Sunday – May 26, 2013, “The Essence of Hell”

May 26, 2013 – Read the Word on Worship

The Essence of Hell from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

Mark’s record of the Gethsemane scene is the darkest of the four gospels. Matthew’s account describes Jesus’ grief as simply grieving while Luke omits all references to Jesus’ grief entirely. The lack of description in the other gospels has caused many to wonder why Mark includes this description of anguish and wrongly concludes that Jesus suffered from an eleventh hour crisis of nerve. Join us as we look at Mark 14 verses 26 to 42 and learn the lessons of the Garden of Gethsemane and explore the “Essence of Hell” as Jesus prays to His heavenly Father.

Word On Worship – May 26, 2013 Download / Print

Mark 14:33-36
He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be very distressed and troubled. And He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.” And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.”

Mark’s record of the Gethsemane scene is the darkest of the four gospels. Matthew’s account describes Jesus’ grief as simply grieving while Luke omits all references to Jesus’ grief entirely. The lack of description in the other gospels has caused many to wonder why Mark includes this description of anguish and wrongly conclude that Jesus suffered from an eleventh hour crisis of nerve. How can Jesus challenge James and John to drink His cup when He now seemly shrinks from it Himself?

If we attempt to discount the strong emotions of Mark’s description then we fail to see that Jesus has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). Many explanations have been suggested to explain His trembling and tears. Did He know the sins of the world were to be laid upon Him? Maybe it was from contemplating dying by a cursed method of hanging from a tree? Others suggest it was being abandoned by His closest friends when the disciples lose faith and scatter leaving Him alone.

Jesus’ mental torment during the waiting in the garden was yet another temptation He had to face. The suffering Jesus experienced at the beatings and floggings were a physical ordeal. But it is the anxiety of waiting that can make one fall to pieces. Jesus knew infinitely more about the holiness and righteousness of God and what would be required to pay for the sins of the world. Jesus was not worrying about the future as we do. He is not exaggerating possibilities. He knew precisely what the future held. What He anguishes over is exactly what He will experience and knew He must call upon His Father and to entrust Himself to His will.

So what do we get from Mark’s gospel which is not included in the other gospels accounts of the long night of Gethsemane? Mark allows us to see Jesus following His own teaching to the disciples – praying and drawing closer to His Father. Hearing Jesus pray at this moment of great crisis is the example He wants each of us to follow. Satan battles for every human heart and we are hardwired by sin to try to save our own lives. The disciples are no example to us as they flee in the night when Judas changes sides and Peter denies Him publicly. Jesus, our Great High Priest, resolves the anguish by coming to His Father in prayer and obediently submitting to the will of the God.

Sunday – May 19, 2013, Can Good Works Get You to Heaven?

May 19, 2013 – Read the Word on Worship

Can Good Works Get You to Heaven? from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

Do you want to go to heaven? Of course you do, who wouldn’t want to go to heaven? But how do plan on getting there? Work a deal with God? Perform some special act of service? Elder Ken McAuley takes us into a thoughtful examination of Galatians 2 and 3 as he examines the basis of our salvation and the natural tendency to gratefully accept salvation by grace, but then seek to fall back on good works to demonstrate your worthiness to enter the Kingdom of God.

Word On Worship – May 19, 2013 Download / Print

(Galatians 2:16)
… a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus.

Often we think that by doing something good we will please God in some way for our personal benefit. Our thought is that we can do something that we consider good and that it will also fall into God’s category of good. Most of the time, we hope that it will result in what we want to accomplish, whether it pleases God or not. In other words, our desire is not primarily to please God, but to get what we want. It may not be something evil, just not focused on God. It may be hypocritical or selfish or designed to draw attention to ourselves and we wonder why our prayers are not answered. Surely God has our interests at heart.

Take Lent, for example. What are we giving up, something evil? Then why don’t we give it up for the rest of our lives? Is it something that we consider needful, a sacrifice, to show God that we depend on Him to supply? Then why don’t we depend on Him to supply all the time? The point is, are we trying to please God or impress someone else of our piety? God knows our heart and He’s not impressed.

Are we trying to work our way into Heaven with our good works? Do you realize that God says in His Word that we are on the wrong track? Our motives are corrupt.  Whether you take it from the Psalms 14:1-3 or Romans 3:10-12, the truth about our works of self-righteousness remains the same.  Everything we generate from our own thinking is tainted in some way, and ultimately falls short when it comes to His righteousness or goodness (Romans 3:23).  But He has a fix for this dilemma.

Did you ever give any thought as to why Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Almighty God had to go through all that torture and shame and death?  Because in God’s way of thinking, there was no other way!  Jesus Christ was the perfect sacrifice, as a human, for our sin because He was without sin. Because Jesus Christ was without sin He satisfied the requirement of a Holy God to pay the just consequence for our sin.  The only thing He requires from us is to believe that to be true and place our trust in what Christ did, not in anything we can do.  He then places His Spirit within us to inspire us to do things that are truly good.  Then getting into Heaven is no longer an issue because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. But our works, whether good or not so good, testify of our relationship to Him and can affect how we live there.

Sunday May 12, 2013, Mother’s Day: Et Tu Mommy?

May 12, 2013 – Read the Word on Worship

Mother’s Day 2013: Et Tu Mommy? from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

It is very easy for many to speak in glowing terms about their mother’s especially on Mother’s Day. But what about those who see Mother’s Day as a painful reminder? How does the young woman who has had an abortion or the young man who has know idea of what a father looks like because so many men have passed through their home because his mother’s immorality celebrate Mother’s Day? Jesus offers to call everyone who believes into a new family, a closer family, than any earthly experience we may have. Join us this week as we look at Jesus teaching on who is His mother and who are His brothers and sisters from Matthew 12 verses 46 to 50.

Word On Worship – May 12, 2013 Download / Print

Matthew 12:48-50
But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?”   And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers!   “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”

Every news story we read or see on television seems to hinge on morality. Whether the issue is over homosexual marriage, immigration reform, health care, or even taxation (even sugary drinks and obesity are now issues of morality in our state), there are denomination and special interest groups which have become very visible and very vocal in promoting their agendas. Even evangelicals have become active in proclaiming morality, patriotism, and fidelity to traditional American values. And so everyone, from the left to the right, is trying to grab the ear of a legislator to turn the morality of the nation in a direction they approve.

As Christians, we must be concerned about moral and ethical issues. God’s Word is unequivocal in its standards of righteous living, justice and social responsibility and we should reflect that same standard. But morality cannot be separated from a right relationship to God. In fact the Scriptures give us many examples of the dangers of morality separated from right relationship from God such as the Pharisees. They were committed to the highest human standard of religion and ethics and were so convinced of their self-righteousness that when God Himself lived amongst them they rejected Him and crucified Him. Their acts of morality only cleaned the outside of the cup, but never brought regeneration or redemption of the soul.

Being rightly related to Christ, however, requires more than self righteousness or a verbal promise of loyalty to God. Jesus warned the disciples in the Sermon on the Mount that “not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)  In fact many of these same people will point to incredible deeds and miracles they may even attribute to God. But these works of righteousness were not accompanied with a right relationship to the Lord. A saving relationship with Jesus Christ only comes from a submitting to Him and receiving the gift of salvation He offers.

Morality changes the outside of a person, in its best sense, but in some cases, it is barrier to the changes required of the heart. A right relationship with Jesus Christ brings about new life, both inside and outside. The central truth of the Scriptures is that Jesus Christ came to the earth to save sinners, which requires transformation not merely reformation. The message of the gospel, and also of the church, is not a call to clean living for the sake of morality, but a call to deliverance from sin through the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sunday – May 5, 2013, “Promises, Promises”

May 5, 2013 – Read the Word on Worship

Promises, Promises from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

We are often told about the faithfulness of God and the promises He has made to the believer, but how certain are you about these promises made to you. It is one thing to believe these promises made to the church from a generic sense, but it is another to realize these promises were given to you. Join Elder Ken McAuley as he examines the faithfulness of God and how that is pictured in the marriage relationship from his study on Matthew 19 verese 1 to 12 and Jeremiah 6.

Word On Worship – May 5, 2013 Download / Print

Gal. 3:21-22
Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

I promise. What does that mean to you?  Does it have built-in conditions or provisions that one is supposed to expect?  Or, is it unconditional and you intend to keep it no matter what?  Usually it is something in between. You intend to keep it, but there might be circumstances that might keep you from fulfilling it. It’s like a handshake. It might mean that your word is for sure, but if it isn’t in writing, it might not hold up in court.

It seems as though we don’t care about our promises anymore unless it’s convenient. It used to be that we would fight if someone called into question something that we said. It’s sad that our word can’t be taken at face value anymore. Jesus told us that our yes should be yes and our no, no. In other words I think we should give more thought to what we say so that we don’t have to go back on our word so easily.

Our marriage vows are like that. We promise to love and to cherish, no matter what, until death. But prior to saying our vows we make prenuptial agreements that look forward to the failure of our marriage for any reason at all. What a sad commentary on today’s society. Why don’t we make plans to stay together and nurture our relationship in every possible way? If we did, our children wouldn’t have to go through counseling the rest of their lives because they imagine that somehow they were the cause of our breakup when it was only because of our own selfishness. The reasons for divorce may sound good at a given time because one or both parties have been hurt or angered, but there is nothing that can’t be remedied if divorce wasn’t so easy and commitment so weak.

What if Jesus had told His Father, God, that He didn’t want to go through the pain and suffering of the cross because we, the people whom He had created with whom to have fellowship, had no integrity? They couldn’t keep their promises so why should God keep His? His Father would have simply reminded Him that they, we, needed someone to be the example and show the way. After all, He created us, not the other way around. He promised to redeem us from death that leads to Hell, and He kept His promise even though it cost the death of His only begotten Son. Have you received the Gift that He has provided at such great cost? That is the only way to have fellowship with Him in His Heaven. We are incapable of getting to that place by our own efforts, no matter how good we are.