In the sermon this last week Pastor Jeremy took us back to first century Jerusalem at the Passover. The bustle of activity surrounding one of the biggests celebrations of the year. Not only this, but the build up to this particular passover was extraordinary. Jesus was becoming known for his fantastic miracles throughout the land and just days before he rode into Jerusalem, according to the Gospel of John, Jesus had raised Lazarus.
Jesus foretold both his death and resurrection. Let this sink in. It’s one thing to say you’re going to die, but to foretell a resurrection takes something special. To foretell ones OWN resurrection takes something devine!
Yet even knowing the end of the story didn’t change the way Jesus walked the road of triumph and suffering.
Jesus was a king who takes action. Luke 18:31 says, “31 And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. 33 And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” 34 But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.”
Pastor Jeremy commented that Jesus was a king who was willing to give sacrificially to execute his plan. He asked, are we willing to give sacrificially as well? Are we willing to sacrifice ourselves for God’s plan? What does sacrifice look like these days in the midst of a lockdown and social distancing? Which of our personal freedoms are we willing to lay down when called on by God to flatten the curve of someone else’s rebellion against God?
Jesus was a king who was moved to action by mercy. Luke 23 recounts the trial and execution of Christ. Sometimes we are so used to the story that it’s difficult to take this personally. But read Luke 23:26-49 together, keeping in mind that everything that befell Jesus in this account is something you personally earned, yet he bore for you. He had mercy on us! How do you find yourself responding to this?
Pastor Jeremy finished with the statement that love powerful enough to transform is always painful. What if your personal safety and comfort were not the goal Jesus was pursuing? Talk about Pastor Jeremy’s statement on the reality of pain causing love, and compare that to what Paul writes in Phil. 1:29. Even if this verse only applies to the Philippian church, it still creates a category which is preferable to God… that he would bless you with suffering for his name sake. What do you think of a God who loves you enough to stretch you in painful ways? What could a truth like that be calling you to learn in a time like this?
Spend some time in prayer for each other, your community, and our Ness family. Speak the gospel into each others pain and discomfort. Call each other to a hope beyond circumstances. What do you need to confess today?
If you haven’t checked it out already, please download the Easter devotional as a follow up. We’ve linked it below.
In this sermon, Lorne Meisner, the Manitoba district coach for the Baptist General Conference, opened our eyes to a view into the depths of eternity.
Lorne asks, when you relate the story of your relationship with God, how far back do you go? What did he mean by this? Is this a helpful question for you in growing your view of God’s activity regarding us?
Let’s read from Ephesians 1:1-14 together to begin.
Before hearing this sermon, and reading this passage, what did you consider to be the first time God planned for the death and resurrection of Jesus? Why does it matter? What does Eph. 1:3-4 have to say about timelines?
This passage allows us a sense of wonderment as we look over the brink of time, into the depths of eternity. It also allows us to see that God’s plan sits above circumstances. Lorne said that “God does not make reactionary choices.” Reflect on this statement in light of Philippians 1:6.
Read through Ephesians 1:1-14 again. This time, take not of all the places where God is listed as the initiator, or the active one, and we are the recipient. Lorne listed 9.
What is the benefit to us in this activity of God? Walk through Romans 8:28-30. Verses 29-30 are often referred to as the Golden Chain of Redemption.
Walk through this statement together… “God is always, ALWAYS, the initiator. We are always, ALWAYS, the responder… at best.”
If this is difficult to process, honestly ask why. Lorne said that God’s goal in absolutely everything… creation, redemption, Jesus, humanity… is to manifest his glory. He is at the centre. If it wasn’t all about him, what would it be about?
Our service on Sunday closed with the doxology from Jude 1:24-25.
“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” (Remember, amen simply means ‘truth’).
This passage beautifully wraps up the themes of God’s capacity in our salvation, sanctification, and the origins of this plan from outside of time. How has this conversation grown your view of God?
How does a bigger view of God move you to worship? Should Jude 1:24-25 affect evangelism?
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