The Conquest of Evil
It is impossible to read the New Testament without being impressed by the atmosphere of joyful confidence which pervades it, and which stands out in relief against the rather jejune religion that often passes for Christianity today. There was no defeatism about the early Christians; they spoke rather of victory. For example, ‘thanks be to God! He gives us the victory...’. Again, ‘in all these things (sc. adversities and dangers) we are more than conquerors...’. Once more, ‘God...always leads us in triumphal procession...’. And each of Christ’s letters to the seven churches of Asia ends with a special promise ‘to him who overcomes’. Victory, conquest, triumph, overcoming – this was the vocabulary of those first followers of the risen Lord. For if they spoke of victory, they knew they owed it to the victorious Jesus. They said so in the texts which I have so far quoted only in truncated form. What Paul actually wrote was: ‘he gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’, ‘we are more than conquerors through him who loved us’, and ‘God...leads us in triumphal procession in Christ’. It is he who ‘overcame’, ‘has triumphed’, and moreover did it ‘by the cross’.
. . .
Secondly, he overcame the devil by totally resisting his temptations. Tempted to avoid the cross, Jesus persevered in the path of obedience, and ‘became obedient to death – even death on a cross’ (Phil. 2:8). His obedience was indispensable to his saving work. ‘For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous’ (Rom. 5:19). If he had disobeyed, by deviating an inch from the path of God’s will, the devil would have gained a toehold and frustrated the plan of salvation. But Jesus
So the victory of Christ, predicted immediately after the Fall and begun during his public ministry, was decisively won at the cross.
This is an excerpt from The Cross of Christ by John Stott.
A Theology of Finances
Pastor Duane Smets
Money is a Big Issue
There are twice as many verses in the Bible devoted to money (approx. 2,350) than to faith and prayer combined. Fifteen percent of Jesus’ recorded words are about money.
“Jesus Christ said more about money than about any other single thing because when it comes to a man’s real nature, money is of first importance. Money is an exact index to a man’s true character. All through scripture there is an intimate correlation between the development of a man’s character and how he handles his money.” - Richard Halverson
Money is a Spiritual Issue
Consider the example of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10, "When Jesus said to Zacchaeus, 'Today salvation has come to this house.' Jesus judged the reality of this man’s salvation based on his willingness – his cheerful eagerness – to part with his money for the glory of God and for the good of others."
Also consider the example of the Rich Young Ruler in Matthew in 19:16-30, when the Rich Young Ruler “went away sad because he had great wealth” after Jesus told him his financial wealth had become a barrier to the treasure of heaven.
Glorifying God with Money (Matthew 6:19-24)
1. We are stewards of money given to us by God (1 Chron. 29:12-16; Matt. 25:14-30).
2. Willingness to part with it. Not a poverty gospel (ex. of Zacchaeus and the Ruler).
3. Willingness to partner with it, not a prosperity gospel (1 Cor. 9; 2 Cor. 9;1 Tim. 6:17-19).
4. What is money? A God given means for wise kingdom life (Prov. 10:2-4).
5. Debt is dangerous and should have a planned pay off (Rom. 13:7-8).
6. We are to exercise contentment and not financial hedonism (Phil. 4:11-13)
Money is a Family Responsibility
“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." – 1 Timothy 5:8
Money is a Church Responsibility
1. Churches today only care about money.
2. Past church's abuse of money means no one should give to churches.
3. Churches don't need money. Only 9% evangelicals regularly give and most churches today only survive because of endowments and land ownership.
4. A report from a 2005 study by The Barna Group on "Why People Do Not Give More":
"Some people lack the motivation to give away their hard-earned money because the church has failed to provide a compelling vision for how the money will make a difference in the world.”
"Some see their giving as leverage on the future. They withhold money from the church because they do not see a sufficient return on their investment.”
"Some do not realize the church needs their money to be effective. Their church has done an inadequate job of asking for money, so people remain oblivious to the church’s expectations and potential.”
"Some are ignorant of what the Bible teaches about our responsibility to apply God’s resources in ways that affect lives.”
"Some figure they worked hard for their money and it’s theirs to use as they please. Their priorities revolve around their personal needs and desires."
The Biblical Teaching on Money and Church
1. The New Testament expects the members of the church to be regularly giving to the church.
“Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up..." – 1 Corinthians 16:1-2
2. We are to give and not tithe.
Tithe was an exact amount (10% in the Old Covenant Law which turned into a spiritual payment). The New Testament nowhere tells believers to "tithe."
“...arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction." – 2 Corinthians 9:5
3. Our giving is to be willingly and generous.
“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9:7
"Cheerful" in 2 Cor. 9:7 is hilaros in Greek, where we get the word "hilarious." The idea is one of above and beyond that people would think is hilarious, almost ridiculous that you would give so much. Thus, giving 10% can be a good guide but the New Testament expectation is for giving to generally be above and beyond 10%.
The poor widow's giving - "everything she had" (Mark 12:41-44)
The prostitute's giving - a year's worth of wages (John 12:3-8)
Our giving is a firstfruits, not an expendable portion of what is left over.
Proverbs 3:9 "Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce."
We are to trust the church leadership with wise use of our money.
Specific instruction: the church leaders are to demonstrate financial responsibility (1 Timothy 3:3, 8)
The church leaders described in the book of Acts made the financial decisions (Acts 4:35,37; 11:29,30; 1 Tim. 3:3,8).
Avoids "spiritual purchasing" where you determine how your money is spent.
The Financial Responsibilities of Church Leadership
(1) Financially support the preaching and teaching elders.
“Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, 'You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,' and, 'The laborer deserves his wages.'” – 1 Timothy 5:17-18
“The Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel." – 1 Corinthians 9:14
(2) Financially cover the operational needs of the church (2 Cor. 9:12-13).
(3) Financially support other church plants (2 Cor. 8:1-7; Phil. 4:18)
(4) Financially give to those in need/poor (Deut. 15:17; Luke 10:35-37; 12:33)
Practical Implications: Open Finances / Books
Church finances/books are open to member questioning.
Member finances/books are open to leadership questioning.
The Benefits of Giving to the Church (from 2 Corinthians 8-9):
a) Teaches us that our money comes from God's grace
b) Forms a willing and eager heart in us
c) Requires that we give ourselves to God first
d) Enables us to excel in giving
e) Produces sincerity in us
f) Points us to Jesus
g) Teaches us to evaluate our individual means (planning/budgeting)
h) Promotes equality among God's people
i) Beckons leaders to lead
j) Enables leaders to be properly cared for
k) Teaches us to trust our leaders
l) Makes us generous people
m) Teaches us good work ethic. like a harvest, the more you sow, the more you reap
n) Teaches us about joy and how to be happy through giving
o) Builds up our faith
p) Teaches us to trust in God's provision
q) Enables us to support good work
r) Exercises acts of righteousness in us
s) Causes us to thank God
t) Sustains the ministry of the church
u) Helps spread the gospel of Jesus Christ
The Bible as Autobiography
One reason many people find Scripture to be so regenerative is that, fundamentally, it is a story–one told by many different voices. All of its authors were confronted by a Person. And in the course of that encounter, whether it lasted a moment or over a lifetime, each storyteller was changed by that other Voice. He or she was transformed by a God who would not be limited by left-brain, logical, linear theology; reconstructed by a God who in the beginning got his hands dirty in the soil of creation and later got them bloodied in the agony and beauty of redemption.
In the beginning, God got his hands dirty in the soil of creation.
Later, He got them bloodied in the agony and beauty of redemption.
That is why I believe that faithfully telling and listening to our stories is one of the single most important things we can do as followers of Jesus. Storytelling inevitably engages our memories–both the speakers' and the hearers'–and so opens the door to a different future. The Bible is so powerful in part because it contains the story of creation, rebellion, redemption, and recreation, all of which are told in rich, messy, beautiful, tragic, hopeful tapestry of the lives of God's ancient people.
To love God with all of our
A Story for All Mankind
Sermon Discussion | Luke 3:23-38
Since this week’s sermon was all about names, take some time to discuss the names in your group. What does your name mean? Do you know why you were named that? If you could’ve picked your own name, what would it be and why?
Read 2 Timothy 3:16: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”
In light of the passage used in the sermon, why is this verse important to remember?
Duane said if he wants us to have one takeaway from this sermon it’s this: God knows your name. You matter to God.
Is it easy or hard for you to think you matter to God? Why?
I. Who We Are
Since we’ve been born we’ve been “filling out our names” (i.e. developing into who we are, what we love, what defines us). Do you see any connection between the meaning of your name and what defines you as a person?
When the Scriptures talk about someone’s name they are talking about the WHOLE person, their character, attributes, talents, passions, etc. In other words, your name is what makes “you” you. If you had five words (or less) to define what makes “you” you, what would they be?
Would those closest to you come up with the same words? Why or why not?
