When We Live In Faithful Obedience To Jesus, Our Faith Grows Stronger

Tim Lundy
Nov 21, 2021    46m
Do you long to strengthen your faith in Jesus? This message teaches us that by living in faithful obedience to Jesus, our faith will become stronger and more resilient. When we follow Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He promises us life and life more abundantly. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

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This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Tim Lundy: [00:00:14] Well, Venture, it's hard to believe this week is Thanksgiving week, and then we enter the Christmas season. I don't know about you, it's an exciting time of year, but it's hard to believe that we're there. And I want to make sure that you mark your calendar, we want everyone to be a part of the winter wonderland, the Christmas festival, that we're hosting on the campus. And we're going to do it over four nights, and so you have four different opportunities to come. And much, if you came out for the Fall Festival, you know how fun that environment is, and what a great way for you to invite someone. Yeah, you could invite them, and they could come and enjoy our church campus, and then hopefully, maybe out of that, we begin to develop the kind of relationships where you can invite them to a Christmas Eve service, or maybe a church service, or to watch online. We do all these things because we want to reach out to our community, and we want to be connected in ways that we can draw our friends, our coworkers because we are a church that's outward-focused.

Tim Lundy: [00:01:34] Now this weekend, as we talk about resilient faith, you know, we've been looking at these issues, and honestly, the last couple of weeks we've been dealing with some of the harder truths, hard issues of a resilient faith. And I debated how to finish this out, initially, I had set this Sunday aside to really talk about some of the issues around sex and sexuality and some of the confusion in that. And I was preparing for it, and I realized it's really hard to cover that in a sufficient way in one message, and it's really hard to do it, and then we just end it and go into the holiday season. So I made the choice, I want to do a sermon series where we do, we address sex and sexuality and all the things around it, and we're going to do that after the first of the year. We'll take a few weeks to walk through that. I know a lot of you have questions around it, and I know it's a key issue that the next generation in particular you're facing. And also know any time you preach on sex, there's a lot of interest in it. In fact, John Ortberg used to say, if you want to increase people that are listening to your sermon, preach on three topics, if you preach on sex, if you preach on the end times, and if you preach on sex and the end times, all three of them with that. Regardless of the interest or not, I think it's an important topic, but I want to make sure that we give ourselves the time to handle it in a sufficient way.

Tim Lundy: [00:02:58] This weekend, I just want to finish out this series and I want to address particularly that group of you, we've been talking to you all along, and we broke down all the surveys with it. But within the church, there's a lot of prodigals, there's a lot of nomads, there's a lot of you next generation and older, that you're in that process of kind of deconstructing your faith, you're making decisions about what you really believe. And I think it's so important that we follow what we talked about last week, some of the hard truths that Jesus shares, with also the hopeful truths and what it means.

Tim Lundy: [00:03:39] Because, hear me, wherever you are in that journey, you need to know the most important decision you will ever make in your life is what are you going to do with Jesus Christ? What are you going to decide about Jesus Christ, will literally be the most important decision in your life? Now, you may not believe that or maybe you don't believe it at this point, or maybe you've not faced that crossroads yet, but I promise you, there comes a point in every person's life where they not only have to face that, they have to really decide, is this my decision? Is this my faith? Do I believe this?

Tim Lundy: [00:04:16] And as we think about it, it's one of the reasons that Jesus so often brought his followers to that place of decision, and so often made them come to grips with who he was and what he was calling them to do. In fact, this week, I want us to look in a passage, it is one of my favorite passages, because it's that combination of hard truth with hopeful truth. Where Jesus describes himself as a shepherd, it's an image that his listeners would know very well, he lived in an agrarian society and there were sheep and people knew the imagery with it. We're a little more distant from it, but I think we can zero in pretty quickly on what he's trying to layout for us.

Tim Lundy: [00:04:58] As he describes us as sheep, he describes all of humanity. It's one of the favorite passages in John 10, when He says, “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture." This is in the middle of this where he's described himself as a good shepherd, and he's not just the shepherd, he's also the door. And he says the sheep that go in, that they find what they're looking for, they find that good pasture. Then he says, “There is a thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." He contrasts himself with this thief who wants to destroy and kill. And then He emphasizes, again, “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep." You know, I told you, I think this is a great passage because it combines the hard truth that we were talking about with the hopeful truth that he's pointing to.

