Hello and welcome to the Westside church's special podcast.Speaker 2:
Well, good evening. It's good to have all you young people here and everyone else, but we're glad you're here. Friday night you could be doing 10,000 things. You can be at a movie theater, you could be eating pizza, you could be just home, chilling out. But here you are on a Friday night, you're singing praises to God. You brought your Bibles to study God's word and that's impressive. It's impressive to me. It's impressive to this church and it's impressive to the God of heaven. We're so glad each of you could be with us. Let me get something outta the way and we'll just clarify this right now. Yes, tonight is Shalls and Shalls . It sounds like a law firm, but it's not. I'm the old shall . He's the young Chao . I'm the warmup band, which no one remembers, but you always remember the main band. But we're glad that Jordan and I could be on here together. It means more than you can ever know that he and I get to preach together at one place at the same time, it just immensely touches my heart. Thank you to all the elders for letting me be here and to do these things. It means so much to me. Your theme more like you becoming like Jesus. What we're gonna talk about this evening, we're gonna share five words and you are gonna write these down on your note cards. But is it possible for that to happen? And if I can't be like Jesus, we might as well just shut the doors and go on home and get that pizza tonight because can I be like Jesus every October you'll find here we go, little kids dressing up and going out, trick or repeating. Sometimes I see folks about your age come to my house too and they don't even wear a costume. They just want my candy, but , but what they do is for a couple hours that little boy puts on a cape or a mask or holds up a shield. He gets a plastic bucket and he goes from door to door trick or treaty . Now if you see him doing this, say, what is your name? He would say, I am Captain America. Because that's who he believes he is. And when he gets home after two hours, he takes off the mask , score the cave for the shield, dumps out his hoard of candy, starts sorting it out, and then he returns to being that little boy once again. What we're asking tonight is, is that the same thing we're doing? We grab a Bible on Friday night, we come to a church house for an hour or two, we think we're like Jesus, but then when the hour or two is up, we throw our Bibles in the backseat of the car, we return to just who we were. Is it possible to be like Jesus? And that's a concept I think that we need to see. We have songs that even emphasize a song we just sang. Oh , to be like Thee Blessed Redeemer. This is my constant longing in prayer. Now I can pick up a putter and I can go to a golf course and I can get on the green and putt, but I'm not Scotty Schaeffer the number one golfer in the world. I've got a little basketball goal at home and I could stuff it when it's on the slowest level, but I'm not LeBron James. No one ever says, dude, you look like LeBron. No, they've never said that in my life. <laugh> , how is it that you can be like Jesus? That's where we need to begin this evening. Is it even possible to be like Jesus? You got your Bible. We're gonna be in the book of Ephesians in just a moment. We're gonna share two words from the book of Ephesians. And then in just a moment we're gonna look at three other words that Jesus shares with us. So when we think about this concept, is it even possible? First of all, we have to understand Jesus always said the right thing every single time . Not once do you read about Jesus saying, you know what I told you guys yesterday, I gotta apologize for that. Now I've had to apologize before. But Jesus never did. Jesus never cussed Jesus never lied. Jesus never gossiped. I can't say I've never done those things 'cause I've done some of those things. How is it that I can be like Jesus when he always said the right thing every time? How can I be like Jesus? When he always had the right attitude? He never complained. A couple years ago, I went to the dead seas. I thought it was hot there. It was 106 when I got in my car yesterday, it said it was 115 in Dallas. We don't get the 115 in Indiana. If we got the 115 , we think we lost our soul. You know, I mean, dude, it is hot here. Now, when Jesus came to earth, he never said, dude , it never gets 115 in heaven. What's going on down there ? It is hot down. Jesus never complained, never. And when we think about that right attitude, we understand that Jesus, as he looked at things, he was never crabby. He was never grumpy. He never had those things that you united face. How is it I can be like Jesus when he seems so different than I am? We think about this. Jesus always did the right thing all the time. He always did the right thing. He was always focused. He never said, I don't want to today. He never said, I don't feel like helping those people today. When Satan tried to tempt him, he didn't