What Is A Worldview?

How Does A Worldview Affect Our Conversation About Jesus?

Brandon Smeltzer
Apr 11, 2021    40m
In today's message, we learn the importance of understanding different worldviews as we approach others in our conversation about Jesus. Pastor Brandon Smeltzer walks us through the last conversation Jesus had before His death on the cross and what it teaches us about conversations in truth and love. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

messageRegarding Grammar:

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.

Brandon Smeltzer (00:11):
Thank you. Well, good morning. Great to see you. Let's try that again. Good morning. Okay. That's better. That's better. It is truly a treat and a privilege. I'm probably going to drop this bad. Just letting you know. It's truly a treat and 1a privilege to be here with you. My church family considers 121 Community Church a sister church in the gospel. And literally, this is my sister's church. So like my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. So we're like doubly related. So shout out to my family here at 121. Thank you guys for having me. You've been in a series called Real Conversations where you're looking at conversations that Jesus had on His ministry journey where He would meet people and He would speak with them. And He spoke with them in truth and love. And these conversations, frequently, the stuff that Jesus would say would be uncomfortable, it would be difficult, but it was always helpful. And your pastors want you to be equipped to go out and lead real conversations with people in your world.

Brandon Smeltzer (01:08):
So we're going to look this morning at a specific conversation Jesus had just moments before He died. It's in Luke 23, Luke 23. But before we jump in, as I read Luke 23, it's 32 through 42, I'm going to read it. I'm just going to caution you here. I'm going to read it a little bit dramatically. Okay? I'm not trying to overly dramatize it. But the reason I'm doing it is because you've got to understand that this moment in this text is a cultural powder keg. It is a cultural moment where if someone says the wrong thing, does the wrong thing, literally a fight could erupt. Anyone catch that? Anyone feel like that right now? I do too. I do too. So we're going to look in this moment and we're going to see how Jesus walked and talked in this moment. And we're going to learn three simple things from Him in His response that we can use to lead real conversations with others.

Brandon Smeltzer (02:03):
Let's begin. Luke chapter 23:32 through 42. Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with Him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified Him there along with the criminals--one on His right and the other one on His left. Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they're doing. And they divided up His clothes by casting lots. The people stood watching and the rulers even sneered at Him. They said, He saved others. Let Him save Himself if He's God's Messiah, the chosen one. The soldiers also came up and mocked Him. They said, they offered Him wine and vinegar and said, if you're the King of the Jews, save yourself. 38. There was written a notice above Him which read, this is the King of the Jews. One of the criminals who hung and hurled insults at Him, aren't you the Messiah? Save yourself and us. But the other criminal rebuked Him. Don't you fear God. He said, since you are under the same sentence, we're punished justly, for getting our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong. And then he turns and says to Jesus, Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. This is a tense cultural moment.

Brandon Smeltzer (03:13):
How could so many people look at the same person, Jesus, and have such radically opposed reactions to this person? The simple word, the answer is worldview. Now you may say, okay, what's worldview? I've never heard of that before. I don't know much about that. That's totally okay. Don't be embarrassed by that at all. In fact, I walked with Jesus for years before I ever even knew what a world was and knew that I had a worldview. In fact, you have a worldview. You brought it into this room, whether you realize it or not. So what is it? Worldview is a story that we use to make sense of the world around us. We are all looking at these core questions of where did we come from, why are we here, what's wrong with the world, how do we solve the problem, and what happens when we die? These core questions. And we're trying to get answers to these core questions and we're filtering them in. And once we get these answers, we go about the world. And when we see things, we respond either consciously or subconsciously from our story. Worldview is a story. And our story about the world, it prompts our response to the world. Let me show you what I mean.

Brandon Smeltzer (04:24):
See this baseball bat? Years ago, about 15 years ago, I had the privilege of going to Ireland on a mission trip and I got to take college baseball and softball players to Ireland to share the gospel and partner with a local church to start a gospel centered, Jesus centered conversation with kids in the community. And the church brought us in because they wanted us to lead a baseball and softball clinic at a local soccer pitch. Sorry. I'm sorry with the mic here. At a soccer pitch. And we were supposed to lead this clinic for them. And we're getting ready to go out that day. And the pastor stopped us. He stopped and he said, hey, before you guys go out, okay, God's going to use you. But whatever you do, don't walk down the street like this or like this. Put your bats in your bags and don't bring them out till you get to the field. Don't bring them out. And I looked at him and it was really curious to me. And I said, okay, Pastor, you're going to have to help me understand that. He said, well, you got to understand, people here don't know much about baseball or softball. They haven't seen the sport much. They don't know much about the sport itself. But they do know about using a baseball bat as a tool of street violence.

