Subscribe
This week’s Announcements
Connect with Us
Request Prayer
Take a Next Step
TRANSCRIPT
Text is automatically produced. Errors may be present.

good morning friends how’s it going uh if you’re visiting my name is Alex I’m one of the pastors here I’ve been here like three weeks now and already someone has stolen my stool um I don’t really use it much anyway but uh it’s fine you know I’ll get over it I’m not resentful at all uh so great to see you guys nine o’clock service looking packed that means one thing there’s no broncos game today uh it was on Thursday and that means that I have already converted every single one of you into lions fans and you’re desperate to get home and watch the lion’s seats at 11 o’clock right no no one okay fine we’re in the middle of a series uh that we called did you see that this is the basic premise that we’re working around Jesus does some things uh every now and again and on the surface you might say well there’s an obvious thing that’s going on there and then you look a little deeper you kind of get into the weeds and you find that actually no

he’s got this whole other message going on when I thought about analogies that might help you understand this or help us understand this I thought about my life growing up in the 90s and some of you will have had these thrown at you regularly anyone know what it is it’s a magic eye now I was convinced for the longest time that this was like a conspiracy theory to make me look a bit foolish they tell you you’re supposed to hold it really close and slowly move it away and in all my years of doing magic eyes I have never seen the picture once I just cannot do it so my fundamental belief is that’s not a problem with me that’s you guys you’re just making this stuff up it’s not even there’s nothing there to look at but but the idea is you look in a particular way and you see something that’s that makes the image richer this is kind of the idea that we’re playing at with this series as we we go into the first chapters of john this biography of Jesus and

we start to pull out some of the things that are happening so we’re going to get into another passage in a minute but first I’m going to give you a couple of questions and there’s going to be three questions during the series the first one is a little bit of a warm-up question it’s this have you ever been denied access to something like have you ever had that embarrassing experience of trying to get in to some kind of venue some kind of event and they’re like no this isn’t for you maybe it was the way that you were dressed uh maybe it was something particular about you and a man that could be a heartbreaking story there maybe you turned up to a wedding that you thought you were invited to and you weren’t actually invited which happens more often than you would think I have a friend I’m going to call him jeff because that’s not his name and I worked with him for a while he was a big guy and he used to work on the door back in the the

time when club scenes in in birmingham in England were very big he was one of these doormen and he tells this wonderful story about the first time he was employed now now jeff would be maybe the first to say he’s not the sharpest knife in the toolbox or whatever you say there but but he’s a lovely guy and he tells this story about the first night he was asked to work at this new club that had just opened and his boss comes down to him after a while and says jeff were fall no one else comes in tonight and jeff looks at him and says all right boss no worries I’ve got this now he sounds a little like ozzy osbourne and and that’s not aussie being on drugs that’s just what people from our area sound like uh this is like a lot of development to get this accent to this point and so jeff says to his boss no worries I’ve got this covered nobody else will get in and so his boss goes back upstairs and then around five minutes later a huge rolls-royce pulls

up and out gets a musician his name is steve winwood he may be become be famous over here I don’t know but in England at the time he was huge and steve wynwood walks confidently towards the door he’s about to just you know make his entrance and jeff steps in front of him and says sorry mate we’ll fall no one else comes in tonight and so steve winwood looks at him and says the words that usually get him in anywhere he wants to go says I’m steve wynwood and jeff looks at me says I don’t care who you are mate you’re not coming in here tonight we’re full and so steve winwood gets back in his rolls-royce and leaves a few minutes later the manager comes down to jeff puts an arm on his shoulder and says jeff steve winwood turned up yet and jeff looks and says yeah I told him to get lost and the manager obviously did not react particularly well turns out steve wynwood was turning up at this brand new club as a

personal favor so the manager could tell everyone hey steve winwood was there tonight and now he wasn’t there tonight even people like that right they they have these moments where oh I didn’t quite make it I didn’t get access I was shut out I I was left on the outside second question how and where do you experience access to God and have you ever had that experience of feeling shut out there as well we’ll get into that a little bit more later how do you experience garden and because there might be some people that you would say I’m not church I don’t even know about this following Jesus thing I’ll expand that for you right now how do you experience things like what you might call the spirit the life force how do you find centering how do you find this this moment of meditation what is it that you do that enables you to do that yes there’s a chunk of us that would say we’re following Jesus and we have this definite

