Sept. 1st, 2014 | Series: The Beautiful Journey

Sermon Content

Let’s pray.

Father, would you reveal to us your glory as we’ve just sung? The glory of the one and only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, full of grace and truth. Lord, through your scriptures, would you reveal to us The living, breathing word, Jesus. We really believe if we see him, we’ll be changed. So show us Christ. Show us Christ.

It’s in his name that we pray. Amen. Amen. Let’s be honest for a moment. Which one of us, as if we’re not gonna be honest the rest of the service Who in this room hasn’t wanted to, as fast as they can, run down a steep hill chasing a wheel,

Really, I read this article a little while back. I think it happens every May in this little town in Southwest England. A number of people, a few hundred people get together. They stand at the top of a hill. Somebody rolls down a large wheel of cheese and people barrel down the hill. After it, trying to catch said wheel of cheese, I can see from your faces.

Some of you don’t believe me, but let me assure you that this happens, it happens every year. Now this is the beginning. You can see people, you can even see the little wheel of cheese. They’re running after it. They’re chasing after it. And you might see some people getting injured. And if you think you see that, you’re probably right.

Because every year, of the few hundred people who barrel down the hill trying to catch the Wheel of Cheese, a number of them get seriously injured. This last year, somebody broke vertebrae in their spine, there was somebody that broke their leg, there was somebody that broke an ankle. But let’s be honest, it’s worth it, isn’t it?

To be the first to get the Wheel of Cheese. When I talk to people about Being a follower of Jesus. I think this is the picture a lot of people get in their mind. See, cause here’s what I talk to people, when I talk to people, I get people that say back to me, I am, I’m a follower of Jesus but I’m frustrated.

I’m a follower of Jesus, but I feel like I, I work and I work and I don’t really, I feel like nobody says this, but what they describe is I feel like I’m working my tail off and I’m just getting hurt and I feel guilty and there’s shame and I feel like I’m chasing a wheel of cheese down a hill.

Last week we started this series we’re calling the beautiful journey. We’re talking over the next few weeks About what it looks like to be and to become more and more the type of people that Jesus intended us to be. And when we talk about transformation, typically what we think about is trying harder.

And for some of you, when we talked about transformation for the first time in this passage last week, maybe It felt a little bit like running down a hill at light speed trying to catch a wheel of cheese that, let’s be honest, very few people ever get to.

I talk to followers of Jesus all the time and they say, I try to read my Bible, but I just really don’t get to it a whole lot. And when I do, it’s just words on a page. And I try to pray. And I try to serve, and I try, and I attempt to do this, and it’s like I’m running down this hill, and I’m frustrated, and I’m stalled out, and maybe if I’m not stalled out, I’m just uncontrollably barreling down the goal nowhere.

I wonder if we’re going about it all wrong. Is this what God intended for us? A list of principles to try to implement? A task list to check off and do? Is this what the all good, gracious, loving king and creator of it all intended you and I for? Barreling down the road? The hill chasing the cheese or have we gotten it wrong?

Have we got it all wrong? Maybe this isn’t what?

May I propose to you that instead of the cheese, great cheese chase vision of becoming the type of people that God longs for us to become, that I think that the journey of following Jesus as it’s described in scripture is far more like water skiing behind a speedboat than it is chasing a wheel of cheese down a hill.

And here’s what I mean by that. Here’s what I mean by that. If you look at this picture, what is misplaced effort. And if you watch somebody water ski, what is them, and there is effort involved. Make no mistake about it and a lot of people they hear a message of gospel, they hear a message of grace, and they automatically, It doesn’t involve any effort.

It’s wrong, it does. But the effort is different than running and chasing. The effort is put into, like when somebody is water skiing, the effort is put into posture. The effort is put into staying in tune with the boat that gives the energy, that drives the course, that provides everything you need. The effort is holding on and keeping the right thing in view.

I’d like to propose to you this morning maybe, a different picture of what the Christian life is intended to be.

