Sermon Recap: Kingdom Ambition

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For the first Sunday of the year, we met virtually as a church to watch the Selah service online. It was an incredible way to reflect on 2016, and look toward 2017 with fresh perspective and to ask God what he has in mind for the coming 12 months. This week, we were back to meet in a physical space and to hear about Kingdom ambition. Jim Larson – a deeply devoted disciple of Jesus and member of our church – blessed us with his Spirit-filled wisdom in this week’s sermon.

Firstly, let’s acknowledge that ambition of the Kingdom and worldly varieties are vastly different. Kingdom ambition is rooted in the fact that we have a highly ambitious God (exemplified by His creation of at least 100 billion galaxies in the universe).

Psalm 19:1 states, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the works of his hands.” As beings of His creation, we were made in his image, and piece of that is His ambition living within each of us. Not only were we created to look like him, but he invites us to co-labor with Him; such an invitation for us prompts ambitious excitement!

Matthew 25:14-30: “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them.To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. ‘And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. ‘Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. ‘Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’ For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

God is pleased with those ambitious for His Kingdom; He voices it so clearly. Using this passage from Matthew, we want to be like the first two servants, and unlike the third.

In 4 categories, we can acknowledge and identify our Kingdom ambition (Kingdom-focus x ambition):

  1. Low Kingdom-focus x low ambition: similar to a rudder-less ship. It’s near impossible to move a ship that is docked.
  2. Low Kingdom-focus x high ambition: this is what culture tells us is right, fulfilling, and satisfying.
    1. According to the world, high ambition has nothing to do with loving God or loving your neighbor.
    2. We can become harmful toward others when we have too much worldly ambition; we might become greedy, selfless, envious, or find it easier to step on others in order to climb the social or financial ladder.
    3. This category might apply to people who believe in Jesus but who don’t allow Him to permeate their lives.
      1. If this is you, get in community and walk with Jesus together. It’s so much more encouraging to walk with others, and this is the intention of God.
    4. Or, this category might apply to people who have found that they have drifted away from God over time.
      1. If this is you, rededicate your life to Him. Ask Him to speak to you, and ask Him for help. He wants you near to Him and wants to again be part of your life!
  3. High Kingdom-focus x low ambition: faith that is not action-oriented.
    1. We are held accountable to the things that we do in our time on Earth. Make it count!
    2. Cultural individualism perpetuates this category.
    3. If you find yourself in this place, start by asking God, “who can I bless today/this week and how can I bless them?”
      1. Decide, commit, and execute.
      2. God will show up and change your heart in your faithful first step.
    4. Some of us in this category are not individualistic, but we feel unworthy of helping others. This isn’t true! Each of our identities is critical to advancing the Kingdom of God.
      1. Ask, “What are the callings of my life?”
        1. Dream with God.
        2. Listen to the myriad of ways in which he speaks (because, though it might occur this way, it doesn’t always happen through a burning bush).
  4. High Kingdom-focus x high-ambition: we get to this place by:
    1. Believing that God is who He says He is.
    2. Believing that we are who He says we are.
    3. Devote and direct your ambition toward loving God and loving others.
    4. Identify and take the next step in faith.

No matter where you find yourself (and not everyone fits into one category alone – we all have different Kingdom ambition according to different parts of our lives), God wants us to live abundantly and ambitiously. Dream with Him, trust that He will speak, and know that He will be with you wherever you go.

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Sermon Recap: Don’t Envy

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Today, we dive in to discuss the 10th and final Commandment, driven by Mosaic Lead Pastor Andrew Bach. The topic is envy – a sin deeply engrained into our society. We walk away with greater knowledge about the sin of envy, as well as practicals for living freely as Jesus has intended for us.

Firstly, why did God give us laws? We question laws because they feel restraining, restricting, and limiting. However, God’s laws are different, for He gave them to us because He intends the best for us. He wants us to experience life in abundance, and His law is the key to life.

Deuteronomy 5:33: “You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.”

The Tenth Commandment states: Do not envy. Envy – also known as covetousness – means to yearn possession of something that belongs to someone else.

Exodus 20:17: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

Here’s what we know about envy:

  1. It distorts friendships.
    1. An important part of relating through one another is celebration, and if we are imprisoned by envy, it is impossible to celebrate with someone else.
  2. It usurps God’s purposes for your life.
    1. We get stuck on the path God has for us, frozen in time. It leads us to comparison, and that is never God’s best for us.
  3. It gives us motive to break more of God’s laws (especially those that relate to loving others).
    1. It leads us to: lie, steal, commit adultery, murder (perhaps of the heart), and dishonor our parents.
    2. James 3:16: “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.”
    3. God calls us to be unified, and envy prompts us to commit sin against our community.
  4. It leads only to one of two things: disappointment or pride (neither of which are of God).

John 10:10:  “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Envy does not lead us to have what we think we want (or what the world tells us we should want). Only Jesus brings life, and He brings it abundantly and for our best.

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This was the final sermon of walking through God’s Laws. Next week, we are starting a new series. Don’t miss out! 