idea of what that looks like but for some of us maybe we’re not there yet maybe for some of you it’s some of these images maybe it’s mountains landscape nature maybe some of you who are like if it wasn’t for like this real existential guilt I’d be in the mountains right now something dragged me here to listen to you when this is where I’d rather be maybe it’s like that place of like oh there’s something here that makes me feel like I’m accessing the spirit maybe it is solitude maybe it’s a cup of coffee maybe like that’s the thing that like switches me up in the morning like there is no presence of God until the first cup of coffee goes down my throat and then maybe for some of you it’s it’s a particular activity for me it’s walking like when I can walk and step by step it feels like God is walking with me and I can process what I’m processing I can take a question for contemplation and I can slowly this was a picture I took by a lakeside on a

retreat earlier in the year and I got this experience of just like oh Jesus it feels like you’re walking step by step with me all of the things that didn’t make sense when I left it just suddenly it feels like slowly we’ve pressed them into order maybe it’s music maybe sitting down at a piano in the experience of like ah there’s an order here and this creativity here whatever it is hopefully every single one of us can say that there’s some kind of experience that leads us into that process it doesn’t have to be in church but it can be but here’s the thing for a good Jewish person in the first century if you’d have asked them about the presence of God 99 of them would have given you exactly the same answer the presence of God is found in the temple it’s in this particular place it’s not an activity it’s not somewhere in some experience it’s simply in this place where you can go and it might be hundreds of miles away but you go there and that

that is where God is present and he’s not really present in the same way anywhere else so hold all of that in your mind this is the experience of people in the first century that we’re talking about and and because I’ve heard from some of you and I already love you as a group of people you guys like to know where passages are in the bible and I do not put them on the screen I’m aware of that there are some really bad reasons for that and I’m not going to share them with you but because I love you already what I did for you is this so pull out your little camera phones and take your picture and you can go and find all the scripture passages that you want later in the day and and we’re going to go through a lot today we’re going to motor and we’re going to yeah strap yourselves in we’re going to get there hopefully so we’re going to start with the second part of john chapter two we were in the first part of john last week we did the

turning water into wine in the first service with you guys uh my favorite service it turned into like a nice clara in the little experiment in the the second service it was more like a rose uh didn’t work so well in the second service um and they uh were embarrassed for me just like my kids were so Jesus turns water into wine goes on a little trip back to his homeland and then it says he’s back in Jerusalem so if you’re opening your own text it’s john chapter 2 verse 13. when it was almost time for the Jewish passover Jesus went up to Jerusalem it was actually down to Jerusalem but the language of going up to Jerusalem was the correct language you always went up to Jerusalem in the temple courts he found people selling cattle sheep and doves and others sitting at tables exchanging money so he made a whip out of cords and drove all from the temple courts both sheep and cattle he scattered the coins of money changes

overturned their tables to those who sold doves he said get these out of here stop turning my father’s house into a market his disciples remember that it is written zeal for your house will consume me the Jews then responded to him what sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this Jesus answered them destroy this temple and I will raise it again in three days they replied it’s taken 46 years to build this temple and you’re going to raise it in three days but the temple he spoke of was his body and after he was raised from the dead his disciples recalled what he had said and they believed the scriptures and the words that Jesus had spoken let’s pray and then let’s just jump into what’s happening here God thank you for your presence here with us that however we feel about our ability to access that we’re going to learn that you say that we are welcome God we take this word and we believe as your followers

that you breathed on it God would you breathe on us make us come alive in new ways in ways that we feel empty in ways that we feel alone in ways that we don’t feel enough breathe on us may we come alive thank you Jesus for your presence with us amen okay so here we go first passage when it was almost time for the Jewish passover Jesus went up to Jerusalem in the temple courts he found people selling cattle sheep doves and others sitting at the tables exchanging money Jesus went to a temple and he finds a tent market this is cebu city public market uh carbon market I went there when I was 19 years old my first overseas mission experience and after many hours of travel travel they dumped me into this marketplace and said just go and explore and just the intensity of the heat and the noise and everything being yelled at me and all of these kids coming up and asking me for money I had no experience of

