Central Christian Church Message Podcast

Better Worship | Something Better | Pastor Dean Kuest

March 05, 2023 Central Christian Church of Arizona
Central Christian Church Message Podcast
Better Worship | Something Better | Pastor Dean Kuest
Show Notes Transcript

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Leading people to discover and fully own their faith in Jesus. That is the mission of Central Christian Church, led by Pastor Cal Jernigan based in Mesa, Arizona with multiple locations throughout Arizona.

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 Well, hi everyone. Hey, pastor Cal here. I am so excited that you are here today to worship with us and we're gonna do something special today. You know, one of the cool things about our church is that we have five different campuses and. Well, I'm the lead pastor over the entire thing. They're, each campus has their own leader and, uh, these are wonderful, wonderful people.

And, and the, the campus knows how cool their campus pastor is, but not the rest of the church necessarily knows. And so what I've decided to do is throughout the spring and summer, I'm gonna rotate. When I'm not in the pulpit, I'm gonna rotate one of our campus pastors, uh, into the pulpit so that the rest of the.

Can get to know who these people are. And we're gonna lead off today with somebody who has been on our staff at Central for the last 32 years. Uh, we're we're gonna introduce you to Dean Keys. Now again, many of you know who Dean is over the years, but Dean, uh, long, long time ago, came on our staff when I was a youth pastor here, and he came on and we worked together.

He was a college pastor and. When I became the lead pastor of the church, he took over the youth ministry. So he was a student pastor and, and then I invited him to come be the head of the worship ministry at our church, which he did for a season. And then he actually felt a call of God to go up to, uh, Washington, uh, to become a lead pastor and a church plant, which he did for about eight years.

Then we brought him back. And then for the last 11 years, uh, he has been the lead pa, the, uh, campus pastor at our campus in Glendale and just done a great job. He and his wife Leslie, been married forever and uh, again, got married here, goes way back, uh, while he was on staff here, that era. And then they have had five, they have five boys, can you even imagine?

And, uh, they're all grown now and. His story is a wonderful, wonderful story. I'll let him tell that to you, whatever he wants to tell you about him. But I'm so glad and I feel so fortunate to call him a friend, but to have him on our staff. And you're gonna understand why when you get a chance to hear his heart.

So church, would you just do what you do so well. And even though he's one of ours, will you make Dean feel welcome as he now steps up, uh, and delivers the message today, plus you guys.

Woo. I'll tell you what, after, after that intro, I was looking around for an old guy to walk out on stage. Man, I would, uh, I'd like to thank Cal, first of all, for hiring me when I was 12 years old,  and, uh, yeah, . Uh, but to be honest with you, uh, honest, I, I woke up with a pit in my stomach this morning, uh, knowing like, it just like hit.

They're gonna have high definition cameras focused on my face. And, uh, so, uh, I did what all people who are now over 50 have to do. I shaved my ears and my nose, so I'm just being real with you. Just being real. Okay. All right. Uh oh. Now I heard, I heard the gasp when you heard that I have five. Uh, five boys and, um, yep.

They're all out of the house. We are now empty nesters for a month. In a month. We've got, they're moving back in. So, you know, is that how it works? All of you who, uh, yeah. You've been there, you know? Okay. All right. Well, uh, first of all, thank you for being here. Uh, thank you to all of you on all of our campus.

Um, those of you who are online with us have to give a special shout out West Side to my Glendale. People, uh, love you all. All right, man. Uh, pastor Cal kicked us off last week in a new series as we're gonna study through the book of Hebrews. And, uh, he kicked it off with us and the, the series is titled something.

God has something better. Now, I learned about things that were better or greater than when I was in first grade. I think first grade math probably is where we introduced that idea of the greater than symbol. Wasn't that confusing when you were first trying to learn that as a kid? Um, but it always helped when my teacher told me the alligator eats the bigger number.

Right? Did we all learn? Um, we even had like a little saying that went with it. The alligator is hungry for lunch. Find the bigger number and munch, munch, munch. Anyone else? All right. Maybe it was just me, but, uh, nobody told me that as I grew older, I was not going to use the greater than sign anymore for math.

