Friday, April 7, 2017
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Seven years of junior high band concerts. Yep, that was the special joy Karen and I had since all three of the Hutchcraft kids were in junior high band. Oh, it wasn't always a supreme musical experience, but hey, it's our kids, right? Let's imagine you have never heard of the brilliant composer Ludwig von Beethoven before. And I say to you, "Beethoven was a genius. His music is some of the most beautiful ever written." You're a little skeptical because you've never heard any of his music, but "I suggest a way you could remedy that. See, the junior high band is having a concert this week, and they're performing Beethoven's 9th Symphony." So you go, and you come back to me and you say, "I thought you said this Beethoven guy was a genius! I just heard his music. It wasn't brilliant!" Now what's the problem here? It isn't Beethoven-it's the way the band played his music. Just because they don't play his music well doesn't mean the man who wrote the music wasn't a genius!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Hypocrite Hang-up."
I've devoted my life to telling people about the Genius who can harmonize our lives, who wrote the music that's supposed to guide everything we do. His name is Jesus. But many people-maybe you-can't bring themselves to a point where they'll put their trust in Jesus Christ to be their own personal Savior from their personal sin. And one of the biggest reasons? Christians who are hypocrites. Maybe some hypocrites you know have been a major roadblock in your considering Christ.
That's why I'm so glad for today's word for today from the Word of God, where Jesus clarifies what, and who, is the real issue in this whole Christian thing. Mark 2:14, our word for today from the Word of God, "As Jesus walked along, He saw Levi sitting at the tax collector's booth. 'Follow Me', Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed Him."
Jesus sums up here the central decision we all have to make by issuing a clear, two-word invitation that He gave to many people: "Follow Me." Jesus basically is saying, "I'm the issue. Your decision is about me." He repeated that invitation so many times when He was here on earth. And I think He's extending it to you today.
As for those Christians who aren't a very good advertisement-well, they're like that junior high band trying to play the Beethoven symphony. Unfortunately, some of us don't play Jesus' music very well. But it has nothing to do with Jesus. He's still the Genius who forgives our failures, who loves us with a "never leave you" love. He promised, "I'll never leave you." And who can take us to heaven when we die because He walked out of his grave and conquered death.
Jesus never said, "Follow My followers." He never said, "Follow My leaders," or "Follow My religion" or "Follow My rules." He said, "Follow Me." The only reason not to be a Christian is if you have something against Jesus. And there wasn't a trace of hypocrisy in Him.
All that's going to matter when you keep your appointment with God is what you did with Jesus, God's one and only Son who died on the cross to pay...not for His sins, but for yours. Honestly, there's just no place to hide when it comes to Jesus. Either you commit yourself to this Man who died for you or you turn your back on Him and you walk away.
It's all about Jesus. And maybe you're ready to surrender all the baggage that has kept you from experiencing His love for yourself. Forget all those people that in your mind are between you and Him. It's Jesus and you, because it's Jesus you're trusting, not Christianity, not Christians. Maybe you're ready to begin this relationship you were created for. I hope you are.
Well, tell Him that, "Jesus, I'm yours." And please go to our website. It's called ANewStory.com. And there I think if you give me just a few minutes, I can walk you through how to be sure you are now belonging to Jesus Christ.
On Judgment Day, it will just be you and Jesus. Today it's you and Jesus. There's an old hymn that says this: "What will you do with Jesus? Neutral you cannot be. For someday your heart will be asking, 'What will He do with me?'"