All Affection Belongs to JESUS Part 2
Sunday Afternoon, September 26, 1999
I’ll guarantee you that physical flesh and blood is INSUFFICIENT reason to give your affection away to someone who is not truly converted. The fact that you are “genetically similar” in some ways to your mother and father, children, brothers and sisters, and aunts and uncles is INSUFFICIENT reason to give your heart away to a child of the devil. You cannot do it. You must not do it.
Here is one clear example. When Jesus was twelve, He disappeared for three days. His parents had no idea where he was. When his mom and dad found Him, was Jesus’ response, “Sorry, Mom. Sorry, Dad”? No. Maybe He expressed that somewhere along the line, too, because He didn’t want to be disobedient to his parents, of course. Because He knew all things, He knew that they would be concerned. But, the issue in His heart that drove Him to do what He did was, “Didn’t you know I had to be about my Father’s business?” And Joseph said, “Excuse me. What am I? An opossum along the road? I thought I was your Father, I thought I was your dad. Haven’t I been supporting you all this time? Haven’t I been teaching you how to be a carpenter, boy?” No, that is not what Joseph said. Joseph knew better. Mary knew better. To say, “I must be about my Father’s business,” sounds rude though, doesn’t it? How could Jesus say that to Mary, who was precious and “blessed among women”? An angel thought she was “highly favored”! She was a great lady, BUT that wasn’t good enough because Jesus saw something in the spiritual realm. He saw that His True Father was in Heaven...and ours is as well. He saw past the physical realm. He didn’t want to be disrespectful, but it did seem to sound a little rude, didn’t it? Just a little rude??
Or how about when Mary and Jesus’ brothers and sisters went to take possession of Him because they thought He was mad? Read in Mark 3-4 how this story unfolds. Do you remember that Mary was called the virgin Mary? How could it be that Mary would want to take possession of Him because she thought He was out of His mind? She knew good and well that she was a virgin when He was conceived, and that she had an angelic visitation explaining that He is the Son of God! How could she have forgotten so much that she would go to the place where He was teaching in order to “take possession of Him” because she thought He was getting a little out of control? Jesus is teaching people, and coming and going. Rumors are starting to spread and Mary is getting a little bit out of sorts with her son. She’s already seen Him as an incredible young man. She has already seen some special things, but she is very frustrated with how He’s carrying Himself.
So, she comes to the door with James and Jude, Jesus’ half-brothers, and Jesus’ sisters to “take possession of Him.” Someone tells Jesus, “Your mother and brothers are outside.” And what did Jesus say? Did he say, “Oh, good! Mom! I want to honor you, Mom. Come in, please! Everyone, I want you all to meet my mom. I want to honor my mom.” That would have been a good thing to do, huh? “I want you all to meet my half-brothers. Everyone, here are two guys who are going to write books in the Bible later. Come on in, James. Come in, Jude.” Well, nothing like that happened at all. They really weren’t that fond of Jesus at that time, as you can tell if you read it in the book of Mark. And that isn’t how Jesus responded in that moment. He said, very “rudely,” “Who are my mother and brothers?” And to those seated in the circle around Him, He said, “These are my mother, brothers, and sisters—those who do the will of God.” Period. That’s it. That’s the end of the story. Don’t try adding to what Jesus said. “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
A Hundred Times
And He also said, “If you lose your life, I’ll give you a hundred times as much—mothers, brothers, sisters, lands, possessions, and with them persecutions—now and in the life to come.” I’ll multiply that for you, if you will give up your grasp, your greedy, foolish, selfish, fearful grasp, on what you know and what you want from life. I’ll give you a hundred times the blessing in return.” Pretty good investment, huh?! “Not only will I bless you with a hundred times as much of whatever you leave behind, but I will give you part of Myself and I’ll collect for you all the treasure that I have and I’ll pour it into your life. Test Me and see if the portals of heaven don’t open up and flood you with my goodness. If you would just let go of what you’re so afraid of, if you would let go of what’s so comfortable for you, seeing men after the flesh with carnal, logical thinking, then you would See! Allow ME to give you True blessing and Life that is truly Life!”
Picture these attitudes and you can see how foolish they are: “Well, I’m an African-American person and I really only like to be with black people.” How foolish! “Well, I’m a young person. I’m 15 years old and I really only like being around people my age. I don’t like being with 70-year-olds and 4-year-olds.” How foolish! How dare we see men after the flesh like that! “Well, my background is the Baptist denomination, and I feel pretty comfortable with Baptists, and I don’t know if I feel comfortable with anything else.” That’s foolish! To see men after the flesh is very foolish. If it was just about wanting to be with only black people, or wanting to be with only Chinese people, you’d see the problem more easily. If your “standard” was redheads, you would have a pretty small church, wouldn’t you?! The fact is that we know better than to build relationships around skin or hair color! But somehow, we easily embrace gene structure and a similar last name, and make a child of the devil our closest friend! We can talk for hours on the phone, give our heart away, give our life away, chatter endlessly, celebrate things, and just go off with them and have fun. We can do all that stuff with children of the devil just because they have the same last name that we do! We are somehow blind to the fact that THAT is seeing men after the flesh.