get off course. When Pharisees tried to trap him, he, he did not get off course. He was interrupted, but stayed focused to God. Now you preachers on the audience. Here's a great little sermon for you. The heart of Jesus was pure, peaceable, pleasant, passionate, and spiritual. Every time He was perfectly perfect. There's no getting better than Jesus. It's not like seeing a singer. And I've seen some singers on the downside of their careers and I've heard people say, oh, you should have heard him back in the sixties, man, he could hit every note. Well, today, you know, he is kinda old and it's been lot drugs and he can't do those things. You see some baseball player and and maybe he's at the end of his career and he said , man, you should seen him when he was coming up , man, he could throw fastball. Now he's getting kinda old. He can't do that much anymore. No one ever said that about Jesus. You should have seen him when he is at his prime. He was always at his prime, always focused, always the best from first to last. Always. No one ever said, I wish I saw Jesus in an earlier time. And so when we think about this concept being like Jesus, what would that look like at school? Jesus wouldn't cheat, would he? Jesus wouldn't be the bully. Jesus wouldn't be the show off . Jesus would go out of his way to help somebody. What would that look at ? Like at work? Well, number one, he'd show up and he'd show up on time. He'd work hard and he'd go out of his way. What would it look like on a date? Well , he'd be kind. He'd be pure, he'd be truthful. That's the way Jesus is. What would it be like in worship? He would sing. He'd have his Bible, he would be focused. I love the story. It's very similar to the setting we have tonight. There's a whole bunch of young people and they're all crowded in on the front row. And this young man came in real late and squeezed in on the very end right beside the girl that was really pretty and he really liked her and she really did not like him. And all during worship, all he could think about was her. So he took out a hymn book and turned to a certain song and laid it in her lap. She looked down and the song said, I need thee every hour. And and he just smiled. She grabbed that songbook, flipped another song and threw it in his lap and said, I'd rather have Jesus <laugh> . You know, what would Jesus be like? Now, what's interesting about your theme had the theme said, be like one of the apostles. I can do that. Be like Peter. Oh yeah, man, he looked at the wind and waves and he sank. He denied Jesus. Yeah, I can be a Peter. Be like Thomas. We all know what his first name is. Thomas is his middle name. His first name is doubting . Yeah , I can do that. I can be like Thomas. But the Bible doesn't say that. The Bible doesn't say be like Mark, be like Roger. It says Be like Jesus. Be like Jesus. And so let's begin this evening in the book of Ephesians, and let's look at five words I wanna talk about. The first two words are the word just as , just as is found three times in the book of Ephesians. We're gonna talk about two of them because the third one talks about marriage and we're not there yet. That's another day, another sermon for you guys. But Ephesians chapter four, let's grab 31 and then we'll read 32. Ephesians chapter 4, 31, 32 here says, let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiven each other just as God in Christ has also forgiven you. The most difficult words in that passage is not forgiving the most difficult words. That passage is not being tenderhearted, the most difficult words. Those passage is not being kind. The most difficult words are just as, just as God. We are to do that as well. And that's a concept. And so we begin this evening by understanding how has God forgiven you? Have you thought about that? Of course the answer is thoroughly and completely. Raise your hand if you're a Christian. New Testament Christian, raise your hand. Alright , put 'em down. How many times, how many times since you were baptized do you think God has forgiven you? Five 20,000, a million. You notice God never says, he never says not again. God never says, I'm tired of forgiving you. God never says, when will you get your act together? And in this passage it says not just to forgive, forgive just as God has forgiven you. And there's that kid at school and he says something mean to me, to his friends on Twitter. And I can never ever forgive him. I will never forget that. Well , what about the just as part you see just as. And so we come to other passages that remind us of this in Luke chapter 17, verse four. As Jesus is telling Peter about the essential things about praying and forgiving one another, he would say this. And if he sins against you seven times a day, imagine seven times in one day. Imagine that's Mr. Mark. I mean after about time for said , mark, I'm not seeing you anymore today because every time you show up, you sin seven times a day. And he comes back and says He's sorry repents. You are