they were ok. They took his words for good bumper sticker fodder, but not for their life. They made Jesus into John the Baptist. They took Jesus’ words to be good things to think about, but they were not for them. We in America and in the modern church have made this a box in our lives. We try to take Jesus and make him into a person calling for a repentance that doesn’t apply to us. Jesus breaks out of this box because his repentance is total and complete. He offered grace to all men, because all men have fallen short of the glory of God. He called the sinner’s to repent and dealt with their sin in gentleness as they repented, but he dealt with the religious harshly calling them sons of the devil and white washed tombs where everything on the outside looks nice but inside is death and decay. Jesus shatters the box that he is only a good moralist.

Second Box: Elijah or Emotional Experience
The prophet Elijah was a very common object of discussion in the Jewish world at the time of Jesus. Everyone knew Elijah and all for the same reason, the battle on the mountaintop with the prophets of Baal. An emotional confrontation with the result of glorifying God is how they remembered him and they applied that to their understanding of the Christ. They thought that he would come to earth with a sword in one hand looking for whom he will destroy. With this thought in their minds they thought that there is no way this Jesus could be their messiah. He was confrontational much the same as Elijah, but not enough to be their Messiah. They thought that a violent emotional transformation would be how their Messiah offered in a new age of relationship with God. Jesus shatters this box because he truly changes the world. They forgot the rest of the Elijah story how after the mountaintop battle he ran and was depressed and was strengthened by the still small voice of God. Jesus transforms the world one life at a time. As that person becomes more like Christ and is filled up by him that person seeks out others and gets them to accept Christ and then they get others to accept Christ and it mounts up in no time as there has been a complete culture shift in that group of friends as it spreads down the grapevines.

Box 3: Prophet of Old alive again or Mouthpiece of God
For centuries God had sent prophets to declare his word to his people. They knew what to do with prophets. They knew that a prophet was just a man like them, but spoken through by God. Then Jesus came on the scene and some of the people believed that he was simply the next mouthpiece of God or an old mouthpiece raised from the dead. They took Jesus and acknowledged that he had heard from God, but that he was not God. He was simply a good man that God had shown favoritism towards. Jesus shatters this box because he is the Son of God sent to die for the sin of the entire world. HE IS THE WAY THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE!! It is only through Jesus that there is any forgiveness of sin at all. He came as fully God and fully man and lived a perfect life and died carrying the weight of the judgment, condemnation, guilt, shame, and sin that should be all rights belong to us. He gave everything that he had to save us from ourselves.

Closing: How would you answer the question, “Who do you say that Jesus is”? What box are you using? Where does Jesus fit in your life? Is he the fortune cookie moralist? Is he the emotional whim that never actually changes anything in you? Is he the word of God that you could never find time to acknowledge? He wants to break out of the box. He wants to show you how big of a God he is. He wants to take your perception of the world and give you his perspective. Jesus is still at the cross waiting for us to bring him our sin. Will you let him? He will completely change your world and create in you a new heart and a new mind. Will you let him? He will take your sin and leave no condemnation or judgment? Will you let him? He will love you and be closer to you than anyone can possibly be. Will you let him come and show you that your box isn’t big enough?

Any questions just leave a comment