The right mountain for the right Kingdom

We learned on Sunday from Hebrews 12 that the Kingdom of God is no longer in the realm of fear, intimidation, and separation. The symbol of the Kingdom of God is not the first mountain, where even Moses was afraid.

“Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God (the heavenly Jerusalem), to myriads of angels, a festive gathering, to the assembly of the firstborn whose names have been written in heaven, to a Judge, who is God of all, to the spirits of righteous people made perfect (Hebrews 12:22-23).”

A festive gathering!

The Kingdom of God is enjoyable!

It is for everyone.

It is not too hard.

This joyful realm happens when we die to ourselves and let Christ resurrect within us.

Rules or People?

When Jesus healed a woman who had been sick 18 years, the leader of the synagogue (the Senior Pastor), was angry because of the breaking of sabbath rules. In that case, rules were more important than people.
 
Jesus demonstrates to us a different way of valuing individuals.
 
I hope we all keep looking to Jesus as our standard of care. While rules can be necessary, a useful one enhances the common good without restricting human flourishment.
 
The Kingdom of God is a renewing reality.
The Kingdom of God is about renewing people!

People of the present and future Kingdom

“The kingdom of God” is a big theme for Jesus.
In the ESV translation, “kingdom” is mentioned 126 times in the Gospels.
 
What is the Kingdom of God?
The Kingdom of God is the reign of God.
 
Through Jesus,
The kingdom is already here.
The kingdom is not yet fully here.
 
So as God’s people, we are what Michael Green wrote:
 
“…people of the future living in the land of the present.”
 
That’s us!

The Fire We Need

The best you is the sanctified you.
 
Still, the very thing we need – the sanctifying, transforming, purifying work of God – seems to be the one thing we are trying to avoid.
 
Let the fire of the Lord purify you.
When He changes you, everything gets better.
 
The fire we need is the eyes of Jesus (Rev. 1:14)

The next 5 months

Following up on Sunday’s sermon, I encourage you to evaluate the five months ahead of you.
 
What is going to happen in these environments?
 
– Occupation
– Relationships
– Entertainment / hobbies
 
Invite God to walk with you through these environments this coming season.
 
No pressure. Just walk with Him.

Sermons on Joy can be tough to hear

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This Sunday (December 16) we will focus on the Advent theme of Joy as we prepare for Christmas!

Here are some thoughts about joy that may not make Sunday’s message:

– When one is suffering from depression, messages on joy often feel very painful.  For those under this cloud, we acknowledge your pain and remind you that there is a company of past and present saints who understand the paradox of living the Christian life while suffering from this condition.

– Even in the most dire of circumstances, there can be odd moments of joy.  The fall of 2003 was one of the darkest periods of my life after losing both my dad and grandmother and having a very unexpectedly sick newborn. Yet during that season I still enjoyed good meals, meaningful conversations, and touches of friendship.

– As much as we are able, we should choose joy.  Life is harsh and pain is unavoidable.  So, laughter and enjoyment under the Lordship of Christ reflects His glory to our world.