Church & Comedy - Week 1

Sermon Transcript

Well, good morning everybody. How are you? Good to see everybody and also want to welcome those who watch via the Internet and our mobile app. We welcome you as well. And this is a shameless plug, if you don't have our mobile app, you should go to the Android store or the iPhone store and download it. Just type in "Grace Sarasota" and you will have the VPC, Virtual Pastor Chip, all the time. How about that? It's pretty cool. And I can annoy you all week as well, okay?

So anyway, we're starting a new series. And I don't know how you all are, but, man, I get pumped when we start a new series. It's just an exciting time for me because I know we're going to delve into some new subjects and look at some different things and grow as a church and I think it's just awesome to do those things. So this series is called Church and Comedy. I know you're probably thinking, "What does that mean? How is all going to unpack?" And so what I want to do today is this. As we start off this series this weekend, I want to do a 35,000-feet view, look down upon some things, look at some what I call "Big Ideas," and then we'll take the next few weeks and we we'll flush these out at ground level, so that we can understand how God wants to use you and me to do the things that he's called us to do. 

So let's look at some big ideas here, some things that we're going to discuss in this series that I think will make a huge impact in all of our lives. The first one is this: you and I cannot do what God has called us to do in our own strength and ability alone. This is a big idea here. I want you to understand this, that you and I, no matter how talented, how capable we are in whatever we do, if we're going to do what God has called us to do, his work, his kingdom work, we can't do it alone. 

Now if you were here last weekend, for Easter, you know I spoke out of Luke 24 and I talked about the two disciples that were on their way to Emmaus and Jesus appeared. At the end of Luke 24, Jesus has appeared, everybody's excited, everybody's touched him. They realized he's really risen. They're all excited. They're all pumped. They're all ready to go do something great. And here's what Jesus says to that group of disciples that's ready to go do something, he says, "Stay in the city until..." They want to go. He's been having them go everywhere. He says, "But I want you to stop for a minute. I want you to chill out. I want you to stay in Jerusalem until something happens, until you are clothed with power from on high." This is out of Luke 24.

This word power, in the original language, is a capable power. In other words, it's a power that enables you and me to do what God has called us to do. Jesus says to these disciples who were chomping at the bit to go do something great for God, I mean, they've seen Jesus resurrected. I mean, let's face it. If Jesus walked in here today and we saw him resurrected, we would all go out. And no matter where we went today, we'd be telling people, "You have no idea what happened in church today." I mean, we'd be excited. But he says, "I want you to hold on. As excited as you are, I want you to stay until you receive power from on high."

This promise that he tells them they're going to have happens in Acts Chapter 2. In Acts Chapter 2, the spirit of God falls upon them and all of this big stuff happens. There's a rushing mighty wind, and there's cloven tongues of fire. They speak in tongues and everybody hears the great things of God and all the community around the temple. It's fantastic stuff. 

I was just in Israel and this is where that happened. This is the stairs here of the temple, and of course you can see there's different stones, Crusaders have come and built stuff, and Muslims have built stuff, and other people have built stuff. If you notice right here, there's an arch though. I don't know if you can see that very well, but there's a little arch and it's filled in. This is really cool because Jesus would have been born, like say out here in Bethlehem. When he was a baby, Mary and Joseph would have come and come up those stairs and gone through that gate right there to dedicate Jesus. Here's another view of it. You can see here the stairs that are going on. 

And so Peter and the disciples were there on the steps and the spirit of God falls on them. They preach this great message and there's 3,000 people that get baptized. And we're always asking where do they get baptized? Well, on the way in, there were these little ritual washing stations called mikvahs. So the Jewish people would come in and they would get into the water and they would bathe, and then they would go into the temple, sort of being cleansed. The disciples used these mikvahs to baptize all those people that had came to faith.

What's really cool is I'd always thought, until I was actually standing there in person, I'd always thought the disciples were in the upper room and they were praying, and then the spirit of God fell in the upper room, and Peter stood up in the upper room and started preaching. And then when I started thinking, I'm like, "How could anybody have heard this? Something's not right about this." When I started re-reading Acts 2 and I realized what had happened is they had come from the upper room and they had come out to the stairs here of the temple, because it was it was Pentecost. 

