Most of us would agree with the statement, “Nobody’s perfect”. In this sermon, we will see that perfection is attainable even for the imperfect.
Most of us would agree with the statement, “Nobody’s perfect”. In this sermon, we will see that perfection is attainable even for the imperfect.
As the Hebrew stated in 9:22, blood is the cleansing agent necessary for the forgiveness of sins. But the questions we need to answer are why that works and how it works.
Hebrews 9:1-12; 23-28
What are you looking forward to in life? Where do you see yourself in the future? In chapter 9 of Hebrews, we get some insight as to how we should be answering those questions.
In this sermon, we find out why the New Covenant under Christ is new and improved.
Life is full of change. Some of those changes are good others not so much. As the writer of the Hebrew letter continues his argument against going back to the old way, he tells us why Jesus, as our great high priest is a change for the better.
The recipients of this letter are facing some very trying times and for these former followers of the Jewish faith the temptation was strong to give up on Jesus and return to the old ways. Hope is essential in our Christian walk. It keeps us moving forward to our goal of eternal life. Giving us the strength and courage to get through those challenges to our faith. In this sermon, we will see the reasons why a follower of Jesus should never lose hope.
The Hebrews who read this powerful little letter were reminded that they were needing someone to teach them God’s Word all over again because of their lack of maturity, their slowness to learn, and their unwillingness to push on to gaining godly wisdom and truth. They had become comfortably numb to the things of God. The question we need to be asking ourselves are we doing any better than they were or like them have we become comfortably numb to the things of God.
The Hebrew writer now tells us that Jesus is a “great high priest”. In this sermon, we will see why that was important for the intended recipients of the letter and why it’s important to us today.
Since the beginning, it would seem that people have a had a serious heart condition. Hearts that have been hardened toward God and what He has called us to do. In this sermon, we will see that God wants us to understand the consequences of not dealing with this heart condition but also that there is a cure for it.
Hebrews 3:1-19; Psalm 95
In Hebrews three, we are faced with the challenge of asking ourselves daily, “What will I do with Today?”
As the Hebrew writer made a case for Christ being fully God, he now goes on to make a case for His humanity. In this sermon, we see the reason for Christ’s humanity, as he gives us a number of arguments for the humanity of Christ.
I believe we would all agree that it’s important to pay attention, but often times the tides of life get our attention and we wind up paying attention to the wrong things, in danger of drifting away. In this lesson, we will look at some of the things in life that can carry us right past the safe harbor of God’s salvation.
In the previous lesson, we learned that Jesus in a better messenger with a better message. In this sermon we take a look at angels and why Jesus is “superior to angels” and why that is important to the church.
This is the first in a series of sermons from the book of Hebrews where we will learn why Jesus is the best.
2 Timothy 4:9-22
In a song by Barbara Streisand, she sang, “People, people who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” But the thing is that they are not the luckiest people in the world. They are everyone in the world. People need people. Of course, we all have had those people in our lives who have disappointed us, not been there when we needed them or are just plain difficult to get along with. In this sermon, we will see why people needing people is important.
2 Timothy 4:1-8
As the apostle Paul’s life and his letter to Timothy come to an end, he leaves Timothy and the rest of us with this final message, to finish strong.
2 Timothy 3:1-17
Chapter 3 of 2 Timothy begins with a declaration to Timothy that there will be difficult times ahead for those who will follow Jesus. In this sermon, we will find out how we can overcome these difficult times.
2 Timothy 2:20-26
Life is full of pitfalls and in this sermon we will learn how to see and overcome the pitfalls of life.
2 Timothy 2:14-19
In this sermon, we will discover how we can overcome hopelessness.
2 Timothy 2:1-14
All those who have been given the wonderful gift of salvation are called to share that good news. In this sermon, we will see what Paul says we need to help us pass it on.
2 Timothy 1:1-14
As Paul comes to the end of his life here on earth, he writes this final letter to a dear friend and fellow preacher. He writes this letter to encourage Timothy not to be discouraged and to boldly go and tell the world about Jesus.
Matthew 28, 1 Corinthians 15
There is an old, old story that we have heard over and over again I can guarantee that in this sermon you will hear that story again. But here’s the deal. It is a story that needs to be heard again and again because that story is at the very center of every Christian’s faith.
If you knew that you only had five days left here on earth, how would you spend those last five days? In this sermon, we will see how Jesus spent his last five days and what he has to say about what we should be doing for the rest of our lives. If you are interested in watching the video that I refer to in my sermon, you can find it by searching for: Soldier of Christ – Army Major Jeff Strueker Tells His Inspiring Story of Survival.
1 Timothy 6
As Paul ends his letter to Timothy, we find him giving Timothy sound advice on how best to invest in the future.
1 Timothy 5
In this sermon, we will be looking at another key ingredient necessary for Christ’s church to thrive and survive.
1 Timothy 4:1-16
In this sermon, we will discover what it takes to be a “good servant of Christ Jesus.”
1 Timothy 3:1-16
1 Timothy 3 is one of the three places we look in the New Testament for the qualifications for elders and the only place that talks about deacons. Although the things Paul has to say about those who would serve are important, I believe the underlying question Paul is asking all of us is, “When you look at the church do you see Jesus?”
1 Timothy 2:1-15
As Paul continues in his letter to instruct Timothy on what to instruct the church, his focus will be on how the church can live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
1 Timothy 1:1-20
In Paul’s letter of instruction to Titus, he gave him instructions on helping a new congregation “straighten out what was left unfinished.” In his letter of instruction to Timothy, it is to help him in dealing with problems that have developed in a well established congregation that if allowed to continue will “shipwreck their faith.” In this first sermon in the series, we will see a problem that tends to divide the church and what is needed to keep it afloat.
Jesus is the foundation of the church and a unified church fortifies that foundation. As Paul ends this letter of instruction, he instructs us on one of Satan’s greatest tools to divide God’s people and keep us from fulfilling God’s mission for the church, chipping away at the foundation until there is nothing left.
As we have seen already in Paul’s letter, the people of Crete were of less than exemplary character. Yet, these were the very same people that made up the church in Crete. Not exactly the kind of people that one might be looking for to build a church that will last. But for the church to last, those very same people are the ones that need to be transformed from bad to good.
In Paul’s letter to Titus, he has been instructing him on how to build a church that lasts. In this sermon we will learn what holds it all together.
A couple of weeks ago I read a post on Facebook titled, “What’s in your cup.” If you are carrying a cup of coffee and someone bumps into you, you spill coffee everywhere. Had it been tea, you spill tea. The point is that whatever is in your cup, is what is spilled out. Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you, whatever is inside you comes out. As Paul continues in his instruction to Titus in how he can “straighten out what was left unfinished,” he will instruct him on how to teach, what to teach and the desired outcome of his teaching, so that what spills out of our cups will be more like Jesus and less like the world around us.
This will be the first in a series of sermons from Paul’s letter to Titus. Titus was left on Crete to shore up the foundation of the church. To deal with the problems that he will talk about in this letter and how Titus can “straighten out what was left undone”. Paul understands the challenges Titus will face and that he shouldn’t have to do it alone. He needs help and he needs the right kind of help.
2 Corinthians 13:1-14
As we have seen throughout our study of this letter, Paul was going through a heart-breaking time in his relationship with the church in Corinth – a church he had founded and had ministered with for some time. After he moved out of the area, some “false apostles” came in behind him, attacking his character and his apostleship. In this sermon, we will see that Paul now turns the tables on them. Rather than demanding that he prove that he is a true apostle, they should examine themselves and look for the evidence that they are true disciples of Christ.
2 Corinthians 12:11-21
As we near the end of Paul’s letter, his defense against the “super-apostles” accusations takes an interesting turn. He makes an appeal to the church to stop and take a closer look at their relationship with one another. In this sermon, we will learn some key elements necessary for all relationships to be successful and how we can implement them in our lives.
