Tim Keller’s The Reason for God sermon series ideas.
Key Thought: God’s creation is an outpouring from the fullness of His love, and our part in creation is joining in that dance with Him and each other.
Jesus’ prayer after the Last Supper, before His betrayal in the Garden of Gethsemane.
–God’s plan as revealed in the Bible: a drama in four acts: creation, fall, redemption, restoration.
Act I: Creation
God’s creation is an outpouring from the fullness of His love (essence of Trinity).
Act II: Fall
We fall away from God’s perfect love every time our focus strays from Him.
Act III: Redemption
The Son of God was born into the world to put things right between us and God.
Act IV: Restoration
–The Christian Life:
1. Forgiveness is a means of salvation, but not the end or purpose of it.
2. God will use us, Christians (a.k.a. revolutionaries), to restore peace as we honor and glorify Him, serve eachother, and care for creation, naturally and artistically.
3. As our focus is centered on God, and as He uses us to restore peace (shalom), we live the Christian life assured of eventual success. How is God using you/church?
–Before Embarking on the Christian Journey:
1. Examine your motives; realize God is not a means to an end-He is the end.
2. Count the cost-this is an all-or-nothing choice (note U2 quote page 229-230). “God incarnate”. This does not call for a “mild” response.
3. Take inventory of your reservations and share them with others (including Christians at various stages of their journey) to get feedback-doubts, aspects of Christianity that bother you, perceived inconsistencies, fears about how it will affect your life.
Joining the Dance:
1. Repent. “I’m a good person, I don’t need salvation” is what we say when we have done good things to prove ourselves (meaning that people we judge not to be “good” are not “worthy”)-we need to repent from that and everything else we’ve been relying on besides God’s love, for our hope, security and significance.
2. Believe Jesus became human and sacrificed Himself for you on the cross and rose again, but don’t just believe it intellectually-trust in Him. It doesn’t matter if your trust starts out weak and small-what matters is Who you are trusting. He will strengthen and perfect your faith, teach you how to dance (brought you to the dance floor).
3. Put the first two into action and join His community (church).
Used these sources:
ch. 14-the dance of God (and epilogue)
“The purpose of Jesus’ coming is to put the whole world right, to renew and restore the creation, not to escape it. It is not just to bring personal forgiveness and peace, but also justice and shalom to the world. God created both body and soul, and the resurrection of Jesus shows that he is going to redeem both body and soul. The work of the Spirit of God is not only to save souls but also to care for and cultivate the face of the earth, the material world,” Tim Keller (bold type added).
“If Jesus is the Creator-Lord, then by definition nothing could satisfy you like he can, even if you are successful. Even the most successful careers and families cannot give the significance, security, and affirmation that the author of glory and love can. … Jesus is the only Lord who, if you receive him, will fulfill you completely, and, if you fail him, will forgive you eternally.” – Tim Keller
“For the Buddhist…personality is the fall of man, for the Christian it is the purpose of God, the whole point of his cosmic idea.”
“It is the purpose of God because he is essentially, eternally, interpersonal love. … God did not create us to get the cosmic, infinite joy of mutual love and glorification, but to share it. We were made to join in the dance. … We were designed, then, not just for belief in God in some general way, nor for a vague kind of inspiration or spirituality. … You were made for mutually self-giving, other-directed love. Self-centeredness destroys the fabric of what God has made.”
“In self-giving, if anywhere, we touch a rhythm not only of all creation but of all being. For the Eternal Word also gives himself in sacrifice. When he was crucified, he ‘did that in the wild weather of his outlying provinces which He had done at home in glory and gladness’ from before the foundation of the world. … From the highest to the lowest exists to be abdicated and, by that abdication, it becomes more truly self, to be thereupon yet the more abdicated, and so forever. This is not a … law which we can escape. … What is outside the system of self-giving is … simply and solely Hell…that fierce imprisonment in the self. …Self-giving is absolute reality.” – C.S. Lewis
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things is passed away.” Revelation 21:4
“I would only believe in a god who could dance.” — Nietzsche
1. “If Jesus is the Creator-Lord, then by definition nothing could satisfy you like he can, even if you are successful. Even the most successful careers and families cannot give the significance, security, and affirmation that the author of glory and love can. … Jesus is the only Lord who, if you receive him, will fulfill you completely, and, if you fail him, will forgive you eternally,” (Tim Keller). If you are not living for God’s eternal love – what are you living for? Does it fulfill you completely?
2. Accepting Jesus’ love is an all-or-nothing decision. A mild, half-hearted response fails to understand the full implications of who Christ claimed to be. Examine your motives; realize God is not a means to an end-He is the end. Are you using or trusting God? Do you want something from Him, or do you want Him? Are you surrendering some of you or all of you? Are you centering some of your life on Him, or all of it? If you have already accepted Jesus’ love–how is He working through you right now, how is He using us (Redeemer) to restore genuine peace (shalom)-or are you just biding time until you can escape to Heaven?
3. Take inventory of your reservations and share them with others (including Christians at various stages of their journey) to get feedback-doubts, aspects of Christianity that bother you, perceived inconsistencies, fears about how it will affect your life. Which Christians do you know who would actually give ear to your reservations? If you do not attend Redeemer regularly, would you consider joining a home-group in which you could safely explore your reservations? Do you know anyone who may have reservations they need to share and explore-can you be the person they go to, will you introduce them to Christians you know who will also listen and explore?
The Truth…An Invitation to Dance / Jim Applegate