Walk The Line Week 1: Navigating Spiritual Tensions

Walk The Line Week 1: Navigating Spiritual Tensions


I have to tell you, as we as I
have had in my ministry, to working with churches and also
working with working with individuals inside of the
church, one of the struggles that I’ve found is the fact that
people, people go to extremes in the way that they work inside
the church. Church. People do this. There’s some church people
that they think you got to do all this ministry and none of
that ministry. There’s some church people think that you got
to do all this ministry and none of that ministry. There are some
church folks that think if you don’t do this, when you’re not
Christian, don’t do that when you’re not Christian, and they
all kind of come against each other and they all kind of get
mad at each other. Church fights are born out of this. I’ve seen
churches that have fights over whether they worship long enough
or whether they don’t worship long enough. I’ve seen churches
have fights over whether we’re going to have any evangelism
program. Or discipleship program? Are we going to have
small groups? Or are we going to have an altar call every Sunday,
those arguments happen all the time. And the reason is, people look at who Christ is and what the
Bible says. And they don’t find the proper balance in all of the
things that are necessary to live out the life of Christ in
our lives, and to live out the ministry that needs to be done
to the world around us. And so what we’ve got to understand
what we’ve got to come to is a sense of balance. Now, here’s
how I think we can get there. One of my there are a number I
do not have. I’ve said this before, I do not have a life
verse, so to speak, but I do, I do have some favorites. And one
of my favorite places in Scripture is in is in
Philippians, chapter two Philippians chapter two, and I
want to start reading verse five, and we’re going to use
this to set the stage for what I want to show you in this
drawing. We’re gonna look at Philippians chapter two, verse
five, the apostle Paul writing to the church in Philippi. And
he says to them, in your relationships with one another,
have the same mindset as Christ Jesus understand this, Jesus is
perfect. Jesus is the Son of God, Jesus is the fulfillment of
everything we should ever hope to be, or be able to be like,
everybody’s got that he is the model, he is the mentor, Jesus
is the goal. Just need everybody catch that. So in your, in your
relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ
Jesus, who being in very nature, God did not consider equality
with God, something can be used to his own advantage. In other
words, Jesus could have come to the earth and said, I’m God, do
this. And if you don’t, I’ll smite you. He could have done
that. But he didn’t. He didn’t choose to do that. Jesus instead
came to the earth and watch rather he made himself Nothing
less than the one who was everything made himself nothing.
The fact that he made himself nothing did not alter the fact
that he actually was God is God. The fact that he made himself
nothing didn’t change the fact that he really was everything.
So the Jesus who was everything chose to make himself nothing by
taking the nature watch of a servant. Now watch, no Did you
notice the apostle is lowering, lowering Jesus lowering this the
second person of the Trinity, the next thing he said and being
found in a m being fat and being made in human likeness, in order
to lower the person of God? He points out that he was made in
our likeness. Y’all feeling better about yourself right now?
All right, you see what I’m saying? They’re lowering the
expectations of what we see in God. being found verse eight in
appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and becoming by becoming
obedient to death, even death on a cross. I think it’s
interesting that the God who created everything, and holds it
all together, the Jesus who would be our Savior, chose
rather than coming in and being our mentor, our teacher, the one
that demanded of us, the one that straighten this mess out.
He chose to come in and be a servant, to the point that he
died on a cross. Now that is shocking to most of you, because
you’re Christian, you’ve been in church all your life. And of
course, he did that because he had to pay the price first.