2 Corinthians 12:1-10
The world believes that power, and wealth, and position are all you need in this life. The world believes in the survival of the fittest – that the man with the most might and the most money … wins. But the Bible has a different story to tell. In this sermon, we will learn the importance of understanding this biblical truth, that “I am weak, but Thou art Strong.”
God has offered the ultimate gift through His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but it has to be your choice to accept God’s gift. And you have to accept that gift on God’s terms – not your own. You can’t buy it, you can’t earn it, you can’t get it by redeeming your credit card points. You have to accept God’s gift in God’s way.
2 Corinthians 11:16-33
In this next section of scripture, Paul continues his response to those who have been challenging his apostleship and have inserted themselves into positions of leadership in the church. In this sermon we will be learning what is necessary for us to be true servants of Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:1-15
Now when I was a child I thought Satan was some scary dude running around in red tights and horns. But seriously … would you really buy anything from someone who looked like that? Of course you wouldn’t. He would look evil, scary… and very untrustworthy. And Satan knows that… so he’s not going to show up at your front door like that. He dresses himself up in an appealing fashion. Because his objective is to sell an image. An image of what he wants you to think he is like. And an image of what he wants you to embrace about yourself. It’s all about packaging. Satan packages his product in such a way that you see what he wants you to see… not what his product would actually do to your life. In this sermon, we will look at what he is trying to sell us and how we can avoid being snared by his sales pitch.
2 Corinthians 10:1-18
As we have seen, much of 2 Corinthians is Paul responding to his critics. And in these last chapters, the apostle will do his best to answer those critics. I have always believed that Paul was a realist. He knew that there was little hope of turning people’s thinking around, especially his critics or even the church, but he must attempt to do so for the sake of the gospel. As we’ll see in this sermon, the real challenge for the church is figuring out who to listen to, who to follow and how can I be sure?
2 Corinthians 8 and 9
Chapters 8 and 9 of 2 Corinthians contain Paul’s discourse on giving. There are phrases in these chapters that are quoted often before the weekly collection is made. Although these phrases are familiar and true, I have come to believe that we are missing a more important point that Paul makes and that I have never heard quoted and that is that giving is an “act of grace” and that we are to “excel in this grace of giving.” The intent of this sermon is not to get people to put more money in the collection plate but to put more grace in our lives.
2 Corinthians 7:2-16
If you have ever said to yourself, “If only I had known, I would have…” or “If I could do that over again, I would…”, then join the club because we’ve all asked ourselves those questions. When these situations come up that prompt these questions, we can sit around feeling sorry for ourselves, wallowing in self pity and regret, stubbornly refusing to make any changes, blame others or we can do something to turn things around. The real question we should be asking ourselves is, “How can I turn things around?” In this sermon, we will be looking at the apostle Paul’s instructions on how we can do just that.
2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1
As the apostle continues in his letter to the church in Corinth, we are confronted with one to the biggest challenges Christians face. How do we maintain our holiness in an unholy world? How do we live in the world, but not be part of the world? How do we have a relationship with unbelievers without becoming “unequally yoked” with them?
2 Corinthians 6:1-13
I am looking forward to election day because then the political ads will stop. We have been bombarded with political ads from every angle; television, radio, the internet and even as text messages. The biggest problem is you don’t know who to believe and even if the things they are claiming have some basis in truth, I never feel like we’re getting all the facts. In the apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth, he has been defending his apostleship against those who have been campaigning to discredit Paul and establish themselves as being the real deal. In this sermon, we will see what Paul tells the church what they should be looking for to help them determine who truly is the real deal.
2 Corinthians 5:11-6:2
In 2005 I was on a mission trip in Guiana. While there we had a driver with a van who would transport us from place to place. If he was to drive us somewhere and we asked him when we’d be leaving, his response would always be, “Just now”. We learned quickly that his idea of just now was not the same as ours. A few of us once sat in his van for an hour and a half waiting to go “just now”. In this sermon, we will see that Paul makes it clear that now is now because right now is the only time we know we have.
