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Ideally Speaking

Don’t let go of the ideal in light of the real. As the Apostles applied the way of Jesus to our relationships, they gave us an ideal to live into. But our real life experiences often fall short of this ideal. Rather than changing or softening the ideal, hold onto it and lean into it.


well we're in this new series we're just launching it today called Family Matters and that's kind of a little bit why intro the way I did I want us to rethink family not just the biological family though that's primarily what we'll be talking about through this series but also every relationship every relationship that you have matters it matters to God it matters to you it matters how we interact with one another relationally and what I know about you and it's true about me every one of us has a family how many of you were born right everyone has a family I'm not saying the condition of that family I just know that all of us have families and what I also know is that there is tension oftentimes in conflict in those families and and how we interact with each other is really super important all of us have different experiences with family some are broken we've lost family members some some are really healthy you know there's this spectrum of experiences with family we did a survey of a few months back we found out that almost 70 percent of our church are married which was interesting but then we also looked at how many guests we have and there's a growing number of singles and young adults leaning into our church family as well and so as I as the team prepared this series where we have both in mind we have people who are married but also people who are single and young adults and and I and I believe that this series will have something to speak to all of us let me ask you the question does the Bible offer any encouragement to families today let me read some to you help answer that question a little bit by Eugene Peterson the guy that did the message translation he writes this a search of Scripture turns up one rather surprising truth there are no exemplary families start thinking about it right now go ahead those of you that maybe know the Bible a little bit go and start thinking about what family could you pull out that's exemplary he goes on to write not a single family as portrayed in Scripture in such a way as so as to evoke admiration in us there are many family stories there is considerable reference to family life their sound counsel to guide the growth of families but a single model family for anyone to look up to in either aw or Envy I think about it we start with Adam and Eve how many days did I mean hours did it take before they started fighting right and then their kids Cain and Abel didn't go so well then go so well for Cain and I there's there's tension from the very beginning narratives of family in the Bible and it doesn't stop I mean remember King David a man after God's own heart and he commits adultery and not only that he lies about it and then he kills the husband of the woman that he had adultery with and you know as you start to read through the scripture he be gonna go I mean what does this actually have to say to me about family about it's one of the things I love about the Bible is that it doesn't sugarcoat relationships it tells you how it is how it was and how it is because every single one of us if you have any kind of relationship with anyone realizes that that that there's conflict and disputing and it's not easy is it in terms of our family and our relationships and so by the way this series is gonna help in any relationship it's not just if you're married right I mean single people you there's plenty of relationships that you interact with on a day-to-day basis whether you have kids or not listen there there's there's so many ways that this series is gonna impact you because the Bible really talks not about specifically Jesus's specifically doesn't talk about family very often but what he does talk about is how we treat one another how we interact with one another how we relate to one another and we're gonna talk about some of those family values some of those ideals relational ideals in a minute let me ask you is there an ideal in relationship you know one of the temptations I want to I want to make sure at the very front end I tell you this that I'm not when I when I when we talk about Family Matters when we talk about family ideals I don't have I don't have in my head a picture perfect Leave It to Beaver family with two-and-a-half kids a dog smiling and everything is so pretty that's not the ideal it's not what I'm talking about not what we're gonna talk about in this series because if we do if we paint that picture it leaves every one of us out because none of us are experiencing that to this fullest right so we're that's not when we talk about ideals I want to talk more about the the values the way of thinking the way of relating to each other that can impact and help broken relationships become whole and healthy its this is not a how-to series per se I mean I think there's gonna be things that you can take into your relationships but I believe that the Holy Spirit's gonna speak to each of us individually about how to apply these to our relationships so I'm not gonna give you do this kinds of lists but challenge us with thinking about these ideals now the Bible is written as many of you probably know the Bible is written in two sections one is the Old Testament and the other is the New Testament the Old Testament was written over thousands of years by several different authors and the whole point of it is to point people to Jesus the need for Jesus why he needed to come and and what he's about and then the New Testament is about the life of Jesus and then the New Testament authors there's several Peter Paul John authors that wrote about the teachings of Jesus and what they did is that they in their writings they take the teachings of Jesus and apply it to their relationships contextually and these were written hundreds of years ago and so they did the hard work of taking the teachings of Jesus which we're gonna look at a couple today and then and then they applied it to their relationships husbands and wives parents and children friendships inside the church and they applied it to that and what I don't want us to do in this series is to take