Sermons by Joshua Hartwigsen

Sermons by Joshua Hartwigsen

Tempted as We Are: Jesus’ temptations and us

Hebrews 4:14-16–The gospels do not fall into the literary category of ‘biography’ familiar to many readers today. Rather than trying to simply portray Jesus’ identity through their composition of his story, the highly selective accounts of the gospel writers seek to cultivate belief in their readers (cf. John 20:30-31; 21:25). When one learns to believe in Jesus, they look to him as “an example” to follow (John 13:15). With that focus in mind, this lesson introduces a series considering the…

Good News

Acts 8:26-35–Millions worldwide pause every Easter to commemorate Jesus’ death and resurrection. They celebrate the gruesome murder of an innocent man because they understand his death offers a love-motivated sacrifice on their behalf, granting them release from a debt they could never pay. Good reasons support that perception of Jesus’ death as a celebratory event. For example, Luke uses the phrase “good news” at Jesus’ birth to describe the salvation he would provide (Luke 2:8-12). The idea of “good news”…

Shepherds and Sheep: Elders’ Expectations of the Church

Hebrews 13:17–A simple survey of the number of books about leaders and leadership indicates our recognition of the critical place leaders occupy. Good leaders unify, organize, and inspire people, while poor leaders create confusion, tension, and frustration. While the Bible agrees with our assessment of leaders’ importance, God applies a different set of expectations than those commonly used in the world (cf. Matthew 20:20-28). We have been talking about leadership because, three weeks ago, our elders announced the beginning of…

Shepherds and Sheep: The Church’s Expectation of Elders

1 Peter 5:1-4– A simple survey of the number of books about leaders and leadership indicates our recognition of the critical place leaders occupy. Good leaders unify, organize, and inspire people, while poor leaders create confusion, tension, and frustration. While the Bible agrees with our assessment of leaders’ importance, God applies a different set of expectations than those commonly used in the world (cf. Matthew 20:20-28). We are talking about leadership because, two weeks ago, our elders announced the beginning…

Shepherds and Sheep: God’s Expectation of Elders

1 Peter 5:1-4–A simple survey of the number of books about leaders and leadership indicates our recognition of the critical place leaders occupy. Good leaders unify, organize, and inspire people, while poor leaders create confusion, tension, and frustration. Last week, our elders announced the beginning of a search for additional elders, the leaders Paul wrote who belong among the gifts Jesus gave the church “to equip [it] for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of…

Love and Sacrifice

John 15:12-14 — The Bible makes a clear point – God is love, and Jesus is God. If we want to understand love, to see it in action, we need only look to Jesus. Even though appreciated for its religious value, Jesus’ love often seems disconnected from popular expressions of love in our nation. For example, according to the National Retail Federation, US consumers spent $25.9 billion on Valentine’s Day last year.  The same organization reported that Americans spent nearly…

Sacrifice and Obedience

The Bible makes a clear point – God is love, and Jesus is God. If we want to understand love, to see it in action, we need only look to Jesus. Even though appreciated for its religious value, Jesus’ love often seems disconnected from popular expressions of love in our nation. For example, according to the National Retail Federation, US consumers spent $25.9 billion on Valentine’s Day last year. The same organization reported that Americans spent nearly $1 trillion on…

Love and Unity

John 17:20-26–The Bible makes a clear point – God is love, and Jesus is God. If we want to understand love, to see it in action, we need only look to Jesus. Even though appreciated for its religious value, Jesus’ love often seems disconnected from popular expressions of love in our nation. For example, according to the National Retail Federation, US consumers spent $25.9 billion on Valentine’s Day last year. The same organization reported that Americans spent nearly $1 trillion…

SURRENDER: Peter’s struggles after surrendering

John 21:15-19–All four gospels include repeated references to Jesus’ teaching that people should lose their lives for his sake (cf. Matthew 10:38-39; 16:24-25; Mark 8:34-35; Luke 9:23-27; 14:25-27; 17:33; John 12:25). Jesus did not possess a limited set of teachings that he refined by repeating to various audiences. Instead, knowing “what was in man” (John 2:23-25) and having “all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom” (Colossians 2:3), Jesus offered the teachings his audiences needed to hear. His repeating emphasis on selfless…

