Faithlife Sermons

Grace Upon Grace

Grace Upon Grace  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 2 views
Notes
Transcript
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →

480-336-9732

We’re so glad you’re here tonight. If you’re new, I just want to say that you’re welcome here. Tonight is an interesting night in that this is a series that encapsulates so much of my heart for you all and what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. We’re going to be talking about a number of difficult topics in the coming weeks like dealing with loss, toxic relationships, alcohol, body image, and sexual addiction and my thesis is simple.

A relationship with Jesus drastically effects every area of your life

.
What it means to be a follower of Jesus is that you’ve given yourself to trusting in the saving work of Jesus and have chosen to follow Him with Your life.
Then we walked through the Sermon on the Mount and we talked about the reality that Jesus is a king who’s bringing a kingdom, gathering a people, and showing them what it looks like to live as citizens in that Kingdom. The Sermon on the Mount was a manifesto of what it looks like to live life under God’s Rule and reign.
Then we just finished up a series in Proverbs where we walked through the book and talked about what it means to live wisely in God’s good world. We focused for the last few weeks on the reality that Wisdom finds it’s application in our Trust in the Lord. That as we choose to be people who live wisely, we are actually saying that we trust that what God has said about us and how the world functions and doesn’t is true.
What I want to do tonight is unpack how this plays out and what it is that God wants to accomplish in you as you come to him with not only the topics we’re going to discuss, but with everything in our lives.
We entitled it grace upon grace because the reality is that we are going to stumble over and over again in our lives and what we see consistently is that Jesus meets us in that and offers grace. And then more grace. And then more grace. So we’ll hear messy stories. Stories of extreme pain & hurt. Stories of deep loss and heartache. By the same token, we’re going to hear stories of a good God pursuing and and making himself available to us.
So not only does God offer grace, but He is also redeeming and restoring the world and humanity alike.
It doesn’t take long for us to look around our world and to see that things are not as they should be.
The Bible understands that to be the result of something called sin, which is the rebellion of humanity against God. The Scriptures record a detailed picture of that in where we see that the first humans made a choice to disobey God, but the reality is that you and I choose to do the same thing each and every day. We look at our own hearts and thoughts and choose to trust ourselves more than God all the time.
So. We’re starting out on a really happy note! :)
But it’s ok! Because! If you continue to read the story of the Scriptures we begin to see that God has a plan to put the world back to rights and this is accomplished through Jesus, but also through you and me. How this happens is through a process called redemption.
But!
We’re going to talk a ton about that word redemption in the coming weeks, but before we get there, I want to unpack a little bit of why we need to be redeemed and what that looks like.
Just as a quick side-note, if you’re new to the Bible, we’re going to use a lot of it tonight because we believe that God has written a book that provides a clear picture of his heart for the world. A basic synopsis is that the Bible tells one story that finds it’s culmination in the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth and He is redeeming and restoring all things.
So in order to get there, we need to start from the beginning of the story.
Genesis 1:1 ESV
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
As we come to the story of Jesus of Nazareth in the Gospels, we read that Jesus makes this fascinating & subversive claim.
So tonight, as we begin this series, I want to do a little bit of groundwork about humanity and our story with the goal of trying to capture God’s heart for us as students. Sound good?
So right away, we’re going to be operating under the assumption that this is the starting point for who we are and what that looks like.
Genesis 1:1 ESV
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
So right away, we’re going to be operating under the assumption that this is the starting point for who we are and what that looks like.
The point of these first chapters of Genesis is not to describe in detail how everything worked out, but simply to say, that God created everything.
As we keep reading, we come to this interesting break in the story at Verse 26.
6
Genesis 1:26–28 NIV
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Ge
Genesis 1:27 NIV
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:26
Genesis 1:26–28 ESV
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
We read about this decision by God to make man (both men and women) in his image.
We read about this decision by God to make man (both men and women) in his image.
We read about this decision by God to make man (both men and women) in his image.
We need to talk about this word ‘image’ really quick because that’s going to color the rest of the way we read the Scriptures, but also how we approach this series. The word there literally means idol or statue. So this is fascinating because an idol or a statue is meant to be a physical embodiment or representation of something else. So you and I are God’s statues.
I love the way one pastor phrases this:
We were put on earth- because the entire cosmos is this God’s temple- to make visible the invisible God. To show the world what God is like. We are the Creator’s representatives to his creation.
The Verse continues by saying, ‘and let them have dominion.’ The idea that he’s trying to capture there is really, ‘let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the bird of the heavens and over the livestock and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’
So you and I are images or statues or walking representations of God to rule with God over his good world.
Are you tracking with me at this point?
So far things are great. We’ve got a good creation. We’ve got a God who is portrayed as an artist, and we’ve got ourselves as walking embodiments to partner with God in what He’s doing in the world.

