“PEACE”… we’ve all used the term, we all want it, but most of us not only do not have it, we don’t even know how to get it. Click link below for a powerful 24 minute message Pastor Dan Borgelt gave last Christmas Sunday morning. I’ve transcribed his delightful opening about a childhood Christmas Sunday morning where he had the opposite of peace.
Just 24 minutes to PEACE… Audio: [24:16]
“I remember as a child one particular Christmas that was extremely un-peaceful in my life. It happen to be on a similar occasion such as this where Christmas fell on a Sunday. My parents got the brilliant idea that it would be more honoring to God if we waited to open our Christmas presents till after church.
I grew up in a family where on Christmas morning, we’d wake up, and my father had taken a mattress and put it in the hallway to barricade our way to the Christmas tree, so that not only could we not get to it, but we couldn’t even see the presents under the tree.
When it was time, my two older sisters and I would plow down the mattress, trip over each other, and run to the tree. And now all the sudden, in one year they say, “Let’s wait till after church” 🙂 .
Now, I really liked the pastor but that morning every word he said just made me so furious… he said, “And now I have another point…” and I’m just thinking the whole time, like, “I_DON’T_CARE” 🙂
That particular Christmas was everything but peaceful for me, and sort of ironic. In the middle of this Christmas story there is this announcement from heaven itself that says…
“With Christmas comes PEACE.”.
And so this morning I want to talk to you about the the peace that is available to us because Christmas happened
I get a little nervous using the word ‘peace’ and making a whole subject of a sermon about it, because peace is sort of an eroding word in our culture today. I mean we don’t really use the word peace anymore.
If someone says the word peace we think of someone saying, “Hey, like peace man”… like a hippy.
Or maybe some of us might walk past someone and after we finish talking to them will say “peace”, or something like that, and really what we mean is sort of “see you later”.
But we don’t have any real rich understanding of what it means to have peace.
This morning I want to talk to you about the idea of “Three-fold Peace” that the Christmas story talks about.
First and most importantly peace with GOD.
Second this idea of peace with OURSELVES, or inner peace,
And then finally peace with OTHERS as well. All of that because Jesus was born.”
LARRY’S NOTE: I’ve not the time to transcribe it all, but here’s a few more juicy slices from this superb sermon. To get the full impact of this message, please listen to it all (link below).
First… “Peace with God”, it’s the most important one. Peace with God is not a given… there is such a thing as NOT being at peace with God.
The Scripture tells us that our previous existence, our default setting from our birth, is NOT to be at peace with him, but instead is says to be alienated from God as his enemy.
So what has changed? What has happened that this army of God is now offering a message of peace. And of course the answer is Jesus’ birth.. He is the key to our peace with God.
However, this Peace with God doesn’t automatically come upon us simply because Jesus has been born. No, the Scripture is clear and says, “Peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
And those “whom on his favor rests” are those who enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ.
If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ then you have ultimately rejected God’s offer for peace with you… you have no more peace with God than if Christ had never been born in the first place.
If you are interest in having peace with God, the perfect place to start is with a basic prayer that simply says,
“God, I want to have a relationship with your Son Jesus Christ.”
LARRY’S NOTE: Ya gotta hear his “It takes two to tango” illustration and how it’s not always true… how ‘Isis’ in our world tells us that you can have a lock of peace with only one side who’s willing to fight.
A LACK of peace is more natural… In fact, it takes two to have peace, not not the other way around.
There are a lot of people who THINK that they are at peace with God… they don’t have a problem with God, no real issues with him, they’re pretty OK with the life that he’s given them… so they would say,
“Yeah I’m at peace with God, I don’t have any problems with Him, but it takes TWO to have peace with one another, and so you should be asking yourself the question,
“How is my standing with God?” … is God all right with me; and the only way to answer that question in the affirmative, is to say, “I have a relationship with Jesus Christ, my life is hidden in him… God’s offer for peace with him.”
There’s a lot of people out there who think they have peace with God, but who don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and therefore they’ve rejected God’s peace offering, and even though they’re OK with God he’s not OK with them–there’s no peace between them and God.
And to a degree, that works in the reverse as well… there are some who have a relationship with Jesus Christ… who God has declared you righteous… as his children, he has adopted you into his family; you are a Child of God, He is at complete peace with you, but maybe you grew up in a church environment where you heard: THE LAW and GUILT and SHAME, far more than GRACE and FORGIVENESS… and so you cannot accept the peace that he’s offering you to its fullest degree.
PEACE WITH OURSELVES and OTHERS
Peace with God is not the only type of piece that the Christmas story alludes to the Kingdom of God coming to earth and he’s going make life the way it was meant to be in the first place–that someday we will experience life the way God intended it to be… that someday we will be able to have complete peace with ourselves and peace with others.
The lack of peace that we feel inside and the lack of peace that we have with others is not the way that God designed life.
It’s important to realize that these 3 “peaces” are in this order for a reason: Peace with GOD; then
Peace with OURSELVES; and then
Peace with OTHERS.
They’re in that order because that’s the order in which they need to happen in our lives. It’s not possible to have true inner peace with yourself without having peace with God. It’s not possible to have peace with others unless you have peace with yourself, and peace with God.
There’s an order in which these things have to happen.
The first and most important relationship to get right is our relationship with God; and once we have peace with God then we can consider the idea of having peace with ourself as well.
If we’re still walking around, and we feel guilty about something we’ve done in the past, if we’re still carrying the burden and the shame, and is still causing a hindrance in our relationship with God… then there’s no way we’re going to ever move on to having peace with ourselves.
But once we reconcile with God and we trust in Christ, and we trust in our standing with God, we can start talking about having peace with ourselves as well.
“INNER PEACE” is a term that gets misconstrued by other religions. and and society, but it has a Biblical definition as well.
Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
LARRY’S NOTE: THE FOLLOWING IS REALLY IMPORTANT !!!
The Scripture is telling us that when we get our relationship with God right, all the things that come our way, that normally would have robbed us of our peace–an economic situation, a relational problem, a health situation… whatever it might be… all the things that would’ve robbed us of our peace we can take all of that and give it to God, once you make peace with Him.
And that will allow you, it says, for the peace of God then to come and to “GUARD YOUR HEART” <3. What a beautiful expression.
So some of us don’t have peace with ourself because we don’t have peace with God.
And if you don’t have peace WITH God, then you’re not going to receive peace FROM God.
The Scripture tells us that we can receive an immense amount of peace from God once our relationship with him is right, and we start taking our daily situations and circumstances to Him in PRAYER.
For those who don’t have peace with yourself even though you have peace with God, it’s because you haven’t heeded the wisdom of Philippians 4:6,7… you do not have peace with yourself, you do not have inner peace but you already have access to the relationship of the One who can give you that.. and the Scripture saying, “Go to him”.
You have a problem in your life and your default option is to try to fix it yourself. And the Scripture saying, ‘no take all of those things that would threaten your peace, and bring them to the one whom you have a relationship with in Jesus Christ’… and you will have peace with yourself–He will give it to you.
PEACE WITH OTHERS
Again, the order of these “peaces” is key, because we cannot have peace with others unless we have peace with ourself, and we can’t have peace with ourself unless we have peace with God.
When Jesus shows up, He begins moving his followers in the direction of restoring the Kingdom of God. And our broken relationships with one another are part of the things that’s going to be restored. And so he starts asking his followers to live in such a way that we begin to restore in the Kingdom of God, and one of the way we do that is to be committed to living at PEACE WITH ONE ANOTHER.
Scripture tells us then ultimately, in Revelation 21:4, that one day God “will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there will be no more death, or mourning, or crying, or pain…”
Just think about all the ways that those things have come through broken relationships… He says, “But that’s all going to be over with… “for the old order of things has passed away.”
