The Beautiful Mess
Apr 15 2007 • Annie Perdue-Olson, Greg Boyd, Scott Boren, Seth McCoy
In Luke 6:17-49, which is often called the Sermon on the Plain, Jesus explains what it means to follow him. Today we refer to this as discipleship. However, Jesus does not highlight any of the typical modern themes that we often associate with discipleship—Bible study, scripture memorization, quiet time, reading books, going to church, worship, etc. Instead, Jesus explains how following him impacts how we deal with the relational stuff that we face everyday. Everyday life is messy! Relationships—whether at work, in families or with friends—are messy. Jesus wants to enter our messes with us, teaching us a way of displaying beauty in the midst of relational messes. “The Beautiful Mess” provides baby steps that help move us in the right direction of actually living out and experiencing the beautiful life of the Kingdom of God.
Six-Week Devotional Guide
Small Group Discussion Guide
Sermons in this series:
Sound, wise teaching has no real effect in our lives if the teaching is not put into active, continuous practice. As we have seen throughout the “Sermon on the Plain” in Luke 6, Jesus lays out the demands and blessings of living as a disciple in the Kingdom of God. Jesus concludes his teaching with a challenge to his followers to embody his teachings and put them into living action.
Kingdom of God
Just like a tree reveals either good or bad fruit, our lives reveal to others who we truly are. As followers of Christ, we are called to live a life that reveals the beauty of God. We learn from Jesus that true beauty and change only comes from the inside-out. As our hearts are turned and transformed in Christ, our words and actions bring forth beauty.
Identity in Christ
Personal relationships are central to our lives. They have the power to give us beauty and meaning. At the same time, there is also plenty of opportunity for misunderstanding and conflict. Because of the risky nature of relationships, it's very important that we understand the nature of how we communicate so that we can continue growing into Kingdom ways of relating to one another.
A “bottom feeder” is a type of fish that eats just about anything it finds at the bottom of a body of water. Greg uses this term to represent a way of living where a person attempts to get life from things outside of themselves. Even church leaders can fall into a religious type of “bottom feeding” where they get life from the people they serve. In Luke 6:39-42, Jesus talks about just this type of thing when he speaks about the blindness and hypocrisy of some of the religious leaders. Greg describes an alternative to “bottom feeding"--"leading with a limp", where we humbly take our own weaknesses into account as we lead others.
Identity in Christ,
Judgment of other people is a vicious cycle that destroys human relationships. Only God has the wisdom, power and ability to be an accurate judge of a person's life and character. Instead of creating self-centered little kingdoms for ourselves, we can follow the path of Jesus by living in perfect love.
To follow Christ is to live a life of love. Love is at the center of Jesus’ message and is the central teaching given in the Sermon on the Plain. To love like Christ is to love even when it is not deserved or expected. It is a radical love that calls us to love our enemies. The call to love also includes loving those who are close to us, even when it’s messy.
This weekend, we started our 6 week church-wide adventure entitled “The Beautiful Mess." The title may seem a little different, but it's very representative of how the Kingdom of God interacts with our lives. When a new way of living begins to reveal itself, it can bring beauty into our "normal" messes of life by actually "messing up" our so-called ordinary ways of thinking. It is just this idea that grounds Jesus' "Sermon on the Plain". With this Sermon, Jesus not only presented the very blueprint of Kingdom life, but he also did so by telling shocking truths that seemed somewhat upside-down from what may have been thought of as "normal" living.
Kingdom of God