Sunday Morning 5/26/2013

Posted by Sherry


I YAM WHATS I YAM
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?
CONCLUSION:
  • 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.
INVITATION:
  • 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.

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