any of this kind of stuff so when you see kids on the street asking you for money what was the first thing I did I pulled out my wallet and started handing money out and everyone with me on the trip just like inhaled and said don’t do that whatever you do don’t do that everything about the experience though seemed the opposite of what you might call worship at least to me Jesus goes to Jerusalem and he’s looking for a temple and he finds a tent market he’s looking for something orderly and he finds something chaotic he’s looking for something spiritual and he finds something secular he’s looking for something sacred and he finds something secular and this is where we land in the middle of this passage it’s not what you sort of think about when you think about something like orderly worship it’s this mess of noise and chaos that Jesus encounters and so what’s his reaction there his reaction seems doesn’t it like the most unJesus-

like reaction that you might find at least if you go by what you’re told Jesus looks like when you’re a kid because we learn those things like Jesus gentle Jesus meek and mild was one of the rhymes that we got to learn and then this is the Jesus we’re presented with Jesus is ex acting exactly like we would tell our kids not to act in church this kind of behavior just doesn’t fly right so he made a whip out of cords and drove all from the temple courts both sheep and cattle he scattered the coins of the money changes and overturned the tables to those who sold doves he said get these out of here stop turning my father’s house into a market his disciples remember that it is written zeal for your house will consume me so when you read this what you might see is this Jesus wants to create a better divide between spiritual and sacred so between spiritual and secular he wants to create this world where like the two are kept far

apart from each other and this place where you’re going to church in the first century equivalent he wants it to be controlled and he wants it to be ordered and all those different things but I wonder if that’s really what’s happening this story is really interesting in some ways because it’s one of the only things that we see Jesus do that is in every one of the four biographies of his life death and resurrection are in all four of them uh the feeding of 5 000 people from a few loaves and fishes is in all four of them and this one is in all four of them interestingly there’s a couple of differences right so in the first three matthew mark and luke this is right at the end of Jesus life you could say that this is the thing that causes his death this is the moment where the Jews say like we’re done with this guy he is too much trouble but in john it’s right at the beginning so okay probably got some theologians here and stuff like that

based on where we are by a seminary and and some of you guys have been around you’ve studied for a long time one argument could be that Jesus did this twice he went and he cleared people out the temple twice now personally my my my feeling is this this isn’t the sort of thing that you get away with doing twice this is a big deal he goes and he causes absolute chaos in one of the most sacred places in the world the center of judaism on earth Jesus goes in and he just goes crazy to me that doesn’t feel like something you get away with doing twice I would expect at least one of the writers would say something like oh by the way this was the second time he did it and it was just as embarrassing as the first time he did it I would expect some honest reflection of we hid under tables the first time we hid under tables the second time and we’re never going back to the temple with this guy ever again because it’s got this feeling of like

no you get away with doing this thing once so that that’s my personal reading if you think he happened to do it twice then that’s fine I would suggest it probably happened once and in good first century fashion john this writer is not actually super interested in chronology that isn’t the most important thing to him he doesn’t need everything to be this happened then this happened this happened he’s using this to story tell he’s taken this thing that Jesus did in history and he’s putting it right at the start and saying this explains everything that Jesus did this covers a turn of what he was doing here on earth if you if you want to get an idea of what Jesus was all about take this story right at the beginning and this is what I would suggest is happening here but when you read the other passages actually you do get like a little bit more information because this is what mark another writer says Jesus does and he would not allow

anyone to carry anything through the temple and he was teaching them saying to them it is is it not written my house should be called a house of prayer for all the nations but you have made it a den of robbers my house should be called a house of prayer for all the nations we’ll get to that in a second Jesus is essentially in the business of protest now you could feel all sorts of things politically about what happened in washington in seattle over the last few months but it gives us this good reference point for what Jesus is doing because we don’t have to agree with the politics to see what this is this is this form of protest and some of you may be totally unborn some of you may not and that’s fine but chas the capitol hill autonomous zone was a group of people that gathered together and said as a form of protest we’re going to take over this area and we’re going to run it in a different way Jesus is doing that now one of the things that was

