His Supremacy, Dec 30, 2012

Col. 1:1-23
– Proteuoto – be first, hold the first place, to have pre-eminence, literally means having the first, highest, chief, and best place in all things.
– a great battle is raging (Rom. 8:28-39, Luke 6:46-49)
– seek Christ, embrace Christ, know Christ, and you have touched Him who is Life, and in Him resides all Truth, Values, Virtues, and Gifts in living color. Beauty has its meaning in the beauty of Christ, in whom is found all that makes us lovely and loveable.
– biblical community is founded and found on the connection to that person
– conversion is more than a change in direction; it’s a change in connection
– Shubh – to call for “repentance” – implies not viewing God from a distance, but entering into a relationship where God is command central of the human connection
– major diseas of the church today is JDD (Jesus Deficit Disorder)
– Testimony we are called to bear:
  1. the center and circumference of the Christian life is none other than the person of Christ.
  2. Jesus Christ cannot be separated from His teachings.
  3. God’s grand mission and eternal purpose in the earth and in heaven centers in Christ … both the individual Christ (the Head) and the corporate Christ (the Body). This universe is moving towards one final goal – the fullness of Christ where He shall fill all things with himself.
  4. being a follower of Jesus does not involve imitation so much as it does implantation and impartation.
  – what God the Father was to Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ is to you and to me. He’s our indwelling Presence, and we share in the life of Jesus’ own relationship with the Father.
  – following Jesus means “trust and obey” (respond), and living by His indwelling life through the power of the Spirit.
  5. the “Jesus of history” cannot be disconnected from the “Christ of faith”.
  6. it’s possible to confuse “the cause” of Christ with the person of Christ
  7. Jesus Christ was not a social activist nor a moral philosopher
  8. it is possible to confuse an academic knowledge or theology about Jesus with a personal knowledge of the living Christ Himself
  – the meaning of Christianity does not come from allegiance to complex theological doctrines, but a passionate love for a way of living in the world that revolves around following Jesus, who taught that love is what makes life a success
  9. only Jesus can transfix and then transfigure the void at the heart of the church. Jesus Christ cannot be separated from His church
  – the Christian life, therefore, is not an individual pursuit. It’s a corporate journey. Knowing Christ and making Him known is not an individual prospect. Those who insist on flying life solo will be brought to earth with a crash.
  10. in a world which sings, “Oh, who is this Jesus?” and a church which sings, “Oh, let’s all be like Jesus,” who will sing with lungs of leather, “Oh, how we love Jesus”?
  – may God have a people on this earth who are a people of Christ, through Christ, and for Christ. A people who are consumed with God’s eternal passion, which is to make His Son preeminent, supreme, and the head over all things visible and invisible. A people who have discovered the touch of the Almighty in the face of His glorious Son.
  – a people who wish to know only Christ and Him cruicified, and to let everything else fall by the wayside. A people who are laying hold of His depths, discovering His riches, touching His life, and receiving His love, and making HIM in all of His unfathomable glory known to others.
– Jesus the Christ:
  – Christians don’t follow Christianity; Christians follow Christ
  – Christians don’t preach themselves; Christians proclaim Christ
  – Christians don’t point people to core values; Christians point people to the cross
  – Christians don’t preach about Christ; Christians preach Christ
– He is our pursuit, our passion and our life

No Vacancy, Dec 23, 2012

Luke 2:1-20
– divine providence – that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)
– are we doing any better?
  1. Secularization – removing Jesus and christianity from the world
  2. No solicitation – indifference “The core problem is not that we are too passionate about bad things, but that we are not passionate enouch about good things.” Larry Crabb
  3. No thank you – rejection (John 1:11, 3:19)
John 1:11-13, Rev 3:20-22

A White Christmas, Dec 16, 2012

Isa. 1:18 (NLT) – God wants to make our hearts white as snow – specifically in the area of forgiveness
– offended – Matt 24:10 (NKJV)
– an offense is meant to trap you, not the other person. Satan uses offenses as the bait for the trap.
– you can’t avoid offenses (Luke 17:1, Prov. 18:19)
– we get offended when we feel:
  1. betrayed (1 Tim. 2:13)
  2. falsely accused – gossiped against, trapped, etc.
  3. rejected – “The sick and poor suffer even more from rejection than material want. Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.” Mother Teresa
  4. abused – emotional abuse can be even more painful than physical abuse
  5. humiliated – to cause (a person) a painful loss of pride, self-respect, or dignity; mortify, debase
– Jesus experienced all five of these offenses (Heb. 2:17-18 MSG) but didn’t take the bait.
– we need to see offenses through Jesus’ eyes (1 Peter 4:1 NCV)
– what was Jesus’ way of thinking? (Luke 23:24, Phil. 2:5)
– three things to be on the road to a white Christmas:
  1. remember, I need forgiveness too (Rom. 3:23)
    – you will never have to forgive people any more than what God had to forgive you (Matt. 10:8)
    – if you are going to be on the receiving end, then you need to be on the giving end. Choices lead, feelings follow.
  3. refocus on the real enemy (Eph. 6:12)
  4. receive God’s love (1 John 4:19-21)
    – receiving love gives you the capacity to love

Unacceptable Worship, Dec 9, 2012

– first things are important – Seek first the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33)
Mark 7:1-16
– what the Bible teaches about worship?
  – man needs to realize that God is the object of man’s worship (John 4:24)
– worship which God rejects
  – ignorant worship (Acts 17:23)
  – vain worship (Matt. 15:9)
– acceptable worship
  – public (Acts 4:23, Heb. 10:25, John 4:24)
  – private (Phil.2:16, Rom. 13:1-7)
– seeming “good” deeds can have bad motives. It’s possible to do the “right” thing for the wrong reason. Jesus warned of it. (Mark 7:7)
– they didn’t murder; but they did hate (Matt. 5:21-22, 43:44)
– they didn’t commit adultery, but they did lust (Matt. 5:27-28)
– they gave to the poor, but they did so to look good (Matt. 6:1-2)
– the God who looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7, Matt. 22:37-40)
– the greatest treason is “to do the right thing for the wrong reason,” wrote T.S. Elliot
– according to Jesus, love is the remedy
– the case of Cain and Abel:
  – the record of Cain’s rejected sacrifice reads: Gen. 4:3-7
  – the differences between their offerings:
  – one was of produce, the other was a blood-bearing sacrifice (Heb.11:4)
  – the opposite of faith is by sight (2 Cor. 5:7)
  – Cain worshipped according to “sight” – according to what his own senses and wisdom dictated would be an honorable gift unto the Lord.
  – faith is the result of hearing God’s word, submitting the mind and body to its dominion, and acting in accordance to what the Lord has instructed.
– “To believe God, and not obey him, is to not believe him.” Or as James wrote, “faith apart from works is dead” (James 2:26)
– Paul defines the source of faith that is well-pleasing to God (Rom. 10:17)
– Abel offered his sacrifice by faith (Heb. 11:4)
– but faith comes by hearing the word of God (Rom. 10:17)
– the way of Cain is the way of presumption (Ps. 19:13)