Central Christian Church Message Podcast

Gentleness | The Credentialed Life | Pastor Caleb Baker

July 25, 2021 Central Christian Church of Arizona
Central Christian Church Message Podcast
Gentleness | The Credentialed Life | Pastor Caleb Baker
Show Notes Transcript

Does gentleness mean weakness? Does gentleness mean we don’t stand up for what is right? What if gentleness is a demonstration of strength and fortitude and that it can actually change the world? Join us for this message by Pastor Caleb Baker about how God can use gentleness to change the world.  

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Well, welcome to central here in this room or wherever you're watching from. We're so glad that you are joining us today. If you have a Bible where you go ahead and turn to Matthew chapter 26, Matthew 26 is where we're going to be spending our time today, starting in verse 47, Matthew 26, verse 47.

[00:00:17] There's an awesome story that I want to talk about. And I'd like to pray for us one more time and ask that God would, would speak and would move powerfully. And then we will jump in and let's pray together. God, we're thankful for. And just like, we just sang about you. God, we believe that you just keep getting better.

[00:00:34] The more we get to know you, the more, the deeper we find ourselves in relationship with you. God, there's more goodness to be revealed in you. There's more purpose that we can find. There's more joy that we can find. There's more hope that we can find in you. And so I asked that even now in these next few minutes, as we open up your word, God, will you move in a mighty way by the power of your holy.

[00:00:56] Have your way with us, God open our, our hearts and our eyes to the things that you want us to do and encourage us as we need to be encouraged and challenged and convict us as we need to be challenged. We give you this time. God, will you speak to us? Will you meet us here? We love you. It's in Jesus' name.

[00:01:13] We pray. And everybody said, amen. Amen. Have you noticed how harsh we've become in our culture? Have you seen this anywhere? Probably not. The only one. Like we've become incredibly hard. As a people. And unfortunately, even as Christians, as the church, as the hands and feet of Jesus, we've sort of adopted this harshness that we see everywhere else.

[00:01:36] Like we just tell it, like it is. That's what, I'm a straight shooter. I tell it like it is, I don't beat around the Bush. I want to make sure that everyone knows where I stand and I'm not going to take your crap. And I'm going to tell it like it is, we're not going to back down. We're going to wear these like social media arguments, like badges of honor.

[00:01:56] It's brutal. Right. And I mean, we, I mean, I'm, I'm as guilty of this as. The church has, has sort of adopted this harshness that we see in culture. And I think if we're not careful, we can veer really, really far away from what Jesus is calling us into. I want to show you something that's interesting to me in Galatians five verses 22 and 23.

[00:02:18] It says this, but the fruit of the spirit is love. Joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control against such things. There is no law gentlemen. That's a fruit of the spirit, like that's included in this like top 10 list of how we look like God to the world is our gentleness.

[00:02:39] I don't think there's another fruit of the spirit that we care about as little as we care about gentleness. And I know that sounds like a big statement and I don't mean to accuse you unless the holy spirit is accusing you. I'm just kidding. I want to say it again. Cause I think it's true. I don't think there's a fruit of the spirit that we care about as little as we care about.

[00:03:00] We just don't value it. We don't really understand it. We don't work to do it with our lives to practice gentleness. We don't talk about it very much in church or in culture. It's just not that important to us. Like if you're in a hiring position at your work and you're looking for someone new to lead some team within your organization, Stack of resumes, right.

[00:03:22] And you're going through everybody's resume and their degrees and their accomplishments that are all totally true. You know how to write resumes. Right. And then, and then you get to like these characteristics. And one of the applicants, one of the candidates is like my best thing. The best thing that I am is that I'm.

[00:03:39] On their resume. You'd be like, ah, pass. We're not looking for gentle, right? Like we want strong, assertive, bold leaders. Like this is, we want decision makers. We want people that know how to get stuff done. You know? Like that's what we want. Like how many of you pray for your kids to grow up, to be gentle?

