SERMON SERIES:

standing firm & loving well

03/19/2024

The celebration of Easter is a little more than two weeks away. This season of Lent is a great reminder that we need to allow the light of Christ to continue to grow in us. It just doesn’t happen in the 40 days before Easter. Resurrection power is always available to every believer. It is the transforming power that moves us from darkness to light, from doubt to decision, and from fear to faith. Then why bother with the season of Lent? A percentage of believers do not do it because they feel is forced and contrived; Or they feel it is too ritualistic for their faith. These things are understandable, but the reason for doing Lent at St. Johns is to provide focus. It reminds us that Jesus fasted 40 days in the wilderness before beginning his earthly ministry. Spiritual discipline prepared Jesus for his world-changing ministry. In the same way, it can prepare us for world-changing ministry. It gives us focus to move toward the light, to seek God’s way, and to acknowledge that resurrection power is available now. Unfortunately, it is easy for us to drift into distraction, division, and doubt. In our series Standing Firm and Loving Well, the sermon this week is Grow in Grace, and it is based on the life of Jesus. Luke 2:40-52 is one of the few places where we have a window to the childhood of Jesus. This section ends with these words: “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52, NIV) The word for “favor” is simply “grace” in the original language. Jesus grew in grace with God and people. This is a great model for us, but what does it mean for our lives? God’s grace is able to sustain us even in the wilderness of life, just as it sustained Jesus. It empowers us to be changed by leaving the tomb of our sins and walking in the newness of life. It prepares us for world-changing ministry because we can do more than we could ever imagine if we find the fullness of God’s grace! Our most earnest prayer for you is that your doubt, division, and drain in your life will be filled with resurrection hope, with God’s awesome goodness, and a deep sense of his wonderful grace as you read Luke 2:40-52.

 

Luke 2:40-52: And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him. 41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom.  43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it.  44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.  46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” 49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”  50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them. 51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. (NIV)