Trust – Long Live the Reformation, Part 4

man with dog on paddle board
lollym | Pixabay

Jesus reconnects people to God as a gift. Our role is simply to trust that he has. But trusting is hard, and sometimes we try to turn trusting Jesus into an act on our part. How can we know if we’re trusting Jesus, or trying to trust ourselves? Pastor Luke teaches from Genesis 15:1–6 in “Trust,” part 4 of his 5-part series “Long Live the Reformation.”

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Emancipation — Long Live the Reformation, Part 3

BMX rider jumping a bike
12019 | Pixabay

 

The reformers stressed that Jesus reconnects people as a gift. You don’t have to do anything to earn it or to qualify for it. But what happens if you try anyway? Even if you need Jesus to do some or all the work, isn’t it a good idea to contribute your own effort as well? Pastor Luke looks at Galatians 5:1–6 in “Emancipation,” part 3 of his 5-part series “Long Live the Reformation.”

Harder Than Justice

Jesus associated with people who failed to observe the Law, so people wondered how Jesus felt about the Law. Jesus said the Law was fine. The problem isn’t the Law, he said, the problem was people. (The series begins on February 22, 2015 and runs for 4 messages.)

  1. People wanted to know if Jesus was opposed to the Law. If so, they wondered how could society function without it. But if not, why did Jesus associate with Lawbreakers? Pastor Luke looks at Matthew 5:17–20 in “Harder Than Justice (Part 1),” the first message in a new series “Harder Than Justice.”
  2. According to Jesus, our problem isn’t God’s Law–it’s us. We don’t do what God wants. Jesus explained that by talking about murder. But we obey that law–in fact, most of us can’t imagine not obeying it. So what was Jesus getting at? Pastor Luke teaches from Matthew 5:21–26 in “Crimes of Passion,” part 2 of his 4-part series “Harder Than Justice.”
  3. The Law provided regulations governing marriage and divorce. When Jesus talked about them, he said that was just the beginning, the tip of the iceberg. But since people already struggle to keep their marital vows, why did Jesus make it even harder? The reason was because he wants people to have great marriages. How does that work? Pastor Luke teaches from Matthew 5:27–32 in “Love and Marriage,” part 3 of his 4-part series “Harder Than Justice.”
  4. When he taught about oaths, Jesus said not to swear at all. Why not? If we’re sincere about something we say, what harm comes from making it a promise, or even an oath? According to Jesus, it’s better to simply state your intention, even if you might fail. Why is that? Pastor Luke teaches from Matthew 5:33–37 in “White Lies,” the concluding message in his series “Harder Than Justice.”

Irreligion

Last week, we saw that religion can’t connect us to God; only Jesus can do that. When we obey the rules and perform the rituals, too often we don’t do it perfectly, or for the right reasons. But what about people who don’t do it at all? What about people who break all the rules? What about bad people whose rule-breaking hurts other people? If God doesn’t want religion, what does he say about irreligion? The answer can be found in the story of Jesus’ encounter with a tax collector named Zacchaeus. Pastor Luke teaches from Luke 19 in “Irreligion.”

Acropolis Now

Jesus said his followers are “a city on a hill.” What did he mean? Is “city on a hill” something you can do? How? Understanding what Jesus meant here is vital in order to understand the mission of the church. What is it? Pastor Luke teaches from Matthew 5 in “Acropolis Now.”

AthensAcropolisDawnAdj06028

Note: In the course of his talk, Pastor Luke refers to the Acropolis in Athens and other ancient-world examples of cities on hills, including some on the island of Santorini in Greece, pictured here.

Fira (Thira island of Santorini)

Hung on a Tree – Part 5 of Gardens

Who is beyond God’s grace? Is there such a thing as being “God-forsaken?” Have you ever wondered? Peter, a leader in the early church, didn’t wonder—he knew! He’d been taught that whole nations of people were beyond saving. But one day, Peter suddenly realized that couldn’t true, because Jesus had been hung on a tree. Why did that matter? Pastor Luke looks at Acts 10 in “Hung on a Tree,” the concluding message in his series “Gardens.”

Cross – Part 3 of Declarations

Last week, Pastor Luke said that Grace means that, no matter what your circumstances seem to be, no matter what you may feel or what people tell you, “God doesn’t hate you.” No matter what you’ve done, no matter who you’ve hurt, God still loves you and wants to be reconnected to you. That may seem hard to believe, but grace really is amazing—just like the song says. But is it too good to be true? How can we know that grace is real? Pastor Luke looks at Romans 3 and other passages in “Cross,” part 3 of his 6-part series “Declarations.”

Grace – Part 2 of Declarations

We think about God, but what does God think about us? Is it even possible to know what God is thinking? Christianity says that Jesus shows God’s grace. What does that mean, and what difference does it make? Pastor Luke preaches from Luke 15 in “Grace,” part 2 of his 6-part series “Declarations.”

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