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Dave Dealy: A Shared Life With Jesus, Mark 8:34-35

October 25, 2023

Audio Recording

Jesus modeled discipleship in the context of a diverse community. As we seek to follow Him, we can’t let individualism, idealism, and intimidation hinder us from sharing our lives with one another.

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Dave Dealy: A Shared Life With Jesus, Mark 8:34-35
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Sermon Transcript:

You're listening to a live recording from Westside Church in Bend, Oregon. Thanks for joining us.

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it. But whoever loses their life for me and for the Gospel will save it. This is God's word. This is our team at the new Imperial Hotel in the old city of Jerusalem, sitting there with Hebrew theologian Jared Goldfarb is sitting with our group, teaching them a Hebrew theology. Mikloket means to divide and share, to divide and share in this Hebrew theology that Jared is teaching our team. As the Sirens are blaring, as the Iron Dome is firing off anti missile rockets, he is teaching them this theology of bringing our portion to the table.

We each are given a portion.

You are given God's breath in your lungs. You are given your lived experience in life. You are given what the Holy Spirit has revealed to you. You are given the way you have walked through Scripture and been taught by Jesus, and you bring that to the table. But it is not the whole.

It is only your portion.

But the beauty of Mclockit theology is that when I bring my portion and Pastor Ben brings his portion, pastor Evan and Candice and our team bring their portion, the portion is expanded.

But here's where it's different than our Western theology.

It says it is brought shared through conflict.

Through conflict we should expect when our parts come together, they rub, there's friction, and out of that, better things are made. Proverbs puts it this way, that an iron piece ran up against another iron piece sharpens the iron and so does one man sharpen another, is what Proverbs said. It's miklocut theology.

And so, as all of this conflict is literally blasting all around, jared is walking our team through. What does it look like to bring your portion to a table expecting conflict and friction, believing that that will be better for all of us? And it's worth it. It's worth it.

This is what we are going to dive into today as we go into our second week in this series about rhythms of life. What is it to live a life structured around the way of Jesus, and not individually, not shaped in some other belief, but in the way of Jesus that he calls us to.

Today we're going to talk about a shared life together in the way of Jesus.

Of course, Mclocut is a bit foreign in our Western side because we don't have discussions, we have debates, and somebody wins the debate.

And in Mcclochid, there is no winning.

There is no winning.

It is not an effort to push my position to the top that then destroys your position and I'm the winner. That is not the game that's being played here. It is bringing all of our honest portions to the table. That are in disagreement, that rub, that is friction, believing that God is making something greater as we bring that all together, we're going to explore that today.

But let's talk about what this rhythm of life, rule of life, if you've been in the church a long time, the sanctification process where we are walking out a life shaped by Jesus, what really is that?

The analogy we used is this picture of a trellis.

And my wife is a gardener, god bless her.

Plants come to me to die.

And my wife has planted these beautiful vines in our backyard and the ones that have stuck to the trellis have done really good. But there's one that broke off, probably my fault, and hit the ground and it no longer becomes a thriving vine, it becomes a wild weed. Basically. It's tangled and it's suffocated and it's not the thing it was meant to be.

This is a really good picture of the trellis life, which calls us to a structure. There is a way to live. Jesus says this in the passage we started with mark, chapter eight. Whoever wants to be my disciple, pause. Whoever.

In Hebrew. Whoever means whoever.

Whoever.

Right. But not him. Right.

Whoever.

In another part of the Gospels, in Matthew, jesus uses the language of the door is wide, the gate is wide, the entry point is wide. Anybody who wants, come on. The invitation is out there.

But when you step through the door, through the gate, the path gets narrow.

There are sacrifices that will be made for the good of your life, for you to thrive.

Just like the vine that hits the ground, like, I don't need no trellis, and it rolls up into a weed, the vine that is structured and means it can't go anywhere at once.

There are limited spaces it can climb. And as it does, it thrives fully into what it was created to be. This is our picture of this rhythm of life, this way of following Jesus. He calls us into everyone's invited, doors wide open. And as you walk the path, it gets narrower as we shave off the things that are not Jesus.

That's the journey.

And why does that matter? Why does this matter today?

To live in a way that Jesus calls us into? Well, I would say and listen, I've been in this game a long time, you guys. I was baptized elementary school in the Presbyterian Church. I went to a Christian high school, I went to a Christian college. I was involved in Jesus things pretty much my entire life. I've been in this game a long time. And I would say it wasn't until my mid to late 30s that I started to say, this is it.

This is it.

Because the theology, what I had been trained in as a follower of Jesus, what it meant was this tell as many people about Jesus as you can so that they get saved and don't go to the bad place.

That's what being a Christian is. That's the Christian life.

Pastor friend of mine put it this way, and I love this guy. I love this guy. I love his heart. But here's his one liner. You know the guys who've been pastoring a long time, and they have, like, the one liners. If you talk to them long enough, the one liner always shows up. This is his one liner. Let's make this city a hard place to go to hell.

US as pastors, we got to make this city a hard place to go to hell.

And I love this guy.

And there is so much truth in what he's saying, and yet it's incomplete. It's incomplete. For many of us, an invitation to follow Jesus was presented in something like this language. You accept the work of Jesus that he's done for you on the cross, that you might receive forgiveness in grace through faith so that you may, when you die, enter his heavenly kingdom. Does that sound right?

So much truth, so much goodness, and yet so incomplete.

Because this idea divorces the truth of Jesus from the way of Jesus.

It makes the possibility of receiving Jesus's life without becoming Jesus'disciple a dichotomy that lives outside the Scriptures.

When we look at Jesus, when he comes into Earth and exists in his humanity on mission, not only does he invite the people he meets into the heavenly kingdom, he invites them into heaven on Earth, a new way of being. This is a paradigm shift. Jesus didn't come to just teach us how to die.

Jesus came to teach us how to live.

One more time for people in the back. Jesus didn't come just to teach us how to die.

Jesus came presenting us, inviting us, and imploring us into a new way to live.

You don't trust me. You don't believe me. So listen. Let's look at the Bible.

You engineers out there, I love you. I don't understand you, but I love you and I appreciate you. I would just challenge you to take the aggregate data that we have in the gospels of time that Jesus spent on Earth.

What was he doing?

Relatively? He spent a small amount of time talking about the next life. Relatively.

But he spent a whole lot of time talking about the kingdom come on Earth as it is in Heaven, that the God space moves into our space here in our life. And that looks like Him healing the sick and feeding the hungry and teaching and preaching not only about loving God, but about loving your neighbor. And guess what? Sometimes your enemy is your neighbor, and you love them too.

It is a radical way of living, not just dying, that Jesus invites us into.

And if Jesus'sole purpose of coming was to provide holy parachutes for us to exit out of this hellhole and get to the Good Place someday, he spent a weird amount of time pulling people out of that space and bringing them back here.

Multiple people he raises from the dead and brings them back into this space.

The scripture where we started says Jesus anyone, whoever come, follow me and then take up your cross that your life may be saved. Walk this journey with me. Anyone who wants to be my disciples, my disciples, my disciples, my apprentices, who want to learn and grow in me in a way of living.

What is a disciple of Jesus?

Really? Simply, there's three elements here broad of what it is to be a disciple of Jesus. The first is people who center their life around being with Jesus.

We have to want Jesus. Not just the golden ticket.

We have to want Jesus. A pastor that I respect, disagree with on a lot of things, but had this beautiful word picture.

He said as you think about heaven and you imagine all of the peace and all of the glory and all of the beauty if you can have all of that and Jesus is not present, is it worth it?

Are you content?

That answer helps clarify to us what we are giving our life to.

We have to want Jesus. Jesus is the point.

And our life after this life will be a life with no barriers. With Jesus, time, intimacy, nearness close meals, laughter, tears, all the things with Jesus. That's the point.

That's the point. A disciple is one who centers their life around being with Jesus. He invites you to that now.

And as you are with someone, you become like someone.

The more time I spend around Noelle we've been married 23 years. We met when we were 19.

The more I'm with Noelle, the better person I become because she is a generous person and she's a kind person and she's a perfectionist, which causes me to go in grace, grow in grace.

The more I'm with Noel, time spent with Noel going through the hard stuff, the Mccloke it not just that I bring my portion and like, well, here's what I got. Okay, you got what you got. We'll work out the good stuff, separate the bad. No, all of it gets thrown in. All of it. Good, bad and ugly, all gets thrown in. And we grow and we grow.

