SENT: An Advent Series

December 18th, 2016, - Matthew 16:13-20, Jesus was sent to be the Messiah
We concluded our SENT series this week by looking at Jesus being sent to be the Messiah. Pastor John walked us through Matthew 16:13-20 and discussed how, we just like the disciples need to answer Jesus' question, Who do you say that I am? He explained that there are two parts to us being able to claim that Jesus is in fact the Messiah; the logical and the experiential. The logical process looks at what Jesus said about Himself (that He was and is in fact God) and determines whether or not He is 1. a liar, 2. a crazy person, 3. actually the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. The experiential happens after we have taken that step of faith and believed in Jesus. At that point, we experience Jesus and His presence and therefore find that we are more and more convinced of who He is, based on our supernatural interaction with Him. Both of these help us in answering Jesus' question, and yet some of us go through life and don't answer the question. Pastor John pleaded with us to answer the question.

Pastor John then explained Simon Peter's answer that Jesus was in fact, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, and the significance of it. He noted that in the original language of The Bible, Peter actually used the word "Christ" which is inline with the idea found in the word Messiah and means "the anointed one, the King of all Kings, the Savior of humanity." Pastor John spent a few minutes explaining what kind of king, Jesus is and exhorted us to follow Him in His style of servant-based, merciful and forgiving leadership. He also noted that Simon Peter's claim was so important, because it was the first time that anyone of Jesus' followers had stepped out and claimed that Jesus was in fact more than just a prophet, a good teacher, a man sent from God...but that He was in fact the Son of the Living God--God Himself!

Pastor John categorized Jesus' response to Simon Peter in three ways; Jesus told Simon Peter, 1. God showed you this (vs. 17), 2. On your statement of faith, I will build my church (vs. 18), 3. You and everyone else who confesses me, will have the keys to the Kingdom (vs. 19).

(vs. 17) Scripture clearly shows us that none of us can see God unless He reveals Himself to us and that is what He did for Simon Peter.

(vs. 18) Peter was not who Jesus was going to build His Church upon, but on the statement that "Jesus is the Christ"--that is the foundation for the growth of the Church. Not on a man, but on a testimony of faith in Jesus. Additionally, Pastor John discussed the "gates of hell" and explained that it is talking about the realm of the dead and how it will not overcome the Church.

(vs. 19) Again, the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven were not given to one man, but to all who made the statement of faith, that "Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God." Simon Peter was just the first one to do it and so he was the first to receive the keys to the Kingdom.

Pastor John asked us to consider what could be if we stepped out in faith and declared Jesus as Messiah? Who is Jesus to us?

He also asked us to consider what could be if we walked together as the Church, in the confidence of knowing that "the gates of hell will not overcome us?"

Lastly, Pastor John asked us to consider what could be if we actually used the keys to the Kingdom and helped to to introduce people to Jesus--binding and loosening evil so that they might claim Jesus as the Messiah and then enter through the gates of the Kingdom of Heaven?

His big idea was Jesus was sent to be the Messiah.

December 11th, 2016, - Isaiah 61:1-3, Jesus was sent to be a Messenger
This week's message looked at Isaiah 61:1-3, exploring a prophecy about Jesus; the ultimate Messenger and His message. Pastor John explained that the message of God--the Good News was spoken through Jesus' words and His life. The passage in Isaiah described four parts of Jesus' coming message, three gifts that He promised and one result for those who received the message, the Messenger and the gifts.

Isaiah's prophecy indicated that Christ's message brought healing, freedom, forgiveness and comfort. Pastor John made it clear that this Gospel message of Jesus coming to earth to seek and save the lost, is not something that is merely spoken--the message has power and therefore it is active. Healing is therefore applied, freedom is established, forgiveness is granted and comfort is experienced.

For those who would receive the message and the Messenger, God promises the following; a crown of beauty, oil of joy, and a garment of praise. Pastor John explained that for some of us, we may have received the message and the Messenger but we don't regularly enjoy God's gifts that He longs to bestow upon us.

Lastly the result for those who do receive the message, the Messenger and the gifts, is that they will be viewed by the world as oaks of righteousness (meaning that they are strong, enduring and upright). And this will bring about the complete fulfillment of their purpose--bringing glory to God and enjoying Him forever. Showing His splendor. 

Pastor John challenged us to receive the message and the Messenger so that we might be healed, be free, be forgiven and be comforted. He challenged us to received the gifts so that we might experience security in our identity--knowing that we are made beautiful, so that we might experience joy in our lives, and so that we might take part in a constant celebration over what Jesus has done for us.

His big idea was Jesus was sent to be the ultimate Messenger.

December 4th, 2016, - Colossians 1:13-14, Jesus was sent to be a Deliverer

This week we continued in our SENT series, looking at the fact that Jesus was sent to be our great Deliverer. Pastor John took us through Colossians 1:13-14 and made three points; 1. Jesus delivered us from the dominion of darkness, 2. Jesus delivered us into the Kingdom of the Son, 3. Jesus delivered us so that we would have redemption.

We spent a significant amount of time considering that the devil is the ruler of this world--the master of the dominion of darkness and that our battle is against him. If we are saved Christians, adopted into the family of God, then we are no longer the devil's rule and we have the ability to resist and fight back. However, if we are not saved, we will always be victims and always be trapped.

We also looked at what it looks like to be in the Kingdom of the Son. Pastor John explained that when we are under Jesus' reign, we look around and notice that what is dead and has been dead, comes to life. We also begin to realize that we now bear fruit that lasts forever.

Lastly, Pastor John discussed the power of redemption. He made the point that the Apostle Paul made--redemption involves being forgiven. Being forgiven means losing the weight and shame of sin so that we are able to walk in the light with freedom.

Pastor John explained that often times we as Christians can forget what Jesus has done and still feel like the darkness has authority over us. In those moments, we were encouraged to 1. Get into community, 2. Pray more, 3. Fight back by memorizing scripture.

His big idea was, Jesus was sent to be our deliverer. Have you been delivered from the dominion of darkness?

November 27th, 2016, - Luke 6:46-49, "Jesus was sent to be Lord"

Pastor John's message began our Christmas SENT series. We learned that even though we long to be our own boss, God made us so that we would be incomplete until Jesus became our Lord. When we give ourselves over to Jesus as our master and our God (the definition of Lord) we allow Him to build our lives, shape our attitudes, craft our responses, transform our desires and mold our identities. It is this life that is founded and built in Jesus that makes it so that when the storms of this world hit, we are able to make it.

His big idea was, Jesus was sent to be our Lord so that we would be able to make it both on earth and in heaven. Is Jesus your Lord? Is He the Lord of every part of your life?