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P. 1
Be Different (Now What? - Pt. 2) - 2014-05-11

Be Different (Now What? - Pt. 2) - 2014-05-11

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Published by John Partridge
When we truly believe in, and follow, Jesus, we will act differently, we will *be* different. Our charity, faith, politics, church, family, will all be different. The idea is radical, because Jesus was radically different.
When we truly believe in, and follow, Jesus, we will act differently, we will *be* different. Our charity, faith, politics, church, family, will all be different. The idea is radical, because Jesus was radically different.

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Published by: John Partridge on May 11, 2014
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“Be Different”(Now What? Part 2)May 11, 2014
 
Acts 242!4"1 Peter 21#!2$%ohn 101!10
At the end of the Second World War, a number of scientists were given the opportunity to come to the United States and continue their work here. Among these scientists was Werner Von Braun, who had overseen much of the erman V!" pro#ect and who had been a member of the erman $a%i party. &nce here, Von Braun  became one the architects of the 'ercury, emini, and Apollo pro#ects that led the United States to land astronauts on the moon. A Swedish chemist once opened the newspaper to discover that his own obituary had been printed instead of one for his recently deceased brother. Although he held patents for ()* inventions, because one of them was for dynamite his obituary remembered him as the +merchant of death who had gotten rich by inventing a way to kill people faster. After reading his obituary at the age of )), Albert set out to change his legacy and, upon his death, his family discovered that the bulk of his estate, -) percent of his wealth, which would be almost a half billion dollars today, was set aside to create an annual award for those persons who best promoted the cause of peace in the world. oday Alfred $obel is remembered, not as a merchant of death, but as the creator of the $obel /eace /ri%e.0n 1234, 5ohn $ewton a sailor who had been, beaten, and imprisoned because of his bad behavior, and who was known, even among sailors, as the most vile and profane man anyone knew, swore an oath to od during a storm that threatened to sink the ship he was aboard. hey survived, but #ust barely. Although his near death e6perience had changed $ewton7s way of thinking, the effect took time. Although he worked to control his  profanity, $ewton continued to sail upon, and later to command, slave ships carrying African slaves to $orth America. But by 12)* he had left the sea, by 12)8 he was teaching himself 9atin, reek and theology, and by 12)4 he sought to become a priest in the :hurch of ;ngland. <e was initially refused because he was largely self!educated, and because he was known to associate with 'ethodists. But later, after writing about his e6periences at sea, the slave trade, and his conversion, he was eventually sponsored for ordination and given a church in &lney, Buckinghamshire where he wrote the hymn, +Ama%ing race.0n Acts -, Saul of arsus, a man with a hatred of :hristians and their teaching of what he believed was a  perversion of orthodo6 5ewish theology, was travelling to =amascus with a letter to the synagogue leaders there. hat letter authori%ed Saul to capture, interrogate, and imprison anyone who he found to be followers of 5esus. /aul had already established a reputation for ruthlessness and :hristians feared him. But as he travelled the =amascus road, Saul met 5esus and within days had become one of the most inspired and powerful :hristian evangelists. Saul changed his name to /aul, spent years travelling the >oman world preaching the good news of 5esus :hrist and was arrested, imprisoned and beaten many times in doing so. he man who had once dedicated his life to destroying :hristianity became its most prolific writer and evangelist.All of these people had the opportunity to change their legacy and to change how the world would remember them. hat change made a difference and it is the change that makes their lives so memorable.he last few weeks we have been reflecting on two ?uestions, +So what@ and +$ow what.1
 
his morning we7re going to conclude that series with a final look at what it means to be a :hristian and how we answer the +So what@ and +$ow what@ ?uestions in our lives.We begin this morning in
%ohn 101!10,
 where we remember that 5esus is our shepherd and our protector
“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.
2
The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
3
The  gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his oice. !e calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
"
#hen he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his oice.
$
 %ut they will neer follow a stranger& in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recogni'e a stranger(s oice.)
*
 +esus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
Therefore +esus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.
-
 ll who hae come before me are thiees and robbers, but the sheep hae not listened to them.
/
 I am the gate& whoeer enters through me will be saed. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.
01
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy& I hae come that they may hae life, and hae it to the full.
he point that 5esus made was that there have always been leaders who claimed to be sent from od, but od7s people didn7t follow them because they knew od7s nature and character. alse leaders want positions of leadership so that they can get money or power or acclaim and fame from the people, but 5esus came, not to
ta&e
 things from the people, but to
care
 for them and
'ie the
 life.But so what@What is it that makes life worth living@ What is it that makes a life stand out among the billions of souls who crowd our planet@ What is it that makes one life make a difference among so many others@And one more time, the Apostle /eter is ready with an answer. 0n
1 Peter 21#!2$,
 he says this
0/
 or it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unust suffering because they are conscious of 4od.
21
 %ut how is it to your credit if you receie a beating for doing wrong and endure it5 %ut if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before 4od.
20
To this you were called, because 6hrist  suffered for you, leaing you an e7ample, that you should follow in his steps.
22
“!e committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.)
23
#hen they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate& when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who udges ustly.
2"
“!e himself bore our sins) in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and lie for righteousness& “by his wounds you hae been healed.)
2$
 or “you were like  sheep going astray,) but now you hae returned to the 8hepherd and 9erseer of your souls.
/eter says that +
if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before 4od.)
 Cou are commended because you have stepped out of the ordinary and into the different. 5esus was different. 5esus is held up as our e6ample of how to live our lives. 5esus suffered for us and we are called to follow in his footsteps. When they insulted 5esus, he did not insult them back. When they beat him, he made no effort to fight back and did not even curse them or threaten them. 0nstead, 5esus trusted od to be the righteous #udge. 5esus trusted od, even as he faced his own death. "
 
5esus was different and we are called to follow his e6ample. We are called to be different.And if the e6ample of 5esus isn7t enough, #ust look at how the followers of 5esus answered the call to be different. 0n
Acts 242!4"
, the church is described this wayD
"2
They deoted themseles to the apostles( teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
"3
 :eryone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.
""
 ll the belieers were together and had eerything in common.
"$
They sold property and possessions to gie to anyone who had need.
"*
 :ery day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
"
 praising 4od and enoying the faor of all the people. nd the  ;ord added to their number daily those who were being saed.
he apostles led the people but the people acted differently than the communities they lived in. hey cared for one another, they shared what they had, and they sold their e6cess so that they could give to people who were in need. hey met together, every day, to pray and to study scripture, they ate together and praised od together in one another7s homes, and people were so attracted to their way of life that they believed in the message of 5esus and new people #oined them every day.When the followers of 5esus :hrist followed his e6ample they were e6traordinarily different than the culture that they lived in because 5esus himself lived a life that was radically different. When we ask ourselves +So what@ or +$ow what@ the end result will always bring us to this fundamental call to be like 5esus and to follow his e6ample. he people that 0 told you about earlier made a radical change in direction and because of that change two things happened, aE people noticed, and bE people remembered. 0f we truly believe the story of 5esus, then
we
 will be changed. 0f we truly believe, then we won7t have to ask +So what@ or +$ow what@ but instead will live like 5esus lived. We will act differently than we used to act. We will
*e
 different than we used to be. &ur charity will be different, our faith will be different, our politics will be different Fbecause 5esus is far too radical for any political partyE, our church will be different, our families will be different, and our lives will be different.And people will notice.When we finally decide to follow 5esus7 e6ample, we will become e6traordinarily different than the culture in which we live. 0t will change nearly everything that we do. he idea is radical.Because 5esus was radically different.And when we become genuine followers of 5esus, we will be too.(

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