This is the life. As we pursue being with Jesus, we become like Jesus.

The fruits of his spirit, peace, joy, self control.

These things are being with Jesus. They're the fruits that come out. And then inevitably, as we are with Jesus and we become like Jesus, we end up doing the things Jesus did. Remember, his command to us is that you will do greater things even than you've seen me do. How many of us? My life doesn't look like, Well, Dave does more stuff than Jesus for sure. Not yet.

We will do the things Jesus did. We will pray for the sick and healing. We will feed the hungry. We will contend for the oppressed.

We will teach on the goodness of God. That includes us loving our neighbor. And sometimes our neighbor is our enemy, and we love them too. We will do those things as we follow Jesus.

Eugene Peterson frames discipleship this way. He says, Discipleship says, we are people who spend our lives apprenticed to the master Jesus Christ.

We are in a growing learning relationship. Always.

A disciple is a learner, but not in an academic setting of a schoolroom. Rather the work site of a craftsman.

We do not acquire information about God, but skills for faith.

I love that. Not in a classroom, not intellectual, academic only. This is a workshop. Get our hands dirty.

Have you ever met somebody who was really, really smart but couldn't rationalize their way out of a paper bag? Right. I pastored in San Francisco for a season in the city of San Francisco, where everything was changing, 2010 to 2014, there was this influx of Tech into the city of San Francisco. It had always been in Silicon Valley, but it moved into the city. And what that meant is I had a lot of Tech bros coming to church and that were really smart. And they would sit in my office, and I remember this one guy distinctly sits in my office.

And this guy is young, smart and wealthy, and he knows it.

And he's like, I don't get it. I don't get why I'm not growing in my relationship with God.

I said, well, let's talk about your prayer life.

I don't believe in prayer.

Yeah, it just seems weird.

Okay, well, let's talk about scripture reading. He's like, Well, I believe the Bible is useful but is outdated.

Like, you're a Christian?

Yeah. I grew up in Texas, and this was a guy who had more brain power than he knew what to do with, but had never worked in the workshop, had never got his hands dirty.

And I would say, my friends in the American church, we've done this. We have discipled this a strong intellectual muscle that likes to read books and rationalize and debate and all these things. And we have atrophied the rest of the muscles of our spiritual life prayer, silence and solitude, listening to the Holy Spirit hospitality in our relationships. And that's the invitation.

Jesus says, Whoever wants to be my disciple, anybody doors wide. And as you walk, the path will narrow and across you will take it up to follow me. You're invited into this life to thrive through narrowing.

So how do we build this rhythm of life following Jesus? How do we if I've convinced any one of you to say, yeah, my structure needs to change, that I might thrive in a way of Jesus in my everyday life, how do we do that? Well, first I would contend that you are already being formed.

You are already being formed constantly. It is not an if, but a how.

When my daughter Gracie, my oldest, who's 20 years old now, when she was about three, she was playing on the floor in her room with blocks. And I was at that stage of life where anything she did was like the best thing ever. And I was like, Noelle, come here. She's moving. She's moving. It's like watching the gorillas at the zoo. Like, they're walking. Come here. They're walking. She was playing with blocks, and she was building something. She was really into it. I was like, look, no, come here. And I was looking. And as we're watching, the thing falls apart, and she stands up, grabs a block, chucks it against the wall, and says, Dang it.

And I was like, ah.

And Noelle, to my recollection, said, who's that remind you of?

Gracie had been formed in how you react when you're frustrated.

That's a cute one. Let's go a little bit deeper and get a bit real. With this last two elections and the pandemic, I watched the Big C Church.

The big C church churches all over, living and responding in a way that they had been discipled into a way that would cause people when they saw the Ford F 250 roaring down 97 with the Trump flag or the silent Prius going down Third Street with a biden sticker, their discipleship would cause them to say I hate those people. They're the problem.

And I just would contend to you, my friends, that is discipleship, that is formation.

We are being formed, but that is not in the way of Jesus. It has nothing to do with Jesus.

If we want to be better, if we want to be different, if we want to be the light of the world that God calls us to be, then we have to be in a life with Jesus where we become more like Jesus and we do the things Jesus did. We have to be discipled in him. So the question for everyone is not if you're being formed or discipled. The question is who's your rabbi?

