The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Confusion, bewilderment, unbelief, and all manner of speculation fade away in the light of Jesus’ presence. We track the story God has left for us in John 20 and watch God move things along. Here Mary tries to make sense of the odd facts presented to her: the stone rolled away, no body, and linens left neatly in the tomb. Not knowing how to deal with it, she runs and reports her findings to the apostles. They too observe the same facts. John believes but doesn’t comprehend it fully.

Mary continues to weep in anguish. She interacts with angels and even Jesus without knowing their identity, so great is her grief. Jesus breaks through the hysteria and reveals himself to her. At this point she is overcome with joy! He calls her off and dispatches her to the brothers with a message of greeting and affirmation.

This story, then, is the foundation of the doctrine of the resurrection. What does it matter? First, while not seeing Jesus personally, we believe the report given to us. We do not believe it on intellectual grounds primarily, though. We believe it because we have encountered him personally! Those who believe on him do so due to his personal drawing and visitation. Just as joy and confidence characterized Mary, so it does us.

Second, this doctrine furnishes hope for us of things to come. Since Jesus is resurrected, so we too will be resurrected. In this Jesus guards us against hopelessness and fear of death. Death does not hold dread for us because we know we will rise to a new life in a glorified state.

Third, the doctrine of the resurrection stabilizes us. Things were as bad as they could be for the disciples. What could be worse? Yet, God worked apart from their contribution and turned things around. He did it decisively and with finality. May we rest in God’s power to turn things around. Yes, the culture is disintegrating in front of us. Yes, things are moving fast, way fast. They were moving fast during the passion week too. Rest, relax, God will work when he is ready. He will surely once again shake the nations and restore his glory. We serve a God who turns things around and vindicates himself (primarily) and his people (secondarily).

John 20:1-18

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Living and Speaking with Conviction

We will do a very simple exposition of those basic passages which speak to our mission.  Our mission is to take the gospel out to the ends of the world.  We are witnesses with a divine mandate.  We tell our story to others.  Just as we were in darkness so now we are in light.  We speak of this transition to others and fill them in on all the teachings of Jesus.  We do it here, the next county over, and in Mongolia.

By way of application, we will speak pointedly to our identity as witnesses of the one true God.  Understanding our identity facilitates correct and confident behavior.  When we are deceived into thinking we are less than God’s ambassadors then our behavior follows.  When we come under God’s identity for us then we are liberated to walk in the paths he has set for us; speaking for him.

Secondly, we will speak to the practice of talking about the Lord to the brothers and sisters.  Ironically enough, when believers get together there can often be a conspicuous lack of discussion about the Lord!  How natural then that we should feel awkward or ill equipped to boast of the Lord to others.

Lastly, let’s ask ourselves what God is doing in our lives today that is worth talking about.  If God isn’t active in our lives today, affirming and vindicating his ways, small wonder that our testimony seems so weak and devoid of conviction.  If we are not convinced of God’s activity in our lives today then let us remain quiet until we do.  Let’s be convinced of God, his ways in our lives, and then speak about it.

Matt. 28:16-20, Acts 1:6-8, 1 Pet. 2:9

 

 

Loving Words to a Servant of God

The call of Jeremiah is a loving one.  God tells Jeremiah he knew him before he was conceived.  He consecrated him before he was born.  It was God’s plan to appoint Jeremiah as a prophet.  God’s love and plans for Jeremiah existed before Jeremiah did.

Jeremiah, however, did not receive God’s call.  He referenced youth and inability to speak as causes for not being a prophet.

God kindly overruled the young prophet.  God pointed out fear as the basis for Jeremiah’s resistance.  Then he reminds Jeremiah of his sovereignty and enabled him to accomplish his task.

There are several things here for the believer.  God calls us not we ourselves.  This simply means that God does the heavy lifting, not us.  When we believe this then we close the door to fear.  Fear can only enter in when we doubt God’s ability to manage a situation.  When we slip this way we inadvertently take control of the situation and rightly begin to fear.  God is sovereign.  We needn’t fall prey to paying too much attention to secondary matters.  When we do we lose our way.  Lastly, God enables his people to do the work he assigns.  This is true of the man at work, the woman at home, and the young person growing up at home.  May we rest in God’s sovereignty and save ourselves from fear and anxiety.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Living Simply

The early church lived simply.  They celebrated the apostle’s doctrine, enjoyed fellowship, ate together, and prayed together.  The apostle’s doctrine can be drawn in simplified form from Peter’s sermon in the earlier part of the chapter.  It consists in four points:  the Spirit is poured out now; God raised Jesus from the dead, Jesus now rules over all, and everyone should repent of their sins and receive forgiveness.  The confession of Jesus’ lordship carries the core of that doctrine.

Believing these things produces different living.  Jesus is all that matters!  He matters so much that one’s own possessions do not.  The early church shared their belongings as was needed.  They had things in common because they cared about one another.  They were in each other’s homes, daily sharing their meals together.  Whenever they got together they prayed.  That is it.

For us, we need not immediately rush to explaining why such a lifestyle doesn’t fit today.  What we do is meditate on the values they embraced and the community they enjoyed.  Perhaps we do need to make some changes.  May we all study our own lives and weed out those things that block joy, fellowship, and behavioral affirmation of Jesus’ Lordship.

Passage:  Acts 2:42-47

Preached:  March 10, 2012

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Reclaiming Authority at Home

Faith Community Church Franklin TN Sermon PodcastWe are facing some disturbing signs in the church today. Many of our young people are leaving the faith. Some who stay have a diluted view of sound doctrine and display anemic faith. What is going on?

God set a paradigm in Deut. 6. He explained very clearly how parents are to pass on the faith to their children. They are to diligently teach their children the story of redemption. Judges 2 records the sad story of Israel deviating from this model. Could it be that we are facing a similar scenario today? The answer is yes.

In short, it is the father’s responsibility to teach his children about the Lord. We see this clearly in Eph. 6:4. The church supplements, the Christian school or co-op might help, but the responsibility to teach children about the Lord falls squarely on the father’s shoulders.

We will then discuss some practical ways in which men can teach their children the faith. First, do family worship. This takes many forms but essentially the father takes his bible, opens it, and teaches its sacred precepts to his wife and children. Second, disciple your children. This is done indirectly through family life and church life being modeled but the father needs to personally teach his children about the Lord one-on-one. While we rejoice that others disciple our young people we cannot outsource the primary responsibility we have. Third, we talk to our children all the time about the faith. From sports to politics to current events to school, everything is discussed with our children. What we are introducing to them is the truth that God has something to say about everything! We teach them a Christian world view through our off hand conversation as we go about life.

We will also address some critical aspects about the father’s faith. First, he must believe his faith personally. If he is nonchalant or indifferent about faith in God then any method will fail. The secret lies not in a method but in God who is there through faith. Second, visible, authentic actual leadership is the paradigm God has given to the father. It is the template prepared for us. As we walk in his ways by faith the corridors of fatherhood will unfold before us. Being the priest to our family is the perfect fit. We are uniquely designed for it so let us press into it with joy and strength. May God receive glory as we sanctify him in the home.

Sermon Tagline:

Men must lead by sanctifying God in the home.

Sermon Text: Deut. 6:4-9, 20-25, Judges 2:6-10

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