Turn to Immanuel

turn to Immanuel

“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” Brennan Manning

Deism

Bob Johnson said, “God gave us reason, not religion”, this has become a popular quote among proponents of Deism 

Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers (2005) by sociologists Christians Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton introduced the term Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. 

Moralistic

God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions

Good people go to heaven when they die.


Therapeutic

The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about ones self.

Deism

A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.

God does not need to be particularly involved in one's life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.

2 Chronicles 20 (I’m going to read the whole thing at the beginning and highlight certain verse later.)

Where do you turn when you alarmed, afraid, anxious, angry, ashamed?

“Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.” 2 Chronicle 20:3 

An Active Community

“And Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court,” 2 Chronicles 2:4-5

“Meanwhile all Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.” 2 Chronicles 20:13 

Jehoshaphat follow Davids example

  • David’s Active community:

  • Levites 1 Chronicles 23

  • Priests 1 Chronicles 24

  • Musicians 1 Chronicles 25

  • Gatekeepers 1 Chronicles 26a

  • Treasurers and Administrators 1 Chronicles 26b

  • Military Commanders 1 Chronicles 27a

  • Tribal Leader 1 Chronicles 27b

  • Gift Givers 1 Chronicles 29

  • 1 Chronicles 28 passes it on to Solomon

(These can just be bullet pointed like this as a reference, the scripture doesn’t need be written out)

An Immanent and Active God

Jehoshaphat’s prayer 2 Chronicles 20:6-12

Trusting the Lord’s Power

2 Chronicles 20:15-19

Ephesians 6:10-20

Trusting the Lords Power

An Immanent and Active God

Ephesians 2:11-18

An Active Community

Where are you going to turn when you are alarmed?

Second City Church - Turn To Immanuel - Guest Speaker Daniel Henry 2019

Resurrection

Resurrection

People have often missed the point of Easter:

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For the Christian, the skeptic and the prodigal looking to come home, we hope to answer these questions:

Why does the empty tomb matter?

How can I historically have confidence that there was an empty tomb?

What does the empty tomb mean about Christ?

What does the empty tomb mean for me?

Why does the empty tomb matter?

*The resurrection matters because Jesus came to reconcile us to God, redeeming our sin scorched and broken lives.

Putting God: F.I.R.S.T. takes:

Focus

Identity

Reverence

Suffering 

Trust

1 Peter 5:1-14 
So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight,  not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you;  not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 6Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it. She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings, and so does Mark, my son. Greet one another with the kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:17-20 
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.


How can I historically have confidence that there was an empty tomb?

tomb

Mark 15:42-47 
And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.

Mark 16:1-8 
When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back— it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Taken from crossexamined.org article written on the evidence for the empty tomb (https://crossexamined.org/the-evidence-for-jesus-resurrection-part-4-fact-2-the-empty-tomb/):

  1. The Jerusalem Factor

  2. All Four Gospels Feature Women As Witnesses To The Empty Tomb 

  3. The Enemies Of Christianity Presupposed The Vacancy Of The Tomb When They Said That The Disciples Stole The Body

  4. The Empty Tomb Is Multiply Attested

  5. Mark’s Account Is Simple And Lacks Signs Of Embellishment

  6. Multiple Literary Forms 

  7. The Reason The Women Went To The Tomb – Historical Fit/Coherence

  8. Archeological Evidence Presents An Edict That Makes The Most Sense In Light Of Jesus’ Tomb Being Empty 

  9. Jesus’ Tomb Was Never Venerated As A Shrine 

“In Palestine during the days of Jesus, at least fifty tombs of prophets or other holy persons served as sites of religious worship and veneration. However, there is no good evidence that such a practice was ever associated with Jesus’ tomb. Since this was customary, and since Jesus was a fitting object of veneration, why were such religious activities not conducted at his tomb? The most reasonable answer must be that Jesus’ body was not in his tomb, and thus the tomb was not regarded as an appropriate site for such veneration. . . . It seems, then, the lack of veneration at the tomb of Jesus is powerful evidence that the tomb was empty.”  - Philosopher and Apologist J.P. Moreland 

I was thinking of the resurrection in light of the recent Mueller reports investigating alleged collusion with the president and Russia during our latest presidential elections.  It brought me naturally to an even earlier time of confirmed scandal in our country with Richard Nixon and Watergate.  One of the men involved was a man named Charles Colson, who after his conviction and imprisonment, became a Christian.  Here is what he had to say about the resurrection. 