to forgive him. And how many times have I heard brethren say, I will never ever forget that. How many times have churches split? Because somebody says, I cannot forgive what he did. The Bible says just as, now look at this other passage. It's found in the book of Psalms, chapter 1 0 3. We'll read verses like this and we just kind of fly through 'em real quickly. But I want you to think about this passage as far as the east is from the west. So far he has removed our transgressions from us. Now when you look at that little globe there on the screen, I don't if you've ever thought about this passage, but if you go north, you're up through Indiana, keep going north , you go up through Michigan, keep going. You're up through Canada, you get to the North Pole, but then you cross over and now you're going south down to the South Pole and back up. You come. But what happens if you go east and you go around that planet, you're still going east and you keep going around and you're still going east. Or if you go west and you turn around and you keep going, you're still going as far as the east is from the west, I have removed their scent . That means completely, that means thoroughly. And so one of the phrases we see here is just as nothing is more Christlike than forgiveness. You can take a rich guy out here and he'd give a lot of money to some benevolent cause just because he wants a tax write off , that doesn't mean he is like Christ. You can get some guy, you can open the door or some lady has a arm full of groceries and she's walking out. That's kind, but that's still. But to be like Jesus, you gotta forgive. And when somebody says, I can't do that, you can't be like Jesus. Nothing is more difficult than forgiving somebody who's hurt you in your Bible. Turn with me, if you will, the book of Matthew chapter five. Not on the screen, but I wanted to grab two verses real quickly with you, Matthew chapter five. Then we're gonna go over to the book of first Peter. Matthew chapter five. And in verse 39, Matthew five, verse 39 here says, but I say to you, do not resist him who is evil, but whoever slaps you on your right cheek turn to him the other also . But we have trouble with that. And we're not even talking about slapping on the cheek. We're talking about someone pull out in front of me in traffic. We're talking about someone just saying something mean to me at the restaurant, forgiveness, the second chance that's being like Jesus. Now in your Bible, go with me to the book of one Peter one , Peter chapter two. Peter tells us that Jesus left us this example one Peter chapter two, and let's begin. Verse 21, 1, Peter chapter two, verse 21. He says, for you've been called for this purpose. Get that you are called for this purpose. This is important. This is why you are here. This is why God put you on this planet. You were called for this purpose that says verse 21, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving an example for you to follow in the steps who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in his mouth. And while being reviled he did not revile in return while suffering. He uttered no threats but kept entrusting himself to him who judges righteously. And he himself bore our sins in his body , the cross on the cross that we might die to sin and live the righteousness for by his wounds, you are healed. Jesus kept quiet. Jesus uttered no threats. So when we talk like being like Jesus, is it possible to be like Jesus? It begins first of all, from Ephesians talking about I've got to be able to forgive like God has forgiven me. And where would we be without the forgiveness of God? The second Ephesians passage is found in chapter five. Let's grab verse one and then we'll read verse two. Ephesians chapter five, verse one and then verse two. And once again, what we find just as Ephesians chapter five verse one, verse two, it says, therefore be imitators of God as beloved children and walk in love just as Christ also loved you gave himself up for us as an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma love just as God loved you. Now, let me just get this clear , clear with you because I think we have this misunderstanding among us. I think we get this idea in our minds that God's walking down this street one day and you and I are in this pet store window and he sees us and says, oh , they are adorable. They are so cute. I've got to take 'em home. Wrong. Wrong and wrong. We've broken the law of God. We've embarrassed God. We've shamed God. When God was thinking of us, we weren't even thinking about him. When God wanted us to be the best, we trid his holy word. We have broken his laws, we have disappointed God, and we've turned our backs on God. Take your bibles, go with me. Romans chapter five, Romans chapter five. Once you see two sets of words found here, Romans chapter five, we're gonna read six through 10 and I'll come back and point out these words to you . Romans chapter five, six through 10. For while we were still