When you catch that you are Jesus’ vision, He’ll start to become your vision!
All right, everybody. Welcome to Valley Creek. We are so glad you are here with us today. Come on, wherever you’re at today, Denton, Flower Mound, Lewisville, the venue, watching or listening online somewhere in the world, come on, let’s just celebrate each other together for a moment.
It is so good to be one church that meets at multiple campuses and wherever you are today, hope is here, everyone is welcome, and Jesus changes everything. It’s a new year, it’s a new decade, and God is on the move, and it is a great season for you to consider taking the next step on your journey with Jesus. Wherever you are in your faith journey, we all have a next step to move forward with God.
And so, maybe this is a season where you consider getting in a group or joining a serve team and making a difference in somebody else’s life. And maybe you go to the First Step classes to get started with Valley Creek or Second Step to learn how to really walk with God.
Maybe it’s the Freedom Gathering, maybe it’s to get baptized, or giving, serve the city. I don’t know, but I know this, there is a next step for every one of us in this room and God is on the move. And so, we want to move forward with Him wherever He’s going because it’s a new decade. It’s not just a new year, it’s a new decade. And what we’re doing as a church as we start this new decade is we’re just starting the whole season by just talking about Jesus.
I know that can sound a little comical for us in particular because all we ever talk about is Jesus, but if we’re honest, it’s really easy to lose sight of Jesus and to think that this is all about church or religion or your own life or your own plans or your own purposes. And so, what we’re doing is just slowing down for a few weeks and just saying, “Jesus. He’s more than enough. He’s more than enough for my marriage, and my finances, and school, and my future, and my destiny, and my struggles, and my anxieties.”
And what we’re saying is we just want to start this season by turning the attention, the focus, and the affection of our heart to Him.
You see, 2 Corinthians is kind of a verse we’ve been using in this series. It says, “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” This is a really powerful verse because what it’s saying is that the serpent, Satan the Devil who is real, deceived and led Eve astray in the Garden of Eden. In other words, in the Garden of Eden, the Satan came to Eve and tricked her to pursue in the world what she already had in God. In other words, he got her to believe that Jesus wasn’t enough and he’s been doing the same thing ever since. He wants to deceive and lead us astray to pursue in the world what we already have in God. To try to get through performance what we have freely received by grace.
He’s trying to convince us that Jesus isn’t enough. And so, what we’ve been saying is what if your 2020 vision was simply Jesus? What if it wasn’t lose a few pounds, make a few bucks, hit that gold, get rid of that bad habit, all those things that never really seem to happen anyways? We say, “What if our vision is just simply Jesus?” We said a vision is simply that thing that captures your heart. It has your attention, and your focus, and your affection. And because you have a vision, it’s easy to have guard rails on the right or to the left to keep you from drifting because you know where you’re going and you know what you want.
And I told you last week that maybe the most powerful thing when you think of vision is the fact that whether you realize it or not, you are Jesus’ vision. You are the thing that has captured His heart. You are the thing He is pursuing and affectionate about and is focused on.
And because you are His vision, it was easy for Him to have guard rails in His life and go all the way through the cross because of His vision for you.
That’s why Luke 19:10 says, “For the Son of Man Jesus came to seek to passionately pursue you and to save, He will make whole, deliver and set free you.” And when you start catching that you are Jesus’ vision, He’ll start becoming your vision. When you understand you are someone else’s vision, everything begins to change. Jesus, more than enough.
You see, 1 Corinthians 1:18 says, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.” In other words, Jesus is not enough for the world. The world doesn’t believe that who Jesus is and what He has done is enough for them, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.
In other words, for those of us who are following Jesus, we believe that who Jesus is and what He has done is more than enough. And when we’re focused on who Jesus is and what He has done, the power of God is released into the atmosphere. That’s what’s happening right now in this series. As we’re just talking about who Jesus is and what He has done is we’re saying He’s more than enough and turning our attention and our affection to Him, the power of God is being released in the atmosphere.
