Posts Tagged ‘ Life ’

VerseD: Isaiah 26:4

Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
Isaiah 26:4, ESV

God is Truth and Love and Life. Only in God do we have eternal life, for only He is eternal and able to save.

VerseD: Isaiah 54:17

“no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.”
Isaiah 54:17, ESV

Truth is on our side, and what can anyone do to us other than end this life? Through Christ, the Truth of God, we have inherited eternal life.

VerseD: Colossians 3:15

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Colossians 3:15, ESV

We have peace knowing our Lord has already won the war, and we can be thankful because we have guarantee of the Holy Spirit of our delivery into eternal life with Christ.

VerseD: Proverbs 4:23

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
Proverbs 4:23, ESV

What you cherish and focus on will guide your life.
Do you focus on the Word of God? Do you cherish the revelation of our Lord?

Sermon: What is Life? – 1 Peter 2:1-12

I preached again!

This was a tough one. I rewrote it several times, including overnight Saturday/Sunday.

I kept it light, naturally, only discussing the Gospel, the pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests, and the presidential election season.

Light.

(I was so exhausted afterward!)

Give it a listen (click here if it does not work just below), and see my rough notes for all scripture references and basic thoughts. I am reading from the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible.

What is life? (1 Peter 2:1-12)

Read 2:1-12

What is life?

Not so much “what makes a thing living,” but who is living? How do we live? What does it look like to have a life?

What life?

Earlier in my life, I discovered peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

  • Love them.
  • Working at the school, money tight, often had these for lunch. Still had days longing for a PB&J. And a glass of milk (or carton from the cafeteria!)
  • What does this have to do with life?

Read 2:2-3: Spiritual milk

Even having PB&J most days, I still craved it.

  • Do we do that with God’s Word?
  • Have you tasted that the Lord is good?

V. 1 gives a list of things this life offers (read/explain v. 1)

  • An earthly mind is focused on such.
  • What is life?
    • Focused on hate, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander?
    • Or on God’s love?

Vv. 4-8:

All of this poetic language from Isaiah and Psalm 118 spoke of Israel, but found it’s fulfillment in Christ.

Israel built the Temple in Jerusalem, but they rejected the first living stone. And what is Christ this first stone, the cornerstone, part of? The Church!

The Church is about community. God’s community. It is built on the love God showed through Jesus.

God created life: Genesis 1-2, especially 2:7: the Lord God formed man from the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.

Yet, Genesis 3, we took this life and decided to go our own way. And all of us – every single human since then, save Christ – has done our own thing: we have broken God’s Law of loving Him and other people. And though we mock and revile our Creator, He came down to us in the person of Jesus Christ to take the mocking, reviling, and violence in person. He took on human life to offer that life as a payment for our disobedience, our sin.

And three days later, He brought Himself back to life, and He lives forever, seated at the right hand of the Father.

This is the Cornerstone: the God-Man who gave up His life to give us a life of community, fellowship, with Him and each other for eternity. We make up the new Temple, not of stones that can wear down, but of our bodies which will one day be glorified.

And all we need to do is believe this truth of who He is.

But others reject Him still.

Listen to those who say Christianity is a fairytale.

Listen to those who say the Church has done nothing good for this world.

Listen to those who call Christianity the religion of white people.

Danger Warning: This is where things get tough, even confrontational.

Look at our world:

  • An election year. (If you disagree with my candidate, you’re stupid and wrong!)
  • A global pandemic, with anxiety and fear being peddled daily in our newsfeeds and on social media. (And we will find a cure, no god needed. ~NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo)
    • We can debate the threat, masks, and statistics later!
  • Racial tensions higher than they have been for decades. #BlackLivesMatter
    • We must realize the cry here:
      • The organized movement: Anti-Christian
        • Anti-nuclear family
        • Anti-marriage
        • Anti-biblical definition of gender/sexuality
        • Pro-choice (abortion)
        • Pro-socialism/communism
        • Pro-pluri-religiosity
      • The average person (yes, most protesting):
        • Sees systemic racism (yes, it is actually real)
        • Sees a society that seemingly doesn’t care
        • Sees a discrepancy in how people are treated

How then do we live? What is life?

Vv. 9-12

We all agree that “all lives matter.” (In this room, at least) We don’t want people to die needlessly.

  • If we are fixated on, even fearful of where this country is headed because of the next election, if we get offended (heated discussion/argument) over how certain elected officials are destroying our country, if we know “those people are idiots who only want to undermine our society” (and notice I never said “Republicans” or “Democrats”, but if you thought of one or the other …)

    … are you trusting and believing in our sovereign God who instituted our government? Are you building that community based on God’s love?
  • Does wearing a mask in certain places affect your salvation? Does it affect your eternal life?

    What about the life of someone outside of the Church?

