Friday, January 13, 2012

Sermon 1/8/2012 "The Power of the Word" (Part 1)

Listen to the sermon here.

I too believe that there is great power in the Word of God, and I also love the book of Acts. I found the beginning of the message to be well organized and accurate in the different takes on the name Theophilus. I do have a bit of a difference of opinion on the purpose of the book. The pastor states that it is "So we will continue what Jesus began." (Point I.3 of outline) I would look at it more as being "to bear witness to what Jesus completed, and to the work of the Holy Spirit." While this might sound like a minor difference in point of view, it is actually pretty big, and exhibits a very divergent interpretation of the Gospel message, the heart of Christianity.

About the 7:30 mark of the sermon, the statement is made, "You and I are a part of something big, and that makes our service very, very important." I touched a little on this idea in this post. (Scroll down  to the picture of Popeye.) For some reason, we enjoy the thought of being important in God's plans. It makes us feel warm and fuzzy all over. The disciples themselves even asked Jesus, "Who will be the greatest?" (Mt 18:1) Of course, Jesus response was not what they were expecting as he puts a child to in their midst and says, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me." (Mt 18:3-5) Over and over in the Gospels, we are reminded that the first will be last, and that we should not seek places of honor, mercy triumphs over sacrifice. Religion that puts us at the center is the religion of the Pharisees. But it was the tax-collector who got it right! It was the Pharisee who made much of himself and his ability to pray, and it was the tax-collector who bowed his head, realizing his true standing before God, and just asked for mercy. Mercy is at the heart of the Gospel, not me. For it is God's mercy that should draw us into a relationship with Him, and not our actions or worth. The heart of the Gospel message is that we couldn't, so Christ did. That is the Good News! As Tchividjian states in his book, "God does everything through people who understand they're nothing. And God does nothing through those who think they're everything." And no one understood this better than Paul in Philippians 3:7-11, and 1 Timothy 1:16.

If you haven't yet viewed Matt Chandler's video on the Gospel, take a look at it here. He does an excellent job of illustrating how we twist the Bible and make more of ourselves that we ought, using the story of David and Goliath. Enjoy!

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