Xmas: Keeping Christ in ChristmasPastor Wes Aarum - December 13, 2015
If we want to keep Christ in Christmas, then we have to become like the Christ of Christmas, who called us to serve.
Community Group Study Notes
- What is the difference between selfie and servant according to what we heard in this message?
- What is the difference between serving and having the heart of a servant? How do you know when the latter is true in your life?
- What is one way in which you can put the needs of someone else ahead of your own this week?
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves." -Philippians 2:3
Well, good morning. My name is Wes and I am Pastor Jerry's stunt double. Just kidding. Hey, I'm Pastor Wes. I'm the college and young adult pastor here at The Chapel. Man, so excited that I get the privilege of sharing God's word with you this morning.
What I'd like to ask you to do to start out. Just turn to the person on either side of you. Just wish them a Merry Christmas. Would you do that? Just wish them Merry Christmas. Yeah! Yeah, because our series is all about keeping Christ in Christmas, and that's what we're talking about today.
I'd like to also ask you if you wouldn't mind, if you would please join me in applause in welcoming everybody watching online and all of our other campuses, man. We're excited to be connected with you guys. Over there in the East Worship Center. Yeah, that's great. Awesome, awesome.
Here's what I'm going to ask us to do. I know this is a busy time. A lot of stuff going on. I get it. I'm so thankful that you're here. Our time together is going to be brief. And, man, I want it to matter, and I really believe it can, because here's what I believe. On the authority of God's word, I believe that one word from God can change our lives. Can change our perspective, can change our heart, can change our future, can change our destiny. If you need encouragement today, God's got it for you. If you need hope, He's got it for you. If you need to be challenged, He's got it for you. If you need to move from darkness to light, hHe's got that for you today.
But here's the thing: good news isn't good news if we don't hear it. And so we need to hear it, and we need to hear it from Him today. So I'm going to ask you if you would please, bow your heads and close your eyes, and ask God to speak to you. Just right where you are. A lot of things going on. Just, man, push them to the edges and just say, God, you got my attention. Open my heart to speak to me. And if you would, please silently pray that for the people around you, that God would open their hearts as well. And finally, if you would pray for me, that God would help me communicate His heart and His truth accurately. Thank you.
God, we bow before you, and we acknowledge that you are the King. Lord, I acknowledge that apart from you it won't matter. Lord, you alone have the words of eternal life. So Holy Spirit, be our teacher. Lord, don't allow me, anything about me, anything I say to hinder what you want to communicate to the people that you passionately love. So, God, I pray that you would give us ears to hear, hearts to hear, and lives that would respond to what you have to say to us. Lord, the truth we're going to look at today is outrageous - it's incredible, and unless you help us, we won't get it. Lord, if you will, your grace, our lives will be different. Thank you, Christ, and any of the good stuff that happens, it's you. We acknowledge that and thank you for it. In your name we pray, Jesus, amen.
Have your bible, open it up to Mark chapter ten. The gospel of Mark, chapter ten. It's the second book in the New Testament. This, our main text, will not be on the screen so there's a bible in front of you or use the one you brought or get it on your electronic device, that's cool. If you want to get close to someone and, you know, borrow theirs, look on with them, I'm sure they would love that. That would be great. I know some of you guys right now, if you're sitting next to a girl, you're like, answer to my prayer, all right? So I get that. I work with college kids - I'm in, I get it, o.k. Great.
All right. Let me ask you a question. How many of you guys know what a selfie is? A selfie. You know what a selfie is. You know, ten years ago that word didn't even exist in our language? And now it dominates our cultural landscape. Let me show you what I mean. Take a look at this picture. This is what a selfie is. All right? Get your phone, flip it around. You take a picture of yourself. You're taking a picture of a landscape or something, but you're in the picture, and the focus is on you. Hence, selfie.
Now, if you've got more people you want to get in the picture, then this is what you do. You get yourself a selfie stick. It's an extended thing, stick your phone in so you get more selfies in there.
