Pastor Henry Wright Sermon Transcript & Audio - The Jesus Nobody Wants

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This is a transcript of a sermon by Pastor Henry Wright of Community Praise Centre, Alexandria Seventh-day Adventist Church entitled, "The Jesus Nobody Wants".

Let's pray. Father as we spend a few moments in your book, speak to us today. We ask in Christ name. Amen.

The Jesus nobody wants. Jesus if you noticed in a general sense even after two thousand years is still popular. I mean even some of our Jewish believers though they do not see him as the Messiah, the anointed one, many Jews believe Jesus to be a sincerely good man.

Our Moslem brothers devoutly Muslim still credit Christ, many of them, for being a prophet one, who spoke for God. And even those of the mystic religions see Christ as someone specially gifted and man of selfless works.

Jesus has maintained a certain popularity in the world today and of course in the Christian world he's become quite popular.

However a closer look at his popularity reveals the Jesus who has become increasingly diluted into a nice guy walking around doing good deeds and saying nice words. Full of forgiveness. Full of love.

We love to talk about the love of Jesus. Don't we? Don't be hesitant I know you know I'm gone somewhere so you are a little nervous . Ok I'm setting you up but you know that. You know me.

Loving forgiving, grace filled Jesus. We all just wanna hug him until Jesus says something that crosses our lifestyle. Then we dissect Jesus into denominations. Well that's what your church believes. Same Jesus now. There's no  Baptist Jesus or Catholic Jesus or Methodist Jesus it's just Jesus when he speaks to all. But if he says something not quite a lined up where you are you say that's the Seventh-day Adventists Jesus.
Pastor Henry Wright
And we really don't like the dire predictions that he makes about our world in the last days. We love the Jesus that said such things as love thy neighbor as thyself. Isn't that nice?

And we nod with admiration when he says turn the other cheek. I remember the young man a guy that had made the mistake of hitting me and he said you're a Christian turn the other cheek. I said what you forgot is the other cheek is your cheek.[congreation laughs] I was not converted in those days and he discovered the truth of my words.

My point is even the nice things Christ says we put our own slant on those things that suits our present moment.  The Jesus who says walk an extra mile or someone says walkabout give another mile we like that Jesus and we really like the Jesus that says don't judge. Eh! man that's my buddy. Don't judge. And forgive so you can be forgiven. Amen Jesus way to go!

And of course the favorite of many, the Golden Rule, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them.

So the amens are heralded. Approbation for the wisdom of this young preacher from Nazareth. And even though many who applaud these things aren't doing them, Jesus today is still considered if not the Son of God, a person whose short life has touched this planet more than anybody else. Or at least as much as anybody else.

But watch me now, we want this love spouting Jesus to stay in his lane. We wanna meet Him in church. We want to sing praises to him but we don't want Him in our living room. Surely not the bedroom. Because then Jesus turns into something else.

But the thing we have forgotten is that when the angels told Mary and Joseph what to name him, they said call him Jesus. Why? He shall save His people from their sins. Oh yeah the saving Jesus.

The Jesus I read about in Scripture does not appear to be someone that can be intimidated by human imposed concepts about what His mission is.

In Mark 10:45 he tells His disciples "I came to suffer and to die". John 3:3 and 5 that famous passage where we find also find that famous text John 3:16 For so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. We love that text but Jesus makes it clear in John 3:3 and 5 before you get to John 3:16, I came to change people. Change without limits. Changed beyond your internal concept. Change, watch me,  change without your permission.

The scariest thing about being a Christian is what would happen to you if you really let Jesus take charge. If we released the boxed in Christians' Jesus who walks a certain path, a certain way according to our ideas and our concepts.

In Mark 8:34-38 Jesus makes it clear he came to rearrange human priorities.  Matthew 24:30 he comes to create a new heaven and a new earth. That suggests he's not so pleased with this one. And so this popular Jesus has an agenda that seems to be forgotten by those in the world who find them so appealing.

He came to die for sin because sin makes human beings a mess. He came to transform character because the way we are we cannot be saved. I knew you wouldn't say Amen to that.

He came to rearrange human priorities from the striving for the rat race into a life of sacrificial service that's why we joined to honour these folks today. Thank God there are still people in the world who understand that life is not about me but about others. Somebody ought to say Amen.

That's the kind of invasive nature that Jesus wanted to have on us. Even people in Christ's inner circle tried to put him in a box. Remember the wedding in Cana and his mother said Oh my son is here he can do anything let him take the water and make it into wine. Do what he says. But Jesus said Mom I love you but this is not yet my time.

