Sermons by Joshua Hartwigsen
God calls Christians “to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). Conforming to Jesus’ image means pouring one’s self into the template of his life and teachings. That pouring, however, reveals areas where Jesus acted very differently than we might act. We will consider one of those areas in this lesson – Jesus’ practice of forgiveness – and think about what his example means for our lives.
Jesus condemned the scribes and Pharisees for neglecting “the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faithfulness” in Matthew 23:23. This lesson will consider why he included faithfulness in his list of weightier matters, how God develops it in the Bible, and the place it should consequently have within our lives.
John 14:15 – Few things make Christians more uncomfortable than the topic of evangelism, yet the Bible emphasizes its essential place in the church’s identity and mission in the world. This lesson will consider the place that Jesus gave to love in evangelism and what it means for our practice of evangelism today.
Rather than exalting God through the spiritual authority they claimed, Jesus condemned the scribes and Pharisees for exalting themselves at the expense of the people they claimed to teach and lead. In particular, Jesus censored them for neglecting the mercy, one of the “weightier matters” of God’s law. This lesson will consider mercy’s place in the Bible and in our lives
James 1:17 — The connection between the Old and New Testaments offers one example where readers today sometimes miss the elements God intends to unite the two parts of the Bible. We will therefore take time to explore some of the features of the Old Testament that extend into the New Testament, their connection to Jesus, and how Jesus’ place in them both creates continuity and change.
Jesus’ identification of justice as one of the “weightier matters of the law” did not offer a new insight to the audience listening to his condemnation of the scribes and Pharisees. The Bible’s persistent teachings about God’s justice provided an anchor for the Jewish peoples’ hopes; they were awaiting the day when God would exercise His justice on their behalf and free them from oppressing nations. Even though the people listening to Jesus teach would have given God’s justice a “weightier” place, Jesus applied God’s justice in a way that resonated with the Bible’s teachings while, at the same time, challenging conventional understandings. We will therefore consider the weightier place Jesus gave to justice and explore the place it should have within our lives.
In Matthew 23:23, Jesus indicated that justice, mercy, and faithfulness hold priority in obedience to God. This lesson will consider the balance Jesus’ comment pointed toward and will explore other passages that help map out that balance and the place it ought to have in our lives as followers of Jesus.
Selfless & Faithful: The story of Ruth
1 Corinthians chapter eight contains part of Paul’s response to a question raised by the Christians in the city of Corinth – he told them to think less about their rights and more about their selfless service to one another. This lesson examines Paul’s response as part of our series examining the selflessness that ought to define our lives as followers of Jesus.
Paul told Timothy to give attention to the public reading of scripture. This lesson uses that instruction as the motivation for its public reading, and exploration, of Genesis 18.
Luke 9:23-26 The four gospels repeatedly record Jesus warning the crowds of interested people who listened to him about the high cost associated with following him. This lesson considers that cost and its meaning for our lives.
Jesus never seemed to shy away from drawing lines in the sand. Matthew mentions one of those lines when, in Matthew 20:20-28, he records Jesus telling his disciples, “whoever would be great among you must be your servant”. That teaching illustrates the important place Jesus gave to the combined ideas of selflessness and service and how they offer a surprising, counter-cultural expectation that forms the heart of being a Christian
Mark’s quick-paced introduction of Jesus’ ministry offers a very compacted but deliberately told account of the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. This lesson will explore that account and consider what insights it offers us into Jesus and the place he should have within our lives
Matthew 5:43-48–Jesus’ challenging teachings include his repeated command to love one’s enemies. This lesson concludes a series examining the place love ought to have within the lives of those who follow Jesus by considering his teachings about loving one’s enemies, its place within the Bible’s larger body of teachings, and the ways it ought to express itself within our lives
The Bible repeatedly instructs its readers to love others as they love themselves. Struggles with our sense of self-worth, however, make it difficult for us to fulfill that command. As we continue to explore the love that should characterize us as followers of Jesus, we will consider the love that we should have for ourselves and how that love motivates our proper treatment of other people
Paul made a sweeping comment in Romans 13:8-10 when he wrote, “love is the fulfilling of the law”. He had good reason for that understanding – Jesus himself offered the same assessment in Matthew 22:34-40. We will therefore consider both Paul and Jesus’ understanding about the love we should have for one another by trying to see it within the larger biblical story
Matthew 22:34-38 –The Bible records God’s repeated command for people to love Him, a command in tension with our culture’s portrayal of love as a spontaneous, free, and emotional thing outside of one’s control. That tension raises an a question – how should we think about God’s command to love Him? We will therefore, in this lesson, consider that command and its place in the love that should define us as followers of Jesus.
Romans 13: 8-10 — This lesson begins a series exploring love’s place in following Jesus by considering the the New Testament’s descriptions of love as “the fulfillment of the Law”.
The New Testament offers a few curious statements about suffering. Paul, for example, embraced his suffering while Peter even told people they should rejoice in their suffering. We, I think, would (rightly) agree that following Jesus would include helping persecuted people, so what are we to do with Paul and Peter’s comments? This lesson will consider suffering’s place in the new identity God gives to us through Jesus and its place within our lives today.
This lesson considers the Bible’s picture of humanity’s division into two groups in Genesis 3:15 (those who belong to God and those who belong to the serpent), how they are developed in its story, and what it means for us today.