Sermon for Week Four of The Gospel Primer: Gospel Listening…
The gospel addresses all of life, and when we practice Spirit empowered Gospel Listening we can grow in our ability to address others circumstances from a true gospel perspective.
Being God’s son I have Identity, Authority and Power. You see, if I am God’s son, then I am the son of the King and I have his royal authority to bless his creation, and God gives me the power to do just that. Be a blessing as God works through me.
But, that’s not what I heard growing up. Well-meaning Christians failed me again.
You see, I got to the stories of Jesus but I was misinformed. I was told how great Jesus was and all the amazing things he did through miracles and such, how his prays were answered, but no one once told me I ought to expect to see some of these same things in my own life.
No one told me that the things of heaven are available today. No one told me it’s not about dying and going to heaven, it’s about living and having heaven break in here on earth from time to time.
Jesus was human. Not a little bit human, or “pretend” human, he was human. God comes as Jesus and he empties himself of his divine nature. So, all those things we hear about in the Bible that Jesus did are done by someone who is simply walking closer with God, but he is no different than you or me in his makeup. It is not impossible for us to do the things Jesus did if we follow God like he followed God. Jesus said it himself.
He said, you will do greater things than I did…
And God has showed up in power in countless people’s lives in miraculous ways and we might miss it completely. We may be ignorant of the history of God’s people since the time of Jesus, or we might not want to believe this because it “isn’t happening to me.” We say, “O, that’s just Jesus, or that’s his disciples, I can’t be used by God to bring healing, or forgive my enemies like he did and such.”
But that’s exactly what we can do! We are part of the rescue and restoration.
I grew up on the stories of God and his people. From my own parents and grandparents, my teachers at church, they would all tell me these amazing stories about the great heroes like Abraham or Isaac or Jacob or Moses or King David…with the moral of the story being if you can be like them, you too, will shine.
But, as I got older, I read the Bible for myself, and I read about these same guys again, andI saw how they are all broken and petty and vindictive, and not larger than life perfect heroes at all.
Abraham slept with his wife’s servant so he could have a son to carry on his family history, his wife Sarah encourages this, because neither one of them trusted God to come through.
But God does come through and they have a son Isaac who plays such favorites between his twin sons Jacob and Esau, Abraham loves Esau best. So, Rachel his wife gets mad and favors Jacob and he became a momma’s boy and together they trick Isaac into giving Jacob the family inheritance even though it belongs to Esau.This almost caused the story of God’s people destroying each other.
Then when Jacob had his own kids, he didn’t learn a thing about playing favorites from his own disastrous life. He decides to play favorites with his son Joseph, having him tattle on his older brothers, like a spy. Not surprising this doesn’t go well, and again God’s chosen servant nearly destroys God’s promised inheritance with sibling jealousy.
Finally, Moses clears things up and eventually leads the people to the promised land. But he starts thinking he has the power to do things on his own and so starts acting like God. He suffers the consequences of this sin and doesn’t even get to finish his journey and enter the promised land himself.
And don’t get me started with David the greatest King. Amazing model of faith and also a creeper who just happens to see a woman naked, wants to sleep with her, so he has her husband knocked off like a mafia don, and then he marries her and they don’t live happily ever after.
Again and again the real Bible shows real people and again and again. But, if we are told these stories as if everyone is great and wonderful, big heroes we miss the whole point. People are not God and whenever we try to run our own lives things eventually turn out in disaster. Only God is great and wonderful and only God is worthy of our trust in him. And God can take anything the brokenness and pain we cause ourselves or what happens to us and make good come out in the end.
It is God who is great and wonderful. God’s love never fails.
If you actually honestly read the Bible, God really only seems to work through brokenness.
Do you have times you try to do things without considering God is with you? Think about it…
From the beginning, God is putting his trust in people. We may continue to let God down, but God doesn’t give up. And you know what, a remnant, a small group of people have always come to God, broken and receptive and God has always shown up. No more is this more true than Jesus, who took all the promises of God to his people Israel, and fulfilled them himself. Now all people can come to God through Jesus and the path we take may vary, but it is the same journey.
