Session 5 of 5: Hindrances to our Spiritual Passion – the Three Circles – Mark 7:1-8

The Big Idea: Non-core issues in the church that are elevated to core issues bring strife and hamper our spiritual passion. The Three Circles are helpful categories to obey Christ in Mark 7.

Key question: How do we guard against leaving the word of God for the traditions of men?

The Three Circles are not neat and tidy. Keep the main thing the main thing: the gospel.

I. Core the root beliefs on what it means to be saved

Evangelical Protestants: those who hold to the inerrancy of Scripture and think they ought to be engaging the culture and other cultures with the gospel.

The demarcation line of Protestantism compared to Catholicism

· Sola Fide faith alone

· Sola Grace grace alone

· Sola Scriptura scripture alone

· Sola Christos by Christ alone

· Sola deo Gloria for the glory of God alone

This is what is preached from the pulpit.

II. Distinctives differentiate between denominations

a. Polity (i.e. congregational, elder led, etc.)

b. Salvation (is it monergism or synergism?)

c. Sacraments or ordinances (i.e.

d. Holy Spirit (what is his role today and how does he work?)

e. Biblical Theology (what is the relationship between the OT and NT?)

It is not necessary to hold to the Distinctives to fellowship together or become a member. Leadership must subscribe to these. In the PCA it is all that is written in the Westminster Confession of Faith.

III. Negotiables

a. Parenting skills

b. Education (public schools, private schools or home schools, classical model, etc.)

c. Entertainment (TV in your home, movies, cable, internet, etc.) How do you make entertainment choices

d. Responsible use of alcohol or tobacco

e. Eschatology the church has always agreed that Christ is coming soon, bodily, in power and judgment, and no one knows when he is coming;

f. Politics (republican or democratic, etc.)

Conclusion: May we live in love to one another to build up one anothers faith, being careful not to kill our own spiritual passion and that of our brothers by elevating Distinctives or Negotiables to Core.


Session 4 of 5: An Aid to Our Passion – Membership

Intro: I didnt come to the conviction easily, but finally there was no getting around it: there can be no maturity in the spiritual life, no obedience in following Jesus, no wholeness in the Christian life apart from an immersion and embrace of community. I am not myself by myself. Community, not the highly vaunted individualism of our culture, is the setting which Christ is at play. Eugene Peterson, Christ Plays in 10,000 Places

The Big Idea: As opposed to living individual consumers, followers of Jesus are called to lives of membership belonging to one another and to the place in which they live.

I. We belong to one another.

a. Based on imago Dei (Genesis 1:26) we bear the image of God who is 3 persons in one, perfect community; it was not good that Adam was alone though all of creation was good he was made for community;

b. Finds the expression in commandments #5-10 (Exodus 20:12-17) the horizontal commands after the vertical ones;

c. Necessary for obedience to the Micah Declaration (Micah 6:8) love mercy and do justly, not just work by grace to redeem souls;

d. Part of the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:34-40): love God will all your being and, it doesnt stop there, but your neighbor as yourself;

e. Inherent in the Body of Christ imagery (1 Cor 12:12-31): the eye needs the hand, etc. and they cant function like this alone.

If community is so important as we have just seen above, why does much of evangelical, protestant (worship) treat us as passive, individual consumers? Do we portray that you can be a part of us and be anonymous? Your church needs you! And you need them. That is why we do responsive readings, reply with thanks be to God, sing hymns and songs, etc., because in order to read along as a group, you have to listen to one another and hear the cadence.

II. We are within a particular place.

a. Place is not unimportant (Genesis 2:8) common grace comes to all of us and today is a good day with sunshine for everyone, whether you believe or not. However, God wanted Adam there IN the garden, in a real place.

b. All of the to one another commands require real people, in real places.

c. The incarnation (John 1) God does not send his Son in theory. He sends him for real; where does God show up on the scene in history? He is born in Bethlehem.

d. Go! Make disciples! (Matt 28:18-20, Acts 1:8)

All the wonderful things to enjoy that are particular to our place (i.e. ribs, sweet corn, mud pie, etc.), are to be received as one of Gods good gifts to us. This is to give us a glimpse of just how satisfying Christ is for us, both now and eternity. We do this in community.

You have been placed by God in your tribe and your location to figure out how to redeem it by Gods grace.

Contextualization how does the gospel story intersect with stories common in the tribe, the stories they use to explain reality? How does the empty tomb turn these stories on its head?

The Christian life has a different flavor as it is lived out all around the world as God brings his grace to transform peoples lives in each unique culture.

Conclusion: God sanctifies us by His Spirit and most often in community. Embrace and love the place that He has planted you, striving to redeem souls and the culture by Gods grace.

Session 3 of 5: Our Passion Illustrated – Abraham and Lot (Genesis 13)

The Big Idea: Our passion is put to test when confronted with a choice between essential stuff, or The Essential.

I. Read with shame / honor world-view lenses (vv8-11)

Pastor Wilfred and Pastor Simon from Kenya were used by God to show Kyle more nuggets of truth embedded in this story seen through the original context of a shame and honor culture. This is one of their most favorite stories in the Old Testament.

Lot is a sinful man. In this culture, Lot should have let his elder, his uncle, chose for him which land to take. Instead, he takes what is not his to choose.

II. Keep the contrasting stories in mind (v13)

a. Genesis 14

b. Genesis 15

How do both of these peoples stories end? Abrams story ends well. Lots story ends with a dead wife in leaving Sodom and then in a cave in drunken incest.

III. Remember what is at stake (vv 6, 10)

Which would you choose: your livelihood or your relationship with Christ? Do I want to have good pasture land, comfort and all that it brings or do I want God? We want to come down hard on Lot but we need to look at our own hearts all the same.

IV. Marvel at Gods covenant faithfulness (vv 14-18)

God leads Abram to see the covenant land. By faith, Abram believes what God says, namely, that all the land, including the land Lot took that was not rightfully his, was all going to be his someday.

V. Frame your life as Abram did (vv 4, 18)

He frames his life with worship, even in light of his wallet taking a substantial hit. They both are cattle feeders who need food and water for their livestock and Lot takes the sustenance and leaves Abram with little. However, in the midst of uncertainty, Abram lays on the alter livestock, the very livestock he is now uncertain about.

VI. So how come we dont do that? (cf.: Philippians 2:4-11)

Why dont we trust God in the midst of uncertainty like Abram did? Why do I want Gods stuff, or to hit a 6 iron 180 yards to stop on a dime, instead of God himself? We will never do as Abram did, we will never do what Christ did by humbling himself to the point of death on a cross (Phil 2:4ff), UNLESS WE ARE IN CHRIST JESUS. Unless we are united with this Christ and given new hearts that want to obey by the Holy Spirit, we will never walk in faith like this.

Conclusion: Lord, forgive us for making good things ultimate things. Show us through faith the reality of things unseen, namely, that Christ is indeed the better treasure.

Day 2: The BASIS for our Holy Passion – the Prodigal Father’s recklessly extravagant love – Luke 15:1-2, 11-32


Prodigal is defined as extravagant and reckless.

Books to buy: Wendell Berry – fiction; Roland Muellers Shame and Honor: – 3 World Views

The Big Idea: The basis of our passion is not the outward execution of religious duties, but the recklessly extravagant love of our father.

