May 1, 2016 sermon – “Words of Life” John 6:60-69
Words are my business, so this sermon’s title immediately caught my attention. “Who loves confrontation?” was the beginning question, which was followed with “we know the Word will confront us.” That can be intimidating, but it’s essential for our refinement in a fulfilled life with God.
Hopefully we get constructive criticism in our confrontations and can be sensitive to someone’s need, but God’s Word is the biggest key here as Colossians 3:16 was mentioned.
The Christian view that Jesus is only way to salvation (John14:6, Acts 4:12, John 10:30, John 14:9, etc.). It’s probably the most distinctive Christian view along with abortion, divorce, profanity, etc., but the Bible also contains one of the best unifying views in Christianity (Romans3:23)
The book Unchristian: what a new generation really thinks about Christianity– and why it matters by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons was a resource mentioned for some perspective on these views/issues. Christian views are often deemed “outdated” (e.g. opposition to gay marriage is frequently labeled as bigotry / prejudice).
This sermon also explained how people choose not to follow God’s Word because they don’t like what the Bible says so the majority of potential discussions/communication among disagreeing parties turns into negative experiences, which is a big reason church attendance numbers have decreased in recent years. People get “written off” and don’t even get to hear why directly from the person. Judgment is God’s job not ours.
Love was a very high value, but now tolerance is often at the forefront. The following Ralph Waldo Emerson quote I came across on Facebook relates well – “Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.” The two world “vulgar” and “dreaming” would definitely be reworded if said today. We have to consider the situation, the people involved, and their beliefs to make meaningful connections and witness experiences.
Today’s society is largely built on principles of self-gratification. “Live life to the fullest” has never been so common. Existentialism has become the foundation of our culture’s philosophy where we “live in the now” and don’t consider the past/future/culminative results of our actions. It’s a difficult issue. Discouraged? Just check out verse 68 – “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.)
Being engaged with Word of God were outlined well in three action steps of incorporate, percolate, and actuate.
We incorporate God’s Word into our lives. We read the Bible in various ways (the main source, devotionals like the aptly titled “Our Daily Bread”, etc.) for memory and understanding.
God’s Word percolates within us as we contemplate what it means/says to us.
Actuate was a memorable word. I hear that often at my work in engineering terms where an actuator (noun).
One example mentioned how a street sign stated “To acuate signal stop here”.
To simplify –> Actualization – fulfill all potential. Activate – signal. Finally, actuate – set into motion. Romans 12 was mentioned as a solid supplement to this memorable point.
Verse 63 – The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.