“I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren't true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn't keep a lie for three weeks. You're telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.”

Charles Colson

What does the empty tomb mean about Christ?

John 1:1-5, 14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.


Romans 1:1-6 
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David  according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,


We can be hesitate and prolong responding to Jesus fully because we are afraid of what acknowledging his reality in our lives would mean. 


What does the empty tomb mean for me?

For the Christian:

God can resurrect things that seem dead when we’re attempting to follow him faithfully. 

For the skeptic:

It means there’s a judgment to come when I will give an account of my life to a holy, righteous God.  It means my sin has earned death and condemnation for me but that Jesus paid a substitutionary price for me on the cross.  It means because Jesus was innocent and sinsless, death couldn’t hold him down.  It means there is life after the grave and Jesus calls me to an eternal peace in him.  It means that he offers me forgiveness that covers over all of my wrongs as I repent of my sin and put my trust in Him.  It means that Jesus calls me to healing can begin now and power to begin a new life today because of his resurrection from the dead.  

For the prodigal:

Jesus has came to deliver me and set my life back on course.  It means that he can restore broken lives, resurrect dead relationships and provide a purpose and a future to those who were once hopeless. It means the devil is defeated and you have one who can tame the roaring lion who looks to tear to your family, your finances, your mental health, your body and your soul apart.  It means that though up to this point so many things seemed to have fallen apart, there is a God who gives life to the dead because he is the resurrection and the life!!


John 11:25-26
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”


In conclusion: 

The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ best explains the empty tomb which was known, could be located, was well guarded by Roman soldiers yet at the end of the day, was missing its most important contents.  

The empty tomb also best explains God’s intention for your life - to leave the death, sin, endless life altering mistakes and bitterness behind at the tomb.  It is to choose Christ and allow him to forgive you, heal you and set you on a new course because of the price he paid for your sins on the cross.  It is to allow him within his church to take off the grave clothes (John 11 + 12) and allow you to live a resurrected and redeemed life through your faith in the Son of God.  Let him be your Lord and Savior today and come into his resurrection life!


2 Corinthians 5:14-15 
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

Second City Church - Resurrection - Pastor Rollan Fisher 2019

The Inside Job - Part 4

the inside job

Putting God: F.I.R.S.T. takes:

Focus

Identity

Reverence

Suffering

T

1 Peter 4:1-19 
Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh,  arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does. The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

If you are unwilling to suffer, then ultimately you’ll be unwilling to do what’s right.  Obedience to God (many times) takes suffering.  Doing what’s right often (not always) involves pain.  

Wowza. Yes, that stings. 

I’m going to take you through a spiritual work-out routine with me.

Three Scriptures I’ve had to come to embrace  (I consider it an upper-body day to guard my heart, tongue and mind):

Proverbs 10:12
Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.

Proverbs 17:9
Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends

1 Peter 4:7-8
The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

This is the runway that we give people as we’re working with them, believing for them to come to repentance, into the grace of God and mature in him. It requires patience, the fruit of the Holy Spirit that literally means LONG-SUFFERING.   

No pain, no gain in the gym.  (My recumbent bike). So it is in relationships (marriages, family, friendships and work relationships included), godliness, health, finances and the pursuit of the high call of God in Christ Jesus.  

Luke 9:23-27 

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”

Come to Christ at the cross to find grace, help, forgiveness and healing in the midst of the salvation that he provides.  

Second City Church - The Inside Job - Pastor Rollan Fisher 2019

Guest Speaker - Matt Rasch

guets speaker charles kiefer

Sleeping in the Storm

Testimonies

• Marseille: Salvations of François and Virginie, Easter Outreach coming up, pray

• Paris: great core group forming, last fall had 2 outreaches where 5 students made

a commitment to follow Christ. That was with 23 evangelists from all over the

world descending on Paris for a solid week.

- Marine’s testimony: law school, don’t believe in God. Sister called her, said

you’re going to meet some christians and you need to listen to them.

• Ministry School of Europe

• Answering the call to be a disciple of Jesus is exciting and life transforming, but it

doesn’t stop there. There’s more! There’s following Him daily. Learning to hear

God’s voice and be led of His Spirit is truly walking the way Jesus walked. Its not

easy, that’s why he mentored or taught 12 disciples.

- Jesus taught and demonstrated walking with God in a way we can all learn from.