helpless at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man, though perhaps for the good man, perhaps someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates his own love toward us. And that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us much more than having been justified by his blood. We are now saved from the wrath of God through him. For while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his son, much more having been reconciled. We shall be saved by his life. Three words I want you to notice and then three phrases I want you to notice . Verse six, we were helpless. Verse eight, we were sinners. Verse 10, we were enemies. And notice before each of those words, verse six, while we were verse eight, while we were verse 10, while we were, it's like at the worst possible time, God came, your parents will understand this. You got some kids and they're upstairs playing around, knocking things around, a lot of noise. All of a sudden it gets real quiet, too quiet. And you walk up there and you just open the door and there's somebody just doing something they shouldn't be doing. Coloring on the wall, throwing furniture out the window. They're doing something they shouldn't be doing . They were caught at the wrong time. That's what Romans is saying here. It's not like after you promise never to do it again, Jesus will come. No, after you start going to church, Jesus will come. No once again, grab verse eight of this passage. But God demonstrates his own love toward us . And that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. We were not pretty. We were not lovable. We were not even good. God loves us because he chooses to love us. God loves us because he sent Jesus. God loves us because he gives us a second chance. God loves us because he simply will not give up on us. And in Luke 15, that passage of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost boys, God's love is demonstrated there. Luke 15, when the one sheep was lost, the shepherd, who is the shepherd God? God went looking. And when that coin was lost, what did that woman do? She turned on the lights . She swept her house. Who was that woman? That woman was God. And when that prodigal came off from a distance and the father saw him, he didn't say, boy, just can't wait till he gets home. Crawl home. Son, I got some words for you. The Father ran. Now in our culture, we see people running in the neighborhoods. You go to the gym, you see people running back in the first century. You only ran if your house was on fire. But the father is running to the son because he's demonstrating the love that God has. God has been looking for you for a long time. I believe God has chased us and God has blessed us. And what this means to love just as God loves us, means I'm gonna love people that don't like me. And that's hard to do. I'm gonna love people that smell and I don't like the way they smell. I'm gonna wear , I'm gonna love people that are weird. I was in the airport not too long ago, crowded. It was packed. I forget, I think I was in Chicago at the time. One empty seat right in front of me. And here comes this guy your age, bluest hair I've ever seen in my life. And I've studied satanism. He had Satan earrings on, he had knee patches on his jeans , both knee patches says, kill his shirt, said death. And I'm saying, God, why are you doing this to me? Why couldn't it be a grandma? Why couldn't it be a baptist preacher? Why couldn't it be a college professor? Why do you put death in front of me, <laugh> ? But I tried to talk to him. He looked up and I said, having a good day. And he just snarled and went about his business. But even the person that seems weird, even the person that we don't like, we are to love. We are to love all people. And I've written this a long time ago in the back of my Bible. 'cause it means so much to me. You are not too dirty for God to cleanse, nor is anybody else too dirty for you to love. You are not too broken for God to fix. Nor are they too broken for you to love. You're not too far away for God to reach neither are they too far away for you to least say a prayer for them. You're not too guilty for God to forgive. And then you're not too worthless for God to love just like Jesus. Now in our Ephesians study, Ephesians 5 25, if you just wanna notice as he talks about husbands and wives, husbands love your wives. Just as there's that phrase again, three times in Ephesians just as is used. But I want you to understand this is not just a thing found in the book of Ephesians. Multiple times we find this expression in our Bible. We find for instance in Galatians chapter four verse 19, my children with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you. What's he saying? Be like Jesus. In Galatians two, verse 20, I've been crucified with Christ is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. Again, one Peter chapter one, verse 15, we could add 16 on here if we wanted to . But like the holy one who called you be holy to yourselves also in all your behavior. Romans chapter eight, for those whom before knew , he also predestined, become conformed to the image of his son. Be like Jesus. And the Lord himself said this in Matthew 10, disciples, none above his teacher, nor a slave above his master, it is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher. God expects you to be like Jesus. That's what the Bible says. And so let's wrap this up by looking at three more words. I want you to write down here in Matthew chapter 11, the great invitation of Jesus. Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me. For I'm gentle and humble and heart. And you'll find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. How do I become like Jesus? How do I love like Jesus? How do I forgive like Jesus? How am I to be holy like Jesus? Three words. Number one, come. Come to Jesus. No one else can do what Jesus can do. No one else can give you the freedom. No one else can help you. In this passage, he talks about those who are tired and weary. He's not talking about 'cause they stayed up too late last night. He's talking about weary from sin, weary from carrying the guilt weary, trying to figure everything out, weary from shame. Come to me nowhere else are you gonna find what you need other than in Jesus. And the rest of this weekend, you're gonna be hearing more and more lessons that's gonna be building upon this. And then he tells us to take the idea of direction. Take my yolk . He has something for you. Now, for those of us who grew up in a city like I did, we watch a yolk . I think about eggs and yolk. That's how I think about yolks. But yolk here was something you put on two animals and it was used for direction. It would pull a cart. And the point of all this is that Jesus gives us the direction. Jesus gives us the help. Jesus shows us what we need to do. How do I become like Jesus? I spend time with Jesus in the gospels. And that leads us to the final word here. And that is simply to come and to learn from Jesus, to learn from him. Learn about righteousness, learn about peace, learn about forgiveness. And what you do is you see a transformation taking place. You see things, your attitude changes, your heart changes because I've learned from the best. And that is Jesus. Is it possible to be like Jesus? The answer is yes, it is. And so Paul would tell the young man Timothy in this regard , I'm gonna go back here real fast, sorry about that. He says, let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech. That includes what you text. That includes what you like on social media. That includes what you mumble under your lips that include what you email, your speech. He says, your conduct, your love, your faith, your purity. Show yourself an example of those who believe. That's the challenge to the side over here. This side here needs to show this side how to do it because sometimes this side has forgotten that sometimes this side is so caught up in things that they shouldn't be caught up in. We need to learn from you the purity, the love that's found in Jesus Christ. So is it possible, I believe it is now before Mr. Jordan gets up here. I gotta tell you a story. I'm try not to cry. Involves six people. I'm number five. Y'all are number six. Okay. His name was James, but everyone called him Jimmy and he spelled it j i m i. And Jimmy lived in Connecticut, but he moved to Alabama. He was a contractor and started working for a woman by the name of Dottie, doing some home repairs. Started dating Dottie's daughter one night. Jimmy doesn't remember the details. He spent hundreds of dollars smoking crack cocaine. He drank a case of beer . Beer. He took a handful of pain pills and went to Dotty's house and and hammered her to death. Jimmy was arrested, sent to prison in Alabama. While in prison, the TV stopped working and Jimmy says, this isn't good, but he was bored. So he picked up the Bible and read it from cover to cover. He got done. He read the Bible again a second time. No preacher, no bible classes, no tracks, no sermons. Jimmy realized Jesus died for his sins. He asked the warden, I have to be immersed for the remission of my sins. According to the Book of Acts, Jimmy was baptized. Jimmy's a New Testament Christian. Jimmy has never worshiped in a church. He's never sung with so many like we've done tonight. Jimmy's never taken the Lord's supper. He's locked away in prison. Now the third person, her name is Sarah . Sarah is the granddaughter of the woman who was killed and Sarah's life fell apart. When grandma was murdered, the way she was murdered, she got into drugs, all kinds of problems. And one day as Sarah's driving down the road, she hears a song on the radio says, write the letter. So she decided to write Jimmy a letter. Jimmy received the letter. Jimmy recognized the address and the name 'cause he was dating people in that family. He knew who it was and Heath for sure the letter was gonna say, just rot in prison. I hate you. May you die a thousand deaths. He