This journey is repeated again and again. In God’s Big Story and the stories of all of us created by him.
Creation, where we come into relationship with our loving God.
Fall, where the brokenness of our world rears up through our own actions in life or the things that happen to us.
Redemption or Rescue, where God who is faithful and never leaves us and brings us through any trials we face, picking up our broken pieces and molding us again as we become stronger through our weakness.
Restoration where God continues to work through us as we are receptive to him, and we find ourselves in the remarkable position of working with God as he works through us and blesses and restores his creation.
Creation, Fall, Rescue, and Restoration becomes the pattern of our story in the midst of God’s Big Story.
Sermon for week three of our eight-week guide to transformation in community:
Your Gospel Story
The Story of God answers big questions in our life, very importantly it tells us who we are, whose we are, and what we are here for. And how we tell our own personal story should also help others begin to look to God and his Story for those same answers in their life. God is the HERO of every story!
The Story of God answers big questions in our life, very importantly it tells us who we are, whose we are, and what we are here for. And how we tell our own personal story should also help others begin to look to God and his Story for those same answers in their lives. God is the HERO of every story!
How do people usually use the Bible?
For me, the most important thing about our identity is this. We are children of God. I am God’s son. You are God’s daughter.
And we are created to be like our Father. In fact we are created in his image.
We can hear the words of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit talking about us at creation.
“Let us make man, both male and female, in our image to be like us.”
We get to have the same relationship as God in the Trinity. Enjoying life together, serving each other, always treating each other with love and respect.
God invites us into the same relationship he has in the Trinity for eternity. A life of joy, where we are glad to be with each other, a life of love, working for the good of each other, and a life of peace, where we live in complete sufficiency.
Every person you have ever met has this same invitation. Even though we rebel against God and our image gets cloudy, we do not despair. God is in the rescue and restore business. It is God’s desire to rescue and restore us, and Jesus comes to the world to begin this process so all of creation, including you and me, can be who God created us to be.
I like to say it this way.
“I am God’s son (daughter) deserving of love and respect, and God is using me to change the world.”
How do we change the world?
Let us make make mankind in or image, to be like us, so that they may have responsibility over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.
We are created in God’s image and share his identity in order to share his authority and with authority he gives us the power to be able to do what he is telling us to do.
Because we share God’s identity we share his authority and with the authority God gives us power to do what he wants done.
How do we know what he wants done?
We stay in relationship with him.
Adam and Eve had an amazing opportunity in their lives. They got to hang out with God in the Garden.
To be that close to God is his intention for all of us.
Well, we know how Adam and Eve’s story went. They rebelled. And all of creation changed. This rebellion continues. People don’t want God in their lives.
And if you don’t want God in your life, he will honor that request. God doesn’t force anyone to enter his story. Forced love isn’t love. God allows us to be lost.
But, God doesn’t give up.
If you seek God, he will find you.
You can be his son, his daughter, now. You can have the authority of your Father to transform the world around you. You can have the power to actually do this. Joining God in his cause to rescue and restore.
Sermon for week two of an eight-week guide to transformation in community…
What we believe about God and what he is like will ultimately determine what we believe about ourselves and how life works…in everything.
– developed by Caesar Kolinowski
Week two of our eight-week journey to transformation in community. This week we will consider how our story is be a continuation of God’s story as we follow him.
We live in story, and all of us have been shaped by a dominant story. Is the story that most shapes your life and identity THE story of God that is told throughout the Bible? Or is it a story from your culture, dysfunctional background or a stack of lies that makes up the primary narrative of your life?
What we believe about God and what he is like will ultimately determine what we believe about ourselves and how life works.
What is the Gospel?
This is week one of the eight-week guide to transformation in community for LIFEhouse Church and friends…The Gospel Primer
– developed by Caesar Kolinowski