Questions Jesus Asked: Week #8

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July 04, 2020 • Dave Workman

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In the Gospels, Jesus asks many more questions than he answers. To be precise, Jesus asked 307 questions. Asking questions was central to Jesus’ life and teachings — that’s how we discover for ourselves that He is the way, the Truth and the Life.

This weekend, Dave Workman concludes our series, “Questions Jesus Asked...And Is Still Asking.” This series will address moments captured in the Gospels, when Jesus asked a question, revealing a Biblical truth.

In Week #8 of the series, together we'll explore the question Jesus asked in Mark 4:21, "Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed?"

Message Transcript

Hi, I'm Monica Roberts, executive director of the Healing Center at the Vineyard. And I'm so glad you're watching our service today. As you might guess, it takes generous hearts, love and action, financial resources, and lots of time to serve people through the Healing Center. Today, I'd like to celebrate the generosity of those who give so much of their time and effort to keep the Healing Center running and serving those in need right now. From mask makers to bag packers from produce sorters to grocery loaders, to virtual coaches, drivers, guest support, prayer partners, phone callers, the list goes on of dedicated and committed people like you and me who continue to give away to the world what God has given us and know that small things done with great love can change the world. You may know this, and it's really true, that your commitment to giving right now really is critical to the Vineyard being able to just continue the Lord's work through the Healing Center. So to give now, go to the website, you see, or text the number on your screen. And thanks for joining the mission of loving the people of Cincinnati into a relationship with Jesus and supporting Vineyard's calling to serve this city. Would you pray with me over our offering for this weekend? God, we're so thankful that you've gathered generous people together and called them Vineyard Cincinnati Church. God, we just pray that you would bless this offering, that it would be used to glorify Your name in the city. We're so thankful for the people who give their time and their money, and we just pray all this in Jesus' name. Amen.

Hey Vineyard Cincinnati dads, Brian Beatty here with my trusty sidekick, Webb. Hello. All right. We have some winners and we're pleased to report to you today that we've got two dads that are gonna win the Blackstone grill, not the one that's behind me. That's mine. But you guys will get brand new Blackstone flat top grills sent to your house real soon. So we're pleased today to announce the winners of the dad joke contest for Vineyard Cincinnati Father's Day weekend. So drum roll please, Web! First winner is Jeremy Rost, R O S T is how his last name is spelled. Jeremy, I apologize if that's incorrect. Let's take a look at your joke today.

Alright, boys, what is a pirate's favorite letter? R! You think that, but it's actually the C. That was hilarious: the C.... Hey, we've got a second winner. Drum roll, please, Webb. Alright. It looks like Andrew Paul and his daughters did a great job with their Father's Day dad jokes. Take a look at this. Hello Vineyard. My name is Andrew. These are my daughters, Rory and Sophie. Here's a dad joke for you. So do you know why koalas are not considered bears? (And no, it's not because they're marsupials) No.. It's because they lack the koalafications. Hold on. I got one more. So what is blue and smells like red paint? Blue paint. Okay. See you guys! Koalaifications! That was awesome. Hey, congratulations, Jeremy and Andrew on your Blackstone flat top grills. I know you guys are gonna love him. Hey, we've got an honorable mention to let you guys know about, Frank Robinson and his kids sent in some dad jokes. And we're going to send you along a ton of books from Jay Payleitner, who has written a lot of books for dads and for couples. And man, Frankie, you guys does just did a great job and I know that you're really going to love these books as well. So thanks to everybody who sent in their videos for the dad jokes for Father's Day weekend at Vineyard Cincinnati. I'm Brian Beatty. This is Webb Beatty, and we're out. Hey, let's do this again next year. All right. Okay. Okay. Take care. Bye.

Hello. I'm Megan Pielage of Life Reset here at Vineyard Cincinnati Church. Happy 4th of July weekend. I'm so glad you have chosen to worship with us today, and I hope you've been encouraged. We're just a few weeks away from welcoming everyone back to the building so we can worship in person once again. Thank you for your patience as we have been meeting to determine what is the best and safest plan to bring us all together. You may not have heard Beth's recent announcement. We're looking to reopen the building on the weekend of July 18th and 19th. To stay up to date on the latest news about the big weekend, visit vineyardcincinnati.com/together. There you will find out what our safety protocols will look like, service times, and a place for you to RSVP, to let us know you will be there. And in case you are not quite ready to join us in person, our online services will continue on Facebook and our website.

Once again, that's vineyardcincinnati.com/together. See you in a few weeks! Following God's will doesn't always look logical. It can sometimes look downright reckless. We need to use our brains and follow what's considered wisdom, but we also need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and understand that discernment is more valuable than logic. Join us the weekend of July 18th and 19th as Beth kicks off our next message series, Reckless Faith. In this series, you will draw inspiration from people who risked because God asked them to. They honored him with their choices and their lives. We'll also be launching e-groups that you won't want to miss. Find complete details on our website. If you would like to know more about the heart of Vineyard Cincinnati Church, visit our website at vineyardcincinnati.com or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Hey Vineyard, it's good to be with you. We're actually recording this at home. But what we're doing is continuing this series called The Questions Jesus Asked by looking at a question that has to do with evangelism. So wait before you turn this off and switch over to Andy Stanley or something...just give me a couple of minutes. Because most of us really don't want to talk about evangelism or what we used to call the E word mostly because we either think of a negative stereotype like this or we feel guilty for not doing what we think we're supposed to be doing, or we think we're going to get rejected if we talk too much about it. And maybe some of them do, or we just dismiss it and say, that's not my gift. This is a little tricky because maybe like you, I just don't have that kind of sales person personality.

I'm an introvert by nature. And I just tended to see evangelism like that stereotype. Some of it seems so manipulative or self-promoting. Back when I was pastoring, I used to say to the staff, the day you see daveworkman.com, just come and shoot me, put me out of your misery. But maybe, just maybe, we need to think about this a little differently. And if you're watching this and you're new to all this church stuff, or maybe you've been turned off by it, I get it. Just keep watching. And maybe this will help deconstruct a few things for you. So the question that Jesus asked a crowd of people one day was simply this. Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don't you put it on a stand? Well, that rhetorical question was clear. You can't see or do anything at night in a room without turning a light on, and it doesn't make any sense to take the light off your nightstand and keep it under your bed.

You can't get anything done. And here's where Jesus brings this analogy home. If you haven't noticed the whole world is in, is in the dark and in desperate need of some light. And then to drive it home, here's the kicker. You're the light. And if you're the light, you can't be hidden. Someone needs to see you and maybe, maybe you're their only nightlight. So when Matthew, who was one of the first disciples, when he writes his historical account of Jesus, he gives this a little more context. Jesus is talking to a, just a huge crowd of people. And he begins to talk about what we call the Beatitudes. You know, "Blessed are the poor in spirit and blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness or blessed are the peacemakers..." And on and on and on.

And then he gives them a challenging mandate. "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Words, and actions, that point them to the Father's inherent goodness. I was in a Trader Joe's a while back and buying some Two Buck Chuck (you can Google it later). And it was super crowded as usual. And I was waiting in the line of a cashier who was just chatting it up with everybody. He was a young, tall guy who looked like he was either in college or fresh out.

And I'm like, can we speed this up a little bit? I'm in a hurry. And he finally got up to me, he's looking at each item and making a comment, just a super friendly guy. And then he suddenly says, Hey, let me ask you a question. If you could do anything to change the world, what would it be? And I just looked at him and thought, dude, we're in a Trader Joe's and you're throwing down some big existential questions here? Instead, I said, are you serious? He said, yeah. I like to ask my customers that sometimes..I stopped and said, seriously, I wish I could figure out a way to tell everyone on this planet, how good Jesus really is? He didn't look at me. He just he just dropped his head and he, he stepped around the cash away from the cash register and around the counter and came over to me, looked at me and said, bring it in.

