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Playing to the Crowd - Life of Christ Part 8

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
January 24, 2023 7:00 am

Playing to the Crowd - Life of Christ Part 8

So What? / Lon Solomon

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You know, last Sunday NBC said that they had more people watching the Super Bowl, and I think this is right, than any year ever watched the Super Bowl last year. And there was one place in particular where a whole town got together to watch the Super Bowl. You say, really?

Yeah. It was in a town called Henrietta, Oklahoma. Now that's Henrietta, H-E-N-R with a Y. Henrietta, Oklahoma. And I was particularly interested in Henrietta, Oklahoma and what they did there. There's something very famous that came out of Henrietta, Oklahoma.

Actually, it's not a thing, it's a person. Because you see, in 1984, Henrietta High School graduated a fellow named Troy Aikman. Does that ring a bell? See, Troy Aikman was the most valuable player of the Super Bowl. Four touchdowns, no interceptions, 22 of 30 passes for 273 yards, and on top of that, he ran for 28 yards. And everybody in Henrietta, Oklahoma got together down at the Civic Center to watch their hometown boy on big screen TV. And, you know, he's going back there next month, they're going to have a parade for him and they're going to have a big shindig, the whole town's going to turn out and everything like that. People have been interviewed on TV, you know, what was he like in fourth grade? Well, he was a very kind, sweet kid.

You know how that goes. It's like hometown boy makes good. I don't know what town you came from or if there was a hometown boy who made good in your town. But my sense is whenever there's a hometown boy that goes on or a hometown girl that goes on to make good, towns are very proud of those people. Now, you would think that's the way it would have been with Jesus Christ, wouldn't you?

I mean, you would think of all people that his hometown would have been proud when he began his ministry and began all of the phenomenal things that he did that in Nazareth, man, they just have been busting their buttons claiming him, wouldn't you? But that's not exactly what happened. And I want us to look at ancient Henrietta, Oklahoma, and see how much differently things took place back then, because there's some lessons for us in all of this. We want to study that. And then, of course, we want to ask the most important question, which is, so what?

Right. That's the chapter four of Luke's gospel beginning in verse 14. And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit and news about him spread through the whole countryside.

He taught in their synagogues and everyone praised him. The Bible tells us now that Jesus has been baptized by John the Baptist. The Spirit of God, like a dove, is descended and lighted upon him. He's been in the wilderness for 40 days, fasting, being tempted by the enemy and has won. And now the Bible says in the power of God's Spirit, he comes into Galilee, that region that lies between Jerusalem on the south and the Sea of Galilee on the north.

He comes into that very densely populated, fertile area of Israel to begin his public ministry. And many of the miracles that we know from the early books in the Gospel of John occurred during this period. That has all been summed up in one little verse in Luke.

The turning of water into wine at Cana of Galilee took place during this period. And many other miracles that Jesus did and healings to attest to his messiahship. And verse 15 says, everyone praised him. Although the Bible doesn't say it, I suspect when he arrived in Nazareth, the whole town turned out. They gave him a big parade down Main Street. He was like the hero of the town. They were tickled pink to claim him. The childhood playmates were anxious to tell their anecdotes. Barbara Walters came to interview his fourth grade teacher and, you know, the whole thing happened.

But things are going to change. Look, verse 16. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day, he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. Who knows what day he actually arrived in Nazareth?

Maybe it was Monday or Wednesday or Friday, but Saturday, he didn't play golf. He went to the synagogue, as was his custom. Now, the way the synagogue worked in those days was there was a ruler of the synagogue who was sort of a professional or a semi professional, depending on the size of the synagogue.

But they would often call upon dignitaries or well respected men of the community to do some of the readings. And that's what's about to happen. Jesus is going to be asked as the hero of the town to do one of the readings for the morning.

And look what happens. It says, And he stood up to read and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it was written. And this is Isaiah 61. The spirit of the Lord is on me because he, God, has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed and proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. Then he rolled the scroll back up and gave it to the leader of the synagogue and sat down. Now, this passage that Jesus read, Isaiah 61, we know by all the Jews of his day was considered to be a messianic passage, meaning that the passage applied to the Messiah. The coming Messiah would be the one who would fulfill these verses in the mind of every Jew. Jesus read these verses and then the Bible says he sat down because the man who would have read the Bible that morning was allowed to comment. But he would sit down to come and he wouldn't stand up like I am.

