What do we do when we mess up? Do you know what I mean? That moment we know we have failed at being the person we want to be. What do we do when we know we sinned and we walk with guilt or fear? Sam told us.
Let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. NLT Hebrews 4:16
That talk last week was so redemptive. Sam walked us through the Peter story. Peter denied Jesus three times and then their eyes met. It shattered Peter. What does Jesus do? He restores Peter just like God restores us. I think one of the great moments in his talk was how he took us to scripture and said that we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. And, if we believe that, then we also need to understand we don’t have to act like we have it together and keep secrets. We can be honest and go to God with courage and say, “God, please forgive me.”
How did Sam conclude his talk? God’s grace is bigger than your sin. You don’t have to live in sin or guilt. You have a way out. You can have freedom by taking your mess to God – now.
For the last couple of weeks, I have been talking about the two parts of Christianity. Part 1 is all about God and what He did and what He is inviting us into. We call it God’s grace. It’s by far the most important and misunderstood part of Christianity. In fact, we said many people struggle to fully grasp or fully be transformed by the power of God’s grace. Scripture explains
For God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins. Then, in exchange, he poured God’s goodness into us! TLB 2 Corinthians 5:21
Again, grace is something God did. God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins. He did it. You and I have nothing to do with it. It’s not about us and our ability to make something happen. It’s about what God has done. And God is inviting us into what He has done. That’s grace.
Part 2 we call your will. That part is about after we accept God’s grace, when we submit our will to God.
15 Since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! 16 Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. NLT Romans 6:15-16
I love how real scripture is. Scripture plainly says you can live however you want. You can keep on sinning. You can choose to submit your will to God. Just understand, there are two kingdoms and both have spiritual power and both are in a battle over you. Your choices have spiritual ramifications.
Today I want to talk about how we live life. How do we submit our will to God? The world we live in can be so harsh, so sinful and so cruel. The world we live in can bring us so much stress, fear and anxiety. How do we take this God stuff and live it out? How do we live in this world as children of God? How do we live like we are redeemed and forgiven?
Let’s start with a story.
Let’s pretend you own a car. It now has over 200,000 miles. There are dents and rust. The engine isn’t great. In the past, you have left the windows open. The rain gave your car that funky wet smell. And because the car isn’t new, you don’t really care about what happens to the car. So, you drive it like a rental car.
Then one day you visit your parents. Your dad notices your car and really gives you hard time about it. After dinner you are about to leave and your dad makes you an offer. He says, I want to do something to help you. Your car is old and smells funky. I want to buy your car and completely redo it. I’ll fix up the engine, the body, the interior, all of it. Then I will give it back to you to drive every day. And if anything happens to it, come see me and I will fix it for you.
Let’s talk about this for a second. First, that’s an amazing offer. It’s a lot like God offering you grace – right? God comes and does things in our soul that we could never do. The offer is unreal.
Secondly, for you to not accept the offer, your friends would be like, ‘Your insane.’ It’s a lot like God’s offer today to live in freedom and joy – it would be insane to turn it down. It’s like saying, ‘No thanks God, I want to live in slavery to sin, walk with guilt and muscle through life on my own strength.’ That makes no sense.
Thirdly, if you accept the offer, your Dad owns the car. He has the title to the car. It’s like when God offers us grace, if we accept it, God now owes us. He has the title to our life.
Lastly, how would you drive the fixed-up car? Would you drive it like a rental or would you drive it with care?
Many Christians accept God’s grace and make a tragic mistake. They think, after the car is fixed up, they still own the car. The truth is, God owns it. To explain, I want to read a story for you. It’s a conversation between Jesus and Peter.
21 From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead. 22 But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!” NLT Matthew 16:21-26
Think about what Peter said. That makes sense, right? He loves Jesus. He doesn’t what anything or anyone to hurt Jesus. It’s like a couple of high school buddies who have been together since elementary school. They want to stick together and the stand up for each other. If someone wants to fight their friend, they are jumping in to protect them. Peter in this moment is thinking about Jesus and his safety.
Jesus should be thrilled – right? Peter has his back. Jesus in this moment should be happy He has a friend who loves Him. I want to read for you how Jesus responds. Brace yourself.