Because his death on the cross gay propitiation present. Yeah,
I know your church people. So that’s what you’ve got. But stop
and go back for a moment. If you did not understand his price
that he paid on the cross and you knew him to be God. And you
saw him lower himself like that? What effect would that have on
your understanding of how to lead people, of how to minister
to people, it changes the way you see the world. And listen,
the truth is, we are all surrounded by people who need to
hear the good news of Christ. We are all surrounded by people who
somehow need to see in us, a Jesus they can follow. And many
of them, let’s be honest, have been turned off by someone who’s
too much this or too much that and has demanded this or
demanded that. He’s so passionate when you say this or
that. What are you talking about? Well, let me show you. I
want to show you a graphic that we’ve made. You see, this whole
thing comes really down inside of the church to two opposites
that are important inside of every church and every Christian
Every single one of us as Christians must be interested in
evangelism. evangelism matters. We got to reach the loss for
Christ. If we’re not reaching last people for Christ, why are
we even here as a church? He said, Well, we’re here to
help the world. Okay, so you’re making us a social justice
organization. And I can tell you that the world without Christ
has better social justice organizations than we do. They
do a better job of it than we did. He said, Well, what How
dare you said, No, no, we do great social justice work. But
it only works through the power of the Holy Spirit. We do great
social justice work, but we don’t have the resources of the
government. So if all we’re here to do is social justice, we’re
messing up. You say, Well, I don’t understand. I was never
Okay. Okay. pastoral care pastor, but you can’t just bring
them all in. You got to grow them up. Oh, watch. That’s
discipleship. Both of these are important. You know, I when I
took when I took my first job as as as a senior pastor, I had to
Someone come up to me. We were doing our statistics. At the end
of the year, I had someone come up to me and they said, I don’t
even count the worship. I started telling the statistics,
they said, don’t even tell me the worship statistics. I don’t
even want to know how many people get into worship. I said,
Why? He said, because those don’t matter. Tell me about
Sunday school. Okay, his idea was, if you’re not growing
people up, you’re not acting like the church. Now, is that a
fair statement? Well, yeah. But it’s also a fair statement to
say if you’re not bringing people in, you’re not acting
like the church. But here’s the problem. This is a huge debate
inside churches. If I let you we could have a huge debate in this
room right now. Cuz some of you will be like, we got to grow
people up all these bringing people in and they don’t get
saved. You’re making a church a mile wide and an inch deep. You got to quit that. And other folks would say, oh,
grow them up, grow them up, and then they get self centered and
they won’t reach anybody and then the church is all about us. And it doesn’t
matter. We got to go reach people just reach people let the
Holy Spirit deal with that. Now cannot be honest I could preach either one of
those sermons and you would amen me all day long. And the reason I could do that
is because they both matter. They both matter what mercy. We
got to be about mercy. We have to be a church that is
about mercy. But we must always also be a
church that demands holiness. Now, you see the difference in
this right? mercy says, I forgive you no matter what it’s
all good. God loves you. God forgives you. Listen to these
phrases. Listen to this phrase. God loves you no matter what
you’ll call a man that God loves you no matter what you do got
it. Oh God, and you know what God forgives you and anybody God
forgives. I’m gonna forget Amen. me all day on that. You ought to
stop sinning. Y’all will also a man that you are you ought to
act like the Christ. You say you serve yada yada yada through the
power of the Holy Spirit learn to get over that stuff that’s
been holding you back. These are opposites, and they pull at us.
And both are true and one is not more true than the other. It
just like evangelism and discipleship. One is not more
true than the other mercy and holiness one is not more true
than the other. Both of these demand of us now look inside of
here, we get further opposites. Oh, I went back. Miracles are
God is a miracle working God. Somebody say amen. I mean, our God is a miracle
working God. I’ve just I’m working on another series I’m
gonna work on and I and I’m going through the book of Acts,
and I’m picking out all the miracles in
the book of Acts. I’m trying to unpack this And
trust me, can’t just tell you, Prelude I’ve given away a story,
but every chapter in the book of
Acts has a miracle. Unless there’s a church fight. That’s going to be fun to
preach. God God works miracles. But you know what? You should
manage your life in such a way that you
don’t need a miracle. I get an amen out of that too. In fact, Can I be honest, most
of the time, miracles are needed because management was not
practiced. about right. You got to balance these two
things. And Jesus calls us to both but I don’t want to
steal my own thunder. So then we’ve got compassion. We
need to be a compassionate people. We need to show
compassion to people who are not like us. People who are less
fortunate than us. People who don’t think like us people don’t
act like us. People don’t look like us people that aren’t from
here. We need to be a compassionate people. I had
somebody people try to sometimes in denominational or other
groups try to get me to have this debate about immigration.
borders and data. I’m like, I don’t care what the country’s
laws are. And I don’t care what side of the border the humans
are on feed the humans and make sure they’re okay. I’m not here
to have the political debate. I don’t care what side of the
border their own feed the humans take care of the humans. Why?
Because we must be a compassionate people. But we must also teach people
how to take care of themselves. Because it’s one thing to be
compassionate and always take care of people. It’s another
thing to teach people how to do something for themselves and
give it away. This is why in missions we like to find
projects that are short term project with a long term impact,
because we want to leave behind the capacity to take care of
yourself and do for yourself. So you don’t need a North American
to come down and help you anymore. Because that’s where you’re
gonna find freedom. But if we error only on teaching, we don’t
show the heart of Christ if we you see the problem.
