Introduced to this church via Bob Smith –

Review Series – Beginning to End

Communion with God – is the great end for which we are made – Philippians 3:8-9

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—


The Solution for Shame in the Satisfaction of God

  1. God Seeks us in Our Shame – Adam Gen 2:7 – 8,
    1. The Joy of Communion with God in the Garden
      1. Conversations in the Garden Gen 2:18-19
      2. Adam and Eve naked and unashamed Gen 2:25
    2. The Fall and the Essence of Sin
      1. What is at the heart of eating the fruit? Gen 3:1-6
        1. Doubted the goodness of God
        2. Desired something more than God
        3. Delighted in what the tree offered over God himself
          1. This is the essence of all sin

APPLY:  When we seek to find ultimate satisfaction in something or someone other than God we are following Adam to our own destruction.  Money – Success – Relationships – Addiction

  1. Sin Results in ShameGen 3:7-11
    1. Discuss living in shame

Words associated with shame: Unclean Dishonored Filthy Shunned Disgusting Defiled Outcast Unlovable Discarded Repulsive Disgraced Worthless Loathed Scorned Vile Loser – Ed Welch

“You feel like an outcast. You don’t belong. You feel naked. While everyone else is walking around with their clothes on, you feel exposed and vulnerable. You are seen, and what others see is not pretty.   You feel unclean. Something is wrong with you. You are dirty. Even worse, you are contaminated. There is a difference between being a bit muddy and harboring a deadly, contagious virus.”
― Edward T. WelchShame Interrupted: How God Lifts the Pain of Worthlessness and Rejection

WORD TO THE RIGHTEOUS:  The church does not always do a great job with great sinners

Pharisee and the tax collector Luke 18: 9-14

11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed[a] thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Bonhoffer:  “It may be that Christians, notwithstanding corporate worship, common prayer, and all their fellowship in service, may still be left to their loneliness. The final break-through to fellowship does not occur, because, though they have fellowship with one another as believers and as devout people, they do not have fellowship as the undevout, as sinners. The pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everybody must conceal his sin from himself and from the fellowship. We dare not be sinners. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy. The fact is that we are sinners!”

Let our testimony be not our own righteousness but the righteousness given us by sheer grace.

  1. Rather than keeping you from God – let your shame drive you into the arms of God who delights in loving the unlovable. Eph 2:1-9


“So if you feel unworthy of God’s love, you can turn in one of two directions. You can turn inward, in which case you are looking for a little self-worth to bring to the Lord, and that is pride. Or you can turn to him and discover that he has a heart for the unworthy.”

― Edward T. WelchShame Interrupted: How God Lifts the Pain of Worthlessness and Rejection

A Story of Grace

Phil Yancey, in his book “What’s So Amazing About Grace,” tells the story of a rebellious teenage girl from Traverse City, Michigan. I’d like to retell it here.

The girl increasingly felt frustrated with her parent’s rules and restrictions on her life so much so that eventually she decided life would be easier and better somewhere else. So all of 16 years old she ran away to the glamorous big city lights of Detroit to make her own way in the world. Her small stash of money did not last long and she felt grateful when she met a handsome man who promised to take care of her. At first the man was kind to her and provided for her needs. When he offered her drugs she did not resist. Eventually the man introduced her to a few “friends” and when she resisted doing what they wanted the “kind” man beat her. She did not resist again. By this time she was dependent on this man for everything – her daily needs and daily hit. Years went by in a blur, sometimes she felt ok – if she made it through a day without getting beat it was a good day.

But most days were not good. Most days felt like a nightmare, with a line of men and just getting by until she could earn more drugs. On a particularly bad day, lying in a gutter shivering with cold she thought to herself surprisingly for the first time, “Life was better than this at home.” Home began weighing on her mind for the next few days. She couldn’t possibly go – not after how she left. Not after all she’d done. But the thought persisted and she picked up the phone and dialed the foggy, but strangely familiar number to her parent’s house. No one answered so she left a timid message, “Hi – it’s me. I know you probably don’t want anything to do with me after all this time, but… but I’m getting on a bus tomorrow and I am going to come through town. I understand if you don’t want to see me – I’ll just keep on going. But if…..” Her voice trailed off and she hung up.

The next day she took the little bit of money she had and booked a bus ticket to Canadian border with a stop in Traverse City. The bus head lights lit up the road ahead and illuminated a sign – Traverse City 15 miles. “This was a stupid idea” she thought to herself, “I’m not even going to get out at the stop. I’ll just keep going.” As she pulled into the town she sunk down in her seat, ashamed that she had even thought her family would want to see her. The bus pulled into the lights of the depot. Out of the window was a sea of people – friends, relatives, family – jumping up and down with streamers and balloons and a huge sign saying, “Welcome Home.”

I cannot read or tell this story without tears. Grace – undeserved and unearned – has a way of penetrating all our defenses in a way nothing else does. As believers we all know about grace – we have all experienced grace. And yet I find in myself that it is easy to forget that I have a God who throws a party for me and welcomes me as part of His family not because I deserve it but because He has lavished His grace on me despite who I am and what I have done. That recognition of my need and His passionate pursuit of me is not only for the moment we believe but is the power to live the life of faith that we are called to as believers.

This morning is an opportunity to ponder deeply with fresh eyes the beauty of our Savior and our desperate need for His grace. I am confident that as we do the despair we feel at not measuring up or the pride we feel at having arrived will be washed away in the embrace of an almighty, tender Savior who whispers to us, “I love you my child – Welcome Home.”

Invitation to the Unbeliever

The Cross – The Great Exchange –

God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

Gospel for the Believer

My sin on the bliss of this glorious thought my sin not in part but the whole is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more praise the lord praise the lord oh my soul. 

The Cross of Christ turns shame on its head – no longer are you loser – by the cross of Christ you are no longer naked but clothed in his PERFECT righteousness. 

Clean (Unclean), Honored friends invited to his Banquet (Dishonored), Washed (Filthy),  Accepted (Shunned)  Pleasing (Disgusting), Pure (Defiled), Friend (Outcast), Loved (Unlovable), Used for His Glory ( Discarded), given overwhelming Grace (Disgraced),  in Jesus Christ you have been given an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled reserved in heaven for you (Loser)

Listen those of you longing for “a better country” – a new world – God is not Ashamed to be called your God

Do not let your sense of shame keep you from trusting His promises  – he is able to save – he is able to deliver.  Faith is believing his promises are for you.

Moneyball Illustration

“I will measure your love for me by the cross and
I will measure your power for me by the resurrection.” JD Greear