“Living on the E.D.G.E.” 1) Introduction a) Pray! by heapsofluvv


									                                   “Living on the E.D.G.E.”

Graphic: ICTHYUS symbols
Key Verses:
Theme: Living on the EDGE as a Christian means staying close to God, following Jesus, learning more
about Jesus, loving God and others, and going out to tell the world.

1) Introduction
   a) Pray!

   b) In the first and second centuries after Christ lived, died, and rose again, it
      wasn’t popular to be Christian. In fact, in the first century, when Emperor
      Nero was in power in Rome, Christians were persecuted and many of them
      were killed or martyred.

   c) Yet, the people who believed that Jesus was the Messiah, that he was the
      Son of God and the Savior of the world, were not deterred by the fact that
      their beliefs might land them in jail or they might get them killed…

   d) Yet, they wanted to avoid those things, for obvious reasons…we all like to
      keep our heads on our shoulders, right? (bad pun, I know…)

   e) So the Christians in various parts of the world, starting in Alexandria, Egypt,
      used a very simple sign to let others know that they were believers and it
      was safe to talk about their faith.

   f) They used the either the symbol of a fish, or the Greek letters that are the
      word for fish…

   g) But why a fish? Well, Alexandria was a port city and fish was a way of life.
      Jesus called fishermen and asked us to be fishers of men. Jesus multiplied
      the loaves and the fish…fish was a major common commodity in the life of
      the people of the first century…

   h) And so the Christians began using this symbol as a way of identifying
      themselves to each other…as a way of unifying themselves, without being
      detected by the Roman soldiers who were a constant presence in the cities
      and towns…

   i) As a think about those early Christians and about the fact that they were bold
      enough and cunning enough to unify under those circumstances, I realized

   that THOSE BELIEVERS are our spiritual ancestors. Without them, we
   would not be sitting here today, maybe, and we owe them a great debt of

j) But another thing strikes me about them…

k) These men and women, who were faced with DEATH because of their faith
   in Jesus Christ, and who chose to live out their faith in bold and courageous
   ways, were truly Living On The EDGE.

l) What a joy it must have been when a believer walked into a new section of
   town, shopping or on business, only to discover that the symbol of their
   faith, of their unity in Jesus Christ, was displayed on a lonely back alley, or
   on the ground that led into a humble house.

m) It must have been like coming home…like safety. Like experiencing and
   discovering God everywhere…

n) What about us? In some ways, we have it easy…we don’t have to go into
   hiding and have secret symbols and codes in order for us to avoid
   persecution and death…

o) And we can drive through any town in America and find, not only symbols,
   but cathedrals, and churches, and monuments, and statues, and gravestones,
   and thousands of other ways that the symbols of our faith are displayed
   without shame, and without fear of persecution.

p) But I don’t need to tell you that that’s changing…those symbols are being
   invited to stay home. Those expressions of faith are being segregated and
   secluded from the public eye.

q) And we are increasingly being faced with choices about who we talk with
   about what we talk.

r) And our call to live in the edge as Christians is as real and as urgent as it has
   ever been…God is calling us to experience and discover Him everywhere…

s) And yet, we sometimes fail to do that, even though we are not faced with
   any real persecution, or imprisonment, or death…

t) And it’s pretty clear from what we learned this week at vacation bible
   school, that God has some simple guidelines He wants us to follow…and
   these are things that new believers, old believers, children, youth, young

      adults, male, female…it doesn’t matter, these are things you can do today in
      your life to LIVE ON THE EGDE for Jesus Christ.

2) Five things:

   a) First one – stay close to God. When the people of Israel were wandering in
      the desert after being freed from slavery in Egypt, Joshua was tapped by
      God to lead the people across (through) the Jordan River.

   b) In Joshua 1:9, God said to Joshua, “Be strong and courageous, do not be
      terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord, your God, is with you,
      wherever you go.” That promise holds true today.

   c) When we decide to live on the edge, we must decide to stay close to God.
      God always stays close to us…but we don’t always stay close to God. Stay
      close to God…worship, bible reading, prayer, bible study…all ways to stay
      close to God.

   d) Number 2 – Live on the Edge by following Jesus. During VBS we heard to
      story of the wisemen who followed the star to Bethlehem to meet the toddler
      Jesus…they went on faith to meet their King.

   e) When we decide to live on the Edge, we decide to follow a person…not an
      idea…not a philosophy or a religion…we decide to follow Jesus Christ, a
      person. He just happens to also be the Son of God, the living sacrifice for
      our sin, and the redeemer of the world…

   f) Follow Jesus!

   g) Number 3 – Learn about Jesus. You know, some of the people that were
      following Jesus, that knew who Jesus was, didn’t follow him long enough to
      learn WHO he really was and what he was. The Pharisees and the priests,
      the people who couldn’t make the changes Jesus was asking them to make,
      were sad because they didn’t learn about Jesus.

   h) The story of Jesus eating dinner at the Pharisee’s house one day is an
      illustration that we must take the time to learn about Jesus. We must sit at
      his feet…and ask him questions…and read about him…and worship him…

   i) Living on the edge in today’s world means finally deciding to seek after
      Jesus with all your heart and stop playing around with church. Either you’re

     seeking to be in more, or you’re on your way out the door. There’s no
     middle ground

  j) Learn more about Jesus and I bet you’ll be hungry for more and more…

  k) Fourthly, we are called to love God and love each other…John 15:17 holds
     the simple words of Jesus, “Love each other.”

  l) Loving our friends is pretty easy most of the time. Loving God is good and
     we don’t usually have a problem with that. When we do those things, we are
     living pretty far from the edge.

  m) How about loving our neighbors? How about loving ALL of our family
     members? How about loving those with whom you have a history of finding
     it hard to love?

  n) When we get to the very edge of our comfort zones…when we walk to the
     farthest place you would ever consider loving someone else…Jesus calls us
     to go a little farther. Jesus calls us to love each other like he loves us:
     unconditionally and humbly.

  o) And by that, we are living on the edge…we are fully alive and sharing the
     love of Christ.

  p) Finally, we are called to Go! Living on the EDGE is less about always
     feeling like your being asked to do something you don’t want to do, and
     more about always being ready to do the things you wish you didn’t want to
     do, but that God is clearly calling you to do. (REPEAT)

  q) In Matthew 28, Jesus tells his disciples - those who are staying close to God
     and loving each other, following and learning about Jesus - to Go and make
     disciples…tell others the Good News. Walk the streets and meet the people
     who are ready to come…find a hand to shake and tell them that Jesus has
     made a difference in your life and how.

  r) That’s living on the edge…that’s being a Christian.

3) Conclusion

  a) The ichthyus symbol was a powerful reminder that God did not die when
     Jesus died on the cross. It is a powerful reminder that people have been
     living on the edge for a very long time…that people’s lives have been
     transformed and redeemed for 2000 years.

b) We are the descendents of people who stayed close to God daily, who
   followed Jesus closely, who learn about Jesus fervernly, who loved God
   passionately, who loved others compassionately, and who went out to the
   edge to tell others about Jesus.

c) Live on the EDGE in your faith…if you are here today and you are
   wondering how to start moving toward the edge more, follow those five
   simple ways.

d) If you are looking to start a relationship with God through Jesus, then as a
   pray, ask God to guide you to where he is…and begin moving to the
   exciting, risky, dangerous and inspiring edge of life…with Jesus.

e) Let’s pray…


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