Golgotha UnBound #3
I like fish stories, how about you? One of my favorites is about two old friends who meet at the dock after coming in from bass fishing. There’s nothing quite like the feel of a big old black bass on the end of your line. Or making that perfect cast and seeing the water explode as the lure hits the water and a bass grabs it and then watching that thing dance across the water. That’s is one of those simple pleasures of life. Anyway, the one old friend gets out of his boat lugging a huge black bass, it weighed 10 lbs if it weighed anything. His buddy’s stringer had a dozen pound and a half to two pound black bass on it. The first old friend said, “Howdy,” and his fish on the table and waited for one of those admiring comments you get when you land the big one.
His buddy stared for a few moments and then calmly responded, “Just caught the one, huh?” (1)
Or how about the one about the one armed fisherman who said, “I caught one this big.”
Who said there was no rivalry between fisherman.
Today we’re going to look at the beginning of the greatest fishing expedition of all time, one which Jesus started; one that is still going on today.
Jesus told the Disciples to meet Him in Galilee, they did and He gathered them together on a mountain top. Scholars aren’t sure which one. It could have been the Mount of Temptation, the Mount of the Sermon on the Mount or maybe the Mount of Transfiguration. Wherever it was, they could see a long way. Jesus pointed, gave us our marching orders and said: “Go!” And we’ve been fishing ever since. The passage is Matthew 28:16-20
 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.
 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.
 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
 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,
 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
It was there, on that mountain, with the Disciples where you and I and the entire church were given our purpose and our mission. It was there that we were Commissioned; Commissioned to make Disciples and share the Good News of Jesus Christ through both Word and Deed.
A. WORD: Once he gave his life to Christ, the Apostle Paul got that right away. In Colossians 3:17 Paul writes: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Now I know what you’re thinking, at least some of you. You’re sitting there thinking, “I just barely believe this stuff myself and you want me to share it with others? I’m not about to open MY mouth.” Am I right? But you want to know something? There are two parts to our commission. We are called to proclaim Christ but not all of that is done with our mouth. We are also called to live Christ. And you want to know something, comparatively speaking, the easy part of carrying out our Commission is the telling. It may be the most frightening part but in my mind it’s certainly the easiest part.
It’s hard to live the Christian life. It’s hard to live like Jesus. It’s hard to love my neighbors as myself because not all of my neighbors are loveable. It’s hard to love God with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength because there are so many other distractions in the world which are so much fun that they can capture our hearts and minds.
However, when we LIVE Christ, when we live LIKE Christ, when we seek to be like Christ, then most people are not only willing to hear the Good News, but they’re curious about why we do the things we do and why live the way we live.
B. DEED It’s easier to preach than it is to practice what we preach. So, we have to be careful, we have to make sure our words and deeds match. We have to walk the walk as well as talk the talk.
Years ago a boy had a crush on a certain girl, Laura Mae, in his high school freshman class. It was a farming community and everyone planted gardens. They also protected them with scarecrows. Each family tried to make its scarecrow the most lifelike and original.
Riding home on the school bus one afternoon, they rounded the curve near Laura Mae’s house and her parent’s garden came into view. There in the middle of the rows, was a figure dressed in an old straw hat, ragged overalls, and a faded checked shirt. A hoe was stuck under his right arm, adding authenticity. In an effort to gain favor with the girl he loved, this boy said, “Laura Mae, your Daddy never has to worry about crows in his garden; anything that ugly will keep everything away.” And right at that moment, the ‘scarecrow’ began hoeing. It was Laura Mae’s Daddy.
Laura Mae is married now, … but not to that boy. (2)
The point is that we are called to proclaim Christ with both our words and our deeds and the two have to be synonymous. We can’t say one thing and do another.
A. Unfortunately, there are some of us who’ve been CONDITIONED, through various evangelism efforts to think that spreading the Good News is like carving notches on your six-gun. WATCH
That’s the perception a lot of Christians have been CONDITIONED to hold about evangelism. And that’s the perception that those outside the Church have been CONDITIONED to have about the work and ministry of the Church.
You and I know it’s wrong but you and I also know that for 99% of the world “perception is reality.”
According to the book UnChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons, “To outsiders the word Christian has more in common with a brand than a faith. This shift of meaning in recent decades has been magnified by an increasing use of the term Christian to label music, clothes, schools, political action groups, and more. And sadly, it is a bad brand in the minds of tens of millions of people. It has come to represent hypocrisy, judgmentalism, anti-intellectualism, insensitivity, and bigotry, it’s easy to see why the next generation wants nothing to do with it.”
B. The author also says that it’s not an image problem but a substance problem. And the solution “comes down to this: we must become Christlike again.”
This isn’t something new, remember what Paul wrote in Colossians 3:17 which we read earlier. “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
A. Now why do I tell you this: because I think the United Methodist Church is POSITIONED to make a major change in the world and in the way the next generation and world perceives Christianity.
We have the most beautiful and incredible theology in world. It is a theology the world needs, a theology of love and grace. A theology that allows us to meet people exactly where they are in life without looking down our noses at them but looking at them, accepting them, treating them as brothers and sisters because they are God’s children who have worth and value.
And that worth and value is not tied to what we can get from them or because they think like us or look like us or smell like us or dress like us but simply because they belong to God; it’s simply because they have been created in the Image of God, just like us. And just like us, they need to know God’s unconditional love and forgiveness and the redemption which God offers through His Son Jesus, the Christ.
But it means we are going to have to do the hard work of living Christlike lives. It means we are going to have to dream big dreams. And envision big visions. God sized dreams. God sized visions. Dreams and visions so big that only God can make them happen.
And then we’re called to surrender ourselves to God as servants, as instruments of change in order to make those dreams and visions reality it the world today. We have to get back to the basics of making disciples for the transformation of the world through the most basic way of all, loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and loving our neighbor as ourselves.
B. And one of the most audacious ways we can begin is to be involved in the newest aspect of Nothing But Nets. I say audacious because the goal is to eliminate malaria in Africa. We did so in America. Why not Africa. WATCH
The United Methodist Church is POSITIONED physically through the hospitals, churches and mission posts; it’s POSITIONED spiritually through our dual emphasis of both Personal and Social Holiness; and we are POSITIONED by the love we have for God and each other.
The United Methodist Church is POSITIONED and so are we. This afternoon from 2-5 pm CDT there will be a live streamed launch party and concert by Jars of Clay. $75 Million in 5 years is a God sized project. That’s $15 Million a year. You can start and donate today before you leave the service by texting MALARIA to 27722.
Maybe you heard about the little boy whose father was a banker. They were on their way home from Church one day when the little boy said, “Dad? When I grow up I want to be a teller.” Dad was pleased and said, “That’s great; maybe you can work at the same bank with me.”
But the little boy got irritated and said, “No, I don’t want to work at the bank! I don’t want to be that kind of teller. I want to be the kind of teller that tells people about Jesus.”
I want that little boy in our church. I want each of us to be like that little boy. You see, like the Disciples, we’ve all been called to follow Jesus. We’ve all been called to share God’s Good News. We’ve all been called to be tellers.
And the great news is that we can do it in both word and deed. Showing others what it means to walk with Christ by being the Christ for others and living Christlike lives. We don’t need a church full of old fish stories. We don’t need a church full of the smell of old fish. We need a church full of people who know had to fish with their lives.
This is the Word of the Lord for this day.
1. InfoSearch Jokes Database
2. *PROGRESSIVE FARMER Jan 1991 (Birmingham, AL)