[00:04:00] None of us do, right. It's just not that important to us. But for gentleness to be a fruit of the spirit, it must be really important to God. Like one of the main ways that people will see the holy spirit working in our lives and through our lives is whether or not we are. I think, we feel like sometimes as Christians, that culture has sort of moved on from us.

[00:04:24] Right. And it's given us this sort of inferiority complex, like we got to make our presence fell. We to assert ourselves, we need to stand up for what we believe and uppercut people with the gospel in Jesus name like this, how we live. But, but the fact is this is convicting telling it like it is, is, or being a straight shooter or being assertive or just man.

[00:04:48] Isn't a fruit of the spirit. Gentleness is gentleness is, and we need to figure this out in this story in Matthew 26, we're going to try to redefine gentlemen. And I've been praying that by the holy spirit power, we can recalibrate our minds and our hearts a little bit to try to understand gentleness, to try to live gentleness out.

[00:05:13] Because I think if we do, it will not only transform our lives, it'll unlock our potential to lead people into relationship with Jesus. I really believe. So, as we read through this story out, I want to really engage your imagination. I was a pastor's kid. I grew up in the nineties, the 1990s to clarify in the two thousands.

[00:05:34] And I saw my, I saw my fair share of drama and church services. Back then, if you were around church in the nineties, Two thousands. There was a lot of skits, you know what I mean? And there would be some sort of dramatic reenactment of some thing in the, I was a pastor's kid. So I always had to be like the drug addict and this skit that Jesus saved from hell forever.

[00:05:52] And I was like, awesome, thank you for that. But they were amazing. Not really. They were kind of cheesy. I want to help us to try to imagine what this scene would have actually in light as we read. So let's read together Matthew 26 and starting in verse 40. While he was still speaking Judas, one of the 12 arrived.

[00:06:11] So you can tell right away in this verse, we're kind of jumping into a story, right? While he was still speaking, you might be familiar with this story. This is a really important night for followers of Jesus, because this is the night that Jesus had the last supper with his disciples. And then he goes to the garden of Gethsemane, many to pray, and then he gets arrested and he's going to get put on trial and eventually ended up on the cross.

[00:06:34] This is a big deal. Parachuting into this little scene in the midst of this. Okay. Verse 47 again, while he was still speaking Judas, one of the 12 arrived with him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them.

[00:06:54] The one I kiss is the man. Him going out, wants to Jesus Judas said greetings rabbi and kissed him. Verse 50. Jesus replied, always love his response. Jesus replied, and do what you came for. Friend, do what you came for. Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him with that. One of Jesus' companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest.

[00:07:23] His ear again, in stories like this, it's so easy for us to read them. Maybe you've heard it a million times, or even if you haven't, it's just kind of easy to brush over some of this. We don't have to imagine the intensity and the emotion and the act like how scary this scene would have been. So let me read this again.

[00:07:40] Verse 51. With that. One of Jesus' companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest cutting off. Now you just feel like you're there. I mean, that's like a documentary verse 52. It's so stupid. Put your sword back in its place. Jesus said. Put your sword away for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.

[00:08:05] Do you think I cannot call on my father and he will at once put at my disposal more than 12 legions of angels, but how then would the scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen. At that time, Jesus says to the crowd, am I leading a rebellion that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me every day, I sat in the temple courts teaching and you did not arrest me verse 56, but this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.

[00:08:34] So your, your brain is probably like, wow, like what an incredible scene. So powerful, so violent, so intense. You also might be thinking that he really brings out Mr. Potato head just to take his ear off while reading that and you would be right? Yes, I did, because I was a junior high pastor for a long time.

[00:08:51] It just works for me, you know, but this is a story that you might be familiar. But if we, if we take our time with this story, if we look at it in a little bit of a different lens, we're going to see how this provides a really powerful commentary on gentleness and on how gentleness can make a huge difference in the world around us.