Now if you want to get one with your animal, guess what? They even have an invention called the selfie pooch. Everything I'm going to show you today is real. I've not made any of this up, man. You can't make this stuff up, all right? Can't make it...so if you got a dog, this will be fun, o.k.? You need counseling. All right! So, just kidding. Sorry.
So, now, so back to you. So if you want to take more pictures of yourself in different environments, they've got this apparatus. The selfie brush. You take a picture of yourself while you're doing your hair. O.k., all right?
And how about this? Ladies, check this one out. All right? This actually exists. It's called the selfie shoe. You stick it in ...you have a shoe that's been...yeah...I know. You're looking at this - I'm looking at it going apparently you've got to be a masters in Pilates or something. I mean there's no way I'm pulling that off. Right? Wes, what happened? I pulled a hamstring taking a picture of myself. Hey, that's dumb, all right? All right?
Or how about this one? Yeah, this is a great one right here. Right here. This is the selfie toaster. I'm not making this up. You can actually get a picture of yourself burned and toasted into a piece of bread. Some of you are laughing. Some of you are going, Wes, you just helped me finish my Christmas shopping right now. All right? I'm going to buy one for everyone in my family so they can always have breakfast with me. All right?
Look it. A lot of that stuff is fun, it's crazy, it is what it is, that kind of thing. But let me tell you this. You know what? There's another side to the selfie, and I call it the spirit of the selfie. It is dark, it is serious, and it's been around for a long time. In fact it didn't start any time soon - it started way at the beginning, back in the garden of Eden. God created everything perfectly. Sin came in and broke everything, and that brokenness extends all the way down to you an to me.
Take a look at some of these scriptures in Romans. Romans, chapter five where Paul says "When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam's sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Every single one of us. We're all on the same playing field, man. We are sinners. We have brokenness in our lives. We are separated from God.
The spirit of the selfie has infected our soul because sin is not simply about the wrong things you do, the wrong things I do. Sin, at its heart, at its core, is making my life all about me with total disregard to God. I'm going to make my life - God, I don't need you because I know what I want. I know how to live life for me. I'm going to put my self in the center of my life and everything else is going to revolve around that. I'm going to live my life based on what I want. I'm going to choose what's going to make me happy, what's going to make me fulfilled, what's going to make me satisfied. I'm going to make my life about me. I'm in charge.
And you know what? The fruit of that, in our world is easy to see as we run after things that we believe will make us happy and make us fulfilled, because we want to run our own lives.
For example, some people - they run after accomplishments. Performance, man, it's all about performance. If I can perform, I'm going to feel good about myself, I'm going to be applauded and people are going to like me and that is what's going to make me happy, fulfilled, and satisfied.
Some, they run after money. Man, I'm going to get as much money as I can, because then that's going to make me happy. I can buy all the stuff I want, all the experiences I want, all the pleasure I want, and this is going to satisfy, fulfill me, and this is what I'm going to make my life about.
Or, for others, it's about position. Status. I'm going to get on my career track, and I'm going to be the best that I can be in my space, and guess what? People are going to respect me, it's going to be a position of power. They're going to want to be around me. I'm going to be happy and fulfilled. That's the ticket for me.
And for some, it's all about getting the perfect body, man. You're going to get the look, all right? You're going to get the perfect body, because then I'll feel good about myself. My self-esteem will be good. People will want me, they'll applaud me, they'll want to be around me. I'll be fulfilled. I'll be happy. And apparently, it involves some red pants. I don't know what that's about, but there it is.
Now, let's run down that road for a moment. Let's run down that road. Let's just say that you go after this, and you get it all. I mean you get it all! You get all of the position, all the performance, all the money, you got the great look going on. I mean, you've got it all. Let me ask you something. Are you going to be happy? Ultimately, you going to be fulfilled? I say no, for two reasons.
One, this - all this stuff - temporary. You're banking your life on stuff that could be gone in a moment. You're building your life on shifting sand, man. You know what? That means your life's going to marked by insecurity.
