The first time I met him I was 11 years old…In the musty basement of our church around a table of squirrely pre-teens.
· I met him thru the insistent words of Rev John R MacGorman who transformed Jesus in my mind from a hero in a Sunday School story to a bleeding savior…up in my face.
· Suddenly there he was…issuing me a summons…put your faith in me.
· It was a defining moment for me. A moment in time when I said…Oh!...and the next Sunday stood shaking in church declaring Jesus as my savior.
7 years later he showed up again…This time, strange circumstances…smack dab in the middle of a song I was singing, as the lead in a musical, in front of hundreds of people.
· Pay attention - “this is about you” . I was a stupid, hormone fueled, church going 18 year old hypocrite.
· Suddenly there he was…issuing me a summons…match your practice with your belief
· It was a defining moment for me. And I began to respond…slowly
Apparently not fast enough because two years later he showed up again…this time at one of the lowest moments of my life.
· I was sick in body, sick in heart student 2 years into my college life…and did not have a clue what to do with a future that was crumbling all around me.
· Suddenly there he was…issuing me a summons…surrender…totally.
o I’m not interested in your religion, not impressed with your best efforts to be moral…I want you…I DEMAND your life.
· It was like the others a defining moment in my life.
Who was this man? What did he want of me?
He’s here today. suddenly, here he is again… Today is a defining moment for hundreds of you.
You are about to receive a summons. A call…to surrender your life to Jesus Christ the Lord.
· You, long time church goer, Jesus has been your savior-this man wants more
· You, good person, your morality is not impressing him – this man wants more
· You, hypocrite – your waffling doesn’t trouble him – this man wants more
· You,skeptic, your uncertainty doesn’t intimidate him – this man wants more
This man…this Jesus…is issuing you a call…and in a few minutes I’m going to give you a chance to react to it…to respond…but, a warning…it will cost you your life
Who is this man?
Who is this man that is so insistent in your life today?
Let’s meet him Romans 1:1-4
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God—2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.
This is the opening paragraph from a letter written by Paul, one of the world’s first Christian missionaries, to a church he had never met before.
· His intent was to visit them on his way to Spain so this was an introduction
· Also, because this church was struggling as a highly diverse community of rich and poor, Jew and Gentile, business men, slaves, men and women, all young in the faith, they needed some clarity on what they all believed.
So he wrote to them about the gospel (Vs. 1 and 2)
· gospel = the good news – a proclamation of something spectacular. Something he himself had not invented or made up (promised before hand by prohpest hundreds of years before)
· the gospel which boiled down to one thing, one man Jesus
Who is this man? - Jesus Christ our Lord
He is the one who is here right now…STOP…do feel his presence?
He’s calling you…he wants something from you. What is it?
What he wants from you is wrapped up in his name.
Each of those names has a powder keg of significance. Each name you have to wrestle with today because Jesus Christ our Lord is calling you today.
This is a defining moment.
Before we probe deeper this mysterious name…and answer Who is this man? and what does he want? I want to point out something crucial.
There was an event – a moment in time happening – when his name changed.
For most of his human life he was simply known by most people of his day as Jesus…Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus son of Joseph…but that all changed at the moment of the resurrection.
When the stone rolled away and he physically emerged from the grave he became Jesus Christ our Lord
Vs. 4 who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead
All of history rides on this event. It is the great mysterious truth of all time - A cosmic event rivaled only by creation itself
· God brooded over the unformed earth and extended his hand and created
· God brooded over his broken son and extended his hands and with his divine power raised Jesus out of the grave.
Do you believe it?
The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead. Pastor, Author Tim Keller
The most radical demand of Christian faith lies in summoning the courage to say yes to the present risenness of Jesus Christ. Brennan Manning
And he is here. And he is calling. And this is a defining moment for you.
So…Who is this man?…this raised one? And what is he calling you to?
He was a real person, Vs 3 - who as to his human nature was a descendant of David
Not a fantasy, not a composite myth…a very real prophet, friend and spiritual mentor.
This Jesus is summoning you to stop being a fool and do what he said.
Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. Matthew 7:26
Jesus is calling you to obedience. He didn’t write a Chicken Soup of the Soul. He declared a way of life that was revolutionary.
Stop with the hypocrisy
Stop with the dabbling in religion
Stop with the casual Christianity – I’m not the chaplain of the American Dream
Start with the obedience.
The storm you are now going through is threatening to bring your house down…time to build your life on rock solid teachings of Jesus.
But it isn’t just Jesus that is calling…
Jesus the Christ
Christ = Christos – Greek = anointed
Messiah = The Hebrew word for the same thing = anointed
It meant King. Kings were the anointed ones of the day. When they established their kingdoms they were anointed then given a crown and launched their kingdom. As did Jesus.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Jesus didn’t shy away from this…
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Matthew 28:18
And he made it clear his intentions…
From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." Matthew 4:17
The day had come to colonize earth with heaven. The rescue mission had been launched to repair the broken places of this world.
Those separated from God reconciled with him
Isolated people brought into community
Broken people healed
Jesus the Christ is issuing you a summons to follow him and change the world with him.
Jesus Christ our Lord
Lord = master…clear allusion to his identity as our God. …Vs. 4 – “son of God “
The resurrection confirmed that Jesus was and is indeed divine.
How do you respond to a God?
· You don’t high five a God
· You don’t shake hands with a God
· You don’t fist bump a God
· You don’t run up and hug a God
· You certainly don’t ignore a God
There is only one proper posture and attitude before God…
My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes." Job 42:5-6
Jesus Christ our Lord is present here today…
· the God who went to the cross willingly to pay for your sins
· the God who subjected himself to the grave for your life
He is here and he demands humility, he demands repentance, and he is issuing you a summons to complete surrender.
And when you do…determine to submit to Jesus and his way of life…when you do decide to join join Christ in his kingdom mission…and when you do surrender to the the Lord God of the universe…
…he will extend grace and mercy and call you his child…and eternal life (the life of the heavens) will begin immediately and stretch beyond your mortal existence.
In the Spring of 1975 Jesus Christ our Lord showed up in my dark apartment bedroom.
· through the haze of my hurting spirit, and the pain of my aching body I faced my most crucial defining moment.
· He was there in the room…as he is today…summoning me to surrender.
To repent, to obey, and to follow. And I did. I stand here today as a result.
Now, what will you do? Today is YOUR defining moment.