There are so many lyrics in that song that I love. I love “Promise Keeper.” It’s beautiful because the Christian faith, if you’re new to it, just understand what you’re walking into. You’re walking into us singing a song that is not us saying, “God, we’re going to be so awesome this week. We’re going to keep our promises to you.” That’s not what we’re saying.
We’re saying, “We’ve not kept our promises, but you’ve kept your promise to us.” It’s not a song where we’re declaring, “We’re going to figure it out. We’re going to find a way. We’re smart enough, and we’re awesome enough.” No. It’s a song that says, “You’re the one who finds the way. You’re the way maker.” You’re the one.
In a couple of moments, we’re going to take communion together. It reminds us of that. It reminds us that Christ looked at us in our weakness and our inability to make our way to him. Because of his great love for you, he came all the way here for you. He kept his promise. He had promised centuries before that a Savior would come, and Jesus was born here as our Savior. We’re going to continue to worship after we take communion, but this is a special time where we’re going to remember the body and the blood of our Savior.
Jesus, as we prepare our hearts in these couple of moments, help us to set our attention and our affection on you and to remember you, to remember what you did for us. In your name, I pray. Amen.
Go ahead and grab a seat. Let me explain what we’re about to do. Communion, which we’re going to take in a moment, is both a vertical meal and a horizontal meal. It’s a vertical meal between you and God. In a moment, our ushers will pass out bread and juice, and as you hold them, you’ll be able to remember this bread symbolizes his body which was given for me, and this cup, this juice, symbolizes his blood, which was poured out for me.
It’s also a horizontal meal. When you read the Scripture, never one time do you see in the Bible a command for you to take communion or the Lord’s supper by yourself. There’s no verse that says, “Go home tonight, and you, in the privacy of your home, take communion.”
No. Communion is to be taken in community because we remember, as we take communion, that we’re not the only ones who’ve been rescued, but we’ll see people around us who take communion, and they’ve been rescued too. It’s a meal we take together because we remember that he was given for us and our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Now, the Scripture says as you take the Lord’s supper or communion, you’re to examine your heart. This isn’t something you treat flippantly or lightly. This is important. This is Christ’s death for you. The Scripture actually encourages only believers, those of us who have already received his forgiveness, to take the meal. So if you’re not yet a Christian, so glad you’re here, but you don’t have to take this. This is for those of us who his body and his blood mean everything to us.
To remind us that this is both vertical and it’s also horizontal, I’m going to pray, and we’re going to watch a video as our ushers pass out the bread and the juice. The video is a story of Steven (3:58), a brother in our church. We’re going to hear how God has rescued him. As you hold the bread and the juice, you pray. Then I’ll come back, and I’ll lead us to take that together.
Jesus, we prepare our hearts now to receive this meal in remembrance of you. Amen.
Let’s watch this amazing story of God’s grace.
Steven: I was about 5-years-old when my dad stepped out. He was at the door, had his briefcase in hand. He was trying to convince me he’d be back, and he was going on a business trip. That’s my first memory as a kid that I can remember. It sabotaged our relationships with anybody. I was constantly seeking out something that I just didn’t have in our life. I’d say that God was like this thing I could not look up at. I guess I just didn’t really understand who he was.
I was about 13 when I started using drugs and alcohol. I was like, “Okay. Finally, I don’t have to worry about what people think. I don’t have to seek anybody’s approval. I don’t have to feel bad about myself. I don’t have to be insecure anymore. I have all the security in the world now.”
I was still using when I met my wife. I tried to live in both worlds: drugs and alcohol and church and marriage and normal life. Those two did not really go together. We had our daughter. I thought that would be the thing that would keep me sober. Still, there was something going on inside of me that I couldn’t defeat. I had thoughts, “You’re not good enough. You’re never going to be a good father. You’re never going to be the man you need to be for your family.” I’d wake up to that. It’d be a battle get out of it. At this point, I was at a true bottom.
I had tied an extension cord around my rafters in my garage. I was walking through every room in the house, trying to figure out, “Maybe I’ll find a reason to live.” I walked into my daughter’s room, and I looked at her crib. It was an instant moment of clarity. I hit my knees, and I just saw in a glimpse that if I do this, my daughter is going to end up the same way I’ve ended up.
