Just Jesus and Me?

Just Jesus and Me?

John 17:13-23 (New International Version)

(13) “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. (14) I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. (15) My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. (16)They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. (17) Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. (18) As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. (19) For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

(20)”My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, (21)that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (22)I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

When I first came back to the faith I came back after a very tough time for my family. But for me personally Jesus had come to me at the lowest point in my existence and pulled me out of a horrible storm. When I had sailed my ship as far from Him as possible and had declared that I did not need His Church to live my life.

And still when the storm reached its worst… He turned on the light in the light house for me.

I loved Jesus with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength. I owed Him everything.

There is an old gospel song that is titled, “On the Jericho road.” Part of the chorus says:

“On the Jericho road

There’s room for just two

No more or no less

Just Jesus and you.”

You know a lot of people love that song, but it never dawned on me as one freshly returned to Jesus side that it was really strange. It was my experience. But the whole idea of “room for just two” doesn’t fit with the Jesus message.

You see my relationship with Jesus to this point had been just that, a relationship with Jesus.  My relationship with Jesus had little or nothing to do with other people. So for me it was “Just Jesus and me”.

Don’t get me wrong…

I am not saying that a personal relationship with Jesus is wrong. In fact, it is vital to your faith. You have to know that God in the person of Jesus Christ has laid the way for your salvation. That God in the form of the Holy Spirit is with you everyday in a more personal way than you would possibly imagine.

But what I learned few years into my personal journey with God was that this walk is not meant to be one that is walked alone.

This is not some eastern meditation where I am trying to disappear into my own personal nothingness.

To quote Paul, we are all members of the body of Christ.

 

Romans 12:5

In Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

During a retreat in my second year back in the Body of Christ I was awakened to the fact that Jesus life was very much about community. In this body of believers I realized the power of hearing the experiences and trials of others. I grew to see that my faith without others could only grow so far and it would most likely never grow the Kingdom of God by more than one.

To see Jesus as this traveling philosopher who lived a life of delivering true knowledge in solitude is to miss Him all together. He was always in community. We grow in community.

A major part of this biblical call to holiness is that God calls his church to be holy.

God is not only calling you to be holy, he is calling us, together to be holy.

But for so many of us we think about our walk with Jesus we think mostly in terms of a personal and sometimes even a private journey.

As the song says: “There’s room for just two.

No more and no less, just Jesus and you.”

That individual mindset has some disturbing consequences. For example, there is in today’s church a common lack of intimacy among God’s people.

We who speak of ourselves as brothers and sisters in Christ are, in fact, often not that close. Paradoxically, Christians are some of the loneliest people in America.

As a culture Americans have become so entrenched in our personal rights and our personal self that we think of it as the cure to what ails us.

·       Self Help Books

·       The Me Generation

·       IM

·       Facebook

·       Cell phones

·       Instant messaging

 

People leave churches every week saying “My needs just weren’t being met” and “I’m just not being fed”, as if that’s the main issue in being part of a church.

 

There are a ton of personal choices in faith.

·       “I” come to Christ,

·       “I” get saved,

·       “I” repent,

·       “I” reorder my life,

·       “I” surrender all

·       “I” will work out my own salvation

But if we are not careful this behavior can become the only way we express our faith. It certainly impacts the way we think about and express the doctrine of holiness.

“I can fix me… But he’s a mess”

“He’s Got Cooties!” (See video below for fun)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SR42qGEWhWg

First off, you can’t fix anyone. Especially you. But if we listen to Jesus we find Holiness has as much to do with the way we impact our world as it does with how we impact our own faith.

Last week we said, “Yes we can” be what we were created to be. We can be perfect (TELOS) or we can “fulfill the purpose we were created for”. But do you remember what we found that purpose was.

Matthew 22: 37 and 39

“Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength. And love your neighbor as yourself”

You see your relationship with Jesus is most definitely personal, but it IS NOT private. Jesus makes this clear.

In John 17 Jesus paint a picture of this Holy walk.

Jesus begins praying for himself. His relationship with the Father is personal.

Jesus very quickly moves his prayer to the relationship that he and his Father desire with all of us who would believe.

He prays for is that we would be holy. He prays, “Sanctify them by the truth” (verse 17).

Last week we talked about what being sanctified means.

It means we are set apart, we are given a new and special identity and mission. It means we no longer live by the values and priorities of this world.

But not just you or me. All of us.

“Them” “they” “them”

He says it again and again.