There were his brothers in John 7 who didn't like the way Christ was managing his ministry and said you are to make yourself more popular. Remember that text where they told him you want to get up and make yourself more popular. And Christ says that's not the way I'm going to do it.

Then in Matthew 26:56 when the disciples found out that Jesus was not going to be the Savior that they wanted the record is clear they all forsook him and fled. We're not interested in a Jesus going to a cross. King, yes. Rule the Romans, yes. Take off the yoke of burden? Yes. But a Jesus who's going to die for sin? That's all you gonna do is die for sin? Aah haa we are out of here.

The Jesus to get you that job -Great Jesus. The Jesus that helps you get that Ph D. dissertation done-great Jesus. The Jesus that sends money when you are hard done. We like that Jesus.

How about the Jesus that lets you lose your job? You say I don't think that's the savior I'm looking for.

The attempt to make Jesus into their Jesus did not end with his associates. People and leaders of the church tried to do the same thing in John 5:1-9 when Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath the leaders of the church said we don't do things that way. Let him  be sick throughout the Sabbath then heal him at sunset when the Sabbath is over. Jesus said I made the Sabbath it's lawful to do good on the holy day.

John 6 when Jesus after the miracle of the loaves and fish presented himself as the bread of life to be received and to change and transform life. The people made it clear we like Jesus who operates like Safeway and Giant. We are not interested in a Jesus who thinks he's the bread.

And in  John 19 when Jesus is led before the group assembled for Passover in AD 31 broken and beaten and half naked, he's their king. With swollen lips and bloodshot eyes, he is still their king. but they gripped his heart and said is this the Jesus that hears and sees? No we have no king but Caesar.

And do not stick your nose up at those people because too many times in our lives we say to Jesus if that's the way you act I'm not happy.

Jesus doesn't always heal people. Jesus does not always keep people from having accidents. Jesus, when the plane crashes does not spare the righteous and only kill the wicked.

And the Christian community has tried to shape Jesus into something that is of their convenience. And he resists, he refuses because because Christ understand what we really want, what we really need.

I'm going to use the word 'need'. What word did I use? Need. You see Christ's view of his purpose is different from our view of his purpose. We sing the hymns, we talk the talk, but few Christians see themselves as in need. As in what? Nee. I mean real need of change.

In fact in this present world money and success are in many ways need fillers and this applies to humanity in general and Christians as well. If I'm doing well in life then God is good. Don't sit there quiet.

And we praise him, we lift our voices  and praise him for all these blessings but great is the praise that exalts from swollen lips. Great is the praise that exalts from tear stained faces. Come on somebody. Great is the praise that comes from the one whose cancer is not yet healed. Great is that praise because that person is saying that God is God no matter how God acts. I will not box him in.

I am not going to be, Jesus says, a puppet savior dancing at the strings of your brain's lack of vision.

We're caught up in an awe of human progress. Our world has bought this Kool-Aid of evolution. Evolution is scientifically implied but any scientist worth his brain will tell you nobody's ever proven evolution. But if you accept evolution is fact then it makes the saviour unnecessary.

So based on that theory of evolution mankind has over the past billions of years emerged from the primordial slime into a creature who now flies and transplants vital organs of the body. And communicates around the globe through the ether ways, Medical science claims great progress in human lifespan and social science trumpets our more civilized way of life.

According to evolution man is on the way up but the Jesus of scripture is called creator and John one verse three biblical creation describes the world way back yonder. Free of pollution. Free of crime. Free of disease and even free of bad weather. Jesus would ask us to day if he showed up. Progress? Where is it?

And even after mankind began doubting its God mankind still lived according to the Bible. Hundreds of years there was no hint in the Bible that they were ever cavemen or  had slanted brows and snow covered bodies.

They were a fallen race. They were what? A fallen race in need of a savior so Jesus says in John 10:10 "I'm come that you may have life and have it more abundantly". But the Greek says I came to bring you the life you were created to have. Progress?

By the time you get to the sixth chapter of the book of Genesis the Bible challenges man's progress with these words "and God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was evil continually and it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth". Progress?

Then the Bible says in Genesis six versus eleven, "the earth was corrupt before God on the earth was filled with violence". Where is the progress?

I'll give you God's assessment of our progress. Second Peter 3:10-13 here's how God feels about our progress second Peter 3 go there and read God's response to our progress. Second Peter the third chapter and then look at these words, "but the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise and the element shall melt with fervent heat the earth all the earth also in the works that are there in shall be burned up". That's God's response to our progress. I'm reading the Bible here I didn't make this up.