I came to the chapel, and I sat down in my chair. I was begging God, “Please remove all this stuff from me. Take my addictions. Take my frustrations. Take my doubts. Take it from me because I can’t deal with this. I can’t do this anymore. I need help.”
I can’t explain what happened in that moment, but ever since that moment, my life has not been the same. He had told me, “You’re going to face troubles. You’re going to face evil, but I’m going to be with you.” I have to go to three or four meetings a week for support, surround myself with men of Mariners are on the same wavelength that I’m on. My eyes are open for the very first time, and now I get to walk on this different path than I’ve ever been on.
Most would look at my past and 100 percent completely agree that there is no redemption for me. Jesus’ death on that cross is why there is redemption in my life today.
[End of Video]
Eric: Jerry Seinfeld has a funny bit about us sports fans. He says that we really aren’t cheering for players because players move every several years from team to team. What sports fans really do is cheer for laundry. That every single week in stadiums like this, sports fans gather, and they cheer for the clothes from their city to beat the clothes from another city. Why do we do this?
In his book, The Secret Life of Sports Fans: The Science of Sports Obsession, Eric Simons quotes psychologists and researchers and scientists to understand why it is that we gather in stadiums like this. They all conclude the reason is we long for community. We long to be with others around a shared passion.
So every single week, people gather in stadiums like this, or they walk down streets and see people wearing familiar colors of a jersey of their favorite team. This is even true if you’re the sports fan in a losing city. Sorry, Cleveland. The reason it’s true, according to the researchers, is it’s actually better for you. You’re actually healthier and happier if you’re mourning or sad with people than you are when you’re alone.
As Christians, we know community is not something we invented, but community is a gift that God has given. He created us for community. Christian community is different; it’s deeper than other community. Because community around sports or around something else is community that is temporary.
Sports will come and go, but community that is built on Jesus is community that is eternal because Jesus is eternal and because his love is unending. This is the type of community we really were created for, and this is the community that changes us and sustains us.
[End of Video]
Jesus started this meal over 2,000 years ago, and it was a change in the meal. Jesus gathered with his disciples one night in the upper room. This was before he was going to the cross to die for us. It was Passover time, which was an annual Jewish celebration where they would take a meal and remember that their ancestors had in Egyptian slavery and captivity hundreds of years before, but God had miraculously rescued them. So they gathered, and they took a meal to remember they were rescued.
Jesus says, “I’m going to make this a new covenant. We’re in a series called NEW, and Jesus says, “This is new. What I’m about to do is new. The meal you took after Passover, after you were rescued… Your leader Moses gave you the first covenant, the law, and you haven’t been able to keep the law.” You haven’t been able to keep the law, and none of us have been able to keep the law, have we?
In fact, the law, the commands of God were given to show you that you couldn’t keep the commands of God, that you would need a rescuer who would come and keep them for you, and Jesus is that rescuer.
He says, “This now is the new covenant.
We’re no longer gathering to remember a meal that you’ve been rescued from Egyptian captivity. We’re going to have a meal now where we remember that we were rescued from the captivity of our foolishness and our own sinfulness. Jesus came here, and he did all the work for us. He put himself on the cross, and with his body, all our sin is placed on him. This is such good news because there’s no sin left on you if you belong to him. You are completely forgiven. You’re forgiven because of the grace and mercy of Jesus.
He says, “This is my body. Take and eat.” Jesus then took the cup, and he said, “This is the new covenant of my blood which is poured out for the forgiveness of sins. Take and drink.” After the disciples took communion together, they sang because singing helps us get the truth of Jesus deep down into our hearts. We’re going to remember that Jesus did not pay for some of our sin. He paid for all of it. Jesus paid it all. Let’s stand, and let’s declare this great truth.
Ephesians 2: Unity in Christ
We’re going to be in Ephesians 2 this morning, if you have your Bible. The passage of Scripture we’re going to study is on the insert in the bulletin you were handed when you came in. we’re going to talk about this gift of community. Christians and non-Christians, those who study what makes us healthy and happy, all of them agree that community is essential. Relationships with other people are essential. But the gift of Christian community is what we’re going to look at.
