Welcome – Romans 15:1-7 Sermon Manuscript

PLEASE NOTE: these are the notes I use to preach from, if you would like to hear them in context, please watch our YouTube video.

-Series I’ve been looking forward to for quite a while now! We’re going to spend the next month looking at the things that are going to be non-negotiables for us moving forward together. And the thing is, they’re all traits that have been true since this church was founded in 1977. 

-Since I came, the word I’ve most often heard from people who have come here for the first time is (drum roll please): welcoming

-I honestly have lost count of the number of people I’ve talked to who have said they walked in our doors, and immediately had people welcoming them in, showing them around, answering their questions, it’s a JOY to hear that! That’s why I wanted to hear from David & Rayna on why they’ve decided to plant themselves here (also, did you notice it wasn’t the preaching, thanks a lot guys!)

-You may be wondering if that is a biblical trait, is welcoming something we are supposed to exemplify in our lives? As we walk through this section in Romans, I think we’ll see just how important it is for us to be a people marked by being welcoming, since that’s what God has done for us in Christ.

READ/PRAY

-Many of the Epistles (letters) in the NT are divided into 2 sections: orthodoxy, orthopraxy (define: theology, lived out)

-Remember from our study on hope in Rom. 5, that the theme through that first section is: righteousness. The first 11 chapters of Romans thus are the deep, rich theological truths about God’s righteousness, then chapter 12 begins the application of God’s righteousness into everyday life. 

-So chapter 11 ends with a doxology: “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”

-Then 12 begins: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

-ESV Study Bible helpfully summarizes this as “God’s righteousness in everyday life.” Chapter 12-13 are then titled “Marks of the Christian Community” and “A call for mutual acceptance between the strong and the weak.”

-A brief note on Paul’s flow of thought in chpt. 14, because it flows directly into vs. 1of our section today.

-One of the primary issues in the 1st cent. Church was how different ethnicities/traditions could get along in the same church. Specifically, Jews & Gentiles, because they have VERY different ethical approaches for day to day life. Things like: what kinds of food can be eaten (pork was outlawed for Jews, Gentiles (like me) would have been asking “have you tried bacon?”), do we observe/honor the Sabbath, and what day should we honor the Sabbath?

-It’s not dissimilar to today, TBH. Do we homeschool, public school, Christian school? Do we watch movies? Which theological persuasion are you? What are your thoughts about the end times? Which political party are you?

-Paul does his best in this section to remind each other to focus on the primary things, this is where it is VITAL for us to remember to have a “theological triage.” 

-There are so many issues in our lives that we make a mountain out of today, make it a theological issue, then force others to either be one of us or not.

-I remember one time playing cards with my dad at my grandma’s house, and she came out and saw us and told us when she was growing up that was a sin. That’s attaching theological significance to an ethical issue for which there can be room for both sides of the argument.

-And this was a focus of Jesus’ ministry when He was on earth! He had some pretty big indictments against those who made others follow their man-made rules. Jesus didn’t have a lot of patience for legalism.

-Now that I say that, it doesn’t mean we are free to live however we want (as Paul asks “Do we continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means!” Rom. 6:1)

-Read an article this week about 2 dogs. 1 lived in the city, craved the great beyond, would wait eagerly for the owner to come home to try to sneak outside. The owner would come in, not let the dog escape, and the upset dog would sulk in the corner planning his next escape. 2 dog lived in the country, no fence, boundaries at all, but stayed near the porch waiting for his master to come home each day. The great beyond had no enticement for him, he was content with his owner. “Growth in holiness does not take place when our focus is on the boundaries but when our focus is on the Master. Fences may keep us from harm, but love for the Master is what keeps us from fences.”

-Martin Luther described this as a drunken man on a horse: he starts falling off one way, then falls off the other way and that continues indefinitely! Legalism vs. licentiousness.

-Paul explains that each of must live out the faith we claim to believe in, that we must have reasons for how we behave, and that we should not pass judgment on each other either way we choose to live.

-With all that said, our driving force, focus and motivation MUST be to bring glory to God

-We’re commanded to not put ourselves first, to not seek out own interests, but instead to be others-oriented in our lives, just like Jesus was

-So the first thing we see is that we are to:

  1. Please Others Like Christ (1-3)

-This is a continuation from chapt. 14 (which is why I spent so much time explaining what was said in that chapter)

-Paul considers himself to be in line with the “strong” (those who don’t feel the need to obey the OT ethical commands)

-For us today: was onetime told that if you know enough of the Bible to quote this verse, you are not one of those who are “weak!” 

-First notice the “obligation.” This isn’t an option, we all need to work with each other!

-Then to “bear with,” which is much more than merely enduring.

-A similar place Paul uses this phrase is in Gal. 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens”

-Think of it like this: for those of you who are married, when your spouse asks you to do something you have 2 options: do it or not. Or in my case, Cara has a tendency to word it poorly: “Would you mind.” “Yes, I would mind!” 

-Paul’s use of “bear” is more than “yes, I would mind” instead it’s bending over backwards to actively look out for someone else, instead of yourself.

-In chpt. 14, Paul has been encouraging the weak to not “pass judgment” on those who are strong, here Paul flips the exhortation to remind the strong that they have an obligation to not please themselves, but instead to please others. 

-Notice how many times “please” is used throughout here: 3x in 3 verses.

-This isn’t “please pass the salt,” one commentator said: “please means an act or gesture that will meet a real need or enhance spiritual stability.” (ESV Expositor’s Commentary, Yarbrough) AKA: real physical need or push them closer to Christ

-That’s the point Paul is making in vs. 2 here. Our goal is to “please” our neighbors, that is meet their real, legitimate needs or help them to be more conformed to His image.

-By referring to neighbors, Paul is echoing back to Lev. 19:18, just as he did in Rom. 13:8-10, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

-The way we please our neighbors is by loving them. Paul says in Rom. 13“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.”

-We saw over Advent what love looks like practically in our lives, it’s not endorsing anything anyone wants, and it’s not based on fleeting emotions, true love could be viewed the same way we saw above: to meet a real need or help them grow spiritually. 

-What is our perfect example of this? Paul reminds us in the next verse: 3

-Paul quotes from Psalm 69:9, a Davidic Psalm asking for the Lord to deliver them. In this case, Paul is talking about Jesus bearing our reproaches. In other words, even if we are mocked/belittled for bearing with our weaker brothers and sisters, it’s worth the cost, since that’s what Christ did for us!

-Think of Jesus, who in Phil. 2 emptied Himself to our level. There, Paul reminds us consider others more significant than ourselves, look out for others interests, which is perfectly modeled in Jesus. The one person who legitimately could have demanded he be worshipped and served, instead came to serve us, to welcome us into his perfect family.

-This also ties into the sermon on the mount, where Jesus says those who are reviled are the ones who will be blessed.

-Paul uses these next verses to explain how we can know that, and His primary point here is that by being a welcoming community, we will have endurance and encouragement through God’s Word, which is the same as being filled up by God Himself.

  • For Endurance and Encouragement (4-7)
    • The Word (4)

-Paul used Psalm 69 to talk about how Jesus is the primary example and focus of everything in the OT, in fact in 2 Cor. 1:20 Paul similarly says “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.”

-The main point here is why Paul referenced back to the OT. The examples in the OT were written for us to learn/grow/become more like Jesus, Jesus is the perfect example that we are supposed to imitate, and the focus of the whole Bible. 

-Everything we do is meant to be rooted in God’s Word, as we study God as He has chosen to reveal Himself to us, we grow more like Him.

-One commentary said: “instruction is a reminder that learning (or discipleship) is a central component of the Christian faith.” (ESV Expositors)

-Paul David Tripp: “The ultimate purpose of the Word of God is not theological information but heart and life transformation.” (Dangerous Calling)

-The 2 components are: endurance and encouragement.

-The endurance piece is sticking it out, remaining faithful. Paul David Tripp: “the character and quality of your life won’t be defined by two or three life-changing moments. No, the character and quality of your life will be defined by the 10,000 little decisions, desires, words, and actions you make every day.

-Encouragement comes by the Scriptures, from God’s Word, soaking and saturating every part of our lives. This culminates in hope. Saw that before!

  • God (5a)

-Just as God’s Word is meant to lead to endurance and encouragement, so God Himself is the author of our endurance and encouragement. We can’t do anything apart from Him, so we need to regularly come back to Him as the one who will allow us to endure and be encouraged.

-This is where it’s important for us to remember that God has chosen a specific way to reveal Himself to us: through His Word. Each time we read the Bible we are reading God’s very words to us.

-But it’s not just for us individually to have endurance and encouragement, actually we can’t endure or be encouraged by ourselves. Even reading/studying God’s Word isn’t meant to be done alone (reading the Bible alone is a GREAT thing you should do) but the Bible is meant to be understood and applied in community. That’s what Paul says next:

  • Unity to Glorify God (5b-6)

-Everything in the Bible is meant to lead us to live in harmony with each other.

-This harmony leads to glorifying God with 1 voice, together, completely unified.

-Unity does not mean unanimity. I am all for the priesthood of all believers, which means all of us need to contribute to the good of our body. I love that Paul uses musical terms here: unity and harmony. Songs only become interesting when harmony is added in. Singing is a beautiful picture for us of how we are commanded to live in this passage, we sing the same words, united together, but each person has a part to contribute a harmony (or a joyful noise) that makes up the whole. Just as our gifts are meant to serve together!

-It also means daily dying to yourself, to your own preferences, to your own desires and finding space to live with each other despite differences.

-Again, this is where we need theological triage: Moo: “Divisions in the church over nonessentials diverts precious time and energy from its basic mission: the proclamation of the gospel and the glorifying of God.”

-There’s a time and a place for those discussions! We’ve seen previously, that even Paul shared theological ideas that were “of first importance” which means there’s implicitly theological ideas that are of second importance. If anyone ever wants to discuss some of these finer details of theology, let me know, I’ll buy you a coffee and chat! But then after we leave the coffeeshop, we go back our unity

-Even Jesus in his high priestly prayer in John 14-17 prayed that we would be united today. That’s how we glorify God! By actively pursuing unity and harmony together. 

-Think about this, if you look around this room we’ve got people from all sorts of various backgrounds, different education levels, different theological persuasions, even different political persuasions. Yet we’re willing to look past all the measurements of division the world uses and actually come together for the common purpose of making disciples of all nations. This is a unity the world can’t even begin to fathom! The world forces everyone to align with every individual piece of ideology to be a part of them, and then cancels you if you don’t completely agree. Jesus welcomes everyone in with open arms and then gently leads you to rely more and more on Him until you are someday perfected, and we all do that together!

  • Welcome (7)

-“Therefore” Paul is summarizing everything he’s said up until this point. Today, as God’s people, we are meant to be a welcoming community to everyone who walks in our doors. Christmas week we had over 400 families walk through here to pick out toys for their kids for Christmas! 

-We’ve got a wonderful example of what it means to be welcoming in the life of Jesus. How did he treat people anytime they came to Him? Honor, respect, understanding, patience. Think of what we studied at Christmas Eve: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. I think another way of summarizing all those characteristics is by being welcoming.

-Often when we think of being a welcoming we think of close friends/neighbors, coming off Christmas where we’ll tell our friends “you’re always welcome here!” But you know you’re not supposed to actually put that to the test! 

-There’s a scene towards the end of Seinfeld where Kramer is remembering previous moments with Jerry, 1 where they meet for the first time and Jerry says “Make yourself at home!” So Kramer proceeds to take that literally (as I’ve done when my friends have told me that!)

-But being committed to the gospel (as we are!) means that it’s not only friends we’re supposed to be welcoming towards, the gospel means that we’re also supposed to be welcoming towards our enemies.

Matt. 5:43-45 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

-This goes COMPLETELY contrary to our normal human thinking. That’s what Jesus is saying here. “You have heard it said” = the normal human reaction to our enemies, but Jesus gives us a better way, the way of welcoming.

-Gospel Comes with a Housekey

-This may mean being inconvenienced, this may mean our church ends up with a lot of broken people who need grace, but guess what, that’s true of all of us! All of us need to aim to not please ourselves, but instead please God. Remember Paul talks about pleasing our neighbors in this text, do you remember who Jesus said is our neighbors? 

-In fact, because Christ didn’t come to please himself, we who are walking in the new life found only in Him are now welcomed to His table. 

-Those who were far off, those who were His enemies have now been made friends, and more than friends, His family! He’s built a bigger table to accommodate all of us, and now one of the ways we carry on the great commission is by welcoming people to our tables. 

-Been thinking a lot lately about Christians needing to be “table people.” We need to welcome people to our tables so that we can ultimately welcome them to the ultimate table to the Lord.

-R. Kent Hughes: “Whenever we crush the bread of Communion between our teeth and swallow the cup of his blood we cannot escape the fact that he did not please himself.”

-Think about the importance of tables in the Bible: how were Adam & Eve tempted? Eating. What event signified the Passover/preservation of God’s people in Egypt? Eating. What did Jesus command on His last night? Take & eat. What will we do when Jesus comes back? Eat!

Peace – Sermon Manuscript

PLEASE NOTE: these are the notes I use to preach from, if you would like to hear them in context, please watch our YouTube video.

Peace

2 Corinthians 5:11-21 (pg. 562)

INTRO

-Advent season: celebrating the reality of the incarnation (God took on flesh) So we rejoice, give thanks for that miracle, but we also acknowledge that while we can celebrate, things aren’t as they should be, so we wait with eager anticipation.

-One scholar compared this idea to the difference between D-Day and V-Day in WW2. 

-One way we celebrate is by lighting candles to remember that Jesus came as the light of the world. Each week leading up to Christmas we’ll by studying a different theme of what Jesus came to offer us. This week is peace, next is joy, then love, then hope, and finally on Christmas Eve we’ll be looking at Jesus as the embodiment of all of these characteristics. 

-Peace is a theme prevalent in the story of Jesus’ birth. 

-Zechariah’s prophecy ends with “to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

-When the angels appear to the shepherds to announce Jesus’ birth, they proclaim “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

-When Simeon, who had been waiting for this baby sees Jesus he exclaims: “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,”

-Doesn’t that seem idealistic though? An article written in 1988 “since the Second World War the globe has only been without a war for…26 days in September 1945.” 

-How do we go about pursuing peace?

READ/PRAY

  1. Persuade (11-17)

-Once again dropping into the middle of a text (there’s a reason I prefer walking exegetically through a book!)

-Written by Paul, 4th letter written by him to the Corinthian church. Meant to continue encouraging them to remain faithful in their calling. First couple chapters are dealing with Paul’s call to ministry, his concern for the church, then he talks about the reality of this new life we have in Christ in chpts 34-5talk about the future realities we will have in Christ, then we need to read vs. 9-10 to understand the “therefore” in vs. 11.

-Our goal in this life and the next is to please God. Everything else should pale in comparison to that goal, that aim in life. Why do we live that way? Because someday we’ll all stand before Christ’s judgment seat. If that fills you with fear, good! That’s exactly why Paul is saying this. He’s building his argument as he’s walking through his argument here, that’s why the first word we heard in today’s text is “therefore.”