And he gave me a big bear hug. He's like this much taller than me, a tall African American college kid and an old, very white guy hugging it out in Trader Joe's. He said, we're not really supposed to talk about stuff like that here, but I love it. Thanks, bro. The truth is we really haven't figured out how to tell everyone on this planet how good Jesus is. I don't always do it well for sure. And for all sorts of reasons, none of them good. And one of the reasons is I forget sometimes not who I am, but rather Whose I am. Who I actually belong to and what he has to say about that. When our kids lived at home, I have, we have two daughters. They each had their own room. And when they hit their teenage years, something snapped in them and they developed a physical handicap and lost the ability to lean over and pick up things.

They'd have clothes scattered everywhere in their rooms. One of the girls was off the chart with this. I won't tell you which one, but there were times when you actually couldn't see the floor in her room because there were just clothes and school stuff and magazines and CDs all over the place. And what's weird is I'm a bit of a neat freak. It's an OCD issue. I'm paperless. I won't receive anything on paper. Everything I need for work is digitized and in my little Mac book and I've been, I've been that way for decades. So imagine my little discombobulated brain one day when I opened my daughter's bedroom door and saw the teenage tornado that had hit. She needed FEMA! She could read the look on my face and she said, dad, don't freak out. It's okay. I know where everything is.

Just close the door. It's my room. And that's the part that would get me. "It's my room." Because interestingly enough, the bank actually owned her room and I paid them a sizable chunk of my weekly paycheck so she could borrow it for a while. And what's more, I paid Duke Energy, another chunk of money in order to maintain a temperature in the room so she could live comfortably in the midst of her squalor, listening to new, found glory in Hoopa stank, while she did her with papers and pencils and books that I had purchased as well. And don't get me started on insurance that I paid for. So in case a real tornado came, she'd always have a place to call my room. So every so often I'd have to pull the dad card. And this was one of those times. I said, no, you need to clean this room because this room has actually my room because it's in my house and I'm paying for it.

And I can't see my floor in my room here because of all the crap that I actually bought for you. So clean it up because it's my room, my house, my rules. It was not a shining moment for my parenting. And I shouldn't have been modeling sarcasm. It was not a Focus on the Family type moment. But here's where I'm going with this. The reality is you don't own yourself. If you've surrendered your life to Jesus, he owns you. As a matter of fact, he purchased you with his own life. The apostle Paul, the guy who wrote most of the letters in the new Testament, he hated Christians, considered them a cultish aberration until he had his own encounter with Christ and suddenly had the revelatory insight that the theme of sacrifice and atonement and blood that ran throughout his Judaism had become humanized in the person of Jesus, and his sacrifice on the cross completely and cosmically reconciled us to a Holy God. A total miracle of grace, not based on our performance, the because of God's deep, deep love and our own inability to remove our own darkness.

And in that way he purchased us. So that's why Paul writes "Haven't you yet learned that your body is the home, (the room) of the Holy Spirit God gave you, and that he lives within you? Your own body does not belong to you. For God has bought you with a great price." What that means is, you don't own yourself. It's not your house. It's not your room. It's his. And he says, my house, my room, my rules. That means that when Jesus says, let your light shine, it's more than an option. He's telling us he wants us to do something with his room, which is us, the room that he owns, that puts us in a whole other perspective, if we really believe that we belong to him. And so it becomes a matter of obedience. So how do we do that in real or natural ways without coming off as weird or creepy? First, let's not forget that we're sharing a message that centers on one thing, a person, Jesus, and that message in the New Testament is referred to as Good News.

That's expressed in four ways: through words, actions, power, and character, and they often overlap and work best in conjunction. Words simply means that we verbalize the good news. It's the blending of the message that there's, there's a new King in town and a new kingdom is being established on planet earth. It includes the message that the cancer of sin has been destroyed at a personal and cosmic level. And that's all personalized by your story. How all of that has intersected with your life in different ways. Your story is not my story, but if you've said yes to Jesus and his transformative power, you've been changed in some way: forgiven, reconciled, transformed, and empowered. That's pretty awesome. People may not believe your message of Christ or argue with your apologetics, but they cannot invalidate your story. It's yours and your experience. Actions have to do with practical expressions of kindness, practical service of care, all wrapped in empathetic love.

