To Trust in God’s Justice (07.06.14)

To Trust in God’s Justice – Psalm 94

Johnny watches as little Jack cheats to win the race, he complains to his dad, “But that’s not fair!” And his dad, sage of all sages, blessed with the wisdom of many fathers before him, aptly responds, “Son, life isn’t fair.”

We’ve heard it (or said it) a hundred times, but is that right? If God stands for justice and has all power and wisdom to carry it out, then shouldn’t life, of all things, be fair? Yet injustice occurs… people get away with stuff all the time. Why is God’s justice so slow in coming? Why? Because God is merciful.

Big Idea: God’s delayed justice is for our good and His glory, but it won’t be delayed forever.

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Thoughts: God’s vengeance is only offensive if you don’t think sin is a big deal. 

In the Bible the essence of stupidity, of foolishness is to think God doesn’t exist; and closely related is to think, that God doesn’t see or know what [the wicked] are doing.

When we read this psalm we need to see that we did not begin as the righteous in this story, but as the wicked facing judgment. That is our position apart from Christ and the delay is God’s mercy, so we might trust in Him.

God is ready to ride through this chaotic world WITH you; and help you to find greater joy in Him than anything, anyone, or anywhere else you could be.

Life isn’t fair… yet, and that’s a good thing.
Scripture: And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:7

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”  – Romans 12:19

What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— Romans 9:22-23

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The Gospel Is More (05.11.14)

The Gospel Is More – Ephesians

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Love infomercials? Have a favorite? Ever bought from one? Infomercials aren’t just another way to sell a product, they are products built upon a foundation of hype. Wild claims of life altering inventions all for just 19.95, if you act now. Claims that almost always fall short.

The past two weeks we had been tracking with Jesus’ commission to proclaim the Gospel to all, with last week specifically looking at Paul’s journey to do just that. And yet, as you trace Paul’s life it would seem that the very Gospel he had to proclaim was failing him. He was beaten many times, left for dead, shipwrecked and put in chains.

But when Paul got the chance to write to others about the Gospel… it wasn’t that he had anything less to offer, or anything different… but that in his living, in his studying and in the Holy Spirit’s revelation to Paul… there was so much more.

While infomercial products might just be another in a long list of things in this life that don’t live up to expectations;

The Gospel brings believers into more than we can ask for or imagine.

Sunday night, we looked at Paul’s letter to the Ephesians to see the “MORE”, to see 5 benefits of the Gospel:

1. Gospel Generosity (aka: The God Who Gives)
2. Gospel Transformation (aka: Christ Who Changes Everything)
3. Gospel Living (aka: New Life for New Living)
4. Gospel Maturity (aka: Christ Ruling More)
5. Gospel Community (aka: The Church is a Wonder)

Thought: God is ready to give to you everything; everything that is good that He has to give… through the Gospel. Don’t miss it. Don’t set your sights too low by asking for just health, or riches, or talent, or physical beauty or fame and success… God can give it, but it doesn’t live up to the hype. Instead, go for the best thing that God has to offer… The Gospel. 

Scripture: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, – Ephesians 1:3

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. – Ephesians 2:13

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. – Ephesians 3:20-21

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God’s Plan (05.04.14)

God’s Plan – Acts 13-14

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It’s one thing to know the mission of the church, but it’s another thing to be confident that it will succeed. If it is going to succeed we don’t just need a mission, but we need a fool-proof plan! But as we look around at the church, local, national and global it seems like there are more problems than answers and more fools than plans.

In the book of Acts, and in the situations surrounding many of the New Testament letters, we find that the early church had just as many problems, set backs and apparent failures. So if the problems were there even back then, and we clearly see the now, we might wonder, “how can we be sure that this whole ‘church thing’ will all turn out okay?”

What evidence do we have that God has a plan and it will get accomplished.

Sunday night we took a look at Acts chapters 13 and 14 (Paul’s first missionary journey) to see that God is carrying out detailed plans ensuring the successful mission of the church.

And I shared 8 observations about God’s plan:

  1. God’s plan is God’s plan.
  2. God’s plan is through the church.
  3. God’s plan is empowered by the Holy Spirit.
  4. God’s plan is rooted in history.
  5. God’s plan is centered on Jesus.
  6. God’s plan involves the proclamation of the Gospel.
  7. God’s plan never fails.
  8. God’s plan has specific individuals in mind.

Thoughts: God did not intend for us to walk the Christian life alone nor is his plan primarily carried out by individuals, but by the body of Christ. 

What we’re really saying when we talk about a certainty in God’s plans is actually a reflection of our certainty of God himself. God’s plans are built into who He is, His character.

Christians, does this mean we know each and every turn? No, but it means we know the God who does. And in the hands of the master tactician with all sovereignty, wisdom and power… we can be sure of the mission’s success. There are people who will say “yes” to Jesus, will you help me find them?

Scripture: When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord;(A) and all who were appointed for eternal life believed. – Acts 13:48

I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by His grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles… – Galatians 1:14-16

In [Christ] we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will… – Ephesians 1:11

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Our Mission (04.27.14)

Our Mission – Acts 1-2

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What’s next?

It’s just two words, but they can be frightening if you don’t have a good answer. Graduating high school. In a serious relationship. A few years into your career. People want to know, “What’s next?”

In Acts 1 Jesus’ disciples ask Him “what’s next?” and in answering Jesus gives them a mission that become their “next” and our “right now.”

Jesus invites us into our mission: Proclaim the Gospel to all by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Thoughts:  It’s not uncommon to hear people talk about the Spirit being a Spirit of power, but often we fail to remember what the Spirit empowers us to do. His primary work of empowerment is for the purpose of proclaiming Jesus crucified and risen from the dead so that people will repent and believe.

Pentecost was a unique working of the Spirit to convey the message that would speak to his normal work. To give a promise that is for all people, all whom God calls; and when they repent and believe; the Spirit is now theirs as well.

So the next time you are asked the question, “What’s next?” Take a deep breath. Respond with gentleness, respond with respect, but take the opportunity to let them know: This is what’s next. This is the plan. This is my five year plan and my ten year plan. This is what God wants me to be part of. This is what is right now. To proclaim the Gospel to all by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Scripture: :  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. – Acts 1:8

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” – Acts 2:38-39

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. – 1 Corinthians 15:58

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