Number two, what God tells us in His word - I think if we're really honest, even if you're not a Christ follower, I think you'd probably agree with this. At least at some extent. Ecclesiastes chapter three, it says this: "He (God) has also set eternity in the human heart."
There is a void in our heart, in our soul, that is eternity shaped, man. That is why none of this will ever satisfy you. You know why? Because this is finite. The finite can never satisfy the infinite. So you can keep putting it in and putting it in and putting it in and you can keep getting it all and guess what? It will not satisfy. Why? Because it's finite, and the hole in our soul is infinite.
You need more proof, in his book "Happiness Is A Choice", listen to these words by psychiatrist Paul D. Meier. He says this: I have had millionaire businessmen come to my office and tell me they had big houses, yachts, condominiums, nice children, a beautiful mistress, an unsuspecting wife, secure corporate positions, and suicidal tendencies. They have everything this world has to offer except one thing - inner peace and joy. They come to my office as a last resort, begging me to help them conquer the urge to kill themselves. They got it all. Didn't satisfy them.
You want more proof? There's a guy who got all this and more. Real life story. He journaled his account for us. And you know what he says about it? It's meaningless, it's empty, it's vanity, doesn't satisfy. His name was Solomon, and his book is recorded in the bible in Ecclesiastes.
So where does that leave us? Enter Christmas. Enter Jesus Christ. Luke chapter two, familiar passage. Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings (or good news - actually translated gospel) of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." Don't be afraid. Bring you good tidings, good news of great, great joy.
You know what - some people paint the picture of God that he is cold, he's distant, he's austere, he's grumpy, he's cranky, he's angry. You don't get that from the Bible. Just look at that passage, man. God is the one sending this news. He says it is good news that brings great joy, not just a little smile, a pleasant feeling, fuzzy puppies, right? It's not that! Great - that word is explosive. It's like a volcano of joy and happiness and love and excitement. God says that is what this news is meant to produce in you, man. Great joy, blow the lid off the joint kind of joy. That's what God's talking about here.
He says it's for all people. You know what that means? Everybody. No one's excluded. And then he says, for to you is born this day. To you - he makes it personal - drives it right home. To you. Looks right at you and says to you. Why? Because God speaks to us one at a time. He rescues us one at a time. He saves us one at a time. He reaches out to us one at a time. To you a savior - a savior!
What is the good news? The good news is this: you don't have to try to earn your way to God. Jesus has come to do it for you. You don't have to try to earn your way to God. Jesus has come to do it for you. That's one of the things that separates Christianity from every other belief system. We don't have to earn, and work, and sweat and drive in order to try to get to God, or heaven or nirvana or whatever it is your specific belief system, you know, has this as a target. God says, no, I'm coming to you. I'm coming to you through my son, Jesus. I'm going to save you. Jesus said, I've come to deal with your selfie issue, and transform you into someone who is selfless.
And Jesus tells us what that's all about in the text that you have in front of you there in Mark chapter ten. Going to start in verse forty-two. Mark chapter ten, verse forty-two. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man (speaking of himself) did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Jesus said, you want to be great? That word great was used of nobles and princes in terms of the impact and influence that they had. Jesus said, you want that? You want a life that matters? You want to have that kind of impact, that kind of influence, you want to be great? Then you've got to be a servant. And Jesus said, I'll show you what that looks like. I've come to lead the way in that, man. I've come to help you transform from being a selfie to being a servant. That's what Jesus came to do. Transform the spirit of selfie into the spirit of a servant.
Here's what that looks like real quick. It couldn't be more opposite. A selfie is me over you. Now you might put a nice façade on it, but at the end of the day that's what's churning inside. That's what operates and governs your decisions. Me over you. I'm going to use all this, do all this, in order to make me feel good about myself, because I'm all about me. It's me over you but the servant is you over me. I look at you and I say you over me. Jesus came to transform a selfie into servant.
