Nothing to say, yet
The speaker begins by apologizing for not having a microphone and makes some lighthearted comments about the audience. They then mention that donations can be made to the Salvation Army and that Lent packages are available for those who are unfamiliar with the concept. The speaker discusses the idea of Lent and reflects on how it is a time to reflect on Christ's sacrifice. They mention that Lent is often associated with giving something up and make a joke about giving up Lent for Lent. The speaker encourages the audience to take a postcard with information about the event and then transitions to discussing previous sermons on different aspects of Jesus. They mention that Jesus is not one-dimensional and that he can experience anger. The speaker reflects on their own discomfort with the idea of an angry Jesus and expresses that they struggle with their own frustrations and anger. They caution against using angry Jesus as a justification for self-righteous anger and emphasize that Jesus But tonight I do not have a microphone because I was a genius and I left my keys at home. So if you're having trouble hearing me, feel free to move a row ahead. The people, they're not going to bite, maybe Keith, but he's in the back so you don't have to worry about him. Before we start, just wanted to remind everyone if they would like to give back to what the Salvation Army is doing here, you can do so at SalvationArmyVictoria.ca giving or at the offering plates at either of the doors. Also, if you're at the offering plate on this side, my left, your right, there are also these Lent packages that Karen has put together. You can feel free to take one. What's inside, she's putting together this great book explaining Lent and what that is, what that means, what it signifies, as well as lots of scripture verses, songs, and just thoughts and reflections, and a few more things in there I'll let you investigate yourself. But if you're like me and you came from a church tradition where the word tradition never entered the vocabulary, and so you're like, I don't even know what Lent is, this explains what Lent is as well. And it's really just a time to reflect on Christ's sacrifice and to kind of bring us back to that. So you may have heard people talk before about giving something up for Lent. I always joke that I just gave up Lent for Lent. But there's something there, there's a reflection there for you, and it's a great opportunity to take that time to reflect. Also want to remind people that out in the front lobby, we have these little postcards which explain what we're doing tonight. So if you ever wanted to invite someone, or you didn't want to invite someone because that's scary, you can just hand them this, you don't have to look at them, just hand them, run away, and maybe they'll figure it out from there. But all the information for what we do tonight is on here for them. So if you wanted to take one, they're out in the lobby on a table, just like this one near the door. Now that we have the commercials out of the way, we are going to continue, actually finish our series about different aspects of Jesus that are biblical that may offend our comfort, our preferences, and that sort of thing. The first week we discussed how Jesus isn't legalistic like us, he doesn't have to be fair the way that we define fairness, he can deal with justice and grace his way. And last week we discussed the fact that Jesus turned some people away. And if you're interested in either of those topics, you can check out the full sermons at that same website, salvationarmyvictoria.ca, and just go to Next Steps, Gatherings, it's all there. Also if you follow us on Facebook, it's all there. I said the commercials were done, but I guess that's commercial. The final offensive version of Jesus, if you will, that I want to talk about is one that I personally am the most uncomfortable with, and maybe you're not, and that's okay. But this is one I'm personally very uncomfortable with, but that's me personally. And as we've been saying throughout this whole series, it's not about finding our own version of Jesus that makes us comfortable, but about adjusting our expectations to match who Jesus really is. So if we want to have a relationship with someone, we have to get to know them as they really are, not as we would like them to be. So we're going to start out reading in John 2, and we're going to start in 13 and go all the way to 17, which says, when it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In a temple court, he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle. He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves, he said, get these out of here. Stop turning my father's house into a market. His disciples remembered that it is written, zeal for your house will consume me. So I thought it would be interesting to look up what the original sort of language here in the Bible, because it wasn't originally written in English, what was the word that they used for zeal, and this is what I found. That was there in the Greek lexicon. No, I'm kidding, of course, but zeal simply means he was hyper-dedicated. He was upset, and he was hyper-dedicated to his allegiance to God the Father, and he was upset about what people were doing. Now some of you may not relate to my discomfort with this passage, and I can say I'm glad you're more mature than me, that's good. But for me, some of the others you might be able to relate to the struggle that I have here. We have this Sunday school, Jesus loves me idea of Jesus, which is absolutely true, but just like you and I, Jesus is not one-dimensional. If you and I can have multiple moods and modes, how much more can God, the creator of us all, have more emotions than just one, right? So our first point tonight is simply that Jesus got mad, full stop. We have to reckon with that and what that means. He got mad. We see that. And that idea is hard for me personally. I'm human. Like anyone else here, I get frustrated at times, and it's not a trait that I like about myself. When I get frustrated, it's a trait that I really hate about myself. And it comes, oftentimes, my frustration from my own sense of legalism, like we talked about before, or pride, or sometimes insecurity, right? Different frustrations from that. And I think sometimes we can read angry Jesus with a zeal for the house of the Lord and use it to justify our own righteous anger at people who aren't following God the right way, or the way that we expect them to, or our various traditions, which can't really be found