It was only gonna be used for memes on the internet. Now, when I was in first grade, there were no. Memes and there was no internet. But, um, as you get older, you used the greater than sign to, uh, kind of challenge ideas, right? So we learned that on the playground as kids, my dad is better than your dad. My dad can beat up your dad, right?

Um, but uh, here, here, respond to these for me. I, if you are a sports fan in the room, LeBron is greater than Jordan. No. Uhuh. Yeah. If you're from my era, nobody can touch Jordan. Okay. Um, how about this? Dogs are greater than cats. Yeah. If you're near a cat person, just be gentle. Okay. They scratch, um, Or maybe for some of our younger people in the room, or some of you who are gamers, uh, Minecraft is greater than Fortnite.

Okay. Let the discussion begin, right? No, honestly, uh, when you stop to think about it, we use that for very subjective conversation. But there are some things that, that, that begin to become even so subjective that you can't even imagine that they really make any sense. For instance, if I were to say this, how would you respond?

Creation is greater than the creator. It's difficult to even respond to that because how could that be? How could I be looking at a picture and think that the picture is greater than the one who created the. But isn't it easy for us to stand at something like the Grand Canyon and be in awe of the Grand Canyon and completely lose sight of the creator?

Well, the writer of Hebrews is concerned that Christians, these early Christians are trying to, uh, require that the created be placed in front of the creator. They want to focus their lives on the created and miss the creator. And so last week, uh, pastor Cal talked about Jesus is greater than the prophets.

The prophets were good, but their whole purpose was to point to Jesus. And we're gonna call people back to God's ways. So don't get lost in the prophets when the one they're pointing to is right here. Right here amongst. You'll miss the one who is greater than. And so today in Hebrews chapter one, verses four to 14, Jesus wants to say He is greater than the angels.

Jesus is greater than the angels. That's kind of a dumb moment for us, right? I mean, why would he even need to write that? Why would he need to even even include that in what he was? But the Christians, uh, most of whom are Jewish, are bringing these things from their previous understandings and they're bringing them into their faith, uh, today.

And he does not want them to get lost in the lesser and miss the greater. And so we're gonna elevate Jesus. This is what the writer of Hebrews doing. He's gonna elevate Jesus that he is the greater of all greater thans, and we're gonna move everything out of the. Clear the way for you to be able to have a relationship with the greatest.

So the very beginning of Hebrews Cal talk took us through this last week. I wanna take you back through it again. We're going to Hebrews chapter one, verses one through three. Uh, we're gonna keep going back to this passage because it is, uh, I, I think the, the stamp that the writer of Hebrews puts on this book.

And so as we go, All of the chapters of Hebrews, I hope that you'll continually come back to this one and remember what it is that the writer of Hebrews is trying to say to us. Here's what it says. In the past, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets and many times and in various ways, but in these last days, he has spoken to us by his son, whom he has appointed air of all things and through.

Also, he made the universe, the son is the radiance of God's glory, the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. And after he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the majesty in heaven. So get this. I mean, here's the writer of Hebrews. He wants us to make no mistake about who Jesus.

Jesus, uh, has been appointed heir. He has inherited all things from the Father, he through whom he made the universe. He is the radiance of God's glory, the exact representation of who God is and provided purification for our sins. Do not mistake who Jesus is, the writer of Hebrews. There is no greater than than Jesus.

Now, quick history lesson for us as we get into our passage. See, the Jews believed, uh, at this point in time, that they needed angels to mediate, to intercede for them between themselves and God. And this belief came about because God gave Moses the 10 Commandments. But when God gave Moses the 10 Commandments, it was believed that that, um, that God being so powerful, Moses was not able to see God directly or be in God's presence directly.

So an angel had to have delivered those to. And so their belief was, wow, if Moses, the greatest of our prophets, the greatest of of our leaders, if he couldn't be like in touch with God one-on-one and he needed angels to intercede, then we must need angels as well. Therefore, they began elevating angels almost to a form of worship at this point in time.

And so now those who are becoming new Christians and followers of Jesus are bringing. Understanding about angels, and they're bringing you into their new Christian faith. So the writer of Hebrews is gone, wait, wait, wait a minute. Jesus is greater than the angels. Now the author of Hebrews is now gonna spend the next 10 verses kind of comparing and contrasting Jesus and the angels.

