So jump in your time machine and imagine you’re living in the first century. You’re a Gentile. You know nothing of the Old Testament. All you really know is that Jesus died for your sins and rose from the dead. And you’re like “What else? What else? I want to know more!” And there are people around who remember or have been told about some of Jesus’ teachings, especially the ones where Jesus told us what NOT to do. And here’s the first one:
Thou shalt not….. FEAR!
So for the next few weeks I’m going to invite you to go back in time with me and become a first century Gentile Christian. We’re going to put aside the Old Testament, and put aside the New Testament, and pretend that all we have is the story of Jesus and his teachings. What would happen if we would take his teachings seriously and combine his command to love one another with what we’re calling the NOT commandments? And maybe, just maybe,
we, too, can change the world.
We’re finishing up our series on Right Eyes today. Even in this dark time in the history of Israel, God continued to work even though the nation abandoned Him over and over again. In fact, right in the middle of this dark time, when everybody did what was right in their own eyes, when Israel had lost their faith in God, God was actually decorating for Christmas.
God was already preparing to bless the world.
Last week we looked at Samson, who was not exactly a success story. But Gideon (of today’s story) was actually a good judge. Gideon, like a lot of us, believed in God, but he became an ordinary person. He began to believe about himself what his world and the people around him told him to believe about himself. God shows up, shakes Gideon, and says “What are you doing? How did you become so ordinary? Wake up! I want you to start acting like a Gideon who believes he can do extraordinary things because the Spirit of God dwells with this nation and dwells in you!”
God says if you will surrender to me your body, I will do something in you that will set you up for better relationships than you could even imagine. And you will come to realize that God wasn’t trying to keep something from you. He had, all along, something, and in some cases, someone, good for me.