Advance God's Crazy Love

 

Crazy Love Series Sermon #3
~Advance Crazy Love ~
Tyson Graber, Herscher Christian Church
February 27, 2011
Matthew 19:16-22

I pray that at this point in today’s service you have seen that God has a love for you that is bigger than we can naturally comprehend.  He is pursuing each of us in an amazing and crazy way through the Love that we see in Christ and fellow Christians.  I realize that some of you are in places in your life where you might be doubting if God’s love is enough.   Let me assure you that is it is more than enough.  The Love that He has for us in Christ Jesus is more than enough to save you and keep you in an eternal relationship with Him. 

His love may seem crazy to many of you, it may seem to good to be true but let me share with you that this Crazy Love that God has for us is real ..., this love that He has for you is real.  I hope you are getting it, God loves you! 

So far this month, in this CRAZY LOVE series, God has encouraged each of us to ACCEPT IT, ANSWER IT, and today I believe each who know this love are also called to ADVANCE IT.  Our mission matters ..., and we are called to Advance God’s love to the world;  we are called to share it with all people everywhere.

Will you advance it?   As those who have been saved by His love through faith in Jesus, God has given us the purpose and privilege to share His  love in Jesus with others.  Yet, why do so many ‘so called’ Christians often sit back, and get comfortable in God’s love instead of continually sharing it with others?  Why have so many of us who have been saved by God’s love have never shared it with anyone? 

I believe it is simple.   Advancing it would take many of us out of our comfort zone.

The main character in our Bible text  today was faced with a similar choice:  “Do I stay comfortable in my current place or do I get Crazy and share God’s love in a radical way?”

Turn with me to Matthew 19:16-22

The Rich Young Ruler

To most it would seem that The Rich Young ruler had everything going for him. 

Yet, he realized after speaking to Jesus that he must still have been missing something.   But, what could it be. . .  “WHAT DO I STILL LACK?”

'Don’t you know who I am, I am rich, I am young, I am a ruler.  I have so much to offer your ministry Jesus, can’t you see and I am not doing anything wrong.  I am ready to be a part of your team,  Jesus!   “What do I still lack?”  What could I lack?  Come on, Jesus, can’t you see I have it all, I am the total package, I have things that will increase your ministry, and you know I am not doing anything wrong.'

Did you catch one of the Rich Young Ruler’s main hang ups?  This young man has become very confident and very proud, not only what he probably had, but even more than that, it seemed he was proud of what sin he didn’t have or what he was not doing wrong.

“Look at me, Jesus I don’t . . . . .”

Too often, we try so hard making sure we are not doing anything wrong that we don’t really ever take that time to do anything that is right.

So what happens, as individuals and as an entire church, is that we develop a very defensive approach to our faith when God has called us to go on the offensive for Him. 

News flash, our mission is not just to not sin, our mission is to spread the good news of Jesus Christ and to make disciples of all people everywhere.  We have been called to advance His love, not just protect it.  We have been called to do what is right, not to just avoid what is wrong.

Don’t get me wrong, we are to hate and confront sin.  That was a major component of the teachings of Christ, it will continue to be a priority in this church, but we are not called to only play defense as Christians!  We are called to go on the offense, and advance the Kingdom!

I love it when my boys make a decision not to do something they know is wrong, because it honors what they have been taught, and it honors their relationship with God.

I believe God feels much the same way when he sees us choose to not do something wrong.  But don’t tell me for a second that God’s highest purpose for your life and the life of this church family is to do nothing wrong. 

Keeping Out of Trouble produces little Good, but doing good will bring God’s Glory.

We must advance God’s love!  Will there be times when we choose to advance  God’s love when it feel uncomfortable?  Sure!   There is no growth in comfort.  We are called to do so much more than just play it safe and stay comfortable.

Some of you are thinking, “But, I can play it safe and really live a pure life that is safe and protect and never really face much temptation or hardship.  I feel good in that place!”  REALLY?

Does doing nothing wrong really advance that Kingdom that much?  I would suggest to you that once you are saved, once you have accepted Christ as your savior and you have had your sins washed away ..., the exact place Satan wants you to stay is where its safe, where you are comfortable, and where you are doing nothing that could ever lead more people to Christ.

But, if we are not careful, that is the way we begin to believe.  As long as we are not doing anything wrong, we have got it right.  RIGHT?  WRONG!

Let me suggest this.  It is often the sins of omission that grieves the heart of our father more than anything.  Those things we should have, would have, could have done, but never have done hurt the heart of our father.

James 4:17 

“Anyone who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”

Why does it hurt Him so much?  Because he sees in us our true amazing potential.  He knows the plans and purpose that He has for us ..., if we would just take the initiative and start to do something to advance His love. 

