Who is Jesus and Why does He Matter? | Searched (Part 6)

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Well, good morning, South. It’s an honor and a privilege to be with you here this morning, my name is Billy Berglund, and my wife Hannah and I have been part of this community for the past six years, and you’ve done just a huge blessing to each of us in our little family we’ve got a now, a little two-year-old named Cooper, loves to run around, and I’ve gotten a chance to work with the students for four years while I was in seminary, and then being able to come back in September as the interim youth pastor, and it’s been such a huge blessing. This has been a crazy year in so many ways, especially for students as they go from online to in-person school or a hybrid or a mix, but the chance just for us to have gathered together this year was such a blessing. And God is doing something incredible things in the lives of these students, last Wednesday, we celebrated our graduating seniors that they go off to new things in their story. And then this coming Sunday, next week, we’ve got baptism Sunday for the church, and we’ve got a number of our students can be baptized, so it’s gonna be a wonderful celebration, just so fun to partner with what God is doing in their lives.

And you guys have welcomed pan and I so well to this community, and it’s a little bit or sweet here this morning as Hannan, I are actually gonna be moving to Omaha, Nebraska in a few weeks, as I take a student pastor role back in Omaha where I grew up and where both sets of our families are from. And so, just really privileged to be one last chance to share with you here in the main services today, and we’re actually gonna be continuing on in our series titled searched Exploring questions that we’re actually asking… I don’t know about you, but I’ve really enjoyed this series. Pastor Alex is kinda walked us through these big questions of life. Why is there suffering? If God is good, does God hate me?

Why does God care what I do with my body? What happens when we die? What is the purpose of life? Nice, light, easy questions that we’ve been wrestling through, but last week, Pastor Alex concluded for us, the meaning of life is to find a relationship with the God who loves you, and to partner with him in bringing life to the world and the people around you. I love that little phrase, in other words, to glorify God and enjoy him forever. And today we’re gonna be asking this question as we wrap up this series, Who is Jesus and why does he matter? Who is Jesus? And why does he matter? It’s a big question. You might come in today in a variety of different responses to that as in your experiences and in your past, but we’re gonna wrestle with this question this morning. In other words, the question that we’re gonna be asking is, what’s the big deal about Jesus?

You might ask that in other areas of life… I remember when my wife and I moved to Colorado back in 2015, we wondered, what’s the big deal about the Broncos? Everybody seemed to love the Broncos. I’d actually, I grew up in Nebraska, we don’t have pro sports in Nebraska, we have the users, so we try… But I moves in Chicago for a few years with the Bears, I was up in Minnesota with the Vikings for a few years. But nothing is like the Broncos and the fans that we have here, so actually our first year here was the year that the Broncos won the super bowl, which was really exciting to see that I actually had to run an errand at half time of the game, and I remember driving down the road and there’s literally no one on the road is like a ghost town, everybody’s locked into the TV, but I don’t think we fully understood until we had a chance to go to a game, it was 2017, it was actually a pre-season game versus my Green Bay Packers, a Packers fan. We went and we sat up high in the nose bleeds, and we watched this performance before the game, I don’t know what else to call it, but the… The people, the fly over, the para-shooting guy who lands on the field, the big horse and the national anthem, this whole thing, it was incredible to experience…

I looked over at my wife and she’s crying, and I say, handle what’s wrong? It’s just so beautiful, this experience, and it really was… We’d heard about the Broncos, but until we experienced it, we were able to really see just how big a deal the Broncos actually are, you know.

You may have walked in today and you saw with big letters our mission statement To live in the way of Jesus with the heart of Jesus. We talk about Jesus a lot, he shapes everything that we do, but

The reality is, you might be wondering, Well, who is he, can he actually change everything about our lives? And maybe this is your first time at church, or you’ve come a couple of times and you’ve been hearing about this Jesus, but you’re kind of wondering what’s so important about this guy, maybe you’ve come to church for a long time and you’ve heard about Jesus for most of your life, but you’ve been wondering a little bit more lately, is he actually matter? Can he speak into every area of our lives, like we said, this has been a crazy year and out of control at times, and how does this Jesus figure speak into our lives today, is it just some complex idea or wishful thinking, or is there actual hope to be found in Him.

And so we’re gonna be exploring that question today To start, who is Jesus? If you were to take a look at various religions all across the world, you’ll find a wide range of answers about what people would say about who Jesus is, a great teacher, a prophet, a great man, a God-wise…

Some might even say that he was born of a virgin, but interestingly, all of the world’s major religions feel the need to account for Jesus in some way. Regardless of your beliefs, most people would say that Jesus is important in some way, historically, he was an influential person, in world history. But who is he actually? And why does he matter?

Jesus made some pretty important claims about himself, and in the book of John, we see seven of these I am statements that Jesus describes of himself. And what he’s doing is identifying himself as God.

He says this, I am the Bread of Life, the Light of the World, the gates, the Good Shepherd, the resurrection and the life. The way the truth and the life, and lastly, the True Vine, these are really important claims, and how do we approach these, CS Lewis in his famous book, Mere Christianity, he challenges is this this common notion that maybe Jesus was just a great moral teacher, he famously writes this, a man who was merely a man and said the sort of things that Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.

He would either be a lunatic on a level… With the man who says he is a poached egg or LC would be the devil of hell. You must make your choice, either this man was and is the son of God, or else a madman or something worse.

You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and call him as a demon, or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us, he did not intend to liar, lunatic or Lord. This famous quote really causes us to wrestle Lewis would eventually conclude, now it seems obvious that he was neither a lunatic nor opened, and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely, it may seem I have to accept the view that he was and is God… You can kinda see the implications is broken down if your mind maybe work a little bit more this way, but Jesus claims to be God, if his claim is false, and Jesus did not know his claim was false. He was a lunatic. If he knew his claim was false, he’d be a liar, but if his claim is true, Jesus is gone. Now, does this quota this idea of prove God’s existence? Not necessarily, but I think it forces us to think about this by who Jesus is.

Today, I wanna present the biblical view of Jesus, and as I’ve been thinking and preparing for this sermon, there’s so many directions that we could go so much I’d love to dive in to say everything, but I do wanna present very clearly who Jesus is, and also why he matters for our lives

Here at south, we have a statement of beliefs, if you were to go to South fellowship dot-org, you could see what we believe about Jesus Christ from the Bible, and this is kind of the summary statement that we have at South about who Jesus is, I think it’s really helpful. We believe that Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man without ceasing to be God, being conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, He came to reveal God to mankind and to redeem sinful humanity by giving Himself as a sinless sacrifice on the cross of Calvary, carrying the cross and penalty for sin on our behalf, which is physical and spiritual death, He then a rose bodily from the dead and ascended to the Father’s right hand where He intercedes on the believers behalf, all of the scriptures from first to last. Testify of Him. I think that’s a great summary of who Jesus is from scripture.

And it’s important that last statement that the whole thing, the whole Bible is about Jesus, it’s one unified story that all points to him on every page, from the old testament to the new… J Alec motor has this quote, and he says this… It’s a little bit of a chart here, the Old Testament is Jesus predicted. The Gospels is Jesus revealed. Act is Jesus preached, the Epistles is Jesus explained in revelation, is Jesus expected. It is one story that all points to him from Scripture. Now, you might be saying, Well, that’s great. That’s from the Bible. But what else do we know about Jesus from other sources? Are we just gaining all of this from scripture, and the reality is, is that there are lots of non-Christian sources, in fact, money who are hostile to Jesus, that actually say a lot about him.

Historically, J. Warner Wallace, he was a cold case homicide detective, and now he’s an apologist, and he studied these old writings of people who were contemporaries of Jesus, and then in the years that followed them to… Described his life, and it was fascinating, Pliny the Younger and Tacitus or Cephas and Dallas, they each kind of put together this composite picture of who Jesus is, and so What do non-biblical source to say about Jesus… This was fascinating to me. This is just from outside of Scripture, Jesus was born and lived in Palestine. He was a wise man who claimed to be God and the Messiah, he had unusual magical powers and performed miraculous deeds, he healed the lame, He accurately predicted the future, he persecuted by the… He was beaten with rods crucified on the day of his crucifixion, this guy grew dark and there was an earthquake, and it was fascinating to read some of these accounts from non-Christian sources, non-biblical sources, they could not explain why the world went dark that day. Afterward, He was buried in the tomb, and the tomb was later found to be empty, He appeared to His disciples resurrected from the grave, He showed them His wounds, the disciples then told others that Jesus was resurrected and ascended into heaven.

The disciples were also persecuted for their faith, but were martyred without changing their claims, they met regularly to worship Jesus even after his death. Which is pretty remarkable and pretty impressive considering the information there all comes from non-biblical sources. They were reporting history. Jesus is not just some made up person, he’s a real historical person who changed the world now, people would disagree on how to interpret that evidence. Was he truly the Son of God? But as Christians, I think is kind of the foundation of our faith. Here are the essentials of Christianity of which Jesus is the central figure. And if we would say this, what makes Christianity unique? And

All religion, some people would say that all religions are essentially the same, you boil them all down, but as Christians, we would say that there are a few things that kinda distinguished Christianity from other religions, and I think the first is this, is it’s based on receiving a gift, rather than earning our way to God, Romans 5-8, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us for all of sin and fall short of the glory of God. And so this is about receiving a gift, placing our trust and our faith in Jesus who died for us and who rose again, that we believe in Him rather than trying to earn our salvation.

Secondly, it’s based on a relationship with God that we don’t have to appease God to receive His favor, that he already showed us, his love for us by sending Jesus to die on a cross in our place for our sins. The separation between us and God was appeased, and we didn’t have to do a thing except for believe, and

So now as we live our lives, we live from approval, not for approval. We live from a personal relationship, not a cold and distant relationship with a God who’s not very interested in us. We have a personal relationship with the Creator of the universe who entered into our story and took on flesh, it’s a relationship, and third, it’s based on the resurrection. The tomb was empty. Jesus is alive. Every other major religious leader is dead, but Jesus came back to life, that He is who He said He was.

And yet you might be saying, Well, that’s great, but resurrection don’t happen. That’s not something that just naturally takes place, and so many people have presented naturalistic explanations for what happened with the resurrection. Because there’s significant weight on this event, if Jesus rose from the dead, then He is who He said He was, and our faith is true, and if Jesus did not rise from the dead, then Christianity is not real. And

So a few explanations that have been put forth, different theories, the stolen body theory. Maybe his disciples went to… Stole the body. Hallucination, maybe when Jesus appeared to people, they were all having a big hallucination to over 500 people.

Maybe the swoon theory, maybe Jesus didn’t actually die on the cross, he just kind of faked his death and came back, or maybe they went to the wrong tube. Well, the question is, what’s the best explanation for the evidence as you walk through each of those accounts, the stolen body theory, disciples wouldn’t have had a reason to go steal the body because they were hiding and afraid they didn’t believe he was gonna come back.

The hallucination theory, that 500 people see a hallucination for a period of 40 days. That’s not how hallucinations work. The swoon theory, the Romans were really good at their job, they made sure that Jesus was dead, the wrong tomb theory, that would have been very easy just to go to the right tomb to see that Jesus was there and so… Did the resurrection actually happened? I think there’s three things with that that we can say that the tomb was empty, that six independent sources confirm this, that Jesus died, he was laid in the tomb, and then later the tomb was found empty, the women actually discovered the empty tomb, and that’s significant because if people were making up a story, they would not have had that detail, women’s testimony was not held to be as high as others in that society, it was next to worthless. So the reality is, they were reporting truth that women discovered the empty tomb, the

Jewish authorities in the moment they make up a story that maybe Jesus’s followers stole the body, but we’ve discussed that one, or how about the second, the appearances that we see that Jesus did appear to over 500 people in four different gospel accounts confirm this. It’s historically certain that he appeared to people after His resurrection, and lastly to the disciples, believe perhaps the most convincing piece of proof that the disciples who were hiding and scared when Jesus died, they meet the risen Christ, and they were so convinced that their lives were transformed and they go around sharing the gospel, they’re willing to die for their faith, many of them were tortured and killed in brutal ways for what they believed, the rise of Christianity can only be described by the empty tomb, that Jesus did rise from the dead. There’s just no other plausible naturalistic explanation for these facts.

And that’s wonderful for us to realize, but you might be sitting here today and you might be like, Wow, Billy, that’s a lot. Cool, you can look up all those cool facts, but I could have looked at up all online, and the reality is, is you walked in today, you didn’t come to hear a bunch of facts and evidence.

Though I think there is a lot that points to who Jesus is and what he’s all about. But

The reality is, is that life is hard. You might have walked in today feeling hopeless or discouraged, and you can hear all of these facts and say, Oh, that’s nice. But why does Jesus really matter in my life? This year has been hard and wear some in a lot of ways, I teach in a school full-time and it’s been a tiring year for teachers as I work with students and hear their stories, it’s been hard and lonely and unsettling on a lot of them, they move from in-person learning to online and back and forth, and normal rhythms and sporting events and things that just… You’ve come accustomed to have been changed, it’s been hard on families financially, emotionally, transitions changes, new normals, disconnection, constantly adapting budgets, mask loss of loved ones. Quarantines this year has been unlike any other… You turn on the news and you see so much division and hatred in our world, the pandemics caused so many challenges on our country, I know each of us in some way have walked through challenges this year in some fashion, and

I think at the core of everyone we long to know, where can we find hope? Does Jesus have anything to actually say into our lives in terms of hope and how he matters, what can we stake our life on to find true. Lasting and real.

I wanna make the statement today that Jesus is our true hope, I truly and firmly believe that. Probably more accurately, I should say I believe that, and I’m learning to believe that more and more in my life, that our relationship with Jesus is not just some purely academic or intellectual exercise, but there certainly is strong evidence for Jesus when you examine the fact and get facing yet I think we all long for a personal relationship and connection with Jesus, belong for an experience with him, not just facts about him. And so this word has been on my mind a lot over the past few years, hope, as I’ve had conversations with people in a variety of fields and careers and life stages, it seems like for a lot of us, our identity is kind of been shaking a bit this year, whether that was finances or whether that was something that we had placed our security, I know it seems like Death and Mortality has become more tangible this year than in the past… At least it has to. My wife and I, in December 2019, I lost… My grandma grew up next door to me, dear to me, an influential youth leader of mine when I was in high school who made a huge impact on my life, recently lost his wife after a three-year battle with cancer, three young kids, a seminary couple of friend of ours that we went through seminary together, they recently lost their one-year-old little boy and attending a funeral for a one-year-old little boy, and in our own story with my wife, HANA and I, and having three miscarriages in the past nine months that the mental and emotional.

Grief and tall is great. And this question then, where do we find hope? And all of that. And what does Jesus have to do with it? I’m so glad that you asked that. If you’ll turn with me, Philippians chapter two.

We’re gonna be camping out in Philippians Chapter two for most of the rest of today, we’re gonna look at a few other Verses as well, but we’re gonna be in pilipinas Chapter Two, and in Paul in this passage, he’s writing this letter to this church at Philippi, he’s

Actually writing from prison, and he’s writing this letter to them, and this letter is all about joy, how to find joy in the midst of any circumstances, and he talks so much about who Jesus is, what He’s done, and then what that looks like for us and how… We live… And so there’s this beautiful passage, Philippians 2, 1 through 11, if you’ll read with me… Therefore, if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded. Having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain. Can see, rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interest, but each of you to the interest of the others. Verse Five, In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. Who being in very nature, God did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage. Rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.

In verse 9, therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord. To the glory of God the Father. This passage is beautiful. And in the last part of the passage, Verses 6 through 11 is known as the Christ Him. We see Jesus in his humiliation coming to earth dying, a horrible death on a cross, and then His exaltation in Verses 9-11, and he’s raised again and He’s seated at the right hand of God. And the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. We’re gonna come back to the first four verses a little bit later on, what we see in starting in Verse 5 is this pre-existence of Christ, the eternal sun, the second member of the Trinity, there with the father, the true and exact nature of God, and who being in the very nature God, He’s equal with God is God.

He didn’t cease to be God, but yet he emptied himself out, he made himself nothing, meaning that he didn’t use his privileges for his own benefit or his own advantage, but He poured himself out and coming to earth. It’s

A remarkable thing that Christ had all the privileges that were rightly his as the king of the universe, He gave them up to become an ordinary Jewish boy, bound for the cross.

He could have stayed where he was in a position of power, but he became a week for. 2 Corinthians 8-9 says, Though He was rich, yet for your sake, He became poor, so that you by His poverty might become rich. He never gave up his divinity, but he took on humanity, came into our story, and he died the most excruciating way possible on a cross, it was degrading and humiliating, completely destroyed him in a painful public display. But in verse 9, we see that his humiliation led to His exaltation, that His name is above all names, that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. And one day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. It’s

A wonderful passage, and there’s so much in there for us to see.

But as we think about this question of, Well, why does Jesus really matter for our lives, this passage shows us the arc of Jesus’s life and the hope that we have in Him, but there’s three things that I want us to see, the first is the person of Jesus, that Jesus provides true hope in our time of need.

Jesus provides true hope in our time of need, that he entered into our story, he didn’t stay cold and distant apart, he came into humanity, He was tempted in every single way. We are. And yet He was without sin.

And that’s remarkable. We see in Hebrews 4, verses 14 to 16, Therefore, since we have a great high priest who as a Senate into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, Let us hold firmly to the faith that we profess. But we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who’s been tempted in every way, just as we are yet He did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. That Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father, Father and He intercedes for us, that we can come confidently before God in prayer, hears us that He cares for us deeply, and He provides hope in our time of need, the incarnation, Jesus coming into our flesh, changes everything for us. And I think sometimes as we think about connecting with God, we talked about our… Christianity is a relationship. We often think of prayer is perhaps our last resort, I’m gonna try everything and then I pray, then I can come before God. But I would argue that it should be the first thing that we do. I will admit, over the course of this past year, there’s been times when it’s been hard to pray, it’s been hard to know what to pray, ’cause we’ve walked through some of these things in our lives and

Something that has just meant the world to Hannah and I there was a few weeks ago, and I came into the office here at South, and I have a little mailbox, and I don’t usually often get mail, but I looked in the mail and there was a little package with my name on it.

It was really exciting. It was bright colors, and opened it up, and in this package, there’s this little booklet, and this person who goes to South has said God laid it on my heart to be praying for you over the course of this year, and

Month after month away back in December, January, in February, in March, this person was just Writing out prayers for us, and they say they would say things in there like God laid it on my heart to pray for this specific thing, they would have had no way of knowing what we were walking through.

And they were praying for us and lifting us up day after day, and it was truly incredible, and it meant so much to us that God has answered a lot of those prayers, that they’ve been lifting those up and encouraging us that prayer matters deeply. And Jesus provides us with that hope that we can come confidently before God and in a relationship with our creator, he offers to us… Secondly, we see the purpose of Jesus as He came to earth, He provides true hope for our sin and our brokenness, and

He entered into our story. In Luke 19-10 said, He came to seek and to save the lost. For Jesus came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. That He speaks into our sin and brokenness and provides a way for us to be forgiven, provides a way for us to be in a relationship with God, and this gives us this new identity as his fully loved children, and we are in a relationship with Him, the Second Corinthians 5-21 says, this God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him, we might become the righteousness of God. That due to Jesus’s life and is entering into our story, dying on a cross, he offers us new identity as his fully loved children. My wife and I have loved this show called The Chosen, it’s come out, it’s on YouTube, and there’s also an app for it, but it’s basically the life of Jesus and his disciples, and it’s been a fascinating and really visual and powerful way just to describe Jesus’s life and as you get to know the characters and enter into the story, and each of the episodes, most of the episodes talk about how Jesus goes to those who are sick or who are lame, Hoare the outcasts or people…

Everybody else is overlooked, and Jesus provides a new identity, he speaks into our story and makes us new, we are a new creation following him, and that’s a wonderful thing. He provides true hope for our sin and brokenness, and lastly, Jesus provides true hope for our weary souls in the exaltation of Jesus, we see the hope of what happened when he was raised from the dead, that it has given us this new hope and Jesus promises before he sends into Heaven the Holy Spirit to guide us, to direct us that wherever we go, his presence is with us. As we walk through any challenges or difficulties, we can cling to that hope that He is with us always. Jesus offers us this invitation in Matthew 11, 28-30, Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you’ll find, for your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light. That in the midst of our weariness and striving and working and working, that Jesus offers us a true rest, an invitation to a new way of life, an invitation to follow Him with everything that we are, knowing that we’re not alone, but he promises to be with us.

Always. And that is a wonderful thing as we experience this new life and we are called in an invitation to follow Him, that we’re not called just to sit on the sidelines, but to live out our faith fully trusting in Him with a new perspective, not just to be His fans or admirers of Jesus, but actually to be his followers, we’re called to have his mindset as we serve and love others each and every day. And we see that so clearly in Philippians 2 verse 14, about the beginning of this passion that Paul gave to us. If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if

Any common sharing in the spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, rather in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interest, but each of you to the interest of the others. As we partner with Jesus and represent Him here on earth as were agents of restoration in our broken world, as we know his promise to be with us, always to guide us and to direct us here and now.

But as Christians, we also know the end of the story, we know how this will all end, that Jesus will come back and mention, my wife and I, we love to watch TV shows, and we’ve gotten into different ones over the years, some of them are more intense than others, but there’s one thing that particularly drives her crazy. As we start a TV show, we watch the first episode and we’ll turn it off and we’ll go do other things, and I’ll look up what happens at the very end of the show, the

Very last episode, I have to know how the story will end, and it drives her crazy, she just not wanna know how it’s gonna end, but for me, that gives me so much peace of mind, well, this person’s gonna go there, or this person’s gonna live, or this one’s not… And then I can watch the show knowing what’s going to happen, I just… That gives me peace of mind. Maybe I’m weird in that, but we know the end of the story, and as Christians, we know the end of the story too.

We know in Revelation that Jesus will come back and he’ll make all things. All things will be made right. And that is something that with hope that we cling to Revelation 21 verses 1 through 4. I know Pastor Alex has shared this passage as well in this series, but I think it’s such a fitting way to close… And it says this, Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and there was no longer any sea. I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, Look, God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There’ll be no more death or mourning, or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. This is Jesus’s promise to us. He provides true hope for our weary souls, both now and into the future as we follow after Him, and in a minute, we’re going to be stepping into a time of communion, we’ve ended each of the weeks during this series, the time of communion, as we reflect on Jesus’s love on His sacrifice for us on the cross, and His body and His blood.

But today, as we just reflect on who Jesus is and why He matters in our lives, that is incarnation, HIM coming into humanity, living the life that we could not live, dying the death that we deserve, to provide us with Hope gives us a new identity as his child, as a dearly loved child of God, and as an invitation to follow Him in every aspect of our lives, knowing that he’s with us, and the promise is sure that one day all things will be made right and there will be no more morning, our pain. We cling to that hope today, let’s pray. The only Father, we thank you so much for your word, thank you for who you are and the love that you’ve shown to us, the grace that you’ve extended to us, I pray for each and every person in this room and those watching online, we thank You for South, thank you for how you’ve worked in this place, you continue to work on how you guide us and direct us as we seek to live in your way, with your heart, I pray that you’ll just give us and peace that we can cling to the hope that we have in you, each and every day of our lives.

Who is Jesus and Why does He Matter? | Searched (Part 6)2021-09-01T16:16:03-06:00

What is the Purpose of Life? | Searched (Part 5)

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So what a Pentium little video, and there may be some things that you disagree with in it, there may be some things that you profoundly or decidedly agree with it, but it’s a video that’s wrestling with this big question, what is the meaning of life? What is the meaning of life? This was the last question in or the fifth question in our series that we’ve been walking through, what is the meaning of life? And you may have all sorts of different answers. You may feel some of what this philosopher, Alan Watts outline there, this sense of, Well, I thought I knew at one point, but then I became a little more undecided as I went through my different career tracks, maybe you got to a certain point of a certain age and say, Well, was that really it? But this wrestling is something that people have done for a long time, and if we’re honest at times, a ransom, what is the meaning? What is the purpose? What is the end of life? Some of your answers have been rather ridiculous, this was a son by a band called Hard Fi some years ago. The song was called living for the weekend, and it said, working all the time.

