Rule Keepers
Sounder SIGN UP FOR FREE
ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast
ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast

Episode 14 · 2 years ago

Rule Keepers

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Do you have a great job? A great family? A successful life and career? Is it sometimes hard to listen to what God is trying to tell you? I think it’s really hard sometimes. Most times. God’s heart is huge towards the rule keeper and invites you to experience a truly satisfying life. Stop trying to achieve everything and receive an identity directly from the one who made you.

Well, Hey, welcome to part two of our series life with no rules, where we are exploring this amazing, abundant life that God wants you to have. And so, whether you are a rule breaker or a rule keeper, I'm so excited that you're joining us and I believe God has something more for you. In part one of our series, we took time to look at what a life with no rules really does and when, what rules really do in our life and and how do we respond to them? And I can imagine when you first saw the the title of this series, you were either really excited, like wow, I could live free, or you were kind of skeptical, like I'm not sure if I like a world with no rules. And See, there's really those two types of people in this world. There's the rule keepers and the rule breakers, and the rule breakers are the ones that are man life with no rules. Great, I could do whatever I want, I could be free there. But then there's the rule keepers that maybe a life with no rules is a little scary to you. But see, a rule breaker is that person that was the kid growing up that cause their parents to fight or the teenager that made the parents question if they did a good job or not. The rule breakers, that college student that took a little longer than expected to get the degree. You're the person at work that always seems to find his or her way into the boss's office. But but notice that none of these characteristics of rule breakers are deaf necessarily bad. Now, sure, of course you could come up with a lot of different ways that you could break the rules and end up really bad,...

...but not every rule breaker ends up in jail. In fact, there's a lot of rule breakers that are the ones that make the most innovative changes for good in this world. But more about rule breakers next time. Today is all about the people that could never see themselves fitting into any of those categories I just mentioned. You know, they were the best kid they could be, and in high school that sure they made some mistakes, but generally they lived a good life. And then at work, you know they're the ones that are always trying to win over their bosses affections and and make friends with their coworkers and do the best job that they could do. And notice again that none of these characteristists are necessarily bad. I and for every good thing that you could think of a rule keeper to do, there's also a lot of negative things that come with keeping the rules, like often times they're resistant to change or they look down upon others, mainly the rule breakers. I would probably put myself in the category of a rule keeper, and probably because of, you know, the family that I grew up in and and I could achieve, you know, relative success that when I worked hard and in school and in athletics and I grew up going to church and in high school I had a god brought me into a relationship with a girl that had very strong, good values, and so there was just something always inside of me that wanted to follow the rules and and avoid getting in trouble. And so I love the fact that Jesus came for the unrighteous and not the righteous. He came for those that needed a doctor and not the healthy. But what...

...does Jesus have to say to the ones who think they're righteous, or what does Jesus have to say to the ones who think that they're healthy? And I think he has to say that you're not as healthy, you're not as righteous as you think you are. In fact, Jesus takes time to tell these stories that get to the heart of a rule keeper and he really they emphasize the rule breaker returning to God, but Jesus tells these stories for the purpose of getting to the heart and to the mind of the rule keeper. And so one of the stories that you may be familiar with is the story of the Prodigal Son. Now, of course, this story that Jesus tells is is wellknown. Right the the younger son, he asked for his inheritance early, basically saying to his dad, forget you, I wish you were dead. I'm going to go do my own thing. And so he takes the money and he goes away and he squanders it all on crazy living. He does everything that you could possibly do and he uses his money and all the worst ways and he finds himself in a place that is not good at all. And the son recognizes this and and he says, you know what, life would just be better if I returned home, but I know my dad's not going to accept me back. So he came up with this speech and he prepared this speech and he's like, if I could just go back and and my dad would accept me as a slave in the in the household, like my life would be better than it is right now. And so the son prepares the speech and he heads back and you were probably remember. The story is as he's getting up over the hill, he recognizes that his father is there waiting for him and running out to him, embracing him,...

