Church Blog

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.

2017 Easter Week Events at Evident Grace Fellowship

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It is Easter, and we are ready to celebrate at Evident Grace Fellowship.

Friends, we are so excited about our Easter Week activities.  These are going to be transformative events for you and your family.  Please invite folks to be a part of this with us.  Here are the details:

Thursday (4/13) – Maundy Thursday Service and Dinner (6:30 pm) at the  

Fox Point Clubhouse
6120 Blackstone Blvd
Fredericksburg, VA 22407

A Maundy Thursday gathering is a celebrative meal reminiscent of the final meal Jesus spent with His disciples on the night before His death followed by a brief worship service and the Lord’s Supper.

This year, we decided to forgo a meal signup (and there was much rejoicing).  Instead, we are having the event catered by Famous Dave’s BBQ.  We ask that families (who can) donate $10 per person on Thursday night.  If you can’t donate, no worries.  If you can give more, great.  The important thing is that we are together as a family.  We do ask that you would bring along something to drink as drinks are not provided by Famous Dave’s.  We will have bottled water on hand.

Friday (4/14) – Good Friday Service (7pm) at the

Fox Point Clubhouse
6120 Blackstone Blvd
Fredericksburg, VA 22407

Traditionally, the church has observed Good Friday with a service of darkness that is intended to give the believer an opportunity to reflect on the death of Jesus in payment for sin.  It is a quiet service of hymns and readings, and worshipers leave in silence with no benediction in hope of resurrection Sunday. This deep, meaningful service intends to better enable you to worship on Sunday, Resurrection Day.

Saturday (4/15) – Young Lives Bunny Hop 5k (8:30am)

This is a great event where we can run, have fun, and support Young Lives, which is a wonderful pregnant and parenting teens ministry.  The race starts at 8:30am and you can signup and find directions here.

Sunday (4/16) – Easter Service at the Ron Rosner Family YMCA (10am)

Of course, Sunday is Easter, Resurrection Day.  Our service will begin at 10am as usual.  Please invite friends, arrive early, and let’s celebrate our risen Savior.

We cannot wait to see all of you this weekend.

Sunday Recap for 4/9:  You Can’t Mess Up God’s Plans

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On Sunday (4/9/17), Evident Grace looked at this Big Idea:

Big Idea:  You Can’t Mess Up God’s Plans or

And we looked at these scriptures:

John 19: 12 From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.”

13 So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic  Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”

15 They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” 16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.

We found these details surrounding our Big Idea:

Big Idea:  You Can’t Mess up God’s Plans

  • When you trust yourself more than you trust God.
  • When you get what you want.
  • When you are being flat out ridiculous.

When you trust yourself more than you trust God.

John 19: 12 From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.”

The religious leaders of the day truly trusted themselves more than they trust God.  They thought Jesus would be a political king who congratulated the religious leaders and stayed away from sinners.  Instead, Jesus brought a spiritual kingdom, He rebuked the religious leaders, and spent time with sinners.  And because of that, they wanted Jesus to die and even blackmailed Pilate.  Yet, even in that, God’s plans and purposes were not changed nor messed up.  Jesus’ death brought about our salvation.

When you get what we want

13 So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”

The religious leaders got everything they wanted.  They wanted Jesus dead, and Pilate sits down on his judgment seat to declare Jesus was going to be executed as the Jewish king.  Getting what you want may not be bad when your desires and God’s lineup.  The difference most of the time is heart motive.  Sometimes though, God lets you have everything you want, yet He still brings about His purposes.

Think about Joseph, he was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers.  Deceitfully thrown into jail and left to rot.  Ultimately, God put him in leadership in Egypt.  Ultimately, God used Joseph’s position to spare the people of God (including His family) during a drought.  In a moment when Joseph could have punished his brothers, he said, “What you meant for evil, God meant for good.”  Even though the Jewish people got what they wanted, Jesus’ crucifixion, God still used it to bring about His purposes for your salvation.

When you are ridiculous

15 They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” 16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.

Caesar was the one who kept the Israelites occupied and at bay.  He controlled Israel, not the Jewish people.  Yet, when there is one last chance that Pilate wouldn’t crucify Jesus, the Jewish people declared that Caesar was their king, not Jesus.  Ridiculous, yet God still accomplished His purposes, and He will in your life as well.

Big Idea:  You Can’t Mess up God’s Plans

Truth:  Even faithless, selfish, and ridiculous Christians can’t mess up God’s plans.

Application: Live knowing that no matter what you do, God is going to accomplish His purposes in your life.

Action:  Stop agonizing when you fail, and trust God’s grace for your sin and His plans for your life. 

Sunday Recap for 04/02:  Why did Jesus die?

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Sunday, April 2, Evident Grace looked at this Big Picture Question:  Why did Jesus die?

We found these answers to that question:

Big Idea:  Why did Jesus die?

  • To Show the World God’s Justice
  • To Show the World the Foolishness of Sin
  • To Show the World God’s Authority

To Show the World God’s Justice

John 19:1 Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. 2 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. 3 They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. 4 Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” 5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!”

Pilate doesn’t find any fault in Jesus at all.  But the crowd demands that Jesus die.  So, Pilate had Jesus beaten and presented for crucifixion.  This is worldly, self-preserving justice.  The death of Jesus presents to the world how our justice can be so misguided, yet it also causes our heart to cry out for the true justice of God.

To Show the Foolishness of Sin

6 When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” 7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.”

The Jews want Jesus to die because they feel He violated Leviticus 24 which says that anyone who misuses the name of God should die.  How foolish.  They cried for a Savior.  He showed up.  Declared himself their Savior, and they wanted Him to die.  Sin is so foolish, and the death of Jesus demonstrates that.

To Show the World God’s Authority

8 When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. 9 He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”

Pilate throws around his authority to intimidate Jesus.  Jesus teaches Pilate that the only authority he has comes from God the Father.  Pilate is guilty of handing Jesus over to death, and in the trial and execution, we see God’s real authority:  authority over all life, authority over all earthly-authority, and authority even over death.

Truth:  Jesus had to die so that world would see God’s authoritative justice against the foolishness of sin.

Application:  Live knowing that the death of Jesus was large enough to show the world God’s justice, but personal enough to show you God’s love.

Action:  Die to your wants/rights in some way this week in order to serve another and proclaim the love of Jesus.

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

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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?

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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?

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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.

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