Posts Tagged ‘ Spiritual ’

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.

Sermon: The Great War – John 16:5-15

I preached this past Sunday, June 30, 2019. I would have uploaded this sooner, but I am sure you understand technological issues and upload errors …

I barely used notes, so there is barely enough to read. If you want the full text, then listen to the message by clicking here or listening below!

I actually started reading from John 15:26 to help with context, in case you want to have your Bible ready. Other references are Genesis 2, 2 Corinthians 7:6-11, Revelation 20, Ephesians 6:12, and Matthew 28:18-20.

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John 16:5-15 (15:26-16:15): The Great War and the Counselor, Comforter, and Helper

World War 2:
Propaganda: “All Germans are evil!”
Truth: “Many Germans helped in secret to undermine the Nazis.”
Reality: Many Germans were shunned, despised, mistreated, and distrusted after the war for “wanting to kill all non-Germans, especially Jews!”

Read 15:26-16:6

        John 13:36-14:7 – Peter & Thomas asked
        For Peter: Going to cross, “You will follow me”
        For Thomas: “We don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?” They did not understand He was leaving this world behind. They essentially were asking “What place on Earth are you going to prepare to kick out Rome?” Not “You are leaving? What do you mean? What place is it that we are unable to follow you to?”
The disciples were confused, scared, and worried. “He seems to be speaking nonsense. Is He leaving us? He keeps talking about dying and leaving us!”
After Thomas’ question, Jesus promises the Holy Spirit will come, which leads to …

Read 16:7

        The Holy Spirit –the Counselor, the Comforter, the Helper – would not be sent permanently until the Son and Father sent Him from Heaven.

Now think back to the first time a helper was given to Man: Genesis 2:20-25. No good helper was found, so God put the man into a deep sleep and created a woman from his rib. Then we have verses 24 and 25. [Read] We have the establishment of marriage (v. 24), and it says they were without shame (v. 25).
What does this have to do with our new Helper?

Read 16:8-14

        The Holy Spirit has three major jobs:

  1. Convict the world of sin
  2. Point to Jesus
  3. Reveal the true World War raging since Creation (Genesis 3)

Let us look at these:

  1. Convict the world of sin:
    1. Romans 3:23 reminds us that we are all guilty of sin.
    2. The Counselor tells us we are messed up beyond hope: We all have essentially punched God in the face and claimed innocence.
      1. 10 Commandments: How we have all have fallen short
    3. 2 Corinthians 7:6-11: Godly grief (of sin) leads to repentance
  2. Point to Jesus:
    1. How then can we be saved? The work of Jesus!
    2. The Comforter shows that we are made righteous through the only True Way to Life (14:6): Believing in the vicarious work of Christ’s death on the cross for the forgiveness of all of our sins!
    3. If teachings about the Holy Spirit do not glorify Jesus Christ, is it really from Him?
  3. Reveal the true War:
    1. This war started in the Garden, with “that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan” (Revelation 20:2), and that will only end upon Christ’s return, thus fulfilling v. 13.
    2. This war is spiritual in nature: Ephesians 6:12.
      1. Do not retaliate against fellow image-bearers!
    3. So how do we fight this war?

Read 16:14-15

        The Spirit of Truth, the Helper, reminds us of Matthew 28:18-20 (Great Commission)

        We fight this war (that was won at the cross!) through the power of the Helper, in a world that says Christians and God are bad and evil.

VerseD: Ephesians 6:12

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 6:12, ESV

People are not your greatest enemy. The forces behind them – demons, the Devil, evil spirits – are your enemy.

Do not lash out at those who wrong or hurt you. Love and pray for them, pray against the spiritual forces of evil, in Jesus’ name.