2 Corinthians 5:1-10
Let me ask you this question: Do you really want to go to heaven? If God were to pull a bus up to your front door right now, and allow you to board the bus for heaven, right now, would you get on the bus? Or would you ask if there’s a later bus? I’m afraid that the truth of the matter is that many of us want to go to heaven, but not right now. In this lesson we focus on the need to long for the things of God, and to be sure we are living by faith and walking in obedience.
2 Corinthians 4:1-18
Vince Lombardi was once quoted as saying, “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up.” But let’s face it, after you have been knocked down over and over again, you can reach a point where you just don’t think you can get back up one more time. But in this sermon, we learn from the apostle Paul how we can keep on going and never give up.
2 Corinthians 3:7-18
In this next section of Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth, we see the word “glory” used throughout these verses. Understanding what that glory is and how it plays out in the life of each of us is the focus of this sermon.
2 Corinthians 2:12-3:6
In this sermon, we will be looking for some insight from the Apostle Paul on what it is to be “ministers of a new covenant”.
2 Corinthians 1:12-2:11
We all know that God is at work in the world and that Satan is busy trying to destroy and work against everything that God is doing. In this sermon, we will see what it is we need to do to outwit Satan.
2 Corinthians 1:1-11
As Paul ends his letter to the church in Colossae, he mentions 10 individuals that where his fellow ministers/servants/co-workers. As a matter of fact, in Paul’s letters, he mentions over 100 individuals who worked alongside him, encouraged him and assisted him in fulfilling his ministry. The point is that Paul didn’t do it alone. The church didn’t grow because of one individuals efforts. When you hear the word ministry you may have an idea of what ministries entail, that may or may not be how the Bible defines ministry. In this sermon, we will be taking a look as to how the New Testament writers define what a ministry should be.
If your congregation is like ours, there are prayer requests made on Sunday mornings as well as those listed in the bulletin. You may have a prayer chain going out during the week by phone or email as more urgent requests are received. Those prayer requests are most often for personal reasons, whether they be physical, spiritual, financial, or personal. Somebody, somewhere, that someone knows has a problem and so we pray about it. Now don’t misunderstand me here because I believe that we should pray for these things, but when I read Paul’s prayer request in Colossians 4:2-6, I wonder if we might be missing something important. I went through all of Paul’s prayers this week and discovered something interesting that I wanted to share in this sermon about what may be missing from our prayer requests.
In chapter 3, Paul has been stressing the importance of relationships. He has described those things that destroy relationships as well as those things that can make a relationship stronger. In verses 3:18- 4:1, he now moves on to three specific relationships and more insight into how we can build strong relationships.
Paul has been giving the church information to direct them in a life perspective. Those who pursue it do not need to be given specific rules for every possible circumstance. Instead, as we will see in this sermon, what they need is to set their hearts and minds on things above and how it works.
Colossians tells us that rules and regulations have no power to make us moral… but does that make sense? Yes, and in this sermon, we will find out why.
A term we hear a lot these days is “fake news”, information that is presented as being factually accurate. Many think that this is something new when in fact, fake news has been around for a long, long time. Paul didn’t use the term “fake news” but that is what he has been addressing in his letter to the Colossian church. In this sermon, we will get some insight from Paul on how to deal with “fake news”.
When the church struggles or loses direction, it is often times because we are unsure who is in charge. In this sermon, we learn who is in charge and why and what the church needs to do to stay on course.
If we forget about who Jesus is, if we forget about what He has done and is doing in our lives, and if we lose our sense of awe and wonder of the love of God displayed by sacrificing His Son, then we will always be an easy target and be in danger of being easily swayed from our faith. As Paul begins his letter to the Colossian church he reminds them of how Jesus has changed their lives, and the importance of staying focused on Jesus, and what they now have in Christ.