[00:09:11] So before we jump into that, before we jump into some of those questions, we need to borrow a couple of details from some of the other gospel accounts of this same story. If you're newer to the Bible. Welcome. So glad that you're here, that there are four different gospel accounts in our new Testament.

[00:09:27] Matthew mark, Luke, and John. That doesn't mean there's four different stories. They don't contradict each other. It's just for four different people's view perspective, vantage point on the life and ministry of. And so they include some different details, the same way that you and I would, if we told the same story to someone.

[00:09:44] So Matthew doesn't necessarily include this, but if we look over at the gospel of Luke, the gospel account, according to Luke, there's another detail that he ha he adds into his story. That's going to be valuable for us. So Luke 22 in verses 50 and 51, And one of them struck the ear, struck the servant of the high priest cutting off his right ear.

[00:10:05] Remember we already saw that we know exactly what that looked like, but Jesus answered no more of this. And he touched the man's ear and healed him just like that. Boom, like that's insane, right? Like in the heat of this scene while things are at its most intense, Jesus is arrested and seized and overthrown and he has the wherewithal and the gentleness and the stress.

[00:10:29] To put this guy's ear back on. It's amazing to me, another important detail that Matthew doesn't include is found in John's account of this night, the gospel, according to John chapter 18, verse 10, then Simon Peter. So this isn't just some unnamed disciple that cuts this guy's ear off. We actually know.

[00:10:48] The apostle Peter who had a sword, drew it and struck the servant struck the high priest servant cutting off his oops, sorry. Right here in my bed. I want to be biblically accurate here right here. The servant's name was Marcus. I show you that context because even though those two things aren't mentioned explicitly in Matthew's account of this story, we need those details to move forward.

[00:11:11] If we're going to understand it, as far as gentleness goes. So now we have the full story. So it wasn't just some unnamed disciple. It was, it was Peter, the apostle Peter draws his sword out, cuts off the ear of this servant. And in the heat of this moment, in the heat of this battle, Jesus reaches down and puts the ear back on this man.

[00:11:33] Now that we have that context, I want to ask us a question. What keeps us from being gentle? What keeps us from being. Let's let's look again at these verses and see if we can find an answer. So while he was still speaking Judas, one of the 12 arrived with him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs sent from the chief priests and elders of the people.

[00:11:55] The betrayer had arranged a signal with them. The one I kiss is the man arrest him going at once to Jesus Judas said greetings rabbi and kissed him. Jesus replied. Do what you came for, then the men step forward sees Jesus and arrested him with that. One of Jesus' companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest cutting off his ear.

[00:12:17] This, this verse 51 is so loaded. There's so much in here. Remember our question? What keeps us from being judged? I think one of the first things that keeps us from being gentle is not understanding what gentleness is. We treat gentleness as if it's the exact same thing as weakness, right? Like to be gentle is to show weakness in our lives.

[00:12:41] But I think it's actually the exact opposite. Aren't gentle people always described that way because they have the power to not be. You would never say anyone was gentle if they were too weak to make a difference at all. Me and my wife have a, have a two and a half month old daughter. And I would never say about her that she's gentle because she weighs 12 pounds.

[00:13:01] She can't do anything. She can't hurt anyone. She could barely lift her head up. You know what I mean? I wouldn't be like, wow, she's so gentle. Look at it. No, she's just tiny. Gentleness implies that I have the power to do something else. I have the strength to actually do something, but I'm choosing to use my strength to be gentle.

[00:13:20] A definition for gentleness that I read was a strong hand with a soft touch, a strong hand with the soft touch gentleness isn't weakness. Actually strength used appropriately. Gentleness is strength, properly restrained. But we spend our lives thinking that gentleness is weakness. And so it's not valuable to us.

[00:13:44] It's definitely not something to live by. It's probably not even a fruit of the spirit. Maybe Paul messed up at the end of his letter to the Galatians. I don't know what happened. Peter viewed this moment as a fight, he went back to his human instincts. He's like, all right, let's go. It's time to defend.

