Archive for the ‘God’s Hope’ Tag

Living By The Spirit!

Full Message:


Watch On YouTube (Video Compliments: Scott Pendergraft via Vimeo)

Main Bible Verse: Ephesians 1: 13 – 14


Introduction:

How are we supposed to be living our lives in these times?

Scripture reminds us that we are sealed with the Holy Spirit who is the guarantee of our inheritance. “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1: 13-14

Theological Theme:

These times bring insecurity but God’s [Father, Son and Holy Spirit] great desire for His people is that we feel secure in His love and power. Therefore, the perspective we have of this life should not change as the Spirit leads us to Jesus Christ.  

God wants us to have an abundant life but we need to ask “what is our TRUE inheritance and what are we supposed to learn?’ Everything in this life may be unstable – We live in some very unstable times in our society but we are to live by The Spirit and not by our own ways.

Christ Connection:

John 3: 16 – God so LOVED US that he gave us JESUS. He is so passionate to having a people for His own possession that He gave us Jesus/His Son so we can be His possession, who live forever for the praise of His glory.

“By giving us the Holy Spirit, God seals or stamps us as his own at our conversion. And then the Holy Spirit continues to testify, authenticating the reality of this relationship by making us more and more like Jesus. The God who has thus authenticated this relationship will most certainly protect his people through trials and difficulties.” – Erik Raymond

Missional Application:

God sends us His Holy Spirit as a preserving seal to lock in our faith – as an authenticating seal to validate our son-ship, and as a protective seal to keep us out of destructive forces. God wants us to feel secure and safe in His love and power.

Conclusion:

If we are having insecurity issues in understanding that we are to LIVE BY THE SPIRIT and WALK ACCORDINGLY, then we need to read scripture and remind ourselves, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.”Acts 14: 22    and we need be in fellowship “strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith….”John 6: 63

Circumstances will dictate other thoughts and you can forget who you are in Christ, what The Father did through His Son, and what that means for YOU but no matter how hard you are on yourself we have to be reminded that God has CHOSEN YOU and has REDEEMED YOU!

“To be sealed with the Holy Spirit is the gracious gift of God, whereby he demonstrates the authenticity of the believer’s relationship with him and his authority, ownership, and commitment to his people.” – Erik Raymond

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

Toward An Enduring Identity!

Part A:

Part B:

Full Message:


Watch On YouTube (via Zoom)

Main Bible Verses: 1 Peter 2: 1-17


Introduction:

We are each a part of the body of Christ. Chosen by God, receivers of great mercy, we have been given a new identity that we are to work out in our lives. With Christ as our foundation and example, we’ve also been given a new purpose and calling to be set apart for the work and glory of God.

Theological Theme:

The church is a sign and instrument of the kingdom of God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, constituted and commissioned by Jesus Christ.

Each of the four preceding descriptions of the church—a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and a people for God’s possession— reminds us that we are fundamentally different from the world. We are, as Peter put it, strangers and exiles in this world. This is our new identity in Christ, and it is from this identity that our changed behavior should flow. Who we are should always be the root of our behavior.

Christ Connection:

The early Christians faced persecution and experienced suffering for their faith in Christ. Peter reminded them of their identity as God’s people—formed by Christ and sent out on His mission. United to Christ, the One who suffered for us on the cross, Christians can expect God to use suffering to make us into the image of His Son.

God has graciously provided a solid foundation for us to experience His goodness for eternity. That foundation was laid through Christ’s obedient life, sinless sacrifice, and powerful resurrection, and by faith in Him, we can stand firm on it……Peter teaches about the enduring, living hope we have through Christ. He records glorious truth after glorious truth about the gospel—the work of Christ on our behalf so that we might enter into a permanent relationship with God…..Since the great mercy of God has rescued us and given us a living hope and an imperishable inheritance, therefore, we take action. It’s important to understand that if the sole purpose of salvation were to rescue you from eternal damnation, there would be no reason for you to continue to exist in this world. Our lives are about more than our individual deliverance. We remain on this earth to be stones of grateful testimony who declare the salvation of our glorious Lord to every one who will hear.

Missional Application:

God, through his Holy Spirit calls us to be an otherworldly people for the good of this world, to stand against the world for the sake of the world.

One key to living out our new identity and purpose is to understand our new citizenship. We cannot live out the call to be holy with one foot immersed in the patterns and conduct of the world and another in the lifestyle of Christianity. This is a false reality for the two are incongruent with one another. Even the goodness of the world and the social norms that might jive with our biblical worldview cannot be our goal. The world does good in order to be seen as good. The Christian does good in order to point to our good God.

“Advance in the Christian life comes not by the work of the Holy Spirit alone, nor by our work alone, but by our responding to the grace the Holy Spirit initiates and sustains.” –Donald S. Whitney

Conclusion:

We have been saved with a great purpose. Yes, we personally benefit from the rescue we’ve received, but ultimately, our salvation is not about you and me. The glorious reality of our redemption is to be proclaimed for the sake of those who still yet need it, all for the glory of our Redeemer. Therefore, we must take seriously our calling to live an otherworldly life. With our feet firmly planted on the bedrock of Christ’s character and provision, we get to live out our calling as a child of God, with all the hope of an eternal future with our glorious King.

