A Jesus Fish on your Back
What would it be like to live life with a Jesus Fish on your back?
“A Jesus Fish on your Back”
a. Good morning. My name is David Sorn. Pastor of Renovation Church
b. We are doing 1 more stand alone-message today
b.i. Next week: To coincide with the re-launch of our house groups, we are starting a new series called, “Radical Grace.”
b.i.1. Grace is something that I don’t think we understand very well on multiple different levels and at multiple different stages of our faith, so I think it’s going to be an exciting series
II. IT’S GOOD, AND I WANT TO TELL YOU ABOUT IT!
a. This morning though, I want to talk about something I’ve been thinking about for a while
a.i. And it’s related to something that’s deeply ingrained on my heart: reaching other people with the good news of Jesus Christ
b. If you’ve been at Renovation Church for a month or two, I hope our 3 core values are starting to at least slightly pop out at you
b.i. 1) Community (HGs) 2) Encountering God (authentic service), 3) Evangelism (reaching people)
b.i.1. These are 3 things that when people ask you: “What’s this new church all about that you are going to…that you could list
c. And this morning…I want to talk about the third one: Reaching people
c.i. Because I think if God has moved in your life…you’ve realized He’s real, and He’s been good to you…you probably have a desire for other people to know that goodness too
c.i.1. It would be weird if you didn’t
c.ii. When we experience something that is good, it’s a natural reaction to want to tell someone else
c.ii.1. For instance, how many of you saw the movie, “The Blind Side?”
c.ii.1.a. I still haven’t seen it (gonna rent it), but when it came out, I hadn’t really even heard of it, but they say, it was one of the biggest “word of mouth” movies of the last couple of years
c.ii.1.a.i. Seriously, 10+ different ppl have told me to go see the movie
c.ii.2. Or, remember 10 years ago or so, when Krispy Kreme came to MN?
c.ii.2.a. One of the first one’s opened in Maple Grove, and I was at college in St. Cloud at the time, and you would hear about people who had them while home on break, and then all of a sudden all of these people were driving down there
c.ii.2.a.i. For something not good for you, but good
c.iii. Because when you experience anything that’s good we naturally have an inward desire to let other people know about it
III. WEIRD EVANGELISM
a. But, when it comes to Jesus, it’s kind of a different situation right
a.i. Because if you told someone to go see “The Blind Side,” no one is going to say, “I’m so offended you told me to go see a feel-good movie!”
a.i.1. But w/ Jesus, it’s different.
a.i.1.a. Just spoke to a woman this week who told me that she mentioned something to her sister about God being able to help her in her life and her sister didn’t speak to her for a month
a.i.2. But, if you tell someone to go try a donut with 1,000 calories, they’re not going to cut off all relations with you
b. It’s a whole different ball-game when it comes to talking about Jesus
b.i. So, we’ve come up with some different ideas on how to do it…and some of them are terrible
b.i.1. I heard a story once about a young boy whose grandma was a bit of a fundamentalist, but she really wanted people to know Jesus…so she made her grandson ride along w/ her while she did what she called, “Tract Bombing”
b.i.1.a. You know what a tract is? (explain)
b.i.2. So they would take 100’s of these, and drive into crowded streets downtown and she would make her grandson throw hundreds of them at once out at the crowds and then they would speed off…tract bombs
b.ii. Another interesting idea to me is the “Jesus Fish on the back of the car” to mark you are a Christian
b.ii.1. (Show plain Jesus Fish picture)
b.ii.2. I’m not saying it’s wrong, or even a bad idea, I just think it’s an interesting one
b.ii.2.a. I don’t know if you know this or not, but the fish was a key symbol for Christians…
b.ii.2.b. For multiple reasons,
b.ii.2.b.i. Jesus was a “fisher of men”
b.ii.2.b.ii. He multiplied the fish and the loaves
b.ii.2.b.iii. And a big reason was the greek word for fish: was ichthus, which Christians made into an acronym for (it’s in greek) Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior”
b.ii.2.b.iv. (Show Greek Jesus Fish)
b.ii.3. But the Jesus fish on the car thing is interesting to me for two reasons
b.ii.3.a. 1) It’s not bad…but (maybe I’m a cynic), but idk if it does a whole lot
b.ii.3.a.i. And I guess maybe there are situations where someone’s crying out for God and then they see a Jesus fish, and change their life…but I’m guessing it doesn’t happen a lot
b.iii. But the more interesting thing to me is how many times I hear Christians say, “I would never put a Jesus fish on the back of my car”
b.iii.1. Cuz you all drive crazy!! Or at least you’re not perfect
b.iii.2. You cut people off sometimes, maybe you ride their bumper, some of you drive too slow, you don’t use your blinker enough, sometimes you even get in accidents and hit other people’s cars
b.iii.2.a. And we know we’re going to make people mad on the road, and the last thing we want is for them to get mad at Jesus too
b.iii.2.a.i. So we forego the whole Jesus Fish emblem on our cars
IV. A FLOATING JESUS FISH
a. And I think there’s something really telling about that
a.i. Not because the Jesus Fish is an amazingly effective evangelism tool, but because I think it’s a telling statement about us
b. We’re simply not interested in “always, 100% of the time” being a witness for Jesus Christ
b.i. Please don’t hear this wrong: I’m NOT telling you to go buy a Jesus Fish (I don’t care if you have a Jesus fish. This message has 0% to do w/ whether you should have a Jesus Fish on your car)
c. It’s just that I find it SO interesting that SO many of us wouldn’t want one (not because we think they’re dorky, or we think they’re ineffective)…we wouldn’t want one because then we would have to be a witness for Jesus Christ 100% of the time in the car.
