Which character do you think we should we be like?
Joe Valenti challenged the Collide students on Sunday to consider this question. At first glance, the answer to that question seems easy! One of the characters was a religious leader. His life looked different from the sinners around him. He was always on his best behavior and was involved in the church. He did everything he was supposed to. The other character -he was bad news. Everyone knew of his bad reputation; his profession was known for dishonesty and unlawful practice. He was a liar and a thief. So we think -of course that's not who we are supposed to be like!
And yet... Jesus says the sinner went home justified. It was the sinner whose relationship with God was made right. That response should cause us take a second look at this passage in order to understand why.
You see, Jesus sees this scenario completely differently. While we notice their behavior, Jesus sees their heart. Jesus sees the pride and self-righteousness in the heart of the Pharisee, and the humility in the the confession of the Tax Collector. Jesus is trying to help us understand that we are not justified (made right) before God by our actions. We are justified only because of God's mercy towards sinners.
What are you trusting in to make your relationship with God right?
If you are trusting in anything else, other than the free gift of Jesus Christ, you will not be made right before God. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."
This week we had the opportunity to get to know Jenn Paris, the new intern, a little better as she shared with us for Summer Sessions. She addressed the topic of surrender to the Lordship of Christ and how that has played out in her own life.
For those who have received salvation, the concept of Jesus as Savior is relatively familiar. We recognize that he SAVED us from the penalty of our sin, which was death. One of the greatest summaries of this salvation is John 3:16-17. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him."
Jesus as Lord may not be as familiar to us. Colossians 1:15-20 helps us see that Christ is the one possessing authority, power, control. Often we don't live like this is true. We are disillusioned that we are in control, we live like we have final authority. Phil 2:9-11 says that one day, every knee WILL bow and every tongue WILL confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. The truth is, He IS Lord, whether we acknowledge that or not… He is still Lord even if we don't live like it. We have the choice to surrender and submit ourselves to his Lordship.
It is only when we have surrendered to his Lordship that we are able to respond to the call to follow him. Matt 28:18-20 says, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations...” That is a command that is intended for every person who receives salvation, but if we are on the throne, acting as self-sovereigns, we will not be obedient to that call.
She challenged the teens to think through these questions:
- What do you really believe to be true? (What you believe is what you will act on)
- How does the message of the gospel impact you today?
- Jesus as Savior - Do you know him?
- Jesus as Lord - Do you need to surrender to him?
- Follow me, go make disciples - Are you living for him?
Be sure to mark your calendars with what's coming up next!
August 18 - Last Impact Summer Session
September 8 - Evening Impact resumes for the school year and Impact LifeGroups resume
October 5 - Collide Fall Fest
November 22-24 - Impact Fall Retreat