What we understand as we’re going to see this passage of Scripture is that when you became a Christian, you received the gift of forgiveness, but you also received the gift of Christian community. The passages we’re going to study in the book of Ephesians, which means it was written to a group of Christians in a church (just like this) in a city of Ephesus. The apostle Paul wrote them.
What’s fascinating about this passage we’re going to study is who it was written to. In the church of Ephesus, there were people who, before they became Christian, were Jewish, and there were Gentiles, and they all ended up in the same church. So when the Christian faith first started to explode, it exploded among the Jewish people.
Now in the city of Ephesus, there are non-Jewish people, Gentiles, who are becoming Christians, and they’re all together in the same church. They had been enemies before. They had grown up, if you grew in that culture, you grew up with disdain for the other. All of a sudden, they’re together in the same church.
In Southern California, there’s a flag that flies during football season in some homes, where there’s a UCLA spouse and a USC spouse, this is a house that is divided. We’re not supposed to like each other, but all of a sudden, we’re in the same home. This is essentially here, but much deeper than that.
The apostle Paul is writing to them and saying, “What you have in common is much deeper and much more significant than all of the things that you haven’t had in common you’re entire life. You grew up as enemies of one another, but now because of Christ, you are together.
I’m going to read you this passage, and I want you to follow along either on the screen or in your Bible. I want you to notice how many times the word peace is used and how many times the word one is used. You’ll actually see it eight different times. The apostle Paul says this.
“For he [Christ] is our peace who made both groups one…” He’s reminding them, “Your church has people who are Jewish and Gentile,” but he has made both groups one. “…and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In his flesh, he made of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations, so that he might create in himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace.”
This is beautiful. What this verse says we just celebrated this when we took communion. When Christ put himself on the cross, on the cross with him was the law and regulations that we couldn’t keep. Now we are at peace with God, but we are also, he’s saying, at peace with one another.
“He did this so that he might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross by which he put the hostility to death. He came and proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.”
The apostle Paul is speaking about peace, and he really is speaking about both vertical peace and horizontal peace. Vertical peace being that at one point in your life, you were hostile towards God. You may not have thought of yourself that way, but that’s what the Scripture says about each of us (me included).
Before we became Christian, we actually were hostile towards him. We set ourselves up as our own God, and therefore made ourselves, declared ourselves to be an enemy of God. We were hostile towards him. But he’s the one who made things right. We didn’t make things right. He made things right. He came here. He put himself on the cross, and because of that, we now have peace with God. Peace vertically. Really good news.
We also have peace horizontally. He says in this verse that there was this wall of hostility that separated you, but that wall has been torn down when Christ put himself on the cross. All of these differences that used to separate you, they are now are transcended by the good news of Jesus, and that is what unites you. So he’s speaking through the apostle Paul to these real Christians and saying, “Remember this unity that you have.” Unity is something that always grabs our attention.
Jesus said of his disciples, “By this [the fact that you’re one] everyone will know that you are my disciples…” He said, “People are going to know you’re mine if you’re loving one another by your unity. That’s what will get the attention of the world.
The Patriots united during the Super Bowl
Several years ago, when the New England Patriots won their first Super Bowl… I know some of you are grieving. The Patriots fans. For some reason, we have a lot of Patriots fans here. Dr. Seuss said, “Don’t cry that it’s over. Just be glad that it happened.” I know, that was a dig. Sorry. But they won their very first Super Bowl, and sports fans say that it’s one of the greatest moments ever in sports history. In fact, even announcers were blown away.
They were playing the St. Louis Rams at the time in the Super Dome. Each team had the opportunity to have either their offense or their defense introduced. The Rams had this high powered offense. It’s when Kurt Warner was the quarterback. He was the hero of every fantasy football league that year. They had Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce as the receivers.
The Rams chose their offense to be introduced, and they came out just like I would’ve. Like every kid who ever played football dreams of having your name announced and you run through the tunnel high-fiving everybody. This is the moment.