- On of my favorite stories of where we can learn to walk with God is found in

Luke 8:22-25

Passage

Luke 8:22-25
“Now on one of those days Jesus and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they launched out. But as they were sailing along He fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended on the lake, and they began to be swamped and to be in danger. They came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm. And He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?”

Breakdown

1. You can trust Jesus’ leading no matter what it looks like

  • • We walk by faith and not by sight. 2 Cor. 5:7

  • • Jesus said, “Let’s go to the other side.” In Matthew, it says “Jesus gave orders to

  • depart to the other side”

    • We see that Jesus knows where He is going and they are clearly following His lead like so many other times.

    • Normally when Jesus leads, things get exciting. For example: healings, miracles,

  • demons cast out, supernatural financial provision, amazing teaching and

  • revelation, rebuking the religious, etc.

    • However, they don’t normally get life-threatening! This time is very different!

    • * NOTE: Sea of Galilee Storms at bottom

  • Sea of Galilee background

    • 1992 - 10 foot waves recorded in Sea of Galilee.

    • Cause: Colder winds coming down off the Golan heights in East at 2500

  • feet above sea level falling onto the warmer air on the lake at 700 feet below

  • seas level.

    • Storms can come out of nowhere and bring great devastation quickly, even

  • in modern times.

    • Today, most boats can handle 1 foot waves for every 10 feet of boat.

    • These fishing boats of Galilee were on average about 27 foot long.

  • Therefore, they could handle safely 3 foot waves. Most professional

  • fishermen today with power boats would not go out in 6-8 foot waves, and

  • certainly not bigger.

    • We don’t know how big the waves were in this story, but you could imagine

  • they were big enough to put the fear of God in those men!

    • You can be assured that wherever Jesus leads you, He intends it to all work out

  • just fine. You can trust in His commands and leadings. He is good and will protect you.

    • The safest place to be is in His will.

    • If you are not in His will, you are living in His mercy, and no telling how long you can test God and receive His mercies(which are new every morning) before all hell breaks out.

    • In fact, today you may be feeling like things are breaking down around you, just keep not working out. I always say that one big disappointment can be by coincidence or hazard, but 2 or more big disappointments close together need to be examined and prayed about. Typically stiff comes out because it was in there and needed to.

  • Partial obedience to God is the same as disobedience.

  • If God has led you somewhere or made you know what you need to do, and

    you are not doing it, you need to seriously make a change of course. If its a

    question of timing, then you need to make sure you got the timing right. You

    could be living outside His will, and therefore outside His protection.

2. Jesus was sleeping

  • Here he releases his command and will, and the disciples start walking it out.

  • Then, things turn south.

  • We can just see the disciples stressing, starting to get afraid, seeing the water

    coming into this boat that’s being tossed to and fro, making everyone sick at the

    stomach. They could even be throwing up, which would be totally normal.

  • In a situation like this, you see your master sleeping, and probably they argued

    about whether to wake him up, but that argument didn’t last long as they began

    to sink.

  • Jesus somehow is sleeping through it all, but how?

  • One can’t ignore 6-8 foot waves in a boat that small

  • Example: 5 of us coming back from deep-sea adventure

  • How?

Key #1

  • Jesus walked with His heavenly Father in deep intimacy.

    • He knew He had to go to the cross and die for the sins of humanity.

    • Therefore, what He heard and saw when He was in prayer with God, He knew was more real and must be accomplished, therefore He was at peace.

  • Jesus’ peace came through His intimate relationship with the Father

  • So will yours and mine

  • Verses:

  • Isaiah 9:6-7

    For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.

  • Phil. 4:6-7

    “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Key #2

  • Jesus was secure

  • Jesus knew His authority and power that was in Him because He knew who He

    was and whose He was.

  • Jesus was not like most of us, a walking insecurity bomb looking for a place to

    blow up and make a scene.

  • He was so full of acceptance from the Father that He exuded confidence and joy.

  • No peace, no confidence and no joy.

    • Spending quality time with the Father is an exercise in being filled up with God’s acceptance of you no matter what you’ve done or haven’t done.

  • God loves you the same the day you were born as the day you were at your worst.

  • He loves you as much the day before you gave your life to Him as the day after

    you decided to walk with Him.

  • Only God’s love will fill the huge insecurity gaps we all have. There’s not enough praise from man, promotions at work, companies we can start, that will fill the insecurity vacuum in each of our hearts.