Sermon Recap: Don’t Lie

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This week, Lead Pastor Andrew Bach leads us in breaking down God’s 9th Commandment, which iterates the cruciality of being honest (no matter what circumstance we face).

Proverbs 6:16-19: There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him; haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.” 

What is interesting is that, not only does lying make the list of things God hates, but lying is the only makes the list twice. God hates lying. It is demonic; it is an act of Satan. Lying is an assault against God and against others – our brothers and sisters.

Proverbs 25:18: “A man who bears false witness against his neighbor is like a war club, or a sword, or a sharp arrow.” A lie is injurious.

There are many ways we lie, but let’s look at three specifically:

  1. Flattery (which is defined as insincere or excessive praise with the intent to manipulate).
    1. Psalm 12:2: “Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.” 
    2. Flattery is not encouragement.
    3. When we use flattery, we are lying. God hates lying.
  2. Deception (which means to abandon the truth altogether or twist the truth to use as a weapon).
    1. Galatians 6:8: “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
    2. If you sow the things of this world, you will reap what this world has to offer: corruption.
    3. We are a culture of deception
      1. i.e.: advertising, political propaganda, etc.
      2. We’ve become numb to the massive amounts of deception, producing skeptics and cynics.
  3. Slander (which is to provide false and harmful information about someone).
    1. Leviticus 19:16: “You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the Lord.”
    2. Today, we have the opportunity to slander more people and more effectively than ever before due to social media and accessibility to global communication.

In flattery, deception, and slander, we’ve covered the big stuff. But, we also need to talk about the little lies, too, because lies always start little. This is how sin works. Little sins are real sins, and lying is no different.

We know lying is bad. Why do we do it?

  1. To avoid negative consequences.
  2. To appear perfect in the sight of others.
  3. To obtain things we aren’t supposed to have.
  4. To change our outcome.
  5. To punish others.

Essentially, we lie out of fear. But, the answer to our fear is never to lie; that is the enemy’s answer. The answer – leading to life and light – is to trust God.

John 8: 31-32: “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'”

The opportunity to lie will always be available, but lying is a shortcut that proves unsuccessful. Rather, the truth will set us free.

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Check back soon to read about the 10th (and final) commandment. 

 

Sermon Recap: Don’t Steal

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If you’re just finding this site, or it’s been a while since you’ve visited, it might seem that today’s title is jarring. Why are we discussing the act of stealing? We have jumped into sifting through the 10 Commandments – week by week – and here we pick back up with the weekly Sermon Recap with Commandment number 8: Thou Shall Not Steal. It seems simple enough, right? Let us dive in with Lead Pastor Andrew Bach for more insight.

The motivation to obedience is unique to Christianity because of the uniqueness of Jesus. Jesus is the only thing leading us to obey out of our identity rather than for our identity. In Jesus, we get to obey freely from a place of acceptance rather than an imprisoning place of obeying for acceptance. As we look at the Laws of God, we have to remember that the Gospel is news in the past tense; Jesus has already accepted who we are.

Exodus 20:1-2: “And God spoke all of these words saying, ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.'” 

The preamble emphasizes this point: I, God, am your rescuer, and you have already been rescued. Now, here is what freedom looks like: His Law. We obey His commandment not so we can be free, but rather so that we can live free.

Exodus 20:15: “You shall not steal.”

Stealing: taking something for yourself that doesn’t belong to you. Stealing is offensive to both the individual and it’s offensive to humanity. It is human to have things under our care, and it’s what makes us feel human. Stealing is trampling on the care-taking rights of another human being; they lose a part of the world that was theirs to care for.

Genesis 1:26-29: 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.’ And God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.'”

There are two types of stealing:

  1. Wrong taking:
    1. There’s the obvious: breaking into cars, taking candy from a store,etc.
    2. (And the not so obvious): stealing time, which looks like not paying bills on time, being a poor employee on the clock, etc.
  2. Wrong keeping:
    1. Ephesians 4:28: “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.”
      1. According to this passage, you fall into one of two categories: you are either a thief or a radically generous person. Everything we have belongs to God, and He has given us these things not to own but to steward.
      2. Are you doing what God wants you to do with His money of which He has made you a steward? The Bible says everything belongs to God.
      3. It is sinful to steal, and it is sinful to work out of greed. However, it is honoring to God to work in order to give.
    2. Malachi 3:8-10: “Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”
      1. Are you looking for a way in, to give to God what is His, or are you looking for a way out?

Ephesians 4 gives us three options:

  1. You can steal
  2. You can work to live
  3. You can live to give

If you live to give, then your entire life becomes an expression of grace. We want to not be remembered for what we had, but for what we gave.

We steal because we don’t trust that God will provide what is best for us.

Hebrews 13:5: “Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.'” 

The key to not stealing is to trust God, and choose to trust Him rather than to choose comparison. His invitation says, “Trust me. I’ll be your helper”. And, he is worthy to be trusted, because He gave us the most precious gift in Jesus Christ so that we might find life and contentment and hope in Him.

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Join us on Sunday as we continue to discuss God’s Law!