Romans 3:27-31, 4:1-16
teacher: Jacob Bender
date: January 29, 2017
scriptures: Matthew 11:2-11, 2 Corinthians 4:18, Romans 5:5, Isaiah 61, Matthew 11
This message was given on our first fruit Sunday at Courage Church, a time when we plant a seed together for our church and the new year.
series: a case for bad choices
title: since the storm
teacher: Jacob Bender
date: October 2, 2016
scriptures: 1 Peter 5:10, Esther (whole story), Esther 3:5-6, James 1:2-4, John 13.
series: The Narrative of Grace
title: a family narrative
teacher: Jacob Bender
date: November 22, 2015
scriptures: Luke 1:46-56, Matthew 1, Genesis 15:1-6, Genesis 18:1-8, Matthew 25, Hebrews 13:2, Galatians 3:28, Genesis 18:9-15, Deuteronomy 31:6, Revelation 3:20, Genesis 12, Genesis 20, Genesis 21:1, Genesis 21:6
Mary’s Song of Praise: The Magnificat
“46 And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.”
We are in a series called “The Narrative of Grace” and the entire series is a look through the genealogy of Jesus Christ as recorded in the gospel of Matthew.
The reason that we started a message in a series based on Matthew 1, by looking at Luke 1, with Mary’s song, “The Magnificat,” is because it is an incredibly important, often overlooked part of the Christmas story. One of the first things that she says, essentially, and its so powerful, is that God is doing something, and it is going to bring injustice to its knees. I love how it says “He will fill those we are hungry with good things, but the rich he will send away empty.” This is not because it is bad to be wealthy… It is just like we talked about last week, Jesus has come for the ones who are hungry. They know that they need him and so he feeds them. It is the ones who think that they have everything figured out all on their own, because of what they have gained in their own lives, and in their own strength, that God is literally unable to work through. But Mary’s song is saying that no matter what you think you have or don’t have, God is going to level the playing field. If you hold what you have, you will lose it. Because He is God. and he hates injustice.
We will look at this song a little more in depth later in this series, but the part we are going to focus on today is the last part of the song.
what Mary was saying was this: The promise that was passed down from generation to generation is finally coming to pass.
and that promise was made to Abraham, for the first time in Genesis 12 and affirmed through the next several chapters in Genesis. That promise said that from Abraham’s seed, all of the families of the earth will be blessed. He promised a man with no children that he would be the Father of a great nation.
But Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew recorded 42 generations between that promise and Jesus birth. That is a lot of waiting. A lot of stories from Father’s being passed down to their sons for generation after generation. A lot of people thinking that the savior would come in their generation, only to watch their fathers who believed the same thing, pass away, and realize that their time was coming next.
It was 42 generations of disappointment.
It probably was beginning to feel more like a fairy tale than a reality.
But what Mary’s song says is essentially that grace is about to break through the broken genealogy, and the promise to Abraham will finally be fulfilled.
But at the beginning of the genealogy, God had another promise to fulfill.
Because Abraham could never be the Father of a great nation if he wasn’t a Father at all.
Series: The Fruit of the Spirit
Teacher: Jacob Bender
Date: August 23, 2015
scriptures: 2 Timothy 2:13, Genesis 15:6, Exodus 17, Romans 4:3, Galatians 3:6, James 2:26, 2 Corinthians 8:1-7, John 13, 1 Peter 2:2-5, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:44, John 12:27, Galatians 5, John 18, Hebrews 13:8
Faithfulness, as Paul uses it in Galatians 5 when listing the Fruit of the Spirit, is the Greek word pistis and it means “The character of one who can be relied on.”
The hack on the “Ashley Madison” website that was released this week was a pile of evidence (30 million users of evidence) as to how much our society does not value faithfulness. How much we lack pistis. The thing that bothered me so so much, and still does, about this website and the fact that it had so many users, is this: we have grown so incredibly numb to what a covenant even means in our society, that we have millions of people literally getting on a website and strategically looking for ways to break their promise to the person who is supposed to be their closest and most valued friend in all the world, and that is literally beyond my comprehension. The fact that this sight even existed, much less gained that much traction, is absolutely devastating to me.
But one thing that we have to remember in this extreme example of where we are as a society, is that we, as Christians, are citizens of a different kingdom… and we have been trusted with the gospel… the joy news that the war is over, that a new kingdom has been established, and that everyone is invited.
What that means for the Ashley Madison hack is this: There are a LOT of hurting people right now, who need the church to be FAITHFUL to them. The reality is, that sin has a cost, and the reality is, that what is done in darkness ALWAYS eventually comes to the light… and that day has come for everyone who was a registered user of that website.
But it is crucial, now, that the church responds by demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit toward the individuals caught in the act of adultery.
We talked during the “Goodness” message, about the woman caught in the act of adultery… and how Jesus petitioned on behalf of those who were guilty. I really believe that the Holy Spirit dropped that little thought on me last week (maybe to prepare my heart for how to respond this week to this news) about what Jesus was writing in the sand. That if he wanted us to know what he was writing…. If Jesus wanted us to know what the Pharisees had to see to cause them to walk away, he would have made sure it was written in the account.
But what if the reason he left it open, was so that we could apply it to our lives? What would you need to see written in the sand, that would make you lay down your stones and walk away… that would make you realize, “I am just as guilty?”
The Ashley Madison website is a reminder to how much our society does not value faithfulness. And the hack release is all the more evidence that what we do in secret will always be brought to the light sooner or later.
But it also needs to be a reminder to the Christian community that in a world that lacks faithfulness, it needs some people who still have it. Peoples marriages are in trouble because of this (obviously, they were in trouble before they got caught) but there is something different that is happening now. Their darkest decisions are now completely in the light.
People who made big mistakes are going to need people who will stand by them, not because what they did was okay, because it is not… But because at the end of the day, we are all just as guilty.
Remember, Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane was Faithful to his friends even though they were not faithful to him. Even though they couldn’t stay awake for one hour, even though he knew that Peter would deny him three times the following day… When the guards came for Jesus, he said (John 18:8) “If you seek me, let these men go.” – He said to the guards, “You can’t take my friends… do what you will with me.” Even in his darkest hour, Jesus’ faithfulness shined so bright. He drank the whole cup of wrath for the price of our sin. All the dregs and seeds and backwash. All the adultery and failed marriages and abortions and lies. All the unfaithfulness. All the works of the flesh that we are all guilty of, sometimes on a daily basis.
Let today be an opportunity for us to be more faithful than we ever have been before.