Tim Lundy: [00:05:57] Just to summarize, with the first one, Jesus points out that he is the exclusive way of salvation. If you didn't hear the message last week, I'd encourage you to go back and listen to it because we walked through how important it was that Jesus really believed this, Jesus taught this, that he is the exclusive. And here's what I mean, he's saying he's the only way of salvation when he says he is the door. And again, our culture, we don't like that, we live in such a tolerant age, that we don't like anyone saying, I'm not only a way, I am the way. And yet, as we talked about last week, he does it out of kindness. He does it because he knows it's the truth, and out of that kindness, he's willing to even speak that hard truth.

Tim Lundy: [00:06:46] You know, my oldest son, Drew, he's now in college, but when he was born, they had to take him to the NCCU right after he was born, his lungs were a little wet. And those first few weeks of life we're never really super dangerous, we were able to take him home soon, but he struggled. And in particular, he was jaundiced, if you've ever had a baby that's jaundiced, they're yellowish and color, the bilirubin has built up in the liver. And so we'd ask the doctor, what do we need to do because it can be a really serious condition? He said, let's start with, he needs ultraviolet light, the best thing you could give him is sunlight. And so if you could put him in the sun, and even sit there with him and take off his clothes except for his diaper there, the more sunlight he can get on his skin, the better it is for. And if that doesn't work, we're going to bring him in, you're going to have to let him stay here under a lamp with it, but he's got to have this treatment. Now, what if we had said to the doctor, well, OK, that's your truth, that's what you say. I mean, we don't want to sit there, we don't have to put him in the light, he likes being snuggled up and he likes being in the darkness and we're going to choose to do it our way. Now again, is the doctor cruel if he's direct with us and says, no, look, you've got to listen to me, for his sake, for your sake, this is what you've got to do?

Tim Lundy: [00:08:18] Guys, this is what Jesus is willing to do, that's why he says to that audience there, even when he's talking about this metaphor that we really love, oh, he's a good shepherd. But he goes, hey, let me tell you what this means though, it means I'm the door, I'm the way. We saw it last week, he's even more direct he says, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." He's willing to share that hard truth, just like the doctor was willing to tell us. And maybe you've experienced, a doctor will tell you things you don't want to hear, not because they're cruel or mean, but because you need to hear it. And that's how it is with Jesus.

Tim Lundy: [00:09:01] I love, though, he immediately comes as well, though, and with that, he wants us to experience all of life with him. Why did the doctor give us that diagnosis, because he wanted our son to be well and experience life? Why does Jesus say he's the door? Because he wants us to experience life? And I love that line in John 10 when he says, "I've come that you can have life." And then he adds on it that qualifier, not just life, I want you to experience abundant life. I want you to experience the fullness of life. I want you to experience all of life, life as it was meant to be, a life as only I can provide. And remember again, we talked about it last week, because Jesus is God because God designed the world, when I do life in him, I'm getting to experience what life was meant to be. That's why when Jesus told us to pray, we pray, your kingdom come, your will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven, that this place can be more like that place, that we could experience here, the life that we're going to ultimately experience there. Jesus says, I've come so you can experience that life now.

Tim Lundy: [00:10:13] Now, I want to be clear and make sure I'm not preaching some, you know, your best life now, and if you follow Jesus, you're going to be healthier, and wealthier, and your teeth will be whiter, and your life will be brighter and all, I don't believe that stuff. And it's not some formula, I do believe you can start to experience the blessing of life, because one when you really listen to Jesus and you obey Jesus, you start cutting out some of the foolishness. It keeps you out of the ditches, and some of the ramifications of just making dumb, foolish choices in life. Jesus, just by following him, life gets better because I'm not involved in that stuff, and so there's a practicality about it. But when Jesus is talking about this best life, when he's talking about life abundant, he's talking about even on your hard days, even on the hard times. Jesus is always very honest when he teaches, and so he says every day in life you're going to have trouble because you're in this fallen world, you're not at that kingdom yet, you want to see it come down here and you want to experience it here, but I'm not there yet.

