Firm Foundations: God the Son

Firm Foundations  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  36:04
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So, yesterday our churches had a very important vote. We voted to ....
SO what does that mean? I can’t tell you completely. What I can tell you is exactly what I’ve been talking about the last few weeks.
The Bible is reliable and authoritative.
God our Creator, our heavenly father, and he acts out of love for us his children.
I can tell you today… I’m going to call us to remember today that God the Son came to earth, born of a virgin, for a purpose; and that purpose is you and me.
As our statement of faith puts it: We believe in Jesus Christ, truly God and truly man, in whom the divine and human natures are perfectly and inseparably united. He is the eternal Word made flesh, the only begotten Son of the Father, born of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. As ministering Servant he lived, suffered and died on the cross. He was buried, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven to be with the Father, from whence he shall return. He is eternal Savior and Mediator, who intercedes for us, and by him all men will be judged.
I don’t know about you, but I’m putting this whole vote behind me. I’ve been giving it a lot of space in my mind and in conversation in our church. It’s time that I got back to making the main thing the main thing… Jesus.
This Doctrine of Jesus … If I were to ask you the verse you would go to to get this, there would be a couple that would get the most votes.... by far I think the most popular one would be John 3:16.... I always feel that verse 17 is important to add in as well. It reads this way… many of you probably know it by heart.
John 3:16–17 NIV
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
This is what we celebrate on Christmas Day… this is what we celebrate on Easter… this is why we gather every week… why we meet in small groups during the week, why we serve meals on Wednesday’s, why we visit nursing homes, why we invite our neighbors to church, why we tutor in the elementary school, why we sing in the choir, why we do everything we do as part of the church… because Jesus came to save us and give us a new life with Jesus that will never end.
To get back to our doctrinal statement, Jesus the Son of God, came as God’s plan to save the world… God’s plan from the beginning included Jesus.
Many people hear the name God the Son, and think HE was created as well. But scripture tells us he has always existed, but that it was Jesus who was born. Before Jesus was born, God the Son was present always and forever
As Jesus said in John 17:5 “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”
John 17:5 NIV
5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
That’s right Jesus was there at Creation, in fact Jesus had a significant role in creation.
Colossians 1:16–17 NIV
16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
This has led some to understand the Son’s role in the economy of God as the physical presentation of God.
Which makes sense when we stop to consider His purpose in coming to earth.
You may know this, but let me remind you… Jesus was sent into the world in order that people might have life in relationship with God. The goal of his being sent, according to John 14:6, is that people might "come" to the Father, which in the context of John means that they might know and believe in God.
John 14:6 NIV
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
That’s was Jesus’s purpose, this was the work of the Son. This idea of a savior wasn’t new to them.
One time during Jesus’s ministry, he took his disciples out into a boat and asked them who they thought he was… it didn’t take them long at all to proclaim that Jesus was the promised messiah.
Messiah means promised deliverer. And Jesus came to deliver us… from our sins, into a relationship with God, into a new life.
As we look through the OT, we find it continually pointing towards a coming Messiah… towards Jesus.
There is Noah, the first messiah type, who is the answer to God’s promise, then there is Joseph, then there is Moses, these messiah types continue through the Old Testament.
Moses is unique in that God uses him to bring God’s law to the people. To give the people a clear means to being in relationship with God. Into a covenant relationship.
The way was a small surgical procedure that most boys have soon after their birth. Circumcision.
This became their identity, a rite of passage you might say.
On top of this Moses was given a list of requirements for living in the covenant. Theologians have counted them as 613 laws recorded in the OT… other theologians count them as 314, but either way - 613 or 314 - they had a clear way of living into relationship with God.

So What!?!