And what had happened was is because it was Pentecost, all these people had come to pray, they couldn't get in. So they were out here on the stairs, sitting, praying, because it was the morning prayer. And that's when God dropped on them, and that's when Peter stood up. Luke uses the word house [inaudible 00:06:11] which is the temple. He said in the house they were, we read that as the upper room, that's the temple. What's really cool is this, the spirit of God fell on the outside of the temple, not on the inside, to those who were on the margin, who are on the outside, that's where God's spirit fell. Isn't that cool. That a little aside. I had ADHD, so that's just a little aside. 

And then they went and baptized everybody in those mikvahs. But here is the point, you and I can't do what God has called us to do alone. We need God's help. 

The second big thing we are going to talk about in the series is that God doesn't call those who are already qualified to do the tasks He calls them to do. He's the one who qualifies those whom he calls. He's the one who qualifies those whom he calls. He's the qualifier. Most people go, "Dude, I get it. I can't do it alone." I mean because I know, there's just no way. But most people don't understand this. They think that we've got to get ready to do something for God. We got to do all this stuff. God doesn't work that way. 

He called Moses. Moses said, "I can't speak, man. I'm going to stutter." He's like, "Go, man." You probably saw Charlton Heston, those movies, right? He says, "Go, Charlton. Go tell Pharaoh how to do this stuff." And he's like, "I can't do it. I can't do it." You know, Jeremiah's like, "God, are you sure you called me? I can't do it." He's like, "Dude, I called you from your mother's womb. You can do it." Simon Peter, a fisherman, you had tax collector, Matthew. You had a Zealot that God used.

God used a motley crew full of people to do his work, because he doesn't just call those who can do it. He's the one who qualifies who he calls. And that's a huge thing for us to understand as we talk about what it means to be the church and what it means to go out and do something great for God. This is the way Paul says it about him being an apostle. He says, "We," he's talking about the apostles, he says, "We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not us." If you read the Pauline epistles, you'll see Paul says over and over again, he says, "I didn't call myself. I'm an apostle not by the will of a man. I'm an apostle by the will of God. I'm an apostle by God's Will."

He's telling you, "I didn't call myself. I was out hunting down Christians. I was throwing them in prison. I was doing all this stuff. And God called me. He's the one that called me and qualified me to do what I'm doing." And he says, "We, as apostles, we have this treasure inside of us, that's God inside of us, and it belongs to God not to us. It's not how good we are. It is it is the callings that God gives to us." And he qualifies it, that doesn't mean he won't use you with your talents and abilities, because he has given many of you all great talents and abilities, but it's not our talents and abilities that qualify us. It's God call that qualifies us, and he will qualify you when he calls you. And this is something that trips people up all the time. When you say, "Hey, let's go do something great for God," they go, "I don't think I'm ready or I don't think I know, or I don't think I have enough information, or I don't think I have enough this or that." And we got all these lists that we give to God. God says, "Listen, man, I got it. If you just go do what I call you to do, watch me show you what I can do."

Third thing is, this is huge, this is the big takeaway today. This is the wow moment I think some of you all will have. You're going to go whoa when we talk about this. The church, now, if you're new today, your visit or maybe you haven't been to church in a long time, maybe you're still trying to figure out what you want to do with this Christian thing, you're not quite sure. Maybe you got a postcard in the mail or somebody drugged you in here today and you don't even know why you're here, just sit back and chill for a minute because this is... I'm really not speaking directly to you. I'm speaking to those of us in this room that say, "I'm a follower of Christ, I believe in Jesus. I want to do something great."

Here's the deal, the church community, that's you and me that follow Christ, we exist in three spheres at the same time. This is really a big idea that if you get this, it will change your life forever. Listen here. We exist in the sphere of the redeemed. What that means is is when you and I decided that we were going to trust Jesus as Lord and Savior, he made us holy, righteous, he forgave us, all those things are done. You couldn't be any more holy than you are. You couldn't be any more righteous than you are. You couldn't be any more forgiven than you are. You are fully redeemed. And you go, "Okay, that's cool. But man, I don't look like that. Have you seen me in traffic on university? I'm not looking like a Christian all the time. I'm not looking like redeemed. Things go on. Stuff goes on in my life, I don't look..." 