He would sit. And Jesus sat and this is what he said. It says, Verse 20, he rolled up the scroll, gave it back and sat down and the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. And then he began by saying, today, this scripture, Isaiah 61, the scripture that every single one of you out there knows applies to the Messiah of Israel. Today, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing. Can you imagine what must have been going through their minds to hear someone like Jesus say that? Today, the Messiah is sitting right here looking at you and fulfilling the very scripture that you love. Verse 22, and all spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. So he continued talking. Isn't this Joseph's son, they said?

So far, so good, right? I mean, he was welcomed into town with a parade and here he's claimed to be the Messiah and all people are speaking well of him. But the wind's going to change fast. Watch verse 23. Jesus said to them, surely you will quote this proverb to me. Physician, heal yourself.

Do here in your hometown what we have heard you did in Capernaum. I tell you, Jesus said, no prophet is accepted in his own hometown. Jesus looks down the corridors of time and he sees that these people who are sitting there right now and praising him and have so many good things to say about him will be the very same people who say to him two things.

Number one, physician, heal yourself. You say, what's he talking about? Well, if you turn to Matthew 27, which I don't want you to do, but you can check it out yourself. You'll find that when Jesus was hanging on the cross, the Bible says that the crowds went by him.

And as they went by him, they wagged their tongues at him and they mocked him, the Bible said. And what they said to him is, you who said that you'd build the temple back up in three days after it was destroyed, you who went around healing all these other people, what's wrong with you? Can't you heal yourself?

What's wrong with you? Can't you come down off the cross yourself? You healed all these other people and raised them from the dead and you can't even take yourself off the cross?

Heal yourself, physician. And Jesus could see that some of these very people sitting in front of him would be the people doing this to him. Three years later, when he hung on the cross, they would also be the people, second of all, who would say, why don't you do here in our town what you did up there in Capernaum, huh? Because the Bible said Jesus did not do many mighty works in Nazareth because of their unbelief. In fact, this is the only time the Bible tells us that he ever visited the city.

Because they're going to throw him out in just a few minutes. And the Bible, as far as we know, never tells us that he ever went back to the city again. He moved his headquarters a little more than to the Sea of Galilee, to Capernaum. And that's where he set up headquarters and that's where he did most of his mighty miracles. And in the years to come, he knew that these people would be complaining against him and bad-mouthing him and saying, why don't you come down here and do some of those neat things you're doing up there in Capernaum? But the Bible says he couldn't because of their unbelief.

The point, friend, is Jesus said to them, look, I may be a hero right now here in Nazareth, but it's not going to stay that way. I can see that you are the people who should be my greatest defenders. This is my own hometown. I grew up with you people. You've seen me live a sinless life. You've seen all the miracles I've done. You've heard me teach out of the Bible. And of all the people in Israel, I ought to be able to count on you to stand with me.

But you're going to be some of the first people to turn against me. And Jesus said, you know, that's the way it's always been in Israel. A prophet's never been with honor in his own hometown.

And he gives them two examples. He says, first, think about Elijah. Verse twenty five. I assure you, there were many widows in Israel in Elijah's time when the sky was shut for three and a half years. And there was a severe famine through the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of those widows in the land of Israel, but to a widow, a gentile in Zarephath up in the region of Sidon. Now, to understand what Jesus said, you have to know a little bit about the Old Testament and a little bit about Elijah, the prophet Elijah was a great man of God, so great a man of God that he stopped the rain for three and a half years at God's command. He raised a woman's son from the dead.

He called down fire on Mount Carmel. You remember, and burned up the prophets of Baal. These were things that all of the people of Israel knew and all of them saw. But when this great famine came, God was looking for a widow that he could stay with, a widow who would believe God enough and trust God enough that God could supernaturally provide food, not only through her for Elijah, but for her and her family as well. And yet in all Israel, Jesus said, there wasn't one widow that could be found that would believe Elijah enough and trust God through Elijah's word enough that God could do it.

