Church Blog

Sunday Recap for 3/26: What are the world’s 3 Questions about Jesus that we must answer?

0

Sunday, March 26, 2017 we looked at this Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  What are the world’s 3 Questions about Jesus that we must answer?

And we looked at these scriptures:

John 18: 33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” 37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. 39 But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 40 They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.

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

Big Picture Question:  What are the world’s 3 Questions about Jesus that we must answer?

  • Who do people say Jesus is?
  • What did Jesus really do?
  • Who did Jesus say He was?

Who do people say Jesus is?

John 18: 33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me.

Pilate begins by asking Jesus who He is because of what others have told him.  This is the approach that everyone has when they think about Jesus.  At first, people gather in opinions from Sunday School, a college class, the Discovery channel…wherever.  But to begin any conversation about Jesus, just ask, “Who do you say Jesus is?”  That was what Pilate was trying to discover.

What did Jesus really do?

What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

Jesus answers that He is king when Pilate wants to know what He has done.  What a weird way to respond.  Why would Jesus respond with who He is when Pilate wants to know what He did?  The answer is that identity informs action.  Who you are determines who what you do.  That is a wonderful way to discuss Jesus.  When you ask people what Jesus has done, or when they discuss what He has done, it is an opportunity to talk about His identity.  For example, if people believe that Jesus was kind and forgave people, it is an opportunity to talk about how Jesus is a merciful forgiver.

Who does Jesus say He is?

37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. 39 But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 40 They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.

Pilate responds to what Jesus said.  He recognizes that Jesus claims, and is, a king.  People quote Jesus all the time, but often incorrectly.  Responding to what people think Jesus has said gives an opportunity to speak of His actual words.  If they quote Jesus incorrectly, don’t criticize.  Instead, create.  Create opportunities to talk about what Jesus said so His words can impact you.  

Big Picture Question:  What are the world’s 3 Questions about Jesus that we must answer?

Truth:  Christians must be able to explain who Jesus is based upon what He said and did.

Application:  Live knowing that you can worship Jesus and tell other people about Jesus because of what Jesus claimed and what He did.  That is your inspiration and power.

Action:  Begin a conversation this week by asking, “Who do you think Jesus is?”

Sunday Recap for 3/19: What is your God like?

0

On March 19, 2017, Evident Grace looked at this Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  What is Your God Like?

To answer that question, we examined this portion of scripture:

Micah 7:18 Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance?  He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love.  19 He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot.  You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.  20 You will show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham, as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old.

And we found these 3 answers to our Big Picture Question

Big Picture Question:  What is Your God Like?

  • God forgives
  • His anger is short-lived.
  • He is compassionate.

God forgives.

Micah 7:18 Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? 

Micah asks the people of his day (and us) to wrestle with who our God is.  Our God forgives sin.  His nature is forgiving.  Despite all the sin of Micah’s day, despite all the sin of ours, God yet still forgives.  His grace was shown to the people of Micah’s day because He passed over judgment for their sin and waited to pour out judgment on Jesus Christ.  We now get enjoy the forgiveness of our sins as Christ paid the full price of our sin.  This should propel us to worship as our God is a forgiving God.

His anger is short-lived

18b He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love.

The people of Micah’s day were suffering under God’s wrath for their sin.  But the nature of God is that His anger is short-lived.  In fact, He delights in loving you continually and steadfastly.  How much more should we then have short-lived anger and steadfast love as we are know what true love is.

He is compassionate.

19 He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot.  You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.  20 You will show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham, as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old.

Finally, our God is compassionate.  He treads your iniquities underfoot.  He makes your sin His enemy.  In fact, He throws your sins to the depths of the sea.  He removes your sins from you.  Why?  Because not only is God compassionate, He is faithful.  He keeps His promises.  He promised to Abraham and Jacob that He would be their God and they would be His people.  God promises you that as well.  He is compassionate because even though we sin, He still makes us His people. 

Big Picture Question:  What is Your God Like?

Truth:  God compassionately forgives because His anger against your sin was short-lived. 

Application:  Live knowing that all the anger that your sin deserves was poured out on Jesus Christ.

Action:  Explore the depths of your forgiveness so you might display that same forgiveness to those who need it.

Sunday Recap 3/12:  What does God want us to do with our money?

