Preaching to Myself

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Re: Preaching to Myself

Post by mattrose » Sun Mar 15, 2015 4:38 pm

I switched from my winter coat to my spring jacket today

But left my sermon recorder in my winter coat pocket

So instead of posting a sermon, I'll post a song about it that I just wrote

There is no free

Master one or master two
No question if, it’s only who
Slavery or slavery
There is no free

Nuance this or nuance that
Say freedom is also a fact
And I agree, Yes I agree
Still, there is no free

Cause I’m a slave
A service man
And yes I hold my master’s hand
But still a slave
I’ll always be
Because there is no free

Savior Yes, but you’re Lord too
Can’t choose one if both are true
To let him be what he will be
Means, there is no free

You’re the maker, I’m the made
It makes no sense that I’d get paid
I’m only doing my duty
There is no free

Repeat Chorus

Delivery from, Delivery to
Slave to sin or slave to you
I’m hoping that you might agree
There is no free

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Re: Preaching to Myself

Post by steve » Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:08 am

A great lyric, Matt. Now I want to hear the tune!

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Re: Preaching to Myself

Post by darinhouston » Tue Mar 17, 2015 4:52 pm

Love it -- I hear this as a piratical sea chant (though I missed your sermon -- steps of discipleship was particularly good last month)

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Re: Preaching to Myself

Post by mattrose » Fri Apr 03, 2015 10:31 am

Text for my Good Friday sermon. I take some jabs at the cruder forms of penal substitution atonement theory. But my goal is to get us to view the cross more in terms of love and relationship than a legal loophole.

3 Mistakes Christians Make
About the Cross of Christ

Non-Christians make many mistakes when it comes to the cross of Christ.

Some simply ignore it. They see crosses on and in church buildings, as jewelry, even on the flags of various nations and charities around the world. But they think nothing of it. They never slow down enough to ‘behold the man upon the cross.’ They never wonder why he died; why it’s remembered; or what it might mean for them.

Others don’t ignore the cross, but they reject its value for one reason or another. Paul said the message of Christ’s crucifixion is a stumbling block to Jews (how could the Savior of our people end up executed by our enemy?) and foolishness to Gentiles (why would we worship someone we were able to crucify?). 1Corinthians 1:23

In contrast, while Paul says that “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing… to us who are being saved it is the power… and wisdom… of God” (1 Cor. 1:18).
But the truth is, Christians make mistakes when it comes to the cross too. And I want to consider 3 Mistakes Christians make about the Cross of Christ.

As I describe these 3 common mistakes, I ask that you truly invite the Holy Spirit to challenge you this evening. Ask yourself, as I will ask myself, if you’ve made or are currently making these mistakes.

Let’s pray together

JESUS, as we think upon your sacrifice… specifically your crucifixion…
Help us to let IT define wisdom
Help us to let IT define power
Help us to see it clearly
To understand as best as possible
How your death on a Roman cross
Means everything to us today
Help us to understand…
What it says about US
What it says about YOU
What it says about your FATHER

The first mistake I’d like to talk about this evening is one that I think is far too common.

It is a theological mistake. It is a mistake that comes from misreading Scripture or just letting others tell you what Scripture says.

It is the mistake of thinking that Jesus, on the cross, saved us from His Father.

Now, few would word it quite like that. But that is what many Christians seem to believe. They think of God the Father as bi-polar.

There are two sides to His character :
A loving side and a wrathful side

And you don’t wanna get on His bad side, but we all have through sin, ever since Adam.

The picture some get is an angry God who, in order to switch him back to his good side, needs to see someone suffer and die as a punishment for sin. Once that’s done, He’ll love people again. At least some of them.
Jesus, in this view, is the one who volunteers to absorb the wrath of God. He steps in a takes our place of punishment.

God was going to destroy us “Till on that cross, as Jesus died… The wrath of God was satisfied”

So on the cross, Jesus saved us from the Father.

This is one of many possible answers to the question: HOW does the cross save us? It is a popular form of the penal substitution theory of the atonement.

It leaves Christians with a favorable view of Jesus, but a not-so-favorable view of His Father. It’s good cop, bad cop. In this view, we start to see Jesus of the New Testament saving us from the angry, wrathful God of the Old Testament.

And this is a mistake for a couple of different reasons. For one, it’s bad theology. For two, it’s not biblical.

Theologically, it’s a mistake because it pits 2 of the members of the trinity against each other when, in reality, they are in perfect unity.

