Sermons by David Shipley
Proverbs 31:30-31–Why does Proverbs praise the woman who fears the Lord? Fear of the Lord doesn’t prevent hurt in this life. But it does free us from the control that fear exercises over our attitude and actions. The one who fears the Lord has an antidote to their fear of being hurt by people or circumstances. In Exodus, Moses owed his life to the mothers, daughters & sisters who chose to fear God rather than people.
Jesus’ Birth: Invitation or Invasion? 1 John 1:1-4 What is the significance of Jesus’ birth? Did Jesus come to serve? Or to confront? Does He appear on earth to invite or to invade? Perhaps both. The first coming of Christ points Christians back to the world while challenging ideas and priorities that end up being worldly. 1 John 1:1-10 & Revelation 12:1-6
Proverbs 17:17 — A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Christians aren’t expected to endure adversity alone. Christ is our example of our need to prioritize godly friendships. We must be willing to receive from friends both comfort and correction. Someone once said “Many might have failed beneath the bitterness of their trial had they not found a friend.”
Titus 2:1-8 The inspiration Paul receives from the Holy Spirit in Titus 2 emphasizes the intentional differences God gave to men and women. We are given different desires, tendencies, and proclivities. And though we are different, we were made for each other. We aren’t ourselves by ourselves. Christians best influence the surrounding culture when they live according to God’s design for the God-fearing home & Christ’s church.
1 Peter 3:21-22–Why did John baptize Jesus? Why do we baptize today? Scripture leads us to the conclusion that you must repent and be baptized to obey the gospel. By reading what Scripture says and illustrates about baptism from Jesus through the New Testament, we also begin to grasp the core truths proclaimed by the Christian faith. As we’ve seen recently among our congregation, God is always working. People are searching and responding. The Christian faith, so beautifully summarized in Scripture’s teaching on baptism, shows us God is not far from us if we will reach out to him.
A Battle of the Mind Matthew 15:21-28 Matthew 15 includes a story of Jesus honoring the faith of a Canaanite woman. The story is tense and contentious, as though there is a deeper struggle going on. It makes me think of passages like Ephesians 6:12 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against spiritual wickedness in the heavenly places.” Jesus can be contentious! We learn from Jesus that we are in a spiritual battle for our heart and mind. He strengthens us to know what is worth standing up for and how to stand fast in a godly, biblical way.
Trusting God When… Genesis 50:19-21 It’s fairly amazing how quickly the word obey became a taboo in our culture. Think about it. People would rather hear something ugly than be told to obey. Which is why stories like Joseph in Genesis are significant. He is held up for his obedience as an illustration of trust, and even love, for God. Understanding Joseph helps us see the truth behind Jesus’ words “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me.”
Unchristian Matthew 11:2-9 What do doubt and rejection have in common? Is it unchristian to experience one? Or both? After ten months of isolation, one of Jesus’ strongest supporters experiences doubt. To make matters worse, this follower spoke out in defense of the teachings of Jesus and against a moral evil. But now there is no end in sight to his isolation and rejection. This story provides assurance that doubt and rejection do not have to be what ultimately defines those who seek Jesus.
Job 34:10-16 Do you think you would do a good job if you were responsible for “repaying everyone for what they have done” and giving everyone “what their conduct deserves”? Do you think God does better? Is He somehow better equipped to untangle our complicated world of right and wrong, justice and mercy? Job admits he couldn’t do better and says: “If God withdrew his spirit and breath, all humanity would perish together and mankind would return to the dust.” When we are discouraged by all that is wrong with the world and ourselves, and baffled by how complex and difficult hardship can be, we need to spend time thinking on all that is right with God.
Ruth 2:10-14Grace is simple enough for any believer to receive. But the whole truth of grace is big enough, infinite in fact, for us to grow into as well. Christians not only receive grace but grow in grace. They receive and grow so they can better live among those saved by grace. Do we long to be stronger believers in grace? May we have the courage to be inconvenienced by God’s grace.
Acts 8:1-5–The first Christians were harassed and killed, robbed and evicted. The most significant action the individual Christian took was to focus on the next person they met, even if that person was a stranger. They acted like they believed the message of the gospel wasn’t just for people like them, but instead for anyone willing to follow Jesus.
Tell the Story 1 Peter 3:15 If someone asked me why I put my hope in Jesus, what would I say? I could probably give several reasons, but have you ever been caught off guard and later wished you’d said something better, or different? It’s hard to always be ready. But Paul’s recollection of his conversion in Acts 22 help us to have our eyes open. He helps us to be on the lookout for those seeking a reason for hope. He also reminds us of why we place our hope in Jesus.
What does it feel like to be judged based on a set of unspoken rules? Has someone’s loudly shouted opinion ever made you feel small? Colossians 2:16-23 teaches about our tendency to allow obsolete rules to eclipse our ongoing relationship with Christ. Or how personal preferences or opinions about spiritual matters can distract from the substance of truth. Paul helps Christians avoid a lost connection with Christ in a way that also preserves their unity with other Christians.
John 14:28-31 Jesus says that the devil held no power over him. And yet the devil repeatedly used temptation in an attempt to trap Jesus. What temptation is most challenging for you? Does it help to know God gives us desires along with a good way to fulfill those desires? We are encouraged that Jesus understands our temptations; that he left us an example to follow; and most of all that we have His blood to fall back upon.
Turning to God Colossians 2:1-15 Do you remember when you first received and turned to Christ as your Savior? In Colossians 2, Paul says Christians continue to live and be rooted and strengthened by that initial reception and turning to Christ. It is amazing how faith in Jesus allowed for a response that acted even when our compete understanding of God was in infancy. It is helpful, and humbling, to understand that initial response still gives us needed help even as we grow in our faith.
When everyone is responsible for a job, sometimes that job doesn’t get done. Why is that? Have you been in situations where everyone was responsible, but it ended up that no one was individually responsible? This lesson looks at a few of those times where we know what we’re supposed to do, but may find ourselves being the only one. Have you ever been the only one trying not to be overcome with worry? Or the only one who sees another’s legitimate need? Jesus understood those places. He offers challenging insights. He shows that following God in uncertain circumstances makes all the difference.
Life will drastically change our plans. Those who wisely build their faith on what’s true about God aren’t immune to storms. Numbers 9 is a great reminder that life’s circumstances won’t change God’s nature or His promises. Is your faith founded in the unchanging and compassionate God?
Sometimes we carry pictures of loved ones in our wallets and purses. These pictures speak to us of why we love them, but they also remind us of who we are living to be each day. Paul gives the church in Colossae a similar reminder to take with them as they grow in faith.
Next Steps Colossians 1:1-14 If you had a good start in your faith, what comes next? Colossians helps a church who started strong to stay strong in their growing faith.
From Everlasting to Everlasting Psalm 90:1-2 In a world full of change & innovation & temporary things, something is eternal. Psalm 90 teaches us that the God of the Bible is from everlasting to everlasting. The writer of this Psalm finds God’s eternal nature both sobering & comforting. May the knowledge of God’s eternal nature not be lost on us today.