People=Images of God=Good

So God gives humanity a moral choice. They can choose to trust him and to rule with them. On top of them ruling with him, He gives them one command.
However things start to turn. We read in Chapter 2 that God gave humanity a moral choice as to wether or not they were going to obey him.
Let’s keep Reading
Genesis 2:15–17 ESV
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
I don’t know why the tree was in the garden and I don’t have a good, solid answer for that
So.... let’s fast forward a little bit to chapter 3.
Genesis 3:1–5 ESV
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Ok. Bad news bears. So let’s talk about this for just a quick second. The serpent, frigging snakes are the worst. Them and spiders. Begins to question God’s word. It’s the first question in the Bible: “Did God actually say...” Then we jump down to Verse 5, he says that God knows they will be like him. But what’s the problem? They already were like God.
So as you keep reading, you’ll find that these humans decide to rebel against God. This is a really crucial moment because that image that we talked about before is now distorted. Whereas they were meant to experience fullness of life and abundant flourishing as they image God, they chose something different and they’re hearts and the image of God in them is not distorted. Not Gone. But distorted. We no longer represent God’s heart to the world.
When we look at our world, we see the result of this everywhere. Senseless shootings, genocide, slavery, millions without water every day. The results of our rebellion against God are astounding. We need to be redeemed.
So Adam and Eve are kicked out of the land and now the punishment they face is death. If the story were to end here, that would be brutal, but we see that right away, God puts another plan in motion by promising someone who would redeem and restore the image and the world to what he originally intended it to be. This is known as the Messiah—> Who we know to be Jesus.
Humanity needs someone to redeem and restore them, but they can’t do this themselves.
So the Old Testament essentially a downward Spiral of God attempting in multiple ways to partner with humanity in bringing his rule and reign
There are countless examples of this but here’s just onHere we have picture of restoration and wholeness that will come as a result of this Messiah. So Fast forward to the book of Mark.
Isaiah 9:6–7 ESV
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Isaiah 9:
So if you read through the Old Testament, you’ll read about story after story of people choosing to rebel against God and he continues to pursue and offer grace and more grace.
Here we have picture of restoration and wholeness that will come as a result of this Messiah. So Fast forward to the book of Mark.
So God takes the step towards humanity in the person of Jesus.
We read in
Mark 1:14–15 ESV
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
So Jesus is essentially making a huge statement about himself. He’s saying that He’s the one who can put the world back to rights. He can restore the image of God in humanity to what it one was. I’m the one who you’ve been hoping for. Here’s what your response needs to be.