0

On Sunday, 3/12, Evident Grace looked at this Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  What would God have you do with your money?

To answer it, we looked at these scriptures:

Micah 6.9 The voice of the Lord cries to the city—and it is sound wisdom to fear your name: “Hear of the rod and of him who appointed it! 10 Can I forget any longer the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is accursed? 11 Shall I acquit the man with wicked scales and with a bag of deceitful weights? 12 Your rich men are full of violence; your inhabitants speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth. 13 Therefore I strike you with a grievous blow, making you desolate because of your sins. 14 You shall eat, but not be satisfied, and there shall be hunger within you; you shall put away, but not preserve, and what you preserve I will give to the sword. 15 You shall sow, but not reap; you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil; you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine. 16 For you have kept the statutes of Omri, and all the works of the house of Ahab; and you have walked in their counsels, that I may make you a desolation, and your inhabitants a hissing; so you shall bear the scorn of my people.”

We found these 3 answers:

Big Picture Question:  What would God have you do with your money?

  • Be Just, Kind, and Humble
  • Be Accountable
  • Make God your Highest Counsel

Be Just, Kind, and Humble

Micah 6.9 The voice of the Lord cries to the city—and it is sound wisdom to fear your name: “Hear of the rod and of him who appointed it! 10 Can I forget any longer the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is accursed? 11 Shall I acquit the man with wicked scales and with a bag of deceitful weights? 12 Your rich men are full of violence; your inhabitants speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.

God had commanded His people to be just, kind, and humble, and one clear place they missed that was with their finances.  Instead of being just, their scales were unfair.  Instead of being kind, they were unmerciful.  Instead of humility, they were proud.  God judged them and called their actions violent.

In our finances, we must seek every place to be just and standing up for those in need.  We must seek to be kind to those who need help.  And we must never take pride in our finances, but instead, we must be humble.

Be Accountable

13 Therefore I strike you with a grievous blow, making you desolate because of your sins.  14 You shall eat, but not be satisfied, and there shall be hunger within you; you shall put away, but not preserve, and what you preserve I will give to the sword. 15 You shall sow, but not reap; you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil; you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine.

God held His people accountable for the handling of their finances.  They tried to save, but God took it by the sword.  They pressed olives and grapes but got no oil or wine.

Friends, God holds us accountable for how we manage our finances.  The injunction is to be just, kind, and humble.  Whatever skills you have, use them for those purposes.  Whatever money you make, use them for those purposes.  But never think God does not hold us accountable.

But Make God your Highest Counsel

16 For you have kept the statutes of Omri, and all the works of the house of Ahab; and you have walked in their counsels, that I may make you a desolation, and your inhabitants a hissing; so you shall bear the scorn of my people.”

There are tremendous resources in this world for our finances.  Turbo Tax helps us file out taxes.  Books teach us about retirement and finance law.  And while they are helpful, we must always make the principles of scripture our first and highest authority when it comes to our money.

Big Picture Question:  What would God have you do with your money?

Truth:  The scriptures teach us that God holds you accountable to be just, kind, and humble with your finances.

Application:  Live knowing God gives us active counsel to live out justice, kindness, and humility with our finances.

Action:  Attempt to display Jesus to the church and the world through your finances as much as you do your personal obedience.

Sunday Recap 3/5: “How do we emulate the heart of God?”

0

Sunday, March 5th, 2017, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at the big picture question:

How do we emulate the heart of God?

We pursued that thought from Romans 12:1-2,

“1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

We know we are emulating the heart of God, when we are….

  • A living sacrifice
  • Transformed
  • Discerning the will of God

Let’s pursue our first answer

As a living sacrifice

“1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

The phrase “living sacrifice” is deliberately paradoxical.  In the biblical context, a sacrifice is something that was killed.  Yet here Paul is connecting living with this image, with this new reality for Christians. A living sacrifice means that every day, every hour, deliberately, consciously, continually and perpetually offer yourself to him.  It’s constant and intense and points to the inability of yourself to accomplish it. You also are putting to death the idea that you have the right to live as you choose.  This is in direct opposition to what our culture totes.  What you are putting to death is the idea that you belong to yourself, that you know best what should happen in your life and you give those places to God.  It feels like a death to say “you know best” and “I trust you” to God.  It feels like a death but it leads to life and that’s why it’s called a living sacrifice.