And Biblically it’s a mistake because the New Testament teaches us the exact opposite thing! Jesus doesn’t save us from the Father. THE FATHER LOVES US. The Father sent the Son.

God so loved the world that HE GAVE his only son

God demonstrates His OWN LOVE for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

“For God was IN CHRIST, reconciling the world to Himself.” God doesn’t so much RECEIVE a sacrifice at the cross, but becomes one.

It’s a mistake to think that on the cross the Son saved us from the Father.

God never turned His back on us.
We turned our backs on Him.

And Jesus’ incarnation… and His cross… are about forcing us to look again at the Father’s love.

The Father didn’t need to be appeased in order to love us again. He never stopped.

I like the way John Stott said it…
“God does not love us because Christ died for us, Christ died for us because God loves us.”

You know the story of the prodigal son, right?

As the son comes home, in order for the Father to welcome him home, he first has to beat and kill his firstborn son, right? Isn’t that how it goes? Or was the Father eagerly waiting for His erring child to return? Didn’t he run out to welcome him home?

The father loves his erring child.

The only thing that keeps us from the embrace of our heavenly father is our refusal to come back into his arms.

And the cross of Christ is God the Father’s boldest attempt to show us how far He’ll go to reach us and that his arms are open wide.

So when we think about the cross, let us think about the love not just of the Son, but also of the Father…. For it is one and the same.

The 2nd mistake I’d like to mention is thinking of the cross as simply an EVENT that means we get to avoid hell.

We are asked to imagine a court-room scene. God is the judge. We are on trial. We are found guilty. We’re about to be sentenced to death and torture. But then, heroically, Jesus stands up and volunteers to take the punishment for us. The Judge accepts the offer. We’re off the hook.

Or we’re asked to imagine it in monetary terms: Each time we sin we add to our financial debt. We’re just about to be declared eternally bankrupt when Jesus steps in and volunteers to pay off our entire debt for us. God, seemingly playing the role of the banker in this metaphor, is satisfied with the transaction. We’re debt free.

Now, there might be some level of truth in both of these illustrations. But there are problems too if they become the main way we think about the cross. They picture God purely as JUDGE or BANKER instead of, primarily, as the loving Father that He is.
But there are other problems too with these ways of looking at how the cross works to save us. Both of these illustrations think of the cross as a transaction or an EVENT rather than as the start of a relationship.

Jesus steps in and gives us a get out of jail free card OR a get out of debt free card.

But once we have the card, in these illustrations, we don’t really need Jesus anymore. Once saved, always saved… no matter what.

In fact, once Jesus has filed this paperwork, we don’t even really need to care about anything that happened before or after the cross. His life and example doesn’t matter. His resurrection doesn’t even matter. As long as he suffered and died, we got what we need from him.

When we focus on the cross as our get out of jail free card, everything about Jesus other than the cross becomes unimportant.

We’re just happy enough to know that we have a ticket to heaven… that when we die all their paperwork is in order.
And I want to say that that is a gross distortion of the message of the cross. This view of the cross just won’t do.

It doesn’t actually even make sense.

It says Jesus suffered and died INSTEAD OF us?

Um… last I checked, there is still a lot of suffering and dying going on.

Jesus didn’t die INSTEAD of us in that sense. He died FOR US. Those aren’t the same thing. Jesus became a human being for us. He died like humans die. He became what we are, so we can become what He is… Christ-like. He shared in our humanity, so we can share in His deity. And if you think that sounds crazy, read 2Ptr1:4 which says in Christ we get to participate in the divine nature

We’ve got to start seeing the cross not as a get out of hell free card, nor a ticket to heaven, but as a way of life. Jesus didn’t carry a cross so we won’t have to. He carried a cross because that’s where love led Him. And he told us that following him in the way of love will likely have us carrying crosses too.
When we follow Jesus…
Follow the way he lived his life…
Die to self, carry our crosses…
And die IN CHRIST…
We’ll also rise with Christ

The cross is meaningless without resurrection. Hundreds died on the cross, some of them even claimed to be the Messiah. Only Jesus came back. He participated in humanity by dying. We participate in deity by conquering death.

The whole ‘salvation’ thing only really works when it is connected to a life of discipleship… a step by step walk with Jesus.

Yet, how many Christians in America only care about getting that card? That ticket? As long as their conviction is overturned & their debt is paid, they can go back to their life of crime and debt-accumulation b/c now they’ve found a legal loophole they call the Gospel.

