Sermons by Joshua Hartwigsen
Paul’s short letter to Philemon regarding his slave Onesimus can almost be ignored for its deceptively straight forward message and its small size. Even though we might pay little attention to the book, its message would have surprised Paul’s Roman world and, when properly understood, continues to surprise our world. This lesson will explore the book and consider Paul’s belief that Jesus gives Christians new identities that create a new world order
1 Timothy 2:8 — Paul, in his comments to Timothy, offers a picture of biblical manhood. In contrast to our culture’s common emphasis on things self-centered interests like just violence, power, money, or sexuality, Paul instead defined biblical manhood as involving prayer, purity, and peacefulness. We will therefore, considering our celebration of Fathers’ Day today, explore those three qualities, how Jesus helps us better understand them, and how they can express themselves within fathers’ lives.
Genesis 1:26-28 — Genesis describes the purpose God gave to humanity in the creation – to rule His creation. Although humanity’s rebellion changed its relationship with the world, it did not remove the obligation of that creational mission. This lesson will explore what it looks like to have a proper relationship with the creation.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 — This lesson will trace God’s resolution of humanity’s rebelliousness by following His promises to give people new hearts, a promise fulfilled as part of the new identity Jesus gives to us.
This lesson considers baptism’s symbolic reenactment of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection and the new identity that God gives to people when they are baptized.
Peter wrote that Christians are created for the purpose of loving one another (1 Peter 1:22). This lesson will continue to explore the purposes Jesus gives to our lives by considering the purpose of love and the way Jesus’ example and teachings shape the love that should define us
1 Peter 2:9 — Covenants play a major role in the Bible’s narrative but do not, in my experiences, have much – if any – role in our day-to-day lives. While we might not commonly talk about covenants, our daily lives do include binding agreements (marriages, contracts, loans, etc.) that offer a way for us to begin thinking about the Bible’s emphasis upon covenants. This lesson will draw on those insights to help us think about God’s covenant with Israel in the Old Testament, the special mission it gave to the nation, and how the New Testament extends that same mission to the church today.
Ephesians 2:10 — Everyone I have met values good neighbors and has definite ideas about what constitutes a good neighbor. If you ask them about what makes a good neighbor, they always speak about their actions. The connection between one’s activity and peoples’ perceptions about them prepares us for Paul’s comment that we were created to do good works. This lesson will therefore consider the responsibility to do good works and its connection to Jesus as part of this month’s exploration of the purposes Jesus gives to our lives.
Nehemiah chapter eight records Ezra publicly reading the Law of God to the people, explaining it as it was read so that his audience could understand it. This lesson will borrow from Ezra’s example and will move through the opening section of Mark chapter one, explaining the text and helping us think about its meaning for our lives.
Luke 10:38-42 Surveys reveal that a high percentage of mothers report feeling stressed, tired, and over committed. This lesson will explore some of the ways Jesus offers mothers (and all of us) a way to deal with those feelings while continuing to live in a fallen world that seeks to create those emotions.
Our culture idea embraces the idea that ‘you can be whoever you want to be’. While that sentiment might have “the appearance of wisdom” (Colossians 2:20-23), it offers an open-ended view of humanity that contrasts with the singular purpose God gave to humanity in the creation, a purpose humanity abandoned in its rebellion against God. Although humanity’s rebellion changed its relationship with God, it did not remove the obligation of that creational purpose. This lesson will explore how Jesus restores us to the mission God gave to humanity and consider what that restoration means for us today.