We know we are emulating the heart of God, when we are a living sacrifice. Now let’s look at the first part of vs 2 as we considered what it means to be transformed.

Transformed

“2a Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind”

What we need is much more than to be morally improved.  We need God to daily inwardly transform us.  You need God’s grace in my heart today just as much as the day you first believed.  You come to the table before God with nothing, even your good works are not enough to earn favor with God.  Yes, morality will come out of you but not because you want to impress others but rather out of love and adoration for God. This is the way of the kingdom of God.  God’s primary desire is not to make us good it’s to make us new.  2 Corinthians 5:17 says that “if you are in Christ you are a New Creation.”  A new creation is transformed.  Doing something in us that only He can do.

Anyone can morally reform themselves.  Anyone can be good, you don’t have to be spiritual to do that.  If you have  discipline and self-will you can be a “good person”.  You can give your money to good things.  You can spend your time in good ways.  You can volunteer at shelters, etc.  You can live your life in such a way that the world would look at you and say that a good man or that’s a good woman.  You can begin to convince yourself that this is what God is wanting…is a lot of good moral living.  There is more to it than being good.  God wants your heart.  Behavioral compliance to rules without heart change, without transformation will be superficial and fleeting.

We are transformed as our minds are renewed.  As we come to the Bible to encounter God and apply His word to our life.  This also happens in community with others.  Our minds become renewed as we speak the truth in love to each other….pressing into the hard places….knowing that we have a deep love for each other.  We get to experience forgiveness and extend grace.

Our lives are changed as our minds are made new, so that we are able to “discern” God’s will.

Discerning the will of God

“2b that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

We discern God’s will by testing….by living out the realities of everything I’ve talked about this morning being a living sacrifice and living the transformed life all while clinging to Jesus who is the author and perfecter of your faith

A  question that I have found helpful is that it’s not so much, “God, what is your will for my life?” But rather, “God, what is your will, and how can I play a role?”

We ended the sermon by reading Romans 12:9-21 and praying that God would cultivate this kind of heart in us individually and as His church as we seeks to be a living sacrifice to our community.

Sunday Recap for 02/26: “Why is God better than the world’s best thing?”

0

Sunday, February 26, 2017, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at this Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  Why is God better than the world’s best thing?

We pursued that thought in Micah 6:9-16.

Micah 6.9 The voice of the Lord cries to the city—and it is sound wisdom to fear your name: “Hear of the rod and of him who appointed it! 10 Can I forget any longer the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is accursed? 11 Shall I acquit the man with wicked scales and with a bag of deceitful weights? 12 Your rich men are full of violence; your inhabitants speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth. 13 Therefore I strike you with a grievous blow, making you desolate because of your sins. 14 You shall eat, but not be satisfied, and there shall be hunger within you; you shall put away, but not preserve, and what you preserve I will give to the sword. 15 You shall sow, but not reap; you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil; you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine. 16 For you have kept the statutes of Omri, and all the works of the house of Ahab; and you have walked in their counsels, that I may make you a desolation, and your inhabitants a hissing; so you shall bear the scorn of my people.”

We found these 3 answers to our Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  Why is God better than the world’s best thing? 

He is full of wisdom
He is just
He is powerful

Let’s pursue our first answer:

He is full of wisdom.

Micah 6.9 The voice of the Lord cries to the city—and it is sound wisdom to fear your name: “Hear of the rod and of him who appointed it! 10 Can I forget any longer the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is accursed? 11 Shall I acquit the man with wicked scales and with a bag of deceitful weights? 12 Your rich men are full of violence; your inhabitants speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.

The people of Micah’s day were doing their business wickedly. They were overcharging interest in their day to day business dealings and even mistreating widows.  While the market may have allowed that, God called it wicked and even violent.  The wisdom of the world called it good.  The wisdom of God called it evil.  Lots of money could be made, and the people of Micah’s day called that money better than God.  The wisdom of God shows that God’s wisdom is better than what the world has to offer.

He is just.

13 Therefore I strike you with a grievous blow, making you desolate because of your sins.  14 You shall eat, but not be satisfied, and there shall be hunger within you; you shall put away, but not preserve, and what you preserve I will give to the sword. 15 You shall sow, but not reap; you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil; you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine.