Surrender: Jacob’s Stubborn Resistance to God

Genesis 32:22-32 All four gospels include repeated references to Jesus’ teaching that people should lose their lives for his sake (cf. Matthew 10:38-39; 16:24-25; Mark 8:34-35; Luke 9:23-27; 14:25-27; 17:33; John 12:25). Jesus did not possess a limited set of teachings that he refined by repeating to various audiences. Instead, knowing “what was in man” (John 2:23-25) and having “all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom” (Colossians 2:3), Jesus offered the teachings his audiences needed to hear. His repeating emphasis on…

Surrender: Hannah’s Quick Surrender to God

All four gospels include repeated references to Jesus’ teaching that people should lose their lives for his sake (cf. Matthew 10:38-39; 16:24-25; Mark 8:34-35; Luke 9:23-27; 14:25-27; 17:33; John 12:25). Jesus did not possess a limited set of teachings that he refined by repeating to various audiences. Instead, knowing “what was in man” (John 2:23-25) and having “all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom” (Colossians 2:3), Jesus offered the teachings his audiences needed to hear. His repeating emphasis on selfless…

Surrender – Abraham’s Gradual Surrender to God

All four gospels include repeated references to Jesus’ teaching that people should lose their lives for his sake (cf. Matthew 10:38-39; 16:24-25; Mark 8:34-35; Luke 9:23-27; 14:25-27; 17:33; John 12:25). Jesus did not possess a limited set of teachings that he refined by repeating to various audiences. Instead, knowing “what was in man” (John 2:23-25) and having “all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom” (Colossians 2:3), Jesus offered the teachings his audiences needed to hear. His repeating emphasis on selfless…

Good News; the Great Joy of Jesus’ Birth

Luke’s gospel opens with an extended narrative announcing Jesus’ birth and its significance. His description includes the familiar scene of angels praising God for the privilege of delivering “good news of great joy,” the birth announcement “of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:9-14). While many people today know that story because of its connection to the Christmas season, Luke presents it as the triumphant conclusion to the Hebrew Bible’s focus on God’s promise to bless the…

Through Jesus we receive Unity

Luke’s gospel opens with an extended narrative announcing Jesus’ birth and its significance. His description includes the familiar scene of angels praising God for the privilege of delivering “good news of great joy,” the birth announcement “of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:9-14). While many people today know that story because of its connection to the Christmas season, Luke presents it as the triumphant conclusion to the Hebrew Bible’s focus on God’s promise to bless the world…

Through Jesus, we receive purpose

Luke’s gospel opens with an extended narrative announcing Jesus’ birth and its significance. His description includes the familiar scene of angels praising God for the privilege of delivering “good news of great joy,” the birth announcement “of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:9-14). While many people today know that story because of its connection to the Christmas season, Luke presents it as the triumphant conclusion to the Hebrew Bible’s focus on God’s promise to bless the…

I am Thankful for Jesus’ Wisdom

Colossians 2:1-3– How often do you struggle to know what to do? The multi-billion-dollar industry of ‘knowledge influencers’ focusing on things like self-help books and YouTube tutorials indicates that question offers more than a hypothetical scenario. The money and time devoted to those who seem to have answers evidences our recognition that we need wisdom, that we need guidance and knowledge to know what to do. That same need drives the Bible’s story, which traces the failures of pursuing wisdom…

I am Thankful for Jesus’ Transformative Power

2 Corinthians 3:12-18–Considering our upcoming celebration of Thanksgiving, we are using our Sunday mornings this month to explore things for which we should be thankful. However, more than mere opportunism motivates this series; we are using the holiday as an occasion to focus on thankfulness because it occupies an essential place in our Christian identity (cf. Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:18). Therefore, this lesson considers another reason motivating our thankfulness: I am thankful for Jesus’ transformative power.

I Am Thankful for God’s Mercy

James 5:11– Considering our upcoming celebration of Thanksgiving, we are using some of our Sunday mornings this month to explore things for which we should be thankful. However, more than mere opportunism motivates this series; we are using the holiday as an occasion to focus on thankfulness because it occupies an essential place in our Christian identity (cf.Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:18). Therefore, this lesson explores another reason motivating our thankfulness: we are thankful for God’s mercy.

I am Thankful for Trials

James 1:2-4 — Everyone desires a life of stability, peace, and abundance. While the look of such a life might vary from person to person and from time to time, everyone wants some form of that life. Driven by that longing, we tend to lament our struggles and envy those who seem to possess that life (cf. Psalm 73:1-15). That desire also motivates individuals to hold out God’s promise to cause “all things to work together for good, for those…