Monthly Archives: November 2009

Sermon Notes: Did Jesus Die For Everyone’s Sins But Mine?

Have you ever felt like Patti Smith that “Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine”? Is there anything harder to accept than grace? 

Grace is the idea that we are accepted by God just as we are when He comes to us.  Grasping this is very, very important.
 
Let’s look at John 17:1-26,

1 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

    “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

 6 “I have revealed you  to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of  your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

    13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

 20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

    24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

    25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

 
Notice the progression from glorification of the Son and the Father (through the son’s substitutionary death and resurrection)(vv.1-5) to the setting apart of the 11 disciples for the task ahead (vv.6-19) to the salvation and unity of all followers of Jesus (vv.20-26).  It all begins with the grace of the cross.  
 
If followers of Jesus don’t accept grace then there is no progression.  We simply continue to live false, inauthentic lives of crushing legalism at best. 
 
Even the Apostle Paul had difficulty in accepting this idea.

Paul was orignally named Saul and was zealous for enforcing the law in order to try and get God to bless Israel with material and military success. Attempts to manipulate or control God are the worst forms of “religion” and Saul was very religious. 

This all changed on the Damascus Road when the risen King Jesus appeared to Saul and took him as His own despite his great sins against God.

We all have the same struggle.  We like “religion.” We like control and we also have a hard time believing that God could accept us without us doing something.  

We may hear “grace” preached and verbally affirm it but we don’t truly let it sink into our innermost being.  As Fred Craddock once said, “The longest journey a person can take is the journey from the head to the heart and in between is the Damascus Road.”
 
May we all continually keep the cross before us so that we may accept that before the beginning of time God saw us and all the evil we would do and still loved us so much that he committed to bleeding for that love. 
 
May we accept that we are accepted so that Jesus’ prayer may truly be answered in us.

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Coming Next Week To Revolution…

The Advent Conspiracy…

Be a part of the conspiracy.

Show up at Revolution (315 Chillicothe Street, Portsmouth, OH) at 6pm beginning December 6th. 

 

This Sunday Night at Revolution…

This Sunday night at Revolution we will come to chapter 17 of the Gospel of John with a talk entitled, “Did Jesus Die For Everyone But Me?” 

I’ll then call us to worship with Ryan Rolfe & The World’s Most Dangerous Praise Band leading us in singing to God on His throne.

We’ll also be making announcements regarding The Christmas Conspiracy Project, which begins next week.

Revolution meets every Sunday evening at 315 Chillicothe Street, Portsmouth, OH.

Coffee & Community at 6:30 and main gathering at 7:00 pm.

Everyone is welcome.  Come as you are.

Grace & peace.

Revolution: It’s Not Just A Church, It’s A Movement

Jesus vs. The Church Part 2: This Time It’s Personal

Jesus vs. The Church Part II: This Time It’s Personal
 
My own life has been a series of “If I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.”

What does that have to do with Jesus and the church?
 
Let’s look at John 15:18-16:33…

18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’

26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.

16:1 “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. 3 And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4 But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.

“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

16 “A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.” 17 So some of his disciples said to one another, “What is this that he says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and, ‘because I am going to the Father’?” 18 So they were saying, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” 19 Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’? 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21 When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. 23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

25 “I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”

29 His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! 30 Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.” 31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. 33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

 There is a lot here to talk about but what I want to focus on is why Jesus expected “the world” to hate his followers?
 
The Greek term translated as “The World” means different things at different times in The Gospel of John, here it means that which makes sense from a narrow view that what we see around is all there is. 
 
So, why would it hate the transcendent message of Jesus? The church has given different answers for that. 
 
Some Christians would say it’s because we don’t engage in the “filth of the culture.”
 
Other Christians would say it’s because we vote a certain way.
 
Others would answer that it’s because we seek to bring liberation to the poor and oppressed. 
 
There may be some truth in all of these answers, but I don’t think that’s what Jesus meant. I think Jesus knew that the message that he, and no one else, is God and King and, as such deserves our undivided loyalty, is what would truly rattle everyone.
 
The Bible often refers to “idolatry” or the worship of idols. What is an idol? Tim Keller writes, “It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.”
 
We all have idols but how do we identify them? Again, Tim Keller writes, “the true god of your heart is what your thoughts effortlessly go to when there is nothing else demanding your attention.” 
 
Ask yourself, what do you daydream about? What do you spend most of your money on? What are you goals? What are you most passionate about?
 
For men, this is often sex…big shocker there! 
 
For women, it is often what Ernest Becker calls “apocalyptic romance.” The idea that a romance can save them.  You can see this in horrible movies like “Twightlight” (at least I guess it’s terrible, I’ll never see it because I’m a dude!) and that 3-hour horrible soap opera with good special effects called “Titanic.”
 
I’ve met way too many women who believe that the right man will make them happy but, to quote Becker once again, the problem with these things is that “no human relationship can bear the burden of the godhead.”
 
The idol may be money even though this is normally a surface idol or it can be success or comfort or even children. 
 
Idols are often good things that we try to make ultimate things. 
 
Please understand that idolatry is not just a failure to obey God, it is “a setting of the whole heart on something beside God.” It is important to note that idol cannot just be removed, it must be uprooted and the cross of Jesus must be planted in its stead.
 
