…together with Him!

together with Him

Sunday 04/12/20

Series: Resurrection Sunday 2020

Message – …together with Him!

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…together with Him!

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

Our Lord has proven man can live in perfect union with God. He was subjected to every weakness we have, tempted in every manner as we – yet maintained 100% unbroken devotion to God. His heart was without rebellion, in complete compliance with the Father. His flesh was without sin and His blood untainted by death. In surrender to the Father, having fought and won the hardest battle any man will ever endure in the Garden – He carried His Own cross to His Own crucifixion as a symbol of the weight of the sin of all mankind which He would shortly shoulder. He offered His life a ransom for ours – He poured out His life – His soul unto death and though without sin – He was numbered with the transgressors – our sins being placed completely upon His shoulders. Not only bear, but becoming one with our sins – the awfulness of death and darkness and separation from the Father engulfed Him until it was paid in full. He gave up His spirit into the Father’s hands until…having conquered not only sin, but now also death, He was risen from the dead by the glory and power of the Father.

We now have new life – eternal life in His name – through faith in Him. Our life is in Him and together with Him we live.

Today, new life is the theme – new life in and with Him. In fact, “together with Him” is the focus of the teaching this morning.

You know, as children of God, true koinonia – true union with God is our every moment reality. We live “together with Him.” In fact, togetherness was the center of all Jesus taught and illustrated – by teaching LIFE.

But togetherness does not start at the cross or even at the empty grave. Togetherness began as a proposition…an invitation, that had to be accepted.

I was listening to a message from a minister this week who said, that most church goers believe that Christianity is all about believing the right stuff, but…he said, it isn’t just about believing the right stuff, it is about living what we say we believe.

So at this point we simply used the progression of the relationship Jesus began and developed with His disciples of what it means to live a life together with Jesus!

To do so I referenced the following”

  • Four Gospel – how their depictions of Jesus were NOT just about His death and resurrection, but included all aspects of His life with great focus on His humanity.
  • Jesus issued 12 invitations to 12 men to follow Him and be His disciples. This was the call of a rabbi, which was understood very well in Jewish culture. The purpose and goal of this “mentoring” relationship was to become LIKE your rabbi!
  • The years where the disciples followed Jesus even though they largely did not yet understanding much of His teachings or mission!
  • The moment of decision – the challenge – Jesus asked a question with the intention of forcing an issue. He was drawing a line in the sand over which they would separate themselves from the world – no longer seeing themselves and one of the world. If they responded it would be the taking of their first REAL steps of commitment towards the kingdom of God in allegiance. Jesus asked them who the world said He was – then He asked who do YOU say that I am?
  • Up to another level of life together with Him – Jesus then began to teach on a different level. Matthew 16:21 tells us that from that day forward he began to tell them how He had to go to Jerusalem and be delivered into the hands of sinful men, suffer, die and be raised three days later. 
  • After teaching along this line for some time, He upped the ante by telling all His followers that they would have to eat His flesh and drink His blood in order to continue in Koinonia with Him. 200+ of His followers left Him that day, Jesus turned to His disciples and drew another line in the sand by asking?  Do you want to go too?
  • At the new adaptation of the Seder meal before His temptation in the Garden, trial and crucifixion Jesus confronts His disciples with the fact that they were going to forsake Him – especially making mention of Peter’s denial of Him.
  • After His resurrection He told the women at the grave to go say that “I am risen” to His disciples and to PETER.
  • Jesus calls Peter to his line and asks him, “Do you love me?” after hearing Peter’s reply three times (one for each denial) Jesus commissioned him to “Feed My lambs” (build My kingdom).
  • Jesus goes ahead and draws a line for Peter far into the future, telling him that by NOT denying Him, Peter would die a martyr and glorify God.
  • Peter later in life is indeed honored with dying the death of His savior -yet upside-down, since he did not aspire to be worthy to die as His Lord did.

This is New Life and it is as real as it gets…life TOGETHER WITH HIM!

We closed by reading the following passages with some commentary along the way paying particular attention to the ways in which we are mentioned as being together with and in Him!