like Ephesians chapter 5 of sort of you or what you can read that later we'll talk about it next week but a fusion chapter 5 well we're not going to do is where i'm gonna take Ephesians 5 and just place it over our relationships and just do this and everything is good because they did the hard work of contextualizing the teachings of Jesus in their relationships we also need to do the hard work of taking the teachings of Jesus and applying them to our relationships which are far different than they were during the time of Paul and Peter does that make sense so that's what we're gonna be doing through this series and and or at least trying to do and as we start I want to talk a little bit about what are some of the relational ideals of Jesus let's let's kind of unpack some of this and starting off today and we're gonna keep going through this series and how what are some of these ideals that Jesus taught us talked about and and the kind of overarching truths and here we have it on the TV here's the first one that Jesus really leans into a lot in his teachings servant leadership I love what he writes in John chapter 13 I'm not going to put these on the screen so just write these references down or you can turn there you can refer to them later but in general in John chapter 13 there's this there's this relational connection that Jesus has with his friends that goes far deeper than anything he had experienced yet with them or them with him in verse 1 chapter 13 before the Passover celebration Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his father so he was about to leave he knew that he understood that his time was short and then he now he says he now showed the disciples listen to this the full extent of his love it's a powerful statement that what we're about to read is a is a is a is a visual demonstration of the full extent of the love of Jesus for his friends and that's what they were to him they weren't just his followers they weren't just disciples they were his friends and and and he's about to show them the full extent of his love verse 3 jesus knew that the father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and we would would return to God this is actually a really important first because what it's saying to us is that Jesus is on the top of the pyramid so to speak we're gonna talk about how Jesus flips that that idea of power and authority but it's important to know that he has it all that he and that him and his followers recognized that Jesus was was their leader he was the leader he was their teacher and that's super important because of what happens next the guy with the power the guy with the that the influencer in this group decides to do something so dramatic so radical that only servants and slaves did during these days that were looking at any and it says so he got up Jesus from the table took off his robe wrapped a towel around his waist and poured water into a basin then he got down on his knees and began to wash the disciples feet and to wipe them with the towel he had around him for the disciples and he can keep reading this story we'll pick it up in a minute but it's like they they didn't want Jesus to do this this was inappropriate this was going too far he's you're our leader get up this is not this is awkward and and it's so powerful that that it it I believe it changed the way they thought about their own leadership the way they thought about their own relationships the way they thought about the relationships with their friends with their spouses with their children the way they thought about their relationships with their co-workers I think this has ripple effects through every relationship relational sphere were in in verse 12 after washing their feet Jesus put on his robe again and he sat down and he said guys do you do you know what I just did do you understand it do you understand what I was doing it says you call me teacher and Lord and you're right he says because it's true I am your teacher and I'm him your Lord and that's super important I'm not just your friend I am your teacher I am the one that you follow and since I the Lord and the teacher have washed your feet you ought to wash each other's feet has anybody ever watched anybody else's feet super-awkward I'm just saying so we're gonna have bowls of water come down the aisles and No No well I'll never do that to you Church I'll never do that to you I've been in I've been in a spiritual gatherings KC you have to Dave you have to keep seeing that place a little bit more but that we've been in gatherings where you have to they they require you to watch somebody's feet that you barely even know and it's just like please this is not awkward think about it with your family I my four sons would would all react a little bit differently if I decided to wash their feet I've got one kid that would be like don't touch me dad I'm sure he's got daddy issues he's got to figure that out later in his life but anyway that's that's one and then I got another kid who would be like as I'm watching this we said hey Dad when you're done would you like rub my shoulders too you know and just the spectrum I was thinking about this with Jesus and I don't think what Jesus is trying to do is to try to get us I don't think it was a religious ritual that he was trying to instigate in the early church and that we just keep doing is that we actually wash people's feet okay it was a common occurrence and in the dusty roads of Jerusalem that when you walked into someone's house as a courtesy to them you would have your servant watch their feet it was a common thing okay we don't it's not common to us I and if it is don't invite me over to your house because I'm just not gonna do that but but what Jesus is trying to get at is not this look like a religious ritual thing he's trying to get us to our hearts about how we relate to one another and do we come in as servants see he said I came to to serve not to be served I came to lay my life down and that leads us to this next kind of the second one that's related to the first one is that other oriented this higher value that Jesus keeps showing us is that that his whole life was about the other it was about the broken the people that were hurting the people that were lost he was coming he was coming to them from from a place of servanthood but also like it's not about me it's about you imagine what that would be