Sunday Morning 5/26/2013

Posted by Sherry

Ephesians 5:1
CBC 5/26/2013 SM
INTRO: Have we been conditioned as a society to not expect people to change?
  • ILL: "Popeye the Sailor Man" (frustrated) "I yam what I yam."
    • Popeye wasn't a sophisticated guy.  
    • he didn't have much education.  
    • He knew who he was; 
    • a simple, 
    • sea-faring, 
    • pipe-smoking, 
    • Olive Oyl-loving 
    • sailor man.  
    • he wouldn't pretend to be anything else.
  • "I yam what I yam."  
    • generally offered as an explanation of his shortcomings.  
    • an expression that doesn't anticipate much growth or personal change.  
    • expression that doesn't leave him much of a shot at getting to be something that, 'I yam not. 
    • Don't get your hopes up', Popeye seemed to say.  
    • 'Don't expect too much.  
    • I yam what I yam and that is all that I yam.' "
  • Essay in Time Magazine by Bill Walton detailing Bobby Knight
    • abrasive coaching style
    • “terrorizes his players through violence, slandering, foul language & bullying
    • Walton poses the question...
    • Do we really expect Knight to change?
    • He is who he is. I yam what I yam

TEXT: Ephesians 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father].
  • We live in a low expectation culture. 
    • A culture that continues to lower the bar.  
    • we say of ourselves, "I yam what I yam and that is all that I yam."  
    • we say of others, "That is just who he is or that is just who she is."  
    • "They yar who they yar and that's all that they yar."
In our culture, acceptance and tolerance trumps any expectation of personal growth or change.  
  • First, we are told to accept ourselves for who we already are.  .
    • I'm okay, you're okay.  
    • title of a book at Barnes and Noble, I'm Dysfunctional. You're Dysfunctional. 
    • embrace our shortcomings.  
    • accept our limitations, 
    • be the victim, 
    • celebrate our weaknesses, 
    • just be our genetically programmed selves.  
    • Our culture says, 
      • "Hey, we are all a dysfunctional mess.  
      • So just deal with it.  
      • Don't expect anything more."
  • Second, we're told to tolerate others as they are and we don't dare judge them!
    • "Remember", "it is not a choice, it is a lifestyle.  
    • didn't Jesus say we need to love everybody and accept them unconditionally and embrace them?"  
    • With tolerance, behaviors once labeled and understood as deviant have now been normalized.
    • And just think, all this acceptance and tolerance stuff is spilling over into our public schools.  
      • Schools are abolishing failing grades.  
      • Teachers are being expressly forbidden to speak those reality-invoking words, "wrong answer."  
      • Standards for personal conduct are also being dumbed down.  
      • We are told things like, "Little Tommy didn't do anything wrong.  
      • He just has low self-esteem.  
      • Don't discipline him.  
      • Don't spank him.  
      • Don't correct him.  
      • Don't scold him.  
      • Don't expect anything different from him."
  • Our culture is a Christ-less mess, 
    • in the church things should be different.  
    • We should be the polar opposite  
    • J. Stott suggests, "We should be a Christian counter-culture.  As our culture lowers the bar for personal growth, we should raise it.  As our culture opts for lower expectations, we should raise expectations.  As our culture buys into tolerance, we should hold up the life of Christ and call men and women everywhere to repent and embrace his lifestyle.  As our culture settles for mediocrity, we should pursue personal holiness."
  • Unfortunately, as goes the culture, so goes the Church.  
    • Many churches getting into the self-esteem business.  
    • becoming obsessed with making people feel good about who they already are,
    • instead of making them feel great about who they can become.  
    • They can be like Jesus Christ.
    • In our churches, we are turning a blind eye to wrongdoing.  
    • Generally speaking, in the Church, we justify our apathy in matters of 
      • church discipline 
      • with a misapplication of Jesus' command not to judge.  
      • We have disobediently embraced a soft, country club style tolerance.
  • we are rightly emphasizing God's 
    • grace, 
    • mercy, 
    • love,  
    • forgiveness.  
  • But in many cases, we have stopped talking about 
    • repentance, 
    • confession, 
    • obedience  
    • judgment.  
We stopped emphasizing the fact that while God's grace is sufficient, God still has high expectations for us.
  • God has high expectations for us.
    • Ephesians 5:1 (NIV), "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us."  
    • Philippians 2:5 (NIV), "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus."    
    • 1 Peter 1:15 (NIV) Peter says, "But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do."
    • You don’t have to read the Bible very long before realizing that "I yam what I yam" doesn't cut it with God.  
    • The only person in the entire Bible who ever said "I yam what I yam" was God himself  
    • Exodus 3:14 (NIV).  He literally told Moses, "I AM WHO I AM."  
      • God is everything he needs to be.  
      • He is perfect.  
      • He is holy.  
      • He is pure.  
      • He is righteous.  
      • He is sinless.  
      • He is supreme.  
      • He is sufficient in and of himself.  
      • He has every right to be satisfied with who he already is.  
  • We, on the other hand, have not yet arrived.  
    • We are imperfect.  
    • We are blemished, 
    • impure, 
    • unrighteous, 
    • sinful 
    • finite.
  • God doesn't want us to become complacent about who we are.  
    • He expects us to 
      • grow, 
      • change, 
      • mature, 
      • be transformed into Christ-likeness. 
      • Romans 8:29 (NIV) God predestined us, "to be conformed to the likeness of his Son."  
