Permission Slip

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Christianity is often defined in the public arena as a religion based on rules and restrictions. Today we will discover what it means when Jesus said to be in the world but not of the world. Be refreshed as you see how God's calling in our lives is greater than a list of rules. Sermon based on John 17:13–18.

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Have you all been blessed?
Are you blessed to be in the House of the Lord?
Have you been blessed by the music?
Blessed by our graduates being here.
We want to welcome each and every one of you. I want to give a special thanks to principal Thrower and her TA faculty and staff for their dedication to our students and the support they've provided to bring our students to this point, Amen.
I want to thank you as parents.
No more do you have to drive early in the morning?
To drop them off at school.
Some of some of the students I got the chance to be with them last week for their seniors dinner and I said don't be afraid if you're if you think your parents are going to forget this moment.
There's always college loans.
That will remind them that you graduated, but thank God there's no more high school loans.
Normal high school tuition, what a blessing and.
2016 class graduating class at 2016. How y'all doing?
Just good, how are you all doing?
I pray that you feel blessed to be here.
There's some of you graduating with honors.
There's some of you just honored to be graduating, Amen.
God is good all the time.
And you're just glad that you're in this moment and we're happy for you.
We're so glad that you've made it to this occasion.
It's been a privilege to get to know you the past 12 months.
I had an opportunity to do a week of prayer at TA with you in the first semester, and we did a week of prayer on worth it.
How there are some things in life that are worth pursuing and you have reached this point and it's been worth it?
Amen, all that hard work, all that effort has been worth it.
One of the.
Things that I've also enjoyed doing with you is playing basketball and.
You've beaten me sometimes and I've also won sometimes these old legs can still play.
And I've just enjoyed spending time playing basketball with several of you, and it's been a great opportunity to do that.
Most of all I want to thank you and thank God for bringing you to this point and this meaningful accomplishment.
God is not only the author, but he's also the finisher of our faith, Amen.
And what he has started in your life he will finish in your life, and he's finished this chapter in your life, and we pray that God will continue to open up his meaningful purpose and plans for your life, that you will get to discover everything that God has.
Planned as you start this next journey in your life.
May you bow your heads with me one more time in prayer as we enter the Lord's word, let's pray, Father, God, we want to thank you for this graduating class of 2016.
We want to thank you for each of the families they represent, Lord, as we come to you now.
Nothing to the cross.
We bring only to the cross we clean.
As we read your word, may it also read our hearts before we ask it in Jesus name Amen.
Going to school.
I never wanted to get a wall.
Do you know what a wall stands for?
An absence without leave.
Absence without leave was a serious.
Thing to partake at my school, I don't know if it's the same at your school, but I've read the handbook.
A principal thrower, I've read the handbook and.
As we look at AWOL and being absent without leave, there's multiple ways to be absent without leave number one.
Students who leave campus without checking out, absent without leave students who arrive late to campus without checking in.
Absent, without leave, students who begin absent being absent from school without their parents permission.
Absent without leave in the handbook of Takoma Academy page 21. This is the consequence of being absent without leave students may not exceed 6 absences per term in any course in order to?
Receive credit for their course.
I guess y'all haven't been absent more than six times, Amen.
Thea takes absence seriously.
But I wonder.
If us as adults.
Have allowed you to be absent without leave without even knowing it.
I wonder if we've allowed you to be absent from the assignment that God has given you.
As we read in John, Chapter 17.
The Bible says.
This that Jesus wants us to be in the.
World, but not of the world.
My challenge for us this morning is have we, as a church, unintentionally allowed you to be absent without leave?
There's multiple ways we can have done that.
One way is we might have promoted a Jesus that had pristine white robes with clean hands and feet and not told you of a Jesus from Palestine that walked the dusty streets.
Not told you over Jesus that went.
And bent down and.
Washed the disciples dirty feet, not told you.
Of a Jesus that hung out with lepers and had a meal with prostitutes and tax collectors.
If we've done that, we've allowed you to be absent without leave.
Maybe we've allowed you to be absent without leave.
Whenever we've been more concerned about how much money you'll earn when you graduate than how many people you will help.
Whenever we've done that we've allowed you to be absent without leave.
Maybe we've done it by being more concerned about our buildings and institutions than being more concerned about your spiritual health.
Whenever we've done that, we've allowed you to be absent without leave.
Maybe we've allowed you to be absent without leave by being blind to the problems and injustices of the world.
