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Sunday Recap for 6/18/17 “What right does God have over a person’s life?”

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Sunday, 6/18/17, we looked at this Big Picture Question:

What right does God have over a person’s life?

We looked 1 Samuel 1:21-28:

21 The man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice and to pay his vow. 22 But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, so that he may appear in the presence of the Lord and dwell there forever.” 23 Elkanah her husband said to her, “Do what seems best to you; wait until you have weaned him; only, may the Lord establish his word.” So the woman remained and nursed her son until she weaned him. 24 And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. And the child was young. 25 Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli. 26 And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. 27 For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. 28 Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.

And we found these 3 answers to our Big Picture Question:

What right does God have over a person’s life?

  • He calls people to great sacrifice.
  • He calls people to worship.
  • He accepts our offering.

He calls people to great sacrifice.

21 The man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice and to pay his vow. 22 But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, so that he may appear in the presence of the Lord and dwell there forever.” 23a Elkanah her husband said to her, “Do what seems best to you; wait until you have weaned him; only, may the Lord establish his word.”

Hannah pledged to give Samuel back to God if He would give her a child. That child is Samuel, and it is closing in on the time when she needs to give Samuel to begin His training as a priest…but not yet. Hannah tells her husband, Elkanah, that she wants to wait until Samuel is weaned, and he says, “Only may the Lord establish his word.”

Like Hannah, we are called to sacrifice for God. We may not be called to sacrifice in the way she was, but we are all called to give our lives to God I service. And though we may have given our lives to God, it is God who establishes or keeps His word…not us. It is God who enables us to be faithful.

He calls people to worship.

23b So the woman remained and nursed her son until she weaned him. 24 And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. And the child was young.

Hannah is taking Samuel to enter the priesthood. He has been weaned and is ready to begin his training. And again, we aren’t offering our children to the priesthood, but we are called to worship just as Hannah is.

1 Chronicles 16:23 Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day. 24 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. 25 For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods

He accepts our offering.

25 Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli. 26 And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. 27 For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. 28 Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.

God accepts Hannah’s offering as she “lends” Samuel to the Lord. The word “lent” means to be given over of made over to God. And God accepts this incredible sacrifice. And Jesus accepts your sacrifice because of the work of Jesus Christ.

Big Picture Question: What right does God have over a person’s life?

Truth: God authoritatively commands and graciously accepts your offerings of sacrifice and to worship.

Application: Live knowing that every aspect of your life is commanded and accepted by God as sacrificial worship.

Truth: This week, ask 3 people, who you love and trust, to point out areas in your life that you reserve from worship and sacrifice.

Sunday Recap for 061117:  Can God redeem good desires with bad motives?

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Sunday, June 11, 2017, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at this Big Picture Question

Can God Redeem Good Desires with Bad Motives

And we explored 1 Samuel 1:9-20 to answer that question

I Samuel 1:9 After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. 10 She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. 11 And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.” 12 As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. 14 And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.” 15 But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.” 17 Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.” 18 And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad. 19 They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. 20 And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked for him from the Lord.”

And we found these 3 answers to our question

Can God Redeem Good Desires with Bad Motives?  He can redeem

  • Good but clueless motives.
  • Good but desperate motives.
  • Good but harsh motives

Good but clueless motives

I Samuel 1:9 After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. 10 She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly.

Hanna is weeping in deep distress because she want to have children, but she can’t.  And her husband has another wife who has kids, and that woman mocks Hannah all the time.  But her very sweet husband loves her, and he wants to comfort her.  He asks, “Why are you so sad?  Aren’t I worth more than 10 sons?”

He wants to comfort her, but he has no idea how to.  His comfort is clueless.  Can God redeem that

Good but desperate motives

11 And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.

Hannah is desperate.  She begins to bargain with God.  Ironically, she prays to the Lord of Hosts.  The Lord of Hosts is a name of God that displays His fullness, His all-powerfulness.  The irony is that if you are praying to the all powerful God who needs nothing, why offer Him anything?  God does not need anything.  But Hannah offered her son to God as a Nazarite priest.  But God doesn’t need that, does He?  Can God redeem this good but desperate motive?