      • Ephesians 3:19 (NIV) that we, "may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."  
      • Hebrews 12:14 (NIV), "make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord."
  • Scripture after scripture affirms God's expectation for us.  
    • His expectation is that he wants us to be just like his son, Jesus Christ.  
      • In word, 
      • in action, 
      • in thought,
      • in attitude.  
      • Jesus wants us to be like himself entirely.
      • We are called to be imitators of God.
  • Ephesians 5:1 (NIV).  In this verse Paul says, "Be imitators of God."  
    • summarizes everything about God's expectation for his Church.  
    • become like Christ in every way.
  • Notice several things about this verse.  
    • First, there is an emphasis on being, not just on doing.  
    • "Be imitators of God."  
    • big difference between being and doing.  
    • one thing to do nice things for people.  
    • another thing to be a nice person.  
    • Doing superficial or external.  
    • about appearances.  
    • Doing can be coerced or forced.  
    • "You apologize to your brother."  
    • Doing can be motivated by a guilty conscience or by a deceptive heart.  
    • WWJD only addresses the external issues of doing.  
    • It does not address matters of the spirit or heart.
  • On the other hand, being is all-inclusive.  
    • Being includes the external, outward behaviors.  
    • Being includes the internal, private matters of the heart.  
    • Being includes the attitude or the spirit with which one obeys God.  
    • Being involves loving God with all your heart, mind, body and soul.  
    • Being involves your entire being, totally and completely.
  • Second, there is an emphasis on God as our standard, and not on man as our standard.  
    • Paul says, "Be imitators of God."  
    • 1 Peter 1:15 (NIV), "But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do."  
    • 1 Peter 1:16 (NIV) God says, "Be holy, because I am holy."  
    • God's expectation is that we live up to the standard that he himself is.  
    • In the Church, there can be no dumbing-down of standards, 
    • because God cannot be dumbed down to our comfort level.  
    • God wants us to be like him.  
    • He wants us to imitate him in every way.
    • Who we should become and who God is, are one and the same thing.  
    • God has set himself up as our standard.  
    • He alone is the bar, 
    • the goal, 
    • the ideal 
    • the measuring stick.  
    • "But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do."  1 Peter 1:15  (NIV)
  • Healthy churches have high expectations. 
    • Healthy churches expect their members to grow and mature into Christ-likeness.  
    • Healthy churches expect their leaders to be godly men.  
      • Men of character, 
      • men of competence, 
      • men who will lead well. 
    • Healthy churches refuse to lower the bar from where God has set it.  
      • God's expectation for this church is that we be imitators of himself.
  • So why are high expectations so important?  
    • really simple.  
    • Nobody rises to low expectations.  
    • With low expectations, what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG).  
    • We will always get from one another only what we expect from one another.  
    • If we expect little, we will get little.  
    • if we expect much, we will get much.  
    • And why would we want for each other anything less than the absolute best we can become?
  • Communion with God.
    • we are forced to wrestle with God's high expectation of us.  
    • He is looking for perfection.  
    • He is looking for holiness.  
    • He is looking for purity.  
    • He is looking for righteousness.  
    • Though God's high expectation enables us to soar to greater and greater heights as we strive to become all that God is, it is also true that God's high expectation can be a source of discouragement.
    • The difficulty we face is that every day, 
    • we disappoint God in some way.  
    • Every day we fail to live up to his high expectations.  
    • Every day we sin.  
    • Not once, not twice, but dozens of times.  
    • Every day we fail to measure up.
  • So what are we to do about this?  
    • Should we give up?  
    • Should we raise a white flag of surrender?  
    • Should we go the way of our culture and lower the bar?  
    • Should we set our sights on becoming something less than Christ?  
    • Should we embrace our shortcomings?  
    • Should we accept our limitations?  
    • Should we turn a blind eye to our own inadequacies?  
    • Should we force ourselves into feeling good about being less than Christ-like? 
    • Should we mope around, defeated and discouraged and depressed?
  • We should always strive for Christ-likeness.
    • The answer to this dilemma is two-fold.  
    • First, we must never strive for anything less than total Christ-likeness.  
    • God wants us to be holy, just as he is holy.  
    • He doesn't want us to be two-thirds holy or good enough holy.  
    • Ephesians 4:13 (NIV)  indicates, God wants us to, "become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ."  
    • God wants us to go all the way!
    • Second, we must remember 
      • that the perfection, 
      • the purity, 
      • the holiness 
      • the righteousness God desires from us can only found in Jesus Christ. 
      • Only Jesus can truly satisfy God's standard of perfection and holiness. 
      • Jesus is the unblemished lamb, 
      • the perfect sacrifice.  
      • Jesus is our righteousness.  
      • We look to Christ to fill up everything that is lacking in our relationship with God.
  • While striving to be imitators of God, 
  • we confess our utter dependence on Jesus Christ 
  • to satisfy God's requirement for perfect holiness.  
  • his is what the gospel is all about.  
  • God's grace.  
  • This is how we reconcile God's high expectations and our human failures.

