Archive for March, 2013

3-31-13 Matthew 25:1-15 NIV

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3-31-13 Philippians 3:7-11 NIV

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Holy Week: The Death of Jesus

There are many things to consider regarding the death of Jesus Christ.  Volumes have been filled as theologians (rightly) pore over these events to squeeze the utmost praise from these pages.

So, for today, I will share a few short points to help you think.

1. Violence is required.

Our sin is ugly, dark, ruinous.  There is no doubt whatsoever that the weight of our sin is what sets the death of Jesus as the key event in history.  Sin cannot be made right by the sinner.  It must be made right by God.  And, for that, violence was required.  The splashing blood and ripping flesh are reminders of the power of our sin and the greater power of the sacrifice that forgave it.

2. Forgiveness is real.

There is a message in the cross of Jesus Christ that no other religion on earth has: confidence in forgiveness.  When Jesus cried on the cross: “It is finished!”, the sacrificial system was destroyed.  The last sacrifice for sin had been made.  And thus, when we bring our sin to that cross, we find the glorious reality of forgiveness.  Please, whether you believe in Jesus or whether you are considering placing your faith in Christ and repenting of your sins, know that the forgiveness offered by Christ on that cross will NEVER be upstaged.  It’s powerful to transform; the price has been paid.

3. Give up.

There is no standing in a relationship with God that is brought about or maintained on our own.  We must GIVE UP trying to please and impress God in order to earn His favor.  He showed us His favor, while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).  He showed us His favor when he didn’t have to.  He took our place on the cross so the suffering would be his.  The entire spectacle of Jesus’ torture, suffering, and death was done in a way that destroys human striving.  Will Jesus forgive my sin?  He has already done what it takes to forgive it.  Should you desire to put your faith in Him instead of yourself, your life will instantly change from earthly and limited to spiritual and eternal.

He died to bring dead people to life.  If you believe, rejoice in that.  If you don’t, consider it, and consider repenting of your sins and trusting Jesus to forgive you.  He’s the only one who can, and it’s only by His act of shedding blood and dying that it can happen.

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Passion & Desperation

Welcome to Passion Week! 

We as a church will be joining with billions of believers around the globe to remember, reflect on, honor, and celebrate the week leading up to Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.

As I was preparing for the week this morning, I was struck by a question. 

Do I NEED Passion Week?

If Passion Week never happened…

If Jesus never shared an intimate last meal with his disciples…

If He wasn’t betrayed by one of His own…

If He didn’t carry the burden of my sin and yours…

If He didn’t die on the cross, making payment for our sins…

If the veil wasn’t torn…

If He didn’t emerge from the tomb victorious over death…

Would my day to day life be different? 

Do I live desperate for the events of Passion Week to have actually happened?  Does my life show that I depend on Christ’s actions (not my own) on the last week of His life?

Perhaps this question has come as a result of the Radical Book study.  Here are two excerpts from a chapter about the importance of relying on God’s power.

“The question for us, then, is whether we trust in his power.  And the problem for us is that in our culture we are tempted at every turn to trust in our own power instead.  So the challenge for us is to live in such a way that we are radically dependent on and desperate for the power that only God can provide.” (David Platt)

“Would you say that your life is marked right now by desperation for the Spirit of God?  Would you say that the church you are a part of is characterized by this sense of desperation?” (David Platt)

May we live in such a way that shows that we are desperate for a Savior who clothes us with righteousness by taking away our sins, conquers death, and grants us access to the power of the Spirit of God.

Blessings,

Josh

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3-24-13 Luke 19:28-44

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3-17-13 Jews For Jesus

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Church: Go all out for Passion Week!

Christ went all out for you, it’s time to go all out for Him.  I know lots of Christians who observe Lent, denying themselves certain pleasures or taking extra time to focus on sin, humanity, Christ, etc.  My encouragement for Christians as we approach Passion Week:  Go all out!

Here’s what I mean:

I know that “Passion Week” is a week on a calendar that the Church celebrates each year.  I know that the Resurrection is really celebrated every Sunday because our day of worship reflects the day of His rising from the dead.

Regardless, this week IS a time of celebration.  And, like Christmas, people celebrate lots of things.  Candy, a bunny, eggs, bright colors, the giving of gifts: all of these mark Easter for society at large. But, like Christmas, it really is about Christ.  And thus, our week as believers next week should look different from that of the world.

Here are some ways believers can go “all out” for Passion Week.

1. Pray.

Well, duh.  Big surprise.  No, seriously.  Pray for the Church worldwide to have an effective witness for Jesus next week.  Pray for your local church.  And if you’re a part of Goss Memorial Church, please pray for our church.  We will spend extra amounts of energy next week preparing and leading services which are designed to . . .

2. Focus on Jesus.

Yes, focus next week.  Focus in prayer (#1) and focus on Christ.  Take extra time to dwell on His glory, dwell on the events we teach, preach, and celebrate.  Let your mind be a sponge for the glory of God that is absorbing truth that can be wrung out in your lives.  Dwell, linger, think.  And, in order to do that, you may need to . . .

3. Sacrifice.

Don’t miss Passion Week because you’re caught up in March Madness.  You may need to sacrifice time to attend a couple extra services.  You may need to sacrifice your TV time (or some tournament games) in order to do items #1 and #2.  Perhaps the removal of distractions (food, Facebook or social media anyone?) will allow more space in your mind to put Jesus front and center.  This whole week is about Jesus coming to serve us, to sacrifice for us, and to triumph for us.  So, in light of all He did for us, how about we . . .

4. Serve Him.

Go all out and serve.  Invite someone to church.  Tell someone about Jesus.  Express spiritual concern in the life of someone you love.  Sacrifice some time and do something for someone, or make a commitment to do so in the future.

The bottom line?

This is a season when spiritual things are heightened in Christianity.  It is an awesome time to allow spiritual things to be heightened in your own lives.  May the love, the sacrifice, the power of our Lord Jesus be on full display next week as we gather.  So, both individually and corporately, church:

LET’S GO ALL OUT FOR JESUS!

In Christ,

Kevin

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