Tim Lundy: [00:11:21] But here's what I found in Christ, a hard day can sometimes be your best day with him. A hard time, a hard season, a hard diagnosis, hard things that we go through in life, that trouble that he told us we'd experience, in him though, it can be some of your best days. Why? Because you're experiencing that life, you're experiencing the goodness that only Jesus can bring. And I would say this, some of you that are listening to this, you're not even a follower of Christ. Do you know that your life is better because Jesus has come? His impact on the world has made your life better, so when he said I came to bring abundant life, when he said I came to bring his kingdom, through the impact of Christ and then the spread of his church, whether you realize it or not, your life's better.

Tim Lundy: [00:12:14] In fact, I just got a summary list, I'll just walk you through 10 ways your life is better, whether you're a Christian or not, this is for everybody, everybody on the planet, your life's better because Jesus came. Why would I say that?

Tim Lundy: [00:12:26] Well, look the first way, the treatment of women is better. If you go back to the world that Jesus came into, if you look, women were considered property. Even in the Jewish culture, a woman couldn't talk out in public, she couldn't testify in court, she didn't have the rights of ownership. I mean, there are so many things that you could go through, and when Jesus came that the change in the treatment of how he treated women, the women that were in the church, the women that were his followers, the women and the rights that came with that, you can trace it back to the time of Christ. If you don't believe it, just look it up for yourself, and look at the worldwide impact and the treatment of women because of Jesus.

Tim Lundy: [00:13:14] The second thing, you look at the treatment of children. Again, some of the things that we just take for granted, we don't recognize the world that he came into, that children were considered property, that children could be worked at any age, that infanticide was a common practice. Where children, if you didn't want a baby, you just left them out in the wild and they would die. And a lot of times little girls in particular, because remember, women didn't have as many rights, and so people wanted boys so much, they'd have a baby girl, and they just leave her and let her die out and exposure. You look at the response of Christ Church to his teaching and his care for children, and instead of babies being left out by exposure, the church would take them in. If you look at the history of the adoption movement in the world, if you look at the history of orphanages in the world, if you look at the history of child labor laws that were changed in our world, over and over and over again, you know what you're going to find, you're going to find a Christian that was behind that movement because the fate and the treatment of children changed because of Jesus.

Tim Lundy: [00:14:30] You look at the education movement, the universities, the libraries, you know what our first libraries were, they started with monasteries. They started with Christians who believed because Jesus taught, he said even in his great commission, you need to go out and teach them what I taught. And so the history of literacy movements, in this country, just in America, look at it, do you know that 106 of the 108 universities that were founded in this country were all founded by Christians. You go down the line from Harvard, to Yale, to Princeton, all of what the Ivy League institutions, they were all founded as ministerial training because they were determined that Christians need to be educated. Did you know the public school system, the thought that everyone deserved an education, was driven by Christians? Kindergarten, started by Christian. Schools for the deaf and the blind, first started by Christians. Literacy movements, so that there is literacy across the country, were driven by Christians. You see the impact of Christ in education all around the world.

Tim Lundy: [00:15:34] The birth and growth of science and medicine. And this may be strange to you, we talked about this a couple of weeks ago. But you go, wait, science and Christianity, aren't they at odds? No. In fact, I would encourage you to go back to the 1700s, 1800s, and look at the movement of science. And I love how Rodney Stark, if you want to read a sociologist, a historian, who traces it, and he just tracing it through history with that. But Stark summarizes it so well, that so many of those early scientists, those early ones that laid the foundation of science as we know it, medicine as we know it, it was because of their belief in God, it was because of their Christianity.

Tim Lundy: [00:16:15] See, they approached it and a summary of what Stark would say, is because the universe was created by a rational creator, using rational rules, it ought to yield its secrets to rational creatures using reason and observation. This is the seedbed of those early Christians that they go, the universe isn't just random, the universe isn't just superstitious, the universe isn't just the war of the gods and all that. They had a system that they'd go, from what we understand in scripture, the universe was created by God, so it was created according to rational rules. And so as his creatures, if we studied it using reason and observation, it should unfold more of that truth, both of the universe and of him. Guys, that's the foundation of science. And because Christians were at the forefront of it, how much have we all benefitted, how much is life better?

Tim Lundy: [00:17:17] The foundations of democracy, and again, I'm not pushing any one government, or any one country even, I'm just talking about the core foundations of why you have to have checks and balances within a government. If you go back and look at the core documents on that, of why there should be rule of law instead of just rule of power, instead of just the rule of kings, or monarchies, who could make any decision, why was there this spread of democracy even in a monarchy or in countries that have that? It's because of this thought of there should be a rule of law, there should be witnesses in court. Over and over again, you can see the tenets of Christianity that impacted countries, it's impacted governments, it's made our life better.

Tim Lundy: [00:18:07] Number six, the fight against slavery. If you go to, especially, chattel slavery, as it was practiced in this country and the horror of that. Those who led the fight against it from guys like John Newton, who was a slave trader and came to Christ, and after he came to Christ, he realized the horror of it, who would go on to later write the amazing hymn Amazing Grace as he talked about his own life. William Wilberforce, that great parliamentarian who fought to have slavery outlawed and abolished in all of the rule of England. If you look at the abolitionist in this country, I just line them up over and over again, you'll find Christians, many of whom were ministers, that spoke out against it.

Tim Lundy: [00:18:52] Well, you look at the redress of shameful Christian history. Now, this is a little bit different, because a lot of times any time I talk about the great impact of Christianity and Christ in the world, some of the events that people bring up are, yeah, but what about the Inquisition? What about the Crusades? What about the Salem witch trials? What about even slavery in it? And I'll say, for all of these, you have people who did acts in the name of Christ that were reprehensible. The Inquisitions were reprehensible. The crusade, there's no excuse for that, to go and try to take back the Holy Land through battle through sword. The Salem witch trials, a strange part in our country where there was this hysteria over witchcraft, and this hysteria led to the point that 20 women were hung. Now, regardless of what you've read in the legend, no one was ever burned at the stake for witch trials here in this country, but 20 people were hung. People that had slaves in this country and used the Bible as the background for it, and would say that, yeah, they were right in doing so.

Tim Lundy: [00:20:02] Here's what I'd say, though, how are all these things corrected? How do we correct them in history? In fact, if you go back to the Inquisitions, I challenge you to read how many Christians were killed in the Inquisition, because they were actually standing up to the church for what the Bible actually said. Why do we look at the Crusades, and we say the Crusades were wrong? Because Jesus told his followers, you're not going to expand my kingdom by sword, Jesus is the one that corrected this. Do you know why the Salem witch trials stopped? Because preachers came forward. In fact, Increase and Cotton Mather were the two that preached out against it the most and said, this absolutely is not what God's called us to do. And because Christians stood up, it stopped, because Christians stood up, slavery stopped.

Tim Lundy: [00:20:50] Hear me, there are events in history that have been done in the name of Christianity that are absolutely wrong. Do you know why we know that they are wrong? Because we go back to the founder of Christianity, Jesus Christ, and everything he taught is antithetical to each of these. And because of Jesus, we actually have a way of redressing it, and correcting, and healing, and reconciling.

Tim Lundy: [00:21:19] A few more things I'd just say, the rise of hospitals and charities. Hospitals all started, you know, where they started? Monasteries. And for monasteries, there was a movement of hospitals to take care of the sick for the first time. You go back to the ancient record when cities were infected by plagues, and everybody was leaving the city, and Christians went in. When you look at the record of the different charities that are out there, you look at the movement, everything from the Salvation Army, to Compassion International, to the International Justice Mission, I mean, The Line, the Red Cross, all of these different movements, they were started by Christians. And again, you see the impact, that whether you're a Christian or not, you've been blessed by that, your life's better because of it.

Tim Lundy: [00:22:09] The foundation of human rights and equality, the thought that every person was created in the image of God, and then through the church. And I would say one of the most radical statements of the ancient world comes from the Apostle Paul, he learned it from Jesus. He says, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." I just challenge you, go back in the ancient world in the first century and look through any of the writings and find anything that promotes this level of equality for all people, across nations, across gender, across anything, socioeconomics. Folks, this is one of the most radical statements of human rights, and it was written within a generation of Jesus, because of Jesus, and the impact of it worldwide it's hard to fathom.