Now some of you might have perked up if you just, uh, heard, okay, we're talking about angels. Let's drill down into everything the Bible has to say about angels, and I wanna let you down easily because that is not what we are doing here today, although angels are cool. Okay? I mean, there's a lot of awesome angel stories in the Bible about how God uses angels to interact with us.

Now we can go into detail about the Arc Angels. Okay. The Arc Angels seem to get a lot of play in stories about Angel. , but here's what you need to understand. Like the only two arc angels are even named in the Bible. Now there are angel ologists, okay? It's a real word. I'm teaching it to you here today.

Angel Ologists, people who just spend all their time studying angels. I think that's called getting lost in the lesser and missing the greater. But anyways, that's another. But in the Bible, uh, there only two arc angels are named, and then, uh, but they believe that they're seven. Okay. Somehow there are seven arc angels.

We find their names in other books that are not biblical, just kind of, uh, books of, uh, ancient writers. And so it's, it's kind of like, uh, these two guys and the rest, you know, I, I don't know their names. It's like, uh, Raphael Donatello. Michelangelo, Leonardo and Splinter are something like that. I, I don't know what they are.

It's just like the angels here on earth. I mean, you have two guys that you know, trout and otani, and then, uh, you don't really know who the rest are. It's a, it's a baseball joke. Okay. If you don't like baseball, you won't get it. All right. Well, we could tell amazing stories from the Bible about angels, and we're not gonna do that.

But I do want to tell you one, it's kind of an obscure story, maybe one that you've never heard before or seen before. It's because it's in the book of Jude, and the book of Jude is the one right before the book of Revelation.  it is, uh, only one chapter long. So they don't even say Jude chapter one, verse nine.

Instead they just say, Jude verse nine. Okay. It is a tiny book, but in Jude verse nine, it says something to, to this effect that, uh, the arc Angel Michael contended with Satan over the body of Moses. What.  and then it just kind of drops the story right there. Like it doesn't even tell the story, it just drops that knowledge on us and we just kind of go, huh.

And so theologians for years have like been trying to figure out what it is that that was talking about. And um, some thought, well, maybe, maybe Satan was trying to take Moses to hell. I, I'm not really. But I think if we go back to Deuteronomy chapter 34, it's gonna help us to understand what this story means.

Here's what it says In, in Deuteronomy chapter 34, Moses is going to to pass away, and he goes off on his own and it says that he passes away and it says that the Lord buries him and hides his body from the Israeli. Now, why would God need to hide Moses' body from the Israelites? Well, a lot of theologians believe it's because the Israelites probably would've never gone any further.

They would have built a shrine to Moses, built a temple to Moses. They would've stopped right there. They would've gotten stuck in the less. And completely missed the greater, so you can put angels in the place, uh, keeping us from Jesus. You could put people,

the Israelites would've put Moses, and so God chose to hide the body of Moses from the people and.

Many theologians believe that this passage is Satan just wanting to expose the body of pe, the, the body of Moses for the Israelites to find so that they could worship him instead of worship the Lord. Here's the big idea. It's easy to get lost in the lesser and lose sight of the greater.

So if we go into our passage right now, the rest of Hebrews chapter one, there's four ways that the writer identifies for us that Jesus is greater than. So I'm just gonna read these, uh, quickly as we walk through these really quickly. I just wanna do justice to the passage and then I want us to talk about us.

For which of the angels did God ever say, you are my son. Today I have become your father. Or again, I will be his father and he will be my son. And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, let all the angels worship him. Jesus is greater than the angels. I mean, God never called the angels his son.

Angels are messengers. Jesus is the message. Jesus is the son that came into the world. He was the message that the prophets spoke. He was what the world has been waiting for. Jesus is greater. Hebrews one, uh, seven through nine says this in speaking of the angels, he says he makes his angels spirits and his servants flames of fire.

But about the sun. He says, your throne, oh God, will last forever and ever. A scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and you have hated wickedness. Therefore, God, your God has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy. Angels are servants.

Jesus is the king who holds the scepter of justice. He also says in the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth and the heavens are the work of your hand. They will perish, but you remain. They will wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe, like a garment. They will be changed, but you remain the same and your years will never end.