  1.  As Ourselves (11-13)

-Knowing what? The fear of the Lord. Don’t you find that a slightly odd place to start, especially as we think about today’s focus: peace! How does fear relate to peace?

-One commentator said “whatever it is that one fears the most that is what one will serve the most.”

-Some people will prefer to translate this as “reverential awe” or “respect” and that’s true, but we give him respect out of fear of what COULD happen.

-A couple illustrations that might help: my son is 4. He knows I love him, care for him, provide for him, but if he starts being disrespectful toward especially his mother, then sees me getting up to interject, he gets a little fear in his eyes! He knows he hasn’t been acting in according with daddy’s rules (even when he says it’s “not kind”)

-I think most people in the room drive, or will someday drive (way to go Fritz!). If you’ve ever been pulled over while driving, don’t you get fearful? I’ve only been pulled over a handful of times, but each time I have my heart rate increased, my palms start sweating, I triple check my speed, start thinking about whether I registered my car this year, look around to see if there’s someone else that they’re following instead of me. There’s a definite level of fear/respect there!

-We also need to remember that, as Prov. 7:1 says, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” If you want wisdom, the 1st step is fearing God.

-After that first step of fearing the Lord, we then move outward to “persuade others.”

-I’ve titled this first section “as ourselves.” We often conflate this point to either persuade through our own gifts, persuasions, or abilities, or we try to be a duplicate of someone else.

-One time attending a preaching seminar titled “preaching not ourselves, but preaching AS ourselves.” Or as Paul put it earlier in 2 Cor. 4:5 “what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord.” All of us are uniquely wired and gifted. No 2 people have the exact same measure of gifts, and that’s exactly why God has given us each other. We are commanded to persuade others here, but it doesn’t give us a specific method (other than pointing everything to Christ). 

-This is a 2 step process for all of us: 1- fear the Lord, 2- use whatever gifts you have to persuade others to join with you in fearing the Lord

-But I also think there may be a sense in which we’ve lost the art of persuasion in our evangelism. I struggle with this! For the sake of not offending I soft-shoe my conversations instead of trying to “persuade” others. As we’ll see in this text, God gives us the blueprints for lasting peace, why don’t we try to persuade others about this reality?

-In the midst of this persuasion (making our aim to please the Lord), we remember that whatever else happens, we are “known to God.” 

-Another translation says this is “well known” or “clearly evident,” to God. In our persuasion, we may me mocked, ridiculed, belittled, but is we could look at things through God’s eyes instead of ours, we’d be just fine! This reality gives Paul, and us, confidence for the rest of this section: 

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-We don’t preach ourselves, we’re not the point of the story! 

-Others worry about external appearances, but God worries about our internal motivation. It’s not enough to put on a façade of holiness, God even worries about what happens in your heart and mind!

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-Paul does all this for their sake, to encourage and support them and not worry about what others say

-Since we’ve seen that God cares about your internal motivation and desires, that’s what Paul talks about next, our persuasion must be:

  •  Through the Love of Christ (14- 17)

-We’ve seen our aim is to please God, here we see that the driving force behind that is the love of Christ. Think of it as pleasing God is the finish line, the fear of God is the starting line, and the fuel that gets us there is the love of Christ.

-This word “controls” is a fascinating word in Greek, includes “seized, surrounded, occupied, hemmed in” Is used when Jesus is held in custody by soldiers in Luke 22:63. The point is that once we are in Christ, we have no option but to operate out of His love for others. The primary force that drives everything else in the life of the Christian is Christ’s love. 

-Now, we often miss the implications of that because today love is often used as a synonym with acceptance. People will say if you love me you must accept/endorse everything I want. We’ll take a look at that belief in a couple weeks (spoiler alert, that’s not the best definition of love!). Why is it that Christ’s love is what controls/compels us and hems us in?

-Because we have concluded this reality: 1 died for all, so all have died.

-This idea can be difficult for us to wrap our minds around, in addition to love being acceptance of who I am, the idea of 1 person serving as a representative goes against the second Western ideal of individualism. This is known as corporate solidarity: “the one stands for the many and the many are represented by the one.” (ESV Exegetical Commentary) Just as we saw in Genesis that Adam’s sin cast the cosmos into sin, so in Jesus his 1 perfect life redeems the entire cosmos. We’ll see the implications of that in the next section.

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-Paul doubles down on this idea, Jesus died for all SO THAT those who are now alive in Him will no longer live for themselves, but for Christ.

-Christ’s love controls us, everything we do is meant to bring honor to God, so we need to die to our own desires, preferences, and ideals so that Christ can be seen in us.

-What does this mean for us in the church? It means we look to honor others even better than we honor ourselves. It means we come to Sunday morning looking to see how we can serve our brothers and sisters instead of coming to get our felt needs met. It means we look for opportunities to humble ourselves and sacrifice for each other. 

-I was thinking this past week about how Jesus describes the righteous vs. the unrighteous as those: fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, welcomed the stranger, and clothed the naked. That’s how we live for Christ!

-This verse is a beautiful, succinct summary of the gospel message! Christ died for all, so that we could now live in Him.

-But if Jesus had just died it wouldn’t change anything. Many people have died. Actually, everyone who ever lived has died (with the rare exception of Enoch and Elisha), and if you haven’t died yet, don’t worry, it’s coming! I don’t say that to be morbid, but I do say that as a reminder that this life isn’t all we have. And that’s only true because of the last 2 words: was raised.

-It almost feels like just a throwaway phrase, doesn’t it? All this big build up to: and was raised. Because if Jesus wasn’t raised, then we have no reason for living, no reason for hope, no reason to celebrate this or any other Christmas.

-Because Jesus was raised, we no longer treat people as mere humans. 

-C.S. Lewis The Weight of Glory “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit.”

-All this is building to the fact that: anyone who is in Christ is a new creation. This is the theme we saw in Genesis: the first thing we learn about God is that He is the Creator, but he hasn’t stopped creating. Each time someone is saved they are re-born, re-created, brought to true life. This is what Pastor Jeramy talked about last week from John 3: you must be born a second time!

-And now that this new creation has broken through into the old, we have a new ministry.

-Have you ever thought of Jesus as the only perfect picture of this new creation? We have all these hopes/ideas for what heaven will be like, but we don’t to wonder because Jesus already showed us! Might mean heaven is a lot more like this world than we would care to admit!

  • Preach Reconciliation (18-21)
    •  From God (18-19)

-This shows us the wide-reaching implications of our salvation.

-Dane Ortlund: “Whereas for justification the sphere is the courtroom, for sanctification the temple, for redemption the slave market, and for adoption the family, the sphere of reconciliation is that of friendship.”

-Have you ever realized that part of the reason Jesus came was to befriend us? Now I want to be careful because this can lead to an overly casual approach to Jesus, but just as the Father welcomes us in, so Jesus makes us friends. This is what he says in John 15. This friendship with Jesus then pours out into our friendships with others.

-Let’s look at how we do this. “All this” all the realities we’ve seen in the previous verse, the new life, new creation, Christ’s love, it’s from God.

-As we saw in Genesis the perfect relationship between humanity and God was severed because of sin. God’s desire is to restore every aspect of the broken relationship, so God sent his one and only son to bring about reconciliation. 

-Notice that it’s “through” Christ. It is literally through his broken body, but it’s also only through faith in Him that reconciliation happens. It’s only through faith in Him that He will now call us friends!

-Once we’re reconciled to God, we’re given a ministry to carry out: the ministry of reconciliation. 

-This is what Christ’s love compels us to, horizonal reconciliation. Do you see how both components of reconciliation are found here? Vertical AND horizontal. And you don’t get horizonal reconciliation between people apart from vertical reconciliation with God. What does this ministry look like?

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-In Christ God is actively reconciling the entire world to Himself. 

-Our scope of ministry is literally the entire world! There is no sphere, no domain, no relationship that’s beyond the reach of God’s reconciliation! 

-We have no reason to view any person who is created in the image of God as too far beyond the reach of reconciliation. The gospel that we believe in, that has brought us into this new life means there is ALWAYS reason to hope that God is working in someone’s life, and you might be the person who brings about the message of reconciliation to that person.

-Isn’t that amazing that God uses ordinary people like us?

-As if to double down on the reality of our reconciliatory ministry, Paul says God has entrusted to us the message of reconciliation. 

-That word translated “message” is the same word we looked at 2 weeks ago: logos, word. Once again, just as the gospel can’t be communicated apart from words, so reconciliation cannot be communicated without using words. 

-We are called through Scripture to go out into the entire world and speak/preach the words of reconciliation. Each and every opportunity we have in the world to push this message we should celebrate!

-Our city/state have over the past 18 months been rocked by calls for justice and reconciliation, and when we hear people talking that way, we should be on the forefront in joining them in pleading and praying for reconciliation. But we need to remember the answers the world gives will only be 1 sided, they’ll neglect the vertical dimensions to this reconciliation and try to only deal with the horizontal dimensions. God has called us as the church to both demonstrate and PREACH for reconciliation that comes only through Him, and only then can we have a prayer of having true and lasting reconciliation.

-Paul’s final point in this section is that reconciliation is meant to come:

  •  Through Us (20-21)

-“Therefore” this message of reconciliation finds its’ summation in the reality that:

-we are ambassadors

-Do you know how ambassadors work? Same today as in the 1st century. Ambassadors are sent to another country to represent and act on behalf of their home country.

-Just as Jesus was sent here as an ambassador from another world, now God sends us out into the world as ambassadors, representing Him, speaking for Him. This is why Jesus says “this world is not our home.” We’re not first and foremost Americans, we are citizens of heaven. Our primary home, our primary allegiance, our primary focus is our homeland. We’re only here to serve as ambassadors of that other country.

-Continuing that theme, Paul tells us what our ambassadorial message is: God is appealing through us. Another way we could translate that phrase is “as though God were begging through us.”

-Similarly, we “beg you” be reconciled to God! When’s the last time you begged someone to be reconciled to God?

-There’s some pretty weighty words of exhortation in here for us: persuade, implore, appeal. All for the ultimate goal of being reconciled to God.

-Just as reconciliation is through Christ’s death, so our ambassadorial role is THROUGH us, which means each and every day we need to die.

-Paul ends this section in a very appropriate place: repeating the gospel message. 

-This verse is saying God quite literally equated Jesus to sin when He died for us on the cross. That’s where we can sing “the Father turned His face away” because God can have nothing to do with sin. 

-Martin Luther called this the “great exchange,” our unmeasurable debt traded for innumerable riches in Christ!

-Vs. 21 MSG – “How? you ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.”

-The only hope we have for true and lasting peace is for us to get serious about begging others to be reconciled to God. Until that disordered relationship is put back in place, the world will continue living in a Gen. 3 falling world.

John 1 – Sermon Manuscript

PLEASE NOTE: these are the notes I use to preach from, if you would like to hear them in context, please watch our YouTube video.

A New Beginning

John 1:1-18

INTRO: Grew up in the church ALL THE TIME. “Midwest goodbye” I did things like: play computer games, read all the books in the library, watch movies, count all my dad’s books, one of the “fun” things I did: write a suggested sermon for my dad, on John 1. Titled, this will give you some insight into my mind at the time “A Very Short Sermon.” You could tell from a young age I was destined for where I am today! It planned to cover 1 verse, had 2 points, and I told my dad even he couldn’t go longer than 5 minutes on it! The 2 points were: The Word was With God, The Word was God. My Christology was on point! But now I actually get to preach that sermon, I’ve got 3 points, and we’re going to be here a lot longer than 5 minutes! 

READ/PRAY (pg. 517)

-Similar themes/ideas to the past couple months in Genesis, light, darkness, God speaking, echoes of creation trickle down to this text.

-I want us to think this morning about the reality of the new creation that we have today. We’ve seen how history started, how our story intersects with that history, and how God’s plan from the beginning of the world was to send His Son into our story.

-We’re also coming up on the Advent season, in which we contemplate the reality of the incarnation (God himself took on flesh) and how we live in eager anticipation of that day. 

-In short, I want us to use this Advent season as a time to better worship/adore God because of how He was worked in human history, but also because of how he’s worked in our individual stories. Each of us is here for a reason, because the message of hope that we remember at Christmas was shared with us. 

  1. In the Beginning (1-5)

-Sound familiar? Where have we seen a verse like that before? 

-We don’t have new revelation today, but what we can do is look back and more faithfully interpret the text that God wrote. Paul’s idea “mirror dimly”

-Ever seen a window that’s super old so it distorts the image you’re trying to look through? That’s how the OT views Jesus, can see shapes/ideas, but not the correct image, it’s distorted. Now in the NT the window is fixed! 

-So what does this tell us about the original creation all the way back in Gen. 1?

-Creation was a trinitarian act. The Father spoke, through the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit who was hovering over the waters (Col. 1:16 “for by Him (Jesus) all things were created, in heaven and on earth, all things were created through him and for him.”)

-If we were able to see things through a spiritual instead of physical lens, if we could zoom into every particle in the universe, we’d find that Jesus holds it together. We exist because Jesus holds us together. If it weren’t for Jesus we would cease to be. 

-One of the implications of that is that we need to be looking for areas where we see God at work. Since Jesus holds all things together, everything can be used to point to Him. Listening to a podcast this morning on the way we as Christians tend to look at culture as negative, but God commanded us in the garden to create culture. So art, buildings, music, theater all should point us to God, we should look for the areas in which they all point us to God!

-John is reminding us of God’s act of creation to point out that this is the beginning of a NEW kind of creation. Just as in the beginning God made something out of nothing, so with Jesus, God makes a child appear in Mary’s womb out of nothing.

-But does any remember HOW God creates? Gen. 1:3, “And God said…”

-The second reality we learned about God in Gen. 1 (after creator) is that God is a SPEAKING God.

-God’s Words carry meaning, and he’s chosen to use words to reveal himself to us. Words carry significance and meaning, so when we come to the words of the Bible we need to dig in to understand what God means when He uses them.

-Throughout the Old Testament God’s Word is his revelation of himself, Isaiah 55:10-11 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

-God’s word is connected to Himself. We can trust His Word because He is the source of all truth. Anytime we talk about words, I’m reminded of one of my least favorite quotes that I seem to stumble across at least yearly. “preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary use words.”

-Sounds catchy! And at first glance you think “that makes sense!” Half of it’s right! We’re called to love in word & deed, our lives MUST be radically different, but half of it’s not. Rom. 10:14, “How will they call on him in whom they have not believed? How are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” God reveals himself to us through words and THE Word, Jesus Christ.

-What this means is just as the first creation came about THORUGH the Word Jesus, it’s the exact same thing with the NEW creation, it only comes about THROUGH the Word, Jesus. 

Now we’re back to John 1 with the Word. John’s point is different than all the other Gospels because he’s beginning his book in the very beginning.

-John has a very high Christology, as we see in these first few verses, and John’s point in the beginning is to remind us of 2 thoughts that make up the gospel message: visible and invisible. The invisible reached out into the visible to make himself known as the Word. John then spends to rest of this passage talking about the interaction of the visible and the invisible.

-Vs. 2 reminds us that Jesus has always existed, and 3 reminds us what we saw in Col. 1, everything was made through him. 

