The Privilege of We: Series Summary

Throughout the summer of 2015 we explored our life in the Gospel as the people of God- together. The intent of the series was to learn about where community comes from and the beauty of what it is meant to be. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said in his book Life Together, “It is easily forgotten that the fellowship of Christian brethren is a gift of grace, a gift of the Kingdom of God that any day may be taken from us. 

Therefore, let him who until now has had the privilege of living a common Christian life with other Christians praise God’s grace from the bottom on his heart. Let him thank God on his knees and declare: It is grace, nothing but God’s grace, that we are allowed to live in community with Christian brethren." Each week, is an exploration into a different aspect of this privileged life that we are allowed to share with others.

"Privileged to Temple" - 1 Peter 2:4-5 (The Privilege of 'We')

As the last week and final sermon in our summer series, we will end our exploration of biblical community with Peter's metaphor in 1 Peter 2. As the people of God, we are living stones who are being built up as a spiritual house. In order to fully grasp Peter's metaphor, we will take a brief journey back into the Old Testament to look at the form and function of the first spiritual house, Solomon's temple. Then, with that fresh in our minds, we will dive into some of the practical implications of our privilege to be stacked together as the temple of the Living God.

"Privileged to Bear" - Galatians 6:1-5 (The Privilege of 'We')

This Sunday we’ll explore exactly what Paul is referring to in his writings to the Church at Galatia when he instructs them to “bear one another’s burdens” and what this means for us each day. While none of us are likely looking for more of a burden then we already carry in this life, I think we’ll see that this instruction, when carried out in the spirit with which the Lord intends, is truly a life-giving and life-changing privilege.

"Privileged to Confess" - James 5:13-18 (The Privilege of 'We')

This week we will be covering one of the most counter-intuitive privileges of community: confession. In addition to our confession of sins to Jesus for forgiveness, James 5 calls us to confess our sins to one another for our healing. What sounds like a most terrifying burden is actually the source of countless blessings for our souls. We will explore how the beauty of confession to one another can draw us into a deeper communion with sinners turned saints. 

"Privileged for Friendship" - 2 Samuel 23:8-17 (The Privilege of 'We')

Although technology and activity abound, it seems as though the loneliness and disconnection of our culture is growing. Even among the family of God, more and more people feel the weight of being all alone. This week will be covering the theme of friendship by taking a look at a scene in the life of David and his mighty men. As we learn more about the details and adventures of David's closest friends, we catch a glimpse of what friendship can be in a real and tangible way. We are privileged for friendship through the friendship of Christ.

"Privileged to Preach" - Ephesians 4:15-21 (The Privilege of 'We')

After a couple of introductory weeks, we are going to be getting specific and practical about our life in community together. This week, we will be discussing our privilege to "preach." While not everyone will preach a formal sermon from a pulpit, God does call all believers to speak the truth in love to one another as His people. Fundamental to our life together is being able to speak the truth of Jesus to another another in the everyday matters of life. We will explain (1) the importance of our preaching, (2) the problems with our preaching and (3) the pattern for our preaching.  Our spiritual health depends on these gospel "sermons" throughout the week and not just on Sundays alone. As the body of Christ, we are privileged to preach.

"Privileged to Image" - Genesis 2 & 3 (The Privilege of 'We')

We first established that human community finds its origin in the eternal community of love shared among the the Trinity - Father, Son, and Spirit. Another way of describing perfect community is “communion”. This week we consider what perfect community looks like as an expression of God’s image though humanity. Genesis 2 & 3 show us not only what perfect communion looks like but also the results of communion corrupted. However, the end corruption is also revealed in Genesis - we can experience the redemption of true community in and through Christ, the new Adam. As we experience and live out the redemption of community in Christ we display what the world longs for - true communion with God and one another.

"The God of the 'We'" - Genesis 1 & John 1 (The Privilege of 'We')

Before diving into the specific features of our life together in the Gospel, we first want to start with the why. Why is community so important for the people of God? And the answer to that question takes us back on the timeline before creation to the very nature of God. This week, we will be exploring the community that has eternally existed among the Godhead between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Every true and proper understanding of community finds its source, meaning, and direction from this eternal community of love.

"In the Tabernacle" - Exodus 40 (Exodus: God is Here)

As the last sermon in our series, we will take a look at how the book of Exodus closes: with detailed instructions about building and using the Tabernacle. While it may seem odd to end an epic story like the Exodus with an instruction manual, it is actually an appropriate ending that highlights the point of the Exodus. God has set His people free to worship Him. As we take a closer look at the Tabernacle, we find several reminders about our lives and a wake up call to fully engage in worship toward the Lord.

"And Passes By" - Exodus 33:17-23 (Exodus: God is Here)

From April to July, we are going to follow the Exodus storyline, discovering God’s rescue plan for the people of Israel from their slavery in the land of Egypt. We have titled this series, “Exodus: God is Here.” And the reason why has everything to do with the WAY that God rescues His people. What sets this Exodus story apart is the fact that God rescues His people by His presence. He draws near. He enters in. And He personally engages the details of the story so as to lead the people of Israel to a better place. All throughout the Exodus story, God delivers His people for His presence, by His presence. In the Exodus story, God is here. And the way God rescues is a very beautiful thing.