took the letter out and he read it and Sarah says, I'm tired. I'm tired of hating you. I'm tired of thinking about this crime. I'm going to forgive you. Jimmy says, when that happened, he fell to his knees other than his baptism is the most important day in his life. He wrote Sarah back. Sarah wrote him back. There's been phone calls as they talked to each other. Now the fourth name, his name is Van Cooper. Great name. I love that name. Van Cooper sounds like a rock star . But Van Cooper is an elder in a small Alabama church called Bear Creek. And he heard about Jimmy's conversion. So he started driving 225 miles every Saturday down to the Florida border. Right before he got to Florida was where the Alabama prison was. And he'd have bible studies with Jimmy, you remember in the movies where ever see scenes of , of , of the jail and and they , and they pull down that slot and that's where they put the food tray. That's how Van has had Bible studies with Jimmy. He's held down that little food tray drawer looking in that gap and having the Bible study with Jimmy on the other side. In comes me, van Cooper is the reader of one of my jumpstarts, our jumpstart and it's blog I write every day . And he took several of 'em down to Jimmy just to encourage him. Jimmy Had an incredible story. And when Van emailed me about Jimmy about his conversion, I wrote about that one of my blogs, here's somebody who illustrates for us. The power of the gospel still works. Just read the Bible. You don't need somebody telling you you don't need a mountain of tracks. You don't have 14 Bible classes. Those things have a place, but just read the Bible. It's powerful. It still works. The grace of God still saves us. When I wrote that, it exploded everywhere. That night I got an email from a woman in Massachusetts. Her name was Sarah , the Sarah and the story, she said, I read what you wrote about Jimmy. She goes , it is amazing to me how the story is touching lives everywhere. It's amazing to me the goodness that's coming out of this. I wrote it back, Sarah , how did you , how did you find out about this? I'm , I'm , I'm, you know, I'm spellbound. How you're in Massachusetts. I'm in Indiana. How do you read about this? She said, Jimmy told me to read this. Now we're getting real close to you. Jimmy's on death row. And for the last 30 days, I've written Jimmy every single day. I told him two weeks ago, I'm coming here this morning at 1:56 AM Jimmy died. He was executed by the Alabama State Prison. Jimmy never fought that. Jimmy never appealed to the governor for a delay. Jimmy realize , I'm, I'm guilty. I deserve the punishment. Jimmy realizes you can be forgiven, but there are consequences that follow. And when I wrote Jimmy, I said, on July 21st, you'll be on the other side, but I'm gonna be standing before a house full of young people. And Jimmy, will you write me something that I can read to them? This is what I wrote. I never imagined the impact of my salvation would have . On so many, you have been the conduit God has used to touch hearts. The outpouring of truly godly love I've received is incredible. Hundreds of letters, notes, cards and pictures even from children all let me know that the example I set will stay with them. How much they love me because I am their brother and how they will wait for me in heaven. When you look out at our world today, you see all the madness, the chaos, the perversions, the delusions, kids killing, lost in drugs, boys willing to be girls, and girls willing to be boys. No love for what is right and true and lovely, no God in their lives. All of this makes one believe that our country has no hope. This is exactly what the enemy wants you to see and believe. But with God, there's always a remnant with God. There's always hope. I see through the many letters I received that so many are still believing in a different view than what our culture holds. I'm so full of joy knowing that men like Van Cooper and yourself are teaching the word of God, especially to our young people guiding and leading them through this messy and broken world that we have created. I will be in a better place when you speak to those teen dangers On July 21st. But you all don't be sad. Don't hang your heads down. No, look up because when I get where I'm going, I'm gonna leave a light on for you. I love you so much in Christ, Jimmy. Here's a man that did some horrible, horrible things in his life, but he learned you can be like Jesus. He learned you can change. You're never too far gone, that God cannot reach you. And as we wrap this up this evening, more like Jesus. Yes you can. Thank you.Speaker 1:
Thanks for listening to the West Side Church of Christ podcast. Far more information about Westside. You can connect with us through our website, just christians.com and our Facebook page. Our music is from upbeat.io. That's upbeat with two P U P P P e A t, where creators can get free music. Please share our podcast with others and we look forward to seeing you again.