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THE STORY OF DEATH DEFEATED

Luke 24:1-12 // 36-43
Sermon Discussion


Read the passage.

What are you noticing about the descriptions of life and death in this passage? What might this teach us about Jesus and the goal of all things?

-What is a story that you have enjoyed recently? Why? Why do you think we love stories? What might this teach us about our nature as humans?

I. The Death of Skepticism

-How do you think Luke's profession as a medical doctor either helped or hindered his ability to believe and write about the resurrection? What about you?

-Christianity hinges totally on a historical/scientific fact that Jesus rose from the dead. Why is this important to our faith? How is this either encouraging or challenging to you and your faith?

-What are some of the evidences that Luke provides for us regarding the resurrection?
-Where might you be wrestling with skepticism in your faith? How does the resurrection help to bring assurance to our faith?

II. The Death of Suffering

-The resurrection places a large emphasis on the human body. How do we see this being emphasized in our text?

-We are embodies souls, and our physical bodies have a huge impact on our souls well being. Why do you think that is? How have you experienced the body/soul connection in your life?


-How does Jesus’ incarnation as a physical human man teach us about the sacredness of our physical bodies? What is your view of the body?


-“Jesus Mission is the redeemed the human body. Christianity is a body religion.” What do you think about this? How do we see this played out in the Scriptures and in our lives?

III. The Death of Sadness

-What is sadness? How do we see people being sad in our text? How do we see them becoming joyful? What causes them this kind of joy?

-What are some of the different emotions in this text?

-How does the hope/promise of the resurrection help to redeem/reinterpret those sad and difficult things we have lived in our stories?

-What are some things that you need the power of the resurrection to help bring joy into your life again?

IV. Pray for one another!

 

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Sunday Preview

Sunday, August 19, 2018
10:00 am

Worship in Fellowship

Coffee and tea are available in our outdoor courtyard. We encourage you to come early and stay late to hang out with God's people.  

Worship in Song

Every week we love to worship God through song. We are fortunate to have three rotating worship bands that perform a wide variety of songs and styles all centered around the Gospel and the work of God through Jesus. Come prepared to sing these songs unto the Lord!  

Holy Holy Holy
Father You Are All We Need
Day By Day
Come Behold The Wondrous Mystery
There Is A Fountain
Doxology

Worship in the Word

This week, Pastor Duane Smets will be continuing our summer series, Won't You Be My Neighbor?.   This week's topic is Evangelism For Our Sanctification and is taken from the scripture, Philemon 1:6.  Feel free to read the passage ahead of time to prepare your heart and mind for God's Word. 

Worship in Sacrament

Each week believers respond to God's Word by coming forward to The Lord's Table to receive Holy Communion. During this time there is always prayer available at the back of the sanctuary for those in need.  We encourage you to bring your needs to Jesus during this time and have Him meet you with His grace.

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Everyone should long for and want the resurrection of Jesus Christ to be true. Here is an excerpt from Timothy Keller's book The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism stating why.  
- Pastor Duane


 

The Challenge of the Resurrection

Nothing in history can be proven the way we can prove something in a laboratory.  However, the resurrection of Jesus is a historical fact much more fully attested to than most other events of ancient history we take for granted.  Every effort to account for the birth of the church apart from Jesus's resurrection flies in the face of what we know about first-century history and culture.  If you don't short-circuit the process with the philosophical bias against the possibility of miracle, the resurrection of Jesus Jesus has the most evidence for it.  

The problem is, however, that people do short-circuit the investigation.  Instead of doing the work of answering these very tough historical questions and then following the answers where they lead, they bail out with the objection that miracles are impossible.  N.T. Wright makes a scathing response: 

The early Christians did not invent the empty tomb and the meetings or sighting of the risen Jesus... Nobody was expecting this kind of thing; no kind of conversion experience would have invented it, no matter how guilty (or how forgiven) they felt, no matter how many hours they pored over the scriptures.  To suggest otherwise is to stop doing history and enter into a fantasy world of our own.  