  • Some of us need to stop the running around looking for a person to love us and to fill us up and heal us, and run to God the Father and His huge embrace!

  • Because Jesus knew who He was, He knew how to manage the storms in His life.

  • When we know truly who we are, we will also know that any storm that comes is an opportunity to demonstrate who we are as God’s children and bring order out of chaos.

Conclusion

2 Keys to sleeping in storms:

1. Walk in intimacy with Father God

1. Word, prayer, authentic relationships

2. Be secure:

1. Receive the love of Father God to overflowing everyday

Prayer

  • Who here has never made that decision to become a follower of Christ Jesus? Would you do that with me today?

  • Who needs to encounter the love of God at a deeper place?

  • Who needs to walk in full obedience to things you know you should be in?

  • Who needs courage to take a big step forward in God to re-order your priorities to truly follow Jesus daily?

  • Who needs prayer to learn how to sleep in the storm?

Second City Church: Guest Speaker - Matt Rasch 2019

The Inside Job - Part 3

the inside job

Putting God: F.I.R.S.T. takes:

Focus

Identity

Reverence

S

T

Background

The Apostle Peter is writing from Rome (which he calls Babylon) in chapter 5.  Peter is writing to gentile and most likely Jewish believers scattered throughout the Roman provinces to the east in Asia Minor which is now modern day Turkey.  He is writing them to encourage them to endure unjust suffering because Christ was also and firstly rejected by humans and endured suffering from sinners. Upon suffering he inherited the blessing of life, setting us an example that by faith in Him we can also endure suffering and rejection (which social rejection is what most of us feel now) with an expectation of the blessing of life to come.  In the previous chapter, chapter 2, Peter reminds those suffering of the God given IDENTITY that Christ is an immovable cornerstone that God Himself has placed, and that we believers and followers of Christ have an IDENTITY of a holy priesthood. By faith in Christ as the one and only Lord and Savior, we are being built into a spiritual house of worship of which he is the cornerstone.  In this spiritual house (or temple) we are expected to bring spiritual sacrifices to walk out our new IDENTITY as a holy priesthood.  Peter then says that because of this new IDENTITY of being a chosen royal priesthood and having received mercy though they formally were objects of God’s wrath,

“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” 2:12

This is where Peter begins to tell the believers what it looks like to live such good lives (making spiritual sacrifices) that will one day glorify God when Jesus returns.  The Holy Spirit through Peter says we will live these lives, make spiritual sacrifices, out of REVERENCE for God, submit yourselves.  Peter addresses a few specific groups of people but starts with all people under the Roman government. Then picks up with the most vulnerable  of the society working his way up to the least vulnerable. The weakest to the most powerful. He starts with slaves, then wives, husbands, and finally all people.  He also knows that Christ likeness starts in the home at a family level where our inner motives and most played out.

Main Scripture

1 Peter 3

3 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and REVERENCE of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For,

“Whoever would love life

   and see good days

must keep their tongue from evil

   and their lips from deceitful speech.

11 They must turn from evil and do good;

   they must seek peace and pursue it.

12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous

   and his ears are attentive to their prayer,

but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”[a]

13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats[b]; do not be frightened.”[c] 15 But in your hearts REVERE Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. 19 After being made alive,[d] he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— 20 to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God.[e] It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

Message Summary

When we have a genuine inner REVERENCE of Christ we will genuinely love, respect and honor those whom Christ died for as our spiritual sacrifices and worship in Spirit and Truth.  This inner REVERENCE will produce in us a gentle and quiet spirit because we have been delivered from fear of man.

What is REVERENCE?

Reverence is honor and respect that is deeply felt and outwardly demonstrated.  ‘Reverence’ and ‘revere’ are closely tied together with fear, awe, honor, and respect.  In the Bible when people encountered God their reverence drove them to the groundDo you fear God or simply respect God?  Respect alone will not drive you to sacrifice for God, but may influence you to make better decisions when convenient.   

Reverence toward our amazing God and Saviour starts in the heart as a work of the Holy Spirit but if it’s genuine it will not stay there.  We will begin to love ourselves the way Christ has loved us, by demonstrating the fruit of the spirit toward ourselves (Love your neighbor as YOURSELF).  It will work its way out through love, respect, submission and honor to our spouses and family second, and then our community.  

How do we know if we have genuine REVERENCE for Christ and aren’t just giving lip or hand service?