[00:14:00] It's time to protect. It's time to fight. But if you can imagine Jesus in this. Which you really can. Cause I showed you like a very realistic depiction of what happened today. If you can imagine Jesus in this moment, I think it's the ultimate visual expression of what gentleness really is. He's the son of the living, God, fully God fully man Colossians tells us that everything was created by Jesus and through Jesus.

[00:14:31] Like he's that. But in this moment he doesn't fight. He doesn't overthrow this angry mob. He has the care and the power to put a guy's ear back on as he's being arrested. This is Larry is to me, like, imagine if you were one of the people arresting Jesus with your hands on him, like, all right, we're going to take him.

[00:14:52] And a guy's ear gets cut off and it's bleeding and it's a mess. You're like, oh my gosh, this is crazy. And the guy you're holding onto, he's like here, excuse me, just really quick and leans over and picks the ear up and puts it back on there. Just like that. Wouldn't you be like, are we sure we want to be arresting this?

[00:15:09] Like, this is the guy we're all against. Does this seem like a good idea to, to anyone? What a picture of gentleness? Jesus has so much strength and power in him, but he uses it in this moment not to break out, but he's focused. He knows the plan. He uses his strength to heal rather than to fight. And if I'm honest, I think we've become known far more for cutting ears off than we have for putting ears.

[00:15:39] This, this is such an intense scene. There's an angry mob. Jesus gets arrested and Peter just raises the temperature even more. That's what we would do. Isn't it. That's what I would do. Oh, this is chaotic. We're fighting. Okay. Let's get chaotic. Let's fight. And he goes straight to defend. He goes straight to protect.

[00:15:57] He just raises the temperature. He throws gas on the fire. And we look at our culture today and it feels pretty God, doesn't it? I mean, every, everybody is dialed up to a 10 there's no nuance. Everything is an extreme, everybody's mad at everybody. We can't agree on anything. Or are we just adding chaos into the already chaotic culture that we're living in?

[00:16:23] Or are we just fighting in a culture that fights or are we going to be like, Jesus? He cuts the tension like that. And he lowers the temperature. He uses his strength to bring peace into the chaos, to bring order into the disorder while he's being arrested. Are we willing to use our strength to do that too?

[00:16:46] Let's look at verse 52. How does Jesus respond to Peter's actions? Verse 52. Jesus says, put your sword back in its place. Jesus said to him for all who draw the. We'll die by the sword. It's like, Peter, put your sword away. Jesus is telling Peter in this moment that this isn't how we're going to fight this battle.

[00:17:09] This isn't how we fight. We're not going to slice ears off all the way to the top of the mountain, all the way to Rome. Let's just cut off whatever ear is in our way. I think when we discount and disregard gentleness in our lives, we resort back to this sort of fight or flight human instinct. That's in all of us.

[00:17:28] I mean, who can fault Peter for what he did? This is his rabbi, his master, his teacher. He gave up everything. He had to follow Jesus with his life, and now that man's being arrested. And so Peter's like, nah, not on my watch. I'm not, I don't back down. I'm a straight shooter. I tell it like it is, I cut ears off.

[00:17:48] You're like, oh my gosh, relax, Mike. This is just, this is his human nature. But, but, but Jesus gently rebukes. Peter puts your sword away. Peter. He leans down. He puts the ear back on. He heals this man for all who draw the sword will die. The sword. If you need the sword, it'll eventually kill you. If you need to fight sooner or later, you're going to lose.

[00:18:14] So, how does this relate to the church today? How, how can we apply this to us? If I could say something sort of depressing. And if you'll remember that I've given my life to the call of the local church, I'm hopeful. I believe that we're going to turn a corner, but I think one of the big reasons we've seen the church in America lose ground is because we've surrendered our gentleness for a sword we've traded in a fruit of the spirit for the.

[00:18:44] And I think our hearts were in the right place for some of it. I think we meant well, but I think we'd become known for our swords. If you was, went on the street and ask somebody, what do you think a Christian is? Like, they know how to argue. They're right. We're wrong. See if we're primarily known for our swords than the world.

[00:19:04] Doesn't want to hear anything about our grades. If we're known for our swords, the world doesn't want to hear anything about our grace with our swords in hand, we we've prioritized cutting off ears and I'm not sure anybody's listening.

[00:19:22] Can I show you something that I, that I Google searched a little while ago, I was writing this message. Um, I'm a brilliant theologian. So I just type in Google definitions, just like you do. So I Googled the opposite of gentle the opposite of gentle. And I want to show you a screenshot. This is, this is really the search that I did and.

[00:19:40] I didn't alter this. I wouldn't even know how to, if that was a thing. Okay. So I Googled the opposite of gentle and I love this because the first responses are kind of what we would think of, right? The opposite of gentle is unkind or brutal. There's this brutality, this harshness, that's the opposite of gentle.

[00:19:57] But look at that second definition. That second response, the opposite of gentle, according to Google is strong. I think that's symbolic of our culture. I think that's symbolic of why we live the way that we live. I think this is how we've gotten to where we've gotten. See, this is a wrong understanding of gentleness because gentleness is actually just strength appropriately.

[00:20:21] If you're living out gentleness, you're not living in the opposite of being strong. That's how you be strong. That's how followers of Jesus execute our strong. If we think of being strong as the opposite of being gentle, it will almost always lead us to being unkind or brutal. And that's become our reputation in a lot of ways.

[00:20:41] If our purpose in life is to be strong, cutoff, whatever ear is in the way, because we're right and they're wrong and we're not gonna we're, we're just, we're not going to lose. So we're going to get ourselves out of this situation. We're backed into a corner. So we're going to defend, we're going to protect we're going.

[00:20:58] And gentleness this gentleness that's the fruit of the holy spirit is nowhere to be found in our lives or our community. My wife and I have two daughters. I mentioned MJ was just born in may. So she's two and a half months old and we have another little girl Sophie who's turning three in September. And she is a very affectionate child that she's, you could call it over the top.

[00:21:20] I would say that if she was here, I mean, she's just very, she's a lot to handle. We call her Sophie tsunami because she's earned that name. So she. She's an affectionate kid and she loves her little sister so much. I mean, from the time she met her, she's just like, Hey, this is my favorite person ever. And she like wants to kiss her all day.

[00:21:37] So like three or four or 800 times a day, we have to tell Sophie like, Hey, be gentle. She's 12 pounds. Like you're going to literally kill her. I don't know. I don't know if you know this, this is not how we treat a 12 pound human being. She'll she'll lean over and like give her a kiss and it starts off a little bit gentle and then it turns.

[00:21:56] 10 kisses. And then it turns into if you have little kids, you know, she just has this like gritted teeth and she's shaking, like overwhelmed with emotion and affection. I'm like, you're going to kill her. Like you're going to suffocate her. What is happening? Like we're like, okay, give her a little space, be gentle, you know?

[00:22:13] And it made me think of us because like I said, I truly believe that for a lot of this, our heart was in the right place. I think a lot of our failed efforts to speak truth to people or to, to help people, to be honest with people comes from a genuine love for them. Just like, I believe my daughter genuinely loves her little sister, but this is a lesson on gentleness.

[00:22:36] Gentleness leads us to love somebody the way that they need it. Not the way that it might feel most natural to us. Now with our years of church background, we know the truth and stay out of our way or watch out for your ears. No gentleness leads to love somebody the way that they need it. And Sophie loves her, the little sister so much, and her nature is to destroy her with hugs and kisses, but that's not what MJ needs.

[00:23:03] She needs to be able to breathe. That's actually how you stay. Right. Some gentleness just for Sophie and for us, leads us to love someone the way they need it. We've got to be gentle our desire to just bash people over the head with the truth and how much their sin is going to ruin everything for them.

