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Let’s Change 2024! - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
June 20, 2024 6:00 am

Let’s Change 2024! - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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June 20, 2024 6:00 am

Skip’s son, Nate Heitzig, shares a message about the kind of disciples we need in the church today.

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Your identity as a Christian is not based on you identifying as a Christian. That doesn't make you a Christian. When someone asks you, are you a Christian? You say, yes, that doesn't make you a Christian.

We are identified as Christians based on how we are different and the difference we are making. Many say change society and you'll get better men and women. Jesus says change men and women and you'll get a better society. Today on Connect with Skip Heitig, Nate Heitig shares a message about the kind of disciples we need in the church today. But first, here's an opportunity for you to take a deep dive into what God's Word says about the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit bestows many different spiritual gifts on believers like prophecy, healing, miracle working, and more.

And each gift shares a common purpose, to edify others. Here's Pastor Skip Heitig explaining the best way to use our spiritual gifts. I think man's greatest capacity is to be a channel from which the Holy Spirit flows into us but then out from us, as Jesus said, like torrents of living waters. Dive into this month's Connect with Skip Heitig resource to discover who the Holy Spirit is and deepen your understanding of how and why he gives spiritual gifts to believers. He comes on us to give us his empowering. He has something he wants us to do, a task he wants us to perform. The Complete Expound Holy Spirit Teaching Series is our thanks for your gift of $50 or more to help this ministry continue reaching a lost world.

Plus, we'll include a copy of Bring the Rain, Skip's book on expositional teaching, call 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer. All right, now let's hear what Nate has for us today. We're in Matthew 5 as we begin. Our world fluctuates between the impractical and the practical. We're constantly fluctuating between what matters and what doesn't matter.

We live in a society filled with blurred lines. We fluctuate between iPhones and ISIS, between Republican candidates and refugees, entertainment and economic crisis. My question for you is what are you most interested in? What's important to you?

Because we should be focusing on God's gift, not T-Swift. So I've titled my message this weekend, Let's Change 2024. Who wants to change 2024? You know, I think a lot of us approach a new year and we're like, no, I want to change in 2024, but I think as believers, we're called to do more than just change ourselves. I don't just want to change in 2024. I want to change 2024. A lot of us go into a new year and we get to the end of the year and we feel like the year has changed us. Oh, 2023 was a tough year.

I'm a different person. I don't want to be changed by 2024. I want to change 2024.

Is anyone else with me on this? I want to change this year. I want to make this year better. I want to get to the end of this year and feel like I had an influence on it rather than it on me. But change doesn't come the way that we think it does. We think that change is something that can be achieved through outward change. Again, this world right now, this month is focused on resolutions, focused on outward change. A survey from Forbes found the top five new year's resolutions of 2024 and here they are.

Maybe you'll find yours on there. Number one, 48% of Americans want to improve their fitness. That's always number one every year.

That's on the top of the list. Number two, they want to improve their finances. Number three, they want to focus on improving their mental health. Number four, they want to lose weight. And number five, they want to improve their diet. Let me ask you, what's the trend here with all of those?

What's in common between all of those scenarios? Self, it's about ourself, right? People want to help themselves. People want to focus on self. It's self-focused, it's self improvement.

The change that they want is personal. And yet I believe that the gospel and Jesus Christ call us to more than simply losing a few pounds and saving money better. I think the call of the gospel is more than just, hey, help yourself and be a better person. As a matter of fact, if you really want to help yourself, you're going to stop trying to fix your flesh and you're going to start submitting to the spirit.

Too many people spend their lives trying to fix the flesh. Well, I want to look better. I want to feel better. I want to think better.

I want to save better. I want to focus on fixing myself when the solution is to simply submit to the spirit. See as Christians, if we simply operate in a spiritually submissive mindset, if we simply focus on following Jesus truly and being resilient disciples, the rest will take care of itself. Too many of us want to address the symptoms, the things that the world sees instead of addressing the real issue. Too many people want to talk about being disciples instead of just being disciples. If we are just resilient disciples, all the rest of the stuff will fall into place. You know what? Even your physical health, even the diet and the gym.

Why? Because if you truly operate in a spirit mentality, you recognize that your body is a temple and you want to take care of it to be of best use to you for as long as you're a mouthpiece for the gospel. And so you mind what you put in it and how you treat it. All the things that we want to fix about ourselves, fixing the flesh can be solved by submitting to the spirit. See, God doesn't just want you to become a better version of yourself. He wants you to impact your culture.

