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The Savior of the World - Facts About the Jesus Story

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Today Pastor Ed Allen preached again in the sermon series, "The Savior of the World."  Each service, first he talked with people from the congregation who grew up in different countries and they told how they celebrated Christmas -- pointing out that Jesus' birth is celebrated all over the world.

Today we looked at I John 1:1-4 and talked about the question, "What does Christmas mean?"  John doesn't include a birth narrative in his gospel, but he does talk about why Jesus came.

Six Critically Important Truths About the Jesus Story

1)  Jesus predated Christmas Eve.

Verse 1 -- "That which was from the BEGINNING."

John says the same thing in John 1:1-3.  John borrowed the term "the Word" from Greek philosophy to say that Jesus came from God the same way words come from the speaker.

Jesus was utterly unique and eternal.  John 17:5 -- He prayed about "the glory I had with you before the world existed."  Jesus was part of the Godhead.

When Jesus calmed the sea, the disciples realized he was in a completely different category than anyone else.

They began to see his birth was more than amazing -- it was essential.

Jesus was pre-existent, and part of the Godhead.  This is a consistent and essential theme in the Jesus story.

2)  The Jesus story was witnessed.

We read the Apostles' Creed -- "He suffered under Pontius Pilate" -- the story is set in history.  It actually happened at a certain time, in a certain place.

Verse 1 -- "... which we have heard, which we have seen with  our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched."  These were the elements needed for a legal deposition in ancient times.  He's swearing that it's true!

3)  Jesus IS Life!

Verse 2 -- "The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it..."

We have life.  Jesus is life.

Jesus is the source.  We couldn't see the source until Jesus appeared.

When we get connected to Jesus, we experience LIFE.

4)  When we accept the Jesus story, we can have fellowship with others.

Verse 3 -- "... so that you may have fellowship with us..."

We need community, and we know it.

"Fellowship" is deep, purposeful connection with others.

We need to hear this as a wonderful offer.  Jesus made life-giving connection possible.

We need to hear this as a challenge.  Invest in life-giving connection!

5)  When we accept the Jesus story, we can have fellowship with God.

Verse 3 -- "Our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ."

The Father wants a relationship with us.

The purpose isn't Bible knowledge or more religion, but fellowship with God.

6)  The birth of the Savior is joy-producing!

Verse 4 -- "We write this to make our joy complete."

Pastor Ed finished the service by reading the Christmas story in Luke 2:8-14.

Meandering to Missional: Devoting Ourselves

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On Sunday, Pastor Ed Allen continued the sermon series on "Meandering to Missional" by looking at the early church as presented in Acts 2:42-47.

They were not meandering.  They weren't commanded to do all these things.  They needed to excavate space in their lives for God to move.  The result was what's described in Acts 2.

"devoted" -- occupied diligently with

They were devoted to hearing about Jesus, remembering what Jesus did, and to hearing from God, talking to God.

"fellowship" -- association, partnership, close relationship, community

They diligently occupied themselves with community.

The apostles were doing amazing things among them.

"had everything in common" -- and gave to anyone who had need

Sometimes we think the essence of religion is doing good and knowing the Bible.  But that's not the heart of it.

The heart of religion is found in John 13:34-35.  Our religion is about loving one another.

Being connected to others in healthy and beneficial ways that show the world what God is like.

Gateway's mission:

"We exist to be used by God to draw others into authentic Christian community."

Stop meandering and join us in this mission!

If you devote yourself to community, when the crisis comes, you get the payoff.

Ephesians 4:3-6 -- Make every effort!

Two requirements:

1)  We need to be connected to God through Jesus Christ.  He gives the unity of the Spirit.

2)  We participate.  We make every effort and devote ourselves to fellowship.

Homework:

1)  Ask yourself if you're all in.

Are you making every effort to have community?

Are you all in with Gateway?  If yes, we need to feel the weight of you.

2)  Take the next right step.

This will vary for each person.

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After this message, we celebrated the Lord's Supper together.