How do you feel about our bridges, Lord? I am going to burn them up. What about the trains that go a 100 to 200 miles an hour? I'm going to fix them by melting them down to nothing.

God is not impressed with our progress because in God's mind the real progress of humanity is not in stuff we do but in the people we are. We don't like that jesus.

You mean you are going to burn my plush powell carpet which I had installed at a discount and these clothes you're going to burn these and the car. You know when I was printing this sermon I thought about you know the new Jeep that I bought my wife. You know it's got everything, it talks, it reasons, it guides. It says there's a car on this side and it just is marvelous. Burn that car?  I tried to think that maybe I should take it out of the sermon. Burn the jeep, burn the jeep?

Yes that is the thing about privacy because this is the thing down your cranium. So God has never been impressed because if the world had been like God made it the Jeep would have never existed. He's not impressed with all this metal and steel and wood and brick and stone he's not impressed at all. He is going to burn it up- "the works that are therein". The Greeks says the stuff you made.

What what impresses you? "Nevertheless", verse thirteen, "we according to its promise look for a new heavens and a new earth". Ha! wait a minute, "wherein dwelleth righteousness". Oh my oh my not skyscrapers. Righteousness.

For that is the mission of a good world is a world where people are right. The fact that you are having trouble saying amen because you've never lived in a world where people are right. You don't  know how it feels like I don't know either but it sounds good. Sounds good. Folks who don't lose their temper sounds good. Folks when they say hi, they mean it. And when they say how are you? You can say fine and you're not lying. Come on somebody. Wonderful. He said I'm going to provide that kind of a world. That's my measurement.

And so how does the Bible describe this savior. This savior that everybody thinks is so great as long as he stays in his lane. Genesis 3:15 says he's going to destroy sin. Isaiah 9:6&7 says he will set up a new government where there's justice and peace. Isaiah 61:1 says he will heal and deliver and give sight and liberate.

These these these texts suggest a human condition now that is not satisfactory that the needs fixing. Now. Now note my use of the word, "need". Hey hey hey. Attention everybody. Jesus is not your buddy. He's your savior. Buddies you can take and leave. But savior is a need thing. Saviors intervene. A savior is a savior because a savior is doing something you can't do for yourself. Ask Peter sinking in that water. Lord save me.

Now I'm coming at you. The work of Jesus goes deeper than you had in mind. Listen to the prophet Malachi. Listen to this. And we love the sing this at Christmas time. The part of the Messiah, "but who shall abide the day of his coming", you know some of you having been singing this, "and who shall stand when he appeareth. For he is like a refiner's fire like a fullers' soap",  and we just singing and our heads are laid back to sing and the organist go on in the righteous direction. We just sang in that Messiah song "He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and purge them like gold and silver".

Do you know how gold and silver get purged? Has anybody told you about that? This is not fun stuff going on here and we sing the song our heads laid back down and our faces look all angelic and Jesus is saying I am gonna tear you apart. Are you listening to the pastor?

So we go through this religious stuff these mechanizations these these high holy things we have not gotten our brains around the purpose of Jesus a refiner's fire. We are talking about pain here. We are talking about a Savior who is who is aggressive who gets in my space.

This does not say he has not forgotten his function to forgive and charm with his Grace. This a savior who actually wants to change me and get into my way of thinking and drinking and playing. He even wants to influence my wallet.

Here's our favorite game with Jesus. If he gets into our spaces and start talking about stuff we really don't like and we know we're not up to that. Here's our favorite statement, "God knows me. He understands".

What did you just say? Refiner's fire? One that will purge that gold or silver till the dross rises to the top. The gold and silver actually change form and become liquid and the fire gets so hot that the person doing the work can't stay near it.

But pastor doesn't God provide grace? He sure does. It is love that word marvelous grace of our loving Lord, grace that exceeds our you know..

Grace. Has it occurred to you, have you studied the word grace? Grace is not just pardon grace is power.  God doesn't give you grace to make you feel good. He gives you grace to empower you to be good. Grace, surprise surprise, is in fact the refiner's fire applied and used by God to expose you to yourself.

One of the worst moments in your life is when God takes your clothes off and show you who you are. You better pray in that moment that you are in a room by yourself because it will be shocking.

But the fire can't stop burning till the dross rises to the top. A refiner of  gold will tell you that once it's gone into the fire once it's gotta go through again because there's so much impurity in the gold one fire won't do it.

This is the Jesus we don't like. We want that guy you know who says I love you man, o that's my Jesus, I love you man.

