Tonight my sermon is titled living the red letters. And by the title, you can see that our living, should be all about Jesus.
What I have found was that to be truly successful and do here truly what Jesus intended for His Church to be, I couldn’t follow past designs of church start-ups and growth, I would have to humble myself to seek direction from the Holy Spirit. Basically I would have to be totally wrecked by Jesus to see how He sees, and do what He purposes me and this future body of believers to do.
I could have followed paths that others took to start a church, been there done that, but when the Lord kept prompting me to start, I truly wanted to do what He wanted, and not follow a program created by man. It is truly a humbling experience. This process exposed a lot of myself that was baggage, and that baggage needed to be dumped, and I am still in that process.
Literally I walked out of religious structure, and program that I have known for years, and was comfortable in, and walked out into a world that I knew was there, but had fear to enter into. Sometimes I feel like Moses walking out into the dessert, but that’s not a bad thing. Moses found God in the desert, and found his purpose with direction and that is available to all of us if we seek the path through Jesus.
Being totally wrecked by Jesus, allowing Him to totally mess up our world so it conforms to His, actually brings us freedom. The patterns of religious thought and structure that truly hinder the Gospel are released, and only Jesus and His Words remain. That was the plan.
As I spoke of last week, Jesus is calling us back to basics. To get back to the basics, we have to get back to what Jesus said. When we look at our Bibles, primarily the older ones, primarily in the Gospels, we are directly exposed to the words of Jesus because of these red letters. The red letters are Jesus speaking to us. His words of life and truth.
What Jesus said is genuine Christianity, and for a believer, actually doing what you have read and heard from those red letters, is us living and displaying Jesus to the world.
If we are living in the entirety of the words of Jesus, what would our lives look like, and the world around us?
Matthew 7:24, “Everyone then who hears these wordsof mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”
The red letters reveal truth, and they if followed and lived, create a wholesome directed life in that truth. Those red letters also have the power because of truth, to set men free who hear them, because lies are destroyed by those words of truth spoken by the Savior of all Creation. The words will cause us to be firm in the faith.
The red letters not only have truth, life and wisdom, but the words allow for repentance, they take away guilt, they offer mercy, bring healing, give unconditional love, cause transformation, and reveal a Father in Heaven who loves His creation.
Furthermore, the red letters also reveal a Savior who takes away the sins of the world, who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who holds the keys of life and death, who offers hope to all who would seek Him.
So what is in the Red Letters? First I would imagine would be the question why God sent Him in the first place. This is what Jesus said.
John 6:38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. In obedience, Jesus came from a perfect Heaven, sent by His Father for us.
Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
John 10:10, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
Jesus didn’t say it, but the Apostle John did in 1John 3:8, that Jesus also came to destroy the works of the devil.
So Jesus came to save us, humanity. It was because of love. To bring the Kingdom God to the people. To restore man back to God.
When Jesus began His ministry, one of the first things He said to men, like the Disciple Philip in John 1:43, was “Follow Me!”, and there is so must to those two words that Jesus said.
Follow me meant that a whole new world would be opened up to those who did.
But why follow Jesus? There are different stark realities why.
For some, their thoughts may be about escaping judgement, because Jesus spoke of judgment.
Mark 8:36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul?
Not knowing the truth about our true condition leads to judgement. Rejecting Christ leads to judgement. We need to be saved from judgement and that only comes through Jesus Christ.
And we not only need a Savior, we also need to be exposed to a life that is so abundant, that we are transformed by renewing our minds in Christ that leads our hearts away from judgement.
The freedom we experience causes us to want others to receive that freedom too. We live for Christ not only to be free of eternal judgement, but because we have a new life, and want to give that life away like Jesus gives His away.
Jesus gave man a choice. Life, or judgement. That’s why Jesus said in:
John12:48, “The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.”
There is a price for rejection of His Words.
Matthew 16:27,‘For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.”
Matthew 25:33,41, “And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 41 Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
A stark reality of truth from Jesus. We have been given a choice. We make the decision, but we are offered a path away from judgement because of the love of God. Because of that love, we have been offered the opposite of eternal judgement; eternal life.
Jesus said in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. “
So Jesus’ words here are about life. God wanted none to perish as the Apostle Peter would write. And what is eternal life all about? Jesus said in
John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
So eternal life is not only about being with Jesus and the Father in eternity, from Jesus’ standpoint here, it was about knowing God the Father and the Son even now.