They’re opposites, and yet, they’re both real. Now watch. It’s another one
grace we need To be all about grace, Can I get an amen on that one? Grace defined as
unmerited favor, favor that God showed me that I did not deserve
a favor that other human beings showed me that I did not
deserve. And on a view of who I am, that I did not earn, but is
given to me but out of the grace out of the goodness out of the
depths of God’s love, Grace, we need to be all about grace. And
Come on now. And yet there’s law to be
followed. We can’t delete the law because we want
to be people of grace. Because if you delete law, in order to
show grace, you create, I want to use you. I’ll tell you the
word that popped in my head licentiousness. That you create,
you create a world in which people just do what they want to
make them feel good no matter what. You cannot delete law.
Just to show grace, law is required. But Grace is real. You
see it right? There are opposites, but they both matter.
There’s go, don’t go back. There’s the heart. We need to be
people of our hearts and we need to be led by. Oh, follow your heart. Okay, there are times that’s
true. But there’s also the head. lead your heart. All right, both of these are
true and given moments. You say, Pastor, that’s really
complicated. Y’all thought I was going to talk
about a gun and a bullet because you thought we were looking at a
scope. But we weren’t. We weren’t. The truth is it is
complicated. But can I be honest with you, there is nothing
simple about the Christian life because there is nothing simple
about a human being. There is nothing simple about you.
There’s nothing simple about your church. There’s nothing
simple about your small group. There’s To say something get a
straight up. Amen on. There’s nothing simple about your
family. You know, humans are complicated, complex
individuals. And so is Christianity. Christianity is complicated and
complex. The truth is we’ve got to understand that each of these
will throw us into a zone if we don’t balance them. If we go
over here we live between evangelism and holiness. We need
to reach people so they can be as well managed and as well
taught as we are. That’s an arrogance zone. And I
have to tell you, though, most churches
would not define themselves this way. I’ve attended those
churches, where honestly they do not see themselves as arrogant.
They see themselves as people who have settled into who Jesus
is, and now they’re following Christ. And so if you you know,
if you can live up to what Christ has called you to then
you can be a member of ours. Church, but if you can’t don’t
come in here and mess up us and our children. I’ve led you groups. When I was younger, I’ve been in
charge of youth groups, where the parents got together and
said, stop bringing in those kids. They’re corrupting our
kids. That’s arrogance. Now were their kids good kids,
most of them were. Most of them really were they had been taught
Well, they manage their lives. Well, these families they were,
they were one to Christ. They were taught how to manage their
lives. They were living lives of holiness. It was real. It just
became very self centered. And it became very arrogant because
now they were better than everybody else. And I have to be
honest, a lot of churches are not just holiness churches, a
lot of churches are in this category. And they really don’t
want you to come if you don’t smell right if you don’t look
right if you don’t act right if you don’t talk, right. You know,
I just I just one time when we first got here, I knew we were
on the right track. Cuz I accidentally set the backyard on
fire at the church. And I won’t say that’s a whole nother story
that you would love, but I’m not gonna tell it. But I set the
backyard on fire. So I’ve got pastor Aaron running around with
a hose with a garden hose, praying that God would put the
fire fire out. And I’ve got another church member running
around saying, oh, and a word I can’t repeat here. And I said,
you know, he’s praying and he’s cussing. I think we’re in a good place,
you know? You know, I honestly we can’t
become so heavenly minded. We’re no earthly good. It makes us
arrogant. And we’ll fall into the arrogance zone if we’re not
careful. Now, watch your show. Now the zone, we can fall into
the legalism zone. Now this is where holiness and discipleship
work together, and you stop worrying about you stop worrying
about evangelism at all. Now, watch, watch. This is the
fairest. The Pharisees are not interested in reaching new
people for Judaism. They’re only interested in maintaining the
purity of the Jews that are already there. And they have
established laws. And they have used their head to think through
how to enforce those laws. In fact, the Torah itself is not
that it’s not that difficult. But when you start layering on
top of the Old Testament on top of the Old Testament law, all of
the different writings that the ancient Jewish or even more
modern Jewish rabbis put on top of it, and you start trying to
follow all the laws that all of them put, you end up with
something that’s almost impossible to follow. You end up
you end up with Paul saying, why would you keep on them laws that
we haven’t even been able to follow ourselves? But this is what happens in a
lot of churches. Now I go I many times I mean, I’ve told this
story before, but you can’t wear if when we were when we were
teenagers at youth group youth camp, you couldn’t wear shorts
beyond your fingertips. Okay, laws make silly decisions.
Because I’ve seen people short, short arms. I’ve seen people
long arms. This is a stupid way to do this. You know, I mean,
you when you get over here, you start excluding people because
they can’t follow your rules well enough. See, I watch Wait,
wait, wait. You can also get in the
demanding zone. Down here with compassion,
miracles, it’s in between discipleship and mercy. And what
happens here is the needy demand that you provide for them, even
though they’re not going to try and those serving the needy
demand that you’re going to provide, even though you don’t
have the capacity. That’s why they’re looking for miracle.