Maybe we've allowed you to be absent without leave by demonizing our enemies and those against us.
Maybe we've allowed you to be absent without leave by being more concerned about good grades than proclaiming God's grace.
If we've done that, we've allowed you to be absent without leave.
But there's something about absence and that's the fact that you can have a permission slip.
And this morning, Jesus Christ wants to give you each a permission slip.
He wants you to give you a permission slip to be in the.
World, but not of the world.
He wants you to have a permission slip to go into the world.
Permission to go into the world and not run from it.
Permission to engage the world like those three Hebrew boys did when they were in Babylon.
Engage the world make a difference in the world.
Permission to not be conformed by the world, but to transform the world by God, power of justice and mercy.
Permission to turn the world upside down.
As he did with unqualified disciples.
They did it by proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
So this morning I've entitled my message.
If you haven't guessed already, permission slip.
Permission slip.
Turn your Bibles with me to John Chapter 17 and here as we look at the words of John, Chapter 17.
If you have a red letter Bible, you will notice that although most of these words are in red letters, this is a prayer of Jesus.
In fact, this is the longest recorded.
Prayer of Jesus.
What we find here is that the prayer is divided into 3 separate parts.
He praised for himself praise for his disciples, and praise for all believers.
John 17:13 NIV
13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.
Let's read that together, starting from verse 13, but now I come to you that these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves firstly.
God wants you to have joy in this world.
He wants you to be fulfilled.
You know there's a lot of people in this world that are full, but they're not filled.
There's a lot of people in this world that have a lot of things, but those things also have them.
True happiness rather is true holiness.
God does not just want us to be concerned about feeling good, he wants us to also have the power to be good.
Fulfilled, fulfilled is not just being worried about if a girl or guy likes me.
That's not true.
Anybody is not better than nobody.
Let me repeat that again.
Is not better than nobody.
God wants you to be fulfilled and if you just find that person that is empty and they're trying to fill their emptiness with your presence, you're never going to make them happy and you'll never be happy.
Joy is not having what you want, rather it's wanting what you have.
True fulfillment true joy.
Is being not just full?
But it's being filled and Christ said he wants you to have that kind of joy in this world.
How do we be in the?
World, but are not off the world.
Well, we keep reading.
And in verse 14 he goes.
I have given them your word and the world has hated them.
You know what? If you try to have everyone like you, you might not be fulfilling God's mission. You may be absent without leave. The world will hate you, it says because they are not of the world.
Just as I am not of the world, I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one.
They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
Sanctify them by your truth.
Your word is truth.
And this is what I want you to concentrate on.
As you sent me into the world.
I also have sent them into the world.
To be in the world, but not of the world, is to be sent as Jesus was sent.
And that's what I want to focus on these next few moments.
How was Jesus sent into the world to transform the world graduates?
How was he sent into the world?
I want to give you a couple of permission slips.
Permission slip number one.

Permission Slip #1: Position yourself for access.

All these permission slips.
Start with the letter P.
And hopefully they'll be memorable.
Jesus is here praying to his father.
John 17:4 NIV
4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.
He said in verse four of John, Chapter 17, I have glorified you on this earth.
He later says, oh, father, glorify me together with yourself.
Do you know glory of the father can't be can't happen without the father that we can't glorify ourselves and glorify God at the same time?
It happens together.
Jesus is positioning himself through prayer to have access to the father.
God will often position you in your life.
In certain places, so that you can have access to his power Zaccheus.
A tax collector, a thief.
A money launderer.
Positioned himself on a Sycamore tree so that he can have access to Jesus and through him, positioning himself.
Jesus came and met him and by his grace his life was transformed and he was forgiven.
A woman suffering from the issue of blood positioned herself, she said only if I touch the hem of Jesus, I will be blessed and as a result of getting close to Jesus, she positioned herself for he.
Moses God told him I can't meet you in the valley.
I'm going to have to take you to the mountain top.
Just position yourself and I will meet you right there. Sometimes we miss God's blessings 'cause we haven't positioned ourselves for access.
I don't know if you've been watching the NBA Finals.
Don't admit it if.
But I've been watching it, I admit it.
I've been watching the NBA Finals.
This is one of the best teams you can.
You can argue with me later, but on paper this is one of the best teams.
The Golden State Warriors that has ever played throughout history.
What has made them?
So successful.
Is not only what they do with the ball.
It's what they do without the ball.