-But this creation isn’t JUST referring to physical creation, this also refers to invisible, spiritual creation, as seen in 4-5.

-This points to the reason Jesus came to earth, which is explicitly stated in Matt. 1:21, “he will save his people from their sins.” He will give them life.

-Interplay between life and light here.

-Pointing us back to Gen. where the light and the darkness were the first day of creation. Another evidence of this being a new, unique act of creation

-There’s even a sense of hope John uses to end this section: the light SHINES – present tense. The light is STILL SHINING in the darkness! 

-This leads us to the next section, what do we do with the knowledge of the light? We bear witness, just like John the Baptist.

  1. Bearing Witness (6-13)

-See God’s working again in John who was “sent from God…to bear witness about the light.”

-Notice just how explicitly John explains the role of the Baptist: witness, witness, witness. John wasn’t the light, he came to REFLECT the light back to the Son. 

-Do you know how the moon works? The moon isn’t a source of light, the reason we can see the moon is because it reflects the light of the sun, which is why we end up with something called an eclipse, because we on earth, get in the way of the light. 

-We can often do the same thing by getting in the way of the message of the gospel. So many people think we need to add rules and ideas and expectations on what it means to follow Christ, yet verse 12 tells us it’s very simple: believe in his name.

-I think the Christmas season is the perfect time to think about this idea because opening presents often leads to a sense of injustice. You see what someone else got you and go, “Shoot, I didn’t get you enough!” Or else you open their present and go “Well I wasted my money!” That defeats the purpose of receiving a gift! 

-We operate the same way in the spiritual realm. We either try to atone for our own sins or clean up our own lives because we think we’re unworthy to receive salvation. Here’s the thing: we are! Because the point of our lives isn’t about us, it’s about Jesus, just like John made the goal of his life. 

-A little later on in John, we see just how willing John was to be a witness and get out to the way of Jesus, toward the end of John 3, John the Baptist’s disciples came to him complaining that more people were being baptized by Jesus now, but John knows his job: to point to Christ, so he says one of the most helpful verses in the Bible: He must increase, but I must decrease. 

-His entire aim and goal in his life was to be a witness to Jesus, to prepare the way for him. That’s the goal of every single one of us as Christians: to bear witness to who God is, to get out of the way so that people can see Christ working in us. 

11

-Throughout the Old Testament there were hints that someone was going to be coming who would usher in a new era of history. We saw that with the line of Cain vs the line of Seth, or the seed of the woman vs. the seed of the serpent. God sent people, prophets, who would remind people to turn from their sins, repent, and believe in God. The problem is those who were supposedly anxiously waiting for him missed him. Completely.

-Think of those little kids who try so hard to stay up waiting for Santa but miss him every year. God’s chosen people, who had been given the prophecies and promises from old fell asleep and missed him when he came. 

-A.W. Pink, “When the sun is shining in all its beauty, who are the ones unconscious of the fact? Who need to be told it is shining? The blind! How tragic, then, when we read that God sent John to ‘bear witness of the light.’ How pathetic that there should be any need for this! How solemn the statement that men have to be told ‘the light’ is now in their midst. What a revelation of man’s fallen condition.” 

-How often do we miss the way God is working around us because we’re overly worried about appearances, or recognition, or are too busy worrying about ourselves? How many times do we fixate on how terrible our culture is instead of looking for the positives that are taking place around us?

-That’s why we need this next verse. Once you believe, God makes you a child of God. But how do we remain children of God?

13

-John reminds us that there is nothing we can do to ensure our salvation.

-not of blood – genealogy doesn’t matter, being born into a believing family doesn’t make you a believer. Going to church doesn’t make you a believer. Family heritage doesn’t make you a believer. Tradition doesn’t make you a believer. Even acts of “obedience” don’t make you a believer! 

-not of the will of flesh – sincerity doesn’t save you. No matter how much you want it/desire it/hope for it, that won’t save you. On top of that, I can guarantee that your sincerity will fade.

-not of the will of man – effort can’t save you, because Isaiah reminds us that all our “righteous” deeds are as helpful for our salvation as ratty old rags. If you’ve ever tried to do better, just pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, eventually your effort will run out. What do you do then?

-Instead, we become children of God BY God’s grace alone. (we’ll see that in the next section)

-We’ve talked about this idea before: But can literally change your life! Think of news you get: you have cancer, BUT it’s easily treatable. I got in a car accident, BUT I’m fine. 

-We were dead in our sins, BUT God has made us alive together with Christ. And how is that possible? This is where we get to the best news ever:

  1. The Word Became Flesh (14-18)

-Literally, The Word became flesh and tabernacled/tented among us. The Message: “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.”

-In the minds of the Jews, they would’ve heard tabernacled as a reminder of the Exodus. Same word used in the Greek version of the OT when it talks about the tabernacle. God gave his people instructions to build a tabernacle where his manifest presence/glory could dwell with his people, because no one could see God and live (Ex. 33:20). But notice what John says about Jesus, “WE HAVE SEEN.” 

-Seismic shift: We go from no one can see God and live, to WE SAW HIM. That’s why I like what The Message says, he came and lived with us. We saw him, we ate with him, we touched him, we were WITNESSES to this truth, just like John the Baptist. 

-Remember who this is: God, the creator and sustainer of the universe, becoming Emmanuel, God with Us. 

-Why did Jesus do that? This is where it’s helpful to read/study/memorize catechisms, summaries of what the church has believed. One is the New City Catechism:

22: Why must the Redeemer be truly human?

That in human nature he might on our behalf perfectly obey the whole law and suffer the punishment for human sin; and also that he might sympathize with our weaknesses.

23: Why must the Redeemer be truly God?

That because of his divine nature his obedience and suffering would be perfect and effective; and also that he would be able to bear the righteous anger of God against sin and yet overcome death.

-Not God’s Word, but takes ideas/summaries from God’s Word and puts them in a concise statement.

“We have seen his glory, full of grace and truth”

-The hope of the OT was that the whole world would see God’s glory, “For I know their works and their thoughts, and the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory,” (Is. 66:18)

-Whose glory? The only Son – there’s a unique relationship. This is the one all of human history has pointed to. One author describes it as the OT is Promises Made, the NT is Promises Kept. All the promises of the OT find their fulfillment in Jesus, the Word made flesh.

-This is where we see worship radically changing after Jesus comes. Tabernacle – temple – anywhere because now we worship in spirit & truth.

-Then there’s a parenthetical note about John as a witness again in 15

16

-Connects to the “full of grace and truth” in 14

-This fullness connects us as believers today to the same fullness of Jesus

-What do we get? We get “grace in place of grace.”

-This is demonstrating that both the OT (old covenant) and the NT (new covenant) are acts of grace, so what God is doing by sending his only Son is replacing one act of grace with a new act of grace in the gospel message of His one and only Son.

17

-We see the final expression of grace by God sending his son. This isn’t law versus grace, this is grace UPON grace! What this means is we move from a God who has given to his people to a God who has come to his people. 

-Throughout the OT we see these hints of something to come that is far greater, and all those things are fulfilled in Jesus. We no longer need the shadow of the law because we have the light of Christ who has revealed himself to us!

So how do we respond to the reality that God took on flesh? 2 things:

1 –witness. I’ve told many people that for every pastor their job is one of preparation, but that’s also true for every Christian! We work together to prepare each other to grow more like Christ for the people they’ll interact with, or for coming face to face with God!

2 – worship. Apart from God we are dead in our sins, but from God we receive grace on top of grace. Because of Jesus moving into the neighborhood we now have eternal hope, and a day to look forward to when we will see God face to face.

Genesis 3 – Sermon Manuscript

PLEASE NOTE: These are the notes I use to preach from, if you would like to hear them in context, please watch our YouTube channel.

Sin

Genesis 3

Think of some of your favorite stories. Have you ever thought about how many of them cast serpents or use serpentine imagery as the evil one?

-Read this week about St. George the dragon slayer (reminded me of a guy from seminary that I stayed with, Anglican, so had chosen St. George as the patron saint of his house)

-Chronicles of Narnia, which is meant to serve as a picture of the Christian life, in The Silver Chair the evil queen transforms into a serpent to kill Prince Caspian

-Harry Potter, Voldemort, the evil one speaks Parseltongue (snake language) and uses a snake to do his bidding

-Hobbit/LOTR – dragon Smaug began the whole story! 

“Kill the dragon, get the girl.”

READ/PRAY – Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life! Help us now to hear and obey what you say to us today. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen. 

EFCA SOF

  1. The Temptation (1-5)

-Story takes a weird turn with the introduction of a new character – “the serpent” Who is that?

-Once again a lot of ink spilled in relation to this debate! Where did he come from, if God’s whole creation was good? A couple passages that help: Rev. 12:9Ezek. 28. Looks like Satan brought about a heavenly rebellion against God.

-Culminates in Jude 5 where Jude addresses the implications of the rebellion and the heart behind: “did not stay within their own position of authority.” Make a note of that for later! There’s a desire to usurp God’s authority, to invert the created order and to attempt to sit on God’s throne.

-What do we make of a talking snake? Surely this is fantasy! We know Chronicles of Narnia isn’t a true story, we know our dogs don’t speak English (as smart as your dog is). This has to be that the early Israelites didn’t understand how the world REALLY worked, right? 

-One argument is that all the animals pre-fall talked, and it was only after the fall that that relationship was severed, this would lead to talking animals in heaven someday, would be pretty cool!

-Another option (and my preferred) is that Satan uses the serpent as his mouthpiece, there are instances in the NT of Satan’s minions speaking through people, this one seems to be in line with the rest of the Bible! Even though I still have hopes that I can talk to my dogs in heaven!

-Serpent is described as “more crafty” “most cunning” “shrewder”

-The word is meant to parallel a description from the previous verse: naked and unashamed. Naked in Hebrew is arummim, shrewd/crafty is arumGen. 2 describes the intended state of creation, Gen. 3 describes the aberration/destruction of that creation

-One of the things we need to remember here is Satan cannot create. He takes the things God creates and twists/distorts them to his own ends

-So God creates everything to be “naked/unashamed” and Satan twists that nakedness by being “crafty” He’s a sneaky little bugger.

-Last thing to remember is that I mentioned last week the innocence/ignorance of Adam & Eve. Think of a child who is ignorant in response to many of the world’s difficulties: running into the street, touching a hot stove, need to be trained in the ways of the world. 

-Adam & Eve were in a perpetual state of childhood – didn’t need to be taught “the ways of the world” because everything was meant to lead them to flourish

-They did have boundaries: eat from any tree to you hearts content, except 1

-How many times do we live similarly? God’s given us SO many opportunities/freedoms, but we want to pursue the 1 option that leads to death

-Satan knows what he’s doing here, he goes straight to God’s commands! “Did God actually say?” Doesn’t outright deny, just questions.

-Notice the change in reference to God between these 2 uses. Lord God vs. God. One contains the relational covenant name of God, the other uses the common

-This is at the heart of the rebellion of humanity even to this day! In most of our interactions in the world we’re taught to buck authority, to question everything, to refuse to acknowledge our own humanity and mortality. This is where we’ve seen this rise in “ex-vangelicals” people leaving the faith, because they “found errors” in the Bible, but didn’t take the time to dig into or explore those issues further. They just assume that God couldn’t actually say anything.

-But then Satan goes on the offensive, by putting into doubt God’s actual words. 

-Just to remember, what did God actually say?

-God’s plan was bountiful, they could eat in abundance, eat until their stomachs were overflowing! That was encouraged! There was 1 limitation placed. And Satan decides to attack that 1 limitation.

-So how does the woman reply? 

-We may eat, not in abundance

-lowers herself to play on Satan’s turf in her reference to God

-adds to God’s restrictions “neither shall you touch it.” (some argue this is her creating another boundary to prevent sin, I think this is the beginning of legalism) We’re seeing all the ways our world twists and distorts God’s message that leads us to human flourishing

-Satan knows he has her just where he wants her. She’s stooping down to his level, playing his game, when she should have ignored, run away, or banished him from the garden!

-So Satan takes the next step. Now that the woman has already twisted God’s words he then moves to outright denial.

-The Hebrew wording begins with NO! Emphasizes that the will surely NOT die!

-Let’s compare this phrase with God’s phrase, 1 word difference. 

-Look how subtle this is! 1 word is the difference between life and death, and how subtle are Satan’s schemes against us today? No one will see it if you look at that picture on the computer, no one will know if you do some under the table dealings, no one will know if cut some corners and take the easy way out. But God will. I’m getting ahead of the story though!

-Satan is aware that everyone, since even this creation, has wanted to be in the place of God. And isn’t that at the root of most of the issues we’re having in our world today? 

-If the world revolves around me, if I am the sum center of the universe, anytime anyone disagrees with you they’re upsetting the king! They’re questioning your place on your throne and they must be punished! 

-Think of driving. Everyone who speeds it just asking for an accident until you’re the one who’s running late! Everyone who drives slower than you is an idiot, and everyone who drives faster than you is a maniac! That’s human nature! 

-Now here’s the crazy thing that Satan says: ONLY if you eat of this tree will you be “Like God.” Wait a second. Who was created in the image of God? Who was created to represent God to the rest of the world? PEOPLE! They’re being tempted with something that is already true of them!

-It’s true, they would know the difference between good and evil, but only because their innocence would be destroyed, never able to be whole/holy again

-God had created a world that was perfect for them, everything they needed was supplied and they even had a job to do: work and keep the garden, but that wasn’t enough, they wanted to be in charge God’s domain instead of their own.

-So how does Eve respond?

  • The Sin (6-7)

-Instead of saying NO to the temptation, instead of turning away, she starts contemplating it. Look at the description of this:

-good for food, delight to the eyes, make one wise. 

-Do you think it’s significant that God chose to reveal Himself through words? God spoke to create, God spoke to the man with His commands (just as He’ll speak to Moses to have him write down the commands), yet how Satan attacks is through the eyes? Not saying visual is evil at all! God created the heavens and the earth with beautiful signs, but the signs are meant to point to Him who is the Word made flesh! 

-I think a great example of this is the desire for sensational experiences in our faith. Those things are not bad/wrong, but continually looking for sensational experiences won’t allow you to bear the weight of the suffering that will come.

-This sin is also described in 1 John 2 – the 2 ways to live! The world vs. Father

-Good for food – desires of the flesh (appetites)

-Do you ever find yourself torn? Knowing something isn’t good for you, but wanting to do it anyway? The things that this world offers us to distract us from God.

-Delight to the eyes – desires of the eyes (affections)

-Word used here is the same one as in Deut. 5:21 “‘And you shall not covetyour neighbor’s wife. And you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.’”

-A sinful desire. Saw a TV show yesterday: “listen to your gut, OK? And on your way down to your gut, check in with your heart. Between those 2 things, they’ll let you know what’s what.”

Matthew 6:22-23, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.”

-Desired to make one wise – pride of life (ambitions)

-In and of itself, the pursuit of wisdom isn’t bad! That’s the theme of the whole book of Proverbs, but using wisdom to pursue fame/accolades is a problem.

