REMOVING LABELS | 12.31.2017 | JOSH SHOCKEY
Intro: 5,4,3,2,1…Happy New Year! We are just hours away from millions of people screaming that out! Then hearing the same phrase over and over again you know what I am talking about, say it with me… “New Year, New Me”
How come we say that or think that every year, but it seems as if every year we are the same person we were the last January 1st. Could it be that there is more to it than just “New Year, New Me.”
Story: Spray tan story… I went in with certain expectations but came out with a completely different outcome.
Transition: There is a man in the Bible that experienced something similar, he went into a situation with certain expectations but came out with a completely different outcome.
The story is found in Acts 9,
There is a man named Saul, he was the biggest threat to Jesus followers, he had just received permission to go to Damascus to capture followers of Jesus, to have them thrown into prison.
Acts 9:3-6 “As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?’ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ Saul asked. ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ He replied. ‘Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.’”
The story goes on to talk about how Saul turns from someone persecuting followers of Jesus to then Passionately following Jesus and teaching the good news of Jesus.
True change only comes when we have an encounter with Jesus.
Jesus came from heaven to earth to provide a way to remove labels.
John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Jesus Is Able To Change Your Label
Through an encounter with Jesus you can remove your label of “death” for a label of “life to the full.”
Whether we are aware of it or not we are all wearing different labels. Some of these labels are positive but some are negative.
Like…Mistake-Failure- Addict- Dirty- Selfish- Timid- Jealous- Average- Arrogant- UNQUALIFIED.
Story: Emily driving with the e-brake on.
That day I realized that you actually can drive with the e-brake on, however if you do you are going against the manufacturers intentions for the way that it’s supposed to operate.
Just like you can drive with the e-brake ON, you can still be a Christian with negative labels ON.
Many of you have given your lives to Jesus, but you are driving your life in a way that the MANufacturer “Creator” “God” did not intend. And you are wondering why your life is not firing on all cylinders.
I want to talk about removing those negative labels, because labels affect our thinking and ultimately our thoughts affect our actions.
Many of us have gone through life like we are wearing a Velcro jacket! We allow any and every negative label thrown our way to stick to us. Some of us are wearing 5, 10, 20, 50, 70, years’ worth of negative labels.
Because of the negative labels that have been stuck to us, we now feel stuck.
Many of you have purpose and potential God has given to you, that has not been fulfilled because you are living your life believing the negative labels that people put on you, that God never intended for you to wear.
If you want to experience true change in 2018 if you want to fulfill the purpose that God gave you, then you are going to have to change your mindset from… “New Year, New Me.” To…
“NEW YEAR, NEW LABELS.”
Because as long as you wear those negative labels around, you will continue to think the same and ultimately act the same.
So, the BIG QUESTION is “how?” How do we remove the negative labels?
It all starts with a Relationship with JESUS. You will never experience true change until you give yourself completely to Jesus.
But giving your life to Jesus is not the finish line, it’s you just getting out of the starting blocks, now you can truly begin to go after the purpose God has given to you.
The biggest misconception of Christianity is that it’s easy. No way, you’ve got to be tough, Jesus is going to begin to challenge you.
Acts 9:16 “I will show him how much he must suffer for My name.”
What’s interesting to me is that Jesus did not say that about Saul as he was persecuting believers, but rather after he became a believer.
Story: Luis’s story… Met a man named Luis a little over 3 years ago at our table classes.
He was broken…-Marriage was a wreck, wife didn’t want anything to do with him or church. He was trying to beat his addiction to drugs.
Luis gave his life to Jesus here at FC. Began to remove negative labels in his life. Wife saw the change, gave her life to Jesus, got baptized together. Last week they celebrated 25 years of marriage.
This April Luis will be 4 years clean from drugs!!
Their journey has not been easy though, since this life change, Luis’ wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, and Luis had a stroke and lost some of his vision but God has continued to heal both of them and his wife is now cancer free!
Even though Luis went through all of that he is fulfilling his purpose as his story encourages and inspires others.
Following Jesus is not always easy, but it’s always worth it because it’s the blessed and best life possible!
When you talk to Luis he will tell you that there are still things that remind him of the negative labels that used to be attached to him.
That’s going to happen. As Saul continued to fulfill the purpose God gave him he began to go by a new name, the name Paul.
You know there had to have been some haters out there who would call Paul by Saul to try to remind him of his past mistakes.
What Paul understood then, is what we must understand today.
“We are not what people call us, we are what we answer to.”
In 2018 there will be people who will continue to call you by the negative labels you once had, even after you remove them. But you must remember to answer only to the things that God has called you.
So then what does God say about us?…
- Jeremiah 29:11 “…Hope and a Future.”
- Romans 8 “…Child of God”
- “…God is for us”
- “…You are more than a conqueror.”
- John 3:16 “…You are loved.”
- Psalm 139 “…Fearfully and Wonderfully made.”
Story: Luis story at the apartment. He now answers to giver, not user. That same life changing power of JESUS that Luis and Saul experienced is available to you today.
Many of you came into this experience with expectations but you are going to leave with a completely different outcome.