Sunday Morning 4-28-2013

Posted by Sherry

Expectations: What Do We Have In Common?
(John 2:1-11)
CBC 4/28/13 SM

INTRO: It’s normal to have expectations of Jesus.
If you listen to people praying it’s easy to identify their expectations.
Easy to EXPECT great things of Jesus b/c of His ministry History.
Notice this woman who had GREAT EXPECTATIONS of Jesus BEFORE He started His ministry.
John is instructed by the Holy Spirit to make it clear that the miracle at the wedding was the FIRST & BEGINNING miracle of Jesus’ ministry. vs 11
Eye catching that in vs 3 Jesus’ mother, Mary EXPECTED Jesus to remedy the shortage of wine...
that’s BEFORE Jesus ever did His FIRST MIRACLE...
What did Mary know or believe she knew?
Notice the servants obeyed Mary when she spoke...Bible doesn’t state her position at the wedding.
TEXT: On the third day there was a wedding at Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.
2 Jesus also was invited with His disciples to the wedding.
3 And when the wine (3631 oy’-nos; 4608 sik’-er-ah is strong or intoxicating drink) was all gone, the mother of Jesus said to Him, They have no more wine!
4 Jesus said to her, [[a]Dear] woman, what is that to you and to Me? [What do we have in common? (virgin birth!!) Leave it to Me.] My time (hour to act) has not yet come. [vs 4:(A)Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament: “a term of respect and endearment.”]
5 His mother said to the servants, Whatever He says to you, do it.
6 Now there were six waterpots of stone standing there, as the Jewish custom of purification (ceremonial washing) demanded, holding twenty to thirty gallons apiece.
7 Jesus said to them, Fill the waterpots with water. So they filled them up to the brim.
8 Then He said to them, Draw some out now and take it to the manager of the feast [to the one presiding, the superintendent of the banquet]. So they took him some.
9 And when the manager tasted the water just now turned into wine, not knowing where it came from—though the servants who had drawn the water knew—he called the bridegroom (180 gallons of the best fresh grape juice)
10 And said to him, Everyone else serves his best wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then he serves that which is not so good; but you have kept back the good wine until now!
11 This, the first of His signs (miracles, wonderworks), Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory [by it He displayed His greatness and His power openly], and His disciples believed in Him [adhered to, trusted in, and relied on Him].
    • John the Baptist prepared the way in John ch. 1
    • Jesus has begun to call his disciples
    • John ch. 2 Jesus begins to show by what authority He comes
    • He begins to prove His deity & power
    • But there’s more to it if you look behind the scenes
  • Very concerned over the shortage of refreshment
    • don’t think she meant send a couple of your boys down to the corner store for some more welches...
    • Mary knew who Jesus birth
    • Mary understood Jesus was the Son of God
    • something we all need to understand and live like we understand it
    • Mary based her expectation on who Jesus really was
    • so can we!!!
  • We all have expectations
    • we expect our car to start when we turn the key
    • we expect to make it through the day once we start it
    • I have expectations as your pastor
    • you have expectations as members of CBC
    • Our expectations will determine our course of action
    • If I don’t expect there to be any food at the house I’ll pick some up
    • If I expect to run out of gas I’ll stop and get some
  • Says God can, I can’t. 
    • (Daniel 3:29) Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way." 
  • Says God is, I’m not. 
    • (Psalms 77:13-15)13 Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God? 14 You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. 15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
  • Says God will, I’ll fail. 
    • (Acts 5:38-39) Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God." 
  • Don’t be in distress. 
    • Jesus was not rebuking His mother.
    • Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 
  • Don’t be in a hurry.
    • Psalms 62:5 My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.
  • Don’t proceed without His direction. 
    • Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.
    • Ecclesiastes 3:1There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven-- 
  • Expectations are met when we follow His instructions. 
    • 7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.
    • 180 gallons?
    • with well water?
    • makes no sense...
    • His ways are higher than our ways...
  • Expectations are met when we feast on His provisions.
    • 10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.
    • There’s nothing better, no substitute for what God provides
      • being high on the Holy Spirit
      • God ordained sex in the marriage relationship
      • financial freedom in God’s economy
  • Expectations are met when we experience His glory.  
    • 11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
    • Jesus is the same today as He was back then
    • the open miracles were a testimony to who He was
    • we now know who Jesus is
    • He can work privately in our lives, but with the same power
    • what are you running short of today?
      • acceptance?
      • respect?
      • freedom?
      • time?
What are your expectations today? 
Remember what we said? 
Our expectations determine our action. 
Are we living in expectation today? 
What did you expect when you came to the Lord’s house today? 
What are we expecting Jesus to do in our life, in our families’ life, and in our Church?
What is the Lord expecting from You and Me today?...tomorrow?