Faith Chapel

The Normal Man

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Dennis Uffindell


Series Code: FC

Program Code: FC000051

00:29 We're glad to welcome you to our program today,
00:32 and I trust that you like
00:35 I will enjoy talking about Jesus once again.
00:39 Let's pray together before we do.
00:44 Father in heaven,
00:45 once again we want to take a fresh look at Jesus Christ.
00:49 We want to learn from Him and become like Him,
00:55 and we pray that You will work that work
00:57 in our hearts and lives,
01:00 in His name, amen.
01:06 My name is Dennis Uffindell,
01:08 and I'd like to share with you a subject
01:10 that I always enjoy talking about
01:13 and that is another picture of Jesus Christ.
01:19 When I was a young teenager,
01:21 I used to enjoy going to summer camps,
01:24 and I well remember that at this summer camp
01:26 I used to go to, there was a young man
01:29 who was older than the rest of us,
01:31 physically that is,
01:33 and he was very proud of himself
01:36 because he was the only one of the campers
01:38 who had a certificate to prove that he was normal.
01:43 You see, he'd had some problems but he had been cleared,
01:48 and it illustrates a very important truth
01:51 and that is, we all like to be normal.
01:55 We don't like to be considered abnormal
01:57 in any way whatsoever.
02:00 Which brings me to an important thing,
02:02 what do we mean by normal?
02:05 Have we ever stopped to think, for instance,
02:07 what a perfectly normal person would look like or behave like?
02:14 What is normal anyway?
02:17 Well, I suppose in common parlance,
02:19 it would be what we're talking about
02:21 when we talk about somebody having a normal temperature,
02:27 or behaving normally,
02:30 or restoring a difficult chaotic situation to normality,
02:36 things of that kind.
02:39 That's the way we normally use it.
02:42 It means to conform
02:43 to the average pattern of those around us.
02:49 No one likes to be abnormal,
02:51 so when we run a high temperature,
02:53 what do we do?
02:54 We want to get it back to normal
02:56 as quickly as possible and so and so forth.
03:02 We conform to what we consider to be normal
03:08 which leads me to a very important issue.
03:11 What I consider to be normal
03:13 will have a powerful influence upon my thinking
03:17 and upon my behavior and therefore inevitably,
03:20 my destiny.
03:22 It reminds me of what happened in conversation
03:25 with a young man one time.
03:30 He said, "Well, it's perfectly normal
03:34 to get angry when someone is nasty to you,"
03:37 and he was a sincere young Christian,
03:40 but do you see what the idea of normal had done to him?
03:45 It had cost him to forget entirely
03:49 what Jesus had said about a situation like that,
03:52 because in Matthew 5:44,
03:56 he says this, "I say unto you, love your enemies,
04:01 bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you,
04:05 and pray for them which despitefully use you,
04:08 and persecute you."
04:11 So you see, it had completely cancelled out,
04:14 the idea of what was normal had completely cancelled out
04:17 the words of instruction of Jesus for him.
04:22 And that's a pretty serious thing I would think.
04:25 It had made him decide that to be normal
04:31 was the right thing
04:32 and Jesus' words would be asking him to be abnormal.
04:37 Another illustration, are there ever times
04:40 when in truth, you are a little bit ashamed
04:43 to be pinpointed as a Christian?
04:46 Now where I come from, back in Britain,
04:49 it would be almost unheard of to be sitting in a restaurant
04:54 and see a family join hands and say grace
04:57 before their meal.
05:00 And I know that there were times as a young person
05:04 when I felt very awkward doing it
05:06 because I knew that people would think,
05:08 well, "Is there something wrong with him?"
05:13 You know, normal morality
05:15 has done the same sort of trick on people.
05:18 There was a time when morality all around us was such
05:23 that certain things were completely taboo
05:25 and they strengthened us in our decision
05:27 to do what was right.
05:29 But today, normal morality is so loose
05:34 and perverse that it only leads us
05:38 in the wrong direction
05:39 rather than in the right one.
05:42 It reminds me of a trainee at a clergy session,
05:46 as she told me afterwards,
05:48 and this was a mature Christian woman.