These are the behaviors of people who have taken on the role of a servant and emulating Jesus and offering mercy and grace to anyone and everyone they meet. As Jesus put it, it's treating others the way you would want to be treated. Years ago, we did an outreach at the Vineyard called Carmageddon, the end times for dirty cars in Cincinnati. The idea was simple. Could we show God's love in a practical way to people with no strings attached? Could we actually do 50 different free car washes all over greater Cincinnati in a single day? Like a car-pocalypse? Yeah, we went for it. I know it sounds kind of goofy, but we're just trying to serve that's it. So my wife, Anita and I, we were leading one of the car washes on Cincinnati Dayton road and the first Vineyard person to show up and volunteer and serve was a young woman who, she was so excited that this was our first outreach.

She was all tatted up on her arms and told us she'd only been coming to the Vineyard for about six months. She said the first Sunday she came, we were doing baptisms. And during the explanation of what it meant to follow Jesus, to surrender your life to Jesus and the invitation for anyone to spontaneously get baptized, she decided on the spot to follow Jesus. I remember saying, wait a minute. It was your very first Sunday at church. And you decided to get dunked in front of hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people. I mean, really that's pretty bold. She said, no, it was just overwhelming. Like I had to. And when I asked her what her church background was, she said, none, zero. Never went to church, except sometimes at Christmas. That was someone hearing words, the message of Jesus to come surrender and receive new life.

And it resulted her wanting to express her transformation. Six months later in actions,, in practical service that week. I got an email from one of the volunteer leaders here, Tony Branch. And let me read, let me read you his email. He said "I had a very encouraging talk with a lady during the outreach last Sunday. She drove up in a nice car, rolled down her window and asked, "Okay, what's the catch?" To which I replied, "No catch. It really is free. It's a free carwash. It's just a practical way of showing God's love." She stepped out of her car and was nicely dressed as if she had just come from church. When she inquired again, why we were doing this, I replied that it was a way to illustrate to people that God's love is free. And then she burst into tears.

She explained that she's part of a church where the pastor has been preaching extremely negative messages for weeks. She said, "I just wonder if we do anything right. And if we don't, then what's the point of salvation?" She was upset over the messages and the congregation getting beaten up each week, week after week. So to come up on a group of Christians, giving something away, without asking for anything in return was a message of grace and mercy her heart desperately needed right then. Her words were, "This is the kind of thing that Jesus would do. You might think this was for other people, but I can tell you, it was just for me." Then Tony wrote, as she got back into her car and drove off, I had to disagree. No, not just for you. I was just as touched being used by God, as you were to receive it.

And that's the beauty of the economy of God's grace for us all." Is that awesome, or what!? A display of actions in the form of servanthood caused a theological head tilt for one person and hopefully, like ripples in a pond, it'll go on and on. The expression of power is typically displayed as we take baby steps of faith, often combined with the level of risk taking on our part. Years ago, before I pastored (back when dinosaurs ruled the earth), I was traveling and playing music in a Christian rock band. And after a concert, one night in New Mexico, I invited people to surrender their lives to Jesus. We picked, typically play, you know, a whole bunch of songs for an hour and a half or so, and then do a short invitation. And as we gathered, the young people who came forward, (most of them were teenagers or so), a woman in her early thirties crashed into the circle of teenage teenagers that we had gathered backstage.

And she just began shouting obscenities and making fun of what she called religion. And you know, their eyes got as big as saucers. I pulled her aside and I said, Hey, what's going on with you? And there was this man with her who just stood behind her the entire time and smiled. He never said a word. It was, it was really kind of creepy. Anyway, she told me she had tried religion before, and it was nothing but a, but a blankety blank joke. And she said she was buzzed on coke at this very moment, so there! And then I asked her if I could just pray for her, because I thought that would just shut her up for a little bit while I tried to figure out what to do next. And she said, you can blankety blank do whatever the blankety blank you want.

