Posts in the "Series" Category

The Miracles of Jesus: Jesus Changes Water to Wine

Sunday Sermon Series The Miracles of Jesus


John 2:1-11

This series is going to cover 15 miracles in 15 weeks. The miracles will be broken down into 4 groups, so we should one group per month. The first group covers miracles that affect the natural world.

We start with the first recorded miracle of Jesus: turning water into wine at a wedding. 

The wedding party had likely been going for days by this time since that’s how they celebrated weddings. Running out of wine would be a big deal. Marey, Jesus’ mother, appears to have had some type of role in this wedding and told Jesus the party had run out of wine. Jesus tells her that His time has not yet come. He still needed to train His disciples and do His ministry. Mary was persistent though and told the servants to do whatever Jesus said. They took barrels full of water and Jesus turned the water into wine, apparently better wine than what they had before. 

Since Jesus drank wine and turned water into wine, does this mean it is ok for Christians to drink alcohol? 

Three reasons for Christians to avoid alcohol:

  1. Addiction (Proverbs 23:29-35). … Today’s alcoholic beverages have a higher percentage of alcohol in them. This makes them more addictive and addiction can lead to serious issues in life. 

  2. Self Control (1 Peter 5:8; Proverbs 20:1). … The Bible tells us several times to be alert and in control of ourselves. Alcohol affects our ability to maintain self control. A lack of self control today has more opportunities for negative effects thanks to the vehicles we drive as opposed to riding donkeys.

  3. Influence (Romans 14:21). … We are accountable for our influences on other people. Just because something doesn’t affect you doesn’t mean it’s not affecting someone around you. 

Ephesians 5:18 gives hope to those who struggle that they can overcome their issue and replace it with the Holy Spirit

John only includes seven of Jesus’ miracles in his gospel. Why does he include this story? What is its significance? 

In Old Testament prophecy, an abundance of wine was the sign of the Kingdom of God (Joel 3:18; John 10:10). … It is a sign that the kingdom has come. Jesus makes a lot of wine in this miracle and He makes the best wine. Jesus came so that we might have life and have it abundantly. Jesus makes the best at whatever He does. 

What is the purpose of the miracles of Jesus?

Jesus’ miracles are signs pointing to who Jesus is. Jesus reveals His glory so that we might believe in Him (John 2:11; 20:30-31). … John calls these “signs:” instead of “miracles” because they serve the purpose of directing us to faith in Jesus. John wrote his gospel and included seven signs so that we would believe Jesus is the Messiah and that we might believe in Him.

The First and Second Comings of Jesus: Similarities and Differences between Jesus’ Two Comings

Sunday Sermon Series The First and Second Comings of Jesus Holidays Christmas

Similarities

  • John 6:38; 1 Thessalonians 4:16 … Both involve a journey down from Heaven. Heaven is a real place. Once He came down and went back up. He is going to come back down again.

  • John 1:14; Acts 1:9-11 … Both comings are literal bodily comings of Christ. Some people suggest the second won’t be bodily, but the Bible makes it pretty clear that it will be a physical return. 

  • Luke 2:8-14; 2 Thessalonians 1:7 … Both involve the appearance of angels. Angels heralded His first coming, appearing to Zacheriah, Mary, Joseph, and shepherds. There will be another flurry of angelic activity when Jesus returns. 

  • Matthew 2:9; Revelation 6:13-14 … Both affect the stars, the heavens. His appearance causes disruption of the normal patterns of the stars. The Magi followed a star that appeared to them and led them to baby Jesus. The stars will also be different when He comes again. 

Differences

  • Matthew 2:13; Revelation 19:11-16 … In the first coming, God came as a vulnerable baby. But in His return, He will come as a full grown man, but not just any man; He will come as a warrior king. 

  • Luke 2:15-17; Revelation 1:7 … Only a few saw Him in His first coming. The only witnesses besides Mary and Joseph were the animals and some shepherds. However, in His second coming, everyone will see Him. 

  • John 1:10-11; Philippians 2:10-11 … At His first coming, He was largely rejected. The second coming will see Him universally acknowledged as Lord and all will bow to Him. 

  • John 1:29; Revelation 5:5 … He was compared to a lamb in His first coming. He fulfilled that role perfectly. He was innocent and without blemish. He was sacrificed on the cross for all of our sins once and for all. However, His second coming will see Him be more like a lion. He is the king, the royal one. He will triumph. But that doesn’t mean He isn’t still the lamb too. He’s always been both, just each coming exemplifies one over the other. 