Maybe, just maybe, Jesus is better than chasing a wheel of cheese down a hill. Maybe, just maybe, the way that Jesus taught his disciples to live and to follow after him and to grow and to be transformed is better than simply just trying. Trying to read your Bible, trying to pray more, trying to You fill in the blank in this beautiful passage that we’re going to look at.

Second Corinthians chapter three, you can open there. What Paul is going to write to the Corinthian church is a new vision for the Christian life, a new vision for what it looks like to follow after Jesus, a new vision for what it looks like to grow as. What we would call a disciple of Christ, a new vision that goes beyond just simply trying harder but that’s positioning ourselves to receive from the almighty creator of it all.

Here’s what we did last week. Let me catch you up if you haven’t, if you weren’t with us and maybe this is your first Sunday, we’re glad you’re here. What we said was this beautiful journey that God longs to take his people on of transformation requires that we start with the right things in our Proverbial backpack.

It requires that we start with a new covenant understanding of what it means to be a follower of Christ. So if you were here last week here’s what I told you. I told you have four things that are brand new about you. Okay? You have a new heart and a new nature. Okay? You have a new sufficiency.

His name is Jesus. You have a new right, righteousness. His name is also Jesus. And you have a new freedom. So that’s our starting place. That’s what we have at the starting line of this proverbial race of what it looks like to follow after the heart of Jesus. That’s where we start. It’s a great beginning, isn’t it?

I’d argue it’s a beautiful beginning. And here’s what we see the scriptures teaching. Second Corinthians chapter 3, verse 15. Paul writes to the Corinthian church and he says this, Yes, to this day, whenever Moses is read, now he’s talking about the law that Moses received on Mount Sinai from the finger, hand of God himself.

Whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts. So there’s a way to read the scripture where we don’t read it rightly. There’s a way to Read the scripture where we don’t actually engage the God of the universe, which is the very purpose of the word, verse 16. But, so here’s the way to read it rightly.

But, when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Think of the picture of a wedding day pronouncement, husband and wife, and the husband takes the veil up over the bride’s head. Now they see each other face to face, nothing standing in between them. This is the image Paul gives of the follower of Jesus.

You stand before your God, veil removed, face to face, intimate connection with the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. When one turns to the Lord, when one has faith, the veil’s taken away. And now, the Lord is spirit, verse 17, and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is, what? Freedom. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there’s freedom.

We can see Jesus, we can walk with Jesus, we can enjoy Jesus, and all of that potential leads us to the place that I want us to set anchor. This morning, verse 18 says this. And we all the we all here is people who by faith have unveiled face. They can see the glory formed into the same image.

From one degree to the next. Looking beautiful this morning. We said last week that one of God’s intentions with us is that He would make us glorious people. That He would give His glory to us to make us more and more beautiful. This is the journey of God. Transformation. It’s the journey of following after Jesus.

It is the beautiful journey. But let me spend a moment to point out to you, because this is really important. I think this is where most Christians, followers of Jesus, get off course and start to feel stalled out. They start to feel frustrated and they start to feel guilty. Let me point out your part, and let me point out God’s part.

Your part. As we behold the glory of God,

are being trans. Here’s your part. Behold the glory of God.

John chapter 1 verse 14, John writes we have seen his glory, God’s glory, the glory of the one and only begotten Son of the Father who is full of grace and truth. 2 Corinthians chapter 4 verse 6 says that for God who said let light shine out of darkness has shown in our hearts Okay, so he’s shining in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, to give you an understanding of what God’s glory is.

In the face of Jesus Christ, he says, here’s your job. See Jesus. Behold Jesus. Here’s God’s job. Transform you.