So all I said was God, in the name of Jesus, come and touch this woman. And boom. She immediately fell to the floor, like a bag of rocks, out cold. I kid you not, I'm not making any of this up. The smiley guy with her, looked at me and then looked at her and then looked at me and the teenagers who came forward, they're all watching us with their mouths open. This is, this is not like your average mosh pit. And my first thought was, dang Jesus, you killed her. I wasn't sure what to do. So I just kept praying like this was, this was normal. And a couple of minutes later, which seemed like an eternity,. when you think someone's dead, she suddenly jumped up to her feet and ran out of the auditorium as fast as she could. And I ran a little bit after trying to do a little post counseling cleanup, but, but she was rocked.

And so as I, and I was like, wow, this stuff is pretty powerful. I have no idea whatever happened to her, but the presence of God is powerful. And I can't help believe that she had some wrestling to do with God in her head space later. I've had some crazy things happen in my life that were outside of our Western rationalistic worldview. As I took baby steps to extend the kingdom of God through my little life. In the historical account of the church, in the book of acts, two of their primary leaders, Peter and John were taken before the religious leaders of that day and threatened within an inch of their life to never, ever talk about this Jesus ever again. And when they were released, they went right back to the church in Jerusalem and their prayer together was simple.

It says that with one voice, they said, "Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your Holy servant Jesus." And after they prayed the place that they were meeting was shaken and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. They didn't pray for safety. They didn't pray for protection. They prayed that God would express his power through them for the sake of others, not even for their own church members. Words, actions, and power. That's just the tip of the iceberg, because underneath that all is character. And that's who you are when no one is looking. Who you really are, and whose you really are, will eventually tell the real story in positive or negative ways to the people who need to hear and experience what you have.

A believer's lapse in character can destroy the good work others have been building into someone else's life. And for each of us, character is destiny, but that's a message for another time. So let's take some baby steps this week, let's begin with actions, ways of serving and expressing kindness, and then look for opportunities to explain why in the simplest way. So, you know, if just a crack in the door opens a little bit, share a little bit more. We used to say, "Serve them all and let God sort them out." Or ask someone to tell you their God's story. First, everybody has something to say about God, good or bad, and just listen intently. And then ask gently, if you could tell them yours. Or, take the big risk of asking someone, if you can pray for them and ask God to move in a way that is beyond your ability, their ability, but not beyond God's ability. That E word, evangelism, is really not as scary as the enemy tries to make us think it is. Because, remember, it's really Good News. And to those who are thirsty and those who are hungry, (and we may never really know who that is and who it isn't) it's food and water in a dry and thirsty land.

And besides it's not an option, it's a commandment: to love. Let's pray, Father. I pray right now that the power of your Holy Spirit would come on. Every person listening or watching in this moment, wherever they are. God, I pray that you would teach us how to use our words and our actions and demonstrate your power. And God, most of all, that that our character would be such that it would just express who you are, and how good you really are. So, Father, come in the name of Jesus, empower us to speak like the early believers with great boldness. And God, I pray for any of us here who maybe have never taken that first step of asking you into their heart. I pray God that we would just cry out to you and say, Lord Jesus, come and rescue me and change me and forgive me and fill me with the power of your spirit, transform me. And I'll follow you all the days of my life, Jesus. We thank you. We ask all of these things in your amazing name, Lord Jesus. Amen, and amen. God bless you Vineyard. See you next time.

Thanks for joining us for Vineyard Cincinnati Church where for over 30 years, we have believed that small things done with great love will change the world. Vineyard Cincinnati is open to everyone, no matter what your thoughts are about God or church. Whether you're new to church or have been around it your whole life, you're in good company with those of us who are exploring who God is or rediscovering what church can be. If you've enjoyed this service and want to know more about us, simply text the word VINE to 97000 to share your details. And someone will be in touch real soon. It's that easy! That's VINE to 97000.