Morning. My name is David Sorn. Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.
I want you to think back this morning to 6th or 7th grade.
The time when you first started being interested in the opposite sex.
It was like…all of a sudden one morning you work up, and suddenly they weren’t gross and full of cooties anymore, but they were amazing.
And you couldn’t stop thinking about them.
Or think of your first crush.
The endless amount of time you spent obsessing over them…writing their name on your notebook over and over…as if that was going to magically make them yours
Or the crazy risks you would take to tell them you were interested.
Like ask them out “FACE-TO-FACE!”
TRUE LOVE IS CRAZY
Love can make you do crazy things, right?
Our entertainment industry has documented this pretty exhaustively through music, movies, and books over the years
It’s crazy the things people say they’ll do for love.
Back when I was a DJ at a local radio station in college….at KBEK 95.5FM…where we play the songs from the best times of your life!”
We used to play this song by Billy Vera & The Beaters called “At this Moment”
It was famous because of an episode of “Family Ties”
I was always struck by the line in that song where he says I love this girl so much that “I’d subtract twenty years from my life” to get her back.
Love is crazy.
We see crazy love all the time in the movies.
My favorite was in Titanic…when Jack was so in love with Rose that he died for no apparent reason.
(SHOW PICTURE OF TITANIC BOARD)
There was totally room for both of them, but his love was so insane he chose to die.
My favorite picture is where they’re both playing cards on there.
On a serious note, when you are truly in love with someone…you’ll go to great lengths to be with them.
I’m reminded of the people who are so in love with each other, that one person just packs up and moves across the country to be with that other person.
The person who quits their perfect job just so they can be closer to the one they love.
Love can be so strong…that to people aren’t in that relationship…it looks a little crazy.
And the same thing can happen when we fall in love with Jesus.
One of the ways this is visibly demonstrated is in the many instances in Scripture when Jesus is “walking by.”
And the question is…what will the people do?
Will the blind man stand up and shout at Jesus as he goes by?
Will the disciples actually leave everything in an instant and follow Him?
Wouldn’t that be…I don't know…crazy?!
In fact, in the passages we looked at in Luke 9 last week, Jesus was “walking along a road” and some people had to make a decision.
Do I do something radical and follow this Jesus guy?
OR…do I just “stay the course” w/ the rest of the world.
But Jesus calls you to this crazy life of love with him.
In fact, I want to look at a passage we looked at last week and point something out we didn’t have to last week.
(Luke 14:27) – NIV
And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
The greek for “Follow” when he says “Follow me”
Actually is two words. It’s “come after.”
Whoever comes after me.
Come after me.
I love that imagery!
See God is on the move…Aslan is on the move as C.S. Lewis would always say.
And the question is…will you follow Him. Will you go after Him?
Or are you just a fan of Jesus?
Or are you a follower?
Are you so crazy in love that you’d follow Him anywhere?
That you’d do anything for Him.
That you’d go anywhere.
That you’d “come after” Him.
We’ve got so many great examples of “the things we do for love…” in human relationships.
But we should have just as many when it comes to our relationship w/ Jesus.
Have you ever met anyone that’s just crazy-in-love with Jesus before?
I had a friend in college like that.
And sometimes he drove me nuts because when I was around Him it was always so clear to me how little I really loved Jesus…compared to what it COULD look like.
This guy was always talking about Jesus.
We’d all go hang out and see a movie and ask him what he thought, “and he say, ‘Meh, I’d rather of just been with Jesus”
I’d start talking to him about why I thought this church was wrong or this person was wrong…and he’d say, “Yes, but the Lord really cares for them and loves them”
“Stop making me feel immature!”
We couldn’t even take this guy to Wal-Mart…because we could never get out of there because he’d be talking to the cashier about Jesus.
He was “coming after Jesus” all the time.
He was not a fan. He was a follower.
He was crazy. Crazy in love.
And so often I wish I could say that was me.
Speaking of crazy love…let me tell you a story from the Bible.
Jesus was invited to this dinner at a Pharisee’s house named Simon.
Now the Pharisees were the overly-religious people who knew all the rules…but thought they could earn their way to God by just being good enough.
Anyway…they’re having this dinner…where in those days they reclined at the table by leaning on an elbow that was propped up by a cushion. And their feet would be away from the table.
