Sermons (Page 3)

Sermons (Page 3)

God Looks Like Jesus -Mercy and Grace

Matthew 12:1-8— God “proclaimed the name of the LORD” when He revealed Himself to Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 34:5), 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 that anchors the Bible’s narrative. God foregrounds a pair of characteristics in His announcement (“merciful and gracious”), signaling their importance in understanding Him. Given the importance…

God Looks Like Jesus

John 14:8-9 — Exodus chapters 33-34 narrate the unexpected and dramatic moment God revealed Himself to Moses. Yielding to Moses’ intercessions, God agreed to spare Israel following their egregious violation of its newly enacted covenant relationship with Him. Not only did God mercifully spare the nation, but He also graciously permitted Moses to see His glory. However, God only allowed Moses a glimpse of His “back” because of the danger it posed for him. That risk emphasizes the surprising nature…

Kingdom Emotions: Joy and Anger

James 1:2-3, 19-20 — We live in a consumerist culture in which joy has become bound to the products and services promoted by marketers and influencers. At the same time, we live in a culture where outrage has become the expected response to a growing list of offenses. No matter how we feel about our culture’s values, its influence shapes us. That shaping complicates the already challenging balance between joy and anger. This lesson, which considers the place of joy…

Kingdom Emotions: Peace and Worry

Matthew 6:19-33 — God designed the world to be a place of abundance and blessing. However, we encounter scarcity, pain, and death in the world. Those shared experiences remind us that the world contains dangers that can tempt us to foreground those risks over God. Against that backdrop, Paul instructed the Philippians to “not be anxious about anything” (Philippians 4:6). Yet, in the same letter, he also wrote about his “anxiety for all the churches” (Philippians 2:20). How then do we…

Good at Being a Woman

Reading: Genesis 2:23 In Genesis 2:23, Adam praises God’s creation of woman. He sees in her the ability to take the good he gives and make it grow and flourish. When she is good at being what God made her to be, this brings glory to God the Creator. If men build a house by their strength, women in their beauty and care make it a home. “A wise woman builds up her house, but with her own hands the…

Kingdom Emotions: Lament and Thanksgiving

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 — My phone gives me accurate, simple, and constantly updated directions to whatever destination I enter into its maps app. Its accuracy, simplicity, and adaptability to the conditions around me have made the app an essential part of my daily life. Even though I claim the Bible occupies an even more important place in my life, it does not have the features I prize in my map app – it instead possesses a sprawling complexity that, while…

Gifted to Serve God’s Mission

Romans 12:3-8 — A gift freely given must still be used according to a purpose. If you give someone a chainsaw, you expect them to build with it and not destroy. God’s free gift of grace can never be earned. Yet grace is more than a ticket to heaven. Paul says, “we have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us” (Romans 12:6a). Grace is also a tool we grow in by serving His purpose. We don’t…

Work Out Your Own Salvation

Paul’s letter to the Philippians includes what might seem to us a contradictory instruction. Consider what he wrote in Philippians 2:12-13: Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. While his comment ‘you work/its God working in you’ might…

Deep Waters-How Christians Relate to the Law

Romans 7:4-6 — The apostle Peter admits Paul’s writings sometimes contain things that are hard to understand. Knowing why we follow some parts of the Old Testament law and not others is one of those times.Peter warns Christians to not ignore the deep end of God’s Word. There are always those eager to distort what Scripture says.In Romans 7, Paul explains that the law points to a Law-Maker. The law serves the Maker’s purpose. Understanding this relationship helps Christians use…

The Story of Jesus’ Ministry – the People of God’s Kingdom

Matthew 5:1-12 A tendency exists to interpret Jesus’ life in terms of his birth, death, and resurrection. However, the gospels dedicate considerably more time to Jesus’ ministry than his birth and death. In fact, two of the four gospels do not even record Jesus’ birth. While volume alone does not determine significance, it does contribute to how we assess importance. Given the weight the gospels give to the long middle section of Jesus’ ministry, we began a short series two…

