Faithlife Sermons

Week 7 Alive

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Pastoral Welcome

Good morning, I am pastor Lewis I serve as one of the pastors here at Ankeny First.
This week we are on week 6 of our Alive sermon series where we have been exploring what it means to be people that are spiritually alive and not just physically alive.

Call to Worship

If God is for us, who is against us?
He who gave us his son,
now gives us the Spirit in power!
The Holy One is in our midst:
equipping us for life in the service of Christ.
In Christ we are more than conquerors,
for nothing in creation can separate us from the love of God!
May the all surpassing grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
And the unshakable love of God be with you.
The joyous communion of the Holy Spirit be with you.
And also with you!

Pastoral Prayer

You love us, O God from the time of our naming
You love us in our growing and hold us as we take our first steps.
You love us and walk beside us
as we explore the world with eager hands and eyes
As a mother/father loves her/his child as she/he sees it grow and develop
so you love us—and we thank you.
Lord in your mercy; Hear Our Prayer
You love us, O God, as we mature and seek our way,
You love as we become aware of the world around us,
You love us as we smile and play,
you even love us when we say no and when we begin to stray.
As a parent loves their child as they sees them become proud and tall,
so you love us even when we sin and fall..
So God we confess of the many sins that we have commited by what we have done and by what we have failed to do
Lord in your mercy; Hear Our Prayer
We thank you God for loving us when we are unloving
for caring for us when we are uncaring,
and for calling to us when we go far away....
Lord in your mercy; Hear Our Prayer
Loving God we are grieving people.
We grieve the saints of the church who have gone on to glory before us
We grieve the pain of war and conflict in many parts of our world
We grieve transitions into the future that we are faced with as a church
We grieve so much
Lord we pray that through our grief we might be able to see the hope that you offer
Lord in your mercy; Hear Our Prayer
Loving God, We live in a time of considerable discernment for our church and for this Faith Chapel Campus. We ask today for your wisdom as Solomon asked for wisdom. Grant us wisdom to be peacemakers and mediators of understanding where there is conflict. Grant us wisdom to discern your call in our lives. I pray specifically for your grace to be known among us, as our church enters into prayer and discernment for our future.
Lord in your mercy; Hear Our Prayer
Lord hear our prayers of love this day for those around us,
for those we have held before you in our time of sharing,
and for those we have thought of in our moments of caring: we raise to you in this moment of silence the people and place that remain heavy on our hearts.
Silence
Lord in your mercy; Hear Our Prayer
We ask all these things in the name of Christ Jesus,
who taught us to pray saying:
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Amen.

FPU

Meeting after worship today to talk through some of our options in worship

As many of you I am moving to a handful of ministry opportunities and stepping down from ministry here in July 1st, and our church is deciding what the future of this worshiping site looks like, so if this site has in one way or another been a spiritual home for you, please consider being a part of that conversation.

Love Lunches

Friends when we give to God through Ankeny First it allows for our church to be able to live out it’s mission in the world around us. To feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner, welcome the stranger. To live into God’s vision that we might be one no separation. And we have a video highlighting the ways that one of the ministries of Ankeny First is living that out that you can come alongside.