Brandon Smeltzer (05:34):
Story matters. Story matters. I think I'm going to switch to the handheld here. Sorry about that, guys. The story we use to make sense of the world matters. And our Irish friends were responding to this object based on a story that came from their worldview. So worldview matters. There are three different stories that are used in this passage that converge on how and why they're responding to Jesus. The first story that we see, and by the way, it all centers around the word king. It all centers around the word king in this Luke 23 passage. You look at it and you only see the word king three times. But king is actually referenced six times. It's referenced six times because three of the times that king is referenced,iIt's used under the banner of Messiah. Now you and I, that may be a little bit foreign to us. We don't use the word Messiah to refer to king. But the Jewish people did. What they understood from the word Messiah was the Hebrew word Meshech. Meshech, which means anointed one and anointed one called back to the Old Testament of when Samuel anointed King David as king and put oil on his head from the top of his head to the foot of his feet and anointed him for the purposes of God in Israel. And so there was these prophets who rose up and said, Israel would have another great king in the line of the King of David. And he would be the Meshech, which we get our word Messiah from this. So we look into the passage and what we see in verse 35 and 39, we see the rulers of the Jews and we see one of the criminals, they look at Jesus and they insult Him and they mock Him.

Brandon Smeltzer (07:09):
And here's their explanation for insulting Him and mocking Him. They say, if you're really the Messiah, save yourself. See, somewhere along the way in Israel's history, somewhere along the way, they lost sight of the main thing. And they started to believe that the Messiah's main job was to come and take Israel and exalt her back above all of her neighboring nations and put her back on top as a country. Their worldview was a geopolitical worldview. And when Jesus did not act like the normal kings of Israel and the normal kings of the world, normal kings of the world, they would establish their kingdoms through force. 2 Kings 2 says Solomon established, entrenched his kingdom by force, by killing his enemies. Jesus didn't kill his enemies. He converted them. He had meals with them. And when Jesus didn't line up with their worldview story, they rejected Him. They believed in the Israel centered worldview story. Now, when we look in verse 36 through 38 of the Romans, the Roman soldiers, they mocked Jesus as well. And it's in a quick glance of this makes us feel like maybe the Romans thought the same thing. Maybe they were on the same page. It couldn't be further from the truth. The Romans, when they mocked Jesus, they were doing it from a completely different worldview story.

Brandon Smeltzer (08:24):
Their worldview story is a Rome centered worldview story. They believed that the gods, plural gods, had established Rome as a ruling nation that was to rule over this earth and was favoring it. And their proof for that was the fact that Rome had conquered nations all around the Mediterranean sea, including these Hebrew people. They had a Rome centered worldview. And so when they were insulting Jesus, they weren't insulting Jesus. They were insulting the Jewish people, these conquered Jewish people who had this stupid story about a Messiah King who would put them back on top. We know this because of the sign that they put over Jesus that said King of the Jews. Friends, if you're on the cross, can you read a sign above you? The sign wasn't for Jesus. The sign was for the crowd. It was saying anyone who exalts themselves against Rome as king, this is what happens to them. Their Rome centered worldview story was clashing with the Israel centered worldview story in this moment.

Brandon Smeltzer (09:21):
But there was a third worldview story. It comes from the other criminal, the criminal who believed in Jesus. He had a Jesus centered worldview story, meaning he turns and he says to the man on the other side, he says, why are you mocking Him? Don't you fear God? We are guilty but He is innocent. We don't know how long this man interacted with Jesus. We have no evidence that he heard any of Jesus' teachings. But he saw enough in Jesus next to him to come to the conclusion that Jesus was innocent of what was going on right before him. Now let me pause and speak to your heart just for a second. Friends, in our journey, there's going to come a place in time where you have to reconcile and you have to come to this place where you realize that Jesus is innocent of the brokenness in your life. He didn't do it.

Brandon Smeltzer (10:13):
The pain that you've walked through, it's not His fault. I'm not saying it's yours. I'm just saying it's not His. He's innocent. But this man doesn't just stop at the innocence of Jesus. He moves on and he says, when you come into your kingdom, when you come in. It has this idea of control. It has this idea of he's looking at Jesus next to him in that Jesus is in control in the moment. I'll tell you if I was standing here and someone was holding a gun to my head, you wouldn't see me as in control. Right? But this criminal saw Jesus as in control while being crucified. Friends, in your journey with Jesus, you're going to have to come to a place where in the middle of your mess, you realize that He's in control. The criminal doesn't stop there. Then he says, when you come into your kingdom. Oh, that's going to fall. Okay. We're good. Only kings come into their kingdom.

Brandon Smeltzer (11:14):
Hey, and you're going to have to come to a place in your journey with Jesus where you realize that He's king over every area of your life. There are three worldview stories here causing the tension of the moment. And I will tell you that in our world today, our cultural tension today is from the different worldview stories. You may not be able to relate to an Israel centered worldview story or a Rome centered worldview story. I can't. I've never really thought that way. Maybe you can relate to this. Tell me just, you know, shout out amen if you can relate to this. Many people believe what I would call a self centered worldview story. It goes something like this. The most important thing in this world is finding my true self to be happy. And if someone disagrees with the true self that I have obtained or projected, then I interpret their disagreement at the level of a human rights violation.

Brandon Smeltzer (12:03):
Many people believe in nature centered worldview story today. It's the idea that we are here by accident. We've evolved here. We're accidents in natural causes. And so the earth was here before us and the earth will be here after us. And so the main purpose of my life is to leave this earth better for that which comes after. And I believe it so passionately that I may be even willing to get violent and forceful when I see someone harming what I perceive to be harming the earth. Do we see this in our culture? There's another worldview story that's prevalent in our culture. It's what I call a human centered worldview story. It's the idea that listen, all the problems of our society, all the problems in our society would go away if we would just unify. If we join together, we can form a perfect society. It's a worldview story of our day. Have we heard it? So here we are. We have these converging worldviews that people are passionate about, people are willing to fight for. How do we live in the midst of it?

Brandon Smeltzer (13:05):
I'll tell you there's two great temptations that I feel and I'm pretty sure you feel as well. One temptation is the temptation to acceptance. So the temptation for acceptance. It's the idea that in all of these passionate worldview stories, wouldn't it just be easier if I just treated every worldview story like it was equally valid and true and like everyone would like me? My uncle, my aunt, my cousin, my sister, my brother, my friend, my neighbor, my teammate, I just want them to like me. Anybody in here feel that temptation? But then there's an opposite temptation that Christians face. I call it the temptation toward indifference. With indifference, we kind of look at and go, well, if you want to believe stupid things, so be it. I'm going to Heaven. God will deal with you. No amens there. Hey, Jesus never succumbed to the temptation of acceptance or indifference. Ever. Now, hopefully some of you noticed that I left out the most famous verse of all in this passage. Anybody noticed that? I did because we can't understand the weight of what Jesus said until we understood the tense cultural moment in which He said it.

Brandon Smeltzer (14:23):
Jesus says in Luke 23:43, He says, truly I tell you today you will be with me in paradise. Today you will be with me in paradise, He says to the criminal. And when Jesus says this, Jesus shows us that He does not treat all worldview stories as equally valid and true. Jesus, by saying to the criminal, today you will be with me in paradise, logically He rejected the Israel centered worldview story and He rejected Rome centered worldview story. I will tell you this. Jesus will always affirm the Jesus centered worldview story. Always. He will not back down from it. Let me show you the bat here again. So see this bat. It's made by Louisville Slugger. And if you know anything about sports and about baseball, they make millions of bats. I mean they're one of the big names in bats. And Louisville Slugger, they made this bat. But watch this. Even though my Irish friends had passionate and even true experiences with bats being used as violent weapons, it could never change the fact that the designer, dare I say the creator of the bat, built it for a different story.