Ephesians 1:1-23,  “(1) Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will: To the saints and believers in Christ Jesus at Ephesus.  (2) Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, in Christ;  (4)  for He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight  in love.  (5)  He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will,  (6) to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved. (7)  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace  (8) that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.  (9) He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure that He planned in Him  (10) for the administration of the days of fulfillment–to bring everything together in the Messiah, both things in heaven and things on earth in Him.  (11) In Him we were also made His inheritance, predestined according to the purpose of the One who works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will,  (12) so that we who had already put our hope in the Messiah might bring praise to His glory. (13) In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation–in Him when you believed–were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.  (14)  He is the down payment of our inheritance, for the redemption of the possession, to the praise of His glory.  (15) This is why, since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, (16) I never stop giving thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.  (17) I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. (18) I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints,  (19) and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the working of His vast strength. (20) He demonstrated this power in the Messiah by raising Him from the dead and seating Him at His right hand in the heavens– (21) far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion, and every title given, not only in this age but also in the one to come.  (22) And He put everything under His feet and appointed Him as head over everything for the church, (23) which is His body, the fullness of the One who fills all things in every way. “(1) And you were dead in your trespasses and sins (2) in which you previously walked according to this worldly age, according to the ruler of the atmospheric domain, the spirit now working in the disobedient.  (3) We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and by nature we were children under wrath, as the others were also. (4) But God, who is abundant in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, (5) made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. By grace you are saved! (6) He also raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavens, in Christ Jesus,  (7)  so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  (8) For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift– (9) not from works, so that no one can boast.  (10) For we are His creation–created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.  (11) So then, remember that at one time you were Gentiles in the flesh–called “the uncircumcised” by those called “the circumcised,” done by hand in the flesh.  (12) At that time you were without the Messiah, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, with no hope and without God in the world.  (13) But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah.  (14) For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In His flesh,  (15) He did away with the law of the commandments in regulations, so that He might create in Himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace.  (16) He did this so that He might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross and put the hostility to death by it. (17) When Christ came, He proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.  (18) For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.  (19)  So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household,  (20) built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. (21) The whole building is being fitted together in Him and is growing into a holy sanctuary in the Lord,  (22)  in whom you also are being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit.

  • Blessed in Christ
  • He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight  in love.
  • In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace  
  • In Him we were also made His inheritance
  • were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit
  •  raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavens, in Christ Jesus,
  • created in Christ Jesus for good works
  • through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father
  • in whom you also are being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 4:6-18,  “(6)For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness”–He has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.  (7) Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us. (8) We are pressured in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair;  (9)  we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed.  (10)  We always carry the death of Jesus in our body, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.  (11)  For we who live are always given over to death because of Jesus, so that Jesus’ life may also be revealed in our mortal flesh.  (12) So death works in us, but life in you. (13) And since we have the same spirit of faith in accordance with what is written, I believed, therefore I spoke, we also believe, and therefore speak,  (14) knowing that the One Who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and present us with you.  (15) For all this is because of you, so that grace, extended through more and more people, may cause thanksgiving to overflow to God’s glory.  (16) Therefore we do not give up; even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. (17) For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory.  (18) So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen; for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

  • so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body
  • raise us also with Jesus

God Bless!

I hope this message will bless you richly…not because I taught it, but because it reveals Christ. He alone is our blessing and if in any way – whether big or small, 100% accurate or even just partially so – I have revealed our great God and Savior to you in a relationally knowable way, then this was time well spent on both our parts.

We at Living Grace Fellowship encourage you to place your trust in Jesus Christ, deliberately choosing Him and bowing the knee to Him as your Master and Lord, so as to come to realize Him as your Savior.

You have a special place in God’s family & kingdom. The fact that you exist… that you are His creation, says you were in His heart, you are His delight!

If you do not know Him, please reach out to us. Give us a call at the number located on every page of this website or use our ‘Contact Us‘ page. We would be deeply honored, if you gave us the privilege of introducing you to the Lord. Neither money nor attendance at our church will EVER be mentioned.

If you HAVE been spiritually fed by this ministry and WANT to give, we truly appreciate that and you may do so here, but please understand that all the outreaches of this ministry are FREE for you and anyone to enjoy at no cost.

Blessings!

Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" that did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!