NorthCross Church is committed to teaching and preaching the Bible, delving into all its facets, narratives, and details, because it is in the Scripture that we come to know God more deeply, learn to trust Him more fully, and grow in our care for one another.
The sermon series is typically structured by the particular book of the Bible we are studying; other times we will dedicate a short series to a particular topic that allows us to dive deeper into a subject across multiple books of the Bible to give us a bigger picture of that specific subject.
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Unfortunately the recording for December 31 was not fully successful. Therefore the above recording is only part of the whole. As a summary of the remainder of the sermon, the text of the Wise Men displays the reality of worshiping Jesus and how God's actions of power and love exhibited through the birth of Jesus give a clear invitation to worship Him. The Wise Men did, but there's another option: Reject Him. Herod displays that rejection. He rejected the call to submit and give up his power and authority to serve another. And our tendency is to follow Herod. The call of the Gospel is counter-intuitive; it calls us to give up being master of our own fate, director of our own plans, and providers for our eternal wellbeing. And it calls us to entrust ourselves to another. And the only way to come to the same conclusion as John the Baptist when he said "He must increase and I must decrease" is to recognize what sort of Ruler we are submitting to. The gifts of the Wise Men give us a clue: He's the greatest King (gold), the Perfect Priest (frankincense) and the only Sacrifice for sinners (myrrh). When we see that the God who calls us to submit is the God who came to give Himself up for His people, we can free offer up our worship and our treasures knowing that He is the better Ruler than we are and the only Savior for our souls. When we realize that the power God displays through the birth of Jesus is done for the intimate purpose of lovingly saving us, our hearts are led to worship Him, which is exactly what He deserves.
Unfortunately this week's recording is unavailable. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Here is a summary: In Esther 8 the question of true Christian discipleship comes to the forefront of our minds--What does it look like to be a disciple of Christ? How do our pursuits shift? The Christian life is not one of upward mobility in which our world has invested so much but rather a life of downward mobility ending in the cross. The way of the Cross, meaning the path of Christian discipleship, is not one of power and control but rather a path of powerlessness and humility in which the suffering servant of God, Jesus Christ, is revealed... power is constantly abandoned in favor of love.
How do you live that way? By first experiencing the friendship of Jesus, which looks like true heart change; From Jesus' love we are filled with the emotional resources to say yes to loving others. Second, having a proper focus on Spiritual Disciplines in our life--Scripture and theological reflection, prayer, meditation, and fasting. These and others keep us connected to the right story of who we are and why we exist. Finally, experience and build into the purpose of your community of faith. Paul describes the church as a body where all its parts are unique and equally necessary. We cannot do this "Christian life thing" apart from mentors, elders in grace, and peers in grace.
It is only then that we experience the result of Christian discipleship, that downward mobility into the cross, of "light and gladness and joy and honor" that Esther 8 points us to.