Sermons on Christian Living
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.
Tell the Story 1 Peter 3:15 If someone asked me why I put my hope in Jesus, what would I say? I could probably give several reasons, but have you ever been caught off guard and later wished you’d said something better, or different? It’s hard to always be ready. But Paul’s recollection of his conversion in Acts 22 help us to have our eyes open. He helps us to be on the lookout for those seeking a reason for hope. He also reminds us of why we place our hope in Jesus.
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.
What does it feel like to be judged based on a set of unspoken rules? Has someone’s loudly shouted opinion ever made you feel small? Colossians 2:16-23 teaches about our tendency to allow obsolete rules to eclipse our ongoing relationship with Christ. Or how personal preferences or opinions about spiritual matters can distract from the substance of truth. Paul helps Christians avoid a lost connection with Christ in a way that also preserves their unity with other Christians.
Turning to God Colossians 2:1-15 Do you remember when you first received and turned to Christ as your Savior? In Colossians 2, Paul says Christians continue to live and be rooted and strengthened by that initial reception and turning to Christ. It is amazing how faith in Jesus allowed for a response that acted even when our compete understanding of God was in infancy. It is helpful, and humbling, to understand that initial response still gives us needed help even as we grow in our faith.
When everyone is responsible for a job, sometimes that job doesn’t get done. Why is that? Have you been in situations where everyone was responsible, but it ended up that no one was individually responsible? This lesson looks at a few of those times where we know what we’re supposed to do, but may find ourselves being the only one. Have you ever been the only one trying not to be overcome with worry? Or the only one who sees another’s legitimate need? Jesus understood those places. He offers challenging insights. He shows that following God in uncertain circumstances makes all the difference.
Devotional for Sunday, March 15th — Trust in the Lord.
Life will drastically change our plans. Those who wisely build their faith on what’s true about God aren’t immune to storms. Numbers 9 is a great reminder that life’s circumstances won’t change God’s nature or His promises. Is your faith founded in the unchanging and compassionate God?
Sometimes we carry pictures of loved ones in our wallets and purses. These pictures speak to us of why we love them, but they also remind us of who we are living to be each day. Paul gives the church in Colossae a similar reminder to take with them as they grow in faith.
Next Steps Colossians 1:1-14 If you had a good start in your faith, what comes next? Colossians helps a church who started strong to stay strong in their growing faith.
John 17:20-23 — Just before his death, Jesus prayed that his followers would be united. This lesson will look at how the New Testament develops Jesus’ desire for unity and consider what that unity means for our lives.
Untethered Luke 15:1-2 This is a family talk about wisely preparing ourselves to be set loose into a captivating online & digital landscape. The Bible offers Godly thinking and wisdom for how and when we engage in life online.
Philippians 4:13 Value can be found in taking time to reflect on past experiences to help one think about both the present and the future. This lesson consequently considers this year to help us prepare for the coming year.
Outside the Camp Hebrews 13:8-16 Sometimes, serving the needs of others results in insult and reproach. Serving like Jesus demands courage. Just like when Jesus went outside the camp to die on the cross to meet our spiritual needs.
Matthew 11:28-30 We need rest. Do we think about how we rest? Do you think God understands our need for rest better than we do? Sunday morning we’ll study the concept of rest as physically & spiritually renewing as well as the rest God promises in Christ.
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.
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
Job 31:1-12. In this passage, Job is defending himself against the accusation of adultery. This is quite an accusation for a guy who has just lost everything. The Bible understands a lifelong commitment to purity can be challenging. And so we get more than a list of rules. We see in Job’s response that his idea of a pure heart goes beyond not committing adultery. This is surprisingly similar to Jesus! For Job, a pure heart that translated into pure actions protected the well-being of his family and resulted in a community better able to recognize the values & purposes of God.
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.