A Matter Of Life And Death | Insight | Pastor Caleb Baker
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A Matter Of Life And Death | Insight | Pastor Caleb Baker

(vibrant music) – Well hi everybody, Pastor Cal here. Hey it’s hard to believe
that it’s finally arrived, but folks, one week from
now, it has arrived. Central’s gonna turn 60 years old and we’re gonna celebrate. You know over the last 60
years, God has done amazing things for this church
and through the people who call Central home and
it’s just time to stop and say thank you and
so we’re gonna do that. So next Saturday night, November 2nd, we are going to Chase
Field and we’re gonna bring all six of our campuses
together in just a colossal worship experience. It’s gonna be church
for us for that weekend, it’s something you
absolutely don’t wanna miss. Gates are gonna open up at four
o’clock and here’s the deal. I wanna ask a favor of you. You know as Pastor,
often people will ask me, “Could you do me a favor. Could you contact so-and-so. Could you talk to somebody. Could you.” Every time, absolutely. If I can help you, I will. I need you to help me,
and you can if you will. I just need you to
bring somebody with you. Invite anybody and
everybody that you know. Invite your family, invite your friends, invite your neighbors. Invite the people you go to school with. Invite everybody you work with. Invite, invite, invite. So here’s what’s gonna happen. The gates are gonna open at four. We’re gonna have this
incredible worship experience. It’s gonna conclude with fireworks. It’s gonna be just a memory that you just simply don’t wanna miss out on. So, I hope you’ll make it a priority. Hey now listen, I’m not able
to be here this weekend, so I’m excited to tell you
who can be here this weekend. Caleb Baker. Caleb Baker is the Pastor
over our student programming. He runs the program for
all of our youth ministry, on all of our campuses. Every time Caleb steps through the pulpit, people go, “I love listening to that guy.” So I’m thrilled to let
you know that he’s gonna bring the message today and
all I wanna ask you to do right now for him is to just
make him feel comfortable by just putting your hands
together, welcome Caleb Baker. (audience applauding) – Thank you, thank you, thank you. Appreciate it. Hey, if you have a bible,
go to Matthew, Chapter 16. We’re gonna be in verses 21
to 28 during our time today. We’ll be there in a minute or
so, but just so that you’re ready once we get there,
go and and turn there now. Whatever campus you’re on. Welcome to Central. Let me just be another voice to say we’re so glad that you’re with
us this weekend for church, especially the Tempe Campus, you made it to your second weekend, we’re pumped for you, we love you Tempe. Good job, you did it. We can only go up from here, right? Hey, I really believe
that God is gonna have a powerful word for us today. I’ve worked as hard as I know how to work to prepare these words
and I just really believe that these verses from
Matthew 16 are convicting and encouraging and challenging and so, what I wanna do is pray for us and ask that He might speak in a powerful way to each and every person
and then we will jump in. Let’s pray. God, thanks so much for today. Lord, anytime we get to open up your word it has the potential to change our lives, and change the type of friends we are, and husbands and wives we
are, and Moms and Dads, and sons and daughters that we are, God. I believe that by your Holy Spirit that you can do that type
of work in our hearts today. So we just ask in Jesus’ name that you will speak clearly to us and get distractions out of the way and help us to hear from you. We love you and we pray
in Jesus’ name, amen. Amen, amen, amen. Hey have you ever heard
the phrase, “It’s a matter of life and death, it’s a
matter of life and death.” You’ve probably heard this right? It’s an urgent phrase
that kind of communicates urgency and seriousness, and we gotta give this attention right away. This type of phrase. It communicates this sense of emergency. And I think like, we’re
an urgent culture today. We love emergencies,
we love breaking news. Like as soon as anything
happens in the world, we have to get out the
computers that we have in our pockets at all
times and check like, what happened, you know. We gotta be in the know. Do I need to do something? Do I need to step in? Do I need to get involved? Like, we’re urgent. We never wanna be out of reach. And I always wonder like,
what the 60’s were like, which some of you could tell me later but don’t interrupt the sermon. But like, before cellphones, if it was like, you just
found things out the next day, that’s kind of crazy to think about. We know everything right away now. And it’s urgent and we
love it, and da da da. I don’t know how wherever you work, works. But like our staff email at
this church you can even like send an urgent email so
it comes with like this little red exclamation
point and it’s like, extra urgent, you know. Like double urgent. And so every time I get an urgent email I just like play this game in my head where I’m like, “I wonder
if it’s gonna be something that’s actually urgent”. You know. ‘Cause you get the email you’re like, “The aliens are here, or
so-and-so like this emergency” and usually it’s like, “The
printer is working again.” And you’re like, “Oh
cool, thank you so much, I’m glad I rushed right to it.” But this is how we are. We have to have the
breaking news, the urgency. Like we wanna be in the know. And we approach our lives
with this seriousness, right? Like it’s a matter of life and death. I don’t know what it is for
you, maybe it’s your job. And like no matter what
happens you’ll drop anything to take care of what you
need to take care of at work. You make that really urgent. Maybe it’s your marriage or
your family or your kids, or like a car or people’s
opinion of you, whatever that is. We treat a lot of things in our lives with this matter of this
life and death seriousness. Like, “What if I don’t get that promotion? Can you imagine what that would be like?” Like, yeah, it would be
like your job right now. You don’t have to imagine,
that’s all that it is. “What if I don’t get into that school? What if this doesn’t happen? Bla bla bla.” I think this rears it’s head specifically when I think about politics. And you’re like, don’t go
there, just shut up right? But like when I think about how Christians and the church react to political things and you gotta hear me, I promise you I don’t care about politics. But I just watch people
within the church react. And it’s like sometimes we act like if our candidate doesn’t get elected in 2020 that the sky is literally
going to fall down. Like it’s gonna take Jesus off the cross like that never happened
and let’s just like go back to emergency mode, right? We treat things urgently. Like Jesus is up in heaven
with his angels like, watching the election play out for the United States of America. Like, I think so-and-so
won the swing state or whatever, I don’t even
know what a swing state is, honest to God, but you can imagine. Is it possible that
with Jesus on the throne we can have a little bit
more confidence than that? Like we can just be a
little bit more at ease. I’m not saying that
that stuff’s all garbage or anything like that, I just mean, can we put it into perspective
for the victory that we have, for the hope that we have in Jesus? And like is it possible
that with Jesus sitting at the right hand of God,
whatever seems like it’s urgent in your life, whatever seems like it’s a matter of life
and death in your life, Jesus probably isn’t as
stressed out about that thing as you are and that should give you hope. I gotta stop, I’m gonna
spoil the end of the sermon and that would just be a tragedy. So, if you couldn’t tell, the
title for our message today is “A Matter of Life and Death.” “A Matter of Life and Death.” I love this phrase. I wanna use this phrase to
sort of unpack the verses from Matthew 16 for our time today and before I do that I
wanna show you a definition of this phrase that I found on Google, so you know it’s accurate. It says this. “A matter of life and death. Something that is extremely important and often involves decisions
that will determine whether someones lives or die. Often involves decisions
that will determine whether someone lives, or dies.” So it is urgent. This phrase sort of brings
an urgency along with it. But I wanna think about urgency today a little bit differently
that not this like, “911, somebody’s bleeding
out, we gotta rush them here, run all over the place” type of urgency, because I think the devil, our enemy, knows that we actually react
to that kind of emergency. We actually react to 911 calls. I think usually our adversary,
our enemy is really okay if we just chose to let ourselves die over like 75 to 90 years of living. I think he’ll get out of your way and go, “You guys just keep doing your
thing, you’re doing great.” Being urgent about work
or being urgent about this or that or your
retirement, or bla bla bla. Today we’re gonna talk
about you, making a decision that will determine
whether you live or die. And I know that seems dramatic and I’m not trying to be dramatic. It’s like Halloween week, I’m
not trying to be spooky like. Whether you live. That’s not my intentions, okay? I just wanted to do that voice. But there’s a lot at stake here. You’re alive. And I don’t think that you were made to live your whole life
like you’re on the way out. I think you were made to step
into each day like it’s life. So, let’s jump in. Matthew 16, start in verse 21, says this. “From that time on, Jesus began to explain to his disciples, that
He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at
the hands of the elders, and the chief priests
and teachers of the law. And that he must be killed
and on the third day be raised to life.” Verse 22. “Peter took him aside
and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”” There is so much going on in these verses. Before we talk about it, I wanna remind us where we were last week. Pastor Cal talked on
the verses right before these verses, when, when Jesus
is talking to his disciples and he says, “Hey, who do you say I am? Who am I? What do you think?” And Peter speaks up and he says, “You’re the Messiah. The son of the living God.” And Jesus is like, “Peter,