He had to go find a gentile woman. He had to go up into what's now modern day Lebanon and find a non Jew who would trust him enough that God could work. See, he was a prophet.

He didn't have any honor in his own country. And what about Elisha, the great prophet? Here was a man who split open the waters of the Jordan River, turned poison water sweet, made axe heads float, raised up the Shunanite woman's son, blinded a whole army of Syrians. Look what Jesus said.

Verse twenty seven. And there were many lepers in Israel at the time of Elisha, the prophet, yet none of them was cleansed except Naaman, the Syrian who wasn't even Jewish. You would think after seeing Elisha do all this neat stuff like making axe heads float and raising people from the dead and doing all this other stuff, every leper in the whole country of Israel would have been lined up at his door saying, heal me, heal me.

I know you can do it, but they weren't. In fact, the only leper Jesus said he ever healed wasn't even Jewish. He was a Syrian general named Naaman. Many of you may remember that story. Naaman came down and saw Elisha and Elisha said, Naaman, go bathe in the Jordan River seven times if you want to get healed.

You remember that? And Naaman said, This is stupid. This is idiotic.

This is dumb. I got all kind of rivers in Syria. I didn't have to come down here and have him tell me to go bathe in his river.

I got my own rivers. One of his servants came to Naaman and said, look, if he had told you to stand on your head and try to spit nickels, wouldn't you have tried it? I mean, that's sort of what he said. That's the that's the idea. Naaman said, yeah, you know, he said if he would have told you to go out and slay a dragon, wouldn't you have tried it?

Yeah. Well, if he tells you to go bathe in the river, go bathe in the river. And the Bible says he went down to the river and bathe seven times and came up with the skin clean like a baby. But he wasn't even Jewish. Jesus's point was this. Here was Elijah and Elisha, and they didn't even have any honor in their own country.

Why would I be any different? And, you know, the people of Nazareth got the message loud and clear. John Chapter one, verse 12 says he came to his own and his own received him not. But to those of us who would receive him, he gave us the right to become the children of God. And Jesus said, you know, Elijah found the greatest adherence anywhere, not in Israel, but among the Gentiles. And Elisha found his greatest adherence, not in Israel, but among the Gentiles. And guess what? Here I am in my hometown and I'm not going to find any of you people who are going to believe me. I'm going to have to go to the Gentiles.

And that's where I'll find the people who listen to me best, too. And then they didn't like that. In fact, that's putting it kind of mildly. Look what happened. Verse twenty eight. And all the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. I mean, they were enraged at him and the same people who only a minute ago.

Now, look right back in verse twenty two. It says they were singing his praises. How long could this have been five minutes? He talked to him eight minutes, 10 minutes. And now they're furious at him and so furious that it says, verse twenty nine, they got up, drove him out of the town, took him out to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, and they were planning to throw him off and kill him in a space of 10 minutes. The Bible says he went right through the crowd and went on his way.

As Jesus a number of times would say, it's not my time yet. You say, well, what did he do? Did he disappear? I don't know. Did he float over him?

I don't know. I don't know what happened, but somehow he just walked away. And as far as we know, never came back to Nazareth again. Now, that's the end of the passage, but it really leads us to the most important part of the message, and that is so what?

That's right. I think there's probably a lot of lessons here we could draw. But the one that impressed me the most as I studied this this week was a lesson on human dynamics. And what I see here is how fickle people are.

Do you see that? Isn't it incredible? I mean, people's feelings change like the wind. Jesus was a hero, and then 10 minutes later, he's a bum. Isn't that the way people are? Man, you can be a hero one minute and say something or do something and be a bum the next minute.

People can change so fast. It's unbelievable. Ask Moses. I mean, here he opens the Red Sea for these people, right? Leads them through, brings manna down from heaven, brings water out of a rock. These people think he's the greatest thing since sliced matzah or bread or whatever they ate.

And then all of a sudden, in a second, they're ready to kill him and go back to Egypt. And, you know, that went on and on. He was a hero. He was a bum. He was a hero. He was a bum.

Back and forth it went. You know, you can do favors for people. And there's fickle as can be.

