What’s All the Fuss? (Or, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Easter)

Reverend Kyle McClellan, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church

The Big Idea: God’s plan of defeating sin and death finds its’ fulfillment in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, his Son. It is this truth that we must receive, stand firm in and ultimately find our salvation.

Point One: What happened? (Acts 2:22-24, 32).

There were all sorts of languages in Jerusalem in acts 2, written about the time period of forty days after Christ was killed. What was odd was all of a sudden simple fisherman / disciples of Christ instantly learned another language so that they could explain what all the fuss was about Jesus in people’s own tounge. He was a healer but that was not an end in and of itself.

So what did they say in this new found tounge to explain what Jesus did?

Peter reads from the old testament. Jesus claimed to be God, since only God can do the things that Jesus did in their midst, the midst of this mob that Peter is now talking to. But this was Gods idea says v23.

What is Easter is about in one sentence? Verse 24 God raised up Jesus back to life again. He appeared to the 12 and also the 500 as eyewitnesses.

Point Two: What does it mean? (Genesis 3:15; Acts 2:36)

What was Gods definite plan in v23? This did not surprise God.
Where did this plan come from? We see it as early as Gen 3:14The Lord God said to the serpent, / “Because you have done this, / cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; / on your belly you shall go, / and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. / 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, / and between your offspring and her offspring; / he shall bruise your head, / and you shall bruise his heel.”

What does Paul say the bruising of the head means? 1 cor 15:50
It means that when we are at a funeral we do not weep as those who have no hope. Death is not the final word. Paul writes: 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Point Three: How should we respond? (1 Corinthians 15:1-2).

Heaven is not for those who are pretty good, those better than others with less sin. The heart of religion is if I do enough good stuff to outweigh the bad stuff then God owes me heaven. However, that is not what the gospel is. Paul reminds us in this passage that salvation is not earned but it is a gift.

The gospel is not something you receive once, but something that you are standing in now, and will stand in later. We need to reach the gospel to ourselves daily. 1 Corinthians 15:1Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

‘If’ is a scary word in this passage. That means that church just on Easter and Christmas and various times is not the plan that God has. It is a daily walk to be lived in and hold fast to. We can’t lose our salvation but it is possible to deceive ourself to think we are saved but we are not.

Are we trusting in our own works or own confession? Or are we trusting in this definite plan of God, and the work of his son!

The Sermon Passages: Acts 2:22-24, 32, 36 Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—23this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

32This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.

36Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

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Christ and the city – Tim Keller. Gospel Coalition conference 2011

How do you bring together in a symbiotic relationship, those who are reaching the city?

1. Why Do we need to reach cities?
A. The Bible values the city. As you read scripture, cities become more important. Paul’s missionary strategy. Cities are human nature writ large.
B. How human life is largely lived in this world. 100 top cities produce 30% of production and almost a hundred percent of innovation.
C. Cities attract the young and the poor, all of whom we are to reach. Unreached people groups come there where in their homeland they would not welcome you.
D. Cities are growing so fast. Close to fifty percent now of people live in cities where a number of years ago it was only five percent.

II. What we need to know to reach cities?
A. Biblical theology of the city. Harvey Conn has written on it. Keller’s next book will address it.
B. Why and how cities change fast. Edward Glazer’s book – the triumph of the city – not a Christian book but a great study on how a city reinvents its self. In 1950’s, suburbia started to get large. Now we have some reverse commuters. The best jobs and life are not separated going forward. Cities change because the most ambitious and risk taking people are there, those with vision, living in proximity with others like them. Cities are not going away. C. What are the kinds of churches that are effective in the city?
They have to fit the environment. Different not in the confessions and the basics but they are distinct. Keller’s top 6 ways to fit well:
1. Aware of cultural differences: what is the way to schedule time, handle grief, arrive at group concensous, etc. Within that area or culture. White people often dont see that they too have a culture. Humbly point out the observed differences in cultures and recognize it.
2. Awareness of neighborhood and justice. Not just a city theme park with restaurants and comedy clubs, etc. Lots of problems with real people and real neighbors in real neighborhoods.
3. Help people integrate their faith into their work. Not average commuters. People live in their jobs often and must see the gospel in all of life
4. Evangelism is dynamic. You have to own the complexities. Own how the gospel differently hits Muslims vs Jews. Not one approach works into all cultures the same. 5. Culture. Dont ignore differences. Work to understand them. 6. More sensitive to artists and artistry

III. How we reach cities: the ecosystem, mutually Relying on one another
To reach a city you need more than just one church or group, you need a movement.

A movement consists of three concentric circles:
1. Gospel and doctine are the same even though different denominations.
2. Several church planting movements that represent different denominations. One church for every five hundred residents, the number in the body of Christ is about forty percent. It is only one percent if it is one church for every ten thousand people. Not all people want to be Presbyterian, for instance. We all have something wrong and can’t always see it and God seems to bless those who work around the gospel. Parachurch is good but churches are to do the main sending and giving, etc.
3. Parachurch is leaned on for real help. Prayer movement. Specialist evangelist – i.e. ministries for Hindus, or age based, youth and campus ministries, etc. Leadership pipeline for the city from these youth parachurch. The aim is to do justice and mercy to such a degree that the city would have to raise taxes if they ever were to leave. Faith and work initiatives like vocational groups and how to think biblically in your field.