God will ultimately some day, usher in the full Kingdom of God, which will not only give us a full measure of peace with HIM, a full measure of peace with OURSELVES, but also a full measure of peace with OTHERS as well.”
Just 24 more minutes to PEACE… Complete Audio: [24:16]
Pastor Dan and Amanda with their 3 biological children and recently adopted son Noah
Pastor Dan Borgelt:
“I will admit, that I was looking for the opportunity to plan a series where I might be able organically, naturally share with you,some of our experiences in China over the last few weeks… and I would say above all the things that we experienced, one of the things that stood out to me the most, certainly the funniest, was seeing all the English translations of various things.
TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: This 3 minute introduction to the sermon is best heard… well, actually heard LIVE with projected pictures, but since there is no video, listening to the audio and his word picture description does the justice that my transcription here alone would not. To hear this omitted part of the transcript, please go to audio [00:00:27 to 00:03:56] – IT IS VERY FUNNY 🙂
CONTINUED from recording @ [00:03:56]
“My wife Amanda was in a store doing some souvenir shopping, and I was sitting out with our guide, and I had our adopted son Noah… and this Chinese girl came walking down with a T-shirt that really caught my attention, because I had only one word across the front of it and it said,
It got my attention, and Istarted to kind of fumble towards her when I realized I needed a translator… so I started to look for the translator, and I wanted to tell the translator like, “Get her attention, stop her, I want to talk to her about her T-shirt, and the Chinese girl stopped, seeing all that I was doing, and she said to me in perfect English, “Can I help you?” (LAUGHTER)
And I said, “Oh, you speak English?” She said, “Yes,” and I said “Ijust noticed your shirt…” and she said “Yes, I was adopted.”
And so I showed her Noah, and told her we were there forthe adoption purpose… and then I realized she was there with her Caucasian, American sister who was walking with her. They were there with their parents, and they were adopting two more younger childrenfrom China.
And so we talked about that for a brief, pleasant conversation… but as she was walking away, I noticed the back of her T-shirt which had these words on it,
“Inlove he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ in accordance with his pleasure and will.”
And I thought, what a beautiful example of how there is PHYSICAL adoption and then there is SPIRITUAL adoption, and how there are so many parallels between the two of them… and from that point on I knew I definitely wanted to preach about this topic for the next couple weeks.
See… indeed, I want to talk to you about spiritual adoption, and draw many parallels between that and physical adoption.
And I love the fact that the T-shirt quote I read you is from the Bible; it’s from the Book of Ephesians 1:5.
And I just love when God… don’t you lovewhen God takes a concept that we’re familiar with… that’s sort of tangible to us… and he uses that concept to describe a far more profound spiritual reality in our lives.
And that’s what he does with the word adoption. He takes this idea that many of us can kind of grasp, whether we’ve done it or not, we can kind of relate to it, and understand some of it’s concepts… and he uses it to describe our relationship with HIM in this passage of Scripture.
So what I want to do is talk to you about the Adoption Process this week. How do we go about getting adopted spiritually? And then next week, I want to talk to you about the Adopted Life— how does that change the way we live our life with each other, and with God, if we have indeed been adopted into his family.
But for this week we want to talk about the adoption process, and looking at four points from this passage of Scripture:
The adoption Need
The adoption Work
The adoption Cost and
The adoption Faith
…all subcategories of the adoption process.
How do we go about getting adopted into the family of God?
First, the Adoption Need
I want to read the above passage of Scripture in its context and walk through it a little bit with you… but we don’t even really need to do that to talk about the adoption need. Because we’ve already read that in Ephesians 1:5 the word adoption occurs.
The word adoption implies so much… it implies that there was a previous reality in someone’s life.
We could talk about Noah’s adoption, we could say, “Oh, he’s now part of our family and he has a mom and dad and siblings, and a nice house, and a big yard, and church family…” and we could all focus on that side of the adoption…
But the fact that he had to be adopted implies that there was a previous life for him too… doesn’t it?
The doctor told us this past week at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, that he was probably prematurely born. That he probably experienced a period of time where he was severely malnourished. We know that he was abandoned. We saw where he was abandoned by his biological mother… we saw that place, it was not a place you’d want to walk around at night, let alone have a baby there by themselves.
We know he went from there to living in an orphanage where he was one of like three hundred kids, and then eventually got a foster mom… and I would think by the time he had a foster mom in this sort of foster home, it was about as good a situation as an orphan could have, but we still would have looked at it and thought, “Wow, this is really bleak.”
He’s adopted and it’s a thing to celebrate
… but the reality is that because he was adopted, he_had_a_previous_reality_as_well… a previous life.
Noah was not born into our family, and the word adopted implies that reality.
So what does that mean when God says we’ve been adopted into his family?
It implies the same thing… that we are not naturally born into the family of God.
If you’re counting on the idea that you are a child of God because you heard that all the children in the world are God’s children and that they’re all just naturally God’s children, and you’re a child of God because of it… you haven’t done anything really wrong to mess it up...that_is_not_what_the_Scripture_teaches.
The Scripture, by saying we must be adopted into the family, is implying that that is not the natural family that we are born into… that is not the natural state that we are born into.
Noah wasn’t born into our family, he had to be adopted, and the Bible is saying the same thing: “We are not born into the family of God, we must be adopted into the family of God”.
So what is our previous life?
If that was Noah’s previous life, what is ours?
There are so many passages of Scripture that we could look at that describe our previous life as being a bleak state before our adoption, but the most clear one is right here in Ephesians… just one chapter over in Chapter two starting in verse one the Scripture tells us this:
Made Alive in Christ “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of God’s wrath” (not Children of God).
You see the Scripture teaches us, “We’re not born into the family of God”… that whole idea that exists out there is a lie… and it’s a lie of Satan, because one of the greatest lies of Satan is to convince you that you are better off than you really are before you are adopted.
One of the other greatest lies a Satan is to convince you that you’re worse off than you really are after you’re adopted, but we’ll talk about that next week.
But for this week one of the greatest lies of Satan is to convince you that you’re better off than you really are before you’ve been adopted. Satan is telling you, “You’re OK, you’re just fine… you were born into the family of God… you’ve been a good person, you’re all right… so many people have been way worse than you, surely you’re part of the family of God.”
He wants to elevate your confidence and your standing in him, and it hasn’t happened yet… you haven’t actually been adopted… he wants to remove the need for adoption.
But the first point I want to make from this passage, the Biblical point is, there is an adoption need as a part of this adoption process, and that’s what I think the Scripture is teaching us here.
The Adoption Work
Not only is there an adoption need, but there is also the adoption work as well. And to uncover the adoption work, I want to just go back and re-read that passage of Scripture in Ephesians 5, and I want to read it in its context, and I want to ask you a simple question as we’re about to read this passage.
There’s a lot of stuff in this passage; we could preach on it for weeks. There’s a lot of rabbit trails that we could go down with this passage… it has some controversial words like predestination, and some other stuff in there that we might disagree on… but I’m hoping that with this one question, we will be able to agree, by the time we finish reading it.
And that is…
When it comes to the adoption process, who is doing the majority of the work?
Is God? … does God do the majority of the work? … do we need to do the majority of the work? …or do we somehow meet halfway?
What are you counting on in your life?
Let’s hear this passage of Scripture and I want you just to ask yourself who does the majority of the work… who’s the active agent in this adoption process?
Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,”
I think we can pause there. So let me just ask you the question… when it comes to this passage of Scripture,
Who is the more active agent in the adoption process… God or us?
Yeah. If you read this passage of Scripture with any level of open mindedness. You’d have to say Godis the active agent in it. Don’t get all caught up in some of the other words that we might disagree about or argue about… I think we can be united in the reality that if we’re going to understand the adoption process we’re going to have to embrace the idea that the adoption process is primarily done_by_God.