[00:23:23] I totally get it. I think our intentions can be in the right place, but we're just cutting ears off. We're not being gentle. We're not loving people the way that they. If we spend our time, if we treat our faith, like maybe Jesus is in trouble or the gospel of Jesus is in trouble. Like we need to pull our swords out and fight.

[00:23:45] Look at me, we're going to lose the ears of everybody around us. Jesus is not in trouble. Victory has been claimed already in his name and we need to be put in the ears on. We need to be loving people the way that they need it. Let's keep reading this story. Look at verse 15. Jesus continues. Do you think I can not call on my father?

[00:24:07] And he will at once put at my disposal more than 12 legions of angels. Jesus. This is calling on a term. This Legion term was common for the Roman army. This would have been thousands and thousands and thousands of Jesus like Peter. Don't you think to get out of this situation? I could just call thousands of angels down here.

[00:24:27] Like we could make this really weird scene. Mr. Potato head would just not do it. Justice. This could be crazy if I wanted to fight my way out of this Peter. But Jesus says to Peter in this moment, and I fully believe he saying this to us today. I don't need your sword. I don't need your sword. And I hope pray that that gives us freedom.

[00:24:50] That that gives us a clear view of, of our purpose and how we should live this out. Jesus, isn't telling Peter that because he thinks Peter's worthless. He's like Peter, I'm going to use you to do incredible things. It's going to blow your mind, how I use you for the gospel and for my kingdom, but I don't need an infantry.

[00:25:08] I don't need a bunch of people with a bunch of swords cutting ears off. That's not how we fight. I don't need your sword. See, this is what makes our, tell it like it is Christ's soldier mindset. So damaging. This is why our strength has become unkind and brutal. So often over the years, we're swinging swords that God didn't ask us to pick up.

[00:25:30] We're cutting the ears off that we really should have been putting the ears back on this whole time. See gentleness is so different from our culture. I think it's one of our biggest weapons in this fight and such a harsh, brutal culture where everyone hates everyone. And we're arguing about everything.

[00:25:48] When we show gentleness this fruit of the spirit, we can show people a view of Jesus that looks so different than anything else. The world has taught. We can offer such a distinct way to live. If we bear this fruit of gentleness, God doesn't need your sword. God needs a bunch of men and women to use their strength, to heal broken hearts, to repair damaged homes.

[00:26:18] He needs us to use our hands class together. Praying God, show up. God use me. God intervene. He needs us to use our hands to clean up messes and to build bridges to people who are different than us. That's what our hands are. He doesn't need your sword. Believe it. Not having Mr. Potato head up here. Wasn't just for a pointless joke that didn't even work that well, but that's okay.

[00:26:44] We're going to still keep going. I think that the other thing that this represents is. Honestly in our lives, we've kind of cheap and the results we've, we've cheapened the consequences of our harshness a little bit. You blame it on the internet, blame it on all these types of things that have numbed us as a culture.

[00:27:01] Don't we think when we're just arguing with somebody, when we just put somebody in their place, how many of you have said that? Or heard somebody say that like as a good thing, we just put them in their place. You're like their ears are on the ground, so they're not listening to you. And we cheapen it.

[00:27:17] Like it's just a tweet. It's just a Facebook post. It's just a response to an article. It doesn't really matter. I just got to tell my truth. It's just my opinion, freedom of speech, but there's real consequences. There's real people at stake and their lives matter. Their ears matter like that. God is sending us into the world to heal, to put ears back on.

[00:27:41] And the more that we cheapen it, the more we treat it, like it's just cartoon ears. Culture is just going to move on further and further from us. Our words matter, our gentleness matters and God doesn't need our sword. Let's finish out this story. Look at verse two before Jesus continues, but then with the scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way.

[00:28:05] At that time. Jesus said to the crowd, am I leading a rebellion that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me every day, I sat in the temple courts teaching and you did not arrest me, but this is all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled. A couple of times in these verses, Jesus says, this is all happening.

