Sermons by Joshua Hartwigsen
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.
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.