Tim Lundy: [00:23:10] In fact, years ago, I met right, after 9/11, I met with some of the Islamic leaders in our city, it wasn't here. And they were peaceful, they led the mosque, and we were dialoguing of the differences between Christianity and Islam. And they really were making the case, they were like, we believe in human rights, we believe in the rights of women, we believe... And they were laying out and Islam in that, many people around the planet, and I wasn't trying to fight with them on that. I don't ever want to cast it that the fundamentalist sect, and those who commit terrorist acts, represent all of them. Here was my question to them, though, so when you say that Islam promotes this and this is how it's practiced, all of these same human rights, all the treatment of women, all of that, where on the planet is that happening? And they immediately rattle off, they said, well, here in America, this is how we practice Islam, and they pointed to some of the European countries. And finally, I stopped and said, well, isn't it strange every place that you're saying that's practiced, it's in a country that was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. Here's what I'm asking you, in a country that is Muslim, that is controlled top-down by Muslims, where are those same rights practiced? Where do women have those same rights? Where did children have those same rights? Where do all people have those same rights? And they kind of dodged it for a little bit, and then finally said, yeah, you're hard-pressed to find that. And one of them spoke up, and he said in many ways, those countries are in our dark ages. So in the same way that Christianity had dark ages, we feel like some of those countries are behind in the dark ages. And OK, I can cut him that slack.

Tim Lundy: [00:24:49] Here's the only thing that I ended with though, I said I would just challenge you, though, if you study Christianity, do you know how we came out of our dark ages? The Bible was published, and when the Bible got in people's hands, not just controlled by a few in the church, but it really was spread out in people's hands. When people were actually able to see what Jesus has said, and what Jesus taught, and what the Bible taught, it was this radical change worldwide that led out of what you call our dark ages. And my question to you, is the Quran having the same effect? Because if I understand it in the very countries that you say are dark ages, there are some of the ones most flooded with it, and I don't think it's having the same change. And here's why I say that. because at the core of the Bible, it's a story about Jesus. Jesus changed this planet, Jesus changed life, Jesus brought this kind of change.

Tim Lundy: [00:25:49] And I'd say the last thing, the impact on marriage and family, even today, the impact Christ has on it. Look at the studies, Christians who align their life according to how Christ teaches marriage, they have a lower rate of divorce. You go, no, Tim, I always hear the same amount of divorce in the church. It's not true. Look at the Wilcox Group, University of Virginia, they're one of the best researchers on it. Lower divorce, lower incidence of abuse in the household, higher grades, higher socioeconomic, I mean, all the ways that it impacts a home when people align their life with Christ.

Tim Lundy: [00:26:29] Better sex life, now, I know, even as I say, that you go, no, wait, it's like, isn't that the one thing the world has? I mean, you know, Christians are so narrow, and sex is only between a man and a woman in marriage, and you're telling me that's a better sex life than, you know, everybody out there is having the great sex. The reality, look at all the studies that come back, sexual frequency, sexual pleasure, sexual fulfillment, sexual happiness in it, everyone in the studies come back, do you know who has it the highest? The people who've aligned their life and are doing it the way Jesus says. And what we look at is limiting, might be life-giving in these key areas.

Tim Lundy: [00:27:11] You see, over and over and over again, whether you realize it or not, whether you follow him or not, your life is better because Jesus came, because he brought life. Now, I know when I say that you go, yeah, but, Tim, that's not what you hear about church, that's not what you hear about Christianity. Here's all I hear, evangelicals are mean people and they're divided, and this divisiveness in the world, and the problems in the church, and all with that. And I agree with that, you hear that everywhere, and part of it is, I think, to divert us. Now, part of it is the baggage of the stuff that we're doing, to get our eyes off Jesus, we look at all the junk around it.

