What is grace? God’s undeserving favor to ill-deserving people like us, the glorious reality that separates itself from anything else the world has to offer. But the reality is that even we as believers can get this twisted. Cheap grace? Not-them grace? Earned grace? Limited grace? The book of Jonah corrects these views as it displays the God of outrageous grace. God exceeds normal expectations to pour out His grace. As we will see throughout the book, Jonah is not the hero of the story and we should be able to identify with the fear of Jonah. Jonah being told to deliver the message of judgment over the land of Ninevah was like the Coptic Christians going to an ISIS camp and sharing the gospel. But it’s not just the fear that motivates his disobedience; it is also the hate, for he does not believe that they deserve God’s mercy. Jonah shows us our struggle to love on people whom we do not want to. As shown in his obedience and disobedience, Jonah also displays the spiritual bipolar disorder with which we as followers of Christ all struggle. This is why we must look at the main character and true hero, God himself. Throughout the series we will see how He is the God who pursues, saves, shows mercy, and loves as the true hero of this story. He is the God of outrageous grace because he is the sovereign king who reigns, because he hears and answers our prayers, because he cares for the untouchables, and because he sent his son Jesus Christ, who was rejected, and ultimately, crucified for our sins. Jesus saw our wickedness but in joy he took our condemnation. You can listen to this introductory sermon by Pastor Mike to kick off our sermon series on the book of Jonah HERE!
Speaking of kicking off, we are also kicking off Restore Flag Football this upcoming Saturday (4/18) 10 am at Hutchins School (8820 Woodrow Wilson St, Detroit, MI 48202). As Pastor Mike put it,”this is a great opportunity to love on and connect with our great community!” Even if you can only stop by for a couple of hours, we’d love to see you there!
At some point in time, each and everyone of us was an enemy to God, all in need of a mediator. Jesus took our punishment so we could receive his peace. We now have the peace of God. We are to remember where we came from, separated from God and strangers without hope. We deliberately chose the life without God. But.. BUT! Once far from God, we were brought near to the love of God through the blood of Jesus. Though we were sinful, doomed to suffer in eternity, Christ brought us home. Where would we be without Jesus? Do you have this peace? Have you made peace with God through his Son? Have you surrendered your life to this Savior? Are you standing in his peace or your own righteousness? Not only did Jesus’ death and resurrection cause peace between us and the Father, but it also caused the truce with our earthly enemies. Because we have the peace of God, we have peace with one another. In our sin, not only do we build brick walls but also spoken walls. We’re all responsible. Walls of division and hostility. Walls of race and classism. By his death, Jesus broke down these walls. What can bring together people who hate each other? The resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because he got up, the walls came down. The sacrificial death and the triumphal resurrection of Jesus Christ was the TNT to destroy all dividing walls past, present, and future. His church is revolutionary where rich and poor, black and white, men and women, all come together as one body. The body of Christ is like gumbo, some of this some of that, and it tastes like nothing else in this world! So what does this all mean? We must come to Jesus, surrendering our lives. We must tear down our walls of hostility. We must be peacemakers. What can we do to build bridges in our community? What can we put our hands on? Are we people who bring other people together or pull them apart? You can hear this message from Resurrection Sunday by Pastor Tyler HERE!
We will be starting a new sermon series on the book of Jonah! Join us on Sunday 11am at The Post Office!
What is the greatest rescue mission? How do people come to know Jesus? In our finale to the 4-part series on our gospel identities, we explored how everyday people being faithful in their everyday lives become the primary agent of bringing God’s people home. We are missionaries of God sent to show and tell Jesus. A mission is a special assignment given to a person or group, and if we are in Christ we all have a special assignment, but before we ever talk about what we must do we must glory in what has been done for us. God sent His son on the ultimate rescue mission as the ultimate missionary. He who knew no sin became sin for us that we would be the righteousness of God in him. The only thing we contribute to our salvation is the sin that required it. Nothing can wash away our sins but the blood of Jesus. What is the message of Christianity? Religion says do and God will be pleased, where as the message of Christianity is it’s already been done for you. It is hard to be overflowing with joy when we are burdened with all that we have to do. We can’t ever get over celebrating our rescue. This is the fountain head for the vibrant Christian life, being regularly amazed by what has been done for us.
What good is a training video if you don’t actually apply the knowledge from the training? As we continued in our Gospel Identities series, we learned how important it was to apply what we’re learning, and as learners of God we pursue our growth and the growth of those around us. We are learners of God, rescued from the blindness that caused us to follow wrong authority. We were blinded to our sin but God through his Son Jesus Christ revealed himself as the ultimate authority. When Jesus spoke, he did not need to add footnotes for himself, for what he spoke was divine authority, and we now have the Scriptures that God gave us as our authority. Jesus was the payment for our sins and that is why he is the authority. How do we look at this payment? Apart from the Holy Spirit, who does divine lasik surgery to open our eyes, none of us can truly know who Jesus Christ is and who we are. We are learners of God who pursue our growth and the growth of those around us. First, we do this by gathering information. The Bible through the Holy Spirit tells us who God is and it shows us how to live. How can we know who we truly are apart from the word? The Holy Spirit reveals who we truly are to us through the word, which is why we need to be a people in the word and be cautious about what and who we listen to. Garbage in, garbage out. How we fertilize our souls determines what type of fruit we will bear. We also learn from watching those around us, learning from the people of faith, and we need to be able to live our lives so that others can imitate us. We can be open about our sin and repent for it for the perfect Jesus took the blame and the shame. The Christian life is not about living the perfect life, but about realizing that the perfect person Jesus died for our sins so that we didn’t have to put up a facade of a flawless life. The gospel frees us to repent and to not live in shame. Lastly, we should be imparting the knowledge of the gospel to others. Just as we take our own growth serious, we also value the growth of others. We are all making disciples, but of whom? Are we making disciples of Jesus or of ourselves? We are going to fail each other, but Jesus Christ will never fail you. We can rest in this grace of the one who has all authority and shows us his ways. When the bad things of life hit you, are you going to collapse because you have no foundation in the gospel, or are you going to be steady, sure, and sound? You can listen to this message by Pastor Clete HERE!
What is a church? Where people gather Sunday mornings? A building? A POST OFFICE? The church is not the place that we go to but a people who are sent out by God to the nations and to the neighborhoods. To help us walk this out at Restore we have Dgroups, a family on mission together to show and tell Jesus to one another and to a specific target group. Sunday we kicked off a 4 part series on Gospel Identities, knowing the cry of the Bible for Christians is not do to become, but be who you are. We are children of God who treat each other as family. The Son left home so we could be brought home as the beloved children of God. God didn’t love us for our performance but only by his grace are we considered his legitimate children; we are the children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. God the Father is very present and not absent, redemptive and not transactional, constructive and not abusive, and eternally stable and not unpredictable. Out of this love for us, God wants to pour out his love through us to others. The church is not an organization but a family. If we’re going to love the world well we need to love each other better. Therefore, within our eternal family, we commit to walking in sacrifice, not selfishness. What specific ways do you need you need to sacrifice for this family? We are also to forgive, not brew bitterness in our hearts. What do you need to forgive and/or ask forgiveness of? Lastly, we are to have diversity in unity not uniformity. What do you need to take the initiative with to build a relationship within this family? Blood runs thicker than water, and Jesus’ blood runs thicker than any other blood, for all who have the blood of the Lamb are family forever. You can listen to this first message of the series on gospel identities by Pastor Mike HERE!