As Paul finishes his letter to the church in Philippi, he wants to thank them for the support they have given him now and in the past. But he also gives them something in return, “the secret of being content”. In this sermon, we will be checking out what that secret is and how we might be able to find some contentment in our lives.
Something we all want in our lives is peace of mind, but living in this chaotic world, finding peace of mind seems almost impossible. God wants to give us peace that we can have no matter what happens to us in this life. In this sermon we see that peace is possible and how it can be attained.
Once we decide to be followers of Christ Jesus, we have citizenship in a forever, spiritual place but in the meantime we have to live in a physical place, which puts us in this struggle of dealing with the physical world in a spiritual way. In this sermon, we will endeavor to see how we can “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” even as it seems we are going against the flow.
In my study this week in preparing this sermon, I ran across this quote; “God is always in the present tense. He is called the ‘I Am’ not the I Was.” Nothing impedes forward progress more than spending time looking back. If you are running a race, constantly looking back, it shouldn’t surprise you when you stumble and fall. There have always been those in the church who spend their time and efforts clinging to the past instead of pressing “on toward the goal”. In this sermon, we will see get some sound advice from Paul on how to keep moving toward, “the upward call of God, in Christ Jesus.”
So far we have seen in Paul’s letter that he has been challenging the church to live lives worthy of the gospel, to face persecution with joy, to be humble servants who put the needs of others ahead of their own and to not give up. Paul will now give us two examples of men whose lives exemplify what he has been talking about. In this sermon we will meet two ordinary men serving in extraordinary ways.
In this sermon, we will see that Paul wants the church to understand that we were not called to give up but we are called to completion.
In this passage today, we see Paul again describing what Christianity should look like. The problem is that what he’s describing does not come naturally to most people. In preparing this sermon, I was challenged to look at myself to see how well my life reflects what Paul had written to the church, and it is my prayer that you will be challenged as well.
What’s at the center of your life? What drives you to do the things you do? Are your answers to those questions in line with the gospel of Christ? In this sermon, we learn how Paul answers those questions.
Through Paul’s experience with his Roman imprisonment, we learn that sometimes the most difficult experiences in life can produce the best results. This isn’t a popular message if we are looking to Christ for an escape from life’s problems, but it is a revolutionizing insight into Christian living if we are willing to make it our own. As we will learn in this sermon, God is able to use any situation in our lives for our good and for the good of the gospel of Christ.
Webster’s defines joy as “intense happiness or great delight”. Now let me ask you a question. Are you intensely happy right now? How about in the past week or month or year even? I can definitely think of moments of time when I have been happy but intensely happy? In Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi, he will not only tell them why he is intensely happy but how they can be intensely happy themselves. In this sermon, we will begin to see how we too can have this kind of joy in our lives.
The next letter of Paul’s that we will be looking at is his letter to the church in Philippi. Another letter written by Paul to help the church on their journey. He will comment on a few issues that the church needs to get ahead of, he thanks them for their support, and updates them on his situation “as a prisoner”. An overlying theme throughout this letter is joy and we will see that as we go through this letter together. But in this sermon, I wanted to focus on Paul’s prayer life concerning this congregation and how it can help us in ours.
“Finally” Paul writes in Ephesians 6:10, as he begins his closing statements in this letter to the church. This will be the last sermon in this series of sermons from the book of Ephesians. As it finally concludes, it is my prayer that through this series, we all have a little better understanding of what it means to be the church “in Christ”.
As the apostle goes on in his letter to the church, he now talks about relationships. Unless you’re a hermit living out in the woods with no contact with another human being, you are in some sort of relationship. In this sermon, we see what Paul has to say about what a strong Christian relationship should be based on and what it projects to the world around us.
In life we are bombarded with information that at times can be overwhelming. Much of the things we see and hear are conflicting and we wonder what is right and what isn’t. Paul tells the church in Ephesians 5:15 to “be very careful, then, how you live”. So somehow we need to take in all this random information, process it, and then figure out how we can live these “holy lives” Paul has been writing about. In this sermon, we look at what the apostle Paul has to say as to how we can “be very careful” and so live a holy life in Christ.
