CWR Teaching Ministry

First Things

Sunday 18th November 2018

What are the most important priorities in your life?

Keynote Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

Q: Has Jesus’ Resurrection made “Death” our friend (pt 1/4) – Brad Jersak

Tuesday 13th November 2018

QUESTION: Has Christ’s resurrection made death our “friend”?

RESPONSE: I have reservations about calling death a friend. But I think it’s worth doing an autopsy on death to explore the way Christ’s work changed not only our relationship to death, but changed the nature of death itself.

I want to ask first, how is death not our friend, then how it might now be our friend and finally, how might we talk about death.

So first, and easiest, why is the statement “death is our friend” not true? Most obviously, in 1 Cor. 15—dubbed “the resurrection chapter”—Paul calls death an enemy, and in fact, the last enemy to be destroyed, which is to say, death remains an enemy until the final day.

Second, the New Testament solution to death is not described as befriending it, but rather, the death of death in the resurrection of Christ. Paul’s perspective seems unequivocal on both these points.

Third, we might imagine death as falling asleep and passing through the victorious doorway into the joy of Mt. Zion (cf. Heb. 12, which I’ll visit later), the reality of dying is almost always an unnatural experience and clearly a curse. See the following table on percentages re: the top 10 causes of death globally:

Ischemic heart disease

12.8%

Stroke / cerebrovascular disease

10.8%

Lower respiratory infections

6.1%

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

5.8%

Diarrheal diseases

4.3%

HIV/AIDS

3.1%

Trachea, bronchus, lung cancers

2.4%

Tuberculosis

2.4%

Diabetes

2.2%

Traffic accidents

2.1%

Which of these ways of dying could I ever call my friend!? Heaven itself is my friend, but if these chief causes of death are the doorway, what shall we say? Is death attached to cause of death, or is death a release from cause of death?

Perhaps it is not so simple. What in fact is “death”?And how does the nature of fundamentally change as a result of Christ’s work?

I’m not ready to embrace death as a friend yet, but how might the statement “death is a friend” be partly true? Three points bear considering.

1. How has my relationship to death been altered because of Resurrection Sunday?

I need not move from enmity to friendship with death to make the basis NT assertion that death has lost its sting. This is not to say death causes no grief or that grief doesn’t sting … that’s a different issue. The sting, in Jewish context, was in the belief that death entailed either non-being or worse, a gloomy afterlife in sheol or hades—the place of the dead. More broadly, death’s sting is the fear or “death-anxiety” common to humanity. According to Heb. 2:14-15, the devil held us in bondage through our fear of death. But Christ has freed us from death and the fear of death (see also Jn. 14:1-6).

Though death remains an enemy, it is no longer an enemy I need to fear. This suggests to me that perhaps death in the NT is not synonymous with the (1) cause of death, (2) the experience of dying, (3) the moment of death or (4) the grieving process for survivors. All these realities remain grievous and most unwelcome, in need of God’s compassion, comfort and/or healing.

Rather, in the NT, death per se relates to the destiny of those who are dead. That is, death and “the grave” were synonymous. Thus, Christ has not only changed my relationship to death (freedom from fear) but fundamentally changed the nature of death itself.

In Part 2 of “Is Death our Friend?” we will examine how Christ and the NT as a whole treat this radical shift in the nature of death in two essential ways. Stay tuned!

Success by Excess is Not True Greatness

Sunday 11th November 2018

Marvel with us about the truth of the advice Billy’s grandmother gave him – “When the game is over, it all goes back in the box.”

Keynote Scripture: Mark 9:33-37

We Are GIVEN The Victory!

Sunday 4th November 2018

We are GIVEN not just any victory, but THE victory “through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57). Our victory is GIVEN by the grace of God, who graciously allows us to be part of his plan, but we are not THE plan – Jesus is THE plan.

Keynote Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:50-58

Taking, Possessing or Giving?

Sunday 28th October 2018

The Parable of the Good Samaritan yields remarkable insights into the giving way of life lived in us by our Lord and Savior.

Keynote Scripture: Luke 10:25-37

The Life of Our Risen Lord

Sunday 21st October 2018

Our spiritual transformation, regeneration and new life into a living hope is “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” (1 Peter 1:3).

Keynote Scripture: 1 Peter 1:3

Breaking News

Sunday 14th October 2018

Christ-less religion is status quo, expected, regularly scheduled programming – whereas the gospel of Jesus Christ is “breaking news” – incredible, wonderful and amazing news of Jesus who is “the way and the truth and the life.”