And dinner is just getting started when all of sudden…somebody walks, in and conversation most likely abruptly stopped.
Somebody’s fork probably hit the floor.
If you could’ve taken a photo back then…everybody’s jaw would have been down.
And into this dinner with Jesus and all of these religious folks…uninvited…walks a prostitute.
It gets crazier.
She doesn’t just walk in…she walks over to Jesus of all people.
The mouths are dropping even lower if that’s possible.
She stands behind Jesus…just weeping…her tears landing on his feet.
She notices that his feet are really dirty…like everyone’s were back then…and that his host didn’t wash him for them.
And she starts to wash his feet with her tears and dry them with her hair…
Just courageously loving him…waiting for Him to hopefully say something to her.
I mean something has obviously happened here.
Jesus had been teaching in the community.
And she must have been there. In the crowd.
She must have heard that “God LOVES messed up people. That God loves sinners. The God wants to forgive everyone…and be in a relationship w/ them…and LOVE them…and FREE them…and CHANGE THEIR LIVES!”
Then Jesus does this:
(Luke 7:44-48) – NIV
44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” 48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Maybe some of you have heard that story before, but I think we rarely think about what a risk it was for that woman to walk in there.
This woman was desperate for love. Desperate to hear Jesus again.
She must have overhead that he was having dinner w/ all these religious people.
A dinner she would never get invited to…not in a 1,000 years
And yet, she’s so in love with this Jesus…that she’s willing to risk the stares…the condemning looks…
She’s desperate to express this crazy love she has for him.
People who are in love with Jesus…will do anything to get to Jesus.
They can’t wait to be with Jesus.
They’re NOT thinking…”Really? Another worship song?”
They’re thinking, “Do we really have to go? Can’t we just keep worshipping God?”
People who are in love with Jesus…they talk about Jesus…a lot.
Just like people who fall in love with another person…and they talk about that person…a lot…almost annoyingly so.
Cuz when you’re in love…crazy in love…you can’t NOT talk about the other person…that’s what you do!
People who are crazy in love with Jesus…will do anything to get to Jesus.
Jesus uses a short, one-verse parable to explain this
(Matthew 13:44) – NIV
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
Meaning…if you were working out in a field, and you discovered an amazing treasure…worth way more than you were ever going earn in your normal job in your lifetime…
You’d bury the thing…sell everything you had…buy that field…and you’d be way richer because you’d own that treasure!
But boy are people going to look at you funny when you liquidate all your assets, sell your house…and your donkey…all to buy some random field out in the middle of nowhere.
But you’ll know. This IS truth. This IS the wisest move from a long-term perspective.
It’s no different with Jesus.
When you fall crazy in love with Jesus…and you start living all for Jesus…
Your life, your time, your finances, your relationships, all start revolving around your first-love Jesus…
People are gonna look at your funny…like…what are you doing??
But you’ll know. This IS truth. This IS the wisest move…from an eternal perspective.
But here’s the problem: The church in America has been too successful at labeling these people as weird…when we should be labeling them as normal.
Radical love of Jesus…should be normal.
Being so in love with Jesus…that you want to talk about Him…that you want to just be with Him a lot…should be normal...not odd.
How have we possibly made that odd?
And if you get really excited about Jesus…“fans” (not followers) might tell you to be careful to not get too carried away.
I remember when I first became a Christian at 18, and some people were “worried” about me.
Some of these people were even “fans” of Jesus.
They all assured themselves by telling each other it was just a “fad.” Whoops. J
The reality of this all-too common experience with “fans” of Jesus in America hit home w/ me in a different way when I was reading some thoughts from Francis Chan this week.
Francis spent the last number of years traveling around all of Asia meeting with other Christians…
And one of his observations was: that the more Christians he meets with worldwide, he’s increasingly convinced that we American Christians are not the normal ones. We’re the weird ones.
He writes, “It’s not that there’s a few radical believers overseas that are the strange ones…crazy in love with Jesus (but we’re normal)”
But when we look at it from a global perspective, we who have reduced the call to love Jesus…to follow Jesus…to make disciples…into simply attending a church service….WE are the minority. The Weird Ones.