Work is such a bind, got some money to spend living for the weekend when it gets too much, I live for the Rush, got some money to spend living for the weekend, maybe there’s the sentinels that we have five days to get through their core work days, week days, and we get to the weekend and then life feels better, feels like it should be… Maybe this would sum up some of our philosophy, better days are coming there called Saturday and Sunday. I actually have this mug that I drink from every Sunday morning habitually, it says this, I really need a day between Saturday and Sunday, and I think every pastor in the country should have this mark, just sitting there. You have that moment, you’re like, Oh, I just wish there was a day I wish I could have… Could’ve worked on my lawn or something like that. How about this one? Maybe it’s not the week and maybe it’s… Life would be better if we had six months vacation, but got to take it twice a year, maybe it’s just… If all life or vacation would be fine, would be happy. I have some friends that I grew up with that would say that they live for their week in Spain every year, they would talk about it for six or seven weeks before they left with excitement, with joy.

For about a week afterwards, the SHINE was still there and the town was still there, and they would talk about it for a couple more weeks, but that was the significant moment on their calendar, they were quite honestly living for one week, 51 weeks of the year. Maybe there’s other stuff that you could identify if you search back in some of your history, some other stuff that you would say, I lived for my education, I love to get good grades, maybe I lived for success in school, maybe I lived for my college degree, maybe you’ve lived for promotion, maybe you’ve lived for some kind of achievement that you could put on your wall and say, Man, I have really arrived at this point, maybe you’ve lived to raise kids now for hundreds of years, thousands of years, that was the predominant aspect of why we perceive, we were here, people were told you here to have kids to keep your family line going, this good thing, and we celebrate new birth. That’s a wonderful, exciting thing. And yet, is it the whole purpose of life is marriage in finding the right partner, is that the sole purpose of life is buying a bigger house, that the main purpose of life…

We wrestle with some of these questions on the surface a few weeks ago, when we ask the question, Why does God hate me? And what we found is we looked at Google searches and the algorithm around that, what we found is that a lot of the time those questions were linked to a sense of dissatisfaction, I don’t feel like life is all it could have been, I feel like I was promised something, and I got there and it was a hook, just like Alan Watts outlined. I’d like to push a little bit further into that question with this idea of What is the meaning of life this week? And I’d love to start with a statement that Jesus made. And what we’re gonna do is for those of you that are familiar with the Bible, we’re gonna pull back further and further, so we’re gonna start very focused in on John chapter 10, verse 10, if you have a text you wanna open to, if you have an iPhone that you wanna pull out and pull up on screen, you are free to do that. We’re gonna start here in John chapter 10, verse 10, but then we’re going to sort of zoom backwards, because here’s the truth about those little numbers in the text in front of you, they want there to begin with, someone put them there, and while sometimes they’re useful, they give you like an address that you can go to to find the right part of the Bible, in actual fact, sometimes they’re actually harmful. Sometimes it means that you pick up a book like John, this biographer of Jesus life, and you open it to John chapter 10, and you assume that you can just start at that point with no other context, you can start into a new conversation, and yet sometimes some stuff has been going on for a few chapters before, that actually is really important and really informative, so what I would suggest is sometimes when we do that without being aware of the context, it’s like you turn on Netflix, pull up a show and say, I’m gonna go to season six, episode three. And I’m just gonna jump in and hope that somehow I’ll figure it out as I go along, now I’m not saying don’t ever read the Bible that way, I’m just saying increasingly try and become aware of the fact that there is this whole conversation that’s been going on before so, if you like to read the Bible, if that’s a fun thing for you, go home and read, Start in John Chapter 7, and read all the way to the end of John chapter 10, because that is one conscious stream of thought.

There are all of these events as we’ll see, that are completely interrelated, that are deeply informative of each other, and you’ll probably learn something new as you do it. Now, we don’t have time to do all of John Chapter 7-10 today. So I just wanna let you know we’re not staying that long, it’s Mother’s Day, I have to take my wife out and celebrate, I left in the morning in a Russian, so I feel like I’m letting the side down… I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. Jesus said, I have come that they may have life and have it to the full John chapter 10. Jesus chooses to use this word person, it means abundant, even superfluous, almost more than you can handle when Jesus talked about why he had come in this particular place, He said, I have come that the people that follow me may have life. And it may be more than they can handle it, maybe this big thing that swells up, it may be super full, it may be beyond expectations, all of those different synonyms that go with it, it’s kind of maybe related to this line in the Westminster Confession now, if you’re new to church and the word Westminster Confession means nothing to you. Don’t worry, the Westminster Confession is a list of things that lots of churches believe. And sometimes it’s helpful to get to the heart of something. And the Westminster Confession says, This man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. I would say there’s this inter-connection between this idea of abundant if life is abundant and some level it should be enjoyable. And my question is this, is that what you and I experience, given the fact that we know that Judge attendance has a load of people, and maybe that’s some of us in this room right now that would say, I come because of loyalty, I come because of duty I come because my family members drag me, I come from all sorts of different reasons. I wonder whether the word enjoy is a stretch, I wonder whether we might say, does the idea of enjoying relationship with God sound a bit far? Do we experience what we would call life that’s abundant? Is it more than we can have? Are we seeing that in our marriages, are we seeing that in the way that we raise kids, are we seeing that in our lives in business and work, employment, all those different things, are we seeing in our lives of friendship in every area…

What do we say that what we experience is experiencing is abundant, and what do we say in that process, we’re enjoying life with God. I would guess that for some of us, if we were to look deep inside us and to try and find some honesty, what we would say is this, There are times where that is true, but there are the times… If I’m honest, but then I just survive life with God, I figure it out and he’s there when I need him away, I have a list of stuff specifically, I get to go to him and say I need DUI… Don’t know if enjoyment is the word that most of us would land on, and yet somewhere Jesus says, Now this is supposed to be abundant, this is supposed to be more than you can handle, and someone were told that We should be glorifying God and enjoying him forever where do we land with some of that stuff, so I’d love to wrestle without recognizing that for so many of us… Life is hard, I read this week that Bill and Melinda Gates who are getting divorced in someone’s head, in the report, if they can’t make it work with 140 billion, who can make it work? Now, the truth is, I wonder whether those 140 billion may be harder, and yet we see that all across the world, all across American marriages under pressure, parenting under pressure, everyday life under pressure, and I think most of us would say, If Abundant Life was accessible, if it was something that we could experience that we would jump in on that, and yet we also have just lifted something Jesus said, For all of its context, what did he mean when he said that we should be experiencing abundant life? Is it just as simple as that? Or is there a whole lot of stuff in John Chapter 7, John Chapter 8, John Chapter 9, John chapter 10 that might inform a son first step.

Let’s take back a little bit we… We started in John Chapter 10-10. We’re gonna jump back to the beginning of John chapter 10, and just see what that tells us in terms of the context of what Jesus said. So here we go. Very truly, I tell you, Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to His voice. So Jesus is teaching in what’s called parable, if you’re familiar with the Bible, Matthew, Mark and Luke, these other biographies of Jesus have tons of parables, John, some people would say has none, but this is quite a traditional Hebrew Marshall or parable, and it’s very much fits in with the everyday form, so this at least seems like it’s a parable, there’s characters that come into it, and you can take those characters and you can usually assign them to somebody else in this parable, you might see sometimes Jesus is referring to himself as a shepherd, sometimes he’s referring to a thief, sometimes he’s referring to a wolf, and then he’s talking about sheep, which generally is safe to sees the everyday people listening.

And maybe some of you guys as well. The one who went, us by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to His voice. He cause His own sheep by name and leads them out. When He has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice. So intriguing here is the difference between eastern shepherding and Western shepherding. So some of you have seen things like in England, they actually still show sheep dog trials on television, I don’t know if they would get away with that here. It’s very old-fashioned. Very point, very English. But in that system, what happens is this, You have sheep that are stupid, that are disobedient, and the shepherd sends out a dog who chases the sheep, sometimes it gives them a little nip to tell them where to go, has a stick that helps guide them and is driving them towards a gate that is not anything like the type of shaping that Jesus would have experienced and Jesus would have had in his mind as he’s outlining what it is for God to be a shepherd in the Eastern world.

The shepherd knew his sheep by name, he would name each one of them, and usually that name would have something to do with the way that they looked, on the way that they acted, if there was a sheep that was always behind, he would call the sheet lazy if the sheep had particularly large, as he would say, He’s old big ears coming down the path of we’re a sheep walk on, I don’t really know, but I do know that there was this personal relationship between a shepherd and a shot, so when he talks about a sheep knowing a shepherd, knowing the sheep’s name. Well, that means exactly what it says on the 10 is it’s this idea that a shepherd would go out, his sheep would intermingle with all of the other sheep, and then at the end of the day, he would call the sheep and the sheep would come out from amongst the others, and make his way over to him and then he would walk a longer path and lead them… When Jesus talks about abundant life, it’s talking about, he’s talking about it in direct relation to over the relationship to a relationship with him, he’s talking about the idea that it’s possible for us to come into a relationship with God that we…on some level, I like your sheep, and he would long to call to us and have us come towards him when he talks about abundant life. That’s the context that he talks about, it is, he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When He has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and he follow Him because they know His voice. But they will never follow a stranger. In fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize the strangest voice, Jesus is unpacking God’s idea to be in relationship with each of us abundant life it seems begins with that decision to walk in relationship with Jesus. Therefore, Jesus said again, Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I’m the gate, Whoever enters through me will be saved. They were coming in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. I and the Good Ship, The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

And Jesus starts to give this him that this relationship is possible because he will lay down his life for the sheep, he will go through death and resurrection, that each of us might be in relationship with him, this is the central idea behind this abundant life, but there’s more context than just that, so we pull back to John chapter 10. Now, let’s go a little bit further, because John Chapter 10 only exists because of John Chapter 9, and John Chapter 9 only exists because of John Chapter. What do I mean by that? A few weeks ago, if you can track back that far, we talked about Jesus turning up at a festival in John chapter 7, He appears at a festival and on the last day, he stands up and he says, I have come to give a living water, and He and who is thirsty come? And get living water. For me, he hijacks this religious festival at the highest point of the festival, he says It’s not really about this water, I can give you something that is more lasting, is more significant is deeper, he takes over this festival in this incredible moment, just at its high point, and naturally, the religious leaders are very angry about this, he gets into several arguments about them, and then in the end, has a discussion with them in the temple just about whether he has the authority to act as he does.

At the end of the festival, he leaves. And this is where we find John chap tonight, so he’s in the middle of an argument with these Pharisees, all of this conversation we’ve read so far is directed to this group of religious leaders, and so we read in John Chapter 9, we’ve gone back a chapter as he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, Rabbi, who sinned this man or his parents that he was born blind. All of this conversation about sheep and shepherds comes from Jesus healing a blind math, he walks out of a temple, season man who is born blind, heals him, and this group of religious leaders are annoyed that he has healed him. Why would you be annoyed about someone bringing sight to someone who was blind? Jesus says, Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened. Some of the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day… We must do the works of Him who sent me. Now is coming when no one can work, and while I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

So Jesus heals the man and the man is dragged in front of these religious leaders. They brought to the Pharisees, the man who had been blind. Now, the day on which Jesus had made the Butera opened the man’s eyes. Was a Sabbath? Just hold that in your mind for a second. That’s important. Therefore, the Pharisees also asked him how he received his sight. He, Jesus put mine on my eyes, the man replied, And I washed, and now I see, you would think that that incredible moment will be the thing that grab the Pharisees attention. This man was blind, and now he sees. What actually grabs their attention? Is something very different? Some of the Pharisees said, This man is not from God. He does not keep the Sabbath. Now, notice what concerns both Jesus earliest followers and the Pharisees in the different points, but they’re definitely interrelated… Let’s just go back a second. He went to long and he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples ask Him, Rabbi, who sin this man or his parents? The earliest followers of Jesus are very concerned about, is this mental? Can we blame him for his… Like I say, or do we have to blame his parents, but we need to blame someone, we need to know that this is somebody’s fault, we need to know who failed, and this happened, similar sort of thing with the Pharisees, this guy is not keeping the rules, there’s about the way he’s operating, that doesn’t fit, why is he doing things that aren’t right, there’s a list of rules, and their religion, their experience of God is primarily based on how well they are keeping those rules, this guy is not doing it right, it doesn’t matter that a guy that was blind can now see to them, it doesn’t fit the rules and not being followed Jesus, the Pharisees and Jesus old followers are attempting to count their way towards God, they’re attempting to count their way to towards God. Now, what do I mean by count their way towards God to help you understand this? I’m gonna tell you a story. A few years ago, my wife and I, it’s our anniversary, and we decided to go dancing together, now, I’m not much of a dad, so I don’t dare particularly great, but I did what I lack in skill I make up for in deep passion about dancing. Ostentatious-ly. My wife may have the skill, she has less of the obnoxious ostentatious and is or whatever, but we went tango dancing and it was a wonderful experience. But what I loved about it was this, when we arrived, I was told something that brought joy to my soul, I was told the man is always in charge, in tango, you’re in charge. You just tell her, push out where she needs to go. And that’s how Tango works. We were told awkwardly on a anniversary that we were supposed to split up and darts with other people in the group, and we were like, Well, okay, well, we’ll go along with it, but it’s a little weird, so my wife ended up dancing with a delight for 70 year-old gentleman, and I ended up dancing with the owner’s daughter, and she said to me, You just have to push me where I need to go, and the gentleman told my wife, if I step on your toes, that’s your fault for having your feet where I want to mind, this is how one-sided apparently at its heart Tango is, and of course, there was this delight in my soul, because he’s a confession.

I have a counting mind, I know when you failed, and I know when I fail, I know when you are in the wrong, and I know when I am in the wrong… I know when I feel like God has let me down, and I know when I have let him down, I know who is ahead and who is behind, and I think lots of you would say you have similar articulations as well, maybe it begins with… Oh yeah, you didn’t do the dishes last night… Oh yeah, but one time ago, you also did that thing and it just goes on and there’s the score keeping, this counting that seems to be ingrained in lots of us, and so my delight in Tanger was this, I found a dance that I can win, and the odds are stacked in my favor, when she is wrong, it’s her fault, and when I’m wrong, it’s her as well. This was the joy of my experience, I have found a date that I can win it, and I love winning it, stuff, and I’m always counting, and I say it with you, but also with sadness. I’m always counting.

Counting with God. I’m counting with you. Counting with the people around me, I know who is ahead, and I know who is behind, and it’s hard to escape. It’s hard to escape. These Pharisees have found a way to try and count their way to God.

If they could just keep enough rooms, that would be okay, if Jesus kept enough rules, then he’d be on their side, there’s this whole system in mind who’s keeping the rules for the disciples who’s to blame is that this man or his parents, because somebody always has to be to blame. Right. Now, what I found interesting was, despite everything I was told about Tango at the end of the night, we got to watch one of the young couples dance, it was the owner’s daughter and her fiance, and suddenly I saw something about Tango that I didn’t catch my very broken level. When I watched them date, who was in charge? Didn’t seem to matter anymore.

They want counting, who was right and who was wrong. They were lost in the experience of the music, they were lost in this process of being together, they were in partnership, and it was incredible to watch the Pharisees, Jesus followers, are intensely interested in who is counting and Jesus isn’t interested in whose County or who’s in charge, or who’s losing or who’s winning, this is a parable hotels in Matthew’s biography of his life, therefore the Kingdom of Heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. A rich king has many servants who are with money, so we pause them all in to figure out who needs to repay what, when he began to settle, one was brought to him, owned him, 10010000 to… That is a lot of money, millions of dollars in today’s terms, and since she could not pay his master ordered him to be sold with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made, this man will never be able to dig himself out of this debt, he will be locked in prison forever, his family will end up in slavery until a family can come along and redeem them. So the sun fell on his knees as you would expect, imploring him, Have patience with me, and I have patience with me and I will pay you everything out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.

What is the king, the master suggesting should happen, is he suggesting that He’s gonna let the guy go and the over time He will repay the money. He’s not suggesting that at all. That would be ridiculous. That would be very bad business, complete foolishness. The man can never earn enough to repay the debt that he owes, he’s suggesting, you know that system by which we keep school, you know the ledgers that we have where we write debts down, you know, all of the sort of the back history that we have in our personal relationships where we say, This person did this to me. He’s suggesting, Let’s just cancel the whole thing, he’s suggesting, Let’s wipe the white board clean of the schools, let’s raise it, let’s rip it up, let’s start fresh and never count score again. Is that what the servant thinks that he’s doing, but when the same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, a smaller amount of money, and season him. He began to choke him, saying, Pay back what you owe. So this fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, Have patience with me and I will pay you the same request that he just made of the king, he refused and went to put him in prison until he should pay the debt the King…

’cause ripped up the ledge of the king said, Let’s not count anymore, but the servants still wants to count. I would suggest that Jesus is operating in this new system, he’s saying, let’s not worry about counting, but lots of us still want to count, especially with other people, and especially maybe still with God Himself. I would suggest what God is suggesting is just stop counting your way, to me, it’s not about what you have done, it’s not about how you have failed, it’s not about how you are broken, you are free to come into a relationship if we are not experiencing abundant life in our relationship, we’ve got that thing that Jesus suggested we should be experienced in. I wonder if at its core it because… What was still counting? Am I still okay? Have you failed too many times, has God given up on me? Now, we’re still counting with other people, This person let me down, and now it’s my turn to sort of, I need a revenge for this thing, for that thing, we’re still people at our heart, I think the count. I know at times, I’m still a person that counts, and Jesus system seems to work around the idea that was supposed to be tearing that thing up when he talks about relationship, the relationship of a sheep and shepherd.

He’s not very interested in whether the sheep is doing a good job being a sheep, he is simply interested in the sheep willing in us to come to Him out of relationship, to hear his voice and to walk into relationship with Him. If you are still trying to count your way to God, it will not work, you are invited free of charge on the house, no strings attached. The whole of this passage works around this one Greek word bag, like Zoe, which is very hard to say, especially in front of people, so if you have better Greek pronunciation, feel free to rush the stage and you can pronounce it for us, it means to be moved in the inward parts to feel compassion, it’s this process into something… I mean, that says, I’m gonna let it go. This king is merciful. This king is kind, this king is generous for nothing that the servant has done, the servant has done nothing to deserve the books being ripped up, and yet the king says, Let’s tear them up anyway, let’s just stop County. Let’s let it go. So this event fell on his knees, employing him, Have patience with me and I will pay you everything and out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the dead is entirely pity, entirely grace that leads them down this journey, the

Pharisees and Jesus on followers are attempting to count their way towards God, but Jesus offers the possibility that we can all stop counting with God and with each other. He invites us into the same incredible relationship that it seems that God has with himself. So you may have heard the term Trinity, it may be very confusing to you, it’s the idea that God is three and yet also one that the response, the son and spirit, God is in this eternal relationship with himself, and look at some of the ways that relationship operates, God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it. The father sins, the sun goes, My father goes on working. And so do I, the Father and the Son, work together in partnership. The Holy Spirit will teach all things and remind you of everything I have said to you. Each one has his role, each one plays a part, there is this relationship that isn’t based on who is in charge, who is winning, who is losing, it is the relationship that God invites us into and says, This is what relationship can look like, it’s far more like a dance, than it is. A score-keeping system. So here’s my question. We said Jesus isn’t counting. If he’s not counting, what is he doing? What is he doing in this John chapter nyasa, he doesn’t seem very interested in assigning blame as to why this man is blind, what is his role if Jesus isn’t counting, then what is he doing in this moment? Jesus is healing a man, and this is really interesting if you love little details like this, the day that he happens to hear this man on his fascinating, as I told you a little while ago, there’s this festival that took place in John chapter 70, at the end of it, Jesus goes off to the temple, the day after the festival, he leaves the temple and has this moment where he meets a blind man.

This day is called Shami and Sarah chemie era is significant for one reason, it’s the day that Jewish people historically would start reading the Bible again, they will go back to Genesis Chapter 1 and begin to read from the start to think about what is happening all over the Jewish world in this moment, Jewish people are picking up a book or hearing a book red, and it talks about creation, talks about how creation was made good, how creation was made, wonderful, talks about how God made human beings and made them very good. Everything is fine, and then there’s a moment where Jesus walks out of the temple and sees a man who is blind… And think about what that means in that context. As you went along, he saw a man born blind from birth. As disciples, as in Rabbi who sinned, this manner, his parents, that he was born blind. Neither this man nor his parents sin of Jesus, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of Him who sent me. Night is coming when no one can work.

Well, I’m in the world, I am the light of the world. After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with a slave, the Genesis one story is about a guard who takes dirt and makes human beings from the DART, he takes mud pits on it, so… Sorry, he takes dirt, spit on it, mixed mud, and put it on the man’s eyes, go… He told him, washing the pool of salon, so the man went washed and came home, seeing, on a day when Jewish people everywhere would read the original creation story, Jesus walks out of a temple season man who is blind, who is now the antithesis of what creation was made to be, creation was made good, and he is not experiencing that good creation, and Jesus heals that man on that day. Now, think about this, hearing a person who had become line was considered in the Jewish will to be difficult. It took a master healer, it took a great doctor, hearing a person born blind was considered impossible, it required an active creation on the day that they read Genesis I and talked about creation, Jesus walks out of a temple seaman who is born blind and creates new eyes for him, Jesus in this moment is partnering with his father in the work of creation, this is what’s happening in here, he is creating something new, and then look what He invites us into, as long as it is day…

We must do the works of Him who sent me. As long as it is day, we, let’s do the works of Him, you sent Jesus could quite easily use the word eye, and yet he chooses to use the word we. He is partnering with his father in the work of new creation, and I would suggest he invites us to join him in doing the same. Let’s go back to that phrase we looked at from this Westminster Confession thing that… The man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. Part of the reason we don’t experience that enjoyment, that abundance is because we’re still counting and we’re still figuring out if we all got a debt was still playing the old game of rule following, and then the glorifying piece… Well, in glorifying cover, we glorify God by living up to what we were supposed to be in the first place, what was what were human beings made to be… Sometimes in the Christian church, what I would suggest is this. We tell that the story begins in Genesis Chapter 3, here’s the story in Genesis Chapter Three, about man becoming broken, they become a failure and they need fixing.

And for so many of us, that is the start of the story. Man is broken, he needs fixing. And yet the story doesn’t start there, does it… Story starts in Genesis Chapter 1, story starts with what you and I were made to be, we’re told about this creation, God said, Let the land produce vegetation, seed bearing. Plant some trees on the lamb, a terror with seed in it according to their various kind, and it was so, God makes this creation that’s continually expanding, continually growing, continually, becoming something new, and then he makes man… So this creation does this thing, it does this, revise the Hebrew word, it’s gonna multiply. The grass is going to keep growing, how many of you have already removed weeds from your yard, how many of you have already done that for a second time or a third time, How many of you expect to get very tired of doing that by the end of the summer season does this creation that keeps growing. Keeps expanding. And it was always that way. So when God makes human beings, what we’re told is he makes them in His image to do some of the things that he does to partner with him in this creation, and He uses these fascinating words subdue and rule.

He talks about this word Kaba, which means to tread down a path, to bring something into order, and then he says that human beings, you and I are made to be overseers of this creation. The start of our story is in Genesis Chapter Three, with our brokenness, star of our story is this, And so when Jesus partners with his father in new creation and then talks about we… Instead of I, what I suggest is saying is our way of glorifying Him is to do the same… This is one of his final words to his followers, peace be unto you As my Father has sent me even so. Even so I send you. Does this moment where Jesus says to His earliest followers, don’t start doing the same things that I did. Does that mean supernatural healing and things like that, potentially, but does it mean partnering with his father in new creation? Definitely. How many of you would say this? How many of you would say that some of the way that the church is presented, what life looks like has kind of made your work… We feel like it, it doesn’t really matter. There’s the story that we often tell people, and it’s something like this, You need to decide whether you’re made to do church ministry and then you’re supposed to stand up in front of people and talk to people about Jesus, or you’re supposed to sit in a church office and that’s for a certain group of people, and that’s good, and everybody else, well, you should make money and you should give some of that money to the church, so the church can keep being the church and keep making stuff happen.

At times, I would suggest that’s what we have ended up telling everybody about how life is supposed to work, and yet… Does that make sense? When you look at Genesis chapter with whatever you do, whatever role you play, you are invited into partnering with your father in act of creation.

