Sunday 11.01.15 (Jesus: God the Son)

daylight savings fall back

This Saturday night / Sunday morning we get to fall back an hour and get some extra sleep. Remember to adjust your clocks. And on Sunday morning, we’ll take a look at John 5:1-29 to see the greatness of Jesus as God the Son and what that means for our lives. Hope to see you there!

Sunday Schedule
@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
@6pm Children’s Christmas program practice in auditorium
@6pm Life on Mission evangelism study in church library

Sermon Notes
God the Son ~ John 5:1-29

When Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath, the leaders of the Jews questioned his authority and claims, essentially asking: “Who do you think you are?” We find that he is God the Son who heals, judges, and gives life.

  • Jesus is the Great Healer, and we are to look to him for complete healing (5:1-15)
  • Jesus is God the Son, and we are to obey and honor him (5:15-23)
  • Jesus is the Righteous Judge, and we are to fear him and warn about sin (5:22-23, 27-29)
  • Jesus is the Savior and Life, and we are to hope and trust in him (5:21-29)

Worshiping God Anywhere (a meditation on worshiping in spirit and truth)

Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father…. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth…” (John 4:21, 23)

There was a time where God had chosen a central place for his people to worship (Deuteronomy 12:5-7). From King Solomon’s reign until the time of Jesus, Jerusalem was that place—the place where the temple stood with the Holy of Holies, where God would most manifest himself among his people.

In John 4 as Jesus and his disciples traveled from Judea to Galilee, passing through Samaria on the way. When they came to Jacob’s well Jesus sent his disciples ahead while he stopped to rest. There he had an encounter with a Samaritan woman who was living in sin. When Jesus confronted that sin, she tried to change the subject to worship.

The Samaritans were essentially half-Jews, a remnant of the Israelites taken into Assyrian exile who mixed in marriage with those who worshiped other gods. From this the Jews and Samaritans developed a bitter attitude toward each other. One of the many things about which they sharply disagreed was the proper place for worship.

Jesus let this woman take her rabbit trail, for it was the turn in the conversation that Jesus used to point her faith to him. In the process Jesus also said that the day was coming, and indeed already had, that true worship would not be centered on a place either in Jerusalem or in Samaria.

The systems of ceremony and worship described in the Old Testament had run their course. After all, every detail of every act was pointing to Jesus as Israel’s Messiah, the Savior-King of the world (John 3:16 & 5:39). Fulfilled in him, Jesus became the temple of his people and as his body we also become the temple of God, filled with his Spirit (Ephesians 2:18-22 & Revelation 21:22).

This means wherever followers of Jesus are God’s temple exists. So no longer do we have to concern ourselves about a place, so long as we pursue God in spirit and truth. The truth is that we pursue God on his terms through his means. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life—and no one can approach the Father but through him (John 14:1-11). And the word of God, the Bible, which points us to Jesus is also truth—truth which changes us and shapes us to be more like Jesus (John 17:13-17).

Worship in the spirit could mean one of two things, or both since they are related to one another. It could mean that we worship God through our own renewed spirit or that we worship through his Holy Spirit dwelling within. But again, you do not have one without the other. In Ezekiel 36:25-27, God promised to give his people a new heart and a new spirit as he puts his Spirit within them. And in John 3:1-15, Jesus told Nicodemus he must be born again, to have new spiritual life, which is accomplished by the Spirit. So to worship in spirit is to worship God from a renewed heart and life brought about by the Spirit of God transforming us.

Everywhere we go followers of Jesus are able to worship God in spirit and in truth. We can worship God anywhere. This is a liberating grace that reminds us daily that God is not far away and unreachable. He is close, intimate, and even within. We are still called to worship God together with other followers of Jesus; we must not neglect the gathering of church (Hebrews 10:24-25). But we also have the freedom as disciples to join together as a church in a place where we choose—a person’s house, a communally owned building, a school gymnasium, an open field, etc.