incredible to see with this whole thing is there was some stuff that happened that was wonderful there was some stuff that happened that wasn’t one of the things I did get some amusement from was the garden that was started in chas because that to me just felt like it wasn’t going to feed anybody um and so there was this moment of like that is what happens when you move out of your parents house and you have to pay rent for the first time that’s like feeding ourselves is definitely not as easy as we thought but this protest that’s what Jesus is doing he’s saying there’s something wrong with the way that the world is operating here and we need to do something about it now it’s hard for us maybe to take Jesus as doing anything politically we think of him as having this bigger goal but actually the goal right is the same Jesus said there’s something wrong with this system think about that phrase that mark uses he talks

about this idea that this house is a house of prayer for all nations early on what I would suggest is this Jesus isn’t talking primarily about splitting sacred and secular he’s actually talking about access he’s talking about who gets to be involved he’s talking about who gets to experience presence what was the system in place so we’re going to track back and you’ve got all those passages if you want to look at them we’re going to jump back into this book exodus which is like groundwork for everything that happens in the Jewish faith this is where this thing gets formed there’s these pre-history stories in genesis there’s the the patriarchs and all these important things going on but exodus is where we get like down to the details of how a relationship with God works with a community on earth and so this is what we read this is the system that Jesus is protesting the lord descended to the top of mount sinai and called Moses

to the top of the mountain so Moses went up and the lord said to him go down and warn the people so they do not force their way through to see the lord and many of them perish when the priests who approach the lord even the priests who approach the lord must consecrate themselves or the lord will break out against them if you’re unfamiliar with the church then when you see lord you can read God this was this personal name that Jewish people had for God in Hebrew it’s the word Yahweh in our English bible we’ll write lord then have them make a sanctuary for me and I will dwell among them make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you and then we get some details this was chapter 19 we’re going to skip down to 26 hang the curtain from the clasps and place the ark of the covenant law behind the curtain the curtain will separate the holy place from the most holy place put the

atonement cover on the ark of the covenant law in the most holy place and then one final one for the generations to come this burnt offering is to be made regularly at the entrance of the tent of meeting before the lord therefore there I will meet you and speak to you there also I will meet with the Israelites and the place will be consecrated by my glory okay I destroyed my office earlier to give you a visual illustration of this so I might get a protest and and this I’ve learned the optimum angle for standing this up is like 35 degrees uh so hopefully we can uh get this to stand in some kind of good orderly fashion otherwise my friends on the front row um will be squashed we’re seeing some lean we’ll trust it so so this is what we’re talking about we’re talking about something we’re very familiar with we’re talking about doorways we’re talking about entrances we’re talking about access in this language that God gives to these

people he says I am coming to dwell amongst you but I am different than you and so there’s this this barrier that is controlled the access is controlled there is access there is experience there is God’s presence but there’s this way of controlling that access to do it in the right way and he talks about how a priest will come and he will do this thing where he will go in once a year and give a very specific offering and he’s the only person that can come and experience God but but really anyone can come anyone can stay on the peripheral it’s just got to be controlled because God is different and God is holy and to experience his presence exactly as he is this God who has been there beyond time immoral a human being can’t handle that so it’s controlled but what happens to this system when human beings get involved it might start perfectly fine but over time something happens what had the system become the system had

become about limiting access suddenly there were all these different steps there was not just this one barrier between God and humanity not just just this one sacrifice that was offered but suddenly there was a place where the gentiles could go and suddenly there was a place where the Hebrew women could go and suddenly there was a place where the Hebrew men could go and then there was the court of the levites and it was there were all these different steps and constant barriers and this system was put in place that controlled access not not to make it safe not to make it possible for human beings like you and I to experience God but suddenly to stop human beings experiencing God think about this as as what we talked about earlier every one of us has experienced this and we talked about this like right at the beginning you’ve experienced that moment where you hit a stop sign and in this system that the Jewish rulers