Literally right now, people are experiencing salvation, and breakthrough, and healings, and the miraculous. You say, “How?” Why? Because we’re just talking about Jesus, man. And when you start talking about the message of the cross, the power of God begins to flow through the environment, the atmosphere, and the people who gather around that name. That’s what’s happening right now in our church.
You see, Romans 10:17, it says, “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” We’ve been using this verse in this series. Faith comes by hearing. In other words, whatever you’re hearing about, your faith in that thing begins to grow. And you know this is true in your life because the more you hear about any given topic, the more you begin to believe it. The more you begin to accept that it’s truth, the more you begin to have faith in that thing. And as we start a new year, none of us need to hear more about how we need to try harder, about how we need to behave better, about how we need to get our act together and go farther and faster and move forward in all these different kinds of things. Why? Because we already believe that. We already believe we’re not getting it right and we have to try harder and do better and perform more. So what do we need to hear? We need to hear about Jesus, the word of God to our faith in who He is and what He has done begins to grow.
In other words, we don’t need to hear more about the strength of sin. We need to hear more about the grace of God. We don’t need to hear more and how strong sin is because we all believe that. We know it. You know you wake up every day and there’s this real battle in your life. You don’t need that to be confirmed or your belief in that to grow anymore. You need your belief in the grace and the forgiveness of Jesus to grow so you can have a victory over those things. Come on, this is why Romans 5, it says, “For just as through the disobedience of the one man, Adam, the many were made sinners.” So this is important. In the Garden of Eden, Jesus wasn’t enough for Adam and Eve, and so they disobeyed, and they sinned, and because they sinned, we became sinners. We were born into a lineage of sinners. It’s who we are when we’re born and none of us need our faith in that to grow. We got plenty of belief in the brokenness of our own lives, but so also through the obedience of the one man, Jesus, the many will be made righteous.
In other words, because of who Jesus is and what he has done, he has made us right with God and this is where our faith needs to grow. See, if you can catch this, when you were born, when I was born, we were all born in the prison of sin. That’s where you were born. You were literally born a sinner in a prison of sin and there was nothing you could do, no matter how hard you try to get yourself out of that thing. And you didn’t – you weren’t a sinner because you sinned, you sinned because you were a sinner. You weren’t a sinner because you sinned, you sinned because you were a sinner. Identity determines behavior. Who you are determines what you do. If this is how you were born, and this is how you will live. That’s where we were born but then Jesus came. And Jesus was more than enough to lay down his life, rescue us from the prison of sin, and put us into this position of righteousness, right standing with God.
And just like there was nothing good you can do to get out of the prison of sin, there’s nothing bad you can now do to get out of the position of righteousness. And you’re not righteous because you live righteously, you live righteously because are now righteous, because identity determines behavior. We need our faith in this to grow, so we need to hear more about it. We don’t need our faith in that to grow, man. You walk in here in today and listen to me, we all know it. We need our faith in this to grow, who Jesus is and what he has done, and that’s why we have to talk about it, and bring our attention to it, and take our eyes off all the junk, and look up to him. That’s why every element of the cross is a prophetic declaration of something that Jesus did for you. Like when they put the scarlet robe on him, scarlet representing the stains and the shame of your life and mine was placed upon him so we can wear the robe of righteousness.
And then they beat his body apart so that your life could once again be made whole. And then they put the crown of thorns on his head representing that the curse was upon him so you could live under the blessing of God. And then they bound him to a cross, bound him so that you could go free. And then Jesus cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” In other words, Jesus was forsaken so you’ll never have to be. Then he declared, “It is finished,” and breathe his last breath so your life could begin and you could breathe in for the first time. And then they put a hard spear into his soft heart so your hard heart could once again be made soft. We got to hear that, we got to hear that. So our faith in that begins to grow.
