Jesus Calls Disciples to a New Way of Life
Description: Jesus invites us to forsake all that the world craves: riches, food, experiences, and respect. Instead, we are to crave Him and He will reward us one day if we do so.
Keywords: Gospel, Jesus, God, Luke, narrative, Son of God, Bible, Sermon, Bible Fellowship Church, BFC, Whitehall, Northern Lehigh
Date: February 07, 2016
Speaker: Pastor Tim
Scripture: Luke 6:20-26
Video: Watch this Sermon
Audio: Listen to this Sermon (time 46:40)
Notes: Read Sermon Notes
Transcript (new way)
1 “Jesus Calls Disciples to a New Way of Life” Luke 6:20-26 PASTOR SCHMOYER: Friends, I’d ask you to open up to Luke chapter 6. Today we read the beginning of Jesus’ sermon on the plateau. Some have called it the sermon on the mount and have correlated it with Matthew’s sermon on the mount. Whether it is, whether it’s not, it is God’s Word and it is powerful for us. We’ll be reading Luke chapter 6 verses 20 through 26. And listen, if you’re using a pew Bible, you’re welcome to do that. You’re actually welcome if you don’t have a Bible to take that home with you. And that’s found on page 862 of the pew Bible. But let’s give attention to God’s precious Word. Luke chapter 6, again we’ll read verses 20 through 26. “Jesus lifted up his eyes on his disciples. He said, ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and they spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.’ “‘But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your consolation. Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you 2 shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.'” May God bless to our ears and our minds his precious Word. A new way of life; Jesus invites us to a new way of life. A life where we’re throwing away everything everyone else in the world values and to embrace the crazy things that only a lunatic would value. How many of you like crying? How many of you like being hungry? How many of you enjoy having too much month at the end of your money? Jesus says you’re blessed in those circumstances, and you’re to receive a great warning when you have all those things. You see, Jesus takes everything all of us value and says don’t value that, value me. And I wonder how many of us just value him because we get the things that he gives us. We don’t really honor him, we honor the things he gives to us. We’re using him as a genie to get the things that we long for. “My God shall supply all of your needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus,” and so Christ Jesus is really just here to give you all that you really want. Give us this day our daily filet mignon. See, Jesus turns it on its head, Jesus flips it all backwards and says invest in eternity; divest yourself of the things that are here, the things that are now, the things that you eat and they’re gone. For we cannot have our cake and eat it, too, and if 3 we eat it and we’ve invested here, then we haven’t invested for eternity. Be warned, that’s all. Because all of these four things are things you value, because I’ve been honest with myself in the Lord, those are things I value. I like having a little bit more, and so I was very greatly pleased when you voted on the budget and now I have a raise. I’m thankful for that. Aren’t you thankful when you get more? You feel more satisfied, don’t you? Of course. And when I enjoy a fine meal, I sit back and I thank the Lord and I say, God, you have provided this. Thank you. And when I have a good time with family and friends and I say to myself, God, you’ve given me these people to enjoy. Thank you. But we suddenly turn thanking God into thank you for the stuff rather than thank you that you’re a good God to me. You understand the dilemma. And so Jesus calls us to a different way of life, to invest not here but in eternity. How long are you going to live? Just talk to you and the Lord in your heart. How long are you going to live? Now, I’m not asking you to break open a fortune cookie, and I’m not looking for you to open up the newspaper and go to the horoscope section; but I am just saying between you and the Lord, how long do you think you got? I know what the scripture says. What? Seventy years, 80 if by strength, 4 and there are very many of us who are real strong because if 80 by strength, man, praise God for your long life. You must have really obeyed your parents. That was God’s promise, right? So kids, just a quick reminder. That’s the only command, the first command with a promise: “Obey your father and your mother, honor your father and mother that it might be well with you, that you might live a long time on this earth.” How long do you have here? Seventy, 80, 90 years? How long do you have here? How long will you live in eternity? Does eternity end 80 years from the time you get there; you get a hundred years in the new kingdom? How long