Offertory

Scripture

Jesus loves me this I know
Legalistic Christianity
rules based
Everything was either a sin or it wasn’t
In high school I was really pre-occupied with the game is it a sin or not?
Caffeine? Is it a sin or not
Lying is it always a sin or not. What about white lies? What about lies that protect people? What about lies that save lives? Is it always bad?
Are tattoo's sinful?
What about naughty words are naughty words sinful to say out loud?
Are driving cars sinful, because we know that they aren’t the best for the environment?
What about pride always sinful, or is sometimes just being self-confident which is a good thing?
Should we eat shellfish or not?
Is yoga sinful? - believe me there are arguments out there for this
Is it sinful to listen to different types of music?
What about clothes that have different types of fibers? - and if you said yes to that one I am pretty sure most of us are sinning right now
If I believe in evolution is that sinful?
How much phone usage is the right amount of phone usage?
And I am not going to dive into all of the fascinating arguments there, but I want to paint you a picture of what my spiritual life looked like
I was trying my very best to do the things that meant would love and avoid the things that made God not love
At that time in my life looking back I actually believed that
I believed that if I did these things God might in fact love me less
And so I tried to figure out how close to the line I could get before I went over.
If cussing was a sin, could I get away with saying holy cow, or oh my gosh, what the heck.
We like to tip toe right up to the line
You see this with kids a lot
Marsh mellow temptation video
They would look away
some would poke it
some would lick it
One of the children in the video got really creative and he took a bit but just out of the bottom so that he could get away with it
There is a problem that we face and the problem starts with this phrase “God will only love me if.....”
God will only love me if....
I get rid of that one sin
If I finally make it in my job
I am able to reconcile with that family member
I get that next promotion
I give up that bad habit
I am able to loose that weight
This is the root of a lot of our spiritual problems
because the statement God will only love me it....
means that we have shame
and if we are carrying shame in our relationship to God it can become really difficult to go back to God
Our scripture brings us into a new reality that was ushered in through the person and work of Jesus, so we turn now to to Romans 8:31-39 as you turn to it please know this
Romans 8:31–39 NRSV
31 What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Verse 32 represents a clear parallel to Abraham
a striking example
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
it is illogical to conceive that God would give his most treasured “possession”—his only Son—to secure the salvation of sinners, and then not also give all else that is necessary to bring that salvation to completion.”
In a game of chess you don’t sacrifice your Queen unless it is a really thought out play that really benefits you in the long run

We have been set free and double jeopardy is in effect

Romans 8:33 NRSV
33 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.
All have sinned and fallen short, but also all are redemed not by their own works, but all are redeemed by Jesus Christ
In other words this passage is saying that God is the one that has already set us free
Even if you did the worst sin you could think of, it is not our sin the condemns
Even if you think of the very best thing you could possible do, it is not our good actions that set us
It is God who justifies
God frees us from our own thinking
Set free from the “God will only love me if....”
who set’s us free from our own stinkin’ thinkin’
Our own patterns patterns of life
Double Jeopardy - the big theological term that fancy people like John Wesley would use is Justification for this
Double jeopardy - you can’t get tried for a crime twice
which means that if you are set free there is nothing that can be taken away from you
Paul makes a really subtle but really fascinating argument about Jesus in this passage
I am going to read both of them and I want you to listen to each of them to 4 things that Jesus does in each one. I will help you out by holding up my fingers, but one of them will be different so listen closely...
Romans 8:34 NRSV
34 Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.
Apostles Creed
Was crucified, died, and was burried;
the third day he rose from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead
Apostles Creed argument
Died
Rose again
is seated at the right hand of the father
pleads our case
in the apostles creed the difference is “from thence he shall come to judge the qiuck and the dead.
Barlclay - “In Paul the fourth is that Jesus is at God’s right hand to plead our case.“
even if everything else fell through the love of God is not something that can be taken away from you.
If we lost all of our possessions
If we lost all of our freedoms
If we lost all of our family and our friends
Praise God - that we would not loose God’s love for us
Last weekend I celebrated my girlfriend’s graduation and people referred to the piece of paper that no one can take away from you.
God’s love is something that no one can take away from you
I want to back track to that bookmark that you left earlier in the sermon, I told you we were going back to that....
Where you filled in the blank God will only love me if.....

Not even [fill in the blank here] can separate you from God’s love

Separate - divorce, depart
Who shall condemn us?
Who shall separate us from love?
look at all of the things that we use to separate ourselves from God’s love:
-addiction
-grief
-our stuff both physical and emotional
-our grudges
-resentments
-fears
-not the things list
-There are a lot of things that if we are honest we could put on that list.
there are many temptations that we can imagine could happen to us and a lot of temptations that we could not imagine would happen to us, and none of those are able to separate us from the love of God.

Nothing can separate us from God’s Love

Friend’s if you heard nothing else in this message hear these words...
Nothing can separate you from the love of God
Romans 8:38–39 NRSV
38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
separation
divorce
sin
grief
addiction
anger
resentment
the things that you couldn’t even imagine
and the things that probably could.
nothing can separate you from the love of God
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