Then the Patriots are going to have somebody introduced. The sports announcers are debating, “Are they going to choose their offense or their defense because neither one of them are really known like the Rams’ offense was known. The Rams were supposed to win the game big time.
This was the first time this happened in sports history. The announcer says, “And now choosing to be introduced as a team, the New England Patriots,” and they just walk out as one. Now, the illustration wouldn’t work if they lost the game, but because they won the game, it’s this incredible story. It was this statement of unity, and it grabbed everybody’s attention.
The apostle Paul here is saying what makes us (Christians) one isn’t that you have the same uniform. What makes us one is that we’ve received the same Spirit. We’ve received the same salvation. We have the same Father. This is what makes us one.
You may be wondering, “Okay. I get it. We’re one. But what difference does that make for me as I live?” The apostle Paul anticipated that we would ask that, so he continues. Look with me a verse 19. This is what it means for you. This is actually how this plays out at street level, ground level, real life. You are one, and this is what it’s going to look like in your life.
“So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole building, being put together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you are also being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit.”
If the apostle Paul was in sophomore English class, the teacher would’ve pulled him aside and said, “You’re missing too many metaphors. There are three different metaphors that we’re going look at in these couple of verses, so we must understand that we believe this is God’s Word for us, and there are some things here he wants us to see. If you want to take notes, this is on your listening guide. In these couple of verses, there are three things we see about what it means, this new community that we have.
- New kingdom: we serve the King together.
The apostle Paul writes that we are fellow citizens. We’re a part of a new kingdom. The Christian faith, understand, is different from every other world religion. Every other world religion, to be in that religion, you have to submit yourself to some external things. Whether that’s a change in the food you eat, a change in your diet, that’s a change in the clothes that you wear, you must submit yourself to some externals.
The Christian faith is very different. What unites us isn’t that we dress the same, eat the same foods, or submit ourselves to a list of external things. What unites us is we’ve all bowed to the same King. The Christian faith is not a list of external things. It’s internal submission to the same King (King Jesus) who has rescued us.
So we’re all citizens, not because we dress the same, look the same, talk the same, have the same preferences, have the same political affiliations, or the same economic policies. What makes us one isn’t those externals. What makes us one is we all have the same King. We’ve been rescued us by King Jesus. That’s what makes us one.
I want you to understand this. This means it makes the Christian faith very beautiful, but also for some, confusing. This means that if you’re a Christian, you have more in common (I want you to hear this) with someone on the other side of the world who has very different externals that you do but bows to the same King that you have bowed before.
You have more in common with that person than you have in common with someone who lives on the same street as you, votes the same way, listens to the same music on Spotify, and enjoys the same restaurants but hasn’t bowed to King Jesus. We have more in common with those who have also bowed before the Lord because now we are brought together into the same kingdom.
Some people who are skeptical against the Christian faith…in this moment, maybe you are one of those people, and we’re so glad you’re here…they say, “Whenever Christians start talking about this other kingdom, you can become less good to this world. You get so focused on this other kingdom, but what about the pain in this world? What about the injustices in this world? What about the suffering here?”
It’s a fair question. C.S. Lewis answered this question this way. I love this answer, and I believe it. He said this.
“If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this [world].”
Just remember the Kingdom that you are first a part of. The kingdom that Jesus is building is the kingdom that you’ve been invited into, and you’ve bowed before King Jesus. That is the first kingdom you’re a part of, which means I want us to be more passionate as a church. I want us to be more passionate and more affectionate for the advancement of his kingdom than we are for the kingdoms of this world. And yes, I’m saying that going into an election cycle.
I want us to be very cautious that we don’t allow our affections for ever-changing kingdoms of this world to trump our affection and our passion for his kingdom And, I want to just encourage you. No one’s ever been convinced to join your political affiliation based on your Facebook rant. It’s never happened.
So realize that the Christian faith you’re a part of transcends ethnicity, transcends culture, transcends political affiliation. The Christian faith you’re a part of is God pulling people together who have all bowed before King Jesus. Let’s let that kingdom be the kingdom that we’re most passionate about.