What are some significant moments of your life that have helped to define who you are?
When God looks at us, He sees everything that we are, inside and out. This can be a scary thought, but we shouldn’t be afraid. Read Isaiah 43:1. What does God truly see when He looks at us? How might this affect the way we live and interact in the world?
II. What We Come From
The passage we read in Luke not only highlights the importance of individuals but of family lines as well. What do you know about your family line and heritage?
How have you seen that influence your life?
We know from the Scriptures that both physical and spiritual traits can get passed from generation to generation. Have you seen generational traits passed down in your family?
We are unavoidably connected with our families and how we grew up. This is why it is so important to build families that know and love God. How have you seen the presence or absence of God in your families affect the outcome of their lives?
No matter how we or our parents were raised, our hope is that God loves and blesses the lives of those who turn to Him. He hears our cries and works to heal our wounds and brokenness. Have you seen God bring healing to a brokenness or wound in you or your family’s life?
Is there still a healing you are hoping and praying for?
How can we, as a community of believers, support the healing process in each other's lives?
III. Where Our Hope Lies
Fear, guilt, and shame have been passed to the whole human family through our first parents, Adam and Eve. But Jesus, being born of a virgin and not having the hereditary sinfulness passed on to Him, lived a life of perfect righteousness on our behalf. By His death, His life of righteousness, His very name, is given to us. Where our hope truly lies is in Jesus’ name.
What words would you use to describe the name and character of Jesus?
Since Jesus’ name and righteousness are given to us, what meaning do those words now have for our lives?
In Revelation, we learn that everyone who has ever believed in Jesus’ name had their name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life before this world was ever created. Does knowing this cause a response in you? How would thinking about this truth change your perspective on anything in life?
Pray for One Another
Thank God for being a God who knows us deeply yet still loves us with all His heart.
Pray for our eyes to be opened to the life-changing truth that God calls us His own, and He knows us by name.
Pray for the healing of wounds and brokenness that has been passed generationally through our families.
2017 WOMEN'S RETREAT
The Resolved Women have made it a valuable tradition to retreat away once a year together. The purpose is to refresh, be rejuvenated by restorative truths from the Word and Jesus, and to connect with other women and their stories. During the retreats we listen to wise words from great speakers, talk life in small groups, spend time in prayer, share meals together, study God's word, and of course rest and relax.
For the 2017
The ASK: Use the below link to DONATE NOW towards the final cost of your spot on the retreat. Not only does it help support early fund collection, but it allows you to pay for the retreat in installments. Our goal is $2800.
Please list your name so we know where to allocate the donation.
If you would like to donate anonymously to the general fund to support costs and scholarships please feel free to do so.
Total per person cost : $160 (includes 2 nights, 5 meals)
Feel free to give in any amount to start to get us to our $2800 deposit goal.
Location information: http://ranchomagdalena-ca.com/
"The ranch provides boundless opportunities for recreation: from its solar heated salt water pool/spa/water
Help Us Raise Money For A New Sign!
Pastor Duane Smets
The Resolved Church moved to our permanent facility in April of 2014. It used to be a warehouse that made wind turbines for efficient energy and needed a lot of work to be converted into a church. We had an extremely small budget to work with ($15K), but with a lot of willing hands and hearts and we made it work. Due to our small
We knew it wouldn’t last forever and this year under the battering of the most rain San Diego has experienced in years, our sign has now deteriorated to the point where it is barely functional as the first signal of welcome to our church. It is now sagging in the middle, the letters are washed out and the wood has begun to turn black in many places.
People regularly show up at our church because of walking or driving by and seeing our sign. It’s important that we have a quality marker on our building so that people can find us and hopefully enter into the life our community, worshipping and following Jesus along with us. This is a great way you can be a blessing to Jesus’ church and to those who might come to know him.
We’ve contacted a sign company and we can replace our front sign with a weather proof version made with lifetime warranted materials for $3000. The only catch is our church currently doesn’t have a surplus of money we can spend on a sign so we’re asking you to help! Would you consider donating some money to help us get a new sign? Help fund a new sign for The Resolved Church!
A STORY WORTH TALKING ABOUT
SERMON DISCUSSION | Luke 3:1-22
Duane returned to the pulpit this week and we resumed our excursion through Luke. Heading into chapter 3, the author Luke suddenly jumps ahead 18 years in the story to bring us to
Duane pointed out that news and stories are the bulk of our conversations as social humans. We love to hear and learn about goings on.