like if we approached our relationships this way it's not about me but it's about you I love not really I don't really love this passage it's kind of a really hard one to get and there's there's a lot of teachings that are really hard a lot of teachings of Jesus that are really hard and and we joke around in our in our speaking team meeting about how I should start mumbling on over those just like so you don't understand what I really said well what Jesus really said because they're really hard and yet in this series and another series we do this summer called subversive Savior we're gonna unpack some of the hardest teachings of Jesus because we need them we need to hear what what his ideals are what his value system is because so it can impact our lives but anybody but here's one of them as we're thinking about the other oriented he right he says this if you're willing to listen if you're willing to hear this if you're willing to like lean in and kind of try to understand this even though at first glance is really hard he says this love your enemies how many no family sometime is enemy number one just me anybody else at there thank you yeah my wife my wife and I the first five years anybody have a bad first couple years two three years tough a little harder than he thought I thought she was out to get me I thought she was my enemy I really did I mean I was Suzanna and I would fight and fight and fight and and I didn't recognize it and so late much later that the reason why we were fighting is because I had a predisposition idea that she wasn't for me that she was out to get me out to change me out to make me the husband she really wanted and didn't get and and I had this idea in my mind and when I began to realize that she actually was other oriented I mean not totally I mean she's not perfect she's almost almost perfect but she's so other oriented it can I to see that the stuff that it was she was actually for me not against me and the listen of the rest of these teachings Jesus says I say love your enemies do good to those who hate you pray for the happiness of those who curse you pray for those who hurt you let me just stop right there and just like Jesus come on come on we at the last year's of Global Leadership Summit we heard from immaculee Ilibagiza I think is how you pronounce her last name we'll just call her immaculee and she talked about her she was in Rwanda she's Rwandan during the ethnic cleansing that happened and that our whole family was killed and she would read passages like this and pray for your enemies and she's like not a chance you don't know what they did to me and some of you might as we go through this series some of you will go like Steve I know I know your what Jesus is saying but you don't know the guy I live with it's so hard to love him you don't know the woman I live with so hard to put her first or the kids that that are just strained and these ideals listen these ideals are not easy we're not saying that they're easy but there's something and powerful in the teachings of Jesus pray for those who hurt you someone slaps you on one cheek turn the other cheek if someone demands your coat offer your shirt also give what you have to anyone who asks you for it and when things are taken away from you don't try to get them back and then Jesus says do for others as you would like them to do for you and now we're getting to kind of an overarching idea here that really encompasses both of the servant leadership and others oriented and it's this Golden Rule do unto others as you would like them to do unto you that's standard practice but what Jesus does is he takes this the golden rule and as a preacher Andy Stanley says he takes the golden rule and he makes it a Platinum rule and we find that Platinum rule in John 15 I've preached this one several times already this year but there's what he what Jesus said I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you so what he's saying it's not just don't just do unto others as you want them to do and do you do unto others as I have already done unto you Jesus says and here's how it measures it and there he gets right to it here how you measure this is how you measure whether you're loving each other the same way that I loved you says the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends of life laying down kinds of relationships some of you might think this is impossible as you as you listen to this some of you might think this these ideals servant-leadership other oriented lay your life down for the other is simply just not poss and also as as I read some of these teachings of Jesus what happened so often as you start to feel guilty you start to feel condemned you start to feel ashamed because your life and my life doesn't look like that what Jesus taught let me let me give you an example because Jesus was constantly pointing us towards an ideal in our relationships and and at the same time refusing to condemn people when they don't when they when they fell short there was some religious guys that came to Jesus to test him and they wanted to really make it hard on him they asked they were trying to trap him so they could use it to crucify him later and so they asked him Jesus is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife and and and in that culture it was never them it was it was the it was it was they had a version of no-fault divorce it was never the man's fault that was their version of no-fault divorce and all a man had to do to get a divorce in those days was to say it's right phrase three times I divorce you I divorce you I divorce you that's it and I was done and the woman had zero rights and she had nowhere to go and no no nothing to do if she needed to get out of the relationship and so they knew all that right they knew all of this and they knew that and so they're trying to trap Jesus in a super interesting passage in Matthew chapter 19 verse 4 and we gotta hang out here for a little bit is Jesus says this in response to these guys that came to him trying to trap him he says haven't you read the scriptures and that's an insult by the way Jesus is saying have you not read it do you not understand what it means because you completely missed it you've completely missed it you've misunderstood the scriptures in Matthew chapter 5 there's a great Sermon on the Mount Jesus says have you you've heard it said but I say you guys have