Your role. See Jesus. God’s job. Make you beautiful people. Make you beautiful people. Let me say it as clearly as I can this morning. The catalyst for all Christian growth and transformation. Transcription by CastingWords The

catalyst for all Christian growth and transformation is seeing Jesus. It’s the only and ultimate goal of the follower of Jesus. It’s if we have to set our arrow towards something as followers of Jesus, here’s what it’s not. Okay, here’s what it’s not. It’s not, Lord, let me serve you. It’s not, Lord, let me conquer the sin in my life and get a little bit more right with you.

It’s not, let me be a better husband, be a better father, be a better wife, be a better brother, sister, student. Our goal, as we pull back the arrow of our life, the only goal we have is to see Jesus.

And the Christian life sometimes feels like chasing a wheel of cheese down a hill. Because our goal is totally off. And you want transformation in your life? See Jesus. You want to be a better husband? See the goal is the problem isn’t that you’re a crummy husband. The problem is you don’t see Jesus.

You want to be a better employee? See Jesus. You want to be a better Christian? Whatever that means. You want to be a better Christian? See Jesus. See Jesus. It’s really interesting. There’s these new studies that are actually looking at the brain. And they’re coming out because we’ve become the iPhone generation.

And we are wonderful at multitasking. And the problem with that is we think it makes us more productive. The studies are revealing that actually multitasking makes you far less productive. See it. I would submit to you that spiritual multitasking does the same thing. When our goal is, God I want to serve you.

And God I want to be a better husband. And God I want to be victorious over the sin of my life. And God I want to do all these things. I think we start to divide the focus. Maybe it starts to feel like chasing a wheel of cheese down a hill. And we start to divide the focus. And I think what God wants to bring us back to this morning is the catalyst for all Christian growth.

And that’s seeing Jesus.

I love the way that an old evangelist, Roy Hessian, said it in his wonderful book, We Would See Jesus. He said this, We have since learned, however, That we don’t need to itemize the Christian life. It’s enough to see Jesus and seeing him. We’re convicted of sin. We’re broken. We’re cleansed. We’re filled with the spirit set free from bondage revealed.

Each aspect of the Christian experience is made possible just by seeing. Wow. You go Paulson, that’s pretty simple. Yes. And amen. It is simple.

And yet we lose sight of it so easily. Don’t we? You may be looking at me going, really? That’s it. That’s the goal. And I would affirm to you. Yes, it is. Listen to the Psalmist in Psalm chapter 27, verse four. He says one thing. I’ve asked of the Lord. Not one thing of many, one thing I’ve asked of the Lord.

And I’ll seek after that thing, that I might dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze, to set the lens of my heart upon the beauty of the Lord. To inquire of Him, to meet with Him in His holy temple. He goes that’s my goal. It’s my goal. I want to see the Lord. But Lord Paul in the book of Colossians chapter three verses one and two, after explaining the salvation that we have as followers of Jesus, he tells us then what we should now do.

He says, if then you’ve been raised with Christ and you have, if you’re a follower of Jesus, then seek the things that are above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds, set the gaze of your mind on Christ. Set your minds on things not that are above, not on things that are on earth.

There’s this point. See Jesus. See Jesus. The author of Hebrews. I love the way that the author of Hebrews unpacks for us the power of seeing Jesus, which we’ll get to in, in just a moment here. But he writes, Therefore, since we’re surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight.

And sin, which clings so closely. So he’s going to say, all right let’s lay aside the sin that just gets its claws in us and prevents us from walking in the fullness of all that Jesus died to bring us. And he would go, okay great. How do we do that? Cause that’s a good goal, isn’t it?

Yeah, it is, but it’s a by product of a better goal. Let me show it to you. Which clings so closely and let us run the race with endurance, the race that set out for us looking to Jesus. Looking to Jesus, the founder, the author and the perfecter of our,

how does he say we get loose of sin? Oh, we look to Jesus. We see Jesus. See, I’m often asked because the message of grace has gotten so deep within my soul. I cannot shake it as many Sundays as God’s giving me breath on earth and calls me to preach his word. It will be at the center point of what I tell you.