05:51 She said to me,
05:52 they were talking in this session about sexuality
05:57 and the leader was asking individuals
06:00 in the group about their personal sexuality,
06:03 and she refused to talk about it,
06:05 and he turned on her and said,
06:06 "Why, are you ashamed of your sexuality?"
06:10 You see, how even in clergy circles
06:16 things have changed so much
06:17 so that what is correct to talk about
06:21 is what was incorrect not very long ago.
06:24 But now before we go any further,
06:26 let's look at the dictionary definition of normal
06:31 because it just so happens
06:32 that the dictionary definition
06:34 is a rather different definition
06:37 than what we normally use.
06:39 It says here, from the Oxford dictionary,
06:42 excuse me,
06:43 "from norm which means standard,
06:47 pattern, or type, or that which is perpendicular."
06:53 Abnormal is deviating from the type
06:58 and the type is a personal thing
07:01 to which everything should conform.
07:04 So then to be truly normal is to be like the normal man,
07:11 and scripture makes it very clear
07:12 who the normal man was,
07:14 because in Philippians 2:5, for instance,
07:16 the Apostle Paul says, "Let this mind be in you,
07:20 which was also in Christ Jesus."
07:22 So think like Jesus, He is the pattern.
07:27 Or John 13:15,
07:31 "For I have given you an example,"
07:33 Jesus said, "that you should do as I have done to you."
07:38 So behave like Jesus.
07:44 So I'm now gonna say something
07:45 that sounds really crazy at first.
07:47 "To be normal is to be like Jesus."
07:51 Does that come as a radical idea?
07:53 It certainly did sound a little different
07:56 when I first came to that conclusion.
07:59 But I'd like you to take a picture
08:02 of what the normal man,
08:04 Jesus, would do.
08:07 The story is told in Mark 7,
08:11 of how Jesus took with His disciples
08:14 a 40 mile hike one day.
08:17 Now I don't know
08:19 whether you've ever walked 40 miles in a day,
08:21 very few people have, I certainly haven't.
08:25 And you know what He did it for?
08:28 Because way up there near Tyre, Sidon, was a lady,
08:34 who desperately needed His help.
08:37 And so in the hot sun,
08:40 over those rocky hills and stony pathways,
08:44 Jesus hiked for 40 miles there and back,
08:50 to heal one person.
08:53 That's what the normal man was like.
08:58 It tells us in 1 John 2:6, "He that saith," sorry,
09:04 "he abideth in him, ought himself also to walk,
09:08 even as he walked."
09:10 Or in 1 Peter 2:21 and 22,
09:13 "For even here unto were ye called:
09:16 because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example,
09:21 that ye should follow his steps,
09:24 who did no sin,
09:26 neither was guile found in his mouth."
09:29 So Jesus according to the Bible
09:31 is one unquestionably the normal man,
09:36 or the type, or the pattern man.
09:41 Now this brings us to an important point
09:43 and I believe it's a staggering fact for many,
09:47 "it is not normal to sin."
09:51 Oh, the Bible makes it clear that everybody sins,
09:56 but it never says it is normal to sin.
09:59 It says it is abnormal to sin.
10:02 And to see it that way is very important,
10:04 it's in fact a very valuable insight,
10:07 because it changes our whole attitude toward it.
10:13 God created a perfect world,
10:17 with perfect human beings in it.
10:20 What happened?
10:21 The devil came along and persuaded them
10:23 to depart from God's instruction,
10:26 and as a result we have all these sickness,
10:30 and death, and pain, and misery, and hatred,
10:33 and so on that we have in our world today.
10:37 Does that sound good?
10:38 Sure, doesn't to me.
10:40 Now the truth is, sin is a perversion
10:43 and abnormality is destructive.
10:47 And you know, in nature,
10:49 it's an interesting thing
10:51 that everything that is abnormal
10:55 has a greatly lessen chance of survival.
10:59 The Bible certainly teaches
11:01 that the abnormality of sin does that to human beings.
11:06 That's why God speaks of it in Isaiah 5:20,
11:12 in very strong terms,
11:14 he says, "Woe to them
11:17 who call evil good, and good evil."