I sympathize with the person who says, "so what if I can't think of an alternate explanation? The resurrection just couldn't happen."  Let's not forget, however, that first-century people felt exactly the same way.  They found the resurrection just as inconceivable as you do.  The only way anyone embraced the resurrection back then was by letting the evidence challenge and change their worldview, their view of what was possible.  They had just as much trouble with the claims of the resurrection as you, yet the evidence- both of the eyewitness accounts and the changed lives of Christ's followers- was overwhelming.  

Each year at Easter I get to preach on the Resurrection.  In my sermon I always say to my skeptical, secular friends that, even if they can't believe in the resurrection, they should want it to be true.  Most of them care deeply about justice for the poor, alleviating hunger and disease, and caring for the environment.  Yet many of them believe that the material world was caused by accident and that the world and everything in it will eventually simply burn up in the death of the sun.  They find it discouraging that so few people care about justice without realizing that their own worldview undermines any motivation to make the world a better place.  Why sacrifice for the needs of others if in the end nothing we do will make any difference? If the resurrection of Jesus happened, however, that means there's infinite hope and reason to pour ourselves out for the needs of the world.  In a sermon, N.T. Wright said: 

The message of the resurrection is that this world matters!  That the injustices and pains of this present world must now be addressed with the news that healing, justice, and love have won... If Easter means Jesus Christ is only raised in a spiritual sense- [then] it is only about me, and finding a new dimension in my personal spiritual life.  But if Jesus Christ is truly risen from the dead, Christianity becomes good news for the whole world- news which warms our hearts precisely because it isn't just about warming hearts.  Easter means that in a world where injustice, violence and degradation are endemic, God is not prepared to tolerate such things- and that we will work and plan, with all the energy of God, to implement victory of Jesus over them all.  Take away Easter and Karl Marx was probably right to accuse Christianity of ignoring problems of the material world.  Take it away and Freud was probably right to say Christianity is wish fulfillment.  Tea his away and the Nietzsche probably was right to say it was for wimps.

Keller, Timothy.   The Reason for God (pgs. 210-212). 

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JESUS THE LORD OF THE CROSS

Luke 23:26-56
Sermon Discussion

We finally arrive at the pinnacle of our story. Everything since the beginning of time has been leading up to this great and terrible act, performed to save us, because God loves us.

Jesus has been intimating and revelaing for quite some time that he would die soon, and die horribly on a tree. His disciples refused to believe Him. This week we read and discuss Jesus death on the cross, which has become the symbol for Christians worldwide.

Aside from a cross, is there any other symbol you've associated yourself with, or wear often that reveals a part of your identity? What is it?


Let's read the passage from Luke 23:26-56:

26 And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. 27 And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. 28 But turning to them Jesus said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!' 30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, 'Fall on us,' and to the hills, 'Cover us.' 31 For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?"

32 Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And they cast lots to divide his garments. 35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!" 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37 and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!" 38 There was also an inscription over him, "This is the King of the Jews."

39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!" 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." 42 And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." 43 And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

44 It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 while the sun's light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!" And having said this he breathed his last. 47 Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, "Certainly this man was innocent!" 48 And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. 49 And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.

50 Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, 51 who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid. 54 It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning. 55 The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

Before we talk about Duane's thoughts on the passage, what did you think? Were there any ideas that stood out, were confusing, were challenging?

Duane had 2 points he wanted to expound on in this passage:

The Word of the Cross
The People of the Cross

THE WORD OF THE CROSS

Duane based his first point on the passage from 1 Corinthians 1:18 which states that the "For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."The cross is a loaded word and a lot is contained in it.

In this passage we have Jesus who is called by 4 names.

Jesus (God saves)
Christ (Savior)
King
Chosen Son of God (only, unique)

Which name do you think most of San Diego thinks of when they hear about Jesus?
Which name/meaning do you most often associate with Jesus?

Jesus speaks and acts while on the cross to give addition and clear meaning to the cross.

The word of the cross is:

Forgiveness - "forgive them for they know not what they do"
Solidarity - silently suffers as some of us have suffered and is abused on the cross
Redemption - Promising the criminal he will be with him in paradise
Access - The curtain is torn and we can go to God whenever we want
Completion - Dies on the cross so there is nothing else you have to do

Which of these words seems most impossible when applied to you?
What other words or actions tied to the cross have struck you from the passage?