God in His justice frustrated the wealth of His people.  He declared that they would work and be hungry.  They would work and not save.  If they did save, it would be taken by the sword.  They would harvest olives and grapes but not have oil or wine to enjoy.

When the world raises something up as better than God, God shows His justice to prove He and His wisdom are best.

He is powerful.

16 For you have kept the statutes of Omri, and all the works of the house of Ahab; and you have walked in their counsels, that I may make you a desolation, and your inhabitants a hissing; so you shall bear the scorn of my people.”

The people of Micah’s day were following Omri and Ahab, a false god and politician.  They put their hope in them and their counsel.  God showed He is better than the world’s best by bringing His people to desolation.  When the world raises something up as better than God, God shows His power.

For us, we must think how we might pursue God as best.  Jesus helps us in Matthew 13.

Matthew 13:45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

The kingdom of God, the work of Jesus through believers and the church, is of such value that it dwarfs everything of value in this world.  All that the believer possess, (materially, physically, spiritually, etc…) is to be given over to serve the work of Jesus in this world.

We ended our sermon with this wrap up.

Big Picture Question:  Why is God better than the world’s best thing? 

He is full of wisdom
He is just
He is powerful

Truth: God’s wisdom, justice, and power are better than every one of the world’s best things.

Application:  Live knowing that God’s great wisdom, justice, and power is both your source and purpose in this world.

Action:

 

  • Select a place in your life (relationship, task, responsibility, etc)
  • Ask yourself how purposefully you think and apply God’s wisdom, justice, and power there.
  • Boldly make changes.

Sunday Recap for 02/19:  “How Can We Be Transformed by Worship?”

0

Sunday, February 19, 2017, we continued our “Micah: Heart of God” series and pursued this Big Picture Question.

Big Picture Question:  How can we be transformed by worship?

And we looked at Micah 6:6-8 for our answers…

Micah 6.6“With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” 8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

We answered our question in this way…

Big Picture Question:  How can we be transformed by worship?

  • Ask the Question
  • Listen to God
  • Obey

Our first answer…

Ask the question.

The people of Micah’s day ask their question to God in light of their oncoming judgment.  They at first ask if God wants the requirement of the law.

6 Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?

Then they ask if God wants even more that what He required.

Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil?

And finally, they fall into the realm of the ridiculous.

7b Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”

Friends, if you want to be transformed by worship, we must ask God to do it for us.  We don’t have to offer our works or our efforts.  They always fail.  We must ask God to transform us.  “God, will you transform me in worship?”

Listen to God.

8 He has told you, O man, what is good;

If we want to be transformed in worship, we have to listen to God because He has told us what to do.  Where can we listen to God?  3 places.

God speaks to us in the scriptures.

God speaks to us in our prayers when our prayers are consistent with the scriptures.

And God speaks to us in worship services that faithfully preach the scriptures.

Anywhere else is suspect and more than likely wrong.  Our part in worship transformation is to place ourselves underneath the scriptures.

Obey.

8b and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

God requires 3 outcomes of us as we are transformed in worship.  If these 3 things happen, we will know if we are transformed.  They don’t cause us to be transformed.  They are the result of being transformed.  If we are transformed in worship, we will…

Do justice – stand up for those who are wronged and stand against that which is wrong.

Love kindness – we will do justice in kindness.

Walk humbly before God – we will do all of these things knowing that God has blessed us as we don’t deserve any of this.

Big Picture Question:  How can we be transformed by worship? 

Truth:  When you ask God how to worship Him, you will be transformed and more greatly be able to obey Him.

Application:  Live knowing that God will transform you in worship so that you will be able to seek justice for others through love kindness and humility.

Action:  Leave this worship knowing that God will use all that has happened here to enable you to be an agent of mercy, love, and humility to someone this week.

Sunday Recap for 2/12: “How do we remember the power of God?”

0

Sunday, February 12th, Evident Grace looked at this Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  How do we remember the power of God?

To answer that question, we looked at this passage from Micah…

Micah 5:10 And in that day, declares the Lord, I will cut off your horses from among you and will destroy your chariots; 11 and I will cut off the cities of your land and throw down all your strongholds; 12 and I will cut off sorceries from your hand, and you shall have no more tellers of fortunes; 13 and I will cut off your carved images and your pillars from among you, and you shall bow down no more to the work of your hands; 14 and I will root out your Asherah images from among you and destroy your cities. 15 And in anger and wrath I will execute vengeance on the nations that did not obey.