  • John 5:22-26; 28-29 … In the first coming He came to raise the spiritually dead. He brought real, eternal life to all who accept Him. His second coming will see Him raise the physically dead. He’s already redeemed our souls and will also redeem our bodies.

  • Matthew 13:36-38; 38-43 … He came to plant disciples in the first coming. His second coming will be to harvest and weed. The weeds will be pulled up and burned, but the righteous will be harvested and will shine like stars. 

  • John 10:9; Revelation 3:8; Luke 13:22-25 … His first coming opened the door to Heaven. Jesus is the only door to Heaven; He is the way. But on His second coming, He will close that door. That door is open right now and anyone may enter. There is coming a time when it will close. 

Series: The First and Second Comings of Jesus: The Two Appearances of Jesus

Sunday Sermon Series The First and Second Comings of Jesus

The passages we look at today use a different word from “coming”. They use to term “appearing”. This term emphasizes that He has shown Himself and will show Himself again. In between the two “appearings” we don’t get to see Him or walk with Him, but we can still catch some of the joy from the first appearing and the revelation of salvation that is coming in the second appearing. 

Hebrews

First Appearing (Hebrews 9:26-28)

Second Appearing (Hebrews 9:28)

Jesus appeared to remove sin by the sacrifice of Himself. … This is a reference to what the high priest would do once a year. The high priest would offer up a sacrifice of an animal to atone for the sins of all Jews. The sacrifice of Jesus though is a one-time thing that removes all of our sin ever committed. 

Jesus will appear a second time to bring salvation to those wait for Him. … The second appearance will wrap up the process of salvation. Currently we still struggle with sin, but when He appears again, He will remove even that temptation. 

2 Timothy

First Appearing (2 Timothy 1:9-10)

Second Appearing (2 Timothy 4:8)

Jesus appeared to destroy death and bring life to light. … Our salvation is completely undeserved and was planned even before the beginning of time. Christ destroyed the power of sin and death on His first appearance. 

Jesus will give a crown of righteousness to all who long for His appearing. … As Paul wrote these words, we think he was close to death. Yet, he had confidence in his salvation and was anticipating being with Jesus, whether after death or in His second appearing. Paul longed to see Jesus. 

1 John

First Appearing (1 John 1:1-2; 3:7-8)

Second Appearing (1 John 3:2-3)

Jesus appeared to destroy the devil’s works. … There is a devil at work in our world. The devil works to destroy us bodily, mentally, and emotionally. Jesus has appeared so that we can be saved from those works.

When Jesus appears, we shall be like Him. … In other places in the Bible, being like Him means that we’ll have a glorified body like Him. Here though, it means we’ll be pure like Him in our living. We will be without sin. And since our destiny is purity, we should begin that journey already. We should work on becoming pure. 

The First and Second Comings of Jesus: The Overlap of the Ages

Sunday Sermon Series The First and Second Comings of Jesus

The mystery of God’s plan has now been revealed: There is an overlap of the current age and the age to come.… The current age began with the fall of man and will end with the final judgment. It is full of sin and evil. The coming age will be void of evil and will last forever. The original understanding was that the old age would end and the new age would begin with a single event. There woulds 

There are two comings of Christ rather than one. Why?

The purpose of the overlap is to extend God’s salvation to the gentiles (Ephesians 3:4-6; Acts 1:6-11). … Prior to the first coming, only the Israelites had received God’s word and salvation. But with the Gospel, the word and salvation of God was sent to all nations. Those who read this are likely gentiles (if you aren’t a Jew, you’re a gentile). This overlap is for us. 

We are living in the last days of the current age (Hebrews 1:1-2; 2 Timothy 3:1-5). … The last days of the current age are characterised by some bad stuff. We experience all the evil of the last days as we live through it. We have all experienced pain, loss, and heartache. It seems a common thing this time of the year. 

We are experiencing the first fruits of the age to come (1 Corinthians 15:20; Romans 8:23; James 1:18). … Fortunately though, we also experience the first fruits of the coming age. We get to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit. Not only do we experience the first fruits though, we are part of the first fruits. This part of the year is when we celebrate the source of that hope that we have, the birth and life of Jesus. It’s a time of joy.