11:21 Because he knows what a powerful influence
11:23 that'll have upon people in the wrong direction,
11:28 it's a lie.
11:30 Actually, and this is encouraging I think,
11:33 there are far more beings
11:36 who are like Christ than like the devil.
11:41 Two-thirds of the angels remained loyal
11:44 and all the beings in other worlds
11:45 have remained loyal.
11:47 It's only the people down here in this little world,
11:50 along with Satan and his following angels
11:53 that have the abnormality of sin.
11:56 So we're really with the majority anyway
11:58 which is to my mind a good news.
12:01 And the value of seeing it all this way is this,
12:06 I want one to confirm to the norm around me,
12:10 if I know it's an abnormality, that is destructive,
12:14 it won't sound very attractive,
12:18 when sin is seemed to be a perversion
12:22 and destructive.
12:26 The Bible talks about sin as a disease, in Isaiah 1:5,
12:31 it said, "The whole head is sick,"
12:33 speaking about Israel.
12:35 Well, I don't know about you,
12:36 I don't like to have any part of me sick,
12:38 but the last place I want is to have my mind sick,
12:42 and that's what sin does according to the Bible.
12:45 I'd like you to, in your imagination,
12:48 come with me to a leprosarium.
12:51 I've had relatives
12:53 who'd gone to leprosariums in Africa,
12:55 because all my relatives on both sides of my family
13:00 except my mother and father,
13:01 all my aunts and uncles were missionaries in Africa.
13:04 And of course, there have been a lot of lepers in Africa,
13:09 sad to say.
13:10 And of course, it disfigures their faces,
13:13 and their hands, and their feet, and so on.
13:16 And so as we look around,
13:18 we see everybody there has leprosy.
13:24 Can you imagine
13:25 after being there for two or three weeks,
13:27 crying out, "Oh, I want to be a leper,"
13:30 just because everybody else has leprosy?
13:36 No, because we know, it's a deformity,
13:39 it's an abnormality and we don't want to have it,
13:43 and that is precisely what sin is.
13:47 And so just because everybody does it,
13:50 surely no sins make it desirable
13:55 and there's no excuse.
13:57 Now when Jesus started His ministry,
14:01 we are told that He came with a specific purpose in mind
14:07 and He talks about it in Luke 4:18,
14:13 He says, "The spirit of the Lord is upon me,
14:15 because he hath anointed me
14:17 to preach the gospel to the poor,
14:19 he sent me to heal the brokenhearted,
14:22 to preach deliverance to the captives,
14:25 and recovery of sight to the blind,
14:27 to set at liberty them that are bruised,
14:30 to preach the acceptable year of the Lord."
14:35 So recreation, the remaking of us,
14:39 is the restoration to normality,
14:43 that's the good news,
14:45 and that tells me something else important
14:47 as it's often forgotten and that is this:
14:50 the church is the right place for sinners.
14:54 You know, sometimes, church people
14:55 look down on sinners
14:57 who don't conform to their pattern,
15:00 as though they had no place there,
15:02 but the church should be the hospital for sin-sick souls
15:05 to be healed, should it not?
15:07 So we don't need to keep away
15:09 just because our lives are not right.
15:12 Now I'd like us to take a look for a few moments
15:15 at the typical attributes of the pattern,
15:19 Jesus Christ, to see what a man
15:24 who has no abnormalities is really like.
15:28 How can you adequately describe for instance,
15:33 the Creator God, coming to earth,
15:38 taking upon Himself human flesh,
15:41 living the life of a poor peasant,
15:44 then being crucified,
15:48 despised, and hated,
15:51 dying on the cross?
15:53 Why?
15:55 Just because His total unselfish love demanded
16:00 that He do something about our lost condition.
16:03 Well, how do you describe the sinless purity of a man
16:09 like Jesus,
16:11 when He could honestly say,
16:13 "Which of you convicteth me of sin?"
16:16 John 8:46, or in John 14:30,
16:20 "The prince of this world cometh
16:23 and hath nothing in me,"
16:25 that is, he will find no response in me
16:29 to the temptations that he brings.
