I am so excited to have you with us today.
If you are here with us, or if you are tuning in on TV or wherever you are hearing this, I am so excited!
Today is a big day.
Today we are talking about questions.
We all have questions.
Big questions and little questions.
I have 2 kids. 4 and 6. They ask all sorts of questions.
Little questions like: “why are hotdogs round?” or “Where does my hiney go when I stand up?”
Big questions like: “What should I be when I grow up?
We all have questions that we answer every single day. Little questions like “what should I wear today?”
One time we were at McDonalds and Samuel asks “What are calories?”
How do I adequately answer that for a 6 year old?
So I told him, “Little gremlins that sneak into your closet at night and make your clothes smaller.”
but also important questions like “How fast should I drive past this police officer?”
but also the big giant questions of life
- “What does it all mean?”
- “What on earth am I here for?”
- “What can I do with my life?”
- “Can I do anything in my life with the mistakes I have made?”
Maybe you have those questions.
Maybe you have other questions you struggle with on a daily basis.
- Questions about fairness and equality.
- Questions about addiction and our past mistakes.
- Questions about why God heals some and not others?
- Questions about what on earth is the point of Reality TV?
Maybe if we are honest with ourselves we really struggle with those questions and even more.
But maybe there is a bigger question we need to answer. Maybe there is a question so big it is the single-handed most important question you will ever answer. And maybe the way we answer that question will determine the answers to every other question we have ever had!
Acts 9:1-10(NKJV) Pew Bible Page 156
9 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
3 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?”
Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.[a] It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”
6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”
Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
7 And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. 8 Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
Paul was a very interesting man. Perhaps the most interesting man ever! Before this incident he was known as Saul and he was raised Jewish and was one of the most highly educated men in all of Israel.
He was a member of the Sanhedrin, which was the highest ruling class of Jewish leaders.
Saul was trained under Gamaliel and was incredibly well-educated and could recite the old testament from memory.
He was incredibly traditional.
and he was incredibly judgmental
Anyone who was against the oldest rituals of Judaism was wrong and deserved to be punished.
Anyone who held a view different from his, needed to be punished.
So when Christians show up and start saying that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah he gets upset.
but Christians weren’t always called Christians. For a long time, and in some places today they still are, called followers of “The Way” which is a reference to Jesus saying “I am the way the truth and the life.” Followers of Jesus would say “I follow the way of Jesus”
Saul gets so upset he starts hunting down Christians. He votes to have Stephen killed and now he is off to Damascus where Christians were hiding out so they wouldn’t get killed.
At one point after this Paul calls himself the chief of sinners. He was a bad dude.
Paul gathers up a few other cronies to go with him to Damascus. On the way there Jesus shows up.
Jesus breaks in as a giant beam of light knocking Saul to the ground. And Saul looks up and says
“Who are you Lord?”
This is a defining moment for Saul. This moment changes everything.
See, for a Jewish man at that time to call someone Lord was to recognize that they were in charge. That to be called “Lord” meant that this person controlled everything.
Saul recognized that whoever it is that is powerful enough to drop him to his knees with bright light was powerful enough to be in charge.
Jesus responds and says “It is me, Jesus, who you are hurting.”
How could Saul possibly be hurting the most powerful being in all the universe? By hurting his people.
It’s like this, In my family, if you mess with one of us you mess with all of us. Jesus is saying the same thing. You have messed with his beloved so you messed with me.
Paul responds to Jesus in verse 6 with a statement that isn’t in every translation but is in the oldest manuscripts it says this: “So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?”
When the most powerful being in the universe shows up you are left with only one proper response. “What do you want me to do?”
We have been there. In our life we come face to face with powerful beings all the time and we ask them “What do you want me to do?”
Some of us are there now.
We come face to face with things we believe are more powerful than us and we ask “What do you want me to do?”
For some it is money. We see those large stacks of money and we say to the money “What do you want me to do?”
For some it is popularity, success, fame. We believe those things are the most powerful things in the universe and we say “What do you want me to do?”
For some it is an addiction. We get to a place where alcohol or pornography or drugs seem to be the most powerful thing in our universe and so we look at them and say “What do you want me to do?”
For some it is other people. Our significant other has isolated us and makes us feel like they are the most powerful thing in the world and that there is no escape and so we say “What do you want me to do?”
If we are honest with ourselves we have been there more than we care to admit.
It has been said all too often that things we thought were powerful and life-giving enslave us and eventually kill us.
We have gone down those roads and ended up lonely, finding only that what we thought would fill us and save us has left us broken and empty
If we are honest, some of us in this room are there right now. Having chased after all the things we thought would bring us joy, only to find they are lacking and we are lonely, tired, broke down, and ready to give up.
If you are there, then there is good news.
If you are traveling the road of abuse, addiction, loneliness, and sorrow there is good news for you today. It might be the best news you have ever heard. It is this: In those places of shame and regret Jesus shows up.
Jesus is there. Sometimes like a blinding light and sometimes like an invitation from a friend to come to church with them.
No matter what you have done, why you did it, who you did it to, for, with, because of, or how many times you did it Jesus is there.
Jesus shows up at the right time in the midst of all that you’ve got going on and says to you and to me “I love you more than your past or your regrets or your shame and I will do anything for you if you will follow me.”
This Jesus isn’t just some weird old guy waiting to yell at you.
This Jesus is the Jesus who is God and considered his Godness as nothing. Putting it to the side Jesus became flesh and blood. He slithered out the birth canal of a virgin and walked this earth as human. Jesus lived a perfect life and walked all the right paths.
As a result of that he upset a few people. Because Jesus understood that money, fame, success, and all the other stuff the world provides is not all-powerful he refused to sell out and as a result that made the people who did sell out very upset.
It made the people who did sell out so upset that they had him killed. Strung up on a cross he was left naked to die.
Jesus died so that those of us who have traveled the wrong road and served the wrong things could have new life. So that we could be in right standing.
But Jesus didn’t stay dead. Death wasn’t the last page for Jesus. A lot of times we make that mistake. We think that after we have gone down the wrong road and found ourselves dead that it is the last thing and that we are done and not good for anything.
but death is never the end. and to prove that, after three days Jesus walked out of that tomb and is alive now. In heaven, until his return.
Jesus coming back from the dead wasn’t just a nice trick, it was to show us that even when we think we have reached the end, we haven’t.
Jesus is more powerful than money, power, sex, drugs, fame, popularity. Jesus is more powerful than your boss, your professor, and your friends and family. Jesus is stronger than your addiction, more loving than your family, and has a desire for you to be with him. Jesus wants nothing more than for you to live and experience the freedom and grace that is freely available to all who would follow Jesus.
the only decision left is: will you follow Jesus or not. Jesus loves you more than life itself and Jesus is calling you to follow Him. The question is will you? The answer to that question is the most important question you will ever have to answer in your life.
How you answer that matters. When Saul answered that question it changed everything. It changed his name to Paul and it sent him from killing Christians to spreading the church throughout the whole world.
When we answer that question and we begin to follow we then ask Jesus “What will you have me do?” And Jesus’ answer is to change the world. Do something that makes this whole world better. Whether that is head to Africa and help with the Ebola Outbreak or just go home and love your kids and introduce them to the Jesus, but whatever it is. because of Jesus’ love for you, you are called to change the world.
Can you imagine if each of us here were to ask the question to Jesus “What will you have me do?” and from there start doing it? How different would our community, campus, state, and even the world be if we did that?
That is a beautiful site and it starts with us following Jesus and saying “What will you have me do?”
Close in Prayer: