Playlist - wk 2 - Brave
Today we are continuing the music focused series called “Playlist” where we take popular songs and look for God’s truth in them. When Jesus taught, He would often do something similar. To help people see God’s truth, sometimes Jesus would use common cultural references to relate to the people and help them make connections to God’s principles.
I think that is one reason I am excited about this series. Sometimes it feels like you have to be a serious bible nerd to be able to comprehend the stories in the bible, but by attaching those same principles to current cultural references the bible feels more accessible and understandable. It helps us to see how God’s truth’s are still relevant, even though the world wants us to see God as archaic, outdated, and irrelevant.
That has been the “modus operandi” of the enemy from day one. Convince humanity that God is wrong and they can determine what is true for themselves. That is exactly what he told Eve to convince the first humans to eat forbidden fruit. “You won’t die! That’s not true. If you eat, you will just be able to determine truth for yourselves.”
The enemy says the same thing today, just with hip new words. “Live YOUR truth. You were just born in the wrong body. God wasn’t right, He must have made a mistake. YOU are in control of your own destiny. Truth is whatever sounds right to YOU.” These are only some of the lies that the adversary wants you to believe.
Throughout scripture there are many stories of people facing lies of the adversary and God telling them, “Be strong. Be courageous. Be brave. Stand up to these lies and I will be with you.” God has the same message for you and me today. Jesus said that He is THE truth…
6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
We just need to be brave and stand up to the lies with the truth. Jesus. Today we are going to listen to a song called brave. As you listen, focus on the truth God has placed on your heart. It’s easy to be brave about the things we want, or our truth, but what about God’s truth? If this song was God’s message to you about being brave, what would be the context? Sharing Jesus with others? Praying for someone? Sacrificing your own desire to be able to help with someone else’s need?
[Play “Brave” video]
I love how the first line of this song comes out and makes a clear statement about our words.
“You can be amazing, you can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug.”
YOUR WORDS HAVE THE POWER OF LIFE AND DEATH.
YOUR WORDS HAVE THE POWER OF LIFE AND DEATH.
Thought for thought, that phrase comes straight out of scripture. Two or three thousand years ago, if someone mentioned a weapon the first image that might come to mind would be a sword. That is exactly how the bible often describes the tongue…
18 The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
You’re tongue can be like a weapon, or it can bring healing like when I go to the doctor with a problem and they prescribe something that is intended to bring healing.
When James wrote about the destructiveness of the tongue he said that instead of being like a sword, the tongue is more like a flamethrower! Not just any flamethrower, the biggest, baddest, most destructive weapon you have ever seen. Listen to this…
6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
He goes on to say that sometimes it praises God, and other times it curses those made in the image of God. Who’s made in the image of God? That person you were cursing last week because they did something you didn’t like! That guy who cut you off in the Walmart parking lot and got the good spot close to the door.
Blessings and cursing from the same mouth. That’s not right. Isn’t it amazing how we can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug? How we can use it to hurt someone or bring healing.
21 The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.
The song briefly mentions some of the consequences.
“Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do, when they settle beneath your skin. Kept on the inside and no sunlight, sometimes a shadow wins.”
Words used as weapons against you hurt. When they cut through your skin they can be like physical wounds that get infected and begin to rot beneath the surface. You can try to keep it hidden, but it’s just going to grow and get worse. Whether it is words that have been used against you as a weapon or lies used to hold you down, you may start feeling like an outcast. Like you don’t belong or aren’t wanted.
Words hurt and they have consequences, but in the end we decide how we react to the pain and consequences. If you are taking notes, we could say it this way. No matter what comes against us…
CHOOSE TO SPEAK LIFE.
CHOOSE TO SPEAK LIFE.
In the song, the lyrics say:
“You can be the outcast, or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love, or you can start speaking up.”
I love the truth in that thought. You can let the lies define you as the outcast, you can let the pain of hatred make you into a victim, OR you can be BRAVE! You can be STRONG! You can be COURAGEOUS! You can completely change the situation with God’s truth and love. We don’t have to react with abusive language, instead we can be encouraging.
29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
We should be brave and start speaking up because, as Christ followers, our words should bring life. As if our words are like water from a fountain that people can come to and draw from.
11 The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain; the words of the wicked conceal violent intentions.
We have been given the message of God’s grace, which is a healing message intended to build us up…
32 “And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself.
Be brave, start speaking up, and share His message of love and grace.
Sometimes that is difficult. Especially if you feel like an outcast or if you have been mistreated by someone who was hateful and lashed out at you. If you have ever felt like an outcast or like someone didn’t like you, you might be able to relate to some people in the Old Testament.
Maybe you didn’t fit in at school or at work. Maybe people make fun of you. These people experienced something similar, except they were literally cast out of their homes. In 586 BC, invaders from Babylon destroyed most Israel’s most valuable city, Jerusalem. After that, they took the people prisoner and drove them out of their homes, taking them to Babylon.
Can you imagine how out of place you might feel as a prisoner in a foreign country? After about 50 years some were allowed to return to rebuild the temple, but were forced to quit shortly after. The temple in Jerusalem had been their most holy site, and it would be several more years before they would be allowed to resume work on it. After a total of about 66 years it was still nothing more than a pile of rubble.