Well, that's because you also live in another sphere, the not yet redeemed. You go, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa , whoa, hold on now. How can those both be true at the same time?" And this is the conundrum that Christians find themselves in oftentimes as believers. Let me give some examples. You get Christians that write books. They say the Bible was written by people. I mean we know it was written by people. We know who Paul was. We know who Peter was. We know who Esther was. They are people. So it might be really good literature, but it was written by people. Then you have people that go, "No, the Bible is the word of God. God just spoke to people, and they shut their eyes and they just wrote what God wrote, man, and then it's the word of God." But the fact of the matter is both are true. It's the word of God, but it was also written by people. And you go, "Well, how can that be?" I don't know. It's just what it is. And we have to struggle with that.

We go, "Okay, what about Jesus? Is he fully God or is fully man?" We go, "Well, he couldn't be both, because maybe he's 25% man and 75% God, or 10% or 90% or whatever? The Bible says no, he's both. And you go, "Well, how does that work?" I don't know. He was both. That's the bottom line. 

You go, "Well, okay, is God sovereign? Does he know everything? It's like Psalm 115:3, "Our God's in the heaven. He does whatever he pleases, amen." God's got it all under control? What about people? Don't we have choices? Don't we make choices? I know I make choices. I know I can pick this up and put it down and pick this up, put this down. I don't think God's got me like a puppet doing that. So which one is it? Is it I got responsibility and I do what I do or is it God's got sovereignty or whatever?" Both! We go, "Whoa, man." And that's tough.

See, here's the deal. If people would have written this book, they'd have made sense out of it. They would have, because we don't like that game. Wait, whoa, whoa, whoa. You live in both! You are both redeemed and yet you're not redeemed. I'll give you an example. I'd have terrible analogies. God did not gift me with the analogy brain. This is the best one that I that I can come up with.

If I were to adopt, me and Mindy were to adopt someone, let's say overseas, when we sign the papers for them to be adopted, they're adopted, done. But they still got to fly over and come to our family and acclimate and find their room and all the stuff. So there's a process of yet, they're adopted, but yet, they're in this process of fully becoming what they already are. We live in both of these. 

And at the same time, not only are we redeemed and not yet redeemed, but we're also called the live in the sphere of being the redeeming community, which means God uses us who are redeemed, who don't always look like we're redeemed, to be the ones that go out and reach those who are not redeemed and bring them back to God. We live in all three spheres at the same time. 

Here's the breakdown though. Most of you live in one of the other. We never do this one. Here's what happens. The redeemed are like, "Yeah, man, God's, God's, God's, it's done. Man, we're supposed to be holy. We are supposed to live right, man. We're supposed to look like this. We're supposed to act like this. We're supposed to do all these things. And these people here need to get in a small group. They need to get in a prayer meeting. Man, they need to do something because man, they're not living up to it. They're not doing this. Man, we're the redeemed. We're going to do this." And all we do is complain about those who are not yet redeemed. 

Now the not yet redeemed people are sick and tired of the redeemed people telling them how they're supposed to live and what they're supposed to do and all of that. And they're so at it, like, "Man, don't put that works on me. Don't put that legalism on me. I'm going to just lay here like "Weekend at Bernie's" and if God picks me up and does something, I'll do it. But I ain't doing nothing because I'm a not yet redeemed and that's where I'm going to be." 

And all we do in the church is we fight over which camp is right, and guess what we don't do? This one, at all. Man, this is good preaching right here. The old preacher said it this way. I'm preaching better than you all are letting on, okay? But this is what goes on. We live in all three of these spheres and what we do is we focus on where we're at and you need to start taking inventory right now. Am I more in one? Or am I more in two? Which one am I in? 

The bottom line is you're in both at the same time. And not only are you in both of these, but the crazy part about it is us who are redeemed who don't look like it very often are the ones that God calls to go to reach those that aren't redeemed. And what do they do? They go, "You don't look like this," right? That's what they tell you. And you're like, "I know, because I'm this." And they go, "Yeah, but you're supposed to be this. And then the ones go, "Yeah, that's right." And these are like no, "Weekend at Bernie's," and we do nothing. 