-These 3 sins appear over and over and over again throughout the whole Bible, until they find their culmination in Luke 4 with the temptation of Jesus.

-hunger – desire of the eyes

-show divinity in Jerusalem – desire of the flesh

-worship Satan by given everything – the pride of life.

-Jesus succeeds, what happens to Adam and Eve?

-Eve eats. And then she gives some to Adam, and he eats. 

-“Who was with her.” Adam was there, watching this all take place. His divine command to “work and keep” the garden resulted in an utter failure

-Adam’s role of prophet/priest/king was abandoned because the temptation was too enticing. His first sin was passivity, instead of fighting against the devil, he gives in and watches his wife give in. This will have consequences as we’ll see

-The perfect harmony they experienced was shattered. Their ignorance was gone, could no longer enjoy being “naked and unashamed.” So they do their best to cover themselves up. 

-Don’t we try to do the same? When we’re caught in our sin we blame the situation, our upbringing, our life circumstances, but surely we’re not the problem.

-Part of the reason God shares this story with us is so we can see that even if you take all those extenuating circumstances away, we’d still choose sin.

  • The Consequences (8-24)

-We know what the penalty SHOULD be – death! They disobeyed, it would appear that Satan won! This entire world that had been created for people would go to waste, God’s great plan of joining with his emissaries in working and keeping the created order was broken. Or was it?

-Up until this point, we’ve seen God’s people in God’s place living under God’s rule and reign. For the first time in their lives, Adam and Eve don’t run TO God, they run AWAY from God. 

-The first time I really started contemplating the implications of this verse was sitting in a Sunday school class in a house across our parking lot in 2002. A teacher in a Sunday school class here asked the question: have you ever thought about God walking on the earth with Adam and Eve? God, when he appears, chooses to look like a human.

-Now, this is a difficult verse to translate, includes ruach in the “cool of the day” (breeze/wind of the day”) so some argue that God appears in a wind storm which would certainly be terrifying! Either way, they know it’s God! And they’re afraid.

-God won’t let them off the hook. He calls to them (He knows where they are!) And at least Adam’s response is honest. For now!

-God, again, knows everything, knows they’ve eaten, but He still gives them a chance to confess.

-Part of the way God created humans is for the other – so we are to be in relationship with others. And that union in relationship is now broken, so Adam plays the blame game. 

-“The woman” First off, not a great first move by Adam. I remember being told in pre-marital counseling, the woman is ALWAYS right! 

-“whom you gave” then he blames God! 

-Then back to the women, she gave me some fruit, I had no clue, I was innocently walking along and she tossed me a piece of fruit! Adam was THERE!

-Then he finally gets to the reality: I ate.

-Then to the woman: in the Hebrew, it’s emphatic: Do you realize what you’ve done?!

-Eve blames the serpent. The crafty one. After the deception, then she’s honest.

  1. For the Serpent (14-15)

-This serves as the center of the chiasm. God begins with Adam, to Eve, lands on the serpent, then Eve’s consequences and finally back to Adam’s consequences.

-This consequence runs contrary to some of the other religions dominating this area at the time. Serpents were viewed as gods! Once again, only 1 God

-Important to note who is cursed through this section. Serpent is cursed above all the animals, stuck slithering on the ground and eating dust.

-Not referring to his diet, more of a shame (eat my dust!) always be the loser

-Enmity between the women and their offspring, continual fighting/tension

-First hint that this will not result in immediate death!

-he (woman’s offspring) will bruise head, you (offspring) bruise his heel. If you’ve ever had ankle issues, you know it’s not fatal, but a bruised head? You’re not surviving that! There’s a reason we wear helmets when we bike/skate, we can survive many things, but not head wounds!

-This serves as the beginning of the seed of the serpent vs the seed of the woman. 

-Very next chapter Cain (seed of the serpent) kills Abel (seed of the woman)

-Joseph (seed of the woman) vs. his brothers (serpent)

-Pharoah (literally had a snake on his head) persecuting the children of God 

-David against Goliath (who appears with scaly armor) David strikes his head

-John the Baptist describes his opponents as a “brood of vipers” (Matt. 3:7)

-Jesus tells his opponents they are of their father, the devil (John 8:44)

-Revelation, the great serpent, the snake is thrown into hell forever.

  • For the Woman (16)

-There’s no cursing of the woman, but there is enmity brought in.

-First enmity is in childbirth. Either no pain before the fall, or else it’s referring to the ways in which women are emotionally affected through child rearing. Could easily be both!

-Second is the marriage relationship is full of enmity. Full confession, I hate the way the ESV translates this. Changed it in 2016, originally said “Your desire shall be for your husband” which is what the Hebrew text says! They’re forcing a theological point in a place where we don’t need it. (rant over)

-“’To love and to cherish’ becomes ‘to desire and dominate.’” (Kidner, 71)

  • For the Man (17-19)

-What’s cursed here? The ground! The ground bears the penalty for the sin of man! The ground from which he was created. The work that was one painless is now pain FULL. Instead of producing fruit in abundance, now it’ll produce thorns & thistles. 

-This has affected ALL of our work! Work until Jesus returns will be HARD! 

-This sin has affected all of human history! Until the serpent is fully and finally dealt with, we bear the weight of the effects of the Fall.

-But remember, it has been dealt with! Jesus experienced it all! He hung on a tree, sweat drops of blood looking at his work, wore a crown of thorns, and tasted the dust of death. This leads us to in the midst of the one of the 2 worst days in history, a glimpse of God’s good grace extended to us as broken people.

  • God’s Grace (20-24)

-Eve sounds like the Hebrew word for “living/life”

NET: “By giving them more substantial coverings, God indicates this alienation is greater than they realize.”

-We’re meant to see glimpses of the temple/tabernacle here. The front of the temple faces east, what separates the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place is a curtain. 

NET: “Here they guard the way to the tree of life. The curtain in the tabernacle was to be embroidered with cherubim as well, symbolically guarding the way to God.” 

-That flaming sword falls down Jesus, and what happens to that curtain? It’s torn in 2! God can once again dwell with His people. 

-So what? Are you demonstrating that you are the seed of the serpent or the seed of the woman?

-Sin is enticing! Satan is good at his craft, he’s been perfecting it for millennia

-Work is hard

-God’s grace is sufficient for us all. Now God dwells with us. We are now described as God’s temple! 

-At the end of LOTR, Frodo and Sam fall asleep on the slopes of Mt. Doom, when Sam finally comes to, Gandalf (who he thought died all the way back in the 1st book) is next to him. Sam’s first words were “Gandalf! I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself. Is everything sad going to come untrue?”

Genesis 2 – Sermon Manuscript

PLEASE NOTE: These are the notes I use to preach from, if you would like to hear them in context, please watch our YouTube channel.

Man and Woman

Genesis 2:4-25 (page 1)

-Muslims believe paradise will be a huge garden with riches immeasurable, each man will be rewarded with 70 beautiful young women.

-What does paradise look like to you?

-Muslims believe paradise is just part of a spirit world for those who are have believed in Jesus during their time on earth.

-Buddhism doesn’t believe in paradise, but instead in the “land of bliss” some argue that only men will reach this land

-Many people in America seem to act as if this land is paradise, they keep building your domain as big as you can, working their tails off to be the best version of themselves they can possibly be!

-The Bible gives us a different view to paradise, but can be summarized as: God’s people, in God’s land living under God’s rule & blessing. Once again, we see Genesis serving as the foundation for the whole Bible!

  1. Creation Retold (4-14)

-“These are the generations” serves as the beginning of a section in Genesis

6:9 Noah, 10:1 Noah’s family, 11:10 Shem, 11:27 Terah, etc.

-Every other instance is of people, this is of the created order, the beginning of everything

-We’ve picked up from where we left off last week and zooming in on the 6th day, focusing (again) on the creation of humanity, giving us quite a bit more detail 

-See this beginning verses as setting the stage for the main point of the story

-An error that people make is viewing this as 2 separate creation accounts

-There’s not 1 creation of people, then a separate creation when “Adam and Eve” are created, there is a message that God is communicating through this text (again!) start back with the original audience 

-Lord God – new name for God (Yahweh Elohim) last chapter was just Elohim, Yahweh is His covenant name that He gives to His people, the holy name that was unutterable by God’s people 

-Moses is telling us something about what God is doing/working in his creative acts, so early on in the creation of the world before plants were created, before rain fell from the sky, before there was a human to take care of the ground (tilling, planting, cultivating)

-Text tells us that the watering/care of the earth was done from water under the ground

-It’s at that point that God forms the man “of dust from the ground.”

-Said last week that unlike the previous creation, animals are created from that which was already created

-God then breathes into him the “breath of life”

-This is a two-fold act of creation, first the man is created bodily/physically, then God breathes into him 

-Again, we’re going to be approaching Genesis from a biblical theology perspective, so another place this pops up is Ezekiel 37 where the prophet is taken to the valley of dry bones, and points us to the ultimate reality that unless God awakens human creatures they are walking around as people who are dead (Eph 2:10)

-Then we get to a specific location out of all of the creation that God is going to bestow his special blessing upon – Eden. 

-Typically referred to as the garden of Eden, but I hadn’t noticed until digging in this week that man doesn’t work/till the ground until the Fall in Genesis 3, so tilling the earth is part of the Fall, not part of the creation, if you look at vs. 9, a better description would be the ORCHARD of Eden.

-Eden is described as ‘in the east” east of what? Again, original context, east of where Moses is writing from, the Promised Land of Israel. 

-Also looks like Adam was created from the ground somewhere outside, then Eden was created as a place for Adam, Adam is brought in and put there.

-Then notice some descriptions about the garden:

-“pleasant to the sight.” Just as I encouraged you last week, have you ever thought about why things are beautiful? They have no intrinsic evolutionary advantage! Have you ever been to a westward facing beach when the sun’s setting? Waves rhythmically kissing the sand, each second you see a new color in the sunset. Or been in the mountains of Colorado as the sun is rising?

-Even music! I was a music guy for 10 years before I came here, people get emotionally invested in music! Again, there is no intrinsic value to it, no evolutionary advantage, but we still have it! 

-God literally baked beautiful artistry into the created order. Food can be beautiful to look at! If you’ve ever been to a hibachi grill you know what I’m talking about. Food there becomes a work of art! That creativity comes from a creative God.

-2 trees are singled out for specific attention:

-The tree of life, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

-First, these trees are in the middle of the garden. I read some really interesting things about the garden, their significance and purpose this week. One person said that was done so the middle of Adam’s world was not himself, but life, the very presence of God. Tied into that looking at some of the Hebrew words used (specifically in 3:22, which we’ll study next week, says if you eat of the tree of life, you’ll live forever”) One commentator argues this should be translated as “perpetual life” meaning regular eating of the fruit counteracts the effects of aging. Here’s what’s crazy – even science today would argue that’s true! There are some foods we can eat that help our bodies remain in good health, let’s be honest though, they generally don’t taste as good as the foods that kill us! I still remember listening to one pastor who shared his love for bacon, got confronted by a member in his church because bacon will kill you, and he said “Fine! I’ll go to heaven and hang out with Jesus full of bacon!” We’ll look closer at the second tree in vs. 17, all I’ll say now is “good and evil” is used throughout the Bible as a merism, referring to all knowledge, not JUST good & evil

-Last thing from this section is the description of waters and fine metals. Eden is viewed as the source from which all life flows out – look at the language: “flowed OUT OF Eden” Since water is required for life, Eden is the source of that life. While we often read this as a geographical location, it’s more meant to say ALL life finds it’s source in Eden, 4 waters spreading out to cover the 4 corners of the earth. We also see the fine stones/metals that were there. 

-Biblical theology: where else in the Bible do we see a land with a river flowing through it and precious metals being found in it? Revelation 21-22

-The Garden in Eden is being described as a temple where God’s people can live in perfect relationship with Him. Now we know what’s coming next week, so we today can long for that ‘Paradise Lost’ to quote John Milton, but we’re getting a little bit ahead of this story!

-This garden/orchard has boundaries (it wasn’t the whole earth) and it’s specifically created FOR the fulfilment and enjoyment of the man. (enjoyment because the trees were “pleasant to the sight”) not mere pragmatic value. Let’s look at the man

  • The Man’s Role (15-17)

-Remember Adam was formed/fashioned somewhere else, then brought to this garden that was specifically created for him to flourish.

-The word translated “put” in vs. 15 is from the word we saw last week: rest. Connotation of “settled” so just as God rested from his work, so the man is rested/settled into his garden.

-Then the man is given a job: to work and keep the garden.

-Garden of Eden isn’t an all-inclusive resort, sipping an Arnold Palmer in the sun being waited on by the animals. Work is good! Work is a gift from God. Work means we join with God in the ordering of the creation. Some people translate that “work” as “serve,” or “worship.” Throughout the Pentateuch (first 5 books of the Bible) it’s used to describe how we work and worship in the service of the Lord. Do you view your work as worship?

-We know that we live “east of Eden” today and our work is much much harder than it was intended to be, but work is still a good thing. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.” Your work is meant to be an act of worship to God – we join with God in bringing order to the chaos around us, we all should be contributing to the furthering of good and human flourishing and fighting against the darkness. But I’d take that a step further and tie in some NT ideas to be salt and light in your various vocations. Take some time this week and think about this question: how can I use my job to worship God and point others to Him? Maybe it’s setting a reminder on your phone to pray a couple times a day. Maybe it’s bringing your Bible and reading it during lunch. Maybe it’s as simple as being a hard, reliable, and dependable worker who works hard to get along with everyone with whom you work. Whatever it is, God has sent you to your job to be his witness. 

-I think it’s also true that our work, when we find the unique ways God has wired and gifted us, our work ends up feeling more like rest.

-Second word: keep. Guard, observe, watch over. Most often used for keeping God’s commands and obeying God’s Word. Once again, there’s this pictures that God through Moses are painting in these opening chapters of Genesis that are laying the foundation for how we as humans are meant to operate and view the rest of the created order. God creates the world perfectly for us to flourish, then we join with him in continuing to push back against the chaos, darkness, and disorder, working/serving and keeping the world He created. 

-But what does the keeping mean without a command? Two-fold, first a positive, then a negative.

-Positive: surely you may eat of every tree. Negative: at least every tree except one. One leads to life, one leads to death. That’s the same theme we saw throughout the Psalms: 2 ways to live, one leads to life and one leads to death. So many of the themes we see in the Bible and our world today are seen in these opening pages. If humans were to choose to eat from the forbidden fruit, in that day they will die. They will experience separation from God, physically and spiritually.

-This is all background to focusing on the man. The stage is set, the garden is prepped, the work is given, the command is in place (both positively and negatively) and then the drama continues because there is a problem.

  • The Man’s Helper (18-25)

-First instance of “not good” Remember I shared last week, tov maod, but in this case God uses my motto for Hebrew: lo tov – not good! Even living in paradise in perfect communion with God and every tree producing fruit in abundance isn’t enough for the man. 

-Think of how caring this God is. Contrary to other world religions where humanity is created to do the work of the gods, God partners with us in continuing to carry out His task. Not left to our own devices or ideas to try to figure out what we should be doing in the world. He gives us food, a job, provision, and now he’ll go above and beyond in giving the man a “helper fit for him.” Before we talk about the contemporary significance of that, let’s walk through the whole section.