Good but harsh motives

12 As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. 14 And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.” 15 But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.”

17 Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.” 18 And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad. 19 They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. 20 And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked for him from the Lord.”

Hannah can’t catch a break.  Even her priest is mad at her.  He thinks that she has been drinking. He desires to protect the worship of God in the temple, but He is overly harsh to Hannah.

But God uses this overly harsh priest as a prophet.  He promises Hannah that she will have a child.  And she has one, names Him Samuel, and He ultimately become the priests who leads to David who leads to Jesus.

All mixed motives, yet God uses their desires to ultimately bring about Jesus.

Big Picture Question:  Can God Redeem Good Desires with Bad Motives?  He can redeem…

Truth:  Our God does not despise us for our clueless, desperate, and harsh motives because He redeems our desires to be part of His gracious plan.

Application:  Live knowing that in your struggle with your desires, God will weave His redemptive plan throughout your life…whether you get what you want or not

Action:  Ask God to purify your motives while asking Him to use your desires to advance the name of Jesus.

Sunday Recap for 6/4/17:  How is God hope for the hopeless?

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Sunday, 6/4/17, we looked at this Big Picture Question:

How is God hope for the hopeless?

And we lookd at 1 Samuel 1:1-8 to answer our question:

1 There was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim of the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephrathite. 2 He had two wives. The name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other, Peninnah. And Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

3 Now this man used to go up year by year from his city to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the Lord.

4 On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb.

6 And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. 7 So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat.

8 And Elkanah, her husband, said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”

And we found these 3 answers to the Big Picture Question:

How is God hope for the hopeless?

  • God is compassionate.
  • God is sovereign.
  • God knows the heart.

God is compassionate.

1 Samuel 1:1 There was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim of the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephrathite. 2 He had two wives. The name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other, Peninnah. And Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

3 Now this man used to go up year by year from his city to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the Lord.

4 On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb.

God is compassionate. And Hannah has a compassionate husband. Hannah wants to have children badly, but she can’t. So, as her husband offers this sacrifice each year, he takes a double portion of the food and gives it to Hannah because of her sadness. And all of this is part of worship. You see, God demonstrates His compassion to us in worship, and He often uses his people, like Elkanah, to give that compassion to one another.

God is sovereign.

1 Samuel 1:6 And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. 7 So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat.

The scriptures are clear. Hannah couldn’t have children, and it was God who closed her womb. This is important for us to embrace. For us to fully embrace the hope of God, we must fully embrace that God is the one who ordains our circumstances. If He doesn’t ordain, what hope comes from one who is powerless? But as the one who ordains our steps, He is the one who gives them purpose along with our comfort.

God knows the heart.

1 Samuel 1:8 And Elkanah, her husband, said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”

While Elkanah compassionately gave His wife a double portion he cluelessly says these things. Friends, here is where we trust that only God knows the heart. And we like Elkanah, sometimes get it wrong when we try to comfort. But God knows the heart, and that is why were are not alone.

Big Picture Question: How is God hope for the hopeless?

Truth: God sovereignly gives hope to the hopeless through His compassionate knowing of the human heart.

Application: Live knowing that you are known by a sovereign God who constantly places His word and His people

Action: Ask God to make your hopeless situation an avenue of worship. Then, ask that He would use it to give hope to others who need it.

Sunday Recap for 5/28/17:  What is God’s heart for HIs people?

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Sunday, 5/28, we started our 1 Samuel Series entitled, “King of Hearts”. In it, we asked this Big Picture Question:

What is God’s heart for His People?

And to answer that question, we looked at Judges 2:16-23:

16 Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them. 17 Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the Lord, and they did not do so.

18 Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them.

19 But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them. They did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways. 20 So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he said, “Because this people has transgressed my covenant that I commanded their fathers and have not obeyed my voice, 21 I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died, 22 in order to test Israel by them, whether they will take care to walk in the way of the Lord as their fathers did, or not.” 23 So the Lord left those nations, not driving them out quickly, and he did not give them into the hand of Joshua.

And we found these 3 answers to our Big Picture Question:

What is God’s heart for His People?