For where we gather we unite as God’s people and God’s temple in worship of him. So let us worship him individually and corporately in spirit and truth.

This post is part of our ongoing journey through the Bible as a church.

Good Reads 10.28.15 (on: controlling the tongue, a Christian’s identity, SSA, and more!)

Here is a collection of good reads gathered from across the internet this past week. Enjoy!

On keeping control over what we say: Taming the Tongue by Jeremy Wilson

Words are powerful. Remember, the pen is mightier than the sword. And if you got to the bottom of every sword fight, you’d find most were fueled by words, too. Words remain. You can probably quote your favorite book, Bible verse, movie, and song. You can also probably quote the meanest and nicest things ever said to you… and maybe the meanest that you’ve ever said. Words can haunt. So, what is the Christian to do about the tongue? This tiny member of the body, packed with the power to lift up and lay low? Here are three keys from James 3 about taming the tongue. (click here to read more)

On the Christian’s identity in Jesus: You’re Not the Old You Anymore by Mark Altrogge

Many Christians, describe themselves this way: “I’m just a sinner saved by grace.” This is true, and good to remember. Some, genuinely seeking to be humble say, “I’m the worst of sinners,” referring to Paul’s statement in 1 TI 1:15 about being the foremost of sinners. When Paul said that he was referring to Christ’s mission to come into this world to save sinners, even someone like him who persecuted the church. But Paul didn’t mean that he continued to be the worst of sinners. That was in the past. It was good to remember in order to be grateful, but he didn’t continue to be the worst of sinners. After Christ saves us, though we still sin and must fight daily to put it to death, our PRIMARY IDENTITY is NOT sinners. (click here to read more)

On waiting for God to move in a situation: Five Things To Do When You’re Waiting on God by David Qaoud

Are you waiting? Not only are you not alone, but you’re also in good company. Maybe you’re married and waiting to have kids. Maybe you’re single and you desire a spouse. Or maybe you hate your job and you’re waiting to really start the career of your dreams. Whatever it is, you’re waiting. And you want to know what to do. Here’s at least 5 things. (click here to read more)

On hope for Christians struggling with same-sex attraction: Ten Empowering Truths for the Same-Sex Attracted Christian by Matt Moore

My drawings toward the same gender lingered after my conversion. However, the Holy Spirit has so softened my heart and enlightened my mind that I now believe what the Bible says – not what I say or a therapist says or what Oprah says – about my feelings. Homosexual desires . . . my homosexual desires . . . are not something God encourages me to embrace in the context of a monogamous relationship, but something he commands me to flee from no matter the context. Whether in drunken promiscuity or committed monogamy, homosexual behavior is a detestable evil – along with fornication, adultery, and every other form of sexual sin. (click here to read more)

On one lady’s journey to faith in Jesus: From the Baha’i Faith to Porn to Alpha to Jesus by Emily Armstrong

Even so, there’s so much in the Christian life that gives me joy. When our 5-year-old sees a piece of garbage in the street and declares, “I bet that person isn’t going to heaven” (true story), I remind her that access to heaven has nothing to do with being good and everything to do with God’s goodness. I know that when I pray, God hears me, because he responded to my prayer the night he saved me and has continued to provide for us through the years. I can see how much he loves me when I reflect on the experiences he has led me through, slowly, sometimes painfully shaping me into his image. And I no longer have to strive for perfection, because Christ is my perfection. Even though I don’t always like it, his grace is sufficient, and I would be foolish to disagree. (click here to read more)

A prayer in the face of uncertainty and fear (a meditation)

We all face times where we feel overwhelmed. The world seems dark and the path set before us darker. It could be in the face of wars and rumors of war. It could be that phone call from the doctor you’ve been dreading. It could be an economic crash that causes you to lose your job.

We fear when the outcome seems uncertain or bleak. We fear when we are staring down a situation and we have no clue what to do.

hobbit armiesJudah under the reign of King Jehoshaphat faced such a situation. In 2 Chronicles 20, armies from four different nations threatened Judah. Hearing that the Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites had declared war, and that a large army from Edom was on the march and closing in, Jehoshaphat was terrified.

