Matt’s sermon today is the first in a new series. It’s titled The Guiding Principles. It dealt with heroism, what makes a hero and how Jesus is our true hero. As Matt says, he is a “hero of heroes: the ultimate hero.” Matt also explains how we also become heroes as we let Jesus (the ultimate hero) live in and through us. While Jesus makes us heroes, this is not a cause for arrogance, but a cause for humility and courage as we recognize from whom our heroism comes.
Matt explains that this series is designed to help us be who God created us to be. In doing so, we will become heroes. Matt challenges us to consider what would happen if we truly became that person, living powerfully and courageously. As Matt says, the world and the lives around us depend upon us becoming who God created us to be. We do not live in a vacuum and our faith is not designed to sit on a shelf, waiting to be cashed in at our death bed. It is there to be used every day, to be acted upon and to change us and make us more like Jesus.
Matt talks about Jesus’ baptism and subsequent temptation to point out Jesus’ heroic qualities of humility and perseverance. As Jesus was tempted, so also are we. How we respond to those tests is a demonstration and proof of our heroism. Being a hero is not easy. It is tough and it comes with major challenges and difficulties. It is an adventure that involves a lot of testing and requires a lot of trust in our leader (God).
Matt also reminds us that Jesus was fully man. This is important as it establishes that Jesus did suffer temptation just as we do and he understands what we face. He also overcame that temptation. This spiritual battle that Jesus faced is hugely important. Our salvation was dependent upon Jesus passing this test and just as Jesus’ temptation was hugely important, so are our daily temptations. It’s very, very easy to brush off our tests and trials as no big deal, not really caring if we emerge victorious, or even if we bothered to fight at all. Matt speaks out against this attitude, reminding us again of how important our performance on these tests is to ourselves and those around us.
Matt then gives the following three guiding principles for this series:
1. Jesus is the ultimate hero and it is he alone who makes us heroes. As such, every one of us can become the one God has created us to be through Christ.
2. There is a whole ton at stake here. The world needs us to be who we are meant to be in Christ. A lot of us paint this process of becoming who God has called us to be as a great, amazing, scary adventure. This is true, but the implication is that it is also optional. It’s OK if we don’t go. After all, not everybody lives a life of adventure, right? Matt says, “wrong.” If you do not join this adventure, you lose. Everything is at stake. Your future is at stake. Your family is at stake and your faith is at stake. We will live a legacy in the lives of those around us and our decision to become who God created us to be or to not become that person will determine whether that legacy is a positive one or a negative one.
3. There are two overriding questions to be asked as we go through this series. They are:
“Is God god (supreme) in my life?”
“Do I trust him?”
The answer to these two questions is important. The degree to which we answer “Yes/Yes” will determine how far along this journey we will go and how much success we will have. Matt admits that he can say “Yes” to the first question, but struggles with saying “Yes” to the second as God tests him by taking him into areas that he (Matt) cannot control. We need to answer “Yes’ to both of those questions in every area of our lives. That is difficult. We often want to keep certain parts of our lives private from God and unaffected by Him. The first part of that (keeping it private) is impossible and the second part will prohibit us from becoming who God wants us to be. We must turn it all over to him. The good news is, we can learn to say “Yes/Yes” in steps and grow in faith. The key is to actually be actively growing by taking chances and trusting God.
To me, the most powerful thing Matt mentioned was at the end. I’m really glad I wrote these notes, because I had forgotten how much it struck me this morning until right now. After telling a story about when Matt found and then inexplicably lost a $5 bill, Matt asked God, “God, is there something you want to teach me in all of this?” That question was actually a secondary part of the story (it was the answer that was more important to his theme), but it really hit me anyway. I need to ask that question. I do not look for lessons that God is trying to teach me. When unusual (whether good, bad or neither) things happen to me, I rarely consider whether or not God is trying to get my attention and teach me something. I love that this is something that Matt does and I want to incorporate it into my own life.
I’m looking forward to the rest of this series. Matt may not be teaching all of the lessons. If not, I’m going to listen to whoever is preaching on each segment as I want to hear this series in its entirety.