  • He shows patience to His people.
  • He shows compassion to His people.
  • He disciplines His people.

He Shows Patience to His people.

16 Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them. 17 Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the Lord, and they did not do so.

God’s patience to His people was shown by giving them Judges over and over again. God patiently gave them these spiritual, political, military leaders to protect them and lead them back to obedience.

God shows us His heart by putting people in our lives who bring us back to Jesus when we see. God uses pastors, church leaders, and church friends to patiently pray with us and share scripture with us so that when we see, we can return to obedience and worship.

He shows compassion to His people.

18 Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them.

When the people sinned, their enemies came in and plundered their possession. And the people were oppressed and afflicted and they cried out to God. And God had compassion on them. Despite all of their problems being the result of their own actions, God still had compassion on them.

In situations like this, when the people of God pursue sin, God becomes anonymous. But when our circumstances worsen, God becomes necessary. And that is when God pours out compassion.

He disciplines His people.

19 But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them. They did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways. 20 So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he said, “Because this people has transgressed my covenant that I commanded their fathers and have not obeyed my voice, 21 I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died, 22 in order to test Israel by them, whether they will take care to walk in the way of the Lord as their fathers did, or not.” 23 So the Lord left those nations, not driving them out quickly, and he did not give them into the hand of Joshua.

Friends, sometimes when we sin, and our circumstances get worse, and we won’t repent, God allows those circumstances to stay for a prolonged period of time. But God’s heart in that discipline is to always restore you to Himself.

Big Picture Question: What is God’s heart for His People?

Truth: God reveals His heart for you by showing patience and compassion in both blessing and discipline.

Application: Live knowing every blessing and every trial is intended to teach you more about God’s heart and His love for you.

Action: Examine the most difficult part of your life and examine to see whether God is anonymous or necessary.

Sunday Recap for 5/21/17: What do we learn from Peter about loving Jesus?

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Big Picture Question: What do we learn from Peter about loving Jesus?

We looked at John 21:15-25 to answer that big picture question:

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”
20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” 23 So the saying spread abroad among the brothers[b] that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”
24 This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.
25 Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

In regard to our first section of text, vs. 15-17,

If you have a God where sin is no big deal than love is no big deal either. God loves us through expensive grace – Jesus Christ going to the cross. His love is astounding & costly. We’re left astounded when we are confronted with the reality of our sinfulness and it being swallowed up in the ocean of God’s grace.

I think some of us can look at the line of questions to Peter and say something along the lines of, “man is Jesus just twisting the knife” with Peter. But he isn’t. He’s not twisting it. He is however using it. He is sing it like an expertly skilled surgeon. If you need surgery, do you want the best surgeon or someone working out of his basement? You want the best! But even after the best surgery though there’s still pain & recovery involved even though the root issue has been taking care of.

And that’s what we see in Jesus’ interaction with Peter. And not just Peter but with us as well. God uses friends, pastors, elders, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, life’s circumstances…all of these God uses and moves his surgical knife into our lives to operate and make us healthier to enable us towards greater things. Because He knows there is no way we will be healed and electrified by His love unless we see the depth of our sin and through that see the depth of his forgiveness…his love.

Looking at vs. 18-19: After restoring Peter and charging him to care for the sheep, God’s people, he reminds him to “follow me”. He says this when he first called the disciples 3 years prior. Nothing has changes. He reemphases the life-long pattern, live your life for the glory of God, in dependence on Him. This is the idea that Paul flushes out more in 1 Corinthians 10 when he tells the church, “Whether you eat or drink, whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

We live our lives to the glory of God. Not defined by our desires, necessarily, but rather submitted to Christ.

Looking at vs. 20-25, we see in this next interaction between Peter and Jesus that Peter isn’t perfect…The interaction that happened just at the beginning of our passage, Jesus’ call to him to feed his sheep doesn’t mean that he has it all together and figured out and is then being mobilized for ministry.

His thoughts immediately shift to John…to comparing himself to others. How easy it is for us to become distracted and envious of one another’s callings & gifting.