Who ARE your mothers, brothers, and sisters? Well, if you’re unsaved, and you don’t care about the Word of God, and you’re going to do it your own way anyway, then all the children of the devil in the world are your family! Do whatever you want! BUT, if you are a follower of Jesus, and you have really been born a second time rather than just having become religious some place along the line, then things must be different for you. If you have really been transformed with a word from Heaven that has genetically changed your structure, and you are born of water and the Spirit, then your family are those who do the will of your Father! Everyone born of the Spirit is like the wind. It’s a whole different world out there when you’re like the wind. It’s a whole different universe when you’ve been genetically altered to become a different species. You are not like those who are living in darkness and love the darkness. They are living, as Paul said, in the futility of their thinking and in their darkened understanding.
Those who are living in darkness are not our species! Picture it this way: you don’t see a lot of kangaroos having a love affair with a corn crop. You don’t see a lot of armadillos having a love affair with a radish. Why? Because they are different. They are different species! They can’t connect. And what has happened to those who have been born again is just as radical as that! A child of God and a child of the devil, according to the Scriptures, are radically different. We won’t give away our hearts and affections to a radish, or a kangaroo, or an armadillo. It’s just not going to happen. Our affections belong to Jesus alone.
All Authority in Heaven and on earth belongs to Jesus, and all affection in Heaven and on earth belongs to Jesus. He who has Jesus belongs to Jesus, and participates in Jesus, and emanates Jesus. The extent to which you love Jesus is the extent to which I can give away my affections to you. If you’re saved, but living selfishly, I’m going to have to guard my heart just like Jesus said He had to guard His heart. I’m not going to be able to give you everything that I want to give you, as long as you decide to continue to dabble in the world. I’m going to have to wrestle with you. I’m going to have to sit down and talk with you, “Brother, please, come on, come on. Let’s go home together. Quit dabbling in the prodigal’s pigpen. Come on, man. That’s not where the party is. It seems like a party to you, but you’re going to end up eating corn husks. It’s not worth it. Come on home.” I’m going to have to talk with you that way. While with somebody else I am going to be able to hug them, laugh with them, and be at ease with them. I can just pour my heart out like Jesus did in Bethany. He kicked back and He enjoyed the time there. That was His refuge, His solace. Mary was there. Lazarus was there. He’s loving it! We can only be that way with those who are emanating the Life and the Spirit of Christ. Anything less than that is a serious mistake. So what will it be? “Blessed is the womb that bore you” ...OR... “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of my Father and obey it.”
Jesus taught us to honor our parents (Mat. 15:4). But Jesus also said you have to hate your parents and your children (Lk. 14:26). When He said these things, He was certainly not contradicting Himself. So maybe we just need to understand a little better what it means to honor others. Jesus couldn’t contradict Himself. He did not disobey His own command about honoring His parents. Apparently, there’s an understanding that we must have of how to honor someone, yet not give away our hearts. This must be possible to achieve. These are not contradictions. You can honor and love without giving away your heart and your affections to someone who Jesus doesn’t want you to give your heart away to. That goes for co-workers, schoolmates, neighbors, and most of all, “family” members—because that’s where our biggest blind spots are.
So, WHO is my Family? As I look around this room at all of YOU, my heart leaps because THIS is my FAMILY! Hundreds and hundreds of fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters—for real! Intimate relationships. Hundreds of intimate relationships—THIS is my FAMILY! You’ve got to view it that way if, in fact, you’re born a second time. If you’re not born a second time and you’re just playing religion, then view it any way you want. Live any way you want and do anything you want. But if you love Him, you will keep His commandments and you will try to find a way to make these two tensions work together. I want to show love, honor, and respect. I want to care for and reach out in compassion and not exclude, insult, or harden myself to others. I want to be merciful like Jesus was with Zacchaeus. But I must learn how to do that without chumming, funning, howling, or playing around as if genetics make someone truly a part of me, and part of my Family, when in reality we’re different species. It doesn’t work that way anymore if we “see no man after the flesh.” It’s very different than that. “For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation...” (1Pet 4:3,4).
Think about it. Pray about it. This might be the hardest thing you ever hear. Keep praying, and keep thinking. If you’re honest and sincere and you seek God on these things, He’ll show you how to work out the tension between them, so that He’s honored, and so that there’s no lukewarmness or compromise. He’ll show you how to work those two things together if you really beg Him to show you. Help each other through all of this, too. It can work out really well. These are things from the Scriptures. This is part of God’s heart and mind, and it’s very important that you do make an effort to move down this road for Jesus’ sake. Do it right. Don’t overreact, but don’t ignore these things either. It’s very, very important. Shalom...