is forever, friends? CONGREGATION: Forever. PASTOR SCHMOYER: Forever, never ending, right? And so Jesus is inviting us to value the things that matter more, right? We value money and food and pleasure and a good name, an honorable name, those four things; and Jesus says, honor me more, respect me more, have a greater commitment to the kingdom of God rather than a commitment to feeding yourself these four things. And if we’re real honest with ourself, these four things are really for us woes, because there’s not one of us that goes hungry, there’s not one of us that lacks enjoyment, there’s not one of us that has a good name — or 5 without a good name. You understand what I’m saying. Let’s go through line by line. We’re going to look at each blessing connected with its woe. So the outline goes all the blessings, then all the woes. We’re going to do 1 and then 1, 2 and then 2, 3 — you get what we’re doing. Verse 20. “Jesus lifted up his eyes on his disciples.” And so what we need to glean from this introduction is this: Jesus is not saying blessed are the poor non-believers, blessed are those hungry wretches that have a heart filled with hate towards God. No, no. It’s these are all things directed towards Jesus’ disciples. This is not you get to heaven if you’re poor. This is if you are a poor disciple of mine, you’re going to heaven. Why do you care about your wealth or your lack thereof? You’re going to heaven, you can walk on those streets of gold, you’re going to have a mansion in the Lord’s house. There are many mansions. And the best of all, to see his face, to walk hand in hand, side by side with our Lord. And so he says all these things to his disciples, which then says to me the woes of verse 24 and following are also directed at his disciples. He’s looking at his disciples and he’s saying to his followers, you are so blessed if you are lacking here but abounding there. So where are your treasures? Are you storing up treasures here on earth where moth and dust and rust and thieves destroy, or are you 6 investing in that heavenly kingdom? And so let’s go through. Okay. No. 1, verse 20, blessed are you who are poor. So the fill-in on your sermon notes is poor. “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” How many of you like to be poor? How many of you are very glad when you get more? Right? We live a bit like Rockefeller, don’t we? When someone asked Jay, whoever his name was, Rockefeller, right? They asked him, how much is enough? And this billionaire, you know, of his day, oil tycoon of his day, late 1800s, what was his response? How much is enough? CONGREGATION: Just a little more. PASTOR SCHMOYER: Just a little more. And for how many of us is that true? Man, if I get that next raise, that will be enough. And friends, you know what? You said that before the last raise, and now it’s not enough anymore, right? So are we striving, longing, dreaming for what’s next here? Jesus says you’re blessed if you stop dreaming about here and start dreaming about there. “For no eye has seen and no ear has heard all of the wonderful things God has in store for those of us who love him.” Is that verse true? Is that promise — take it to the bank? Yes? All right. Blessed are you who are poor. And then verse 24. “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your consolation.” 7 You know, it reminds me a bit of Lazarus and the rich man. Remember Jesus in Luke chapter 16 tells a story of Lazarus and the rich man. Here’s a beggar, right, at the gate of a rich man’s house, and he is just wounded and sore and diseased, and even the dogs lick this guy’s wounds. This is a sick, poor, begging man, Lazarus, but he loves the Lord. And the scripture says he died, and the angels carried him to Abraham’s bosom. And then that rich man, who every day as he goes in and out of his house passes by that beggar man Lazarus, the rich man dies as well. There ain’t no angels when this guy dies. It says he died and he went to Hades. You see, Jesus doesn’t care about what you have here, he doesn’t care about what’s in your wallet. As all the commercials would tell you, “What’s in your wallet?” What’s in my wallet, what’s in your wallet should be our ID card. I am a follower of Jesus Christ; I’m on my way to heaven; and though the flies and moths are flying out of my wallet, I have a different wallet where I’m storing up treasures in heaven. See, Lazarus the beggar is verse 20, “blessed are you who are poor.” You see, it doesn’t matter how much you have in this wallet; it matters what you have in that wallet. Now, we sang a song, “Now Why This Fear?” Why do I have this fear? When Satan tempts me to despair, when Satan 8 tempts me to think: the Lord hasn’t died for you, child, and I start feeling like I’m not a believer, I don’t have that salvation that God offers to people. And the song goes: Listen, Jesus