Profiles in Courage: The Courage to Sell Out

Sermon Summary: Sitting in church one day, I wondered how I could improve retaining and acting upon the sermons our minster preaches. I decided that I could summarize them here which would help me remember them and create a log of them. Hopefully, I will be able to do this weekly (baring traveling, sickness, or bad weather) so that I can do a better job at intentionally living.

Our main pastor had gone to Sierra Leone for two weeks for mission work with our church and, thus, hasn't been giving the weekly sermons. We did go to church these weeks, but I wasn't nearly as inspired so I didn't post the summaries online.

Yesterday was the beginning of a new series that will last through Lent. It was based on Luke 18:18-34, and the sermon was Long. Amazingly, I was still able to pay attention the whole time!!!!

Luke 18: 18-34 is the passage where the man asks Jesus how to achieve eternal life. Jesus lists a few of the commandments to which the man tells Jesus he's already been following. Jesus tells the man that the one thing he's lacking for eternal life is to sell everything he has and then follow Jesus. According to our pastor, only 13 people in the Bible were asked to follow Jesus so it's a pretty big deal. Unfortunately, the man walked away sad.

1. Contrast of Courage:
Aristotle said that courage is a virtue central to almost all other virtues. For example, to be honest (have honesty as a virtue) one must have courage to act honestly. You can't have faith without courage because you'd only be "mamby-pamby" in your religious life. To have a transformational religious life, you'd need courage to hand everything over to God.

Our minister drew a little diagram:  
Rash Decision Making <--------- Courage ---------> coward, inactivity

The man asking Jesus about eternal life walked away sad. There were no follow-up questions. No reports of thinking it over. Just walking away. He made a rash decision to maintain his status quo. Courage takes time, thought, energy. It often requires you to challenge your own security to buck your status-quo. The important thing to remember is the Jesus will always ask you to do the thing that blesses you most.

2. Contrast of their view of God:
Jesus' view of God: God seeks out the lost to give them love, grace, and mercy. When God finds you, there is a celebration of finding and saving you.

The man's view of God was that he was trying to encumber God. His approach was to check off his list that he had followed all the rules and guidelines to get into Heaven so that, when he reached the gates of Heaven, God would have to let him into it. He didn't have full confidence in God's love.

3. Contrast in how they lived there lives:
Jesus lived his life "on earth as it is in heaven."

The man kept all the laws of God but he didn't have that Lordship. His life couldn't transform because he didn't have the courage to sell-out and do what Jesus asked him to do.

To close out the sermon, our pastor took some time to talk about his visit to Africa. I'm not going to summarize this section of the sermon other than to say what I took away:

1. Our increase in economic wealth, regardless how big, increases our need for security. This increased need in security is DESPITE that we are more secure then we've ever been and more secure than most people of the world. Additionally, this increased need for security pushes us to maintain the status quo which decreases our religious transformations.

2. God only calls us to do things that are blessings. That little voice you sometimes hear telling you to do something is sometimes ignored because we don't have the courage to do it. We're fearful of what the big effect will be from it. And while that fear is okay, the inactivity it creates is not okay.

3. We live in a culture of planning, of feeling that we need to figure where we'll be in five years and make the appropriate professional and financial decisions to arrive in that place. In my youth, I was much more open to living life in a way that had me asking myself "How did I get here?" Of course, I could look back and see the decisions that were made to get me there, but I didn't have them planned out ahead of time. I'd like to put more trust in God's planning abilities and less in my own so that I can once again be awed at how I got somewhere in life.

1 comment:

DandW said...

Our humanness gets in the way. For me, when I truly give my concerns to the Lord my heart is lightened. That doesn't mean I stop caring and doing and just wait for the outcome; it means I can proceed with a clearer mind. God expects me to participate in this life while I trust in His ultimate wisdom and plan. It's a team approach for me.
Your postings are good reminders for my daily walk. Thanks.