Paul begins Ephesians 5:1 with this very simple instruction for the church to be “imitators of God”. Well sure Paul, no problemo, easy peasy, I’ll just get me a wig, a fake beard, a white robe and some flip flops and sit around and point my finger at all the people I think are not doing it right. Or at least what I determine is right. And let’s face it, that is about as close to imitating a god as most of us get. It’s always easier to point out what’s wrong with everyone else than it is for us to make those same judgments about ourselves. Thankfully, Paul follows doesn’t leave us hanging and gives the church instruction on how this daunting task can be accomplished. In this sermon, we will begin our look at how we are to be “imitators of God”.
When we choose to obey the gospel and become followers of Christ, we commit to making a complete change in our life. Paul has been reminding the church who they were before Christ and who they are to be now that they are “in Christ”. We were taught “to put off the old self” and “to be made new in the attitude of our minds.” In this sermon, we begin a look at how Paul describes the new you.
I once read an editorial where the writer claimed that there were 34,000 different groups calling themselves Christians. He didn’t explain how he arrived at that number but his point was this; if Christians see the Bible as the only source of absolute truth then why isn’t there only one church? In Paul’s letter, he stresses the importance of unity for us to live a life worthy of the calling we have received. In this sermon, we will explore what the Apostle believes is necessary for us to maintain “unity of the Spirit.”
As the church, our minds are to be focused on all the spiritual blessings we have in Christ. We need to know who we are now in Christ compared to who we were before Christ. Also, we need to know the “eternal purpose of God” and understand our part in it. For us to “live a life worthy of the calling we have received and to fulfill our part in the eternal purpose of God, Paul now prays that we will be strong in the challenge of comprehending the incomprehensible. In this sermon, we well attempt to grasp what is just too big to grasp.
I have to say that I was extremely intimidated by this week’s text from Ephesians. In it, Paul speaks of the church’s part in the “eternal purpose” of God. Too often we get so focused on the minutiae of “doing church”, we forget about being the church. In this sermon, we will see that what we, the church, have come to believe is our purpose may not match up with what God’s purpose for us should be.
In this sermon, we will see that “in Christ” we have been enabled by God to make a fresh start.
In this letter to the church, Paul wants to make sure that the church understands that this new salvation to which they have been called, makes a radical difference in their lives. It’s not just a change in status, but a change of life. As we have seen so far, Paul has sought to motivate the church towards this goal by reminding them of the reason to live for Christ. And as we will see in this sermon, Paul now reminds the church of their past, their present and their future.
In this sermon, we see that the apostle Paul continues to help the church see how blessed they are as the body of Christ.
Christians are called to change. The life in Christ should look different than life in the world. Paul knew that sometimes this transformation is difficult and so he begins his letter by giving us the motivation behind the change that God wants to see. Paul doesn’t demand a change in lifestyle by guilting or threatening us into it, rather he spends the first three chapters describing what God has done for us so that we might live for him. As Paul describes the church, he makes the point that we have been thoroughly blessed by God in Christ and so we should therefore live for Him. In this sermon, we will be looking at the motivation for living for Him.
This sermon is the first in a series from the book of Ephesians. This letter provides a lot of insightful thinking concerning the New Testament church and so answers two important questions: Who are we? and What are we to do about it?
We are the church is a true statement. The church isn’t a place we gather, it is those who gather. Paul didn’t write this letter to a building but to those who make up the church. Jesus didn’t die for a building, He died for you and me. As Paul ends his letter, he mentions 35 people by name. Although some of the names are familiar, most are unknown and as far as we know weren’t anyone special. But yet here they are their names recorded for posterity in the word of God. In this sermon, we examine some points of significance to those who are church.
We often forget that the “books” in the New Testament were actually letters written from one Christian to other Christians. Even though we dissect them and turn them into academic exercises, searching for rules to bind one another to or to prove why our way is right and others are wrong, their purpose was to encourage the recipients of these letters. In this sermon, we will take a look at the kind of encouragement that Paul gives the church in this letter.