...welcoming him home, restoring him to where he was before he left. They threw this giant party and it's a beautiful, beautiful story. But Jesus tells this amazing story to the rule keeper. He's trying to get the rule keeper to say that, like the rule breakers, are welcome as well and you want to come into the party, to write rule keeper. And unfortunately the rule keeper of the older son in the family, who did everything right, who who tried to keep all the rules and please his father, the rule keeper would not go in to the party. He couldn't understand and see. It's hard for a rule keeper to come to God, and this breaks my heart. You know, there's a special place in my heart and in my ministry for the rule keeper. Like come to the party, man, don't stay outside. God loves you too, and that changes everything. And so Jesus tells another story to get to the heart of the rule keeper, and this story that we're going to look at is recorded in the gospel of Luke. A man who was a follower of Jesus in the first century did a lot of research and everything that was being written down and talked about at the time and he wrote down what's called today the gospel of Luke. It's in our bibles, and so if you have your Bible, I encourage you to turn there with me to chapter eighteen, and it's in this section of what Luke wrote almost two thousand years ago that we read this story about a rule...

...keeper, the Pharisee, and a rule breaker, the tax collector. And the purpose or the reason why Jesus told the story was because he told it to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else. He told it to the rule keeper. He said this is the danger of being a rule keeper. You have great confidence in your own ability to keep the rules. Rule keepers think that you know they people will like them because they're they're good and ultimately God will like them because they're good. And you know, rule keepers get good grades in school and they make sure the job happens just right. But rule keepers have the tendency to scorn or look down upon everyone else. They they say, I can get good grades in school, why can't you? Or I can get the job done right and fast, and you know, why can't you? What are you missing? They're quick to get frustrated when somebody else doesn't do as good of a job as as they do. And you see, in the first century, the Pharisees were the ultimate rule keepers. They were the keepers of the law and they even created their own set of rules to kind of shield themselves from the real set of rules. And if those real set of rules wasn't entirely cleared they just made sure that they created their own perfect set that they could follow. And when Jesus came to this earth, he had a lot to say to these pharisees. He called him hypocrites, blind guides, fools and even serpents. And it's to these rule keepers, the Pharisees, that Jesus tells this...

...story. In Luke, Chapter Eighteen, he says this. He says two men went up to the temple to pray, one of Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The pharisee stood by himself and prayed. God. I thank you that I'm not like other people. Robbers, evil doers, adulterers or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get. But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said God, have mercy on me, a sinner. And I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God, for all those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exultant. And so the first detail that Jesus gives in this story is that the Pharisee, the rule keeper, stood by himself and prayed. You know, rule keepers have the tendency of making sure everybody else knows that they follow the rules. You know, why else do it if no one recognizes you? And the position of the tax collector was standing at a distance and he couldn't even look up to heaven. And oftentimes rule breakers and rule keepers they they won't associate. And next we hear what the PHARISEE prayed. He says, Jesus says, this rule keeper prayed that he was thankful that he was not like other people. Now, interestingly, he goes on to list three different types of people that he was not like, and I imagine that this list was probably quite a bit longer. Is He's like rolling off the list that he's not like, and I imagine he gets to like number fifteen and...

...out of the corner of this eye he sees, Oh, look at that, even that tax collector over there, that guy. I'm not thankful that I'm not like that guy. But is it even possible to be thankful for such a thing? Like God wants us to be thankful, but can we be thankful for not being like someone else? Well, what is what do we do with that? What does God do with that? And I think if the PHARISEE was honest with himself, he would say that there's a part of him that's a little bit like a rob or someone who steals from someone else, or a little bit like an evil Doo or someone that does evil to someone else, or or a little bit like an adult or someone who steals from someone else and does evil to another. Let's see, rule keepers have the ten see of putting things in clean black and white boxes. They think, well, because I didn't shoplift that pack of Gum at the store, that I'm not a robber. Or I'm honest on my taxes, so I'm good and I haven't taken anyone's purse, so I'm not a robber. This category doesn't apply to me. And plus, we probably all know somebody that we would put in that robber category. But unless we've been caught ourselves, we wouldn't put ourselves there. And so, thirdly, we hear how the Pharisee in his prayer thought he was different than the tax collector and other people. He says I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get. And again, I think this list was probably a lot longer. Just Jesus is just given us the details that we need to know in this story. And so isn't it possible, though, to be a robber...