Where do you get most of your news? Which of your friends or family gives the most trustworthy reviews?
Luke takes us through a newsworthy encounter here in chapter 3. Read it together in your group.
Luke delivers the facts here. Though he also works to make sure that as we all read this story, we get a sense of how significant Jesus arrival is in the world. Duane wanted to look at the significance here from 3 angles:
I. Historically Significant
II. Spiritually Significant
III. Cosmologically Significant
I. HISTORICALLY SIGNIFICANT
Luke was a doctor and scholar. As we read through his account we’ll notice that Luke was meticulous and borderline pedantic as he documents Jesus life here on earth. He starts the chapter with very dry historical context and suddenly in the middle of verse 2 drop a phrase in that is significant to God’s people – “The Word of God Came to John the Baptist.” After 400 years of silence, God was again speaking to His people.
Why do you think John included so much dry historical dates and names?
“The Word of God came to…” is almost a catchphrase for his people. It’s a signifier that the story is continuing. Do we have any similar signifiers in our culture today? In our church?
400 years is a really long time for God to be silent. Only one other time had God been silent for so long – right before the amazing exodus and journey to the promised land.
Why do you think God was silent for so long? Have you ever felt like you were in a season where you couldn’t hear God? What brought you out of it? (OR what are you looking to hear from God about?)
II. SPIRITUALLY SIGNIFICANT
John delivers God’s message of genuine repentance. Warning the people to bear fruit in their lives, not relying on words or being descendants of Abraham. He unpacks repentance for 3 specific groups:
The Crowd – Accumulating things for ourselves
Tax Collectors – Being greedy and wanting more
Soldiers – Abusing their position and being a bad steward
Which group do you most empathize with? Is there a connection between these groups?
When we’re in a genuine relationship with God we find out He’s the leader in generosity. He gives and gives in what is mostly a one-way relationship. The generosity is a stark contrast to the lives of the people listening to John.
What have you been thankful to God for this week? How have you, or do you plan to respond to God’s generosity to you?
John goes on to offer baptism, a public symbol of repentance to the people. Something we still practice in
How did you decide to get baptized? (OR are you interested in getting baptized this Easter?)
III. COSMOLOGICALLY SIGNIFICANT
After John baptizes Jesus, we see something incredible, an appearance by all 3 persons of God- Jesus in the flesh, the voice of God the Father, and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove. An event that is earth-shattering enough that it alone would be worth talking about thousands of years later, and the reason for that event is to highlight Jesus and get our attention as He starts His work on earth.
How would people respond to an event like that happening in the world today? How would you react?
Luke captures this story showing Jesus stepping into our world, into space and time so that “All flesh would see the salvation of God” (vs 6). A salvation that makes us righteous because we can never do enough right things to make us right.
What element of the story so far has amazed you the most? Who can you share news of your amazement with?
PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER
Pray with your group that we’d have open doors to share this story, and how it’s been on our minds, amazing us and affecting us.
CHILDREN OF LIGHT AND TRUTH
SERMON DISCUSSION | 1 John 1:5-2:1
Pastor Ryan Buss
Read the passage. What strikes you as you read the passage? What is encouraging in this passage? What is challenging to you in your life as you read the passage?
I. Fellowship with One Another
Ryan taught us that one of the goals that John has as he is writing this letter to the church is to help the church relate well to one another. Authentic and honest relationship with each is what we long for. Why? What helps to contribute to having authentic relationships?
What inhibits authentic relationships?
Ryan observed that sin separates relationships and causes us to be spiritually blind to God and to one another. How have you experienced this in your life?
Ryan also observed that sin is born out of our desires being misdirected at the wrong things, namely the world and all that is in the world. What would it look like to have your desires directed to God? How would this change your relationships with others?
The antidote to walking in the darkness is to walk in the light. How do we do that? Why would this help to foster authentic and real relationships with one another?
II. Fellowship with God
The other goal of the letter that John is writing to the church is to help
Ryan shared three subtle sins that he struggles with and went into the heart behind each sin to help demonstrate how sin begins in the heart. The three were “ingratitude”, “impatience”, and “anxiety”. Do you struggle with those? What does that look like? What other subtle
How do you know when you are being tempted in those ways? How would others know when you are acting out of those sins?
The goal of confession and self-examination is to foster healthy, authentic relationship with Christ and one another. Why would that be important for us as a church as we seek to engage all people this year?