died for me, he died for you. He invested in my heavenly wallet; I have the ticket to heaven because he died in my place for my sin. And I should be blessed that I have invested there rather than worrying about what’s here. Some verses just for you to ponder this week. A correlation, write this down, Luke 18 verses 18 through 30. I really need you to look there a little later this week. This is a great time for devotion. All right? It’s an easy-to-read story. Get into it, read the story, Luke 18 verses 18 to 30. And then the very next chapter, oh, it’s so beautiful. Luke chapter 19 verses 1 through 10. I just want to quickly tell the stories, quickly contrast those two events. Luke 18, Luke 19, it all begins in Luke 6 with the blessing and the woe. Blessed are you who are poor, woe to you who are rich. And this is a story of two rich men. One held on to this world, one let go of this world. In Luke chapter 18 is the story of the rich young ruler, and the rich young ruler comes to Jesus in Luke 18 verse 18 and says, “Jesus, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said, “Well, you need to keep the 9 commands: Obey your father and your mother, do not murder, do not kill, do not steal, do not commit adultery.” And the rich young ruler replied, “Jesus, since my youth I’ve never broken any of those commands. What do I lack?” You see, even the richest realizes that they lack, because there’s a hole in everyone’s heart, a God-shaped hole. You can’t stuff money in there, you can’t stuff food in there, you can’t stuff pleasure in there, you cannot stuff a good name there. It is a God-shaped hole, and only God fits that keyhole. And the rich young ruler said, What else do I lack? I know I lack something. What am I lacking? And Jesus replied, ahh, there is one thing. “Sell all that you have and follow me; give it all to the poor and follow me.” That man went away sad. Do you know why? He had much. He couldn’t let go. He couldn’t follow Jesus because he couldn’t let go of what he had. Friends, so many of us are trying to not let go of what we have and to hold on to Jesus. The chapter earlier, chapter 16 verses 13 through 15, Jesus says this: “No one can serve two masters. You either love one and hate the other or you hate the one and you love the other. You cannot serve God and money.” The rich young ruler knew that. He either had to let go of his money to hold on to Jesus or he had to let go of Jesus to hold on to 10 his money. And what did he choose? He chose his money. Now, there’s some church tradition that tells us that rich young ruler was named Barnabas, and in Acts he finally figures it out, lets go of all of his money, sells all that he has, gives it to the poor, and starts following Christ. It’s a beautiful transition. But in the passage I had you write down, Luke 19, it’s the very next story, the very next chapter, Jesus’ sermon of Luke 6 comes alive through stories of real people in the rest of the book, which is awesome, that’s an awesome thing. And so here’s a rich man named Zacchaeus. And you’ll remember, how did Zacchaeus get all of his wealth? What was his profession? CONGREGATION: Tax collector. PASTOR SCHMOYER: All we know about Zacchaeus is he’s a wee little man, a wee little man was he, that’s all we know. All right. He was a rich man why? Because he was a tax collector, and he took advantage of everyone that he collected taxes from. Rome said everyone has to pay $2. He charged them $4, he pocketed the difference. This is a wily man. But he heard Jesus was coming to town, so what did he do? He climbed a sycamore tree to see what he could see. All right. The bear went over the mountain and Zacchaeus went up the sycamore tree to see what he could see. 11 And so Jesus calls him and says, “Zacchaeus, you’re blessed. I’m going to eat at your house today.” And so Zacchaeus throws this party, and Zacchaeus at that moment, this rich man, he says in Luke 19, Jesus, you have privileged me this morning for meeting with me. Please let it be known I am going to sell all I have; I’m going to pay back everyone that I stole from; and if anyone can find out that I stole from them, I’m going to pay them four times what I took. He is divesting himself why? Because he realized, I have to hold on to the kingdom. So here’s my invitation for you; this is my invitation for you. It is nice to say and it is nice to think, all right, store up treasures in heaven. That’s a nice thought, a nice thought. But now I’m going to ask you to actually go do that. Divest yourself here and invest yourself there. It’s a good investment, a good investment. Martha Stewart went to prison for this kind of insider trading. This is a sure investment. You invest yourself in God’s ways, which might not cost you anything, it might cost you a whole lot. I’m going to invest myself in God’s kingdom because I know for