He even recounts a time where he was sharing w/ Christians in China about how many Americans sometimes switch churches based on music, child care, preaching styles, etc.
And he said, the Chinese Christians were so shocked by it that they were awkwardly laughing.
They didn’t even know what to do with it.
We’ve thrown out love and traded it in for consumer preferences.
GETTING LOVE BACK
But maybe you’re sitting here this morning thinking, “Okay…maybe I’m not crazy in love with Jesus anymore…but I kind of want to be. How do I get it back?!”
There’s a definite right and wrong way.
The wrong way…and my fear is with this series…that you hear these challenging messages and try and rectify your life through guilt and hard work.
But deep, spiritual change never works that way.
Not lasting change anyway.
We are sinful, imperfect human beings, and our ability to bring change to our own lives is actually quite low.
It’s why we need a Savior.
God can do more in with my life in 10 minutes than I can do in 10 years.
Change…falling back in Love…comes through the Holy Spirit.
It comes through sitting in the Vine…as Jesus says in John 15.
(John 15:4) – NIV
Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
So let’s say the honeymoon phase has worn off in your relationship with God. Now what?
Well, it’s all about being in the vine. Being with God.
Except one part is active…and the other part is passive.
Let’s start with the active part.
Think of it this way. Let’s say you’re married…but there isn’t much love left. The relationship has grown cold.
In fact, you’re questioning if you even love the person at all anymore.
But…you want to stay together. You vowed for better or worse…and this is “worse” all right.
What do you do?
Well, the first question is: What were you doing when you feel in love with this person in the first place?
My guess is you weren’t just working, coming home, eating dinner with the TV on, checking Facebook, saying hi to each other for 30 seconds, and going to bed.
You probably were going on dates…buying flowers…dressing up for each other…writing love notes…and on and on.
It’s like…we stop doing all the active parts of expressing love in our marriage, and then we’re shocked why we’re not in love anymore?!
So then, what were you doing when you first fell in love with God?
My gut is that you weren’t just simply consuming a church service twice a month and that’s it.
You were probably digging into the Bible…talking about Jesus with friends (Christian & non-Christian), serving at church, and on and on.
And I ask the same question: Why is that we stop doing all the parts of expressing our love to Jesus, and then are shocked when it’s grown cold?
Start by getting active in your faith again…like you were when you first fell in love.
Start listening to worship music in your car…listen to a podcast from another speaker (renovation when you miss)…pick up a Bible reading plan in the hallway on the way out…sign-up to serve on your connection card.
We still need 8 people to help us put out street signs for 3 weekends in September.
It’s honestly the most effective way we get people to come hear about God…next to you personally asking someone.
More effective than postcards, billboards, google, facebook, you name it.
If you do this…the more we can put out…and I guarantee you, this is SO effective…people are going to come and give their lives to Christ because of this.
And we need you for this.
We’re looking for 8 of you still.
Maybe just stepping out again and serving…and praying for people as you put out each sign…maybe putting your focus on others can jumpstart something.
It’s an option.
Maybe you majorly jumpstart your faith by going to Haiti or Rwanda.
But here’s what so many of us say in our hearts when we hear this kind of stuff… (Maybe you’re saying this right now….)
“Yeah, I could do that…but to be honest…my heart wouldn’t be in it”
“I could go buy her flowers…I could do my hair again and ask him out on a nice date to his favorite restaurant….I could help w/ signs or go to Rwanda…..”
But I don’t really want to…so my intentions …my emotions…my feelings wouldn’t really be pure…or true.
Honestly…we worship our feelings in America. We bow at the idol of feelings.
And it’s this exact sort of thinking that keeps so many marriages…so many spiritual lives from being turned around.
Because yes, you probably rather would write her a letter about all the ways she messed up your marriage than write her a love letter right now.
If you were brutally honest, you’d probably rather spend your money on a new TV than a Haiti trip.
But if we…as sinful humans…who were born sinful…who are constantly predisposed to sin…are waiting for our feelings to magically turn around FIRST…it’s never going to happen.
In fact, Jesus says something quite contrary to that sort of thinking:
(John 14:15)– NIV
If you love me, keep my commands.
Most of the time…taking the first steps back to falling in love with God again will come out of obedience to love…not feeling.