Angels are created and Jesus is the creator. Finally it says this, to which of the angels did God ever say? Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit Salvation. Angels minister to the saved. Jesus is the savior.

Angels just simply do what God calls them and asks them to do. Jesus is the Savior, and it is our temptation always to put something in the place of Jesus or something in the way of Jesus instead of calling ourselves right to the one who is the greatest. And so here's what the writer of Hebrews is trying to do.

Elevate. Jesus, I hope you hear that over and over. I mean, you're gonna hear it every week as the writer of Hebrews just says, look, we are go. You do, you do not understand how great Jesus is. And then he wants to clear the way, clear all of the, the other things that get in the way of having a relationship with him so that you can go directly to.

Not through other things to him. You don't have to go through prophets.

You don't have to go through a high priest, Jesus. And he's gonna, the writer of Hebrew is gonna talk about that, uh, here later on. You don't have to go through an angel. You don't have to go through a saint. You don't have to go through a relative that has passed away, not crystals that transform bad. Not astrology to understand like the universal alignment of the planets, not as spirit guides for advice.

You get to go directly to Jesus because he has created that way for you.

Amen. It's through H forgiveness that he has given to you through his death on the cross that provides your forgiveness. Jesus. Is greater than he's approachable and he wants a relationship with you.

Now, you may not require something else to get in, uh, the way of Jesus, or, but maybe you, like much of our world has been tempted to do, we bring Jesus from his greater than p.  and we make him lesser than we go. Oh, no, no. I would never make Jesus lesser than. Well then we have to allow him to be who he says he is and we have to allow him to be who Scripture says he is not who your are comfortable with him being, not who pop culture is comfortable with it.

See, everybody loves pop culture. Jesus. , right? I mean, pop culture. Jesus just says, Hey man, just love everybody. And Jesus does say love everybody. But when that everybody includes love your enemies and those who persecute you, we go, oh wait, that's more uncomfortable. Oh, always say, oh, Jesus just wants me to follow my heart.

That's pop culture. Jesus. Because scripture says, man, my heart is deceitful above all things. And Jesus says, follow me, not your heart. Or we go, well, Jesus just wants me to be myself. Like I'm just gonna discover myself. You be you. I'll be me.

When Jesus really says, I want you to die to yourself.

We go, oh wait, I maybe I like pop culture. Jesus better. We have to allow Jesus to be who he says he is. In Galatians chapter one, verse eight, the Apostle Paul is talking to uh, uh, a church that's in an area called Galatia. So we call it the Book of Galatians. In Galatians chapter one, verse eight, the apostle Paul says this, but it even if if me, okay, E, even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preach to you, let them be under God's curse.

Like, look, don't change who Jesus is. But it's easy for us to just kind of allow ourselves slowly to bring Jesus to lesser. There's a Newsweek poll that was taken within the last few years, and it said this, 52% of Americans say that Jesus isn't God. He was just a great teacher. That's 52% of Americans.

Okay? But here's, here's another thing that was discovered, and this is among Christians, 34% of Christians. Don't believe the son of God existed before Jesus was born. Like that little Christmas story, Bethlehem, like, that's when Jesus first enters the scene and the writer of Hebrews is going, no, no, no, no.

Jesus was a part of creation. Like you can't remove Jesus. You can't remove the greatness of Jesus is just making some small. Who grew up into a nice person, we began to self create Jesus in a lesser way as just a good moral teacher. And can I just say to you, saying that Jesus was just a good moral teacher is not an option that we have from the words of Jesus or from s.

It's just not an option. I love what CS Lewis has to say to us. He says, A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things that Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic on the level of a man who says he is a poached egg, or else he would be the devil of hell.

See, uh, these are the things that Jesus said I and the father are one. Huh? He also said, uh, if you have seen me, you've, you've seen the father. Wow. Or how about the time that the. He's speaking with the religious leaders of his time and they were claiming their, their history as being based on the person of Abraham.

They said, our father is Abraham. And Jesus said to them before Abraham was, I am okay. Look, a normal thinking person doesn't say that it's either. Or he is a lunatic or he's a liar. He can't just be a good moral teacher.

Or how about the time that a lame man was brought before him? They said, Hey, you're doing all these great tricks. Jesus heal this guy. And instead Jesus looked down at him and goes, Hey, you've had great faith. Your sins are. Whoa, whoa. Only God can forgive sin. And he said, you're right. Only God can forgive sin.

What does that mean? And he says, which is easier to say, your sins are forgiven. Or Take up your mat and walk. Oh, by the way, take up your mat and walk. And the guy gets up and walks out of the room.

We cannot reduce Jesus from who he said he was and who scriptures tell us that he is. But I'll tell you what, rarely do I meet somebody who says that they don't have at least a higher power, right? I mean, the. I think AA has done an amazing job of calling people to begin wrestling with and searching for, uh, a higher power.

And I, I just wanna say, maybe you're not in this place right now where you're like, yeah, I totally believe what scripture says about Jesus, or, I totally believe what Jesus says about himself. I hope you will wrestle with it. I, I, I'm thrilled that you're here and I hope that means that you're wrestling.

Because I believe God invites us to wrestle with him. There's an Old Testament story about Jacob. Jacob is the guy who becomes the father of the nation of Israel. In fact, God changes his name, but here's how it happens. Jacob wants a blessing from God and he wrestles with God says that he wrestled with him all night long and God said, I am changing your name from Jacob to.

because Israel means wrestles with God. That's the literal meaning of the name Israel, wrestles with God. And if we're not wrestling with God, I mean, that's where growth comes from. That's where understanding comes from. And so if you're here and you have doubts, give your doubts to God and wrestle. I believe God will do that.

I met a girl one time, I was in college. I was, uh, sharing my faith with some people. She was sitting, uh, just on a curb, uh, out along the street and I was just trying to, to share, uh, my love for Jesus with them. And she goes, I, I already have my higher power. I'm in, I'm going through AA right now. And I, I had to find my higher power and I.

tell me more about your higher power. She says, do you wanna meet him? Sure. And she was sitting on this street curb and she had her backpack. She starts reaching into her backpack. I'm like, oh, this is not a gun. Um, but she reaches in and she pulls this out.

She had a name for it. I can't Life of me, I can't remember the name that she had for it. She said, this is my higher power. And I said, well, tell me, tell me about your higher, higher power. She said, well, it just makes me feel strong. I get, I keep it in my backpack and I can just feel the weight of it. I know it's there with me sometimes at night.

I talk to,

My heart broke. It's in my head. I'm just thinking that's just dirt pressed together. If you drop that on the ground, it breaks. In fact, there's millions of these all over the world and there's millions of people who know how to make more, like I don't. So I just encourage her to consider. A higher power that created this.

I just wanna encourage you to consider a higher power that is greater than all others. Greater than the great, greater than anything else. I want to take us back to Hebrews chapter one, and I want to just conclude. By reading Hebrews chapter one verse one through three again, and I want you to listen with new ears to what the writer of Hebrews is trying to say about Jesus.

In the past, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days, he has spoken to us by his. Whom he appointed heir of all things and through whom also he made the universe. The son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.

And after he provided purification for our. He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. If you wanna know what God looks like, look at Jesus. He's the exact representation of his being. Jesus came to provide purification for your sin, and I don't know if you have ever said yes. I don't know if you have wrestled with that, but I just want to encourage you, if you say yes to Jesus, you are saying yes to the greatest of the greater thans.

You are saying yes to a God that loved you so much that he put his life

on the cross. And endured death and rose from the dead because he loves you. And if you've never wrestled with that, if you've never said yes to that, soon as this service is over, we're gonna have people down front at all of our campuses and online. We have people in the chat room who would love to chat with you about that, and I want encourage you to have the courage to come say yes to Jesus.

Or at least begin that conversation cause there is nothing greater than the greater than of Jesus. Let's pray. Father God we love you. Thank you so much for just painting this picture so clearly for us in the book of Hebrews, you are greater than, and Lord forgive us for sometimes that we will.

Make you lesser

God, give us the courage to allow you to be who you say you are, the son of God, the creator, the sustainer of all things.

And let us come to you humbly with open hearts, and it's in your name we pray. Amen.