And here's the amazing thing. As Christ followers, as believers, as we choose to do what Jesus tells us to do and be servants, God wants us to know there's way more going on than we have any idea.
Look at this in Colossians three. Look at this truth, man. "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."
When you and I as believers, as Christ followers - when we choose to serve, we're serving Jesus. Imagine Jesus shows up tomorrow at your workplace, on your campus, in your home. He's standing right there, and he looks at you and goes, hey, would you do this for me? How are you going to respond? Well, let me pray about that. Or, o.k., you can, 'cause he's right there and you just ask him. That's what prayer is. Just talking to him. And he says, hey, I'd like you to do this for me. How would we respond? Of course you'd be like, yes, Jesus, I get to do this for you. You kidding me? Yes! Right?
When we choose to serve, we're serving him. We get to do that. That is why, that is why, even the smallest, seemingly insignificant act of service done in Jesus' name is huge, huge in the kingdom.
Look at this scripture in Matthew. "If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward." Jesus said this right here. Right there. Look at this. This over that. This, not that. That's what Jesus said. He said, you're not going to lose your reward. It seems insignificant. This seems massive. But Jesus said, no, you're not going to lose your reward. You know what that means? He's not talking about the reward on earth. He's talking about reward in heaven. This is the stuff of eternity.
Three hundred years from now, say you get all this, three hundred years from now, how much of this is going to matter? Three hundred years from now. In your life, how much of this is going to matter? You get it all. How much is it going to matter? Your accomplishments - no one's going to care. They're not going to care. Oh, yes, they will. No they won't.
I'll prove it to you. How many of you guys in the last twenty-four hours turned on a light bulb? Let me see your hands. You turned on a light switch, you turned on a light bulb. Look around. Look around. See? See? O.k. Put them down. Thank you. How many of you, when you did that breathed a prayer of thanks to Thomas Edison? No? Oh, Tommy, thank you so much. That is amazing. Nobody does that! All right? Again, you need counseling. Nobody does that. Right?
Your accomplishments, no one's going to care. Your money? Somebody else will have it. Your position? Somebody else will have it. Your hot body with your sassy red pants? Going to be in the ground, man. Going to be in the grave. The sands of time blow, all this goes away.
Three hundred years from now, this is going to matter. This is going to matter. Three hundred years from now. You're not going to lose your reward. Ripple through forever.
When God tells us stuff, it's because he loves us. It's for our benefit. And that's why Jesus wants us to serve. He wants us to get in on this. He wants us to serve. The Bible tells us that it's not just a suggestion. It is a commandment. Look at these Scriptures. Galatians - "Serve on another humbly in love." Not because you have to. Not because it's a big duty. In love - we're going to talk about that in just a second. "In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset (the same attitude, the same perspective driving you) as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant."
Before you can ever have a serving action outward you have to be a serving inward. Before there's ever a yes outside, there's got to be a yes inside. Say, yeah, I want to serve. Jesus said, I want you to serve. I want you to follow my lead. I want you to look at others around you, and go you over me.
If we want to - listen - we want to keep Christ in Christmas, then we have to become like the Christ of Christmas. That's what we have to do. And Jesus said, I want you to serve. So let's push pause just for a moment. Let's get super practical, because the Bible is super practical. Let's get practical.
I want you to think of the most important relationship in your life right now. Just think. Get that person, picture them in your mind. Now, this is how you apply this. This is the question you ask. Here it is on the screen. "What is one way in which I can put your needs ahead of mine this week?" What is one way in which I can put your needs ahead of mine this week? That's the question that you ask them. That's the question that you respond to in terms of their answer. Whatever they say you do. You ask that question of them or just maybe even inside your head. But that's the spirit. That's the action. That's the practicality of it.
Then, you move to your family and then outward to your neighborhood, and then to your workplace, and then to your campus with your fellow students. What is one way I can put your needs ahead of mine? Uncomfortable? Maybe. Risky? Probably. Counter-cultural? Absolutely. Impossible? No. And here's why.