Which means… if we’re going to be adopted by God, if we’re going to understand our adoption, we’re going to have to stop trusting in our character and start trusting in God’s character.
We’re going to have to stop trusting in what we’ve done, what we’re doing, and what we’re going to do… and we have to start trusting in what God has done what he’s doing and what he’s going to do.
We have to shift from ourselves over to God and embrace the reality. That the Scripture says we need to be adopted, but that God is the one doing the work.
– – – – – – –
We’ve all heard stories about children who are trying to be adopted, and we hear about the work that they do to try to be adopted. They know prospective parents are coming by, and they clean themselves up, and pretty themselves up, and try to be on the best of their behavior, because they’ve seen their friends be adopted, and they just want to join that fold.
And we think about it in those terms. Then we think, “Oh, the person being adopted does the work.” But we have to realize that that’s actually not the big picture.
In the majority of cases, and certainly with international adoption, parents choose their child without ever having met them before. We see a few pictures and a little bio, but for the most part it has nothing to do with the child at all.
Instead the parents are left with the responsibility to pay for the adoption, to do all the paperwork, to do the travel. They’re the ones that go and pick up the child… the one doing the adopting does the work, not the person being adopted.
And it’s true Spiritually as well. God is the one doing the adopting and he does the work not us.
And I want you to just rest in that… to find peace in that reality… to let that wash over you.. and say, “You know what… maybe I can take a deep breath… and stop acting like this poor orphan child trying to get God’s attention, trying to become pleasing enough to be brought into his family,” … because it’s not about your character… it’s not about what you’ve done and what you haven’t done. It’s about God’s character, He’s the one doing the adoption work… rest in his character. Rest in that reality.
So not only is there a NEED for adoption, but there’s also the adoption WORK, and thirdly, there’s the adoption COST.
The Adoption Cost
In natural adoption there’s obviously a significant cost involved. It varies depending on what country, whether you’re adopting domestically or internationally, etc.
When we were in China, I got sort of the nerve to ask one of the other American families who were with us, adopting as well, how much their adoption had cost. They were with a different agency and I was just kind of wondering, had we kind of gone rogue, or were we experiencing the norm?
He said, “Well… we’re probably at about the forty five thousand dollars mark”, and I said, “Yeah I think that’s right about where we are.”
And I just want to pause there and say, we could not have made that happen without you, and some of our other family. So, thank you from the bottom of our hearts; this child here is made possible because of our church family. So thank you.
But when I compare that cost, as outrageous as it sounds, I have to remind myself that we left with three kids and came back with four–we gained a child. But the Gospel tells us that God gave his one and only Son… that He lost a child in the adoption process that it cost him not forty five thousand dollars, but it cost him everything.
In Ephesians 1:7 the Scripture tells us this,
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins,”
That’s what it cost God to adopt us into this family.. His one and only Son’s blood… and he paid the price.
And it didn’t begin just with the Cross… the Cross was the culmination of it. It began really with the Incarnation.
When Christ left Heaven and became fully human and fully divine he began paying the price for our redemption.
And by the way, as sort of a side bar, as he was about to be born, GodtoldJoseph, what? Basically, he told him to adopt his son… in essence saying, “I know this isn’t your child, but bring him into your home and treat him like he’s one of your children.”
– – – – – – –
So it began with the Incarnation.
It cost him… every time he stood up to the face of temptation… the type of temptation that we have given in to repeatedly in our lives, that he said “no” to. The cost continued, and then finally he willingly offered his body and his blood as a sacrifice on the cross for our sins.
It cost him everything.
The adoption NEED… the adoption WORK… the adoption COST…and then finally,
The Adoption FAITH.
Now as I talk to you about the adoption faith, I’m bringing up this subject because I didn’t want to leave you thinking that there’s no expectation from God in you in this adoption process.
So here’s what the Scripture says in In Ephesians 2:8-9
“by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
So the Scripture says it’s been by grace that we’ve been saved through faith.
Repeatedly in the Bible, there’s a relationship between our having faith and God’s grace.
Now God’s grace is this idea that it’s unmerited favor… it’s the idea that he will treat us better than we deserve.
So when God puts grace and faith together in the same passage like this, what he’s essentially saying to you and I is, “We ought to have faith in God’s character, in God’s grace.“
Our being adopted relies on us trusting that God will treat us better than we deserve. Not counting on the fact that he will treat us how we deserve…the last thing we want is God to treat us justly.
What we desperately need is for God to treat us, mercifully with graciousness.
So we have faith in the gracious character of God that he will treat us better than we deserve.
Now that’s a reality… we have to have that faith; we have to place that faith in Jesus Christ.
But notice what the passage of Scripture says.
In keeping with our theme that God is the active person in all this… in keeping with our theme that this is about God’s character and not our character the Scripture says this,
“by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
… there’s nothing to boast about at all in this whole process. It’s all about the character of God.
You know… about week two into our time in China, we were in this last city that we were in for the last week… and one of our kids’ favorite pastimes was that when we didn’t have something that we had to be going and doing… in the afternoon, while Amanda was putting Noah down, I would take the kids to the pool.
And one of the days while we were there at the pool, I sort of got this illustration in my mind… it was an illustration about how God adopts us through His grace… and us just trusting in him, placing our faith in His grace…
…and it was this idea of someone who was drowning in a pool, struggling in a pool, and someone diving in and rescuing them.
And I had that thought… and I had it three days in a row… I had this sort of illustration come to my mind. And each time it came to my mind I kind of pushed it back away… like, “Actually that’s not good enough God… that’s just not going to work, because it’s just an illustration… it’s not a real story.”
And real life events and stories work so much better than me just telling you about… “imagine if somebody was drowning…”
So… (light laughter)… the last day we were at the pool… I was there with my kids, and there was only a couple other people at the pool… it was an outdoor pool… a big nice outdoor pool.
There’s a shallow end, and a deep end… and our kids were in the shallow end, and I was just sitting in a chair along the side of the pool because I need to keep an eye on Levi still when he swims…
…and so anyways I was there watching our kids… and I saw this six year old Chinese girl who was swimming in the middle of the deep end… and as she was swimming, she stopped… her forward momentum stopped.
… and if you’re not a good swimmer, you know that could be a bad thing. And she started kind of standing up vertically… and she started sort of bobbing… and she starting to kind of kick and splash.
…and she made a noise as she was doing that.. I don’t know what she said, or what kind of noise… but it caused me to stand up on the edge of the pool, like this girl’s in trouble.
And then she went under the water and came back up and she yelled out for help. I thought she was yelling out for her father… he was in the deep end, on the opposite side of the deep though… already in the water, and he saw her and he started to swim towards her… but I mean.. he clearly hasn’t watched Michael Phelps swim at all (LAUGHTER)…
I mean he was kind of dog paddling himself… he wasn’t making real good time, ya know… and I was confident that he was going to save her life, but to what.. trauma.
I mean because she’s already starting to go under, and he’s getting there kind of slow, and I’m a dive into the pool away.
And so I’ve got my shoes and khaki shorts and shirt on, and I just dove into the pool, and I came up and grabbed her in one arm, and started to swim with the other arm, and he was still just a few feet away… and he started immediately saying, “Thank you.”
And I asked the girl, “Are you OK?” And she said, “Thank you.” And then the mom came over and said, “Thank you”… and the lifeguard, who knows where he was, but he said, “Thank you”.
I was kind of expecting like a bottle of wine in our hotel room… (LAUGHTER) or something like that… but nothing like that happened.
Anyway so we get her to shore, and all the “Thank yous”, and it kind of moved on.. and I first remember thinking, “Next time you tell God, that’s not a good enough illustration… you better be careful” (LAUGHTER).