Here’s what is crazy. God and the temple was important to the Israelite’s. There was a written ruling that not only gave the Jews permission to rebuild the temple, but it also ordered their neighbors to pay for it. Even so, they didn’t seem to appeal the later decision that made them stop rebuilding. Not even later, when there was a new emperor. They simply lived each day as it came in their comfortable houses in silence.
If we really drilled down into our own lives, would this story begin to sound anything like our own? Is there a job that God wants you to do, but you are too comfortable in your house?
God want’s me to quench my flamethrower of a tongue and speak life to those who hurt me, but I just can’t let it go without a fight!
I know God has called me to something more than the way I live right now, but I am not ready to leave my comfort zone.
“I’m not ready.” According to God, that is essentially what the Israelite’s said…
2 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’ ”
“It’s not time. I’m not ready.” Do we really believe putting it off like the Israelite’s will do any good? Listen to the words of the song…
“And since your history of silence won't do you any good… Did you think it would? Let your words be anything but empty. Why don't you tell them the truth?”
If you are taking notes, our final thought is this…
BE BRAVE WITH THE TRUTH.
BE BRAVE WITH THE TRUTH.
Don’t hide from the truth in an attempt to hold on to what little comfort you have. Doing the right thing is never easy. It’s always easier and more comfortable to be the one lashing out when we feel attacked or mistreated. It’s easier to create the nice luxurious existence WE want while ignoring the thing God has called us to. The longer we ignore God’s calling, the more our lives start to feel meaningless and empty.
The only thing we have ever accomplished by removing God from our lives, in order to fulfill our own desires, is to create a massive void in our hearts. A void that leaves us feeling ashamed, empty, and alone. It’s what happened to Adam and Eve, it happened to the Israelite’s, and it still happens today. The Israelite’s couldn’t fill the void, so God called them out. He said…
4 “Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? 5 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! 6 You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!
You try and try to find happiness and satisfaction, but you can’t. Your history of silence isn’t doing you any good. Now watch what He says to them in chapter 2…
3 ‘Does anyone remember this house—this Temple—in its former splendor? How, in comparison, does it look to you now? It must seem like nothing at all!
The temple they were trying to rebuild looked amazing when Solomon originally built it. Some of the people would have remembered it and probably felt like failures. They probably felt like they would never be able to live up to the standard Solomon set with the original temple. It was once amazing, now it seems like nothing at all…
4 But now the Lord says: Be strong, Zerubbabel. Be strong, Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people still left in the land. And now get to work, for I am with you, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
Be strong. Be brave. Don’t give up. Don’t settle for emptiness just because it can be more comfortable. Be brave with the truth. Does this temple seem like nothing? Sure! That’s no reason to hide in silence. Be brave!
What is the truth that God wants you to be brave with today? I know that when I stand up here every week I am not half as entertaining as Craig Groeschel, I don’t have a fraction of the bible knowledge of Tim Mackey, I can’t break down a verse of scripture to help you digest it anything like John Piper, I can’t call up references to scripture and connect similar verses anything like any of you. I also know that every week, though I shake with nerves before and after each service, my loving heavenly Father is telling me to be brave. “Be strong, Chad, and get to work, for I am with you.”
And even though I stand up here weak, He is the one who gives me strength. I trust Him to direct the conversation. I trust Him to put the words in your ears that He wants you to hear. I trust Him to take control of what I say…
Psalm 141:3 “3 Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips.”
I just need to be brave. Be brave and keep pouring God’s good things into my heart, because it is important to remember that our words have the power of life and death. I want to always be someone who speaks life. Jesus said that if you want to speak life then you need to check your heart…
45 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.
Even though I may fail more than I want to admit, I choose to speak life. I want my heart to be filled with life, love, and all of the good things that come from God so that my mouth is an overflow of God’s love. So that when I speak, I can BRAVELY speak God’s TRUTH. Not my own definition of truth. Not the adversaries lies and confusion. Not the hurt and pain that could make someone feel like an outcast.
When I think of being brave with God’s truth, I always think of Paul’s message to Timothy. I believe his encouragement to Timothy applies to all of us and is more and more appropriate every single day. This is what Paul said to Timothy…
1 I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he comes to set up his Kingdom: 2 Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. 3 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will reject the truth and chase after myths. 5 But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.
With all my heart, I believe that message is for each and every one of us. You don’t have to be a preacher to preach the word of God. That simply means to speak God’s truth. Be brave about Jesus in your life and tell someone. They need to hear it. Be ready, because they are going to need to hear it when you don’t feel like talking about it.
Be patient with people and share good, solid teaching. Study the word, meditate on it, pray about it, and teach others what you learn. Good teaching should always point people to Jesus and encourage them. When people start believing crazy and strange things that go completely against God and His truth, don’t be taken up by it. It won’t be easy. In a world of lies, the truth is never easy. Don’t be afraid, instead be brave. Be strong. Be courageous. Stay focused on the mission God has given you.
Two thousand years ago, the adversary thought he killed Jesus. The Good News is that he failed because Jesus conquered death. Something that had never been done. He defeated the grave and He still lives today. He did the impossible for you and for me.
God has given you a message. Share it! To use the lyrics from our song today…
“Let the words fall out. Honestly, I wanna see you be brave!”