Sermons (Page 2)

Sermons (Page 2)

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…

Tough Questions: How Can a Loving God Allow So Much Suffering?

James 1:2-4 — A dam failure in Derna, Libya, on September 11 of this year killed an estimated 18,000-20,000 people. In August of this year, estimated deaths and injuries caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine reached 500,000. Cancer resulted in more than 600,000 deaths in the US alone in 2022. Suffering and death amplify when we move from large perspectives to personal ones; it becomes raw and heartbreaking when it moves from statistics into the lives of people we know.…

Tough Questions: Doesn’t Christianity Denigrate Women?

1 Timothy 2:8-15 — “Patriarchy” – contemporary Westerners consider that word synonymous with oppressive, misogynistic attitudes. Increasingly, people associate it with the Bible, whose contents build on an extensive narrative featuring patriarchs. That connection strengthens when one considers comments made by the apostle Paul, a figure whose influence in shaping the church is exceeded only by Jesus. Consider: “Women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law…

Tough Questions: Isn’t Christianity homophobic?

Corinthians 6:9-11–We live in a society filled with marketing, entertainment, and legislation promoting tolerance. However, that tolerance demands that we accept (and support) others’ values and lifestyles regardless of our convictions. The positive portrayal of tolerant people and the negative depictions of those who reject that tolerance creates interpersonal, public, and even legal risk for us. So, the tough question, “Isn’t Christianity homophobic?” presents a challenge we must consider, especially given our culture’s escalating advocacy for same-sex relationships.

How Can You Take the Bible Literally?

2 Timothy 3:16-17– A 2022 Gallup Poll assessed Americans’ views of the Bible that reported: •        20% believe the Bible is the “actual word of God, to be taken literally.” •        49% believe the Bible is “inspired by God, not all to be taken literally.” •        29% believe the Bible contains “fables, history, and moral precepts recorded by man.” At first glance, one might lament that only 20% believe the Bible is the “actual word of God, to be taken literally.” Reports that…

A Firm Foundation

Luke 1:1-4 — Two contradictory things coexist in our culture. A 2017 Barna report found that 93% of Americans believe Jesus was real, while a different Barna survey reported that 52% of Americans believe “Jesus was human and committed sins like other people.” A strange scenario presents itself to us – people believe enough evidence exists to prove Jesus’ existence, yet they reject the implicit and explicit claims that evidence makes about his identity. The tension between our society’s beliefs about…

Hope is Real

1 Corinthians 15:12-19–I did a Google search for quotes about hope. After a few minutes of scrolling through its algorithm-curated the results, I realized that none of the quotes I saw came from the Bible’s numerous passages about hope. Hope occupies a vital place in one’s life, but the hope offered by the world possesses a greeting-card-like ambiguity focused on one’s aspirational efforts. In contrast, the Bible’s hope builds on the specific actions of God through Jesus. This lesson will…

TOUGH QUESTIONS: How can you say there is only one true faith?

Ephesians 4:1-6 — A variety of influences have converged in our nation over the past century, fundamentally altering how people perceive truth. We live in a culture that now believes individuals must be allowed to interpret truth against the shifting and unique circumstances of their lives. Today, truth often comes prefixed with possessive pronouns – “my truth,” “your truth,” “their truth,” etc. Against that backdrop, Christianity’s claim that “Jesus rightly demands the allegiance of every human being – regardless of…

Followers of God

Deuteronomy 4:1-2 A key to a great game is clear rules all players commit to following. But for there to be enjoyment, there needs to be a commitment to the one enforcing the rules. In Deuteronomy 4, Moses recaps God’s rules and laws for Israel. Moses calls Israel to remember God the Law-giver who is a fearful presence and consuming power. He is to be taken seriously. Yet, this fearful and consuming God can be followed. Those who seek to…

Tough Questions: Ancient Answers for Modern Questions

Paul makes a bold assertion about the Bible in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – the Bible offers instruction in “righteousness” for all people, places, and times. However, his claim raises a crucial question – how does an ancient book offer relevant guidance for people living in a time and culture far removed from the one that birthed the Bible? This lesson introduces a series examining some of the challenges confronting Christians that raise tough questions about things like the reality of suffering, the complexity of sexuality,…

Lest We Forget

Deuteronomy 8:11-18 We learn very little by hearing something only once. How many times do you need to hear a name before that name sticks? In Deuteronomy, Moses does a very simple yet profound thing: He repeats what God has already said while urging listeners to remember and walk faithfully. Do what you’ve already learned! An entire generation of Israelites knew the right way to the Promised Land but chose to not act on that knowledge. As a result, their…

Purifying God’s Space: the Sin Offering

Leviticus opens with three chapters detailing instructions for three offerings central to the problem driving the book’s content – how will God manage His covenant with rebellious Israel? While the placement (and idea of sacrifices and offerings) might seem dull and antiquated to us, the first-place position of the offerings in the book and the amount of space dedicated to them indicates their importance in understanding God’s relationship with Israel. The purposes God gave to those offerings not only provided Israel…

You shall eat before the Lord: The Peace Offering

Leviticus opens with three chapters detailing instructions for three offerings central to the problem driving the book’s content – how will God manage His covenant with rebellious Israel? While the placement (and idea of sacrifices and offerings) might seem dull and antiquated to us, the first-place position of the offerings in the book and the amount of space dedicated to them indicates their importance in understanding God’s relationship with Israel. The purposes God gave to those offerings not only provided Israel…

A Covenant of Salt: The Grain Offering

Leviticus opens with three chapters detailing instructions for three offerings central to the problem driving the book’s content – how will God manage His covenant with rebellious Israel? While the placement (and idea of sacrifices and offerings) might seem dull and antiquated to us, the first-place position of the offerings in the book and the amount of space dedicated to them indicates their importance in understanding God’s relationship with Israel. The purposes God gave to those offerings not only offered Israel…

God’s Deacon

Romans 13:1-7 Christians think differently from the world. Their different thinking requires respect for and submission to legitimate authority. God knows we need order, not chaos. Living with God’s eternal hope means thinking Biblically and wisely about the authorities and governments God has instituted. A Christian’s response to earthly kings reflects how we submit to the King of kings. Whether authority is in the form of a parent, church elder, or civil ruler, all authority is from God. Everyone submits…

Unfair Grace: The Burnt Offering

Exodus narrates God’s rescue of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and His organization of the people into a nation through the covenant He made with them at Mount Sinai. Even though He gave the Jewish people the honor of representing His identity and will to the world, making them a holy nation by choosing to dwell in their midst, the Jewish people responded with rebellion rather than thankfulness. Exodus ends its account with a dilemma – how would God maintain…

God Looks Like Jesus: Forgiving and Just

God “proclaimed the name of the LORD” when He revealed Himself to Moses on Mount Sinai, disclosing to Moses the character of the God covenanting with him and the Israelites (Exodus 34:6-7). Because it contains His explanation of His identity, Exodus 34:6-7 plays a crucial role in understanding God’s character. John offers a pair of equally important passages for understanding God in his gospel. After recording Jesus’ declaration of his divine identity (John 8:58), John wrote that Jesus informed his…