Sunday, March 25, 2012

They Want to See Jesus

John 12:30-33
Fifth Sunday of Lent

• This weekend’s Middle School performance of Willy Wonka (stage adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1964 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)
   What’s the draw about Willy Wonka? Sweets. Celebration. Color. Fantasy. Child-like and care-free. Life.
   All of this points to the world that needs sweetening, needs life, needs celebration. Fallen from Eden.
The Candyman makes the world taste good. 
And the world tastes good because the Candyman thinks it should.

• This weekend’s movie release of The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins 2008), $19.7M opening night record for non-sequel movie, second to Harry Potter and Twilight series.
   What’s the draw? Well-written adolescent lit, exciting action, appealing to guys and gals, underdog, stick-it-to-the-man, struggle.
   The world is broken and life is hard, and there is an oppressive ruling class (us v. them).

• John chapter 12, Greeks want to see Jesus.
   What’s the draw? Some of both. Redemption of life.
Jesus came: 12:46 light in darkness. 10:10 life abundant. 10:28 life eternal. 4:10 living water. 6:35 bread of life. 8:32 truth & freedom.

• Greeks want to see Jesus and they approach disciples who have Greek names because they (the Greeks) see that Jesus has something they want.
   (People may approach you if they see that you have something they want.)

And people want life. And rest. And redemption.

• So invite them that they may find that here, in Jesus,

And live in such a way that people will want to have what you have.

• 117 We Come, O Christ, to You

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Gospel You Can't

Ephesians 2:1-10 and Ezekiel 37
Fourth Sunday of Lent

• Spring must be here… daffodils emerging. Deadlooking bulbs, now looking alive... no wonder they're a sign of Easter hope, of cancer hope.
  Yet the dead appearance a bulb has is not the death talked about in Ephesians b/c natural cycle of dormancy and growth. No dormancy and expected growth author of Ephesians is seeing, just death.
   Like Ezek 37, the dry bones. A valley of bones. That’s death. That’s not dormant, that’s death. Them bones aren’t gonna grow flesh themselves and walk.

But God makes it happen. Not only that but God invites Ezekiel to be part of it, witness and prophet.

• What is the death in Ephesians? 
It’s hedonism (pursuit of pleasure above all else). 
It’s immaturity (verse 3 you were like children). 
It’s disobedience to will of God.
It’s the ethos of today: spirit of tolerance, if it feels good do it, if nobody gets hurt…
(excursis on goodness apart from God? Personal value as standard for ethics, but personal values are personal and fluid, and try as we may, not universal. Even if ppl did come to consensus, value by consensus is best we can do? How about value based on unchanging and infinitely good, external but intimate God. Whose design, goal, and interest is good (2:10). Life is sacred and meaningful because it is endowed by God. The cure for society’s ills is the willful submission to God’s leadership and LORDship.)

Destructive spiritual power (verse 2). Like cancer, rampant growth of the unintended and unwelcome.
Read Verse 1 again.

• Verse 6: However, God is rich in mercy. Act of God to bring back to life, as in valley of dry bones. God’s great mercy and love.
   Why? To show future generations How Great Thou Art (verse 7).

• Gospel = good news = life. New life. Restored life.

• salvation is God’s gift (8). Not your accomplishment. Endowment, not entitlement.

And God intends for us to use it well, to share with world How Great Thou Art.

• The Gospel you can’t.  You can't earn it, you can't do it, it is a gift.

What can you (do)? You can receive (the gift) believe (the Gospel) and achieve. Live in submission to God and in mission to world.

• Hymn 505 Love Lifted Me