Jesus said it this way in John 18. “My kingdom is not of this world…” This is as Jesus is going to the cross, and he is being arrested. “‘My kingdom is not of this world,’ said Jesus. ‘If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. But as it is my kingdom is not from here.”
Here’s what Jesus is saying of his disciples. They’re not fighting that fight because they care most about the kingdom. Let’s be sure we are most passionate and affectionate for that kingdom. It goes even deeper with the second one.
- New family: we belong to one another.
We’re in this teaching series called NEW. This new relationship that God gives us and he pulls us into this new family. This is deeper than just being fellow citizens. According to verse 19, we are in the same household. We are members of the same household.
I grew up in the New Orleans area. When I did at the church I grew up in, all the guys called each other brother. When I brought a friend who wasn’t a Christian, it kind of wigged them out. They’re like, “Man, this was weird. All you dudes are related. brother so-and-so. brother so-and-so.” This is a weird thing. It’d be like brother DK, brother Colby, brother Darius, brother Eric.
It was hard for me as a senior in high school to explain to my friends that we’re not really family but… It was hard to explain. The reason our church did that, this small little church I grew up in in the New Orleans area, is because we had this theological understanding that he’s our Father, and now we’re all family.
Listen, I don’t care if we call one another brother. That could be a little weird. But what I do care about is that we view one another as brother and sister. I do care that we do treat one another as brother and sister because we’ve been put together into this same family. He cares that we treat one another as family.
Our family, and this family, and the Christian family as a whole are not perfect, just like your family is not perfect. No family is perfect. In our family, we have some crazy cousins. We do. Every family has them. We aren’t perfect. We don’t always treat one another the way we should. We compete with one another. We don’t always express forgiveness to one another. Sometimes we carry bitterness towards one another. We are not a perfect family.
But we have a dad who keeps telling us, “Treat your brother as your brother. Treat your sister as your sister. We have a Father who actually cares how we treat one another because it’s his family, and he’s put us into it. He’s adopted us, and he wants us to treat one another as we belong to one another. That’s what he wants.
A couple of years ago, I accidentally joined a family. I’ll explain. I had the same pickup truck for 18 years. It was a Nissan pickup truck I got my freshman year of college. It was awesome. I made this commitment. I had read this Christian financial guy who said, “Drive your car until it dies. Then pick it up, dust it off, and drive it some more.” So I did. Eighteen years. I never got a speeding ticket the whole 18 years because I couldn’t. When it got to 70 miles an hour, it started shaking violently.
I had this whole dream that entire time to one day get a Jeep Wrangler. Sometimes, when I lived in Miami, I would imagine Jeep Wrangler and taking the top off and driving down to the Florida Keys. I would get on Jeep’s website and customize my own ride. I wanted a Jeep so badly.
My truck finally died, and Kaye, my wife, she went and bought me a Jeep. She did. She knew that’s what I wanted. Man, it was awesome. The windows actually roll down. It was amazing. Everything was working. Then, it was crazy. People started waving at me as I was driving the Jeep.
I was like, “That’s what I’m talking about. Finally, somebody recognizing. What’s up.” So I was excited that random people are waving at me. I’m waving back. This is awesome. I have a new Jeep, and everybody knows what’s up. I’m just waving to folks.
Then I started noticing after a couple weeks that everyone who is waving at me also had a Jeep Wrangler. So I did some research, and I came across a dissertation that was done at a University. Someone even got their doctorate in this, studying the cult of Jeep, the Jeep family, the Jeep people. There were forums on how you are to wave to other Jeep Wrangler drivers.
I realized I had been doing it wrong. You can’t do this. You’re supposed to kind of do this. But only to Jeep Wranglers. You’re not supposed to do that to a Jeep Cherokee driver. Sorry. You don’t count. You’re not in the family. You don’t count. Only Jeep Wranglers are in the family. I have loved it. My wife Kaye loves driving the Jeep. She’s like, “Everybody is nice to me.” She just loves being in that family.
