March 10th 2019

Heaven on Earth: Week 1

Good morning Church family! This morning we’re kicking off a new focus for the next few weeks as we desire to be the people of God– to live out this Jesus in 3D concept for our lives. We’re going to be taking a close up look at some of the parables and teachings of Jesus and how they apply to us for today. This morning allow me to lay the foundation to our new series, I’d like to ask you when it comes to prayer…

Main Scripture Verses

Matthew 6:9-10

Luke 9:57-62

Luke 9:57-58

Daniel 7:13-14

Luke 9:59-60

Luke 9:61-62

Sermon Series

Heaven on Earth: Week 1

Speaker

Pastor Vince Farrell

Senior  Pastor 

 

Heaven on Earth: Week 1

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Good morning Church family! This morning we’re kicking off a new focus for the next few weeks as we desire to be the people of God– to live out this Jesus in 3D concept for our lives. We’re going to be taking a close up look at some of the parables and teachings of Jesus and how they apply to us for today. This morning allow me to lay the foundation to our new series, I’d like to ask you when it comes to prayer…

How would you rate your prayer life?

I don’t mean based on how often, or how many “father/Gods” you squeeze in. If I was to say on a scale of 1-10 how does it rate compared to how Jesus prayed? Jesus gave us a model in how to pray in Matthew 6

So when you pray, you should pray like this:‘Our Father in heaven, may your name always be kept holy. May your kingdom comeand what you want be done, here on earth as it is in heaven.

Matthew 6:9-10 NCV

Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

Here at Journey Church, we have a simple goal: Love God, Love others.
Our Focus Is to be a multi-generational, multi-site and multi-culture church with a simple vision” To make fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.

Notice we are not talking about making half-hearted followers, not casual followers, not volunteer associated followers, not carnal Christians, not shallow believers of faith…But FULLY devoted followers of Christ!

When you and I gave our lives to Christ and our spirit was made new, we also signed up to the process of our mind being transformed. The first step in that journey is to agree and subject our lives to the authority of God’s Word.

A relationship with God happens through His word.

Which means, we need to have a proper interruption of His Word then apply it to our lives. So, over the next few weeks, I want us to look at some of the teachings and parables that Jesus spoke to give us insight on how to live here on earth while filtering our lives with a Heaven mindset.

Let’s look at Luke 9:57-62

Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Then He said to another, “Follow Me.”But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Luke 9:57-62 NKJV

Honestly, these are some tough verses to digest. I don’t know what picture you have of Jesus when you read the bible. I think many of us see him as compassionate, loving, caring and merciful…..ALL true! It’s why when we read some of the harsh things he said it can throw us for a loop.

I’ve come to learn whenever there are hard parts of the bible that either seems difficult to swallow or even confusing that I must remember God’s heart for me. He is a Heavenly Father. Jesus says, when you pray….”our Father”…and like any good father, even when it sounds harsh or correcting it’s out of His love for us that He cares enough to get us back where He wants us.

Two statements I want you to understand as you study scripture:

  • Principles of scripture are universal.
  • Culture context in which they were written has changed.

So we sift through culture context and pull up the principles that still apply for us today. I want to break these verses up into 3 sections. Let’s look at the first one.

Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

Luke 9:57-58 NKJV

Understand culture at this time. It’s a politically charged time for Israel. The Romans have taken over the land and are quite cruel. Now many people groups have always claimed areas of land to be their own but Israel is the only people group that has said God Himself promised and gave specific land to them.

Now the land they have is overrunning with foreigners, in fact, it’s ruled by Romans and all the Jews are forced to be subject to them. But the Jews have been taught from an early age one day a redeemer would come. They have the promise they would be delivered…. one such verse they would recognize is found in Daniel 7:13-14

“I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed. – Daniel 7:13-14 NKJV

Enter Jesus.

It’s in this cultural climate of political oppression and hope for a revolt that as Jesus is performing miracles, speaking on salvation and the Kingdom that people begin to put the scripture of a deliverer together and begin thinking…” this is the One.” It’s in this excitement that people start coming up to say, “I want to join the team!”

This is what the first man says, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
As we look at Jesus’ response many have interpreted as if Jesus was saying that to follow him you need to get used to being poor and not having anything. But this is not true. Jesus had places to stay. In fact, they had money to meet their needs and as a Rabbi, most certainly people would have opened up their homes for him. That thinking doesn’t line up with other scripture and it doesn’t apply within the context of what’s happening.

I believe there is some wordplay here that Jesus uses to set the stage for the principle. Foxes in this verse can refer to Hared. Hared who was a governing authority over Israel had a seat, a place. In fact in Luke 13:32 Jesus even calls directly Hared that fox Birds of the air was another way of saying, “these Romans” or these foreigners even they have a place but for me, the Son of man I’m displaced.