I would suggest that when you read the Bible like this, with this at its core, there is almost nothing that you can do that you can’t do well and partner with God now, the same is true, there’s almost nothing that you can’t do badly and can bring death and destruction to the world, but almost any career choice, almost any path you may take, you can jump in and do that in a way that brings honor and brings partnership with Jesus and his father, suddenly when you read the Bible this way, well, your Monday through Friday, it actually matters how you operate in the world around you, it actually matters. The business that you run, it actually matters, the kids that you’re raising, it actually matters. Your choices actually matter. Sometimes we’ve told people, it’s church ministry, or nothing else, and everything else has a lower value than that sting and your job is… Yes, just keep giving the money, just keep making that happen. The truth is, there is almost no career that you can’t do well, and Carrington and glory to your Father, there’s almost no career that you can’t operate in as an image, dare of God.

This is Frederic Beane. There are all different kinds of voices calling you to all different kinds of work, and the problem is to find out which is the voice of God rather than of society or self-interest by a large, a good rule for finding out is this the kind of work God usually cause you to is the kind of work that A… That you need most to do and be that the world… Most needs to have done. The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet. Think about the things that you are passionate about, you are called in a need for those things, and yet sometimes we’ve been told to follow those deep passions is to move away from anything that God is the Centre, and yet it seems that that is exactly what God is at the center of… You can find almost anything you are passionate about to do, well, to do normally to bring new life to creation, think about how we pull this all back to John chapter 10, where we started, he calls his own sheep by name, and he leads them out.

It seems that God’s deep sense of what brings meaning to the word is this, He longs to call us into relationship with Him, He longs a state for his us to hear his voice, to come to know him, to live in that deep abiding relationship. Not to count our way to him, not to figure out who is winning and losing, but to step confidently into a relationship that he made possible for us, but then it talks about him leading them out as well. That was this moment of, Well, what do you need to do? There is something inside you, gifting, joy, life, some way that you are wired, and the invitation of God is to partner with him in this world, not just to work in a church, not just to go to seminary or any of those things that maybe you’ve been told of the purpose. Whatever you are doing. There is a way to do it. Well, Jesus says, But thief comes only to steal, to kill and to destroy. I have come that they have life and have it to the full… Whatever you do, Monday through Friday, whatever that thing is, whatever that thing that you feel called into is, I would suggest that almost anything you can do it like a thief, and almost any choice you can do like a good Shepherd, you can do almost anything badly and almost anything.

Well, the meaning of life is to find relationship with the God who loves you, and to partner with him in bringing life to the world and the people around you is the purpose of managed to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. I think that covers both of those things, you are made for this relationship, that you are made to bring life to those around you, what

You do matters, who you are need to be in matters, I’m gonna invite Jake in the team to come up on stage and leaders in worship, we’re gonna come to this communion table, which reminds us of that very fact that Jesus on the night he was betrayed, sat with His earliest followers and broke bread and said, Do this in remembrance of me. He reminded them that his death meant something for them personally, but this is death also meant something for how the world was going to work in the future, a new thing was happening, a new story was emerging, Jesus didn’t just die for us, the individuals, he died to create a new world. A new kingdom. When we drink, we remind ourselves of that fact, today, I would invite you to remind yourself that you are called to partner with this card in his kingdom. You aren’t made to sit on the sidelines, you aren’t me to watch others do it, you aren’t made to just own money and share it, whatever you do, you are called into partnership, the meaning of life is to find a relationship with the God who loves you. And to partner with him in bringing life to the world and the people around you. Let’s take a moment to reflect. In this moment, as you close your eyes and lay, I’d like to invite you to listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd, whether you’re here in person, whether you’re a home… Take a moment and listen. The

Story of John chapter 10 is of a God who loves you, who laid down His life for you, he invites you into a relationship, who knows your name, knows your distinct characteristics, he knows how you keep score, he knows the ways you feel like a failure. He knows the things that go back years and decades that you still hold against other… Still hold against yourself. He knows the way that score-keeping has kept you from an abundant life from enjoying relationship with Him, he invites you to tear up the after school cars to race the ledger, he invites you to stop the counting system. He invites you to live out your purpose in the world around you, he invites you to celebrate the way he is made you, the deep passion that you have for the world, the deep needs that the world has, I invite you to find a place where those deep needs and deep passions, we invite you to partner with him. I am a good shape. My sheep know my voice. In this moment, maybe it’s a long time since you feel God has spoken to you in this moment, as we approach the table, we’re invited to quiet our hearts.

In this moment, you might want to pray, God, if you’re there, would you please speak to me? In this moment, you might feel reminded of someone that need to forgive, and this may be a phone call that you need to make your… A text you need to send… Holy Spirit is report us. What would you speak to people in this room and at home as the stop as required quite as our human minds can get… Would you speak to us of your love for us, you’re longing for a relationship with us. Thank you that you made a way where there was no way, and you invite us into relationship. Would you speak to us a purpose for those of us that have found that we’re living for something that just isn’t worth living for, would we find that purpose in you?

What is the Purpose of Life? | Searched (Part 5)2021-09-01T16:15:21-06:00

What Happens When We Die? | Searched (Part 4)

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Common friends or you do today? Good to see you all. It’s just what a beautiful dance, great to have you guys here at South if you’re online, it’s great to have you at home, but here in spirit and all those good things. So I just wanna, before I start, my name’s Alex, I’m one of the pastors here. I just wanted to celebrate with you guys that are part of this community, we run a thing for the first time last week that we’re calling the first mile initiative, we drew a circle around South and said, We would love to help this area of our community just see you just flourish and grow, we love little turn, we’d love to just see it be all it can be. And so we sent about 100 people out last week, and I just wanna give a shout out to Dan, to Jodie, Jessica, the team that put that together.

Let’s give them a round of applause ’cause they worked it out. It was a ton of fun just to be involved, I just drove around the different projects being no practical help whatsoever, but I feel like I did my bit for the culture and all those kind of things

When lifting men’s hearts or whatever you might say, coming down the line, I just wanna give you a little update what we’re doing over the next few months as we think about teaching, what we’re learning together, we’re gonna spend some time… Starting on May 23rd in this book, Luke, it’s one of the biographies of Jesus life. If you’re new to the whole church thing, we’re gonna spend time looking at every time Jesus sits at a table with people, one of the things I love about Jesus is constantly gathering with people that aren’t like him, that don’t believe the same things as him, and yet when they come away from the conversation, something about their life has changed, and so the dream for us is, what would it look like if we became those kind of people actually having those good interactions, Having healthy dialogues and seeing the world become a better place because of it… And when we’re done with Luke, we’re gonna move on to this book Act, which is the story of the early church, how they figured out how to be the followers of Jesus together.

And so we’re gonna go kind of more verse by verse through that, and so I’m excited to do that with you, that’s what we’re gonna kick off on May 23, which is Pentecost Sunday, maybe in term… That’s unfamiliar to some of you. It’s the day that the church… Remember the day that the Spirit came down and everything changed them.

And so we’re gonna celebrate that by doing baptisms, if you have never been baptized, if you would like to, you baptize, we’re gonna have the good old horse truth out the front, and we will dunk you down, and if you have been good, we will pull you back up now, we won’t do that now, it’s just nice of it, we will judge you by how bad you have been, and that’s how long we will hold you down… There’s some scientific press, it is this delight for celebration of new life, and we would love you to take that journey with the other people that are signed up, so

All that say, good things happening. And now we return to this series that we’re getting close to, Dunwich that we call search, exploring questions people are actually asking… We looked at the most Google questions are the most Googled questions about faith. We looked at the algorithms, look at why people were looking at them, and the one that we found is there’s usually a question behind the question, it’s not always the surface question, that seems to be the thing, but the something else going on. So I’m gonna give you the on what I think is behind this one first before I give you the actual question, here we go, how do you know you’re getting older? How do you know? You are getting older. What happens? What changes take place? It makes you say, Oh man. Life is a little different now than it used to be. There are things that are working, functioning in quite the same way, it is a pan every one of us will experience, and I’m too young to stand up here and whine about getting older. I know that would be an insult to some of you, but I’m old enough to know that this is a reality, and so I’m with you, and one of you guys, here are some different ways you’re officially old, if you are injured by sleeping…

If you wake up and things don’t work anymore, or you just starting to take a… Starts coming for your friends. It’s coming for you. I went skiing with a group of young guys once, and I complain the next day to my boss about eating, and he said to me, Wait till you’re my age, then you don’t need to go skiing to eat the next morning.

How about this one? I used to sneak out of my house to go to parties, now I sneak out of parties to go to my house, he’s done with these people, going back to where it’s safe and cozy, there’s a blanket with my name, and I’m sure they’re still showing the office where you run and stuff like that, how about if you are officially old, if you can tell the weather with your knees, some of you guys are like, there’s a storm coming tonight, I can feel… And is starting to build up. And then if you have a direct correlation between these two articles, I will tell you, if you come ask me what was on my awesome party mix, it dates me enough to say that the first album I ever owned was bad by Michael Jackson, which is some time ago now, but I still remember cutting out the DJ’s voice reading press and pours and the record so I could get all of my songs off the radio, and some of you guys like you couldn’t… A vinyl, that was stuff before this, you know… So this all leads to the question, that’s a heavy question.

What happens when you die? This was one of the most Googled questions about faith. What happens is there just nothing… Is there some kind of disembodied evacuation where the spirit part of you gets to go and you just… You fly in there, something up there that’s good for everybody, is that the reality is these bad places on… These good places like, what happens, what’s the process? What can I expect? And just like those other questions that we might reflect on the Say Yes, we all are definitely getting older, we experience the slow disintegration of our bodies over time, there is this thing that that’s leading up to like, Well, what happens when the juice is gone, what happens… There’s no more energy left, what happens when the final breath is taken, and for some of you, that’s a deeply personal question right now because you’ve lost someone that you love in the last few months, for some of us, it’s just a question we contemplate regularly, and for some of us, it’s a question we avoid at all costs, like I’m gonna whistle past that grave, I’m gonna pretend it’s not there and it doesn’t affect me, and yet it does, and so to get into this question a little bit, we’re gonna start somewhat light-hearted with these guys…

So obviously he… APA Captain Hook, a famous story, the boy who doesn’t grow up, he goes after Neverland and he does his thing, life is good for Peter Pan. Captain Hook is the villain that he’s constantly trying to catch him and the last boys constantly trying to do bad things. What I love most about this story is there are so many different ways to read it, there is a reading of J. M. Barris Pepa that says that… Well, actually Pepi, the bad guy, and Captain Hook is the good guy. Peter is very determined that none of his last boys are allowed to grow up, and in the slightly dark to original story, when any of them try to grow up, it says that Peter thins out the herd, he gets rid of them. And you know what I mean by he gets rid of them, Peter will not stand for growing up, and so this theory goes that, well, actually Captain Hook was the first lost boy to escape PETA, and now he looks after those that manage to escape and he’s constantly trying to help the Lost Boys escape from the evil Peter Pan. That’s one slightly interesting reading, but there is a definite allegorical nest to this story, key to pan represents all of us as we would love to be without aging, constantly energetic, no struggles and knees never tell us that the storm is coming.

There is no breakdown. The party goes on forever, that is Pete pennies and Captain Hook, we Hokies who we really are In many eastern religions, like thousands of years ago, the crocodile represented death, and so think What has experienced the crocodile death has got a piece of him. And now for the rest of his life, it chases after him, Titicaca thicken hook is constantly intercostal fleeing this thing that is coming after a tiktok tactic. This is the experience of how… And this is who we are. We are people that constantly ask the question, What happens when it’s the end, either ask it. We avoid it. And so what’s the option… So one option is this, this is the philosopher Marcus really lived sort of a couple of thousand years ago, that smiles at all of us, or we can do a smile back, just give death a smile and just wander into it. We all have to go through. It’s gonna be fine. We’ll just figure it out. That’s one of the options, or do we hope that there’s like this disembodied evacuation where we get to go to the famous pearly gates and there’s like the wings on the gates, for some reason, I don’t know why gates have wings, but these ones do. Be careful with your stock photos, they’ll lead you into some or theological trajectories, but

There’s this expectation that may be… There’s just this thing that will just get to… And spirits will fly away. What does Jesus say about that? What are the writers of the Bible say about? Now, what does the Christian father… Now, if you are sort of new to faith or you’re exploring… That’s a great place to be in. What I would say is this, I’m gonna give you the answer that the Christian writers give, that Jesus gives. There are a ton of ideas in the existential market place of faith, and you are quite free to go and explore as many of them as you want, but I’m not gonna try and give you every path to different arts of… What I’m gonna tell you is, this is what Jesus says, you can expect, and what I love about Jesus and his answers is if we believe the story, Jesus is the only person that has been through it, to come back… Never to die again. So in my mind, has this credibility that I’m really interested in the answers of a man who has been where I’m gonna try, I don’t wanna go mountain climbing with any of you guys that have never been before in me like, No, it’s gonna be fine. I’m gonna go with the experts, and it seems like this is how Jesus presents himself, so we’re gonna jump into this book, if you have a text in front of you, a Bible and paper online, we’re gonna stay in First Corinthians 15-1, if those numbers mean nothing to you.

And that’s absolutely fine as well. Most of it will come up on the screen. Now, brothers and sisters, this is a guy writing called Paul… He was one of Jesus first followers. And he’s writing to a church in a town called current. I want to remind you of the Gospel I preached to you. In this case, the word gospel, what does it mean? It just simply means good news. This guy writing believes that he has given good news to these people, and he’s going back and he sort of reiterating what he said, which you received on which you have taken your stand by this good news, this gospel, you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you, otherwise you have believed in vain. Verse Three, For what I received, I passed on to you as a first importance. And this is it, he’s gonna give us the summary, if we wanted to boil it down to one particular idea that this whole Good News of Jesus means… This is it, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures. Why is he so keen to remind us that Jesus actually died and was buried and three days later came back in Jewish thinking you had a spirit anybody, and when you died, your spirit hovered around for three days until it departed somewhere else away from the body.

So in Paul’s my, when he says three days, this is like after the Jewish people would say, Okay. Now, you’re really dead now. Like dead is dead on three days and there’s no coming back from that. It’s long enough it… It’s like, okay, this really is spectacular, this isn’t something that happens just every day, he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and after that he appeared to see us. It’s a name for Peter, one of his earliest followers. And then to the 12, the 12 earliest followers of Jesus, after that, he appeared to more than 500 of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. This writer Paul is really keen that we know the church and current, and then correspondingly, we know that Jesus definitely died, definitely physically came back to life and didn’t just appear to a couple of people, he appeared to hundreds of people. Why is he concerned about this, this ladder is ridden maybe 20, 30 years after Jesus has died and risen again, and the church has encountered this problem, for some reason, they didn’t believe that anybody would die after Jesus had died and rose again.

They believed that Jesus had gone somewhere and he was gonna come back, and that was gonna happen before any of them started dying, and now… Some of them are dying. So the question has become, well, what’s going on? Did the plan go wrong, what are we supposed to expect… We thought that this thing was gonna wrap up pretty soon, and yet we’re here and we’re doing what has happened to those people that have died, have they gone to some distant place while they come back to life at some point, like do all these different questions were now, starting to circulate, and a whole group of people had started to say, Well, maybe there is no real physical resurrection, maybe we’re not gonna rise again like Jesus did, he came back in a body, maybe we’ll just like there be some disembodied things that will go off to… And maybe it’s all over there somewhere, and maybe that’s what will happen, all

These questions were starting to come up and pauses writing to this church that he cares about deeply, it’s like, I’m gonna give the answers. Jesus came back physically. Some of these earliest followers are falling asleep, but most of them are still alive, and then He appeared to James and then to all the Apostles, James in this case, is a brother of Jesus. If you can convince your brother that you are the son of God, that’s impressive, generally, siblings do not believe those things about other siblings, some of you have siblings, you know like this never, not a chance. And yet James, this brother of Jesus, has come to believe everything Jesus has said. Last of all, he appeared to me pour as to an abnormally born poor wasn’t around, it seems when Jesus was on earth teaching and then when he died, but it seems like he had this experience of Jesus afterwards, For I am the least of the apostles. I don’t even deserve to be called an apostle because I persecuted the church of God, but by the grace of God, I am what I am. And His grace to me was not without effect.

No, I worked harder than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God that was within me. Whether then it is I the… This is what we preach. This is what you believe. He goes back to the time and time again, what we told you is this, Jesus died. You died for you, he rose again. You will do the same. That is a pretty audacious clean, it’s pretty extravagantly, and it wasn’t just a pretty extravagant claim, like just now, it was an extravagant claim, then we can have this view of people in the first century, we kind of think of them as these points of like… It will, of course, they believed in things like resurrection back then, of course, they believed in miracles and things back then, and yet the dead people stayed dead with the same Natan in the first century as they stay dead in the 21st century. This back then was an audacious spectacular claim

As… Move on a little bit next to us, but if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you see that there is no resurrection of the dead? If the RINO resurrection of the dead, they’re not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless, and so is your feet. More than that, we are found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the day he gets a little bit philosophical with them, he starts to push them a little bit, if you’re saying that We won’t rise, then there is no resurrection. That means it didn’t happen to Jesus either, and suddenly the whole basis of everything starts to fall about… One of the interesting things about life in the way of Jesus is everything rises and FARS on this idea, if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, we can all go home, friends, we can take Sunday mornings off. If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, we may as well be at home in a gardens on Sunday morning, planting flowers and things like that, if there is no resurrection, then this whole thing just… It just falls apart. That is how much Paul is willing to base on this one audacious kind of crazy idea, and here’s where I find it interesting, ancient Jewish though like 1st century AD, was in deep disagreement about what happened when you died, or had group of Jewish people that said It just spends there, that’s why it’s so important to get the good blessings, I don’t like…

It’s so important to get married, have kids, so you can leave a legacy, it’s so important to build up wealth, you’ll get to hand it on to them, it’s so good to get the certainties out of life, and that’s where they were so clear in bad stuff happened. It’s ’cause you weren’t less… That was bad. That was no good… You needed to get the good stuff out of life here, because after this, you would done leave your legacy, and then it’s over, there are another group of people that believed in that disembodied sort of thing, there’s a spiritual thing. That’s gonna happen one day, but then there were another group of people that very much have locked into this idea, now it’s physical… No, it’s actually gonna happen as crazy as that sound dead bodies will rise again and pour, you see, at times Hill, you’ll sort of play these two sides off against each other, he’ll tap into this idea just a little bit, this is him in this book, act in the middle of a big argument, then poor knowing that some of them were Sadducees and other Pharisees caught out in the Sanhedrin, brothers, I’m a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee.

It is because of my hope and the resurrection of the dead that I’m on trial. As soon as he said, this a dispute root between the Pharisees and Sadducees. And the Pharisees got up and contended, chapel, we find nothing wrong with this man.

Now, you don’t need to know who all those groups are and all those detailed terms, all you need to know is there were two sides, one that said, Yes, resurrection, one that said, I’m not gonna happen, and poor is playing them off against each other, but he… He’s very much on this side. The resurrection is real. It is practical, it is what we are waiting for. So we’re gonna go back to his letter to this church and current, we’re gonna skip down a bit, if you’re following along in your text, we have a drop down to verse 35, you can read the rest of it, it’s great, but we just can’t get through everything. I would like to get through without overrunning again, and you guys, you just… You don’t have the stomach for overrunning, you will complain and stuff, but someone will ask, how are the dead raised with what kind of body will they come… They want details as maybe we do like what… How specifically is this gonna work? What is it gonna look like? How foolish. What you soul does not come to life unless it dies when you saw, you do not plan the body that well will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or something else, but God gives it a body as he is determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body, poor captures this picture of seeds and what they become, and this works well for this time of year, because some of you are getting out in the guards, the yards, you’re doing your yard work, you’re making all these things happen and you’re planting seeds yesterday, I just scattered some wild seeds because I just wanted to see what comes up, I love the hummingbirds, the butterflies, just the energy that it brings to the gun, so I’m just putting to see Dan, but I don’t know what’s about to appear.

And Paul takes this theme and he starts to talk about how the Jesus story works in line with this idea of seeds and what they grow into, and think about that for a second, think about what that means, think about what it is for a seed to be taken and put into the ground from the seeds perspective, what is that? It’s very light. It’s like death is this moment where the seed is put in the ground and everything is covered over and it goes dark, but what is really happening… Well.

What is really happening is all the right environment is sort of taking place to make something different happen, something way up there calls down to this thing, way down in the ground and everything begins to germinate and suddenly knew the live shoots up from this seed that was dead, and that was barred, and he turns out that the seed wasn’t dead and buried, he was simply planted, and that is this opportunity for new life to begin. And think about how that relates to the Jesus story. There is this moment where Jesus died, he is buried, the ground closes over, everything is done, and then something way up there begins to call to something way down there, and new life begins to take he, and it turns out that he wasn’t really buried, he was simply planted, that is this moment of new life and pulses, that thing that Jesus experience, that is what he’s waiting for you, as audacious, as ostentatious, as extravagant, as absurd as that claim may seem. That is what is waiting for you. The same resurrection Jesus experience, that’s what he’s on offer for you. That’s what He’s claim is. Now, I understand the struggle for some of us to believe that story, but isn’t that a story that is so good that everyone would want to believe it? There is something incredible about the idea that one day the knees that tell me when a storm is coming will work again.

One day, death will work back with one day, I won’t have to worry about the crocodile that keeps chasing after me, tick, tick, tick. One day, all of that will go away, that’s the promise, and it is ostentatious, it is extravagant, and yet it is so good that the longing for it to be true to me, it’s just like, how can you not want that to be true or say some day the seed will die, and you can’t know exactly what it’s gonna look like until it happens, but there are hints moving on, not all flesh is the same people have one going to flesh, animals have another, birds and their own fish, another… There are also heavenly bodies and the fluid, so we’re starting to talk about this next thing that might be experienced, but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind… The splendor of the earthly bodies is another, the sun has one kind of spend of the moon, another of the stars and other in Star if it’s from star in splendor.

So it will be with the resurrection of the dead, the body that he saw and is perishable, it is raised imperishable. It is sown in dishonor. Is raised in glory, it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It’s sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. He’s like, the thing is coming, and it’s kind of like your experience now, but with something a little more, there is no deterioration there, there is no limbs breaking apart, there is no falling, a part of the body, there is no… All of those things we talked about, you may still go to parties and not wanna go home in the resurrection, we will see… Listen, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep. And sleep is His word for death. He doesn’t acknowledge the followers of Jesus actually died, he just refers to it as the sleep, but we will all be changed in a flash in a twinkling of another last trumpet for the trump people sound, the dead will be raised in perishable, and we will be changed for the perishable must clothe itself with imperishable and the mortal with immortality. Again, the claims are incredible, and yet they are what they are, this is what He demands almost that this group of people believe…

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true. Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where O death is your victory? Where O death is your sting? The sting of death is sin. The Parson is the law, but thanks to be to God, he gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Pose commentary over and over again, it is as bad as it seems, you will die, you are broken, and yet on an offer is resurrection. Again, the claim is incredible, the claim was over the top that it is wonderful, and all of those different things as well. I can understand you holding the tension of, Can I believe this, but the deep longing to believe it seems just like, how can you not want this to be true, and just to show you, this is generally how full thinks about these things. We’re gonna skip to this of a letter to a church in Philippi, but our season ship is in heaven, and we early away to save you from there. The Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables Him to subject all things to Himself, will transform our lowly bodies to be like his glorious body.

Paul’s idea over and over is one day your body will look something like Jesus did when he was raised, so we get to do what is traditional at East of tie this time of year, that comes right after Easter, we get to go in glance at some of those post-resurrection appearances of Jesus and say, what did his body looked like, what did Jesus post-resurrection appearances look like? If we wanna know what resurrection looks like. If we wanna know what happens when we die? Well, this is the first thing that we’ll look at.

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, he gave thanks and broke it and began to give it to them. Then the eyes were opened and they recognized him, he disappeared from their site.

