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Reality Rule 2

December 3rd, 2018
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This sermon is entitled Twice Mine.What does this mean?

God had no need for us. He was not a lonely God needing our companionship. Yet God made us and he rejoiced over us. Looking at the goal of his creation he said, “It is very good.”

In fact we have been in the grip of Jesus Christ from all eternity. God’s purpose before creation has always been that we live as the children of light as God’s adopted children in Christ. This desire for us was before anything of the created order existed.

Thus we have been in the grip of grace since before we were born.

Even though human were from the beginning created to be in Jesus Christ as God’s beloved children, and even though humans are always in reality in the grip of Jesus, we keep looking for love in the wrong places. As human beings, we sometimes do the stupidest things!

The Bible calls this sin – or lostness. Lostness is not just what we do to ourselves or others when we look for love in the wrong places. It’s also added to by what others do to us when they are looking for love in the wrong places. We are used, abused, hated, and rejected by others seeking to find fulfillment in themselves.

Just think of the horrors of WW1!! Or any conflict – whether in the family, neighbourhood, business, politics.

Yes, even while in the grip, human beings are darkened in their understanding and live in ignorance

Lets look at a few scriptures on this ignorance

Ephesians 4:18

18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God

Remember “in him was life”.

because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.

The more self -centred we become , the harder our heart.

1 Peter1:14

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.

These are desires we think will make us happy or fulfilled, no matter what the consequences are to others.

Acts 17:30

In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.

Hopefully today’s message on Reality Rule # 2: Jesus is my Good Shepherd who rescues me and carries me home! will help us to know what people are ignorant of and what leads us to repentance.

Now lets understand what we mean by lostness.

There is a story of a boy and his boat. This young boy constructed a toy boat like no other. Anyway, the boy created this toy boat and put it out on the lake nearby, admiring it. But as it began to sail away from him, he realized he couldn’t reach it. The boy called out, “Come back! little boat, come back!” But the boat sailed to the edge of the lake and fell over the dam. It was lost.
Some time later, though, as the boy was walking down the street, his eye caught sight of the boat in a pawnshop window. The boat was in pretty rough shape. But the boy went into the shop. He took the boat to the counter. He told the shopkeeper that it was the boat he had made and that it belonged to him. The pawnshop broker said, “I’m sorry son, the only way to get that boat is to buy it.” The boy flipped over the price tag and stared at the cost. Then he raced home, brought back every penny he had, and splashed the coins on the counter. On his way out of the shop, he hugged the little boat close to his chest and said, “Little boat, now you’re twice mine! I made you, and I bought you back!”

A great story, right! This story has been used to illustrate the gospel and Jesus’ relationship to us. Like all illustrations, it has its strengths and weaknesses. But we want to be accurate to the gospel so let’s look at how this story illustrates the gospel and truth and how it falls short. First the positives:

a)  Like the boy, Jesus creates us and admires what he has done. 


b)  Like the boat, we get lost—we ignore the one who made us, knows us the best and loves us the 
most.


c) Like the scene in the pawnshop, Jesus gives everything he has, even his life on the cross, to redeem us and take us home. We are indeed twice his – he made us and he bought us back!

But now let’s look at how this illustration falls short of the gospel truth:

a)  The boy loses sight of his boat when it sails away and drops over the dam. But Jesus never loses sight of us. We are never outside of his care. 


b)  The boat sails away from the boy and gets lost But we cannot get away from Jesus and his grip is always on us. We are never lost to Jesus. We may wander away but he always searches for us to bring us home.


Twice mine means by his creation and redemption we belong to Jesus two times over—we are doubly his! We can now describe our lostness inside of the context of “twice mine,” twice Jesus’!

Think of it in terms of a sandwich. We can only understand our lostness when we see it between two slices of belonging. Those two slices are creation and redemption!

No amount of lostness can shake Jesus’ grip on us.

Christ’s death destroys all that hurts us and hurts our fellowship with God. His resurrection proves that nothing, not even death, can break God’s grip on us. We can be sure that even when we die, Jesus will never let go of us. Just as we are sure that in Jesus’ death, the Father never let go of him.

When Jesus tells us a parable, he asks us to see ourselves in the story. We are all in this story. See if you can find yourself.

Luke 15: 1-7

1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering round to hear Jesus.

Now that in itself is amazing. They were attracted to him. They felt they belonged.

2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners, and eats with them.’

The would separate from them – they would abandon these people to death.

3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 ‘Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbours together and says, “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.” 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who do not need to repent.

Repentance? Why would Jesus say this is a story about repentance? Does the lamb repent? All the lamb did was wander away and get lost! The point is that Jesus is asking US to repent when we hear this story. But what does that mean?

A video illustrating this point can be seen here.

Read more…

Message for the Day

Introduction to Reality Rule 2

November 29th, 2018
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John1:1-4,14

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
Our Creator.
4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Jesus leaves his homelife with the Father in the Spirit. He comes down to us and joins us in our tabernacling.

In a very bodily sense we over hear that homelife as he walked amongst us, his oneness with the Father in the Spirit.

