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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.

Easter Sunday: Why Jesus?

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This was a big weekend at Gateway Community Church.  On Good Friday, we met to sing and pray and hear a message from Pastor Alex York out of Zechariah 13:1 about Jesus as a fountain cleansing us from sin and impurity.

On Saturday, we had a memorial service for elder Tom Bellino, who went home to be with the Lord on March 24, after a battle with cancer.  We celebrated his life in the context of Easter and belief in the Resurrection.

On Easter Sunday, we began a new schedule of two services on Sunday morning at 9:00 and 11:00 - and both services were packed!

Pastor Ed Allen spoke to us from John 14:1-9, answering the question Why Jesus?  Why do Christians keep insisting that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life?  We took an honest look at the exclusive claims that Christians have made over the centuries.

Jesus' story is remarkable, and there are strong, rational reasons to believe it.  We went over those briefly.

-- The Empty Tomb

Alternate explanations are very weak, and where did this idea even come from if it wasn't true?

-- Early Witnesses

Paul wrote less than 25 years after the event that Jesus had appeared after his death to more than 500 witnesses - and most of them were still alive.

-- Lives of the First Followers

Their lives were completely changed.  They suffered and died over the next 40 years without changing their story.

Okay, so What does it have to do with us?

We're starting with these foundational principles:

1)  The universe was created with the greatest intention and care.

2)  Humans were made to occupy the pinnacle of creation and relate to God.

3)  The universe has an intrinsic moral framework.

4)  When that framework is violated, existence is altered; sin leads to death.

So we're in trouble.  And we know we're in trouble.  We see the effects in our lives.

Romans 3:23 - "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

Romans 6:23 - "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

2 Corinthians 5:21 - "God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him."

The sacrificial system of the Old Testament pointed to Jesus, and Jesus fulfilled that system.

So - "Do not let your hearts be troubled."  If you know Jesus, you know the Father.

Jesus is the Way!

Jesus is the way God relates to us.  We need a Saviour.

Jesus is the Truth!

The Truth is a person.  If you want to know the Truth, know Jesus.

Jesus is the Life!

Real life is through Jesus.  The tomb is empty!

It's difficult to hold onto our faith at times.  But Jesus told us, "Don't be troubled.  I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life."

Posted by Sondy Eklund with