Our Father’s Hope For All: In The Forgiveness Of Sin! pt.6

Part 6A:

Part 6B:

Full Message:


Watch On YouTube

Main Bible Verses: Luke 24 Luke 7: 36-50


Introduction:

“Our Father’s hope for all: In The Forgiveness Of Sin” has primarily to do with relationship and how relationships work. It is not some static fact apart from actual relationship. When we say Resurrection, we mean God’s forgiveness resulted not only in the sending away of sin but RELATIONSHIP with JESUS in a RENEWED HUMAN NATURE by the Spirit. This message focuses in on the forgiveness/reconciliation that is ours because of Jesus, The Resurrection.

Theological Theme:

The Gift God gives us is The Gift of Himself. God doesn’t have anything else to give humanity but Himself, so the gift you have been given in The Gospel is God -The Father, Son and Spirit and relationship with Him. This is why Jesus personalized Resurrection saying that HE IS THE RESURRECTION – John 11:25.

John 3:16

Christ Connection:

The primary thing Jesus has been proclaiming is HIMSELF and Who HE IS. Because He is God the Son, the only begotten of The Father, then when He is with us, in our humanity, He is God with us, God for us, for our humanity!

What The Resurrection is proclaiming:

  • Jesus is God The Father for us (since He is One with the Father).
  • Jesus is The Holy Spirit in us (since the Spirit is One with He and the Father).
  • Jesus is God, having done something to our human nature. Jesus is literally inside our human nature and so God is intimate with us by the Holy Spirit in our human nature.
  • Jesus is God, transforming our human nature up close and personal – personalizing and humanizing us.

When we say JESUS, we are saying that in Him and because of His union with us as His creation, there is now a reconciled relationship that God has with all with creation. For Jesus to become human and to touch and heal humanity means that what God created but had fallen into sin has now been made right again, in Him, so that we can have hope now and fulfillment at Jesus’ Final Appearing! We receive in Christ the complete forgiveness of sin and at the same time the complete healing of the proper relationship between God and man, and all creation.

“The Gospel is as inclusive as Jesus’ Humanity” – Bobby Grow

Missional Application:

What sin is:

Because God is a relationship and has called us into His relationship, sin means our not believing in Him, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Sin is our not trusting, or relating with Him. Sin is turning to something else other than The Father, Son and Spirit for your identity, for guidance in your life, for strength in your trials, etc. Sin is also the horrible motive of seeking to put God to death. Sin according to the scriptures is lawlessness meaning that it corrupts every part of our humanity in word and deed, and everything in between..

However, the one unchanging Truth of the universe is God and His love revealed in Jesus Christ. God is interested in us and in a restored relationship no matter that we have sinned and despite that we have done everything to mess up our relationship with Him. In His fantastic mercy and grace He has placed into the universe, and into His creation in Jesus Christ, THE FULLNESS OF THE FATHER SON AND SPIRIT IN FLESH! So Law in The New Testament is actually the Love of The Father, Son and Holy Spirit Revealed in the human nature of the Son. Since everyone has sinned, and Christ has undone our sin, every human has been forgiven of their sin and reconciled to God in Jesus Christ and, therefore, are each and all called to put their trust in Jesus and receive this forgiveness and reconciliation freely given to us!

Conclusion:

In The Resurrection Season, God The Father proclaims to you through His Son and in the Holy Spirit the forgiveness of all of your sins. Luke 24: 1-8

God wants all to participate in what Christ has done for us and to receive what is already theirs in Christ – THE FORGIVENESS OF SIN. The reason your sins are forgiven in Christ is because Jesus is “THE ONE FOR THE MANY”. Knowing Christ in His Resurrection means knowing the forgiveness of ALL your sins. Hear and receive this hope and proclamation of THE COMPLETE forgiveness of your sins because of Jesus, THE Resurrection, and because of Jesus’ Resurrection, bodily, from the dead!

“….Despite man’s sin, God is with him, the One who was in Jesus Christ reconciling the world, drawing man unto Himself in merciful judgment. Man’s evil past is not merely crossed out because of its irrelevancy. Rather, it is in the good care of God. Despite man’s life in the flesh, corrupt and ephemeral, God is with him. The victor in Christ is here and now present through His Spirit, man’s strength, companion, and comfort. Despite man’s death God is with him, meeting him as redeemer and perfecter at the threshold of the future to show him the totality of existence in the true light in which the eyes of God beheld it from the beginning and will behold it evermore. In what He is for man and does for man, God ushers in the history leading to the ultimate salvation of man.” ― Karl Barth, The Humanity of God

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Marriage: Profound Mystery About Christ And The Church! pt. 4

Part 4A:

Part 4B:

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! #15

Introduction:

The gospel can be summarized as participation with Jesus Christ. There’s nothing we have to make-up, or anything apart from Jesus, but only something that Jesus gives to us as a gracious gift as we walk with Him while He lives and does His life in and through us.