-Remember back in Genesis 1, God is the one naming the creation, so He calls light “day” and darkness “night”, expanse “Heaven,” dry land “Earth” waters “seas” 

-The man is called to name the animals God created. Think of this beautiful parade of all creatures great and small being trotted in front of him, and he gets commissioned from God to name them all. It’s almost as if God is showing off and sharing everything He made! Just as God naming His creation shows his rule/reign over that creation, in this case God is sharing that rule/reign with the man. 

-Prophet/priest/king – This is God giving the man a kingly role. Priest is found in the “Serving and keeping” just like the priests are to serve and keep the temple, prophet is obeying and keeping the commands of God. 

-Despite this man naming everything, there was no creature made that was a helper fit, or corresponding to him. Which means God’s final act of creation here is to bring relationship to the human race. 

-Last week I shared that men and women together are created in the image of God, one gender by itself is insufficient in imaging God into the world. 

-First time the proper name is used is in this verse. “The man” is called Adam. (thought to be pointing back to the ground, the adama from which he was taken)

-God is going to perform surgery on Adam to create his helper. Literally in the Hebrew God takes from Adam’s side – some have argued God took his WHOLE side and fashioned woman from her, but rib also works. 

-God leads the first ever wedding ceremony, bringing the woman to the man, and the man cannot believe it! He breaks out in song, leading to his progeny attempting to use song to woo women from that point forward.

-Says “Woah, man!” I mean, WOMAN. Just as “Adam” is similar to adama, woman is isha man is ish. They correspond to each other. Man and woman are interconnected, that is the way God has intended men and women to function. We are not completed with just 1 gender, God created us for community.

-This section ends with what one commentator described as “leave, cleave, and weave.” 

-Leave: a man shall leave his father and mother. A new family unit is formed in marriage that didn’t exist before. Does not merely mean physical separation, as in this context the new couple would often move back in with his parents to carry on the family trade.

-Cleave: (hold fast) the primary allegiance moves from your immediate family to your new spouse

-Weave: become one flesh. Your life completely changes! At our overseer meeting this week we were sharing how our lives were radically different before we were married. Hate to share this, but some of our overseers cooking skills are limited to the buttons on the microwave – some of them needed to be single longer!

-Ends with both man and woman being “naked and were not ashamed.” More than just lack of clothing, nothing is hidden from each other, there is complete understanding, care, concern for each other with no shame of being “found out” or “exposed” to be something you’re not. No facades, no trial in their relationship, a state we won’t ever fully experience until we’re in eternity.

-So what does this section mean for us on this side of the Fall, yet redeemed people?

Gender roles – This passage appears again in 1 Timothy 2 with Paul’s description of roles/function in the church. Can’t dig in too far – but I am a convinced complementarian, meaning there are distinct roles/gifts for men/women in the church to fulfill. Just as there is distinction in the rest of creation (light/dark, sea/land) there is distinction between men & women that sets the stage for how we are to fulfil our cultural mandate:

-“helper” may not be the best word for us today because we tend to view it as subservient to, can be thought of as companion, or counterpart. Eve fills in where Adam is lacking, and Adam fills in where Eve is lacking. But it’s also important to know that throughout the OT this word ezer is most often used in connection with God as our helper, or companion

Cultural mandate – John Frame: “Man’s responsibility to fill and subdue the earth is sometimes called the cultural mandate. That language brings out the fact that man’s task is one of turning the earth into a habitat for man, one suited to the needs and purposes of man. This task involves not only the cultivation of crops for food, but also the arts, sciences, and literature, by which human life becomes more than mere subsistence. And at the deepest level, man’s labor has the goal of bringing praise and glory to God. So he is to structure his life and culture according to God’s standards.”

Basically, man is to extend Eden’s borders to fill the whole earth

Blessing in/through the church. Adam’s role sets the stage for authority for all humans: prophet, priest, king (authority, presence, control) Now the church is meant to recapture that same call of prophet as we speak God’s Words to each other, priest as we implant ourselves among each other in a specific place, and king as we work hard as for the Lord and not for man bringing God’s ordering out of the chaos into our various spheres of influence.

-“creation itself was not complete until there was community, Adam needing eve before humanity was whole. God never works with individuals in isolation, but always with people in community.” Peterson, A Long Obedience, 177 

-One of the ways we are a blessing is by working hard for God, as Col. 3:23 reminds us “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” A little Monk named Brother Lawrence decided to live this way, using everything he did as a means of blessing others and God. He described this pursuit in a letter saying “I decided to sacrifice my life with all its pleasures to God. But He greatly disappointed me in this idea, for I haver met with nothing but satisfaction in giving my life over to Him.” 

Genesis 1 – Sermon Manuscript

PLEASE NOTE: These are the notes I use to preach from, if you would like to hear them in context, please watch our YouTube channel.

Chaos to Creation

Genesis 1:1-2:3

INTRO

-Why are we studying Genesis? 

-Serves as the foundation for the rest of the Bible and our lives. If we understand the purpose/reasons/rational behind the beginning of the book, the rest of the book will start to make sense

-Imagery/ideas that are begun in the Genesis will see fully fleshed out in Revelation

-There has been a lot of ink spilled on how to interpret Genesis, fun stuff worth discussing, but not what we’re going to be focusing on through our study

-These chapters deal with so many of the issues we’re facing today: what does it mean to be human? Who is God? Why do bad things happen? Where did things go wrong? How did we get here? How are the 2 sexes supposed to interact with each other?

-What I would like to propose to you as the purpose of the Bible from beginning to end is: worship. Genesis 1 is meant to demonstrate why God is superior to all the other false gods people have created, we’ll see that explicitly on day 4, thus God alone is worthy to be worshipped, praised, and glorified.

READ/PRAY

-We are storied beings. All of us have a story we use to frame everything that takes place around us.

-How do you think of yourself? You are a product of your story! You’re the athletic one, you’re the smart one, you’re the musician, you’re the finance guy, the boss mom, whatever it is, all of us have built up some kind of narrative in our minds about who we are why we’re the way we are.

-I think the most obvious example of this is spending time with your family! Don’t you have a tendency to revert back to how you were in high school? Same issues come up, same jokes are told, same stories are brought back to life

-That’s just a little example, think of how stories have affected cultures: George Washington chopped down a cherry try “I cannot tell a lie.” Columbus: “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” Who “discovered” America? Weren’t there already people here?

-Founding of the city of Rome: Romulus and twin brother Remus founded Rome on the site where they were suckled by a wolf as orphans.

-Out of the competing stories that were enacting and affecting the cultures around them comes the one true story.

-By referring to the Bible and this narrative as a story, does not mean it’s untrue! I wholeheartedly believe the events recorded here actually happened! Just as much as I believe the story that I was born on October 12, 1988 in Lake Forest hospital, just outside of Chicago-land. I don’t remember it, I know I’m here, I know that’s my story, I believe it to be true, just as I believe the events written down by Moses here in Genesis 1 are a true account of what happened.

-With that said, nothing explicit in this text to tell us who the author of Genesis is: tradition tells us Moses wrote the first 5 books of the OT (Pentateuch) and I haven’t seen an argument to convince me otherwise! As Heb. 1:1 reminds us “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets” One of those prophets was Moses!

-Over these next 3 weeks as we look at the beginning, I want to remind us what we in the EFCA believe regarding the beginning. We’ll come back to it again, so you don’t need to memorize this, but this is what our SOF says.

  1. In the Beginning (1-2)

-Verse 1 serves as the title to this whole book (Genesis is the Greek transliteration of “beginning”), verse 2 tells the background of what’s going on, and when we get to verse 3 that begins the narrative telling what God did.

-It’s important to note how carefully crafted this first section is. Verse 1 has 7 words, verse 2 has 7×2 words. God is mentioned 7×5 times. In this context, 7 refers to completion/perfection.

-This verse has some profound theological truths that I want us to realize:

-In the beginning. There was a time when there wasn’t anything. God has no beginning or end, that just blows my mind, because all of us have a beginning, but no end. It almost feels like “once upon a time,” but this one is telling us how everything came to be.

-God. The subject, the main part, the focus of these first 7 words (in Hebrew) is Elohim-God. What is the first thing we learn about God?

-created. This Hebrew word means “making something new.” New City Catechism Question 2: What is God? God is the creator and sustainer of everyone and everything. He is eternal, infinite, and unchangeable in his power and perfection, goodness and glory, wisdom, justice, and truth. Nothing happens except through him and by his will.

-All these things are deep, rich theological truths from just the first verse!

-Need to talk about the first rule of hermeneutics: the text cannot mean today what it didn’t mean when it was originally written. There is meaning, purpose, and intent to the words of the text. Always, always, always begin with the meaning to the original audience.

-Space travel wasn’t a “thing,” very limited in their scope of planet earth, so when we come across words like “heavens and earth.” We generally think of the 8 planets (RIP Pluto), stars, galaxies, and a big blue ball spinning around the sun. When the original audience heard these 2 words they thought: sky and land. Sky is everything above, land is everything below. They weren’t dumb, they just didn’t have the same grasp of some of these things we’re blessed to witness today.

-Similarly, vs. 2 uses some words they would understand differently than we do: without form, void, darkness, deep all refer to nothingness. Similarly the “waters” is the primordial state before anything came about.

-“Spirit of God” this word translated spirit is fascinating throughout the Bible: breath, wind, spirit. Remember this idea when we get to the flood which is going to serve as a new creation, God causes a ruach to blow over the earth and blow away the waters. This finds its ultimate fulfillment at the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:2 the sound of a mighty rushing wind. God’s final act of recreation was finally here! 

  • God Said (3-31)

-“God said” is repeated 10 times in this section, pointing to another 10 times God would lay the rules by which His people are meant to operate in the 10 commandments. 

-The theme of “separating”: light from dark, water from water, water from land

-Repeated phrasing, “God said” begins each day, “And there was evening and there was morning” ends each day.

-Days 1-3 are creation of the different areas, days 4-6 are the filling of those same domains (we’ll see that as we walk through)

Day 1 – Light

-Light is created to contrast to the darkness that pervaded this primordial world

-This begins a theme throughout the whole rest of the Bible: light is good, darkness is bad. John 1:5 “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

-Notice how easy this is. God says something, it automatically happens. Contrast that with some other competing stories of how the world came to be:

-Babylonian account of creation: Marduk kills the goddess Tiamat (the salty sea) and uses her carcass to fashion heaven and earth

-Other ANE accounts talk about the gods being stressed by work, so humans are created to bear the weight of their working.

-In contrast to these oppressive, mean, and chaotic ways of the world coming into being comes this story of a speaking God.

-That tells us another theological truth about God: God speaks and is thus relational. He’s not far off removed from ever interacting with His creation, instead He is a speaking God who cares about His creation.

-Some astute observers may note that light/darkness comes before the sun and the moon. I’ve known some people who refused to become Christians because of that fact! 

-First things first, Hebrew people didn’t necessarily see a contradiction with this, dawn/dusk are light without the sun. 

-Second, did you know astronomers recently found light spread throughout the galaxy that has no known source? “They’re saying that there’s as much light outside of galaxies as there is inside of galaxies” I love seeing science catch up to what God has revealed to be true!

Day 2 – waters 

-The dome above and the waters below. Heaven/the skies were viewed as a big bubble of water (makes sense as water comes from above and below!) Separation once again between the 2 waters

-“And it was so.” 

-This leads to it now having sky, air, etc. 

-Seas were often seen as gods in ANE, but this says it’s something God made

Day 3 – land 

-Begins by separating the water from the land. Almost looks as if the water is drawn away to expose that which is underneath it.

-Notice God naming things. In ANE thought naming was equated with ruling/governing/creating. Points, again, to God being a relational God 

-This separation is good. But he doesn’t stop with just creating land, the land becomes hospitable for the subsequent creatures: vegetation, seeds, fruit

-“According to their kind.” God orders all of these things, creates boundaries for them, allows them to flourish.

-Boundaries bring about creativity, unstructured freedom is chaos!

Day 4 – sun and moon

-First 3 days are creating the environment, these next 3 correlate to the first 3 and fill them out

-Day 1 is light, day 4 is the where the light comes from: sun and moon. 

-First, notice that they’re not named anywhere? Other religions viewed them as gods, here God won’t even refer to them by name! They’re called “the greater light” and “the lesser light.” God doesn’t play by everyone else’s rules, He is the one true God, no other god can compare to Him so He isn’t even willing to mention their names.

-Notice as well, the purpose of these lights: separating again the day from night, signs and seasons and days and years. Their purpose is to keep seasons and reminders of God’s continued faithfulness.

-These lights, these signs and seasons are good.

Day 5  – the waters/spaces are now hospitable and filled with creatures

-The space created by the separating waters are now filled with birds, the waters below are filled with all sorts of sea creatures! 

-They are created by “kinds,” God’s limitless creativity is bounded by His creation.

-This creation is “good.” Unique in that they are the first ones blessed by God, and given a mandate: Be fruitful, multiply, fill the sea and the land.

Day 6 – land creatures and humans

-“Let the earth bring forth.” Where the previous creation was out of nothing, this day the creation is refined.

-It also is a much longer section than any of the previous days, where the previous ones were in double speed, day 6 comes to a screeching halt and emphasizes everything that happens.

-Land animals are all created “according to their kind.” And they’re good.

-Then the pinnacle of creation: humans. The only thing in the entire created order that represents God – other things point to him, humans are made to image/represent Him.

-This “image of God” idea is worth studying further, I don’t have time today, but what this refers to is being his representatives/serving at His bidding. At the time, kings would have statues made and then distributed throughout their kingdom to bring their “image” to rule/reign over their entire domain. So when God creates humans in his image, they are meant to be distributed throughout his kingdom to bring his “image” to rule/reign over His entire domain.

-Then these humans are blessed by God, in what is known as the “creation mandate.”

-Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, subdue it, have dominion over fish, birds, animals. Part of this creation mandate is the command to work in subduing the earth. The Garden of Eden wasn’t like an all-inclusive resort where you sit back sipping Mai Tais and watch the world go by, Adam and Eve are given jobs to do in ruling with God over the created order. We’ll look at that a little more fully next week.

-This section ends with everything being tov maod – very good. Only reason I remember that is my Hebrew prof would speak Hebrew in class, if you answered right you’d get tov maod, and my motto for the class was: lo tov – no good!

-One last thing to remember, before we get to the last day: Keep everything in its’ proper order/kind! Humans are not animals and should not be treated as animals. Animals are not plants and should not be treated as plants. Seems like an obvious point, but our world is confusing these things! Even down to being gendered beings: male and female TOGETHER image God into the world! Male in and of itself cannot adequately image God, and female in and of itself cannot adequately image God. We’ll look more fully at this next week, again.

-These 6 days serve as the foundation for the rest of creation, and then God finishes His work. 

  • God Rested (2:1-3)

-Look at the wording of this finishing: where else does God say He’s finished? When Jesus dies on the cross, bearing the penalty for all of the sin that came about when creation was thrust back into chaos – just as God finished his work in creation, there His work is finished in redemption.

