Talk Notes – January 3

we began this series with a plot review of the new epic movie by the same name: Avatar (for a plot summary, click HERE).

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in the film, jake sully’s task was to take the mindset of one world into another world. the problem was, he fell in love. and love causes conflict. which therefore causes us to make choices. jake was forced to decide who he wanted to be.

jake found what we will find when trying to live in two different worlds at once, especially when those two worlds are at odds with one another – it can be dangerous.

james conveys this in the first chapter of his letter in the new testament:

do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do (1.16-17).

Jesus taught the same when he said: no one can serve two masters. for you will hate the one and love the other; you will be devoted to be and despise the other (matthew 6.24).

one chapter later, in matthew 7, Jesus concludes three chapters of teaching about the kingdom of God vs. the kingdom of the world by asking his hearers “who do you want to be?”

read matthew 7.13-23

this text and this theme are all about integrity. integrity means wholeness. Jesus is calling us to be wholly devoted to him, not divided between looking religious on one hand and doing whatever we want in order to please ourselves on the other. Jesus had a word for people like that: hypocrite. the word hypocrite comes from an ancient word meaning actor. one who plays someone who he or she isn’t really. someone who puts on an act. someone who hinds behind a mask or an avatar.

an avatar is a false personality, an alter-ego. it’s something to hide behind so that others don’t know the real you. it’s a way to engage in the world (as understood by the bible) when pretending on the surface to be all about the kingdom of God.

the christian life has no room for avatars.

colossians 2.6 – threshold’s theme verse for our year of Vintage Faith – says: just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.

love means making choices. who will we be? for those of us who claim to have given our lives to Jesus, the proof of that claim is to be crystal clear in the ways we live out our lives every single day.  either we are or we aren’t in love with God in and through Jesus Christ.

in revelation 3.15-16, God puts it like this:

i know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. i wish that you were one or the other! but since you are like lukewarm water, i will spit you out of my mouth!

it gets no clearer than that. we are faced with a decision: who do we want to be?

some might say that avatars are a part of our faith, that Jesus came as an avatar of God. but that’s not the case. Jesus didn’t come to this world disguised as God, pretending to be God. Jesus came AS God! and he came to die for us, to rise for us, to live in us, and to empower us to live a life of integrity.

do you have an avatar? something you hide behind. a secret life that doesn’t please or glorify God? or are you a person of wholeness, of integrity?

does your life reflect a love for Jesus?

who do you want to be?

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1 Response to Talk Notes – January 3

  1. David Maisel says:

    Jeff,
    Thank you for this sermon, it really hit home with me. It made me start my year by analyzing who I really am in Christ and who I am supposes to be. Not fun, but needed.

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