Jesus says whosoever therefore shall confess me before men him will I confess before my Father which is in heaven. But the guy who will not confess me before men him will I deny before my father. Jesus says I am not some namby pamby just always being nice. If you don't reach a point in your life when you really confess me I don't confess you. We don't want hear about that Jesus.

You means Jesus won't do so so if I don't do so so. Yea it's what he said. Same Jesus who said I love you said that.  And then he says, "Think not that I am come to send peace on the earth I came not to send peace but a sword".

What is a sword for? For cutting. But don't be too dramatic not just for killing for cutting. In fact in one text that I read, I have read the Bible several times in fact, Hebrews 4:12 says that the word of God is a sword that cuts.

You see the good sermons are the ones that will send you home kind of ducking.  This is the good service, yeah. The one that sends you home quiet. You ain't got nothing to say. In fact you don't shake hands just want to get out of church. That's a good sermon.

Let me show you how deep Jesus is,  If thy hand offend thee cut if off. That's the sword. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than having two hand and go to hell. This is the straight talk. We don't hear these texts. Jesus used the word hell. A four letter word.

And if you foot, I'm reading the Bible here I am not making this stuff up, "And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched". Straight talk from Jesus.

He says I am not playing around. I'm not just your buddy, your pal. I'm your savior. I'm doing stuff for you you can't do for yourself and you've got problems and you need to deal with those problems. That's what I'm here for.

"If thy eye offend thee pluck it out it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye that having two eyes to be cast into hell fire". That is pretty straight. Ain't that straight?

He's saying that the sin in you is so devastating and damaging it's got to come out. It is like when the doctor tells you this is got to come out. It's what my doctor told me about my prostate gland. It's got to come out. I said is there not some way of dealing it but he said no it's got to come out. And when you wake up it will be gone. It's killing you and I as your physician, I as your as your surgeon I'm here to preserve life. That is what my doctor said.

The Savior is here to preserve your life. He's not concerned about these things you want to hold onto if it's kept. Thank God for a Savior with some backbone. Hallelujah.

So how about these scriptures of Jesus who is full of love? Oh yes this Jesus of the Bible is full of forgiveness. He's full of acceptance of people as they are. Aah here is one. I should speak about this one right now. He's full of acceptance of people as they are but do not confuse his divine acceptance with divine approval. That's a pretty good sentence. No so? O Yeah I thought so.

There a lot of things modern society wants to accept like love everybody and I'm with that. Love everybody. I've not read anywhere in the Bible where it says love everything they do. I'm still looking for the text it may be there but I skipped over it.

Jesus says in John 3:17 right after John 3:16 "For God did not his Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved". We like that part. There's a verse later verse 19 "and this is the condemnation that light is come into the world and men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil". Loving the loving Jesus is wonderful but feeling bad about sin the way Christ does is more important.

Well let's wind it down. You see the popular Jesus would say like we say don't drink and drive the unpopular Jesus would say don't drink period. He made human brain so he knows alcohol destroys brain cells. Most of us cannot afford that.

The popular Jesus would agree with the sign of the pack of the cigarettes that says Danger: may be harmful to your health but the unpopular Jesus would say don't smoke if you value your health.

You have these Christians that say Moses was tough. He was tough as old testament guys were tough but Jesus was kinder. But Moses said thou shall not kill; Jesus said it's deeper than that you can kill with your thoughts you can kill with your mouth. So who's easier Jesus or Moses?

He said Moses said in the commandments that thou shall not commit adultery but Jesus said that ain't quite far enough if you look and lust you don't have to touch nothing. You see we don't want to hear that Jesus. So this idea of the Old Testament prophet are too tough but Jesus Christ is a nice guy is not true.

Read what Jesus said what Jesus said is much deeper because he's concerned about this. We're dealing with these externals and how things look. Jesus said I came I came to transform your thoughts.

You see folks the most private thing about me are my thoughts. Praise God! Woo! Wouldn't church be uncomfortable if we can read thoughts. In fact it would end worship in one weekend. Yeah if everybody came to church on the weekend reading thoughts churches would be closing the next weekend. I know I wouldn't be back. I would find myself another profession in one week. Christ says I want to get into that stuff.

Modern society is high on the crack cocaine of compromise. Political correctness is more important than principle or courage. Christianity never has been and never should be a popularity contest. It is not because Christians are more preachy, intolerant and exclusive but Christians do not do some things. Real Christians have an inner radar that causes them to be uncomfortable around something even if they're not sure. Are you listening to me?