But… I remember thinking just how neat it was that when I took a hold of her she stopped… she didn’t kick or scream, or anything else anymore.. she just stood still and let me rescue her.
…and apparently, she felt completely at ease in that situation.
– – – – – – –
And that’s what the Bible is saying… we have to have… if we’re going to be adopted into the family of God… we have to have faith in God’s character and his ability to rescue us.
And see here’s the thing… there are some people who are here this morning who are in the deep end… and you’re drowning… and you’re still believing the lie of satan that you’re OK… and you’re not OK.
You haven’t been adopted into the family of God… you weren’t born into the family of God… and you_need_Christ to rescue you…
– – – – – –
Some of you… you’re in the deep end, and you know you’re struggling… you know you’re struggling… but you don’t know who to cry out to.
This passage of Scripture is saying, “Cry out to God’s one and only Son Jesus and be redeemed by His blood”.
– – – – – –
Some of you though… you have cried out to Christ, and you have had him dive in, and he has a hold of you, and he is swimming you to solid ground, and you are still kicking and screaming as if you have to save yourself.
– – – – – – –
And some of you… this is just really bad… He has rescued you years ago, and put you on solid ground, and you’re still over there on the side of the pool… kicking and wailing and screaming as if you are a drowning child … and you are not anymore.
You_are_adopted_into_the_family_of_God. You are a child of God, trust in His character, and his ability to rescue you.
– – – — – –
I’m going to invite our Praise Team to come forward.
We’re going to go ahead and pray and then sing our closing song together.
Father… as our church bows before you, we do so humbly… recognizing that you are God and that we are not… and we thank you for that reality. We confess to you the times that we mix that up… especially when it comes to us being just received by you, both now and for all of eternity.
Will you grant us, as this passage of Scripture says, “The faith to trust in your grace.”
… just to trust in your character… to trust in your adoption process and have the confidence of being your children.
And as we look forward to next week… we invite you to begin working on our heart, and show us what it means to live amongst each other and in relationship to you as your children.
And for those who might be here this morning who feel like they really are drowning in the deep end… and who have never cried out to Jesus Christ–our church prays for them. We’re glad they’re here. But we’re not glad that that’s what’s on their mind and on their heart… we want it to change.
We want them to become part of the family of God, and we pray that you would work on their heart to help them to see their desperate need to be adopted. And their ability to place their faith in your Son, Jesus Christ. We ask these things in his name. Amen.
Part 2: The Adopted Life audio
(no transcription yet)
Well as we continue in our preaching series through the book of acts year kirk motley washes a video about the type of impact that we might be on the make in other people’s lives who. We would commit ourselves to ministering to them in jesus christ name of course the impact that we make it though isn’t made just by our own effort our own accord our own abilities the video is clear to us that it’s god that moves. When we step out and say. God moves. When we are all in. And we will put the video for you because we’re about to look at a couple of characters in the bible who when it comes to ministering to other people in jesus christ name were indeed. All in when it comes to serving. Other people. But i’m here at the table to start before we go up in look at the scripture and talk about a couple of other people who are all in. We are to remind ourselves that the only reason the people in the bible who we’re going to look at were all in and. For ministering to others is because they recognize that their lord and savior jesus christ when it came to ministering to them. Was all in for them. And we would do well to recognize that this morning as we get started as well. The table which will have the opportunity to participate together and in a few moments. Will reminds us that christ was indeed. All in for us when it came to minister to us. It was him who left the heavens above. It was he who knew perfect union with the father. All of heaven’s glory. All of its splendor all of its perfection and he left. All of that. To come down and to minister and to rescue. You and i it is indeed true to say he was all in. When it came to rescuing us. For he was willing to endure the hardships of this world. Sin. The temptation of sin he was willing to endure it. He was willing to endure. Hunger and thirst. In want and need. He was willing to endure all of that he was willing to endure. Even death. As the. She says even death. On the cross. He was in the. All in. When it came to rescuing us. And minister to you and i will take a look at our passes together. This morning it’s found in the book of acts chapter sixteen as we look at these couple of folks who are indeed all in when it came to ministering to other people. Now if you’re new with us or you just haven’t been here for a while. You know that we will let you know we are going through the book of acts in our preaching together. X. is the fifth book in the new testament it is the history of the early church especially what we’re saying is that christ at this time is no longer on the scene he’s come to earth he’s lived his life he’s been crucified. There’s a group of people who are who are convinced that he was crucified for their sins for the sins of the world that he. Not only was crucified but he rose from the dead and. Ascended into heaven and therefore. They rally behind this conviction in the early church. Is born. And by the time we get to acceptor sixteen the church is now. Thousands upon thousands and it’s beginning to spread geographically as well. And the primary person who’s helping. This thing to spread the news about jesus christ to spread geographically is this man named paul the apostle paul is going about in traveling around telling people about jesus christ and in the past we’ve looked at what people refer to as his first. Missionary journey. But now an acceptor sixteen we start looking at what they call his second. Missionary journey. And our passage of scripture is going to a bunch of cities and places and stuff we’re not going to get bogged down in discussing all the details of them. But it might suffice to say that paul began his second missionary journey in the holy land on the eastern side of the mediterranean sea he traveled north. Through modern day. Turkey. And then. Where he ministered. Again to people who he had already planted churches at on his first missionary journey. But then he crossed the. Agency crossed over into modern day greece. And he began sharing christ with people who had never heard about jesus christ before and then having ministered there eventually he travels across them and training and see. Back to the holy land. All right so. That’s the synopsis of his travels for a second missionary journey. Here’s what the scripture says starring him in the the book of acts chapter sixteen. Let’s read the first four verses together. He came to derby not together but he was reading to get the three that he came to derby in mental lystra. Where a disciple named. Timothy lived. Whose mother was a jewess and a believer. But whose father was a greek. The brothers at lystra and i kone him spoke well of him. Paul wanted to take him along on the journey. So he circumcised him. Because of the jews who lived in that area. For they all knew that his father was a greek. As they travelled from town to town they delivered the decisions. Reached by the apostles and elders in jerusalem. For the people to obey. All right let’s pause there. So the scripture tells us that. Paul is comes across a man named timothy. Timothy is known to be a brother in christ. We don’t know if paul knew timothy from one of his earlier trips maybe. He’s the one who led him at the to faith in jesus christ himself we don’t know exactly those details but. But he at this point in time is a brother in christ. And he has a good reputation among the church. And paul. Decides he wants to take him with them. To be a part of his ministry. Now the reason he’s looking for someone to join him is because at the end of action after fifteen. He had been traveling around with a man named barnabas. But him and barnum a sort of split ways. Barnabas takes john mark with it now mark some of you recognize that name. Mark the guy who travels with barnabas from here. Now is the one who wrote the gospel mark the book of the bible mark. But paul is now alone so he’s looking for someone to be his ministry partner. And he invites timothy to do so and apparently timothy is willing. But paul says. Before you go. Let’s have you be circumcised. Now for some of you that might not seem like anything but if you were here last week and. And i didn’t put you to sleep and presumably you were paying attention and you remember what we talked about. This is going to sound like paul is completely contradicting what we talked about in action after fifteen. Is anybody remember an x. fifteen what was happening was that the early church. Was infiltrated by a couple. Some