yes, exactly, that’s right.” And he’s like even more than that. This church, this
movement that I’m starting that’s gonna change the
world, is gonna be built on that foundation. That declaration of faith, that statement that you just said, was
revealed to you by God, and that’s gonna be the foundation that the church is built on. That Jesus is the Messiah,
the song of the living God. And the disciples are
like, “Yes” and high-fiving and the crowd goes wild and
then a few verses later, Jesus is like, “Ah, just so you know, we’re headed to Jerusalem and I’m gonna have to suffer and die there.” And they’re like, “Wait, what? But I thought you were the Messiah, you’re the son of God, like,
we’re gonna overthrow Rome, it’s gonna be amazing, what are you talking about Jesus,” right? There’s some whiplash. And so they’re kind of
going towards this thing, And He’s been doing all these miracles and He’s been doing all
this son of God type stuff. And then He finally tells
them, “Yeah it’s true, I’m the Messiah” but then
he drops this on ’em. And Peter, of course it’s
Peter, it’s always Peter. Like every single time. He puts his arm around Jesus
and takes him to the side and begins to rebuke him. He’s like, “Jesus buddy,
I think you misspoke a little bit, I mean, I
know you’re the son of God, but, you know, nobody’s
perfect, or what you are. You know what I mean?” And so you think Peter
like 10 years down the road just would like wake up
in the middle of the night and be like, “I can’t believe I told Jesus he was wrong that one time. That was so stupid.” (audience laughing) Or when he just was like,
killing it in a sermon and his friends are like,
“Hey just so you know, you told Jesus he was wrong once.” He’s like, “Shut up, man.” Peter, what are you doing? But before you give
Peter too hard of a time, I think that we can use
his response to help us look in the mirror about
what our urgency does to us. If we’re too urgent,
this is what can happen. The first thing is that
our urgency can cause a lack of faith in Jesus. Our urgency can cause a
lack of faith in Jesus. Remember, Peter was the
one that Jesus said, “God declared, God revealed
this to you Peter.” Nobody told you this. You didn’t just have this idea. God the Father revealed this truth to you that I’m the Messiah,
the son of living God. And then just a few verses
later, Peter starts arguing with the Messiah about
why the Messiah was sent. And I think about, like man
this is so much like us. We can get so focused on our plan, on our timing, on our
emergency, whatever it might be, that we start trying to
tell Jesus who He is, or what’s gonna happen,
or not going to happen. If your urgency is causing
you to rebuke Jesus or disagree with Jesus
or run the other way, then Jesus would have you run. That’s a bad place to be. For we can get in such a hurry that we start arguing with Jesus, and we’re not focused on our faith in Him. The second thing that is striking to me, that our urgency does that Peter shows us, is our urgency can cause us to live like Jesus is still in the tomb. Our urgency can cause us to live like Jesus is still in the tomb. Did you catch what Jesus begins to explain to his disciples in these
verses, look back at it. Jesus says, he begins to
explain to his disciples that “He must go to Jerusalem
and suffer many things at the hands of the
elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and
that he must be killed”. In almost every story you’ve ever heard, stops with this one. The main character gets
killed, that’s the end. But not with Jesus. “He must be killed, and on the third day be raised to life”. “He must be killed, and on the third day”. Our faith, the reason that
all of us are here right now, our entire hope in life,
is foundationally dependent on this and in this sentence. That “He must be killed and raised to life on the third day.” The story isn’t over with death. Not with Jesus. Him hung up there on the cross when he breathes his last,
that’s not the end of the story. That’s not roll credits,
we’re like halfway through this movie. That’s actually how this
whole story starts with Jesus. And Jesus begins explaining
to his disciples. But Peter, before he can hear the end, before Jesus gets out of the tomb, before he can hear how
this is all going to come to a perfect close, Peter says, “No, no, no, not you Lord,
never, never, never.” And Jesus is like, “This
is good news Peter. Why are you trying to
stop this good news?” Do you see what your urgency can do? Are you in such a hurry? Are you so focused on your plan? Are you so focused on your emergency that you’re living like Jesus
is still in the tomb? Now granted, Jesus’
prediction of His death had to have been so jarring
for these disciples. It was heavy, it was a lot to take in. And there’s gonna be things in your life that are jarring, and really heavy and a lot to take in. But if you’re not careful, just like Peter wasn’t careful, you can
miss this miraculous, once in a forever, son of God
type ending to this story. You can get so ahead of it,
