Sermon and Reading Questions from Week of April 3, 2016

questionsSo Mike was away last week  and Chris preached on Sunday.  Because of that we have Chris answering your questions from the sermon and our Bible readings this week.

Here is a question from the sermon this week:

What do we do as a church to celebrate, encourage and facilitate daily choosing, daily transformation and not just focus on the initial commitment to Jesus?

This is a wonderful question and I think the really short answer can be defined in relationship. It would be easier to view this less as a potential list of things I should do, and more about, how do I invest into a relationship with Jesus.

Just like in any relationship that is going to grow, you spend time together and you talk together. A friendship doesn’t function if all you do is say to someone, “hey lets be really close friends!” and then you never talk with them or invest in building that relationship. You wouldn’t tell everyone that you are great friends with someone you talked with one time, and you wouldn’t actually know that much about them.

The same goes with Christ because God is personal with us and desires us to communicate through prayer and scripture reading and through fellowship with other Christians. I believe that when we regularly partake in all of these things, not exclusive of the other, we will see God at work and we will grow closer with him.

If you think of a marriage relationship in where you live and commit to growing with your spouse, as time goes and initial thoughts, feelings, attitudes change, you realize that it takes work and it takes effort to continue to grow and nurture that relationship. You can’t marry someone and then never work through conflicts or never spend time together.

Christ is the groom and the church is His bride as is the imagery in scripture. It is a continued lifelong relationship and the longer it lasts, the more our initial thoughts feelings and attitudes change. We can tend to put less work into it and we don’t necessarily work through the conflicts or areas in which God is at work in our life. But just like in any relationship that you desire to grow, conscious effort of spending time with Jesus is like the conscious effort you spend with anyone. It’s just that our relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important one of all because he is our saviour and our God.

And when we recognize that even when we are unfaithful to Christ in growing our relationship and we see his grace, love, and forgiveness given to us because of His desire to be with us, it stirs us up to share his grace, love, and kindness in our other relationships as well.

 

Here are some questions from this weeks bible readings:

2 Samuel 6: why did God strike down Uzzah? I’ve heard the answer was because he touched the chest and you aren’t supposed to touch the chest… But I’m wondering if there is more. That answer seems lacking.

I have often wondered what is going on in this passage as well so it is a good study for me as well. A couple important things to note is that they were retrieving the Ark from the Philistines. Moving the Ark wasn’t a common thing so in their retrieval David overlooked the importance of the Ark. By Law, the Levites were supposed to be the ones carrying it and they weren’t even supposed to touch it or look into it. The fact that Abidnadab’s sons were carrying it was already an act of irreverence. On top of this, the Ark represented the presence of God. God being completely Holy is sinless, so when a sinful man touches and is brought into the presence of God, he cannot live in the presence of God.

If you think of how the High Priest entered into the Temple one time each year to be in God’s presence, (Leviticus 16 talks extensively about this / Hebrews 9 and 10) they had to partake in extensive cleansing rituals prior to entrance into the temple so that they could be in the presence of God.

If anything, this highlights the severity of Sin and the power of God’s holiness. Even more interesting is the fact that in Corinthians Paul refers to the church as the temple of God because the Holy Spirit of God is within us. We, thought Christ’s sacrifice, are now able to be in the presence of God. Something that cost Uzzah his life. It becomes common that we don’t realize that sin and grace are both extremely serious things.

So he didn’t die because he touched the Ark and he wasn’t supposed to. He died because of the power and seriousness of God’s Holiness and not being able to, as a sinful human, be in His presence especially with an irreverence and disobedience to the way God has instructed the Ark to be moved.

2 Sam 15:30 – is this the same mount of olives Jesus went up? I never noticed that before.

Yes. It’s in the Kidron Valley that David and his men walked through, and it is the same mount that Jesus goes up in the Triumphal entry on Palm Sunday. (I never noticed this either just did some research to discover it. Interesting point!)

2 Sam 24: this passage has confused me. At the beginning it says God incited David to do the census… Then punishes David and the people for the census.  I have heard speculation that David’s motivation for the census was pride, but it doesn’t say that. And census was taken at various other times. Is there e background or other info that would shed light on this story?

Chris’s response:  There is actually a passage in 1 Chronicles 21:1 that speaks of the exact same situation but instead of the Lord causing this, Satan causes David to take the census. It seems like God allowed Satan to be used in this manner. It would be similar to the story of Job. God is permitting Satan to cause trouble in David’s choices. This is one of those very confusing passages in this sense.

Mike’s Response:  So here’s my initial response without any deep research. Why is a census a sin?  The goal is to depend on God in all things, and not on ourselves, our own understanding, our own power.  David did a fairly good job of depending on God in all things.   A census though is a counting of people, particularly the men, and in particular the men who are able to bear arms.  By taking a count of the men who are able to bear arms David is relying on his own strength and not fully putting his trust in God.    That’s an initial ‘gut reaction’ and not a well researched answer as I’m writing this at home and my commentaries and bible resources are all at church.  I hope that response makes sense.  I think a big part of it is the heart of the issue and David’s motivation…. which clearly was not pleasing to God.