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Jesus Answers Our Questions

Today Pastor Ed Allen began a new sermon series "Jesus Answers Our Questions" with the question, "How much do we really need to know?"

In the Intro, he did remind us that Jesus was not an Answer Man.  The Pharisees did a lot of that, but Jesus didn't try to tell you what to do in every possible situation.  However, he did answer some important questions.

Our first question is something of an Intro to the series.  We're thinking especially of people who don't know the Bible well and people who do know the Bible well.

Jesus provides a profound and counterintuitive framework to this question.  We looked first at John 13:31-35, particularly verse 35, "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Jesus is adding to the commandments -- which was an epic and audacious thing to do.

It's not about how much you know.  It's about how well you love.

Later, after Peter denied him, Jesus asked in John 21, "Do  you love me?"  He didn't test his knowledge.

When Jesus separates the sheep from the goats, it's going to be about how you cared for the least among us.

There is no shame -- or pride -- in knowing or not knowing the answers to Bible trivia.

If someone makes you feel guilty about your lack of Bible knowledge -- "I'm not judging you, but you might be a Pharisee."

You already have what it takes to be a follower of Christ.

It's not about how much we know; it's about how well we love.

However -- knowing God is the essence of Eternal Life.  John 17:1-5.

"Eternal life" isn't defined in chronological terms but in relational terms.  Knowing the Father and the Son is about intimacy and relationship.

But it does also need information.  Knowing more helps any relationship.  We read the Bible to know more about God.

Even though connection with God isn't based on knowledge, knowledge is required to grow in our relationship with God.

How much do we really need to know?  An increasing amount.

If you love Him, you'll want to know Him more.

Romans 12:11 -- often our zeal falters.

If you never feel any desire to know Him better, you've either got a spiritual flu or you're spiritually dead.  If it's the flu, get real and honest before Him.  Pray that He will show Himself.  If you're spiritually dead, it's time to step in and ask Jesus to take charge of your life.  Lean in today.  He does the rest.

What's Your Game Plan? - Telling Others About Jesus

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Today one of Gateway's elders, John Maulella, brought the sermon, speaking from Acts 17:16-32 about another of our Habits - Telling others about Jesus.

In this passage, we saw a model for sharing our faith when Paul preached to the Athenians.  We see Connecting, Confronting, a Cause, and Caring.

Athens had lots of temples -- they were not places of worship, but homes for the gods, with nice things to appease them.  It was sort of a patronage system -- but that's still how many people think of God today.  If I do good things for God, He owes me.

First, Paul connected with his audience. 

"I see that in every way you are very religious."  He doesn't come across as thinking he's superior.

He confronts their wrong ideas about God (vs. 29).

He's not afraid to persuade.  This is countercultural to us.  But don't we do this in other contexts?  He does it respectfully.

The Cause (or Cognitive Reset): vs. 26-27

What's the point, God?  The point is that my life is planned.

"God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us."

God planned for us to be around these particular people.  We may be a part of them finding Him.

vs. 32 -- "some of them sneered."  We all get that reaction.  But some did get it.

What motivated Paul to do this?

In verse 17, we see Paul's heart.  He was "greatly distressed."

Paul was moved to action because he Cared.

Do we care?

Do we have the emotional bandwidth to care?

Will we allow God to build this into us?

Why did Paul care?  Because without Jesus, people are lost.

(Here, John told a story of when his daughter was 4 years old and she hid from them in a store.  Once they started calling for her, she was afraid they'd be angry, and hid all the more.  We're lost and hiding from God.  Come out!  He is not mad at us!)

Action items:

1)  Pray for:  Boldness, Energy, and Opportunity

2)  Invite.  Also, invest in lives.

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