Advent Blessings

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As Advent begins this week, we spent a piece of this past Sunday’s sermon time discussing some of the ways that we as families and households can enter into the alternative rhythm of Advent. Here’s a link to the podcast page: http://www.newlifechurch.org/podcasts.

We also handed out a family blessing card with blessings created for us to speak over our kids, grandkids, etc. during Advent. Below is a list of those blessings:

#1 – May you know that your Heavenly Father loves you.  May you be filled with God’s goodness and may your heart overflow with thanksgiving and gratitude.

#2- May you be filled with God’s love and His goodness all the days of your life.  May you walk in step with His Spirit and allow Him to guide you and every step you take.

#3- May you know the height and depth of God’s love for you in Christ Jesus.  May you be strong and courageous in all your decisions and know that He protects you and guides you.

#4- May you know you have been created by God and that He delights in you.  May you find your identity in Him alone and find your place in His story.

Sermon Notes and Podcast: “The Story of Us, Pt. 9”

The Story of Us, Pt. 9: ‘A Prophetic People’
In Genesis 20, Abraham is called a prophet– the first person in the Bible to be called one. Yet his fear leads him to rationalize a lie and jeopardize someone else’s future. Pastor Glenn Packiam challenges us to think how often we shrink back in self-preservation and rob others of the blessing we could speak over them by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Listen to the podcast HERE.

OT Reading: Genesis 20:1-7 (ESV)
NT Reading: Galatians 3 (ESV)
Gospel Reading: Luke 4:16-21 (ESV)

[ATTENTION/TENSION]
Count of Monte Cristo: Villefort withholding freedom, condemning an innocent man for fear of his father’s fate and concern for his own future goals.

What do we do with the power we have to influence and affect others?

[TEXT/CONTEXT]
What we’ve learned so far…

  • Sin is tearing the world apart; God wants to put it back together again
  • The family He chooses to save the world is in need of saving too!

Genesis 20:1-5 (ESV)
“From there Abraham journeyed toward the territory of the Negeb and lived between Kadesh and Shur; and he sojourned in Gerar. And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, ‘She is my sister.’ And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, ‘Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.’ Now Abimelech had not approached her. So he said, ‘Lord, will you kill an innocent people? Did he not himself say to me, “She is my sister”? And she herself said, “He is my brother.” In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.’ ”

  • Second time Abraham has done this!
  • Dreams were a common way of God revealing himself
  • The first time anyone is called a prophet in the Bible (‘Nabi’: one who speaks)

A prophet is to speak the life-creating word of God.

Abraham was to carry God’s blessing into the world to ALL families.

Motif: The Devout Pagan and the Reluctant Prophet

  • Nineveh and Jonah
  • Cornelius and Peter
  • Abraham was called to carry blessing to the world, but he nearly caused judgment!

Genesis 20:8-13 (ESV)
“So Abimelech rose early in the morning and called all his servants and told them all these things. And the men were very much afraid. Then Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, ‘What have you done to us? And how have I sinned against you, that you have brought on me and my kingdom a great sin? You have done to me things that ought not to be done.’ 10 And Abimelech said to Abraham, ‘What did you see, that you did this thing?’ 11 Abraham said, ‘I did it because I thought, “There is no fear of God at all in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.” 12 Besides, she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father though not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife. 13 And when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, I said to her, “This is the kindness you must do me: at every place to which we come, say of me, ‘He is my brother.’ ” ’ ”

Fear caused Abraham to rationalize his behavior.

  • ‘I did it because I thought…’
  • Fear leads us back to self-preservation

Fear caused Abraham to jeopardize someone else’s future. 

  • He put his wife in an awful position…again!
  • He almost caused Abimelech to commit a ‘great sin’
    • Phrase used only 2 others times in the OT—Golden Calf after the Exodus, and Golden Calf after the nation split.
    • Both times a leader—a priest, and a king—lead God’s people into ‘great sin’.
    • This time a prophet—the first prophet—almost leads a devout pagan into ‘great sin’

[PARTICIPATION]
What prevents us from being a prophetic people, speaking blessing to the world?

