Sermon Series: Seek Jesus and Serve Others
In January we set our eyes on the year ahead and commit ourselves to a renewed vision for our church. In 2022 we commit ourselves to Seek Jesus and Serve Others. All this month, we will look at what scripture teaches us about our call as disciples to Seek after Jesus with everything we are, and in response to Serve the world in his name.
January 2, 2022 – Seek Jesus
In the only story we have from the Bible about Jesus as an older child, we find Jesus getting lost. At least, Mary and Joseph think he’s lost. After three days of frantic searching they find him in the place they should’ve been looking all along. And when we learn where that is, we can be sure to always find him there too.
Luke 2:41-52 NRSV
New Revised Standard Version
The Boy Jesus in the Temple
41 Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. 43 When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. 44 Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents[a] saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” 49 He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”[b] 50 But they did not understand what he said to them. 51 Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart.
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years,[c] and in divine and human favor.
January 9, 2022 – What do we do?
After Peter preaches the first Christian sermon ever, the people immediately respond with a question, “what do we do now.” His response: Turn to Jesus and be baptized! As we seek Jesus in this new year, the command remains the same: Turn to Jesus and be baptized!
Acts 2:37-47 NRSV
The First Converts
37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers,[a] what should we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” 40 And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
Life among the Believers
43 Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. 44 All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45 they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds[b] to all, as any had need. 46 Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home[c] and ate their food with glad and generous[d] hearts, 47 praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
January 16, 2022 – Serve Others
It doesn’t take long following Jesus to learn that he has some expectations for us. As we seek Jesus, we hear his call to Serve Others. He expects us to live lives of service to the world around us. We are called to serve the least, the last, and the lost. And we learn that then we serve others we actually grow closer to Jesus.
The Judgment of the Nations
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,[a] you did it to me.’ 41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
January 23, 2022 – Seek Higher Things
When we seek Christ, we can expect to be changed. The Apostle Paul knows this first hand. His life is a testimony to change. From dissenter to disciple, from persecutor to preacher, from sinner to saint. Later in life, he reflects on what made that change possible: he committed his whole life to seeking Jesus.
The New Life in Christ
3 So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, 3 for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your[a] life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient.[b] 7 These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life.[c] 8 But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive[d] language from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices 10 and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. 11 In that renewal[e] there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!
January 30, 2022 – The Greatest Commandment
Jesus was asked one day, out of all the many things God expects us to do, what is the most important? If you’ve been following along, his answer won’t surprise you at all. He tells us to love God with everything we have and love everyone else. Another way to say it is: Seek Jesus and Serve Others.
The Greatest Commandment
34 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35 and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”