I. Remember the context of the parable

We see in verse 1 and 2 that Christ spoke this to the religious elite who had even memorized much of the OT; this is where we get the idea that there are TWO lost sons;

II. Get the world view right

Which one of the main 3 world views was the culture in which Jesus lived?

a. Guilt and innocence

b. Fear and power

c. Shame and honor

III. Find the surprises

If you read this through the lens of Shame and Honor as Christ would have spoken it to that culture, we find at least 5 key observations:

a. Son wishes the father were dead definition of sin (v12 get the inheritance before the father is dead)

b. The father lets his son go (v13) Romans 1:18ff therefore God gave them up v24, 26, 28 Paul describes a culture that sees evidence of a Creator but lives as though He is dead.

c. Grown men in this culture do not run it is shameful (v22): Deut 21:18ff stoning of rebellious sons; if the father does not run, the son is dead because he will be taken to the elders and stoned; so if you stone him, you stone the father too; that is the picture of the cross!

d. Son receives more than he had before he receives the cultural equivalent of a credit card signet ring (v22); the oldest would have received ½ to ¾ of the fathers estate and the younger the rest. But he get more than he had before.

e. The father talks with the older brother (v28); in this culture, the older brother should have chased down the younger brother and bid him to come home. He does not, instead, he stays home and says to his father why do you not love me on the basis for all that I am doing for you?

IV. Discover the third way of the gospel

a. Not religion (the older brother)

b. Not irreligion (the younger brother)

I am more sinful that I will ever understand, and I am more loved than I will ever comprehend. Tim Keller, Prodigal God

Conclusion: Both sons were lost. Do we want God for what we can get from Him or do we want God for wanting just him? He is our passion and because of His reckless love, he draws us to himself to satisfy us in Him, which brings him glory!

What is spiritual passion, and where do we get it?

“One Holy Passion”

2010 Theme for the Okoboji Lakes Bible and Missionary Conference

Weekday Morning Sessions

Pastor Kyle McClellan, Grace Presbyterian Church, Fremont, NE

Session 1 of 5: The BASIS for our Holy Passion – No Place, No People

The Big Idea: Our passion is based not upon what we have done, but in what God has done for us in giving us both PLACE and PEOPLE through adoption into His family.

I. We have no place we are truly homeless since (Gen 3:23)

a. Wanderers in the land of Nod, wandering (Gen 4:12, 16)

b. Theres a hope promise to Abraham (Gen 12:1-3, 13:17)

c. Headed home (Ex 6:1-4) but not true home (Heb 3-4)

d. The land (or home) is divided (1 Kings 12:16-20)

e. The land lost (2 Chron. 36:15-22)

f. Abrahams home is not his home (Heb 11:8-10 sojourner in the land of promise)

g. We are referred to as sojourners and exiles according to Peter 2:11

II. We have no people or true family

a. Cain killed Abel (Gen 4:8-9)

b. Jacob and Esau fought and were not in community (Gen 25-27)

c. Joseph sold out by his own blood brothers (Gen 37)

d. You shall be my people (Exodus 6:7)

e. A divided people (1 Kings 12:16-20)

f. The great transition (Ezekiel 37); God will give new hearts by His Spirit since we cannot obey; OT is one story after another of knowing what to do but not doing it;

g. Not my people (Hosea 1:8-11)

III. We have a term for those with no family or home: orphans that is what we are.

If left to ourselves, we will fight to remain orphans. Like in the musical Annie, the orphans all get cleaned up the first time we see a guest show up at the orphanage because they want to be chosen. They cant choose to be adopted.

IV. How does God remedy our lack of place and people?

a. Rev. 21 picture of true home

b. Gentiles are now His people Romans 9:22-26 he has given us His name even after we were once called you are not my people from Hosea, now we are His adopted son with full privileges.

c. We are his true sons because we have the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:12-17)

d. Both now and not yet: there is a not yet part of our adoption (Rom 8:23)

e. The fullness of time the consummation of Gods kairos plan (like the time at full term pregnancy) Gal 4:4-7

f. The fulfillment of Gods eternal purpose and will (Eph 1:3-6) sing this as worship as Paul wrote it not debate it;

Conclusion: The basis for our spiritual passion is not something that we do, nor something that mystically we seek or practice. In contrast, it is grounded on God making us His own people when we were yet sinners, hating him, orphans by nature, and homeless.