Sermon: Reflections on Christ Summary: The holiday season is always a teachable moment about the significance of Christ. We need to remember that instead of annual observance of his birth, Jesus gave us a weekly observance of Him. Also, instead of making a holiday, he made us to be a holy people. Finally, instead a season of gifts, we ourselves are to become a living offering to God. Know: Jesus expectations are more than observance of a holiday, he does not want holiday Christians, but devoted Christians Feel: Faithful commitment to God Do: Discuss on what Jesus did in his ministry, including becoming human and offering up himself for us. Reflect on how this is not only a gift he offers to us, but also a model for us to pattern our lives after. Determine how the weekly reminder of the communion helps keep us focused on these things. Text: Various passages Scripture Reading: Heb 2:14-15 Intro: 1. I'm sure you have noticed what has been happening. Can't ignore it a. Things seems to have changed - There are brightly colored lights all around - People say strange things, like Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays - Houses, stores, yards, schools, even people decorated - Tell story about man in red on sleigh, talking reindeer, snowmen b. People have changed too - Smiles on many people's faces - Benevolent things, help needy, soup kitchens, gifts to strangers - Even some who are sour all year now are cheerful - Some even go to church, call them holiday Christians c. Other welcome changes - Many get a vacation - Many travel to see family, talk on phone - Some are getting what are called Christmas bonuses - Air of excitement, anticipation, sparkly - can't deny it, all feel it 2. What would it be like if we didn't have all of this? a. Coldest, darkest time of year, we have all this warmth and light b. It would be a long, dreary, dark, cold winter without it c. Instead, things change - find warmth, sparkle, anticipation, etc. 3. But is there really change? a. Used to say life slowed down, but sure doesn't seem that way - A lot of frenzied activity leading up to this season - A lot a desperate shopping and competition - Fighting over the last X-Box, or Cabbage Patch Doll, Beanie Baby - Season for companies to sell, sales go through the roof b. Things were not always that way - There was a simpler time, not too long ago - At one time, at the center of it all was a baby - No talking reindeer, men in red suits, talking snowmen, etc. - It was a time for family, tradition, fellowship, goodwill, giving c. This holiday has been regarded as a traditional Christian holiday - Our culture had no trouble with it as such - But now, there is a shift away from any public acknowledgement of God or of Jesus Christ - People are saying, Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas d. Some who were ambivalent toward it want to defend Christmas - Even though it is a man made day, want to keep it around - Jesus not born on the 25th of December - Bible never instructs us to observe his birth in a festival - So, this is a man made holiday - But, some of you have said you almost want to defend it - Culture is trying to suppress any public expression of Christianity - This seems to be part of the package 4. In the midst of all of this, I want to inject some biblical perspective a. Could talk about the origins of the day & its history b. Could talk about how Christians can respond in a way that is faithful c. Instead, want to stand back and look at the big picture d. Jesus didn't come to transform a day, or create a holiday, but to transform lives, and transform the world inside out - Want to spend some time reflecting on this - It is much bigger than a day, or even a season I. Instead of annual observance of his birth, Jesus gave us a weekly observance of Him A. We call it the Lord's Supper or Communion 1. This is not a man made tradition 2. goes all the way back to Christ B. (1 Cor 11:23-34) - Several things we do and commemorate 1. Look upward - In remembrance of me a. Not "in remembrance of the institution of communion" b. In remembrance of Jesus Christ. Who was/is he? - Creator & sustainer of all the worlds - Col 1:16-17 - Crucified and risen Lord - Is God, King, Messiah, Sacrifice, Lord, etc. c. Bread - This is my body - Is God & man - Jn 1:1-3, 14 - Made a perfect sacrifice through flesh, Heb 5:7-9 - Heb 2:10-18 - Shared in our "flesh & blood" = Participated in human suffering = Participated in human temptation = Became a