That's the truth. It's going to change your life if you can understand this. Stop fighting. Stop it. Let's go to do what we're supposed to be doing. The last thing Jesus said was, "I will give you my power to go be a witness." And when you look at the church, by and large, what we do is we either hunker down and then, "We got to get it right. We got to do all this." Jesus never told anybody to be a disciple. He told you to make disciples. Now that's a word. That just came right out of my back pocket. That's good stuff, isn't it?

Okay, and for those of you all who are living in this community, man, don't be putting those works on me. Don't be doing this. Let me tell you something. You know what Jesus did? He did. He got out and did. And people go, "I don't want to go do. I don't want..." No, that's what he did.

He said, "Here's the way it works, real simple. Let's go into this town and tell them something." The fishermen are like, "All right, let's go." They go in there. They come back. And Jesus says, "How did you do?" He said, "Man, we did great, man. We called down fire on those kids because they..." And Jesus is like, "Whoa, time out, guys. That's not what you're supposed to be doing. You're supposed to love people, L-O-V-E, love." And they're like, "Oh man, we thought we were supposed to get them." He's like, "No, no, no, don't do that." He goes, "Okay, here's what I want you to do. Go to this town and do something." Like, "How did it work?" "It didn't work good, man. We prayed for them and it got worse." And he's like, "Okay, you guys got it wrong. This is how you learn."

You want to learn how to be a mature Christian? You get out and throw yourself out there. That's how you do it. And what you learn is, "Man, I can't do this." Bingo, big idea number 1, can't do it alone. That's the big idea. You go, "Man, I don't know why he called me." Bingo, point number 2. He doesn't call those who have it all together. He calls those whom he calls. And then you realize this is where I'm at. This is the way we grow. We grow by doing. We grow by going out there and throwing ourselves out. It's not works. It's not trying to gain God's favor, because you can't gain God's favor. But it's like, "Hey, I signed up, and so what I'm going to do is I'm going to go play basketball. And I'm going to go out there and I'm going to miss some shots and I'm going to do some stuff, but I'm going to learn along the way that I need God in my life and I need to study a little bit more and I need to pray a little bit more. I really need God to help me." 

And so when we live in all three of these spheres at the same time, we are a healthy church. Let me tell you why we have such a hard time with these three spheres. It's simply this: we don't have a comedic imagination. Now comedy is not historically laughing, haha funny sitcom. We talked about comedy movies, we go to a comedy because we laugh. Okay, that's what we've called comedy, which is what we've brought it to. 

Comedy in the ancient world was a form of literature. And Aristotle taught us that there was four ways to tell a story. There was only four ways. We got tons of ways to tell stories today because we don't understand literature. We got romance and bromance and showmance and sci-fi and Wi-Fi, and all that good stuff. Okay, the bottom line is there's only four ways to tell a story. 

One is tragedy. Tragedy is you start high and you end low. We know that. We're really good at tragedy stuff. We got that. We understand that. Yeah, I get it. Yeah, I got that. 

Okay, comedy is the reverse of tragedy. Comedy starts low and ends high. It usually starts with people who could never accomplish the things that they've set out to do, but they end up doing it. In traditional comedy, in all the Greek comedies, you know how the end it? They end it in weddings. That's how they end it. If you were a first century person who understood comedy, and you understood that a comedy ended in a wedding, when you read the book of Revelations, you would know exactly what literature you're reading. We don't because we call it apocalyptic. We got all kinds of things that we put to stuff. We don't understand literature. 

The other way to tell a story is a lyric, which is a love story. The only other way to tell a story is an epic, which is a combination of comedy and tragedy. You see that in the Homeric volumes of the "Odyssey" and the "Iliad," comedy and tragedy. That's how we tell stories.

We don't have a comedic imagination. Let me explain why, and I'm not ragging on the Puritans. There was a lot of things they did right. But when the Puritans came to America and started the New England colonies, they were very legalistic. And if you look today at the New England colonies, there's not really any Christianity there at all. It's a wasteland. They came in and they had all these legalistic stuff, and you know what they did? They tore down the theater. They tore down the theater because they didn't like comedy. They didn't understand comedy. They only understood tragedy. We were here and we went here. It's terrible. It's no good. It's all bad. They didn't understand the comedic trajectory.