You see, the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance. When you hear about the grace of Jesus, who he is, and what he has done, it builds you up. It strengthens you. It supernaturally charges you. It restores you. It empowers you and gives you victory, and it gives you access to all of the good things that Jesus came to bring for you. We need our faith to grow in the grace of God. So we got to look to it, and we got to hear it. I know there’s a lot of you as you’ve joining us along the way on the journey. You’re still trying to figure out, like Valley Creek, like who is this church, and like what are they all about, and what kind of people are they, and what makes this church different, maybe, from some of the other churches I’ve been at. Well, the best way that I can tell you who you are or who we are is simply this, we’re just Jesus focused, spirit-filled, life giving. You want to know who Valley Creek is? Jesus focused, spirit-filled, life giving. See, years ago, when we started growing, everyone kept coming up and they kept asking us this question, like, “What kind of church is Valley Creek?” We’re not in a denomination, we’re not in a big network of churches, we’re friends of lots of churches, but we’re kind of a non-denominational church kind of here.
And so people wanted like put us in a box, like what kind of church. They’re stressing some people out, “What kind of church is this, I need to know,” like okay, man, I don’t know. And just one day, it’s like, “Okay, we’re a Jesus focused, spirit-filled, life giving church.” That’s who we are. Okay.
But it’s not just saying these things, you have to define them. What does it mean to be Jesus focused? it means we’re more focused on what Jesus has done for us that on what we have to do for him. We’re spirit-filled, which means we want to walk in the character and the power of Jesus through the spirit of the living God and we want to be life giving. We want to be on-mission to receive and release the life of God wherever we go. We are a Jesus focused, spirit-filled, life giving church. If you’ve ever wondered what our logo means, that’s what it means. Jesus focused, spirit-filled, life giving, and we think Jesus is the narrow gate that leads to an ever-widening life.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be Jesus focused, spirit-filled, and life giving than sin focused, self-filled, and life taking. Anyone want to agree with that? Because I will bet somewhere in your life, like in mine, you maybe have been to a church like, “I don’t want to be sin focused. I don’t want to spend all our time when we gather together, talking about sin and its strength, and the brokenness, and the darkness. I don’t want you every time you leave here feeling beat up, and condemned, and shameful, no, no, no. And I don’t to be self-filled. I don’t want to talk about our preferences, and our opinions, and our rights, and what I want, and what I expect, and all of our flesh, and that garbage, and I don’t want to be life taking. I don’t want to spend our time telling the world what’s wrong with them. I would rather just show them what’s right with God, Jesus focused, spirit-filled, life giving, and if you want to know really the thing that you made me say what makes Valley Creek, Valley Creek? It’s this right here.”
Jesus focused. More than anything else, is that we’re more focused on what God has done for us than on what we have to do for him, and when you start understanding what Jesus has done, he will always change what you do. When you catch what Jesus has done, it will always change what you do. Like, I want you to think about this with me for second, okay? Especially if you’ve been here on the journey with us, I want you to critically think with me for a moment, okay? Are you with me? Can you think for a second?
Okay. The world is ruining our ability to think. We need to learn to think and to focus. I could go way off on that right now, we’ll leave it for another day, but I need you to think with me for a second, okay? If you’ve been here, we are a very generous church, Valley Creek in general is a very generous church and yet we don’t spend lots of time talking about giving. How is it then that we’re a generous church? Because we spend so much time talking about how God was generous to us and gave us everything and that creates within our hearts the desire to be generous.
How about this? We’re a very servanthood oriented church. We have people every single – hundreds of people every single week that serve, that give their time, and their talents, and their abilities; lay down their life for other people. And yet, if you’re here, we don’t talk about serving a lot. How are we a servant-oriented church? Well, because we spend tons of time talking about how Jesus laid down his life and served us and that creates within us the desire to serve him and to serve others; or how about this one? We’re a worshipping church.
We love to worship. We love to express our gratitude and our thanks to God and yet, do you know in ten years I’ve never once preached a series on worshipping? Never once, and yet we’re a worshipping church, how is that? Because every week we’re talking about grace and the goodness of God and the more you hear about the grace and the goodness of God, the more it moves within you and you desire to express your gratitude and your worship and your thanksgiving to him, because when you hear about what Jesus has done, it will always change what you do. That is how we change.
