Sunday – April 14, 2013, “The Proper Wife”

April 14, 2013 – Read the Word on Worship

The Proper Wife from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

The prophetic allegory in the Old Testament illuminates the New Testament.


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John 5:39-40
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.

As the speaker, Jesus is referring to what we now call the Old Testament. Today, many assume that because we have a New Testament that the Old one is nullified or at best a historic curiosity and at worst a mythical depiction of a vengeful, almost sadistic God. Indeed, there are Christian groups and denominations that say they would not follow or want a God who would tell the Jews to slaughter the inhabitants of the land of Canaan. They only want a God of LOVE. And that love is defined by their limited understanding and desires, not necessarily as defined by God and revealed in the scripture Jesus is addressing.

However, Jesus gave validity to the Old Testament. He quoted the scriptures of the Old Testament a multitude of times, referring to them as absolute truth from God the Father. The problem is not that the scriptures are out of date, as some suggest. The problem is many don’t study the Old Testament, and don’t know the scriptures well enough to see the truth clearly. What they see they discount because it does not fit their preconceived notions. Also, they believe false assessments and interpretations of those who are advancing another gospel cleverly disguised as truth by their language or sincerity. The truth is that God the Father has revealed his plan for man’s salvation throughout the Old Testament.

This revelation is purposely deep enough to prevent a casual reader, curiously interested in the intellectual and informational content only, from grasping God’s deep truths. Yet, the revelation is simple enough for the sincere seeker to see the completeness and unity of God’s plan for the redemption of mankind throughout both Testaments. The plan remains unchanged from the God who is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow. And Jesus makes it clear in John 5:39 that the scriptures testify about him – as the redeemer of mankind. As Jesus often said, “let he who has ears hear and he who has eyes see.”

Today, we have an advantage – we see the Old Testament through the magnifying glass of the New Testament. We can more easily see Jesus and his redemption through his sacrifice in the pages of the Old Testament. For example, in Isaiah 9:6,7 we see the prophesied miraculous birth of Jesus the savior and his reign as king in his kingdom forever. In Genesis Chapter 5 we see God’s complete plan of salvation of man explained by joining the root meaning of the succession of names in the chronology from Adam to Noah.

In the Genesis account of Abraham and Isaac we again see God’s salvation plan in an innocent willing to be sacrificed. Through Abraham and Isaac, we see the miraculous birth of a son, followed by a father willing to sacrifice this only son, the providing of the real sacrifice by God himself and finally the choosing of a willing and perfect bride for the son. All are prophetic allegories of the purchase of the bride of Christ for salvation and new life with him. Let he who has ears hear and he who has eyes see.

Sunday – April 7, 2013, “The Promise”

April 7, 2013 – Read the Word on Worship

The Promise from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

We often look at the Old Testament as being a collection interesting stories of long ago. Why has the Lord included these stories in his word? What is the purpose of these stories? Are they more than just stores? How do they speak to us today? How do they reveal God’s plan?

We begin our exploration by taking a deeper look at the significance of the Old Testament stores concerning the events surrounding Abraham, the birth of his son, Isaac and the call for the sacrifice of Isaac.


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1 Samuel 18:1-4
After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return to his father’s house. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.

I do not know what David said to Saul that impressed Jonathan – his faith in God, his humble spirit or the care David had for the people of Israel; but it is clear from this point forward they were kindred spirits. We also know David and Saul will struggle for the remainder of Saul’s days. For better or for worse, Jonathan and Saul will represent the two possible responses people in Israel will have to David and his kingdom.

Jonathan provides the most excellent picture of the love that God requires of us toward His Son. This is symbolized so beautifully when Jonathan removes his robe and armor to provide them to David. Throughout the Bible, the robe is the outward representation of authority. In Genesis, it was the robe given to Joseph that symbolized his authority in Jacob’s home. Before Aaron died (Numbers 20:22-28) his priestly garments were removed so that they could be worn by his son Eliezar. Even in the gospels the woman with the issue of blood looked to just to touch the hem of Jesus robe, the symbol of his authority while he was here on earth. The offering made by Jonathan is not “above the call of duty” but rather the fulfillment of his duty.

Saul’s response to David is similar to the disciples; and sadly, of many in the church today – jealousy, competition and self-recognition. The disciples were continually looking to see who would be the greatest in the kingdom, and indignant with any other disciple that seemed to outdo them. Jesus had to continually remind them that the first will be last while the last is first and in Mark 9:35 “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” Saul failed to grasp this truth as well.

Today, all who are born of the Spirit are given a spiritual gift or gifts to enable them to excel in the ministry they have been called as a blessing to others in the Body of Christ. We can both rejoice in the strengths God has given to others and seek to benefit from their ministry or we can resist them with a competitive spirit. How much criticism of those serving the Lord is rooted in jealousy and envy rather than faithfulness to God and His Word? Let each one here guard against jealousy. Many wonderful things in ministry are obscured by the ugly face of jealousy because we have made ministry about how it will make us appear to the world around us.

