RECAP: JESUS IS LORD based on Exodus 20:1-6 and Matthew 16:24-27
What does it mean today when we declare Jesus as LORD?
For the early church, it was the statement that became their rock, especially under immense persecution. The Roman government promised peace to all of its citizens through tolerance as long as the citizen acknowledged Caesar as lord. But the Christians refused to do so, for Jesus was LORD and they served the only one true God. Beginning with Titus, but amplified by Domitian, any Christian who refused to declare Caesar as lord was at the least imprisoned, but at the worst displayed for all the public to see in a torturous death. One such account is Polycarp, the eighty-six-year-old bishop of Smyrna, who refused to recant and was burned alive. Many Christians gave their lives simply for believing that Jesus was the LORD. But their core conviction is actually what encouraged the large growth of the church, for here were individuals who willingly gave their lives for what they believed in!
We do not have in the United States the widespread persecution the early church faced, atlhough it does exist in some parts of our world (Congo, Sudan, Nigeria, China). However, despite all of the religious freedom, we have a hard time confessing Jesus as LORD. We view Jesus as Savior, but forget he is the Name above all Names, that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue will confess. We instead act like we are in charge, and Jesus is in our back pocket, something common. We justify ourselves and our sin, redefining the scripture to get it to agree with our perspectives, and refuse to surrender the difficult parts of our lives. Why? What are we afraid of in declaring Jesus as LORD?
1) We can have no other gods before Him! The Ten Commandments start with a prohibition of the worship of other gods. The actual Hebrew reflects that no other dieties should enter the presence of God, or literally be before his face! Our sinful nature wants another to serve another and anything other than the One True God. Yet God has shown his superiority in every way, from defeating the gods of Egypt, deliverance through the Red Sea and providing freedom for Israel from slavery. Yet the people continuously felt the tug for another deity.
When we have the tug of war within us, we will eventually yield to the force which is more dominant, which usually ends up being whatever is not God. Satan wants us to remain in the tug of war state, because there your attention is divided, your guard is down, and your joy is eroded. Elijah asked, “how long will you waver between two opinions?”(1 Kgs 18:21) Joshua also understood: “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD!” (Josh 24:15) Solomon, however, could not overcome, and the wavering between two opinions led to his destruction.
Where does Jesus rank in our lives? Is God number 1? Is God our highest priority?
2) We like to settle for a substitute. The second prohibition was against idols, which served as a substitute for God. Israel replaced the worship of God with the golden calf. God is El Qanah, desiring no rival, but we put things in front of God all of the time! We might not have statues, but we have many substitutes that we use to try and replace God: technology, media, culture, popularity, impure love, etc. Some appear good, and even belonging to the church, but can also become an idol: buildings, music, peace position, forbearance, and yes even “being Brethren!” If anything takes away from the sole worship of God and turns our attention to something else, then it is a substitute and an idol, and Jesus in no longer LORD.
3) We have to give up charge. To truly have Jesus as LORD, we need to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him! Our flesh wants what is contrary to the Spirit, to focus on the here and now, immediate gratification. But to have Jesus as LORD is to take up our own cross, to put to death the very things that have control of us. We must lose our life in order to save it! The way we try to live on our own ultimately leads to death without surrendering to Jesus as LORD.
What is our soul worth? What can we give in exchange for our soul? How much do we value our soul? Each day we exchange our soul for either things of God or things that ultimately have no value. We compromise, losing things like our integrity because we simply don’t want to make waves. But the early church knew exactly how much it meant to have Jesus as LORD–everything!
Is Jesus our LORD? Can we give up those things that get in the way?
Questions for Reflection
1) What other gods (people, objects, ideas) do we have that rank ahead of God in our life?
2) What substitutes for God do we allow to fill our lives?
3) What do we need to put on our personal cross?
4) What is the price you would place on your soul?
This Sunday Pastor Ryan will continue the Vision series with the sermon titled, “Will You Be My Neighbor,” based on Leviticus 19:9-18. Who exactly is our neighbor? And what does it mean to love our neighbor as ourselves? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for August 17 – 23
August 17: Exodus 15:1-18 Who is the LORD?
August 18: 2 Samuel 6:1-11 Who is the LORD?
August 19: 1 Kings 18:16-46 Who is the LORD?
August 20: Job 38 Who is the LORD?
August 21: Acts 12:19b-24 What happens when we do not honor the LORD?
August 22: Genesis 14:13-21 How did Melchizedek help his neighbor Abram?
August 23: Joshua 10:1-15 How did Israel help their neighbors the Gibeonites?
This Week’s Events:
Thursday, August 19–Leadership Team @ 7 pm
Saturday, August 21–Steven Miller Memorial Service @ 11am
Saturday, September 4–Adoption Ceremony @ 6 pm
Sunday, September 5–Teacher Appreciation Sunday
Sunday, September 5–Summer Vespers @ 6:30 pm
Sunday, September 12–New Member & Baptism Sunday
Saturday, September 25–Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser for Brethren Woods
Call for Worship Leaders and Children’s Story
As we look at the ability to reopen in the coming weeks, we are in need of both worship leaders and children’s story. We are looking for one person each week, rather than a month at a time. If you would like to serve, contact Alice Over (worship leading) or Tammy Stine (children’s story).
The plan right now is to have a baptism and new membership service on Sunday, September 12. If you want to be baptized, but have not said anything to Pastor Ryan, please do so ASAP!
In place of our Lenten Vespers, we will have summer outdoor vespers on our church grounds one additional Sunday evening during the summer: September 5 at 6:30 pm. Come enjoy some fellowship, campfire songs, and our wonderful church family outdoors!
This past Vespers, I challenged those who attended to think about an individual who was very courageous. We too can have courage; we have been surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us (Heb 12:1). Likewise, we also have Jesus (Heb 12:2)! Therefore, let us fix our eyes on him, follow his lead, so we do not need to grow weary or lose heart (Heb 12:3).
Beaver Creek family and friends: Please join us on Saturday, September 4 at 6 pm as we have a ceremony of adoption for our newest member of our family, Joscelin! We will have a ceremony dedicating the adoption, and then a time of refreshments after. Come and share in our happiness!
Call to Prayer & Discernment
Let us continue to pray for our nation in the following ways:
1) National return to God
2) Repentance of personal sin
3) Repentance of corporate sin
4) Healing for the brokenness of relationships
5) Our leaders
7) Guidance for our congregation in the days ahead
Misti Wheelbarger is looking for volunteers for the nursery during the Sunday School hour for next year. If you are willing to help, even if it is just for a Sunday, please reach out to her and let her know.
Four Ways to Give!
1) Mail your tithe into the church office
2) Drop it by the church office on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
3) Our online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
4) Drop off in the offering plate on Sunday!
Continue to Keep in Prayer our members in Skilled Care Facilities: Mary G Miller, Shirley Miller, Stanley Suter & Carolyn Wine
John Bennington (health)
Family of Sam Carr: Condolences to Chris Dastoli in the passing of his uncle. Keep the whole family in your prayers!
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
Bill Eckard (recovery)
John Fix (addiction)
Janet Good (health)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Heath Kimmell (health)
Larry LaPrade (COVID)
Lent family (work)
Barbara Meadows (health)
Alda Miller (health)
Betty Miller (health)
Mary G Miller (health)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Chris Shirk (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Tammy Stine (broken ankle)
Frank Tusing (health)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Whitmore family (various)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB