Aliens From Planet Jesus

Probably the best way appreciate God’s instruction in 1 Corinthians 7:8, 25-35 is to you see yourself as an alien!  What Paul the Apostle says here runs so counter to our culture, it is hard to swallow.  Singleness is superior to marriage, the Apostle says, because it frees you up to serve God with fewer distractions.

It seems best in a series on relationships to make this our starting point, to remember that marriage is temporary (there is no marriage in heaven, Jesus said) and that this life is preparation for eternity.

When to Expect Christ

One of the most fascinating predictions in the Bible is the “70 weeks” prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27.  In this prophecy God reveals the timing of Christ’s first coming and even mentions his death–500 years ahead in advance!  In Luke 19 in the New Testament Jesus comes riding into Jerusalem on a donkey (fulfilling Zechariah 9:9) and presents himself as Israel’s King.  And while many people rejoice and proclaim his greatness, the religious leaders reject Jesus.  Within a few days, so would the crowds.

Jesus expected Israel to be expecting him.  He laments that his people rejected the very thing that would bring them peace: Jesus.  He expected them to take the prophecy of Daniel 9 seriously.  In fact, God judges Israel (with the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in AD 70) for not acknowledging the time of Christ’s coming.

Giving Thanks in All Circumstances

This message looks at the exhortation in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to give thanks in all circumstances.  Christians should give thanks for God’s provision of material and spiritual blessings, obviously, but what about things like traffic, sicknesses or suffering?  Paul the Apostle goes on in Romans 5:3 to say that we rejoice in suffering.

For a reason.

In this sermon we will find out how we can be thankful to God even in tragedy.

Myth #5: “I Shouldn’t Give If I Can’t Give Cheerfully”

This myth is mostly true–especially since God basically said the same thing in 2 Corinthians 9:7.  The myth part lies in how we use that verse.  The Apostle Paul tells us something specific about the character of God at the end of verse 7: he says God loves something.  That’s a pretty big deal when the Bible spells something out so clearly and explicitly.

What does God love?  A cheerful giver.

But what if I don’t give now, or I don’t give cheerfully?  Should I wait?  I think the opposite is true: the cure for not giving is giving.  Just like the cure for a fear of dogs is to be around dogs, you will never conquer your materialism by keeping it close.  You have to let it go.

Myth #4: “You Can’t Take it With You”

It’s true, you can’t take it with you.  When you die, you will be forever separated from your stuff.  That’s why Jesus said not to store up treasure on earth; it’s not that earthly wealth is bad, it’s that it’s temporary.  Rather, he said to lay up treasure in heaven.  Why?  Because it’s forever.  So Jesus’ point in Matthew 6:19-21 is not that we shouldn’t store up treasure, but that we should change the location of it.

It’s interesting that Jesus doesn’t make an emotional appeal, but a logical one: Don’t spend all your money on something that won’t last when you can invest in the Kingdom of God, which is forever.

Myth #3: “If I Give, I Will Receive”

TV evangelists should probably get the credit for planting this myth in the minds of viewers.  The truth behind the myth is: If I give, I will receive, so I can give.  2 corinthians 9:6-11 addresses the principle of sowing and reaping, which teaches us that God provides our “seed” (money) for sowing and that when we give, we will receive–not so we can get rich, but so we can be even more generous with God’s stuff.