Keynote Scripture: Ephesians 2:4-5

Information is Not Knowledge and Knowledge is Not Wisdom

Sunday 7th October 2018

Is our 21st century infatuation with information making our world a better place? Do our addictions to information retrieval systems and our desire for electronic connectivity endanger wisdom?

Keynote Scripture: Proverbs 3:5-6

It’s Hard to Listen When You’re Talkin

Sunday 30th September 2018

It’s possible for prayer to become an overwhelming monologue so that we are so busy talking we can’t hear or perceive God’s answers.

Keynote Scripture: Luke 18:9-14

Is Anyone Ever Wrong Anymore?

Sunday 23rd September 2018

The problem with repentance is that no one ever believes themselves to be wrong so they have nothing to repent of or about.

Keynote Scripture: Romans 3:10, 23

Why Doesn’t God Say or Do Something?

Sunday 16th September 2018

While many foresee God making his will known through dramatic “acts of God” he often works in ways we would not expect. He came to Elijah in a whisper, rather than in the powerful wind, earthquake or fire.

Keynote Scripture: 1 Kings 19:1-13

You Are Un-invited

Sunday 9th September 2018

If you don’t fall down and worship before the golden calf you will be asked to leave the sacred place of religion. When push comes to shove, religious authorities often ex-communicate and un-invite those who follow Jesus Christ.

Keynote Scripture: Romans 12:9-17

The Grace Cafe

Sunday 2nd September 2018

Bruce Springsteen sings “Everybody’s got a hungry heart.” There are two places for us to dine, seeking spiritual nourishment – The Grace Café and The Karma Café.

Keynote Scripture: Isaiah 25:6-8

You Are Not Alone!

Sunday 26th August 2018

Christ followers are never alone – their faith is centered in Jesus alone and Jesus is always with them and in them.

Keynote Scripture: Psalm 23

Death, Taxes and Being Hacked

Sunday 19th August 2018

We can either place our primary trust in earthly treasures or in heavenly treasures, and the process of accumulating and receiving those treasures couldn’t be more different.

Keynote Scripture: Matthew 6:19-21

The Secret of Being Content

Sunday 12th August 2018

Contentment is not gained or achieved, even through the rigors and rituals of religion.   Contentment is a gift of God.

Keynote Scripture: Philippians 4:11-12

Where Are You Going?

Sunday 5th August 2018

If you don’t know where you are going, in all probability you will wind up somewhere else – where are YOU going and HOW will you arrive at your destination?

Keynote Scripture: John 13:31-38

He Is Who He Is

Sunday 29th July 2018

God is not who you think he is or who you would like him to be or who you have been told he is – God is who he says he is.

Keynote Scripture: Exodus 3:14

Leave it to Me

Sunday 22nd July 2018

Join us as we take a careful, Christ-centered look at the Parable of the Weeds, one of the kingdom-of-heaven parables in Matthew 13.

Keynote Scripture: Matthew 13:24-30

Getting the Cart Before the Horse

Sunday 15th July 2018

Grace-based faith is all about what God has done in Christ to rescue and redeem us before it is ever about any kind of response we give to what he has done for us.

Keynote Scripture: Colossians 1:9-14

The Center of the Gospel

Sunday 8th July 2018

As important as it is, it may be shocking to some to discover that feeding the hungry and helping the poor is not the heart and core of the gospel.

Keynote Scripture: Matthew 25:40

Freedom … For What?

Sunday 1st July 2018

Why God determined to give human beings freedom might be the greatest mystery in human existence.

Keynote Scripture: Galatians 5:1

The Gospel is Not a Band-Aid

Sunday 24th June 2018

Some people apparently feel that God fits neatly into their hip pocket, right there with their Smart phone, because it seems he agrees with virtually all the decisions they want to make and the things they desire.

Keynote Scripture: 1 Peter 2:19-21

The Living Years

Sunday 17th June 2018

George W. Bush once said, “We judge others by their group’s worst example, while we judge ourselves by our best intentions.”  On this Father’s Day, we’ll consider what that truth  has to do with children and parents.

Keynote Scripture: Matthew 7:1-2

By What Power or What Name?

Sunday 10th June 2018

Who or what is your ultimate authority – who pipes the tunes to which you dance and who plays the music to which you march?

Keynote Scripture: Acts 4:1-7