III. Pray for each other!
Our Ultimate Love
James K.A. Smith
Our ultimate love moves and motivates us because we are lured by this picture of human flourishing. Rather than being pushed by beliefs, we are pulled by a telos that we desire. It's not so much that we're intellectually convinced and then muster the willpower to pursue what we ought; rather, at a precognitive level, we are attracted to a vision of the good life that has been painted for us in stories and myths, images and icons. It is not primarily our minds that are captivated but rather our imaginations that are captured, and when our imagination is hooked, we're hooked (and sometimes our imaginations can be hooked by very different visions than what we're feeding into our minds). Those visions of the good life that capture our heart have thereby captured ourselves and begin to draw us toward them, however implicitly or tacitly. The goods and aspects of human flourishing painted by these alluring pictures of the good life begin to seep into the fiber of our (every day, non-cognitive) being and thus govern and shape our decision, actions, and habits. Thus we become certain a kinds of people; we begin to emulate, mimic, and mirror the particular vision that we desire. Attracted by it and moved toward it, we begin to live into this vision of the good life and start to look like citizens who inhabit the world that we picture as the good life. We become little microcosms of that envisioned world as we try to embody it in the here and now. So many of the penultimate decisions, actions, and paths we undertake are implicitly and ultimately aimed at trying to live out the vision of the good life that we love and thus want to pursue.
This is an excerpt from James K.A. Smith's Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation
Sermon Discussion | 1 John 1:1-4
With Duane taking a couple weeks to rest before heading deeper into the gospel of Luke, we are taking what will be one of many Ryan Buss led interludes this year into the 1st letter from John. Ryan gave us a little background on John; he’s a fisherman, brother, author of the Gospel of John and Revelation, and last man standing after all the other Apostles had died for their faith.
Ryan called particular attention to one particular moment of John’s life. In Acts 4:13 after Jesus had been crucified, Peter and John take up Jesus’ ministry and message. Though they were simple men, the religious leaders of the day were amazed at them and they could see that they had been with Jesus. When we spend a lot of time with someone we often will begin to take on their traits and remind people of that person, sometimes in a good way, other times a bad.
Has someone in your life ever began to copy vocabulary, habits, or mannerisms from another after spending a lot of time together?
This week Ryan is taking us through the greeting from John in his first letter. Let’s read through it:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. — 1 John 1:1-4
John gets right to it, telling his readers that he is writing to share life with them. And by life he means Jesus. John has referred to Jesus as life and eternal life many other times, most famously in John 1 (that Life was the Light of men).
Why do you think John uses “Life” as interchangeable for Jesus? What does it tell you about Jesus?
“We have heard, seen with our eyes, touched with our hands” is how John describes his knowledge of Life. Life as a tangible thing. He’s physically spent time with it in Jesus and he’d like to share about it. Life can seem really abstract as a concept and here John brings it down and grounds it in 3 senses: hearing, seeing, and touching.
Are you more of one who learns by hearing, seeing or doing? How is it important that John has experience with all of those with regards to Jesus?
Life is a binary situation, there is life and death and nothing else. We see here that there is no life apart from Jesus, and that by having a relationship with Jesus we have life. Life is relational. In John 17:3 he tells us “this is eternal life that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” Life is knowing God.
How is knowing God different than knowing
Life is meant for flourishing, for abundance. We feel it in our longings in this world for more, and visions that we have for what our lives could be.
What is your idea of a flourishing life? How does that impact what you do every day?
Ryan gave us a few different things that can influence what we believe is a flourishing life:
- How we grow up.
- What our culture tells us.
- Our relationships.
- Which of those do you believe has most influenced you for good? For bad?
John is sharing Jesus and eternal life with us so that our joy may be complete. In this world we can often lose sight of how Jesus works to bring us Joy. Ryan listed 10 ways:
1. He provides perfectly for you
2. He accepts you
3. He makes you clean
4. He places you in a family
5. He comforts intimately
6. He steadfastly walks with us through all of life
7. He gives you purpose
8. He heals you
9. He delights in you
10. He turns your sorrow into joy
Which of those 10 bring you the most joy tonight? Why?
Joy is relational, we get it from people and receive it from people. It’s infectious and meant to be shared.
When was the last time you shared your joy with someone? Did it diminish it? or amplify it?
Joy is greater than happiness which is dependent on circumstance. Many unhappy people have been full of joy, even Jesus during what was most likely a very unhappy time right before to His crucifixion went ahead with it full of joy (Hebrews 2). Joy can even turn suffering into a gift.
How has suffering been a gift to you?
Pray that your group would share