And so Christ found fellowship with harlots, wine bibbers, publicans and sinners but he never did what they did. And he knew how to accept the person without condoning the deeds and believe you me folks that takes a real Christian.

So Jesus prayed for his church, "they are not of the world", in John seventeen, "even as I am not of the world I pray though...". Its a strange prayer. They are not of the world just like me I am not of the world but I pray that you don't take them out of the world but keep them from the evil in the world.

Would you be in the world but not like the world and the Christian church keeps moving the bar. It bothers me folks that the Christian church keeps moving the bar so as to be more acceptable. And so this seasoning, this difference, this fresh spirit that we were to bring to the world is missing because we're too busy trying to be acceptable.

We're to be accept-ing and receiv-ing but because of the pure and dedicated and deep moral conviction we have in Christ rather than melting we lift. People see the difference, appreciate the difference, and want the difference not because we are high, holy, condemning and pious but because we're just real. We face the fact that how humans are is not acceptable. Letting Christ do something in us. 

Well the Christian community has a challenge to present the special change that Christ presents. Have we become so deluded by the "there is no standard, no real right or wrong philosophy" that increasingly dominates our society and politics. Politics, politics, all the politicians now want to be Christian so that they can get voted into office. 

Have you noticed the change. For the past twenty years nobody wants to run into office who's not a Christian. Pleasing God. So the promoters show them going to church. They announce to us their Sunday school teachers. There is a Christ, folk, who looks through that stuff and he is not impressed. I think that the fresh water of "love everybody" has been poisoned with the arsenic above everything they do in our country. 

We are a thermostat, folk, not a thermometer. The reason why the church needs to step up, I am not just talking about Adventists I am talking about the Christian community as a whole, is because there are some other things that Jesus said that people don't want to hear.

Did you pay attention to the text that was read before I got up? It is in Matthew 24. It is Christ's prediction of the end of the world. Ever read that stuff. Oooh man, earthquakes, have you read that, in divers places, famines and pestilence-the greek word by the way for disease. Famines and disease, that is Jesus prediction.

Then in Luke it gets more serious for it says, men's hearts failing them for fear. Every time I read the medical statistics of the increase of heart failure, I think about that verse. The Greek says men's hearts failing for they can't stand the earth. That's Jesus talking.

He is saying do you really think that a Savior can't produce a better world than we have now. You mean a savior can only offer a world, where there is sins, disease, crime and war. You think that is the best a godly saviour can do. I hear Christ say, give me some credit. I am the Saviour who made the earth perfect.

You think that a savior is gonna wind up giving you  a half baked, half saved, world No no no.   In Revelation it gets exciting, no more pain, no more sorrow, no more death, no more sin,  I will fix it because I am a savior.

But I gotta fix you first and so to do that you gotta let me have my way in your life. Is that alright church? Simple sermon. Listen to the words of the song, Have Thine Own Way [a singer sings this song before the congregation]

Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way! 
Thou art the potter, I am the clay. 
Mold me and make me after thy will, 
while I am waiting, yielded and still. 

To my friends who are watching it's possible that you don't really know this Christ I've talked about. I'd like to hear from you. I'd like to talk with you.  No pressure today to do anything about it but let's just talk about it. He may not be the person you've heard about. I would like for you to really know him.

For you listening to me today in this congregation would you just bow your heads now for a moment. Visitors day we have a policy we don't invite anyone to join our church we don't invite visitors to our church to press them to making a decision. That's not a kindness that is a deception.

But many of you visiting today you believe in Christ and I ask you have you allowed him to be in you where he really wants to be? Are you still shaping him, squeezing him, resisting him? Just think about that as Marvin sings out the next verse [Marvin sings next verse of Have Thine Own Way]

Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way! 
Search me and try me, Savior today! 
Wash me just now, Lord, wash me just now, 
as in thy presence humbly I bow. 

Let us pray. O father I raise the question Lord because you gave it to me in my notes, what would I be like if I really really let you take control? It's scary. Too many things might have to be cut loose of  too many changes might come too quickly. You might really throw me in that fire and really refine me. Oh boy let's take this thing slower.

Somebody here really needs to think about that. As we as a Christian community today just celebrate Christ but we wanted to unfold and reveal the real Christ of Scripture who blesses and curses. Who lifts but will knock you down. Who saves but will refine you. Who loves and forgives but who keeps working on us until we are what he knows we can be.

Help me to love all that you are Jesus, some are praying with me that prayer helped me to love you for all that you are, Jesus. We thank you in Jesus name and all the people said amen.

Below is the audio version of this powerful sermon from Elder Henry Wright, The Jesus Nobody Wants.

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