certain that day is coming. His return is sure, and he will reward me and say to me, “Well done, you good and faithful servant. Enter the joy of your master.” Why? Because I chose to invest there. Now, I don’t know what this is going to look like for 12 you; I don’t know what this is going to look like in your budget; I don’t know what this is going to look like for your family. But I know following the blessing and the woe is a real wake-up call to me because everyone in this room is in the woe category. We are rich. Of all of this world we are richer than 90 percent, you in that pew are richer than 90 percent of this world. Ninety percent. Ninety percent of 7 billion people. Is Jesus saying to you, Woe to you who are rich; you’ve already received all you’re going to receive? Let’s move on because that’s uncomfortable. Where are you going to invest? What does that look like in your family to invest in God’s kingdom? Maybe that means time, maybe that means heart, maybe that means money. How are you going to invest in God’s kingdom? Now, I’m not looking for a bump in the offering next week. Give to Board of Missions, give to Church Extension, give to cancer, you know, American Cancer Society, give to Allentown Rescue Mission. Just I don’t need all I have; what I need is to join Christ in — he left his throne, became poor for us, and I am going to join him, becoming poor to help others. Whatever that looks like for you. On the connection card, “I will sacrifice my net wealth to invest in the kingdom of God.” What does that look like for you? I’m not giving you a figure; I’m not giving you an amount; I’m not giving you a percent. I’m giving you an 13 invitation to receive more consolation when he returns. Do you want “well done, good and faithful servant” when he returns? Then there must be some sort of investment. Store up for yourself treasures in heaven. Let’s move on because that’s hard. That’s hard. No. 2 in verse 21, “Blessed are you who are hungry now; you shall be satisfied.” And it’s woe in verse 25, “Woe to you who are full now; you shall be hungry.” I want you to just in your heart say yes or no. You don’t need to raise any hands, you don’t need to say it out loud. When was the last time that you were hungry? CONGREGATION: Four hours ago. PASTOR SCHMOYER: And then you broke your fast. All right. When was the last time you were hungry? When was the last time you could pray with a straight face, “give us this day our daily bread”? You never needed to wait upon God to give you your daily bread. We sing, “All I have needed my hand — your hand has provided.” See, I even did it myself, right? We think we provide for ourself? I know we sing “All I have needed your hand has provided, great is your faithfulness.” And I just look in my pantry, I look in my fridge. My wife was away for a whole week, right? She went down to Texas to be with one of her close friends, and before she left — now, I have four kids in school. She got all these 14 paper bags, 20 paper bags, you know, lunch bags, and packed 20 meals for the kids; and it said Nathaniel Monday, Nathaniel Tuesday, Nathaniel Wednesday. Bam, boom, bam, boom. And I’m just like, there’s not been a moment when I could ever — since I left my parents’ house, there has never been a moment when I needed daily bread. And we laugh on Youtube when it snows and the guy on the video, I got to get the bread and milk. Who needs bread and milk, why do you need bread and milk? The streets are cleaned in an hour, and you go out and you get more bread and milk. What does it matter? When have you ever prayed give us this day our daily bread? And if you can’t ever pray that with a straight face, we’re on the woe side of this, friend. And so let us receive the warning. This isn’t a yelling; this isn’t a chastisement; this isn’t a judgment; this isn’t damnation. This is a warning. If I’m hoarding for myself while I see others in need, while I’m always fed and there’s someone that lacks and I have opportunity to join Christ in leaving my position of provision, the throne room and to come down and to humble myself and to help someone next to me and I’m investing in God’s kingdom and joining Christ in doing that, woe to you who are full now; you will be hungry. There is one meal that I’m looking forward to, and it’s 15 not lunch; although lunch would be nice, and if the pastor would wrap these things up we could get to lunch. There’s one meal I’m looking forward to, friends, and that’s the wedding feast of the lamb. I want to eat there. I don’t want to eat lunch, I don’t want to eat supper — I will, and I’ll be at the Superbowl party and I’m going to have some Doritos, so bring some so I can have some. Such a provision, you know, we’re so well-provided for, it’s hard for us to be thankful, it’s hard for us to tender our gratitude because we’re so well-provided