The Church and a self-preservation instinct

  • We get afraid of godlessness around us, the ‘lack of the fear of the Lord’
  • We play it safe, we keep the blessing to ourselves (cf. Christian subculture)
  • So long as the Church survives and is protected, anything goes
  • PRACTICE : Family blessings (Dr. Michelle Anthony)
    • Admiration: ‘I like that you are so helpful.’
    • Affirmation: ‘I see God giving you a heart for those in need.’
    • Appreciation: ‘Thank you for helping me.’
    • Anticipation: ‘You’re going to bring a lot of people joy today with your loving and caring ways.’

[GOSPEL]
Abraham almost derails the promise

  • Sarah was described as being old and past the years of bearing children
  • But something is happening to Sarah (Why would her husband be afraid a king would kill him to add his aging wife to his harem?)
  • Sarah is experiencing an awakening of her female vitality…(cf. commentaries)…Sarah is getting her groove back!
  • Sarah almost derailed the promise by giving Hagar to Abraham; now Abraham almost derails it by giving a revitalized Sarah to Abimelech!

But God intervenes…

Genesis 20:6-7 (ESV)
Then God said to him in the dream, ‘Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her. Now then, return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, so that he will pray for you, and you shall live. But if you do not return her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.’ ”

  • God warns Abimelech in a dream! (If the prophet won’t speak, God will speak directly!)
  • God takes the offense personally!

God intervene not just for our own sake, but for the sake of the world.

Genesis 20:17-18 (ESV)
“Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, and also healed his wife and female slaves so that they bore children. 18 For the Lord had closed all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.”

And so it is for us: We were under the curse, but God intervened.

Galatians 3:13-14 (ESV)
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.”

Luke 4:18-19 (ESV)
“ ’The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’ ”

  • The Spirit of the Lord is on Jesus—Christ = ‘anointed one’
  • The Spirit of the Lord is on the Church—‘little Christs’

God’s blessing comes TO us so that it might flow THROUGH us.

[INVITATION]
What if we turn outward even in coming to church, and serve by preparing a table?

What if we began to name our neighbors?

What if we began to pray for them to receive the very blessing we are longing to receive?

What if we realized that each day the Spirit of the Lord is on us, sending us out into the world as a prophetic people, speaking life, carrying the life-creating word of God on our lips?

Sermon Notes and Podcast: “The Story of Us, Pt. 8”

The Story of Us, Pt. 8: ‘God’s Mercy in the Middle of Our Mess’
How does God respond to the mess of our broken world? Does He stay away or demand that we clean it up? Pastor Glenn Packiam teaches on the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, calling us to see how God meets us in the mess and leads us out. Moreover, the final act of the Story is not judgment but new creation. God is putting the world back together, and He wants to start with you.

Listen to the podcast HERE.

OT Reading: Genesis 19:15-17, 29 (ESV)
NT Reading: 2 Peter 2:4-9 (CEB)
Gospel Reading: Luke 17:28-33 (ESV)

[ATTENTION/TENSION]
Recap series… (Story of Abraham = Story of Us)

“The Bible doesn’t have anything to say to me.”

  • We think God either doesn’t want to have anything to do with messy people
  • OR that God is just shaking His head waiting for us to clean it up
  • Either way, we’re not sure God wants to have anything to do with our mess

[TEXT/CONTEXT]
Genesis 19 is a dark chapter (sexual violence, the destruction of a city, incest)

Genesis 19:1-3 (ESV)
“The two angels came to Sodom in the evening [‘evening’: Hebrew = ‘black’…a metaphor of the moral darkness of the city; it will be ‘sunrise’/’morning’ when salvation comes.], and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. [Lot was sitting at the gate; he wasn’t just living near Sodom; he had become a leader in the city.] When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth 2 and said, ‘My lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night sand wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way.’ They said, ‘No; we will spend the night in the town square.’  3 But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house. And he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.”

  • Abraham and Lot parallels: Both scenes begin with
    • Arrival of messengers
    • Greeting by host
    • Welcome into the home
    • Serving of a meal
  • Lot’s hospitality is what he has in common with Abraham, a link to a righteousness unlike the people of Sodom

What happens next…

Genesis 19:4-7 (ESV)
“But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house.  5 And they called to Lot, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.’  6 Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, 7 and said, ‘I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly.’ ”  

  • Lot is a leader in the city, but he’s not quite like the inhabitants; he is more righteous than they are.

Sin is tearing God’s good world apart.

