In His Kingdom Manifesto, Jesus is teaching us that He has the power and the wisdom to move us beyond the vicious cycles that often control our lives. In affirming the rightness of the Old Testament law, Jesus identifies the underlying patterns that lead us toward sin and then gives us a new way to live, pointing us toward Spirit-transformation. The heart of Jesus is that we are truly free to follow Him.
Jesus begins His manifesto by making a bold statement. Far from listing the status to which we should aspire, Jesus is giving us a list of the least preferable conditions of life in order to deliver this stunning message: Regardless of background or station in life, no one is excluded. Just as there's nothing we can do to earn our place in His Kingdom, Jesus assures us that we won't be disqualified either—all are welcomed.
The call of Jesus to follow Him is not simply a call to a set of teachings or moral principles. It was, and is, a call to turn from anything that stands in the way and to follow Him into a revolutionary movement. It is this understanding that separates His apprentices from the crowds and that propels us to understand what He is teaching us.
Baptism is a fitting response to repentance. It declares who we really are as apprentices of Jesus. So often our identity and worth come from what we've accomplished or how successful we are. However, Jesus shows us how to live out of the already overflowing pleasure of God.
Have you ever taken a look at your walk with Jesus and wanted more? You believe in Jesus, you love Jesus, you even love being with His body, the church... but isn’t there more? You know that you have made the decision to follow Him... but you want to learn to follow Him even more closely. You want to become a passionate follower of Jesus!
: The escape of Jesus' family to Egypt is a brutal reminder of the presence of suffering and injustice in our world, and the return to the Jordan River is a reminder of the sovereignty of God in the midst of that suffering. The path between the two, both in Jesus' day and in ours, is repentance. Injustice and suffering will not remain forever. Jesus has come to point us toward the hope of the Kingdom.
We are always formed by our past experiences, which creates a tension in the way that we hear and process the Gospel. For some, retreat from legalism moves us toward license. For others, the way of Jesus can never be legalism or license. Instead, we are all invited to live by the Spirit so that we might experience the life of Jesus.
How is God calling us to remain engaged in His Kingdom work? Due to the content of this sermon the podcast will not be posted for public access. You can contact the church office to obtain a CD copy of the message.
Hurry is the great enemy of the spiritual life. However, when people ask how we've been, most of us quickly respond with "Busy!" Our lives are packed full, which hasn't left room for the Spirit of God to work in us. Sabbath is both a command and a discipline where we engage the beauty of Jesus while humbly admitting our limits.
It's hard to fathom self-denial in an age of self-fulfillment. Even our approach to church is often consumeristic, and the way we engage the rest of the world around us is even more so. However, self-denial is the consistent call of Jesus and is vital to us becoming more like Him.
Like Jesus Himself, we grow and develop both physically and spiritually in the revelation of God through the Bible and spending intentional time with Him. Immersive Bible reading and fasting with prayer are two practices from the life of Jesus that can guide us as a body to grow in wisdom, stature and in favor with God and man… just like Jesus.
In God’s desire to have a relationship with us, He calls the whole church to know Him better. Here at York Alliance, we bring encouragement to our pastors and Elders as we become intimate and passionate followers of Jesus through the practical outworking of our relationship with God.
After all the hoopla, the birth of Jesus caused very little disruption to the busy first-century world. Then, as now, those who were impacted were those who were watching, waiting and willing to respond. The only right response to a real understanding of Jesus' birth is that of worship.
The story of Jesus' birth meant far more than a miraculous baby conceived in the womb of a teenage girl. The language of Matthew makes it quickly apparent that the birth of Jesus was a breakthrough within human history and a divine solution to the central problem of humanity. Every aspect of Matthew's telling is there to remind us that we are in need of rescue and that a Rescuer has come.
At first glance, the beginning of Matthew is a long and dry recounting of many generations of Israelites. However, like the rest of Matthew's gospel, the treasure lies beneath the surface. In this list of names we find an invitation into the story of God and a clear reminder that, regardless of who we are, we are all invited.
Learning the discipline of gratitude is not only an act of worship, but it is formative in our spiritual lives. When we fail to practice gratitude, we develop undue attachments and chase after desires that are never fulfilled. However, when we practice gratitude, we are able to say that we are content in all circumstances because we recognize the blessing and grace of Jesus in our lives.
Teaching, practice and community are vital to our spiritual formation. However, if all we do is engage those three things in our strength, we still wouldn't become like Jesus. The power of the Holy Spirit is the fuel for our transformation. The way He works in "the moment" is important, but it's even more important to see how He works “in the moment after the moment."
Teaching, practice and community are vital to our spiritual formation. However, if all we do is engage those three things in our strength, we still wouldn't become like Jesus. The power of the Holy Spirit is the fuel for our transformation. He works in us both in crisis and progressive experiences, working in us individually and as a part of the body of Christ.
Community is a vital aspect of our spiritual growth. We need to learn to celebrate one another, care for one another, and even challenge one another in healthy ways. While structures and programming can create a venue for gospel community, authentic community must be pursued and developed with intentionality.
Our spiritual lives are often marked by the “starts and stops” of trying harder, of intermittently succeeding and failing, and then of giving up… until we are convicted and the process starts all over again. However, engaging the practices of Jesus with effort and intentionality develops our spiritual muscle so that we can do what Jesus did.