But instead of letting fear overwhelm him, we read that he “begged the Lord for guidance. He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting” (20:3). Yes, Jehoshaphat trembled with fear. Yes, the situation presented a daunting challenge and a dreadful outcome. But the king chose to trust in the One who was greater and had shown himself mighty against Judah’s enemies before.

At the end of his prayer, Jehoshaphat admitted his powerlessness, and then he concluded, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (20:12).

Here we find a prayer for those uncertain times and moments of fear. James said that when we face trials and lack wisdom, we are to ask God for help and he gives generously (James 1:2-8). That plea for help doesn’t need to be long and detailed, or couched in a bunch of religious language. Our plea only needs to admit our complete dependence upon God.

We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you.

It’s a simple prayer. Often in the face of uncertain times or great dangers, we don’t know what to do. So we ask. We go to God and beg him for guidance, and even fast if we feel we need to. After all, God is the great Father, the One who will never leave nor forsake us. So we seek him.

This post is part of our ongoing journey through the Bible as a church.

Image from: The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies

Sunday 10.25.15 (our sure hope in the patient God)

This Sunday we’ll take a look at 2 Peter 3 and the sure hope that we have in a graciously patient God.

Then Sunday evening during Adult Bible Study, Julie Bridges is starting practice for this year’s Children’s Christmas Program. The date and time of the program itself is still pending (look for it on a Sunday evening in early December) but practice will run each Sunday night leading up to it from 6pm to 7pm in the auditorium. Parents and grandparents are invited to join us for Bible Study in the church library.

Hope to see you there!

Schedule
@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
@6pm Children’s Christmas Program practice in auditorium
@6pm Life on Mission evangelism training in the church library

Sermon Notes
A Sure Hope in the Patient God ~ 2 Peter 3

  • Our hope; God’s patience (3:1-13)
    • We have the hope of complete salvation and perfect renewal on the “Day of the Lord” (3:10-13)
    • Some will mock the coming of Jesus (3:1-7)
    • Despite this mockery, God works with great patience (3:8-9)
  • This encourages us to live…
    • Eager for holiness (3:14)
    • Thankful for patience (3:15)
    • Watchful of false teaching (3:16-17)
    • Committed to spiritual growth (3:18)

2 peter 3

The Eternal Word (a meditation on Jesus as the Word and light)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ~ John 1:1

The Gospel of John is set apart from the other three New Testament gospels in much of its content and focus. This in part may have been due to the fact that John wrote several decades after Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and John had a much closer relationship with Jesus (of the other three, only Matthew was also among the original twelve disciples).

In his different focus, John took a deeper look at the theology of Jesus—not just what made him the Messiah, the Savior-King; but what made him the God-Man, the unique and only One to be both fully God and fully human.

Echoing Genesis 1, John opened with the words in the beginning but instead of the next word being God, John wrote of one known as the Word. We see a hint of the doctrine of the Trinity in that the Word was both with God and himself God. While the Holy Spirit is mentioned elsewhere by John here we find a taste that great mystery of one God and three persons—co-equal and co-eternal.

Continuing to echo Genesis where we find In the beginning God created, so the Word is called the creator. “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made” (1:3). If it exists it came to being through Jesus. Paul wrote similarly of Jesus in Colossians 1:15-16, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…all things were created through him and for him.”

And the echo does not end there. In Genesis 1:3, the first thing that God spoke into his physical creation was light. In John 1:4-5, John wrote of light: “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Words Jesus spoke later in the gospel: “I am the light of the world” (8:12).

Symbolized by physical light, this light is spiritual. This light is the glory of God shining his majesty and goodness. This light speaks of life, the hope of salvation to all who would receive Jesus and new birth through him (1:9-13). This light is security and assurance of victory through Jesus. After all, when a light comes on in a dark room, the darkness flees to the corners.