Who's your rabbi?

Is Netflix your rabbi?

Is your podcast your rabbi?

Is your news station your rabbi?

If you resist that, I would ask what's the fruit of your life? It will tell you who your rabbi is.

It'll tell you. So we're invited to follow Rabbi Jesus into a way of being. And we do that together. We do it together in a life shared together, there is no island you live on alone with Jesus for all of your life. It is makloket. It is shared. And it means we're going to run up against each other and we're going to bump shoulders and we're going to frustrate. And that is good for us. That is good for us. We need it.

You don't believe me, so let's keep going.

Pastor Evan last week shared a quote that I love. It's from W. E. Deming, who was an economist and a business theorist, and he said this your system, your discipleship, your habits, your practices, your rhythm of life, your system is perfectly designed to give you the life you are getting.

You're doing it right now. You're doing it. Are you exhausted, frustrated, full of anger? Your system is perfectly designed to keep you there.

You got to choose something different. You got to choose the trellis.

You got to choose the narrow path if you want that to be different.

But our culture has really lost the essence of community, really lost it. And there are three main reasons I think, that this happens in our current world. The first is a radical worship of individualism. A radical worship of individualism that to be great is best, to be alone, to be a lone wolf, to be John Wayne, to have no need of anyone else. That is how you know you really are great if you do it all yourself. And that's a lie. There's nobody doing it alone. Nobody doing it alone, not in any healthy way. But we do worship that. We do worship being our own hero.

We love that second hurdle to being in community first, radical worship of individualism. Second is an idealism.

Say, yeah, community sounds great for everybody. Who votes like me, eats like me, has kids my age, lives in the same neighborhood, all of these checkboxes. I'll join that community, guess what? You're already in it. You are it. You just made a community unto yourself.

And we idealize what community must be, which it'll never be. It will always be messy. So we say, I'll pass.

You never give yourself a shot. Here's how Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it. He said, Those who love their dream of Christian community more than they love Christian community become destroyers of Christian community.

Those who love the idea, the dream of it, more than they love it itself. Macloque. It will be messy, and that is good.

You will grow iron, sharpened iron.

The third hurdle to community, I believe, is intimidation.

Intimidation. Love of individualism and idealism of what community is. And then intimidation. It is scary to share your life with somebody. It's scary. It's scary to go into your trauma. It is scary to go into your fears. It's scary to share your doubts about God, Jesus, yourself, your family. It's scary.

But hear this.

There is no road to intimacy that doesn't go through vulnerability.

There is no road to intimacy, to deep, meaningful relationship that doesn't go through vulnerability. You cannot go around it. You go around it, you get the shallow thing that everybody's living in right now.

So instead of standing and waiting for someone to be vulnerable with you, okay, I can do this. What's your junk?

You be vulnerable.

Be brave.

You still don't believe me. So let's go back to the Bible.

In Matthew, chapter ten, we get a picture of the community that Jesus creates that Jesus creates.

Matthew, chapter ten, verse one through eight.

Listen to this. Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and heal every disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve.

Listen.

First, Simon, who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew. James, son of Zebedee, and his brother John, Philip, bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector. Put a pin in that. Matthew the tax collector, james, son of Alphaeus, Theodus. Simon the zealot. Put a pin in it. Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot. Who betrayed him?

Jesus names his community two of his people, not just their name, but their identity. He said, we had Matthew the tax collector and Simon the Zealot in my community group. Why is that significant? Matthew, being a tax collector, was a betrayer of Israel.

He was sleeping with the enemy. He was participating in the oppression of Israel and his family and his extended family. He was the enemy.

Simon was a zealot, the zealot who would say anything to take down Rome. War, violence, anything to take down Rome.

And Jesus says, come to the table.

You two polar opposites would have hated each other, guaranteed.

And Jesus, this is the community, this is the shared life literally following Jesus. So why should we be surprised?

Why should we be surprised when we get called into this? Mccloket all kinds of people should be in the room. All kinds of people should be in your home. All kinds of people should be sharing life with you.

And it's good for you, it's good for me. This is the discipleship and community Jesus calls us to. It's his example he gave us, he made this.

And we only get there through vulnerability, sharing our life with each other.