And in fact, for those of you who all grew up in a Pentecostal Church or maybe a Holiness Church, if you remember, women couldn't wear makeup and couldn't wear lipstick and stuff, that's all because of the tearing down of the theater. The Puritans didn't like that because it was stage craft. They put makeup and lipstick on to dress up to do these comedies. So they wanted it out of the church. They wanted all the comedic imagination out of church.

That's why the American church, when we say, "Love your enemies," we're like, "Whoa, what do you mean love enemies? Go kill them. We're going to go get them," because see, we understand tragedy. We understand "If I don't get them, they are going to get me. I want to stay up here. I don't want to be here." Jesus comes along and says, "No, no, no, no, no, you love enemies. Those enemies might become your friends. They might become your brothers and sisters." Did you know that when you do statistics that most church people have unresolved conflict with somebody? Why? Because we go, "Well, they did me wrong." And I get it. Look, I'm not jumping on you. I'm not giving you a hard time. They go, "they did me wrong. They hurt my feelings. And until they get their act right, I'm not going to do anything." See, that's a tragic understanding. It's not a comedic understanding. 

A comedic understanding says, "Maybe if I go love them, maybe if I go serve them, maybe if I turn my other cheek, maybe, just maybe God will do something great and raise something up, and something great will happen out of all this." So we struggle with that comedic imagination. And that's why we have such a hard time engaging, when you ask people in the church, "When's the last time you led somebody to Christ?" They're like, "Oh, let's not talk about." Why? Because they don't feel like, you don't feel like, I don't feel like God could use us. We feel like we got to measure up to all these things, because we don't have a comedic imagination, that God can take you and me and use us to do great things. 

So let's look a little bit here today in comedic imagination in regards to our redemption, how God has such a comedy in our redemption, and to do that, we're going to look at Psalm 103, and I think you all will enjoy this here. I'm just going to give you a bit of background here. Most of you probably haven't studied Hebrew. Most of you haven't studied culture. No problem whatsoever. But Hebrew's got some really cool things like this. Number one, it's a very hard language to learn because it goes that way rather than this way ever. You ever driven on the left side of the road and you go, "Why in the world would anybody do that, right?" Can I get an amen? I mean, I don't understand it. The steering wheel is over here. It doesn't make any sense. But you know what the beauty is? They don't understand us either, so it's one of those great things.

Well, Hebrew goes this way and it's different. So in Psalm 103, which is what we're going to look at here in a minute, which is a redemptive song, it's talking about our redemption, it's got 22 verses. Now if you're thinking like Hebrews, you understand that the Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters. So most times when a song has 22 verses, is called an acrostic song, which means it takes every letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and that's line 1, line 2, line 3, all the way to 22. This one is not an acrostic, but the fact that it's 22 means that there's a totality to the song. And in the word "all" is used all through it because there's a totality in 22 verses. So you take like "Alef" and "Beit," those are the first two Hebrew letters. We get alphabet from that.

So now, if you're new, you can go, "Hey, man, I learned some Hebrew at that church, man. I learned alphabet, and I got a cool mug." So he said there you go. So it was worth coming today. And for those of you all who are just here out hanging out, you can go to out to Chili's and go, "Let me tell you something. I know some Hebrew, "Alef" and "Beit," and we get alphabet from it." So yeah, see, I'm teaching you here. We're going to learn languages here. I'm just kidding. We're not going to learn languages. 

Anyway, so the deal is this. The Psalm is a redemptive Psalm, it's a totality Psalm, and it's dealing with our redemption. Let's look at here. We're going to look at six verses of Psalm 103, and I think we're going to walk out of here like, "Whoa, this is really, really cool." So Psalm 103, 1 through 6, here's what the psalmist says. He says, "Bless," some of your translations may say "praise." He says, "Bless the Lord, o my soul, and all," there's that word all, "all that is within me, bless his holy name." If you've been in church for like two weeks, you probably heard somebody say that. If you've been in church for a long time, you've sang it at some point. 