Hear me, God’s purpose for you is so much greater than for you to just not do anything wrong.

The rich young ruler said, “I have keep all of you commandments but what am I still missing?”  He was missing the holy rush of adrenaline that only comes when you are living your life by faith.

If we are going to do what is right, and not just stay comfortable, we are going to act on faith.  We will embark on things we aren’t capable of doing on our own.  We are going to be led to advance the Kingdom by doing things that many will consider crazy.

Now, I know that seems crazy to many of you, but that is what faith is all about.  Living that Spirit-filled life that leads you to advance God’s love no matter the cost or the risk is scary at times, but it is worth it.

There will be times it may seem impossible. but if you have been called to do something for God, and He is in it, you will complete it.

“What am I still lacking?”

READ Matthew 19:21

Really?  Give up everything?  Could Jesus really be asking a little too much?

Its all about perspective.  College students were asked two questions. . .  No correlation.

“How happy are you?” 
“How many dates in the past few months.”

Then the same questions were asked in the reverse order.
The results were radically different. Asking "How many dates" first gave a different perspective, a different focus to "How happy are you?"

Focus determines your reality.  

Its true.

Too often we focus on what Jesus is asking the young ruler to give up, and we fail to realize what  Jesus is putting on the table.

If we aren’t careful, our greatest assets will become our greatest liabilities.  If you aren’t ready to lay them down for God’s glory, your greatest strengths will get in the way.

I believe the bottom line with this passage is, the Rich Young Ruler and many Christians find their identity and worth is in something other than our relationship with Jesus Christ, and it kills their chance to really walk and work to Advance God’s love.

Jesus knew this about this young man.  So He went right to the point.  Jesus said, “Sell everything you own give it to the poor and follow me.”

What do you need to be ready to give up to really be ready to pursue a life that can advance God’s Crazy Love?  It often means doing something crazy ... like giving it all away

[Story of giving up dating]

One of the major considerations of someone starting out in ministry is....?  Yes, it's finding a suitable mate.  During my studies at Lincoln Christian College I had relationships with a few “possibles,” but the relationships were going nowhere.  Then, when I began my internship at Streator Christian Church, I had to agree not to form any personal relationships with anyone from the church during the contract.

When it was all said and done, at the moment I was willing to let my personal need and desire for a wife go, God blessed me with a love and a partner that empowers me to Advance His love so much more than I ever could on my own.

Who will do something crazy to advance God’s love?  Who is willing to step out to advance it?

[Caleb Carman proposal to Hannah Kruse with testimony of their focus on God as core to their relationship]

Your greatest asset will become your greatest liability if you don’t use it for God’s glory and advance His love through it. 

Here is a truth I have learned:   Anything less than living a spirit filled life that is advancing God’s love will end up being boring.

There is nothing more exciting than being able to say, “God, I am going to do whatever it is that you want me to do.”  That is awesome.

At times it seems crazy but it is exciting.  It can be scary, but it is worth it.

Can you imagine what it will be like to be in the Kingdom of Heaven with those you have shared God’s love with?  What an awesome feeling and reward!

Read Matthew 19:28-30    100 times as much plus eternal life!

But what about the man who holds onto what he is comfortable with?  What about the man who won’t let go of what seems important at the time? Jesus gives no hope for that man.  He says the one who was first will be last and the last will be first.

We really don’t know exactly what happens to this Rich Young Ruler.  The Bible says that we went away sad.  Even having everything, there is a point you realize you have nothing without God’s Crazy Love.

God desires so much more for us than to just play it safe.  He desire for you to be blessed with the experience of leading others to Christ.  He dreams of you having the joy of advancing His crazy love.

That Rich young ruler ..., think about all he could have done to advance God’s love and His Kingdom, but He didn’t.

Some of you might be thinking, “How could he ever give all that up?”  How could he not?

I don’t know what you are being called to do to advance God’s kingdom. I don’t know what God is asking you to give up, sell, start over, or trade in, but let me tell you this: there are people, thousands of people right here at our back door in the Kankakee area that need the Lord, that need His love.

Why are you still trying to hold on to what you have?  Why do you want so badly to be comfortable?  How many more people do you have to see die not knowing God’s love before you will step out of your comfort zone to advance His love?

Today is a day you have a huge choice to make.  Will I choose to take crazy steps to advance God’s love or will I choose to play it safe and be comfortable. There are millions of people in the world just waiting for you to do something Crazy for them that will show them God’s love.  What will you do?

Remember just keeping out of trouble will do very little good but choosing to do good things to advance God’s love will bring about amazing miracles for God’s glory.  
 

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