And he told us how. God has called us to be resilient disciples who are salt and light, changing not only ourselves, but changing the world around us. And today we're gonna look at a couple truths we've learned in our Kingdom City series, and we're gonna see what it really means to be a resilient disciple. And I'm gonna close with a challenge for you and tell you how you can change 2024.

So let's change 2024. We're gonna see three things. Number one, you gotta salt the roads. Number two, cue the fireworks.

And number three, bang some pots. Let's look at our text, Matthew 5, starting in verse 13. You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing, but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

Stop there. The first thing we see that we need to do if we want to change 2024 is we need to salt the roads. Verse 13, Jesus says, you are the salt of the earth. Now the original language would imply you and you alone are the salt of the earth. You alone, Christian, are the salt of the earth. No one else can do the job that God has Christians on this earth for. Nothing else can replace the role of Christians being salt and light in this earth. Nothing else can wake up the world to its spiritual condition and give them light on a way out of that lifestyle except for Christians. So it means that if Christians aren't doing what Christians are supposed to do, no one else is going to do this job. So immediately we see that we have a strategic and important part to play in God's plan of reaching the world.

See, Jesus gave us a blueprint for making a real difference in this world, how to bring about real change. The Christian is like salt and light. We salt the roads and we cue the fireworks. Both of these things speak of affecting that which they come into contact with. Reduced to one word, they speak of influence. They influence the surrounding environment. Salt influences what it touches.

It affects what it's around. If you put salt on food, it flavors the food. If you salt meat, it can protect and preserve that meat. If you put salt in a wound, it can clean that wound.

If you put salt on ice, it can melt the ice. Light affects and influences its surroundings. If you walk into a dark room and turn the light on, it affects the surroundings. It changes the surroundings. Christians are supposed to influence and affect our environment. When we step into places, when we step into jobs, when we step into families, when we step into schools, our surrounding environment should change simply by our very presence. And if our surrounding environments aren't changing, it means that we're not Christianing very well. It means that we're not operating as salt and light within those environments. Christians are and should be different than those who do not know the Lord.

Jesus is telling us that we, as Christians, play a vital and valuable role in the world. You know, salt does a couple things. Salt stings and salt preserves. First of all, it stings. Our presence as Christians should sting people's conscience. It should hurt a little bit. It should make them a little bit uncomfortable.

It should wake them up to their condition, make them realize the state that they're in. Who in here has ever had a canker sore before? Oh, come on, y'all are a bunch of liars. You've had canker sores. You're not starting 2024 off too good.

Stop lying. You've had a canker sore. They're the worst, aren't they? They hurt so bad and they start out, you kind of wonder, you're like, I think I'm going to get a canker sore this week. You can feel it, right?

You know it's going to happen. And then sure enough, it starts developing. And then that little hole starts building and it kind of burrows in. And when you have a canker sore, you know one of the best ways to fix the canker sore? Put salt in there. Who's ever put salt in their canker sore? Okay. If you haven't done this and you get a canker sore, try it. I'm going to warn you, sucks.

Okay. You put it in the wound and it stings so bad. You pack it in there into your lip, almost like chewing tobacco or something.

It's weird. And then you kind of bunch your lip up and press it in there. And the salt digs into the wound and it stings. You know why it stings? Because what creates a canker sore is bacteria and infection.

It burrows that hole. The salt goes into the wound and kills the infection, kills the bacteria and preserves your flesh. The salt stings because the salt's doing its job. Christians in this world are to be salt. And our job is to sting people's conscience because the world has open wounds of sin that are festering and decaying. And Christians are the salt that should go into the sinful wounds of the world and wake them up to their condition and cleanse the bacteria and cleanse the infection so that the wound of sin can heal and people can be whole once again. That's the role of a Christian.

Now, how does this practically work? Does this mean that as Christians, as the church, as salt and light, that we should concentrate our efforts on bringing about social change? Is that how we build the kingdom city? Should our focus be on protests, boycotts, and elections?

How should the salt sting people? Should we be standing at abortion clinics with signs that says murderer to girls who walk in? Should we be going to gay pride parades and pulling the Westboro Baptist card with signs that says God hates fags? Is that the way that the gospel sting is supposed to interact with reality?

I don't think so. As a matter of fact, I think in the New Testament, you're gonna find the exact opposite. I think the best way to be salt is to simply be the most effective influence where we are in any given situation that we're in. In your home, in your workplace, in your classroom, with your family, with your friends, in your unique spheres of influence where God has already placed you.

