Shanna – Learning to Rely on Jesus

Sermon 7/24/16:

to download right click here: 7-24-16 – Shanna – Learning to Rely on Jesus

Revelation 1:4-7

John,

To the seven churches in the province of Asia:

Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits[a] before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

The Us-ness of Our Salvation

Sermon

to download, right click here: 7-10-16 Message – The Us-ness of our Salvation

Bruce’s Sermon Notes:

THE US-NESS OF OUR SALVATION

IS THERE ANY BENEFIT OF GOING TO CHURCH? CAN WE WORSHIP JUST AS WELL ALONE?

IS IT JUST MATTER OF OBEYING THE LORD TO GO CHURCH? IS IT JUST A RELIGIOUS DUTY?

Thinking in Terms of “We”  Judaism throughout the centuries has declared that “life is with people.” Religion, in their thinking, is inherently communal. Whereas Christians seek out solitude for drawing close to God, many Jewish prayers can only be recited in the presence of a minyan (min-YAHN), a group that contains at least ten adult Jewish men.  In his article “You Can’t Be Holy Alone,” Ismar Schorsch explains the premise behind this practice: when people gather to worship God, his presence among them sanctifies the place.

JESUS – Matthew 18:19-20 If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father who is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

WHY?

ADAM ALONE:  Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said: ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him…’    

MEN ALONE – MORE HEART ATTACKS, CANCER, MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES, TROUBLE WITH LAW

YET SO MUCH DEEPER THAN THAT

“help meet” – Hebrew words ezer kinagado, which is literally rendered as a helper in front of him. Kinagado comes from the root word neged, which literally means to be before or ahead of something. When used to modify the word ezer, which means a helper, it is a helper who goes before you, who paves the way for you, makes your journey easier.

What is the destination that this ezer is leading man to? Within the context of this passage it could only be a helper that is going to lead man to his final destination with God. Thus the words “help meet” really describe why the woman was created. She was created to help man meet God.

A woman is meant to be a helper to man to aid him in spiritual understanding – they are able to give men a natural understanding of something in the supernatural.

The word in Hebrew for alone is bad. That is not the origin of our English word for bad, it is just a nice little coincidence that the Hebrew word for alone is bad. In this case it was bad for Adam to be alone. There is such a gulf between the natural and the supernatural. Adam was a physical being, and God was a spiritual being. This created a little problem in understanding the relationship God desired from Adam. How could God as a spiritual being explain love, intimacy, tenderness, gentleness, protectiveness, nurturing, caring, passion, and longing to a natural being?

When God created the world He said it was good. Good in Hebrew is tov, which means to be in harmony with something. When He created the world it was in harmony with Him. When He created the birds, animals, and plant life they were all in harmony with Him. Yet, when He created man, He did not declare man as good. He also created woman, and then man and woman were good or in harmony with Him.

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh. Genesis 2:18, 24

GOD CREATED US LIKE HIM – FOR ONENESS – TO BE IN COMMUNITY

1ST RESULT FALL – DEATH = SEPARATION,ISOLATION – NOT THE WAY GOD CREATED

BREAK IN COMMUNITY, FAMILY – Genesis 3:16 (NLT)  Then he said to the woman, “…In pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.”

AND SOON FOLLOWING: CAIN & ABEL – JEALOUSY, ANGER, DEATH – wars, abuse, brokenness, disconnect – death!


BUT: JESUS – WHAT DID JESUS DO?

Ephesians 2:1-19 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins … sons of disobedience… and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus,

7 in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God

14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity… that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household…

SALVATON – RECONCILIATION – REPAIR THE BREAK = RECREATING DIVINE COMMUNITY

WE NEED EACH OTHER

SALVATION = RESCUE FROM DEATH, GEHENNA OF SOUL SEPARATION

WHAT JESUS PRAYED FOR:

John 17 After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

20 “I ask… on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me… so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

SALVATION = RECONCILIATION = RESTORATION OF COMMUNITY

HUMILITY = REALIZING OUR DEEP NEED FOR EACH OTHER

Who are those who are the poor in spirit, and how do they possess the kingdom of heaven?

The word “poor” is ani in Hebrew, and is also often translated “afflicted,” and often used to refer to groups of people like widows and orphans who were dependent on charity to survive. A person who is “poor in spirit” sees himself as needy and helpless without God, and yearns desperately for God’s presence in his life. Like a recovering addict, he can only survive each day by leaning on God. The opposite type of person is someone who is “great of spirit” who is bold and self-reliant, who has no need of anyone’s help, especially not God’s. He is one who feels that he is “the captain of his fate, the master of his soul.”

God looks with favor on those who know they are inadequate to run their own lives.

JESUS – the Kingdom of Heaven IS OF SUCH – THOSE WALKING HUMBLY, DEPENDANT GOD

OUR PROBLEM – ‘I CAN DO IT MYSELF’ = PRIDE

FRIENDSHIP – is a mirror to presence and a testament to forgiveness. Friendship not only helps us see ourselves through another’s eyes, but can be sustained over the years only with someone who has repeatedly forgiven us for our tresspasses as we must find it in ourselves to forgive them in turn. A friend knows our difficulties and shadows and remains in sight, a companion to our vulnerabilities more than our triumphs, when we are under the strange illusion we do not need them. An undercurrent of real friendship is a blessing exactly because its elemental form is rediscovered again and again through understanding and mercy. All friendships of any length are based on a continued, mutual forgiveness. Without tolerance and mercy all friendships die.

