WHAT’S THE POINT?
|Jesus wants me to give Him what is stealing my life.
|Joel will be delivering the message tonight at youth as he introduces our I Got it Totally Wrong series with a fresh take on the Rich Young Ruler’s encounter with Jesus.
[SERIES INTRO SLIDE] Good evening everyone, so excited we’re back together again tonight and that we had more baptisms! When I teach the baptism class and a number of you have taken it, I often address what baptism is not. Sometimes it is good to call out some ideas people have about baptism that just aren’t true. It’s good because often we can see the lie or the misconception if someone doesn’t tell us.
That’s what this next month is all about. Not specifically about baptism, but about debunking some myths that we might hold about who Jesus is and what it actually is to be one of his followers. We are going to use stories of people who “got it totally wrong” in the Bible. People who totally missed the boat. As we venture out on this journey it is my hope that you would keep an open mind and not fall prey to the “Dunning–Kruger” effect. Does anyone know what the “Dunning-Kruger” effect is?
(Purposeful pause, waiting for people to respond)
Awesome, well, that’s why we have Wikipedia. [WIKIPEDIA DUNING-KRUGER EFFECT SLIDE – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning–Kruger_effect]
As it reads “In the field of psychology, the Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people of low ability have illusory superiority and mistakenly assess their cognitive ability as greater than it is. The cognitive bias of illusory superiority comes from the inability of low-ability people to recognize their lack of ability. Without the self-awareness of metacognition, low-ability people cannot objectively evaluate their competence or incompetence. As described by social psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger…”
I know, insightful right. What does that mean? It means people who know the least about something, are often the ones who confidently claim to know the most about it. Let me say that again, it means people who know the least about something, are often the ones who confidently claim to know the most about it. So over the next few weeks, starting tonight, we are going to look at some people who don’t have a clue, some might call them idiots, or stupid, or mean, or all sorts of names, but hold off your judgment. I think God has intended these stories and these people be part of His message for a reason. They are there to teach us, and at times point out the flaws in us and our own thinking, so that we won’t repeat their mistakes.
As you listen and engage in these very true and real stories, don’t point a finger at these people, but take a look at yourself and ask, have I bought into these ideas myself in some shape or form? You don’t want to be left saying [SERIES INTRO SLIDE] “I got it totally wrong.”
Personally, I’ve got a lot things wrong in my life. For example, I see myself as a fairly athletic and physically healthy, close to 40 year old. I play soccer with a team that’s doing really well, I run almost every day and I’m pretty fast. Growing up I thought I was pretty good at every sport I played and their was one sport that I suffered from the Dunning-Kruger effect. That sport was swimming. Back in my day my parents put me in swimming lessons and they had levels with colours, not numbers. And I made it to maroon. Maroon is not a pretty colour or a handsome colour. No kid says, my favourite colour is maroon! I thought, maroon, I’ll be out of this colour in no time, and soon I’ll be on to silver. That’s a cool colour. Even the way it rolls off the tongue… siiilllverrrr.
Anyhow, that didn’t happen. I failed maroon. I failed maroon again. I failed maroon 3 times. I’m not sure if my parents were tired of paying for lessons or if I was just arrogantly confident that the swim instructors didn’t know what they were talking about, but I rebelled and abandoned the whole swimming level system. I know, rebel right? Here’s the funny thing, I didn’t think I was a bad swimmer. I thought I was amazing and everyone else just had it wrong.
What I didn’t learn, until probably about a decade ago, as I was nearing 30, was actually “I got it totally wrong.” My back stroke was fine. I was a pretty good doggy paddler. But it was my front crawl. I didn’t learn, or I didn’t listen until the end of my twenties, that to properly do the front crawl, and breathe, you were to turn your head to the side and breathe. My whole life up until that point I was using all my arm strength, every time I needed to breathe out of water, to lift the front of my chest out of the water and breathe out the front. Man I look stupid when I swim. “I got it totally wrong.”
I still haven’t learned the front crawl, and it will take me proper training, and maybe even instruction, and time and practice to do it properly in a natural kind of way.
The same is true about our life and walk with God. Over these next few weeks, you might watch some Bible characters trying to do the front crawl, breathing out the front, rather than tilting their head. It’s my hope you see them, but also see yourself and where you have come to believe some of the same lies they have. We want to help you to start breathing out the side.
So let’s encounter our first front breather. He’s a guy many of you have read about before. Maybe you can identify with Him, his name is “Rich Young Ruler.” Can I get _________ to read the story for us tonight? It comes from Matthew 19:16-30. So turn to your Bibles as you got ’em, as _________ comes up to read.
[SLIDES FOR SCRIPTURE]
16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27 Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world,[ when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
OK, Wow, there is two parts to this story. There is the first half, the encounter that Jesus has with the Rich Young Ruler. Then there is the second half, his explanation to His disciples who didn’t get it. They thought Jesus was being too demanding, asking too much of the guy.
The first part, the encounter. The young rich guy shows up, he starts talking about good and eternal life. Jesus is funny. He uses the word good, to highlight that goodness comes from God. This should maybe take you back right to the beginning of creation where God created stuff and he called it “good.”
Jesus is starting off by challenging the guy’s pride. Goodness doesn’t come from one person, unless that person is the creator of the universe, who made things good. He is challenging this guy’s sense of where goodness comes from. But the guy doesn’t get it. Jesus points to commandments that God created and the rich young ruler responds. Ya, I’ve kept all of those commandments. Really? You’ve kept all those? Have you heard how Jesus breaks those commandments down? It’s not just, I haven’t murdered someone. It’s more than that. If I’ve hated someone, put them down, killed them with my words. Commandment broken. It’s not just adultery, Jesus calls us to the heart of it, which is lust. This guy has never lied? Jesus’ play on the word good, doesn’t wake this guy up from His pride. So then Jesus goes for where his heart is.
“Ok,” Jesus says, “just go sell everything you have, and give it away.” Boom, Jesus does open heart surgery on his patient while he is fully awake, and says, “Look right there… there’s the problem, your heart is attached to your stuff, too attached.”
Pause for a few seconds and close your eyes. Yes, everyone in the room. Let the Spirit of God speak to you right now, as we look at this Scripture. Ask God, if I was that guy today Jesus, what would you point out in my heart? What is that one thing? Go ahead, ask him?
For that guy, the rich young ruler, his thing, the thing that took the place that Jesus wanted to be in, was his money. For you, it could be something else. What is Jesus asking you to give to Him? Is it a relationship that you really want? Is it a standard of living with an iPhone in one hand and a Starbucks in the other? Is it a mobile device, or gaming device, or particular game? Or maybe it is something that might be sinful? Is it pornography? Is it gossip? Is it an unhealthy relationship that dishonours who Jesus created you to be?
Jesus explains to His disciples and to us… that thing… that person or whatever it is, steals life. The rich guy goes away dejected, but I think Jesus’ heart simultaneously breaks for him. John 10, Jesus communicates that, “The thief seeks to steal and destroy, but I’ve come to give life and life to the full!” He says in John 14:6, “I am the way the truth and the (PAUSE) LIFE!” Jesus isn’t trying to steal our fun or steal life from us, He is trying to show us that He is that life!
I guarantee you, giving that thing up to Jesus, that will bring you more and more life. And I’m not just saying that as someone who confidently expresses something I don’t know. I’m not just suffering from the Dunning–Kruger effect. I have given up, and continue to give up the areas that Jesus points out in my life. When I do. I find more life, no joke.
CALL FOR RESPONSE AND PRAYER