-Then this day is unlike the previous days because God blesses this 7th day. Up until this point it’s the creation that’s blessed, this time God blesses a day and sanctifies it.

-Just as God rested, so He commands his people to rest. In Ex. 31:13 God tells His people: “‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you.” This pattern of 6 days on/one day off actually sets God’s people off as unique from everyone else. It demonstrates to everyone our trust in God. Prevents work from becoming an idol. Ultimately, the sabbath rest reminds us that we are not God! We can’t work 24/7 and thrive, we need rest.

-Now – notice this 7th day has no end. All 6 previous days said “evening/morning the ___ day” This is a way of saying everything was as God intended it to be.

-Just as God rested, so we’re to find our ultimate rest in Him. Augustine: “Our hearts our restless until they find their rest in Thee.” 

-This story gives us a glimpse of God’s heart toward his creation, His desire to live in perfect relationship with Him, and our job of joining with God in bringing order from the chaos of the world around us. Do you see that as your aim, as your story, as your reason for living? Where do you fit within this storyline that God has used to reveal to us? 

Psalm 9 – Sermon Manuscript

PLEASE NOTE: These are the notes I use to preach from, if you would like to hear them in context, please watch our YouTube channel.

Give Thanks

Psalm 9

-Wizard of Oz – the man behind the curtain. Looks impressive until you see what’s really back there.

-2 sections in this Psalm: one looks back, one asks for present help

-History of combining these 2 into 2 long Psalm (if you look at Psalm 10, no header) we’ll see the second reason in a bit

READ

PRAY

  1. Prayer for Past Deliverance (1-12)

-Begins with another musical note no one knows what this means (some translated it as “The death of the son”) 

-Again, we have no clue the bigger context, David wrote it, that’s all we’ve got

-We do know that it all these Psalms served as the corporate songs of the Jewish people throughout history, meaning the singers/writers have a vital part to play in the life of the church

-Have you ever thought about how music has a universalizing reach? Songs are written by 1 person or a small group of people sharing their thoughts/experiences, but when those thoughts/experiences get released out into the world, it becomes the mantra of a generation. 

-I love music. I collected CDs as I was growing up (mowed a lawn, got $20/week, bought me 1 new CD/week!)

-My favorite band toured on the 10th anniversary of their best album, the entire room sang along with every single song

-Music moves us, shapes us, fashions us, imbeds ideas into our hearts & minds – so be careful with music! It’s a gift/tool to help stir our affections toward the things of God – Gods loves beauty.

-Spurgeon: “Singing and preaching, as means of glorifying God, are here joined together, and it is remarkable that, connected with all revivals of gospel ministry, there has been a sudden outburst of the spirit of song.”

-Theological idea: New City Catechism question #2 Who is God? God is the creator of everyone and everything. God created beauty, God designed beauty, that’s part of the main idea from Psalm 8 – “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers” we are stirred/moved to worship.

-Someone in the church just got married, went to one of my favorite places in the world for their anniversary: Estes Park, CO. The reason places like Estes Park exist is to remind us of our finitude. You don’t look at mountains like that and go “wanna know how much money I have in my bank account?” 

-Secondly, if Estes Park is THAT beautiful now, what do you think it’ll look like when sin is no longer wreaking havoc on it?

-Similarly to places like Estes Park, which as beautiful, even art is/can be used to bring honor/glory to God. Music can be used to bring honor and glory to God. Writing. Working. Sleeping. Eating. Reading. Singing. Thinking.

-The reality is, God wants us to do things excellently, not as a form of pride, but to use our unique gifts/talents to be a blessing. Why am I talking about all this?

-This Psalm, combined with Psalm 10 are an acrostic. This wasn’t just written off the cuff, this took time and effort to create a beautiful poem that uses each letter of the Hebrew alphabet as a prayer point. 

-Ever thought of doing the same? Going through the alphabet as a prayer list. A – my sister Anna, B – thankful for the bread I ate this morning, C – God’s greatest gift of all COFFEE!

-Realize that we live our whole lives coram deo before the face of God. So even something as seemingly trivial as writing a song/poem can/should be an act of worship. God cares about beauty, He designed it, and inspired others’ skills/talents to write down thoughts/ideas that are beautiful works of art. The building of the temple in 2 Chronicles was done by skilled craftsmen.

  1. Thanksgiving (1-2, 11-12)

-David approaches God by giving thanks, with what? His whole heart.

-3 ways to approach God: no heart (shaking your fist at him), half-heartedly (what has He ever done for me?) whole heartedly (with all you’ve got!)

-God doesn’t want a little bit of you, He’s not asking to be your co-pilot, he’s looking to take over and redirect, refocus, re-shape everything you do!

-How are we to give thanks? By recounting ALL his wonderful deeds

-Maybe that’s why David uses every letter of the alphabet, it keeps his thoughts on track to continue recounting all the deeds God has done, A-Z! Maybe instead of the alphabet you need to use numbers: 1 – God, 2 – daughters, 3 – churches that loved me and my family and let me serve them.

-We, as the church, are commanded to be a thankful people, giving thanks with our whole hearts by remembering and celebrating all the things God has done, is doing, and will do in all our lives. How many blessings do we miss/neglect because we’re not taking time to be thankful for how God is working?

-As you read through the OT, does it ever strike you just how much time Israel is given to festivals and parties? Even Jesus when he comes is described as “eating and drinking.” Church, God has created us to be party people! Not saying we eat/drink in excess, but we even eat and drink to God’s glory, so I can eat my pellet smoked medium steak and really and truly enjoy it as God’s good gift, and we can invite our friend, neighbors, and even our enemies to come participate in a taste of the feast that will be waiting for us when Christ returns. Do you ever notice that one of the things Jesus does when He returns is feast, throw a big party? Where we’ll have the best family reunion in the world! But we’re not there yet.

-Notice in vs. 11 where we’re supposed to tell his deeds: the peoples. Share with all!

  • The Enemies (3-6)

-Just as David had enemies who were trying to subvert/destroy Him, we have an enemy who is doing his best to undermine the mission of the King, to distract us, to tempt us and to take us away from pursuing everything God has commanded us to do

-Remember what I said about a place like Estes Park, or even beauty, they’re meant to make us feel the need for transcendence, but what about those who don’t “give thanks with their whole hearts”, those who shake their fists at God?

-Almost like God vs. the world. The enemies will do their best to fight against him, to push against him, but who ultimately rules and judges? We’ll see this more fully fleshed out in vs. 7.

-Notice that these enemies stumble and perish. They can’t even keep themselves together. And when these enemies are compared to someone walking/living in holiness, God will bring about perfect justice.

-Not sure if you’ve been following what’s been happening in Afghanistan, but it is a humanitarian crisis. Read an article this week that contained some quotes from our brothers and sisters there “One brother described these days as “dark” and said they feel like a “storm.” Then he asked that we pray for “revival.”” Listened to a podcast that talked about Afghan Christians, for the first time, putting “Christian” on their identification card to set a new trajectory for their families, those people are now being singled out. A reported tweeted, “A person who works with house church networks in Afghanistan reports its leaders received letters last night from the #Taliban warning them that they know where they are and what they are doing. The leaders say they aren’t going anywhere. So it begins.”

-See, God has rebuked the nations, God will blot out their name forever, those in the Taliban serving Satan and his minions will face everlasting judgment for their sins, but it can be hard to keep that perspective when it seems like evil has the upper hand! 

-The word used to describe “wicked” in vs. 5 refers to those who are practical atheists, they hate God’s commands, commit sinful deeds, and speak lies and slander. 

Romans 1 describes these wicked people as “suppressing the truth.”

-Church, we need to remember not to suppress the truth, not to live for this world, this world is not our home! We are sojourner, aliens, and strangers. We need not fear any trial/tribulation here because what can they do, kill us? Then we see Jesus! What these enemies don’t realize is that they have an expiration date.

  • The Lord (7-10)

-But the Lord sits enthroned FOREVER. 

-Have you ever thought about the fact or reality that God has ensured that the church will never end, that His Words would be perfectly contained for millennia? 

-Multiple groups, civilizations, countries, rulers, laws, tribes, tongues, nations have done their best to eradicate Christianity from the face of the earth. Even “intellectuals” have declared “God is dead” since Nietzsche wrote that in 1882. But who is enthroned forever? And what is the purpose of His throne? JUSTICE. There’s that idea that we saw a couple weeks ago again.

-This idea ties us back to vs. 4. “You have maintained my just cause” 

-All of us want justice for ourselves, but what about when we’re the one deserving of the penalty for justice? 

-God is the one who judges with righteousness, and that righteousness, as we’ve seen throughout all these Psalms only comes by and through God Himself bearing the weight and penalty of these enemies who are opposed to God and His ways. Notice how those enemies are described in vs. 8

-world – people. The world is comprised of people, so people aren’t off the hook for the way the world is operating. That’s where we as the church have to be the city on a hill, light shining into the darkness, salt in the world who proclaim and demonstrate what justice looks like, because our world will keep fumbling around in the dark trying to come up with broken/inadequate solutions for a cross shaped problem.

-That’s what David says here in vs. 10 – “those who know your name” someone’s name in the OT meant something significant. Until my generation came along and started giving their kids names like “Apple” and “North West” names carried connotations. When God commands Moses to lead His people, He gives Moses His name, that is his character, his way of operating, his resume. So when you read in 1 John something like “God is love” that’s God using His name to remind us of truths about Him.

-What is the first thing you learn about someone? Their name! You have to teach that to kids – Calvin.

-‘It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship.’ James 1:27 reminds us “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

-Religion is just a way of referring to a system of beliefs, your operating principle. What’s crazy about our religion, is it contains a relationship with God.

-After David has reminded himself of how God has worked in the past, he then turns to the present:

  • Prayer for Present Deliverance (13-20)
    • Deliverance to Praise (13-14)

-The theme of whining comes up again. David is in a tough spot and needs God to intervene on his behalf. He asks for God to be gracious, and to see/pay attention to his affliction. Why?

-So that he can return to praising God. Westminster Shorter Catechism question #1: What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. We are all created as worshipping beings, we’re created to worship God, but we don’t always do that! Because of the salvation freely given through belief in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, we get to praise Him together. 

-Everything you do, say, and are, is meant to be used to praise Him. Even our sufferings, trials, difficulties are an opportunity to rely more fully one Him than we did before! He won’t let anything go to waste!

-It’s one thing for s child of God to suffer, because we know the outcome, but what about those who are opposed to God, the enemies that were brought up in vs. 3-6?

  • The Nations (15-18)

-Remember the Wil E Coyote gifs I showed you 2 weeks ago? That’s how God views the nations. Pit they made, foot caught in their own trap

-The Bible calls those who are opposed to God foolish, and even the nations that are opposed to God and nothing compared to Him. Have you ever thought about the reality that no nation has existed forever? There was a time that the good old US of A didn’t exist. There may even come a time when the USA is a footnote in a history book somewhere. Every major nation has been defeated at some point. Egypt, Babylon, Rome, England. The ruins of the Roman Empire are tourist attractions today! The empire that tried to wipe out a flourishing Jewish sect called Christianity in the 1st Century. Who’s still standing today?

-So in response, God reveals himself (might only be after they die) but ultimately God will reveal Himself to everyone! Yet the wicked are still defeated by their own attempts to grab at power.

-C.S. Lewis The Great Divorce “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it.”

Selah

-It says the wicked shall RETURN to Sheol. 2 notes:

-Return signifies where they came from

-The biblical idea of repentance is the idea of returning. So everyone will return to something, either Sheol or the Father’s arms.

-Those are the ones whom forgot God, they will in turn be forgotten by God. What a terrible place to be!

-Lastly, see how evil these nations are: they neglect the poor and the needy. That’s exactly where we, as representatives of God are to care for those that our society deems as “poor and needy.” (James 1:27) Those who are evil don’t/won’t care for them, but they’re the very people God cares for. His Son was one of those poor/needy people! 

-In response to the way the poor and needy are treated:

  • The Lord Judges (19-20)

-No man can stand before God, we see in Psalm 2 that when the nations rage and the peoples plot IN VAIN, that God laughs at them! Everyone will have to face God someday and be judged for how they live.

-This idea goes completely contrary to the expressive individualism we see rampant around us. Talking with someone this week about our current education system. Did you know that originally public education was implement to help civilize people and train them to become good citizens? The purpose of education is to train people how to conform to the group/culture at large. Today, though, you’re not allowed to be conformed to some standard, the standard is supposed to be conformed to the individual.

-For we who are in Christ, we are to be conformed as a group into an individual – Christ. Our education in our faith is to be like Christ, and we all need to work to become more like him and help each other become more like Him “imitate me as I imitate Christ.”

-At the end of the day, all societies, nations, they’re just people, they’re not God! So why do we fear puny little men? God is giving his people (us) a peek behind the curtain here. Even if persecution comes for us, what are we afraid of, we’ve seen the little man hiding behind a curtain! Why do we worry/fret about our society decaying? We’re a part of a different society and we have a job to do! To reveal the little man behind the curtain for every other religion/ideology/thought that doesn’t have God as its’ foundation/author. One of the best ways we can do that is by giving thanks. This week, use the alphabet to give thanks! Come up with 10 ways God has blessed you. Every night Cara and I ask each other “what are you thankful for today?”

Psalm 4 Sermon Manuscript

PLEASE NOTE: These are the notes I use to preach from, if you would like to hear them in context, please watch our YouTube channel.

Trust in God

Psalm 4

-Book of Psalms cover the gamut of human experiences/emotions 

-Has a prescript, just like the previous one, but doesn’t list a specific time

-Some believe Psalm 3 & 4 are connected to the same experience (with Absalom)

-David says distress, mocked, time of wanting

-Nothing in the text specifically ties it to that

-Others have called Psalm 3 the morning Psalm (vs. 5 “I woke again) then Psalm 4 becomes the evening Psalm (vs. 8 “I will lie down and sleep). Even became an evening prayer in the synagogue.

-Others have tried connecting it to a different time in Israel’s history, a time of famine like 2 Sam 21 “Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year. And David sought the face of the Lord.”

-Somewhat getting into the weeds, but based off some of the word choices in vs. 2 that lead scholars to believe the Israelites were pursuing Baal and other fertile/agrarian gods as their support instead of trusting in Yahweh.

-Where last week’s theme was physical persecution, the emphasis/focus this week is on verbal/emotional persecution.

-Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

READ
PRAY

-3 primary groups/people addressed in this Psalm: God, enemies, myself.

-The need to preach to ourselves instead of listening to ourselves

-This will then lead us to more boldly and freely preach to others

  1. To God (1)

-David comes out swinging! “Answer me” 

-How many of you are that bold in your prayers?

-The reality is God already knows what’s in our hearts, he knows our thoughts before they enter our minds, before we speak he knows what we’re going to say, we can’t run away from him, we can’t hide from him, there’s nowhere we can go where he isn’t already there (yes, double negative, learned in music theory, you learn all the rules so you can break them)

-This reality is (to me) one of the craziest things about praying – God already knows it, so why do we try to hide when we talk with him?