Here is the real spiritual horse power behind that command. Behind Jesus' lead. It's right there in the text. Mark chapter ten. Look at verse forty-five. "For even the Son of Man (Jesus himself) did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." There it is, right there.
When you understand, when I understand that there was a day, there was a day when the God of the universe looked at you and said, you over me. When you understand that, and that grabs you at the core of who you are, that Jesus looked at you and said you over me. When you understand that, that will change you. That'll change you. See, that's what the gospel is all about. Before God ever asks us to do anything for himself, he wants us to know everything he's already done for us.
I want you to imagine something with me. This is just an illustration, but it's an illustration based on the truth. I want you to imagine that you are taken, you individually are taken instantly, transported to the throne room of heaven, and there you stand before the throne of God. There He is - the holy other, the King of the universe, seated on the throne in blinding majesty. The seraphim are flying around his head crying holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. You instantly drop to your knees, and wave after wave after wave of love and righteousness and goodness and happiness and joy and holiness just wash over you. You are just speechless - doesn't even begin to cover it. You're trying to just take this all in, and it's just unbelievable.
And then, you notice someone come in from the corner, and you look and it's Satan, Lucifer, the Enemy. You stand up, and you watch him as he walks in with a grotesque snarl and smirk on his face. The Bible tells us in Revelation twelve that he is the accuser of the brothers. That he comes before the throne of God day and night to accuse the brethren. And guess who his target is today? You. And he produces a scroll, and it's big. And as he opens it, you get a look at it. And to your horror, it's a list of your sins, and he's accurate. And as he begins to unroll it, you see more of your sins, and he's accurate.
And he unrolls to the beginning, and he starts and he begins accusing you. And he starts calling out your sin one after another, after another, before the Holy God, he's calling out your sin. He's naming them. He's calling it out. He's coming hard. He's coming steady. He's fury is relentless, and he's screaming out with heinous horrible wicked delight, sin after sin - condemnation after condemnation, guilt after guilt. He's calling them out. He's speaking it out, and it's lasting a long, long time and he just keeps coming. He just keeps coming, and you are crumbling under the weight of that sin.
Until finally, after what seems like an eternity he's finished. He drops the scroll, covered in wicked heinous pride. Stands there confident what he's just accomplished in condemning you. What could you possibly say? Because he was right. And you look up at God afraid of what he might say. And God stands up off His throne, and He does something no one expects. He produces his own scroll of your sins, and it is massive, because God is all knowing and perfect in knowledge. He knows every single one of your sins ever committed - past, present, future. He understands the darkness of your heart. He knows every one of your motives and your attitudes that you could hide from others, but you can't hide from him, and he's got it recorded on this scroll. This scroll is enormous. It's huge compared to Satan's. Satan's scroll is puny. It's pitiful. It's a joke. This is massive. It's recorded every single one of your sins and God is holding it. Satan is stunned. He's puzzled. What could be going on? And you stand there in shamed silence. What could you possibly say? Here's the thing. The issue is never, never whether you are as bad as what Satan says - evidence is too obvious. The issue is what is to be done about it.
Enter the good news of Christmas. Enter the gospel that brings great joy. That we have a Savior who has come to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Look at the Scripture. Second Corinthians five. "God made him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us. Listen to me - follow this through because there's a teaching out there that says that God is wrong, unjust, and even immoral for causing an innocent person, Christ, to pay for the sins of the guilty person - you and me.
Here's the thing. You know what second Corinthians five says? When Jesus hung on that cross, he wasn't innocent. He was guilty. He made him to be sin. When Jesus, on that day, hung on that cross, he became every one of your sins. He became guilty of every single one of your sins on the scroll that God is holding. And not just yours. He became guilty of every single human being who would ever walk the face of the earth, of every one of their sins. He became their sins. That means that on that day, in that moment when Jesus hung on that cross and God made him to be sin, that means that in that moment that Jesus became the sin of the pedophile, the prostitute, of the adulterer, of the murderer, of the thief. He became your lust, your pride, your ego, my lie, my jealousy. Jesus became it all. God rolled up every single one of our infinite hells and put it on Jesus, and then he pour out his just wrath on his son, and Jesus screamed, :My God why have you forsaken me?" He did that for you. And because there was real guilt and real punishment, we have a real Savior who can save us from sins, for real.