1 John1:1-4

1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete.
He came to be our redeemer or rescuer, so we can share his home life with the Father in the Spirit.

We see this two fold grip on our lives in

Hebrews1:1-4,14

1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.

Creator.

3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.

14 Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

Redeemer or rescuer from sin, to leads us to our inheritance with him in God’s family.

He came to seek who are lost in that they don’t know whose they are. He takes them to the home that was always theirs.

Read Luke 15

Reflect on:

1.What is Jesus saying about the people the Pharisees had rejected?

2. What is the definition of being lost? How can you be lost if you don’t already belong somewhere?

3. Who has the grip that finds us?

4. Does our repentance cause us to be found or is repentance a consequence of being found?

5. Do any of the lost items actually do anything to be found? Did they have a home before they are found?

6. Why is repentance associated with celebration? What is being celebrated?

Message for the Day

Reality Rule 1

November 22nd, 2018
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The Bible declares says that God, the God who made the world, came into the world he created, and his name was Jesus Christ. Now when we think of Jesus Christ, what images come to mind? 

The Bible says when he arrived, the world didn’t recognize him. If we were living 2,000 years ago, however, we might not have picked Jesus out in a crowd. God took on the form of a dark-skinned, Jewish man from a small Palestinian town called Nazareth. He wore robe and sandals. So did everyone else. He spoke the local language (Aramaic).

What if Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, came to walk the earth in our time instead of long ago? What if he walked into this room from one entrance. At the same time you walked in through the other door. It was just the two of you, how would Jesus greet you?

Perhaps Jesus would call you by name, or your affectionate nickname. Then he would rush over to embrace you. Then he would pull back, look into your eyes and exclaim, “It is so great to see you!” And you would be absolutely certain that he really does see you.

You might be taken aback a bit. You aren’t sure you know this person. In that moment you would feel completely known, and also completely loved. No matter what you’ve done or what has been done to you, in that meeting with Jesus you would experience a safe place. It would be filled with love and acceptance of you as you are.

Look at a four by four square. How many squares do you see?
(The first answer will always be 16, of course, then 17, which includes outside border square. Remain silent and shake head until you get more answers. Someone may eventually hit on 30. After the 17 you have nine 2×2’s and four 3×3’s, making 30).

The 16-17 squares are like what we are on the surface. We’re often told that how we look is what defines us. Think about all the ways people try to put forth an image: clothes, hair, shoes, and jewelry, even tattoos. That’s all surface stuff, related to what we do and say.

Sometimes we get frustrated because we think others don’t know the real person inside . They are only focusing on what they see. But who we really are is under the surface—the hidden squares.

There might be some good squares we wish people could see. All of us have some ugly or painful squares underneath we wish we could hide. That’s why often we don’t want people to see underneath our surface “image.”

Perhaps we are afraid if someone sees too many of the hidden squares they might be upset by something ugly and turn away or reject us. But Jesus sees us on a 30-square level. He knows the real us – good and bad – and he does not turn away.

He does not condemn us for our sins. He has included all our sins in his sacrifice. He is for us, not against us. He wants us to be free from sin, to enjoy his life with the Father in the Spirit.

Most importantly, Jesus sees us down to the deepest square, where our real image resides. He knows what God wants: beautiful sons and daughters of God, created by Christ himself in his image. Thats what he focuses on. Our Creator made us for his good purpose. No matter how sinful we may feel, this purpose remains.

No matter how broken we are Christ never loses sight of our wholeness in him. When Jesus entered the world as a human being, he demonstrated that he, our Creator, has an unchanging grip on us.

Now most people didn’t recognize Jesus when he was born. Think about how crazy it is to think of a baby as God among us!

This child, God with us, Emmanuel, grew up as a carpenter. When he was 30 years old he started walking around the country reaching out to people with God’s love. In this series we are going to look at some passages from the book of Luke and see how Jesus responded to others. We will begin to discover that Jesus’ contacts with people in these stories aren’t just about God’s love in action. They are about God himself in action!

Let’s start by looking at Luke 7:36-50 A story we have heard before.

The goal is for us to sense Jesus’ knowing us and loving us at the deepest level. Lets put ourselves in the shoes (or sandals!) of the people who Jesus meets in the stories we’ll discuss. He is still Emmanuel. He is with us right now. He won’t let go.

36 Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.

What is interesting is that Jesus accepts an invitation to have dinner with a Pharisee and his guests (we will meet these later). It seems to be a formal banquet. He reclines with his feet behind him in a U shape table arrangement.

And the Pharisee must have regarded Jesus as ritually acceptable enough to be eating in his home.

Now something almost unbelievable occurs:

37 When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume,

In this story you can in a sense sympathise with Simon the Pharisee. That’s a big statement. But I would think all respectable religious people would find what we are about to experience with Jesus quite difficult.

This woman breaks into what seems to be accepted as a spiritually pure occasion. She like an infectious disease. She makes ritually the whole activity impure.

Who is she? Why is she here? What is she physically doing?

Does Jesus know?

Read more…

Message for the Day