Amen! [sermon 11-25-18]

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November 25, 2018 by jmar198013

Live audio and sermon outline for the message at Central Church of Christ in Stockton, CA, for November 25th, 2018.

The final message from our ongoing series, We Believe, using the Apostles Creed to help explain Christian basics.

The texts read during worship were Psalm 121 and  2 Corinthians 1.18-20.

This week’s lesson focused on the last word of the Apostles’ Creed: Amen.

The primary source of inspiration for this series is Ben Myers. The Apostles’ Creed: a Guide to the Ancient Catechism. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2018.

Message outline is below.

The end of the Apostles’ Creed: Amen!

Well, we’ve come to the end of the Apostles’ Creed.

And what a journey it’s been. What a story it tells!

  • Creation to new creation
  • Birth to death to resurrection

Will you join with me in the Apostles’ Creed one last time?

[Recite Creed; remind there are copies on back table if they don’t have]

This is the wonderful, beautiful story we Christians live by.

It’s a story of creation and redemption.

A story of paradise lost, and paradise restored.

A story of God’s unfailing, unbreakable love for us, and for all he has created.

And at the end of this beautiful story, we are only called to do one thing. Say: Amen!

Amen isn’t just the word at the end of the prayer

What does Amen mean to us? The word you say at the end of a prayer.

But that’s not what Amen means in the Bible.

  • Amen is response of faith
  • What you just said is true—I trust you
  • I’m going to sign my name on the dotted line, and get on board with what you’ve just said

So amen is not just a word you say. Amen is a way of life!

Saying amen means

  • Reaching out to God, trusting that he won’t let you go
  • Stepping out in faith, trusting you walk on solid ground
  • Opening your life to God, knowing you can trust him with your life

Amen means saying yes to the God who has already said yes to you!

  • To us
  • To this awesome, beautiful, intricate, very good but fallen creation

The Apostles’ Creed tells the same story about God, about us, and our world that the Bible tells.

  • Laser-focused precision — we see God is the one who always takes initiative
    • God creates; sends Jesus; sends the Holy Spirit; gives us the church; forgives our sin; redeems and resurrects us
  • Ultimately Apostles’ Creed helps us to see that the Bible is all about what God has done for us, is doing for us, and will do for us
    • Saying amen means diving into a story you didn’t write
      • Find your place in that story
      • Live by that story

Saying Amen to God’s Yes! (2 Cor. 1.18-20)

We heard a passage today that tells us all about God’s yes to us—how God affirms us, with our hopes and our dreams and our sorrows. And how God’s strong yes calls out to us to say, Amen with our lives. (2 Cor. 1.18-20)

It says: But as God is faithful, our message to you isn’t both yes and no.

  • God’s ḥesed
    • Even when it sounds like a no, there’s really a yes in there (exile from the garden / no tree of life; flood; Exile)
  • Time and time again, the Bible teaches us God isn’t fickle; judgment not the final word; doesn’t abandon; doesn’t throw away his people or his property

Then it says: God’s Son, Jesus Christ, is the one who was preached among you … he wasn’t yes and no.

  • At the center of the Christian story is Jesus (Word become flesh, God became a human)
  • He didn’t abandon us when it got too hard
  • In Christ God said his loudest yes to human life / human need
    • Enough to become human
    • To dwell among people
    • Die to break the power of sin over us
    • Resurrected to defeat the power of death

And I love what it says next: In him [Christ] it is always yes. All of God’s promises have their yes in him.

  • Our condition (homesick, broken, ashamed, lonely, dying)
  • God has said yes to every one of our needs through Christ

Knowing God’s faithfulness, that through Christ God has embraced us with a loving,Yes, here’s what we are called to do. Because God has said yes to us, That is why we say Amen through him to the glory of God.

  • You don’t hear the story God has told in the scriptures and say, Boy, I sure hope so! No. You hear God’s resounding, Yes! And you embrace it. You take it and you run with it. You say, Amen! with your life. Every part of your life. Now we offer our lives—every part of them—to God
  • When we trust God to make something beautiful with our little lives, our words, the work of our hands—that’s saying Amen. That we trust all of his promises. That we’ve heard him say, Yes! to us. So we’re signing our names and getting on board with what he’s doing!

Circle back: Amen isn’t just a word we say; it’s a way of life [it’s what we do, how we live, the choices we make, direction of our lives]

What a life of Amen looks like

What does saying Amen to God’s yes look like?

One answer to that question, 1 Cor. 15.58: [Context—Paul has just been talking about resurrection—God’s promise to set us free from death—resurrection hope extends to all creation—can you imagine a louder, more definite yes than resurrection?]

Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

A lot of people hear work of the Lord, and think preaching, evangelizing, missionary work. Maybe working for a non-profit that feeds the hungry and shelters the homeless.

That’s all the work of the Lord; but that’s not all the work of the Lord there is!

Col. 3.17 says, Whatever you do, whether in speech or action, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Anything you do can become the work of the Lord [give examples—meals you cook, times you listen, scraped elbows you patch up, gardens you plant, pets you adopt]

You work, your play, your family life, your friendships, your hobbies—God wants you to know that none of those are in vain. Not important. God has already said yes to them when he said yes to you.

These lives we live, our work, the things we do to make our world and other people’s lives better—they aren’t just distractions or necessary evils. We’re not polishing brass on a ship that’s sinking. We’re not scrubbing toilets in a building that’s on fire and going to collapse.

No, in Christ God is writing all those things into his story. A story that ends in resurrection. A story that ends with God reclaiming, redeeming, restoring, healing, and renewing all things.

Saying amen to God means knowing that your little, ordinary life matters to God. And he’s going to use you for his glory and other people’s good. It’s trusting that God has said yes to you in Christ. You are welcomed, and what you have to offer is valued by God.

Ecc. 9.7ff (The Message)

Seize life! Eat bread with gusto,

Drink wine with a robust heart.

Oh yes—God takes pleasure in your pleasure!

Dress festively every morning.

Don’t skimp on colors and scarves.

Relish life with the spouse you love

Each and every day of your precarious life.

Each day is God’s gift.

Once you know that God has said yes to you, and your labor for him will not be in vain—that gives you power to live so free. To love, to dream, to hope, to be creative.

And as you find deep satisfaction in the people and the hobbies and the meals and the ordinary pots and pans of your life—from now on I want you to imagine God smiling along with you. Nodding slightly. And saying, with a satisfied grin: Yes!

And what do you say back to God? Amen.

God’s faithful, ongoing Yes!

AP begins: We believe in God the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth. [Trust that God has not and will not give up on his creatures or his creation]

The one who created us still says yes to us …

So we say amen by [practical, beautiful ways of saying amen—one example might be God has said yes to us by giving us a new building—how can we say amen to his yes?]

Trusting that every one of those amens matters. God is doing and will do [audacious adjectives] with every amen we utter.


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