for. And Jesus says if you are full now, there will come a time when you’re hungry. And friends, I want to provide for others. I’ll gladly be hungry to help someone else if it means I’m storing up treasures in heaven and I’m going to sit at that wedding feast. Jesus talks about another meal in the book of Revelation. He says in the middle of my garden of my city, New Jerusalem, there’s a tree, and on that tree there are 12 kinds of fruit bearing their fruit in every season. And so I go in April and I get an apple, and I go in May and I get a banana, and I go in June and I get an apricot, and I go in December and I get some dates. And I know Jesus said that we’re going to be like the angels, not given or taken in marriage, but I’m going to grab a date from that — that’s a stupid pun. I’m going to grab a date from the tree, I’m 16 going to eat that fruit every season, the tree of life. I want to eat at the wedding feast, I want to eat from that tree, and anything else is icing on the cake. Is that what Jesus is talking about here? I think so; I think so. And so it begins to fester in my mind, how am I helping others, how am I caring for those who are hungry? He says if you give a cup of cold water in my name, right, you’ll be blessed. He says if you’ve fed those who are hungry and clothed those that were naked and visited those who were in prison for my name, you will be honored. And I guess I just wonder what are we doing, how are we stepping it up to help somebody else, or are we just living for ourselves? That’s what these four things are about: Am I going to live for myself or am I going to live like Jesus to benefit others? And so your second connection point really engages how am I helping others, how am I feeding the hungry? And it says, “I will involve my time and my resource in meeting benevolent needs with the gospel.” You see, Jesus doesn’t say feed someone. He says give someone a cup of cold water in my name, right? “If you did it to the least of my brothers, you did it to me.” So there’s spiritual stuff going on along with the physical stuff. It’s not about hunger and provision; it’s about helping people and bringing the good news to them. Jesus, yes, healed the sick, he provided their physical 17 need; but he did it with the message of faith and belief, and God then turned to him. And so we need to join him in using our time and resource to meet people’s needs. If you’re thinking about this, I have two opportunities for you. One is ongoing and one is kind of periodic. The first is Luke’s Closet. This is our benevolent ministry at our sister church Northern Lehigh, and last Saturday in their distribution of clothing and food they distributed to 35 families. And so this ministry is just taking off, and we’re going to need to fuel. And so all you wives are going to be talking to your husbands, I need to go shopping. And he’ll say, well, don’t you have enough clothes? No. I gave them to Luke’s Closet, so now I need to go shopping. Right? So blessed are you who lack. You’ll be provided for because you’re going to get more clothes by giving to Luke’s Closet. And all the husbands are saying, don’t get any ideas. If you have clothing, if you have food, if you want to divest yourself, give to Luke’s Closet. There’s a table in fellowship hall where we can periodically just take that and give that and help others as Jesus helped us. There’s another seasonal way that you can participate in helping benevolent need. Churches across Whitehall and Coplay are joining together to feed the hungry, and there’s this monthly meal throughout the whole year where we are 18 providing four meals throughout the year; March and it just goes on every three months. But our first one is in March, and I want to have you consider can you help. Just sit down and talk to someone across the table, catch up with them, find out what the needs are and, like Jesus, bring spiritual matters up with them. Or maybe you’re not quite the talker, but you’re a helper, you’re a servant, and serving in the kitchen or clearing tables or just being there to provide refills of water and food. And so think about that. See Don Skekel if you have any questions. Don, would you just slip up your hand. If you don’t know Don, there’s Don. He’s in charge of this ministry. It’s called The Hunger Initiative. Blessed are you when you’re hungry; you will be satisfied. Let’s move on to No. 3. It says in verse 21, “Blessed are you who weep now.” Is Jesus against laughter? Is this what I’m hearing? “Woe to you who laugh now,” verse 25 says, “Woe to you who laugh now.” Is Jesus against laughter? Shall we revert to our stoicism and our sternness and seriousness? I’m trying to think of a funny joke, but I don’t have one. Is Jesus against laughter? No. What he is against is a life lived for the next experience. Just like the life lived for the next meal, just like the life lived for the next dollar, the life lived for the next experience. And so you’re planning out your next trip; where are 19 you going on vacation? You’re living for the next party; when are we going to get together and rambunctiously have a great time together? And just thinking of the next big fun experience, the next movie that you’re going to go watch, the next book that you’re going to enjoy; the next, the next, the next, the next and you’re hopping from one thing to the next. And Jesus wants to just quiet you down. Let’s stop living for the next thing and let’s start valuing Jesus; let’s start honoring him; let’s start just communing and abiding and resting with him. And sure, there are going to be fun times that come along. There is a great adventure called the Christian life, and Jesus brings along wonderful, beautiful things throughout our lives, things that we should enjoy. But am I living for them or am I living for him? See, that’s the contrast. It’s not really about weeping and laughing, it’s about living for the next experience or living for the Lord. I’d ask you to just think about this. Go to John chapter 16 and verse 20. This is where we’re going to turn to some scriptures. I’ve got a bunch on this laughter and enjoyment business. John 16 verse 20. Listen to what he says. “Truly, truly I say to you, you will weep, you will lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy.” 20 Do you understand what Jesus is saying? He’s preparing the disciples for his crucifixion. And by contrast today then, he’s also preaching to us, there will come the time of suffering, there will come the time of persecution, there will come the time when the world is laughing and while you are weeping. There will come that time when the world rejoices that Christianity looks like it’s on the demise. And friends, Christianity is on the rise. Maybe not in the western world, but in the 10/40 window, in the eastern world Christianity has grown by gangbusters. From 1950 till 1980 there was less than .1 percent of the Chinese population was Christian. Today 10 percent of a billion people are Christian in China, and they’re faith-filled, they’re energetic. They’re not like these Christians in the West that don’t really take anything to heart. They’re living for the Lord, they’re sacrificing for him. And friends, we need to join in that type of lifestyle. There will come the time when you will weep, but notice the end of 20. “But your sorrow will turn to joy.” That Jesus will take you home; “enter the joy of your Master.” And no matter how long the season of sorrow lasts now, no matter how long the pain lasts now, friends, it is nothing compared to eternity, which lasts how long? Forever. What happens when forever ends? Then it will last forever after that, right? Jesus promises that kind of life. 21 Go also to I Timothy. This is where it gets really fun, this contrast here. In I Timothy 4:4, and then we’ll go to chapter 6 after that. I Timothy chapter 4 verse 4. So that was Jesus talking. Now here is Paul talking to Timothy talking to us today. I Timothy 4:4. If you can’t turn there, just write it down. Listen to it. “Everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thankfulness, for it is made holy by the word of God and by prayer.” What is Paul telling us? God made this world for us to enjoy. So Jesus is clearly not saying we should never take joy in anything. When he says “blessed are you who weep,” he is not saying live a lifestyle of weepiness. He is saying if you should weep or if you should laugh, it matters not; what matters is eternity. That’s what Jesus is saying. Because he wouldn’t contradict Paul, and Paul wouldn’t contradict Jesus. All of scripture works in harmony, it dovetails together. And what is Paul saying? God made everything for our enjoyment if we receive it thankfully. It is not about the stuff; it’s about honoring the God who provided. Or even when he doesn’t provide, to thank him that my name is written in the Lamb’s book of life. Now go to the sixth chapter of the same book, 1 Timothy 6 and verse 17. This speaks to us, the 10 percent of the 22 world, right? We’re richer than 90 percent of the world. Listen to what Paul says here. “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be proud or not to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but to set their hopes on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.” And so again he’s talking about being satisfied, not hopping from pleasure to pleasure, being filled by the next period of enjoyment. He’s not saying that. He’s saying when I take joy, take joy and thank God for it; but not hold on to the thing, hold on to the God that provided the thing. And even if God didn’t provide the thing, I’m going to hold on to God because my satisfaction is in God, not in the things that