Have you ever wondered what it would look like if Jesus was the pastor at a local church? I think some people would think about that and believe, it would be a dreamy, awesome experience. Actually, after reading scripture, specifically how Jesus treated the Pharisees and His disciples, I don’t think it would be a dreamy experience. I actually think it would be a struggle to be at Jesus’ church.

For example, the way Jesus told simple stories would have to be so disappointing to so many people today. The Pharisees of today, always looking for the meat, always wanting to argue about the rules, always weighing other people’s holiness, I think they would be so frustrated with Jesus. He told simple stories. They would leave Jesus’ church in droves because He doesn’t bring the ‘meat’, instead, Jesus invited them into heart change. Have you heard that term before? ‘Meat,’ to a modern day Pharisee it means the ‘deep teaching’, the stuff ‘filled with depth’. Truth is, there is no ‘meat.’ The ‘meat’ is actually doing what Jesus said.

Jesus wants so much more for people. He wanted heart transformation that led to love, not judging other people’s holiness. Jesus was loaded with simple stories about farmers, lost sons, weddings, grape vines, sheep, etc. When Jesus was confronted with what was most important in life, He takes the entire Old Testament and boils it down into a two-point talk; love God and love others. How disappointing he would have been to so many of today.

The way Jesus spoke to his disciples would be so offensive to us today. For example: Peter had the faith to get out of the boat and walk on water. Stop right there, Peter walked on water. Peter is a rock star of the bunch! What did Jesus say when Peter needed help? Did he say, “You are awesome Peter! I validate your feelings. You are really coming along.”   Nope. He said, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” Are you kidding? Peter was the bomb. Today, we would expect that all the disciples would get participation trophies, even the ones who stayed in the boat. We would expect the leader to celebrate them all to avoid hurting their feelings. What does Jesus do? He challenges the hero of the group.

Today, we are going ask a Jesus question. And if someone ever said this to you one on one, you would probably be offended.

46 “Why are you so polite with me, always saying ‘Yes, sir,’ and ‘That’s right, sir,’ but never doing a thing I tell you? MSG

Another version translates that verse like this.

46 So why do you call me ‘Lord,’ when you won’t obey me? NLT

Can you believe that? Can you imagine Jesus this morning pulling you aside and asking, “Hey, good to see you today. By the way, why do you come to church and are so polite, you call me Lord, Lord, but you and I both know, when you leave here, you aren’t going to do one thing I tell you to do?” How offended would you be?

47 These words I speak to you are not mere additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundation words, words to build a life on. 48 “If you work the words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who dug deep and laid the foundation of his house on bedrock. When the river burst its banks and crashed against the house, nothing could shake it; it was built to last. 49 But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a dumb carpenter who built a house but skipped the foundation. When the swollen river came crashing in, it collapsed like a house of cards. It was a total loss.” MSG Luke 6:46-49

Jesus is challenging them to think through, am I your Lord and Savior? Cause [Jesus talking here] I don’t think I am. From my perspective, I’m not your Lord cause you don’t follow me. I’m not your Lord cause you hear me but you won’t do one thing I ask you to do.

Then to help the crowd better understand, Jesus explained why his words are so important in a story about building a house. He was trying to build into them a foundation for living so they can face and overcome every adversity they face. He wants their lives to have the integrity needed so they can live in freedom, passion and joy. Everything he asked of them, was for their good.

That is our Jesus question today. Imagine Jesus teaching this morning and asking you, “Why are you so polite in church, why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord’ but you won’t do what I ask?

Today I want to talk to you about what it looks like to follow Christ as our Lord and Savior. And I want to talk about how we know when we are struggling to follow Christ. Before I read, I need to set up this story for you.

There was a man named Jacob and his name was changed to Israel. He had 12 sons and from them, God blessed them and become a nation called, the ‘Children of Israel.’ After the time of Joseph, Egypt turned the Israelites into slaves for over 400 years. God comes and frees them from Egypt and God does it in a very public way. He comes and destroys every demonic god Egypt worshipped. They were so broken down, they gave Israel gold just to leave. Then when the Egyptian army comes to recapture them, God destroys that army in a couple minutes for everyone to see. The Children of Israel are now ready to go into the Land God promised them. Here is how it went down.

Numbers 13

Vs 1-4 The LORD now said to Moses, “Send men to explore the land of Canaan, the land I am giving to Israel. Send one leader from each of the twelve ancestral tribes.” So Moses did as the LORD commanded him. He sent out twelve men, all tribal leaders of Israel, from their camp in the wilderness of Paran.” NLT

God has already decided to give them this new land. He wanted them to see it, experience it and get excited about it.