had set up everyone hit this eventually you might get so far but you were never going to really experience God in the way that he was intended to be experienced instead of a system enabling you to experience God we had this system that stopped you experiencing God controlled by a sacred place by a sacred man with a sacred text with a sacred ritual and what Jesus encountered was this he walked into a temple where everything was about selling and profit and making more money the money changers were there to rob you as they exchanged your foreign coins for their coins the people selling doves were there to profit from from what you would give them there was a whole money lending system that was going on that enabled poor people to stay in poverty they would lend at incredible rates of interest and everything about the system had become warped and what Jesus sees now is not something that enables

people to access God safely what he sees now is something that stops people accessing God this thing that was designed to make it possible for people just like you and I to know this God suddenly stops people knowing this God and isn’t this what he sees in this group pharisees that we see come up time and time again woe to you teachers of the law and pharisees you hypocrites you shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces you yourselves do not enter nor you let those enter who are trying to Jesus sees a mass of humanity broken hurting lonely damaged that are coming to experience the divine in this place and then he sees a system that’s designed to make that as difficult as possible that’s designed to hit them with those many stop signs and to charge them as much money to get through the system as they possibly can this is what Jesus is protesting the system had become not about access it had

become about control aren’t we still talking about access in today’s world even outside of the religious level of things aren’t we still talking about who gets to access what isn’t that so much of the tension in the world today this is a chance the rapper this was a song that he released really briefly I don’t know if you’ll be able to read it there it made the fun a little bit too small but it never really went anywhere he just did it on stephen colbert’s show one evening but just something about the lyrics just captured me I hear the scene snapping and I’m the team captain no more knees slapping or shoes shining or shoe signing till the dream happens I’m just going to keep rapping and you all just keep clapping and keep acting like flint got clean water and you all don’t got teen daughters and black friends and gay cousins you’re just gonna say nothing know that the days coming knees bowed tongues confessing last ones getting first dibs on blessings

and then it hits this refrain after this where it says the days on its way and it can’t wait no more here it comes a day is on its way it can’t wait no more here it comes Jesus is beginning to do this thing where he’s going to talk about tearing apart the system and replacing it with something different and it’s like this table flipping moment it’s this moment where it says I just can’t wait anymore the crucifixion the resurrection they’re a little way down the line but but I’m going to flip some tables because this system is broken and it needs changing and you see that protest in that song don’t you that like would would the situation in flint michigan be the same if that was new york city it wouldn’t would it and that’s this tension that you see in the world who has access to service who has access to the potential to for prosperity all these different things and Jesus is seeing something similar in the world he’s facing people cannot access God in the way

that they’re supposed to and Jesus says the day is coming it’s on its way I’m just going to flip some tables and we’re going to get this thing started a little earlier this is the incredible magic of what Jesus done Jesus taught a radical level of access that began with a revelation of how God saw humanity that he sees us as broken yes he sees us as hurting yes but he sees us as made to be very good he sees us with his core that is his image and continued with what God would do for humanity because that’s the next thing that’s the next passage this is the third question what happens when you attack a millennia old religious system that was believed to have been divinely mandated okay it’s a little more complex than the questions before what happens when at least to the Jewish people you stand up and say I’m about to tear this thing down it’s never going to be the same again in almost every circumstance you end up dead you

end up with a huge problem on your hands because people don’t like that the Jews responded to him what sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this Jesus answered them destroy this temple and I will raise it again in three days they replied it’s 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 recalled what he had said then they believed the scripture and the word Jesus had spoken I hope that I have some greek language nerds out there with me uh I’m very nerdy about this kind of thing I’m always intrigued just as why people pick different words up until now everyone who’s mentioned the word temple in this passage has used this word uh hereon it’s the temple in terms of like everything the temple grounds the outer courts all those different things and and so that’s what we’ve been building

towards this there’s this place that’s wide and it has all these things going on it and then Jesus very intentionally I think will suddenly flip the word he’ll suddenly use something else he’ll suddenly use this word naos which means the very place that God resides suddenly he’s not talking about the wider court suddenly he’s not talking about the marketplace on the outside of it the court of the gentiles all these different terms that you may or may not be familiar with suddenly he’s talking about the very heart of the temple that place we read back in exodus where it says build me a sanctuary the most holy place put these things here and send this priest in once a year suddenly he’s saying that thing that’s me when you talk about killing me when you talk about my death you’re talking about knocking down that very central thing and when you knock it down I’ll build it again in three days and when I do that the world will never