But that's only part of the good news. It just keeps getting better. Because look at the rest of that verse in second Corinthians five. Jesus didn't stay dead. "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, to that in him (in Christ) we might become the righteousness of God." Three days later, Jesus rose from the grave conquering hell, sin, and death. Ascended to the Father. And when you and I, when we come and we turn our lives over to Christ, we realize we are hopeless sinners and we need Jesus. We need him to save us, to rescue us, and we give our lives to him, and we invite him into our hearts. When that happens, it's the best swap in the history of everything. Jesus said, I will take everything that you deserve, and I will give you everything that I deserve. I will take your sin, and I will give you my righteousness, my right standing with God. You step out of darkness and all the condemnation of your sin into a right, loving, forever relationship with God. When he looks at you as a believer, he sees the righteousness of Christ.
Let me give you an illustration that might help you, because man, it helped me. This is the book of you. Recorded in this book is every single sin you ever committed. It's not to scale - it would be a lot bigger. So every single sin you ever committed, there it is. It's recorded in here. This is the book of Jesus. In here, in this book, every single righteous thing Jesus ever did - every single righteous thing he ever did recorded in this book. There's no sin, there's not even a hint of sin. This is perfect purity and righteousness.
You know what second Corinthians five tells us? The gospel, the good news at Christmas that brings great joy? It tells us this. That he made him, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. You know what that means? That means he flipped the covers. He flipped the covers. It means the book of Jesus is all your sin, all your sin - all the condemnation your sin deserves right here. And the book of you - all the righteousness, all the righteous of Jesus life - it's right here. When God reads this book, he sees the righteousness of Jesus. He doesn't see your sin, because it's been paid for.
Listen - do you know what that means? Listen - mind's going to be blown. Do you know what this means? Just like God accepts Jesus, he accepts you. Just like he loves Jesus, he loves you. Just as he approves of Jesus, he approves of you. Just as he delights and is happy with and rejoices over Jesus, he delights and is happy with and rejoices over you, because you've got Jesus' righteousness on you. As a believer that's what you have.
We got to ask God to help us understand that, man. Because Satan lies to us about him. Because you might be sitting there going well as a believer, what happens when I sin? I mean my future sins? Well, first of all, when Jesus died on the cross, how many of your sins were future? All of them. He paid for all of them already. He paid for them all. He paid for them all. That means you - listen - that means you and I as believers, we will never face the judgment that our sins deserve. Why? Because Jesus took it all. He took it all. He gave us his righteousness.
Now, when we choose to sin, you know, sin brings brokenness into our lives. It's crazy. When you and I - when we choose to sin - you know what we're saying to Satan? Hey, I want you to come in and wreck my life. Use your activity, your... to come in and wreck my life, hurt my relationships, mess up my world. That's what sin does. That's why God says stay away from it. It's nuts. And you don't have to live in it anymore. I've set you free. I own your sin now. I've set you free. It's in my book, not your book.
Look it - if I tell my kids, hey - I have two kids. I love them so much. And I tell them, hey, don't go out in the street. I give them a direct order, direct command. Do not go out in the street. And what do they do? They go out and they play in the street. Then they get hit by a car. What is my response? Am I angry with them? Am I like, you jerks? Now you got to clean it up, look at you. You're a bloody mess. You've got to clean it up. Run some laps. I mean, what am I doing? Right? Right? Are you kidding me? Do they stop being my kids? Never! Do I love them? Passionately. I'm going to be out there. I'm going to be helping them. I'm going to be calling 911. I'm going to try to fix them up but you know what? You know what? I sure wish they hadn't played out in the street.