16:32 There's no such thing as even the slightest response to it
16:37 or his total devotion
16:41 to serving others is normal.
16:45 He possessed the power and the means
16:48 to relieve people of every kind of pain,
16:51 and affliction, and misery, and heartache.
16:54 But He was so totally devoted to serving others,
17:00 that while He was being treated as we have just described,
17:05 and He could have called down angels from heaven
17:08 to deliver Him from it.
17:11 He preferred to continue His work of salvation
17:16 and He did to find personal relief
17:20 and left angels to weep
17:24 as they beheld His agony.
17:27 What a man!
17:29 What a majestic pattern!
17:31 Could you ever be satisfied with anything less than that?
17:35 I must confess that I couldn't anymore.
17:39 I'd like to share with you,
17:41 how the Apostle Paul described his love.
17:45 Only, I'm going to read it from a different translation
17:48 because I happen to love what Moffatt says here
17:51 in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8,
17:57 "Love is very patient, very kind,
18:01 love knows no jealousy, love makes no parade,
18:06 gives itself no ace, is never rude, never selfish,
18:12 never irritated, never resentful,
18:16 love is never glad when others go wrong,
18:19 love is gladdened by goodness, always slow to expose,
18:24 always eager to believe the best,
18:27 always hopeful, always patient,
18:31 love never disappears."
18:35 That, my friend, is the pattern.
18:38 Can you honestly be satisfied with anything less?
18:44 Like you, there have been times
18:46 when I've been disappointed bitterly with myself,
18:50 because I was a long way from the pattern.
18:55 And I can remember well the devil whispering in my ear,
18:59 "What's the use, Dennis,
19:01 why pretend that you can ever become like Jesus?"
19:07 But then I thought to myself,
19:10 but could I ever be happy turning to the other?
19:14 Why, no.
19:15 Could I ever be happy having abandon Jesus Christ?
19:19 Why, no.
19:21 Could I ever be happy reaching anything else
19:23 but my highest potential in Christ Jesus?
19:26 Of course not,
19:28 and so I want to follow the pattern.
19:34 And do you know what, the wonderful thing is that
19:37 while we may not see changes taking place in us
19:41 because the changes that Jesus brings are gradual,
19:45 brought about by His loving presence in our lives.
19:48 They do become evident to other people.
19:51 And I think one reason why He does it slowly.
19:57 And thus it often can steal from ourselves
19:59 is that the tragic thing about human nature
20:03 is we're so quick to crow about our achievements,
20:07 have you noticed that?
20:08 You know, there was a man one time
20:10 who was brought to a church I was pastoring,
20:13 by a friend who'd also been in the hippy
20:16 and the drug movement, and he was filthy, dirty
20:21 and he had one of these big afros,
20:24 but the interesting thing that I wanted to mention was this.
20:28 He would boast about
20:30 how many lice he had in his hair
20:31 and on his body.
20:33 I said, well, how can anybody be so crazy?
20:36 I really don't understand.
20:38 But I'll tell you one thing I do know that
20:40 in every country of the world
20:43 society has demanded ludicrous things of people,
20:49 so that they could conform to the pattern
20:52 and be considered something.
20:56 Are you conforming to a pattern
20:59 that actually is bringing you no real happiness?
21:03 And oftentimes a lot of pain?
21:06 And to others too?
21:07 Just simply because it's nice to conform to those around us
21:13 at least to some extent.
21:15 I want to tell you something.
21:18 When we fix our eyes upon the typical man,
21:22 the only normal man,
21:26 nothing like that seems attractive anymore.
21:29 So although, we sometimes slip and fall,
21:32 our goal remains the same.
21:36 We want to be like Jesus.
21:40 And if we truly want to be like Jesus,
21:42 if that is our total commitment,
21:46 He has promised that He will accomplish it.
21:50 One of my favorite texts
21:52 is in the little book of Philippians,
21:55 and I love it dearly
21:56 because it's something I can hold on to,
21:59 when I don't always make it in harmony with the pattern.
22:05 It says, "Work out your own salvation
22:08 with fear and trembling,"
22:10 and that scares me.
