Archive for the ‘Inclusion’ Category

Our Father’s Hope For All: In The Resurrection Relationship! pt 4

Part 4A:

Part 4B:

Full Message:


Main Bible Verse: 1 Corinthians 15: 1-34


Introduction:

God The Father so loved the world that He gave His Son to us as Jesus (God in the flesh) that whoever believes in Jesus (The God Man) by the power of The Holy Spirit will not perish but will have eternal life. God’s life – the Life He talks about by which we will not perish but live and thrive – is life knowing The Father, and Son intimately in The Holy Spirit. That is Who and what Life and Resurrection is and is about.

Theological Theme:

All truly are included in God’s [Father, Son and Spirit] love and life. It doesn’t have so much to do with a decision we make but has something to do with a decision God made prior to any decision we can make and which is the basis for our decision. That decision is the Person of Jesus Christ, Who is God for us from within our humanity. The gospel is not primarily about us receiving God into our life. The gospel is primarily about the tremendous grace of God, through Jesus, receiving us into His life.

Largely it is relationship with The Father, Son and Holy Spirit by Whom you are guided about how you think about life, what you do, what you receive, and what you reject.

Christ Connection:

Resurrection means relationship with Christ and being reconciled to the Father in and through Jesus Christ. Being reconciled means being in relationship with The Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Forgiveness means reconciliation with God and it means the restoration of relationship with God. Forgiveness of sin doesn’t just mean that sin ends but salvation means that we are saved INTO the restoration of relationship with God, where new relationship begins!

Missional Application:

God the Father Himself IS your Salvation. Sharing with Jesus in His relationship with His Father IS Salvation. Sharing friendship with Jesus IS Salvation. Intimacy with The Holy Spirit IS Salvation. The Holy Spirit comes upon you to reveal Christ to you, to mediate Christ to you. You respond by receiving and believing what The Holy Spirit has to say and, as God directs, witnessing to others about Him.

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Lessons From The Storm!

Full Message:


Main Bible Verses: Matthew 8: 23-27


Introduction:

During the storm,

  • have you allowed the Spirit to shake you out of your spiritual lethargy and comfort?
  • have you dared to live a life of real faith and real hope?
  • have you learned to hear the voice of a loving Lord and Savior say “Look at Me, Look at Me!”

Lessons 1:

When we’re in the storms of life we must follow Jesus. To do this, we must get to know Jesus. The disciples knew who Jesus was. Jeremiah 9: 23-24 In the middle of the storm, Jesus is able to find rest because he knows who his Father is. When we follow Jesus, we find rest.

Lesson 2:

In the storm we have to call on Jesus. Psalm 91: 14-16

Lesson 3:

In the storm we have to have faith in Jesus – Build our house of faith on the rock (Jesus) who gives us our faith. Matthew 7: 24-27

“In the storm, Jesus is giving us His faith and He is nurturing His faith within us.” ―Richard Andrews

Lesson 4:

In the storm, we have to be amazed at who Jesus is and what he can do.

Theological Theme:

We have to read the word of God-Father-Son-and-Holy Spirit to know who Jesus is. If we want to know what Jesus did, if we want to know what Jesus taught, if we want to know what Jesus proclaims, if we want to know what Jesus pointed to, we have to read the word of God. We have to listen for Him with intention. We have to reflect and meditate on what God has done and is doing in our lives.

Christ Connection:

Whatever the storm may be, we must remember it’s not about the storm, it’s about Jesus. We follow Him in the storm, we call upon His name in the storm, we have faith in Him in the storm and we should always remain in awe of Him in the storm.  This is the only way we will have a relationship with Him in the storm.

Missional Application:

“Jesus is Lord of the ages and is always with his own, even when things are difficult, and will abide with us, ―through The Holy Spirit; ―that is our comfort. If tribulation and anxiety come upon us, Jesus is with us and leads us over into God’s eternal kingdom.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Photo Compliments: https://adisciplesguidetocommonsense.blogspot.com

Marriage: Profound Mystery About Christ And The Church! pt. 3

Part 3A:

Part 3B:

Full Message:


Main Bible Verses: John 14: 6 Ephesians 5 I Corinthians 6: 17


This Message Series:

Living Into This Challenging Christian Life With Jesus! #14

Introduction:

Your life is challenging because of Jesus Christ. Whether you are a Christian or not, whether you realize it or not, The Son of God in flesh affected the whole world and set everyone and everything on a whole new basis.

Marriage is really something about God in Christ in union with His Church. Marriage is not our idea. It is God’s. Marriage is the profound mystery of The Father’s great will that we know Him and she in union and communion with Him, through Jesus and The Holy Spirit.

Foundational Scriptures to understand the mystery of marriage:

  1. John 14: 6 – Jesus is the Way, Truth and Life of our humanity, and therefore also of marriage. We are encouraged to believe, receive and be renewed in Him as men and women.
  2. 1 Cor 6: 17 – Union with Christ. Anyone who is joined to Christ is one spirit with Him. In the Spirit we participate with Jesus in the way HE lives life and share in what He is being and doing to glorify His Father.
  3. Ephesians 5: 31-32 – Marriage is primarily something about Jesus Christ and His own marriage which is going to take place in the new creation. If we don’t allow Christ to remain at the center of our lives, to teach us what marriage is, then we cannot really understand what our marriage is about.