The greatest day in human history was the day that Jesus rose from the dead, fulfilling His part in the salvation on mankind. I would place the arrival of God on earth as the next in importance. Most Christians would agree, evidenced by the importance the Christian world places on the holidays surrounding these two events. Although both these dates are of extreme importance, the more important question we should be asking is why. What was His purpose? Why did He come? In this sermon, we will discover what Jesus has to say about why He came to earth.
In the Apostle Paul’s efforts in helping the church, he has been reminding them of where their focus should be, that is, what they have in common rather than on their differences. I have always thought that it was interesting, that although Paul’s letter to the church, that was in Rome, should give Christians a foundation for unity, many of the things that divide Christians have come from this letter. My inclination is to reiterate all those things that I have attempted to bring out in this series of sermons, but I am afraid that it would be as long as the book of Romans itself. As Paul wrote in the beginning of his letter, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16). In this section of scripture that I spoke about this past Lord’s day, Paul focuses on hope. And it is my hope that all would open their hearts and minds, letting go of all the things we have been fed over the years and those preconceived ideas and let the power of the word of God be the determining factor in our Christian walk. As Paul wrote and as I pray for us all, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
An important part of the Christian life is learning to get along with one another. The problem is that the church is made up of people. People from different backgrounds (religious and personal), different levels of training, ability and education. The apostle Paul understands we are different but wants to stress the importance of retaining unity in spite of our differences concerning “disputable matters” or “opinions”. In this sermon, we are given some practical instruction to help us in our pursuit of peace.
As chapter 12 of the book of Romans began, we learned that our “spiritual act of worship” is offering ourselves as “living sacrifices”. He then goes on to describe, in a practical ways, how this can be accomplished. First we were told that our God given gifts are to be used in the service of all to the glory of God. We recognize that all acts of mercy are a reflection of the mercy God gives us, being energized by the Spirit of love. The key to the next section was found in the statement that “love must be sincere”. The kind of love he talks about reflects back to the cross. Love is the freedom to serve “one another” without interest in personal gain. Not how my choices will affect me but how they will affect others. As we will learn in this next sermon in the series, we are not only to show the light of Christ to “one another” but also to those in the world around us.
As the apostle Paul has explained so far in Romans 12, as followers of Christ, motivated by God’s mercy, we live our lives as “living sacrifices”, which is our “spiritual act of worship. As he goes on in that letter, he gives us a practical picture of what this worshipful lifestyle looks like. In last weeks sermon, we learned that it is accomplished as we use our God given gifts to serve and minister to others. In this sermon, we will see that our lives are to be a reflection of Jesus and that our relationship with God should be reflected in our relationships with one another.
As we have already seen in Romans 12, a Christian’s motivation to “worship” and to be “transformed” is in response to God’s mercy. It is the knowledge of this mercy from God that provides the motivation we need for ministry. It’s not paying God back, it is our recognition that without His mercy you and I would have no life or purpose. In this sermon, we will be looking at what that response should be and the other factors that should compel us to do our part in fulfilling God’s mission.
Everything we do in life is a choice. From the time we wake up in the morning until we fall asleep at night, we are making choices. Some of those choices may have little or no consequence but others can impact not only our own lives but the lives of others as well. As the apostle Paul wrote to the church that was in Rome, it is important for Christians to make the right choices for their lives. In this sermon, we find out about two very important choices that Paul “urges” us to make, what our motivation should be and the outcome of making the right choices.
We like boxes. We have moving boxes that we can neatly pack our things and put labels on. We have boxes to put our lunch in and boxes to wrap gifts in. We use boxes to organize our files and boxes to organize our stuff on shelves. Boxes give us a sense of order and control. A place for everything and everything in its place. If we have it in a box and it’s labeled we know exactly what we’ve got and where it is. If someone comes along and starts taking things out of our boxes we begin to feel out of control. So we quickly work at getting everything back into the right box. And it can make us feel very uncomfortable if someone else isn’t putting their stuff in all the right boxes.