so he read the Bible you remember that passage in Matthew chapter 5 towards the end of the chapter Jesus constantly saying several times you've heard it said law of Moses really the interpretation of the law of Moses that wasn't right and then Jesus says but I tell you I want to give you the right interpretation and so this is kind of what he's doing here he's giving us the right interpretation of this really challenging scripture in the Bible this teaching of Jesus that that has been I believe been misused so often to bring shame and condemnation on people who have experienced divorce and that wasn't Jesus is an intent at all and we'll talk a little bit more about that in a minute but he says having read the scriptures and Jesus says they record that from the beginning say beginning so what Jesus is doing he's taking us all the way back to before brokenness entered into our stories he takes us all the way back to that moment before sin entered before Adam and Eve started fighting before Cain enables conflict all the way before any of that stuff happen for sin entered the world and he says from the beginning God made them male and female and he said this explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife and the two are united into one he's kind of building this case here it says listen there there was a there was an ideal there was an ideal in the beginning male and female joined together and they would never part and and since they are no longer two but one let no one split apart what God has joined together really like intense Scripture right I mean it was it was subversive then a subversive now and then go on to the next slide then they asked him interesting question I really love the question I don't like their motivation for asking the question they're trying to trap him but I love the question then why did Moses they asked him say in the law that a man could give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away they're trying to trap him and they asked an actually decent question that that it might be on the minds of you so what why why is there divorce and is it okay and Jesus says this Moses permitted divorce as a concession say concession to your heart hearts but it was not what God had look at that originally intended now let me just stop right here let's not go on let's just saying out here for a minute because right now there's a lot of tension in this room because we know that that there's been a lot of concessions in our society in the church in our relationships and that there is actually something that God originally intended and there's tension between these two and we like to turn we don't like tension and so we like to try to solve the tension and inadvertently what we do is we do one of two things we make people feel guilty about the concessions and ashamed or we try to change what God originally intended to more closely match the concessions that makes sense so we start to say like it's okay to do this or that or have broken relationships so it's just super interesting to me as I think about this I think that's and and and and what's it compelling to me about this idea is that Jesus who were the people that were most attracted to Jesus the people who have it all together or the people that were broken broken people so if Jesus is teaching things like this and a woman who was caught in adultery is thrown out on the street don't you think that he would then use some scriptures and teachings that are really hard to under like and and and bring some kind of condemnation on her that's not what he does he that he never does that the woman at the well who's had five relationships and Jesus calls her on those five relationships does she feel rejected by Jesus or embraced by Jesus embraced by Jesus matter of fact she goes and tells the whole village about this man that she met see somebody that that is that is filled with condemnation doesn't attract broken people so there's something that we we've missed in the teachings of Jesus and in the church today is that we don't know how to live with this tension between what's ideal and what's real we and as a result we make people feel bad about the real or which we lower the ideal and either one is bad either one is not the option what we what I think Jesus is trying to get us to it through this series and will help us is to be comfortable with the tension that saying okay none of us not one of us have experienced the ideal can somebody say amen to that one I mean none of us have not one of you has experienced the ultimate ideal in your relationships with your spouse or with your kids or with your friends or with your coworker with your boss not one of us there's conflict everywhere in our relationships and just because that exists doesn't mean that we need to then take the ideal and either mumble our way through it or or lessen it or not talk about it instead I believe what Jesus wants us to do is to engage in it without condemnation for all of us living in the real and say there's a better way there's a better way see I don't want to I don't want to bring shame or condemnation on anybody because Jesus didn't I don't want I don't want anyone to walk out of here feeling like if you've experienced brokenness into your relationships whatever that looks like that you would walk out these doors feeling rejected by God or by us because that is not the Heart of Jesus nor do I want you to walk out of here at thinking that we are dumbing down the gospel narrative that we are making it easy to be followers of Jesus because it's not we don't have to resolve every tension I love what Andy Stanley says about this idea is that as the standard gets higher grace goes deeper as a standard goes higher forgiveness gets richer an inclusion becomes broader that's what I want for our church see we can't ignore the ideals any longer because it's uncomfortable because it's not politically correct because it doesn't match up with the real it's uncomfortable for me listen this is like can I speak on something else you know we spent a lot of years talking about love and let's go back to love and just talk about love and I know love is like all in this do you know that love is Jesus loves us too much to just quit on us and just to tell us what we want to hear and to tell us yeah you know you're real is it's just yeah it's just what that's just what it it the way it is now everybody