Can I be honest here? For those of you who are all watching via the internet mobile app, just tune out for a second, singing Psalms is rough, isn't it? It's like they just never really get the... because they were written in Hebrew and have a certain theme, we try to sing them, "Bless the Lord, O my soul." It's just like singing, yeah, okay.

So anyway, so "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name." Now understand when the Hebrews wrote, they used parallelism, so the next verse is actually tied into the first verse, and the next verse says, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not," there's the word all again, "forget not all his benefits." So let's look at this here. What is he saying here? What's he saying? 

First of all, he says, "Let's praise or bless the Lord." First of all, when God blesses you and me, he imparts some of his character and attributes to us. When we praise or bless the Lord, we're not imparting something of us into him as if he's deficient. The idea of blessing and praising God comes out of a remembrance. This is what the psalmist was to saying. He says, "I bless the Lord and I sing with everything that was in me. Everything within me, I bless His holy name, and I bless the Lord because what I don't do is I don't forget what he's done for me." Normally, this gets like, "Praise the Lord and tell him all the things that he's supposed to owe you, all of his benefits." That's not what the psalmist was saying. 

The psalmist says, "I'm worshiping God. I'm lifting God up because I'm choosing to forget not the things that he's done for me," which means praise and worship is not you and I working ourselves up to just put our hands in the air or worship God or anything like that, praise and worship, biblical praise and worship is us recalling and remembering the great things God has done in our lives. And as we remember those things and we think on those things and we forget not those things, all of a sudden, we well up with this blessing and praise that the psalmist is talking about. He says, "I'm not going to forget all the things that God has done." 

And it's easy to forget. Remember in the Old Testament, God said, "Hey, put some stones here, so when you walk past by, you won't forget that I parted the sea here. Hey, put some stones here, so when you come by here, you won't forget that I healed somebody here. Hey, put these..." Because God knows if we forget what he's done, we will stop singing his praises. He says, "Here's the deal. I worship God, I lift up God, and I don't forget the things that he's done for me," and then he lists five things that God has done for all of those that he's redeemed. 

The first three get us from a negative position back to level. And in a total God fashion, the next two take us beyond, from here to here, wonderful comedic imagination. He says, "I bless the Lord with everything within me because I don't forget what he's done for me. Let me tell you what he's done for me. He has forgiven all of my iniquity. That's what he's done, all of it. Listen to me. If you are a believer, I don't care what you've done, I don't care who you've said it about, one thing, if you're a believer, your sins are forgiven. There is no past. You're done. It's done. And what's beautiful here, I don't have time to go through the Psalm here, but he says, "As the heavens are high above the earth," that's like the north and south trajectory, he says, "As far as the east is from the west, he removes our transgressions." In other words, God's love, it's all of it. It's vertical and horizontal. It's everything. It's all encompassing.

He says he forgives. Here's the word all again, he forgives all of our iniquity, rest in that. Some of you all, we do it, we do it as Christians. We go, "Okay, I serve Jesus, but we carry that big hefty bag of all the stuff that we did in the past, and we sort of walk around like this." And that's why Jesus says, "Hey listen, I want you to come to me. All of you all that have all that stuff that you're carrying, all of you all that are weary and heavy-laden and bogged down and have all this religious stuff and all this guilt and everything, I want to remove that from you. I want to give you peace." He says, "I forgive all of your iniquity." 

See, when you start remembering that God's forgiven your iniquity, you start blessing the Lord. He's not done though. This is even better. He forgives all of our iniquity, listen, who heals all, all again, heals all your diseases. Now in the Old Testament, the word disease is not exactly the way we use disease today because we think of disease like a sickness or whatever. A disease in the Old Testament, as a general rule, is something that keeps you and me, it's a debilitating thing, that keeps you and me from becoming all that God would want us to be, and that could include sickness, but that could include a lot of other things. It's a debilitative state. He says he heals. In other words, he puts us back to where we need to go. 

You got to understand how this is working, because the next one, he says, "who redeems your life from the pit." What he's saying is this, listen, we're down here, and what God has done is he's come in and forgiven all of our iniquities. He's covered all of our diseases and he has lifted us up out of the pit. If that's all we said, that would be enough reason to really honor God and lift him up and say, "Thank you, God, for what you've done," because that gets us back to just normal. But in total God fashion, that isn't how he rolls. He don't bring you back just to even. Listen to what he does, "Who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy." That's God's covenant love. He crowns you. He doesn't just get you out of the pit and forgive you and heal you and get you right. He crowns you with his steadfast love and mercy.