This team is able to get themselves free and run through screens and as they get themselves free they position themselves to get the easy shots.
They're able to position themselves in the right way.
And they're able to get access to the ball like no other team has done before. And that's what's led to so many wins. And by God's grace they're going to win the finals, Amen.
Position yourself.
As the woman with the issue of blood positioned herself, something interesting happened.
As she touched Jesus garment, what was meant to make Jesus ceremonially unclean?
Made her clean.
How is it possible?
That was what was meant to defile Jesus.
Actually created a current that cleanse the woman that was unclean.
I want to take for the next few moments these simple steps quickly 'cause this is going to help some parents.
There are some parents graduates that are fearful as you leave this home.
Your parents can act tough parents.
We can act tough.
We know you're scared.
As these kids are leaving your home, we know that some of you are troubled.
There are some fathers that are troubled because they know the temptations waiting their son.
There are some mothers troubled because they know the pressures that are going to be placed on their daughter.
There are some parents that are troubled because Jesus said as sheep.
I'm throwing them among wolves.
There's trouble awaiting. We have been thrown into the world, but by God's grace he can transform the world.
Look at what it says here in Leviticus as we look at this concept of transformation in Leviticus, it reads this.
Leviticus 11:33 NIV
33 If one of them falls into a clay pot, everything in it will be unclean, and you must break the pot.
Leviticus it says as we have it on the screen.
And everything on which a part of any such carcass that's a dead thing falls.
Unclean, whether it is on an oven or a cooking stove, it shall be broken down, for they are unclean, and they shall be unclean to you.
Leviticus 11:36 NIV
36 A spring, however, or a cistern for collecting water remains clean, but anyone who touches one of these carcasses is unclean.
Nevertheless, a spring or a cistern in which there is plenty of water shall be wiped clean, but whatever.
Touches any such carcass becomes unclean.
What's that got to do?
What's that got?
To do with Jesus healing the woman with the issue of blood.
Listen very carefully.
There is a principle here and it comes out.
One scholar says this.
This that.
The source of cleanliness cannot become unclean.
If there was, if there was a carcass that fell in water, what did it become as said unclean?
But if it was a spring, the source of purity.
It cannot become unclean.
John 4:13–14 NIV
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Then we find in John Chapter 4.
All God says, if you drink of my water, you will become a what a spring of living water.
This is what the Bible is saying.
That when we have access to Jesus.
He will become a spring in our life and what was meant to make us unclean parents.
What was made meant to make your children unclean?
They can become an influence of transformation in that environment.
The environment doesn't always have to affect them, they can influence their environments.
That's when the living water is living within them.
When they become that spring, they become a Ave and agent of transformation.
Having access.
I remember growing up then.
Coming into contact with my first electric door that slid as you walked to an electric door, it's meant to slide open and I was just a child and I thought the door was broken.
And I looked at my parents and I told my parents mum and dad, why isn't the door opening up?
I think the door is broken.
I told them they said the door is not broken.
You're just not positioned correctly.
If you just get close enough to the door, the door will open.
And many of us think that the promises of God are broken. We think that God's grace is broken.
We think that God's mercy is broken. We think that the cross no longer has any power, but maybe it's because we're not close enough that if we position ourselves.
To access.
If we just place ourself where the doors can open up.
Instead of the Bible saying, through our sins, access is denied when we come in God's grace, the father will say access provided when we come in the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ.
Position yourself for access.
No matter what point you are in your life, you have access to the throne of Grace.
You have access to God's mercy. You have access to God's forgiveness as you go to college. Your parents won't be there to go to church with you.
But you have access.
As you go to college, they won't have their eye on you, but you have access.
To the throne of Grace.
Take your permission, slip and position yourself for access with Jesus Christ.

Permission Slip #2: Pursue Christ-Like Greatness.

Pursue Christ like greatness.
When Jesus came and in Revelation in John we just read, he came into the world as his father sent him.
How do you make a difference in the world?
As you're being sent.
How do we achieve greatness Christ's way? Well, when Jesus was sent he was sent as a humble baby.
Eight days after he was born, his parents took him to the priest to dedicate him.
The priest didn't even recognize him because his parents looked like peasants.
As he lifted him up and dedicated him as they normally would.
He didn't realize that the baby he was lifting up in his hands would one day out stretch his hands on a cross and die for the sins of the priest as he held him up.
He came as a humble baby.
Humility seems counter intuitive to greatness.