The goal is to be a disciple and follower of Jesus Christ. And guess what? When you are a true follower, a true resilient disciple of Jesus Christ, when you are salt and light, you're gonna get into those situations and the job of being salt will happen naturally. Why? Because you're gonna be different. Because you're different.

The core nature of salt is that it makes a difference. You talk different. You do different things.

You achieve success differently than your co-workers. You treat people differently. You care about different things. You have different priorities. You're not doing the things that they're doing.

When they invite you after work to go out with them and go to the bar and get drunk, you're not going. You're inviting them to church. You, simply by being a Christian, will sting people's conscience naturally if you're being a Christian.

If you're operating and being bold and not hiding your light and simply being a Christian you, simply by being a Christian, will do the job of salt naturally. It will wake people up to their condition. They're gonna notice, man, that person, they're different. They don't talk the way that we do. They don't treat people the way that we do. They don't do the things that we do. They don't go to the places that we do and they seem happy.

Why are they so different? So let me ask you, how are you being used where you are now? You're like, well, I want to go into the streets. I want to be salt and light and I want to make an impact.

Good. But how are you being used now where you're at? Are you salt?

Are you light? Are you influencing and affecting your kids and your spouse, your business, your coworkers, your clients, your partners, your classroom? How are you affecting your environment now?

Remember what we talked about a couple of weeks ago about the parable of the talents? How are you affecting your environment and your talents? How are you investing the talents God has given you now?

Because if you don't invest them now, God's not gonna give you more. Focus on where you're at now and how you can be an influence and affect your surroundings now. Christians, simply by being Christian, influence society almost automatically. And I believe that society would change if everyone themselves a Christian truly lived their lives under the definition of that word. I think if we look at society and society is not changing, the issue isn't with the gospel, the issue is with the Christians who aren't being Christian.

We're not making a difference the way that we're supposed to. See, you don't get to define what the word Christian is. You're not a Christian because you come to church. You're not a Christian because you own a Bible. I would even say this, and this is gonna step on some people's doctrinal toes. You're not even a Christian because one time you said a prayer to accept Christ.

Justification is simply the down payment for sanctification, where God begins a good work in you. And if you're not daily being sanctified into the image of Christ, then you're not really living life as a Christian. And the Bible says there will be many who will come to me in that day and say, Lord, Lord, did I not do many wonderful works and prophesy in your name? And he'll say, depart from me, I never knew you. So when I ask you a Christian and I say, hey, are you a Christian?

You say, yes. I want to say, what is your definition of a Christian? I go to church, not a Christian. I have a Bible, not a Christian.

I said a prayer once, still not a Christian can be a good sign of a Christian. But tell me how you're doing now. What is your walk in your life look like now? Are you salt and light?

Are you affecting your surroundings? Are you being sanctified into the image of God? I want to point out, this is a call to all Christians. And yet only a fraction of those who call themselves Christian are truly living this way. This passage describes what I would actually call a resilient disciple. I want to pull up a slide, a study that Barna Group did, identifying people who had a Christian back story or a Christian experience. This is people who lived in a Christian home, maybe at one point were a Christian, had a Christian family, and it identified those who have Christian experience, where they fell within this spectrum.

And this is what's fascinating. If you look at this, only 9% of people identify as resilient disciples. 24% identify as habitual church goers. That is they go to church at least once a month. That's all you need to do to be a habitual church goer.

So the bar is pretty low. 41% are nomads or lapsed Christians. These are people who, you're in the Uber, you're having a conversation with them, they hear that you're a Christian, they say, oh, I'm a Christian too, really? What church do you go to? I haven't gone to church in about a year.

Oh, why? I just, there's some stuff in my life I got to fix before I do, or whatever excuse they use. That's this nomads, the lapsed Christians. Then 10% are prodigals or ex-Christians. These are people who at one point might've been a Christian or holistically more likely grew up in a Christian home, but have since deconstructed and left the church and are now prodigals. Now this 9% group, this resilient disciples, Barna group defines this group as, and I want to point out before I say it, this is really what the Bible would define as a Christian, but we have to use resilient disciples because so many people call themselves Christians, but don't live this way. Barna group defines a resilient disciple as Christians who attend church at least monthly and engage with their church more than just attending worship services, trust firmly in the authority of the Bible, are committed to Jesus personally and affirm that he was crucified and raised from the dead to conquer sin and death.