  • Recap: Gen. 1-2 = God made the world on purpose and with pleasure
  • Gen. 3-11 = the world comes apart at the seams
  • Gen. 12-19 = even the chosen family is in need of saving! (Abraham out of Egypt, Lot from the kings, Lot from Sodom)

[TEXT/PARTICIPATION]
Genesis 19:8 (ESV)
“ ‘Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.’ ”

  • This is the third time a member of God’s chosen family tries to give up a woman/women in order to save their neck! (Abraham gave up Sarah; Sarah gave up Hagar; Lot gives up his daughters.)
  • This may have seemed like the lesser of two evils (Give up his honored guests—who would eventually save them, or give up his daughters?)

Our attempts to fix things are making a mess.

  • The chapter ends with Lot’s daughters bereft of their husbands (or husbands-to-be) resorting to getting their father drunk in order to keep their lineage going.
  • Abraham is promised land and descendants; Lot is living in a cave, and produces offspring through incest. (Moabites and Ammonites will become enemies of Israel that are somehow in a special relationship.)
  • Sin entered the world through the serpent, but it continues in the world through us!

[GOSPEL/PARTICIPATION]
The world is a mess! Our attempts to fix things make things worse! Who shall save us? This is the question the Old Testament leads us to over and over again.

  • These are not morality tales of how to behave
  • They don’t make great children’s lessons about how to live
  • But the do lead us over and over again to trust in the saving grace of God

This chapter can be disheartening if we focus on what the humans are doing. 

So lift your eyes: see what God is doing in this chapter:

Genesis 19:15-17 (ESV)
“As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, ‘Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.’ 16 But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. 17 And as they brought them out, one said, ‘Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.’ ”  

God is merciful to meet us in the mess, and to lead us out. 

  • Where is your mess?
  • I’m not promising that it will be rosy again; I’m promising you that God has got you by the hand!

Genesis 19:29 (ESV)
“So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, God remembered Abraham and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow when he overthrew the cities in which Lot had lived.”

  • An echo of how God ‘remembered Noah…’ and saved him and his family from the flood.
  • But a more exact parallel would have been, “God remembered Lot…’ This shows us that Lot was not saved for his own sake, and so it is for us
  • God keeps remembering….JESUS shows up!

God will be faithful to you because of Jesus.

  • Because of Jesus, we have become God’s covenant people.
  • You know what that means? It means God is meeting you in the middle of your mess, taking you by the hand, and leading you out.

[INVITATION]
God is putting the world back together, and He wants to start with you.

  • Not a message of escape
  • Yes, there is judgment, and through Christ we escape the ‘wrath to come’
  • But there is also redemption and preservation and restoration (Why keep Noah and the animals? Why save Lot?)
  • Genesis: Sin is tearing God’s good world apart; Revelation: God will put it all back together again.

Sermon Notes and Podcast: “The Story of Us, Pt. 6”

The Story of Us, Pt. 6: ‘When God Establishes Covenant’
How do we get to participate in God’s plan to put the world back together? Do we try to impress God? In Genesis 17, we see God’s covenant once again as God’s gracious initiative. There is nothing we do to deserve it. It is a promise that changes our identity and our relationship to God. And yet, as Pastor Glenn Packiam explains, it is the gift that requires everything from us.

Listen to the podcast HERE.

OT Reading: Genesis 17:1-8 (ESV)
NT Reading: Colossians 2:11-15 (NIV)
Gospel Reading: John 3:1-6 (NIV)

[ATTENTION/TENSION]
STORY: CD club; $0.01…but then hidden cost

How do I get in on this?

  • We try to get the free stuff without committing
  • Or, we keep thinking it’s too good to be true
  • Or, we think we have to perform for God before He gives us anything

[TEXT/CONTEXT]
Recap series…

This is the fourth account of God’s promise (Gen. 12, 13, 15, 17)

Genesis 17:1-2 (ESV)
“When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.’ ”

  • We don’t do and can’t do anything to earn God’s covenant
  • But we are not passive in this!
  • Gift-giving in the ancient world: Creates bonds of relationship, where mutuality and reciprocity are expected.

When God establishes covenant, He gives us a new identity.

Genesis 17:3-6 (ESV)
“Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, ‘Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you.

When God establishes covenant, He invites us into a new relationship.

Genesis 17:7-8 (ESV)
“And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.’ ”

  • “I will be your God…And you will be my people…” in Torah and Prophets

When God’s establishes covenant, He demands our total surrender. 