people who were. They were indeed followers of christ but they were jewish people. And the message they were telling the other part of the church that wasn’t jewish was this. Hey if you want to be considered a real part of the church. A real follower of jesus christ. If you want to get to heaven some day. There we’re going to need you to be circumcised and obey the law of moses just like our people have had to for the last two thousand years. And paul. Thought that was a. Inappropriate inaccurate message he argued with them. And then eventually the topic went to the church. In jerusalem and they decided look. That is not true. Our only hope for salvation is found by grace. By trusting in jesus christ as our lord and savior not by any religious act or any religious behavior like circumcision or baptism or tithing or attendance or sunday school whatever else it might be right. That’s not how we get to heaven. By trusting in the grace that jesus christ offers us. So that’s the message that comes out of actually after fifteen. And now paul says timothy. I want you to get circumcised. This sounds like a complete contradiction. But notice what the scripture doesn’t say. The scripture doesn’t say that paul said. You know timothy. I know you. Siddur yourself to be a real christian and you know. A real follower of christ you probably think you’re going to go to heaven some day. But let me tell you something. You haven’t been circumcised and therefore you’re really not. The scripture doesn’t say that. That’s not why paul has him. Circumcised. If that’s why paul had had them circumcised he would be completely contradicting x. fifty. But why does paul have timothy circumcised was the say in your scripture. Why does paul have him circumcised. Because the people that they were going to minister to knew that timothy. Hadn’t been circumcised because his father was a greek. And to then. Circumcision. Really mattered and not show. What the passage is saying. Timothy would have been less effective at ministering to people of jesus’s name. Had he not been circumcised. And so paul says. We got a jus. We’ve got a debt and. This is consistent with paul’s teaching in the book of current things first corinthians chapter nine here is what paul says about his own life he says this. He says though i am free in belong to no man. I make myself a slave to everyone. To win as many as possible. To the jews i became like a jew too when the jews. To those under the law became white one under law. Though i myself would not under the law. So as to when those under the law. To those not having the law. Became like one not having the law. Though am. I am not free from god’s law but i’m under christ’s law. So as to when those not having. The law. And then finally to the weak i became weak. To win the weak. I have become. All things to all man so that by all possible means. I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel that i may share in its blessings. This is paul saying look i’m willing to adapt and adjust in change. If it will make me more effective at ministering to people. And apparently it wasn’t just paul. All. Let’s not give paul the credit after all timothy’s and heaven say hey pastor. I’m the one who got circumcised as an adult. All right. Let’s not forget how me i was all into. I was on board with this whole thing. I’m the one who really endured the pain i was willing to experience that as well. Even though i didn’t think it was necessary in it even though i didn’t think it was important because i knew it would make me more effective at ministering to other people. All right. I think it’s safe to say that paul. And timothy were people that were all in when it came to ministering to other people. And we might not be able to relate to circumcision. But we ask ourselves the question then what is the principle of this passage that carries over for us today. The principles. Is this it’s. It’s for us to be challenged by this idea. Are we all in as. Paul and timothy or. Are we as willing to adapt to change or. To endure hardship to experience. Levels of discomfort whatever it might be in order to make us more effective in ministering to other people. We should be asking ourselves the question when we read these verses. What is our circumcision. What is our timothy act. What is the thing that god wants us to do. So that we are showing. God that we are all in. And that committed to ministering to other people. What is our. Circumcision for. For some of you in might simply be. Be friending someone who doesn’t know jesus christ who you truthfully don’t really want to be friends but you know that god wants you to. He’ll use that friendship for you to minister to them. But you’re sort of dread that relationship. It’s not going to be mutually beneficial in your eyes but nonetheless. God’s calling him to do it. It’s core circumcision it’s going to make you uncomfortable it’s not you’re not going to enjoy it. But nonetheless god’s calling you to do it for some of you it might not be be friending someone might be forgiving that enemy of yours. That person who’s wronged you who doesn’t deserve your forgiveness at all. But nonetheless. God is calling you to do it it’s going to be heart. It’s going to be difficult. It’s not going to become full at all. But nonetheless. It’s your circumcision. God is calling you to do it. Some of you might not be forgiving someone maybe it’s giving its and bracing the idea that there’s a part of your life a financial part of your life. That you say you trust god with your life that you’re holding back to your resources. Your time your talents whatever it might be in your holding back on those things and god a saying look this is. This is your circumcision it’s going to be uncomfortable for you. It’s going to bring you out of your comfort zone but i’m calling you to do it. If you’re really about being. All in for ministering to people in my name. For some of you might be just sharing your faith actually being able to speak about your faith in jesus christ to someone. If we’re honest god has given us those opportunities he’s put those relationships in front of us. But we’ve been unwilling to take those because we’re too nervous. Or whatever it might be and that needs to be sort of our circumcision. Here it is god i’m all in. I want to start going down that road. Maybe for some of you it’s just and bracing living with. Putting up with some of the changes that have happened around here. You know. And bracing. Some of the things that are not exactly the way you would want them to be. But if you sense. As i do that. They’re helping us minister to people in the name of jesus christ then ok. It’s not exactly what you want it might make you so. Somewhat uncomfortable but maybe that’s your circumcision. I don’t know obese incredibly presumptuous for me to tell you what your circumcision is. That’s between you and god. But i can ask you i can challenge you to. Honestly come before him. Before we leave here to say in say god am i really. All in. When it comes to ministering to other people. And if not show me what my timothy act needs to be. What do i need to do what do i need to embrace. So that i might be more effective in ministering to other. People. You know. When we see people in other facets of life that are all and it’s always such a put off isn’t it. People who are participating. Things that are all and. I have three kids and nine year old eight year old and five year old as. Many of you know and. They all play soccer. And. At this age. When it comes to recreational soccer there are kids on the team who are clearly all in. And then there are kids on the team who are clearly. All out. Right i mean they’re on the field but they are not all in and all. I mean my daughter is she literally has teammates that will do cartwheels during the game on the field. Ok. Now my wife she seems to be able to put up with that a little bit better and i do but to me. I just can’t handle it. It stresses me out and. And my message to my kids and what i want to get up and say to him all is. You don’t have to be the best player. At all but if we’re going to sign you up for soccer am pay for it and buy the equipment in sit out in the rain and watch the game when you’re going to be out in the field and take some kid spot. You’ve got to try. You know. You’ve got to give it your all i mean that’s my mindset right and that’s how i think about most things in life and so i think. But. The church. Off. Is a beautiful thing. When it’s filled with people who are all in. But it is such a joke. Such a thing to laugh fads. And the sad and tragic way one is filled with people who really aren’t all. In.
Maybe you’re here this morning and you’re unchurched… and you don’t even claim to have a relationship with Jesus Christ at all… first I want to say, “We’re glad that you’re here. Welcome here.
I want you to hear both sides of what I’m saying… on the one hand I want you to hear, first and foremost, that Jesus Christ was indeed, ALL IN when it came to having a relationship with you.
There’s a visible reminder in a few moments of what He was willing to do, to have a relationship with you. I want you to enter into that relationships slowly, cautiously, and with thought and discernment, because once we do, He invites us not only to be his Savior, but also his Lord.
And to be all in for him in for his kingdom and for the things that are oriented towards his kingdom, not our life anymore.