in the Bible, expect them to. You know, a few people I told, that I was talking to about this message, that I told them about this particular topic, they said they love the idea of angry Jesus. They like the idea of Jesus being, as some might see it, causing a ruckus and fighting back against culture, you know? And I've often heard the joke that, you guys remember, it was really big in like the 90s, the WWJD bracelets, the What Would Jesus Do bracelets? I've heard a lot of people joke, you know, what would Jesus do? Well, the legitimate answer to that is he would flip over tables. He did do that, right? And as funny as that is, Jesus didn't flip tables out of a legalistic anger, fighting back against culture, or by getting on a soapbox, raging against his personal pet peeves. The angry Jesus is not the guy who would righteously tell everyone how to get it right and rage about his personal preferences. He would be the one getting on our case for our lack of grace, our aggression, and our legalism. I think it's worth noting here, and this is maybe a minor differentiation for some of you, but this passage never says Jesus whipped anybody, if you've ever read it that way. It doesn't say that. It didn't say that. It said he made a whip, it said he drove people out. Doesn't say he whipped them. Make of that what you will. But I make of it that it's not an excuse for self-righteous abuse of power. When Jesus was angry, it was because people were disrespecting his Father in heaven. That's the clear thing to take away from here. We saw him frustrate the Pharisees who thought he wasn't following the law right, and he was willing to offend them, but what he was not willing to do was offend God to please people. And I think that this version of Jesus is less an example of how we can justify our own soapboxes of self-righteous anger, and more of an example of how Jesus may deal with our disrespect of his Father. We also notice that this is how he dealt with those in the house of God, not those outside of it. In modern terms, the church. Not the world around it, not the unbelievers, and I think so often we take this as an excuse, like I say, to rage against the culture and all the sinners out there, but Jesus was doing a clean-up in the house of the Lord. He wasn't doing it out there. He was doing it with the people who said they believed in God in heaven, but acted like they didn't. And that's not something for us to feel guilty, but it's something for us to take seriously, and see here, Jesus takes seriously, and when I say, and everybody's got their different opinions on this, when I say the house of the Lord, I'm not talking about this building, because in this modern day and age, and this age that when Jesus came, he said that we were temple unto the Lord. Are we respecting this vessel that he has chosen to make his home in? Are we choosing, are we respecting the other people that he's made his home in, too? And are we respecting, most importantly, our Father in heaven with what we do? My second point of why I think we don't like angry Jesus is because he corrects us. We spend a lot of time telling people, Jesus loves you, he's not angry with you. And while that's partly true, the full truth is, there are times we can offend Jesus' spirit, and that he'll put us in our place. And as a pure and holy God, Jesus can be angry without sinning. He can love us and express anger at the same time. And we can learn from this example, not about feeling angry, but how, when we do feel angry, to still express love. That's the takeaway here for me. You know, but how many times have we had the Holy Spirit try and check us, and we deflected it as an attack of the devil? How many times has God led someone to speak to us and challenge us, and even if they worded it in the worst way possible, but they still tried to faithfully pass on a word from God, and we rejected it as an attack? You know, we said, I don't accept that because God's words for me are only good. You know? But if we look at the prophets in the Old Testament, so much of their prophecy for God's people is corrective in nature, rather than simple blessings alone. Not all, but much of it is corrective. Even in the New Testament, actually, in the book of Acts, we can see a story of two church members who came to Peter, not Peter back there, but, you know, Peter the apostle, and lied to God about their tithe, and Peter prophesied their death, which almost immediately came to pass. So I think it's a good time to take an offering. No, I'm just kidding. But not every harsh thing someone says is from God, but we need to take it to the Lord in prayer, to ask Him if there's any grain of truth for us. So a lot of us are often asking God to speak to us, saying, God, make something clear. And lots of times, He is bringing something to us, bringing a person to us, maybe, to speak to us on His behalf, and maybe it's the last person on earth you would want to listen to, but He chose that person for a reason, because that person's one of the only people who'd be willing to tell it to you. He doesn't often come in the way that we might expect. You guys have probably heard this story before, but I'll go through it. There's this, you know, old story about, and it's like a funny anecdote, but this guy is in a storm, and he's on top of his house, and then the flood is going by, and things are just, you know, getting wrecked in this storm, in the flood, in this terrible storm. And so he's praying to God, like, God, I need you to rescue me from this storm, right? So he's sitting there in his house, you know, his whole neighborhood is going by in this stream of water, and then finally this guy in a boat comes by, and he says, hey, hop in the boat, I can get you out of here. He said, no, thank you. I prayed, and I'm waiting on the Lord to get me out of here. I don't need your boat. So the guy goes by and leaves in the boat. And then another guy comes by in a helicopter and says, hey, I'll get you out of here. He says, no, no, no, I'm waiting on the Lord to rescue me. Well, before long, the water gets too high, the guy dies, doesn't get out of there, he goes to heaven, and he's like, what is the deal, God? He sees God, he's like, you know, I prayed, and I thought you were going to rescue me. He's like, yeah, I sent you a boat, I sent you a helicopter, what were you doing, kind of thing, right? Oftentimes, it doesn't come in the way that we would expect. And similarly, a lot of the people in Jesus' day struggled to believe that he was the Messiah, that he was the Chosen One, because