Life Verse! - “Let His Word direct your life!”
Jesus - For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.
Did you hear that Jesus got hit by a car? No kidding!
“Last May a 50 year old man named Lord Jesus Christ III from Belchertown, Massachusetts was struck by a car driven by Brittany Cantarella who was on her way home from college. She told the police officer, “he appeared out of nowhere.” That kind of sounds like Jesus. Police Captain Scott Savino confirmed that the man’s name was indeed Lord Jesus Christ III. Savino has been a cop for 24 years and said “we probably won’t see something like this for another 24 years.” Brittany was fine until she learned who she hit. Her Mom said, “it really upset her.” And by the way - Jesus was treated for minor facial injuries and was released.[i]
I don’t know his real name. I just know it took two judges to legally change his name.[ii] And I’m really curious. Why would a person want to do this? Honestly, wouldn’t that create allot of pressure? “Hey, Jesus, can you walk on water? Actually Jesus, can you just do something easy like – get rid of this hot weather?” Can you imagine getting hired somewhere? “Do you want us to call you Mr. Christ or would Lord be sufficient?” I wouldn’t want that name. Some names are hard to live up too. Now Lord Jesus Christ III may have the name – but he’s not Jesus. There’s no one quite like Jesus. Let me show you! Turn in your Bibles to Acts 13:23. Do you need a Bible today? Just raise your hand – it’s our gift to you!
Have you been able to determine your life verse? Let
me give you a few examples: Bob McKenzie said James 1:27: Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. Gwen Throndson said, Philippians 1:21: For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Karen Gray said, James 1:26: If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Erin Maxwell said, Haggai 2:5: …Do not fear. Mark Schwartz said, Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. All these verses make great life verses because they direct a person’s life. The Apostle Paul helps us also consider three other life verses. Let’s read again a little more of Paul’s sermon in Acts 13. Find verse 16. (16-20) Samuel’s life verse is 1 Samuel 3:10: "Speak, for your servant is listening." That’s what Samuel did the rest of his life. He listened to God speak and then he told the people what God said. Let’s keep reading in Acts 13: 21-22! David had a heart for God. His life verse was 1 Samuel 17:47: “…for the battle is the Lord's!” The battle confronting David was Goliath himself. Will I trust God to use me to beat him? NOW EVERYTHING PAUL HAS SAID TO THIS POINT COMES DOWN TO VERSE 23. The reason he brings up David in particular is to transition right into Jesus. Find verse 23. (26-33a)
I don’t want to burst your bubble or anything but the following TV shows are not coming back this fall. If you don’t believe me just check www.tvguide.com. In no particular order these shows are history: FlashForward, Happy Town, Ugly Betty, Cold Case, Ghost Whisperer, Numb3rs, Heroes, Law & Order, Trauma, Melrose Place, and Saving Grace.[iii] Now there are several new shows debuting in September one called “No Ordinary Family.” (Clip) Seems like a pretty interesting show. But that’s it – it’s a show. Jesus however is no ordinary person. Jesus had special abilities. He could walk on water, reattach severed ears, make blind people see and deaf people hear. He told the wind and the waves to sit down and shut up! He touched a casket and raised a dead boy back to life. I’m going to do a series one day called, “that’s just plain freaky!” And may I say with all due respect that who is called the Christ is just plain freaky. Yes, Jesus had a body – but Jesus is GOD and the Apostle Paul spends the rest of his sermon showing (anyone who would listen) just how unordinary Jesus really is. In verse 23 he tells us that Jesus is a descendant of David! Well, Greg, why is that such a big deal? Because it’s fulfilled prophecy. Prophecy? What’s you talking about Willis? A prophecy is “a prediction of something to come.”[iv] “It’s the future told in advance.”[v] Isaiah 7 tells us the Messiah will be born of a virgin. Isaiah 9 tells us the Messiah will be male. Isaiah 11 tells us the Messiah will come from the root of Jesse and Jesse was the father of David. Jesus is the fulfillment of all three prophecies. If someone says to you – Jesus is no big deal. He was just a good, moral teacher. Respond by saying, “Yeah, Michael Jordan was just an ordinary BB player/David Blaine is just an ordinary magician. “Did you know that Jesus alone fulfills some 67 messianic prophecies?[vi] He is the Messiah! And it only gets better. Paul tells us that Jesus came back to life! Drop down to verse (29)-30;32;36. A singing group called "The Resurrection" was scheduled to sing at a church. When a big snowstorm postponed the performance, the pastor fixed the outside sign to read, "The Resurrection is postponed." Jesus holds one record! He died but came back to life never to die again! Say it with me – that’s just plain freaky! But why did Jesus die? In verse 38 Paul tells us Jesus did not have an ordinary mission. (Read - 38) Are all your sins forgiven today? How do you receive forgiveness? Believe – put your faith in Jesus that he was no ordinary person! Communion helps me do that. It reminds me that Jesus’ mission was to die for me so I might receive his forgiveness! (Ushers would you help us experience communion - pray)