be the same again I don’t know if any of you are golfers golf fans out there I know there’s a couple of us the most sacred place on earth in terms of golf unless you go to the country where golf was invented um but at least in America the most sacred place is augusta national where they play the masters and this place is pristine and this is beautiful and this is the heart of augusta the hogan bridge this is just this stunning piece of gulf architecture it’s like a temple to people that love golf what Jesus is saying to these people is he’s saying I’m tearing down your whole system nothing will be the same again it is like going to a girlfriend saying I’m putting condos on the 11th fairway I’m tearing this thing down and I’m just building like something completely different Jesus is threatening everything that they know about the way that the temple works and of course the reaction there is not going to be great Jesus is reinventing

access he’s about to do something for you and I that we could never do for ourselves and for a little while we’re going to just land and we’ve not got a ton of time because I overrun uh regularly we’re going to land in this story and just look at what this means for unite and this to me is just delightful so this is acts chapter eight now an angel of the lord said to Philip now remember post death post-resurrection everything Jesus said by flipping tables he is now done in real life go south to the road the desert road that goes to from Jerusalem to gaza so he started out on his way to meet an ethiopian eunuch I spent like 50 minutes trying to think through how I could carefully describe what a unique is to people that don’t know and I’m just going to leave it here if you don’t know use google work the internet machine and figure it out because I I couldn’t figure out a description an important official in charge of all the treasury of

the kandaki which was the queen of the ethiopians this man had gone to Jerusalem to worship but on his way home was sitting in a chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet the spirit told Philip go to that chariot and stay near it then Philip ran to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet do you understand what you are reading Philip asked how can I he said unless someone explains it to me so he invited Philip to come up and sit with him and we’ll go back for one second this man had gone to Jerusalem all it says to us is that he’d gone to worship but I’m intrigued as to what happened to him when he got there see hidden away in the old testament what it says is this no eunuch can enter the assembly of God you are not welcome here that stop sign he got hit at barrier one there is no access for you here you are not welcome so I’m intrigued did he go and when he got to worship what did they say to him how is

he feeling when he comes back because if he’s gone and been turned away man that is a long drive back to ethiopia gone with this passion to worship this God that he has heard about his what Jewish people would call a God fearer he’s gone to worship and been told no you’re not welcome and then he meets this guy Philip who sits alongside him and as he’s reading this passage from Isaiah asks if he can get up and explain it to him and this is the passage he was read he was led like asleep to the sheep to the slaughter and as a lamb before it shear as his silent so he did not open his mouth in his humiliation he was deprived of justice who can speak of his descendants for his life was taken from the earth the eunuch asked Philip please tell tell me please who is the prophet talking about himself or someone else and then Philip began with that very passage of scripture and told him the good news about Jesus starts to unpack for him

this idea that Jesus created access for everybody that he did this not just on a worldwide level last week we talked about the idea that the kingdom is coming the world will never be the same again but this week we’re talking about the very personal fact that Jesus chose to make access possible for each one of us in this very individual way and my hope and my dream for this ethiopian eunuch is that as Jesus starts to read Isaiah he starts to continue to read because I’d just love to share with you what it says in Isaiah 56 and it wasn’t in your list of scriptures connie I’m afraid you’ll have to remember that one let’s see if I can find it really quick this is what Isaiah goes on to say after unpacking what Jesus has done for every single one of us let no foreigner who is bound to the lord say the lord will surely excuse exclude me from his temple and let no eunuch complain I am only a tree for this is what the lord says to the eunuchs who

keep my sabbaths who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant to them I will give within my temple and its wars a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters I will give them an everlasting name that will endure forever and foreigners who bind themselves to the lord to minister to him to love the name of the lord and to be his servants all who keep the sabbath without desecrating who hold fast to my covenant these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer Jesus stands in the temple courts and says this was made to be for all people all the time from anywhere with any background of any brokenness and this is what he’s unpacking for us this isn’t about splitting sacred and secular this is about access this is about the fact that we’re done with stop signs Jesus creates access

for all people all times anywhere any place any space