PART 12 – WHAT THE SEED IS ACHIEVING PART 2 (8/5/20)
If you missed Sunday's broadcast, please catch up by following the link below. (For the foreseeable future, we be running our Sunday morning services digitally. Please go to our website on Sundays at 10:30 to join in)
The power is in the seed - in Jesus. We are totally dependent upon the power and mercy of God for everything. Anything good in us and through us is to the glory of Jesus. This is not to say that we don’t make any effort, for example, Peter says that we are to ‘
‘Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (1 Peter 1:5-8)
However, can you imagine writing a worship song to the glory of yourself or another person in the church who has ‘made every effort’ to do the things mentioned by Peter? No! Jesus receives all the glory. For, our efforts, all of which are weak and compromised at best, are inspired, empowered and made acceptable through Jesus.
He is Restoring us to the ‘image of God’
In the beginning, mankind was made ‘in the image of God’. This means many things, but, principally, it’s about human beings having an eternal, and perfect relationship with God as do the members the Trinity (Godhead).
Man’s relationship with God was broken with the fall of mankind; Adam’s rebellion has affected everyone just as Jesus’ perfect obedience now affects everyone who receives Him. In Christ, this is being restored. Paul writes,
‘So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit…As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.’ (1 Corinthians 15:45, 48-49)
Before we became Christians we were in the ‘first Adam’ with all of his fallenness. But now we are ‘in Christ’ the ‘last Adam’ and, in Him, we are being transformed into the image of God by the Holy Spirit.
The power is in the seed, He is restoring our broken image. Adam dragged us down, but Jesus is restoring us to the image of God in us through this life, and perfectly at the return of Christ.
He is bearing fruit in us by the Spirit.
The power is in the seed. the Father and the Son are at work in us by the Spirit to bear good fruit. Paul writes,
‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.’ (Galatians 5:22-24).
The good fruit in our lives is ‘the fruit of the Spirit’. The Spirit unites us with God. He unites us, specifically, with Jesus’ death and resurrection with all the transformative effects this has on us. The Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) marked the beginning of the ‘New Covenant’ era - the age when the Spirit indwells His people in a new and powerful manner. The author to the Hebrews, quoting the prophecy of Jeremiah wrote,
‘This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.’ (Hebrews 8:10)
Take a moment to consider what God does and what we do in this promise. The power is in the seed, by the Spirit He is changing our hearts, minds and lives.
The final thing we’ll touch on regarding what Jesus is achieving for us, is our glorification. Throughout this life, and perfected at His return, He is transforming us with ever-increasing glory.
This glorifying begins here and now. The term ‘sanctification’ refers to our being set apart for God - He has chosen us to belong to Him. This transference into God’s Kingdom also involves God working in us to transform our lives with ever-increasing glory. God, throughout our lives, is increasingly removing the pollution of sin.
Sanctification, principally, is achieved through God’s word, the sacraments (baptism and Communion) and prayer (See Robert Letham, Theology, page 738). These are God’s means of transforming us because the Spirit works through them. Devotion to these three aspects is sufficient for our needs because Jesus is sufficient for our needs and Jesus is met in these means!
This glorifying work goes on throughout our lives and will be completed when Jesus returns. Paul puts it like this,
‘For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.’ (Romans 8:29-30)
There’s so much that could be said about Jesus’ work. As Charles Wesley tough us to sing,
“O For a thousand tongues to sing, My dear Redeemer's praise! The glories of my God and King. The triumphs of His grace!”
Let’s boast in the ‘triumphs of His grace’!
Why not sing that hymn right now?
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY – THE POWER IS IN THE SEED
Do you have any funny or interesting experiences of trying to grow something?
Introduction - please read in your group
Please read Read Genesis 37:18-33
On Sunday our message was entitled, ‘The power is in the seed’. Joseph was like a seed. He was sown in a kind of death as he was put into the cistern and sold into slavery in Egypt. Joseph will achieve salvation for his family who deserve nothing.
This account is a prefiguring of the gospel. Jesus, like Joseph, will die for those who deserve nothing.
Jesus, like Joseph, will achieve everything for us.
God wants to teach us that our salvation, transformation, all our good works are a result of the power of 'the seed' - Jesus working in and through us.
This, of course, does not encourage passivity. If we have truly received Jesus, His power will work in us in a far greater way than thinking that we are are responsible for everything.
Please read Mark 4:26-28
The power is in the seed - Jesus has died, He's risen, He's working to complete the restoration of all things.
Discuss together (Before getting into smaller groups)
Some of us find it very difficult to talk about what Jesus is doing. The victory He is winning. We are the kind of people that spend little time worshipping because we feel that we need to quickly move on to 'productivity' in praying for things or doing things. Are you more focussed on your failures, your weakness, what you must do, rather than rejoicing in the power of Jesus who is achieving God’s plans?
Discuss/share/pray in smaller groups:
What is the Holy Spirit speaking to you about (maybe from Sunday's message)?
What will you do in response?
How can we pray for you?
This week, as I hope you've seen in the Church News, we are praying for our Community Groups. Community Groups are so important in connecting together in building friendships and strengthening our relationship with God.
At this time of not being able to meet together as we usually do, it is so good that we are able to meet online in smaller groups.
Prayer points for this week -
For each leader, as they faithfully serve in leading their group.
That each person would be encouraged and encourage others in their group.
That our faith would be strengthened as we share Gods word together.
That we would see growth and more groups starting.
For more leaders.
Please share from this week’s Church News