Understanding this overlap can help with views of the end times. Postmillennialists believe we’ll experience a thousand years of peace before Jesus returns. They are primarily looking at the verses about the first fruits of the coming age. Pre-millennials say that Jesus will come before the thousand years of peace because there is no way to have a millennium of peace with all the evil in the world. They are primarily looking at verses about the last days of the current age. Whether or not you agree with either view, you can see where they come from. 

Living in the overlap means life will be a mixture of good and evil. We neither wallow in despair nor pretend that everything is perfect. We live with heartache and hope. … Even though we experience things like loss and heartache, we also have a joy and peace that comes from our understanding of the two comings of Christ. 

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is one of the most well-known American poets ever and he also wrote hymns and carols. One of his famous carols is “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” and the story behind it is pretty incredible. Three years prior to penning the words, his wife died after a tragic fire in July 1861. That left him to raise their children alone. Longfellow struggled through the next couple of Christmases without his wife. Then before Christmas of 1863, he received word that his oldest son had been severely injured. Longfellow traveled to D.C. where his son was in a hospital. On Christmas day, he heard the bells from the church and wrote “Christmas Bells” which was later put to music by John Baptiste Calkin. The poem is a journey of emotions; it expresses what it is like to live in this overlap of the two ages. There are struggles, and sometimes evil drowns out the good. But we always have hope because “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; / The Wrong shall fail; / The Right prevail, / With peace on Earth, good-will to men.”

The First and Second Comings of Jesus: The Two Comings of Jesus Are Predicted Together

Sunday Sermon Series The First and Second Comings of Jesus Holidays Christmas


Jesus was at the side of God. Then the time came for Him to leave God’s side and come down to Earth. He was born, carried out His ministry, was crucified, buried, rose, and ascended to Heaven. He sits in Heaven now and there will come a time where he returns to Earth. 

Isaiah 9

First Coming (9:1-2)

Second Coming (9:6-7)

Light will shine in Galilee. … This region had suffered much, but these verses predict something great will come from it. Matthew 4:13-16 confirm that this prophecy is about Jesus’ first coming. 

Government of peace, forever. … The first two lines of these verses are about His first coming, but the rest are about His second coming. 

Isaiah 11

First Coming (11:1)

Second Coming (11:4-9)

The Messiah will be a descendant of David. … Jesse was the father of David. The stump of Jesse refers to his family tree that was seemingly cut off during the exile as a descendant of David no longer ruled afterwards. Matthew 1:1 confirms that Jesus comes from this lineage. 

There is coming a time of harmony. … In His second coming, He’ll defeat His enemies just by speaking. The wolf will lie down with the lamb. Predator and prey will be no more. 

Isaiah 61

First Coming (61:1-2a)

Second Coming (61:2b)

The Messiah will preach good news and perform miracles. … Jesus quoted this verse in Luke 4:17-21 and confirmed that it was about His first coming. Notice where Jesus stopped reading. The last part of verse 2 doesn’t apply to His first coming.

The day of vengeance is coming. … This is where Jesus stopped reading in the middle of a sentence. That’s a bit odd, but it’s because the last part refers to His second coming. 

Zephaniah 9

First Coming (9:9)

Second Coming (9:10, 14, 16)

The Messiah will ride a donkey into Jerusalem. … Matthew 21:1-5 confirms this prophecy being fulfilled in His first coming. 

He will proclaim peace to the nations. … He will be the king of all and will come riding on the clouds. The trumpet will sound. This won’t be some lowly, subtle entrance. He will return in a way everyone will know and He will complete our salvation. 

Do you believe Jesus is coming again? Let’s look at the first column. Those prophecies were all fulfilled. God has a pretty good track record. Why should we doubt that what He has revealed to us won’t come true?

Think Like Jesus: Think Like Jesus in Your Relationships

Sunday Sermon Series Think Like Jesus

Philippians 2:1-11

This passage teaches us how to think like Jesus in our relationships. It applies to marriage, family, school, friendships, work, and church. … Last week we saw that our unity with Christ is the basis and foundation for the Christian thought-life, in Philippians 4:2, Paul calls out a couple of the leading woman in a church for not being like-minded in the church. Being like-minded doesn't mean we never disagree. There will still be arguments, but we should all have the same direction and same end goals that unite us. 

Verse 3 says, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves."... We love ourselves; it's part of our culture, the selfie culture. We like raising ourselves up and being first fiddle. Sometimes though, it's important to raise others above us and be willing to play second fiddle. 

