Saved by Grace is a sermon series exploring the doctrines of salvation in Christ. Justification by faith is the heart of the gospel of grace. No longer guilty and enslaved by the power of sin. Faith in Jesus brings both forgiveness and freedom. Our relationship with God is made right. Recorded on Oct 4, 2020, on Romans 3:21-26 by Pastor David Parks
Saved by Grace is a sermon series exploring the doctrines of salvation in Christ. Before the creation of the world, God chose people to save, have a relationship, and conform to the likeness of Christ. Election means that it is God who saves by grace and salvation starts and ends with him. Recorded on Sept. 13, 2020, on Romans 8:28-30 by Pastor David Parks.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of reconciliation. Reconciliation is the restoration or healing of a broken relationship. The gospel is the story of the broken relationship between people and God, and the announcement that God has done the unthinkable through his son, Jesus, in bringing reconciliation to our relationship with him. All this was motivated by the love of God. People were the great passion that motivated God in his saving work. Now, those who have been reconciled to God have been entrusted with the message that brings all peoples together.
This sermon is part of the Reconciliation series. Recorded on Jun 10, 2018, by Pastor David Parks, from 2 Corinthians 5:14-21. Listen/download here:
For almost two millennia, Christians around the world have celebrated Easter Sunday. That’s a very long time. Wherever there are Christians, there’s a celebration of Easter. How come? Why is Easter a big deal?
Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. But this is just one triumphant moment in a much longer story of creation, fall, redemption, and new creation. In the beginning, God created a good and perfect world that was meant to be shared and ruled by human beings, made in God’s image. This world was corrupted by sin, and the good and perfect world became broken, rebellious, wicked, and fell under the curse of death. But God so loved the world, he enacted a plan to rescue and redeem humanity. The plan was fulfilled when Jesus Christ, the Son of God sent from heaven, was crucified, died, and was buried on (Good) Friday, but then was raised to life on (Easter) Sunday. Jesus appeared to hundreds of eyewitnesses before ascending back into heaven. Jesus said he came to seek and to save the lost—men and women trapped in a broken world and bound by sin and death. Jesus’ death was the perfect sacrifice for sin, and his resurrection broke the power of death.
Now, anyone who believes this good news and trusts Jesus to be their Savior and Lord is saved. They are forgiven and freed from the power of sin, adopted as a child of God, given the Holy Spirit, called to follow Jesus in life, and will one day be raised from the dead like Jesus. (There are so many more aspects of Christian salvation but we just do not have the space to say everything here!) Christians anticipate a future day when Jesus will return, the dead will be raised to judgment, and a new age will begin where the people of God will live forever in a new heaven and earth that will be the fulfillment of God’s work of new creation.
As N.T. Wright eloquently wrote in Simply Christian, “When Jesus emerged from the tomb, justice, spirituality, relationship, and beauty rose with him. Something has happened in and through Jesus as a result of which the world is a different place, a place where heaven and earth have been joined forever. God’s future has arrived in the present.”
All or Nothing
This gospel message (broadly), and the resurrection of Jesus (more specifically)—if it’s true—means everything and changes everything in life. If Jesus rose from the dead, then he must be who he claimed to be. He must have done what he said he was going to do. And he must be worshipped and followed as Lord and Savior. But if it’s not true (maybe it’s all made up, or maybe it’s some sort of myth or meta-truth), then Christianity isn’t just discredited or out of date—it’s utterly useless, empty, and not worth one minute of your time. And it certainly wouldn’t be helpful to pass on that nonsense to your kids! The Apostle Paul recognized this, too. Around 55 AD he wrote to men and women in Corinth, “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” (1Co 15:13-14) A strong statement from a man who gave his life to sharing the good news of Jesus.
The core of the Christian faith has everything to do with who Jesus is and whether or not he did, in fact, rise from the dead. This is a message that you either believe or you don’t. Easter is a big deal because either it’s everything or it’s nothing. Now, obviously, Christians believe that it’s everything! (And I believe there’s good evidence for this, not simply wishful thinking!) That’s why we celebrate. That’s why we continue to share good news with people. And that’s why we’d love for you to stop by this Easter Sunday and see what this Jesus life is all about.
Is money good or evil? It’s complicated. The human heart is sticky toward wealth—our hearts easily stick to money for security, status, and hope. But this is not the path to eternal life. However, great good can come from wealth that is used wisely. Being intentional about giving generously guards us against being mastered by our money. And it frees us to use the resources that God has entrusted to our care to be a blessing to others. Opportunity to give generously: Compassion International, releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.
This sermon is part of the Spiritual Habits series. Recorded on Feb. 18, 2018, by Pastor David Parks, from Matthew 19:16-26. Listen/download here: