Sermons by Joshua Hartwigsen

Sermons by Joshua Hartwigsen

I am thankful… that Jesus rules

This month we have been considering some of the things revealed in the Bible that ought to motivate the thankfulness Paul described in 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Last week we looked at the order, purpose, and goodness God’s rule brings into our world. We recognize that God’s order, purpose, and goodness can sometimes be hard to see in our world. Too often, disorder, uncertainty, and pain seem to fill our world, making it difficult to feel thankful. But the Bible presents another aspect of God’s rule, an element that seeks to correct our world’s problems and that ought to engender an abiding thankfulness in us. This lesson explores that element and reminds us that we ought to be thankful people because God entrusts His rule to Jesus.

I am Thankful…that God Rules

The role science played in our recent presidential election reveals the prominent place it generally holds in our society. People who advocate for it portray it as a dispassionate, just-the-facts discipline that dispels the myths and wrong ideas that inhibit us. It allows us, they claim, to understand the physical laws that govern our universe so that we can do more and better things. Our society’s upon science creates a problem for many Christians because they find it difficult to reconcile science with Genesis’ account of the creation. That tension attracts attention and can result in people sometimes missing the points made in Genesis chapter one. We will consider some of the points Genesis’ opening chapter makes because they offer another reason for the thankfulness that defines us: We are thankful that God rules.

I am Thankful..That Life is more than this Life

Luke 12:23 — We generally associate November with Thanksgiving, a holiday that emphasizes thankfulness and family. The usual festive mood associated with Thanksgiving, however, sit uneasily in front of the problems troubling our nation this year – the pandemic, economic hardships, apocalyptic-like wildfires, nation-wide protests, and racial and political violence. While our situation might seem unusual and worrisome to us, the Bible offers a picture of life that gives us reason to be thankful regardless of our circumstances. So, this month, we are considering some of the reasons that motivate our thankfulness even in our challenging times. This lesson continues the series by examining the second reason for our thankfulness – We are thankful because there is a life after this life.

I am Thankful because I am Free

We generally associate November with Thanksgiving, a holiday that emphasizes thankfulness and family. The usual festive mood associated with Thanksgiving, however, sit uneasily in front of the problems troubling our nation this year – the pandemic, economic hardships, apocalyptic-like wildfires, nation-wide protests, and racial and political violence. While our situation might seem unusual and worrisome to us, the Bible offers a picture of life that gives us reason to be thankful regardless of our circumstances. So, this month, we will…

Always Being Prepared – Communion

Certain beliefs and practices define us as a religious group in our thinking and other religious groups’ thinking. Because we have a responsibility to be “prepared to make a defense” for the things we believe (1 Peter 3:15), we need to have a conversational understanding of our beliefs and practices that we can share with others. This lesson continues a series looking at some of the more apparent beliefs and practices that tend to define us, things like baptism, communion, and music in worship, and will offer a biblical explanation for them. In particular, this lesson explores our beliefs about the Lord’s Supper: We believe the Christian practice of communion follows the Jewish observance of the Sabbath while reinterpreting it through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Always Being Prepared – music in worship

Certain beliefs and practices define us as a religious group in our thinking and other religious groups’ thinking. Because we have a responsibility to be “prepared to make a defense” for the things we believe (1 Peter 3:15), we need to have a conversational understanding of our beliefs and practices that we can share with others. This lesson continues a series looking at some of the more apparent beliefs and practices that tend to define us, things like baptism, communion, and music in worship, and will offer a biblical explanation for them. In particular, this lesson explores our beliefs about music in worship: We believe the changes in worship that accompany the transition from the Law of Moses to the Law of Christ include moving from Levitical musicians to congregational vocal music.”

Always Being Prepared – the Church

Certain beliefs and practices define us as a religious group in our thinking and other religious groups’ thinking. Because we have a responsibility to be “prepared to make a defense” for the things we believe (1 Peter 3:15), we need to have a conversational understanding of our beliefs and practices that we can share with others. This lesson continues a series looking at some of the beliefs and practices that tend to define us, things like baptism, communion, and music in worship, and will offer a biblical explanation for them. In particular, this lesson explores some of our beliefs about the church: We believe the church exists as God’s new Israel and has the responsibility of mediating between God and the world through its dedication to thinking and acting like Jesus.

Always Being Prepared – to Explain our Beliefs about Baptism

Colossians 2:11-12 – Certain beliefs and practices define us as a religious group in our thinking and the thinking of other religious groups. Because we have a responsibility to be “prepared to make a defense” for the things we believe (1 Peter 3:15), we need to have a conversational understanding of our beliefs and practices that we can share with others. This lesson begins a series looking at some of the more apparent beliefs and practices that tend to define us, things like baptism, communion, and music in worship, and will offer a biblical explanation for them. We continue our series with our exploration of our beliefs about baptism – we believe baptism symbolizes Jesus’ death and resurrection and is required by God for participation in His covenant community and the enjoyment of His covenant blessings.

Always Being Prepared – to Explain our Beliefs about the Bible

Luke 24: 36-49 Certain beliefs and practices define us as a religious group in our thinking and the thinking of other religious groups. Because we have a responsibility to be “prepared to make a defense” for the things we believe (1 Peter 3:15), we need to have a conversational understanding of our beliefs and practices that we can share with others. This lesson begins a series looking at some of the more obvious beliefs and practices that tend to define us, things like baptism, communion, and music in worship, and will offer a biblical explanation for them. We begin our series in an obvious and foundational place; we begin with our convictions about the Bible: We believe God composed the Bible to tell the sweeping story of His relationship with humanity, a story that centers on Jesus and that provides the foundation for our beliefs and practices.

Wisdom of the Early church – Dealing with Freedom

Many people in our nation are currently debating the nature of freedom and its relationship to law and to others. While a number of people have articulated insightful and influential perspectives on the idea of freedom that offer some intellectual context for the debate, we look instead to the ruler of the kingdom in which we claim citizenship; we look to Jesus who announced that he came to “proclaim liberty to captives” (Luke 4:18) and we look to the example of the early church as people living out the liberty he proclaimed. We will therefore consider the early church’s teachings about freedom as a way to help us think about the freedom being debated in our nation today.

Wisdom of the Early Church – Dealing with Racism

Ephesians 2:11-22 Regardless of what one thinks about the phrase “black lives matter”, it represents a truth about our nation – we live in a society that politicizes race. And, despite claims that we have become a more ‘enlightened’ society, the strong reactions that phrase solicits from people reminds us that race really does matter in our county. Given the current turmoil surrounding race in our nation, we will consider the way the early church responded to the division it encountered between Jews and Gentiles and explore what guidance its response offers us.

THE WISDOM OF THE EARLY CHURCH: Dealing with government oppression

Our government’s response to events over the past few months has raised fears in many people that it is taking away their rights. While they do not usually characterize it as ‘oppression’, we generally understand that claims about have one’s rights revoked or repressed belong in the category of oppression. The growing debate in our nation about these concerns raises the question about the relationship we, as Christians, ought to have with our government. We will therefore consider Peter’s message in 1 Peter to see what wisdom the early church can offer us that will help us better understand our relationship to our government.

THE WISDOM OF THE EARLY CHURCH, Jesus is the center

This lesson begins a series considering the wisdom of the early church, the wisdom that allowed them to navigate the daily realities of the first century world and evidence their claim of citizenship in Jesus’ kingdom. This first lesson considers the most important, and basic, wisdom of the early church – make Jesus the center of your life

Kingdom conflict

Conflict seems to define the histories of our world’s nations. It proves so central to our understanding of nations that we even evaluate countries on the basis of their military strength and willingness to engage in conflict. Jesus came into the world announcing the arrival of a new kingdom, a kingdom over which he rules. But Jesus’ kingdom rejects the conflict thinking that defines the world’s kingdoms. His rejection of the world’s thinking does not result in his kingdom becoming some kind of spiritual Switzerland; instead Jesus’ kingdom embraces a radical agenda – Jesus’ kingdom seeks to reshape the world, which solicits the world’s hostility. This lesson concludes our exploration of Jesus’ kingdom and his expectations for those who claim citizenship in it by considering the conflict his kingdom encounters in the world and how he expects citizens of his kingdom to respond to that conflict.”

Jesus’ Kingdom Values

This lesson continues an exploration of Jesus’ kingdom and his expectations for those who claim citizenship in it. In particular, this lesson considers the values that motivate Jesus’ kingdom, how those values differ from the values that define the world’s kingdoms, and the place his kingdom values should have within the lives of its citizens.

Citizenship in Jesus’ Kingdom

This lesson begins a series exploring Jesus’ kingdom in effort to help us better understand what he expects of us as people who claim citizenship in his kingdom and what those expectations look like in practice. This first lesson considers the unexpected nature of Jesus’ kingdom and what it means for its citizens.

Bring Them Up

We have, in our nation, dedicated today to honor fathers. Good reasons motivate Fathers’ Day; not only do we love our fathers (for those of us who were blessed with good fathers), God also commands people to honor their fathers (Ephesians 6:2). Rather than expressing honor by buying gifts, Paul instructs us to honor fathers by obeying them (Ephesians 6:1-2). The command to honor fathers through obedience carries the expectation that fathers provide honorable teaching that focuses on raising children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). This lesson considers what that teaching looks like as a reminder to all of us about the honored place God intends fathers to occupy.

Return from Exile

This lesson, delivered on our first Sunday the 151st Street church family returned to worshipping in the building after a long absence due to the coronavirus, explores parallels between our time away and the theme of exile in the Bible as a way of helping us think about our current situation. Luke 4: 16-21

The Way of Jesus

The coronavirus pandemic, its economic fallout, and nationwide protests against police brutality and racial equality have disrupted our country. This lesson considers some of Jesus’ teachings that outline his expectations for the thinking and behavior of his followers, expectations that should shape our response to the issues disrupting our nation.

Dwelling with God

This lesson continues an exploration of King Solomon’s life, considering how he models for us both the look of the growth God desires in our lives as well as the challenges that confront that growth. In particular, this lesson looks at Solomon’s prayer dedicating the temple he built and the attitude of penitent humility it expressed.