They asked each other one on our hearts, burning within us, when He talked to us on the road and opened. The script is to us, a couple of Jesus earliest followers, when Jesus dies, they do the obvious thing, they get out of town, the Romans that I’ve hunted with Jesus are probably looking for them and they say, we’re done with this, and they go, and suddenly this matter peers on the side of the road, walking with them, they don’t recognize him, he’s going to carry on His journey, they say, stop with us, they stop, he does the traditional thing of breaking bread, and in that moment, they recognize him, watch for this patent. You’re gonna see this everywhere he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, ordinary, everyday physical activity, he disappeared from their site, they didn’t recognize him, some kind of different physicality that is going on there, the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus constantly have this mix of ordinary every day mundane touch physical things, and yet they also have this different thing that is starting to emerge, this different way of being physical in the world.

While they were describing these events, they go and tell all their other friends as you might, when you’ve suddenly seen someone who was dead and then was alive again, Jesus Himself stood among them and said, Peace be with you, but they were start of fright and thinking they had seen a spirit. Why are you troubled? Jesus asked, Why did doubts arise in your heart?

Look at my hands and my feet, it is I myself, touch me and see. Her spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see, I have. When he said this, He showed them His hands and feet which still have the signs of crucifixion, and yet he is not bleeding, not dying while they were still in disbelief because of their joy and amazement, he asked them, Do you have anything here to eat? So they gave him a piece of royal fish, apparently, that was the best they had on offer Royal fish, and then he took it and ate it in front of them, it seems that he is hungry, that he wants to eat. It is ordinary, everyday physical events like breakfast and food, coupled with supernatural, spectacular things, like he appeared in the room amongst them and they were full of disbelief. John chapter 20, a week later, disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them there. The doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, Peace be with you. The doors were locked. He is now wandering through locked doors and standing amongst them, that He said to Thomas, Put your finger here, see my hands, reach out your hand and put it in my side, stop doubting.

And believe yet he can be touched. It is this different physicality and yet still physical, still touchable. And Jesus told him, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. One more, John 21, early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that he was Jesus, they have been with him for three years, and yet they don’t know that it is Him, he called out to them, friends, haven’t you any fish? Know the answer. He said, for you, now, on the right side of the boat, and you will find some. When they did, they were unable to Harvard in because of the large number of fish, they have this sort of awakening moment, wait, we’ve done this thing before. This isn’t the first time someone told us to throw the net in and suddenly fish started jumping in out of their own choice, then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter.

It’s the Lord USO assignment. Peter heard him say, it is the Lord, He wrapped his out of Garmin around him, free taking it off and jumped into the water, apparently in the first century, you fish with no clothes, Huawei, you go swimming, you put clothes on… I don’t even know how to explain that to you, but that’s what we’re told, the other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, they win the traditional way to… Was the guy that’s like, I’m gonna do it my own way. I’m gonna go swimming in a road, so they were not far from the shore, about 100 yards, when they landed, they saw a fire of burning calls there with fish on it and some bread. Jesus said to them, Bring some of the fish. You have just cold. So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat, dragged a ensure, it was full of large fish 153, but even with so many, the net was not to… And Jesus said to them, Come and have breakfast.

These resurrection appearances are filled with the normal breakfast, Royal fish every day physicality, just like today, and yet with the not normal, the resurrection, the walking through walls that suddenly he disappeared and they didn’t recognize. And there is something different going on here. Jesus resurrection appearances are physical with a new expression of physicality, there is a new normal at play, and Paul says, One day for you as followers of Jesus resurrection looks something like that.

I can’t see exactly what he’s talking about, a mystery, but he says one day there is this resurrection to come where suddenly the old rules don’t apply, there is no decreed knees, there is no falling a part of the body, and yet some of the old rules still apply there is breakfast and gathering around fires and community, and food, and all of those good things. Jesus resurrection appearance is a physical… With a new expression of physicality, and that fits within a new creation, still to come, pool, it seems is convinced that Jesus resurrection, your resurrection and my resurrection are connected to something that God is doing in the whole world. That is still to come.

These earliest followers were very comfortable with the fact that Jesus had done something, and yet they were waiting for something more. Has this already done? Does this not yet happened, so we’re gonna skip to a passage for those of you that come every week, which is some of you, lots of you, most of you, I don’t know how to describe that. You’ve all got masked and I can never tell who’s here and who’s not here. Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer. And he see… So we’re gonna pause there. A second. This right, a John, this book, Revelation starts to unpack this. There’s gonna be a new heaven and a new earth. What does that mean? We’ll get to that in a little bit. There’s no longer any… See, this book is what’s called apocalyptic literature, if you read the Bible, my question for you is, how many of you read the book of Revelation in like your daily Bible reading time?

I’m guessing not that many of you, because it gets pretty confusing pretty fast, this book is full of symbolism, different language that doesn’t mean it’s not true, it doesn’t mean there’s not events that will happen, what it does mean is sometimes it will pick on images, and this is a good example that I describing something. Maybe not a parent. What’s the problem with the sea? I want to see, I love my beach vacations, some of my favorite places in the world, or right next to the ocean, I love… Just the majesty, the peace, all those kind of things. Is God saying No more C? In the ancient world, the were no beach vacations. In the ancient world, the sea was a place of mystery, of danger of evil in their primary or history, some of the first Evil creatures had emerged from the sea. If land was where God was, he was where God wasn’t. So when this writer says, there would be no longer, and you see it may be physically true, who knows, but what He’s really saying is one day there’ll be a world where we’re not seeing this part, that God is an un-control of those parts that are lost those parts that are a mystery, he’s starting to say, No, one day God will reshape the world in order, one day he will bring it about so that it is working as it’s supposed to be.

Remember that conversation we had a few weeks ago about a broken world, one day, He’s saying that will be as true of the world as it is of your knees that feel the storm that is coming. All of this stuff is getting restored, just like there was this disagreement about what would happen when you died in the Jewish world, there was a big disagreement about what happened to this world would go… This tree, it said about creating a new heavens and a new Earth, did that mean that he was gonna wipe out this old one for some Jewish people that would be difficult to believe, there’s this moment in this book Genesis where we see there’s a flood, the flood withdraws, and then God says, I will never flood the game to a Jewish person, know the character of God, the implication is, I won’t destroy the world again for them to imagine that really God was kind of like behind his hands of like, Yeah, but wait and see there’s plenty of other ways to destroy the world, I’ll give you fire next time would have been very much out of line with what they understood of God’s character to them, a promise was a promise.

If God said he wouldn’t destroy the world, then he wouldn’t destroy the world, so a big discussion came up, What are we talking about new or are we talking about renewed…Is there a possibility that God is still fighting for this world, still working within it, is there a possibility that something new is still to come, and when this writer John has to pick out of two Greek words, Neo, which means new in time, like it wasn’t there now it is… Or kind of, This is a different kind of thing. This is like new of its kind then, then he picks the second one.

Some reason the second one is the one, he goes, Well, he doesn’t go for brand new just appeared, he goes for kindness. This is a world that we haven’t experienced before, most of you have experienced something new, you’ve got married, you’ve had kids, or something like that, and like, Wow, this is a whole new way of living. Have you lived before? Absolutely, you have… Are you living a new type of life right now… Absolutely, you are. Something significant has changed, this wrestling went on and on with what exactly did he mean when he picked out of these two different words, and so some writers on this book Revelation will even use the language, this is the world renewed his guard, still fighting for it. Still shaping it, and to be honest, I’m uncomfortable with… You believe in whichever you want, you can go and research it, I’m not gonna give you a deaf and answer because I don’t have one… It’s one of those things where you say, I’m not sure, but somewhere. I love this idea that there can be something new, but kind of there before… I was gonna use this as an illustration, but I think we’re running out of time.

So I’m just gonna leave that as a mystery, and that will really rotate some of you who now have knowledge deficit, why was he gonna talk about vibrating-ers running shoes? That was a reason. Near Kino new and tie, or new in kind. Well, renewed what exactly is going on here, what we can say is, regardless of whatever takes place, the promise of revelation is that this is a new that is better than now, it is not just fresh created, there is something of the old still lurking, the… The good things like breakfast with friends and gathering around food seem like they’re still incorporated in this Jesus story, and so we wait and say, God, you promised one day a new world, what will it look like? We are held in that tension and asked to trust that it will be better than now.

I love how human beings are thought about how we might develop this world, how we might protect it. In the 1960s, an architect called a bucer fully came up with a plan. He said, Let’s put a geodesic dome over New York City.

This takes some serious ambition, he said, What we can do then is we can keep it up this nice and be in temperature, no one will have to heat their apartment will pay for this doll in 10 winters, because we won’t have to shovel the snow in that area of Manhattan, it’s parental that expensive to shovel snow in Manhattan.

So we came up with this plan. This was his vision of a new world, and this has not stopped, there were constantly dreaming about how this world might operate better, this is a project going on in Singapore right now where they’ve started to try and flip the script. They’ve said, right now, we think of gardens has been something in amongst a city, what would it feel like? What would it look like if we suddenly said cities were something in amongst Gardens, what if gardens and Space were like the primary way of thinking about it now, do any of these work to any of the soul… Any of them solve the problem now, but I love just what humans are able to achieve just in their own energy.

Imagine what the world looks like, if the God of the universe turns his attention to that moment, it says, I’m gonna renew this world, I’m gonna shape in the way you were supposed to be shaped and there will be no more sea, there will be no more areas where you say God is not in control of that, that is passion for what new creation looks like. It starts with Resurrection individual, it grows to resurrection corporate, A Whole New World. A whole new thing going on. But what I would say is this, to unlock revelation, these are some words that are important, like Genesis, revelation seems more interested in questions about who and why rather than what and when… Most of the conversation as you read this incredibly detailed book is around, well, it will be God that we’ll do it, one day, God will step in and this world will be renewed or new in some way. It’s very interested in the question of why God still loves this world, he is still fighting for it, still developing, it is not so interested in exactly what will happen, we don’t get to know all of that, just like poor said, it’s a mystery.

It is a mystery, and it’s not super interested in when we get to wait, we are asked to wait, we have the way, but we’re told that the thing is coming, I love that this book Revelation uses language that reminds me of my beloved J are talking… I’m surprised I’ve been with you guys eight months and I’ve not quoted any talking, I just find him just brilliant in his way of writing, and this is the language he uses about death, the grey ring turns of this world rolls back and all turns to solve a glass, and then you see it, white shows and beyond a far green country under a swift sunrise when this writer to this letter revelation, when he starts to unpack exactly what this next world looks like, he uses ideas like Gates made out of pals, uses ideas like streets made of gold. Could they be practically true maybe. Do they have to be physically? True, I don’t think so. Driving on streets of gold sounds like an awfully in practical way to drive, and yet the ideas are supposed to give us the sense of the beauty and the wonder of this world that is still to come again, could be physically true.

Could also not be… Could just be symbolic. This is the language that he relies on, there is something that is coming that is beautiful, and we get to be excited for it, but what he does say that his concrete is this, this is a song that has been sung to Jesus in this book, Revelation. You, Jesus are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals. You were slain, you have redeemed us, saved us, rescued us, all those different words to God by your blood, and have every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God, and we shall rain on the earth. Still again, you see that mixture of the normal physicality, there is this world that this is… You and I involved practically walking alongside God, journeying through creation, not just sitting on a cloud somewhere, playing a harp. How many of you, when you have heard haven’t described… Have said that sounds kind of boring. I actually am not sure that I want to just sit and play harp music all day long. The reason it sounds boring is because I know where no place does the Bible say that is what a new world and new creation looks like it is pictured around these things like a world that God is in control of, that you are involved in and with that is the picture that it gives? We are invited into the story that is ostentatious, that is incredible, we are invited to believe they can be a physical resurrection, that they can be a new and different world, and that we can play a part in that world to come.

So that raises the question, and I hate talking about this and I try and do it somewhat quickly ’cause I am running out of time as well. So what about… Well, the other place… What about hell? What does the Bible say about that? So I’m gonna give you the definition from the Westminster articles of faith, which to some of you will mean nothing to some of you will mean everything maybe more than it should, but the wicked who know not God and obey not the Gospel of Jesus Christ shall be cast into eternal torment. And punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power. It sounds serious, it sounds like that’s language that I’m like, Wow, I’m not sure I would use that language, but for thousands of years, followers of Jesus have taken seriously the idea that there is this eternal thing to come, that there is both good and bad sides to that… And for probably the last 00 years, most of the western church has run from this concept as quickly as they possibly can, because it is terrifying. I would love to say that there was no conversation about how within the Bible that would be a joy to me to be able to say, and yet I read ideas like this within Jesus writing, this is not Matthew 5 at 25.

I have to blame the person that did the screens with me, but they were on a way to eternal punishment, but the righteous to a turn on life, there’s this moment where it describes a pathway that splits and one group goes one way and one group goes the other way… Now, what does that mean? Does that mean they will find themselves in a turn or conscious torment to use the classical definition? The truth is, I don’t know, and there’s been some great scholars in the theological world that have fallen out over this argument to throw a couple of names, there will be nothing to refer, not in the church movement, but if you are, you will know maybe these names J. I, Packer and John stop both read this and came to completely different conclusions, one of them said, I see this moment of annihilation where it all ends there, and one of them said, I see these never-ending years of eternal conscious torment, and they fell out over this discussion. Now, you may believe either of these, but what I would suggest is this, we can all agree that Jesus about hell as something that is real, and he talks about it as a direction that he doesn’t want us to go in, and he talks constantly about and invite to life, it

Seems like when you think about it in terms of analogy driving towards a cliff, Jesus is the person who says, I am like the guy that’s saying, Don’t go that way, I am the guy began… You’re saying, don’t make that decision. Now, the person that lets you drive off is really no friends whatsoever, the person that doesn’t want to give you the bad news is not really someone who is on your side, and Jesus is very clear, there is life, there is death, but his constant imploring his huge life, I ask that you would choose life, if we were in any doubt of that, poor gives us this writing in as he writes to Timothy, a young pastor that he’s been training, he wants us… No, no, he wants not only us, but everyone saved, you know everyone to get to know the truth we’ve learned, so there’s one God and only one and one priest mediator, one go-between between god-ness Jesus who offered Himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set the more free, eventually the news is going to get out this, and this only has been my appointed work getting this news to those who have never heard of God, explaining how it works by simple faith and plain truth, Paris, like I’m saying to people over and over again, there is a fork in the road. She was the right path.

is open to you. Choose it, take it, this is the constant message, I have no idea what… How looks like… I don’t know how that works. And one of the things I’ve discovered is this, this maybe will be helpful to you when there’s something I don’t understand, the writers of the Bible, try and unpack… I have a couple of options, I can try and explain it away. Or I can admit my own limitation and say, I’m not sure how that works, I’m not sure how it sounds fair, I’m not sure how the journey takes place, I’m not sure what it looks like, I’m not sure if the fire is real, but what I can say is this constantly… The right is in the New Testament is saying, there is a choice. And you and I, we get to make it. See, us Lewis, the English writer said this, he said, When it comes down to it, the choice to go to Hell, however that appears, whatever it looks like, you simply down to this, God says to every one of us, I would love that you would say to me You will be done. I would love that you would choose this life that you have offered, but eventually the comes a moment where God says to each of us, where you will be done… You get to choose the path, and when we think about the idea of how…

One of the things that I think is most helpful is this ultimately is the personal choice to separate from God, the separation from God is a torment as great as God, imagine everything good in the world that might disappear. Think about the fact that this is a God who causes his recent rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. There are so many incredible things in this world that each of us get to experience and imagine a world when none of those good things existed, that maybe gives us a way of getting to the bottom of this question of what does new creation heaven… This good choice look like and what does the other look like, again, not super easy to get to the bottom of, and something that I as a pastor would much rather say, I’m gonna pretend that Jesus never mentions any of that stuff, that he just kinda say, how it’s gonna work out fine for everybody in the end, and yeah, that just doesn’t honor the message that he gives, and I wonder if he really honors what he did. Ultimately, the message of the New Testament comes down to a rescue mission, it is God coming into this world for us out of love, for us to do something for us to invite us into this new life.

I don’t know if it honors what Jesus did to say, You’ve really saved us from nothing, the constant message of these New Testament writers is there is a thing to avoid, how has this reality to it, but you are given this wonderful… A choice. Choose life. Come and choose life.

So as I invite jacking the team up onto the stage, we’re gonna walk into communion, I’m gonna ask you this question, how do you respond to the story? Are you participating in Jesus offer of life and the world to come?

How does that story sound to you? I can understand it, feeling hard to believe at times, ’cause it just is so good, and yet I don’t understand, not wanting it to be true. Maybe it’s time you investigated it for yourself in a new way.

We’ve been doing a few weeks of taking communion every week, some of you may know this by different names, you may have grown up calling it Mass, the Lord’s table, Eucharist, any of those different things. It is the same process, it is a moment of Remembrance where we remember that Jesus came and gave his life, this table is open to anyone who is choosing to follow in the way of Jesus, and if you are not doing that right now, you can choose to do that for yourself in this moment, and it becomes open to you, it is both physical and it is spiritual, it is bread and it is wine, but it symbolizes Jesus sacrifice of body and blood.

And so we gather and we do this in remembrance of Jesus who came out of love for us. Who came that we might experience the resurrection, he experienced, that we might experience life in the world to come, that we might rule and reign with Him, that we might see a new world where the sea is gone, not because the sea is bad, but because this world… Is ruled by a God who is in control of all of it.

And the night at he was betrayed, Jesus gathered with His earliest followers. During the course of the meal, he took the bread and he broke it, and he handed it to each of them and said, This is my body, broken for you. Take it and remember me. In the same way, He took the wine, handed it to each of them and said, This is my blood shared for the sins of the world. As long as you gather together, do this in remembrance of me. In this moment, the bridge between physical and spiritual is broken, in this moment, Jesus is present in a distinct way, he walks along side you and says, Come this way, how mental life come into journey with me. Walk in my way, I made you, I know what you are made for, and you are made for this, wherever you are, whatever you have done, however broken you feel you are invited in into this story, as the Bible articulates ideas like heaven and how… At no point does it say, what you have done… Declension from the good life that God has enough. It simply says, Come ye Jesus. In this moment, we ask you to be present for each of us walking our own journeys, we’re gonna go out into bright sunshine into a good gift of life.

May you speak to us in this moment, as we pause just a little longer, as we slow, just a little longer from a life that leads us at an incredibly fast pace that leads a Santa fingering after thing. We do what you asked us to do and we slow down and remember you.

What Happens When We Die? | Searched (Part 4)2021-09-01T16:14:32-06:00

Why does God care what I do with my body? | Searched (Part 3)

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good morning friends how you doing today great to see you if you’re here and joining us for the first mile initiative we’re going out into the community later today we’re delighted you’re joining us in that and if you haven’t signed up if you would like to get involved in some projects we’ll just go and cause dan some problems by trying to sign up last minute and he’ll be fine with it uh don’t worry it’s great to see all those spring images on the backdrop uh how many of you guys are ready for it not to snow again I like we can now I love the snow so I’m like it can snow in the mountains all year I’m fine we can keep going but down here I want to plant some stuff and you know just get involved in spring we are in the middle of a series though we called searched we took some of the most googled questions about faith about walking in the way of Jesus and said how can we answer them so first week we looked at the problem of evil if God is

good why do bad things happen to good people last week we wrestled with this this kind of scary question why does God hate me which is the second most googled question about about life in within the way of Jesus and this week this one’s this one’s a fun one we’re going to wrestle with this question I won’t show it to you actually I’ll uh I’ll hold on for a second the point of these questions is you may not be wrestling with them but it seems like loads of people are you may be okay with all of these things and yet your neighbors your co-workers your friends and family they are wrestling with them and so what we want to do is two things if you’re wrestling with them we want to help clear some roadblocks to faith we want to clear some of the pathways so you can jump into life with Jesus and if you’re not wrestling with them well we want to equip you so you can have great conversations with your neighbors your co-

workers your families your enemies your salesman your dot dot anyone that you meet we had the sales same salesman come to our door five times this week so really it was an opportunity right to just share some stuff let’s start here what is the most ridiculous law that you have encountered the most ridiculous law like think about somewhere that you’ve been and you find out that something is a law and you’re like really that that doesn’t seem like it should be in the rules maybe it’s a speed limit that seems way too low for how wide this road is and how long it stretches and you’re like 55 maybe 155 but 55 just seems too low maybe you have tensions with just different ways that the world operates but I think most of us at some time have encountered something and said really that this is yorkminster in the city of york in england it has these beautiful walls that run all around the city and york has a very particular ridiculous

law this is a law in the city of york except on sundays it is lawful to kill a scotsman in york if he is carrying a bow and arrow so and the lord just go into some more details you have to use a bow and arrow as well reportedly but if he comes inside the walls it goes back to these days whether the english and the scots they didn’t get on so well scotland has famously never been invaded which kind of makes sense when the thistles grow knee-high and the men all wear something that looks like skirts that’s not a nation of people that you want to mess with I’m really upsetting some scottish heritage people here but this law has been in effect for years except of course it doesn’t make sense so someone inquired as to the local council could you tell us an instance where this has actually happened and this was their response after an extensive search of our records I can confirm that there are no records of any scotsman being legally shot

with a bow and arrow in the last 10 years still leaves a lot of open territory there is however a vague recollection of an alleged occurrence several centuries ago which involved a group of men from the nottingham area dressed in green who are enjoying a stag that is bachelor night in york regardless of any ancient legislation in place that has not been repealed we can confirm that it is illegal to shoot a welsh or scottish or any other person regardless of the day location or the choice of weaponry just making sure that they just got everything covered there it’s obviously a ridiculous all right and there’s other laws that you encounter that just I’m just not so sure I found this old photo of back when laura and I were just young things with our first child uh sat there on a train oh kids there’s so much we would have to tell you now you’re not going to sleep for the next 10 years you’re going to be exhausted for forever but I took a little close-

up of the little sign in case you can’t see it and it says please keep feet off seats and there we are rebellious really really relaxing after a day in london and if you don’t want people to put your feet on the seats well don’t put the seats that close to the other seats I mean just asking for trouble we encounter these laws and whether we know it or not we ask several questions we ask things like does this person have an authority or the authority to make a decision on what I should do maybe we ask is the law stupid do I think it should be there and we probably ask something like do I like it do I want to do that we may not realize we do it but somewhere internally we have this whole process maybe we ask am I going to get caught or not maybe it’s just a matter of just you know can I get away with it but there’s these questions that go on and what we find is that one of the most googled questions about life with God is why does God

care what I do with my body why does God care what I do with my body and this was linked to a whole bunch of other questions questions about who you spend the night with questions about should I be allowed to get a tattoo questions about all sorts of things it was broad and it was wide but you can see it wrestling with that question right yes the question is does God why does God get to decide what I do with my body but there’s all these sub questions of well does he have the authority to do that do I like the fact that he thinks he can do that this is the wrestling that we’re seeing and watch how this question changes its nuance depending on where you put the emphasis why does God care what I do why does this God who’s big and huge if he’s really who he says he’s why is he interested in the details of my small little life why does he want to have a say in that why why is he interested at all doesn’t he have bigger things

to worry about if he spent less time worrying about what I did with my body maybe he could fix that problem of evil thing that we talked about in week one how about this little twist why does God care what I do with with my body there the the there’s the ownership thing right well it’s mine I’m an independent being I can do what I want it doesn’t have the authority to tell me what I can do it kind of a little similar but but a little nuance to it and then finally this one why does God care what I do with my body and there the influence is on the body yes there’s all sorts of other things that I can imagine God having a say in but that very personal thing that that doesn’t seem like his realm why that thing why the body just leave it alone let me do what I want to do let me feel do what feels good just stay out of it God we can have some interaction we could have some sense of like the spiritual thing but but in terms of the body let’s just let it

be what it is why does God care whether we have tattoos why does God care what we watch on tv late at night why does God care what we play with on the computers when nobody else is around all those different things that you could put into the realm of buddy why does God care how many people I spend the night with all of those different things the question is well why why should he get to say should be separate should be my own thing why does God care if I choose to put something like this on my body english professors should care the government the education system should care there’s a whole bunch of people that should care morally I think we’re all a little outraged but does God really care whether I choose to put marks on my skin and because this subject could get so broad we’re going to start off super narrow we’re

going to start specifically with tattoos does the God of the universe really care whether you get a tattoo and and that’s the one I picked because I think it’s fairly unemotional right there’s probably a bunch of you that have a fair few tattoos in the room I have never got one because I’m afraid of doing something like that without thinking about it and it’s with me for life and then there’s a bunch of you that probably say no I would never get a tattoo and I’m not sure whether people should and and yet we’re all fairly unemotional I should suspect about it once we get into some of the other things that this question maybe touches on man it gets deep really quick and we’ll get to some of those but we’re going to start here with tattoos why does the God of the universe care why is he interested and where does he even say that is that even one of the rules if you’re sure what the rules are leviticus 19 verse 28 leviticus is a text that is

probably around 3 000 years old it outlines all of the laws that were put in place to help people live the life that the God of israel wanted them to live and leviticus 19 28 sure enough says do not cut your buddies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourself I am the lord when we’re in michigan one of the pastors in toronto which was fairly close by had a leviticus 1928 tattoo down the side of his arm and I couldn’t decide if it was delightfully ironic or just stupid and I’m still a little stuck does that just settle it is it just as simple as don’t do it there it is it’s black and white it’s in the text we can all go home we can get some nap before we go on the first mile initiative is it just a done deal well hopefully if you’ve been following Jesus for a while you’ve learned that there’s always a context thing that raises some questions it maybe isn’t as simple

as it seems on the surface so when we dig a little closer into this this is leviticus 19 verse 28 let’s step back a little bit and let’s let’s look at the little passage that this appears in do not eat any meat with the blood still in it no more red steak for you guys with the blood dripping out do not practice divination or seek omens do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard my haircut is the only male haircut sanctioned in the building but it doesn’t allow anything for people whose family genes do not enable them to grow a proper beard do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourself I am the lord do not degrade your daughter by making her a prostitute or the land or turn to prostitution and be filled with wickedness observe my sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary I am the lord what an interesting group of laws of rules it’s hard to figure out right like why are some of them there

why are they mixed in with all these different ones does God really care as much about whether I trim the sides of my of my hair as he does about rule number five do those belong in the same category and what about this thing about sabbaths where does that fit in with whether we should eat meat that has blood in it certainly practicing divination may seem like it might be out but the meat thing that just doesn’t seem right these laws seem to fit together poorly it’s kind of hard to make sense of well why are they all even there and and for us three thousand years later as followers of Jesus are we supposed to obey all those do those all still apply let’s give it some more context this is going back to the start of this passage we’re in chapter 19 still but we’ve gone back to verse one or two and we get to see some of why this has been said the lord said to moses speak to the entire assembly of israel and say to them be holy because I the lord

your God I’m holy now if you’re new to this Jesus thing if you’re still figuring out faith when you see the word lord that may seem a bit of a strange word that was a personal name that this group of people the israelites had for their God it was a name that he had given them and so really what you’re seeing is the word God in a different language the the lord said to moses speak to the entire assembly of israel and say to them be holy because I am holy the lord you I the lord your God I’m holy this nation israel lived in amongst another group of nations this other group of nations all had particular practices and God said to them I want you to be different from them I want you to stand out whenever you see the word holy in the old testament you’re seeing this word qudos which means holy set apart different belonging in a special context we probably think of holy as maybe a church maybe a religious ceremony or

something like that but when they thought of holy specifically it was about how is it different how does it stand out and it seems like God’s instruction to this group of people is I stand out I am different I am sacred special in a specific context and I I want you to do the same so when you live amongst these other nations there’s things that they do that I specifically want you not to do I want you to be very clear that you are different to them live a different way in the ancient world the ancient world was centered around a split between what was sacred and what was common there was this decided split they knew very clearly when they were on sacred ground and when they were on every day ground so you might say that in terms of these buckets in front of us I’ll take one and say that on one side you have now the reason that we tape the second service not the stream the second service and not the first one now is because