Tim Lundy: [00:27:57] But here's the other thing that you need to recognize, because Jesus pointed it out in this passage, Jesus recognized there's an enemy who wants to keep you from experiencing life. Remember what he said, he said, "I came to bring life, but there's a thief who's come to steal and kill and destroy?" And whether we want to recognize it or not, Jesus knows there is an enemy, and he's talking about Satan, he's talking about spiritual forces, and he's saying there is one who's doing everything in his power to keep you from experiencing the life I bring.

Tim Lundy: [00:28:33] In John 8, he says it this way, he says, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies." I mean, he steals, he kills, he destroys, everything he does is a lie, because everything in him does not want you to experience what Christ brings. And so if he can do all the negative press he can, if he can emphasize, maybe, ways that you were rightfully hurt by the church, maybe things that you have rightful questions that nobody addresses, maybe just issues in your own life that he does not want you to experience it.

Tim Lundy: [00:29:29] And folks, the numbers that we're seeing as I look at it, and we've looked at a lot of different things of next generation in particular, I'm telling you some of them for me are so disheartening because I look at that his impact. I saw one this was from a year ago, so it's not even taking into account all of COVID, but a survey of 22 to 38-year-olds. Look at this, eighty percent of them believe they're not good enough in virtually all areas of life. Eighty percent of them would go, I'm not measuring up, and so they go down the line between my romantic life, my professional life, personal life. Add to that, seventy-five percent say they constantly feel overwhelmed by pressure to succeed, that it is building all the time. Eighty percent of these worries have negatively impacted sleep, and their mental health has suffered. And you look at all the studies, especially of younger, and the impact of mental health, and the pressure on it.

Tim Lundy: [00:30:34] You'll say, well, what would they say are the causes? Well, they talked about the source of the pressure, this one's hard to hear, twenty-five percent of respondents say the number one source of pressure is their parents. And part of why we're doing this series, is we've got to own some of this stuff, I say that as a parent of this generation. And maybe some of the things that we've pushed you in, maybe some of the ways that we've told you, it's a bad combination when you've been told your whole life you're so special, and you can do anything in the world, and you should do anything in the world, and you feel that pressure all the time. I can promise you this, a lot of the pressure we put on you, it's what we want so desperately for you, and we deal with our own stuff in that. But I would just say for all of you from this generation of parents, man, we're sorry where we've done that. We want to be open to change. We don't want you living under this.

Tim Lundy: [00:31:38] You know, twenty percent, they would say social media. And some of you live under the pressure of social media all the time, because here's your life and your daily life, and then what you see on social media is their good life. And so you look at everybody on there, now you've got to remember they're only posting the good stuff. But you look at everybody else and you go, here's my life, and look at them, man, they've got a better job, they're on better dates, they look better, I mean, even their dinner is better. Everything about it, and this is my life, then you don't feel like you measure up. Guys, this is not reality, it really isn't. But when you live on it all the time, you can feel that gap all the time.

Tim Lundy: [00:32:28] Seventeen percent say it's their peers or friends that cause them to feel pressure.

Tim Lundy: [00:32:33] Here's the one that stood out to me, fifty percent say they place internal pressure on themselves to succeed, I mean, they're driven in it all the time, they're feeling it all the time. And I look at that 80 percent who say they never feel like they're good enough, and I'll be honest, man, my heart breaks when I read numbers like that. That every day you're just looking, and maybe it's you, you're feeling that to some degree. And then when you look, I mean, I just read it again this week, one out of four, twenty-five percent of college students, say that they have thought about suicide, at least.

Tim Lundy: [00:33:21] I'll go back to it again; do you remember what Jesus said? There's a real enemy, and he came to lie and kill and destroy, and he knows you, he's paying attention to you. I mean, we know this in the world today, I'm not into conspiracies, but we know that Big Tech companies, they're all tracking us, they know what we're doing. I mean, it's funny to me when I was growing up, the worst thing in the world was, man, you didn't want someone to bug your house or bug your phone or be listening in. And now we've gone the other extreme, we've placed devices all over the house that somebody can listen to us, and then Siri, and Alexa, and whatever. And I don't know if you've had the experience where you say something out loud, like, I'll say, you know, the lawnmower broke down. And then the next time you open your computer, suddenly the ad that pops up, lawnmowers are on sale at the Home Depot. And I'm like, whoa, that's kind of scary. Now again, I don't know about all that, but here's what I do know at the very least, I know they track all of my purchases so they can make a profile and go, OK. These are things Tim would like. I know that they're tracking what I watch entertainment-wise, so there's an algorithm so they can suggest things.