Genesis 17:9-10 (ESV)
“And God said to Abraham, ‘As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. 10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised.’ ”

  • Circumcision is costly:
  • … in its scope:
  • … in the duration: Circumcision was an existing practice, but almost always enacted at puberty. Here it becomes shortly after birth as a way of indicating that the whole life is God’s, not just the ability to produce offspring.

[PARTICIPATION]
It is not easy to surrender…Look at how Abraham responds:

Genesis 17:17-18 (ESV)
“Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, ‘Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?’ 18 And Abraham said to God, ‘Oh that Ishmael might live before you!’ ”

How is this a response of faith?

Genesis 17:23-27 (ESV)
“Then Abraham took Ishmael his son and all those born in his house or bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house, and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very day, as God had said to him. 24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 26 That very day Abraham and his son Ishmael were circumcised. 27 And all the men of his house, those born in the house and those bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.”

“The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self–all your wishes and precautions–to Christ. But it is far easier than what we are all trying to do instead.  For what we are trying to do is to remain what we call ‘ourselves’, to keep personal happiness as our great aim in life, and yet at the same time be ‘good’.”  – C. S. Lewis

[GOSPEL]
The demands of God are not those of a tyrant but of a lover.

The Presence, the Promise, the Practice: Baptism and a life of surrender

Colossians 2:11-14 (ESV)
“In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.”

  • Paul saw baptism as the ‘circumcision’ of the new covenant…an act which embodies our surrender
  • Surrender is not abstract; it is embodied each day.

The Faithfulness of God TO Us and the Faithfulness of Christ FOR Us

Announcements for Oct. 2, 2016

Hello New Life Downtown,
October, here we come! A few things to be aware of :

 

City Serve – October 7th and 8th
-Worship Night – October 7th – 7pm-830pm
-Serve Day – October 8th – 9am-Noon

We believe we are in the city for the sake of the city. That as we populate this city with service to those that have need, we populate this city with the presence and hope of God. On October 7th and 8th we are partnering with church congregations across the City to host a City Serve weekend. On Friday night, October 7th, from 7-830pm at 1st Pres Church, we will gather as the people of God to express our unity in worship of our God. On Saturday morning, October 8th, from 9am-Noon, we will then go out as the people of God to Serve the City. We are partnering with 15+ church communities, D11, various Christian ministries, and CSPD to serve practical needs in our city. Point of Contact for City Serve is Pastor Joey, jjimenez@newlifechurch.org! You can sign up here for a morning SERVE project.


Adult Sunday School – October –
Gospel Shaped Parenting!
930am-1030am in the Palmer HS mini-auditorium  

Our October topic and teacher this fall is : Gospel shaped Parenting, led by Holly Packiam.

The heart of the Gospel is not primarily behavior modification. The Gospel reminds us that we are all in need of God’s grace. We’ll take the 5 Sunday’s of October to discuss what a gospel-shaped home looks like and how to connect with our children’s hearts.

Adult Sunday School is more than a class, it is an interactive learning community in which we aim to “no longer conform to the patters of this world, but rather, be transformed by the renewing of our minds…” (Romans 12:2a). We do this by having different teachers from our congregation lead us through areas of Bible, theology, leadership, and cultural engagement.
Parents, feel free to check you children into Children’s Ministry so that you can attend Sunday School. We’d ask that you check them in at their normal start time of 9am. Then, join us for a light breakfast before class.


City Serve – Choir Opportunity

Greetings Beloved Church! You don’t often hear from me, but I’m excited to personally invite you to be a part of something really great! As you know, there is an exciting, multi-congregational service happening at First Pres on Friday, October 7th. What you may not know is that there will be a choir in that service made up of members of churches from several other churches in Colorado Springs. I would love for you to join me in being a part of that worship service! If you’re interested, the only thing you need to do before Friday night is join us for our rehearsal on Wednesday, October 5th at FirstPres from 6:30pm-8:00pm. I hope to see you there! -Abby


Meal Groups – It’s Not Too Late to Join for the Fall!

At New Life Downtown, we center our gatherings around 1 thing: the table. On Sunday’s, it is the communion table. Throughout the rest of the week, it’s our ‘common’ tables.