I got those all wrong in the first service it was absolute incompetence so this just gives me a second chance you’ve got sacred and then you might say there’s two options I’ve got here for you you might say sacred and not sacred it’s the best description I could get other than common the people of three thousand years ago three and a half thousand years ago were very clear that there were some things that were sacred and there were some things that were common and they were very aware of which sphere they were operating in at different times so when this group of people leaves a land called egypt God takes them into the desert and he says I want you to build a tent and in this tent my presence will dwell that’s where you will experience and encounter me when they got to the later land israel they built a temple and God said my presence will be in the temple that is sacred then there is everywhere else there is

not sacred there is one day a week the sabbath day that is sacred it is a special day it is set apart it is holy there are the other days they are not sacred there is the tithe of your possessions the ten percent that they would give to the priests those are sacred and then there’s the other stuff that is not sacred but when you were an unholy person just a normal everyday person that had all of these failings all of these faults and you had to move from this realm to this realm well how did you do that how did you have access how did you make sure that it was going to be okay how did you make sure this great big holy God didn’t just strike you down for not being good enough and so there were these set of rules that enabled people to do that so roughly you would have the sacred place a temple or something like that and a sacred man would help you figure out how to make the transition so someone doing something like

what I’m doing right now would say I’m going to make sure everything is right for you to move from here to here and to do it safely and that sacred man would have a sacred text it would have a list of laws and it would say to you this is what you do to make sure you operate in the sacred realm when you’re used to operating in the common realm this is how you move from the one to the other this is how you make sure that you’re okay and this is how you get to have access to this garden even these laws that they were given were broken down into maybe three categories so you had ceremonial laws how you did the religious services how you came into this space or something like it and operated well then you had civil laws that said well how do you treat your neighbor what do you do if someone accidentally kills your donkey how do you do that in a way that’s fair and then you had these big moral laws behind the scenes things that

people have known really forever when you are with someone you don’t kill them when you go away you make sure they’re still breathing still healthy still in the condition that you arrive they were in when you arrived these laws enabled them to operate these spaces and to do it healthy you moved from sacred to the common and common to sacred and the rules made sure it all worked well the the rules of the common realm essentially assured that you could come to God in that sacred moment and everything would be fine in the ancient world they had a very clear idea of what belonged in each bucket six days a week a common one day a week is special the land is common the temple is special is sacred they had a definite sense of how all of that operate and we have some of that still lurking around today this is a picture of saint paul’s cathedral in london many of you or I including I may walk into and say wow this place feels holy

feels set apart interestingly it was built in the 16th century and when they built it uh the descript the reason they chose this design was because they said it was awful and artificial it was awful and it was artificial it just so turns out that 400 years ago the word awful meant full of God’s presence or an artificial meant that they’d considered all of the designs and it was very artistic today it sounds like an insult then it was a huge compliment but we walk in and we say things like wow this this feels like a holy place how many of you that grew up in church had a special suit of clothes that you wore just for church how many of you wore shoes that was specifically reserved for church how many of you were told don’t run in this space you are in church there were all these different things different ways that you had to operate because whether they phrased it like this or not you were in a sacred space you weren’t in a common

space and we would get home we would rip off our church clothes we would throw them into a closet somewhere and then we would get on with every day life we had had a moment of access we had had our moment of spirituality we had had our moment of sacred and now we were back doing the everyday stuff my question is this is that how was supposed to operate and what did Jesus have to say about the bucket system what did he have to say about sacred and common and how did he think you moved from one to the other and did he think that that’s what you did at all what did Jesus say about buckets and about operating this system so let’s jump into john chapter two if you have a text you can open it we’re in verse 13 we’re going to read a fairly large chunk of it when it was almost time for the jewish passover Jesus went up to jerusalem in the temple courts he found people selling cattle sheep and doves and others

sitting at tables exchanging money now what were they doing I always thought that they were doing something wrong and they knew they were doing something wrong as I got older I started to read it and I started to think I actually think they think that they’re doing something right and everything’s okay they are helping people move from the common to the sacred in their minds they are helping people navigate this whole system you need a sacrifice to make here it is I’m selling it on the doorstep you get to buy it you get to go make your sacrifice and you can do the sacred thing you can experience God you don’t have the right money you can change your money here then you can buy your sacrifice and you can experience God I think they think everything is good so when Jesus turns up and made a whip out of courts and drove them all from the temple courts both sheep and cattle he scattered the coins of money changes

and overturned their tables and then says this to those who sold doves he said get these out of here stop turning my father’s house into a market his disciples remembered that it is written zeal for your house will consume me my suspicion is that they actually think what’s his problem why what what why is this wrong that we’re just operating the system how is it it’s always worked people need to access guard they need to get into this sacred space and we’re making it happen and look at their their response sort of leads into that suggestion the jews then responded to him what sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this we’re just following the rules we’re just following the system there’s the buckets of sacred and common and we’re just making sure people can get where they need to go where the sacred man in the sacred place with the sacred texts and the sacred laws and Jesus answered them destroy this

temple and I will raise it again in three days their response understandably is confused they replied it has taken 46 years to build this temple and you’re going to raise it in three days but the temple he had spoken of was his body after he was raised from the dead his disciples record what he had said they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken when Jesus says I’m going to destroy the temple they assume he means the physical one in front of them and the question is it’s been here longer than any of us can remember it’s been here for years and you think you’ll destroy it and he very pointedly says well no I’m talking about something else and john unpacks that for us as he always does in his helpful way the temple he had spoken of was his body and after he was raised from the dead the disciples record what he had said then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken let’s jump into

matthew for just a second different biographer of Jesus life john writes a little bit later matthew writes a little bit earlier and this is matthew describing what happened in the moment Jesus died matthew 27 50 and when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice he gave up his spirit at that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom the earth shook the rocks split and the tombs broke open matthew is the only writer that goes into detail and the fact this curtain splits he seems to think it’s significant and think what is happening here they have this holy place that they go where God’s presence is it’s right in the center and a curtain blocks anybody from going in anyone encountering this God in his most real closest form when the curtain splits what does that mean well it means a couple of things right one it maybe means that everybody has access one it potentially means that anybody can now go in there is

no longer a block no longer a thing that says no this is not for you no moving from the the common to the sacred but maybe on another hand it also means that God moves out that he no longer operates this particular area this particular place that suddenly Jesus is starting to say well there isn’t sacred space and common space God is present everywhere you don’t have to go to a specific building to experience him and by implication all of those rules that you had to follow to navigate the process all the things that enabled you to move from common to sacred I didn’t get those the right way around tonight yes thank goodness all those things you had to do to navigate from common to sacred you don’t have to do them anymore you as you are can come and have access not because anything you have done but but simply because this Jesus has done something Jesus death and resurrection broke down the ancient buckets of sacred

and common every part of existence was included in his redemptive work there’s multiple ways to talk about this death and resurrection of Jesus it is the sacrifice for sins it’s the payment for the things that you and I have done wrong it is also the victory over sin and death that we talked about on easter sunday but it is also the changing of the bucket system the common and sacred thing according to Jesus it no longer applies the temple is ripped and God moves out you have access you have access because as we talked about on easter you are transformed this is our butterfly from the caterpillar that we gave out on easter sunday that moment of transformation is a gift and that gift says you don’t have to worry about how you move from one to the other anymore he took care of that the rules aren’t necessary anymore there is no need for people in the marketplace selling doves so that you can move from common to sacred

there is no common and sacred God’s presence moves out and now is everywhere around us 6560 is not south this building isn’t south we the people are south and that could be anywhere there is no sacred space but here’s the problem with all of this it’s good news but it leaves you with a question what laws still apply think about all of the laws that we read think about just the little passage that we read the sum they feel like they should still be there right but there’s others that you look at and like well I don’t know how I feel about red meat anymore should I still be cooking my steak rare should I still be able to get knowledge is power tattooed in bad grammar on my arm should I get no regrets or something like that what what’s the rules now and yet there’s others in the list that you’re like no but I definitely want to keep that and think about the big moral law codes that have been there for years that do not murder I still think

that’s a good deal right when we leave a place people should live we probably shouldn’t be stealing other people’s stuff and it would be really nice and simple if there was a list given of which ones still matter and which ones don’t but there isn’t there isn’t a list and yet we know instinctively that there’s some rules that you’re like ah that’s got to make sense so when the question is asked uh why does God care what I do with my own body and that’s broadened to multiple searches that say what about tattoos what about sex before marriage what about dot dot dot dot the question is well how do we know anymore and for years the early church wrestled with this question and we’re going to look at a couple of churches and see how they dealt with it and hopefully leave with a good application for how me we might process it in a church in a place called galatia in a letter that a guy called paul wrote to a church that he called

it galatians they kept everything this church in this town in this place called galatia they kept all of the rules they said we’re going to keep doing everything we’re going to keep the sabbaths we’re going to keep eating the right meat we’re going to keep making sure that we do all the things that the people did before they essentially said we’re going to keep thinking about how we move from common to how we move to sacred all those rules they’re gonna stay and this is paul’s response to them you crazy galatians did someone put a spell on you this is the message version in case you didn’t guess if you’re new to faith the message version is it’s a bit more like a paraphrase and sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s great and in this case it just nails what it seems like paul is getting at did someone put a spell on you have you taken leave of your senses something crazy has happened for it’s obvious that you no longer have the crucified

Jesus in clear focus in your lives his sacrifice on the cross was certainly set before you clearly enough paul feels like Jesus did away with this system I wanted to do like a bobby knight throwing the chair across the basketball court when I got rid of the buckets but I decided someone would get injured and it would just not go down well let me put this question to you did how did your new life begin was it by working your heads off to please God or was it by responding to God’s message to you are you going to continue this craziness for only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God if you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it how do you suppose you could perfect it in current in glacier they kept everything all of the rules stayed in place and in a town called corinth they did the opposite as they figured out what rules still apply they kept nothing they

said anything’s up for grabs now we can just do what we want let’s celebrate when paul this writer in the first century writes to them he responds to this question or the statement that they’ve made to him it seems in their own letters in their own engagement I have the right to do anything when the question was posed to the the people of corinth what why does God care what I do with my own body their response was essentially he doesn’t care he doesn’t care we can do what we want now God has done something inside us that’s spiritual and now we can do whatever we like let’s party let’s celebrate there’s a spiritual chord to us somewhere now let’s jump into whatever physical pleasures we like and this is paul’s response to them just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate if I went around doing whatever I thought I could get away with I’d be a slave to my whims you know the old

saying first you eat to live and then you live to eat well it may be true that the body is only a temporary thing but that’s no excuse for stuffing your body with food or indulging it with sex since the master honors you with a body honor him with your body God honored the master’s body by raising it from the grave he’ll treat yours with the same resurrection power until that time remember that your bodies are created with the same dignity as the master’s body you wouldn’t take the master’s buddy off to a whorehouse would you I should hope not there’s more to sex than this skin on skin sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact as written in scripture the two became one since we want to become spiritually one with a master we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy leaving us more lonely than ever the kind of sex that can never become one when the question was posed well why does

God care what I do with my body the the response was he doesn’t care when the question was posed about tattoos he doesn’t care when the question was posed about who you spent the night with the response in corinth was he doesn’t care when the question was should I stay up late at night messing around with stuff on the computer he doesn’t care that was how the people of corinth chose to live in their minds the buckets were slightly different it wasn’t as much about common and sacred as it was about this there was the physical realm the stuff that you could see mata the body all of those different things clothing food all of that good stuff cars not in corinth obviously not even bicycles at that point horses and carriages for them and then there was spiritual there was physical and then there was spiritual physical and then there was spiritual and what you did in the physical realm had nothing to do with what was going on in

the spiritual realm you were free to do whatever you liked and paul’s response is that is the most absurd thing that I have ever heard or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place the place of the holy spirit don’t you see that you can’t live however you please squandering what God paid such a high price for the physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you God owns the whole works so let people see God in and through your body in a place called galatia they returned to the old buckets of sacred and common in a place called current they created new buckets of physical and spiritual but still the old separation still God is interested in what happens at a particular time a particular place or in a particular sphere not God is interested in and cares about everything and yet it seems paul’s response to all of this is something like this you are an integrated being living in the way of

Jesus is a holistic choice God made and loves all of you he phrases it something like this right at the end you were quite an expensive purchase so glorify God with your body when we asked the question why does God care what I do with my body the answer is well he made it and he believes he knows what is good for it and you can’t detach body from spirit you can’t say that what happens in the physical doesn’t affect what happens in the spiritual it’s all related you can’t say what happens in the common space is okay and what happens in the sacred space is different they’re all related you can’t say I’m gonna do what I like six days a week and the seventh day of the week is special it just doesn’t work that way we are integrated beans and it all is affected by everything else what we eat affects us in the way that we operate in the spirit you can’t just keep destroying your body by eating foods that are bad without and continue to

stay healthy all of these things it seems connect and it leaves us with maybe a little bit of a pickle because there’s no simple rule anymore this is tom wright’s sort of explanation of one corinthians chapter six instead of just laying down a simple take it or leave it rule paul wants christians to think things through for themselves in other words discover how to live the truly human life which brings glory to the God in whose image you are made and whose own unique image his son Jesus died to rescue you from all that will stop you being the person he longs for you to be it seems that God’s longing for us is to have relationship with all of us we can’t just say there’s a spiritual thing going on and the physical doesn’t matter so somewhere in around 1960 we started using a word that had been around for a while in a new way the word is spirituality you may have heard it maybe you’ve even used it yourself you may have said I’m not

religious I’m just spiritual now on one hand there’s nothing wrong with that you’re trying to get to the heart of a problem I think it has some uses because what we’re trying to say is this there’s some ways that religion operates that I don’t think are healthy and so I’m trying to do this spiritual thing that is separate from the religious world and given what we just looked at that makes a little bit of sense given that we looked at the idea that religion is about a sacred man helping us move from common to sacred it kind of makes sense to say that well I’m going to kind of figure this out by myself and if God is everywhere God is present and you can come into relationship with Jesus by yourself and have access to this God who loves you then then that kind of makes sense too but the downside is this one of the implications of this constant use of the word spirituality is well there’s a thing going on inside but it doesn’t really affect

anything that happens on the outside there’s a thing going on in my heart God is doing something somewhere internally in there but but it doesn’t really affect how I operate in the physical sphere same problem is it in current what we see in current is the early ideas of something called gnosticism it was the separation of the physical and the spiritual and maybe we see the same today and maybe we don’t just see it in the world around us maybe we see it in the church and I can give you an example that is somewhat humorous but also very sad as well there’s a story of a man who comes up to his pastor and he is very sort of agitated and he says to the man look I’ve got I’ve heard some terrible news and I need to tell you about this there’s a lady who comes to the church and she’s run out of money and she’s been kicked out of her apartment and the landlord is merciless he just won’t sort of give her any grace at all and

and we don’t know what to do about this I don’t you know what what can we do what can the church fix and the pastor says well I want you not to panic it’s okay we have a fund for this we have benevolence we’re gonna pay for a month of rent for her and then we’re gonna make sure that she uh can find a place if she needs a new place and we’re gonna go to our food pantry and we’re gonna get her a whole bunch of food and we’re gonna we’re gonna give that to her to make sure that she’s okay and the man says ah so glad to be part of a church that can do that kind of thing and he goes away and as he’s leaving the pastor system just could I just ask you I hadn’t heard about this situation could you could you tell me how you heard about it and the man turns around and looks at him and says oh I’m the landlord I’m the landlord I’m the landlord now that story gives us an insight into how religion or spirituality can operate at its

worst it is a man who has the potential the possibility to do something about a situation but says well no no that that’s not my problem I have this spiritual life that goes on in the church realm maybe I’ll lead a prayer meeting every now and again maybe I stand up and pray in front of other people maybe I dress really nice maybe I get up early and arrive with a smile on my face but my spiritual life is separate from what happens everywhere else we have a tendency if we’re not careful to operate this bucket system still even though Jesus says the bucket system is done with some of us are still wrestling with what it is to move from common to sacred we are still trying to access this Jesus thing out of our own strength out of our own energy we are the church in galatia constantly trying to work our way to impress God and paul would say to us it’s not how it works you don’t need to do that anymore you are gifted given access this is a

Jesus thing that he has done for you it is as styling as the transformation from a caterpillar to a butterfly and some of us are still struggling with the current system we have found a convenient way to split the physical from the spiritual we found a way to go back to a system where we can identify six days a week where we can do whatever we like we found a way to operate certain realms that say well that doesn’t matter that’s not a church thing and and I’d love to just show you some of this really quickly how do you identify which belongs in which bucket if I write work on there where does it go is it physical is it spiritual is it common is it sacred and our tendency most of the time is to say well I have this work life that fits over here it’s common it’s physical tell me I got it the right way around this time it’s common it’s physical it’s separate how about something like money where does it go it’s mine right I get to do with it

what I want I have it it’s mine so it goes over here in my physical in my common bucket God doesn’t need to speak into that sex relationships who I spend the night with very easy to put that over here when we have a decided split between spiritual and physical we get to take so much of our lives and say I’m gonna separate that thing what happens here is my business and what happens here is God’s business and what happens is the realm that God gets to operate in our lives gets smaller and smaller and smaller and so when we ask questions like why does God care what I do with my body even if we believe he does the answer is but he shouldn’t because this doesn’t belong to him maybe another way that you thought about buckets maybe another way that I’ve thought about buckets could be labeled like this and the thing gets smaller and smaller and the thing gets bigger and bigger and we separate the two and yet the word it seems

that paul would have for us is that well no it all is integrated I tried to write a goofy sentence and it might stick with you so I’m going to show it with you even though I didn’t really like it afterwards mata the thing that makes up life does matter but it isn’t all that matters so focus on everything that matters which is everything there is this combining of the spiritual and the physical it seems like Jesus says I am interested in all of it and life in my way life in the way of Jesus involves the surrender of some kind of internal spiritual thing and also the physical life that we operate in it is all up for grabs it is all important it is all included in what new ways might God be asking you to respond today how have you and I chosen to bucket what is sacred and what is common are we constantly finding ourselves having to move from one realm to the other there is this joke that works here but it doesn’t work here and so I have to figure out

where I am is there a way that we have to dress over here and a way that we get to dress here there’s all of these different ways where the bucket system still comes up and it grabs at us in what ways have you chosen to bucket what is physical and what is spiritual is there a way that you get to operate with a computer late at night that fits in this realm but you would never have it in this realm are the relationships that you’re living in that would operate well in this realm but you would never bring into this realm and that’s not a judgment of you that’s not a criticism that’s a recognition that we all wrestle with these kind of things and and it seems like God is not happy with saying take that physical thing and I’ll just take this spiritual thing it seems like he wants all of it you are an integrated being I am an integrated being I am spirit and physical and I can’t operate in one one way and one in the other it all matters I’m going to invite

aaron up onto stage and we’re going to move from the text into a time at the table so those are you unfamiliar this is sometimes called eucharist sometimes called the lord’s supper the table mass all these different words it is this process of remembering Jesus who came and gave his life so that we could have access that that ripping of the temple cur and yes it invites us into access to this God but it also means that God is present in every area in every realm and yet what is incredible about this especially today is this communion thing operates both in the spiritual and the physical it operates both in the common and the sacred it breaks down the walls it breaks down the buckets that we so often build Jesus took real bread and real wine physical stuff and he said this is my body and my blood shed for you it is physical and it is

spiritual Jesus said do this in remembrance of me whenever you gather together it is both common and every day and it is also sacred it is a remembrance of the pivotal central moment of all human history the death and resurrection of the son of God for you and for I when we come to this table we allow the physical and the spiritual divide to break down we allow the common and the sacred divide to break down and we say God I come in this moment simply by grace simply by your favor and your love for me I come surrendering spirit and physical I come surrendering the internal religious life that I try and separate try and divide and I come surrendering the physical life that I try and hold to myself come surrendering my time which I think of as my own and the day that I give to you on sunday I come bringing the money that I would hold as my own and the money that I give to your kingdom I come bringing the

relationships I would hold as my own the ones that I would own in your kingdom all of those different things that we seek to split off we come and we bring all of them we bring all of them in remembrance of the son of God who gave his life for us who gave it for all of us I take you back to paul’s words first corinthians 6 20. you were an incredibly expensive purchase so honor guard with your body I’m going to invite you to bring all of yourself to the table and bring it under the sway of God’s good love and care so aaron is going to lead us with a song and I’m going to invite you to stan what you can do now and as you ready in the contemplation of your heart come and take the elements take them back to your seat and ask yourself God how are you asking me to separate or to unite spirituality spiritual and physical how are you inviting me to unite sacred and common how have I operated the bucket system have I constantly tried to

earn my own access have I tried to keep things to myself and the night that he was betrayed Jesus gathered with his closest followers and we’re told that during the supper he took the bread and broke it and handed it to each of them with these words this is my body broken for you in the same way he took wine said this wine is my blood shed for the sins of the world as long as you gather together do this in remembrance of me and we do this in remembrance of Jesus who ensured we had access to God who broke down the walls of common and sacred we do this in remembrance of Jesus who didn’t just die for some internal spiritual life but gave himself all of us who redeemed all things who is redeeming this world bringing new life out of brokenness who one day will restore it to what it was made

to be who invites us into his kingdom who invites us to surrender the throne of our own little kingdoms our own circles of influence and place him in the center instead as you ponder one of the things we believe about this time is that the holy spirit the spirit of God comes and he begins to talk to each one of us some of us we haven’t listened yet if you’ve never chosen to follow Jesus for yourself as I said earlier it is a transformation that you have nothing no part to play in other than saying yes Jesus came and lived this life and died of death and rose again so that you could have new life and you’re invited to begin relationship with him today by saying yes for those of us that have operated bucket systems for a while he invites us to lay them down and to bring all of ourselves to whenever you are ready as aaron players come and take  the elements and take them in your own

