Sermon Reflections: Christ’s Family First

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These are some immediate reflections as I listen (back) on sermons from CBCWLA, often resulting in brain hurting, always accompanied by caffeine. It’s a brain-dump and won’t necessarily be cohesive or coherent, most certainly won’t be exhaustive of all important parts, but will be personal to me. Here are the questions I’ll attempt to answer with each sermon I review:

  1. What sermon did I listen to today? Title/Link.
  2. Summarise the key points in 1-2 sentences.
  3. What did I learn this time that I didn’t catch/forgot about when I heard it the first time?
  4. How has it challenged my thinking?
  5. What practical applications can I take from it?

1. What sermon did I listen to today?
Christ’s Family First (Part 1 of 2 of a series on Identity in Christ and Singleness) – p. Nick Hsieh

2. Summarise the key points in 1-2 sentences.
Christ died for us to make us a member of the family of God IN ORDER THAT we can grow and build one another up in maturity and sanctification, ultimately for the glory of God. This is done by dramatically re-orienting our priorities to His calling, commands and His family, as part of a having transformative identity in Christ.

3. What did I learn this time that I didn’t catch/forgot about when I heard it the first time?
More what I’d forgotten:

  • The significance of all the excuses that people gave to not follow Christ – that given the historical context, there really wouldn’t have been any better reason to not follow Christ immediately than “let me bury my father first”, but Jesus’ response was “let the dead bury their own dead” – there is no good excuse to not follow Christ when He calls, and that calling will probably look different for each person.
  • The significance of Him leading by example to completely re-define family relationships and identities. Our identities are no longer grounded in our individualism or our earthly families, but rather rooted in Him as a member of His family.
  • Your individual sanctification is a means to an end -> to enable you to be a blessing to the church, that the church might grow in spiritual maturity, so that God may be glorified.
  • God’s family is not limited to the people in the church you feel comfortable being around (duh. But this remains very challenging to me.)
  • The Bible is less focused on what your spiritual gifts are, and more focused on your being a spiritual gift to the church. Sometimes, that means just being present.

4. How has it challenged my thinking?
I think the reminder that God’s family is… huge, and I’m particularly challenged by His call for us to be a spiritual blessing to the church – His church not being limited to people I feel comfortable around or people I think I can serve, and that spiritual blessing can sometimes be just being there for service as an encouragement to those who are serving (if I think about it, that’s true – when I’m serving, having the presence of some people, even when they’re not serving, is encouraging to me).

“Build up the church by loving those within it, even if they’re not in your particular age or life-stage or social group” – I think this is particularly relevant to my situation now, because the church in NorCal is truly diverse and most are not in our age group. I think I’ve been resistant to integrating and I feel convicted of being a Jew in first century Christianity – unwilling to socialise or open up to Greeks – and that’s just a mental barrier I need to get over. I need to get over myself and follow God’s commands to love others/the community He’s put me in, even when I don’t feel like it.

5. What practical applications can I take from it?
There have been some sisters in our church here who have been trying to reach out to me, who I’ve kind of been reluctant to meet up with or build deeper relationships with because no good reason (maybe cos they’re quite a lot older and I feel like there’s not much for us to connect on and so it’ll take too much effort? I don’t know.) I just didn’t feel like it. One practical thing to do is start reaching out to them. And join a small group from our church here (may have to be once the quarantine is over – not sure what the status of those small groups are right now.) That’s probably enough for me right now, because over-committing is likely to tire my introverted self out.

These are my initial thoughts as I listened to the sermon. I may need additional time to process everything, but I trust that what I’ve felt convicted by here is indeed from the Holy Spirit, and while I am not proud of my sins, I thank God that it’s Him working in me and not me trying to work this out by myself. Most of all, I know Jesus my saviour has washed me clean by the blood He shed on the cross and has more than proven His authority to do so through rising from the dead on the third day, and He is faithful to continue to sanctify me for His glory through my belief in Him. If you have additional thoughts or comments, I’d love to hear them. Please leave a comment if you feel so inclined. Thanks for reading!

Blessings,
Crystina

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