c.i. And THAT’s what I find interesting…
d. I have a friend who bought a used car with a Jesus fish on the back, and he just said to me honestly, “I don’t know what to do because now I’m going to have to drive differently if there’s a Jesus fish on there, BUT on the flip side, I’m going to feel pretty bad chiseling Jesus’ fish off my car too
d.i. And that got me thinking about this whole thing…
d.i.1. What if, the Jesus fish (which on your car marks you are a Christian), what if it wasn’t just an emblem you could buy at some gas station for $5 and put on your car…
d.ii. What if (and think about this) whenever a person became a Christian a symbol of the Jesus Fish automatically appeared and floated behind your back for the rest of your life?
d.ii.1. You know those Arby’s commercials where the Arby’s logo floats above the person’s head? (I’m thinking Arby’s)
d.ii.1.a.i. Show Arby’s Picture
d.ii.1.b. Just picture a Jesus Fish Symbol floating behind every Christian’s back for the rest of their lives
e. And now ask yourself…how would you live differently?
V. THE PASSAGE
a. Because really, that’s how we’re called to live
a.i. I want to take a look at important verse in the Bible
a.i.1. An important and challenging one
b. (Colossians 3:17) – NLT
c. 17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
c.i. Whatever you do or say, do it as a representative
c.i.1. Those are tough words
c.ii. The interesting reality is though: A lot of people don’t know you’re a representative of Christ…because, just like everyone else, we can compartmentalize our life
c.ii.1. We only have to be a representative at church, or with our Christian relatives or parents
c.iii. But imagine with me a whole day or having the Jesus Fish symbol floating behind your back
c.iii.1. You wake up, drive to work, stay at home, get to work, drive home (listen to), what you watch, what you do on the weekends (places you go)
d. Well in real life, we don’t have a Jesus fish on our back
d.i. And sadly, because we don’t have anything like that, we only live and speak as a representative of Jesus Christ…sometimes
e. But if we’re going to create change in this world…if we’re going to let other people know about how GOOD God is, then we better start living like there’s actually a Jesus Fish on our back
e.i. Because, for most of you, a lot of people DO know you are a Christian, (maybe even more than you want in some settings…if you were brutally honest), and if we as Christ-followers, if we as Renovation Church, are going to bring change to our friends and family, we are going to have to face up to the fact, that for a lot of people, you are the closest thing they know to Jesus
e.i.1. They don’t know Jesus, but they do know you, and they know you’re trying to follow him, so for them, YOU are the closest thing
e.i.1.a. Donald Miller says something really interesting in his book, “Blue Like Jazz.” He basically says, “For most people, their image of Jesus is just a conglomeration/a combination of all the Christians they know put together, YET, a lot of non-Christians feel, when they think about their image of Jesus, that if they were to meet Him, that He wouldn’t like them. “
e.i.2. And that should break your heart
e.i.2.a. Because God is desperately in love with every human being and wants to rescue every single person.
e.i.2.a.i. No matter where they’ve been. No matter what they’ve done.
a. We have to be serious about living for Jesus Christ in EVERYTHING we say, in EVERYTHING we do.
a.i. Life is short. It’s a blink of an eye. This is why you’re here. This is what you’re to train for. This life is just a testing ground for the real thing.