Jesus calls him out on it…Notice Jesus doesn’t retract his previous charge to care for His sheep though. He continues to come alongside him and uses this as a teaching moment to help him understand that God’s plans are God’s plans and to remind Peter to keep himself focused on Christ.

Again we have this call of “follow me”…twice now in this section of scripture. This is what Jesus is driving home to Peter and it’s also the call of Jesus to us this morning….to follow him. To trust him in situations when we are tempted to turn, run, hide, compare, doubt, and on and on.

In Conclusion, what do we learn from Peter about loving Jesus?

  • We are forgiven and restored
  • Accepting his counsel in our lives
  • We have purpose
  • Our following Jesus never ends
  • Trusting His plans

Sunday Recap for 5/14/17:  How does Christ send the church out?

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Sunday, 5/14, we looked at this Big Picture Question:

How does Jesus send the church out?

We looked at John 20:30-31 to answer that question:

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

And we found these 3 answers to our question:

Big Picture Question: How does Jesus send the church out?

  • He works even when we don’t see it.
  • He gives us the scriptures.
  • We have life by His name.

He works even when we don’t see it.

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;

John is winding down, and he reminds us that Jesus did so much more than what was written in this book. Jesus was at work speaking, teaching, healing, and performing miracles, and many of them, we will not know until heaven. The underlying principle is that Jesus is always at work. Often we don’t see it, many times, we don’t know it, but He is at work.

That is a truth we must remind ourselves of. When we work for God, when we are married, when we raise our kids, and when we go to work, we hope Jesus at work. But when those things don’t go well, we ask, “Jesus, are you working?” This passage reminds us that He is. He is always at work whether we know it or see it.

He gives us the scriptures.

31a but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,

But we do have the scriptures, and they are written so that we might have life. We often wonder what God is doing and what we should do, but we are gifted with the scriptures to assure our hearts of God’s love and so that we might believe. When we worry about the future, we should refresh our hearts with what we know about God from the scriptures.

We have life in His name.

31b and that by believing you may have life in his name.

By believing we have life. There is a sweet story in John 21 when the disciples are hungry in the middle of the night. They push off shore and go fishing and don’t catch anything. They fish all night, but get nothing. Jesus calls from the shore and invites them to cast their nets on the other side, and they catch so many fish. When Peter realizes that it is Jesus, he jumps in the water to ge with him. There Jesus and the disciples enjoy a meal together.

This is life in Jesus’ name. We work, we fish, we commute…and it can be frustrating. But our hearts must long to be with Jesus just as Peter’s was. Then we can enjoy life in His name and we go out as the church in the world.

Big Picture Question: How does Jesus send the church out?

Truth: Even when we can’t see it, Jesus sends the church out, empowered by the scriptures and life in His name.

Application: Live knowing that Jesus continually sends you, by His name, into your day as part of the scripture empowered church to proclaim the Gospel.

Action: Refuse to see any part of your life as separate from either Jesus’ power or the advancement of the church.

Sunday Recap for 5/7/17:  How does Jesus ease our doubts?

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Sunday, May 7, 2017, we looked at this Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question: How does Jesus ease our doubt?

And we looked at John 20:24-29 to answer it:

24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

We found these 3 answers to our Big Picture Question:

How does Jesus ease our doubt?

  • He gives us faithful friends.
  • He speaks peace over us.
  • He redeems our fears.

He gives us faithful friends.

24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

Thomas just can’t believe that Jesus has risen from the dead unless he sees Jesus and touches his scars. His friends have all seen him, but he hasn’t. Thomas is skeptical and a bit hard to love. Thankfully, God has given Thomas faithful friends who bear with him and tell him the truth even when he can’t believe it. For the Christian, the church is the place where faithful friends bear with one another during difficult times. Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens so as to fulfill the law of Christ.

He speaks peace over us.

26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”

Jesus appears to Thomas. It has been 8 days since the disciples saw Jesus, and I’m sure Thomas felt left out or even unloved. But Jesus appears and gives Thomas the exact same blessing that He gave the disciples when He appeared to them. While we wait, while we are in the in between times, this must be our prayer. “Jesus, speak peace over me while I wait.”