Come on. I’m like watching some of you right now – light bulbs going off, like in your head. You’re like, “Ahh, I get it. That’s how I changed and that’s why that’s moving in my life and that’s why this thing is different.” Yes, because we talk about Jesus.
Come on, just this week I met a guy in our town, I invited him to come to church and his first response was real quick, like, “Aw man, I don’t want to go somewhere and be told about how bad I am and all the things wrong in my life. I already feel bad and guilty enough about my own life; I don’t need to hear more of that.” I said, “Bro.” I said, “You’re thinking of the wrong church.” I said, “If you come to our church, you know what you’re going to hear about? You’re going to hear about Jesus and the hope we have in him.” And so, my hope is that he is here today, hearing about Jesus and the hope we have in him, because when you hear about what Jesus has done, he will always change what you do.
Are you with me on that? Okay. You see, there’s this great story of two of Jesus’ disciples and the story is called “On the road to Emmaus.” Jesus had just been crucified, he’s dead, he’s buried, he’s in the grave and the disciples, they think it’s over. They think the whole thing that they gave their life to, is done, Jesus is gone, they’re defeated. And so, on this road from Jerusalem to Emmaus, it’s a seven-mile journey and it says, “As the two of them are walking along, they’re talking about how bad things are.” They’re talking about how depressed and discouraged and defeated they are, and the more they talk, they more their faith and how bad things are begins to grow, because faith comes by hearing. So as they keep talking about how bad things are and how defeated they are; the defeat, and the depression, and the discouragement in their heart begins to grow.
And as they’re travelling along, the resurrected Jesus shows up and starts walking with them, but they don’t know it’s the resurrected Jesus. And so the resurrected Jesus looks at them and says, “Hey guys and what’s up? Why are you so depressed and discouraged?” He says, “Are you serious, bro? Like, did you not hear what happened? Jesus was just crucified. He’s dead, he’s buried. We thought he was going to be the savior – the messiah, we gave our whole life to him and now everything’s gone.” And I love it. The resurrected Jesus, they don’t know it’s him, looks back at them and says to them, “How foolish you are and how slow of heart to believe.” And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the scriptures concerning himself. I want you to catch this; the resurrected Jesus is walking with these disciples who think it’s hopeless and what he does is, he takes the scriptures, from the beginning of Genesis, all the way through the Old Testament and he shows them that everything in the Bible is not about what they have to do, it’s about what Jesus has done.
He doesn’t teach them the scriptures concerning themselves, he teaches them the scriptures concerning himself and shows us that the entire narrative of scripture and every page, it is all about what Jesus has done, not what you have to do. And when you get what Jesus has done, it will change what you end up doing. And if Jesus taught the scriptures this way, why don’t we read them that way? Because I would bet most of us in this room, the reason we don’t engage the scriptures is because we think they’re going to tell us how to behave, how to try harder, how to do better, how to be more religious, how to get your act together; you’re reading it wrong. If this is how Jesus taught it, all about him, then this is how we how we’re going to read it, because when we start understanding who he is and what he has done, it naturally – the grace of God, begins to change us.
And so, as they go on this seven-mile journey and have probably have the greatest Bible study in all of – can you imagine, Jesus teaching you the Bible about Jesus? Like on every page, you’d be like, “Oh, and then I’m here and then I’m there and then catch this.” You’d be like, ”Oh my goodness.” They get to the end of the seven-mile journey and look what it says, “They asked each other, were not out hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the scriptures to us?”
The resurrected Jesus disappears and they look at each other and go, “Bro, wasn’t that our heart burning within us? Wasn’t that our heart being strengthened and encouraged and built up and being restored as we heard about who Jesus is and what he has done? Our faith is beginning to grow.” And all of a sudden they turn around and go seven-miles back to Jerusalem to tell everyone that Jesus was alive.