In light of Jesus and what has revealed to us about himself and who we are, the Christian life is a life of repentance. We are in a season of Lent –which means we remember our need to be in “dust and ashes” about the way we thought life was apart from Christ. Lent, then, is about something all Christians do and that is, REPENT. To turn from our way of thinking and receive what God has to say about us.

(SIDE-NOTE: Scripture: Job 42: 16Lent has to do with ashes because throughout the Old and New Testament ashes means humility and repentance.)

In this series, we’re coming into repentance about marriage because we think marriage is primarily about a husband and wife, our humanity, our own subjective marriages, but Paul is causing us to take more seriously that marriage is primarily about Jesus Christ (The Bridegroom) and His Bride (The Church). That is what marriage is really about. All our marriages are really signs pointing away from themselves to Christ, so we should not see our marriages here as ideal but see them as a real and true participation with Christ on earth as a sign. A sign that JESUS is really present in our marriages to lead them into their ultimate fulfillment in Him.

“Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.”― C.S. Lewis

John 14: 1- 6

Theological Theme:

The primary goal of Jesus as The Way, The Truth and The Life is to be in relationship His Father (God-Father-Son-and-Holy Spirit). Jesus wants us to know His Father and His Father’s heart as He has always known and will know His Father so that we may be more in union with Him and the Father in the Spirit. When we see Jesus, we see the Father at work and repent of forgetting the Father and the Spirit, but rather remember God in His distinction and relationship.

Christ Connection:

1 Corinthians 8: 6

We were created in, through and by for Jesus Christ. Being a Christian means to be in Christ, in union with Christ by the Spirit. God is One in Being and Three in Person so when we talk about marriage relationships we are ultimately referring to union with God, and getting our definition of love from Who God is revealed to be. Love is a WHO, not a what.

SIDE-NOTE: 1 Cor 6: 13-17 Ephesians 5: 29. These set of passages are to remind us that we are in union with Jesus Christ (with God in Him!)

God – Father-Son and Holy Spirit’s true image in flesh is Jesus Christ, not us or our marriages. We are made in the image of God’s Image (Jesus!) as man and woman together. Jesus is the Father’s Son, (not just The Son), in The Spirit. Jesus is The Mediator between God and man. Jesus is the true humanity. Jesus is the Bridegroom, so marriage, scripturally, has something more to do with the relationship of Jesus to His Body to His Church, more than it does us to each other in our distinct marriages. JESUS is THE TRUE SUBMISSIVE HUMAN BEING AND HEAD OF HIS BODY. HE is THE RESPECTFUL ONE. WE participate with Him in HIS submission and respect of the other by the Spirit.

THE OBJECTIVE GOSPEL:

Diagram From Sermon:

What’s true of everyone in Jesus Christ:

God took on ONE human nature that was the same human nature of every human. Jesus became sin for us, without sinning to deliver us and our nature from sin.

The three qualities of God:

  1. God is distinct – Father, Son and Holy Spirit
  2. God is equal – No one is above the other. No specific roles.
  3. God is Unity – Act as one. Can’t break them apart.

God made marriage and love to reflect His relationship in The Trinity. (The Father-Son-and-Spirit relationship)

What we are founded on:

Before everything was created, God had already decided that He would pay the cost and be crucified and resurrected in Christ for our sins.

  • Jesus is our wisdom for marriage and dating relationships.
  • Jesus is our Repentance – The great cost of forgiveness has already been anticipated in God’s mind. God is not counting our trespasses against us because of Jesus, so repentance is possible by The Spirit.
  • Jesus is our sanctification – He is the one who has made everything clean and clear again.
  • Jesus is God’s costly Grace – Suffering is included in inclusion.
  • Jesus is God’s unconditional love in your marriages.
  • Jesus is your Righteousness. – Our right relationships. God’s grace is greater that greatest sin that can occur in you marriages. Ephesians 2

Missional Application:

BASIC OVERVIEW:

What we know about God – Father-Son and-Holy Spirit is that there are two ways to be whole as human beings and to live in that relationship.

  1. Married person – which points to the relationship Jesus is going to have with His Father when He is married to the bridegroom (Church)
  2. To live as Jesus did; as a single person.

Life in God’s image as human beings is FEMALE and MALE. As we all draw closer to The Father through Christ and by the Spirit as male and female, we get closer to each other.

Marriages and relationships between male and female are a witness and a sign to Father, Son and Spirit so you must be in relationship with the opposite sex in order to be a human person in the glory of God. We are not required to be in an intimate sexual relationship with the opposite sex to be in the image of God, or to be fully human, but we must be in relation with the opposite sex, like Jesus also was, to be in the image of Jesus and to glorify God as one.

Male and female relationships are a witness and sign to the relationship between The Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is what it means to be a human individual (one in relationship with the opposite sex) – That is what love is.

Marriage is also a witness and a sign of the relationship between The Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Marriage includes sexual intimacy, and childbearing. Sex in this relationship points to the fact that God is not only One but He indwells the other without becoming the other.

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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

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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