He redeems our fears.

27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Jesus is about redeeming fears. Thomas had them, and Jesus didn’t despise Thomas or his fears. And out of that moment, Jesus blesses us by telling us that we are more blessed. Thomas saw and believed. We haven’t seen, but we believe. This is a beautiful picture of Jesus redeeming Thomas’ fears and gives us hope that Jesus will redeem ours.

Big Picture Question: How does Jesus ease our doubt?

Truth: God speaks peace over and redeems our doubts and fears through faithful friends within the church.

Application: Live knowing that you are part of a peace speaking community within the church that is intended by God to ease your fears and doubts.

Action: Deepen your relationships in the church so that you might know greater peace with others and give greater peace to others.

Sunday Recap for 4/30:  How do we receive the peace of Jesus?

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Sunday, April 30, 2017, we attempted to answer this Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question: How do we receive the peace of Jesus?

And we looked at John 20:19-23 to help us.

John 20:19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”

22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

And we found these 3 answers to our Big Picture Question.

Big Picture Question: How do we receive the peace of Jesus?

  • Jesus earns it.
  • The Father sends it.
  • The Spirit gives it.

Jesus earns it

John 20:19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

Jesus appears to His disciples after His crucifixion. They were fearful. The Jews wanted to kill them. They feared Jesus hadn’t risen from the dead. Mary had seen Him, but they hadn’t seen Him themselves. And Jesus appears and declares peace to them.

Our peace also comes from Jesus. He earned our peace by ending the conflict between us and God, the Father. Our sinned merited God’s righteous judgment. Jesus took that judgment to earn our peace.

The Fathers Sends It

20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”

Jesus shows that He rose again by showing His hands and sides. And then, He once again declares peace but tells the disciples that as the Father sent Him to give peace, He now sends the disicples to give peace.

Part of our receiving the peace is understanding the missional nature of it. The peace of Jesus is not just for personal consumption. It is to be shared sacrificially. We often miss out on our own personal peace because we don’t seek to extend peace to others.

The Spirit Gives It

22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

Jesus gives the disciples a measure of the Holy Spirit so that they may better understand what He has to teach them in the next 40 days until the Spirit is poured out in full. And then Jesus tells them that the disciples they will forgive and people will be forgiven, they will not forgive and they will not be forgiven. Mark 2.7 says that God alone forgives. So, of course, the disciples have not taken on that roll. They are the verifiers within the church just as church officers are today. They are verifiers of the Spirit’s work in their lives. Please to the audio for greater detail.

Big Idea: How do we receive the peace of Jesus?

Truth: Through the work of the Holy Spirit, the Father gives us the peace that Jesus earned on the cross.

Application: Live knowing that the Spirit works a heavenly peace in your life that should overshadow any earthly conflict.

Action: Seek a peace that resembles the peace that Jesus earned for you. First, in the church, and then in the world.

Sunday Recap for 4/23: How are we all like Mary?

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On Sunday (4/26/17), we looked at this question, How are we all like Mary?

And we looked at John 20:11-18 to answer that question:

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”

14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).

17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

We found these 3 answers to the question, How are we all like Mary?

• We often act lost
• We are often confused
• Yet, we have the same access to the Father as Mary

We act lost

John 20:11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”

Notice at this point Mary isn’t weeping because Jesus has died, necessarily. Of course that is wrapped up in everything that is going on. But she is weeping here because she gets to the tomb and the body of Jesus is gone. She longs and desires Jesus’ presence, the knowledge of knowing that he is there, even if he is dead. But even that has been taken from her. Not only has she lost Jesus but the body of Jesus is now lost.

We often act lost, broken, and hopeless when we think we have lost sight of Jesus. When are eyes and gaze shift from him we lose the light at our feet that is guiding us, comforting us through hard and difficult days. Now that doesn’t mean that it’s easy or simple. God often leads us into places and situations that we find uncomfortable and genuinely hard. The question for us quickly comes to, do we trust Him? Trust is easy when we have all the pieces and know what’s going on and why, right? It’s much harder when we don’t and are left with a lot of unknowns.

We are often confused

14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).