  1. Wives - If your husband isn’t obeying the Word, are you loving them by having pure and respectful conduct, putting on the inner beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which God sees and says is very precious in his sight?  Essentially, living with REVERENCE of God even when they aren’t?

  2. Are you doing ‘good’ despite threats or is the fear of man quenching your spirit?

  3. Husbands- are you living with your wives in an understanding way, showing her honor as God’s heir with her in the gift of life?  Do you feel like your prayers are being hindered?

  4. Do you have unit of mind with other believers?

  5. Do you have sympathy?

  6. Do you have brotherly love?

  7. Do you have a tender heart?

  8. Do you have a humble mind?

  9. Do you bless those who do evil to, revile, or despise you?

  10. Do you keep your tongue from evil?

  11. Do you lie?

  12. Have you turned away from evil and are doing good?

  13. Are you seeking and pursuing peace?

  14. Are you honoring Christ the Lord as holy?

  15. Are you always ready to give a defence for your faith...with gentleness and respect?

  16. Are you willing to suffer for doing good knowing that Christ did this for you while you were still a sinner?

    1. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.

Invitation to Water Baptism next week on April 7th

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” - John 15:5

The only way to truly have REVERENCE for God in your heart is to accept His son Jesus Christ by repentance of sins and placing your faith in Christ alone for your righteousness.   Noah and the other 7 who were saved from the destroying floods showed their heart’s inner REVERENCE, repentance and trust in the LORD by obeying God’s good news and getting into the ark to be saved.  Today, we show our reverence of and trust in Christ by being clothed with Christ going down in the water of baptism as they went into the flood waters. They emerged into a new earth cleansed of sin and we emerge into a new life with Christ and cleansed conscience, being still in the world but not of the world any longer.

Supporting Scriptures

  • Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ- Eph 5:21

  • If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,

    Lord, who could stand?

But with you there is forgiveness,

   so that we can, with reverence, serve you. - Psalm 130:4

Then King Darius wrote to all the nations and peoples of every language in all the earth:

“May you prosper greatly!

“I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.

“For he is the living God

and he endures forever;

his kingdom will not be destroyed,

his dominion will never end.

He rescues and he saves;

he performs signs and wonders

in the heavens and on the earth.

He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” - Daniel 6:25-27

  • “My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. - Malachi 2:5

  • 24 The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence.26 But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.” - Acts 10:24-26

  • Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. - 2 Cor 7:1-3

  • 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.” - Hebrews 12:28-29

Second City Church - The Inside Job - Pastor Cole Parleir 2019

The Inside Job - Part 2

the inside job

Putting God: F.I.R.S.T. takes:

Focus

Identity

R

S

T

1 Peter 2:1-25
So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

We will be judged by the Word of God. Therefore we must know it to know that for which we’ll be held responsible. 

John 12:47-50
47 If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”

Mentions of Christ’s Identity:

  1. A living stone

  2. Rejected by men

  3. Chosen and precious in the sight of God 

  4. The cornerstone

  5. The one who as people believe in him, will not be put to shame. 

  6. A stone of stumbling and rock of offense

  7. Our example 

  8. Committed no sin

  9. One without deceit in his mouth 

  10. Suffering Servant 

  11. The one who did not return reviling with reviling 

  12. Bearer of our Sins that we might die to sin and live to righteousness

  13. Our Healer by his wounds 

  14. Shepherd and Overseer of our Soul

Mentions of the Believer’s Identity:

  1. Like newborn babies 

  2. Like living stones being built up as a spiritual house

  3. A holy priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

  4. Chosen race

  5. Royal priesthood

  6. A holy nation

  7. A people of his own possession

  8. Those who are to proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light

  9. God’s people

  10. Those who have received mercy

  11. Beloved 

  12. Sojourners and exiles

  13. Servants 

  14. Sheep

“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” - Mahatma Gandhi


As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God's work–which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (1 Timothy 1:3-5 NIV84)]

Truth and Faith are inextricably bound in the Kingdom of God.  

You must know who your God is and worship Him accordingly (John 17:3). 

You must know who He has made you and serve Him exceedingly (Ephesians 2:10; I Peter 2:9-12). 

You must know how these two things converge and believe Him extravagantly (John 6:25-29). 