Theological Theme:

Our marriages/relationships are made to live in alignment with Who God-Father-Son-and-Holy Spirit is. If you are in union with The Lord then it is actually the Lord submitting to your spouse as you yield to Him. Col 3: 18.

The insight for what’s going on in marriage relationships can be seen in the Transfiguration of Jesus (Luke 9: 28). Jesus Christ revealed in His Transfiguration what was hidden for all of us, even on this side. The gospel is about something that is not only future but something that is going on right now, real and present though hidden.

Those united to Jesus are actually the fiancé of Jesus Christ and, even though you can’t see it, there is something that is taking place in Jesus Christ on your behalf as He represents you before the Father so that what the Father sees about your marriage is more glorious and beautiful than you can conceive!

Christ Connection:

In His person and vicarious substitution and representation of our human nature, Jesus is our ethical behavior! The way He is living life toward his neighbor and continues to live it is what it means for us to live responsibly ethical toward our neighbors and our spouse, as He directs us by the Spirit and from His Father,. HE is our righteousness, HE is our wisdom, HE is our sanctification.

We are called to participate in Jesus’ spiritual union with His Father as His bride and to be in marital union with Him whether we are young or old, male or female, single or married. As we begin to look away from ourselves and only to Jesus, in the power of the Spirit we become His bride through spiritual union.

There is no ideal marriage. Our marriages are only signs of the real true marriage we will someday have with Christ. The ultimate marital union is coming as we join Jesus as His bride. Our Father has worked it all out in Christ. Jesus has entered the flesh and Jesus has been transfigured in the flesh so there is hope for all marriages. There is also hope in remaining single here because when you are in union with Him you are still headed toward the best marriage ever as the Bride of Christ, participating in His wedding feast!

Missional Application:

“Marriage is a gift given by God. Its special purpose is to reflect God’s covenant relationship with humanity, which in turn reflects the internal and eternal relationship of love among the members of the Trinity. Human marriage grounded in covenant love witnesses to the truth of the relationship of God through Jesus Christ to his bride, the church. Through it we are directed in a unique way to God’s covenant relationship with all humanity. Covenant marriage between a man and woman has a unique moral and spiritual meaning by which we can glorify the Triune God. The special form of agape (holy or covenant love) exhibited in marriage is to be life-long because it is to bear witness to God’s unbreakable covenant love and faithfulness to humanity.- Dr. Gary Deddo titled “What Christian Revelation Understands About Reality and Relationships (that secular culture does not).”

Conclusion:

“ God can no more than an earthly parent be content to have only children: he must have sons and daughters—children of his soul, of his spirit, of his love—not merely in the sense that he loves them, or even that they love him, but in the sense that they love like him, love as he loves. For this he does not adopt them; he dies to give them himself, thereby to raise his own to his heart; he gives them a birth from above; they are born again out of himself and into himself.” ― George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons, Series I., II., and III.

Photo Compliments: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com

Toward Unity In Christ!

Part A:

Part B:

Full Message:


Scripture: 1 Cor 1:10-31


“Faithfulness in the gospel necessitates a unity and fellowship of the body,”—Pastor Richard Andrews

Introduction:

“Unity in the church is vital to the success of the mission God has called us to. That is why Paul says: “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one person for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27).” —Ted Johnston

The Bible tells us that we have an adversary in Satan, who prowls about like a lion seeking someone to devour (1 Pet. 5:8). Satan loves to attack the body of Christ—the church—because he knows if he can get us isolated from the “herd,” he can take us down, making our moments unproductive for the movement of the kingdom of God.

God has commissioned the church to take the message of the gospel to the nations. We are to live out the gospel so that His glory is clear and undeniable. He has purposed to use us—you and me, as part of the local church—to build the kingdom. When we are united through the cross, we stand as an undeniable force for the gospel. But if we are divided, at best, we become ineffective at carrying the message of the cross to the lost world around us. At worst, we steal the glory meant to be given to our King.

God’s heart for us is to be a unified, powerful front against the schemes of the evil one. Not only is unity a critical line of defense, it is also crucial to our offense of carrying the gospel to the nations.

“Satan always hates Christian fellowship. It is his policy to keep Christians apart. He delights in anything that can divide saints from one another. He attaches far more importance to godly relationships than we do. Since unity is strength, he does his best to promote separation.” –Charles H. Spurgeon

Theological Theme:

Unity in the church must be grounded in truth, by the cross of Christ, and for the glory of God—[Father-Son-Holy Spirit].

“We can’t think of relationship and unity unless we think of who The Father, The Son and The holy Spirit are and how they have always existed in perfect harmony and unity forever….that means as the adopted ones who have been called into this relationship, that we have been called to unity with The Father, The Son and The Spirit forever.”—Pastor Richard Andrews

“Only at the cross do we see the love of God without ambiguity. Here is God’s farthest reach, His most ambitious rescue effort. God personally came to our side of the chasm, willing to suffer for us and with us. At the cross His love burst upon the world with unmistakable clarity. Here at last we have found solid reasons to believe that there was a genuine connection between God and man.” –Erwin W. Lutzer

Christ Connection:

Paul addressed divisions in the Corinthian church by reminding believers that the gospel overturns human expectations and robs us of any ability to boast in our salvation. Jesus is our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; therefore, selfish boasting and divisions have no place among God’s people.

  • Unity is NOT in human personality.

As Christians, we have unity and purpose in Christ. (1 Cor. 1:10-17)

  • Unity is NOT found in human wisdom.