6:1 Hear what the Lord says: Arise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice, 2 Hear, you mountains, the indictment of the Lord, and you enduring foundations of the earth, for the Lord has an indictment against his people, and he will contend with Israel. 3 “O my people, what have I done to you? How have I wearied you? Answer me! 4 For I brought you up from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. 5 O my people, remember what Balak king of Moab devised, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him, and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord.”

We found these 3 answers to our Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  How does God help us remember His power?

  • He removes what we trust.
  • He shows us our hearts.
  • He calls us to remember.

He removes what we trust.

Micah 5:10 And in that day, declares the Lord, I will cut off your horses from among you and will destroy your chariots; 11 and I will cut off the cities of your land and throw down all your strongholds; 12 and I will cut off sorceries from your hand, and you shall have no more tellers of fortunes; 13 and I will cut off your carved images and your pillars from among you, and you shall bow down no more to the work of your hands; 14 and I will root out your Asherah images from among you and destroy your cities. 15 And in anger and wrath I will execute vengeance on the nations that did not obey.

God gave the people of Micah’s day good things:  military to protect them, wisdom to guide them, and worship to transform them.  Unfortunately, they perverted those gifts.  Instead of trusting the God, they trusted their military’s might.  Instead of trusting God for wisdom, they trusted sorcerers and fortune tellers.  Instead of worshiping the one true God, they worshiped idols made by their own hands.

God in His grace removed the false things that they trusted so that they might once again find their trust in God.

We too need to look at our hearts.  God will remind us of this power by removing the things we falsely trust.  This is an act of love by God.  We should do this heart work of remembering God’s power and removing what we falsely trust knowing that God will ultimately do it if we don’t.

He shows us our hearts.

6:1 Hear what the Lord says: Arise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice, 2 Hear, you mountains, the indictment of the Lord, and you enduring foundations of the earth, for the Lord has an indictment against his people, and he will contend with Israel. 3 “O my people, what have I done to you? How have I wearied you? Answer me!

God calls the mountain to testify in His court case against His people.  He asks the people, “Have I wearied you?  What have I done that you would worship every false thing?”  And the mountain echo in reply God’s faithfulness.

We reminds us of His power as He shows us our hearts.  As we learn our hearts, we find things to remove and we find God’s faithfulness true.

He calls us to remember.

4 For I brought you up from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.  5 O my people, remember what Balak king of Moab devised, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him, and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord.”

God reminds His people of His power.

In Exodus, God rescued His people from slavery.  He reminds them of their rescue from Egypt.

In Numbers 22:4-6 Balak was the king of Moab and he devised a plan with Balaam to curse and kill the people of God when they moved into the land.   But God protected them and no harm ever came to them from Balak or Balaam.

In Numbers 25:1 – Israel lived in the area of Shittim, and the people of God began to intermarry with the daughters of Moab intermingling not only with those women but also with their pagan religion.  God did not cast away His people despite their sin.

In Joshua 5:9-10 The Lord reminded Joshua that the reproach of being slaves had been removed from the people and now they had the freedom to worship God and they did by celebrating the Passover

What faithfulness should we remember?  In addition to those mentioned above, we should remember the faithfulness of Christ on our behalf.

2 Timothy 2:8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel…11 The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him…13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself. 13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.

And we concluded we these thoughts…

Truth:  We remember God’s power as we learn more about our hearts and what we trust.

Application:  Live knowing that God will do whatever is necessary to remind you of us His power.

Action:  In some moment of worry or doubt this week, remember that God is more powerful than whatever it is you are facing.   

Sunday Recap for 02/05:  “How Does God Protect Believers?”

0

Sunday, February 5, we look at Micah 5:7-9 and asked this question:

Big Picture Question:  How Does God Protect Believers?

Micah 5:7 Then the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many peoples like dew from the Lord, like showers on the grass, which delay not for a man nor wait for the children of man. 8 And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among the flocks of sheep, which, when it goes through, treads down and tears in pieces, and there is none to deliver. 9 Your hand shall be lifted up over your adversaries, and all your enemies shall be cut off.