Repent and Believe in the Gospel

These are two words that carry all kinds of meaning in our world today, but Jesus is essentially saying that they need to believe the Good news that Jesus is the Messiah and is the hope of the world.
As continue reading in Mark, Jesus calls people to follow him.
So that brings us to our call right now.
Mark 1:16-
Mark 1:16–17 ESV
Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”
Mark 1:16–18 ESV
Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him.
So that brings us to our call right now.
So that brings us to our call right now.
What does it mean to follow Jesus? To follow Jesus means to give your life to becoming like Him, to do the things He did.
So Jake this is great and all but what does following Jesus have to do with restoring the image of God in us?
Restoring the image of God in us comes with a deep and robust understanding of exactly who Jesus was and what happens in us as we seek to become like him
Colossians says it this way....
Colossians 1:15–20 ESV
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
If you’ve chosen to follow Jesus, seeking to become like him with all of your lives, one of the promises that we have is that He is in the process of making all things new and is bringing about redemption and restoration everywhere we look.
What He asks of you and me is that we be people who follow Him. That we be people who give ourselves to becoming more like Jesus in every sphere of our lives.
The heartbeat behind this series and bringing in people to share about different topics that you all face on a daily basis and to provide tangible pictures of the work that Jesus is doing in our lives.
Tonight, what I want to hold before us is that Jesus is asking us to bring every aspect of our lives to him. Far too often, we create these compartments where we separate our relationship with God from the everyday things of our lives.
I love the way one pastor puts it:
All too often there is a massive disconnect between ‘spiritual life’ and life. The way of Jesus isn’t about detaching from the world and hiding in a mountain cave like somebody stuck in an episode of Lost. Jesus was a construction worker, for decades, in a village, Nazareth. Then he was a rabbi, or a teacher. His way is about living a seamless, integrated life, where the polarization between the sacred and the secular is gone, and all of our life is full immersion in what Jesus called the Kingdom of God.
Think about restoring a car… You come with this shell of something that used to be amazing and incredible. Yet at the moment, all you can see is a bunch of parts that need to worked on restored. At the end of the process of restoring a car, each piece has a place that’s been given attention and taken care of. We need to come to God as a car that needs to be restored.
Jesus wants to make us new, and yet we have to be willing to come to him with everything in our lives for him to redeem and restore.
So
All too often there is a massive disconnect between ‘spiritual life’ and life. The way of Jesus isn’t about detaching from the world and hiding in a mountain cave like somebody stuck in an episode of Lost. Jesus was a construction worker, for decades, in a village, Nazareth. Then he was a rabbi, or a teacher. His way is about living a seamless, integrated life, where the polarization between the sacred and the secular is gone, and all of our life is full immersion in what Jesus called the Kingdom of God.
ll too often there is a massive disconnect between ‘spiritual life’ and life. The way of Jesus isn’t about detaching from the world and hiding in a mountain cave like somebody stuck in an episode of Lost. Jesus was a construction worker, for decades, in a village, Nazareth. Then he was a rabbi, or a teacher. His way is about living a seamless, integrated life, where the polarization between the sacred and the secular is gone, and all of our life is full immersion in what Jesus called the Kingdom of God
To be a follower of Jesus means that you come to him with all of who You are, messiness, brokenness, hurt, pain, struggle, fear, worry, anxiety, sin, and everything and allow Him to remake You.
That’s what God does. He redeems and restores.
So tonight I want to tell you about one area in my life that the image of God needs to be restored and how Jesus has done that.
That’s in my struggle with anxiety and depression.
Throughout the majority of my life, I’ve been someone prone to worry. It didn’t have to be anything major or crazy, but I’ve always been someone who stressed out about little things.
So my parents were both in the military and we moved around a lot. so that meant a couple of things. 1.) I had to start over making friends on a number of different occasions. 2.) When you first move somewhere and you don’t have a ton of friends, it’s easy to allow your imagination to go wild and free.
I can remember having a distinct conversation with my mom about what would happen if Sadaam Hussein were to take over our country. WOuld he kill me? Would he kill all the Christians? I remember this because my mom would always say, “Jake there’s no way he would or could do that to us. We have the strongest military in the world. But Mom, what if they did???? So finally, she gave in and said, well Jake, if they did take over, than they would probably kill the Christians. I didn’t care that this wasn’t likely to happen, I lived in fear about this.
Fast forward a couple of years later, I can remember laying in bed at night and being scared to death that the rapture was going to happen and was going to get left behind. The rapture is a belief that we are taken out of the world when things start going really badly. I can remember crying about that and having my dad come lay down with me and pray with me. Even though we prayed a prayer and I believed in Jesus, I couldn’t calm down about the fact that I might get left behind.
All of these things were great and I eventually grew out of them because that’s what kids do. We worry about dumb things and then we grow out of them. That being said, things changed when I became a junior in high school.
I can remember it clearly because it was as if something shifted in my personality and who I was. I had just found out that I was going to go to Latvia that summer on a missions trip. Things were going great in my life. I had a good group of friends at school and at church, we had just won state in Soccer, and life was great.
