Finding Life

 
 
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In your pursuit of life are you really finding what your heart actually longs for?  My guess is, at best, you are finding a counterfeit.  This week, I wanted to take you to some profoundly impactful words of Jesus so you can grab a hold of the real adventure God has for you. Need prayer? visit my.oswegochristian.com/pray to post a request. Subscribe to our podcast on your phone to automatically have new messages downloaded weekly: in iTunes (http://my.oswegochristian.com/iTunes) or Android (http://my.oswegochristian.com/Google)

OPENING ILLUSTRATION:Turn to your neighbor and answer this question:What’s the greatest adventure you’ve ever been on?and it can’t be being married – you guys are just kissing up…I spent some time thinking about this for me… I’ve been on a lot of adventures – it’s something I live for. My heart gets stirred by adventure…For me, it’s anything from climbing up a mountain, to mudding in a jeep, to going on a missions trip to work with people in the inner city. If I’m honest with you – adventure is something I just really live for…Can I ask you a question?Does the life you are living stir your heart?Is there any intrigue to it?Anything dangerous?Anything that causes you to live on the edge?Here’s what I have learned over the years of following JesusThe life Jesus offers is not a life of settling for easy…Jesus’ offer is for an adventure…listen to this quote from John EldredgeJohn Eldredge Quote:“Probably the major hinderance to any of us really walking with God and therefore finding the life that God wants us to find, is that thing in us that just wants to find a nice little life.  We just don’t want to be harassed by greater things, we just don’t want to have to deal with it.  There is something in us that just wants life to be simple and easy and nice.  But my dear friends, you don’t get that life.  And the sooner we come to accept that, the sooner we can move on in our own holiness, in our walk with God, and yes, to find the life that he does have for us.”Jesus said it this wayMatthew 10:39 (NLT)If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.You simply cannot hold onto your old ideas of life and keep a firm grasp on the life Jesus offers.-you have to choose…I love Eldredge’s line –“But my dear friends, you don’t get that life.  And the sooner we come to accept that, the sooner we can move on in our own holiness, in our walk with God, and yes, to find the life that he does have for us.”I don’t believe you will ever find true contentment until you start to live the life Christ has for you.So, how do you find your true life?there are so many passages we could go to, but I want to take you to Luke.  This is a sermon Jesus preached – there is another version of this in Matthew, and I believe that’s another version of the same sermon…  As I read this, I want you to get that Jesus is talking to His disciples – these are His followers…Luke 6:20-2620 Looking at his disciples, he said:“Blessed are you who are poor,for yours is the kingdom of God.21 Blessedare you who hunger now,   for you will be satisfied.Blessed are you who weep now,   for you will laugh.22 Blessed are you when people hate you,   when they exclude you and insult you   and reject your name as evil,       because of the Son of Man.23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.24 “But woe to you who are rich,   for you have already received your comfort.25 Woe to you who are well fed now,   for you will go hungry.Woe to you who laugh now,   for you will mourn and weep.26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,   for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.If you don’t take the time to really peal back what Jesus is saying in this version of the beatitudes, you might miss it…At first blush it looks as though Jesus is saying:  “It’s better to be a have not than a have lots…”But if you dig into it and spend some time with this passage you will start to notice that Jesus’ focus isn’t on the hear and now, it’s on the future“You will be”“Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.”Jesus is not saying poor people are better than rich people…BHe is reminding His disciples – their treasure, their reward – is not in this life.ILLUSTRATION:I don’t know how many people I have met who have the question – if God is good or exists – why is there so much suffering in the world, why are there mom’s in Africa who are starving with their children. Some people think the bible ignores this question – but it doesn’tJesus answers squarely itGet this, Jesus’ assumption is that you and I will go through pain and suffering.  His answer is to the question of where is God – is that He is preparing a reward for us… You need to write down this statement and say it yourself EVERY time you are going through a difficultyYour life is not this life…did you get that?your life is not this life…Your life is not your wealthNot your healthNot your carNot your ability to buy lots of stuffNot the parties you get invited toNot how much food is on your tableNot the addiction you are enslaved toBYour life is not this lifeJesus says this OVER and OVER again-store up treasures in heaven-sell everything that you have to buy the field that has the treasure of God in it-use your wealth to gain friends for the KingdomLose your life…Those who live for this life get their reward…  And lose in the life to comeSo, as I studied this passage, this question cropped up for me:Why would Jesus’ disciples be poor, or hungry, weeping or persecuted?Think about it for a second – Jesus did spend lots of time with the poor and hungry – but He also had disciples who were tax collectors – super wealthy…Jesus had quite a few followers who were wealthythe perfume that was poured on Jesus before His death was estimated to be worth $54,509 in U.S. dollarsthe spices Nicodemus used in the burial of Jesus is estimated to be worth around $150,000-$200,000 in U.S. dollarsJesus’ ministry itself was supported by wealthy women…Luke 8:2-32 Also, some women were with him. They had been cured from evil spirits and various illnesses. These women were Mary, also called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out; 3 Joanna, whose husband Chusa was Herod’s administrator; Susanna; and many other women. They provided financial support for Jesus and his disciples.So, my question remains – why would Jesus’ disciples be poor, hungry, weeping and persecuted?I believe it’s because Jesus’ disciples were swept up into the life He offered – they realized theyTheir life is not this life…The New Testament is full of radical moves the early church made to reach people with the gospel-selling houses, giving their lives away, being sent as missionariesSo, the question is, how do you live for the next life?Jesus gives us four areas to share our life?-Give your resource away-Give your food away-Give your heart away-Give your faith awayBYour life is not this life…CLOSING:[come up with some illustration about going on an adventure and finding a real reward or treasure at the end – you find out it is ALL worth it…]Some of you are in the midst of pain and suffering, poverty and hunger and you need to hear these words of Jesus…Revelation 22:12-1312 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.and some of you in here need to make a decision what your life is going to be lived for and make a step towards new life in Jesus!