...and evildoer and an adulter and still yet do these two things, fast and give a tenth of of all you get? See, I think this is another insight into the mind of the rule keeper. See, they think they're they're the only ones that can live right and do the right thing. They think there's no way that somebody else in a different category could live the way that they live and do what they do. I find an interesting that Jesus points out these two particular things that the rule keepers say he's good at doing, because Jesus spends a lot of time talking about these things, especially talking about them to the Pharisees. And so one of those situations was in the sermon on the Mount. Jesus is famous message that he probably gave in an over and over again, and in this section of the scripture, as it's written down and recorded, he says, when you fast's talking about fasting here. When you fast, don't make it obvious, as the hypocrites read Pharisees Do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that it is the only reward they will ever get. See, Jesus gets to the heart of the matter and says, Pharisee, if you are living this way and keeping the rules for the purpose of other people seeing you and rewarding you for it, then that is the only reward that you will ever get. You know, when you are living for the purpose of pleasing people and people are pleased by you, that is a great, great reward, but when you're living for the pleasing of people, and people are disappointed or frustrated or angry at you, then you are going to be crushed, because that is the only reward...

...that you can receive and it's a very, very shallow reward. Then Jesus talks about this practice of tithing. It's the other way that these Pharisees thought they were better than other people. and Jesus says this to Pharisees at another portion of scripture. He says what sorrow awaits you, Pharisees, for your careful the tithe, even the tiniest income from your herb gardens. But you ignore justice and the love of God. You should tie the yes, but new do not neglect the more important things. See, the Pharisees were so good at keeping this rule. They knew how to tie the even from the smallest amount of income they could. They could do it and they made sure everyone else knew that they were doing it. And so, when it comes to tithing, think about this for a second. If you were guaranteed to earn a promotion, you know, have a better benefits, make more money, have a better status, if you were guaranteed that, if you gave ten percent of your income to the cause of your choice. Would you do it? You probably would do it if you're a rule keeper or a rule breaker. Hey, that's a pretty good thing. Now, would you do that same thing if it was only the right thing to do? No other guaranteed benefits, just because it was the right thing to do? Well, that narrows it down significantly. See, the rule keepers pride themselves on being able to do the right thing. They're the ones disciplined enough to know how to spend their money. They care about causes and plan to support the things that they care about financially. And rule keepers tip well, because that's what...

...you're supposed to do. So in our next session we're going to talk about rule breakers, but I want to take a minute and I want us just finish our message today by talking directly to the rule keepers. You know, I'm wondering what is God teaching you right now? Do you see yourself fitting into these categories and these things that we have been talking about? See, as much as we celebrate the prodigal son returning home, God wants to welcome you home as well. And so just because you think you have life all figured out doesn't mean that you don't need God or that God doesn't exist. Just because your family is great or you have a great job and you're experiencing success in many ways doesn't mean that you can't have a relationship with God or you don't need a relationship with God. See, I know that you cared deeply about people and you stand up for the rights of others and you your promote great causes. That helps so many things, so many people, and you're making a huge difference in this world. But and keep it up. But I think Jesus is exposing something in our hearts and our minds that oftentimes, US rule keepers, we expect this same type of living from everyone and and this causes us to look down upon others. You know, we think we deserve that spot in the group or on the team because because we can do it the best and we can do it the fastest. And but I think there's more to life than that. You know, in fact, if you're achieving great success and you still maybe feel like something is missing. You know, you can win the championship and you can do the best job that...

...you can do, but you can still feel like something is missing. You know, you can have that position you can make the money, but you feel like there's something a little off. You know what happens when you've disveloped your gifts and your talents to such a level that you are getting calls every single day for people to pay you whatever you want them to pay you to use your gifts and your talents for them, and you still feel a little off. You feel used. See, you cannot separate the gift from the giver of the Gift. If you don't acknowledge the giver of the gift, it will crush you. And so it is difficult for rule keepers to come to God and Jesus wasn't kidding when he said this multiple times. But I hope our time together today helped you take a step in that direction. I am cheering for you next time. RULE BREAKERS.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (120)