And not only that, he satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagles. This is powerful stuff. The psalmist is like going, "First three got you here, next two take you up above, God's lifted you up." It's the comedic imagery of redemption that God is lifting you and me up. He's doing something great in our lives. And here's the best humorous part of it all, the best comedic part is verse 6, "The Lord works righteousness and justice for all those who get it right." For all of those who do everything perfect, see, we would get that because we have a tragic understanding. That's what it said we'd go, that sounds right. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all that are the down and out. All that are oppressed. All that are hurting. All that have shame. All that have guilt. All that carry weight. He works his righteousness and justice for you, for me. 

So what are some take-homes here that we can walk out of here with to think about during the week? One, praise and worship is a response to God's comedic redemption. I want you to just stop for a minute. Listen, there's nobody in this room... I know, listen, some of us have, we look like we're more together than others. We do. But there's not anybody is this room that doesn't have stuff. We all have it. It's different for everybody. 

Praise is always a response to God reached down into my pit and did that for me? Yes, and it's the hardest thing for us to understand because we understand tragedy. We understand God coming to get us. We understand that he's got this gavel and he's out to get us, and many of us go, "Things going bad in our life, not doing right in our life, God must be out to get me. He must be out to do all this stuff because we don't have the other sweep." When you get the other sweep, it will blow your mind and change your life forever, when you understand that God is for you. He's not against you. He couldn't love you anymore than he does. And worship and praise is a response to the craziness of God's redemption, that he came after you and me.

Secondly, redemption is about God taking you and me from a below zero sum and taking us far above a zero sum. He lifts us up. Let me say this to everyone in this room today. Let God lift you up. Don't walk out of here downtrodden. Don't walk out of here down and out. Hear the Gospel. The Gospel is good news, this is not bad news. It's good news that God is for you and that he loves you and he's called you and he wants to do great things in your life. Redemption is about God taking us from here and lifting us up.

And thirdly, redemption is something that we can forget if we don't reflect and remember on what God has done for us. Oftentimes in our life, we just get busy and we forget all the great things that God has done, all the prayer's he's answered, all the people he's touched, all the people he's reached. When you start reflecting on that for a minute, it changes everything. 

And here's what I want you to understand. I want you to see, in your mind, the comedic imagination that your heavenly Father has. Rahab was the prostitute of Jericho. There's no dispute about that at all. She was the prostitute that lived in Jericho. She met some spies. She put her faith in God. When Jericho was destroyed, she came out. The Bible tells us that she married Salmon. Salmon was in the righteous line of Judah. The prostitute became a royal bride. And not only that, but they had Boaz. And Boaz had Obed. And Obed had Jesse. And Jesse had King David. The whore of Jericho was made a royal bride, and included in Mathew 1, in Jesus's genealogy, the righteous line of Jesus. 

When you and I understand that God can do that for you and me, that he can use people like that, he can use us, and let me tell you something, when you get that bug, that man, God can use me, what happens is you become those 11 that the book of Acts talks about, those fishermen and tax collectors and Zealots, and you become those people that the Bible says they turned the world upside down. Why? Because they believed that God could use them. 

Let's pray. Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for the privilege and the honor of being able to speak to your people. I pray, God, that they would hear your heart this morning. I pray that they would see, in their imagination, that you can use them in ways that they can never even imagine, that you can do things in their lives that they never even though that you could. Because, Lord, you do not use perfect people, you use imperfect people like us, like me. Lord, give us that vision. 

Help us through this series that we're now embarking on to truly see how the church and the comedic imagination go together. And help us, Lord, to become that church that truly believes that we can reach the unchurched by being the intentional neighbors that reflect Christ. So Lord, I pray that you would watch over us and protect us. I pray that you would lead and guide us. I pray that you would continue to help us be the light that you've created this church to be in this area. Bring us back safely too when we meet again. Speak to us throughout the rest of the week about being your people, and we thank you it, in Jesus's name, and everybody said amen. 

Go and live in comedy. Blessings