Why does God care what I do with my body? | Searched (Part 3)2022-02-07T13:55:30-07:00

Does God Hate Me? | Searched (Part 2)

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good morning friends how are you doing this morning great to see you again we’re in the middle of a series that we’re calling searched asking some of the the most googled questions about faith and christianity especially for those of you that might be watching online or maybe here in person that come from a framework of saying I’m not actually sure I believe all this stuff that you believe I feel like I’m kind of sitting on the fringe not quite ready to jump in and so we’re gonna get to week two but first thank you I want to offer an apology for those that were here last week because I looked at the clock afterwards and somehow during the course of last week I managed to talk for 58 minutes which which I will say this uh may have just been to show that you know aaron came and did this great sermon not long ago and he talked for a fair

amount of time maybe I just wanted to show him I could talk for longer or whatever the reason but somehow something slipped and it just went on for a long time so if you came back from last week thank you for coming back if you came back and it was your first time last week and you were like wow that was amazing it was really long I hope it’s like that all the time well we’ll talk about that I don’t know about today but maybe we’ll just make 58 minutes our new regular time no I’m joking we wouldn’t do it week two we’re going to jump into week two but this series as I say is designed to kind of maybe move some roadblocks if you’re a person that would love to believe this incredible Jesus story but there’s some things that get in the way we would love to clear some of the groundwork for you and for those of you that have been following

Jesus for a while you’ve been immersed in this story what we would like to do for you is is something that paul this writer says in ephesians chapter 4 verse 11 he talks about the role of people on stage doing what I’m doing as to equip other people to do the work of the ministry as he terms it your role your incredible privilege is to be involved in this story you have communities you have people in your circle of influence and what you get to do is you get to go out and have great conversations with those people the goal is never just let’s get people to church because that will answer all of the problems it’s how can we as individuals take seriously the fact that that Jesus said of you and I we are witnesses maybe not in exactly the same way his first followers were who saw everything with their eyes but you and I we have experiences if

you are in on this Jesus story you have this relationship with this incredible God who you know loves you and your call is not to keep that hidden it’s to share it with the world so this series has that dual purpose one it’s answers to questions if you’re struggling to believe and two it’s equipping to say you get to play an incredible part in this journey and so we’re gonna move on to question two but I’m gonna start somewhere a little different I’m going to start with this question have you ever had somebody dislike you for no obvious reason now all of us we have these different traits right this is all of us that would say I know my character there’s actually plenty of good reasons to dislike me I’m actually have all of these flaws but the sometimes that I encounter someone I’m like for some reason I just get this sense that you don’t like me and I

can remember distinctly back to a time where I was 11 I had just started high school to give you a frame of reference in england you start high school at 11 I wasn’t a child prodigy or something like that that started really early but I jumped into high school and I remember the first day this this young guy called muhammad came up to me and he tried to pick a fight on me for some reason there was something about me that stuck out to him maybe it was just that I was the smallest child in our grade I know it could be hard to believe that I wasn’t always the dominating physical specimen that you see on stage in front of you today but there was this time where I was the the maybe the weakest kid and so he came looking for me maybe he didn’t like the fact that I was a follower of Jesus and he was a muslim but whatever the reason

was he found something that to me there was no obvious reason but he just came after me time and time again there was this intense dislike and to me it was heartbreaking until I found a solution to it apparently I still had some kind of gift in words so I managed to persuade him to let some of the teachers tires down so I managed to get him to get these tires and flatten them and then I just went and snitched on him to the headmaster and all was well after that it was just like solve the problem somehow some mystery he didn’t come near to me again but I had that experience of dislike and the second most googled question about faith and isn’t this heartbreaking for those of you that have a relationship with God is why does God hate me why does God hate me maybe you have a reason if you’re someone that would say I have asked that

question multiple times maybe there’s a reason that you have uh come to believe that maybe you’ve seen signs like this one this was a sign from a church uh down south somewhere my geography fails me called westbrook baptist church and they would go out onto the streets and they would actually hold up signs that said this very thank God God hates you God hates you for whatever reason whatever the source the second most googled question about faith was why does God hate me and so it turned the question around a little bit and let’s ask it from this point of view does God hate you or maybe does God hate anybody now this is where for those of you that have been again on this journey for a while you might know that the bible gets a little bit interesting we have this book for those of you outside there’s there’s 66 books multiple

different writers there’s the old testament 39 books the new testament 27 books and there are these couple of phrases where it uses the word hate about God’s emotion towards a specific group of people we’ll read a couple of passages here just so we can be honest and just clear some of the groundwork I have loved you says the lord lord means God in this case but you ask how have you loved us was not esau jacob’s brother declares the lord yet I have loved jacob but esau I have hated and I have turned his hill country into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert of jackals in this particular passage in this book malachi picks out these two characters and says juan loved that one the other one hated that one we have this text that we’ve just pulled out that just says apparently God does love some people and and does hate

some others and he goes on to say edo may say though we have been crushed we will rebuild the ruins this group of people says we’re going to start everything from scratch again but this is what the lord almighty says they may build but I will demolish they will be called the wicked lander people always under the wrath of the lord you will see it with your own eyes and say great is the lord even beyond the borders of israel what an interesting passage for those of you that have this idea that God is love what does this mean why would the bible why the writers within the bible say things like this and even in the new testament a guy called paul who was one of the first people to really unpack everything that Jesus taught he will take this passage and say some things about it just as it is written quoting this malachi jacob I love but esau I hate

it what then shall we say is God and just not at all for he says to moses I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion what interesting phrasing what is paul getting to with this does God just pick some people to hate and some people to love what’s interesting about these passages is every single one of them has a specific context it seems like each of these writers is saying that somewhere God has a group of people he is calling and and then there’s other groups outside of those groups and when it uses words like love and hate it seems like these writers use them to distinguish between God’s intense love for this one group of people and then this other group of people that it seems like at least he says you’re outside of what I’m doing right now it’s not a human

emotion of hate it seems like incredibly as we get a little further and God is able to both love and dislike something at the same time he doesn’t talk in just human emotions but to give you some context for this this is paul showing us that this really is talking not about individuals but about groups I speak the truth in christ I’m not lying my conscience confirms it through the holy spirit I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart for I could wish that myself I myself were cursed and could cut off from christ for the sake of my people those of my own race the people of israel paul is looking at this new Jesus thing that is happening all over the world and he’s saying these jewish people my brothers my sisters they’re getting left behind and I long for them to be pulled in I long for them to be pulled in everything that we have seen

here is this idea of a corporate thing it’s God’s umbrella of love but what I’m going to show you for just a few minutes is we’re going to watch as the multiple voices of this book the bible say to us that God’s love for individuals is pure and good and he says come in to this thing I’m doing don’t sit on the outside don’t say I’m gonna be distant come into this thing you as individuals are welcomed come in and find this incredible love that is life changing so we’re gonna for those of you that love to flash through different verses of the bible and get all over the place we’re gonna look at a few different ones here this is paul again speaking to a group of people in athens and I in a very fun way got to go and stand where he did this on the aerial pagas and the sun was coming up and I got to imagine this incredible moment where this paul stands there

and and speaks these words of God’s love God intended that they the whole world that is would seek him and perhaps reach for him and find him though he’s not far from each one of us for in him we live and move and have our being as some of your own poets have said we where his offspring his children although God overlooked the ignorance of earlier times he now commands all people everywhere to repent and that word repent means literally to turn around and walk towards something and so the message of this passage is God is saying just come whoever you are whatever your background is coming to this thing that I am doing you are welcomed in you are loved and this follower of Jesus john as he wrestles after Jesus death and resurrection with all of this means says my children I write this to you so that you will not

sin if anybody does sin we have a an advocate a defender a lawyer I stand beside with the father Jesus the righteous one he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and and not only for ours but for the sin also the sins of the whole world this passage gives this breadth of this love that God’s love is beyond understanding it is for each and every person and it calls you in it says come come into this thing that I am doing same rider again dear friends let us love one another for love comes from God everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God whoever does not love does not know God because God is love this is how God showed his love amongst us he sent his one and only son into the world that we might live through him this picture of these new testament writers is that we can know that we are loved by God because he came on

a mission for us that Jesus gave his life for us that we might be in relationship with him that new things might happen we might be part of a new story and and that broad thing that thing that defines his like that that group of people the church that he is using and using to shape the world he says come in you are welcome in whoever you are whatever your background and and we’ll look at one last one this is Jesus as he arrives in the city jerusalem and he looks over from the hill over the city and he says jerusalem jerusalem you who kill the prophets and stone those who sent are sent to you how often have I longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings but you were not willing that phrase you were not willing it seems that all of the uncertainty all of the hesitancy is on our part not on God’s part so when

we ask this question does God love you at least from the the view of the the bible of the scripture of these different writers the overwhelming answer over and over again is however you feel God loves you he doesn’t hate you you might say that God is love and so his love for us is it’s not a weak emotion it’s not just a feeling it’s a strong action that says not only do I love you but I will come into this world and I’ll give my life for you I’ll take your place but but the question does God hate me my question is this is that actually a theological question is the answer if you’re outside of the church then if your question is does God hate me is the answer you’re looking for well the bible says dot dot dot dot the bible tells me that God loves me I actually wonder if it is a theological question at its heart at all I wonder if it’s an experiential

question I wonder if it’s an experiential question I wonder if it’s this process of looking at the world that we experience and saying why is it the way it is now last week we talked about for 58 minutes so I should have got to say everything that I wanted to say we looked at the problem of evil and why are these things that are broken and you can go back and look at that if that is some of your question but but I think my sense of this question why does God hate me is it’s a little bit more personal because alongside this question in some of the same searches by some of the same people were these other set of questions that seemed to sort of show new light on it it was this question why did God make me dot dot dot and there were all sorts of different answers why did God make me ugly why did God make me stupid why did God make

me gay why did God make me a different color why did God make me and you could go on and on and on and you could watch as people were processing this question if this God made me and if he is good why didn’t he give me all of the things that would make it easier for me to find success in life why didn’t he give me the tools that I needed if you think of this picture of the american dream this thing that maybe we chase after this idea of happiness and some kind of wealth and a family and and however you might describe that it seemed that this question was linked to that question it was linked to the idea that if only God had taken would take away this one trait this one struggle then everything would be fine and maybe you can resonate with that question maybe you’ve sat there in your own sort of humanity and had moments where you’ve

said I don’t like this thing I feel there’s this thing that constantly gets in the way of me getting everything that I would want out of life as a young person I was surprising to people that know me now decidedly low on confidence I can remember back to 16 17 and just been crushed by this weight of expectation crushed by this idea of am I do I have what is needed to be successful I was getting all these pushes from different but you should do this career you should follow this path and I would look at myself and say I don’t feel able to do any of that and and I don’t feel able to talk to girls in the way that I would like to and I don’t feel able to to go into a business and run it the way that I would want to and all of these different struggles I could look at myself and say I don’t feel like I have what it takes and it seems like for so many of us there’s

that question that comes up over and over again am I enough do I add up and oh God if if you made me why couldn’t you have changed some of those traits why couldn’t you take away some of those burdens those things that I hold maybe I’ve phrased this whole question this way in what ways do you find the world you experience to be dissatisfying and how do you wish you could change it because whether you’re in this room or whether you’re watching online it seems like there’s a whole group of people that say I would love to change something about who I am so I might experience the world differently and that that is the thing that would enable me to say that God loves me if he only gave me the tools that I need to be successful if he only gave me the things that I need to find my way in this world now you may not think that

is a good question you maybe feel like you you’ll be on that question but it seems like for a whole bunch of us that question is still incredibly relevant and so we’re going to look at a passage we’re going to look in depth at a passage of Jesus as in john chapter 7 I’m going to read it first if you have a text which is a wonderful thing to bring you can have it on your phone you could have it on a tablet you could have it in an old paper copy because apparently some of us still do that thing where we actually have a book that we carry around and we’re going to read it but I’m going to bring up bits on the screen afterwards so you can follow along in john chapter 7 if you like after this Jesus went around in galilee he did not want to go about in judea because the jewish leaders were looking for a way to kill him but when the jewish festival of

tabernacles was near hold that in your head a little bit festival of tabernacles is this big deal this big celebration Jesus brother said to him leave galilee and go to judea so that your disciples may see the works you do no one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret since you are doing these things show yourself to the world for even his own brothers did not believe in him therefore Jesus told them my time is not yet here for you any time will do the world cannot hate you but it heats me because I testify its works are evil you go to the festival I’m not going to this festival because my time has not yet come after he had said this he stayed in galilee however after his brothers had left for the festival he also went not publicly but in secret now at the festival the jewish leaders were watching for Jesus asking where is he among the crowds

that was widespread whispering about him some said he’s a good man other said no he deceives the people but no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the leaders not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go to the temple courts and begin to teach the jews were amazed and asked how did this man get such learning without having been taught Jesus answered my teaching is not my own it comes from the one who sent me anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own however whoever speaks on his own does not does so to gain personal glory but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth there is nothing false about him has not moses given you the law yet not one of you keeps the law why are you trying

to kill me you are demon possessed the crowd answered who was trying to kill you Jesus said to them I did one miracle and you were all amazed yet because moses gave you circumcision you circumcise a boy on the sabbath now if a boy can be circumcised on the sabbath so that the law of moses may not be broken why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the sabbath stop judging by mere appearance but instead judge judge correctly at this point some of the people of jerusalem began to ask isn’t this the man they are trying to kill here he is speaking publicly and they are not saying a word to him have the authorities really concluded that he is the chosen one but we know who this who this man is when the messiah comes no one will know where he’s from Jesus still teaching in the temple courts cried out yes you know

me and you know where I am from but I am not here on my own authority but he who sent me is true you do not know him but I know him because I am from him and he sent me at this they tried to seize him but no one laid a hand on him because his hour had not yet come still many in the crowd believed in him they said when the messiah comes will he perform more signs than this man the pharisees heard the crowd whisper such things and the chief priests and the pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him and Jesus said I’m only with you a short time and then I’m going to the one who sent me you will look for me but you will not find me and where I am you cannot come the jews said to one another where does this man intend to go that we cannot find him will he go where our people live scattered among the greeks and teach the

greeks what did he mean when he said we will look for him and we will not find him and where I am you cannot come verse 37 on the last and greatest day of the festival Jesus stood in a loud voice let anyone who is thirsty come and drink whoever believes in me as scripture has said rivers of living water will flow from within them by this he meant the spirit whom those who believed in him were later to receive up unto that time the spirit had not been given because Jesus had not been glorified man there’s a whole chunk of stuff in there and we’re going to focus mainly on the start and the end and I’m going to bring those passages up on the screen but let’s pray over this part of the text and ask that God would speak to us particularly as a group of people God thank you for this book that you have given us thank you that we as your

followers believe that you speak to us particularly through it that you breathed on this book and it became alive for those of us and I feel this so strongly today for those of us that come in feeling afflicted would you comfort us for those that come in comfortable with you afflict us but would you lead each of us closer to you and give each of us a new sense of the fact that we are loved by you the God the creator of the universe and so we ask that because of Jesus we have read about your love for us now I long for us as a group of people to experience it in new ways would you do that for us today through our friend the spirit amen okay so here we go whole of john chapter seven we just read a huge chunk of it let’s go back to the beginning after this Jesus went around in galilee he did not want to go about in judea because the jewish leaders there

were looking for a way to kill him so Jesus at this point has done some incredible miracles word has got up got around about him people have started to grasp that he is somebody very significant and the jewish leaders who are trying to keep some kind of peace with this roman empire are very decidedly saying we got to deal with this situation it’s starting to get very very political and and so Jesus we’re told goes back to somewhere around the area that he had grown up in in galilee and then there comes the moment where there’s a festival to jewish people festivals were a huge big deal there were multiple big festivals every year things that you may be familiar with like passover but but also things that you may not be familiar with like this one the feast of tabernacles we’re not going to read the passage back in the old testament

but this feast was given to this jewish people as a reminder a remembrance that they had spent multiple years in the wilderness they hadn’t always lived in a set location they had had to sort of go with the flow and move around so once a year this whole group of people would leave their houses would build shelters out in the sort of wilderness areas and they would live in them for a set number of days it was very traditional for as many jewish people as could possibly afford it to go and be in jerusalem uh in these times and and it was a mixture of religious festival and also a real party there was like this incredible energy to it there was this joy to it and so this one particularly was this festival of joy it was a very significant day when the feast of tabernacles or festival of tabernacles was near Jesus brother said to him leave galilee

and go to judea so that your disciples there may see the works that you do no one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret since you are doing these things show yourself to the world for even his own brothers did not believe in him there’s this push Jesus go on go make yourself famous go out into the world and show everybody what you can do why are you staying in this backwater town that we live in it’s it’s like staying in some tiny town in nebraska when you can come to denver or there’s probably a better example than that upstate new york when you could be in the city why are you still here Jesus if you are able to do what you say you can do go and show the world jerusalem at this point was really could easily be described as the religious center of the world and there’s this push from his family go go and make yourself

famous go and let everybody see these incredible works and of course you can hear the suspicion under their voice is right if you can really do it if you really have these abilities that everyone says you do we don’t believe you can but go on go and show us go and prove your yourself to us and to the rest of the world now for those of you that love bible trivia love interesting facts which isn’t everybody but he’s definitely some of you the interesting thing between matthew mark luke these first three gospels and then john is that when you read matthew mark and luke the the idea you get is that the first time Jesus goes to jerusalem is when he goes through palm sunday to crucifixion to resurrection but john says that Jesus had been multiple times before that we get this more detailed information about Jesus life if you

were to just read matthew mark and luke you might come away with the impression that Jesus teaching ministry lasted just a few months when you read john you get this bigger picture and you get to see this multiple years that Jesus spent with his followers therefore Jesus told them my time is not yet here for you anytime will do the world cannot hate you but it hates me because I testify that its works evil you go to the festival I am not going up to this festival because my time has not yet come after this he stayed in galilee however after his brothers had left for the festival he went also not publicly but in secret all the way through these biographies of Jesus lives we get this idea and over and over and over again that there’s this secret that’s just waiting to be revealed Jesus doesn’t reveal himself to everybody it’s this sort of thing that’s

kept hidden for a little bit and then there’s this movement into jerusalem and you can see this tension starting to build you know that these religious leaders dislike Jesus intensely and so what’s going to happen when these two things combine what’s going to happen when you have this big jewish ceremony this big moment and then you have Jesus there being Jesus in that world and we get to wait for this thing and for a while we go through multiple arguments between these religious leaders and Jesus but we’re going to skip over those there’s just too much there to cover because I want to get to this end of the passage that we read which is really for me this significant voice into the conversation that we’re having on the last and greatest day of the festival Jesus says stood and said in a loud voice does anyone who’s thirsty

come to me and drink whoever believes in me as scripture said rivers of living water will flow from within them so I want you to understand some of what is going on here on the last day of the feast of tabernacles there would be this incredible procession that was really the highlight of everything that took place the priests would walk down from the temple to a pool a pool of water that sat in jerusalem known as the pool of silo and they would take some water which I have right here for us I don’t have a pool I don’t have a fountain or anything like that but they would take water from this pool and put it in a basin and then this huge procession would take place where the people would follow as the priests walked back up to the temple mount and they would go into the temple building and they would take this basin of water and as this

culmination of a feast they would take the water and they would spill it over this altar in the original tradition of the feast of tabernacles it was this idea that God we need water for the world to work we need your fresh water we need your rain to come down because we need crops to grow we need everything to be what it’s supposed to be we need this from you and so we pour this water out and say God will you continue to be faithful continue to be good would you continue to give us the water that we need and then think about what it means for Jesus to do this at that moment think about anything from american life that says to you this is like a key moment now we maybe don’t have those big religious moments like they had back in the first century but we have things like mace’s thanksgiving day parade what would it look like for

someone to wander out just as the santa claus float comes past at the last moment what would it look like in the middle of the super bowl for someone to come and say this is all about me or the world series to say this is all about me what would it look like for anyone to essentially hijack this big moment of community life which is just everyone looks forward to and you could probably pick out one or two different examples for yourselves we have these moments in corporate life that everybody has their attention focused on a specific thing a specific detail and in this moment just in the moment everyone’s waiting for Jesus walks out and says these words let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink whoever believes in me as the scriptures said rivers of living water will flow from within them in one of the key moments of religious life in

jerusalem in the whole of the religion of judaism Jesus stands up and says in essence this thing will not give you what you are looking for this thing this religious practice this religious ceremony it will not do what you want it to do and he says over and over again for those of you that feel you are thirsty for those of you that have some sense of dissatisfaction some sense of everything isn’t the way it’s supposed to be for those of you that feel like you’re outsiders for those of you feel like some sense of this isn’t the way it’s supposed to be come to me in the middle of a group of religious leaders that are leading people through a religious practice that is one of the highlights of the year Jesus says this doesn’t work come to me come to me and rivers of living water will flow from within you and then john unpacks that for us a little bit by this he

meant the spirit whom those who believed in him were later to receive up until that time the spirit had not been given since Jesus had not yet been glorified if there was any confusion about just how deconstructing Jesus was being about the religious system of his day john makes sure that we know afterwards he’s talking about a new thing the old thing doesn’t work anymore the old thing can’t give you what you want there’s a new thing you’re invited into I can give you real life I can give you real water and though he doesn’t go into details about just how much of a range of dissatisfaction there might be in each of the people listening I think that question is implied and so my question for you is how are you thirsty and what water are you drinking to quench it how are you thirsty and what water are you drinking to quench it when we look at

that question why does God hate me and the ways that it’s connected to these other questions like why did God make me dot dot and really the implied question of why can’t I get everything that I want out of life Jesus question for us is are you thirsty and that thirst that’s internal that sense of I don’t feel like I’m getting everything that I want what are we looking for to quench that thirst what thing are we going after and and there could be so many right it could be any of these things and more it could be relationships it could be success at work it could be outward appearance it could be wealth and fame it could be freedom and a sense of getting to do whatever I want whenever I want to do it it could be religion and the implication that Jesus gives is I am the only one that can satisfy our idea that if God just made us a little bit different

that we could get everything that we wanted out of life and then we would be happy according to Jesus is nonsense it just doesn’t work that way and this idea isn’t even just brand new to Jesus throughout the rest of the different voices in scripture there’ll be others that will say something similar this is a guy called jeremiah in chapter two be appalled at this you heavens and shudder with great horror declares the lord my people have committed two sins they have forsaken me the spring of living water and have dug their own systems broken systems that cannot hold water the implication across the whole bunch of voices is if you’re relying on something that you think this world can give you for this sense of satisfaction if you’re hoping that this thirst will go away and you’re looking at it looking for it in any one of these things

ultimately it won’t work and even if you could change those things that you think are stopping you getting what you want there it’s just not going to work eventually something will be missing I got to share with you guys a little while ago about my my failure in investing how I recognize that I actually am just not good managing my own money and that’s why there’s some experts that get to help me do those kind of things and yet I’ve had some successes I’ve had some moments of victory and I bought something that looks like this so some of you follow the the news may have heard of something called dogecoin and this is dogecoin and I bought 14 000 of them and I bought each one for naught point naught six cents I don’t even know how to measure that in terms that everyone can understand it means that I bought lots for about a