you can get in such a hurry, that you forget that Jesus
isn’t still in the tomb. You can forget that
there’s more going on here. We can live like we don’t have any hope. Like we don’t have any victory. Like we don’t have any promise that’s built on the foundation of Jesus. And I see so many
Christian’s, myself included, running from emergency to emergency, from fire to fire, just
trying to put everything out. Just going, “Oh we gotta do this now. Oh my gosh, this and then,
oh there’s a fire over here.” And everything’s a
matter of life and death, when death itself was
defeated by Jesus on the cross on your behalf and so why are you worried about life and death when death was defeated in Jesus’s name? And we’re just living our
lives with a cross on its side going “Yeah, this is what we’re about man, we’re all about Jesus”. But we’re acting like
He’s still in the tomb. So assuming that you wanna really live, I’m gonna spend the remainder of our time really on two points. I try to get it to three because I learned how to preach at a bible
college in Tennessee but I couldn’t do it. So we’re just gonna do two. It’s gonna be fine. (clearing throat) Two ways to make sure we’re really living, out of Matthew 16. The first one is to live
like you’re not dying. To live like you’re not dying. I know this is in direct opposition to the theologian Tim McGraw
in his famous song, “Live like you were dying”. (laughing) One person liked that, that’s okay though, that’s fine with me. Anytime I can make fun of country music. But that’s not what this is about. So really I believe that
as followers of Jesus we ought to live like we’re not dying. Like, if we don’t keep Jesus in the tomb like he’s actually defeated
death, then so have we. Either Jesus was completely
false about all of it, or you have victory over death too, right? There’s no way that just
Jesus defeated death, because He said He did
that so that you could too. So if we’re gonna believe
that, if we’re gonna put our faith in the fact that Jesus was nailed to the cross
and then rose again, then you gotta believe because He said that He did that so
that you could join Him in this life beyond death. So we get to live like we’re not dying. We get to live like
there’s life beyond this. Like death isn’t the end of our story. Our motivation isn’t from
a lack of time left here on Earth, our motivation
is from the calling and the purpose that
we have in Jesus’ name. We should have a calmness to our lives that puts people at ease because
of this hope that we have. Do you think if we polled a
bunch of non-Christian people, “What do you think about Christians?” They would be like, “Man,
they’re super easy-going.” (audience laughing) Me neither. But this is who we should be. Not because bad things won’t happen. Because death isn’t the end
of the story for us either. There’s more. There’s that and in our sentence too. We aren’t called to go
out and change the world because we don’t know how
much time we’ll have left, no. We’re called because of the
victory that we have in Jesus. There’s a famous question
that people have asked a million different ways. You’ve probably been asked this question in some form or fashion, it
goes something like this. “If you had one hour left
to live, what would you do?” Or, “If you had one day,
if you had one week left, what would you do?” I guess the point of that question is to create a sense of urgency, you know. Or think about prioritizing things. But it’s not a bad
question but I think for followers of Jesus a better question is, if you had forever left to
live, what would you do? If you had life after
death, if you had eternity left to live, how would you treat people? What would you think was important? What would you spend your time on? Wouldn’t you take more chances? Wouldn’t you speak more life into people? Wouldn’t you worry less
about your retirement? Wouldn’t a two-hour layover in an airport not be the end of the world? If you have forever left to live, if one little thing didn’t
meet your expectations, couldn’t you be like,
“Well that was kind of a bummer but man, I have
forever left to live. This is amazing. Look at the peace that
I have because of this eternal life that Jesus has given me.” Your purpose doesn’t
come from your urgency, it comes from your victory. The victory that Jesus
won for us on the cross and you have forever left to live so live. Not because you might get
hit by a bus tomorrow, but live because you have
forever left to live. You have all the freedom
you would ever need to do all that Jesus is calling you into. Live like you’re not dying. He continues this idea in verse 23. Jesus responds to Peter. (laughing) Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me Satan.” Which has gotta be tough
to hear if you’re Peter. “You are a stumbling block to me.” Jesus says, “You don’t have
in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” So Jesus predicts this to his disciples and then Peter rebukes
Jesus, and then Jesus like, all capital letters, rebukes Peter, right? Like He is like, “You do
not even know how to rebuke somebody, get behind me Satan” right? This reminds me of like the first time when you thought you were
tough enough to argue back to your Mom even
though it’s so stupid because mom’s win every argument,
it doesn’t matter at all. Like it could be whatever it
is, Mom’s gonna win that one. And I just remember
being like, and my voice is probably cracking but
I was tall really early, so I was like, “Whatever Mom,
I’m a big boy now, right? You can’t say that to me anymore.” And then Mom’s do this
thing where they can like grow ten-feet tall and
even though it’s inside there’s like a
thunderstorm, and she’s like Ursula from Little Mermaid but
maybe that was just my Mom. But there’s like, and then she definitely wins the argument, no matter what it was, it usually is something like, “I brought you into this world.” Right? And so it’s like, “I got it. I’m so sorry, I’m gonna ground myself. I’m gonna head out, bye.” Right? That’s the end. That’s kind of what we see here. Peter goes, “Hey Jesus,
let me walk you through what’s gonna happen” and Jesus is like, “Get behind me Satan.” He’s like, “Got it, crystal clear. Okay my bad.” But I think there’s
these two awesome things within this rebuke that we can pull out for our point today. The first is that idea
of a stumbling block that Jesus calls Peter a stumbling block. He says, “Peter, you’re getting in the way of why I was sent. Your fear, or your insecurities, or your inability to see
all that’s going on here is getting in the way of why the Messiah, why the son of the living
God was sent to Earth in the first place. Your fear is causing you
to be a stumbling block. Remember, this is the same guy last week, a few verses ago, where Jesus goes, “Simon you’re gonna be
Peter, the little rock. You’re gonna help me build my church.” And we see just a short time later, he’s become a stumbling block and I love these two pictures ’cause
I think that it creates this contrast of like
which one do we wanna be? How are we gonna operate
within this Kingdom? Do you wanna use the rock that you have to help build the church
or to get in the way of what Jesus is doing? Another way to ask it. Are you gonna be led
by your faith in Jesus or are you gonna give
in to your fear of death or of rejection or, of “I don’t know how it’s gonna work out.” Are you gonna press on with
whatever you’re called to because you know who Jesus is? He’s the Messiah, He’s
the son of the living God. Or are you gonna shy away
because you don’t know what the future holds? You see what’s at stake here, right? The truth about who Jesus
is will always be enough for whatever your future holds. I’ll say it again. The truth about who Jesus
is will always be enough for whatever your future holds. The other thing from this
rebuke in verse 23 is, Jesus says, “You don’t have
in mind the things of God but the things of men.” The original language is literally saying, it’s not just you’re thinking
too small, He’s like, “You’re aiming your understanding, you’re directing your
entire thought process, your world-view” might be a
way we would say it nowadays. “Your entire way of thinking
is only on Earthly things, on the interests of men,
not the interests of God.” Like He’s so often seen to do, and it’s like He so often does with us, Jesus is urging Peter to zoom out and see things for what they actually are. Don’t think so small Peter. Don’t think so small,
like take a step back from the emergency, from the urgency, from the breaking news of your life so that you can see what God is doing and you might have to do the same thing. When you’re thinking of what to do next. The next job, the next relationship, the next trip, the next
move, the next meeting, the next, “Shall we have
another kid or not?” Do you wait on God to direct you? Do you even ask Him? Set your mind. “Aim your heart on the
things of God”, Jesus says. Let’s keep reading, look at verse 24. Then Jesus continues, He
said to His disciples, “If anyone would come after
me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. He must deny himself and take
up his cross and follow me.” That first idea, deny yourself. Sometimes we take a verse
like this and we make it like our whole lives have to be a bummer if we’re gonna follow
Jesus because we have to deny ourselves and be
miserable and never smile, right? Like that’s how we treat it. But this idea of deny yourself isn’t like deny yourself joy, thank God. It’s not deny yourself
food that tastes good, it’s going to deny the idea of yourself. Like whenever there’s a toss up of I wanna go this way but God
wants me to go this way, you go this way. You deny what you want in order to do what God has called you to. So when it seems like there’s
a little bit of a discrepancy you give the keys to God and go, “I’m gonna deny myself. I’m gonna deny my agenda. I’m gonna deny my American dream, my long-term plan, my bla bla bla, and I’m gonna trust you. Even if I have to deny what
feels most natural to me, I’m gonna trust you, God,
with the keys to my life. “Anyone who would follow me needs to deny himself” he says. Jesus is challenging you to put to death your selfish ambitions, put to death your little
things that you just don’t wanna give ’em up,
they’re precious to you, you need ’em, He’s going,
“No, no, no, no, no. You gotta give me that so
that I can have you experience real life, eternal life.” Continuing on He says,
“He must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” This idea of cross is so interesting. Obviously it’s a common phrase to us now as Christian’s right? Take up your cross. But I try to imagine what this phrase would have sounded like
before Jesus ever died on a cross and rose again. Like what would this have sounded like to the disciples that
day when He said that. Before anyone ever had a cross tattoo or a cross necklace, or hypothetically, a cross on it’s side as a church logo. Before any of that. The cross was an instrument
of torture and execution. It would have been horrifying
to these disciples. This was not like a cool,
I’ll put it on a bookmark. This was like, “What? Did he say take up your cross?” The cross was the Roman
Empire’s way of going, “This is what criminals get. So when you commit a crime we’re gonna put you up on this cross. So we’re gonna strip you of your dignity, and you’ll just be
humiliated until you die so that everyone can see
when you mess with Rome this is what happens to you. When you try to do your own thing and not fall in line
with the Roman Empire, this is the end that you
will get for everyone to see on the side of the road.” That’s what the disciples
would have heard, they’re going, “Take up our cross? Are you serious?” Jesus is calling his
disciples to step into pain, to step into humiliation, isolation. To come face-to-face with
one of the most excruciating ways to die in our history,
because that’s what this costs. That’s what it means to really
live like you’re not dying. And I gotta ask you, I gotta ask me, are you really in for this? Because we’re on a stage
and lights, and everything’s fancy and air-conditioning
and we’re all good, but like, are you really in
for this if it means this? Because the disciples had been like, it had been pretty fun
up until that point. They’re like, Jesus
told a storm to shut up and it listened, that was awesome. Every town we go into
we’re like celebrities now, this is great. And Jesus is like, “Hey just so you know. If you wanna follow me you
gotta take up your cross.” And they’re like, “Did he say cross?” Are you willing to give up your status? Are you willing to give
up your public image, your money, if that’s what it takes? Your following. Your nice house. Are you willing to jump into hard things if that’s what Jesus calls you into, because as scary and painful and brutal as that might seem, the only
way to come out of the tomb with Jesus alive again is
to join him on the cross. Let’s keep going, verse 25. “For whoever wants to save
his life will lose it” Jesus says, “But whoever loses
his life for me will find it. Whoever loses his life
for me will find it.” This verse reminds me of a
story from Acts, chapter seven. You might be familiar with it. It’s a guy named Stephen
in the early stages of the church and the
religious, the Jewish people and the religious leaders
didn’t like Stephen, they were getting so sick
of him because this dude would not shut up about Jesus. And he was going everywhere
preaching about Jesus. Telling people about Jesus. And so they make up a
lie about him and said that he was blaspheming God. They get him arrested. And on his trial, it didn’t go super well because Stephen just
doubles down and goes, and they were like,
“Hey you were arrested. You gotta stop talking about Jesus.” And he’s like, “I gotta
tell you guys about Jesus.” And they’re like, “This is
why, what are you doing” right? So Stephen is like, he
just goes in on these guys. He’s like, “Your
ancestors, your forefathers have always rejected God’s prophets, and now they rejected the Messiah” and so they weren’t too happy with that as you can imagine, right? And so I wanna read you
some verses from Stephen’s kind of last few moments of
life that are in response to the testimony that he
gave to the Sanhedrin. It says this. “When they heard this, when
they heard Stephen’s words, they were furious and they
gnashed their teeth at him.” Look at Stephen. “Full of the Holy Spirit,
he looked up to heaven and saw the glory of
God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing
at the right hand of God.” At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their
voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out to the city
and began to stone him.” While they were stoning him, look. He prayed “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” This is how we can live
like we’re not dying. Stephen was dying like
he wasn’t even dying. Stephen was getting
stoned, rocks thrown at him and dropped on him until
he breathed his last, but you couldn’t tell him
that, he was too busy living. He was too busy praying. He was too busy worshiping. He didn’t see the stones
’cause he was focused on Jesus. He didn’t see the oppression ’cause he was too focused on
God’s call in his life. This is what it means to
live like you’re not dying. The second way to make sure