Thought groups have launched, it doesn’t mean it’s too late to join. There are 15 groups giving you an invitation into hospitality. The Lord extends that invitation to us every Sunday, and we reflect him by extending the invitation to one another to come in and eat together.
See all the groups in our Fall Ministry Booklet, available on Sundays, or check out most of the groups on the website.


 

If you’d like to connect about anything, I’m here for you.
Sincerely,
Evan Reedall
Associate Pastor, New Life Downtown

New Life Church Website    –    New Life Downtown Blog     –    NLD Meal Groups
Facebook: New Life Downtown    –    @NewLifeDowntown Instagram & Twitter
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Sermon Notes and Podcast: “The Story of Us, Pt. 5”

The Story of Us, Pt. 5: God’s Promise and Our Powerlessness
Have you ever felt powerless, stuck and unable to escape? Genesis 16 is the story of two women who are powerless. Sarai is powerless in her barrenness; Hagar is powerless as a female Egyptian slave. One tries to take over; the other is overtaken by the kindness of God. Pastor Glenn Packiam calls us to recognize the God who sees us, and sends us to see others in the light of His grace.

Listen to the podcast HERE.

OT Reading: Genesis 16:7-13 (ESV)
NT Reading: Romans 4:13, 18-22 (CEB)
Gospel Reading: Luke 1:39-45 (CEB)

[ATTENTION/TENSION]
STORY: Fawn on our deck

How do you respond to being powerless, to being stuck? 

[TEXT/CONTEXT]
Recap series…

In this episode, we see a story about powerlessness. 

Genesis 16:1-2 (ESV)
“Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar.And Sarai said to Abram, ‘Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.’ And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.”

  • Abram listening/obeying Sarai echoes the way Adam listened to/obeyed Eve:
  • Not about men not having to obey women
  • The voice of sin

Genesis 16:5-8 (ESV)
“And Sarai said to Abram, ‘May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!’ But Abram said to Sarai, ‘Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.’ Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her. The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, ‘Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.’ ”

When God asks a question…he is staging an intervention!

  • Adam, where are you?
  • Cain, where is your brother?
  • Hagar, where are you coming from?

Genesis 16:10-11 (ESV)
“The angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.” And the angel of the Lord said to her, “Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has listened to your affliction.”

Genesis 16:13 (ESV)
“So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, ‘You are a God of seeing,’ for she said, ‘Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.’ ”

God SEES Hagar!  

  • Hagar is the first person to name God.
  • Hagar is given a glimpse of who God is!
  • This chapter is less about Abraham’s lack of faith, and more about God’s faithfulness to a female slave.

[PARTICIPATION]
In the middle of you suffering, God sees you. 

  • No, it is not fair. No, it is not your fault. No, it may not change anytime soon.
  • But God sees you. He is watching out for you.

This is not to say we should acquiesce to injustice. 

If God sees Hagar, then we should the ones who really “see” the harsh treatment of others, and “speak kindly to them in the desert”. 

  • Sometimes all we see is politics and social issues and protests and FB posts…
  • But God wants us to see the people…just as He saw Hagar that day.
  • That involves asking, as God asked Hagar, “Where have you come from and where are you going?”

What’s it like to be black in America? 

What’s it like to be a refugee outside Syria? 

What’s it like to experience homelessness in Colorado Springs? 

Cf Serve the City

[GOSPEL]
Both women in Genesis 16 are powerless:  

This story will come to represent the work of the flesh: the human attempt to save ourselves.  

We want to be empowered: to be able to give ourselves what we need…But we will never be so empowered as to be able to achieve the thing we need and want most… (love, acceptance, etc). 

1. Sarai is powerless over her barrenness.

The belief that we have to take over is the beginning of sin.

2. Hagar is powerless over her lot in life. 

  • He calls her as a way of reminder her that she is a slave
  • He sends her back to a place of powerlessness (not because God is pro-slavery; cf Onesimus, another runaway slave welcomed as a brother)
  • One tries to take over; the other is overtaken by the kindness of God.

The call to become aware of our powerlessness is the beginning of repentance.

In our powerlessness to save ourselves, God sees us and saves us.

The promise of God is not something to be achieved; it is only to be received.