And that is a great picture of what grace does in our lives. We go our way, get depressed and discouraged, and then we catch who Jesus is and what he has done. We turn around with repentance and all of the sudden, we have a super natural strength to go and live the life that God has for us. Are you with me on that?
So the question then is simply this, what are you listening to? The beginning of a new year, what are you hearing? Because whatever you’re hearing, your faith in that thing is growing. If all you do is listen to talk radio and how bad the world is, then guess what? Your faith is growing in how bad the world is. If all you do is listen to the music of this world that glorifies the brokenness, and darkness and demonic, then guess what? Your faith and your desire for those things begins to grow. How about this? You are the most important preacher in your life because you’re preaching yourself 24 hours a day.
So can I just ask you, what are you preaching? Is it about what you have to do or about what Jesus has done? Because whatever you’re hearing, your faith in that thing is growing. It’s growing, man. This is why Joshua 1:8 says, “Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth.” Do not let the scriptures, the finished work of Jesus, what he has done, not what you have to do, depart from your mouth. Speak it out by faith, meditate on it day and night. Turn it over and over. Be the preacher in your own mind that’s telling you about what Jesus has done so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. What are we required to do, what are we commanded to do, to believe more than anything else? Believe that Jesus is who he says he is and did what he said he did. Then, you will be prosperous and successful.
You want to prosper and succeed in 2020? Focus on what Jesus has done for you not what you have to do for anyone else. And you’d be amazed to how things begin to change. Are you with me on that?
Come on. Do you remember the story of when Peter walked on water with Jesus? It’s an incredible story. Peter, one of Jesus’ 12 disciples. One day, they’ve had this great day at ministry. Jesus puts the 12 disciples in a boat and he sends them out into the sea by themselves. And as they went out, this big storm begin to develop. Jesus sent them into the storm. And as the storm develops and the wind and wave gets larger, all of the sudden, it starts crashing into the boat. They think they’re going to die and here comes Jesus walking on water. And when the disciples see Him, Peter looks out and he’s like, “Jesus, is that really you?” Jesus is like, “Yeah, man, it’s me, Pete. What’s up?” “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come.” “All right. Come on.” And looking at Jesus, he takes one step out of the boat and then another step and he’s walking on water.
But he’s not just walking on water, he’s walking on the storm. He’s walking on the wind and the waves. And his eyes are fixated on Jesus, he’s walking on the storm closer and closer to Jesus. But then look what it says, it says, but when he saw – when he took his eyes off of Jesus and looked at the wind and the waves, he was afraid and beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me.” He’s walking on the storm, he’s walking on water and then he starts looking at the wind and the waves to the right and to the left and all of the sudden, he begins to sink, begins to drown, he begins looking for a breath and cries out, “Lord, save me.” And Jesus comes in His grace and pulls Peter back up and they walked back on water back to the boat. I tell you that story because I think that story in so many ways defines the Christian life.
We find ourselves all of the sudden in a situation or a circumstance that brings us to the end of our self like a storm. And it’s often Jesus who actually sends us into that storm because he’s trying to bring us to the end of ourselves so we become desperate enough to cry out to Him. And as we’re sitting in that boat and he’s walking by and life was getting hard and the wind and the waves are crashing in, we look and we’re like, “Jesus, is that really you? Like are you real, man? Is this going to work? Is this worth it? Like can you do anything for me?” And Jesus says, “Come.” And with our eyes fixated on Jesus, we have just enough faith to put one foot out and then a second foot. And as we’re looking at Jesus, we’re not just walking on water, we’re walking on the storms of life. We’re walking on the situations and circumstances and anxiety and depression and brokenness and pain. And if you can remember, if you’re a follower of Jesus, if you remember the first time you got out of that boat, you were looking – you are so fixated on him. It was never about what you had to do. It was never about all the things in life.
It was always about, “Oh, my goodness, Jesus is real.” And this is what he has done for me and that grace empowered you to walk in victory. But somewhere along the way on the journey we see the wind and the waves, the circumstance and the situation, the work and the pressure, the anxiety and the fear, the relational drama and the worries and cares of this life, and the desires of the flesh. And all of a sudden, our eyes come off of Jesus and we begin to sink. And the wind and the waves start literally beating us down until our head is barely above water and we’re just trying to get that one last breath. In fact, I would bet that many of you walked in here today, we’re only three weeks into the year and you literally feel like you can barely breath. Because we started looking at the wrong things.
And then we get desperate again and we cry, “Lord, save me.” And he says, “You got it.” And he pulls us up by grace. See, it’s grace that empowers us to walk on the water. Peter didn’t walk on water because he was awesome. He walked on water because Jesus was awesome. Grace empowers you for victory, it empowers you for the supernatural. And I know some of you are saying, “What does that mean to look more at Jesus, what he has done for me than what I have to do for him?” It simply means this, it means, are you focused more on Jesus’ forgiveness for you or the work you have to do this week? Are you focused more on God’s love for you or going to school and all the things that you have to do this week? Are you focused on His peace and His mercy and His goodness and His kindness? Or are you looking at the anxiety, and the depression, and the worries, and the cares, and the circumstances and the situation? Because whatever determines your affection, wherever you’re looking determines the altitude of your life. You’re either walking on water with Him or you’re drowning without Him.
And I know sometimes, we get to these places and we’re like, “Phew, men, it’s hard.” It does seem hard because it’s true. And by grace, He’s inviting us to this new place so maybe, just maybe, we should look more in what Jesus has done for us than what we have to do for Him, than what we have to do for ourselves, than what we have to do for others or what the world has done to us, because that’s where the grace is.
See, you say, “What’s grace?” Well, just simply grace is undeserved favor, super natural empowerment and it’s the life of Jesus flowing through you. We think grace is often simply the forgiveness of sins, like, “You messed up, you need some grace.” “Give me a little grace. Let me move on.” That’s not grace. Grace is undeserved favor. It’s getting what you didn’t deserve. It’s super natural empowerment. It super naturally empowers you to live a life of victory and it’s literally the life of Jesus flowing through you, so the life of Jesus flows out of you.
That’s grace. This is what Peter got when he walked on the water. He didn’t deserve it. He couldn’t do it by himself, he was super naturally empowered and it literally was the life of Jesus flowing through him, because only Jesus could do what he just did.
So when you receive grace, this is what’s happening in your life. You have to understand that grace is not just forgiveness, it forgives you, it cleanses you, it transforms you and it empowers you. Grace is literally like gas to an engine. You can have the most amazing car in the world but without any gas that car ain’t going nowhere. You can have literally the most amazing circumstances in life, but without any grace, you ain’t going nowhere. It’s grace that gives us speed and strength and stamina. Grace doesn’t leave us where we are, it gets us where we’re supposed to go.
And grace is not just for eternal life one-day grace, it’s about abundant life today. And if you look at grace like this, it totally changes it, because all of a sudden grace doesn’t give you permission to sin, grace empowers you to overcome sin. Come on, any time you hear anybody say it like living their own life, doing their own thing, it’s either grace for that, it’s fine. Grace will cover that. They don’t understand grace. Because hear me, grace doesn’t cover, grace cleanses and transforms.
Grace doesn’t cover and say, “Let’s just cover your brokenness over here and we won’t look at it and pretend like it’s there.” No. Grace literally cleanses it and transforms you and gives you victory to move forward in life.
So at Titus 2, it says, “Grace teaches to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and Godly lives in this present age.” This is a really big verse that we’re going to talk a lot about this year, but it’s grace that teaches us, empowers us, strengthens us.
It’s like the guard rails in life that keep us moving to the life that God asked for us. It’s grace that empowers us to walk the narrow road that leads to an ever widening life in Jesus’ name. Are you with me on that? What He has done for us, not what you have to do for Him.
See the question you have to ask yourself is simply this, “How do you change?” It’s the beginning of a new year. 2020. Every social media feed you see, every blog you read, all the stories, everything is about change. Change. You got to change, you got to change. And how does the world tell us to change? Try harder, behave better, do more, pull yourself up. Just make it happen. Just go into it. Okay, well if that worked, you would have changed like 20 years ago. It didn’t work. So how do we change? By looking into Jesus. 2 Corinthians 3, it says, “But we all with unveiled face beholding.”
In other words, there’s no barrier between us and Jesus as we look at Him as in a mirror, that’s how clearly we can see him. The glory of the Lord are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory. Don’t get lost in this, here’s what it says, “As you look to Jesus, the glory of God you will be transformed, changed from glory to glory, victory to victory, breakthrough to breakthrough and all of a sudden you won’t be swamped to buy a life, you’ll be walking on top of the storms of life. That’s how we change. It’s not about what we have to do, it’s about what Jesus has done. He is — hear me, He is more than enough to change you.
I would bet a whole bunch of us in this room think Jesus in enough to change my spouse, my friend, my neighbor, my parent, but you don’t know this guy. He’s more than enough to change you. The question is, is what are you going to look at and focus on?
Let me try to pull this whole thing together for you quickly. At the end of Jesus’ life, He gathers the disciples together and He tells them, “Hey guys, I’m about to die. I’m going to go to the cross and give my life so the world can live. And tonight on this very night, all of you are going to betray me.” And Peter — and only the way that Peter can do, he steps forward very quickly and says, “Um, not me, Lord. I’ll never deny you like — yeah, these guys, I mean, have you seen them? They probably will.”
“I mean Matthew, I mean Thomas, he’s nickname is Doubter, duh. Of course he is going to let you down but not me, Jesus. I mean look right here it’s in my 2020 planner. ‘Do not deny Jesus. Don’t blow it this year. Get it right. Finally I wrote it down. It’s going to happen. I’m going to try hard.”
Okay. Jesus smiles, looks at Peter, He says, “Oh, Peter, I know you’re trying, but — but tonight on this very night you’re going to deny me three times to a servant girl and then a rooster is going to crow.” “No, Lord. It’s not going to happen.”
A few hours later Jesus is arrested, taken away, Peter denies Jesus three times to a servant girl and the rooster crows. He tried harder. He tried hard and he fell even harder. And Peter made the classic mistake that we all make, he was more focused on his commitment to God instead of God’s commitment to Him.
What Peter should’ve done is step forward and say, “Lord, I don’t know what’s going to happen tonight but I know this, you will never deny me.”
Why? Because 2 Timothy tells us, “That if we are faithless, He will remain faithful.” Even when we are faithless, God is faithful. So Peter should’ve stepped forward and said, “Lord, my faith may go out the window tonight but I know your faithfulness will not.”
And so I’m focused on what you’re going to do for me not on what I’m going to do for you. And so Peter fell and he crashed and he goes and he runs and he hides and a few days later the resurrected Jesus comes and restores him. Why? Because even when we are faithless, Jesus is still faithful. Okay.
Now compare that to John real quick. One of Jesus’ other disciples. John is known as the Son of Thunder, which means he has an anger problem. He’s the angry disciple.
He literally wanted to call down fire from heaven to burn up an entire village, just because they didn’t want Jesus. I’m just saying, there’s probably a little bit of anger issues right under the surface that’s simmering.
John ran the children away, he didn’t want – John wanted the seat of honor at the right hand of Jesus. John was an angry, prideful, arrogant dude, that’s how he started, okay? So many jokes.
One that’s funny is, there’s hope for you, that was the funny joke in my mind. Okay. That’s how he started.
And somewhere on the three-year journey, John stopped looking at himself, and he started looking at Jesus. So when John writes the gospel of John, catch this, he only ever refers to himself as the disciple whom Jesus left. He writes everyone else’s name, Thomas, Peter, Matthew, but when he refers to himself, he doesn’t ever write John, he defines himself as the disciple whom Jesus left.
Now, when you read that at first, it’s like, wow, bro, talk about some arrogance. Do you think you’re the, like chosen child here, like you’re the favored one? You know? No. John understood that he was defined not by his love for God, but by God’s love for him.
And as he started focusing on God’s love for him, guess what, John is the only one of the 12 disciples to be standing at the foot of the cross when Jesus is crucified, because he wasn’t focused on his commitment to Jesus, he was focused on Jesus’ commitment to him, Jesus’ love for John created love in John’s heart for Jesus.
This is why in 1 John 4, John tells us, we love because he first loved us. You can’t will yourself to love God, but you can look at this love for you, and it’ll start to create love in your heart for him. Can I ask you the question, are you the disciple whom Jesus loves? Or are you the disciple whom is trying to love Jesus?
Would you define the beginning of this year as you are trying to be the one to love Jesus, or are you the one who is allowing Jesus to love you? See, can I tell you a secret about mature people? It’s really interesting. Really mature, healthy people who walk with God, the secret is this, they never talk about their love for God, they only ever talk about God’s love for them.
If you’re ever in a conversation with someone you think really loves God, knows God, walks with God, catch it, you will never hear them talk about what they’re doing for God, you will only ever hear them talking about what God has done for them.
And as they speak that out into the atmosphere, faith comes by, hearing, so even as they’re talking about what God has done for them, their faith continues to grow, and get larger, and larger, and larger. You won’t hear them talk about how bad the world is, you’ll hear them talk about how great God is. And as they do that, their faith begins to grow.
So here we are at the beginning of a new year, and my question for you is, are you still sitting in the boat? Maybe you’ve never gotten out. Are you walking on water with Jesus? Or maybe you used to, but if you’re honest today, somewhere along the way, you saw something else, and you begin to drown?
Today is the day he’s inviting us all to fix our eyes back on him, and what he has done, because he has more than enough, his grace is more than enough to change us, to free us, to empower us in a life of victory.
So you close your eyes with me. Here’s the quick question. What do you think God is saying to you today? In your life, in you world, in your reality, what’s God saying to you? My guess would be that, so many of us in this room, in some way, shape or form, have been looking at the wind and the waves of our life, we become afraid, we feel like we’re sinking, sinking in the circumstance, or the situation, or the storm, or the anxiety, the depression, the fear, the work, the school, the friendships, the relationships, the family drama, dynamic, the sickness, whatever it is.
I think today, the lord is inviting all of us to have a fresh look towards him. And so because we’ve been doing this in the series, I want to continue it today and I just want to invite you, if you want to say, “I want to take my eyes off of the wind and the waves of this world, off of what I have to do for Jesus, off of what I have to do for others, off of what I have to do for myself, off of what the world has done to me, and I want to put them in a fresh way on what Jesus is doing for me,” I want to just invite you to stand up by faith.
Whatever campus you’re at right now, you don’t have to do this, but if you’re saying I want a fresh look to Jesus, I want to get my eyes off the stuff, I just be faith, I’m standing up even just to signify that I’m rising to a new level with grace, that as grace is brining me to a new level of victory and empowerment, and you can even feel it right now, as we talk about the finished work of Jesus, the power of God is released, his power is flowing in this room right now, bringing breakthrough and healing and wholeness.
And he’s taking you out of being drowning and he’s pulling you up by grace and empowering you to walk with him in victory. So Jesus, I just pray for every person that by faith, stand up, may a fresh measure of grace flow into their life, may you capture the attention and the affection and the focus of their heart, and may they see all of the amazing things that you have done for them, may we be the disciples whom you love, and may that be the focus of our lives.
And for everybody else, whatever campus you’re at, if you would just stand up with us, let me just pray of every one of us. Lord, thank you so much for the beginning of a new year, for goodness and grace. Jesus, we lift up your name today. And we thank you that we get to talk more about what you have done for us, than what we have to do for you. May we leave today with hearts burning within us, from the goodness and the grace of God. We love you Jesus, in your name, we pray. Amen.