Our hope is in Him (Jesus Christ) and NOT in ourselves. 1Cor 1: 18-25 Proverbs 26: 12 ESV

The world’s wisdom sees the cross as foolishness, but God made the world’s wisdom foolish through the cross. The cross was God’s plan to provide forgiveness for sinners who could not find forgiveness on their own. It is through faith in what is preached about the cross—Christ crucified—that people can be saved. True wisdom is to recognize this and trust in Christ. True foolishness is to reject the cross.

  • Unity is NOT found in human accomplishments.

“Jesus is our everything. We are made strong by Christ in our weakness. In Him we accomplish and in Him we achieve.” —Pastor Richard Andrews 1Cor 1: 30

Gratitude and humility drive us toward unity together. When we truly grasp the depth of our sin and the breadth of God’s love for us, we will see people through the lens of this same love. When we rally around the work of Christ at the cross—an act of glorious grace from God—there is absolutely no room for boasting in anyone but God. Pride in any part of us is an act of forgetfulness. We cannot glorify God and ourselves at the same time. 1Cor 1- 26-31

“By the Father’s doing, believers have an identification ‘in Christ’. Because of this they possess the wisdom of God—Christ crucified, the very essence of wisdom. Through this wisdom, believers have justification at God’s court, sanctification that allows their entrance into his presence, and ultimate redemption.”  –F. Alan Tomlinson

Missional Application:

“God’s people are a diverse group. We come from varied backgrounds, races and economic and educational levels. We have different tastes, preferences and needs. How can such a diverse group have unity? By God’s Spirit that binds us together.” —Ted Johnston

God, through His Holy Spirit calls us to strive for unity in the church in order to showcase the beauty of the cross and the truth that Christ alone is the source of our salvation.

Too often we approach the body of Christ to be served by it. We’re tired and weary. Sad and lonely. Needy for refreshment and encouragement, significance and affirmation. The church does serve as the hands and feet of Jesus, and we should receive such ministry and love from the church, but if our mind-set is mostly about what we can get from the people of God instead of holding on to a humble heart of service, we have it all backward. Jesus Himself came not to be served but to serve (Mark 10:45), and this example of humility is what begins to unify us. So when we’re tempted to demand our own way and assert our preferences to serve our own needs, we miss the unifying purpose of the church: to glorify God and make known the name of His Son, Jesus, through a lifetime of Spirit-filled living.

Conclusion:

“It is hard to imagine, but Christians can actually find themselves doing things in the name of the gospel that are absolutely contrary to the gospel. Many Corinthian believers had fallen into such a predicament. They had aligned themselves against one another, using human wisdom and persuasive powers to support their divisive ways. Paul’s response to this situation cut straight to the heart of the matter. To divide the church on the basis of human wisdom is to oppose the gospel of Christ. The true gospel does not rely on human wisdom, but on the power of God received through faith in the death and resurrection of Christ.” –Richard L. Pratt Jr.

In 1 Corinthians 1:10-31 we are given direction and truth to guide our hearts and conduct toward unity. Our unity must be grounded in biblical convictions, not popular personalities. The wisdom and power this world has to offer cannot stand against the wisdom and power displayed at the cross, which shows us that our unity is furthered as we boast only in the wisdom and power of our glorious Lord.

Though we are loved, cherished, and highly valued through the sacrifice of Jesus, Christ walked obediently to the cross to glorify His Father first and foremost. We too must follow in the footsteps of Christ and walk in purposeful obedience to glorify the Father in our daily lives.

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Marriage: Profound Mystery About Christ And The Church! pt.2

Part 2A:

Part 2B:

Full Message:


Main Bible Verses: John 14:6 I Corinthians6: 17 Ephesians 5


This Message Series:

Living Into This Challenging Christian Life With Jesus! #13

Introduction:

Our context is always Jesus Christ. We find new life in Jesus Christ.

“Jesus is the gospel. He is our salvation. We receive all the benefits of who he is as we trust in him and cast aside (repent of) all rival objects of trust. We then enjoy union and communion with Jesus as our Lord and God. Our lives are united to him and we share in his life, participating with him in all he is doing and will do in our relationship of trust (faith)”

“Grasping the truth of our relationship to Christ calls for the renewing of our minds so that we begin to think differently about what makes us who we are. In the end, we even have to approach reading Scripture differently. The challenge becomes not so much taking the Bible literally, but taking it realistically. When Paul declares that we are seated with Christ in the heavenlies (Ephesians 2: 6), we have warrant, despite our Aristotelian philosophical training, to grasp this realistically. The good news is that we as Christians are united to Christ in such a way that all that is ours is his and all that is his is ours. Paul refers to this reality when he states, “Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).” —Gary Deddo

Theologial Theme:

The great epiphany/revelation of God —[Father, Son and Holy Spirit] comes only when we see Jesus Christ because when Jesus came, He unveiled what life/God is really like. It is the only way that God has shown up in flesh.

Jesus Christ is the radical unveiling of God to us (John 14:6). I (GOD) am THE WAY, THE TRUTH and THE LIFE but Jesus Christ is also the unveiling/revelation of man, of what it really means to be a human being shown only to you by God to know and receive. Jesus Christ is the way of a human being, the truth of a human being and the life of a human being. He is NOT the way of any one race over another. Jesus is the revelation of what it means to be a human being –who you are in Christ – and that is what’s PRIMARY about your identity. Race, color, gender etc. are secondary. Which means EACH contributes and can’t be denied and each should be brought up to the level of Jesus Christ to avoid the imbalances of thinking, because Jesus is to dominate. It is never about subordination.