God provides. John Piper put it this way. If you enter heaven and all the things he promised are there: the streets of gold, the mansions on the hilltop, the lion lying down with the lamb, the tree of life in the midst of the garden; if everything is there and God is not there, would you be happy in heaven? But we live in this world a bit like the answer is yes. Friends, let us not be happy there and let us not be happy here unless God is right with us. Now, he promises to be, but it’s us that are a bit frantic, a bit scattered, a bit running to this, that, and the other thing. While I’m juggling all the balls God is saying, why don’t you let me have those and you just hold on 23 to me? That’s what this sermon is all about. And so I’d invite you to take out your connection card. Just keep thinking about weeping now, experiencing joy now. Am I living for now, am I living for then? And the connection card puts it this way, the third check box: “I will live my life with my Lord and not pursue experience after experience to fill me up.” I would invite you to think about it this way. Are you going to let God refill you or are you going to let the next fun experience fill you? I’ll guarantee you, you’ll get farther running on God’s power than on the power of experiences. We’ll wrap it up, point No. 4. Go back to Luke, Luke chapter 6 verses 22 and 23. “Blessed are you when people hate you.” Well, that’s true, right? Blessed means happy, so let me put it that way instead of blessed. Happy are you who everyone hates. When everyone hates you, you’re happy, right? I just love when people hate my guts. That just fills me up. And then I go back to point No. 3. I shouldn’t be filled with that experience; I should be filled with the Lord. Are you happy when you’re hated? Notice, you’re not blessed if you’re hated because you’re an idiot or you’re not blessed if you’re hated because you treat people meanly and so they hate you. Why do people hate you in verse 22? 24 When they hate you, when they exclude you, when they revile you, when they spurn your name as evil . . . why? On account of the Son of Man. And so people don’t hate me because I curse them; people don’t hate me because I’m mean to them; people don’t hate me because I’m a curmudgeon; people don’t hate me because I’m an Ebenezer Scrooge. The text says you’re blessed when people hate you on account of Jesus’ name. Now, no one hates you, no one hates me because we don’t live with Jesus’ name on our lips every moment of every day. That’s not how the average Christian lives. And Jesus is calling you away from average towards blessedness. You will receive great reward if people hate you all because you name the name of Jesus. If you have the chutzpah to actually refrain from your meal at the restaurant and you pray, oh, Father, thank you so much for this meal; would you teach us to be more thankful? You are a good God, and we pray this in Jesus’ name. And the person from the booth next to you leans over and says, I hate you. Now, they don’t do that, do they? But they think it and you’re embarrassed to do it, right? Or we’ll do what’s safe. We’ll just bow our head and we’ll pray in our heart. God doesn’t want us doing that. He wants us boldly naming his name. He wants us speaking up for him. He wants us challenging the norm and inviting 25 people to a lifestyle of love; a love from God, a love towards God. And people need him and we need to speak up for him, and we will be blessed if people ridicule us and hate us if we name the name of Jesus well. He is not saying you’re blessed if you hammer your thumb and say Jesus’ name. Right? He’s saying you’re blessed when you use Jesus’ name in its proper way with the power of the good news. Rather “Woe (verse 26) when people speak well of you.” Well, that’s what we live for, right? We want a good name, we want people to respect us, we want honor given to us, and so we’ll do things necessary for people to honor us. And Jesus is saying don’t live that way. Live for my name, and by the way, it will cause you pain, but I will bless you. In fact look at how he ends it out, and we’ll wrap it up in 23. This is the middle sandwich. One might say this is the focal point of all of the points in the whole message of Jesus from 20 to 26; 23 is the middle. He says, “Rejoice in that day, leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven.” And so the invitation is to ask every soul in the room, what are you living for? What are you striving for? What are you investing in? Do you care about heaven or do you care about what happens next? Friends, there is a greater next to be had and it will never end, so play for that 26 kingdom, live for his honor. And in this life if you’re hungry, no big deal. If you’re poor, no sweat. If it causes you to weep, oh, well. And if people hate your guts, praise the Lord because