We found these 3 answers to our Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  How Does God Protect Believers?

  • The church will refresh the world
  • The church will be victorious
  • The church will be eternally safe

The church will refresh the world.

Micah 5:7 Then the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many peoples like dew from the Lord, like showers on the grass, which delay not for a man nor wait for the children of man.

The intention of God is that He has set apart His people to refresh the world.  Morning dew and showers are a picture of God’s blessing, and God has sent His people to refresh the world.

We do it with mercy.
We do it with kind words.
We do it by proclaiming Jesus Christ.

We need to reclaim the conversations of the world.  We have forfeited them to arguing and hate speech (even succumbing to them ourselves.).  But God sends the church into the world to refresh it.

The church will be victorious.

8 And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among the flocks of sheep, which, when it goes through, treads down and tears in pieces, and there is none to deliver.

No other institution on this planet is going to be victorious like the church.  Ephesians 5 tells us that God purchased the church by giving Jesus as a sacrifice so that He might make her beautiful.

This will not happen for our government.
This will not happen to our families.
Only the church is called to be victorious in the world.

Protected, the church must victoriously go forward proclaiming Jesus.

The church will be eternally safe.

9 Your hand shall be lifted up over your adversaries, and all your enemies shall be cut off.

Friends, just as in Micah’s day, we are eternally safe, so we go forward protected and thankful into the world.

Big Picture Question:  How Does God Protect Believers? 

Truth:  God protects believers as we victoriously and safely refresh the world.

Application:  Live victoriously knowing God will protect you as you refresh the world with the grace of Jesus Christ.

Action:  Speak about the grace of Jesus boldy to someone this week…or at least invite them to worship.

Sunday Recap for 01/29/17:  “Why is Personal Peace So Difficult?”

0

This past Sunday, we continued in our “Micah:  Heart of God” series”.  In our passage, we asked this Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  Why is personal peace so difficult?

And we answered our Big Picture Question in this way:

Big Picture Question:  Why is personal peace so difficult?

  • Change is painful.
  • God’s wisdom is greater than ours.
  • Peace requires faith.

Our first answer came from Micah 4

Change is painful.

Micah 4:8 And you, O tower of the flock, hill of the daughter of Zion, to you shall it come, the former dominion shall come, kingship for the daughter of Jerusalem.  9 Now why do you cry aloud?  Is there no king in you?  Has your counselor perished, that pain seized you like a woman in labor?  10 Writhe and groan, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in labor, for now you shall go out from the city and dwell in the open country; you shall go to Babylon.  There you shall be rescued; there the Lord will redeem you from the hand of your enemies. 

Israel was in the in-between time of God’s judgment.  In those in-between times is when we struggle the most with peace.  As Israel struggled with peace, they are recognizing that to draw near to God is going to required great change.  And they appear not to be ready.  So, God begins asking them how all the other things that they have trusted have turned out.

Their counselors?

Their priests?

Everything but God?  It has all turned out badly.

And their flirting has gotten them pregnant…but pregnant with judgment.  God is going to hand them over to the Babylonians.  Yet even, God will save them from their enemies ultimately.

Change is hard.  Our fighting it, robs us of peace.  God is gracious.

God’s wisdom is greater than ours.

11 Now many nations are assembled against you, saying, “Let her be defiled, and let our eyes gaze upon Zion.” 12 But they do not know the thoughts of the Lord; they do not understand his plan, that he has gathered them as sheaves to the threshing floor.  13 Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion, for I will make your horn iron, and I will make your hoofs bronze; you shall beat in pieces many peoples; and shall devote their gain to the Lord, their wealth to the Lord of the whole earth.

God lays out a plan for His people that they could never imagine.  While they are being disciplined, while they are being taken captive, that is when God promises to deliver them as they never could have been imagined.  God promises to utterly defeat His people’s enemies.

Friends in our struggle with peace, we have to trust God’s wisdom.  His is greater than ours, but trusting it is the hard part.  Just as God did great things with His people in that time, He works no less mightily on your behalf.

