More Like Jesus

As we draw near the end of our series, Standing Firm, this morning we set our sights on what is the end goal of our efforts to remain rooted in Jesus in spite of the culture’s attempts to pull us up. Any time we are on a long journey, it’s helpful to know where we are going. Peter gives us one of those points here. Let’s talk today about how we can become more like Jesus.

More Like Jesus

Have you ever arrived before? Now, you’re probably sitting there starting to think I’m just a bit off…okay, some of you were probably already thinking that, but this just confirms your suspicions. Of course you have arrived before. You arrived at church this morning and here you are. Duh. But that’s not what I mean. I’m thinking a little bigger than that, like when we finally arrived at my folks house a few weeks ago after having been on the road for almost 36 hours. I can’t remember a time I’ve been so thankful to be out of a car.

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No Good Deed

As we continue in our journey through 1 Peter, we get a reminder today that even though our best deeds often don’t go unpunished, that shouldn’t slow us down on our journeys after Jesus. Instead, the suffering we face for doing good is an opportunity. It is an opportunity to advance the Gospel in ways we won’t otherwise get. Let’s talk today about suffering and serving Jesus.

No Good Deed

I heard a news story the other day about a man named Paul Gaylord. Ever heard of him before? I hadn’t either. That’s okay, though, because he lives in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. Paul has a cat named Charlie. Back in 2014, Charlie went missing for a few days. Now, if you have cats that are not strictly inside cats, you know that’s not so unusual. Cats do their own thing. Outside cats occasionally grace their owners with their presence, especially if they are hungry, but otherwise can sometimes vanish for a little while. Eventually Charlie came back. Unfortunately, Charlie was not quite in the same condition as when he left. His face was swollen up and he was clearly having some trouble breathing. Being a conscientious pet owner, Paul jumped into action. He forced open Charlie’s mouth and eventually figured out that there was a dead, rotting mouse lodged in his throat. I know…gross! Well, Paul got the mouse out, but as a reward for his troubles, Charlie bit him on the hand and broke the skin.

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Digging in Deeper: Haggai 2:12-14

“‘If a man is carrying consecrated meat in the fold of his garment, and it touches bread, stew, wine, oil, or any other food, does it become holy?’ The priests answered, ‘No.’ Then Haggai asked, ‘If someone defiled by contact with a corpse touches any of these, does it become defiled?’ The priests answered, ‘It becomes defiled.’ Then Haggai replied, ‘So is this people, and so is this nation before me–this is the Lord’s declaration. And so is every work of their hands; even what they offer there is defiled.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the principles that lies at the heart of much modern thinking about religion and morality is that good things should happen to good people, and bad things should happen to bad people. In fact, the question of why bad things happen to good people is of great enough interest that it has been the subject of more than one book-length treatment. What God communicated to the people of Israel through Haggai here doesn’t resolve the issue by any means, but it does offer some good food for thought to folks who are pondering on it.

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Morning Musing: Isaiah 53:4-5

“Yet he himself bore our sicknesses, and he carried our pains; but we in turn regarded him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced because of our rebellion, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on him, and we are healed by his wounds.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever set out down a path you knew wasn’t going to end well? Or, let me change that just a bit. Have you ever set out down a path that you knew was going to eventually have a good ending, but the journey to get there was going to be exceedingly difficult? When God the Son left His throne in heaven and came to earth as a baby, He knew just what He was getting into. How do we know? Because He told us long before He got here. Isaiah tells us about it in this passage.

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Digging in Deeper: Job 42:1-6

“Then Job replied to the Lord: I know that you can do anything and no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this who conceals my counsel with ignorance?’ Surely I spoke about things I did not understand, things too wondrous for me to know. You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak. When I question you, you will inform me.’ I had heard reports about you, but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore, I reject my words and am sorry for them; I am dust and ashes.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Sometimes when we are making breakfast in the morning we like to make scrambled eggs. And sometimes when we get the eggs out to crack, our 5-year-old happens to be in the kitchen. Do you know what he unfailingly requests in these moments? Can I crack the eggs? Now, don’t get me wrong: It’s cute that he wants to help. I definitely don’t want to discourage him from it. That’ll blow up in my face later. But by the time I’ve cleaned up gooey egg mess from the counter and the floor and spent five minutes chasing minute pieces of egg shell around the bowl before I scramble everything up to put them in the pan, there’s a small part of me thinking, “Thanks for nothing.” As I read the tail end of the book of Job here, I feel a bit like he’s got to be thinking the same thing about God.

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