Must be leaders that have a compassion for each other and not have turf wars.

Gospel tipping point: When it gathers momentum, it takes off on its own more like spontaneous combustion. No bishop or head people or person needed.

City tipping point: how many churches do you need to tip the city for change, humanly speaking? When you have fifteen percent or so Christian where enough people know Christians and they really respect them because they are real and authentic and full of the humbling impact of the gospel.

It is finished – John 19:38 – Pastor Simon Mwaura, pastor GGFAN churches, Kenya

The big idea: There is a lot behind Jesus saying that “he thirsts” on the cross.

Peter was told by Christ that he needed to stand aside and that he was gong to drink the cup from God.
He is saying that he Is ready to drink of the cup of suffering and ultimate rejection from his father.

The great irony here is that One who gave the woman at the well water to thirst no more became thirsty. He was taking in him the cosmic thirst of all emptiness that our sin brings us so that we could thirst no more!

Pastor Simon Mwaura, pastor GGFAN churches, Kenya

What is the Masai Creed all about?

Confession of Faith (The Masai Creed)
We believe in the one High God,
(One is key because many Africans are animists, worshipping many things and gods)

who out of love created the beautiful world and everything good in it. He created Man and wanted Man to be happy in the world.
(Kikuyu creation story: 9 girls given to the first man and woman to give the nine tribes of the Kikuyus. Creation was not out of love but on accident. Gods are there for punishment in storms and disaster and wars.)

God loves the world and every nation and tribe on the Earth.
(tribes are natural enemies of each other and therefore how could God love another tribe?)

We have known this High God in darkness, and now we know Him in the light.
(Africans have a vague idea of a supreme God but not fully sure of how or who)

God promised in the book of His word, the Bible, that He would save the world and all the nations and tribes. (there is one book even though there are many other books out there)

We believe that God made good His promise by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, a man in the flesh, a Jew by tribe, born poor in a little village, who left His home and was always on safari doing good, curing people by the power of God, teaching about God and man, showing the meaning of religion is love. He was rejected by his people, tortured and nailed hands and feet to a cross, and died. He lay buried in the grave, but the hyenas did not touch him,
(burial after death was not common, even as recent as 10 years ago for Samburu and Masai, so the hyenas would eat the dead. But because Jesus was not dead but rose again, the hyenas could not eat him.)

and on the third day, He rose from the grave. He ascended to the skies. He is the Lord.

We believe that all our sins are forgiven through Him. All who have faith in Him must be sorry for their sins, be baptized in the Holy Spirit of God, live the rules of love and share the bread together in love, to announce the Good News to others until Jesus comes again. We are waiting for Him. He is alive. He lives. This we believe. Amen.

Zephaniah – Gods great love for his own

Pastor Mike Bullmore

The big idea: The holy God brings judgment but is a salvation for His own

1. There appears to be no hope. Vs 1:17
Lost and without hope in this world. We are under Gods just judgment of wrath to come.

2. There is an element or glimmer of hope. Vs 2:3
the gospel is: the one from whom we should be destroyed in his just wrath is the one who saves all who turn to him in repentance. Vs 3:12 God is keeping a remnant humble

3. This Hope is manifest in Jesus Christ. God saves.
Zephaniah 3:
15 The LORD has taken away the judgments against you; he has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil.
16 On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak.
17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

This is the gospel!

Spurgeon quote that we are blessed when God rescues and loves us but not as much as he is! His heart is bigger!

Remembering rightly redeems rejoicing” – Imperatives lead us to Christ

Ecclesiastes 11 – Matt Chandler

The Big idea: “Remembering rightly redeems rejoicing” – Imperatives lead us to Christ

1. Rejoice. Vs 11:9
We rejoice in creation and the shallow things. not in Christ. Creation is to point us to Christ’s glory. We do not have a problem in rejoicing but in what we rejoice.

2. Remember your creator vs 8:11
Is there a way of remembering that fixes the way we brokenly rejoice? What to remember: Job 38. Where were you, Job, when I (God) created the earth. Psalm 147:4. God names the stars. God is beyond us.
Remember his commands are for our good; that we are sinful.

“Remembering rightly redeems rejoicing”

1 Corinthians 11:26 don’t forget what Jesus told you not to forget – namely that the cross is central and integral to ALL of life.

3. In what are we to rejoice?
11:9. Youthful passion is redeemed. Being young is not what we rejoice in because it can be gone in seconds. But that while young he shows us that rejoicing in him is paramount and causing you to see and use your youthful strength from him to rejoice and enjoy Christ.

A. Regenerated hearts: Redemption by Christ. Just like a dad who does not ball out their kids for falling when they are first learning how to walk – no, grace says he still celebrates your steps in Christ. The litmus test on how well we walk in and embrace the gospel daily is what do we do when we fail and fall? If we run from him and try to get ourself right first then we are the older brother.

B. A constant meditation and thinking on the redemption of Christ. Memories that lead us to shame need the gospel applied. Good thing that old Matt is dead because Jesus killed it. Thats how we walk in the power of the gospel. Do not assume the gospel or all they will hear is the moralism. But when the holy spirit convicts its sweet. Have you just conformed to making much of God so that you are made much of or are you really transformed.

C. Walk by the spirit and not by the flesh. Walk in the deep end of God. Unshaken because we are not rejoicing in all the things that can be taken away but in the One who can’t.