he didn't come in a way that they expected, you know? They expected this pious guy who was going to come and do everything that they did, and, you know, then overthrow the Romans and all that kind of stuff. They did not expect someone coming in and flipping over the tables in the temple. They expected someone coming in and flipping over the tables in, like, the Roman courts and that kind of thing, flipping over some Romans, that's what they expected, right? But instead, he came and brought a seriousness to the people who said they believe in God. Some of what we've discussed today and in the past few weeks may look like ugly truths of the Bible and of who our God is, and we have to wrestle with these things, because they are true, and we've only scratched the surface, and I'm sure there's maybe different things that, for you, you're like, you've come across in the Bible, you're like, I don't like this part of the Bible, it's uncomfortable to me, and, you know, we could go on forever with everybody's, you know, personal thing that they didn't like in the Bible, but the core truth that we're trying to get across in each of these messages is what do we do when we come across those things, right? What do you do when you met someone and you think they're the most amazing, interesting person ever, they can do no wrong, and then finally, you see the first thing about them, the first dent in their armor, the first thing that you're like, mm, okay, that was weird, or I don't like that thing about that person, do you just immediately go, well, forget them, they're not perfect, goodbye, right? Now God is perfect, that's the difference here, so first and foremost, even with imperfect people, most of us, hopefully most of you, don't immediately just abandon people in your life when you find something about them that you don't like. I'm not talking about toxic relationships or things like that, but I'm talking about just everyday things, you find something you're uncomfortable with, you don't immediately abandon them, right? How much more with God, when we know that, because he is perfect, that if there's something that makes us uncomfortable about him, that that's because there's something in us that needs to change, and then we have to ask ourselves what that is, and it might be just a neat piece of understanding that we're missing, that makes something make sense, or it might be just submitting to God and saying, God, I don't really understand this thing about you, it makes me uncomfortable, but I trust that you are good, regardless of whether or not I fully understand. Actually earlier, when we were talking at dinner, it's like I said, for me, and this may be different for others, but for me, I've been through different things in my life where there's been different people that were believers, Christians, and that kind of thing, and we're not being met necessarily a great representation of Christ to me, and I've had people, as I've told people that story, I've had pastors tell me, like, wow, I've heard your story, I don't know why you're a Christian, Chris, after what you've been through, and they weren't saying anything rude, they're just like, I'm surprised, you know, given the kinds of conversations they have with people regularly. And I said, for me, it's because I've encountered Jesus. Because an encounter with someone is something that you can't take away, you can't explain away. I've met Janet. I think Janet is a wonderful person. No matter what anybody tells me about Janet now, you know, people have been telling me stuff for months now, and I just ignore it, no, I'm just kidding, but no matter what anybody tells me about Janet now, I have encountered Janet, and I know who she is, so it doesn't matter if somebody comes up to me and says, well, science proves Janet doesn't exist. It's like, well, I met Janet, so do with that what you will. And so what I want, what my prayer for you guys is, and what I encourage you to have your prayer for yourself, is to have an encounter with Jesus. I'm not talking about big emotional, you know, EBGBs or whatever. I'm talking about an encounter, whatever that might look like for you, and when I say what that might look like for you, I'm not saying because, you know, everybody's got their own truth and that kind of thing, but because God relates to everybody in a personal way. You know, the way that I relate to Janet is not the way that Sapili, her son, relates to her. It's completely different. But those are not, that doesn't mean that it's an invalid thing, you know, they're just different. And so God's going to relate to you in a personal way that's going to speak to you. It might mean nothing to me. You know, you could come in and say, oh, you know, I saw this flower on the ground and it just, you know, they just showed me God was real, and I'm like, okay, whatever. But I don't know your backstory and how that was the flower that your mom grew that, you know, and she passed away and you were thinking about her and you needed some comfort and you were praying for some comfort, and then God just brought you along to that point and you just knew in a way that you just knew, you know. So I want to encourage you. I'm going to pray for that for you guys, but I encourage that you pray that for you, because I can pray anything for you, but if you're not open personally in your heart, you're not necessarily going to experience anything, you know, so let's just pray. Heavenly Father, we thank you that you are not who we expect you to be, because our expectations are too low, Lord, because we can't imagine what the best is, so we thank you that you are not in line with our expectations, that you're beyond our expectations. And Lord, where our expectations of you and the reality of you feel like they don't come together, Lord, show us where we can grow in those differences, in that difference of our expectation versus reality. And Lord, I just pray for each and every person here tonight, including myself, that we would, whether we've encountered you in the past or not, Lord, we just ask that we would encounter you tonight, this week, Lord, in a real meaningful way, Lord, in your word, Lord, in a song that we sing, in the nature that we see, in a conversation with other people, Lord, that you would make yourself known in a real way, that no one can argue what way, because that encounter was personal to us, Lord. And Lord, we just pray that you would open our hearts, you would open our hearts to experience the real you versus our expectations of you. In Jesus' name, amen.