Last week I introduced Sunday’s sermon by talking about Christian phrases that need to go. But there is one that we should keep, if and only if, it is more than a phrase. You know that phrase “actions speak louder than words”? It is true for so much of life, and definitely so when it comes to being a disciples of Jesus. We live out our faith.
In Luke 9:1-10, among other things, Jesus wanted his disciples to learn dependence on him.
The phrase we need to turn into action is “Depend of God.” It might not be on a mission trip, though those are good, but what does it mean it to depend on Jesus? When we say “Depend on God” it should be so much more than a phrase that sounds righteous. “Depend on God” should matter in really life. In other words, we should be able to do actions that show we are depending on God.
How do we put ourselves in a place where God has to come through in order for us to make it, be cared for?
Is this only a reactionary, depending on God in the situations that happen to us?
Could it also be proactive? Could we do things that show that we are dependent on God? There will be times in life when we have no choice but to cry out to God, or when God must step in and rescue us. But what about when things are good?
Jesus once taught about depending on him. To teach this he used a parable called the Vine and the Branches in John 15:1-8. It is simple really. A branch broken off from a tree will die because it is no longer connected to the life-giving trunk. In our culture, an electric device will stop if disconnected from its power source. Jesus was saying that this is a reality for his Kingdom people as well. We must somehow be connected to his life-giving power, or we can do nothing, he said.
So what is the difference between a person who depends on his power and one who doesn’t? I have a few thoughts:
- Does: Ample time spent in prayer, peaceful emotion during difficult life situations, unattached to material possessions and very generous.
- Doesn’t: Weak or non-existent time in prayer. Freaks-out during difficulties, focused on acquisition and ownership of material possessions, and not generous.
Which are you most like?
Luke, at verses 7-9, changes the scene and takes us into Herod’s palace. We’ve met Herod before. And in this section Luke tells us more about him including the sad fate of John the Baptist.
Herod has beheaded John. And Herod is confused because he is hearing more and more reports that a man like John has appeared on the scene. Has John come back to life? Has an old prophet come back to life?
Herod asks a question we’ve heard before. “Who is this?”
Remember the disciples on the boat when Jesus calmed the storm? “Who is this?”
It seems more people are asking the same question about Jesus. “Who is this?”
We saw over the last month that he is the one who commands the storm, who commands demons, and who even has power to raise the dead. Now today he is the one who transfers that power to others, to multiply his ministry, to raise up leaders. He doesn’t have to have all the power in his own hands. He is humble and willing to invest in others. But he wants his people do depend on him.
So this phrase we throw around: Depend on God. It is pretty important. Vital, in fact. It is imperative that we learn to depend on God. And there are some very practical things we can do to grow our dependence on God.
Go on a mission trip! Step out of your comfort zone. Give more generously, sacrificially. Spend more time in prayer.
Instead of saying it, show that you depend on God.