THE PEOPLE OF THE CROSS

Duane then wanted to touch on the reactions of the different character near the cross.

He pointed out 8 different reactions:

Simon of Cyrene - literally picked up and carried Jesus' cross

Why are we called to "pick up a cross and follow Jesus?" Is that also a literal command?

The Women - Completely devoted, never leaving Him, giving money and time to Him even after he had died.

Put yourselves in their shoes, why didn't the women leave? What were they hoping for?

Crowd - Angry, and ashamed, but unrepentant

Why do you think the crowd was ashamed? (beating their fists against their chests)

Soldiers - Put their faith in Caesar and government
Centurion - pays attention, recognizes Jesus as the son of God and changes

The Centurion notices that Jesus was greater than Caesar. What do you think caused him to notice and change?
Is there something in your life that God is working on changing your mind about?


Criminal 1 - turns to God only in crisis
Criminal 2 - recognizes his true and greater need

How would you explain the difference between the two criminals?

Joseph of Arimithea - Courage, Honoring Jesus with his grave for burial.

Acting in the face of the people who had just killed Jesus, Joseph boldy and very publicly still supports Jesus even after death.

What opportunities do you have to be bold for Jesus this week?

PRAYER

Thanking God for the cross, and the great power that it has on our lives.

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JESUS THE LORD OF JUSTICE

Luke 22:63-23:25
Sermon Discussion 

Read the passage, or have someone paraphrase what happened.

-What are ways that we see injustice in our society today? Why is justice something that we all desire to see in our lives and in the society at large?

I. Lies For Truth

-How is injustice connected to lies? How do we see this get played out in our culture today? How does the truth help to bring justice where there is injustice?

- What do we see about Jesus' character as related to the truth in this passage? What lies are people speaking about Jesus? How does this enable Jesus to empathize with us when we experience injustice?

II. Wounds For Healing

- How do we see Jesus being wounded in this passage? Wounds can be much more than physical, so how are ways that you have been wounded in your life? How does Jesus' wounding help me to experience healing in those areas of woundedness?

-How do wounding and injustice relate to each other? What are the relational effects of injustice caused by wounds?

III. Guilt For Freedom

-What is guilt? How is this related to injustice?
-How do we see Jesus being condemned unjustly?
-Which character are we most like in the passage with Jesus' trial?
-How does Jesus' unjust sentencing make us free? What is freedom and how is it related to guilt?

IV. Death For Life

- How are justice and life related to one another? Why?
- "Little deaths" are ways that we experience relational separation from another person. What are ways that you see/experience "little deaths" in your life today? How does Jesus' life help us to bring life back into those relational areas?

Pray for one another!

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This year we are taking a tour through account of Jesus' life and ministry as recorded by a guy who was a medical doctor in the first century, Dr. Luke.  In Luke's portrait of Jesus we see a focus on Jesus reaching out to all different types and classes of people, sick people, healthy people, rich people, poor people, religious people, irreligious people, women, men, children, different races, different places and all kinds of different faces.  

Our prayer is that God would use our study of Jesus in The Gospel According to Luke to form and shape the people of our church to be like Jesus who engages all people.  

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE
Engaging All People

The Story’s Beginning
A Story that Happens to be True (1:1-4)

A Story that Seems Too Good to be True (1:5-56)
A Story that Intersects with Real Life (1:57-2:40)
A Story of a Child Prodigy (2:41-2:52)
A Story Worth Talking About (3:1-22)
A Story for All Mankind (3:23-38)
A Story About Conquering Evil (4:1-15)

The Story of a Savior for All
A Jesus for the (un)Churched (4:16-44)

A Jesus for the Broken (5:1-32)
A Jesus for People Today (5:33-39)
A Jesus for Haters (6:1-49)
A Jesus for Lords & the Lowly (7:1-35)
A Jesus for Women (7:36-8:3)
A Jesus for Family (8:4-21)
A Jesus for the Weak (8:22-56)
A Jesus for Everywhere (9:1-9)
A Jesus for Many (9:10-17)
A Jesus for One (9:18-27)