The Importance of Definition:

What is the good of pretending to be what you are not? Well, on the human level, you know, there are two kinds of pretending. There is a bad kind where the pretense is there instead of the real thing; as when a man pretends he is going to help you instead of really helping you. But there is also a good kind, where the pretence leads up to the real thing. When you are not feeling particularly friendly but know you ought to be, the best thing you can do, very often, is to put on a friendly manner and behave as if you were a nicer person than you actually are. And in a few minutes, as we have all noticed, you will be really feeling friendlier than you were. Very often the only way to get a quality in reality is to start behaving as if you had it already."

- C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity, ch. 7, part 4

“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.” - Steve Job


Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God– the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. (Romans 1:1-5 NIV84)

"Identity precedes activity in the Kingdom of God."  -Ron Lewis 

Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,

To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ–their Lord and ours:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:1-3 NIV84) 

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

To the church of God in Corinth, together with all the saints throughout Achaia:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:1, 2 NIV84)

Paul, an apostle–sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead– and all the brothers with me,

To the churches in Galatia:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Galatians 1:1-5 NIV84)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:1, 2 NIV84) 

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father. (Colossians 1:1, 2 NIV84)

We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else.

As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. 

(1 Thessalonians 2:6-8 NIV84) 

This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men–the testimony given in its proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle–I am telling the truth, I am not lying–and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles. (1 Timothy 2:3-7 NIV84)

So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.

What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you–guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.

May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus. (2 Timothy 1:8-18 NIV84) 

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God's elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness– a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, and at his appointed season he brought his word to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior,

To Titus, my true son in our common faith:

Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. (Titus 1:1-4 NIV84)

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood:

Grace and peace be yours in abundance. (1 Peter 1:1, 2 NIV84)

To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ's sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers–not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. 

(1 Peter 5:1-4 NIV84) 

Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 

(2 Peter 1:1, 2 NIV84) 

The elder,

To the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in the truth–and not I only, but also all who know the truth– because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever:

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father's Son, will be with us in truth and love. (2 John 1:1-3 NIV84)

The elder,

To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth.

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. (3 John 1:1-4 NIV84)

Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James,

To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ:

Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. (Jude 1:1-3 NIV84)

The work horse and war horse have two different purposes and training.  The war horse can not be skittish when bullets or arrows are flying.  It must be steady, where the work horse would be unsettled and run.  The war horse is trained for speed and agility to advance in the face of danger; the clydesdale for strength and perseverance, a steady discipline plowing the same field day after day.  David was built for war, Solomon for diplomacy.  The Christian needs to learn from and exemplify both in their character, while specializing in their gifts and call. 

DreamWorks Pictures' "War Horse," director Steven Spielberg's epic adventure, is a tale of loyalty, hope and tenacity set against a sweeping canvas of rural England and Europe during the First World War.

Come to Christ at the cross and allow him to identify you.

Second City Church - The Inside Job - Pastor Rollan Fisher 2019

The Inside Job - Part 1

the inside job

1 Peter 1:1-25
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

"The Bible must be your chart, and you must exercise great watchfulness that your way may be according to its directions. You must take heed to your daily life, as well as study your Bible, and you must study your Bible that you may take heed to your daily life. With the greatest care a man will go astray if his map misleads him; but with the most accurate map he will still lose his road if he does not take heed to it. The narrow way was never hit upon by chance, neither did any heedless man ever lead a holy life. We can sin without thought, we have only to neglect the great salvation and ruin our souls; but to obey the Lord and walk uprightly will need all our heart and soul and mind. Let the careless remember this."
- C.H. Spurgeon, on Psalm 119:9

"I prayed for Faith, and thought that some day Faith would come down and strike me like lightning. But Faith did not seem to come. One day I read in the tenth chapter of Romans, 'Now Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God'. I had closed my Bible, and prayed for Faith. I now opened my Bible, and began to study, and Faith has been growing ever since. " - DL Moody

"You know more about your magazines and novels than what God has written; many of you will read a novel from the beginning to the end, and what have you got? A mouthful of foam when you are done. But you cannot read the Bible; that solid, lasting, substantial, and satisfying food goes uneaten, locked up in the cupboard of neglect; while anything that a man writes, a best seller of the day, is greedily devoured." - C.H. Spurgeon

Second City Church - The Inside Job - Pastor Rollan Fisher 2019

Guest Speaker - Peter Ahlin

guets speaker charles kiefer

 
Keep Back Nothing 

Possessions 

Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do. Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.” 

One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?” 

Then Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks, He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.” Therefore, they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. 

(John 6:5-13) 

Prayers 

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” 

He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” 

Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 

Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy. 

So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.” 