22:11 Because I don't do that very well
22:14 but then he goes on to say this,
22:16 "For it is God which work within you,
22:19 both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
22:22 And the good news is, God is all powerful,
22:26 He can do anything He wants to do
22:29 but the one thing He won't do is force our wills
22:33 because God is love and love does not force,
22:36 only the devil does that.
22:39 God allows us to make our own choices.
22:44 And so He says often in various ways to us,
22:50 "come, follow me, rest assured that
22:54 if you do, follow me,
22:56 it'll be a good road, it'll be a happy road,
23:01 it'll be a road you will never regret having taken,
23:05 because it's the road
23:08 that leads closer and closer to me,
23:11 and the road that leads to eternal life."
23:16 So today I appeal to you
23:21 when opportunities for service come,
23:25 don't look the other way because it's inconvenient,
23:29 you follow the pattern.
23:32 When everybody else quits some project
23:35 for not very good reasons
23:37 or at least even for good reasons
23:39 as far as they're concerned,
23:42 don't you just follow the pattern.
23:47 When you hear of somebody's mistakes
23:49 and people are gossiping about that individual
23:52 and it's easy to laugh about them.
23:57 Don't do that, follow the pattern,
24:02 who never hurt anybody in his life.
24:05 And when someone spits in your face
24:10 and the inevitable thing is that you would want to rise up
24:12 and wroth and retaliate,
24:16 follow the pattern.
24:20 One time my Brother told me about an experience that he had
24:24 when he was a landscape gardener,
24:26 running his own business.
24:29 And they had some turf that was delivered,
24:32 a whole truckload of it,
24:34 and when he came he found the trucker unloading it,
24:41 and he had driven right across some turfs
24:45 that they had already laid and completely ruined it.
24:48 And he was upset about it
24:50 and he told the trucker
24:52 that they would have to pay for it being parried,
24:56 and so he was a big man, was the trucker,
24:59 and he came with his fists all screwed up
25:03 and he was going to punch my brother out.
25:05 Now my brother happens to be tall too,
25:07 he is 6'2" and with great big fists.
25:10 I wouldn't want to get into a fight with him
25:12 but anyway,
25:14 and he instinctively pulled up his fists too
25:18 and then he remembered Jesus.
25:21 And he said to himself,
25:23 "This is not right, I can't do this."
25:27 And so do you know what he did?
25:29 He let his hands go down
25:31 and he stripped there in front of that angry man
25:33 who was about to punch him.
25:35 And he simply said this, he said,
25:38 "You could hit me if you like
25:41 but that will not alter the fact
25:45 that these turfs have to be replaced
25:48 at the expense of your firm."
25:50 In other words, instead of fighting back
25:52 he just stood for what was right
25:55 but he said it in the right tone.
25:57 The other man's hands dropped down,
26:01 he no longer wanted to fight either.
26:04 And a very nasty situation was averted, how?
26:08 Because that time my brother followed the pattern.
26:14 My brother or sister,
26:16 Jesus Christ became your brother
26:20 in order that's standing beside you.
26:23 He may live His life afresh in this world today.
26:27 To the glory of God the Father
26:29 and to your blessing
26:32 and the blessing of those around you.
26:35 Will you allow Him to enable you
26:40 to follow the pattern?
26:44 Let the pattern be so embossed upon your heart
26:49 and upon your life
26:51 that your life becomes one of total unselfishness,
26:56 of sinless purity, and utter devotion
27:00 to the service of others, a life of love.
27:05 And never forget, the Bible says in Romans 8:29,
27:10 "For whom he did foreknow,
27:13 he also did predestinate to be conformed
27:17 to the image of his son."
27:20 What a wonderful miracle that God can take weak,
27:24 sinful Dennis Uffendell,
27:28 and so transform him that in the end,
27:32 he will truly be like Jesus.
27:36 It's not just His call for me it's His goal for you too.
27:42 And He's the only one who can make it a reality,
27:45 not by you gritting your teeth, but by you looking to Jesus,
27:51 the author and the finisher of your faith.
27:56 Amen.


Revised 2017-05-11