Your sin has been dealt with in Jesus. Now I know - I'll bet this happens to you, 'cause man, it happens to me - when I do that thing that I promised God I wouldn't do, and I blow it. Guess who is right there talking in my ear? The enemy, man, the accuser saying Wes, you loser. God can't - he's so tired of you. Isn't it interesting, that you know - Satan is the first one, when he's tempting us to go, hey, man - just chose that. It's no big deal. It's no big deal. And as soon as you choose it, he'll be the first one to jump in there going, you loser! Condemn, condemn, condemn. And that's what he does.
Hey, you know what this means? Second Corinthians five, twenty-one. Do you know what this means? And when Satan says that to you and when he says it to me? You know how we respond? Hey, Satan, you're reading from the wrong book. You're reading from the wrong book. This is not what is true of me, man. This is what is true of me. I am delighted in and I am loved. I am approved. This is what is true of me. This is my book. Jesus gave it to me.
So what that also means? That God will never give up on you. You know why? Because he'll never give up on Jesus. He will never stop loving you. And you know why? Because he'll never stop loving Jesus. He'll never get tired of you, because he'll never get tired of Jesus. He will never stop rejoicing in you and being delighted in you and being excited about you on your best days, on your worst days. Why? Because he will never stop being that way with Jesus. Because you've got his righteousness.
And when you understand that, it will change you. When you understand that he came to serve and to give his life for us, and we have to think about this. We have to ponder, we have to meditate on, we have to ask God to help us. But when I sit and think about this, when I realize this, when I realize that God of the universe, who needs nothing, has everything, looked at me - a messed up, self-destructive sinner, and sent his son to pay for my sin, so that he could make me his treasure, it'll change you. It'll change you from the inside out. Your behavior will change because your heart is changed. Because any behavior that doesn't come from a heart change is only going to be superficial and temporary.
But when your heart is changed, when God grabs a hold of your heart, and you realize his truth - man, you'll want to serve. Why? Because you realize you're serving him. You'll want to serve others because you'll realize you're serving him - the one who served for you. The gospel is not about God telling us what we need to do. It's about God telling us what he's already done for us.
So in closing, there's two roads. Every single one of us in this room, everybody watching online - two roads. You're on one or the other. Road number one: you look at God and you go me over you. Me over you. God, I'm going to run my life. I'm going to do what I want. I'm going to be in charge of me. I'm going to run after this stuff. I'm going to prioritize this stuff. I'm going to prioritize me over you. And you can run down that road. He'll let you. But it will be sand in your mouth.
And when it comes to your eternity, when you step off this planet, because every single one of us will, Jesus has these words in Matthew sixteen. These are true. "What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world - gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?" When you forfeit something, you give it up. Nobody steals it from you.
Path number two: you look at all that God has done for you in Jesus, the good news that brings great joy, and you understand you're lost and you're a sinner that he came to serve, and give his life as a ransom. And you look at God and you go, you over me. You over me. And you come and confess and repent and you surrender. You turn your life over to Jesus Christ. And then every day as a believer, you get up and you meditate on this and you soak in this truth, so that throughout the day you're going, God, how can I serve you? It's you over me. How can I serve you today, Jesus? How can I leverage my life for you?
And you know what will happen? Everything that God gives you over here - all your accomplishments? They're going to all move over here. You go, God, you gave me this. You gave me this ability to perform and these accomplishments. How can I leverage them for you? How can I position them for you so I can point people to you? Your position - my status - God, you've given me influence with people. How can I point them toward you? You've given me money. You've given me funds. You've given me resources. How can I leverage that for you? How can I serve you? Man, so I won't lose my reward. And my body. God, my body. My body's for you. My lips - I want to speak for you. My hands - I want to serve you. My feet - I want to go where you want me to go. How can I leverage my life for you? You will serve. I will serve, because we have been served by the King of kings and our hearts have been changed.
God is not interested in mere ethical compliance. He's interested in our hearts that are in awe and wonder in fervent worship for who he is and what he's done for us. That's all God wants for you today. It's what he wants for you today. There's two paths. You can sit there and you can go God, me over you. Or you can go, God, you over me. Your choice.