You may be saying yes pastor I hear that… in fact you aren’t telling me anything new.
Well, let me connect why Jesus coming to be the way, the only way, to God matters for us in Rock Hall today.
Now, flash forward to just after the resurrection.
The church is just a few years old at this point and it’s time for a church meeting. Everyone loves a good church meeting right?
Paul and Barnabas have been out all over preaching to Gentiles… that is people outside the covenant. They had been making disciples of these Gentiles and the church was growing, people were doing ministry, worshipping, the spirit was filling people.
God was in the house...
But not like everyone expected him.
There was a conference called by the leaders of the church, the disciples, or at least some of them, because a disagreement between what Paul and Barnabas were teaching and the teaching of the Law. They called Paul and Barnabas back to Jerusalem
Acts 15:1 NIV
1 Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.”
If you are here today and thinking about joining the church, I want you to know up front that there are some things we are going to ask you to do… but none of them require a surgical procedure.
WE might find that funny, but is it any wonder the church led by the disciples failed to take off while the one led by Paul did?
As Andy Stanley said… This is a sure fire way that your new member class only has women in it for sure...
SO Paul and Barnabas heads back to Jerusalem… they were welcomed back… and they began to tell of all that God had done through the ministry.
Acts 15:5 NIV
5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.”
Some people never change it seems. These Pharisees were part of the same group that gave Jesus such a hard time before, only now that they were convinced of the resurrection they had become Christians. But they were still legalists at heart.
Their point was that in order to become Christians, you have to first become a Jew. That this movement they had going on was essentially Jewish. The messiah, essentially, came for Jews.
They talked and debated… then Peter stood up.
Peter had real authority among the disciples.
Look at verse 7 of Acts 15
“7 ... “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe.
Peter had a dream where God showed him that he could minister to the Gentiles.. food in a sheet…
8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us.
God had given Paul’s ministry His own seal of approval...
9 He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.
10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear?
Peter is saying how many of those 613 laws have you broken? The whole point of the law is to show us that we can’t be holy… we in our own ability, can’t live the life that God demands… we need him to live in us
11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.””
He’s saying… what John would write later
1 John 2:2 NLT
2 He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

For God so loved the world

This left them silenced… Then Paul and Barnabas stood up again to tell them again of all the ways God showed up in their ministry.
Then James, stood up to speak. Now this is big. James isn’t just the brother of Jesus.. but he is the leader of the church in Jerusalem. He’s the “Godfather”
He starts out by quoting the prophet Amos:
Acts 15:16–18 NIV
16 “ ‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, 17 that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’— 18 things known from long ago.
I love that he doesn’t just make a proclamation of what he things… but instead he begins with a reminder of what they hoped for… the work of their messiah would include the salvation of the Gentiles.
You see, this is Good News… up until this point you have been left out of my sermon… I’ve been talking about us gentiles, but not to us, because we weren’t part of the conversation you see.
Right here in Jerusalem, Jesus the Son and his purpose was finally understood as being for the whole world.
What are the implications for that?

For God so loved the world… Everyone is welcome

It means for us that everyone is welcome… everyone is invited… everyone is within God’s reach… and if God is drawing them close to himself, he can draw them through here.
James continues
Acts 15:19–20 NIV
19 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.
All throughout the Roman world there was idol worship, temple practices that included blood, food, and sexual practices. But beyond idol worship, these practices were basic practices of people not of God… offenses to God in food offered to idols… offenses to ones self as sexual sin is described in scripture… and offensive to their brother or sister in
James says we are going to make it easy for you gentiles… you want to follow Jesus… stop your idol worship.
We are going to simplify it for you… we aren’t giving you 613 laws to follow… we are going to ask you to stop going that way and follow Jesus.

Everyone is welcome to follow Jesus

People have asked me before if they have to stop ____ to be a Christian.
Because what i have found is that when you start following Jesus, your life begins to change. Sure you might wrestle with things… but over time, the things you want to do change.
Over the next few weeks we are going to continue fleshing out these big doctrines of our faith, and what I want you to see is how they fit with a simple statement… maybe three statements… that I’ve had in our program and that I try to make a reality in my ministry and I encourage each of you to consider for your own here in Rock Hall...
Everyone is welcome, no one is perfect, and together anything is possible
Everyone is welcome
God the Son:
1 John 2:2 NIV
2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
Luke 19:10 NIV
10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Romans 10:13 NIV
13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
1 Timothy 2:5 NIV
5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,

Everyone is welcome!

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