merciful and faithful high priest = Offer up his own blood/life for us on the cross > He is our advocate with the Father > Since he is man, he represent us > Since he is God, he represent God > As advocate, brings the two together with his own blood, remove sin - Birth of Jesus is a very significant event in history d. Fruit of the Vine - New covenant in my blood - Means he gave up his life for us on the cross - Took sins out of the way though blood on cross - Enacted a covenant/promise of grace - Took our sins out of the way 2. Look outward - This is my "body" - also reference to the church a. 1 Cor 11:27 - Drink in unworthy "manner" - what is that? - Context, talking about parties and divisions in church - Some were going hungry, some were stuffed/drunk b. v.28-29 - Instructions for taking Lord's Supper - Judge/discern the "body" rightly - They are family - Examine yourself - Are you treating them as Christ would? - v.33 - Wait for one another, don't start without them = For some, was only decent meal they got (Originally, Lord's Supper taken with them meal, not pinch of cracker and sip of juice) = About fellowship in Christ, not just eating = v.34 - Don't come hungry and eat everything in sight c. It is not a sacrament, not individual experience d. It is a community memorial, expression of fellowship 3. Look inward - Examine yourself a. If not right with brother, not right with Christ - The two are connected - You can't be right with God and wrong with brother b. If you pretend it is okay and partake, you drink judgment on self, guilty of body and blood of the Lord c. Parents don't like children fighting at the table, God doesn't either 4. Look forward - Anticipation of the Lord's coming a. We proclaim the Lord's death "until he comes" b. Not that Jesus died, but died, arose, and ascended c. He coming back - Full redemption realized - Go to be with God - Kingdom of God will be finally consummated - Death will be a distant memory as will Satan & evil C. Remember this as you participate in communion 1. Remember, we are commemorating Christ, not the institution of the Lord's Supper a. Do this in remembrance of ME, not the institution of it b. Look upward, outward, inward and forward 2. Jesus instituted this to stand as a time of a. Remembrance b. Renewal c. Relationship D. Notice, it is not an annual remembrance any more 1. Now it is a weekly observance 2. The more often you do it, the more work to keep it meaningful 3. Put some time in preparation for communion with the Lord, and in the three acts of remembrance, renewal, and relationship II. Instead of making a holiday, he made a holy people A. Holiday is from the word, "holy day" 1. Christian holidays were originally man made days - They were set apart as days of remembrance 2. Nothing wrong with observance as a man-made tradition -Traditions, whether family or body, root us in our identity 3. But God did not initiate a bunch of holy days, feast days 4. Most of us understand these to be man-made days B. God did not make holy days, we did. Instead, God makes holy people 1. (1 Pet 2:9-12) - Reminds us we are a holy people a. A chosen race, royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's possession, the people of God, Aliens, Strangers b. So what question? - Answer: ` - We are aliens and strangers - Abstain from fleshly desires c. Keep your behavior excellent among the gentiles - We represent our Lord, belong to him - Your good deeds cause them to glorify God 2. Same point in (Mt 5:13-16) a. We are the salt of the earth b. Wed are the light of the world 3. These are ways of saying we are holy to the Lord a. Holiness involves being dedicated to God b. Holiness is about carrying out the purposes of Gode c. Holiness is part of our identity C. ILL: Holiness means we influence the world, not other way around 1. When you uses salt, what does it do? 2. If making jerky, it preserves it, keeps it from spoiling a. In a sense, we preserve what it good all around us b. Our words, activities, are good c. It influences the thoughts and actions of others d. Helps to bring them to Christ 3. If using in food, it transforms it, flavors, highlights the goodness a. If used right amount, it flavors, makes pleasing b. Doesn't cover up flavor, but brings out the best c. Makes you hungry for more of God's goodness 4. We are different, dedicated to God D. This is what it means to be holy 1. God didn't set apart a holy day 2. He made us a holy people 3. Sends us into the world as holy people a. Not to be like everyone else, but to be God's people b. Sends us to family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. c. Sends us to as aliens, strangers, as salt and light III. Instead a season of gifts, we ourselves become an offering A. God did not intend only a season of gifts 1. Nothing wrong with giving gifts a. Expresses love, value, dignity, etc. to people b. We should give and expect nothing in return right? 