    What if all they see is someone ranting about how they don’t need to wear a mask, because even if they die they know where they are going?

    What if they are afraid of dying, and someone basically waves off that fear “for personal freedom?

    Is that respectful and loving?
  • Do black lives matter?

    Are we hearing the cries of a lost world or pushing our own understanding of life on others?

What is life?

We know that we are all one race: descended from Adam. There is only one human race.

But we are only united in Christ.

There is enough malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander in the world.

We are [vv. 9-10]

We are kings and queens. We are priests, administering the sacraments of love, peace, hope, and faith to a lost and hurting world.

And how did our High Priest King do that?

Philippians 2:5-8

What is life?

For the rest of the world, we see it playing out every day.

For the Christian, [Philippians 2:12-16]

We follow in our Lord’s footsteps, humbly serving our fellow image-bearers out of the love given to us by God through His Holy Spirit. Not grumbling and complaining about how unfair, unjust, and unsavory our world is, but showing compassion, humility, and faithfulness to God’s Word.

Our life is not our own. It was bought with the most important life. Grumbling and complaining and pointing fingers tears apart, but we have been tasked to help build the living Temple of God, the Body of Christ, the Church.

We are His. We belong to Christ. And we draw closer to Him by reading His Word, abiding His Word, and living out His Word in our everyday lives.

Life is only truly found in Christ.

VerseD: Romans 8:6

For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
Romans 8:6, ESV

Where you focus your thoughts determines how you act.
Do you focus in earthly pleasures or worldly woes?
Or do you focus on God, His Word, and our eternal destination?

VerseD: Psalm 27:4

One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.
Psalm 27:4, ESV

God’s Temple today is the Church: the living, biological, spiritual Body of Christ.
Seek the beauty of God amongst His People, Christians, who point this world to Christ and the eternal life He offers.

VerseD: John 7:38

“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”
John 7:38, ESV

As Christians, we should not be able to help sharing the truth, grace, and love of Jesus Christ as the Holy Spirit moves in and through us.

VerseD: John 6:35

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”
John 6:35, ESV

Firstly, we are blessed when we hunger and thirst for righteousness, for we will be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6)
Secondly, all our appetites shall be satisfied in the Lord, most especially in eternal life.

2020 Perspective on Passover:

As born again Christians, we understand the foundational truth about Jesus’ sacrificial, atoning death and resurrection that brings us freedom and life, but I want to focus on the post-salvation implications of Jesus’ awesome work. Keep in mind, this will only apply if you have already committed to the side of Jesus.

After salvation, what does freedom and life look like for a Christian? Many might think “well, if a Christian is addicted to alcohol, etc. then Jesus can set them free from that” and that is true. But beyond that, what does freedom and life look like? It looks like this:

1. Freedom from false guilt.
2. Freedom from fear about what others may think.
3. Freedom from people who try to control and manipulate.
4. Freedom from the idea that you need anyone else’s approval other than God’s.
5. Freedom from circular or destructive thought processes.
6. Freedom…to grow, which is life-giving.

Pastors are supposed to promote freedom in Christians lives so that they can grow, but sadly many pastors do just the opposite.

Friends are suppose to be life-giving and help us grow, or at the very least, not hinder us from getting closer to Jesus, but sadly, many friends do just the opposite.

Assuming they already have a sincere faith in Christ, here are some things to ask yourself about a pastor or a friend:

1. Are they someone in whom I can see consistent growth?
2. Do they listen well?
3. Am I afraid to talk around them? Why?
4. When I come away from them do I feel burdened, or more free?
5. Does what they say ring true and bring clarity?
6. Can I see any ways that they attempt to manipulate?

There are many forms of manipulation, some are quite subtle and can even be seen as pious. Some of the more subtle ways of manipulation include:

* False guilt – does this person make me feel guilty if I don’t do what they want?
* Tone – are they talking down to me as though I don’t know anything? (Pay great attention to this one!)
* Leading Questions – do they appear to have all the answers? This is accomplished through the use of leading questions, that is, a question that is asked, with a very specific answer in mind. Therefore, unless you answer with the specificity that the manipulator is fishing for, you appear inferior while the manipulator appears to have all the answers.
* Positioning – there are many types of positioning, but one example is, is the person using tactical empathy? That is, do they claim to know and empathize with what you’ve been through, in order to earn your trust?
* Redirection: there are many types of redirection, but one of the most cunning is exploiting your emotional wounds to shift the attention off of something they don’t want to talk about.

Ask yourself, “who helps me walk in freedom?” It may surprise you who you DON’T list.

Jesus came to bring us freedom and life, and I believe the Lord wants the church to walk in Freedom and Life in 2020!

Wishing you freedom and life as you celebrate Resurrection day!

In His Love,
Jesse ישי

About Jesse Walker