Brandon Smeltzer (15:38):
All of the things of our world, my gender, my relationships, my calling, my future, my career, my family, my sexuality, all of those, even though people are using it as weapons today in our culture, it doesn't change the fact that our creator designed it to fit in one story, the Jesus centered story. All of it. So we can come back to the Jesus centered story. And Jesus wants you to believe the Jesus centered story but He also wants you to help others understand the Jesus centered story. So I want to give you three things from Jesus' response that we can use to have real conversations with people who believe entirely radically different stories about the world than us. I'm not talking to people who think just like us. I'm talking radically different. I mean Jesus hung out with the Samaritan woman.

Brandon Smeltzer (16:30):
Jesus was neither a woman nor a Samaritan. Believed very different. He went to the conversation. Friends, God does not just want you to have conversations with people who think like you, look like you, act like you. That's not the way of Jesus. He wants you to engage in truth and love with people who are radically different. And so I'm going to show you three things from this passage that we can take from here and engage with people in our lives in real conversations. Here's the first. Number one, seek to understand the worldview story behind their actions. Seek to understand the worldview story behind their actions. Let me put it this way. In verse 34, Jesus says this, Father, forgive them. They, you know the verse. They know not what they do. Jesus would have never prayed that if He didn't know what they do and why they do it.

Brandon Smeltzer (17:20):
Jesus knew exactly the worldview story of, the Israel centered and Rome centered worldview story, that was driving their rejection to Jesus. And I believe it's helpful, vital for you and me that when we are engaging with people that we seek to understand their worldview story. Now, a caution here. You may feel like but I haven't gone to college for this. I don't have a degree in this. I haven't read all these books. You don't need to. Let me give you five simple questions to ask. You may want to write these down. Five simple questions to ask one. Where did we come from? Where did we come from? Ask your friend, ask your neighbor, ask your enemy. Number two, what's the purpose of our lives?

Brandon Smeltzer (18:04):
Number three, what's wrong in the world? Number four, how do we solve that which is wrong in the world? How do we solve it? Number five, what happens when we die? And in your real conversation with someone who thinks radically different, what I want you to do is I want you to ask these. Now, don't be weird about it and go, sit down. I have some questions to ask you. Don't don't be that guy. Okay? No one likes that guy. All right? Don't be that guy. But just sit down and casually, it could be over one conversation or ten conversations, but in your mind, gauge and ask those questions. And when they give you their answer, you ready? Be quiet and listen. Their answer to one of these questions, everything inside of you may well up and want to shout, no, that's wrong. I get that. I feel that. I know that. But just be quiet and listen. Just be quiet and listen. Because you can't connect people to the Jesus centered story if you don't know where people are coming from. We as Christians are notorious for blazing into conversations with no regard of the story, the pain that people are coming from. And we say statements like Jesus is the answer to everything. And He is. But please understand it goes better often. If we understand where a person's coming from and we help them take that small step from where they are to the Jesus centered story.

Brandon Smeltzer (19:32):
You know, one of the great reasons why we got to stop to ask people where they're coming from and learn their story is because sometimes their story whispers truth. Sometimes there's a whisper of truth. Remember my Irish friends who had the bat and they saw the bat as a tool of violence. They weren't wrong. They had real experiences seeing the bat that way. And so by disregarding it and dismissing it, doesn't help at all. In fact, remember the three stories that I told you, the self-driven worldview story. Listen, Jesus talks about self. He said how tragic it is for someone to gain the world and lose his soul. That self. Our friends who are seeking to find their true self, they're not wrong. They're just trying to find it without Jesus. What about our nature centered friends who want this perfect utopian earth that's perfect and lavish? They're not wrong.

Brandon Smeltzer (20:27):
It's just not yet. It happens when the fourth chapter of the story happens. Remember, Pastor Ross has taught you the four chapters of the story in the Bible. God created the world. Humans have fallen because of sin. Jesus comes to redeem. And someday He will come back to build a new heaven and a new earth. So our nature centered friends are not wrong. It's just not yet. What about our humanity centered friends that believe we just have to have unity to get it together? They're not wrong. It's just, in a sense, not yet. Because when we look in the new heaven and new earth and we see the body of Christ unified together, unified together, genders and ethnicities and all different backgrounds, we see it unified together. First whispers here in the church, now in a healthy church and ultimately perfectly there. What they want in a perfect society will happen but it happens through Jesus.

