John 1:1-18 & Matthew 5:14-16
Pastor Steve preached from John 1, noting today was the first Sunday in Advent, when we focus on the coming of Jesus the first time, as well as the second. We are saying that we believe Jesus came once, born of a virgin, and is coming back to get us.
“There’s something great about the story in Genesis, when verse 3 tells us all things were made in Him,” he said. “I wonder how well we wrap our head around that. God is so far above us our only response is worship. . . . When I say ‘holy’ most people think of doing the right stuff. That distance is so great we often don’t know what to do. The angels fell on their face.”
Everything about Jesus is encapsulated in verse 4, which says in Him was life and the light of mankind. The reason this is important is because the vision of Celebration is to spread the message that Jesus is real. We are in the Bible Belt, similar to the area where Jesus was born, with all kinds of religious people and denominations. Because of their background, they think they already know about God. If someone doesn’t think they’re sick, they won’t look for the antidote.
The danger in the Tri-State Area is to get so used to going through the motions that the reality of Jesus Christ doesn’t touch our hearts. But He wants us to attest to the fact that He is real, Steve said.
“They need to know we love Jesus,” he said. “They need to hear the passion in our voice. The church is not the issue. They need to know Jesus. If you’re not passionate about Him, something is wrong. When you get to the point where you’re dull (about this), say, ‘God, help me.’ Don’t go looking for feelings. Say, ‘God, I’m rusty, callous and cold. I need You.’ God honors that prayer.”
The only way to reach people is to be passionate about Jesus, since that will come out in the way you live, Steve said. We have been called to go into the darkness of the world and demonstrate the life of Christ. Turning to Matthew 5:14, he said we are to live like the light of the world Jesus said we carry.
“When people see this in the life of people, there is a gigantic finger pointing at what God did,” Steve said. “(Tell others), ‘Jesus is my source and hope. Let me tell you how He saved me.’ That brings glory to God. That will speak to your neighbors and your coworkers. The proclamation of the gospel is proclaiming what Jesus has done.”