This is Not Home: How to Follow Jesus

It doesn't have to be so hard

We're going to look at from Luke chapter 9 to Luke chapter 19.  I'm really excited about where we're headed because where Jesus was headed at this point in scripture is really what gives us the opportunity to find our place in him.

Let's look at this first section from Luke 9:

As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 
Luke 9:51-53

We'd always hear the story of the Good Samaritan, but most of the people that Jesus was leading and working with and teaching, they didn't know of a good Samaritan. They only knew of Samaritans that they hated, and Samaritans hated them. Literally, it was a huge deal if you were to take a direct route to go through Samaria into Jerusalem.

Now, the big quarrel that the Samaritans and the Jews had, one of the biggest ones, is where you were supposed to worship. What the Samaritans were in effect doing is saying, "We don't believe that Jerusalem is the real place anyway, and so we're not going to make it easier on you to get there.

Here's the point I want to give you as we look at this section. You and I need to realize that just like the Samaritans and just like the Jews, some people love their fight so much that they can't see the opportunity for peace. 

Here's what I'm saying. In this, they rejected Jesus, even though they liked him, but they were so dedicated to the fight that they made it more difficult.

You'd say, "Jeff, what does that have to do with my life?"

Here's what I'm telling you. Some people in your life love the fight they're in so much and love the pain that they've created and are living in so much that they can no longer see the way of peace and hope. They can't even see Jesus at work anymore.

There are the people that you talk to and you tell them the good news and you pray for them and you try to encourage them then they say, "Yes, but, God, my history, but my past, but my thing, but I was hurt, but I was let down, but somebody took advantage of me. I was abused. I was, I was, I was." 

We deal with and we begin to live into our pain so much that we can't release it to the one who brings peace. God's called us to let go of the fight. It doesn't have to be so hard.

Following Jesus is Not...

 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them. Then he and his disciples went to another village.
Luke 9:54-56

It says, when James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, "Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?" The hard part is, for us, we believe that sometimes, sometimes that's the way God should work. The problem is, that's not the way God wants to work.

Jesus rebukes him.

Jesus, in effect, was saying, "It's better to have a relationship and a voice into someone's life than to prove to them that you're right or to prove to them that you're stronger or to prove to them that you are the authority."

He said this, "I want you to remember that following me is not about bringing judgment. It's not about scaring people. It's not about avoiding immediate punishment. It's not about those things."

Following Jesus Is...

See, so many people see the Christian faith as a judging, scaring, punishing kind of thing, "God is going to bring the thunder."

You have to understand, this is not what the faith is about.

Jesus was very clear, all of his ministry, that following Jesus is about bringing people to freedom, getting them out of their fight and bringing them peace, getting them out of their perspective of me, me, me, and saying, "No, it's him and him alone," and letting the peace of God rule in our hearts.

This is Not Our Home

Following Jesus was never marketed as easy and comfortable. It was never branded as something that would be easy and comfortable, and these are the kind of things where people would say, "I love you. I want to follow you." He's like, "If you're cool with no bed and no pillow, no comfort."

Jesus was also communicating in this, that this earth is not the goal. This is not our home. This is not where our destiny is.

I got a message from one of my guys this morning, a quote from C S. Lewis that says, "If your aim is on heaven, then you may also get earth as a benefit. If your aim is on earth, you'll be sorely disappointed and left with nothing." 

The goal of this faith is not that we are living for here and now, that we could crush the Romans. We could rule the government. We could take over. We're going to prove to people we were right. Jesus is Lord. No, we want to be the ones surrounding the throne, casting everything that we value at his feet, saying, "Holy, holy, holy," just like the angels.

Heaven is our home.

Jesus says, "Hey, I never said it would be easy, but we'll be together."

You never know what's going to come your way. You don't have to have it all settled and sorted. Jesus will help you take care of it.

You and I may not understand why nobody's cheering for us as we go but His glory is what we're chasing. His journey leads us home. I want to encourage you today that you declare his glory for the good of this community and the good of the Valley, that his name would be lifted up because He is God in this place.
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