Tim Lundy: [00:34:28] We know that tech is doing that, we know that's happening, don't you think that the devil is doing that too, that he knows you, and he knows what discourages you, and he knows what tempts you, and he knows just what to whisper at just the right time. So some days he tells you you're not good enough, so just try harder. And then the next day comes back and goes, nah, you'll never be good enough, why don't you give up? Some days he comes and says God asks too much, you don't have to do that. And then he comes the next day and says, oh, you blew it, God's done with you. Folks, he doesn't play fair, and he picks on us when we're down. And I feel like so many of you, especially when I see numbers like this, man, he's telling you all the time, yeah, you're not good enough, you'll never make it, you can't do it. And then he'll whisper again, yeah, but you ought to try harder and you can overcome. And you stay caught in this cycle, that when you look at your life and you go, yeah, Jesus talks about this abundant life, I don't think that describes me.

Tim Lundy: [00:35:48] Now, here's the good news, Jesus knew that, and he knew we would never feel good enough, because here's the reality, we're not, we're not. That's the beauty of the Gospel, that's the beauty of Jesus, even in that passage, what did he say? I came to bring abundant life, and then he said, I lay down my life for the sheep. See, Jesus promises that he will sacrifice himself for our sake. Jesus is the one that says, not only am I the shepherd, I'm willing to be the sacrifice, the sheep, who lays down his life, I'm willing to do for you what you could never do.

Tim Lundy: [00:36:26] And as we think about this, especially as a church, at Venture, this is how we put it, our mission is to help people find and follow Jesus. To help them recognize...And here's why I put the two parts in it, because you need both parts of that, that you find that he's the Savior who laid down his life for us. You find that he's the good shepherd who doesn't just lead us, he also dies for us. Who recognizes that every single one of us doesn't feel like we're good enough? Every single one of us knows that we'll never be good enough in our core. And he goes, yeah, I'm not going to leave you that way. I'm not going to leave you trapped in a system where you feel like life has left and you're not part of it. And the only way he could rescue us, is he laid down his life. And so as a church, we're desperate that everybody finds that, that you would find that's true about Jesus, that he's a Savior who died for you so that you can have life.

Tim Lundy: [00:37:34] But do you know, the second part of that as well, though, is that you follow him because he's the Lord, who'll lead us to experience true life. See, it's the combination of the two things. I've got to come to him as the Savior, I find him in that moment and I experience what only he can give me, but then I follow him the rest of my life because he's the Lord, because he's in charge. Because what he asked me to do is the right way, even when it feels limiting at times, as I follow him, I get to experience life the way it was designed. And he wants that for everyone, we want that for everyone.

Tim Lundy: [00:37:34] You say, how to experience that? I love how Paul puts it in Romans 10, he says, "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." Do you see what Paul's saying in this, he kind of bookends it, the bookend on each side is that he's Lord, in the middle of it, he points out he is Savior? He says you've got to believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you've got to believe that his death was different than any other, that he not only died on the cross, but God raised him from the dead. And in that belief in your heart, do you know what happens when you believe that? You're justified, man, you're made right with God. But notice how he bookends both of it, he says, you need to confess with your mouth that he's your Lord. You need to make it the public part of your life that you go, man, this isn't this hidden thing I'm doing anymore, I'm not just kind of an undercover Christian. Man, I'm just telling everybody, yes, Jesus is my Lord, yes, he is my Shepherd, yes, I'm going to follow him the rest of my life, because I believe he's actually life.