Jesus had every right earthly and heavenly to claim his own spot and he is saying to this young man, if you’ve come to join me because you think I’ve got a place here then you’re joining me for the wrong reasons. Or another way of saying it, My mission is not to give you what you want.

Interesting in how we find ourselves today.

As Christians, we get so fed up and frustrated in all we see in our culture. I dare to say that it would be very fitting to reference our government as the fox and the media as the birds of the air for us today. Clearly, we see the push back of Godly ways, society is in opposition to anything that resembles Judeo-Christian values.

The danger for us today is to either fight culture wars that don’t need to be addressed or we set our sights on Heaven that we forget how to bring Christ to Earth.

Until Jesus returns, we are to be the image of Christ to a culture that needs Him. Here is the second section.

Then He said to another, “Follow Me.”But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”

Luke 9:59-60 NKJV

Again at first glance, this appears to be really harsh. I mean all the guy wants to do is to bury his father. However, this man’s father was not dead. In that culture, it was common practice that you lived with your parents until they died. Or that they remained in your home until death. So when this man was asked to follow Jesus he is basically saying, “I’d love to follow you, but…”

Jesus’ response to this man is the same for us today when our priorities are not where they should be. Jesus is saying…Now is the time to reorganize your priorities.

What are some things in your day that Jesus would classify as “dead things?” Is there an area of your life that you don’t have time to do? What if you prioritized dead time and turned it into life-giving time?

Here’s the third section: Of all three statements, this to me sounds the harshest and it’s because it’s so black and white.

The first thing we need to understand about that day’s lifestyle is in the middle east society, the dad, was the ultimate authority. He is the one that gives the yes or no for what is to be done. So when then man responds with “let me bid farewell” in the Greek it means: take leave of OR “let me go back and get my father’s approval.” And Jesus says, no. This is a “stop the press” type of statement for the people listening. Jesus is saying if you want to follow me, I’m the ultimate authority in your life.

The rest of it we follow and understand but it still isn’t easy. I mean, a lot of cultures has changed over the years but the one thing that remains pretty constant is farming. Plowing then and today are still very similar.

Back then you’d take your ox to the field and plow at 4 specific times.

  1. Plow was the break up the soil after harvest.
  2. Plow happened right after the first rain to help in water irrigation.
  3. Plow was in preparation for the seed and the
  4. Plow was to cover the seed.

All of these steps were extremely important and required intense focus because if you were not paying attention during any part of this process you could end up wrecking your equipment or miss your limited time to plant or worse yet ruin the opportunity for harvest. And this is what Jesus is teaching us today:

Those not focused, those distracted are useless to the Kingdom of God because they are messing up work that went before them.
Isn’t that true? Just this week with the news of a couple of preachers actions in our nation already there are others saying, “I’m never going back to church.” How many times do you hear from others that have a bad taste in their mouth about God, or God’s people? Plenty! Why? Because people with divided interest are not moving the Kingdom forward.

“Divided interest doesn’t help things, they actually make things worse.” – Pastor Vince Farrell

As long as your heart is off wanting to do something else, your heart will never fully be here. Jesus knows this and it’s why he challenges us to really count the cost of discipleship, to make our priorities that of God’s priorities. Divided interest have no place in the Kingdom of God. Let that sink in. The call to follow Jesus is not a 20/80 commitment. Jesus is teaching us what it means to be a “fully devoted.”

So can I ask us these principled centered questions for our lives:

  • Are you willing to pay the price?
  • Are you ready to re-prioritize your values?
  • Are you focused on the Kingdom?

I’d like to echo what Pastor Mike Rambo said last week, “It’s not about bringing people in for salvation–and yes salvation most certainly can happen in church, but it’s about you going out and sharing your faith bringing people to salvation and then bringing them in the church for discipleship.”

And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Luke 9:61-62 NKJV

Church family, we are in a wonderful growth season right now.

  • Every week lives are being changed, challenged and transformed.
  • Every week our nursery and kids are busting at the seams.
  • Every week we have people new to the church fall in love with the people here.
  • Every week we are being equipped and encouraged by God’s Word.
  • Every week The Church is being the Light!

Allow me for a moment to ask us as the Body of Christ to expand our impact. See, we follow what Jesus said very passionately “go and make disciples.” This Great Commission keeps us focused on why we do what we do.

So with that in mind, I’d like the light we have been shinning to come to a laser focus over the next several months. To purposes it in our heart to find:

  • 50 more people who need to hear the Good news.
  • 50 more people who desire to serve.
  • 50 more people to connect with the Body of Christ
  • 50 more people who need their view of the church to be radically changed.
  • 50 more people who we can say, Welcome, we love you!!!

Fifty more people into this local body would accomplish a 200 member church with laser beam focus to accomplish the simple yet meaningful message: love God, love others.

Will you join me in being a “treasure hunter” and find people to bring to this local house?

In Love and Unity,
Pastor Vince