Three crucial things about understanding who

God-[Father-Son-Holy Spirit] is:

  • God is ONE – The Father, Son and Spirit have the same heart, mind, and characteristics. He is One in Being. He is UNITY in Trinity.
  • God is THREE PERSONS – God is a relationship. God is not alone. He is Three Persons. He is TRINITY in Unity.
  • God (The Father, Son and Spirit) are EQUAL – The Son and The Holy Spirit have always been ONE with The Father. There is no subordination in The Trinity, where One is lesser then the Other. Each Person is Fully God in Himself, and All are the One God.

Christ Connection:

“When we don’t see people as they are in Jesus Christ, we de-humanize them. You cannot put anyone (not even self) into a category other than a category where YOUR IDENTITY IS FIRMLY UPHELD AS A HUMAN BEING IN JESUS CHRIST. We are all unique people in Jesus Christ. It doesn’t erase the distinctions/ differences, rather it magnifies them. Jesus Christ came as a unique Man but He came as a Male not to represent males but to represent a distinction in creation. Therefore ALL DISTINCTIONS MATTER! – White, black, male, female, child, adult and every person in Jesus Christ is lifted up to a new life in Him, and called to this new life in Him, so that we no longer have the barriers that have plagued us in our sin.” – Pastor Timothy Brassell  

There is a mysterious union that ALL human beings have with Jesus Christ because He took on the human nature of every person, male, female, black, white, etc. and in HIM – All have been forgiven, all have been justified in Jesus Christ Romans 3: 22-24. Our adoption takes place by The Spirit, in Whom we actually share in The Son’s relationship with The Father when personally believe and receive Him (Ephesians 1). We read in Ephesians 2 that He put to death the hostility that was in and against man, by dying himself.

There is an attack upon the church and it must be fought and for this reason in Ephesians 6 we read “Take up the full armor of God”

Missional Application:

If you belong to God, you are called to Christian marriage in Jesus Christ by The Holy Spirit.

God has embodied Himself in humanity and He is the only one that can live like a human being so, what we are REALLY seeing in scripture is how JESUS CHRIST lives as a human being. Ephesians 4: 1-2 ”Live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” We mistakenly think God starts things and we finish but it is Christ’s doing, and our participating with Christ in His doing, by the Holy Spirit.

Be imitators of God. Ephesians 5 “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

The question is: Are you participating with Jesus Christ in HIS SUBMISSION to the other? Ephesians 4:9-17

“What marriage talks about is Jesus Christ giving HIMSELF for the other in and through YOU, and NOT you giving yourself for your spouse. Christ is the wisdom of God. Since there is NO subordination in The Trinity, submission in the scriptures is a Godly term, (the way Jesus lives before The Father) not first and foremost a human term. Therefore submission has to do with freedom, NOT force.  Jesus submits to the Father freely out of godliness and love for His Father and His Father submits freely to the Son out of love for His Son.” —Pastor Timothy Brassell

Submission is NOT subordination of one human being over another. Submission in the scriptures is JESUS’ submission to His Father through His fellow human beings. Therefore, to understand submission, you are going to have to be in a relationship with God The Father, through Jesus and in the Holy Spirit; and if you want to grow in your marriage you will need to draw close to God—[Father-Son-Holy Spirit] so that HE MIGHT LIVE IN AND THROUGH YOU as HE is seeking to do.

“Everything we receive from God we pass on to others to contribute to God’s universe-wide purposes. This is especially true in our relationships. We receive forgiveness of sins—renewing grace to start again with hope. We receive God’s generosity, providing us all the fruit of the Spirit. We receive comfort, love, transforming power, purpose and direction in life to be a sign and witness to the grace and goodness of God. We become witnesses to the truth and holy loving character of God. All these things point to eternal life—life with God as his beloved children in holy, loving unity.” —Gary Deddo

Conclusion:

This Gospel Message explains what it means to live out and walk out this justification, this forgiveness and this adoption that is ours in Jesus Christ through The Holy Spirit, and so it is also crucial for single people for these reasons:

  • It is a message about Christ. All male and female relations and not just marriage relations are in the image of God.
  • Even though human marriage will end in the Kingdom, singles and all who are united to Christ will have marital union with Jesus Christ. This message teaches that marriages are pointing away from self and pointing to something that is ultimately going to happen with all of us in Christ. We are going to be one with Christ.
  • God is clear about when and where sex should take place, so whatever it means to be truly human in male and female relationships, it doesn’t mean crossing boundaries that are warned by God NOT to cross. (1Cor 4:14) This is what God’s love is doing. It is warning you, but only so that you can know and share in the blessing of how you are made.
  • Whenever we are talking about Christ, it is important to realize that we are all called to grow up in the qualities of Christ. (Luke 2:52) You should be growing as a wise person, growing in stature, and in favor with God and man.