Peace Requires Faith

5:1 Now muster your troops, O daughter of troops; siege is laid against us; with a rod they strike the judge of Israel on the cheek. 2  But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me One who is to be ruler in Israel whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.  3 Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel.  4 And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.  And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth.  5 And he shall be their peace

God promises a great shepherd, Jesus Christ, to ultimately come to rescue His people, and from all places, God is going to bring Him from Bethlehem, an inconsequential city.  Friends, the peace that God promised here requires great faith.  And the Savior, Jesus, is your peace.

Big Picture Question:  Why is personal peace so difficult?

Truth:  Faith in the security of God’s wisdom during changing times gives us personal peace.

Application:  Live knowing that we must constantly seek peace by having faith in God’s wisdom.

Action:  Take a step of faith this week that forces you to trust God more than trusting yourself.

Sunday Recap for 01/22/17:  “How Can We Be Expectant and not Entitled?”

0

This Sunday, we looked at Micah 3 and a portion of Micah 4, and in it, we pursued the difference between an entitled heart and an expectant.  With that, we pursued answering this Big Picture Question:

Big Picture Question:  How can we be expectant but not entitled?

And we found these three answers to that question in our text:

Big Picture Question:  How can we be expectant but not entitled?

  • Be thankful
  • Be hopeful
  • Be worshipful

Let’s look at our first answer to our Big Picture Question.

Be thankful

Micah 3:1 And I said: Hear, you heads of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel! Is it not for you to know justice?—2 you who hate the good and love the evil, who tear the skin from off my people and their flesh from off their bones 3 who eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them, and break their bones in pieces and chop them up like meat in a pot, like flesh in a cauldron. 4 Then they will cry to the Lord, but he will not answer them; he will hide his face from them at that time, because they have made their deeds evil. 5 Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who lead my people astray, who cry “Peace” when they have something to eat, but declare war against him who puts nothing into their mouths.  6 Therefore it shall be night to you, without vision, and darkness to you, without divination.  The sun shall go down on the prophets, and the day shall be black over them; 7 the seers shall be disgraced, and the diviners put to shame; they shall all cover their lips, for there is no answer from God.

Things are so bad in Israel that the priests are abusing the people.  God describes it as if the priests see the people as ingredients for their stew.  And instead of the priests repenting, they continue to cry “peace” to God.  It is a dangerous place to continue to cry “peace” to God while refusing to repent.  But God promises to step in.  God won’t take it anymore.

Those who continue in their sin and continue to abuse the people live entitled as if God doesn’t care.  But the people of God can be thankful.  Their expectancy is that God will step in and protect them.

Be hopeful

8 But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin. 9 Hear this, you heads of the house of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel, who detest justice and make crooked all that is straight, 10 who build Zion with blood and Jerusalem with iniquity.  11 Its heads give judgment for a bribe; its priests teach for a price; its prophets practice divination for money; yet they lean on the Lord and say, “Is not the Lord in the midst of us?  No disaster shall come upon us.”  12 Therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed as a field; Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins, and the mountain of the house a wooded height. 

Expectancy is about hope…a hope that God is going to step in and rescue.  The days of Israel are even worse than in the first passage.  The judges rule through bribes.  The priests teach for money.  The prophets prophecy for money.  And all of these people have an entitled spirit assuming that no disaster will come upon them.

But the expectant hope of God’s people was that God would put those things to an end.  God declares in verse 12 that God would bring an end to the oppression. Just as Psalm 64, the cry of “How long” rose up, and God responds.  This is the hope of God’s people.  No matter the day, the circumstance, or the government, the people of God can live in an expectant hope of God’s rescue.

Be worshipful

4:1 It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and it shall be lifted up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it, 2 and many nations shall come, and say:  “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.”  For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.  3 He shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide for strong nations far away; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore; 4 but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid, for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.

God promises that there is a sweet day of worship coming.  For the people of Micah’s day, it was soon.  For us, we have the wonderful worship provided for us by Jesus.  But we should also have the expectation of a great day of worship that will be ours in eternity.

We finished our sermon with these thoughts:

Big Picture Question:  How can we be expectant but not entitled?

Truth:  We live expectantly when we worship thankfully and hopefully.

Application:  Live knowing that all of the blessings of God should cause you to be expectant of God’s work as opposed to being angry when it appears He hasn’t.

Action:  Examine every area of your life to see if you are expectant or entitled.

Page 3 of 9«12345»...Last »
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!