If we truly take Jesus seriously as our Lord and God then we should not expect a peaceful life but it will be an authentic, peace-filled one. 

The problem with the church is that it doesn’t challenge these idols like Jesus and his original disciples did but, if we truly love people, then we must.  Now, only those truly broken and ready will thank us for this, others will hate it.  Yet, we are not called to be liked but to be faithful.

Let the uprooting begin.

This Sunday Night at Revolution…

Jesus continues to throw down this week with a talk entitled, “Jesus vs. The Church Part 2: This Time It’s Personal!”

 After Jesus is done dropping elbows, Ryan Rolfe & The World’s Most Dangerous Praise Band will lead us in worship.

 Revolution meets every Sunday night at 315 Chillicothe Street in Portsmouth, Ohio.

Coffee & Community at 6:30 and gathering at 7:00pm.

Anyone and everyone is welcome. Come as you are.

Revolution: It’s Not Just A Church, It’s A Movement

Jesus vs. The Church Part 1 sermon notes (John 15:1-17)

Jesus vs. The Church Part 1 sermon notes (John 15:1-17)

Have you ever seen the South Park episode “Die! Hippy Die!”? My favorite scene is at the “Hippy Jam Festival” where Stan, Kyle and Kenny keep asking all of the “college know it all hippies” when they will get all the people together and take down the corporations. The only response they get is that hippies don’t need corporations just weed and “crunchy grooves.” 

What does this have to do with the Gospel of John?  I’ll come back to it.

Evangelism may strike you as pushy if not creepy.  Ever had someone hand you a tract that began with something like “you’re an abomination!”  Great way to start a conversation, huh?
 
Yet, Jesus gave his followers a very clear order to make “disciples” (Matt. 28:16-20).  Now, as I’ve preached before, a disciple and a convert are two different things, but I won’t beat that horse right now.  Just know that to be in a relationship with Jesus means to love him the way he asks to be loved and that means introducing people to God and helping them grow in their relationship to Jesus.
 
But how do we do it without appearing like we are recruiting for a cult?
 
Let’s look at John 15:1-17

15:1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

Notice that Jesus stresses his love for them and that they will love him by keeping his commandments, which includes making disciples but love always comes first.   So, obeying Jesus out of love means loving others.  We get to know those outside of the faith, we love them and then, once we have established a relationship with them, we introduce them to Jesus.
 
And think about who Jesus disciples and how? Does he just hang out in Nazareth with his fellow carpenters? Nope, he recruits a zealot (the 1st century equivalent of an ultra-right wing, militia man type), a tax collector (a traitor to the state of Israel, kind of like an American fighting for Osama Ben Laden), and blue-collar laborers.  He also loved Samaritans, who were viewed as an “inferior race”, and prostitutes, etc. He loved them, he hung out with them and he taught them by word and deed.  This is what the church is supposed to do.  This is how we are to love Jesus.
 
Sound easy? No brainer? Every church should be able to do that, right?
 
Well, Dr. Leonard Sweet reports that there are more strip clubs in America than healthy churches i.e., disciple making churches. Don’t believe me?
 
There are more than 300,000 churches in the U.S. 25% of churches are growing but nearly all at the expense of other churches.  Only 1% of churches are growing by reaching the “unchurched” or “dechurched”. There are 2700 strip clubs in the U.S. 
 
Sweet calls the people in the other 99% of the churches as “consumer junkies” or “users”. That is, they are so use to going somewhere to “get something” rather than to “give something” that they treat the church like Wal-Mart.
 
I have worked at traditional churches and become so frustrated that I wanted to scream and start tossing hymnals across the pews! I mean, how many men’s retreats and Beth Moore bible studies do we need to have before we actually put that knowledge into practice? There are 297,000 churches that appear to be in perpetual spring training.  When do they got off the sidelines and into the game?

Now, before you point fingers at other churches know that Revolution has the same problem!
 
The Leadership Team defines success at Revolution by discipleship and the process for this is: Worship (what we do here on Sunday nights) – Grow (what we do in small groups) – Serve (what we do on the streets of Portsmouth) and we are a long way from success.   We have had more than 120 people worshipping with us every Sunday night for months and it is slowly but steadily growing but the groups aren’t growing and the service projects are largely staffed by the same people.  

So, how are we any different from the hippy in the South Park episode who talks a good game about changing the world but really just wants to do nothing and listen to “crunchy grooves”?
 
Where are you at? Are you a disciple or a consumer? Are you making disciples or are you hanging out? If not, what are you all about?

I can promise you one thing: that no matter what you do with your life, the only thing that will echo through eternity is the people you love and disciple in the name of Jesus.  If you do so then you are “abiding in him” and he is abiding in you and that is what life is all about

This Sunday Night at Revolution…

We continue to work through the Gospel of John with a talk entitled “Jesus vs. The Church (John 15).” 

Afterwards, Ryan Rolfe & The World’s Most Dangerous Praise Band will lead us in worship.

Revolution meets every Sunday night at 315 Chillicothe Street in Portsmouth, Ohio. 

Coffee & Community at 6:30 with gathering at 7:00 pm.

Everyone is welcome.  Come as you are.

Revolution: It’s Not A Church, It’s A Movement.