Moses did some pretty big favors for these people. Fickle. Ask President Bush. You know, he had the highest approval rating two years ago of any president in modern history.

Can you believe this? And those same people voted him out of office last year. How do you explain that? Very simple.

People, voters are fickle. Ask Mark Rippon. This man was the hero of Washington, the most valuable player in the Super Bowl.

And then he's being booed every time he walks on the field by 50000 fans at RFK Stadium. And you know how many games lay in between those two events? Two. Ask any preacher. We know we're only as good as our last sermon. We know that. Is that true? Well, that's sweet of you, but it is.

Only one person answered. You notice that? Look, people are fickle.

We all are. I collect sports cards, or at least I used to before they all nose dive. But you can have a sports card that's just going through the roof and then let that player do anything, have a bad game, say something that makes the fans angry, hurt himself.

And that thing turns and now goes right back down. Collectors are fickle. Everybody's fickle. Jesus knew that. And we see it right here in spades. Look, verse 15. Everybody praised him. Verse 22.

Everybody spoke well of him. Verse 28. They tried to kill him.

And the same thing happened a little bit later. You remember the triumphal entry when they put him on the donkey and they lead him into the city and they're throwing the palm branches down and they're all saying, Hosanna, Hosanna, welcome in the name of the Lord. Here comes the Messiah. That same crowd stood outside Pilate's place and said, crucify him, crucify him. Pilate said, but what has he done? We don't care. Shut up.

We don't want to hear what you have to say. Crucify him, Pilate. You know how much space lay in between those two events? Five days.

You say, you mean in five days they went from the triumphal entry to crucify him, crucify him? That's right. So how do you explain that? I keep telling you, people are fickle. Don't you know that?

You know that. Remember that girlfriend that you had who swore she'd love you forever? Remember her? Where is she? She's gone. Why? Because she's fickle. That's why. Yes, sir.

I had a few of them in my time. Remember that husband who said he'd stay with you through better, for worse, for richer, for poorer in sickness and in health? Where is he? Where is he?

Remember the supervisor who swore to you that cheap company politics will never affect you? You can count on me. So where was he when it happened, huh? You know that friend at school you've got and she said, I'm your best friend. I'll always be here for you. And then some tough times hit.

You got a little bit less popular than you used to be. And man, she was gone. Remember that colleague you had at work who said, you wash my back, I'll wash your back. So you wash his back and he put a knife in your back.

Remember him? See, Jesus knew this about people. In fact, the Bible says, John Chapter two, Jesus did not need man's testimony about man because Jesus knew what was in the heart of man.

He understood people. And, you know, that affected the way Jesus lived. It meant he didn't play to the crowds.

That's what I want you to see. Jesus didn't play to the crowds. Jesus worried about pleasing God. He didn't worry about pleasing the crowd because he knew the crowd changed with the wind. His priority was to do what was right in God's sight, to please God. And if that made him popular with people, OK. And if that made him unpopular with people, OK. Either way, he knew you can't base your life on trying to be popular with people.

They're too fickle. And that's exactly how Jesus wants us to live. That's the bottom line here. Listen to what he said.

I'm in Luke Chapter 12. Don't turn. Just listen. I tell you, my friends, Jesus said, do not be afraid of those who kill the body.

And after that, they can't do anything else. Don't worry about people. Jesus said, I'll tell you who to be afraid of, who to fear, who to respect. Fear him who after the killing of the body has the power to cast people into hell. Jesus said, yeah, I'll tell you, that's the one you need to worry about. If you're here and you've never trusted Jesus Christ as your savior, never embraced him as your Lord. I want to share with you that Jesus makes it very clear there is some things on the other side of death. I mean, he's very clear about that here. And so many times when we're trying to convince people, convince you that you need Jesus Christ, we talk to you about what Jesus wants to do in your life right now in this world, how he wants to transform it, how he wants to make it better and different and new. And all of that's true.

But I've met people who've said, well, you know, my life's doing pretty good. So I don't really think I need this. Yeah, but that's only a small part of the whole issue. It's only the tip of the iceberg. The big part of the iceberg is what Jesus offers to do after you're gone from here. Jesus said, hell exists.

I don't believe it. Have you been there? You've been on the other side and come back. I haven't. He has. I'm going to stake in with him because he's seen it and I haven't. He says heaven exists and he says hell exists and he says there is a person who can deliver your soul and my soul from hell on the other side and it's him. So even if you don't think you need him for this life and you do, but even if you don't agree, friend, you definitely need him for the next one.

And if you've never accepted Christ as your Lord and savior, I want to challenge you. You need to do that desperately. Don't wait till the last minute because you may not get a last minute.

You need to do it now. But back to what we were talking about. Jesus also said, Matthew Chapter six, no man can serve. No woman can serve two masters. You cannot serve God and people.

You can't do it. See, wanting to make everybody happy and wanting to be popular is OK. There's nothing wrong with that.

That's nice. But it's dangerous. And the reason it's dangerous is that sometimes as Christians, obeying God will mean you've got to go against the tide.

You've got to. And if we become slaves to the fickleness of human popularity, that will mean that we'll be tempted to disobey God to preserve our popularity. It's dangerous. Now, I'm not suggesting that we should be abrasive or offensive or discourteous to people.

Not at all. This is not what I'm talking about. God didn't call us to be spiritual porcupines. God wants us to be generous and kind and gracious to people. But nonetheless, there will be times when obeying God will mean you cannot stay popular with everybody around you.

No matter how nice you are about it, you just won't be able to. I'd like to close by sharing with you three areas where I believe, as Christians, God wants us and expects us to forget about what people think and worry about what he thinks. Number one, in moral and ethical issues where the Bible is explicitly clear.

In moral and ethical issues where the Bible is explicitly clear. I was down at the prayer breakfast on Thursday and I was sitting with a congressman. I won't tell you which one because I don't have his permission to use his name, but we were sitting together having breakfast. And this congressman's a fine Christian. He's not from Virginia. He's not from Maryland.

So don't go guessing, I don't know which one it is. I guarantee you don't. OK. We were sitting there having breakfast and he said to me, he said, you know, Lon, he said, about two weeks ago, I was ready to quit. I said, what do you mean you're ready to quit? You just got reelected two months ago.

How could you be ready to quit so soon after getting reelected? He said, well, I'll tell you what happened. He said, I came back here, he said, and I knew I was going to have a fight with people across the aisle. And I knew I was going to have a fight with people who were standing for things that I didn't believe God wanted us to stand for. And he said, I got together with friends that I had up on the Hill, other congressmen. And I said, now we're going to have to stand together and we're going to have to work together. And when these committee chairmanships and these committee opportunities come up, if you stand with me, I'll stand with you. We need to be smart. We need to work together.

And we all had this agreement. He said, as soon as we got out of that room and we got into the meetings where all of these little plums were being handed out, he said, I watched some of these guys completely sell out for political popularity and political advantage. He said, I watched them become moral chameleons, people who just changed the moral color of their skin depending on the audience they were with. And he said, I got so discouraged and so upset. He said, it's one thing to fight with the people that you know you're going to have to fight with, but to be deserted by your friends because they don't have enough courage to stand up for the moral absolutes that God says. He said, it's so discouraging to me, I want to quit. And he said, I got to tell you, Lon, he said, this town does this to people, but I'll quit before I let the town do it to me.

You've got to respect a guy like that, but you've also got to feel sorry for him in terms of what happened to him. Folks, you want to be popular? I can tell you how to do it. Be a moral chameleon.

It's easy. Just whatever audience you're with, adopt their moral standard and OK it either explicitly or implicitly and you'll be as popular as can be. Make everything relative and you'll be a hero. The only problem is you won't please God. Because Jesus Christ never changed moral and ethical absolutes to please people.

And he doesn't want you or me to either. The second area I'd like to tell you about is the area of following God's will for your life. Following God's will for your life. You know the four spiritual laws? I kind of got a recasting of the first law. My version of it goes like this. God loves you and other people have a wonderful plan for your life.

Can anybody relate to that? Other people have a great plan for your life and if you listen to them, they'll tell you what the plan is. Every one of you have a great plan for my life and exactly how this church ought to be run and exactly how I ought to spend my time.

And if I had seventy five hundred hours a day, I might be able to do it. And I love you and we're friends. I'm not upset, but you've got your plans for my life and your mother had her plans for your life and you know how that goes. But the important thing is that God has a plan for your life.

That's the important thing. And if you try to be popular and play to the crowd and please everybody, you'll spend your whole life trying to make everybody else happy and you'll never get done what God wants you to do. So don't worry about what other people want for your life. You find out what God wants for your life and do that.

Psalm 32. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go, God says. And if that's true, that means it doesn't matter what other people think your life ought to be. It matters what God wants your life to be.

Abraham Lincoln was criticized and attacked from every direction during the Civil War. And one time he said this, and I quote, he said, I am approached with the most opposite of opinions and advice and that by religious men who are each certain that they represent God's will. Well, I hope that if it will not be too irreverent for me to say that if it is probable that God would reveal his will to others on points so connected with my duty, it might be supposed that he would reveal it also to me. And if I can learn what his will is for me, I will do that and not what others think I should do. That's a tremendous quote. That's why we respect that man the way we do, because he said it's God's will that counts, not what people want. And friends, if Isaac Watts had listened to what people thought, there'd be a lot of hymns we wouldn't be singing today. You know, Isaac Watts lived in the sixteen hundreds and he came to his mom one day and he said, Mom, church music is boring.

And his mom said, Well, if you don't like it, write your own. So we did about 4000 of them, to be exact. Not not all at once, but eventually. Joy to the world. The Lord has come.

Let earth receiver king. You know that great Christmas carol? He wrote that. You wouldn't be able to sing that at Christmas at the mall if it wasn't for Isaac Watts. If he'd listen to the crowd, there wouldn't be a joy to the world or 4000 other hymns. He'd been still singing that boring music.

And so would you and me. If Luther had listened to the crowd, there would have been no reformation. And what about William Carey, the father of modern missions? You know, he went into a meeting of a bunch of Baptist pastors and he said to them, I think that God wants me to go over to the South Seas in India and reach people for Christ. You know what they said to him? These older men said, young man, when God is ready to reach the heathen, he will reach them without your help. Now sit down.

Aren't you glad he didn't listen to those guys? Or there wouldn't be any modern missions movement such as we know it. And you know, God has something for you to do. And if you listen to what people around you tell you they want you to do, you're not going to find it.

Don't worry about what they want your life to be. God didn't make you to serve their popularity. He made you to serve him.

You find out what God wants you to do and you do that. Third and final, not only does God want us to forget about the crowd when it comes to the moral absolutes of scripture and the will of God for our lives, but third and finally, when it comes to the truth that salvation is in Jesus Christ alone. Only. Do you know we could make peace with every other religion in the world? Christianity could. And every person that your Christianity offends, you could make peace with. Easy. All you got to do is go out there and agree. Yes, there are many roads to God and they all take us the same place. You go out there and tell that to your friends who are upset about your being a Christian and you'll be as popular as popcorn.

They'll love you. You go out there and tell that to people who don't like what you're telling them about Jesus Christ being the only way to God. And you can solve your popularity problem real fast.

Easy. But it's not true. And there's a great movement on worldwide to redefine salvation. People still use the word, but they just change what it means.

We can't do that. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life. John 14 six. Nobody.

That's what he said. Nobody comes to the father except through me. I don't care how smart you are, how pretty you are. I don't care how intelligent you are.

I don't care how much money you have. I don't care whether you're Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, or whether your mom's buried in the graveyard behind the church. It don't make no difference if you don't come through Jesus Christ and personal faith in him. Jesus said, you don't get in. Jesus said to Nicodemus, the great rabbi. He said, Nicodemus, unless a person is born again, they shall not see the kingdom of heaven. And I don't care whether you're a rabbi or not.

You need it like everybody else does. When I became a Christian 22 years ago, a little over 22 years ago, I hitchhiked up to tell my grandparents and my aunt and uncle and all my family that I've become a Christian. Man, I'm so excited about this. I thought, this is great. This is great. I'm going to tell them and they're going to be standing in line taking numbers to be led in prayer to receive Christ.