“He is Lord and Savior over every aspect of human life and has a purpose for every dimension of our existence. It is all to be a channel of his blessing to us and through us to others. All of it, every relationship, is meant to lead to life and life abundantly. Even our eating and drinking is to reflect the glory of our life-giving God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Every relationship is to be a fruitful gift exchange that contributes to a fullness of life and a fullness of love.” —Gary Deddo

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Marriage: Profound Mystery About Christ And The Church! pt.1

Part 1A:

Part 1B:

Full message:


Scripture: John 14:6 1 Cor 6:17 Ephesians 5:31-32


This Message Series:

Living Into This Challenging Christian Life With Jesus! #12

Introduction:

 “Paul’s governing insight was that all relationships between persons or groups of persons are to be informed, moved and regulated and so disciplined by God’s agapē love, provided as a gift of grace to his people. This love purifies and cleanses and repurposes the natural loves: family love, marital love and friendships. That love is first demonstrated in the relationship between the Triune Persons, seen concretely in Jesus in his relationship with the Father. Secondly, it is seen in Jesus’ words and deeds towards all he came in contact with. That love culminated in Jesus giving his life for us in his crucifixion and resurrection, ascension and promised return. So, every word and act of the members of his body in relationship to each other are to be moved and measured by conformity to and even sharing in God’s kind of love……it is only as we share in and live out of our relationship to Christ and his love that we are able to relate to one another in ways that bring about a fruitful unity and diversity in loving relationship, fellowship and communion.” —Gary Deddo

Theological Theme:

“Christian marriage is grounded in God‘s [Father, Son and Holy Spirit] own creative activity. The basic unit of creation is not the individual human being, male or female, but Man and Woman as one Man, one flesh. ln marriage God completes His creative act. in making man and woman one flesh and through them creating new life. When a man and woman marry they partake of God‘s creative completion of their being. and so in marriage man and woman do not have to do only with one another, but have to do with their Creator. “—T. F. Torrance

Christ connection:

“Jesus Christ is the one Word of God in, by and for whom humanity is constituted. He alone reveals God’s will for human life and flourishing. Consequently, marriage ought primarily to be understood christologically. The Church therefore rejects as false all efforts to ground its doctrine and ethics in sources apart from and besides this one Word of God. Such efforts threaten to turn an institution or relationship into an idol, an anti-Christ.”Jason Goroncy

When it comes to identity, you are not the sinful acts you perform. Your identity is firmly grounded in Christ. In Christ, you are a true person and human being. That is who you REALLY are. The attacks we experience in our day are not just on us and our family, on nature, on creation, on the universe or on the church. It is an attack on Jesus Christ, the Lord of heaven and earth. When we have received the Spirit of God, we’re in union with Jesus Christ and have been sealed with the Holy Spirit so, by nature of that union, that attack is coming at us too.

Therefore, when we talk about ANY challenge of life, Jesus is the answer and because HE is also the LIGHT, and the WAY, we MUST talk about ALL subjects, more specifically, Marriage, Singleness and Sexuality only in the light of HIM. 

Missional Application:

As Christians we worship the Father, through the Son, in the power of the Spirit. We then witness to him that all may turn to Him, receive his Spirit and live in union and communion with Him. We seek in His power to glorify Him in every part of our nature and in every relationship!

“This ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit is essential for our participation in relationship with God on the basis of Christ’s ministry. The Spirit is the one who, in the proclamation and our hearing of the Word, gives us freedom to respond, who delivers to us the desire and willingness to repent, believe and trust Christ, and thus to receive the forgiveness God has, in Christ, already extended to us, and to receive the power to become and live as the adopted children of God that believers are….

Most particularly, life in the Spirit of Christ looks like a joyful, free “obedience of faith” in God through Christ that works itself out in following the many commands, imperatives and exhortations and correctives addressed to the church found throughout the New Testament. It involves a deliberate and purposeful participation in ministry as worship and witness that follows the patterns and priorities set out in the New Testament as enabled and gifted by the Holy Spirit. We can summarize all this under the heading of the Great Commandments of love for God (with all we are and have) and love for our neighbors (as God’s representatives)” —Gary Deddo

Conclusion:

1) Christian Marriage has to do with both people worshipping The Lord in a covenant.

2) A marriage is not just about the marriage itself- “the happening”.

In the Bible, marriage is placed within the structure of the Covenant between God and man in which God revealed the inner basis and purpose of the creation. Marriage involves people in a way of life that is rooted beyond itself in the eternal Will and Truth of God and because in the sexual union of man and woman in marriage they are concerned with God‘s act, sexual acts outside that union are a sin against the Lord. Those who indulge in them are playing with God, and prostituting to their own selfish ends God’s creative act which constitutes the basic unity of man.” – T.F. Torrance

Psalm 51: 4 “Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just.”

Sin is sin against The Lord who created it the way HE wanted it to run, as a mirror image of HIM. If you indulge in something against the way of The Lord you are adhering to your own selfish ends and going against God’s creative acts which constitute the basic unity of man.

The way God designed creation it is what brings people together and holds us together and makes us whole. To do anything contrary to that is to destroy one another and to destroy the unity which we are seeking to have in Christ.

Photo Compliments: Faithlife Sermons

Toward Faithfulness In The Gospel!

Audio – Part A: 

Audio – Part B: 

Full Message:


Scripture: Galatians 2:11-21 Romans 6: 4   Isaiah 55 Matthew 18


Introduction:

Are you living life well in Christ so that people know who Christ is by how you are living?