2. More blessed to give than to receive 3. Giving gifts is good B. But it doesn't take place of being an offering to God 1. Rom 12:1-2 a. Offer your bodies a living sacrifice b. You don't give just a gift, but you give your whole self 2. (Phil 2:3-9) Reason? Jesus modeled it - Talking about Gospel a. Notice, the Gospel is not just a gift to be received b. The Gospel is also a model to follow - 2 Tim 4:6 - Paul being "poured out" as an offering - Gal 2:2 - Crucified with Christ - Rom 6 - Buried with him, raised up to walk new life, slaves of righteousness - Col 2:12 - Buried with him in baptism, raised up = Col 3:1f - Since raise with Christ, changes life = Seek things above, not below = Change your character, relationships = Whether husband, wife, son, daughter, employer, employee c. You have crucified self with Christ, and a new person 3. Col 3:3 - You have died, life hidden with Christ in God 4. Understand, The Gospel is not just a gift to receive, but a model to follow C. ILL: Jesus is not just a savior, but Lord, which means he our model 1. What is a model? It is a pattern to follow 2. If doing a sculpture, painting, used a model to follow 3. As we sculpture our lives, Jesus is our model 4. Our attitude, character, actions, all to look like him D. So, what is involved? 1. Jesus was holy, righteous, obedient, even to the point of death 2. Jesus was kind, compassionate, forgiving, the definition of love 3. Jesus noticed what no one else did, like the widow with two mites, or Zachaeus up in the tree, Matthew in tax booth 4. Jesus offered himself up as a gift, we should as well. Concl: 1. Review of the points about Jesus 2. Holiday season is a teachable moment a. Like Jesus used Hannukah to teach about coming to him b. We have opportunity to use the Christmas season to teach about significance of Christ 3. They say, "Jesus is the reason for the season" a. Lot of trite cliches are taken out of box and used this time of year b. Jesus is not honored by gift wrapped presents, but hearts offered to God as a gift c. The real gift is not under the tree, but on the tree, Jesus crucified 4. Jesus is crucified & risen Lord a. He is worthy of more than slogan with shelf life 6 wks b. His universal reign not limited to a season, his kingdom put end to all others c. Don't reduce Christ to a seasonal ornament - He coming back. d. Are You ready? 5. He is crucified and risen Lord, he is coming back. a. Not going to be in a manger this time ` b. Come with sound of the trumpet, all will raise from grave c. Some resurrection of life, some resurrection of judgment d. Are you ready? ======================================== Sermon: Reflections on Christ Summary: The holiday season is always a teachable moment about the significance of Christ. We need to remember that instead of annual observance of his birth, Jesus gave us a weekly observance of Him. Also, instead of making a holiday, he made us to be a holy people. Finally, instead a season of gifts, we ourselves are to become a living offering to God. Open - When was your best holiday? Explore: 1. Heb 2:8-10; 5:7-9 - How is Jesus coming to this earth in the manner he did a significant event? 2. 1 Cor 11:23-34 - What is a way Jesus instructs us to remember him? What is the significance, "this is my body" and "this is my blood?" What is the significance of it being a meal at a table? 3. How is this remembrance a looking backward, inward, outward, and forward? 4. Phil 2:3-9 - Before Jesus returns, he instructs us to offer ourselves as living offerings. How is the Gospel (death, burial, and resurrection) instructive for us? In what ways is the Gospel more than a gift to be received? Apply: 5. Jesus came to earth as one of us and offered himself for us. Communion is a weekly reminder. How does/should this reminder transform you? 6. How does/should the Gospel shape your life...at home? At work? Leisure times? Other times? 7. Jews ordered their lives around the hope of the coming of the Messiah. How is your life ordered around the hope of the return of the Messiah?