The Unpopular Jesus

The Unpopular Jesus

Sermon Notes

Matthew’s Themes:

  • Jesus is the King
  • We are part of Jesus’ new kingdom
  • Jesus teaches us how to live in this kingdom

Key Point: When we surrender our lives to Jesus, we need to think about how to care for other people. But we don’t need to care so much about what other people think about us.

What the experts are saying about social media:
Facebook’s former VP for User Growth, Chamath Palihapitiya, recently said, “we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works,” and
advised people to take a “hard break” from social media. Facebook founding president Sean Parker echoes the same thought: “the social validation feedback loop creates a little dopamine hit…because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post. And that’s exactly the thing a hacker like myself would come up with because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.” Tristan Harris, former leader and ethicist at Google, observed it this way: that social media is a “race to the bottom of the brainstem.”

  • 3.1 billion people are social media users worldwide
  • 210 million people are estimated to suffer from internet and social media addictions
  • Teens who spend 5 hours a day on their phones are 2x more likely to show depressive
    symptoms
  • Young, single females are addicted to social media more than any other group
  • 71% of people sleep with or next to their mobile phone
  • 10% of teens check their phones more than 10x per night
  • 50% of people driving while using smartphone are checking social media
  • Over 240 million Americans check Facebook daily (74% of all Americans)

Consider this: You and I will do almost anything to be loved and accepted by other people,, even when that acceptance is from unhealthy environments and even when that acceptance comes in unhealthy forms.

Jesus’ style of ministry confronts and conflicts with our modern thirst for popularity, clout or societal approval.

1. Jesus cared for people who needed the greatest help but were often shunned the mostMatthew 7:28-29, 8:1-4, 10-13

  • Jesus touches a person with leprosy
  • Jesus heals the servant of a Roman Centurion (and then brags about his faith)
  • Jesus then cast out demons

Leprosy in the Old Testament – Leviticus 13:45-46

  • People were ceremonially unclean
  • Isolated
  • Stigmatized

Who in your neighborhood is:

  • Outside of church
  • Isolated
  • Stigmatized

2. Jesus demands loyalty from his followers Matthew 9:18-22, 16:24, Luke 9:61-62

Jesus did two things:
He was frustrating to the casual observers.
He was faithful to His mission.

Application:
Who are you following?
Is the approval of Jesus enough for you?

Discussion Questions

TALK IT OUT

  1. How can our current obsession with social media help us or hurt us spiritually? How
    does it impact you personally?
  2. Pastor Rusty observes Jesus’ ministry to the following: He touched a man with
    leprosy (Matthew 8:1-3), Jesus healed the servant of a Roman centurion and
    complimented the Gentile centurion’s faith (Matthew 8:5-12), and finally He healed
    two demon possessed men (Matthew 8:28-32). What do you think Jesus’ actions
    demonstrate about how He expects His followers to treat those who society has
    written off today?
  3. Who in contemporary society might be the equivalent of the man with leprosy? Who
    might be like the Roman centurion? Who is the equivalent of the demon possessed
    men?
  4. What is Jesus trying to teach each of us about how we should treat those who
    society has written off today? Based upon those Jesus served that had been written
    off by His society, how do you think He would treat the people you identified in
    question three today?
  5. How does Jesus’ teaching and example challenge our own preconceptions and
    actions toward those who are currently marginalized?

LIVE IT OUT

  • Who have you written off that Jesus values? A few weeks ago, we learned Jesus wants us to pray for our enemies. Take a few minutes now to pray for those you and I tend to ignore?
  • Make a list of kind things you can do which will demonstrate that you care for those who have been written off by contemporary society? (See question 3)
  • Take a closer look at your answers in question four, then make a list of specific ways you are going to show God’s love to those who are often the most disenfranchised today.
  • Ask God to help you see those around you the same way He sees them and to show you practical ways to demonstrate God’s love for them and your concern for them too. Write down those practical ways to help others and pick at least two of three that you are going to put into practice this week.