As a part of his ministry to the church, the apostle Paul wrote letters to churches to teach, encourage, and rebuke. In a rebuke to the Galatian churches, he shared how he confronted the apostle Peter for being two-faced, or hypocritical. Peter acted one way with one group of Christians and another way with a different group. Peter’s hypocrisy wasn’t a small problem though. When he chose to separate himself from Gentile believers, he implicitly denied the truth of the gospel by his actions. This was why Paul had to step in and challenge Peter to reflect the truth of the gospel to others through his actions. Paul’s challenge reminds us that our salvation rests in our faith in Christ alone. Christ’s death in our place, followed by His resurrection, is the basis of our salvation, not our own works.

Theological Theme:

It matters how we live this life in Christ because it matters to God —[Father, Son and Holy Spirit]. We have been called to a new life, we have been called to live a faithful life in the gospel because it is the only way to live out this challenging life. When we’re not immersed in the gospel, other things can become our truth therefore when the truth of the gospel is at stake, we must take a strong stand.

1) Faithful living in the gospel requires us to speak the truth in love to one another in line with the gospel!

Christ Connection:

When Peter chose to separate himself from Gentile believers, he implicitly denied the truth of the gospel by his actions. Paul’s challenge reminds us that Christ alone is the source of our salvation and faith is the sign of it. Christ’s death in our place is the basis of our salvation, not our own works.

2) Faithful living in the gospel means we’re justified by faith in Christ and not by any actions of our own!

“The gospel is the good news, that the privilege of getting right with God (what Justification means) was purchased when Christ died for our sins and rose again and that the only way to enjoy this privilege is to live by faith IN The Son of God who loves us and gave himself for us.” —Pastor Richard Andrews

“The gospel of justifying faith means that while Christians are, in themselves still sinful and sinning, yet in Christ, in God’s sight, they are accepted and righteous. So we can say that we are more wicked than we ever dared believe, but more loved and accepted in Christ than we ever dared hope—at the very same time. This creates a radical new dynamic for personal growth. It means that the more you see your own flaws and sins, the more precious, electrifying, and amazing God’s grace appears to you. But on the other hand, the more aware you are of God’s grace and acceptance in Christ, the more able you are to drop your denials and self-defenses and admit the true dimensions and character of your sin.” –Timothy Keller

Missional Application:

Worries about our image and people-pleasing can create conflict when we have to choose between pleasing ourselves or someone else instead of pleasing God. Relationships matter. Scripture teaches that. But when the truth of the gospel is at stake, we must take a strong stand.

God, through His Holy Spirit, calls us to stand our ground and refuse to compromise when the truth of the gospel is at stake.

“Self-image, the concept we have of ourselves, must begin not by looking in the mirror but by looking into the face of God.”  –Sam Storms

Conclusion:

3) Faithful living in the gospel is only possible when we are in Christ!

Peter’s hypocrisy in withdrawing from eating with Gentile believers in Antioch probably didn’t seem to be that big of a problem, but Paul saw it for what it really was—a threat to the gospel proclaimed and lived. For this reason, Paul was quick to confront Peter and remind him of the gospel—the gospel that has brought all who trust in Christ into one family of faith.

When we reflect on Paul’s rebuke of Peter, we need to see ourselves in the shoes of each one. Has God placed us as a “Paul” to help correct and guide someone else to live out and declare the gospel faithfully? Are we willing to take a bold and firm stand for truth because of our love for God and that person? Will we act on that?

But at the same time, we need to look deeply within ourselves and see if we are living like Peter in any way. Are we asking the Holy Spirit to give us sight to see our blind spots, any prejudices or wrong views of others and any ways we are not declaring and living the gospel faithfully? Do we have people in our lives who will confront us in grace and truth when we succumb to hypocrisy, and are we listening to them?

May we be faithful Pauls and humble Peters as we strive to live holy lives in faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Christ-Centered Clarity On Sex And Marriage! Part 3 (Our Christian Response)

Audio Part 3A:

Audio Part 3B:

Full Message:


Bible Verses: John 14: 6 Ephesians 4-6


This Message Series:

Living Into This Challenging Christian Life With Jesus!

Introduction:

This series reinforces that the Christian Life is living out and manifesting the reality of our union and communion with the Father, through Jesus (the Son), and in the Holy Spirit in every part of our humanity! Our purpose in life is to be one with God! Despite our sin and weaknesses, the Lord strengthens us in our relationship with Him by the Spirit as we trust Him for it! When our Lord Jesus Christ reappears gloriously, we too will be glorified and fully blameless in Him! Until Jesus’ reappearing, the Christian life is a challenging life —lived out only in union and communion with the Father, through the Son and in the Holy Spirit!

“The Christian life is thus about living in dependence upon the Triune God of grace, and it has largely to do with the work the Holy Spirit does to unite us to and conform us to Christ through  the “spiritual union.” It is through this union (our relationship with God) that we have access to and are able to possess all the blessings of grace. We trust Jesus to give us these blessings through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Moved by the Spirit, we receive these blessings through repentance and faith. Though never earned or deserved, we receive them deliberately, using whatever capacities we have at our disposal (capacities that differ from person to person). Because our transformation (sanctification, maturation, growth) is God’s gracious work in us, it follows God’s timetable, and God is not anxious or impatient about the pace.”