"In Our Rest" - Exodus 33:1-16 (Exodus: God is Here)

Immediately after their Golden Calf rebellion, the Lord presents Israel with an interesting proposition. He invites Moses to go ahead and lead Israel into the Promised Land with the fulfillment of their dreams: direction, protection, and a land filled with milk and honey. However, it would happen without the presence of God. He informs them that He cannot come with them due to their sin and stiff-necked rebellion. Through this story, we will discuss the true nature of rest, the counterfeit forms we settle for, and the deepest longings of our hearts. What is true rest and where does it come from? For the people of God, the presence of God is everything.

"Among Our Idols" - Exodus 19-20, 32:1-20 (Exodus: God is Here)

After a few months of wilderness provision and deliverance, God invites His people Israel to meet up on Mt. Sinai to hear His voice and establish covenant. Many people call this event "Israel's Wedding Day." However, instead of intimacy and relationship, Israel ends up backing away in fear and sin. And what was intended to be a glorious experience for God's people, ends with Moses up on the mountain receiving the Law and the people down below making a Golden Calf to worship. This is a story of covenant broken by idolatry that calls for mediation and rescue. And yet again, God steps in to deliver His people- this time from idols that seek to enslave us.

"In the Wilderness: Manna" - Exodus 16 (Exodus: God is Here)

In Exodus 16, the children of Israel leave the rejoicing and rest of the oasis found in chapter 15 for the Desert of Sin. In spite of all that’s been provided in miraculous fashion up to this point the fearful faithlessness of the people rises up at the first opportunity. Thankfully however, His provision is not based on Israel’s worth and the Lord feeds and cares for them without fail for 40 years in the wilderness. As beautiful as God’s provision in the wilderness is, it pales in comparison to the Bread of Life provided in Jesus.


"In Our Deliverance" - Exodus 14:1-15:21 (Exodus: God is Here)

As the people of Israel continue their Exodus journey out of Egypt on the long detour, God eventually leads them to a decisive confrontation on the shore of the Red Sea. Not too long after their release, Pharaoh once again changes his mind and unleashes his army of chariots to capture his slaves and bring them back to Egypt. With the Sea before them and Pharaoh's army behind them, God fights for His people and leads them through the waters before destroying their foes. This week we will look at the way God delivers His people from the shame of the past when it comes crashing into the present. It's a beautiful picture of repentance and deliverance.

"In Our Detours" - Exodus 13:17-22 (Exodus: God is Here)

Last week’s story was fun to watch as God definitively intervened on behalf of the Jews through the plagues and Passover. By His mighty hand and outstretched arm, God stepped into the suffering of His people and He set them free. Finally, after years of waiting, the Jewish people headed out of Egypt with hope and plenty of plunder under their arms. However, God's ultimate goal for the Jews was not just break their bondage, but to lead them to a new life of freedom in the Promised Land. And on their way out of the land, God does not take them on the shortest route home. Instead, He orchestrates a detour to accomplish His divine agenda. This week will focus on the divine detours of God and His purposes on the longer road.

"In the Passover" - Exodus 11:1-12:42 (Exodus: God is Here)

In Exodus 6:1, God promises Moses, "Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh" - No more waiting, no more guessing, and no more mystery. And that is exactly what He does. After a season of talking about deliverance, God executes judgment on Egypt and the hard heart of Pharaoh through the 10 plagues. The first nine produce short-term effects, but eventually, through the death of the firstborn sons of all the land, the people of Israel are ordered to leave. The Jews are given explicit instructions regarding the blood of a lamb and they are forced to choose whether they will take God at His word. We will focus on God's judgment in His rescue plan that demands a faith response to Him through the blood of the Lamb.

"In Our Setbacks" - Exodus 4:28-6:13 (Exodus: God is Here)

At the end of Exodus 2, we discover the joy-filled announcement that God will rescue His people from their oppression and slavery in Egypt. He heard their groaning. He remembered His covenant. He saw His people and He knew. However, instead of instant and immediate relief, things actually get worse for Israel before they get better. As Moses comes before Pharaoh and demands that he let God's people go, it results in harder work and greater suffering in the lives of the God's people. And the result is disillusionment and frustration with the deliverance of God. This story provides us with a framework for dealing with the setbacks we encounter in God's story of rescue.

"In Our Suffering" - Exodus 1:1-2:25 (Exodus: God is Here)

This week we will be talking about suffering as we watch the Hebrew people go from being a free and privileged people to being oppressed and enslaved in the land of Egypt. In Exodus 1 and 2, the Pharaohs  become increasingly threatened by the multiplying Jews and eventually enslaved them to ruthlessly build their cities in hard labor. Over time, things go from bad to worse as they move from loss, to oppression, to injustice. In the moments of our suffering, we have choices to make about our response. Through the opening chapters of the Exodus story, we are challenged to trust in God's unconventional ways and to take our pain honestly to the Lord.

"In Our Storylines" - Genesis 50:15-21 (Exodus: God is Here)

In order to launch the Exodus story, we are going to start with the story behind the story. The people of Israel did not start in Egypt and were not always slaves needing deliverance. We are going to look at the end of Genesis to see how the family of Jacob ended up in Egypt and what God was doing in the dysfunctional family of Joseph. After the passing of Jacob (Israel), Joseph's brothers fear a response of retaliation and retribution from their brother that they wronged so many years before. However, Joseph extends forgiveness and grace because he understands his place in the story. He (1) avoids God's seat, (2) accepts God's storyline, and (3) acts out God's love. This is key for anyone wanting to move closer into God's rescue and redemption.