And four, they express a desire to transform the broader society as an outcome of their faith. Most simply, a true resilient disciple, a Christian is salt and light. You want to know what it means to be a Christian?

It means that you were salt and light. It is a resilient disciple. This is the definition of Christian. So Christians simply by being Christian, true Christians, resilient disciples influence society automatically. So if society isn't being influenced, it means enough Christians aren't being Christians. I think in our world we have a lot of habitual churchgoers. I think we have a lot of lapsed Christians. I think we have a lot of prodigals.

I think that number is rising. People are deconstructing their faith and I'm going to get later on into why I think that's happening, but we have very few resilient disciples who are salt and light influencing the world around them. Look, I'll be honest with you, we don't need more Christian homes.

How could you say that? Because every person on that list came from a Christian home. They all had Christian experience.

They all had a Christian backstory. We don't need more Christian homes. We need more resilient disciples making resilient disciples in their homes. We need more disciples making disciples, disciples training disciples. We don't need more people in this church. We need more people to be the church.

We don't need lip service. We need life service. We need more people who are committed to being and training resilient disciples. Look, bringing your family to church doesn't create resilient disciples. Church should simply reinforce the lessons that you're teaching at home. Church shouldn't be your weekly dose of Bible. God should be teaching you lessons in your life at home personally as a resilient disciple as you study God's word. Church should just reinforce the lessons you're already learning through God's word.

And the same is with your kids. Your kids shouldn't come every week to Calvary Youth or Calvary Kids and get some brand new revelation from God. You should be teaching them those revelations. And the church should be reinforcing the lessons that they're learning. That's how you create resilient disciples.

This is what happens if we don't do a verse 13. It says, but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. Jesus tells us if the salt has lost its flavor, what good is it?

Why? Because the very characteristic of salt is that it makes a difference. And so if salt stops making a difference, is it really salt? No, it's trash. You throw it out.

It's not useful anymore. Christians are supposed to make a difference, which means that if Christians stop making a difference, are we really Christians anymore? What good are we except to be thrown out? I don't know about you, but I don't want my 2024 to start off with my only usefulness being to get thrown into the trash. No, I want to believe I have purpose. I have plan. I have things set before me that God wants to do within my life.

I don't want to lose my flavor. We should be different. Your identity as a Christian is not based on you identifying as a Christian. That doesn't make you a Christian. When someone asks you, are you a Christian? And you say, yes, that doesn't make you a Christian.

We are identified as Christians based on how we are different and the difference we are making. Many say change society and you'll get better men and women. Jesus says change men and women and you'll get a better society. And in every revival in old times and current times, the moral climate of a community was changed.

JW Tozer said, revival is that which affects the moral climate of a community. Number two, we need to cue the fireworks. Salt the roads, number two, cue the fireworks. Look at verse 14 says, you are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.

Go down to verse 16, let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven. You know, fireworks have a couple of characteristics. Number one, fireworks are powerful. Fireworks are of course powered by gunpowder. And if you get a big enough firework that goes off, it can feel and sound like a bomb is going off. If you've ever been close to fireworks on 4th of July or New Year's Eve, it can be so loud, it can sound like war is happening. As a matter of fact, I think if those kinds of fireworks went off on any other night, apart from nights we expected them to go off on, we'd all be calling the cops.

Or maybe you're one of those people who calls the cops on 4th of July, shame on you, let those kids have fun. They're big, they're powerful, but they're also beautiful. That's another characteristic.

They go into the sky and they create beautiful lights that light up the darkness and inspire people. You know, there's something else with those same characteristics. Know what it is? The gospel. It's powerful. It's fueled by the Holy Spirit. And if you get close enough to it, it can break down the walls of your heart and change your life.

And it's beautiful. It shines light of hope through the darkness of humanity and inspires us to change. We love to partner with friends like you to help share God's Word with more people around the world through Connect with Skip Heitzig.

Thank you for changing lives. Join us tomorrow as Nate Heitzig wraps up the Kingdom City series and helps you see how you can be a part of building a Kingdom City where you are. Kingdom City starts in our hearts. You, determining to be a resilient disciple. It then grows in our homes as you then train up other resilient disciples. It then builds in our churches. We bring our gifts and our talents and we learn how to use them to spread the gospel. And then it spreads in our streets. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-20 11:38:03 / 2024-06-20 11:48:04 / 10

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