This is going to be great. And I really believe this. And I went in and I started sharing the Lord with them. First I began sharing where I'd come from and all the drugs I'd been using and all the things I'd been involved in.

And they were just kind of sitting there with their jaws hanging down. And then I said, but you won't believe what happened. That was the bad news. Now let me give you the good news, except the way they looked at it is that was the bad news.

Now he's going to give us the worst news. You understand? I said, I asked Jesus Christ into my life. I'm a Christian.

They did not stand in line and take numbers to pray to receive Christ. And my parents, they thought I'd lost my mind completely. They said, you know, the drugs were bad enough, but we'd rather have him on the drugs than doing this.

They actually said that once. We think we'd rather have you on drugs than the way you are now. You know, we had a lot of conflict in my family.

We still do. When my mom died back in September, as some of you know, I was told I was not welcome at my aunt's house at the funeral. And so I didn't go to the funeral. I was told I wasn't welcome. I said, why would someone tell you something like that? You're not that bad looking. Your breath isn't that bad.

Why would anybody do that? Very simple. It has nothing to do with how I look or how my breath smells. It has everything to do with the fact that I still stand that Jesus Christ is the only way to God. And Jewish or not Jewish, you need Jesus Christ. And that's why they didn't want me in their house. I could have solved all of that conflict very easy. All I had to do is back off and say, I was wrong. You're fine. Everything's OK. You're going to heaven like everybody else. You don't really need Jesus. I'm sorry for offending you.

I was incorrect. And I could solve all my family problems with one phone call. But you know what, folks? My mother accepted Jesus Christ two weeks before she died. I prayed for her 21 years. My dad had accepted Christ just the week before he died. I prayed for him seven years. My brother accepted Christ after I prayed for him almost 18 years. I asked for God to give me my whole nuclear family as Christians when I first was a young Christian. The only mistake I made is I didn't ask for more. That's the mistake I made.

It took 21 years, but God gave me my whole family. But you know what? If I'd have backed off, if I'd have played to the crowd, my mom and dad wouldn't be in heaven today. If I'd have told them, listen, you're doing fine. It's really OK. You don't really need to consider Jesus.

You're doing just fine. They'd be in hell today, not in heaven. You can't play to the crowd on this, not if you care about people, not if you know the truth. You can't play to the crowd.

Your popularity, you can't let it mean that much. It doesn't mean that much. Because in 2 Corinthians chapter 5, the Bible says this, We shall all, talking about Christians, appear at the judgment seat of Christ, and we shall all give an account of ourselves to the Lord. Now, if it had said we will all appear at the judgment seat of the crowd to give an account of ourselves to the crowd, then I'd say, yeah, you better play to the crowd. But that's not what it says. We will all appear at the judgment seat of Christ to give an account to the Lord. And in light of that fact, the way Jesus lived is the way he wants us to live. Forget the crowd.

Forget them. Stand for God. So you'll hear him say to you, Well done, good and faithful servant.

You've been faithful in a few things. Enter into the joy of your master. And then you know what? If you hear that, what the crowd thought of you won't make one smidgen of difference. That's what you're going for. That's the goal. Forget the crowd. Go for the goal.

You'll be glad you did. Let's pray. Our Father, how much we need to be reminded what this thing called the Christian life is all about. How much we need to be reminded, Lord, that what the crowd thinks doesn't matter.

Because, as you well know, out there in the world, what the crowd thinks is very persuasive. But, Lord Jesus, I pray you would steal us as your people against the noise and the attraction of the crowd. And help us play to you, Lord, not to them. Help us be men and women of God. Help us be men and women of courage.

Help us be men and women who love people and care about people and try to be courteous and kind and respectful. But who are willing to deal with the backlash of the crowd rather than prostitute the truth of God. Lord Jesus, make us people who are so concerned about hearing, Well done, good and faithful servant, that nothing else matters except standing for you. And I pray, Lord, even as we go out in this world this week, that you might make us good representatives, good soldiers of the cross, good followers of the Lamb. People's souls are at stake.

Their lives are at stake. And, Lord Jesus, I pray that you would make us faithful messengers for you. I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-24 15:54:49 / 2023-01-24 16:10:48 / 16

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