That particular day, I became terrified that I was going to contract a disease and that my life was going to be ruined. From that point on, I became obsessed with washing my hands. I would have days where I would wash my hands 30-40-50 times a day because I was terrified that I was going to catch something.
There were times where I would call a friend that I had shared a bag of chips with and asked him if there’s anyway that he would have contracted a disease that I could have gotten from him. This happened with a couple of different friends. Finally, I told my mom about what I was struggling with and just for peace of mind, we went and had my blood tested. When things came back clean, I started to rationalize and think that I could have picked something up from the time that I had had my blood drawn.
Finally, I reached a boiling point and we decided that it was time for me to go on an anti-anxiety medication. At the time, I was an anxious mess who was paralyzed by fear and worry.
Fast forward a couple of years and I was working as an intern here at RMCC. I had medicated my anxiety, but had never really dealt with it in a meaningful and tangible way that had brought a holistic sense of healing and freedom from anxiety.
So things started to get bad again. I was 20 years old and felt absolutely terrified to come to work. This manifested itself in a way that I was so afraid to talk to girls because I didn’t know how I was coming across. I was consistently worried about how people were perceiving me and afraid that if I said or did something that was slightly wrong or worrisome that I would get fired.
I can remember late nights of coming into the gym with Matt and Brady and we would be dreaming about the future and what we wanted to see God do and I couldn’t see past what was right in front of me.
The anxiety and fear and worry that I felt were so overwhelming and I didn’t know how I was going to make it through each day. I would have this tightness in my chest and felt like I couldn’t relax. It was that feeling day after day after day.
So why am I sharing all of this? Why are we having 6 people come in and share about their stories?
Because each of them are awesome and have always made awesome choices and never do anything wrong.
We’re sharing these stories because God brings hope, healing, redemption, and restoration. We sometimes have this picture in our mind that we have to get our lives cleaned up before coming to God and that sounds good and all, but it’s just not the story of the Bible.
The story of the Bible is that God steps into our mess and shines light in darkness and redeems us.
So what did that look like in my life?
So like I said, I was 20 years old and working as an intern at the church. I remember having a conversation with Matt where he looked at me and said Jake, it’s time to take a step towards getting help and actually dealing with this.
What we had talked about before was that it was time to go to counseling. There’s this immediate thought and objection that comes up in my head when it came to counseling.
Matt… I’m a Christian. Christians don’t go to counseling. Christians have it all together. After a number of conversations and cry-fests, I finally decided that it was time to go to counseling. I stepped down as an intern here at the church and decided to go to war with my anxiety.
This was one of the most transformative and life-changing things I ever did. The counselor and I walked through different thought patterns and behaviors that would trigger me towards anxious thoughts and we would figure out how to speak truth and to walk down each irrational thought that I had. It was extremely difficult and heart-wrenching and yet, it finally helped to bring clarity to something that had been foggy for the last several years.
I got on a different medication and went through about six months of meeting with him and learned how to process and deal with my own thoughts as they come up. That was 7 years ago and I still use the things that we talked about.
I wish I could tell you that Anxiety isn’t something that I struggle with anymore. I wish I could tell you that I ended counseling and was ‘fixed’. Unfortunately that’s not the case. I’ve been on medication for years now and still utilize the Cognitive behavioral Therapy that we walked through.
Truth be told, I don’t know that I’ll ever be fully free from a propensity towards anxiety, yet what I can tell you is that the Lord has been incredibly faithful and present in my life as I walked through what seemed like hell.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pleaded with God to make this go away and to take away this thorn in my side and what He’s said is that He’s with me. Anxiety and depression don’t have to own you.
As we look at the Scriptures, we see that there are multiple people living with anxiety & depression. As you read the Psalms, you see this all over the place in the writings of David, we talked about this a few months ago, but Elijah, one of God’s prophets was suicidal, we also read that Jesus was overwhelmed with sorrow and sadness. The apostle Paul talks about his anxiety for the church.
If you’re here tonight and you struggle with anxiety and depression, I just want to say from the bottom of my heart to yours that you are not alone and that there’s hope. Jesus wants to bring healing and wholeness to your life.
So as we close tonight, I want to create some space for you to reflect on this. Maybe you’re here and your struggle with anxiety or depression has been totally hidden and you haven’t told anyone. Could I just encourage you to grab a leader tonight and talk to them? They would love to sit with you and talk to you. Grab me afterwards and talk to me. Wherever you’re at in this journey, please don’t try to go through it alone.
Maybe you’re here tonight and you don’t struggle with these things at all. Take some time to examine areas in your heart that haven’t allowed the Gospel to shape.
Jesus wants to bring about fullness of life for each of us and we have the privilege of beginning to do the work in our own hearts of identifying areas that we aren’t allowing the Gospel to shape.
Related Media
Related Sermons