The Story of a Savior Who is Over All
A Jesus Who is More (9:28-43a)

A Jesus Who Many Don't Get (9:43b-62)
A Jesus Who Reaches Out (10:1-24)
A Jesus Who Has Love for All Races (10:25-37)
A Jesus Who is Worth Listening To (10:38-42)
A Jesus Who Listens to Us (11:1-13)
A Jesus Who is Strong (11:14-28)
A Jesus Who is The Greatest (11:29-32)
A Jesus Who is The Light (11:33-12:3)
A Jesus Who is Worth Believing In (12:4-21)
A Jesus Who Calms Our Fears (12:22-34)
A Jesus Who Gives Warning (12:35-13:9)
A Jesus Who Points the Way (13:10-13:35)
A Jesus Who Welcomes Outcasts (14:1-35)
A Jesus Who Seeks the Lost (15:1-32)

A Jesus Who is Better than Money (16:1-31)
A Jesus Who Forgives (17:1-19)
A Jesus Who Will Come Again (17:20-37)
A Jesus Who is Worth Pursuing (18:1-14)
A Jesus Who Provides (18:15-43)
A Jesus Who is Worth Investing In (19:1-27)

The Story of a Savior Who Dies for His People
Jesus the Lord of the City (19:28-48)
Jesus the Lord of Lords (20:1-44)
Jesus the Lord of the Poor (20:45-21:4)
Jesus the Lord of History (21:5-38)
Jesus the Lord of Sinners (22:1-62)
Jesus the Lord of Justice (22:63-23:25)
Jesus the Lord of the Cross (23:26-56)

The Story of a Savior Who Lives for His People
The Story of Death Defeated (24:1-12, 36-43)

The Story of All Stories (24:13-35)
The Story We Tell (24:44-53)

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JESUS THE LORD OF SINNERS

Luke 22:1-62
Sermon Discussion

This week Duane takes us back to the Gospel of Luke as we enter the final few days of Jesus life as observed by Dr. Luke.

With Jesus' final days on earth, one thing he makes time for is enjoying the Passover Meal with His disciples. He says he has looked forward to it since the original Passover in Exodus.

What is the most memorable meal you've had? What made it memorable?

Let's read the text (Possibly have a few people take turns reading):

Luke 22: 1-62

1 Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. 2 And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people.

3 Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. 4 He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. 5 And they were glad and agreed to give him money. 6 So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.

7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 So Jesus[fn] sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.” 9 They said to him, “Where will you have us prepare it?” 10 He said to them, “Behold when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house that he enters 11 and tell the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 12 And he will show you a large upper room furnished; prepare it there.” 13 And they went and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.

14 And when the hour came, he reclined at table and the apostles with him. 15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you I will not eat it[fn] until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise, the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.[fn] 21 But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. 22 For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” 23 And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this.

24 A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 25 And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26 But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest and the leader as one who serves. 27 For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.

28 “You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, 29 and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, 30 that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you,[fn] that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” 33 Peter[fn] said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” 34 Jesus[fn] said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day until you deny three times that you know me.”

35 And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” 36 He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. 37 For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” 38 And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”

39 And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. 40 And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in agony he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45 And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, 46 and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

47 While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” 49 And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” 50 And one of them struck the servant[fn] of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 51 But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him. 52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? 53 When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour and the power of darkness.”

54 Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house, and Peter was following at a distance. 55 And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. 56 Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.” 57 But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” 58 And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” 59 And after an interval of about an hour, still, another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.


Was there anything that stood out to you from the passage?
Can we learn anything about who God is from the passage?

Duane had 3 points from this chapter of Luke:

The Sinners Meal
The Sinners Prayer
The Sinners Sight

THE SINNERS MEAL:
Jesus sits down with the Disciples to enjoy the Passover feast, a meal to remember what God had done for them leading them out of Egypt. Jesus instructs the disciples about the Lord's Supper or Communion and also tells them to always think of Him when they eat or drink. Every meal is supposed to be a reminder of what Jesus came to do for us.