Out of you KNOWING and DOING what’s right…rather than FEELING it first.
When you vow to be with someone for “richer or poorer,” your feelings will never carry you through the “poorer” times in your marriage.
Because they probably won’t be there. At least the good ones anyway.
It’ll always be commitment. Love demonstrated through doing the right things…even when you don’t feel them…that’ll carry you through.
And in our spiritual lives…way too many of us have wasted way too many years waiting for the feelings of love to magically come back and woo us back to Jesus.
But it’s a love RELATIONSHIP. God’s not going to force you back.
There’s actually a greater chance that you come back to God through a tragedy than there is through love randomly striking you while you continually avoid God.
So start taking the first steps again. Start repeating what you were doing when you fell in love with God in the first place.
Be faithful here on Sundays. Get back in the Word. Make a commitment to take time to pray every day… Sign-up for a house group next week.
You can’t fall back in love if you’re not doing the things that generate love.
But falling back in love is two-parted.
It’s active…and it’s passive.
The passive part…is the receiving part.
And it’s the receiving of God’s grace.
The biggest way we can see change is when we can continually and daily accept God’s forgiveness of our sin.
It’s the most simple thing we do as Christians and perhaps the hardest.
But I swear to you, the more we can understand that we are colossally huge sinners, and yet God loves us anyway….
The more we can understand that we royally and rebelliously sin in God’s face, and yet He still wanted to take our sins upon His son and have Jesus take the punishment for us…Because He loves us that much…
To the degree that you can understand that…is the degree in which you can fall in love.
Grace is the great motivator of love.
That’s why Jesus says the prostitute has such great love for Him…because she knows she’s been forgiven SO much.
And we have been forgiven just the same!
You can’t fall back in love simply by doing all the right things.
In the midst of beginning to date each other again…beginning to say “I love you” again…in the midst of holding hands again…
In the midst of actively pursuing love again…we have to receive love in our hearts.
See, when love dries up…the heart grows cold…and the exterior grows hard.
And we go through the motions…maybe not as much as before…but we still show up at church once in a while…
And we hear the same words… “God so loved the world that He gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”
“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”
“That nothing can separate us from the Love of God is that in Christ Jesus”
And we go (shrug), “Hmph” “What time is it?”
The heart grows cold. It grows hard.
Falling in love again is the combination of being willing to get active and do the right things…but also being willing to open up your heart again.
To say…”I will listen. I will listen like I’m hearing for the first time again. Like I’ve never heard these words before.”
“That God gave his son for me…for me…FOR ME…despite what I’ve done…and he’s not condemning me?!?
He hasn’t left me to die. He’s still here. He still wants to be w/ me just like before…despite that I’ve ignored him. He’s still crazy about me.
He’s still In love w/ me!
HE’S STILL IN LOVE WITH ME!”
HE LOVED FIRST
And that is what compels us back.
(1 John 4:19) – NIV
We love because he first loved us.
See…crazy love…love that can just get up and follow Jesus anywhere…
Love that can get up “come after” Jesus as the Bible says…is possible…because the greatest “come after” story was when God put on flesh and came after you.
(Philippians 2:6-8) – NIV
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
In other words, God had everything in heaven. All things.
And yet, he…looked upon your life…and saw all your good…and all your failings…and all your sin…
And was willing to leave that amazing, perfect place in heaven…take on flesh in this dirty, sinful, and gloomy world…and live as one of us…in it’s all it’s greed, darkness, and hatred…and ultimately be brutally murdered on a cross…ALL ON A RESUCE MISSION…FOR YOU.
That’s why we’re crazy. That’s why radical must become normal.
There’s no sort of radical love…there’s no sort of radical devotion I could give God on earth that would even scratch the surface of returning to Him what He gave to me.
We love because He first loved us.
We love like crazy…because His love for us is crazy!
Seriously…why would He love me?
I think of that often.
Why would he love me?
I am a great sinner. I was opposed to Him. I mocked him. I literally persecuted his followers.
Why would he love me?
And even after coming after Him…I still continue to sin…to fall short…all the time…every day..
Why me? Why love me!?!?
And yet He did. He crazy-=loved me.
And so my only logical life choice is to crazy-love Him back.
To love like crazy a God that first loved us.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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