All right so the rest of this chapter we don’t have as much time to look at as much details we just did these first four verses. But we want. I want to show you the premise of that video come alive in this passage. Which is that when we step out in faith. When we become. All in that god moves he. Honors those ministry efforts. And he moves in our life in which one of us here today. Doesn’t want god to move more and our life. He does that when we step out in faith and become all in it when it comes to ministering to other people the first sign of that is found the very next verse in chapter sixteen verse five. The scripture tells us this. So the churches were strengthened in faith and grew. Day only. In their numbers. This is the result of paul and tim of these efforts. What a beautiful description of a church. I can imagine a church out there that wouldn’t want this to be said about them. We don’t only want to be growing in numbers we want to be a part of the process of helping people to grow in their faith in jesus. But we don’t only want to be helping people who already have a relationship with jesus christ to grow in their relationship with him. We also want to be used by god to help new people come into a relationship but she says christ. That’s exactly what the scripture saying that. Between paul and timothy’s efforts happened but don’t mistake in the reality that this was on their own accord or power. It is through god. Moving in their midst. Next we see god. Show up and move. When they step. And faith. Is want to turn over diverse eleven invite you to see. The story of another woman who comes into a relationship with jesus christ. Starting in verse eleven. We hear this. Says from choice we put out to sea and sailed straight for same in threes. And the next day on to the opera lists. From there we travel. To fill a pie. A roman colony. And the leading city of the district of macedonia. And we stay there. Several days. On the sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river where we expected to find a place of prayer. Now some of you have. Maybe heard this before but. Back then for a jewish synagogue to be a stablished an actual church. If you will to be established and required. Ten jewish men to live in that community for them to establish a synagogue. So the fact that they’re looking just for a place of prayer outside. Lets us know that there in there is no synagogue. But they are well geographically. Beyond the influence of the jewish community in jerusalem. There are now so few jewish people that they cannot even have a synagogue. There. But nonetheless they find some jewish people who are praying. And they come along the scripture says we sat down. We began to speak to the women who gathered there. One of those listening was a woman named lydia. A dealer in purple cloth from the city if i a tyro. Who was a worshipper of god the lord. Opened her heart to respond to paul’s. Message. When she in the members of her household were baptized she invited us to her home. If you consider me a believer in the lord she said. Come and stay at my house. And she persuaded us. Here’s another instance of how. When we step out in faith. God moves and here. Here he is. Paul and silas are willing to share their faith in jesus christ with these people. And what’s the scripture say. The lord. Opened her heart. Can we just even just. Halls to just imagine. The people in our life. That we encounter on a regular basis even right now. Who god is prepared to open their heart. For the message of jesus christ that you share with them. Just as paul does here. God moves. When we step out in faith and minister. In his name. And then finally the scripture tells us that there’s another instance of this happening. And in verse starting in verse sixteen. And titled paul and silas are now in prison. And here’s what the scripture says. Once when we are going to the place of prayer. We were met by a slave girl who had a spirit. By which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune telling. She’s essentially demon possessed and as a result of it. She has some special powers that are raising her money and her parents’ money. This girl fall paul and the rest of us shouting. These men are servants of the most high god who are telling you the way to be saved. She kept this up for many days. Finally paul became so troubled. That he turned around and said to the spirit. In the name of jesus christ i command you to come out of her. And that moment the spirit. Left her. Maybe just because the stage i am in life but i couldn’t help but think about how many parents of. Want have wanted to do that to their children in the backseat of the car. Just in the name of jesus christ or. You know i say. Doesn’t work. Doesn’t work. When the owners of the slave grow realize that their hope of making money was gone they seized paul and silas and dragged them into the marked market place to face the authorities. They brought them before magistrates and said these men are jews and are throwing our city in an uproar. By advocating customs on lawful for us romans to accept our practice. Be patient with the passage because you’re going to see god moving through their efforts the crowd joined in the attack. Against paul and silas. And the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. After they had been severely flawed they were thrown into prison and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. Upon receiving such orders he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. I can’t help but think in contrast of this whole idea of being all in for god. That the moment i was thrown into prison my faith was so we can fabled i would’ve said. I’m out. But thanks be to god paul. Is stronger than that. About midnight paul and silas were praying and singing hymns to god so there they are ministering. And singing and praising god right in the midst of these circumstances. And the other prisoners were listening to them suddenly there was such a violent. Earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. I once all the prison doors flew open and. Everybody’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up. And when he saw the prison doors open he drew his sword. And was about to kill himself. Because he thought the prisoners had escaped but paul shouted don’t harm yourself. We are all here. The jailer called for lights rushed in and fell trembling before paul and silas. He then brought them out and asked. Servers. What must i do to be saved. They replied. Believe in the lord jesus. And you will be saved. You and your house will then they spoke the word of the lord to him and to all the others in his house. And at that hour of the night the jailer took them. Washed their rooms. Then immediately he and his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house. And so the meal before them. He was filled with joy because he had come to believe in god. He and his whole family. Now listen. If my faith was not the kind of faith that would have caused me to say. I’m out. I am confident my faith is weak enough that when i was freed from my. Chain’s i would have at least said. I’m out of here. Right. Gone. But have you ever stopped to consider if you’ve heard this passage before. Why’d paul even sticks around to have a conversation with this gar. This guards about to kill himself which would have actually only made it easier for paul to escape but instead he’s not concerned about his own physical well being he turns around and he says. Don’t do that. He’s so committed to ministering to other people and jesus is name here is his opportunity to leave and go run free. And he doesn’t sees it he doesn’t take it he’s. There it is ministering to someone else. And god moved in that reality. And the scripture says that he and his entire family. Believe in jesus christ as a result. When i’m telling you it would have been a really cool thing. It would be a really cool thing to experience god and the way. That paul experienced in. Which of us in this room. Doesn’t want to have god move more in their life. I can’t imagine there’s anyone so i know i think that’s not me i don’t want that. Church i believe the key to that reality is becoming all in. Stepping out in faith. And beginning to minister to other people. That god moves he honors those words and fact i would even suggest that until we embrace his desire to minister to other people. Our faith will always plateau. It will always have a ceiling over far lower than we really want it to be keeping us down in our experience of god until we open up that door of caring and ministering to others in jesus’s name. To we see our faith. Rise and see god work and move in magnificent and mighty ways in our life. What he did in paul’s life. To minister to others as what he can do in each and every one of our so lives. As well if we are willing to step out and be. All in. You know as a pastor people tell me things like. Well this is just what defines our church. Certain things define kerk mater certain things define. Church a church should be every church i’ve ever been that has said that and. And oftentimes it’s in the it’s to resist some of the change that we’re talking about. I don’t presume to know. Kerk monts. Entire rich history. Some of you know. Way better than me but what i do know is that this. Church was started as a as a church plant. Which is which means that someone had a vision to minister to this community. And jesus’s name. And they were all in. And apparently. A group of people rallied around them and were all in his well. That’s what defines. Kirk mott and makes kirk kirk mind. There was no other part of who we are which is on par with that part of who we are no service time no service style no specific way of doing a specific ministry nothing like that is on par with the reality that. This church was started. To minister to people in this community in jesus’s name. That’s what defines who we are. And as long as we continue to do that we are the people who have started this church and more importantly we honor the truth of god’s word that we look that together. This morning. We would like to see god move. More in our life. Indeed. By becoming all and. So we come to the table. And once again we are reminded that jesus was indeed. All and when it came to minister him to unite. There was nothing that he was holding back. Nothing. At. He wasn’t willing to give an order for you and i to be saved. I find that so challenging. And yet so incredibly encouraging as we come to the table. He experienced death. Even death. On a cross. But god the father moved as well. For he was raised from the dead. And is seated at the right hand of the father as we are gathered here this morning.