(Matthew 26:36-46) 

Priorities 

Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” 

Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” 

And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” 

Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” 

(Luke 9:57-62; 14:25-27) 

Purpose 

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” 

(Matthew 28:18-20) 

Second City Church: Guest Speaker - Peter Ahlin 2019

Explore God - Can I Know God Personally?

explore god chicago

Can I Know God Personally?

We all feel distant from God from time to time. And very often, we resort to religious deeds to try to get into God’s graces, to try to please him. How many of us have: 

• tried to do really good things to get right or even make up with God? 

• tried to stop doing some things in order to make God happy? 

We all have!  But let me ask this: Did it work? Did you feel closer to God by jumping through those hoops? 

Reverence for vs. Relatonship with Jesus

We have to be able to trust God

Is God a Moral Monster? by Paul Copan 

The greatest African-American intellectual and abolitionist of the pre-Civil War period said this:

“I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of the land... I look upon it as the climax of all misnomers, the boldest of all frauds, and the grossest of all libels. Never was there a clearer case of 'stealing the livery of the court of heaven to serve the devil in.' I am filled with unutterable loathing when I contemplate the religious pomp and show, together with the horrible inconsistencies, which every where surround me. We have men-stealers for ministers, women-whippers for missionaries, and cradle-plunderers for church members. The man who wields the blood-clotted cowskin during the week fills the pulpit on Sunday, and claims to be a minister of the meek and lowly Jesus. . . . The slave auctioneer’s bell and the church-going bell chime in with each other, and the bitter cries of the heart-broken slave are drowned in the religious shouts of his pious master. Revivals of religion and revivals in the slave-trade go hand in hand together. The slave prison and the church stand near each other. The clanking of fetters and the rattling of chains in the prison, and the pious psalm and solemn prayer in the church, may be heard at the same time. The dealers in the bodies of men erect their stand in the presence of the pulpit, and they mutually help each other. The dealer gives his blood-stained gold to support the pulpit, and the pulpit, in return, covers his infernal business with the garb of Christianity. Here we have religion and robbery the allies of each other—devils dressed in angels’ robes, and hell presenting the semblance of paradise.” Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845)

Yet when because he met the real Jesus, the God of the Bible, Douglass in the second installment of his autobiography was able to state this:

“I was, for weeks, a poor, broken-hearted mourner, traveling through the darkness and misery of doubts and fears. I finally found that change of heart which comes by “casting all one’s care” upon God, and by having faith in Jesus Christ, as the Redeemer, Friend, and Savior of those who diligently seek Him.”

Frederick Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom (1855)

Harriet Beecher Stowe, daughter of Lyman Beecher, one of the great abolitionist preachers of the Second Great Awakening, wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1852.  Having experienced the grace of God, they too were compelled to aid in ending evils perpetuated by those who misrepresented Jesus.  


These and many other accounts give us a picture of the effects of the gospel coming alive in a man or woman’s heart, turning them to Christ and overflowing to impact a fallen world.  These things were not done to receive God’s favor, but as a result of his grace. 


The bad news is that none of these things helps us measure up to God’s standards.  But the good news is that God’s love is given to each of us freely. 

• Titus 3:5: “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” 

• John 1:12: “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” 

John 6:35-40 
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

• James 4:8a: “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” 

Revelation 3:14-22 
14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation. 15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

John Newton and the history of Amazing Grace 

“The Gospel must not be assumed.  It’s to be articulated clearly and constantly...if not you get moralistic pragmatism.” - Matt Chandler

Here’s the truth about knowing God personally:

• God loved. God gave. We believe. We receive.

“The world’s full of lonely people afraid to make the first move.”  
From Movie The Green Book

• God loved us so much that he sent his son to save us; if we believe in him, we will spend eternity in deep, personal relationship with him.

If we all trusted that simple, profound truth, it would change everything. Our friendships, our marriages, our work relationships, our work ethic, our contentment, our finances—everything.

The entire reason Jesus came to earth was so that everyone who trusts in him can know God personally—the relationship we were born to enjoy.

How can we also respond to God’s grace?

  1. Turn in faith and repentance to Jesus Christ, receiving forgiveness of sins because of his sacrifice for you on the cross and resurrection from the dead providing eternal life for you.  

  2. Serve God with his people to be salt and light in a fallen world Christ is looking to redeem.  

“The Place God call’s you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” - Frederick Buechner  

Second City Church - Explore God - Pastor Rollan Fisher 2019