John called Jesus the Word, the divine logos (Greek: “law-gaws”), because Jesus is the one through whom God speaks (12:49-50) and about whom God speaks (5:39) so that we might hear, believe, and have eternal life (6:68-69, 20:30-31).

And we know that the Word is Jesus, God himself born to us in the flesh as a man, for John explained, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (1:14). Today through the Bible, scripture—the written word of God, we still see the glory of the God-Man who came to be our Savior-King. Through his word we believe and have life. And through his word, we long for that day we will see and dwell in the light forever with the Word face-to-face.

john-1-1

This post is part of our ongoing journey through the Bible as a church.

Good Reads 10.21.15 (on: adoption and the gospel, bearing burdens, kindness in politics, and more!)

Here is a collection of good reads gathered from across the internet this past week. Enjoy!

On adoption and God’s adoption of us: A Father to the Fatherless by Chris Thomas

You see, I had always appreciated those passages like Galatians 4:4-7 or Romans 8:12-17, but I had never truly grasped them until I chose and loved a son who wasn’t my own. … I have no right to call myself a child of God. But my Father loves me! My Father sings over me! My Father rejoices over me! My Father guards me as a treasured possession! My Father points to me as an eternal display of his love, a living trophy of his grace! I am loved. I am a child of God. (click here to read more)

On the Christian’s call to share the gospel: Advancing God’s Kingdom Is Not Just Your Pastor’s Job by Matt Moore

Who are the “saints”? Paul, Peter, St. Valentine, and whoever else the Roman Catholic Church deems worthy of the title? Nope. You and I are the saints. What this verse says is that one reason God gives us shepherds and teachers is to equip us to be ministers of the gospel. I think the phrase “work of ministry” in Ephesians 4:12 is applicable to both our work in the local church (which is why we shouldn’t neglect teaching Sunday School classes or serving in the nursery!) and our work in evangelism. God’s vision is that all of his children would be priests who serve in the weekly functioning of the Church . . . and prophets who proclaim Jesus to a lost and dying word. (click here to read more)

On work and the glory of God: Your Work Has an Eschatology by Sam Parkinson

A ministry position in a local church is not the only possible work you can do to the glory of God. If you work as a barista, work hard to give your customer a well-crafted drink; this shapes the world and it is pleasing to the Lord. If you’re a banker, work hard for the fiscal success of your employer and for your customer’s peace of mind; this shapes the world and it is pleasing to the Lord. If you are a plumber, work hard to bless your clients with dependable plumbing; this shapes the world and it is pleasing to the Lord. If you are a stay-at-home mother, work hard to raise and nurture your children for their temporal and eternal good (even when your hard work goes unrecognized); this profoundly shapes the world and it is pleasing to the Lord. (click here to read more)

On hope and an other-focused life: Hope Beyond the Heavy Burdens You Carry by Paul Maxwell

When life requires us to push harder, to protect more vigilantly, to give more freely, to expend unavailable energies, to accomplish impossible tasks, God offers us his sustaining love, his gentle concern, his guiding sovereignty. We are not alone as we bear the burdens of those around us, because God joyfully bears us up with him each day with exactly what we need — his sustaining grace, more than ever on the days when we don’t feel it. When Christ returns, we will witness a global mourning among those who have recklessly cast aside the free offer of Christ’s grace in this life. And the unseen faithful and generous servants will finally rest. (click here to read more)

On showing kindness to those who disagree with us politically and culturally: How Confidence Makes Us Kind by Russell Moore

A gloomy view of culture leads to meanness. If we believe we are on the losing side of history, we slide into the rage of those who know their time is short. We have no reason to be fearful or sullen or mean. We’re not the losers of history. We are not slouching toward Gomorrah; we are marching to Zion. The worst thing that can possibly happen to us has already happened: we’re dead. We were crucified at Skull Place, under the wrath of God. And the best thing that could happen to us has already happened; we’re alive, in Christ, and our future is seated at the right hand of God, and he’s feeling just fine. (click here to read more)