I’m so sorry you have to transition from listening to them to me now for a while but. There’s a video about grace graces. It’s an incredibly important topic for the scripture tells us it is our only hope for salvation. And yet it’s one that’s a topic that is so difficult to grasp because so few of us have ever actually really been shown grace. By another person in our life. And what happens is when we when we fail to really fully embrace grace we sort of really resort back to the way we’re naturally hardwired which is to say you know what the tone for the things i’ve done wrong by being a better person. And being good enough. But the trouble problem is that the trouble is of course that. Grace. In our efforts don’t co-exist. We can either trust in ourselves so we can trust in jesus christ we can either trust in our works or we can trust and grace. But not both. And really that’s the topic that our passes are scripture addresses to this morning and actual after fifteen if you’ve been here. You know we’re preaching through the book of acts. One chapter a week. And we come to the book of acts chapter fifteen well the early church. Addresses this whole subject. The big question of how do we get to heaven. The ultimate religious question. And so we’re going to take a look at that this morning i want to invite you to turn with me to the book of acts chapter fifteen x. is the fifth book in the new testament love to have you turn there with us. If not we’ll have the scripture on the screen behind me. In the book of acts chapter fifteen i mean for a start i want to just give you an insight into where this. This chapter lies in the big scheme of the book of acts is really strategically placed in the middle of the book of acts. Because it’s really it’s a can. It’s a hinge chapter. And it changes the trajectory of the whole church the outcome of this chapter does and the message that the church will communicate for the. Centuries to come. The message that we’re still communicating today. And it shows up in such a way that it interrupts paul’s missionary journey. So if you’ve been with us here the last couple weeks. You know there’s a man named paul’s an early leader in the church. And he’s taking this missionary effort he’s. He’s traveling abroad and he’s sharing the message about jesus christ. He traveled throughout the mediterranean region he traveled to an island in the mediterranean sea. Called cyprus and then he traveled north to modern day turkey or. At that time the go lation area. And he shared the message of jesus christ and we saw that as we try to minister to people just like paul does. Will have some successes will have some failures will have some exciting moments will also have some struggles all those types of things. But now we come into this chapter almost appears to sort of. Into rocked. Paul’s efforts but it really of reinforces the. The message that he’s sharing with people as he travels abroad. Here’s what the scripture tells us. Acceptor fifteen starting in the very first verse. Some men. We don’t know who they are. But some men we don’t know how many there are some men came down from judeo to antioch. And were teaching. The brothers. So they won from one reason to another where and. Church is a stablished. They show up to this church. And they start teaching some of the people who are part of the church. This message. Unless you are circumcised. According to the custom taught by moses. You cannot be saved. All right so they raise the ultimate. Religious question of salvation that is. How do we get saved now saved is a. Is a church a word that some of us are familiar with and others may not be familiar with. But essentially what we mean by saved is. How do we get to heaven. We use the word say because what we’re saying is we are being saved from the judgment of god and the end. At the end of everything we’re being saved from being on the wrong end of god’s judgment. And so therefore we go to heaven. So they’re really addressing the question of how do we get to heaven it’s under the premise that there is life after this that some people will go to heaven in some people won’t. How do we then make sure we’re amongst those who get to heaven. They have a suggestion. Unless you are circumcised. According to the custom taught by moses. You cannot be saved. So there. They have a proposal. And that is in addition to believing in jesus christ. These people were christian people who were part of the early church. They were part of the early followers of jesus christ. But in addition to believing in jesus christ. We also want to make sure that you were circumcised according to the law. Moses. Now. The tension. Is that in the early church this is. These are jewish people who are sharing this with. Gentiles people. So the early church was composed of both jewish people and gentile. People. This message would not bother the jewish church at all but it did bother the gentile people this was not a part of their custom so the jewish people are saying if you want to truly be saved sunday. You need to be circumcised according to the law of moses. So they’re saying not only do you need to be circumcised this appropriate. Religious act. But it also. All that the circumcision represented. Circumcision was really the gateway into the entire law all of moses. So they’re saying. Not only do we need you to be circumcised that religious act but. We need you to obey him to be faithful and obedient. Towards the law of moses. Be a good religious person. And be a good moral person. And that will get you into heaven. In addition to trusting in jesus so trust in jesus and trust in yourself some will put them together. And that will get you in to heaven. So that’s their proposal. We don’t have to wait very long to find out what the scripture thinks about this proposal. In verse two the scripture says. This brought. Paul and barnabas to of the early church leaders. Into shark to spew. And debate with them. So that paul and barnabas were appointed. Along with some other believers to go up to jerusalem to see the apostles and. Elders. About this question. So if there’s any confusion in the room. The early church leaders paul and barnabas. Thought this whole idea that you needed to be a good religious person and a good moral person in order to get into heaven. Was poor. Teaching. Bad theology. An accurate not in a line with the truth of god’s word or his will. But the early church was confused. Because they got some folks in their midst who were saying no you need to be a good religious person. Other people are telling them that’s not a part of the issue. So what they do is they send a delegation down to jerusalem. The hub of the early church and they say. We want you to go down there and bring back for us an answer. Once and for all about this whole question and their answer as i said earlier changes the church trajectory of the message of the church. From here on out as scripture tells this. Then in verse three that the church sent them on their way. And as they travelled through phoenician some area. They told how the gentiles had been converted. This news made all the brothers very glad when they came to jerusalem. They were welcomed by the church. And the apostles and elders. To whom they reported. Everything god had done through them. Now some of the believers who belonged to the party. Of the fairest seas in verse five stood up and said. The gentiles must be circumcised. And required to obey the law of moses. So here’s this proposal being restated again. And. Listen to what’s being. Restated by believers who belong to the party of the fairest seas. Now if you’re here today you’re familiar with the gospels matthew. Luke and john. The idea that there is someone who would be called a believer and. A fair see. Is almost shocking right. But apparently that’s the case. By at by this point time some of the members of the fair say group that often was resisting jesus’ ministry haven’t braced a relationship with jesus christ and begun following him. But they’re still holding on to the law of moses. Remember they add here more clearly force not only circumcision. But also the law of moses. So this is being repeated the proposals being restated. This is not just a person or two who believe this in the early church. A large contingency of important people are trying to share this message. And i want to pause and just invite us to think before we get into the church’s response to this proposal. I want us to discover the fact that i believe that there is a believer. Fair see. If you will in all of us. That there is this element of. Fairest see in each and every one of us who claim to be followers of jesus christ. Meaning. There’s a tendency in the us. An inclination and us to go back to the law to revert back to trying to be justified or made right by god. Through our proper behavior and. It comes from different places for different one of us. Different ones of us. For some of us we grew up in churches that reinforce this fair saic mindset that reinforced this whole idea that you should be a good moral person and a good. Religious person. In order to your way and to have it. Now i’m going to mention those of you who had a catholic upbringing and those of you who are connected of catholic church now. And then i’m going to pick on the protestants also in just a moment so will be fair here ok. All right so for those of you who grew up in a catholic upbringing or have a husband or wife who attends a coffee. Church or maybe you do yourself sometimes. Won’t let you know i can relate my family has a strong roman catholic background. My earliest memories of church were at a catholic church. But i think if we’re honest with ourselves. We need to embrace the reality that the majority of the people who attend a roman catholic church today not everyone. But the majority of them are hearing a message that is similar to what is being proposed here. In this passage of scripture. Which is in order to get to heaven you have to trust in jesus christ and believe in him absolutely. But you also need to combine with that. An element of being a good religious. And good moral person and the to end up determining. Coming together and up determining whether you get into heaven or not. Now there are also protestant churches that. Reinforce this mindset as well. So my point in sharing this is some of you can identify with the. The fair so you can at times find yourself. Reverting back to the law. Because that was talk to you as a child that you were brought up with that. But some of us got that also from a protestant church. You know and it’s actually more ironic. When we hear about it from protestant churches because the entire protestant movement. Was built upon the idea that we are saved by faith alone. And yet. Over the years protestant churches out there have been braced the idea that you not only need to trust in jesus christ. But you also