THE STORY OF JESUS’ MINISTRY – The rule of God’s kingdom

Matthew 28:18-20 A tendency exists to interpret Jesus’ life in terms of his birth, death, and resurrection. However, the gospels dedicate considerably more time to Jesus’ ministry than his birth and death. In fact, two of the four gospels do not even record Jesus’ birth. While volume alone does not determine significance, it does contribute to how we assess importance. Given the weight the gospels give to the long middle section of Jesus’ ministry, we began a short series last…

The Story of Jesus’ Ministry – the Arrival of God’s Kingdom

Luke 17:20-21–Next month, at Easter, many people will observe Jesus’ death and resurrection. That holiday pairs with Christmas, a date when many celebrate Jesus’ birth. Our calendar revolves around the beginning and end of Jesus’ life but includes no special times to recognize his ministry. That gap reveals the tendency to interpret his life in terms of his birth, death, and resurrection. However, we should notice that the gospels dedicate considerably more time to Jesus’ ministry than his birth and death.…

WHAT DOES THE LORD REQUIRE?

Micah 6:6-8–I have many Bibles. I buy different translations with different layouts, different size fonts, and different thicknesses of paper. Various purposes drive my purchases; I use some for reading, some for writing in, some for studying, and some for teaching. Despite those differences, all my Bibles have a common feature – they all have A LOT of pages filled with A LOT of words. English translations have, on average, 750,000 words, not including references, footnotes, and other added features (by comparison,…

Buried with Christ

Buried with Christ Romans 6:4-5 If you read the letter of Romans in one sitting, what does it teach about how the first Christians became Christian? In Romans 10:13, Paul writes to those who are already Christian. He says, “Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” What do you think Paul meant? Is that what these Christians had done? In Romans 6, Paul ties conversion and sanctification together as he writes about being “buried with…

Love One Another

In the book of 1 John, John wrote to Christians facing challenges from a group who separated themselves from him and the other church leaders and who denied Jesus’ identity (1 John 2:18-23; 4:1-3). Motivated by the turmoil they were creating (1 John 3:4-10), John wrote to address those Jesus-denying “antichrists” (1 John 2:18-19). His response revolves around two central messages:  “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no…

God is Light

Christianity spread throughout the Roman world despite encountering fierce, consistent resistance. Its growth reached a tipping point early in the fourth century when Rome officially legalized the religion and, only ten years later, adopted Christianity as its official religion. Roman emperor Julian (AD 332–63) came to power shortly after Christianity’s legalization and adoption and wanted to undermine its rise by reinvigorating Rome’s ancient religion. However, his agenda met with resistance that he blamed on Christianity’s practice of love. Writing about…

Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

Even though he composed them in intentionally challenging ways (cf. Matthew 13:10-17), Jesus’ parables provide insight and direction to the life of those who meditate on them. We have been considering some of his parables this month to see what insights they offer us that will guide us as we navigate the hopes, heartbreaks, successes, and failures we will encounter in the coming year. We have considered the following parables this month: ¨ The parable of the weeds – even though we…

Parable of the Friend at Midnight

Storytelling holds an essential place in speaking and writing. Good communicators draw their audience into a narrative that resonates with them, giving identity and meaning to their message and those receiving it. Even though he composed them in intentionally challenging ways (cf. Matthew 13:10-17), Jesus’ parables offer stories that can provide insight and direction to the life of those who meditate on them. We have been considering some of Jesus’ parables this month to see what insights they provide us…

Parable of the Tower Builder

We are beginning a new year, a beginning we commonly believe contains the potential for many good things. We are using some of our Sundays this month to help us think about what we will do as a church family in 2023. However, I do not wish to prescribe a series of goals. Instead, I want to take a few weeks to consider Jesus’ parables that he used to offer insights into his kingdom and its expectations for those who claimed…