Preparing for Worship // January 22, 2017

Preparing for Worship // January 22, 2017

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When you hear the word “rebel,” what comes to mind? You probably imagine someone who does their own thing, a free spirit who breaks society’s rules. Or maybe you think of a soldier in a rebellious army. I’d be willing to bet that somewhere in your understanding of a rebel is the idea of a renegade, someone who acts outside the law for a higher good. Cowboys, the Rebel Alliance, vigilante heroes, the renegade detective, and many of our other favorite fictional heroes all have this in common: they operate outside the law in order to accomplish something greater. Because of this, the word “rebel” has taken on a more positive idea. The original Star Wars films tell the story of the Rebel Alliance and their struggle against the evil Galactic Empire. But this is no mere rebellion of disgruntled citizens. The Rebel Alliance fights against the Empire because of the evil and corruption of the Empire; the Empire gained power by overthrowing the Galactic Senate.

Stories like this, where the renegade good guys fight against (or outside) the law, show us that it is appropriate to rebel against the current authority structures and rulers, but only if we do so in service of a greater authority. Who you serve depends on who you think the rightful authority is. As Christians, it is appropriate for us to speak out against the authorities around us, but only if we do so in submission to God’s ultimate authority. Too often, however, our rebellion is not on behalf of God, but against Him. We place ourselves as the highest authority and live in service of our own desires. How often do we punish those around us because they break the decrees that we have issued for our lives and the lives of those around us? Do you lash out at your kids because they don’t give you the peace and quiet that you wanted? Or harbor bitterness towards a co-worker when they make you look bad in front of the boss? Or punish yourself with eating or drinking because you haven’t performed the way you hoped? All of these are the responses of someone who is seated on the throne of their own kingdom. Only when we submit our lives to God’s rule can we rebel against the things that we’re supposed to rebel against: sin, death, and evil. So, whether you’re doing so for the first or the ten thousandth time, submit yourself to God.

THE WORD

Scripture: Matthew 2:13-23
Sermon: Herod’s Empire Strikes Back

SONGS

Forever (Chris Tomlin)
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What Wondrous Love is This (Traditional)
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Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah (Jeremy Casella)
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Song of Preparation: My Deliverer (Rich Mullins)
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Song of Response:Beneath the Cross of Jesus  (Indelible Grace)
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