Vs 25-29 After exploring the land for forty days, the men returned to Moses, Aaron, and the people of Israel at Kadesh in the wilderness of Paran. They reported to the whole community what they had seen and showed them the fruit they had taken from the land. This was their report to Moses: “We arrived in the land you sent us to see, and it is indeed a magnificent country – a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is some of its fruit as proof. But the people living there are powerful, and their cities and towns are fortified and very large. We also saw the descendants of Anak who are living there! The Amalekites live in the Negev, and the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country. The Canaanites live along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and along the Jordan Valley.” NLT

12 spies go in the land for 40 days. 10 come back with report 1. What do they report? It’s awesome, it’s everything you could ever imagine. But, there are challenges ahead. Honestly, the challenges are so big, we don’t think we can do it.

Let me put into perspective what they just said, “Our God who freed us in the most remarkable way, who destroyed demonic gods, destroyed the most powerful army in the world, isn’t big enough or powerful enough to overcome these new enemies. Our trust isn’t in God, our trust is in us and we aren’t going to do anything.”

Let’s keep reading.

Vs 30 But Caleb tried to encourage the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!”

Two of the 12 spies report, “We can do it! It’s ours for the taking!”

Here is what they were saying, “Our God who freed us in the most remarkable way, who destroyed demonic gods, destroyed the most powerful army in the world, is the same God who will destroy our enemies. Our trust isn’t in God, our trust is in God and we are going to fight.”

So 2 reports come in. What do you think happens? This is a huge moment. A crucial time that will decide how they move forward. Before we continue, let’s understand that this decision would decide how they live for the next 40 years. This kind of decision is what you face every day, in your marriage, in your church, in your business, in your community. Put yourself in this story. God is leading you. You have a group saying, “We can’t do it.” You have a group saying, “We can do it.” What do you decide? The decision you make will impact the way you live for the next 40 years.

Vs 31-33, Numbers 14:1-4 But the other men who had explored the land with him answered, “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” So they spread discouraging reports about the land among the Israelites: “The land we explored will swallow up any who go to live there. All the people we saw were huge. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. We felt like grasshoppers next to them, and that’s what we looked like to them!”

Then all the people began weeping aloud, and they cried all night. Their voices rose in a great chorus of complaint against Moses and Aaron. “We wish we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!” they wailed. “Why is the LORD taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and little ones will be carried off as slaves! Let’s get out of here and return to Egypt!” Then they plotted among themselves, “Let’s choose a leader and go back to Egypt!” NLT

What happened? What always happens when people allow fear, not God, to lead them? It’s a train wreck. There are rumors of how scary it is. The problem is too big for us. We are too weak for this. There is emotional drama of weeping and crying all night. It was so bad, they wanted to go back into slavery and be humiliated and beaten again.

What is rare, in stories like this, is to hear what God things. Here it is with no filters.

Numbers 14:11-12 The LORD said to Moses, “How long will these people reject me? Will they never believe me, even after all the miraculous signs I have done among them? I will disown them and destroy them with a plague.” NLT

Did you ever think that not going farther with God IS rejecting God? I didn’t. I think I follow God to the point where I want to stay in control. He tries to lead me further but I say no. I my world, I feel good that I did go as far as I did. I God’s world, He looks at me and thinks I am rejecting Him.

Their punishment for rejecting God was rough. That entire generation wondered the dessert for 40 years and died. Only two men and their families from that generation walked into the promised land. The 2 spies who said, “We can do it.”

Let me ask you, how do you live? Do you follow God? He speaks to you and you are ready to change your life to live it out. Or do you follow fear and do nothing? You see that it might be hard so you secretly want to go back to the old ways of doing things… even though you know it will kill you.

Imagine Jesus teaching this morning and asking you, “Why are you so polite in church, why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord’ but you won’t do what I ask?

People who struggle to follow after Christ will experience the following. They see or hear how good it can be but they don’t want to make any changes. They don’t want to forgive, love or make any changes I bring God into their lives. They grumble, complain and hang out with others who grumble and complain. They conclude, it’s better to go back to their old ways of pain, bondage and sin. They are people who do the least possible in every situation. God can’t work through them.

Disciples of Jesus will experience the following. They also see how good things can be. They also see the challenges. They think, “It’s up to God.” They conclude, we can do this, let’s fight, let’s do whatever it takes. They will feel drained because they are always fighting against people consumed with fear pushing back on them.   They are the ones God trusts to advance His kingdom.

Imagine Jesus teaching this morning and asking you, “Why are you so polite in church, why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord’ but you won’t do what I ask?

How would you respond?