need to. And then they’ve added things there are protestant churches that. That pointedly teach that unless you’re baptized for example. And baptized the way they want you to be baptized. Then you have no hope for salvation. And if i want to hear about those. Those movements and traditions i just want to say. Have you read x. fifteen. Do you not recognize that baptism here is is is that the new. Circumcision here. This is the new baptism or baptism of the new circumcision. It’s the same. Thing. Back then they were trying to say you need to be circumcised and today some church is saying you have to be baptized. Other protestant churches maybe. Reinforce this fair sick mind set but not so. Formally. It’s not a part of their official doctrine. It’s part of their church culture. Oh we believe that jesus is. You know you just to get to heaven you just need to trust in him right we’re saved by grace right we’re saved by grace through faith that’s what we’ve got to do just trust in jesus on the cross. But if you drink alcohol then you’re probably going to jeopardize your salvation. Oh we believe that jesus christ you know died on the cross for our sins and you just to get to heaven you just fully need to trust in him. But if you get divorced then you may end up having lost. Or jeopardize your salvation. So some of us grew up in traditions that didn’t. Formally. Right. Teach some other doctrine besides justification by faith. But the culture in which they created was so legal listing. They might as well have been saying that to their people. Because that’s the message they were teaching. Certain behavior has the ability to know a fire salvation. If that’s the case it’s justification by works. Not by faith. So i have a feeling that each and every one of us in this room if we’re willing to to discern. Our hearts we would discover that there’s a fair see in all of us there’s a temptation to fall back on the law. And all of us. But let’s listen to the church’s response to this proposal. Scripture says in verse six. The apostles and the elders met to consider this question. After much discussion. Peter got up and addressed them. 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 this is very interesting that peter is the voice to get up and speak about this subject was some of you remember that just a few chapters ago. Peter and paul got in a huge fight over this very. Topic. Paul basically called peter out for being too legal listed for catering to the jewish people by being too legal istic and now. Peter is the one speaking up right. It’s as if got peter has done god has done a work in peter’s heart and peter has come around. And he now sees the folly of this mindset and now he’s beginning to lead the discussion. He says god. Who knows. The heart. Church i want to just read through what peter says and point out a few of the things that i think he is clearly telling us. Salvation is the result of. If salvation is not the result of our works and of salvation is not the result of our religious behavior. Then what is salvation. The result of. And he says here that salvation is the result of and he mentions. A few things that i want to point out to you first. God knows. The heart. Leave salvation one of the things that salvation is the result of is a changed and transformed heart. And you see the religious behavior. And the moral behavior those are. Outward things that truthfully someone could attempt to fake to put onto. To it. To achieve or aspire to but they’re all outward. And what peter starts off in response to that is by saying listen. Are god’s discernment. For whether or not we get into heaven some day is and has nothing to do with our outward behavior. It is about his understanding of our heart. It’s about an inward transformation of who we are this is not something that we can fake. We cannot pretend to god that we actually love him and put in place our trust and faith in him. God knows the heart so. Salvation is the result of a changed. Heart. You might be asking yourself well then how does my heart change. Well here’s what he says next. God who knows the heart. Showed that he accepted them. By giving the. Holy spirit to them just as he did to us. So salvation is always not only the result of a change of heart. But also the result of the holy spirits of work on our heart. Is the holy spirit it’s god’s spirit that works upon us. So that we place our trust in him. Not in ourselves is so it’s a beautiful thing when you think about it because the holy spirit is working on our heart. And then. To bring us to the point of salvation. And when we trust jesus christ with our life the scripture then says the holy spirit dwells inside of us. As a deposit guaranteeing our salvation. So it’s like the holy spirit is at work in our heart preparing an environment for itself. Preparing the way for itself to come in and tabernacle or dwell in. Side of us. Then. Peter goes on he says this. God who knows the heart as we said showed that he accepted them by giving the holy spirit to them. Just as he did to us. Then in verse nine he made no distinction between us and them for he purified their or hearts by faith. So not only is salvation the result of a change of heart. The result of the work of the holy spirit but is also the result of our faith being placed in got a notice. That is is tempted as we might be. To say that faith is finally finally the one thing that we get to do. It’s finally the one religious or moral act of our own right. We love this idea because it’s the one thing that we are finally putting in. Towards the equation. Look at how the scripture reads here in verse nine. It says he purified. Their hearts. By faith. God is the active agent. Here. And the scripture reinforces this in the book of if eason’s chapter two verse eight the scripture tells us this. As much as we want to be tempted by saying faith is the one moral thing that we put into the equation. Scripture says for it is by grace that you’ve been saved through faith. And this is not from yourselves. It is the gift of god. So man can take no credit for. Even the faith. In this situation. Towards our salvation. It is the work of god the scripture is telling us. So as the video said. It’s never about us. It’s always about. Gone and scripture goes on he says. This in verse ten. Now then. Why do you try to test god by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear. Do you see here this wonderful confession that peter just goes into. He says listen. Your church. Trying to tell this group of people they need to be obey the law so well that they can yield. Salvation as a result of that behavior and he’s saying. That’s not even something we could do as jewish people. God gave the law to us. We couldn’t even do it we have two thousand years of our history to prove to you that we messed up. Over and over again when it comes to the law. Abraham isaac jacob wonderful. Godly men full of faith. But they could not obey the law well enough to earn their way into heaven so he’s saying. Why would we place a burden on other people that we can’t even bear ourselves. If you’re here this morning in your still operating under the burden of. Of guilt from that comes from the law and moral responsibility. Please hear this passage. It is the scripture crying out to you saying. No one before you. No one. After you will ever be able to be good enough to earn their way into heaven stop trying to do that yourself. If you’re here this morning and you have a loved one who’s operating under that burden. Operating under that theological framework. Invite them to hear this passage of scripture. Why are you a part of something that is teaching you to try to live a certain way that the scripture claims. No one has been able to. And to this point. Are you better. Are you more righteous than the forefathers of israel abraham jake up and isaac are you more righteous than them that somehow. You might be able to attain what they were on able to peter says no way why would we make these people do that. It makes no sense that’s not what the laws about. He says no. In verse eleven. We believe it is through the grace of our lord jesus that we are saved. Just as they are. It’s by grace he says. So of ations always the result of a change of heart. The result of the work of the holy spirit. The result of our faith in jesus christ. And really to summarize it all to sum it all up. As a result of grace. It just boils down to this. God. Treating us. Better than we deserve. And that’s why we praise. And you can either. Count on the idea of standing before him sunday. And saying you know i want him to treat me. The way i deserve. Or you can stand before him someday and say. I count on him treating me better than i deserve. Grace. Or works. Paul wrote to the glaciers in chapter five or so lev and he said this he said brothers. If i’m still preaching circumcision. Then why am i still being persecuted. In that case the offense of the cross. Has been abolished. So he’s essentially saying listen you can either have a message of circumcision. Or a message of cross you can either trust in your works. Or trust and grace yourself. Or jesus but you can’t have both he’s saying. If i was preaching a message of. Of moral righteousness. In the law. And being a good enough person. Then no. None of these jewish people would be persecuting me. They wouldn’t be offended by the messes. I’m teaching. But i have left that. I recognize jesus is the fulfillment of all that. So i am not preaching a message of grace. That is based on the cross of jesus christ. And that they are offended by him persecuting me for. Do you see you can’t have both. Paul saying they wouldn’t both exist. But i’ve left the warren and entered into the other and that’s why i’m the recipient of all these people’s judgment. Church. At the beginning of our time together we watched the video. Our passes a scripture had absolutely nothing to do with the. Peterson counter with john. Other than the topic of grace which was raised from it. But it was in the passage of scripture that it alluded to it’s where peter has messed up in his life. You might have caught the reference where he had deny jesus. Three times. And he basically says. I’m still trying to make up for that and. Jesus talks to him about grace. So as we close our time together more i just want to invite you to consider i want to ask you the question. If if that was a video between you and jesus. And it was addressing the single greatest thing in your life. That you really need to see god’s grace wrapped around. You know the. The thing you did that your parents don’t know about thing you did that your spouse doesn’t know about. Thing you did that. You just sort of been pretending that god doesn’t know about what you need. What you need to talk to him about. And have him just remind you of his grace. And to tell you. Stop trying to earn your way out of that trust in my grace.