Give Us Jesus
Matt 28; Mark 1:10; Acts 8:36-38; John 14:6; 1 Cor 6:11; Eph 1:13-14; Rom 6:1-5 • April 28, 2019 • Jon Thompson
Christian Baptism is a way of demonstrating your faith in Jesus Christ. It demonstrates a new identification with Jesus as your Saviour and the leader of your life. The symbol of water baptism is profound and beautiful. When a person is immersed in water, the action is an expression of the death to your former way of life, and a resurrection to your new life in Christ. Simply going through the ritual of baptism does not make you a Christian. Only one thing makes a person a Christian - faith in Jesus Christ. Water baptism is simply the “outward and visible sign” of God’s "inward and invisible" work. It is a step of obedience after trusting in Christ. Nor does the ritual of baptism produce instant spiritual maturity. Being baptized is a step of obedience, but only one step in a lifelong pursuit of obedience to God. Spiritual maturity is the gradual development of the character of Christ over time, the result of a seasoned walk with Christ. Baptism reminds us all that sin no longer own us! That since we share in Jesus resurrection power we can say no to sin. And it also publicly and personally reminds us that this great symbol says one day we all be physically risen from the dead!
Jesus! (Easter Sunday)
Matthew 27 • April 21, 2019 • Dave Adams
Heaven comes down into all we trust and hope for purpose, meaning identity, freedom and rest and breaks it, brushes it aside and opens up a new and living way. So just when is seems that nothing will change, the powerful win, it is the most powerless, those that did not have access to anything (money, power) see everything overcome by a greater more holy, more loving power. What Saviour do you want? The answer, your response, is seen in which way you turn, will you be like the women running to find Jesus? Or will you be like the soldiers running back to the old forms of power and trust, running back to the world of Pilate, Barabbas and Caiaphas. Which news will you carry, to whom will you run? The resurrection of Jesus proves the body matters, proves God is not done with you, proves our body will last forever. Your body has been stamped for resurrection, it is part of God’s plan and work to make all things right. We don't confess the immortality of the soul, we confess foreverness of the whole person. And so we cry out with all hope and confidence the old confession in the Apostles Creed...that yes we believe in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Amen!
Caiaphas (Good Friday)
Matthew 26 • April 19, 2019 • Dave Adams
This Easter at C4 we’ve been asking the questions “Whom do you trust and whom do you follow?” Some trust in wealth. Some chase beauty. Some follow power. Some want promotion. Some demand likes. This Easter we’re saying,“GIVE US JESUS!”. On the night that Jesus was betrayed Matthew records the events this way. Matt 26:57 “Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled.”So what do we know about Caiaphas? Why is he so important to make it into the Bible. There are a lot of things we know about Caiaphas and understanding each of them is going to help shed light on exactly what is going on in this so-called trial of Jesus that eventually leads to his crucifixion. Why was Caiaphas so bent on getting rid of Jesus? What was it about Jesus that rubbed Caiaphas the wrong way and drove him to such extremes to seek the death penalty, even through unusual and illegal methods?Remember Caiaphas is the High Priest and a Sadducee. He doesn’t like Jesus brand of spirituality. All this talk about heaven and the Kingdom of God. About love and forgiveness and prayer and fasting and giving - all with the right motives. I’m sure Caiaphas felt the threat to his religion when Jesus would address demons and cast them out of people. As a Sadducee Caiaphas didn’t even believe in the demonic, yet hundreds maybe more were telling of the freedom they’d found when Jesus spoke. There was a power & authority in Jesus that threatened everything Caiaphas believed, trusted in and stood for. Here’s what Caiaphas helps us see on Good Friday 2019. It was true that night before Jesus went to the cross and it's true in this room right now. Jesus plus anything leaves you with nothing - that’s called religion. But Jesus plus nothing gives you everything - a faith based relationship. Caiaphas has made his choice. So what do we do when Jesus challenges us like he did Caiaphas? Do we want Jesus or Caiaphas? What will we do if Jesus threatens everything we hold valuable. Is he worth more than our power, our connections, our influence, our position, our good looks, our wealth, etc. Can you honestly say today “Give me Jesus?”
Barabbas (Palm Sunday)
Mark 14:60-64; Matthew 27; Luke 23 • April 14, 2019 • Jon Thompson
Barabbas, a life of rebellion, a life of violence, a life of fighting the system, using violence to overcome violence. My life choices are justified because I am not as bad as the one I am fighting. You can become so consumed by a just cause, that you become eat you hate or the cause become where you think you find purpose, meaning, life and identity. If you got Pilate, Caiaphas and Barabbas in a room they would say I am not those others, yet they all trying getting identity and purpose, all trying to deal the ups and downs of life by bringing all that they can. They all are motivated by fear, self-sufficiency, intimidation and control to get purpose, meaning and peace. Yet Jesus never used any of these. And here is powerful moment in the story Jesus literally takes Barabbas' cross, he choose to take his place and Barabbas goes free, Jesus does not. Barabbas is unbound, Jesus remains bound, one Jesus dies so the other Jesus goes free. And why would we every want to put our hope in Jesus and not anyone or anything else? Oh because he can give us what we all really want. Jesus promises rest for the deepest part of us, but He requires us to take on His yoke. He offers to exchange the yoke we are already wearing for His yoke. If we won’t accept His offer, we will remain yoked to sin, lost dreams, broken relationships, dead religion, or lies. The lie that we are independent is just that, a lie. We always serve somebody or something. The choice for us isn’t whether to live unyoked or yoked but to choose the right yoke to wear. As R. T. France noted, “We should remember that the ‘rest’ Jesus offers is not relaxation of the demands of right… It is not the removal of any yoke but a new and ‘kind’ yoke which makes the burden ‘light’. A ‘yoke’ implies obedience, indeed often slavery! What makes the difference is what sort of master one is serving. So the beneficial effect of Jesus’ yoke derives from the character of the one who offers it.” Jesus promises purpose, meaning and peace in an ongoing permanent way.