I’m going to heaven; and this life was so short, who cared about it anyway? Where are you investing? Your reward, that’s the investing part of it, your reward will be great in heaven. Let me take you to one place where this happened in scripture, and it happened throughout, but I just want to take you to one place. In the book of Acts chapter 5. This is two books after Luke; Luke, John, Acts. Let’s go to chapter 5 of Acts and verse 41. Verse 40. The apostles are on trial, Peter and John I believe. And verse 40, “When they had called in the apostles, they beat them, they charged them to no longer speak in the name of Jesus, and then they let them go. Then the apostles left the presence of the council” — and a ridiculous word, a word of “confuddlement” and “confuslement” and all sorts of “ridonculous” kind of expression. What does it say? After they were beaten and instructed to no longer speak in Jesus’ name, they went out of the council, and what’s the word I’m looking for here? CONGREGATION: Rejoicing. PASTOR SCHMOYER: They went out rejoicing. Now, that doesn’t make any sense. You just got the living daylights 27 knocked out of you, beaten, and you go out rejoicing? And what does it say? Rejoicing. They went out “rejoicing because they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for Jesus’ name.” I don’t live that way. I wouldn’t leap. Jesus says to leap with joy. When people hate me leap? Joy? That’s failure. But the apostles lived like that was success. That we are so honored that we could face shame for saying the name of Jesus? God, that you would let us, that we’re so worthy to be beaten? We’re not worthy; we’re nothing. And you’d let us get beaten for you? Thank you. This is the expression of the apostles, this is the teaching of Christian truth. And if we’re going to live like Christ, then we’re going to need to learn how to leap when we get beaten; to praise the Lord when we’re lined up on the beach with a man with a black mask ready to shoot you in the head, and I will say with my dying breath, “Jesus is the Lord.” Pow. To leap with joy for that? That’s failure in the world’s eyes. See, Jesus is calling us to a new way of life. He’s inviting us to live differently; he’s inviting us to say, I’m investing in the kingdom, I don’t care what happens here. I want as many people to know Jesus as possible; I don’t care what happens to me; and if I get the snot knocked out of me, thank the Lord that I would be so worthy to name 28 him and that people would know that I named him. See, that’s the key. How many people know that you name him? We could count on one hand perhaps, perhaps. Jesus is saying no. Let all the fingers and toes in the whole world be the number of people that know you know Jesus. Let’s wrap it up with the connection point on your connection card. “I will stop worrying about the fallout,” and that’s what a lot of us are paused by, the fallout. “I will stop worrying about the fallout, but I will boldly own the name of my Lord through all of my relationships.” What is that relationship that you’re most scared that they would find out you follow Jesus, I’m most scared that this person would find out I follow Jesus? And get to it, giddy-up. He was so glad to connect with you; he died your death, he was punished on your behalf. We’re about to come to the table, and I just want to invite you to think, am I that excited about connecting with him that I would give up my life, that I would give up my comfort, that I would give up my money, that I would give up my food, that I would give up all my experiences to connect with him and to be found in him. Not having a righteousness of my own but a righteousness that comes through faith in the Son of God who loved me and died for me, and I am connecting with him and I’m recusing everything that I used to honor, everything I used to treasure. It’s gone, it’s rubbish, it’s refuse. I 29 want him. That’s what Jesus is inviting you to do. In which of these four ways do you need to give up? You cannot serve God and mammon, so which of these four is your God? I want to have him as my God. Amen? Let’s pray. God, we love you. We need to love you more, and we confess it. We need to come to this table ready, anxious, excited to commune with you, to connect with you, not just in the element but indeed in life. In the weekday we need to connect with you more wholeheartedly. Help us to do it. My friends, I pray for them. I pray that with these four takeaway decision points there would be something, there would be something that they resonate with; I need to surrender this mammon because I want God. Maybe it’s wealth; maybe it’s food; maybe it’s experiences of joy; maybe it’s a good honored name. I surrender it all because I want you, I want to be found in you, and, Lord, help us in this. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.