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New Sermon Series!

August 31 2016
August 31 2016

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“I believe in Jesus.”

That phrase is common enoughservantking across San Antonio, even with the onslaught of 21st century secularity. I’ve said it. You’ve said it too. But what do we mean? What is meant by those who confess this faith in Jesus Christ?

It may not be immediately obvious, but the answer to that question is far from clear. Ever since the Enlightenment of the 17th century, Descartes’ bifurcation of the head and the heart has plagued humanity. It was Descarte who, seeking to determine what is irreducible about the self, declared “Cogito ergo sum” or “I think, therefore I am.” The implication of the axiom is that our thinking-ness is what’s important about our humanness. Hence, Descarte paved the way for us to act as if what we “think” or what we “believe” is all that matters. If our thinking is right, then we are right. In essence we are just “thinking things” or “brains-in-vats.” Remember The Matrix?

Tragically, Descartes’ legacy is alive and well, even among Christians. Today it is common to assume that being a disciple of Jesus can be reduced to the affirmation of certain truths about Jesus. Depending on your flavor of the Christian tradition, those affirmations are different. Still, whether one is a moralistic fundamentalist, an erudite theologian, a social humanitarian or an inclusive liberal the basic paradigm of equating our discipleship of Jesus with holding a set of “beliefs” about Jesus remains intact.

Lost in the shuffle of Modernity, then, is a whole-selved, heart-engaged and communal vision of discipleship uniting heart and mind with our engagement in this world. No wonder Francis Schaeffer once declared,

I have come to the point where, when I hear the word Jesus—which means so much to me because of the Person of the historic Jesus and His work—I listen carefully because I have with sorrow become more afraid of the word Jesus than almost any other word in the modern world. The word is used as a contentless banner.

In other words, it just isn’t clear what “believing in Jesus” means.

For this reason, this fall (starting Sunday, September 4th) we’ll be going back to the stories of Jesus as told in the Gospel of Mark. Lest we misunderstand, we don’t so much need to learn the “facts” about Jesus, but rather, to sort out what it means to follow this Servant-King. Along the way, I hope we come to learn what the Roman centurion came to learn after witnessing Jesus’ crucifixion, “Truly this man was the Son of God” (15:39). As will become clear, on the lips of the Gentile centurion this confession was not a disinterested affirmation, but a whole-self declaration of allegiance. The ability to sever faith from life would have made no sense to him and so it must to us again. Or, as one theologian put it, “The meaning of Scripture is its application.” (John Frame)

Click Jesus, the Servant King for the sermon series!


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