Let’s let the cross be transforming and sanctifying instead of just giving us a get out of hell free card. The cross initiates a relationship with God rather than excusing us for not having one.

The 3rd mistake I want to confront tonight flows from this. It’s the mistake of only thinking about the cross once a year.

We literally have professing Christians that only come to church once a year. But there are also church-regulars who don’t think of the cross all that often.

But my point is not just that we should just think about the cross MORE OFTEN. I want to say something more than that. I want to say that we shouldn’t just THINK ABOUT the cross. We should live the cross. Our lives should take the shape that Jesus’ life took. Our lives should be cross-shaped. We echo his steps, which led to a cross

I feel like this is something Jesus has been teaching me lately.

Maybe we’ve misunderstood the message.

We’ve made the cross AN EVENT that bought us a ticket to heaven rather than A PATH that is our way to heaven.
We’ve turned the Christian life into easy believe-ism rather than a narrow path of discipleship.

We’ve turned the Christian life into same-old, same-old with occasional moments of reflection rather than a day-in, day-out death to self.

We’re glad Jesus carried a cross
So we don’t have to

While we ignore the call to follow Him

We receive communion once a month
And when we do, we think about Jesus’ sacrifice
We think of it as an EVENT, not a calling
We think of it as a MEMORY, not marching orders
We think of it as a RITUAL, not a rule of life

But the cross wasn’t an isolated instant.

It was the end of a long journey of Jesus and the beginning of something new. It was the culmination of a lifestyle of sacrificial living. The cross was every day for Jesus.

If these are 3 mistakes Christians sometimes make about the cross, then these are 3 solutions:
First, see the love of the Father in the cross of Christ. Don’t think of Jesus’ as appeasing His angry Father. The Father himself loves you. Don’t worry about getting on God’s bad side. He doesn’t have one. What we sometimes call God’s bad-side is what we see when we aren’t looking at Him at all. Good fathers don’t have a love/wrath relationship with their children. They lovingly discipline. Kids, from their perspective, sometimes call discipline wrath.

Second, stop thinking of the cross as some sort of transaction. It may be that, but it’s much more than that. The Gospel is not about how to go to heaven when you die. The Gospel is the good news that Jesus is Savior and Lord today and forever. The cross compels us… He died for me, I’ll live for Him.

Third, don’t just THINK about the cross annually or monthly. LIVE the cross. Love with no limits. Deny yourself. Pick up YOUR cross. Follow Jesus. Let communion not just be a memorial, but also a mission statement. Let it remind you that we are the people of the cross. We must stop merely reflecting on what the cross did for us and start living it out for others.
We are the people that are willing to love sacrificially… who are willing to love even if in doing so our bodies are broken and our blood is poured out.

We are what we eat.

We are the broken & bloodied body of Christ.

Crucified today.

Resurrected tomorrow.


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Re: Preaching to Myself

Post by mattrose » Mon Apr 20, 2015 11:47 am

Different kind of sermon this past Sunday... it was more of a presentation on what Christians should know about eastern religions such and hinduism & buddhism and the elements of those belief-systems that have made their way into western culture (reincarnation, karma, yoga, meditation). ... ast/354217

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Re: Preaching to Myself

Post by darinhouston » Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:54 am

Nice one, but then I'm a fan.

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Re: Preaching to Myself

Post by mattrose » Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:00 pm

Thanks Darin :)

After I preached that message I raced over to my home church (where I have my full time job) and covered the same material in my Sunday School class. It was a lot more interactive as the group (about 20) asked a lot of great questions. We laughed a lot and had a great time.

This week I think I'll be trying something new. I'm going to take a lesson I prepared for little kids on the subject of prayer and preach it to adults (though I won't tell them that). I thought I'd try that since so many Sunday morning attendees are fairly new to faith.

After that I'll likely be starting Isaiah. I've actually never preached/taught through Isaiah except for a quick run-through.

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Re: Preaching to Myself

Post by mattrose » Thu May 07, 2015 10:51 pm

This past Sunday I preached at my home church (where my full-time job is)

I tackled the big subject of ELECTION by presenting 4 views and then sharing my own thoughts

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Re: Preaching to Myself

Post by Ian » Fri May 08, 2015 4:02 am

we need to move south and get y`all back"
good one Matt :D

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Re: Preaching to Myself

Post by mattrose » Wed Aug 19, 2015 8:09 am

Last 2 sermons have been on the issues of Alcohol & Abortion

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