hundred dollars and then miraculously something happened elon musk mentioned this coin and suddenly its value skyrocketed because he said this coin is going to the moon and so it did and it went up to three cents a coin and so I sold it I made five hundred dollars for my hundred dollars and life felt pretty good I was actually kind of like I could I could do this maybe I’ll maybe I’ll become a financial investor on the side it could be my side hustler I’ll just get everyone in the church to invest in my little thing that I’ve got going on that would be bad there’s no way that that would end well but what happened afterwards is this I sold it and it just kept going up so this week at some point it was now worth 30 or 40 cents a coin and suddenly my 500 that I made it left me with this sense of it could have been 5 000 I could if I just kept it for longer it

could have been more and I got to see in myself this own sense of it doesn’t matter how much success I achieve there’ll still be something that says to me if only I could get more if only more would come my way and it’s just one of those multiple examples we looked at it’s just the the realm of wealth and finance but but I didn’t have enough even the extra I got was not enough for me and so I was left voicing in my own head this quote by dave portney on twitter I am not jealous about dogecoin I am not jealous about dogecoin I am not jealous about dogecoin knowing that deep inside me there was this deep jealousy and frustration if only if only if only I could have had more doesn’t that speak to what this writer in ecclesiastes will say whoever loves money never has enough whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income that

list of things the relationships the work life the wealth the looks everything that we’re talking about if that is what we look for for satisfaction eventually you get to this point if only I had more if only there was another thing if only I could just have a little bit more stuff Jesus talks about himself as the water of life he talks about this him being this thing that can provide in the midst of our thirst and it got me thinking about this thing I find something very deeply I would even say spiritual about the ocean there’s something about it that I just love there’s just this this wonder to it maybe it’s the largeness of it maybe it’s the joy that it brings the sense of refreshing I can just sit there for hours and and just does and yet this thing is beyond comparison so if you were to take the ocean and talk about it in terms of these things gallon

jugs well there’s this many of them I don’t know what that number is I think it’s quintillion uh 352 quintillion gallon jugs of water in the ocean now to give you a sense of what a quintillion is a quintillion is to a billion the same as a billion is to one so there are as many billions in one quintillion as that’s a lot of water right if you want it in bathtubs it’s like 70 quintillion bathtubs or something like that there is so much of this thing it is so broad and when I think about it it reminds me of how we look to quench our thirst that internal sense that we need something out of life there are all these things that are open to us all these options that we can go after the wealth the relationships the religious life all of these different things and yet the problem with the ocean is what in terms of drinking it for water it doesn’t quench thirst we used to have

this saying in england I don’t know if it made it over here but we used to say water water everywhere but not a drop to drink because this thing is great for so many things it’s great for ocean life it’s great for scuba diving it’s great for surfing it’s great for a multitude of things it’s great unless you want it to quench your thirst and that one thing it cannot do without some crazy scientific process of desalinization which some of you will come and give me as your answer to the whole problem later on but there’s this sense within us of I long to be quenched I long to get what I want out of life and yet time and time again it feels like we go back to this as a source we take the beautiful refreshing water that Jesus offers and we say I’m not sure about that one and we we look to something that can never quench this Jesus message to this group

of people is this religious life will not give you what you want this religious life is not enough for you only I can quench that internal sense of thirst and and when we can’t find it we go looking for in all these different places the writer christopher mcgoogle tells this fascinating story about a bunch of ultra runners out in the sierra miatas and at one point two of the younger guys go running without enough of a water supply and so they get stuck out in the wilderness and unsure where to go completely disorientated and completely lost they begin to wander around desperately looking for water and they come to this moment where they find a pool of stagnant water that’s been sitting in the rocks and they know that it’s not good for drinking and yet what is the other option whether your image that you pick is salt water or contaminated water my

sense is that so many of us a dissatisfaction of life is constantly around drinking water that can never do what we wanted to do I would love you to reflect on this question with me what water am I drinking if you have a notepad and paper if you have a phone I would love you to write down where do you get your sense of identity from when you think about your desires for life when you think about what you hope to get out of life when you think about what gives you that sense of satisfaction what are you looking to is the thing for you relationship is it the question I could if only I could have this relationship everything would be fine if only I could get married if only I could have kids if only I could have grandkids if only I could find somebody to love me is it wealth if only I could find a little bit more money then then suddenly everything

would be easy I could start giving some more money if I if I only had some money I could start sort of I could buy a house and then that would be fine as well that would just change my life dramatically is it fame is it sort of the outward appearance is if I could only change this physical feature about myself if only I could get rid of the little bit of extra weight I’m carrying if only I could get rid of one of these facial spots that I have whatever it is is there something that you’re like iphone I could fix that everything would be good think about all of that list that we run if only I could have more success at work if only I could get a promotion if only my business would really take off steve sketched some of that out for us in his call to worship if only if only if only I would the internal sense of thirst that would go and I would be happy and all will be well Jesus

message seems to be the writers of the bible their message to us seems to be it might for a second it might it a moment but eventually there’ll be another thing eventually there’ll be another thing if that question of why does God hate me is related to why can’t I get what I want out of life or why did God make me dot dot because if he didn’t everything would be good well I deeply sympathize with that experience of not being what you want to be but I don’t know that it would ever fix the internal problem there is something that we need and Jesus says I am the only one that can give it and if you’re struggling with that idea of does God hate me is there a physical thing about me why did he make me in this particular way here’s some other good news for you this is what what God says to this prophet samuel who’s picking a king for israel

do not consider his appearance or his height for I have rejected him the lord does not look at the things people look at people look at the outward appearance but the lord looks at the heart there’s this idea that God sees something internal that we don’t see he has a value system that we don’t always appreciate whatever you think about yourself and however broken is the wrong word but however much you feel there’s something about you that you wish God had done differently God says I don’t have the same standards that the world around you has this is helen keller and we’ll finish with her example deaf and blind at 19 years old and went on to do some of the most incredible things and said over and over again in a language there was something about my disabilities as she phrased them that has called me close to God I have

experienced him because of them and her life-changing life was only possible out of relationship with Jesus whoever however you think there’s something about you that that doesn’t fit that doesn’t make sense the overwhelming message of these writers in the bible is God loves you has a wonderful plan for your life and calls you deeper to him God is love and his love for us is not a weak emotion but a strong action based on who he is and he invites us to return that love to him what water am I drinking when I have that sense of I need more out of life what am I looking to what am I looking to I’m going to invite us into a time of communion it’s something that we’re doing every week for the next six weeks because while these questions are important relationship with God it seems doesn’t come out of knowing the right

answers it seems like it comes out of experiencing this God who loves you for yourself and communion is sketched in multiple different ways it has multiple applications sometimes it’s a celebration sometimes it’s a contemplation one of the things Jesus said about it was that it is a remembrance do this and remember me as long as you are in this world remember go back to this story of this God that loves you that gave his life for you and I would love us to invite I would love to invite us into this time one of the the tensions I experience in my own life as someone who is living in the way of Jesus and trying to do it with the heart of Jesus is that in the job that I do there’ll be multiple people that I pray for during the week whether it’s staff whether it’s people in the community whether it’s my family members and there’ll be moments

where I I realize that it’s been a while since I’ve reflected back to Jesus that that statement that idea that his love God is love and his love for us is not a weak emotion but a strong action based on who he is there’ll be a season where I forget to internalize that forget to remind myself that I am deeply loved by God and I would love to invite you into a moment of reminding yourself of that and as we do communion reflecting God’s love for you back to him we’re going to do it through a song my Jesus I love thee it’s definitely an older song for some of you you’ll love it for some of you it will be a new kind of old people I haven’t heard that before but it’s a good one and it’s this this contemplative song that allows us to say Jesus you have loved me well maybe all of these things that you have carried all of these hopes and expectations of life all of the lists

that we talked about all of the ways you have looked for that thirst to be quenched and yet he says I am enough come to me and I will give you living water we’re going to do that through this practice of communion and through contemplation as aaron leaves us on the night that he was betrayed Jesus gathered with his earliest followers and he took the bread and he broke it and handed it to each of them and said this is my body broken for you Jesus came to give himself as a gift in the same way he took the wine it’s the wrong way around and said this is my blood shed for the sins of the world as long as you meet together do this in remembrance of me you are deeply loved by God however much you feel like life has not been what you hoped however much you feel like there might be this other thing that if only you could have it everything will

be good the God of the universe comes and says I am enough I am enough think about the tensions of that song that aaron sang for us I still haven’t found what I’m looking for it was written by a guy called bono who reflects a deep faith but wrestles with the multiple things that the world offers him and wrestles with life with Jesus I think that’s true of so many of us even those of us on that Jesus journey and I wonder if we still feel that way because constantly the salt water pulls us back in we look for satisfaction in so many other things in this time of contemplation I’d love to invite you whenever you are ready to come and take and remind yourself that Jesus came and loved you loved you in death and crucifixion died of death that you deserved and I deserved that we might have new life maybe you’ve never chosen to follow

Jesus for yourself and you can do that in this moment you can say God I have looked to these different things hoping that they work and they never have and now I come to you you can ask him to forgive you for all the brokenness in your own life and to give new life to give living water and these promises that he will do I’m going to ask any of the elders and pastors that are present if they’d like to come up to the front if they’d like to if you’d like prayer during this time

Does God Hate Me? | Searched (Part 2)2022-02-07T13:47:19-07:00

Why is there Suffering if God is Good? | Searched (Part 1)


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Good, morning friends. How are you doing today? Good, good to see you all. My name is Alex in one of the pastor’s here. And it was great to enjoy Easter with you my first east of here, it was so fun to see some people that I hadn’t met before, all appropriately covered by marks, their faces were at least, but it was good to have so many people in the building and I just wanna say thank you to the team that did such a great job putting that together, alien you on working on these flowers and other display stuff, those were a labor of love. If you’re wondering, could you have a flower to take home, you like 30th in line right now, all so no flowers in all probability for you, and would jump in into this post east a series. And I wanted to give you some of the why, why are we doing this, where we’re talking about questions that we might be asking about faith, and Teresa at director, she resourced us with these questions, she went… Some analytics thing, analytics thing, I don’t really understand. And she figured out what were some of the questions that were asked most about Christianity, about faith in Jesus, and this list will work through over the next few weeks, and you may wonder, yeah, why are we doing…

Listen, and the truth is that some of these questions are difficult topics, it would be easier to just avoid them, but these questions are being asked somewhere and think about what the life looked like maybe 30 years ago.

30, 40 years ago, if you had questions about faith if you are uncertain about something, Well, what did you do? You have to find somebody that knew something about the subject and spend some time with them, or you have to go to a library and get out of book or something that… I remember when we used to do that, we used to get late charges and all those kind of things back in our old lives, back when things were different.

And so you had to take that seriously to get the information. Now, what do you do? In case you missed it, they invented this thing called Google a while back is also YouTube and other stuff, some of you are… I know some of you are still using out of Mister or something like that, or some as a gives people in the crowd, but there’s this way that you can access information that is so different than anything that we’ve had before, and so now all you need to do is Google the question. And you get some kind of answer. Now, it might be a good answer, it might be a well-researched one, it might be a… An ad, so that takes seriously the Bible and all the different things that we’ll be talking about, or it might not…

So there’s people around, people like Sam Harris and they might be somewhat familiar to some of you, very charismatic guy, very intelligent guy. Does he have some good points? Often he does, but then there’s also ways that you listen to some of his stuff and you’re like, Okay, you’re coming up that from a definite premise, you have already decided a chunk of your answer before you began, and there’s a whole group of people that may be looking for answers and getting bad answers from the resources that we have available to us right now, so one of the things we wanted to do is, one, provide a resource where we could actually talk about some of those questions, but to provide you… Those of you that have landed here, a resource because you may not be asking these questions, but you have friends, co-workers, family members that are asking these questions, or perhaps even worse, may have given up on asking these questions because of some of the answers that they’ve gotten. So we would love you guys to be people that can start to have those kinds of dialogues, as we’re gonna jump in to question one this week, and I’m going to start question one with a story not long ago, I had a beautiful…from my perspective, at least, day planned.

I was playing golf with some friends, I cleared the whole day, I was looking forward to it, it was beautiful. Sunday morning, I got my finest golf out for an… I was polishing my clubs, all the things that those of us that are nerdy enough to take golf seriously do, and I took my clubs outside and I put them into my car. Now, after this, my wife and I had a little bit of a dialogue about exactly who was driving which car and she talk… Maybe she’d drop me off so she could drive a certain car and all those different things and all of that in a normal marriage stuff, and then I have this moment, she drove off a down the driveway, I had this moment where I realized she’s driving the car, with my golf clubs. If now, I ran down the road after he… We lived on a dirt track of another Derrick, and I can remember running parallel with the car, I was getting up some good speed and I’m looking and I can see her face and she’s zones… Exactly what she should be. I will say she’s like, on the road, and I start looking around and like, Can I pick up a stone and throw it at the car, and I’m trying to judge, Is that stone too small and that it won’t gather our attention if that one too big.

And then I’ll just put a hole through the window of the car, and I’ve got my kids in the back of the car. That’s a serious thing. And so finally, I just let the car go and I grab my phone in my pocket and I start calling, and it keeps going to voicemail, voice mails, voice, man, like I say, throwing a text message and I’m literally using every medium I possibly have within my resources to get her attention and no reply it, I call six voice mails, a few text messages, no response whatsoever, and I’m left dealing in the dirt with this question, Why do bad things happen to good people? Now, of course, in the scheme of things, this bad thing is not that big a deal, all I actually had to do was go and get my second set of golf clubs, of the carrot and use those for the day, was a ideal now, but it could have worked for the day, what I actually did was make a drive of the way to bring me my actual… A good set of golf clubs, and then everything was fine, but we know, we experience things about the world from a very early age that tell us that maybe everything isn’t as it should be.

Here’s the story about the famous think of theologian, Nazi protestor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer name might be familiar to some of you. And he actually spent some of his early years in Barcelona as a youth pastor, and he talks about this experience he had, were one day a young boy comes running up to and he has tears pouring down his face, and this young boy runs up to Detrick Bonner and says her, Bonhoeffer, he office Dad, and he’s devastated, and Devonian is like, Who is this guy? That has died, and so we start asking the kid, well, what’s going on, What is troubling you so much, who is hair Wolf? And

The little boy says, How offers my German Shepherd that died this morning, and it’s not maybe as serious as a human being close to him doing, but this boy was devastated. This German Shepherd woke him up every morning, they did everything together, they were constant companions, and now this companion is missing, and the small child says to Detroit, Bahnhof, I was so mad at God this morning, and then says, Well, I see how off again. And detonates, what do you tell a small child that wants to know… Will I see my dog again? Do I say something like, where we don’t know if animals have souls, so we’re not sure that they’ll be in Heaven dot, And he says, a sad Tom was this. I said, God knows that you love her walk, and God loves you very much indeed. And so I don’t know how all of this works out, but I believe at some point in this well beyond this wealth, that somehow God unites those that love each other, and I believe you’ll see how off again, and he said he was at a good answer was in a theological answer, I don’t know.

But at this moment, when dealing with the pain of the world, what else do I say? And this child went away with Bucky, I know then I’ll see how off…

Again, we from an early age experienced this problem of a broken world, the problem of pain, the problem of evil, in what ways is our world broken, what we see every… I gave a couple of somewhat ridiculous examples, but we see broken us all over the place, and it’s confusing as well, because the times or places we see broken us, they don’t necessarily make sense. Why is it that we see pictures like this… This was a famous picture taken by a journalist, and I could tell you about a child in pain, I could tell you about a child experience in glass or hunger, and you might ask questions. But you only need to look at this picture. That’s

Why we say A picture paints a thousand words, because you look at this picture, you like, I see… I see the pain and I don’t have an answer for it, and why do we see suffering, especially around children loss and death and all of those different things, and yet we hear other stories about the reverse… This is done a good… All famous Australian scientists. A couple of years ago, he said, I’m going to Switzerland to end my life. My quality of life has just diminished at 104 and I no longer want to keep doing it, and we left wrestling with these questions, why is it that the young die and what is at the old left and their condition deteriorates. The questions that I’m sure most of you have processed at different points, they come down to this problem of evil, why is the evil… Why is the bad in the world if the song that we sang last is true, you are good, you are good. You’ll never let me down with… Avoid that. And if you’re not following Jesus on a journey, if you’re outside, I’m sure a life of faith in faith, I’m sure you’ve had those questions, and maybe it’s the thing that stops you jumping in and to follow in Jesus.

You’re like, How can I believe in a God that allows stuff like this to happen and… These are new questions. These questions have been around for a long time. Jesus was asked a question somewhat like this, in a chapter called Luke, and I’ll throw out these references if you’re not the Bible, neuter faith-like addresses there within the text, and you can look them up for some of you… You’ll know exactly what to do with them. So good for you that every time there was some presence, that there was some present who told him about the Galilean whose blood, Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. Pilot, this ruler of this area of the world had taken some Jews that they’re in the middle of religious worship just like us, and he had killed them. And these people come, Jesus and say, What do you think about this? And Jesus says to them, Do you think that because these Galilean suffered in this way, they were worse sinners than all of the other Galilean, he’s on some may actually not give us everything that we want, we may want more from him than that, more or simply a will get to some of why, maybe this is his answer, but it’s interesting to know that even back then, this is a question people were processing, you are not alone in asking this question, and here’s a couple of passage, which within the Bible, we get to see the human emotion that comes out when we experience this problem of evil, My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Are you so far away? When I grow to help.

Every day I call to you, my God, but You do not answer. Every night, I lift my voice, but I find no relief. My life is poured out like water and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax. Melting within me. My strength is dried up like sun baked clay. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You have lab in the dust and left me for Dead, maybe you and your lowest points have prayed prayer similar to that, centered around God, why there is this situation and you are not acting… Why exactly is it that you are not acting… How about this one? We are given no signs from God, no prophets are left, and none of us knows how long this will be, how long will the enemy mock you go with the full evil, your name forever. Why do you take back your hand, your right hand, take it from the folds of your garment, the picture that this writer gives us that there’s all of the struggle going on, and what the God of the universe has done is he’s taken his hand and sent… Not acting. Not doing anything. You’re gonna stand on the sidelines and watch. And when you read passages in the Old Testament, particularly, maybe one of the big attentions is this, that there’s moments where it seems like God is behind some of the wars that take place, and you’re like, Wow, he’s got like the kid in the playground that’s aging, the other two kids are, it’s like fight, fight, fight. Is that what the world is… Is that how it works? And you can see why for so many people, problems like this, get them to a point where they say, I’m not sure that I can get on board with a life of faith, the

Famous philosopher Voltaire or the earthquake in Portugal in 1755 and said, No, done and he wrote all of this passage about how can you believe that there’s a guard behind a universe that has kids crushed under piles of marble from buildings that are falling down, and we get that tension, right? To give you a more modern example, this is a verse by a band called Fun, it’s in a song of theirs called one foot, and it’s a processing almost with God of some of the things that they see in the world. It’s quite direct, but here we go, but I will die for my own sins, thanks a lot. Will rise up ourselves. Thanks for Nothing at or

So up off the ground or for fathers and nothing but dust now, and he’s wrestling with a relationship with God and some of his community and the struggles that they’ve been through. He gets to a point where he says, Not interested, whatever you think you are offering me, no, I don’t need it, I’ll be fine by myself, the problem of evil has been called the biggest problem for the Christian faith now, just in the same way as the problem of good is a problem for anyone that wants to give you an atheistic point of view, the fact that there are things that we would all say, know that is good, that is a good way to act is a problem for those that would say that the atheistic point of view is the way to go, but this problem of evil is something that followers of Jesus have wrestled with for years and… Yes, and yes, sometimes the explanation has been things like, Well, suffering eventually produces good, and there’s some truth to that, if you look at the lives of most CEOS of Fortune 500 companies, people that are found in big companies, most of them have suffering early in their lives, and somehow creates a resolute No…

Some other people have said, Well, there has to be all of this suffering to get the world to where it needs to be, other writers have said things like, Well, some of the suffering, it shows some attributes of God that you wouldn’t see otherwise, and that’s an important thing as well, but I’m not sure in the midst of suffering, how it helpful all of those examples are and I Aintree just… Well, what does God say about suffering? Surely within the work of Scripture, these books that we have these 66 books by different… Right, surely there must be something that he says that gives us this nice, comfortable… And so to say, Well, that is why, that helps me understand what does God say about our broken world, and I’m gonna disappoint you a little bit because he doesn’t say much… He doesn’t say much. The opening part of the Bible, this book, Genesis, which means beginning, start with a world that is good, this first chapter of Genesis, what is called polemic, it is a sermon, a poetic sermon, almost every other religion of that time in the ancient Near East. It had a focal point, it said that creation was God, it was God, and he also wasn’t particularly interested in good versus evil, creation did not have any particular interest whether you lived or died, you didn’t matter, good and evil were very…

Just arbitrary terms. Who could tell the difference? Anyway, and the first chapter of Genesis says over and over again, no, creation is good, it’s not God, but it is good. And this guy made it to be good, there’s this repeated pattern of seven days, and after every day, God says he made it and it was good, it takes every element that you can see, the sun, the stars, the sky, the heavens, the waters, the land, the animals, the humans and says, good, good, good, good, good, good, good. It starts off… And that is as much as the Bible is willing to say. And then when it talks about the way that the world is broken, all it does is it points to a garden, and it points to this a story that for those of you that were with us to alluded to, but didn’t jump into… And we get to jump in now, it talks about two people, Adam and Eve in a garden with a choice, a choice that goes wrong, and now… The serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, did God really say you must not eat from any tree in the garden? So pause for a second.

We’re told that God has made this garden, that there’s all of these different fruits that can be eaten, but there is one tree specifically that they cannot eat from, it seems within the text, there’s this tension, there’s this idea that we are invited into relationship with God, but relationship or love has to have a choice, right?

Has to be something that you enter into voluntary, imagine on the day that Laura and I got married, she was having second thoughts, which would potentially seem like a reasonable decision, she’s marrying someone like me, but imagining that moment, I’m like, Well, I’ve actually spoken to your dad and he says You have to go ahead with it anyway, so you really don’t have any choice, and they’re gonna march you down the aisle, and if you don’t do it, then you’re gonna be arrested or something like that’s some ridiculous situation, which actually has been reality for a chunk of history. Ridiculously. But it’s that love. If there’s no choice to back out, if there is no decision to opt in, is it really love and is it really, really relationship, and the best explanation for the existence of this tree we’re gonna learn about is God longs for relationship

Of the U and I to be in relationship with him. There has to be an opportunity to opt out, there has to be a path of the freedom that says, No, I’m not actually interested in that, and this tree sits there waiting for the choice. And this is what we read, the woman said to the serpent, We made fruit from the trees in the garden. But God did say, You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die. This choice to have life is mirrored by another choice that leads away from life. You will not certainly die, the serpent said to the woman, for God knows that when you eat from it, your eyes will be opened and you’ll be like God knowing good and evil.

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate it. This is the moment that the Bible, that the writers were point to and say, Well, this is the beginning of evil in the world, this is the moment that it began, became broken to go back to our story of her wolf. The young boy talks about how Maries a god, but also articulate, and I was so mad at Adam and Eve to… This was all their fault. The beginning of the story, when God, if he was asked about good and evil, this is the only place that scripture goes, it says somewhere in this story, we see the moment evil enters and we see that in this evil exists simply as a whole, in goodness. Things are made good, and then there’s the opportunity for the opposite or the absence of good, there’s the light, and the light creates the possibility that there’s a shadow and isn’t that our experience of the world most of the time when we look at the world and think about the ways things are fractured and broken, think about things that we dislike things that cause that tension there, the ways that we see evil in the world most of the time, what we see is a warping of the good thing, we see a taking of the good thing, and it’s twisted in some ways, there’s these good gifts, things like sex that can be twisted and used in negative ways, and when we think about a world that it seems was created around this idea of love freely entered into about…

Think about the fact that almost every relationship we see is centered on this word love, now the Greeks had forwards for love, so it was very easy to to see what kind of love they were talking about, they had a love that talked about sexual love, they had to love that talked about family, love, they had a love that talked about pride in one’s country and all those different things, we have just the one… But most of the time, I would say that you and I, when we see love, we know it, and when we see the absence of love, we also know it, those of you that are big fans of the TV show, The Office, there’s this side sort of character called Ryan Howard, who is in this on and off again relationship with one of the other office workers, Kelly Kapoor, and unless this moment where they break up and he articulates what he thinks might be love.

