Part 5 of the Easter series, "Suffering and Resurrection." The Apostle Peter boldly preached the Gospel, the suffering and resurrection of Jesus and our need to repent and follow him, on the day of Pentecost. But only several weeks prior, we see a different Peter, one without hope, one who is essentially ashamed of the true Gospel of Christ. What brought this change? Peter certainly had a hope in God's Messiah, but the events of the crucifixion and his own denial of Jesus brought him face to face with the reality that perhaps his hope wasn't the hope Jesus offers us all through his suffering and resurrection. At least in part, our hope must be that no matter how badly we might have abandoned him, Jesus will not abandon us...to the grave, or to the corruption of our own hearts.
Part 4 of 23 in the extended series "Belonging to Him," which takes an in-depth look at the Gospel through the lens of personal relationship. Over seven billion people live on this planet. And yet, the world can be such a lonely place. So often in our despair and hopelessness, we don't know where to turn. But God, more than any other person in the universe, understands our loneliness and offers us the path to belonging to him (sermon recorded in 2018).
(Note: We're taking a break from the "Belonging to Him" series for the holiday season and will pick back up with Part 2 on January 17th. This week, you’ll be hearing one of the sermons John shared from a 4-part Christmas series while pastoring a church in the country of Honduras.) As children, the question, "What do you want for Christmas?" filled us with great joy and anticipation for the gifts we would receive come Christmas day. As adults, the question should point more to our spiritual expectations for the season, with a chief focus on receiving Christ as our greatest gift. So, what do you want for Christmas? The perfect gift? Family harmony? Hope and peace? This is only possible when Jesus is the reason for the season.