Why do you think Jesus wanted meals to be a reminder of Him?

How do you remember Jesus work when you have a meal?

THE SINNERS PRAYER:
After the meal Jesus goes to pray on the Mount of Olives, His prayer is incredibly human and tender. Calling God "Father", showing a fear of death, and submitting to God's will.

Which of these displays of humanity Jesus models during his prayer is most shocking to you? Why?

Jesus spends a long time in prayer, showing a great sign of anxiety to the point of sweating blood. In the end, he leaves the burden of His anxiety with His Father sets out to follow his will.

Do you have something causing you anxiety that we can pray about? Is there something blocking you from following God's will for you?

THE SINNERS SIGHT:
After being arrested they take Jesus into the High Priest's house. Peter follows at a distance and waits outside by the fire where he denies knowing Jesus, just as Jesus had told him he would. Right as he finishes denying Jesus a third time he meets Jesus' eye and runs off.

Why do you think Peter ran off?
Peter denied Jesus, Judas earlier in the passage betrayed Jesus, what is the difference?

Peter was caught at a weak moment, full of fear yet Jesus loved Him still and used Peter mightily to spread the gospel.

Did you have any similar weak moments this week where you denied Jesus?

How can we encourage each other to claim and stand beside Jesus and spread the gospel as Peter eventually does?

PRAYER:
Pray with your group that we'd be looking forward to eventually enjoying a meal with Jesus again, that we would cast our anxieties on our Father and that we would be encouraged to claim Jesus in San Diego.

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THE TWO WILLS OF GOD


The two wills of God is very helpful and biblical subject. Below is a brief explanation and summary of the biblical passages and issues at stake. Many pastors and theologians have written on this over the years. Here are few great resources:

Are There Two Wills In God?  //  John Piper
Are There Two Wills In God?   //   Sam Storms
Are There Two Wills In God?  //  Matt Chandler
Are There Two Wills In God?  //  Francis Turretin
Are There Two Wills In God?  //  R.C. Sproul

Theologians have long recognized that there are two wills of God referred to in the Bible and have given them different names in order to differentiate between them:

Sovereign Will // Moral Will

Efficient Will // Permissive Will

Secret Will // Revealed Will

Will of Decree // Will of Command

Decretive Will // Perceptive Will

Will of Sign // Will of Pleasure  

I'm simply going to use the first designation (Sovereign Will & Moral Will) here through all the other terms are equally helpful and descriptive of the two wills of God. Here is a definition of each:

God's Sovereign Will is what God, by his limitless power and knowledge, has eternally ordered and determined to happen from beginning to end in all of his creation, all for his glory.

God's Moral Will is what God, by his limitless perfection and holiness, has revealed about his character and the righteous requirements for men and angels who live under his Sovereign rule and reign.

 In the Bible, it is clearly stated in several ways that God has a Sovereign Will, which rules over all things and cannot be overcome or defeated by anyone or anything.

Job 42:2
I know that You can do all things and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.

Psalm 139:4-5, 15-16
Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before...when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Isaiah 46:9-10
For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, "My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.

Daniel 4:25
All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, 'What have you done?'

In the Bible, it is clearly stated in several ways that God has a Moral Will, which he declares as holy commandments to be obeyed by his people. 

Leviticus 19:2
You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.

Deuteronomy 6:25
It will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us.

Matthew 7:21
Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.'

1 Thessalonians 4:3
This is the will of God, your sanctification.

Here is where the apparent difficulty comes into play. Matthew 18:14, 2 Peter 3:9 and 1 Timothy 2:4 all say that God does not will for anyone to perish but for all to be saved. Yet we know many are not saved but are thrown into hell by God (Matt 10:28) who has planned it to be so since before the foundation of the world (Rom 9:22) along with his ordering of all events that have yet to take place.

So here is the question, what will of God (Sovereign or Moral) is being referred to by Jesus in Matthew 18:14 when Jesus says God is not willing that any should perish? Since some do perish, this reference to God can only be his Moral Will. But how are we to conceptualize such a thing? Whenever we run into theological challenges the best place to look is to Jesus and to his cross.

In the Bible, it says it was the will of God to crush Jesus on the cross according to God's definite plan and foreknowledge.

Isaiah 53:5-6,10
He was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all...it was the will of the Lord to crush him.

Acts 2:23
Jesus, (was) delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, (whom) you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

On the cross, the Sovereign Will and the Moral Will of God collided. According to God's Sovereign Will he allowed his Moral Will to be violated in order that the greater purpose of his glory, in the saving of his people, might be accomplished. So we learn this principle, sometimes God does that which he hates (in the case of Jesus: murder) in order to accomplish his greater good plan.

Now back to the will of God that none should perish. When we read those words I think we are hearing about the love and passion God has for his holiness and his righteousness. God is a complex being. On one hand, morally, he never wills that any should perish. Perishing is sad and terrible, it's eternal damnation in hell. Yet, in the greater scheme of things, his goodness and justice is seen more brightly and rightly if some do in fact perish. So he sovereignly wills their perishing. In having holy justice occur upon the perishing the true heinousness of sin is shown. In saving some from perishing the true and deep nature of his mercy and love is shown. Thus once again, as with Jesus on the cross, we have God doing that which on one hand he hates, in order to on the other hand accomplish the greater good of his glory.

Conclusion
Often I have seen and heard those who would accept the theology presented above to the extent that they overemphasize God's Sovereign Will and as a result dismiss or do not allow the Scriptures to say or mean anything when they clearly tell us God doesn't will for any to perish. Since the Bible does tell us God doesn't will any to perish, God means for it to be good to know...even if it is describing the complexity of God and his affections and presses the bounds of what our small brains can comprehend. So then what is supposed to be our response? What is he after?

I think it is an invitation. I think when Jesus tells us God is not willing for any to perish, he means for us to be drawn into the heart of God so we are not willing any to perish either. I think he means for us to work with every effort so that people might hear the gospel and believe and thereby be spared from perishing. In fact, this is what the Bible calls us to.

Jude 1:23 says, "Save others by snatching them out of the fire." Ironically then, it seems the purpose of God revealing to us that he has two wills is an intently missional purpose.

Understanding, believing and accepting the two wills of God described in Scripture is meant to propel us toward mission. We are to think, feel and work to bring as many as possible to Jesus because that is the heart of God.

May God help us in the mission he has called us to and give us great confidence since we know he has sovereignly willed for not all to perish but for many to indeed come to repentance.

Pastor Duane Smets

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Mercy Ministry needs our help, Resolved Church! 


Our Mercy Ministry is in need of clothes and hygiene products! We are all about giving to our homeless friends and showing them the love of Jesus in a tangible way, so lets be a generous community together!

Any donations can be brought to church on Sunday and dropped off at the Connect Booth! 

 

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GOD IS BUILDING HIS CHURCH, PERSON BY PERSON

Sermon Discussion
Acts 16
 
 

This past Sunday we had a guest preacher speak about the reality that God is building His church one person at a time. We took a look at the life of the Apostle Paul in one of his missionary journey’s to Europe. In Acts 16 we see Paul moving into three different scenarios where the gospel is preached, people are saved, and God’s church is built. However, the contexts and people that God chooses are very unique. Look over the three different contexts in which God uses Paula and his team in the advancement of the gospel to begin learning about how God is still doing this today! 

Rich woman [16:11-15] read text 

-How does God save Lydia? 

-What do we see about God’s way of drawing His people to Himself? 

-Imagine what the scene must have been like. How does this image compare to the other scenes of this chapter in how the gospel comes to individuals? 

Slave girl [16:16-24] read text 

-What do we see about God’s movement toward the slave girl? How does God free her?

-How does the gospel begin to effect the city? 

-How might this scene help us to know how God can use us in our city? 

Jailer [16:25-40] read text 

-What  is the scene that Paul and his team find themselves in? What do we see about Paul’s joy in the midst of circumstances? 

-Joy has nothing to do about circumstances, but has everything to do with focus. What do you think about that?

-How does God save the jailer? 

-What effect does the gospel have in the city of Philippi? 

God is at work in many places. How does each of the situations that Paul finds himself show us the different ways that God works?