Brandon Smeltzer (21:19):
So when we seek to understand people's worldview story, we can help them make connections. Second, forgive them in advance for their insults. Forgive them in advance for their insults. Jesus said in verse 34, Father, forgive them. They know not what they're doing. Forgive them. They know not what they're doing. Even before they did what they did, He was already praying for their forgiveness. Now inside you, there are some of you who are going, but they insulted me. They posted something on Twitter that insults Jesus. Yes, they did. Yes, they did. Jesus did not respond to the insults of the Romans or the rulers. He was quiet. Do you know why? Because He knew in three days' time, His Father would give a mic drop.

Brandon Smeltzer (22:10):
When the Father resurrected Him from the grave, Jesus didn't need to defend Himself. You don't need to defend Him either. So maybe we practice verse 34 on social media before replying to that person's political posts, whatever posts. And maybe when someone says something that insults the church, insults Jesus questions and mocks the Jesus centered story, instead of replying to it, maybe we should just stop and say, Father, forgive them. They know not what they're doing. Thank you for showing this to me through their Instagram feed so that I know who to pray for today. And move on about your life. Real conversations do not happen on social media. The amen should be a lot louder there. Let's try that again. Real conversations do not usually happen on social media. All right. Okay. Okay.

Brandon Smeltzer (23:05):
Finally, we see this in Jesus. Keep it about the main thing. Keep it about the main thing. Jesus says to him in verse 43, He says, today you will be with me in paradise. Now that sounds really simple. But we need to unpack a few of the words here. Because I have literally seen pastors in a coffee shop almost breaking fellowship over what the word today means. Where did He go? Did He mean literally today? Pastors would never get in scurrilous theological debates that really don't matter. They would never do that. But that's not the only place that we confuse. The word paradise is also a big problem for us and here's why. I've literally sat in rooms of a thousand people where a speaker, much like myself, stands up and makes a sloppy, shortsighted statement like this. Pray this prayer and you will go to heaven. It's not wrong. It's just short-sighted. Turns Jesus into a pathway, passthrough through to an easy outcome.

Brandon Smeltzer (24:09):
And any time we communicate that Jesus is the, come to Jesus and it gets easier, we are setting people up for failure. Because Jesus said in this world, you will have trouble. He said, you'll have trouble. He's not a passthrough for easy. So this isn't about paradise. This is about two words that Jesus said to the criminal. Truly, today you will be with me. Now on a very basic level, that encourages us and you should be encouraged by that. With you, with me, Jesus is with us and He is giving this criminal Himself. But there is a bigger thing going on here. Literally, what's going on in this passage, watch this. See if you see the paradox of this. A convicted criminal who has rejected authority in his life, in reward for his repentance before the king gets the king, the source of authority. What is Jesus giving to people in this world who will humble themselves underneath His innocence of the brokenness of this world, His control in the brokenness of the world, and will acknowledge His coming kingdom? He is giving Himself. It is better to be with Jesus in a hot desert than paradise without Him. This isn't about paradise. This is about Jesus. This is about being with Him.

Brandon Smeltzer (25:43):
And the main thing here is we've got a king who is giving Himself to people, the King. Not withholding Himself but giving Himself. You know, we don't like talking much about Jesus as the king in the church in America. And there are reasons for it. This is not the first thing we go to. We go to like Savior, we go to other words, and those are all true words. But we don't go to kingaAnd we don't do so for historical reasons. There's two reasons. One's a historical reason. Honestly, our country is built on getting away from a king. Our history is we saw how that story ends. So we historically don't like the idea of celebrating the kingship of Jesus. But there's another reason. It's not a history reason. It's a heart reason. Deep down inside, maybe I'm the only one in the room. I really don't like submitting to authority. Is it just me? I kind of like being the boss of my own life. Listen, you are looking at the guy who in pre-K got kicked out of a Catholic school. This guy.

Brandon Smeltzer (26:47):
So I'm in pre-K and I'm there. I didn't want to be there. My mom had put me in this pre-K because it was close to her work and all this kind of stuff. And I'm standing on a swing. Okay? You're supposed to sit. But I was standing, holding on. And I was a little bit of a daredevil. I was going up and back. And this sweet Catholic nun, she comes up to me and looks at me. And she says, son, please get down. And I looked at her definitively and said, you're not my mom. You can't tell me what to do. And that was my last day there. Let's not say kicked out. Let's call it a mutual parting. Okay? Here's the fact. Sitting in every seat in this room, inside you as a little Brandon, standing on a swing in your life, telling God, you can't tell me what to do in some area of your life. There was no amens. We have a heart reason why we don't like talking about Jesus as king because if He's really king, that means He has authority. That means there's some things that may need to be submitted. Some things that may need to be surrendered. But just because it's hard for us doesn't make it false. Truth is not always easy but it's always true.