Mary is totally confused…she is blind to the situation. Notice that Jesus doesn’t just sit back and wait for Mary to figure it all out that he is alive and there. As loving as she is and passionate as she is, as much as she loves Jesus, she is really blind. Right now, she believes she is in the middle of a disaster…there are angels in front of her, Jesus is around her and yet she feels alone. When Jesus engages her, she accuses HIM of taking the body. She’s passionate, she loves Jesus, confused, and absolutely spiritual blind to the situation. She has no idea that God is working.

This is often us. We think we see things so clearly in our lives. That we have all the pieces and have complete understanding and as things begin to not work out the way we are sure they would and should we become confused, lost, frustrated, and angry and a whole host of other things. When this happens, it takes Jesus breaking into our lives. We see this with Mary.

We have the same access to the Father

17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

Notice He doesn’t say, go tell those miserable, deserters and deniers. The men I poured so much time and energy into. Tell them they have 1 chance…if they’re not here in 1 hour. Jesus tells her to go to his brothers and let them know that “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God”. I want you to notice the gentleness of Jesus…of all people, the disciples should have been there. Even in their doubt, unbelief, and ignorance….God is gracious to them. He speaks about them gently, he continues to come alongside them, imparting belief to them.

We are no different. In your doubt, in your unbelief, and even in your ignorance of God and what he is doing and will do….God meets us graciously and imparts belief to his brothers and sisters – to you.

Let the reality of the resurrection reorient, motivate, and encourage your zeal and love for your risen savior. Let it embolden you to press into relationships with each other. Let it captivate your heart afresh and give you a zeal to speak of Him to others

I’d love to get coffee, tea, or lunch to talk about this passage more with you if you have questions or find yourself wrestling with the thing I said on Sunday. Email, call, or text me and I’ll make the time to get together. It would truly be my joy.

If you missed the sermon or want to go through it again, you can watch this sermon on our YouTube page or listen to the audio.

Sunday Recap for 4/16:  Why is Easter about believing?

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On Easter 2017, we looked at this Big Idea: Why is Easter about believing?

And we looked at John 20 to answer that question:

John 20:1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”

3 So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. 4 Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself.

8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.

We found these 3 answers to that question:

Big Idea:  Why is Easter about believing?

  • Because We Fear
  • Because We Need Assurance
  • Because Need Faith to be Saved

Because We Fear

John 20:1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”

Mary feared.  She ran to the tomb to see if Jesus had risen from the dead, and when she found the tomb empty, she couldn’t yet believe.  She ran back to the Apostles to tell them that someone had stolen the body of Jesus.  She had faith to run to the tomb, but feared once she found it empty.  This is where we need faith.  We believe what Jesus tells us, but we still fear to believe that Jesus is going to do what He said He would do.

Because We Need Assurance

3 So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. 4 Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself.

Peter and John run to the tomb.  John is too afraid to enter, but Peter runs in to see if Jesus is alive.  He fears just like Mary, but God gives Him a bit of assurance:  Jesus’ facial burial cloth is folded and to the side.  Grave robbers don’t fold cloths.  Only Jesus would have done that.  In the midst of Peter’s faith and fear, Jesus gave him just enough assurance to believe that Jesus was alive.  We need assurance as much as we need anything else.  God may not give us all that want, but He does assure us that His is true and that we can trust His promises.

Because We Need Faith to Be Saved

8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.

Seeing the burial cloth was enough for John and Peter to believe that Jesus rose from the dead, but they still didn’t completely understand what Jesus had done.  That would come with the pouring out of the Spirit.  Believers today have the Spirit and the completed scriptures to help us believe and be transformed by the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Big Idea:  Why is Easter about believing?

Truth:  Faith in Jesus’ resurrection is the cure for our heart’s fear, the assurance our heart’s need, and the salvation our sinful hearts

Application:  Live knowing that the realities of the resurrection are the cure for your fear more so than God giving you anything that you want.

Action:  Instead of praying for things that would remove the need for faith, pray for assurance that the object of your faith is true.

If you missed the sermon or want to go through it again, you can watch this sermon on our YouTube page or listen to the audio.

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