Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Heart of the Gospel

Greeting the new faces.
Pastor Brad welcomed us with his usual greeting: "I'm grateful you're here today." He introduced the service by welcoming Jim and Cathy Fretheim. Jim, who would be speaking today, gave Brad his first job when he got out of seminary.

Council will meet Tuesday at 7:00 pm
Membership class will be soon. Contact Brad.
During Holy Week we will have a Good Friday service, and Easter we will have a breakfast here and the traditional Easter Egg hunt.

The introit by Darlene was very nice again, Change My Heart O God, flowing like a soothing fragrance over the room. This was followed by a time of singing from the new songbook, closing with the hymn I Will Sing The Wondrous Story. An offering was taken as Darlene played another comforting melody.

The time of prayer began with a request from Brooke to pray for the Borndals. The grandchildren are now home safe from the hospital, and Rick is preparing for a mission trip. Many other needs were shared from around the congregation.

Brad read to us from John 3:3-17, then introduced our speaker. Jim was introduced as retired, so "he might be rusty," which brought a laugh.

The Heart of the Gospel

You can fake being a preacher, but you can't fake being a plumber. The evidence is in whether the pipes leak or not. In the same way, the Scriptures are true or they are not. The evidence is changed lives.

John 3 is probably one of the most conversion stories in the Bible. It's the story of Nicodemus.

Nicodemus came to Him at night. The night is a symbol of many things. Fear among them. Why did he come at night. Did he fear being seen with Jesus?

Nicodemus wants to know, can you tell me what thes

Verse 14 is the heart of the Gospel: Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.

This statement is based on a story from the Book of Numbers during the time in which the people of Israel were wandering in the wilderness. Because of their rebelliousness God sent poison serpents, but Moses appealed to God for mercy and was instructed to place a bronze serpent (snake) on a pole and everyone who got bit could be healed by looking at it. In addition to foreshadowing the Cross, Jim said we find healing by look at the things that we are afraid of.

Then the most familiar verse in the Bible follows, "For God so loved the world..."
Jim asked us to think about this verse as he dissected it. It begins with God.... and all He represents.
God so loved.
The world.
That He gave...
His one and only son.
That whosoever, anyone anywhere...
Believes in Him...
Shall not perish.   The greatest rescue that has ever been proclaimed.
And shall have everlasting life, the greatest promise ever given.

Jim told the story of a man who fell into a deep hole and couldn't out. He began crying out, "Help!"
A psychiatrist comes by, and writes him a prescription for sedatives.
A priest comes by and offers a prayer.
A friend comes by and falls in with him. "What are you doing? Now we're both stuck here."
The friend replies, "No, I've been here before and I know the way out." That friend is Jesus. He lived and walked among us and knows our neediness and situation.

There are three warnings that follow this great text in verses 17-20. Then in verse 21 Jesus makes the promise again.

The speaker concluded his message with this assertion. "In all my years of preaching there's nothing more powerful than a changed life, and the excitement that follows when a new convert tells everyone 'what God did for me'."


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