Sunday – March 10, 2013

March 10, 2013 – Read the Word on Worship

The Darkside of the Second Coming from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

Christians today continue to ask the same question as the disciples: When will these things happen? They want Jesus to give them the key to identify exactly when the end will come. History is riddled with predictions, and when they are proven to be as foolish as the last, they revise their calculations based on some obscure biblical passage they failed to take into consideration. Others compile their “rapture index” charting out the latest earthquake, civil war or cosmic disturbance to gauge the probability of the nearness of Christ’s return to the delight of an audience seeking to escape rather than persevere.
Do not be a victim of Last Days entertainment. The most important thing we as Christians have been called to do is preach the gospel to all nations. When the Lord Jesus returns, He will not quiz us on whose prediction was accurate but rather will want an accounting of what we have been doing. Were we proclaiming the gospel? Were we enduring suffering faithfully? Did we love others as we have loved ourselves? Those who have been asleep on the job will not just be embarrassed when the Lord returns, they will be judged.
Join us this Sunday as we conclude our study of the Olivet Discourse from Mark 13 in “The Dark Side of the Second Coming”.


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Mark 13:35-37
“Therefore, be on the alert — for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning — in case he should come suddenly and find you asleep. “What I say to you I say to all, ‘Be on the alert!’”

Christians today continue to ask the same question as the disciples: When will these things happen? They want Jesus to give them the key to identify exactly when the end will come. History is riddled with predictions, and when they are proven to be as foolish as the last, self-proclaimed experts revise their calculations based on some obscure biblical passage they failed to take into consideration. Others compile their rapture index, charting out the latest earthquake, civil war or cosmic disturbance to gauge the probability of the nearness of Christ’s return to the delight of an audience seeking to escape rather than persevere.

We turn on the television to see pastors identify the Antichrist from their list of those they do not like and then preach fear to audiences that he is set to pounce and devour his prey. Others fall into extremist groups that quit their jobs, sell their homes and turn their backs on the world as they wait for the appointed time for Jesus to take them away from their earthly woes. Jesus specifically warns against such end-times hysteria, deliberately providing no sign or event that is helpful for fixing a specific date. Yet false teachers continue to pop up and reduce Christianity to simple answers to exploit the fears and the weaknesses of the saints for a handsome profit.

The temptation of end-of-the-world hysteria is to lead the saints astray from the very counsel of our Lord Jesus: Be alert. The life of the saint, whether in the first or twenty-first century, is full of painful paradoxes, tensions and uncertainty. Yet the Lord requires His saints to walk by faith, not by the comfortable security of sight. And so we fall prey to those who speak about what is next to happen on the world stage and we are told nothing about living in the light of such news, except to send in more money. Unlike Jesus, they provide no ethical implications for how this affects the way we live our lives, no urgency to share the gospel and no command to find ourselves to be ready.

Do not be a victim of Last Days entertainment. The most important thing we as Christians have been called to do is preach the gospel to all nations. When the Lord Jesus returns, He will not quiz us on whose prediction was accurate but rather will want an accounting of what we have been doing. Were we proclaiming the gospel? Were we enduring suffering faithfully? Did we love others as we have loved ourselves? Those who have been asleep on the job will not just be embarrassed when the Lord returns, they will be judged.

Sunday – November 25, 2012

November 25, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

Can We Franchise the Church? from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

The disciples, as do many church leaders today, have an over inflated view of leadership. They want to lead so others will serve them. So as the disciples argue with the teachers of the law over their failure to cast out a demon earlier, they have no problem chastising another who is successfully casting out demons in Jesus name because he was not one of them. They want to control the rights to Jesus name, as if they held exclusive rights to the franchise. This elitist worldview has continued down the centuries and infected generation after generation with pettiness and politics. If Jesus were to ask the leaders of the Church today the same question about which we are arguing, would the silence be any louder than it was with the twelve? Join this week as we continue our study in the Gospel of Mark in the first part of Mark 9 verses 30 to 50.


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Mark 9:30-31
From there they went out and began to go through Galilee, and He did not want anyone to know about it. For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later.”

The ministry of Jesus at this point in Mark’s gospel now shifts from public ministry to a time of intensive training of the twelve. Jesus was never swayed by the adoration of the masses, but now as He turns to Jerusalem one final time, His focus is on these few who will carry the gospel forward to the world. Jesus tells them again His destiny is to be rejected by men who will kill Him but he will be resurrected on the third day. It is here Jesus adds a new detail to His previous statement of suffering: He will be betrayed by one of His own into the hands of men.

They should have been worried about who it will be among them who will betray the Lord of Glory, but instead it becomes a catalyst to debate about who is the greatest. It will continue as they argue with the successful exorcist because he does not follow them. Their need for recognition will also be an issue at the Last Supper as Peter will argue that he will be more faithful than the rest. The picture we are given by Mark is showing Jesus walking ahead to Jerusalem to be sacrificed as the disciples push and shove to establish the order of the procession behind Him.

The disciples, as do many church leaders today, have an over-inflated view of leadership. They want to lead so others will serve them. So as the disciples argue with the teachers of the law over their failure to cast out a demon earlier, they have no problem chastising another who is successfully casting out demons in the name of Jesus because he was not one of them. They want to control the rights to His name, as if they held exclusive rights to the franchise. This elitist worldview has continued down the centuries and infected generation after generation with pettiness and politics. If Jesus were to ask the leaders of the Church today the same question about which we are arguing, would the silence be any louder than it was with the twelve?

The “cult of personality” is alive and well in the church today as it was with the twelve on the road to Jerusalem. How often is the pastor given top billing above Jesus, just as members of the local body seek for their name in the bulletin or church newsletter for their service? Yet our Lord demonstrated His definition of leadership by the cross of Calvary. When leadership is defined by sacrifice, the cross makes sense. The cross is God’s view of leadership. This is the definition of leadership established by Jesus, which He followed to His death. Therefore, any who seek to be leaders must follow Him to the cross to die themselves.

Sunday – March 25, 2012

March 25, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

The Good Life from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

What is the “Good Life”? It is having a home? Going on vacation? Having a credit car not already maxed out? Everyone has a different idea what makes the good life the good life. But there is one person who is uniquely qualified to tell us what makes life good. He is the one who had it all, did it all, and tried it all- Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived. Join us Sunday morning for a look at various texts from the book of Ecclesiastes as we look at “The Good Life” as God intended it to be,


Word On Worship – March 25, 2012 Download / Print

Ecclesiastes 5:18-20
Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him — for this is his lot. Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work — this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.”

Any discussion of what is “the good life” has to be understood in terms of our worldview. Let me try to explain the distinction between the Christian and the secular worldview by giving you a concrete example. Cathy Christian and Steve Secular are friends and co-workers, but they hold very different views of the world. Cathy believes there is a God and He exists in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Cathy believes we can know God because He has revealed Himself through His creation, through Scripture, and most of all in the person of Jesus Christ. Steve believes that if there is a God, there is no way to know if God is involved in the world. For Steve, the idea of “God” is speculation.

The implications for both worldviews are infinite, since their assumptions determine how Cathy and Steve will live their lives and determine what in their estimation is right and what is wrong. For Cathy Christian, absolute right and absolute wrong are knowable through the Bible. For Steve Secular what is right and wrong are relative to each person and situation. Now this does not mean Steve has no sense of morality or personal value system to base and evaluate his decisions. It simply means for Steve the “rightness” of a behavior or a decision is not determined in the Bible but from personal interpretation relative to his experience and core values.

These distinctions between Cathy and Steve illustrate a person’s worldview: the nature of God, of the world around them and the connection between the two. There may even be some overlap in their perspective on what is “good” and what is “bad.” They can both agree stealing is wrong because that conclusion agrees with Cathy’s Biblical worldview and Steve’s humanistic world view. And they will agree on many other things as well. But the central point of world views is this: if we want to influence the people around us, we need to know what drives our opinions and decisions and what does not. Is our world view based on what God has revealed in Scripture and the person of Jesus Christ — or is our world view based on something else? In that way we can live the exhortation of the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 3:15 “Always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”

Sunday – March 18, 2012

March 18, 2012 – Read the Word on Worship

Slackers and the Christian Work Ethic from Sunrise Community Church on Vimeo.

America was founded on the idea that by hard work and industriousness anyone can advance their life. It has been considered the “Puritan work ethic”. Paul would have been a good Puritan because he advocates for Christians to be hard workers and living quiet lives. This Sunday we conclude our time in 2nd Thessalonians looking at “Slackers and the Christian Work Ethic” and see how Paul deals with the final issue in the church at Thessalonica in 2nd Thessalonians 3:6-18. Don’t be a slacker, be in church at 8:45!


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2 Thessalonians 3:10-12
“For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread
.”

Have you ever read a passage of Scripture you were sure meant something to generations gone by but somehow have lost the connection with the 21st century? After all, who only eats bread or relies on the monthly support of the church to get by? Surely that would have significance in the life of a first century church and those who lived on the margins of society, but what does that mean for us today in a relatively wealthy nation and community?

Unlike the Old Testament, New Testament church ministry is not carried on by the priestly order of Levites. Nor is the work of ministry carried on by paid professional clergy. In the New Testament church, the work of ministry is to be done by every believer regardless of finance, education or daytime occupation. And if we do not do the work of ministry God has called us toward, the church suffers. The reality is you can never hire enough staff to do what God has called the church to do as the church.

Consider what the Scriptures teach about the exercise of spiritual gifts in the body of Christ. God uniquely empowers every believer to take on a particular ministry in the body of Christ. But what happens when you decide not to do the job God has equipped you to do? Sure, it can be passed down the line to someone else. The ministry can be curtailed or even cancelled because of lack of interest. But if you do not do the job God equipped you to do, understand there is no one else God has equipped like you to do that job. If you fail to work at your task in the church, the entire church suffers because of it.

So what is the work God has given you to do for this church? It does not have to be inside these walls, but there is a job for you to do for God. What has God uniquely given you to do that if you do not apply yourself it will not be done the way God wanted to do it through you? If you can’t name a job you do, then you are unemployed for God. In that case you need to get a job, in the church, using the spiritual gifting God has given you. There are always people working overly hard because other Christians are not doing their job. May such a thing not be said of us at Sunrise.