“To understand the Christian life, we must account for the New Testament teaching that, as believers, we do not yet have the fullness of the Holy Spirit. As we receive and respond to the Spirit, living in fellowship with the Spirit, we must regularly be “filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18). In this life we are given the “first fruits” (Rom. 8:23) or “deposit” (Eph. 1:14, also translated “down payment” or “earnest”) of the Spirit, having been “sealed” (Eph. 4:30) for a greater future with the Spirit yet to be unsealed. We thus understand that our relationship with the Spirit is not fixed, static, mechanical or impersonal. It is dynamic and personal.” – Clarifying Our Theological Vision, by Gary Deddo

Theological Theme:

The Christian’s calling is the highest of all, and so sets the highest standard. God-[Father-Son-Holy-Spirit] has predestined you before the foundation of the world to be seated in the heavenly places and to be adopted in Jesus Christ. The plan and will for your life is Jesus Christ! In this series, this calling has been proclaimed in Ephesians 1-3, and is essentially a calling to the body of Christ. God has predestined you as a human being to be a glorious human being sharing in the son’s relationship with The Father in The Spirit! Marriage, for some, is included in this calling.

Christ Connection:

Beneath and behind all the troubles of this world, God the Father has predestined you to be adopted as His sons and daughters and to share in His relationship with His Son – Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit. That is what your job is about, that is what marriage is about, that is what sex is about, and that is what singleness is about. The Father is working to make you a son or a daughter sharing in the Sonship of Jesus!

Missional Application:

Marriage has been ordained not just for Christians but for mankind. Because, in Jesus, we are all destined to go from dust to glorified humanity , the call goes out to all marriages to particpate with Jesus by placing their faith in Him, and receiving His empowerment in the Spirit!

As Christians we are to live in our marriages worthy of this calling we have received such that we witness to the Love of the Fther, Son and Spirit as His lights in this world.

Eph 4:1 beckons us all to think God’s thoughts along with Jesus Christ. “to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” – Ephesians 5: 15 —“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,” We are to be “filled with the Spirit.”— Ephesians 5:18

Be imitators of God, “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” — Ephesians 5: 21

“22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord…..25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her….. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church”—Ephesians 5: 22-29

 “for we are members of His body.”(The Body Of Christ) —Ephesians 5:30

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” – Ephesians 6: 1-3

“18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” —Ephesians 6: 18

Conclusion:

“Our personal response (or lack thereof) to God cannot undo the fact that Jesus is and remains Lord and Savior of all. The character and purpose, mind and heart of God remain just as they have been revealed in Christ. The finished work of Christ is never undone—God remains, in Christ, reconciled to all people, no matter their response. He has and holds out forgiveness for them, is ready to receive them back into fellowship with him, and in that sense accepts them. However, while God accepts them, he does not accept their rejection, their sin, their rebellion, but accepts them in order to do away with what is against them and against their participation in the reconciliation accomplished for them in Christ. Nothing changes that reconciliation (with all it means), not even a person’s complete or partial rejection of God’s gift. However, our personal response (participation) does affect the quality of our lived relationship with God and thus our personal experiencing of the benefits of Christ.” Gary Deddo

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Christ-Centered Clarity On Sex And Marriage! Part 2 (Our Christian Foundation)

Part 2A:

Part 2B:

Full Message:


Bible Verses: John 14: 6 Ephesians 1-3 Revelation 19: 9 James 4: 13


This Message Series:

Living Into This Challenging Christian Life With Jesus!

Introduction:

This series reinforces that the Christian Life is living out and manifesting the reality of our union and communion with the Father, through Jesus (the Son), and in the Holy Spirit in every part of our humanity! Our purpose in life is to be one with God! Despite our sin and weaknesses, the Lord strengthens us in our relationship with Him by the Spirit as we trust Him for it! When our Lord Jesus Christ reappears gloriously, we too will be glorified and fully blameless in Him! Until Jesus’ reappearing, the Christian life is a challenging life —lived out only in union and communion with the Father, through the Son and in the Holy Spirit!

Theological Theme:

The foundation, even for understanding and participating in marriage, is the Gospel of the Triune God! That foundation is stated in our primary mission, vision and strategy when we gather as the Church to worship God-Father-Son-Holy Spirit. A Christian Marriage is based on each partner having a relationship with The Father, through The Son, and in The Holy Spirit, therfore our Mission and Vision is to love and know Jesus Christ and love our neighbor as ourselves in participation with Jesus. We’re about worship and witnessing to that Good News in Christian marriage and we witness that good news in 2 ways—

  1. By meeting regularly with Christ’s Body, the Church.
  2. By witnessing to each other and reminding each other of The Father, Son and Holy Spirit through worshiping the Lord together by praying for each other, hearing His Word proclaimed in scripture together – and in responding to that word together in many and various ways, especially relationally.

This is the basics of Christian because in Jesus Christ it has been revealed that the Father-Son-and-Holy Spirit is The Way, The Truth and The Life. This bases a marriage as something that is not law-centered but grace and relationship-centered. It has more to do with relational obligations of grace rather than the static obligations of law.

Our primary understanding of God is that He is The Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is a RELATIONSHIP of Three Persons in One God Being, and One God Being in Three Persons — The TRINITY. Christian marriage particpates in and mirrors this!

Christ Connection:

A Christian Marriage has no possibility of existence apart from Jesus Christ! We rehears Ephesians Chapters 1, 2 and 3 to rehearse the foundational Christian thought that Jesus has always been the plan and purpose of humanity and in marriage! We share the basic structure of God’s plan which is noted as: TRINITY (expressed above)-ADOPTION-INCARNATION-SECRET/ MYSTERY-EDUCATION

2. ADOPTION: God-Father-Son-and-Holy-Spirit created us so that we could share in Jesus’ life with His Father by the Holy Spirit and become participants in God’s divine nature.