Let's pray. With your heads bowed and your eyes closed, just for a moment. Thank you so much for your attention. You guys have been so gracious. Here's the critical point right here. What has God talked to you about and what are you going to do about it? What has God said to you and what are you going to do about it? That's the most important thing. God has spoken to you. He said something specific to you. You're here and you're a believer. Maybe God needed to remind you of how much you are loved and how much you are accepted - that you can serve. You can turn to those and you can serve others freely because all the acceptance and the approval you need is in Jesus. Maybe he just wanted to remind you and you need to believe it. Or maybe you've been wrapped up in failures and sins and self condemnation and Satan's been pounding you it. And you need to believe the truth that that's not what God says about you. And you can get up and you can go home. Maybe there's someone in your life that you really do need to serve - you need to look at and go you over me. You've been very selfie oriented and as a believer you need to say, no, God, I'm sorry. Help me, help me.
Final question - you're here and you don't know Christ. If you died, you wouldn't go to heaven. You know about him. Maybe you've been coming for a while but you don't know him. You've never had all your sins paid for. They've been paid for but you got to reach out and accept them. The payment that he's offered you. If you're here today, you're watching online, you want to give your life to Christ, you want to turn your life over to Jesus, said, I've seen what I can do with my life. God, I'm ready to see what you can do with my life. If that's you then tell him. Right where you're seated. Tell him. Give your life to Jesus. You say, Wes, I'm not sure what to say. Let me help you. Somebody loved me enough one day to give me some words. Let me give you some words. Silently just pray something like this, these words aren't magic but mean them as your own: silently just say dear Jesus, I'm a sinner. I get it. I'm lost. I need a savior. I know I can't save myself. I believe you died for me. You have life to give me. I want that. I want you. I want to go to heaven. So I turn from my sin. I repent. I don't want that. I want to turn to you. Come into my life, save me, I'm giving my life to you. I'm all yours and I will declare it.
Heads bowed, eyes closed. No one looking around. If that's you, you just prayed that prayer, you just gave your life to Jesus, I'm going to ask you to do something because when Jesus called people, man it was a big deal, he called them publicly. Here's what I'm going to ask you to do. If you just prayed that prayer and you meant it, I'm going to ask you to stand to your feet and eyeball me just for a moment. Without anybody looking about. But if you God talked to you, if this is your moment, I'm going to ask you to stand right to your feet. I want you to be bold. Stand right to your feet and look right at me. God bless you, man. O.k., hang on - hang on. If you're in the East Worship Center, you as well. Stand right to your feet. If God has talked to you and this is your moment, you're giving your life to Jesus, I want you to stand up and look right at me. I asked you to do that for two reasons. One, I want to pray for you. And two, the Bible tells us to make our decisions public. Your standing starts that process and there's something about it, man. It just nails it down. Maybe you've come to one of the performances here and you made a decision for Christ - this is your opportunity to stand up and declare that. If you've given your life to Christ right now I want you to stand up and I want you to look right at me because I want to pray for you right now. Awesome - all around the room. If you're in the balcony, we had some last service in the balcony - I don't want to miss you. Stand up. It will never get any easier than this, I'm telling you. You're surrounded by people who've had this moment. I had a moment like this. If God talked to you I want you to stand now. If you're giving your life to Jesus, I want you to stand up and look right at me. Awesome. If you're seated next to someone who's standing - you love them, you came with them or something - I want you to stand with them and put your arms around them. Let them know they are not alone. That's real important.
God, I only see faces from afar but you see hearts up close and Lord, you are good to your word. I pray that you help these ones to know that you are good to your word. God if they've been serious with you, you are serious with them. You're moving into their lives. You're changing them. They're walking out of darkness into light. You're wrapping yourself around them, God, and you will never let them go. God, I pray that you give them the desire to follow you all the days of their life and they would find out for themselves how awesome you are.