 

The overwhelming importance of the command to “love your neighbor” echoes throughout the New Testament. Paul declared that the whole of the Law is fulfilled by obeying this one command (Galatians 5:15). Peter also exhorted his followers to “above all, love each other deeply” (1 Peter 4:8). And in John’s letters, he wrote that “this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another” (1 John 3:11). James called the command to love your neighbor the “royal law found in Scripture” (James 2:8).  Jesus’ first Jewish followers put this command at the top of their marching orders, devoting themselves to fellowship, communal prayer, and breaking bread together (Acts 2:42–47). The emphasis on community was one of the outstanding characteristics of the Jerusalem church, responsible for its magnetic witness and strength during persecution.  – also remained active in the larger community, joining the rest of the Jewish people in daily worship at the Temple. They didn’t denounce the world around them and cloister tightly with like-minded friends. As a result, they enjoyed the favor of outsiders and daily welcomed new believers.  Even though the early Jerusalem church emphasized community, within only a few centuries Gentiles brought into the church an emphasis on individual piety and private devotion. By AD 400, many Christians believed that the hermit’s utter solitude was the path to God.

Modern Christians, especially American Protestants, still maintain a strong sense of “Jesus and me” individualism, emphasizing one’s “personal relationship with Christ” as the essence of faith.

By contrast, Judaism throughout the centuries has declared that “life is with people.” Religion, in their thinking, is inherently communal. Whereas Christians seek out solitude for drawing close to God, many Jewish prayers can only be recited in the presence of a minyan (min-YAHN), a group that contains at least ten adult Jewish men.

Jewish prayer – typically recited communally. “Heal us and we shall be healed, help us and we shall be helped, for you are our joy. Grant full healing for all our wounds…   these ancient lines that were exclusively framed in terms of “we” and “us” and “our people” (as is the Lord’s Prayer, of course).

Christian worship service – focus MOST songS was on God and me: “I love you, Lord, and I lift my voice” … “Just as I am, without one plea” … “Here I come to worship, here I come to bow down.”

worshiping side by side – pretending to be all alone.

 

MY HEART – THIS ONE MY GREATEST CONCERNS FOR CHURCH

Words Words Words – Hunger & Thirst

Sermon from 7-3-16

to download, right click here: Hunger & Thirst

U2 – I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

I have climbed the highest mountains
I have run through the fields
I have run, I have crawled
I have scaled these city walls
These city walls  Only to be with you.

But I still haven’t found What I’m looking for.
But I still haven’t found What I’m looking for.

I believe in the Kingdom Come
Then all the colours will bleed into one
Bleed into one. But yes, I’m still running.

You broke the bonds
And you loosed the chains
Carried the cross of my shame
Oh my shame, you know I believe it.

But I still haven’t found  What I’m looking for.
But I still haven’t found  What I’m looking for.
THERE IS A HUNGER LONGING DEEP INSIDE – ALL HAVE IT –

“Unless your righteousness goes beyond that of the Scribes and the Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.   Matthew 5:20

MATTHEW 16:6 – ‘Beware, and take heed of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees;’

The Idea of Hasidut
Jesus actually may have had an idea in mind that was in the culture at that time. He appears to be focusing on the idea of hasidut – (hah-see-DOOT), a rabbinic term which is often translated “piety.”  It means to walk closely with God and be utterly obedient to him. A hasid (ha-SEED), a pious person, eagerly asks the question, “What more can I do to please you?” The idea is that they don’t focus on the minimum requirements, but on going beyond the rules to serve God.
The Danger of Trying to Be a Hasid
Throughout the centuries there have been movements in Judaism and in Christianity that have tried to draw closer to God by becoming fastidious about observance and in keeping away from sin. While the goal is admirable, whenever a person tries to live this way there are many potential traps. One can easily become a legalist, or prideful, or hypocritical, or elitist.

Wayne Jacobsen, In Season

“My dad used to say that most people only get enough of God to be miserable.
The longer I live, the more I am convinced he’s right. If you only think of God as a meddlesome deity who demands that you follow his rules to live in his good graces, you’re probably one of those people. If the thought of having God with you during the day causes your stomach to churn with feelings of failure and inadequacy, you are probably one of those people. And if your Christian experience is nothing more than following a set of rituals, rules, and obligations that you think makes him happy, then you’re also probably one of those people.
Most people didn’t start out that way. They will tell you of their early days of faith when God first captured their hearts. At the beginning, they knew they were loved and they began each day with fresh excitement and anticipation.
Soon, others began to teach them what it meant to be a good Christian, and they began the long, slow descent into the rules and regulations of a religion called Christianity. The religion eventually erased their joy. They became content merely to plod along, unconsciously becoming obedient to human obligations instead of faithful to Jesus.
This is not the life Jesus offered his followers. ”

JESUS GAVE US AN AMAZING PROMISE – WE SEE IN HIS VERY FIRST WORDS WHEN HE BEGAN HIS MINISTRY:
Matthew 5:6  Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

How happy are those who, in their hungerings longings, seek after rightness, for they will be satisfying those inner cravings.

YOU ARE GOING TO HUNGER & THIRST – EMOTIONALLY, RELATIONALLY, SPRITUALLY, WAY MADE – JUST LIKE PHYSICAL HUNGER, THIRST – IS THERE, CANNOT MAKE SELF STOP GETTING HUNGRY
BUT IN OUR HUNGERING – WHAT DO WE FILL OURSELVES WITH?

ARE WE SATISIED OR NOT?

CAN WE EVER BE TRULY, DEEPLY SAISFIED?  COMPLETELY, EVERY FIBER?  PHYSICALLY, EMOTIONALLY, SPRITUALLY?
TRULY SATISFIED – WHOLE PERSON ISSUE – IN THE LONGINGS NOT JUST OF OUR FLESH – BUT OUR HEART LONGINGS?

Psalm 107:9 For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.