One of the most well-researched human motives is our need to belong. God hard-wired us to form and maintain positive, stable interpersonal relationships. When a sense of belonging is threatened, it can lead to destructive emotions, such as anxiety, depression, and jealousy, which only further isolate a person from others. As God’s elect exiles in a world to which we no longer belong, we are not exempt from being enslaved by these destructive emotions that erode our individual lives as well as the unity and fellowship of a church family. In his first epistle, the apostle Peter reveals how we can enjoy a deep sense of belonging even as resident aliens in a society where we are marginalized and viewed with contempt. As God’s redeemed people, we have implanted within us a capacity to grow in a love that enables us to not only survive but to thrive as spiritual exiles. Please prepare by reading 1 Peter 1:17-2:3.
Life In Exile
January 10, 2021 • Pastor Ben Cross
Life In Exile • January 17, 2021 • Pastor Ben Cross
From the beginning, God wanted all of humanity to be holy priests serving him on earth. Adam and Eve were commissioned to care for and keep the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15), terms used later of the holy work of priests at the temple. After humanity fell in sin, God chose Israel to be a nation of priests (Exodus 19:5-6), but they refused. So, the sacred privilege was bestowed on a single tribe within Israel—Levi. Through Jesus Christ, God’s original plan for the priesthood of all believers is being realized in the Church (1 Peter 2:9). In this sermon, we will explore the honor and privileges we bear as holy priests in God’s kingdom and how the local church should be the most safe, healthy, and personally esteeming community on earth. To prepare, please read 1 Peter 2:1-10.
Life In Exile • January 3, 2021 • Pastor Dan Collins
Have you ever stopped to think about how many words we hear, read and share during any given day? And how each day there seems to be more words swirling around us than the day before? With smartphones, media and constant connectivity, our daily lives are filled with more and more information; however, increased information doesn't always mean increased wisdom. The complexity of figuring out what and who to listen to can be confusing. The challenge of living out the words we believe in, can make the world we live in feel overwhelming. God knows life can be complex and confusing so He gives a solution, a way to simplify the complexity through His words. As we reset in this new year, let's reset our focus on God's words as we return to the book of 1 Peter. Peter reminds us that the words we live in determine the life and love we live out. So let's choose our words wisely. You can read 1 Peter 1:17-25 as we get ready for this sermon.
Life In Exile • November 29, 2020 • Pastor Ben Cross
What motivates you to live the Christian life? To avoid guilt or shame? A creature of habit? To honor tradition? To keep your wife or mother happy? (I know; that’s sexist, but I’m going with the odds, here.) God understands that living as spiritual exiles in this world is a tough assignment. So, he makes a point of emphasizing what should motivate us to stay the course and follow Jesus. In fact, in the Bible, God never commands us with the “what” of obedience without, first, giving us the “why” of obedience, and in a single phrase, the why is his grace in the Gospel—both his past grace and future grace. In this sermon, we will see the power of God’s past grace in wooing and winning our hearts to love him above all else. We will begin with one of the great love stories of all time—the troubled marriage of the prophet Hosea. Hosea’s story illustrates and serves as a touching backdrop to the words of gospel grace in 1 Peter 1:17-21. In addition to these verses, read Hosea 1:1-3:3 to prepare.