When I think of Jesus’ mission I’m reminded of what Jesus said in Luke 19. Find Luke 19. Luke 19 is - “Zacchaeus was a wee little man and a wee little man was he!” The truth is I think Zacchaeus looked like Danny Devito. The Bible says he was short, hated and loaded. He was the typical “sinner” in Jesus day! Zack can’t see Jesus so he climbs a tree to get a better view. Well, he gets more than he bargained for. Jesus finds him. Zacchaeus, you didn’t know this but I’m going to your house today. And do you know what happens? Zacchaeus realizes that Jesus is no ordinary person – find verse (9)-10. I believe that’s Jesus’ life verse. If Jesus had business cards – they would say, I came to seek and save what was lost! Now Jesus isn’t talking about luggage or a hit TV show. When he says lost – he means people! Go back four more chapters to Luke 15. Luke 15 is all about lost people. Jesus isn’t being insulting when he describes people as lost! Lost simply means “you don’t know where you are going!” My Bible has three headings. Lost sheep, lost coin, lost son, but all three are people. Some people are LIKE a lost sheep or LIKE a lost coin – they simply wander off or roll away and you can’t find them. So many people in this world just wander. They go from one relationship to another hoping to find that someone. They go from one religion to another hoping to find meaning. Jesus tells us that if sheep and coins are valuable – people should be considered invaluable and we should go look for them and not give up on them. Now other lost people are real sons and daughters. Jesus says they have lost their senses, have become deceived and are following selfish priorities. Just like Zacchaeus – it could be the desire to be "stinkin" wealthy. Or my marriage is less than fulfilling so I’m going on this fling for awhile. Or my job is all that matters to me – I am going to make my mark in this world. I am going to be the best of the best and if that leaves God out – so be it!
Maybe you’re lost today. You’re that black sheep that’s ornery. You’re that elusive coin that keeps rolling away – or that son or daughter who’s deceived into thinking life without God is better than life with God. Here’s what I love about Luke 15. The sheep is found, the coin is located and the son comes back home and God throws a “party” every time. Jesus’ life verse should be vitally important to this church. Jesus came to seek and save lost people. So should we. But let’s get our facts straight. Jesus is not in this world anymore. He died, resurrected and ascended into heaven. WE – the church – are JESUS to people in this world. Help people see the real Jesus – your life. I like Tim Tebow. I hope he does well playing football – except when he plays against the Browns. Tim Tebow said, “Unfortunately today there’s allot of role models, there just aren’t many good ones. My goal is to be one of those good role models.”[vii] Now what he means by role model – is simply point people to God. That’s what the Apostle Paul is doing in Acts 13. There’s a little brouhaha happening right now between a church and a strip club in Coshocton County. I am so tired of hearing about this. It’s in the Dispatch and on the news. The church, New Beginnings Ministries, started picketing the Foxhole strip club. So the club started picketing the church services. Women are standing outside the church in bikini’s – man if that happened here we might have the largest male attendance in history. Pastor Bill Dunfee said, “Tom George is a parasite, a man without judgment.” What does that even mean? He called the strippers – the KJ word for prostitute. I’ll let you figure that out. Can I give you one characteristic of lost people? They don’t know they’re lost. Tom George is loving all this publicity. He’s getting free publicity. The church is also getting publicity and it’s all bad. You probably heard that both sides met this week. But both plan to continue to picket each others locations. There has to be a better way and there is. There’s a church in Lexington, KY called Southland Christian Church. They started a ministry called Bruised Reeds. Nearly every Wednesday night for the past five years 3 to 4 women (accompanied by men as security) enter a strip club and feed these ladies. They eat a meal, talk with them, pray with them. The bouncers call these gals – the church ladies. They were asked why they do this. They said – “we go because Jesus went.”[viii] I believe with all my heart that you’ll lead more people to Jesus by showing them how to be forgiven rather than shouting at them that they are condemned. And you know what – just like Zacchaeus people at this strip club are coming to Jesus. Who do you need to pray for today? Who’s your lost sheep? Who’s your lost coin? Do you have a lost son or daughter? Come pray that they might see Jesus again!
The show stars Michael Chiklis and Julie Benz. They play, Jim and Stephanie Powell, an average couple who, along with their kids, develop some "super" abilities when a family vacation ends with a plane crash in the Amazon River.[ix] They chalk up their new abilities to “phosphorous in the water.”
[i] Conor Berry, Berkshire Eagle, May 8, 2010
[iv] Logos Bible Software, Prophecy
[vi] Word Search bible Software, Prophecy Concerning Messiah
[vii] Columbus Dispatch, Overheard, August 19, 2010
[viii] Christian Standard, Church Ladies spotted at the strip club, Jani Lewis, June 27, 2010