But to know know the Father, Jesus said,
John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Jesus again by reading His red letters words is the gate keeper. So we must believe in Him for salvation, and to see the father, but to come to the Father, most importantly, we must repent.
Luke 5:32, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Jesus was all about transformation. Old life to new. Freedom from sin that so traps us so we can be unburdened in this life until we are truly free by death, or by rapture if we are around until then.
But what Jesus was all about in His red letter words was life, and life more abundant, and a life that was bright to expose the Kingdom of God to others. When Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment of the law, He responded with what is the beginning of all life as a believer,
Jesus Greatest Commandment:
Matthew 22:37-39 “ And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Jesus by His words was setting up our lives to fulfill God’s heart and His will for us. As we preach here much, a relationship with the Father is the beginning of the fulfilled Christian life. We must know God to know His ways and His heart. We have His Word, yes, but only by the Spirit through direct revelation of that Word are we are truly exposed to His will and His life. People can read the Bible like a book, and see it as something that is just historical in nature. But when the writings in the Book, are infused with the Holy Spirit, the Book comes to life. When we are connected into a Holy God through His Word in the Spirit, He, God injects in us revelation of His Word for us, for the purposes He has called us to, to live an overcoming impactful life.
Our lives should be an extension of His, and it only happens when our lives revolve around Him, and not our own. Your lives truly revolve around something when it is your first and primary love that is captured in the Spirit.
When we truly experience God, and give ourselves over to Him; our hearts, our minds, and our souls, completely transform in us. And Jesus knew that. He knew we needed Spirit driven heart transformation to not only survive in this world and live an overcoming life, but we needed it to assist Him to fulfill the great commission. Loving our neighbors as yourself. Jesus said in the red letters.
The Great Commission:
Mar 16:15, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Mat 28:18, “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Through this commission, Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Go therefore.” He tasked us, His people to reach other people in His authority. But to walk in that authority, we have to believe in that authority, and experience that authority in our own lives.
That why Jesus said in Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
Jesus wanted us to have faith. He wanted us to ask, so we would see His goodness. So we could see the truth of His Word. As Jesus spoke in authority, He wants us to speak in that authority too. When Jesus sent out the twelve in Matthew 10, He said, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with leprosy, and drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”
His authority, demonstrated His love and mercy toward creation. It was not an authority to hold over people, but and authority to set people free. Jesus was all about us setting people free with the authority He gave us as believers.
Because freeing people exposed them to a loving God who wants them back. But to bring the people back, Jesus exposed to us in His red letters, a life that we should live, that would not only bring freedom to us and others, but would give Him and His Father glory.
Jesus set a high bar for us.
In Matthew 5:48 Jesus says,“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
And we would say, “how can we do that?” The red letters of Jesus exposed the path to that in Matthew 5-7.
Mat 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “
Mat 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “
Mat 5:5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
Mat 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “
Mat 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “
Mat 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “
Mat 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “
Mat 5:10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “
Mat 5:11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. “
The Sermon on the Mount as Mike Bickle stated, is like the Constitution of God’s Kingdom. It is to be our life. Its guidelines to living in the fullness of Christ, and a path to righteousness and spiritual growth.
Living perfect, was living out these be attitudes. They would cause a stark transformation of us, to lead us into that path of righteousness before God. The beatitudes would cause us to not follow past life patterns Jesus was referencing in the following scriptures, having anger, and lust for the things of this world.
Jesus said we must war against these things. We must live a life that the attitudes Jesus spoke of that would bring us freedom from self, to live a life that was abundant, clean, and bore no weight on our shoulders.
The disciplines of living Jesus’ red letters postures our hearts to receive more grace. And in that grace, we can express it to others. Increased grace not only is a testimony of the power of the words of Jesus, but it continues to drive us to a stronger relationship with Him and the Father.
And through that relationship, our faith is solidified and stronger, the purposes we have been called to are more direct and narrowed, and we continue to grow up upon that foundation established on Christ He exampled in Matthew 7:24.
I would have us read the four Gospels over and over and really digest what Jesus saying to us, and allow the Holy Spirit to give us revelation to truths that may never have been revealed to us before because there are so many. We must live Jesus, we must live His Words, and we do that by meeting Him face to face, having Him download truths into us through the Holy Spirit so they are His words, and not filtered words from anywhere else. Amen!