One of the problems that people see is Ryan, if you just preach grace. What are people going to do if you just preach grace? Does it mean that we just sit back and? Observe? I if we’re not supposed to chase the wheel of cheese down the hill then what are we supposed to do? Dallas Willard, I think, brilliantly said it when he said that, that grace is not opposed to effort.

It’s opposed to earning, he said. So the question then becomes, where does the effort of the Christian life get poured into? What is our job? What should we do? Give me something to do, Paulson. I’m glad you asked.

See Jesus.

That’s where your effort should go. Seeing Him. We get the focal point, our goal, as it were, of our life and the byproducts mixed up all the time.

See, victory over sin is a byproduct of seeing Jesus. Obedience is a byproduct of seeing Jesus. Fruit of the Spirit is a byproduct of seeing Jesus and walking with Him. Jesus. Many of the things that we focused on are actually byproducts, which makes us out of sync when we live that way with the way that God intended us to live.

It feels like we’re running down a steep hill chasing a wheel of cheese. And I just want this morning in a real, hopefully simple way to point you back to the point because here’s the deal. When we behold the glory of God, he transforms us. Into the image of Christ. There’s nothing better you can do with your life friend.

There’s nothing more You can do with your life. There’s not a this isn’t jv christianity. This is the prose Okay, it’s not like all right paulson. I saw jesus then what see him more clearly journey deeper If you think you’ve graduated from this, I fear that you probably don’t know the lord

I want to ask and answer three questions this morning in the remaining 15 minutes that I have You’re like, was that intro? I guess so. I guess that was an introduction. I want to ask and answer three questions this morning in the rest of our time. What do we see when we see Jesus? How does seeing Jesus, and we’ll talk about what we see when we see him, how does that transform us?

And three, really practically, how do we see him? How do we see him? So three questions. What do we see when we see Jesus? How does seeing Jesus transform us? And how do we see him? Question number one, what do we see when we see Jesus? First, let’s just back up. What the book of second Corinthians is going to say is that this is a spirit empowered, Seeing with the gaze of the heart.

That’s why the veil of the heart is removed The spirit allows us to see Jesus to see him lifted high and I want to give you a number of things that we see When we see him first off, here’s what we see when we see Jesus we see our sin

You’re going, that wasn’t what I expected you to say. We see our sin, and we see our sin carried to the hill of Calvary. So John, in the first chapter of John, verse 29, says, Behold, the Lamb of God. As in, hey, look at him. Look at Jesus, the lamb of God who takes away the sin. See, a lot of people have a hard time looking at Jesus because the implication of Jesus having to come is that you and I were people in need of rescue.

And it’s true. You were, I was, we are. And when we see Jesus, we see him carrying our sin and taking it to the hill of Calvary. I love the way that Roy Eshen put it in his great book. This is a lengthy quote, but stick with me. I think it’s really important for us to grasp. And he says this, he says, whenever a sense of sin lies upon our conscience, two persons, it seems fight to get a hold of that conviction.

The devil and the Holy Spirit. Okay, just a quick timeout. That’s true in you, friend. There’s a battle waging in your soul. Who are you going to let get a hold of that conviction? When you see Jesus, you see your need. Who’s going to get a hold of it?

Oh, this is awesome. The devil wants to get a hold of it in order to take us up to Sinai, and there condemn us and bring us into bondage. The Holy Spirit, however, wants to take us in our sin to Calvary, there to bring us through the door into peace and freedom. These two places represent for us two covenants, one from Mount Sinai, which gendereth or bringeth about bondage.

The covenant of law and the other the covenant of grace fully accomplished and sealed for us by the death of the Lord Jesus on Calvary. Fully sealed for you on Calvary. The devil seeks to take us to one. The Holy Spirit speaks to take us to.

And when you see Jesus, you see Him. You see your sin. You see Him carrying your sin. Not to condemn you. He says, I didn’t come to condemn the world, but I came to save the world. And when you gaze upon Him, you need to see that. Second thing, here’s what you see His blood that was shed on your behalf.

When we see Jesus, when the gaze of our heart is set on Him, you see the blood that He shed on Calvary’s hill on your behalf. Ephesians chapter 2, verse 13. Makes this wonderful claim. Paul writing to the Ephesian church and he says, but now in Christ you who were once far off, you’ve been brought near by the blood.

So you see him walking, you see him carrying your sin. You see his blood that was shed and he declares that blood, his perfect life given for you has brought you near to God. So if you think you’re far from God, It’s not God’s fault. If you think you’re far from God, here’s the problem. Here’s the problem.

You’re not seeing Jesus

because in Jesus, we see that his blood has brought us near. Revelation chapter 12 says that we overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. His blood’s enough for me. It covers me. And see, here’s the thing. Some of you brought condemnation on your shoulders through this door. And I want to point you to Jesus today.

Because in Jesus, he says, I paid for that already, whatever that is, whatever happened last night, last week, last year, whatever, it’s in the back of your mind. And if you see him, here’s what you’re going to see him saying, I already took care of that. I’ve moved on. Will you?

Jesus walking to the cross says, when I’m lifted up, when I’m lifted up on the cross, I will draw all people to myself. So

when we see Jesus, we see. When we see Jesus, we see our sin carried to Calvary. We see his blood shed down that cleanses us. And third, we see the grace in which we now currently live.

Romans chapter 5 verses 1 and 2 read like this. He says, Therefore, since we’ve been justified by our faith, remember, this is the same faith that takes the veil off of our eyes and allows us to see Jesus. He says, We have peace with God. We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him, we also, through Jesus, we also, Obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand.

When? Now. Right now. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory when you see Jesus. You not only see your sin, you not only see his blood, but you also see the fact that right now, at this present time, I stand under the waterfall of the beautiful, glorious grace of Jesus.

Let that soak in for a second. Right now,

not someday, not when you get it all together. See, here’s the problem with focusing on obedience, focusing on what you can do, focusing on conquering your sins, focusing on trying to be a better fill in the blank. It takes your eyes off of the reality that right now, you stand in grace. His loving kindness and favor towards you.

I love

the story of John Bunyan, the great hymn writer. And, eventual preacher, after he got out of the slave trading industry, he preached grace. We sing his song, Amazing Grace, often. He says, it saved a wretch like me. And he just kept preaching grace. He preached grace so much, John Bunyan did, that the other preachers started to push back and they told him.

They feared that people would start to live however they wanted to. They said, if you keep preaching free salvation in Jesus based on his performance and not ours, Christians are going to do whatever they want. Bunyan’s response was beautiful. He insisted, if I keep preaching free salvation in Jesus based on his performance and not ours, Christians are going to do whatever he wants, not whatever they want.

I love the way, the great. Preacher John, Jonathan Edwards, John Edwards. He and I are on a first name basis. Jonathan Edwards Put it when he said a believer still has plenty of business at the throne of grace friend You need to camp out there. In fact his business there increases rather than diminishes So when we see Jesus, we see our sin We see his blood we see the grace in which we now stand and then we see this glorious beautiful invitation to the throne of grace It’s an invitation whereby Jesus says, come to me and find rest for your soul.

Come find what it looks like to live in the way that I designed you to live. Learn from me, he says. Matthew chapter 11, verse 28 through 30. Jesus says, Oh Jerusalem, how I longed to gather you as a mother hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were unwilling. to come. He paints this picture of an invitation for Jesus.

Come and I’ll protect you. Come and I’ll feed you. Come and I’ll be sufficient for you. When you see Jesus, that’s what him saying, come to me, find life, find wholeness, find freedom, find peace, find joy, find love. Come to me and find it. You see this beautiful, glorious invitation. Come and rest.

Abide in me.

Maybe it can just be summarized in one word. If you’re like if it can’t pulse him, why’d you spend 15 minutes telling us what we see when we see Jesus? Because all this is buried under this one word.

If you see anything else when you see Jesus, if you see condemnation, I can assure you, you don’t see the Jesus of the Bible. If you have faith in him. If you see despair, you don’t see Jesus. If you see work really hard, if that’s what you hear, you don’t see Jesus.

His invitation is way better than that. Alright second question and I’m well aware that I spent most of my time on the first. Second question is, how does seeing Jesus change us? Let me answer it by giving you a truth that’s key, true about everybody in this room. We worship our way into sin, and we worship our way out.

And here’s what seeing Jesus does. It re orients our life to where Jesus is at the center, and he’s at the center of the whole universe, you know that, right? That right now, there’s a gathering around the throne of God, the Lamb who was slain, and the declaration is Holy is the Lord God Almighty, the one who was and who is to come.

So the whole universe operates on, around this person. principle, Jesus is Lord. And when you and I see Jesus and we see our sin and we see his redemption and we see the grace in which we stand and we receive the invitation, what it does is it starts to recalibrate our life to the truth of the universe, that Jesus is Lord.

And as we do that, we start to operate in the way that God designed us. To live we worship him alone. See a lack of worship is a lack of seeing

It’s a lack of seeing the exalted lamb of god who took away your sin Gave you grace in which you stand extended to you a beautiful invitation. How do you not worship if you see that? How isn’t that the theme? of your life. The song that you sing. See, the problem is when we get to working for God, it actually diverts us from the very invitation that will transform our soul.

Just see me. Out of that flows a myriad of beautiful things, but that’s the goal. That’s the goal. If we have one arrow, what I’m trying to do, what I’m pouring my effort into is, I just want to see Jesus. Because seeing him just transforms our soul, transforms our heart. It takes that new heart that God’s given you upon faith in Jesus, the veil’s removed, and it starts to plant seeds in it.

As you see him, you see his redemption, you see his grace, it starts to plant seeds in your soul that grow to be the fruit of the Christian life. The fruit of the Spirit. What’s your role in growing fruit? See Jesus. See Him as glorious. See Him as beautiful. Walk with the Spirit. That’s the goal.

And you go Paulson, that’s way too easy. Yes. Yes. So easy that most of us never get there. You want to know how to be free from sin in your life? The Bible tells you. The Bible tells you. It says this in Romans chapter 6 verse 14, For sin will have no dominion, no rule, no reign, no power over you since.

You are no longer under law, but you’re under grace. See Jesus. And the chains start to come off. You start to get set free when you see him.

So how do we see Jesus? Let me just give you two central ways. This morning, and if you’ve been around church at all, you probably know exactly what I’m going to tell you. How do you see Jesus? Jesus through the Holy Scriptures. The Scriptures reveal to us the Word of God, Jesus Christ.

See, here’s the problem, though. I said that, and many of you go, man, that doesn’t work. Tried that, been there. I did Bible in the year, I did Bible in 90 days, I’ve done Bible in a decade. I’ve done all the Bible you can do, Paulson. But it didn’t work. Can I tell you, most of us read the Bible way wrong. We read the Bible to get through a checklist of verses to read in a day.

We read the Bible to find principles to apply to our life. We read the Bible to learn. Can I tell you why you should read the Bible? To see Jesus. And here’s what the Holy Spirit loves to do. He loves to take the words of the scriptures, make them alive in your heart, so that they just explode, and Jesus, and .

That’s the goal. So why should you read the Bible in the morning? Will you guys queue up that video? Why should you read the Bible in the morning? Because I think seeing Jesus is a pretty significant portion of your day. I think it may just set The tone for the whole entire rest of your day and lucky for you, here’s what Jesus says about his scriptures.

He says that all the scriptures, the law and the prophets, everything points to him. It all points to him. It’s all about him. I want you to check out this video. It’s a video that we put together of Wiebe, whose method and mode of studying scripture confirmed what we see. In two Corinthians chapter three, will you guys roll that for me?

One of my memories, early memories as a Christian was being in a Bible study that I probably was being led by a inter varsity staff member, and he was asking these great questions and helping us to get into the scripture, into the passage, into the text, and I remember thinking, I wanna be able to do that.

I, I wanna be able to do that for myself as well as to be able to help other people do that,

continuing to hammer away. I love. Martin Luther’s description. I beat importunately on the book of Romans to see what St. Paul wanted and that beating importunately, I think it’s such a great image of how we need to approach the scripture.

Go is there’s a lot of goals that fall short. There are a lot of goals that we think about. I want to know the Bible better. I want to learn how to adjust my life. Those are really good things. David, let me just, since we’re talking about scripture. I would say the goal is what David talked about in Psalm 27, verse 4.

David says, One thing I have asked from the Lord, and that I shall seek, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to meditate in his temple. You read that and, sometimes you can read it without choking up. You read that, that’s verse four.

If you read the first three verses The evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell, A host encamped against me, the war rise against me. David’s in a terrible situation. His life is really bad right here. So all these terrible situations that David is in, one thing I’ve asked of the Lord, that he would get me out of this mess.

One thing I’ve asked of the Lord, that he would deliver me from these enemies. Somebody says, he says, I’m in the midst of a really horrible situation, I just want to gaze on the beauty of the Lord. That’s the goal.

I think this continues, I think this is what we’ll be doing for eternity. When David says, gazing on the beauty of the Lord, Jonathan Edwards, the Puritan, said, If God is infinite, and we are finite, we will never get to the end of Him. We will never see all there is. I love the phrase in C. S. Lewis The Narnia Chronicles, further up and further in.

We will spend eternity going further up,

further up and further in, of, sorry, of seeing that beauty, of seeing the delightfulness of God. That’s what joy is.

That’s a big part of why we should study Scripture. Not to be good Christians, or not to be more knowledgeable, or not to win arguments, or not to have better outlines. Not necessarily bad things, but they fall so short. It’s there’s a lot better. There’s a lot better reason to study Scripture.

I could say the same thing about prayer. We’re going to have a prayer service Friday night, this Friday, September 26th, starting at 7 o’clock until midnight. That sounds like a long time, but our goal is to gaze on Jesus. As Mike reminded us, it’s what we’ll do for all of eternity. So I might submit to you that five hours isn’t too long to do that.

When you understand the goal, I’ve seen Jesus, all the disciplines, spiritual disciplines start to take a little bit of a different flavor. You serve for different reasons. You sit in silence for different reasons. You fellowship for different reasons. You fast for different reasons. You celebrate differently because Jesus.

is the goal. And here’s the truth of the matter. You guys go back to my PowerPoint for one last slide. Here’s the truth of the matter, friends. This is if you’re following along, great. Seeing Jesus as the end or the goal is actually what brings us to the beginning of the Christian life. Everything else flows out of that.

We have this statement in our mission statement. It says that we, our goal our reason for being is to lift high the name of Jesus, to glorify God by making disciples through gospel transformation, life giving community, visible faith. What I’ve tried to do for you over the last few minutes is explain to you what we mean when we say gospel transformation.

Seeing Jesus changes. everything, including you. Let’s pray. Let’s pray.

Jesus, we lift high your name in this place today. Would you set the gaze of our hearts fully on the glory of God as displayed in the face of Jesus Christ. He is our goal. He is our beginning point. He is our end point. It’s what we long for with our lives, that we might gaze upon the glory, the beauty of the Lord, that we might see Him lifted high.

And that by doing that, Jesus, you might bring transformation in our lives, as you promised that you will. But let us get our job right. Let us get our effort put in the right place. Oh, that we might see Jesus. Yes, Lord. Yes. Amen. And amen.