that we’re really living is to live like you’re not for sale. Live like you’re not for sale. Look at verse 26 with me,
there’s a couple questions that Jesus asks that are profound. He says, “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world,
yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give
in exchange for his soul? What can a man give in
exchange for his soul?” What is your soul worth? What’s worth more than your life? Are you living like you’re for sale to some fame or some wealth, or some job or some boy or some girl? Or some status, some level of whatever fake video game
you’re playing with your life. Are you for sale for a scholarship? Are you for sale for some degree? Because Jesus isn’t in the tomb anymore we get to live like we
have life after this life. We get to live like we’re not for sale. We’ve already been paid for. Our lives have been bought on the cross. So we don’t have to walk
around timidly just like wondering how much we cost. Jesus is pleading with you in love. “I already paid for you. That’s how much you cost to me. That’s how valuable you are to me. I gave my life so that
you could experience life. I gave up myself so that you could never have to pay for the sins
that you could never afford. I can afford them. Let me take this from you. Let me cover the bill.” We don’t have to walk
around anymore going, “I don’t know whose going to decide how valuable I am” and Jesus is going, “You’re worth it all.” How much can a man exchange for his soul? What’s your life worth? We’re not for sale, it’s
time to rip the tag off. You’ve already been paid for. This is a matter of life and death and you have to make a decision and I have to make a decision
and it breaks my heart thinking about any of us
spending our whole life gaining the whole world,
living like we still have a tag on, waiting to be bought. Waiting for somebody to tell us our worth. Waiting to find out what we cost. You’ve already been paid for. No social media gets to
decide how much you matter. No sports team or band or
teacher or boss or grade gets to establish how much you’re worth. That’s already been
established on the cross. No relationship, no dating
app, no parenting blog, no article, no promotion, no election, no divorce, no depression, no addiction, gets to decide what you’re worth. Jesus is screaming from the cross. “This is why, this is
what you cost to me.” And He rose in victory
so that you could too. You are not for sale. Let’s finish up these verses. In verse 27 Jesus says,
“For the son of man is going to come in His Father’s
glory with His angels, and then he will reward
each person according to what He has done. I tell you the truth,
some who are standing here will not taste death before
they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” This last verse is so encouraging to me. It’s Jesus assuring his disciples and assuring us that the kingdom of God, this new kingdom, is here and now. That eternal life isn’t
somewhere off in the future, it’s not after you die,
it’s not when you’re older. Eternal life is right now. And we get to join Him in
bringing in this eternal kingdom everywhere that
we go so when you go to work you’re not just
going to work anymore. You’re going, and you get
to help the Son of Man bring in the kingdom. When you’re sitting around
your family dinner table it’s not just family dinner anymore, you get to lay a foundation that helps the Son of Man bring in
the Kingdom of heaven into your kids lives. Even my little one-year-old
girl she just throws spaghetti at me and I’m
like, “I’m gonna show you some grace, little girl. I promise.” You can go into your friend groups, into your neighborhoods,
wherever you work, wherever you spend your
time, not just wasting away but joining the Son of Man
bringing the kingdom of heaven. We started these verses
off with Jesus predicting his death to his disciples but I think if we’re really paying attention, Jesus is predicting our death too. He’s going, “Here’s
this eternal life beyond death type of forever life full of purpose and hope and victory” and
he’s inviting you into that but if you choose to live for yourself, if you choose to live like
He’s still in the tomb, if you choose to live like
you’re still for sale, He’s going, “I know how
that’s going to end as well. And I want more for you than that. Are you going to spend
your time living or dying? Eternity starts today. You have the offer, you
have the invitation. If death had been taken
out of the equation, if you had forever left to
live, what would you do? Who would you be? Take your time as you
think about your answer ’cause it’s a matter of life and death. Let me pray. God, I pray for all of us
today, listen to this message. From Your word that you’ll change us God. That you’ll encourage us,
that you’ll convict us, you’ll challenge us God. We’re so forgetful, we can
be so scared, so insecure. God give us boldness. Give us the power to
remember what you did for us on the cross and more
than that, that that’s not the end of the story that
you rose again in victory and that we can too. We love you. In Jesus’ name, amen. (audience applauding)

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