Tim Lundy: [00:39:25] Folks, when we talk about a resilient faith, it really does come down to this, have you found Christ as your Savior, or been bound by him as Savior? And are you following him as your Lord? Because he's the Good Shepherd. You know, one of my favorite little books is this by Philip Keller, A Shepherd Looks at Psalms23. And he describes his own experience as a shepherd, he was a shepherd in Africa. And on it, he loved being a shepherd because he loved his sheep, and so he made sure that he took care of the watering hole, and that they had good nutrition, that the grass, and all, he would care for his sheep. And he talked about, and it broke his heart, though, that right next to his farm, there was a tenant shepherd, who could care less about a sheep. And there was a fence line between them, and he would watch as the sheep from that other farm would come and they'd look over the fence, they'd look longingly at the grass that he had provided for his sheep. And he could see how sickly they were, and that nobody cared for them. In fact, he said every so often in the wintertime when the tides would go way out, because they went all the way down to the ocean there with the fence line, and the tide would go out and some of the sheep would use that moment to run around that fence and be able to come onto his land and eat his grass, the problem was their system wasn't used to it, they've been neglected for so long. And one day he came along, three Ewes, three sheep that were there, and they had come onto his property and they'd eaten so much they had collapsed, they were sick from it. And he knew someone needs to take care of them, but he also knew he wasn't the rightful owner of these sheep. And so we gathered them gently and he put them in a wheelbarrow, and he took them back to their owner. He said he'll never forget that scene as he came and he showed him these sheep that are in this desperate condition, and the owner, without blinking pulled out a knife and just slit their throats. He determined in that moment they weren't worth the work, he didn't care for them, so it meant nothing to kill him. Keller said, as he saw that scene, he thought this is such a vivid detail of the difference of a life where Jesus is your good shepherd and a life in the world where no one cares.

Tim Lundy: [00:42:11] In fact, there's an evil one who'd love nothing more than to destroy your life. Hear me today, I don't know where you are, I don't know what you're experiencing. If you feel like you're one of those sheep, you're always looking over the fence, and you've not experienced that life, do you know how you go through? Jesus is the door, Jesus is the good shepherd, you need to, today, believe that he died and rose again for you as Savior. And some of you that believe that, and you would claim that, you need the second part of that, you need to start following him. You need to stop just accepting that he's your Savior, and also accept he's your Lord, and the way he says to do life, is the way to experience life, and you need to embrace that today.

Tim Lundy: [00:43:11] In fact, I want to take a moment to close out in prayer and give you the opportunity. If you are someone who's never found Jesus as your Savior, I'm going to give you the opportunity now. And if you're someone who's not following him as your Lord, I might give you that opportunity as well. Will you pray with me?

Tim Lundy: [00:43:26] Father, I do pray for anyone who's hearing this, I pray this, especially when I read the numbers of next generation, when I read those who just feel so disconnected, who feel so helpless, I can't help but picture that scene of the sheep with a tenant farmer who could care less about their life. And we recognize there's an evil one in the world, and he is real, and he could care less about the lives of people on this planet, if anything, he tries to kill and destroy and he lies all the time.

Tim Lundy: [00:44:02] Lord, I pray today for anybody hearing this, who needs to stop believing his lies, who needs to believe the truth that Christ is the Good Shepherd, who needs to today make that declaration that they believe that Jesus is their Savior, and they want to follow him as Lord. And so if you're praying with me right now, no matter where you are, no matter where you're listening to this, if that's the cry of your heart, if you want to know that Jesus is your Savior. Right in this moment, just tell him, Jesus, I believe you're Savior, Jesus, I believe you died on the cross, Jesus, I believe you rose again, I believe it in my heart. And in this moment, Paul says you are justified, you're right with God.

Tim Lundy: [00:44:55] And if you're listening to this, and maybe you've been running from him, maybe you've not been listening to him, maybe there's something in your life you've been holding on to, but some of you right now, you need to confess, Jesus, I will follow you, I will make this an open confession with my mouth, I will tell people that you are my Lord because I want to experience life as you designed it.

Tim Lundy: [00:45:23] Lord, I pray for any that maybe prayed that prayer for the first time, maybe praying that prayer because they're coming back to you, maybe praying that prayer because they have been beaten down by doing life away from you, Lord, I pray for any who need to experience what only Jesus can provide. We thank you that he is the Good Shepherd, we thank you that he leads us as a Shepherd, that he is Lord of our lives, we pray that we would experience life abundantly because of him. And we pray this in Christ's name, Amen.

Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032