[00:28:25] According to plan, this was always supposed to be this way. This is how. This was always going to happen. This is another reason for us to put our swords away because a lot of the fights that we're assuming we need to get involved in are actually bigger than what we can understand. Peter, wasn't trying to be a jerk.

[00:28:44] I mean, maybe the guy whose ear he cut off would disagree, but he was just trying to defend. He was just trying to. He's like, this is my master. This is my rabbi. I got to go into fight mode. Like he was just doing what a lot of us would do, but Peter didn't understand the fight that he was in. Jesus tells Peter, Hey, this is how we win.

[00:29:01] I know it seems bad right now. And spoiler alert the next few hours are about to get much worse when I'm, when I'm arrested and been put on trial and beaten in a crown of thorns, shoved into my head and nailed to a cross. It's going to seem like it's over, but this is how we win. This is how we get free.

[00:29:20] This is how we get life. This had to be this way and Peter's just swinging swords and I'm scared. Sometimes we're doing the same thing. We're in a fight that we don't understand cutting ears off that we were supposed to be putting back.

[00:29:34] Jesus tells Peter, I know this seems bad, but this is how we win. If we, if we try to overpower and outsmart every obstacle that we come across, we're just going to be standing there with our sword and a bunch of severed ears. And no one's going to be listening anymore. No, one's going to care about the grace that you claim to live for.

[00:29:55] Jesus wins by losing. We don't win by cutting ears off. You can imagine how crazy this seemed to Peter happening in real time. He's like, all right, it's time to fight. It's time to protect, but in the kingdom where our king wins by losing, you can see why God is sending us out into culture to influence it by our gentleness, to influence it by our, this is how we fight Jesus bought eternal life for all people for all time by dying a brutal death.

[00:30:33] We're not going to win our culture to Jesus by overpowering them or proving them wrong or cutting off their ears. It's going to be our gentleness. It's going to be our ability to use our strength, to serve, to love people, to show up for people.

[00:30:52] If we, if we learn. How to be gentle. If we learn how to really love people, there is no limit to what God could do through us. Peter thought, well, I, here it's time to overthrow the Roman empire. Just like we've always known right time to fight. Get our swords out. We're just going to slice ears off all the way to the top, but that's not how Christians fight.

[00:31:18] We don't need a sword. We need a heart to serve. We need eyes to see people in need. We need willing hands and willing feet and, and the gap for broken people around us. That's how we overthrow an empire by our gentleness. That's how it happened in Rome. You know, a couple of hundred years after this story that we read about today, we actually did overthrow.

[00:31:46] Rome was covered with crosses the entire empire professing faith in Jesus. If you go to Rome today, 2000 years later, you're going to see the name of Jesus everywhere that you turn. How did they do it? Not with swords, not with fighting, not with Facebook posts, but with gentleness. They serve the poor and the sick.

[00:32:10] They preach the good news of Jesus. And they were being fed to lions. They're being set on fire, beaten up and threatened and killed, but they kept at it. They, they use whatever strength they had to love people and to see people and God used their gentleness in a powerful way. They didn't need one single sword to overthrow the most powerful empire the world had ever seen.

[00:32:36] And neither did. We just need the holy spirit to fill us with this strength, this gentleness that we find in God that will send us out the best advice and challenge I can leave us with today that will change. Change your life. If you commit to it, it's the same thing I have to tell my daughter, 50 times a day, beach and tall brothers, sisters be gentle.

[00:33:06] Let's pray.

[00:33:09] God, we're grateful for this story. We're grateful for this challenge, Lord and it's so counter-cultural, to us, it's so hard for us to live this way, but God send us out as people that use our strength to heal that use our strength to love and to serve for the sake of your kingdom. We love you so much.

[00:33:35] God work on us. Move in our lives. It's in Jesus' name that we pray. Amen.