-Spurgeon: “It is the most powerful form of prayer just to set our case before God, just to lay bare all our sorrow and all our needs and then say ‘Lord, there it is.’”

-We can always expect an answer from God, here’s the crazy thing: God doesn’t ever get tired of answering our prayers. Article this week: “I may get tired of being needy, but God doesn’t get tired of providing for his children.

I may get tired of always asking, but God doesn’t get tired of answering his children.

Just like he loves making another few trillion daffodils every spring, and providing food for billions of birds every winter, he continues to love answering the prayers of all his needy children, over and over and over again. My need for him never ends—and he’s okay with that. In fact, he tells me to come, every day, for my daily needs like my daily bread and his forgiveness and strength to forgive others and to see his kingdom established in the world in righteousness and peace and justice—and every burden of every kind, big or small; as Peter says, “cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.””

-Do you ever feel like God gets tired of hearing from you? Think of the examples Jesus gives of prayer: persistent widow, persistent friend after the Lord’s prayer

-God invites us, encourages us, and models for us remaining persistent in prayer 

Podcast today: “When I stop praying, coincidences stop happening.”

-How does David refer to God in this situation?

-When things aren’t going well, when people are opposed to him, he reminds himself where his help, support and strength come from: “O God of my righteousness.” CSB “O God who vindicates me.”

-Think of Psalm 121:1 “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”

-Righteousness a big theme in Romans, righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe (Rom. 3:22) that is, the only way we can call God the God of my righteousness if by putting your faith in Jesus Christ and believing in Him. It is this belief that leads to a reminder:

-Because David has put his hope, trust, confidence in God, he can then look back on previous problems without worry. 

-Notice the tense: You HAVE given

-Anytime David starts to worry about what God’s doing he reminds himself how God has worked in the past

-ESV SB “Past experience emboldens the faithful to confident prayer.”

-It’s almost as if David can’t get too far complaining before he realizes what he’s doing and pulls himself back.

-So because of the previous ways God has worked in his life, it emboldens David to ask:

-Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!

-The word “hear” is used as a way to emphasize, draw attention to. Someone telling you “listen up!” 

– William Carey: “Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God.”

-Do you boldly come before God, asking him to listen up and answer you? Because we can! We’re invited, encouraged, exhorted to!

-After first bringing his plea to God, David then turns to his enemies:

  • To My Enemies (2-5)

-Spurgeon: “Observe, that David speaks first to God and then to men. Surely we should all speak the more boldly to men if we had more constant converse with God. He who dares to face his Maker will not tremble before the sons of men.”

-Word translated “O men” isn’t the normal phrase, refers to men of renown/good standing in the community

-Isn’t some random dude complaining, this is like someone from Congress or the Senate bad mouthing you. How would you respond? David responds by asking some questions:

-How long will my honor be turned to shame?

-This refers to the way these men are speaking ill of David

-How long will you love vain words and seek after lies?

-David calls out their own sins, instead of slandering David they’re revealing what’s in their hearts.

-Where I think many of us would be prone to give in, worry, complain, stress, David begins with God, then goes directly to his accusers

-Some translators translate the lies to “false gods” which is another way of saying lies! Satan is referred to as the father of lies, and when people put other things in God’s place they are lying. This is why I’m so passionate about rightly ordered and directed worship. If we worship anything other than God we are making committing idolatry, which is lying against God. 

-How often is that the temptation for all of us when things aren’t going the way we want them/expect them to? Instead of coming to God when people are complaining about us we run away from God, blame Him, look to other comforts

-Then it’s as if David realizes what he’s saying and who he’s talking to, but before we get to that, one word: selah

-Vs. 3

-After reminding them that they’re a bunch of dirty scoundrels, David compares himself to them and is reminded he’s not them! He doesn’t need to stoop to their level, play their game, or give into the same things they’re pursuing

-God has set apart, another way of thinking of this is sanctified/made holy. God has always had a group that is “set apart” from the rest of the world, first referred to the way Israel is “set apart” from Egypt. Today those who are “set apart” is called “the church, Christ’s body, Christ’s bride” that’s us – the people David is talking to would know about the history of Israel being “set apart” from Egypt

-One translator translates godly here as committed, another translates it as “faithful.” Those who are “set apart” are whomever is being faithful to obey God.

-Because David is one of those who is “set apart” God hears when he calls – implied is that God doesn’t hear when the other guys call out to him. Also points to the reality to the access those “set apart” ones have before God – kid walking up to me at Calvin’s swim lesson, not my kid, wet knee, unhappy me!

-Vs. 4 is difficult to translate well, partly because of the way Eph. 4:26 picks up this verse. 

-Hebrew -> LXX -> Latin -> English

Eph. 4:26 “Be angry, and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.”

-Better translation of the Hebrew is “tremble” which better fits the context (Greek went with “be angry”) David had just called out his enemies for idolatry, this would then pick up that theme, need to tremble before God. How many times do people reverse these ideas: sin, and do not tremble

-David is giving us a 4-fold response when we’re being ridiculed. First, tremble. That is, ensure your worship is right. Getting to Heb. 12:28 approach God with reverence and awe, acceptable worship.

-Second is a good life rule: do not sin. Instead of lashing out at other people who may hurt you with words, or using it as an opportunity to complain to God, don’t give in, don’t sin. Instead:

-Third, ponder in your own hearts. Take time to assess where you’re at, how you have been wrong, how someone else can be used to sanctify/refine you, use your pillow as your sounding board/counselor

-Fourth: be silent. Stop talking! People fear silence today. Selah.

-4 things isn’t enough to do, David adds 2 more in vs. 5

-Instead of seeking after lies/false gods, they are to “offer right sacrifices.” Similar to trembling above, begin by getting worship right. One can guess that after the exhortation of vs. 4 the hearers were like the people who heard the 12 apostles in Jerusalem at the day of Pentecost: “What must I do to be saved?” 

-Most of the time we get into difficult situations we are prone to turn our gaze off God and onto something else. When you’re discouraged, what do you turn to? Favorite food, TV show, working out, working. What we need to do is turn to God, worship Him first, come before Him first, and then we can respond rightly to whichever situations we’re in, which is what David says next:

-When we focus on God, it reminds us that we can put our trust in Him! Pointing back to vs. 1, when has God failed you in the past? That gives us confidence for the future! 

-Think of what Jesus said about worry. Which of you by worrying can add a single moment to your life?

-David then changes the focus one more time in this Psalm – first to God, then his enemies, lastly to himself.

  • To Myself (6-8)

-This theme of “many” we saw last week. Comparing himself to those around him

-They want prosperity (remember that, theme in vs. too)

-Isn’t that human nature? Always wanting more. Dream of achieving something, then the goal moves. That’s basically our celebrity culture! Never satisfied.

-Then we demand God bend to our wills/whims and ask him to look upon our sinful request with blessing

-This “light of your face upon us” is picking up the idea of the Aaronic blessing in Num. 6:24 “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance [face] upon you and give you peace.” These “many” people are twisting and distorting God’s Words against Him! (just as the tempter did the Jesus in the wilderness)

-But David remembers, and reminds himself the truth of Psalm 84:10 “a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.” A second with God is better than living in incredible wealth and prosperity. 

-David is comparing those who demand God give material blessing to the reality that all those blessings are just meant to point us to the reality that this world is not our home. But how fickle are humans, how easily contented to sit in the mediocrity of the world when God is offering us himself.

-God’s gift of himself leads to more joy/happiness/contentedness than when “grain and wine abound.” But aren’t grain and wine abounding how our world views success? We, as Christians, aren’t supposed to be content with just the grain and the wine, in fact the grain and wine are supposed to point us forward to a time when true, lasting prosperity will last forever. So as Christians, we’re to use/steward these good gifts of God

-This is one of the primary ways we differ from the world: we need to view the good gifts of God as good gifts, not worshipping them, not idolizing them, not pursuing them for themselves, but realizing they’re gifts from a good God who loves us and allows us to do everything to his glory

-Someone recently asked me what the outreach strategy is for the church: you. Jesus started with 12 people that he poured himself into, loved, served.

-What’s extraordinary about the gospel is it uses our ordinary lives as a testimony and witness of God’s unbelievable grace

-When we are faithfully following God (whether or not the grain or wine abound) God will use us, that will allow us to have peace – both vertically and horizontally

JI Packer: “Congregations in every age must see themselves as learning communities in which gospel truth has to be taught, defended, and vindicated against corruptions of it and alternatives to it. Being alert to all aspects of the difference between true and false teaching, and of behavior that expresses the truth as distinct from obscuring it, is vital to the church’s health.”

-Sundays are to remind us who/whose we are, to be equipped to go into the rest of our lives remembering that we live for God alone – compared to this Psalm: we gather weekly to be reminded that God answers us, then we can boldly proclaim the Word to the watching world. We are the a worshipping church both when we gather and scatter.

-Even when David is mocked and people speak poorly against him, David can still lie down and sleep, because God has made him to dwell in safety.

-That’s the case with all of us! We can lie down and sleep contentedly because we’re never safer than when we’re walking with God. This will allow us to have peace even when sticks and stones are thrown at us, and words do hurt us. Instead of saying ‘Yeah, right.” We can trust ourselves to the perfect judge who has faithfully walked with us every step of the way.

The Singing Sermon Manuscript

PLEASE NOTE: These are the notes I use to preach from, if you would like to hear them in context, please watch our YouTube channel.

The Singing

Eph. 5:15-21, Col. 3:12-17

-Why do we sing when we gather together? Most of us don’t have training, most of us don’t want others to hear us when we do sing (shower head), if we’re brutally honest most of us don’t really gel with the songs we sing anyway.

  1. What Is Worship?

-Unfortunate when we started making “worship music” as a genre

-God is interested in things being done well, honorable

-Ascribing worth and honor to God. Why? Because he alone is worthy! (Psalm 96)

-Tell of his salvation, declare his glory, he is to be feared

-All of our lives are worship (1 Cor. 10:31, Rom. 12:1)

-Francis Chan eating a Snickers bar to the glory of God

-Martin Luther “The works of monks and priests, however holy and arduous they may be, do not differ one whit in the sight of God from the works of the rustic laborer in the field or the woman going about her household tasks, but all works are measured before God by faith alone.”

-Westminster Shorter Catechism, written in 1647: What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy him forever.

-Worship -> Christian worship -> corporate worship

-What are some idols you see being worshipped today?

-Technology addiction – Time magazine, teenagers are becoming addicted to their cell phones, leading to depression. 

-Social networking – FOMO, fear of missing out.

-Money? 401K your god? Maybe the security of being financial stable? 

-In fact, none of these things are completely bad! A smart phone allows Cara’s parents to see their grandkids on a regular basis. Social networking lets me keep up with friends across the globe. The problem is when they become gods.

-What about family? Families are a gift from the Lord, but elevating them to the place of God is wrong. 

-Maybe image is your God? Proverbs reminds us that beauty is fleeting

-Health1 Tim. 4:8 “while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

-Job? What if you’re fired?

-What about our acts of worshipAmos 5:21-24 ““I hate, I despise your feasts,
    and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings,
    I will not accept them;
and the peace offerings of your fattened animals,
    I will not look upon them.
Take away from me the noise of your songs;
    to the melody of your harps I will not listen.

But let justice roll down like waters,
    and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

-“the worship of the living and true God is essentially an engagement with him on the terms that he proposes and in the way that he alone makes possible.” (David Peterson, 20)

Hebrews 12:28-29

-Nadab and Abihu (Lev. 10)

-Therefore, worship is always a response to God. (see below)

-every good and perfect gift is from above (James 1:17)

-What do you have that you did not receive (1 Cor. 4:7)

-Worshipping is acknowledging these realities.

-One of the primary ways we can worship is through singing.

  • Singing is the Pattern of God’s People

-Creation accounts in LOTR and Narnia

-Adam (Gen. 2:23) “Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
    because she was taken out of Man.”

-Crossing the Red Sea (Ex. 15) “Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying,

“I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
    the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.”

-Deborah and Barak (Judges 5) (prophetess and leader in Israel, after Sisera is killed)

-Singing about Saul and David (1 Sam. 18) “And the women sang to one another as they celebrated,

“Saul has struck down his thousands,
    and David his ten thousands.”

-Psalms as songs (A song of…) 18, 30, 45, 46

-Restoration of the temple under Hezekiah (2 Chron. 29) “The whole assembly worshiped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded. All this continued until the burnt offering was finished. 29 When the offering was finished, the king and all who were present with him bowed themselves and worshiped.”

-Jesus and the 12 (Matt. 26:30) “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.”

-new heavens and earth (Rev. 4:8) “And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
    who was and is and is to come!”

Rev. 5:9-10

And they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are you to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
    from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
    and they shall reign on the earth.”

-early church 

-Pliny, governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor Christians “met regularly before dawn on a fixed day to chant verses alternately amongst themselves in honor of Christ as if to a god.”

– Tertullian, writing from North Africa during the end of the 1st Century, “Each is invited to sing to God in the presence of others from what he knows of the holy scripture or from his own heart.”

-Jonathan Edwards: “And the duty of singing praises to God, seems to be appointed wholly to excite and express religious affections. No other reason can be assigned, why we should express ourselves to God in verse, rather than in prose, and do it with music, but only, that such is our nature and frame, that these things have a tendency to move our affections.”

-what moves your affections?

  • We Sing to Remember

-We are forgetful people.

-Comic strip at Grace

-Building ebenezers in the OT

-How many times does it take you to remember something?

2017 Study – average American spend 2.5 days each year looking for lost items.

-Repetition is necessary to remember:

Psalm 136

-G.K. Chesterton: “it might be true that the sun rises regularly because he never gets tired of rising. His routine might be due, not to a lifelessness, but to a rush of life. The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore.”

-What does this look like in the NT? A couple parallel passages in Ephesians and Colossians

  1. Address One Another (Eph. 5)

“how you walk”

-walk this way

-Theme in this letter (4:1, 17; 5:2, 8) Paul’s way of talking about how they live

“best use of the time”

-Worship God everywhere we go

-Shema in Deut. 6

-Foolish contrasted with “the will of the Lord”

1 Thess. 4:3 “For this is the will of God: your sanctification (holiness)”

-Do not be drunk

-be filled by the Spirit, not the spirits (similar to what was happening in Corinth)

-How are we filled by the Spirit? Vs 19

-“addressing one another”

-You need to sing! You can’t address each other unless you’re singing

-Volume – too loud no one sings, too quiet no one sings

-Psalms (Jewish) hymns (Greek) spiritual song (everything else)

-Hymn definition: Augustine defined it: sung, praise, to God. 

-Google: a religious song or poem of praise to God or a god.

-Merriman Webster: a song of praise to God

-I’ve yet to find a definition of hymn that means: in the hymnal or old.

-Grant Osborne “Hymns in the early church were used to teach theology to believers. The lyrics were chosen not for their artistic value but for their truth and depth of content.” (182)

-“with your heart” not just IN your heart, WITH 

-“giving thanks always and for everything”

-Even the songs you don’t like. Every week we sing songs I don’t like!

-“If the gathering is about building up and encouraging the church, then a song I don’t like presents an opportunity to love and encourage others whose tastes differ from mine.” (Mike Cosper, Rhythms of Grace, 88)

-“submitting to one another.”