23 Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. ” NLT Matthew 16:21-26
Did you see that coming? Good grief. Doesn’t that sound harsh, like, really harsh? Peter is Satan? What is that all about? Peter loves Jesus and wants to protect Him. Now he is Satan?
We need to keep reading because Jesus continues to explain why he called Peter Satan.
“You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” NLT Matthew 16:21-26
Let’s pull back and see the big picture of what is happening in this story. Jesus was sharing something epic with the disciples. It’s the God story that has taken hundreds of years to unfold. He was telling them about what God was doing. It’s the story of the universe. It’s a story about God saving all of mankind. It’s big. It’s spiritual. It’s everything. It’s epic. And to do what God needs done, Jesus has to die. It’s the purpose and mission of Jesus. It’s the passion of Christ.
In this moment, Peter couldn’t even begin to see or understand what Jesus was saying. Peter is stuck on what is happening today, right now. He isn’t thinking or understanding what God is up to. He doesn’t understand Jesus’ role and for that matter, Peter doesn’t fully understand his role in God’s story. Peter, full of passion and love said, ‘Never Jesus.’
Peter could not understand that Jesus’ life is God’s. Jesus isn’t living for himself. Jesus didn’t own His life, God did. Peter couldn’t understand Jesus is on a mission. Jesus was living for God and dying for God. Jesus was surrendering His life willingly.
Please hear me. This is a picture of many Christians today. God is on the move. God is doing spiritual things all around them. And many times, Christians only see today, right now. And when God invites them into what He is doing they say, ‘Never Jesus.’ They say that because they don’t see things from God’s point of view. They see things from their point of view of today, right now.
Jesus continues to explain what it means to be His disciple. Let’s keep reading the next few verses.
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. 25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” NLT Matthew 16:21-26
Do you see it? To be a disciple of Jesus, you surrender your will. You give up your life. You live for God now. This has a huge implication. Are you ready? That means, your life isn’t yours, it’s God’s. God holds the title to your life.
This is the tragic mistake many people can make. After experiencing God’s grace, they think, ‘Thank you God for the reset, I will now go back to my life and I will live for me and my comfort.’ The problem is, it’s the opposite of what Jesus taught. It’s the opposite of how Jesus lived. And it is contrary to scripture. When you accept God’s grace, you are giving the title, the ownership, of your life back to God.
One of the reasons why life can be so confusing for many Christians, they don’t fully understand who owns their life. They think they own it and they continue to live for themselves. Their comfort. Their joy. Their success. Their safety. On and on. And when God asks them to obey or surrender their will, they cringe. When God invites them into what He is doing, it’s a struggle. Fear overwhelms them. While God is inviting them into a bigger story, they are living for themselves. It’s the same thing Peter was doing.
It doesn’t mean Peter was bad. It doesn’t mean we are bad. It simply means, we need to remind ourselves who holds the title to our lives. And we need to see things from God’s point of view.
Let’s go back to the big question. How do we live life? How do we take grace and engage this world and all the challenges you will face? Here it is, ready? Your life isn’t yours, it’s God’s. God purchased it at a great cost.
Paul wrote the church in Corinth and said this.
19 Haven’t you yet learned that your body is the home of the Holy Spirit God gave you, and that he lives within you? Your own body does not belong to you. 20 For God has bought you with a great price. So use every part of your body to give glory back to God because he owns it. NLT 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Your life isn’t yours, it’s God’s.
And, we need to see things from God’s point, not a human point of view. There is something bigger going on around you and if you can’t see that, you will always stay stuck and focused on you.
Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ – that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective. MSG Colossians 3:2
Let’s close with this.
To be a disciple of Christ, we give our lives back to God. We don’t own our lives, God does. That means I live every day fully surrendered to God. I turn to God to protect me and provide for me. I turn to God to lead me. I turn to God to be my source of life and joy. And in my best and worst moments, I will turn to God. My old life is dead. My new life is Jesus.
So, it all comes down to this, who owns you? And the follow up question, who are you living for?
Here is what I want you to do when you leave here today. I want you to start every day this week and purposely give your life back to God. Remind yourself each morning, my life is God’s and today I will live for Him. I will see things from God’s point of view.