[INVITATION]

Sermon Notes and Podcast: “The Story of Us, Pt. 3”

The Story of Us, Pt. 3: Worshipful Giving
Genesis 14 features Abram as a warrior, a king who appears from nowhere acting like a priest, and the strange custom of tithing. Pastor Glenn Packiam explains how Abram reconfigured the ancient custom of tithing to become an act of worship. While there is no magic in the math of giving, there is a power in worshipful giving to silence the lie of self-reliance and break our slavery to the false gods of consumerism and more. We never give in order to gain a blessing; we give because Christ has blessed us with the greatest blessing: His very life.

Listen to the podcast HERE.

OT Reading: Genesis 14:18-20 (ESV)
NT Reading: Hebrews 7:1-3, 7 (CEB)
Gospel Reading: Luke 16:10-13 (CEB)

[ATTENTION/TENSION]
The Test of Victory

  • How do you handle the blessing of victory?
  • Does Christianity have anything to say to the successful?

[TEXT/CONTEXT]
Series recap

Genesis 14:8-9, 11-12 (ESV)
“Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) went out, and they joined battle in the Valley of Siddim with Chedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goiim, Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar, four kings against five… 11 So the enemy took all the possessions of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and went their way. 12 They also took Lot, the son of Abram’s brother, who was dwelling in Sodom, and his possessions, and went their way.”

  • Lot’s troubles begin…

Genesis 14:13-16 (ESV)
“Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, who was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and of Aner. These were allies of Abram. 14 When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 And he divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them and pursued them to Hobah, north of Damascus. 16 Then he brought back all the possessions, and also brought back his kinsman Lot with his possessions, and the women and the people.”

  • Abram the war hero!
  • The first signs of God’s blessing on him 

Genesis 14:18-20 (ESV)
“And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) 19 And he blessed him and said, ‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!’ And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.”

Abraham handled the blessing of victory by tithing.

  • Oh no…money talk!
  • Tithing’s checkered past

What is tithing?

Tithing literally means giving a tenth, but can refer to a symbolic percentage.

Tithing was an old and widespread custom in the ancient orient. 

Tithes were given to both sanctuaries and kings.

Who is Melchizedek?

Hebrews 7:1-3, 7 (CEB)
“For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever…Without question, the less important person is blessed by the more important person.”

Who is Melchizedek?

Melchizedek is a type and shadow of Christ.

  • Abram has received a priestly blessing from Melchizedek
  • It is because of his priesthood that Abram gives him a tithe.

[PARTICIPATION]

  1. Giving a symbolic percentage of our money is an act of worship.
  • Abram responded to the blessing of victory by bring gifts in worship.
  • Not charitable giving, not a donation, not a tax-exempt contribution
  • Giving is worship when giving is an expression of surrender. (Not designated)
  1. When we give a symbolic percentage of our money as an act of worship, we rebuke the lie of self-reliance.

“I know of nothing that will transform someone’s spiritual life more abruptly than beginning to tithe. If we want to learn about dependence on God, tithe. If we want to have our treasure in heaven, tithe. If we want to have any hope of having solidarity with the poor, tithe.”—Lauren Winner, Duke Divinity

  1. When we give a symbolic percentage of our money as an act of worship, we confront the false gods of our day.
  • King of Sodom—represents the systems of the world—got the rest!
  • We are implicated with the world’s systems, but we need not be entangled. 

There is a kind of worshipful giving that is given to the house of worship.

  • Abram sets an example for all his descendants to follow: tithes are brought to the Levites (i. e. the priests)
  • In the OT the principle was to tithe to the place of refuge, and to the house of worship.
  • In the NT, proceeds from sales (which was NOT mandatory!) were brought to the Apostles’ feet; and Gal. 6:10 says, ‘let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.’
  • The local church is your refuge!
  • This is not just ‘living simply’ or ‘living generously’; This is about surrender.
  • New Life takes that seriously: ECFA; 12.5% toward outreach…We are good stewards of your worship…but don’t give because of that.

[PARTICIPATION/GOSPEL]
Don’t give because the church needs your money; give because God wants your heart.

That’s how we respond to the test of victory: by demonstrating and ensuring that God has our heart!

Don’t give to get; give because you have been blessed.

  • Jesus is the guarantor of a better covenant! (Heb. 7:22)
  • We have been invited to HIS Table, where His Body is the bread, His blood is the wine

[INVITATION]
This is not compulsion; if it were, it would not be worship.

This is an invitation.