-Dying to ourselves, loving each other enough to look beyond our personal preferences

  • The Word of Christ (Col. 3)

-Clothing metaphor (earlier was putting off, this is putting on) 

-Laundry list of characteristics 

-One another’s in the NT

-Forgiving, we saw this idea last week in the Lord’s Prayer

-Love brings a beautiful harmony to everything we do

-melody vs harmony

-We need to use our gifts to create this harmony, that’s why I try to help Tami out with music regularly

-Peace of Christ leads to one body

-Thankfulness (again!)

-Word of Christ dwell

-you will probably forget everything I say today as you walk out the doors! You might walk out humming a song (guy complaining about it)

“Read the Word, preach the Word, pray the Word, sing the Word, see the Word (in the ordinances)” (Mark Dever, The Deliberate Church, 81)

-Singing is a form of teaching and admonishing each other

-Sing OUT LOUD!

-Whatever you do

-life of worship

-What does this look like?

-Liturgy: the work of the people

“The goal of our gatherings should be to cultivate practices that form our church to live in the good news of the gospel.” (Cosper, 121)

-Caught & Taught: reorientation 

The Common Flow (Bryan Chapell Christ Centered Worship, 100)

                        Adoration – recognition of God’s character

                        Confession – acknowledgment of our character

                        Assurance – affirmation of grace

                        Thanksgiving – expression of devotion

                        Petition and Intercession – desire for aid in living for God

                        Instruction from God’s Word – acquiring knowledge for pleasing God

                        Charge and Benediction – living unto God with his blessing

The Consistent message: The Gospel re-presented

-Begin, in the middle, and end with “the Word of Christ.”

“Show me a church’s songs and I’ll show you their theology.” Gordon Fee

-Service centers around the preaching of God’s Word, so song choice and other elements center on that theme (all else fails, re-present the gospel!)

-Variety of songs, styles, and ages (catalogue of no more than 100 with 8-12 new ones a year)

-Language matters (as we continue to worship through…)

-The entire service is important, not just the sermon or the songs, but BOTH

-Healthy tensions/well balanced diet: (Zac Hicks The Worship Pastor, 73)

  • Transcendence and immanence of God (Isaiah 6:5 “And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!””) (Acts 17:28 ““‘In him we live and move and have our being’;)
    • Cognitive and emotional (Head and Heart) (doxology & theology) (Colossians 3:2 “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth”, Romans 12:1-2 “be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”) (Psalm 32:11 “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”)
    • Internal and external expressions (Matthew 15:8-9 ““‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”, 1 Corinthians 13) (Psalm 100:2 “Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!”, 101:1, 95:6 “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!”, 134:2 “Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the Lord!”)
    • Vertical and horizontal (Psalm 96:2 “sing to the Lord, bless his name”, 98:5-6) (Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”)
    • Planned and spontaneous – story of planning in pencil
    • Historic and contextualized (rooted and relevant)
    • For the church and for the unbeliever “Sit long – talk much – laugh often.” (Col. 3:16) (1 Cor. 14:24-25 “But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.)
    • Gathered and Scattered (1 Corinthians 14:26 “What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up, 11:17-18) (1 Corinthians 10:31-33 “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, 33just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.”)

-So when we gather, we need to remember to teach and admonish one another, and one of the ways we can do that is by singing.

The Prayers Sermon Manuscript

NOTE: These are the notes I use to preach from, if you’d like to follow along with the sermon itself, please watch it on our YouTube channel.

Prayers

Luke 11:1-13

-Anyone have a friend? How do you get to know that friend? Talk!

READ

PRAY

  1. Teach Us to Pray (1-4)

-Doesn’t tell us where Jesus is, just a “certain place” 

-Prayer is a regular/routine part of Jesus’ life

-We see often throughout the Gospel accounts that Jesus would withdraw by Himself to pray

-During His last night on earth, he withdraws with his disciples to pray

-This pattern is supposed to be the same in our lives today: 1 Thess. 5:16 “Pray without ceasing.” Does that verse ever discourage you? I need to work, change diapers, mow the lawn, get dinner ready, do the dishes, how do I “pray without ceasing”? Great question – not going to answer it today, but there will be some tips today that will help you live a life of prayer.

-Secondly, there is the need to be taught how to pray. 

-Ask Jesus to be like his cousin

-These prayers served as the identity markers of this band of brothers

-Each “rabbi” would have a set prayer that he would teach his disciples

-These disciples want that same identity marker for their new group, and Jesus is happy to oblige.

-But one thing we need to note – no matter how long you’ve been a Christian, there are still opportunities for you to continue to be taught in how you pray. How often do you find yourself slipping into the same patterns, phrases, and requests? 

-God is more than “just” 

-“Shoot Christians Say” “I Just pray you give him traveling mercies. Pray for all his unspoken” “Echo to that” “I echo the echo of his echo of my echo.”

-If you haven’t noticed our overseers pray here every week. Each one of them emphasizes different aspects in the life of our church, and each of them serve as a model to the rest of us. Notice Jesus says here “When you pray SAY” written prayers can at times be helpful to give us words to say, but there’s also times where the Spirit will use our silence to intercede on our behalf!

-If you struggle knowing how to pray, find some resources to work through, and even more importantly, find someone to help you! We have a group of dedicated people who meet every Wednesday night during the school year to pray! If you are ever looking for some books or resources that will equip you, let me know! It’s not a sin or embarrassing to ask for help! 

-Think of it like this: all of us have certain tools we can use. My grandpa is with the Lord, but imagine if he were here today, transported from 1987. Do you think he’d be able to figure out how to use my iPhone? Or else think of the skilled trades – they’re called skilled for a reason! But let’s take a plumber as an example. At one of our houses, backup in the basement about every year. The tools the plumber brought in looked awesome! Now imagine you called me and asked me to come to your house and fix your plumbing. First of all, you’d be crazy! But even if I had all those tools at my disposal, I’d be useless to you (and probably break something). Having someone (or using a book) teaches you how to use the tools that God has given you to be more effective in your discipleship journey. 

-“Prayer is not natural. Effective prayer has to be taught and learned.” (Anyabwile, 187)

-1 more illustration (since I’m in the middle of this one right now!) If you’ve ever had kids, it takes time, teaching, and intentional training for them to learn how to function as a human being. Talking, walking, running, throwing a ball, etc. In the process of growth, you don’t yell at them for failing, you celebrate the wins! With prayer, celebrate the little steps. If your step in learning is just praying once a day for 30 sec, and that’s growth, PRAISE GOD! Whatever it is, please don’t become complacent or content with where you’re at, find ways to grow

-So how did Jesus teach us to pray? 

-2 accounts in the Bible about how to pray, Luke’s is a little more concise, but demonstrates all the same themes as Matthew. 

-Jesus would use similar stories multiple times. The Gospel accounts are highlighting major events that took place during a 3 year period – so let’s look at those themes!

  1. Begin with God

-This prayer is unlike the other prayers these disciples would have been taught, or that they would have heard other disciples around them praying.

-We so often just assume these things because they’ve become part and parcel of the Christian faith for so long, but Jesus teaches us to approach God with 1 word: father, or in Matt OUR Father

-JI Packer Knowing God “You sum up the whole of New Testament teaching in a single phrase, if you speak of it as a revelation of the Fatherhood of the holy Creator. In the same way, you sum up the whole of New Testament religion if you describe it as the knowledge of God as one’s holy Father. If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all. For everything that Christ taught, everything that makes the New Testament new, and better than the Old, everything that is distinctively Christian as opposed to merely Jewish, is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God. “Father” is the Christian name for God.”

-Tim Keller “The only person who dares wake up a king at 3:00 AM for a glass of water is a child. We have that kind of access.”

-Think of the way other religions teach their people to approach their “gods” Buddhism you have to empty yourself of everything, Muslims have to face a VERY specific direction laying prostrate, the 1 true God invites us to boldly come into his presence as our loving Father. One thing to note about this prayer is how simple it is, contrary to many of those other religions. 

-In Matt. 6:7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.”

-“Pagan prayers spend an inordinate amount of time trying to mollify fickle gods who often did more harm than good, while Jesus introduces a God who deeply cares and can be approached directly.” (Osborne, 297) 

-Prophets of Baal vs. Elijah “shout louder! Maybe he’s musing! Relieving himself, sleeping, on a journey”

-We begin with the realization that God is our father and we are his children, means we can come to him as our loving and caring father. Then we see that we are to hallow his name. What is that?

-Honoring, revering, making holy. One way to think about that is to remember that God is God alone and supremely. That He is God, that He alone is worthy of worship. 

-All of the Bible is a story about how God can honored above everything else

-Luther in his Great Catechism “How is it hallowed amongst us? Answer: When our life and doctrine are truly Christian.”

-That is: worshipping God with every area of our lives.

-After acknowledging that God, out Father is supreme, we are to ask for:

  • His Rule

-There is a king whose kingdom has not, does not, will not end. We don’t always see this reality and most of the time we miss when these things are taking place around us. Think of how beautiful a rising sun is. Think of how delicious a medium rare steak is. Think of the magnitude of the ocean. The sheer weight of the Rocky Mountains.

-Notice that it’s not the same as Matt’s account. It’s the exact same idea, by asking and inviting his kingdom to come, we are inherently asking for His will to be done, that’s where we’ll get the joy of seeing little glimpses of his kingdom breaking in right here on earth. And here’s one reality: what we’re doing right now is meant to be a glimpse of heaven’s realities. The closest thing we have of what heaven will look like is the church.

-“The hope is in the full realization and culmination of God’s promised rule. Ultimately, it is the eradication of evil and the manifestation of righteousness that is anticipated.” (Bock, 1053)

-We in the church, serve as ambassadors of another kingdom. One where evil no longer holds sway, where earthly enemies become family, where the greatest must become the lowest, where all the things our world emphasizes don’t matter! Each week we gather back together with our family to remind us who we are and whose we are.

-Our world tries to get all these benefits and realities, but they do it by using the wrong tools. Politics, force, legislation, finances. Do you want to know how to get these benefits and realities?

-Tied to Matt. 6:33 “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” 

-Tim Keller (again) has such a good way of putting this: “If you understand what holiness is, you come to see that real happiness is on the far side of holiness, not the near side.” 

-You want a good marriage? Holiness. You want to be content in your job? Holiness. You want to be a better parent? Holiness. 

-Another way of saying this: if you want true, lasting happiness, realize that we are citizens of a kingdom, we find true success/contentment by obeying the king.
-This isn’t what our world offers! Be true to yourself, look inside, find “your truth”

-The biggest thing I want you to take away from the first half of the Lord’s Prayer is the orientation. It begins vertically before it gets horizontal. 

-This is the goal of all of Scripture: vertical before horizontal. 10 commandments, the role of the prophets in the OT, the role of the priests in the OT, the role of Jesus in the NT.

-It’s not until we acknowledge who God is that we talk about us. And this first half should serve to refine/refocus the second half:

  • Our Need

-The first thing we ask is for what we need each day. 

-Notice “us” “each day” “daily bread”

-Meant to be communal, all of us praying this together (and individual)

-We should ask for today’s needs

-1st century people didn’t “stock the pantry” they each day had to figure out where their food would come from, they would feel the weight of this far more than we would (maybe we have too much)

-Grew up (and continue) praying before each meal, this is part of the reason, God doesn’t need to provide the excess that he has for us as He has for most of us for most of our lives

-Daily bread – bread was the lifeblood of this people. No gluten free here! If you didn’t have bread that day you didn’t eat.

-2 things in relation to the bread:

-manna in the wilderness wanderings

-I am the bread of life – if you don’t “eat” Jesus you spiritually die! (this also points us back to last week’s message on communion)

-The second need we have is in relation to our sins

-All have sinned. Sin is an act of rebellion against the sovereign Creator God. Each sin makes us worthy of eternal condemnation, so God sent his one and only Son to bear that penalty in our place 

-Yet we still need to regularly confess our sin (this becomes VERY easy when we’ve spent time praying through the first half of the prayer and we understand who God is)

-Luke connects “sins” to “indebtedness” sinning against someone places us in their debt (just as sinning against God places us in his debt) Since we have been forgiven something of eternal significance, we must forgive people for things that will disappear

-Finally, connected to the sins is the need to not be led into temptation

-God does not tempt us, but he will test us. (tested Abraham, tested Moses, tested David, all failed) thankfully we have someone who was tested/tempted but came out victorious! 

-Asking to not be led into temptation is the same thing as being asked to be delivered from evil.

-Summary: begin with God and who He is, look for ways in which His sovereign rule and reign are being seen around you and pray that continues, then you can ask for your needs of daily provision and repentance. 

-If you’ve ever recited the Lord’s Prayer in the church, you probably see something is missing at the end of both accounts! “For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.”

-Pretty early in the church that phrase got added as a doxology, final praise. Kingdom theme in the prayer, He has the power to forgive sins and take care of our needs, and we glory (glorify) Him by hallowing His name.

-Amen isn’t a sign off, it means we are all in agreement, and we believe what we have prayed will happen

  • Two Examples (5-13)

-In Luke’s account, Jesus follows this prayer up with 2 examples, ways in which we should think of prayer.

  1. A Friend (5-10)

-Hospitality was required in the first century, and if one person wasn’t able to provide what was needed it became an indictment on the whole community. 

-One friend has a friend arriving at midnight (well after bedtime) and doesn’t have any food for him, so he goes to his neighbor

-1st century houses were 1 room, and everyone slept together in the same bed, so going to knock on the house would wake up everyone. Including the kids

-Think of it like this – you have your phone next to your bed, and a friend calls you at midnight, you ignore it and go back to sleep. Calls again. Ignore again. Phone rings again and keeps going until you finally pick up! 

-The guy’s going to get what he wants! He finally gets the neighbor up and gets the bread he needs.

-Jesus is saying persistence pays off! He tells a similar story of a widow who keeps nagging a judge until the judge finally relents. But here’s where the analogy breaks down: God isn’t a neighbor we can annoy or a heard hearted judge – He’s a Father.

-Because of that, we can ask, seek and knock and God will answer.

  • A Father (11-13)

-All of us have father’s – a physical fact that I can guarantee! Some of you had good fathers, some of you had fathers you’d like to forget, but those of us who have been adopted by God have a perfect Father in heaven. Doesn’t take away earthly father wounds, but it does give us hope.

-Jesus uses a couple crazy examples to point out how fathers will do their best to care for their kids: ask for fish give him a poisonous snake, egg give him a scorpion. 

-The point: compared to God even the best earthly father in the world is evil.

-Parallel passage in Matt 7:11 “how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

-The best gift God has given us is the indwelling presence of Himself – the Holy Spirit who leads us in righteousness, reminds us of the truth of God’s Word and works to sanctify us. 

-Jesus is giving a pattern for us to follow for all of our lives. By praying as He taught, it shapes our thinking, our patterns of life, and brings us closer into relationship with our loving heavenly Father.

-Take some time now to pray using the Lord’s prayer as your model! I’ll use the Matthew’s text with the doxology we’re used to, but please take a few minutes now to pray.