a.i.1. We don’t have time to compartmentalize our faith and take months off at a time
b. But if you want to really stand out for Christ (and notice it’s not just in words…this is not talking about street evangelism here), it’s talking about your life…and if you want to really stand out…and you feel God pulling on your heart right now…saying, stand out…get serious about this…get going on this…
b.i. Then you better make sure your motivations are right
b.i.1. Because if it’s just about you trying harder, it’s gonna last all of about 2 days
c. This passage “Whatever you do or say, do so as a representative of Jesus Christ” (this verse is worthy of being on your door mantle, your screen saver, your phone), but it doesn’t come out of nowhere…it comes from a longer passage in the book of Colossians
c.i. Let’s look at the beginning of it
c.ii. (Colossians 3:1-5) – NLT
c.iii. 1 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. 3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory. 5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world
c.iii.1. The list goes on, and then he mentions the positive things we should strive for as well
c.iii.1.a. READ the rest of this tonight…or tomorrow
c.iii.1.a.i. Start reading the Bible again in Colossians
c.iii.2. And after Paul lists all of these things, he tops of the whole section with that great saying, “Whatever you do or say, do so as a representative of Jesus Christ
c.iii.3. BECAUSE YOU HAVE BEEN RAISED TO NEW LIFE by Jesus Christ
c.iii.3.a. You’ve been forgiven by Jesus Christ! You are loved by Jesus Christ!
c.iv. If there’s one thing you pray about every day, let it be a prayer of thankfulness that Jesus died on the cross for you
c.iv.1. Because if we let that slip from our memory, if we start to forget that this life is just a blink of an eye, and half of humanity will go its separate ways in eternity, if we start to forget that we’ve been “bought with a price,” then we’ll start to fool ourselves into thinking that our every word and every deed don’t really matter that much
c.iv.1.a. But they do
a. So, as a start, maybe it is a helpful image for you to picture a Jesus Fish floating behind your back this week, this year
a.i. It’s a good way to start auditing yourself. To start noticing where you are maybe missing out on being a representative of Christ
b. But let me offer you a last reminder from our reactions to not wanting a Jesus fish on our car
b.i. I personally have never wanted one because I know I’m not a perfect driver
b.i.1. Sometimes I’m really in a hurry, and I drive to fast
b.i.2. Just the other day, my car slid on the ice and I almost hit someone
b.i.2.a. So, in my thinking, I don’t want the world to know I’m a Christian while I’m driving because I know I’m not perfect.
b.i.2.a.i. But even that thinking is flawed
c. Because in similar fashion, we all too often delude ourselves into thinking, we better not let anyone know we are Christian in this particular setting because we are just going to mess it up and be a bad representative
c.i. So we decide in our heads to just keep quiet and therefore not having to worry about not living up to the right standards
d. But listen, let’s be different as a church…as a group of people…let’s do everything we can to live for Jesus Christ with our heart and every situation…
d.i. But let’s also be an authentic group of people…
d.i.1. A people willing to say, “Yeah, I’m trying my hardest to live for God, but you know what, I’m not perfect. In fact, I’m kinda messed up.”
d.i.1.a. That’s why he came to die for me. And came into my life
d.i.1.a.i. And he wants to come into yours too
d.i.2. Let’s live authentically…but also, let’s live passionately for our God!
d.i.2.a. Let’s pray.
I. CONNECTION CARDS
a. If you look under your chair right now, you should see a connection card and a pen. Go ahead and pick those up.
b. One of the things we do every week at Renovation Church, is fill out these connection cards.
b.i. It’s a way for you to connect with us and for us to connect with you.
c. While you are filling them out, I want to let you know that our House Groups are re-launching starting next week
c.i. What’s a house group?
d. They are our version of small groups, but the difference is we put 25 people in one house
d.i. (kind of like having 4 or 5 normal small groups together under one roof)
d.ii. Half Large Group. Half time in small group
d.ii.1. Part of the idea of having them larger is helping you find people you feel comfortable with
d.ii.1.a. We let you try different small groups in the house until you find the best fit
d.ii.2. And in fact, if you want, you can even try different houses…
d.iii. Meet once a week in people’s houses from our church. So we’re not asking to meet in your home or anything if you sign up
a. Try it for 4 weeks
a.i. Sign-Up in Hallway after the service
a.i.1. 1 of our House Leaders will be in hallway
a.ii. Ask Questions
a.ii.1. Groups start next week (the week of the 10th)
a.ii.1.a. And if you signed up this fall and were a part of our fall house groups, you don’t need to re-signup or anything
a. We are going to take an offering now as well
a.i. An act of worship for a God who has given us so much
a.i.1. If you’re a visitor, feel free to let the offering cans just pass you by
b. As the offering goes by, you can stick your connection card in there as well
b.i.1. Let me just pray for the offering quick
b.i.1.a. Let’s pray.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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