But what I’ve learned is it’s a shallow family. No offense to other Jeep Wrangler owners, I’m in the family, but it’s kind of shallow because what I’ve learned is I’m only in the family when I’m in the Jeep. There are times I’ve taken my wife’s car, and I’m driving, and I forget I’m in her car. I’m still thinking I’m in the Jeep. I see a Jeep Wrangler coming towards me. I do this, and he’s like, “Pfft. I’m not waving. Who’s this guy?” So I’m only in the family when I’m in the Jeep.
This is way better. Christian community is way better because I’m always in. Here’s why. When I’m not always in the Jeep, the Spirit of God is always in me. Therefore, I’m always in Christian community. You’re always in. You’re always in the family because you have a Father who’s adopted you. He’s placed you in this beautiful Christian family.
- New temple: we seek God together.
Not only do we have the same family, deeper than just citizens. Not only is it a new family. This is staggering, and I want to explain this to you, but this verse says we also together are a new temple. We seek God together.
I really want you to understand this because this can be a confusing image here in this passage. The apostle Paul says, “Jesus is the cornerstone of this temple, and the foundation is the message [the gospel] that the prophets have taught. Jesus is the cornerstone. The message is the foundation. But you are now part of this temple that’s being built, which means, every time somebody receives the grace of Jesus and receives his forgiveness, the temple gets bigger and bigger.”
That’s what he’s teaching in this verse. That Jesus is the cornerstone, but the temple keeps getting bigger and bigger because he keeps rescuing more and more people. He’s building this glorious temple filled with people from every tribe, tongue, and nation that he’s bringing to himself, and we are now in this temple.
It’s not the only time in the Scripture that you’re called the temple. Sometimes in Scripture, the temple is referred to us collectively being the temple, and other times, it’s referred to you individually.
Let me show you individually. This is you, just as an individual. In 1 Corinthians 6:19, the Scripture says, “Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God?” This is what the verse says. That when you became a Christian, the Holy Spirit of God moved into your life, and the Holy Spirit lives with you at all times.
This is both convicting and comforting at the same time. It’s convicting for me. Because that means that the Holy Spirit of God moved in the moment I became a Christian, and that means the Holy Spirit of God has been with me the times that I have not been the husband I should be, the father I should be. The Holy Spirit has been in me the times I’ve lost my cool and lost my temper. The Holy Spirit has been in me and grieved because I haven’t listened to his prompting, but I’ve gone my own way. So that is convicting when I read this verse.
It’s also very comforting because the Holy Spirit has been with me through everything. He’s there, and he’s never going to leave me or forsake me, and he’s never going to leave you or forsake you. The Spirit of God is always with you. You’re this temple of the Spirit. Now, this verse is saying, “We together, this Christian community, this new community, are the temple.” We’re the temple.
I want you to see this. Actually, I’ve studied the Bible for over 20 years, but this week, preparing for this, this is a new learning for me. I want you to see this. In the Old Testament, before Jesus came, the temple was huge in the Jewish culture. In fact, the king of Israel, David, once prayed this. This was his New Year’s resolution, perhaps. He said, “This is the one thing I want. As I begin a new year, this is the one thing I’m going after.” Psalm 27:4.
“I have asked one thing from the Lord; it is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, gazing on the beauty of the Lord and seeking him in his temple.”
Hang with me. Old Testament: David says, “I so badly want to be in the temple, because when I’m in the temple, I gaze on the beauty of God, and the beauty of God changes me. I don’t want anything else. I don’t want a new car. I don’t want a new this. If there’s one thing I want, I want this. I want to see the beauty of God, and I see the beauty of God in the temple.”
Get to the New Testament, the apostle Paul writes a group of Christians and says, “Let me tell you what your temple is. Your temple is the community that you have with other brothers and sisters in Christ. That’s where you’re going to see the beauty of God. You’re going to see the beauty of God in community.”
I thought about my community. I thought about my life group that Kaye and I are in together and how I see the beauty of God as, “That’s my temple. That’s my community.” I thought about Aaron this week. Aaron is a guy in our group who’s very successful in his business career and oversees a lot of people. I see a lot of God in Aaron because he talks and asks for prayer for how he’s going to influence people in his career, and how he’s going to love them well and serve them well, and how they’re going to see Jesus in his life. I look at Aaron, and I see the beauty of God.
Bryan (36:29) in our group. He’s the most compassionate and sensitive guy. He’s always texting and asking how he can pray for me. He’s always quick to meet any need. He’s a doctor, so we have a deal that he can ask me any random theological question, and I can send him a picture of a disease, and he can give me medicine. So there’s that too. But I see the beauty of God in Bryan.
There’s Tammy (36:59) who’s in our life group. She’s a new Christian. She, just in the last year, understands Jesus and the gospel and has given her life to him. I see the questions she asked and the joy, and the joy she has in the forgiveness of God. It makes me remember when I first became a Christian. I see the beauty of God. That’s my temple. I so badly want you to have a temple, a place where you’re going to behold the beauty of God.
I was sharing with Kaye, my wife, this week, all about our life group. She was like, “Yeah, then there’s one guy in our group who’s way less of a jerk this year than he was last year. He’s kinder and more patient.” I’m like, “Which guy are you talking about?” She said, “You, baby. I’m talking about you.”
“Thanks. Thank you. Thank you for that. Thank you, sweetie.” It is true that community actually helps us become more and more like him. Our church is going to do everything we can to help you get into community, but are you like David, who’s saying, “There’s one thing I want. I want to see the beauty of God. I want to see God’s beauty”? The place for you to see God’s beauty, your temple is, to be in community.
At the end of one of our services, most weeks, we sing. The reason we do that is we believe that there’s a message that God reveals the truth to us, and we want to respond. Revelation. Response. Revelation. Response. That’s the rhythm we go. It’s not accidental. We don’t do it just because that what was done before us. We believe we look at the revelation of God, and then we respond, and we sing.
This week, we’re going to respond differently. Instead of singing, the response is going to be for you to ask yourself to pray and ask, “Am I doing all I can to be in community, to be in a temple that grows me where I can behold the beauty of God.”
In your bulletin, there is an insert that on one side has Rooted, and the other side has a life group. If you are new to our church, and you have not yet gone through Rooted, I want to invite you, ask you, to sign up for Rooted. You can do it on your phone. You can do it out on the Patio.
I know there are a bunch of you who haven’t been through Rooted. Any given weekend now compared to last year will have 1,500 to 2,000 more people here every weekend, which means there are a bunch of you who haven’t yet gone through Rooted. It’s how you really are going to get into community at Mariners. It’s how my life group started was through Rooted. It’s a 10-week journey, a 10-week course.
I know some of you are slammed and busy. Do you think King David was busy when he said, “There’s one thing I want. It’s to see the beauty of God”? Do you think he had a bunch of stuff on his desk? Do you think he had a bunch of responsibilities? Do you think he had a lot of people who were asking him for his wisdom and his insight? He says, “I know I have all of that. I’m the king. But the one thing I want is to behold the beauty of God and to gaze at his face. I want to be in his temple. I want to be in the place that grows me.” Do you?
If you’ve been through Rooted and you haven’t yet, or your group is no longer meeting, on the other side, there are instructions on how you can get plugged into a different group. We want you to start with Rooted, but if you’ve already been through Rooted, and you’re not in a group, we’ll help you get into another group. Do you want to see the beauty of God?
In a moment, if there’s something going on in your life, you don’t have to carry that alone. We’re a community for you. So we’ll have a team of people right here to my left who will pray with you (right at those lights).
If your need today is prayer for healing. We have a community of elders who will pray over you. To get to our elder prayer room, you go through the doors in the back, and you take a right. That’s for spiritual healing, physical healing, emotional healing. You don’t have to carry that alone. We want to be a community for you. We are for you. Our church loves you. We want to walk with you.
I’m going to ask you to stand, and I’m going to pray a prayer of blessing over you as we go. Will you stand and extend your hands.
Father, I thank you for my brothers and sisters, your sons and daughters. I pray this new week in your life that you would bless them and keep them. I pray that you would cause your face to shine on them. I pray this new week, they would remember how far and deep and wide is the love of Christ for them. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen.
Go in peace. Have a great week.