We want to have things under control, to have a sense of predictability, and so we even try to put God in a box. I think folks like the idea of winding the little handle and out pops the god of their own creation. We create boxes in our minds of what God can and can not do. We want to know that we can predict what he might do next. The problem is that the god in the box doesn’t look anything like the God who lives outside of our box. We end up worshiping the god of our own creation instead of the God who created us. We rob ourselves of the wonderment of serving and worshiping a God that is beyond anything we could ever imagine. We never know what it is like to give up being the god of our own lives and to let an uncontainable God have free reign in our hearts. In this sermon, we see what the apostle Paul has to say about trying to put God in a box.
Over the years, “The Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch” has sponsored an annual contest of the most absurd warning labels. A few of the top place winners have been: “Do not allow children to play in the dishwasher.” On a bottle of hair coloring: “Do not use as an ice cream topping.” On a cardboard sun shield for a car: “Do not drive with sun shield in place.” On a baby stroller: “Caution: Remove infant before folding for storage.” You might ask why they would make these labels? After all, doesn’t it seem obvious that you shouldn’t use these products in this way? But we all know that someone must have actually tried to do these things that the labels warn about. Even though scripture states the obvious, some people have trouble accepting it, not doing things God’s way but in what seems right to them. In this sermon from Romans chapter 11, we find a warning label, but along with that warning we will find hope and assurance.
In this chapter of Paul’s letter to the church that was in Rome, he continues in his concern for his fellow Israelites. He wants nothing more than for all of Israel to be saved. The problem isn’t their lack of desire to seek God’s way. The problem is they are basing it on bad information. In their “zeal” to get it right, they have made the critical error of seeking righteousness through their ability to keep the laws instead of obtaining righteousness through faith in Christ (the culmination of the law). What makes this lesson relevant to us today, is that if we are not careful, Israel’s story can become our story.
Life is full of difficult questions like, “What was the best thing before sliced bread?” Some of the most perplexing questions come when we have difficulty understanding what God is doing in our lives. In Romans chapter 9, Paul poses some difficult questions. In this sermon, we will endeavor to learn what the answers to some perplexing questions.
Everyone goes through a season of darkness in their life. For many it may seem like one bad season after another. Sometimes it can seem so hopeless that we just want to give up and we may even believe that even God has forgotten us. In Psalm 13, David asks these questions of God:
“How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and
day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?”
David wants to understand. He wants God to explain it to him, but he also knows that he may never understand in his lifetime. David also understands what he must do and that is to wait on God. In the last two verses of that Psalm, he states clearly what he needs to do, when he writes:
“But I trust in your unfailing love, my heart rejoices in your salvation
I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.”
In this sermon from Romans 8, we see that Paul wants the church to know that in those seasons of darkness, that we all face, that God never forgets His people and that His love never fails.
Everyone suffers. No one escapes suffering. They did then and we do now. We would like to think that as Christians, our troubles will some how disappear, but as a matter of fact, first century Christians suffered more after deciding to follow Jesus then they did before becoming a disciple of Christ. Suffering comes in many forms but in this sermon, we will see the apostle Paul telling us that there are somethings that will help us get through it all.
There is a story about a little girl who, on the way home from church, turned to her mother and said, “Mommy, the Preacher’s sermon this morning confused me.”
The mother said, “Oh! Why is that?”
The girl replied, “Well, he said that God is bigger than we are. Is that true?”
“Yes, that’s true,” the mother replied.
“He also said that God lives within us. Is that true too?”
Again the mother replied, “Yes.”
“Well,” said the girl. “If God is bigger than us and He lives in us, wouldn’t He show through?”
That is what we will see in this sermon. If we are Christians, the Spirit of God dwells within us, and since God is bigger than we are and if we’re being led by His Spirit, God is going to show through.