Maybe we weren’t right together, but it’s weird. I’d rather she be alone than with somebody, he’s that love and to him, it’s a genuine question with his progress and… Yeah, we say, no, of course. That’s not love.

Most of the time we see the good gift, and yet we’re very able for the most part, to see where it gets walked. I think the problem for us as an aside, notice this, most of the time we have a very… A subjective view when it concerns us personally, were willing to bend the rules for us, even if we don’t want the rules to be bent for somebody else, but the articulation of this book Genesis seems to be that the thing is made good and evil exists. Simply as a way that the good thing is twisted, it is a whole… In goodness, it is a shadow, IT is not as things are supposed to be, and we see after this decision that things unravel very quickly, this is Genesis Chapter Four, Cain and Abel, these two brothers fight. And Cain kills Abel and God’s responses. Whatever you’ve done, listen, Your brother’s blood cries to me from the ground, God’s articulation is I see the evil and I’m pained by it, this isn’t how it was supposed to be, this is broken, this isn’t… Right. Humanity unravels based on this one decision, but this text as well will suggest that lurking behind this decision, this garden moment, there is this other thing.

There’s this thing that I can’t fully articulate, maybe it’s beyond our understanding, but we have this creature, the serpent, that later will be identified as this character Satan or the devil, and somewhere we get this window into this thing that’s beyond that space, so that may be eternal that somewhere the world was broken because of some other creature that is fighting against God is trying to compete with him, but again, the Bible doesn’t get too deep into excuses or articulations of, This is why evil is there. It simply says It was made good. And now it’s not… The Bible doesn’t say much about why the world is broken, it’s more interested in what God does about it, it’s more interested in action. So what does God do in this broken wealth and a good place for us to start, and we’re gonna jump through a couple of passages as we do this, a good place for us to start might be with the story of a guy called Job. Job’s a man who is good and he knows he’s good.

He’s a man who is rich, a man who has a great family, a man for whom everything seems to be working out wonderfully well, and then there’s this moment where it all disappears, it all falls apart. And Job articulates after sitting for seven days in the dust, he finally gets mad and he starts articulating to God just why he is so upset, and let’s look at some of what he says, Oh, that I had someone to hear me, I sign. Now, my defense, let the Almighty answer you. Let my accuser put his indiaman in writing. Surely, I would wear it on my shoulder, I would put it on like a crown, I would give Him an account for my every step. I would present it to him as a ruler from Job’s perspective, he says, I wish I could get God in front of me, and then I would tell him why bad things shouldn’t happen to good people, and I am a good person, I can demonstrate day after day, after day, my life is like a rule, I do what is right, and God is ranged in treating me this way. That’s

Job’s articulation, like, This is not right. This is not fair, this is not just as maybe you sat where he sits and he be you like… That is what I would say in those situations as well, if you’re honest.

And after Job’s response that turns up, but again, never articulate why this has happened to Job, he really asks over the course of a few chapters, just who job thinks he is, he suggests that like God’s thinking is somewhere up here, and how can you possibly understand all of the workings of the universe? Ask some questions like, Were you there when I hung stars in the sky? Were you there when I created the oceans? When I created these great creatures, how could you possibly understand all this, and that’s a tension for us as well, because to us, I would suggest… Is that answer particularly satisfying to me personally, I read it. I’m like, Well, yes, but surely. Doesn’t Job deserve an answer? Doesn’t job desire fairness? I’m not sure the text works necessarily for you and I, as we read it initially… Yeah, what’s interesting is it seems to work for job, somewhere in the midst of God turning up, Joe becomes not okay with this situation, but he comes to a resolution point, this is his response to all that God will say. You asked, who is this that obscures my plans with our knowledge? Surely, I spoke of things, I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.

You said, listen now and I will speak. I will question you and you shall answer me. My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore, I despise myself and I repent in dust and ashes. Somewhere this character experiences God in the midst of his suffering, and it seems a strange as it might seem to us, that for him, that was enough, he becomes a piece with this situation… This is as far as the first part of the Bible. This Old Testament will go in addressing the problem of evil, but

The story really picks up when we look at how Jesus and His incarnation, and if you’re unfamiliar with that word, incarnation, it simply means his presence, immersion in the world, he is living our life as a human being, God in our flesh, it really picks up in this moment where Jesus becomes in KANA in this world, and it seems that God’s holy of dealing with this problem of evil, is that story? Is that moment? This is the first moment that Jesus is introduced in this book called John, and if you get a chance, if you’re new to faith, if you’re figuring it out, take this book, John, you can find it in the Bible and just read that whole book, cover to cover, we’re gonna dip in to four or five different chapters, and we’re gonna try and cover the whole Book of John in some way during the course of this morning, which means we’re gonna be here to like 230… So prep yourselves, Panera Bread will be here in a moment. They’re gonna back the truck in and we’re gonna have a blast. This is the opening part, in the beginning was the word, Jesus, and

The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. So the original articulation is that somewhere in the eternal spatial world, there is God who exists in three persons, there is Father, Son, Jesus and Spirit, and Jesus becomes in Cana in this world, through him, all things were made, without him, nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of Omani, the light shines. And the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. Think about what we talked about with Genesis, this broken world, God evil as a whole, and goodness, it is the shadow from the light, and it seems that this Jesus story is originally centered around, he will come and He will bring light in the darkness and the darkness will not overcome it. So when we read this, what we might expect from this book, John, is that Jesus rides in like the carbon with the white hat at the end of the Western stories. He’s gonna come in and he’s gonna fix the problem. And yet, for the first half of this book, Job for the first 11 chapters, what we see is not a lot of fixing, but a lot of standing alongside. For the first few chapters of John, Jesus picks out those that are hurting, those are the wounded that are most broken, and some of them he heals, and others he defends and protects from those that are accusing them, but it seems like for the first half of John what Jesus does is He walks alongside those that the most broken who are experiencing this world and it’s evil in the most poignant ways. There’s a moment in John Chapter Eight, way standing, teaching and the religious leaders of the day drag out a woman and they say, Jesus, we have caught her in the act of adultery, suspiciously, the man is allowed to escape off into the day, but there’s this moment where they say, Where is the justice? She is part of the broken world, where is the justice condemn her because she is a symptom of this broken world, and

Jesus doesn’t condemn her, he simply stands and then kneels and then begins to write in the dust. We’re not told what he wrote, we not given any information, but whatever he writes is powerful and pointing enough that the accusers and disappear for the first half of the book, there is this constant tension between Jesus and the religious leaders, they keep saying to him, Well, when are you gonna fix things? They keep asking me whether he has the right to do what he’s doing, and he never really gives them a specific answer.

It seems to the first half of the book like they are the enemy, they are the ones He is fighting against, but we’ll find out in a second that that isn’t the case as it turns out, but

This first half of the book with Jesus encountering all of these different people, they’re broken, thus the need for healing the wounded-ness culminates in this chapter, which to me just exemplifies some of what Jesus came to do, this is the death of a man called Lazarus, a close friend of Jesus, Jesus arrives after Lazarus sickness has taken its effect, Lazarus is now dead and he’s left with his family, his two sisters. And we’re told when Jesus saw Hawthorn, the Jews would come along with a also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. Where have you laid him? He asked, Come and see Lord, they replied. Jesus wept. And then the Jews said, See how he loved him. But some of them said, Could not he open the eyes of the blind? And have kept this man from dying. You see, some of that tension guard, could you not act in the world, Jesus, could you not fix this situation, and yet Jesus answered to this moment of evil, this moment of death, this moment of grief, this moment of loss, is to stand and to weep. Never justify is where you came. Leaner justifies why Lazarus died.

He stands with his sisters that are grieving, and he cries tears, he Christ… To us, Jesus stands along us in our pain and our misery, and He says about the world, this is not how it is supposed to be, when you say that this world is broken, when you say that there is something that needs fixed, fixing, it seems like God and Cara in the world says, You are absolutely right. I agree with you 100%. This is not the world as it was designed, there is no excuse for it, there is no real explanation of it, there was simply a standing there and saying… Yes, yes, this is broken. The Japanese theologian macadam says that imagine what it would look like for Jesus to follow out the same process in your life and The disasters that we see in the world around us, imagine what it would be to see Jesus standing alongside those that lost people on September 11th, imagine what I would see. A base standing alongside those little lost people during this virus, this pandemic, and what we see is a picture of a God who is in Cana in the world, and he stands alongside us and he weeps. He stands alongside us and he weeps. As we move on to Chapter 12, we see a change in Jesus, He begins to articulate not just his confession that this world is not as it’s supposed to be, but he starts to unveil what he sees the real back as being, it’s not a battle against these religious leaders, it’s not a dealing with them, there’s this thing that he seems to believe he came to fix that connects with a chunk of what God does about this broken world. Now, my soul is trouble. This is John Chapter 12. And what should I say, Father, save me from this hour, no. It was for this reason, I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name. Then a voice came from heaven, I have glorified it and I will glorify it again.

The crowd that was there and heard it said He attended, the Sudan angel had spoken to him, and Jesus said that this voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world. Now, the Prince of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, borrow all people to myself, as Jesus articulate why he came to earth, he says I came to fight a battle.

There is this thing that is going on that connects to that Genesis chapter three story, a thing that maybe is beyond our understanding and certainly beyond the understanding of his early audience there, and He says, I came to do this thing, I

Came to fix the world because this world is broken, and there is a reason. There is a prince and a ruler of this well, and Jesus saw His death and resurrection as this moment of bathes moment where he would win a victory over all of the things that make this wall Broken, that he would fix the problem. It seems that when Jesus wants to give an explanation for the problem of evil, He doesn’t say a lot, he does an awful lot, he involves himself in a broken wall and says, I’m willing to fix it, I’m willing to get myself… Massage my hands dirty a few years ago, and I had to give my wife money to tell the story because she doesn’t always like me telling us, but a few years ago, we were in a store together and she was pregnant and she has terrible morning sickness, and so there was this moment as we were shopping, there was just the two of us, and I remember looking and seeing that she was starting to feel a little bit Quay, and I started to get a little bit nervous, and as she looked worse and worse and worse, so she said, I’ve really gotta get out of here.

And so we start running down if we gotta get out of the store, and then there’s this moment where she stopped and she just begin to tatooin thing. And so in that moment as she begins to throw up whatever the contents of a stomach, I stand next to her and I do this, and I just catch as much the formats I can, and then I have this moment where I’m thinking… What was… I think it was really early in our marriage, if it was to a who is in a busy with… But there was this willingness out of relationship to involve myself in that worst of moments, that moment of the thing is coming out and it is messy and it is disgusting, and out of the instinct of love, what I did was not run, not hide, I threw my hands there and said, I’m gonna get myself involved in this situation, it seems that that is somewhat akin to how God thinks about the problem of evil, yes, there might be explanations, but I wonder how satisfying any of those explanations, whatever. Be for those worst of evils that we encounter, it seems that what God says is, I’m not going to justify it, I’m not going to explain it, what I come and do is I will come and stand alongside you and say, No, that is not how…the way they’re supposed to be, and I will immerse myself in it and I will do what is necessary to fix it.

This is what another says about what happens on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, the powers of deed, their best or they’re worse on Friday, those powers could not prevail, they are shown to be helpless before God’s powerful life, and so the church continues to mock death and to celebrate God’s gift of life. That will not be defeated. It seems that Jesus believed that his own incarnation in the world was about fixing that problem of evil and pain, added source, and saying that the world will not be the same, the Prince of this world will be overthrown, that life will be different, except it’s not… Is it… At least in our experience right now, we still experience all of those things, some of you have lost loved ones this year, you’ve experienced death, you’ve experienced morning grief and pain, some of you are experiencing it today, if Jesus fixed all of this… If he fought this battle, if his death was this victory, if His death was for us and for this world, and why isn’t everything as it should be, what is in it or… Okay, and

We see the same right of John that wrote this text, we’ve looked at were later to churches asking some of the same question. And what he said was this, Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made. Now, but we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. These writers of these texts, as they expounded on what Jesus did, what they were able to say is that Jesus did something once and for all time, he gave his life for you, and you can be a different person because of his sacrifice. He took that on himself for you, and not only that, He took on the pain and brokenness of this world, and he held that, he embraced that, he dealt with that.

He took on the powers that are behind those texts. The thing that’s lacking that Genesis won’t even speak about, the fact that this world was already broken with his universe or this creation is already flawed in some way, way before Adam and Eve, that there’s this character that is on the side of evil that lurks behind the scenes wanting to do damage, and he says Jesus also took on that and he defeated that, and that is his answer to the problem of evil, but he also says, there’s this thing to come, this idea of Already not yet everything is done, it is fixed in your hat, we wait for this world, that one day will be what it should be. What does God promise about this broken? Well.

This is the final… Well, next, final, penultimate chapter of the Bible, we looked at the first one and the third one. This is right at the end, then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. Remember those words, that language is important for the first, heaven and the first, as had passed away, there was no longer. And he see the sea was seen as this place of chaos is place where dragons learned, so any idea that the sea would disappear would be a good thing in this culture. I saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down from heaven, from God, prepared as a bride, beautifully dressed for a husband. And this is the verse I want you to focus on. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, Look, God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he would dwell with them. They will be his people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning, or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

He was seated on the throne, said, I am making everything new. And then he said, Write this down for these words are trustworthy and true. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. And the time frame that Jesus lived around 2000 years ago, there were these things that were called Tea jazz tears were thought to be precise, people would actually collect them, and we think about Jesus weeping by the grave of Lazarus and think about how precious MI, those tears have been, if somebody collected them, but he has cried some of the same tiers that you and I have cried that our friends that are co-workers, that this world regularly craze, and what he says is One day, I’ll wipe them all away. In this passage, there is no explanation, there is no particular focus on… Oh, by the way, remember that your pain was necessary to get you where you needed to go, although it might be true for high, now there is no focus on it was showing some characteristic of God that wouldn’t have been shown otherwise, although that might be true as well, his only focus is lifting up this person and saying, I will wipe away the tears, there will be normal death or mourning or crying or pain.

This is the writer David Bentley Hart, he says this, As for comfort, when we see it, I can imagine none greater than the happy knowledge that when I see the death of a child, papers the greatest ever. We can imagine, I do not see the face of God, but the face of his enemy. The God will not unite all of histories, many strands in one great synthesis that will judge much of history, false and damned, that you will not simply reveal the sublime logic or fall in nature, but we’ll strike off the Federici creation languages and that… Rather than showing us how the tears have a small girl suffering in the dark when necessary for the building of the kingdom, He will instead raise up and wipe away all tears from our eyes. And there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. Not any more pain, for the former things will have passed away, and he that sits upon the earth or say, Behold, I make all things new. The way that God deals with pain is to come into this world to embrace it, to amuse Himself in it, to say that what he did in Jesus and His death and resurrection ultimately fixes it, and yet we wait still for this Moorehead, but I will also…

I will make all things new. There will be no more death. No More Mourning. No more pain, no more suffering. In light of all of this, my question is, how do we respond, what are we supposed to do for those of us, and if you’re not following Jesus, you get an escape on this, because I think this is something that if we’re called to follow Jesus, that we are called to do specifically as a church community, as individuals, how do we respond to this in the light of what Jesus has done, in light of the fact that he says that I came and I must myself in the mess of this world, that my death on some level fixes it, what should we be inspired to do in our communities, what would be inspired to do in our relationships with those that we love, those that are walking from pain, and the first thing I would remind you of is to do what Jesus did, confess the heart. Don’t try and explain it away. The word confess in its Greek origins doesn’t mean to say sorry, it has that some of that connotation as they were developed, but it is called The Word quite supplements to say the same as as Jesus stood by the grave of his friend, Lazarus next Lazar assist as he said, No, this isn’t right.

Essentially with his tears, he said, This isn’t how it’s supposed to be. And you and I are invited to walk alongside a broken world and say, No, you are right, when you are mad, when you are heart, when you question what, God seems to have His hand in his pocket. We agree with you. Yes, there is this ultimate story that we wanna share, but to stand alongside and say, Yes, the world seems so often to be broken and it shouldn’t be… This way is where we get to start. We get to confess the heart, and we get to embrace the dirt, we get to embrace the mess of this world, the chaos, the mess of people’s lives of loved ones, some of them, because of their own decisions, definitely. When we get to walk alongside a while that is hiring and broken, and we invited to get ourselves messy to get ourselves involved, to this wonderful story about a monastery up in the hills in Santa Barbara. The

Monks used to live there and they used to get to overlook the city, they were up above the noise, the pollution that were in the fresh air, they could contemplate all day long. And then a fire ripped through the mountains and they had to move and share space with the nuns down in the city, and as they waited for the insurance payment to come through, they experienced a completely different way of life, they got the noise of school kids on their way to school, the Hanks of the morning traffic, there was no peace anymore, where they were, and as the insurance payment came in, they had to make a decision, did they re-build on top of the mountain, but unanimously they decided was staying here, was staying down in amongst people because they had seen the life of God in amongst the people that they were doing ministry and… And I have had the same experiences. I’ve gone to countries like Hey, titer, Romania, to the Philippines where I’ve got to experience life with those that are poor and often, quite literally dirty. I remember playing football with a scar with 100 Hasan kids and just the smell and the noise of the room and having this moment of contemplation in amongst it, we were in a room maybe a quarter of the size of this packed in and just thinking, I am experiencing God in this place in a way that I am rarely experienced him, recently, we are invited to confess the heart, the brokenness, were invited to embrace Tess spent his time with those that seemed to be lowest, and then we’re invited to get to work.

Confess the hurt, embrace the dirt and get to work, because the out-working of what Jesus did, this ultimate victory invites us into the story and says, What part might you play in this… Nobody is made to do nothing and sit on the sidelines, and I love when we see people all over the world taking things about this broken world and using them in new ways to bring goodness out of the world. This is salvation mountain by slab City in Utah, there just landed, and I created this From the junk found lying in the deep people things that people are discarded, and he begins to lift this mountain out of the desert and says it is possible to take the bar the broken and turn it into good. This is a partnership between pale the oceans and the shoe company, Adidas, they take plastic that is floating around in the oceans and say, we’re gonna use it to manufacture tennis shoes, they’re not particularly a Christian company, but they say We’re gonna take the brokenness we encounter and we’re going to use it in new and in good ways where they are facing the plastic pollution and saying, What can we do that is different, remember I told you to log that phrase away, new heavens and new Earth.

It’s not the first time in the Bible that that phrase is used. The writer John is actually quoting a prophet called Isaiah back from a few thousand years before him, and Isaiah uses that phrase, new heavens and a new Earth, and it began… That goes on to unpack what he means by that, Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years, the one who dies at 100 will be thought… And me, a child and the one who fails to reach 100 will be considered a case, they will build houses and dwell in them, they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit, no longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others… The Isaiah was faced with this world that was constantly in the turmoil of war, people would build a house and someone would take it after people would plant vineyards and they would be destroyed or someone would steal the fruit. In Isaiah as well, he said, Imagine a world that looks different to that, and we’re invited to this Revelation 21 world one day one, they go will wipe away every tear that’s what he promised, and yet we can’t control them. We wait, we wait to see what God will do. And in this world, I would suggest, while we wait for Revelation 21, we’re invited to work for Isaiah 65, what might this world look like because of people like you and I, this Jesus story starts with our own personal change, it starts with the idea that Jesus came and died in your place.

It extends to the fact that somewhere he defeated these or powers that lurk behind the scenes, but it also includes the invitation to get involved in his story, in his… Well, to get your hands dirty to get to work.

So we’d love to invite you as a community into this thing that we’ve got coming up this month, and I got the day wrong, every service on Easter, which was impressive. It takes a lot of commitment to be that wrong in so many different ways, so we’re inviting you into this thing that we’re calling the first mile initiative, what we did is we drew a circle around South… Around 6560 and said, What would it look like if we took owning this area seriously, what would it look like if we look for ways to partner with Littleton and said, We love this area, we would love to see it change, we would love to… It become better in all the different ways that we might imagine, and so our first little furry into this is to invite our whole community on the 24th of April to come along from 2 to 60, and we have projects all around this little radius that we’re inviting you to get involved with… If you would like to know more, there is a table outside, we would love you to have a conversation with our team, if you like leading projects, we would love you to help lead a project, if you just like picking up litter, that will be great as well.

But whatever you are made to be good at, we would love to find a way to incorporate you in this, we would love to partner with our neighborhood and say that God longs for a world that once again is good.

He’s done something to change it for all time, and we would love to do the little that we can do to partner with him in doing it in this particular area. Confess the harp, embrace the dirt and get to work. God’s response to the problem of evil is not to say much about it, but is to do an awful lot about it, and then to involve his people in it as well. I’m gonna invite the worship team back up on stage and during the course of the six weeks of years to tie where we’ll be looking at these difficult questions, one of the things we’ve realized is this, You may be struggling with faith, you may be in a place of brokenness right now. Answering questions is not the thing that will help you, we would love to invite you into experiencing Jesus for yourself wherever you are in your faith, whether a long way in or just beginning, it might be that this life at the moment just looks like a mess, so every week, during this series, we’re gonna have a longer period at the end of the sermon, just feed to reflect, we just wanna create some space, we’re gonna do communion every week or at least have it available, and usually we do it as a very corporate thing, we do it as a celebration of what Jesus did together.

This is designed to be more personal, you can take it back to your chair and you can take it when you’re ready, some weeks you may choose not to take it at all, but how I’d love to set this up for you today is this is to go back to that story of Lazarus, there was this moment after Jesus weeps where he invites Lazarus out of the grave, it’s this foreshadowing of his resurrection to come, and I’m always intrigued to imagine what it would be like to Lazarus in that situation. I don’t know what death feels like, I haven’t experienced it, I don’t know what the afterlife looked like in that moment pre-Jesus death and resurrection, but I do know that somewhere, Lazarus in this moment of death, He’s a voice. Calling to him, it is the voice of God and can in the world, in the world immersing himself and it fixing its problem, and it’s this moment where this voice says to arise in your death and your brokenness in your paid a come forward. And this is more where something happens within Lazarus, and for the first time in history may be someone strides out of a grave into some kind of new life has this incredible moment, and I wonder what it might look like for each of us.

Maybe life feels like a grave to you right now. Maybe there’s so much broken us, so much heart, so much confusion, so much much pain, maybe you’re seeing it in a life of your friends and co-workers and that’s… Raising some of the same questions, What would it look like in this moment of contemplation where we’re just still before the worship team leaders for you to hear the voice of the Son of God, who knows your pain, who cares for you very deeply. What would it look like for you to hear that voice calling to you… Come on, get up. Come from, but it’s gonna be okay. Ultimately, life and faith doesn’t begin or survive because we have the answers to every cognitive question, it sent it on an experience of a God who loves us, who invites us in in our brokenness, He says, Wherever you are, come this way… I dealt with all of this stuff for you. Let’s close our eyes for a second, and as the worship team lead us, if you would like to take communion, that is there for you. As I say, you can take it back to your seat, I’m gonna ask any of the elders, elders, wives that are willing to participate, any of the watchmen, if you’re happy to come down to the front as you would like prayer if you’re lies. At that point, were you like, I love just someone to stand along side me and pray with me, then you’re welcome to come to the front and de Prado, you may wanna sit it and content, Neil and contemplate. You may want to sing, O, you want to pray, you may want to read, you may want to sit quietly and listen for the voice of the Son of God who immersed himself in the evil wealth, he doesn’t say or it doesn’t diminish your pain, doesn’t explain Him it says meter, I’ve been there and know what you’re feeling. Stand up, John conform. Standard Amy, come for. It’s gonna be okay.

Jesus from my friends. And grief and pain and suffering and sorrow and uncertainty about what is next in life, in wrestling with those internal questions, would you do what you did to last risk, but you stand and weep with them, would you call them into new life, which bring new out of the old. Thank you for your death and your resurrection that changes everything.

Thank you that you took our burdens. Thank you, you took on those evil powers behind the scenes that we don’t even know how to name sometimes, and you said… I dealt with that too.

Thank you for this in this already not yet, this waiting period, you say, the thing is coming, and there will be no more death. No more morning. No suffering.

Why is there Suffering if God is Good? | Searched (Part 1)2021-09-01T16:11:53-06:00
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