RAISED TO RULE Acts 13:32-37 We have been focusing on Jesus’ death and resurrection this month, exploring how it guarantees us a better life in both the present and the future. This lesson concludes our focus by considering the way the New Testament portrays Jesus’ resurrection as the pinnacle of the biblical story. We will therefore consider the New Testament’s presentation of Jesus’ right to rule and the kingdom over which he rules by virtue of his resurrection and consider what his resurrection-rule means for us. Consider the following aspects of the New Testament’s presentation of Jesus’ resurrection: Jesus’ resurrection entitles him to God’s covenant with David that promised a kingdom that would be “established forever” 1 (Acts 13:32-37; 2 Samuel 7:4-16) Jesus’ receipt of God’s promise to David encompassed Daniel’s vision of God’s world-filling, enemy-defeating kingdom (Acts 1:6-9; Daniel 7:1-14) Jesus’ resurrection-authority to rule covers all powers and authorities in both the physical and spiritual realms (Matthew 28:18; Ephesians 1:15-23; Colossians 1:15-20; 1 Peter 3:21-22) Jesus’ rule resolves the sin problem and restores the creation to its proper place under God’s sovereignty (1 Corinthians 15:20-28; Revelation 21:1-22:5) Jesus invites us to participate in his kingdom as his co-heirs (Ephesians 6:10-13; Revelation 5:9-10; 22:5; Galatians 3:25-4:7) Applications • We are part of a story much larger than any one of us. • Even though we participate in a story larger than any of us, we hold an important, privileged place in it. • We are part of an unstoppably triumphant story – Jesus’ victory ensures our victory. • Jesus’ resurrection gave him sovereign rule; we need to submit our lives to him in order to participate in His victory.
1 Corinthians 1:10 The desire for unity has pervaded human consciousness from the beginning of its history; God created us to be united. Our sins, however, keep us divided. That dilemma provided the backdrop for Paul’s message for the Corinthians in which he called for them to be united. Paul’s call for unity goes far beyond merely a call to “get along”; he told the Corinthians that God expected them to “united in the same mind and the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10). This lesson will outline some of the non-negotiable truths that play a role in the unity that ought to define us.
Matthew 26:26-29 – Part 3 of 3 – Jesus’ institution of the Lord’s Supper offers a surprising and important retelling of Israel’s Passover and its reminder of their exodus from slavery in Egypt. This lesson will consider the Jewish setting of the Passover and how Jesus used it to establish the Lord’s Supper. This is the final part of the Lord’s Supper series. For part 1 in this series, visit https://www.151cofc.com/sermons/the-lords-supper-part-1/ .
Matthew 26:26-29 – Part 2 of 3 – Jesus’ institution of the Lord’s Supper offers a surprising and important retelling of Israel’s Passover and its reminder of their exodus from slavery in Egypt. This lesson will consider the Jewish setting of the Passover and how Jesus used it to establish the Lord’s Supper. For part 1, visit https://www.151cofc.com/sermons/the-lords-supper-part-1/. For the third and final part, visit https://www.151cofc.com/sermons/lords-supper-part-3/ .
Matthew 26:26-29 – Part 1 of 3 – Jesus’ institution of the Lord’s Supper offers a surprising and important retelling of Israel’s Passover and its reminder of their exodus from slavery in Egypt. This lesson will consider the Jewish setting of the Passover and how Jesus used it to establish the Lord’s Supper. For Part 2 in the series, visit https://www.151cofc.com/sermons/lords-supper-part-2/.
1 Corinthians 15:12-28 Paul believed the good news of Jesus’ resurrection changed everything and offered the foundation upon which Christian thinking and living built itself. We should therefore ask ourselves, as people who claim to believe in Jesus’ resurrection, does it offer the same foundational, life-changing place in our lives that it held within Paul’s life?
Revelation 2:8-11 Many people who read the Bible tend to avoid Revelation. Even though the book’s confusing imagery alienates some readers, God intended its strange contents to serve as a triumphant conclusion to the Bible’s message rather than some opaque reading test of one’s faith. That triumphal message begins with Jesus’ letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3 in which Jesus describes the challenges confronting the churches and offers blessings to those who overcome them. Our consideration of those letters will seek to identify how they speak to Jesus’ church throughout time and geography and what lessons they therefore hold for us.
This lesson explores the surprising contagiousness of Jesus’ holiness in the account of his healing of the leper in Matthew 8 and use it to add another layer explaining our need to follow Jesus
Paul told the Corinthian Christians that God expects His people to “be united in the same mind and the same judgement” (1 Corinthians 1:10). That expectation, however, encounters difficulties when we consider the challenging nature of some of the material God put into His Bible, the book that He intends to play a key role in our unity (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:6). We will, therefore, take time in this lesson to explore one difficult passage – God’s command to the Israelites to “devote [the Canaanites] to complete destruction” in Deuteronomy 7:1-5 – and its place within the biblical narrative