Watch, I’m gonna show you something up here. This is King
Herod and the rulers of the day. They did want to expand their
borders, but they only really wanted people to follow them.
This is the Pharisees of the day. Okay. They didn’t want to
expand their borders. They wanted to keep holy what they
already had. And this is the crowds that ended up in front of
Jesus, that constantly look for him to perform miracles in front
of them constantly look for him to feed them constantly look for
him to perform. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to anybody, but
another magic trick so that they could be
entertained. Well, if you did that over
there, why don’t you do this over here. And this, this, this corner
right here, this right here is never satisfied. Quite honestly, none of them
are. Because once you get outside the
circle here, it’s not much you could do with
it. This is a demand zone. And Since the dependence zone so if this is the, this is the
ruling class King Herod pilot, if this is the Pharisees, if
this is the crowd that’s always demanding more. These are the
ones that actually had needs. And I’m gonna be very limited. Let me say something very
honest, sucking soft in this. Sometimes these people are
dependent, and it’s not their fault, and they need our heart
and our grace. But sometimes these people become dependent
because we’ve never asked them to move to the other side. So are they are you serving them
because they’re dependent? Or right there? Are they
dependent because you’re serving them poorly. All four of these
zones are not healthy and are not good for us. And by the way,
every one of these zones describes the church you can go
to. And every one of these zones describes individual Christians
that you know. And the only reason look, all
these folks are saved, can just be honest with you, all
these folks are going to heaven. But they’re just not getting
there. Well. You said, Well, how do you fix
that? We got to figure out how to
live. Come on now. Come on. In the Jesus song, you say, well, that but that’s,
that’s, like, perfectly balanced all the time. You’re right. You’re right. That is the sweet
spot. That is absolutely where we need
to be. That is where we need to live all the time. Where what
emanates from us is exactly what’s necessary at the right
moment. It never gets out into one of these bad zones. It
always stays there and it’s always balanced and everybody
gets what they need. You understand, don’t you, I need to
make sure you understand I need to be careful here. You
understand that all of these are good things. But if you focus on
one to the exclusion of the others, you’ll turn a good thing
into a bad thing. But when Jesus balances them all, miracles
really do happen at that place. people’s lives are changed and
people look at the light when the church gets into Jesus, some
people look at the church and they say, I may not live in that
want to go to the church. I may not like that church. I might
not like those people. But you know what? I got to give it to
them. You see, I’m saying, and all of a sudden credit is
given. Because we found balance. You
said, but I can’t live there all the time. I know. But can you at
least live here? holiness is really nothing more than
surrender. holiness is nothing more than the surrender of my
individual will, to the, to the will of the Holy Spirit in my
life. Now, I gotta be honest, there are days you’re going to
trend up here. There are days you’re going to trend down.
There you go. Hey, can I can I show you some? This is not
really true, but it almost is. So stay with me. If we’re talking about my
granddaughter, we up here it’s all heart and grace, baby. We’re talking about Joe brats
way down here. That’s not really true, but you
get what I’m saying. y’all hear what I’m saying?
Right? I mean, come on. Y’all look at it because you’ll never
tell me you think my granddaughter spoil but you’ve
never seen her feet hit the floor. Now when I’m around, you
know I’m saying I mean, you see that right. I will trend
different places based on where I’m at or based on the
situation. All of us will do that, well we got to do is make
sure we never get so far away from balance. Watch that we get
outside of this circle of safety and drop into a zone that’s
going to be destructive. That’s what I really want to talk to us
about in this whole series. We’re gonna do this through the
life of Jesus. And we’re going to look at how he balanced these
things out. And as we look at how he balanced these things
out, I think what we’re going to find is No, we won’t spend our
whole lives in the Jesus zone, you’re just not that good, and
neither am I. But we can at least spend our lives in the
surrender zone and take care that we don’t end up in one of
these danger zones on the outside. That’s what I want us
to work on. Okay. So here’s how we’re gonna wrap this up.
Whatever whoever you’re talking to around your tables or
wherever you’re at with this, wherever you’re watching this,
what I’d like for you to do is I’d like for you to have a
discussion right now. And I want you to be as transparent as
you’re willing. To be I know that you may be with a group
that you don’t know all the people and I understand that
everybody’s going to understand that be as transparent as you
willing to be and answered this question in your
group, which one of these zones the
danger zones would be the one that you would most likely fall
into? And then we’ll pick up next time with what we want to
talk about. Talk about them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *