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Sunday, May 30, 2021
Memorial Day began in the wake of our Civil War. In that war our nation fought to live up to the ideal of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal….” This founding statement is based upon a biblical truth of man’s equality before God.
And so, on this special day, we begin a brief series to remind us of the things that we know to be true. Absolutes that guide us. Absolutes that help us discern those things for which it is worth living each day. Absolutes for which we know to be worth dying. Eternal truths that reach beyond our suffering and the grave to our ultimate destiny before God.
This Memorial Day we begin our series by remembering those absolutes that are anchored in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Absolutes that shout to the the glory of God’s Name in His creation, our consciences, His word, His people, His Son, Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit.
SERMON SERIES ON ABSOLUTES
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John 14-16 (NIV) – In John 14:16-17, Jesus tells his frightened disciples that he is going to send then “another Advocate” which He identifies as the Holy Spirit. Of course, the first Advocate would be Jesus, Himself. In our final lesson on ‘Absolutes’, we address the five activities of the Holy Spirit–the second Advocate–as Jesus describes them. These activities are not limited to the disciples to whom Jesus is speaking because He tells them that it will be with them ‘forever’ or, literally, ‘into the ages.’ They are available to us as well as is made plain in the remainder of the New Testament. Those activities include:
•The Promise of His Presence (John 14:16-17)
•The Promise of Teaching (John 14:26)
•The Promise of Witness (John 15:26-27)
•The Promise of Conviction (John 16:7-11)
•The Promise of Revelation (John 16:12-15)
For further reading I recommend Tim Woodroof’s book, A Spirit for the Rest of Us.
GOD’S SON, JESUS CHRIST
Our primary texts today are John 1, 5 and 14-16 with a sharpening of focus upon John 5:31-40. When we speak of Jesus as an Absolute in our lives, we are saying that we put our full faith and trust in Him alone. The historical evidences confirm what we already know to be true from the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (see Lee Strobel’s book, The Case For Christ). In John 5, Jesus heals the lame man at the pool of Bethesda (see video below). This draws the attention of the religious rulers who question Jesus’ testimony about Himself. In his response to them, Jesus details 5 sources of evidence that validate His testimony about Himself as God’s Son, the Messiah: John the Baptist, Jesus’ miracles, Jesus’ teachings, Jesus’ Father and the Scriptures themselves.
Romans 11 and Genesis 12:1-3; Romans 4:13-16 (NLT) – God’s promise to Abraham persists over the centuries through the Jewish people. And it is through them that God brought the whole world a Savior in Christ Jesus. The new Israel now seals God’s promise to those who put their faith in Him so that Paul could say “all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26-27). The remnant of the Jewish people who trust in God now unite with the followers of Christ to create a new people who have been fully included in God’s promise to Abraham (Galatians 3:26-29). Their presence through the ages is undeniable evidence that God’s purposes will not fail (Ephesians 1:12-14).
GOD’S CREATION & HIS WORD
Hebrews 4:12-16 (NLT) – Seeing God in His creation is a simple question for mankind. Is there a God? The answer is either a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’. When someone chooses not to choose, they still have made a choice.
We choose “Yes” with passion and conviction.
Because we answer “Yes”, we also believe that He wants us to know Him. So, we search for those additional ways in which He would choose to show Himself.
Today, we begin with His Word, The Bible. No book in all of the world compares to this one collection of 66 books, composed over 1,500 years, on three continents (Africa, Asia, and Europe), in three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek), by 40 authors, most of whom never met. People have tried to ban it, destroy it and damage the Bible over the centuries, yet it still survives with superlative attestation. Indeed, more than 7,000 ancient manuscripts verify its accuracy!
The Bible is internally consistent, pointing to one central point in history: a cross. The Bible is externally verified by the creation, nature, and historically, by modern-day archaeology and science. And the Bible is experientially verified in those who devote their lives to understanding it’s words and living out it’s teachings. They focus upon obeying its commands and living by it’s principles as embodied by The Central Character: Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Son of God, Savior of the world.
At time when God-given inspiration of the Bible was under severe criticism in our Christian Theological Universities (begun in the 1800’s and continuing to our day), the Dead Sea Scrolls surfaced in 1947. Many theological books must be evaluated by this one historical point in time: are they pre- or post-Dead Sea Scroll discovery?
God’s perfect timing! He verifies and validates the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament forever as pre-Christian evidence, fully realized in the Son of God Himself, Jesus Christ.