You just have to look at the politicians today.
And it seems like humility is a lost art.
You just have to watch TV long enough and you realize that humility is something that we don't value very much today in society.
Some people think this.
World is just for the extroverts.
But humility is valued.
In fact, that's what will lead to greatness.
Humility in the Bible is not so much hiding what God has given you.
Rather, it's the ability to hold your power.
Is the ability.
To hold your power for the good of others.
That's what true humility is.
Using the power that God has given you.
For the benefit of others.
I used to love watching old clips of Muhammad Ali.
Who as you know passed away not long ago?
I used to also love the lip that he would give interviewers.
He was known as the lip of Louisiana.
I used to love that people didn't have comebacks for what he said.
I used to love reading his quotes.
He would say some audacious things.
He once said this, I am the greatest and I said that even before I knew I was.
He once said it's hard to be humble.
When you're as great as I am.
You all know this one float like a butterfly sting like a.
I loved his quotes and there were very few people that could give him a comeback, but there was a little old woman.
That once gave him a comeback.
She wasn't that old she was.
She was an air Hostess, but she was very petite.
And as he was on the plane, going to an engagement.
The plane hit turbulence and the pilot came on the plane and said passengers were going through some turbulence.
Often when a pilot does that, that means if you have any religious convictions, start praying.
As the plane was going through turbulence, everyone put on their seat belt except.
Muhammad Ali
This petite air Hostess comes to the World Boxing champion and says, Sir.
I invite you to put your seat belt on.
We're going through turbulence and he said this.
Superman don't need no seat belt.
And without skipping a beat, she said this Superman don't need no plane either.
When we try to impersonate Superman.
Sometimes some of us have tried to impersonate Superman and what we realize is.
That when we try to impersonate something, we're not.
When we try to false.
Try to impersonate ourselves and pose as Superman.
We only find that we crash.
We'll think.
That our accomplishments make us invincible.
Some of us will think that what we've achieved makes us immune to the challenges of this world.
You have been privileged to go to one of the best high schools.
I believe in this country, Amen.
You have worked hard for position.
And for the accomplishments that you've achieved, but there is a risk that your accomplishments will make you forget the God who put you here in the first place.
You will be at risk to think that your triumphs gives you a sense of invincibility.
You will be at risk to think though, that you don't wear even though you're not wearing a literal Cape.
You will think that your accomplishments are like a Cape that will make you invincible.
For opposing falsely as Superman or Superwoman will only ensure that in life.
We only have a crash landing.
Pursue greatness, but pursue it Christ's way.
By humbly using your gifts and talents that God has given you for the good of others, not for personal gain, God is giving you this permission slip.
And finally, graduates promote truth as found in Christ.
Promote truth as found in Christ Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father, but through me a recent survey was done. 51% of millennials.
Believe that truth is relative.
We all know that we.
As a nation are in a moral crisis.
But how can we transform this world if we believe that truth and morality are just relative?
Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life.
If you don't believe in absolute truth, just catch a plane with a pilot.
That steers the plane based on feelings.
Instead of looking at the instruments.
Absolute truth does exist.
I want to leave you with a final example.
And it's of two brothers.
They were living in a small town, but they lived immoral lives.
And as they were in this town, they were known for the evil that had taken over this place.
When one of them suddenly died, the surviving brother asked the local pastor, pastor.
Can you perform the funeral?
Everyone knew what these two brothers were like.
And as.
He came to the pastor, he said Pastor, I want you to perform this funeral, but not only that.
I want you to say during the eulogy.
That my brother was a St.
I am willing to give you any price.
You asked for to do that.
The past they thought about it.
And I guess they were looking at a building expansion and he said yes.
The funeral came.
And in the midst of the eulogy.
The pastor got to the description of the departed individual that was there and he said the man we have come to bury was a thief.
In fact, he deserves every vile.
Description The mind can muster.
He was depraved, immoral, lewd, hateful, and the scum of the earth.
But compared to his brother.
Compared to his brother, he was a saint.
The pastor never got paid.
But I think he gave a worthy example.
That when we compare ourselves among ourselves, we are not wise when we try to compare our lives with each other, we're going to hit the lowest denominator, but the person we should be comparing our lives to is Jesus Christ.
He is our example.
Here's the one we should be looking at.
Here's the one.
That has led the way he is, the one that will give us the.
Strength to be.
In the world, but not of the world.
Graduates of 2016. This is your permission slip.
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