He “…sent them into the world.” (Verse 18)

“They are not of the world any more than I am of the world.”

And yet by his sanctifying grace we are to live in this world as His distinctive people.

“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.”

He sees us as more than a club that meets on Sunday, but more as a people set aside to join with Him in a purposeful journey.

Stevie Wonder says in a song called “As”

“make sure when you say you’re in it but not of it

You’re not helping to make this earth a place sometimes called Hell

Change your words into truths and then change that truth into Love

And maybe our children’s grandchildren

And their great-great grandchildren will tell”

 

You see when the Body of Christ can work together as one we can impact the way real physical things occur. If we will stand aside and watch or if we work as individuals then we are really helping to make the Hell that can be here on earth.

If we will work together then we can impact real lives in real ways.

Jesus said, “I sanctify myself (I set myself apart for a holy purpose – the cross)”

 

 that they (we, us) too may be truly sanctified (set apart for a holy purpose).

Being sanctified Holy is not a lonely journey, but is being set apart as part of a whole body.  The Body of Christ, Part of God.

“May they . . . Be one as we are one” (John 17:21-22).

Do you grasp what that means?

If you accept the challenge of asking Jesus Christ to make you Holy, you are accepting the challenge of being a part of something greater than you could ever achieve alone. You are becoming a part of a living breathing body of faith.

But what does that look like? How do we live that life as one body?

“Pastor, if you’re gonna be part of my body you need to get in better shape.” 

 

Well here are four different ways that we as a body can move together:

·       Worship

·       Forgiveness

·       Unity

·       Service

Why are we here today?  WORSHIP

“Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength”

Corporate worship is much more that a personal event. There is personal worship involved, of course, but this worship service is about the Body of Christ making sure that God knows we are in Him. But it is also about helping others to see in a public way that we belong to the most High God and we believe He deserves our attention as a whole body.

Note: How many here have been Baptized? Public show of a private decision. You need to do it.

When worship becomes about us and about our personal need then it ceases to be worship. It becomes an event we attend.

If we worry about if the angle of our arms is right when we raise them to God then we are not worshiping God. We are worshiping our worship.

Let Go and Love God

All of us standing together and giving God our undivided attention, lavishing Him with Love, and singing TO HIM is worship.

Of course that means worshiping as comes naturally to you. The heart beats and does not concern itself with the stomach. But together they move to support the body.

For this reason no matter what we do it must be directed through the Word of God, it must be about the business of God, and it must include Him.

The second way to be a holy church has to do with Christian forgiveness.

If we are to be perfect then we cannot stay broken in battle with each other. We must forgive.

Humans fail. This human fails.

But we must be about the business of God’s work and that cannot include carrying a burden of un-forgiven moments between us.

We must extend grace, mercy, and forgiveness to one another.

 

A grudge is a cancer to the Body of Christ.

The third way to corporate holiness is through a spirit of unity.

Christian unity is the indisputable sign that the people of God have surrendered their own interests to the kingdom interest of serving God and neighbor.

Acts 2:42-47

“42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

It’s a unity of Spirit that says, “Even though we are so different from one another, and even though we have different ideas and different practices and different lifestyles – we belong to each other and we need each other.

Pentecost was a multicultural event.

Through this type of Love Satan is disempowered.

The fourth way to corporate holiness is through service.

When people look at our body do they see us as a vibrant moving healthy body or are we couch potatoes?

 

In Matthew 24 Jesus tells us that he will recognize His body by the way it moves.

Does it

…feed and clothe the poor?

…give water to the thirsty?

…visit the imprisoned?

…give its life so that other may taste freedom?

If not, it isn’t His body.

So how are we doing?

Are we the kind of church where the spirit of Christ can move and work and cleanse and transform so that somehow in our corporate life we become an answer to Jesus’ prayer?

Are we worshiping God or meeting a personal need? Hopefully both!

Are we letting the body heal or like an 8 year old child are we picking the scab off of those old wounds to keep them bleeding?

Do we prefer each other’s company over being apart?

Are we remembering our whole reason for being together is to worship God and to get as many other people introduced to Him as possible in our life time.

Are we serving the broken and the lost?

If you believe you are walking on the road to Jericho (the Road to Jesus) and you find yourself alone then you must be taking the wrong road. This is not to be a lonely road.

Come join us Saturday and see what I mean.

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About toddcbrown

The body of Christ will never grow if the Pastor is the one using his gifts to MAKE IT grow through some cool program or inspiring turn of a phrase.
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