Throw the Flag

In the game of football, you often hear, “upon further review…..” after the officials and the replay booth have analyzed a call on the field after a flag has been thrown. The Sermon on the Mount is similar to a “further review” by Jesus. He re-frames many of the traditionally held beliefs and practices of the Christian life. Jesus, in effect, “throws penalty flags” on many things his audience was comfortable with and sheds a new light on them. Most of what Jesus discusses are things we, too, are comfortable with in our own lives. What if what you always thought, believed, and perceived isn’t what Jesus really meant or what God is actually calling you to? Are you willing to give Jesus access to your entire “field of play” in your life? Are you willing to give Jesus your heart?

Pastor Adam brought up three areas he called “challenge flags.” They are common misconceptions about the Christian life. Rockhills seeks to be different and set a different culture than what is common in the American church. Specifically, our church seeks to avoid three common mistakes: 1) Appearance is everything. Rockhills seeks to welcome folks “just as they are.” Come with questions. Come with doubts. We seek to be genuine and authentic over just appealing and presentable. 2) It’s all about behavior. Christianity is often seen - and even taught - as a behavior modification program. Jesus is after heart change, not just putting band-aids over things in our lives. Rockhills longs for you to “come as you are” but not stay as you are. We long for true heart transformation. 3) Some sins are not that big of a deal but others (usually what someone else struggles with) ARE a big deal. Jesus died when I didn’t deserve it, no matter what my sin issues are. Jesus died when you didn’t deserve, no matter what your sin issues are. NONE of us deserved it. Rockhills strives to not be judgmental and not create “levels” of sins and recognize we are ALL sinners that Jesus died for - no matter what the sin.

INVITATION: Are you willing to open your entire heart for transformation by Jesus? If so, please prayerfully join us in our study this week.

MONDAY: Matthew 5:21-22: Jesus is taking spirituality out of the “box” people tended to put it in. They did it in Jesus’ time and we do it now. We often want to keep our “God life” separate from everything else. Everything is spiritual. Everything is about God. He is the author and creator of everything. What about you? Are you willing to invite God into your financial “box” or political “box” or relational “box?” Are you willing to invite Jesus to be Lord of your ENTIRE life? Spend today reflecting on how you might do that.

TUESDAY: Matthew 23:5-12: The Jewish leaders did everything for appearances. They turned the temple into a fashion show and prayer into a competition. Jesus said they honored him with their lips but their hearts were far from him. How do you feel about opening your entire heart for Jesus to have access to? As you sit with these verses, is the Holy Spirit convicting you of any areas of your life that might be for appearance sake and not committed to Jesus and his plans for your life?

WEDNESDAY: Mark 7:20-23: The religious leaders of the time turned the law of Moses into a giant behavior handbook. They valued habits over the heart. The “what” became more important than the “why.” Have you made your relationship with Jesus more of a behavior modification program than looking for Jesus to change and transform you from the inside out? In your Christian life are you longing for heart transformation as opposed to just more information to look better, sound better and behave better?

THURSDAY: Matthew 5:23-24. Pastor Adam spoke about anger and how it is such a huge trigger in our day and time. This is particularly true as a result of technology. Pastor Tim Keller says, “Technology has, in an enhanced way, given mockers a platform to set society on fire with polarizing speech. Internet culture privileges those whose insults are click bait. It disadvantages the civil, respectful, patient dialogue that brings a diverse people together.” What incites your anger and frustration? Could you be contributing to “setting society on fire” in some way? Perhaps you can pray these verses, inviting Jesus in to “search you and know your heart” at the deepest levels (Psalm 139)?

FRIDAY: Matthew 5:27-30: Jesus continued to “throw penalty flags" in his teaching. If you think adultery (or any other sin) is “someone else’s sin”, you are wrong. It is your sin too. Jesus is addressing people who think they are better than others. He is also calling for us to guard against anything that makes us stumble - - even if it is inconvenient. Do you judge others harshly? Using Psalm 139 once again, are you willing to pray for Jesus to search and “know your heart” and give him full access? If you don’t feel ready for that, perhaps you can pray for Jesus to get you to a place where you are willing to allow him full access?

SATURDAY: John 8:1-11: In this passage, Jesus declares to a shamed woman that she is not condemned, and then he invites her to leave her life of sin and walk in the light. Sometimes we too readily believe another’s words of condemnation rather than seek the word of Jesus. He invites us to come out of the darkness and death of condemnation and into the light of life. Today perhaps you can open yourself to Jesus as the light of the world. Welcome his light into your heart and soul and ask Jesus to stand in that place with you. Let HIM transform the darkness in you into light……..that is true transformation that not even the best of behavior modification programs can produce.