3. INCARNATION— In Jesus Christ, God became man, while remaining God which revealed that God is so gracious that where we have each failed in our relationship and obligations toward God and each, Jesus Christ has overcome and prevailed so that it is possible for flesh to particpate with Jesus in The Holy Spirit.

4. SECRET/ MYSTERY— The great mystery and secret behind all of life is humanity’s adoption into God’s Love and Life through Jesus, by the Spirit, and all of Grace!

5. EDUCATION — This is the primary teaching and learning of life – to experience the Father by sharing in Jesus’ life with Him in the Spirit, and to share in this love with other human beings and all creation.

Missional Application:

One of the primary ways we love our neighbors in this fallen world (even in Christian marriage) is to proclaim the gospel of the Father-Son-and-Spirit-God in WORD and DEED to those who don’t know Him, telling them the Lord Jesus and that HE is their Lord and Savior too. We call them to surrender to the Triune God and LIVE INTO something, not make something up. ALL humanity is called to LIVE INTO God’s Love and Life. It is challenging because we are NOT GOD; but we are not to be discouraged because we are only called to PARTICIPATE in Jesus’ doing of it through The empowerment of the HOLY SPIRIT! The Father is urging us to recieve His relationship THROUGH JESUS CHRIST by THE HOLY SPIRIT!

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God’s Grace Expressed Through Jesus’ Love!

Part A: Pastor Tony Marra:

Part B: Pastor Dave Stonesifer

Part C: Pastor Ann Vinson

Part D: Pastor Timothy Brassell

Part E: Full Message: NLF Pastoral Team


Bible Verses: Mark 1: 14-16 Ephesians 1 2 Cor 12: 19 Numbers 6: 24 – 26


Introduction:

“God loves you so utterly and completely that he has given himself for you in Jesus Christ his beloved Son, and has thereby pledged his very being as God for your salvation. In Jesus Christ God has actualized his unconditional love for you in your human nature in such a once for all way, that he cannot go back upon it without undoing the Incarnation and the Cross and thereby denying himself. Jesus Christ died for you precisely because you are sinful and utterly unworthy of him, and has thereby already made you his own before and apart from your ever believing in him. He has bound you to himself by his love in a way that he will never let you go, for even if you refuse him and damn yourself in hell his love will never cease. Therefore, repent and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.” —(T. F. Torrance, “The Mediation of Christ,” 94)

Theological Theme:

“The gospel announces that salvation is available by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, and not through additional obligations and works.”

The gospel is the Good News of God, that we are included in the life and love of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit by grace. It is nothing we have earned or deserve but rather something given as a free gift to us. We have to remember that Jesus is THE Savior of the world. The struggle in believing this good news is that it sounds really good but it is not easy to receive and can only be received by the grace of God; That means GOD working in us to WILL and to DO and to BELIEVE that it is actually the truth of our lives in Jesus, in our place and on our behalf!

“Grace is the hardest thing for us to be reconciled to, because it implies the renouncing of our pretensions, our power, our pomp and circumstance. It is opposite of everything our ‘religious’ sentiments are looking for.” —Jacques Ellul

Christ Connection:

Salvation is a Revelation, something God has to lead us to. Since Jesus Christ is the center-point of God, then Salvation is actually the Person Jesus Christ. But this is something only God can reveal, and through Jesus Christ. That means from beginning to end, Jesus Christ is the only one who pulls off what God wanted done with us.

The primary message of the gospel is NOT that you need to receive the gospel, but rather the gospel HAS RECEIVED YOU! The Father HAS RECEIVED YOU in Jesus Christ, by The Holy Spirit; but the good news always proclaims REPENT! When we say Jesus Christ lives IN US, we mean Jesus lives inside our human nature hence He made “human nature” capable of being able to receive that He did good for us. However the Father-Son-and-Spirit-God is NOT a substance but a relationship. God IN us means us having an INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP with God, Father, Son and Spirit!

Because Jesus is our Salvation, Salvation is a proclamation not just in Word but also in Deed.

“God came in Christ, in our place and on our behalf, to actually undo what we had done (Eph. 1:10). In that undoing, a real relationship (via the hypostatic union) between God and mankind was forged in the Son of God’s own person.”—Clarifying Our Theological Vision, by Gary Deddo

Missional Application:

Salvation is a Proclamation and that proclamation is— Repent and receive Jesus as your Salvation! Salvation as a RELATIONSHIP with Jesus Christ. It is relying on Jesus Christ. It is praying to God The Father through Jesus Christ in The Holy Spirit, and this is what we witness to others about that they may share in this relationship with us! All of humanity is encouraged to turn from what they were thinking and doing by turning to Jesus Christ! The Father calls His humanity to turn from turning away from Jesus and begin to relate with and trust Jesus in union with the Holy Spirit! God-Father-Son-and-Spirit loves and includes all of mankind in relationship with Himself through Jesus, the Son of God made human..

 “Grace is to be understood as the impartation not just of something from God but of God Himself. In Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit God freely gives to us in such a way that the Gift and the Giver are one and the same in the wholeness and indivisibility of His grace…”—(Thomas F. Torrance, Reality and Evangelical Theology. Westminster Press. 1981. pgs 14,15).

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