Brandon Smeltzer (27:56):
So what is Jesus, King Jesus giving away? He's giving Himself. He's giving Himself, the King of Kings, to convicted moral criminals like you and me. You and I haven't been convicted in a court of law maybe. That's okay if you have. But you and I have all been convicted morally of falling short of the standard of God. And for our humble repentance and surrendering to Him, He's giving Himself. Paul says it this way. Indeed, I count everything as a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake, I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish in order that I may gain, say it with me, Christ. You go, yeah yeah, that's a real Bible thing to say. Do you know where Paul was when he said that? Prison. He had lost all of his personal freedoms and he weighed his personal freedoms on his left and said, yeah, I used to have those. Then he weighed Christ on his right, on what he had gained in his journey with Jesus. And he went, yup, I'll still take Jesus.

Brandon Smeltzer (28:55):
Did you hear that? He would take Christ over his personal freedom. I'll leave that there. Okay. I am more guilty than anybody in this room, anybody in this room of having a shortsighted view of Jesus. I've struggled through my journey with Jesus of having a shortsighted view, not the Jesus center story. But honestly, when I came to know Jesus, I was 19 years old. And I came to Him in a mess in my life, much like many of you guys in this room. You know what I'm talking about. I came to Him in a mess. And for the first time in my life, I had known about Jesus and attended church growing up. But for the first time in my life, I realized that the mess that I was in was my fault and not HIs. It's almost like I recognized the innocence of Jesus. I didn't have the fancy words of this text. I didn't even know this text. But I realized the innocence of Jesus.

Brandon Smeltzer (29:49):
And I just said to him, Jesus, I'm a mess. Take my life and change it. Make something good. Honestly, I really approached Jesus from a me-centered story. I just wanted my life to be better. And left to myself, I'm a terrible master of myself. And Jesus met me in my flawed me-centered story. But I'll tell you, as I walk with Him, I'm realizing that there's more to it. Remember the bat? So I had something happen about three months after I started following Jesus. I was finishing up my time as, I played a minute in college baseball. Nothing, very unimpressive. Trust me. And I played a summer college baseball team after I came to know the Lord in Northeast Ohio. And we had got done with our season. We got done with the final tournament and we were done.

Brandon Smeltzer (30:38):
We broke for, we got done from the tournament. We all went to our own homes. And I was the next day moving from there to Texas. You know, I was moving to Texas. Moving all the way across the country. And I had two brand new baseball bats from the coach from our team. And they were expensive bats. I was coming down to Texas to play baseball here at a college in North Dallas. And so I would, I mean I'd use those. But the thing is they weren't mine. And I remember there was this war that was going on inside me. And it was different. My parents told me not to steal. I know that. But I'm 19. They don't tell me what to do. I'm a grown man. Right? We all know that. Okay? We felt that assert that independence. And I had this war inside me of these bats that didn't belong to me but would be very helpful. And he would never catch me. He's not coming to Texas. But something gnawed inside me that I don't think Jesus would want me to do that. It was the first time in my life that I felt the authority, the kingly authority of Jesus begin to assert Himself over corners of my heart. And friends, I will tell you this. There is not a corner of your life that King Jesus doesn't boldly look at and declare mine.

Brandon Smeltzer (31:58):
And it's been a journey for me to learn that. I wish I could stand up here and say, and from this day forward, I gave everything to Jesus. Sometimes I keep taking it back. This is a journey that we go on. So it's important that if we're trying to have real conversations with people and trying to keep the main thing, the main thing, it's important that we are keeping the main thing the main thing in our lives. Not paradise, not today. King with me. So maybe you've been walking with Jesus for a long time. I want to encourage you on something. Just be humble and keep journeying. Keep learning. Jesus will always always show you new things and change how you think and help you align things of your life with His centered story, the Jesus centered story. So if you've been walking with Jesus for a long time, be humble. Okay? You don't have it all figured out. None of us do. If you're new to following Jesus, maybe just last weekend at the Easter service, you said, Jesus, you can relate to what I said about when I was 19. I just want to encourage you to be willing. Be willing. He wants to teach you and God will use His Scriptures, He will use His Spirit, and he will use His saints, that's the church, to teach you how the kingship of Jesus, the kingly rule of Jesus extends to every area of your life. Just be willing. Just be willing.

Brandon Smeltzer (33:21):
If you're not a follower of Jesus in the room, that's okay. Thanks for being here. I just want to encourage you to be welcome. Be welcome. This is a great place to be around people who don't have it all figured out. Oh, let's do that again. This is a great place to be around people who don't have it all figured out. That's exactly right. We don't have it all figured out. And as we don't have it all figured out, we're on a journey together, just consider, I would, if you're not a follower of Jesus, I would just urge you to consider the mic drop moment where God resurrected, the Father resurrected Jesus Christ as proof for the Jesus centered story. Examine it. Look at it. More than 500 people witnessed the dead guy that got up. And consider that as you consider your faith journey. But there are some of you in this room who you've been around Jesus and you've been with Jesus for a long time. But honestly, if you talked about your journey with Jesus, you'd call it stuck right now. Nothing much has changed in a long time. I want to ask you one question.

Brandon Smeltzer (34:22):
Could it be that somewhere along the journey, you took your eyes off the main thing, the king and you started worshiping the benefits of the king, His peace, His patience, His wisdom, His calling? Could it be that you took your eyes off the main thing and started worshiping the benefits? Because I'll tell you what will happen. If you worship the benefits of the king when you go through hard times in this life and you will, you'll start to blame the king. I'm just asking you. Is God prompting your heart to return to your first love. Jesus? I want to read a passage and I want to close with this. Colossians 1:16 through 20. Paul says this. He says, for by Him, all things were created in heaven and on earth. This is talking about Jesus. Visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. Thrones, dominions, rulers, authorities. That's kingly. All things were created through Him and for Him. It came from Him and it goes back to Him. 17, and He is before all things and in Him, all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead that in everything He might be preeminent. For in Him, all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell. And through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross.

Brandon Smeltzer (35:55):
That sounds like Paul is mapping out for you the boundary lines of King Jesus. And did you notice the repetition of the word all? Because it's all under His authority, every part of your life, whether you like it or not. And He is a good and faithful king. So we are really living in a Jesus centered story. We really are, whether we like it or not. We get to tell people that King Jesus has giving Himself to the repentant criminal, you and me. Unlike the kings of this earth who send out their citizens to go and die on their behalf, our king died on our behalf. He's fundamentally different. And by seeing their worldview story, forgiving their insults, and keeping the conversation about the main thing, not everyone will like you. Not everyone will listen. But when you die and stand before the king, and you will, there will be a wake of people that point to real conversations they had with you as their turning point. When someone introduced them to the Jesus centered story at a moment that they were ready and willing to listen like the criminal was ready on the cross. God's gonna use you.

Brandon Smeltzer (37:22):
Let's pray. Father, thank you. Thank you for meeting me as a criminal, a rebellious, doing my own thing, having mercy. Thank you for meeting my brothers and sisters in this room. I know, God, that they have stories just like mine. You are good and faithful. You don't push us down. You bring us up. You put us back together again. Father, right now, church, I'm gonna lead you through two questions I want you to ask yourself and I think this will be a blessing for you. I want you to ask Jesus this question. Jesus, show me one corner of my life in which I've been holding back from you. I can't make you do this nor would I ever try. But if you want to just say to Jesus, I give up. You're right. I'm wrong. That belongs to you. Second question I want you to ask yourself is this. Father, would you put the face of someone in my life that you want me to prompt a real conversation with? My hunch is some of you saw faces that when you saw their face, it brings up a lot of fear. You're afraid of talking to that person because that's your dad or mom, that's your aunt or uncle or someone you treasure. The face you saw was an enemy. Maybe you would just trust King Jesus, that He knows what He's doing. Don't give in to the temptation for acceptance and don't you dare give in to the temptation for indifference. And take a step and start the conversation about their worldview story. Father, thank you for this day. We glorify you for meeting us. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
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121 Community Church
2701 Ira E Woods Ave.
Grapevine, Texas 76051