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New Sermon Series: Living in Tune with Jesus

By Brandon Lemons

Imagine I pick up a cello for the first time. I take a couple hours of lessons, practice like crazy for a few days, and then try to perform a concert. It would be a disaster, wouldn’t it?! At the very least, it would be painful to listen to, even if you could vaguely make out the tune I’m trying to play.

Most likely, your response would be, “Brandon is a poor cello player.” Or “Brandon is just starting out. He needs more practice.” You probably would not be thinking,

Whoever wrote that song really stinks.

We know how to distinguish between the composition and the performance. A beautiful piece of music can be played masterfully, badly, or somewhere in between. But people generally understand that a bad performance doesn’t indicate flaws in the original composition. Instead, the performer is not faithfully representing the original. The performer needs to improve.

Metaphorically speaking, Jesus wrote a beautiful tune. His life and teaching were exemplary. Even skeptics who despise Christianity generally respect and praise Jesus. For instance, Albert Einstein was no friend of religion, but he acknowledged deep admiration for Jesus:

I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene. No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life. No one can deny the fact that Jesus existed, nor that his sayings are beautiful.

Unfortunately, a common view is that Christians are not living in a beautiful way. Gandhi is purported to have said,

I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.

Although Gandhi probably never uttered this exact quote, its sentiment is widespread. In March 2023, the Pew Research Center published a study on the perceptions of faith traditions in America. The findings showed that, of America’s major religious groups, evangelicals are the most disliked. Unfortunately, this negatively impacts whether people want to become followers of Jesus, continue as followers of Jesus, or associate with Christians. What a radical difference this is from Jesus Himself – who was like a magnet to whom all sorts of people were attracted! (To be sure, Jesus also repelled some people – especially those who were arrogant and closed-minded.)

On June 16, we are starting a sermon series called Living in Tune with Jesus. Based on a musical metaphor, this series highlights the beauty of Jesus’ original “composition.” The only way we can honor Jesus is to live in tune with Jesus – to know His tune and “play” it with our words, actions, and attitudes in ways that reflect the grace and truth of who He is.

Many people promote ideas of who Jesus is – that “Jesus would do this” or “Jesus wants us to stand up for that.” But to avoid caricatures, conjectures, and distortions of Jesus’ “tune,” we must dig into Scripture to study Jesus Himself. Verses and phrases pulled out of context are insufficient. Living in Tune with Jesus goes to Jesus’ most famous and extensive teaching: the Sermon on the Mount. The Sermon on the Mount is Jesus’ concerto, His masterpiece.

This series has obvious relevance for Christians in helping us “live in tune with Jesus.” It is also valuable for those who are investigating Christianity and even who are skeptical, because it will cut through the clutter to highlight Jesus’ “beautiful tune” from His own lips and life.

Please pray that God will work through this sermon series to empower the people of Friedens and beyond to “live in tune with Jesus” and to stand in awe of His beauty and glory!

Note: the musical metaphor this series is based on was inspired by John Dickson, who developed this metaphor in his book, Bullies and Saints: An Honest Look at the Good and Evil of Christian History.


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