experiences brokenness is the way it is rather he's going saying I'm right in there with you I'm in the brokenness with you I'm gonna walk with you through that but I'm not gonna let you forget that there's a better way to connect with each other there's a better way to treat each other there's a better way to interact with each other in relationships I would rather deal personally I'd rather deal with the regret and the potential pain that might come from knowing I don't live up to God's best rather than to change God's best to fit my reality because I know I know that God's grace is big enough to see me through my failure and your failure and my brokenness and your brokenness and I don't need to change his best his ideals to be embraced by him he loves me as I am he does brokenness and all but if we lose his ideals I think we might experience a lot more pain and regret later than we already have let me just finish up by this I want to put this to the side just for a moment I know we're in church I'm not supposed to put the Bible to the side let me just take the religious side out of this for a second and I just I want to think I just want to and this is this is kind of how I would start with someone that doesn't know Jesus in terms of talking about the values the family relational values of Jesus and I would I would I would kind of put the you know scripture verse verse and chapter kind of thing away and I would just simply ask think about these ideals the values of Jesus from a place of just simply what's the best way forward think about this I've never and I'm sure you've never met a man or a woman who's been through a divorce who says you know I hope my son goes through a divorce to be so great have you know I've never heard a single mom or a single dad say you know I hope I hope my kids are single parents one day it's been great I've never heard someone that's gone through the the the pain of the aftermath of an affair go I hope I hope my son get has an affair one day man has been good for me not one not one why because we all know there's an ideal there is an ideal to our relationships we all know it we all know that there's a better way if you stop talking to your parents if you haven't picked up the phone in years and just said hello or asked for forgiveness you don't think I hope my kids will stop talking to me one day because we know there's a better way there's an ideal and we're not gonna just kind of put the ideal because it makes us feel bad to the side because God wants the best for us and he's not trying to make us fail he's not trying to make us feel condemned he wants the best for us in our relationships so as we lean into these ideals I want you to succumb with a open heart open mind to all that God might say to you personally of how to apply these truths how to how to take servant leadership and think about your relationships and how do you come approach those relationships from a servant aspect rather than the domineering aspect how do you come and think about it's not about me it's about you it's not about my once and what I what I need in this relationship is about what I what I might be able to provide in this relationship and live with the tension right that the that all brings because I refuse to change God's ideals for my real Jesus would you help us to hear your spirit through this series and to not be not to feel condemned or judged by our brokenness help us to take comfort in the fact that there's not one exemplary family in the Bible nor in this church we're all growing we're all trying to figure it out we're all wanting to understand how your way impacts our way how how your ideals impacts the real of our experiences and relationships we don't want to just just help us not to become numb to your way because it's so hard sometimes help us to lean in help us to find our way back to wholeness and health in our relationships without condemnation help us to live with the tension of what's real with what what you have is ideal just keep your eyes closed for just a moment and I not even look gonna look around at this but if you are experiencing right now brokenness in your relationships or in your marriage or with kids or with friends maybe it's a boss or a co-worker there's any brokenness in your relationships that you once you want the ideals of Jesus the values of Jesus to impact those relationships through this series would you simply acknowledge that to yourself into God by and I'm not looking either just raise your hand and just acknowledge that God there's brokenness that exists in my life and I'm inviting your work your way your teaching to have impact in those relationships in those areas of need in those areas of brokenness in those areas of loss that Jesus you would have your way in my life and she would help me find my way again not just for my sake not just for our sake but for the next generation that they would see that there's a better way and that they would run to you Jesus because you have the answers to life and to relationships we thank you for that in Jesus name Amen hey the prayer teams available if I hold any wounds pulled off any scabs and uncovered any wounds would you would you not leave without getting some prayer today our prayer teams are availa to pray with you over issues of brokenness in relationships or if there's others in your family that you want to have prayed for that would be great too so the prayer team is available over at our prayer wall next week is Mother's Day super excited I'm gonna talk about submission I'm so glad you laughed right then I'm so glad I was like who but seriously I am and it's gonna it's I mean so it's so compelling you guys and it's not it's not wives submit to your husbands it's not or we're not going there submit to one another it's it's it's a powerful powerful principle and I'm not sure why God had me doing on Mother's Day but I'm really excited about it opportunity to honor our moms and and so yeah we're really looking forward to that opportunity you are the you are like the I don't know the glue the glue of our family structure or society in many ways and we want to really honor you and celebrate with you and and serve you well and so I hope you all can come back for that it's gonna be great and look forward to it whether that got less you guys you have a great week [Applause]

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