Verse 4 says not to look only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. 

Verse 5 says in your relationships, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. 

Verses 6-11 shares the attitude of Christ we are to imitate: 

Jesus was in very nature God, but He gave up the privileges of deity (v. 6), made Himself nothing, took the nature of a servant and became human (v. 7). He humbled Himself and became obedient to death on a cross (v. 8). Because of this, God has exalted Him (vv. 9-11).... Jesus continued to lower Himself from God to human to death in the worst of ways. But then He was exalted to the highest of plays and been named Lord of Everything. This prophecy tells us that one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. This doesn't mean that all will be converted and saved and make it to Heaven. Many knees and tongues will do it involuntarily. It is the ones who do it of their own free will that are saved. 

What would happen if you would take up the cross and follow Jesus and His example? Here are two things that are apparent from scripture. 

  1. You'll have more joy

  2. You'll be exalted.

Think Like Jesus: Set Your Mind on Things Above

Sunday Sermon Series Think Like Jesus

Colossians 3:1-15

Before we get to the sermon, let's have a quick review as said by Ephesians 4:1`7-23… We all start out in this world confused. We are prone to certain destructive thoughts and desires such as greed. Fortunately, there is a way 

  1. The basis of our new thought life is our union with Christ (Colossians 3:,1 3-4). “Since you have been raised with Christ--” “For you died and your life is now hidden with Christ.”... As believers, we've been joined with Jesus. That union includes a death of our old selves and a resurrection as a new being, With this death and resurrection, we are also linked to Jesus in His ascension, Our home is in Heaven. Shouldn't we live and think in ways consistent with our status? 

  2. You can choose and control your thought life (Colossians 3:2). “Set your mind--”.... We may not be able to choose what thoughts, but we can choose what we do with thoughts. We can choose to either welcome them or push them away. It’s like what Martin Luther once said, “You cannot keep birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.” 

  3. The object of our new thought life is to be Heavenly things (Colossians 3:2). “Set your mind on things above--” CS Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity that “the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next.” When we have our mind set on Heaven, we feel more urgency to impact Earth. 

    1. Put to death the thoughts and attitudes of your earthly nature (Colossians 3:5-10).... Paul tells us we need to kill off these thoughts dealing with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed. We don't simply manage these thoughts or toy with them. We need to put an end to them. 

    2. Fill your mind with Christ-like thoughts and attitudes (Colossians 3:12-15).... Once we kill of those earthly thoughts, we can fill our mind with much more virtuous thoughts that will lead to a better life. 

Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. Is your thought life consistent with the ways of Christ? 

  2. Are you taking control of your thought life? 

  3. Is your mind set on things in Heaven? 

Think Like Jesus: From Confusion to Discernment

Sunday Sermon Series Think Like Jesus

Romans 1:20-31; 8:1-7; 12:2

Before we can learn to be discerning, we need to see how we are confused.

  1. When you reject God’s revelation, your thinking becomes confused (Romans 1:20-31). … Everyone has some knowledge that there is a God thanks to nature. But we typically choose not to give Him the glory for it. 

    1. God gave them over to sexual impurity. … As a culture, we have moved this way. Since the 1960s the approval of sexual immorality has increased. Has God abandoned us to sexual impurity

    2. God gave them over to shameful lust. … In the early 200s the acceptance of homosexuality started to grow. In only 4 years, the same president who said he believed marriage should be between a man and a woman changed his tune in his second campaign. Has God given our culture over to shameful lust? 

    3. God gave them over to depraved thinking. … We might not be to this point yet, but if the pattern continues, it’s not far off. 

  2. When you believe in Jesus, the Holy Spirit enables you to think clearly (Romans 8:1-7). 

Romans 8:5

Romans 8:6

Romans 8:7

Mind set on flesh

Leads to death

Hostile to God

Mind set on Spirit

Leads to life and peace

Submits to God

  1. As Jesus transforms you, your thinking becomes sharper, and you are able to discern God’s will (Romans 12:2). … Even after salvation, the world wil still put pressure on us to conform, but we must renew our minds and stand firm. How do we renew our minds? By studying God’s Word and praying and worshipping God. This will help us be able to discern the Will of God.

Think Like Jesus: Three Ways of Thinking

Sunday Sermon Series Think Like Jesus


1 Corinthians 2:14-3:3

What is your thought life like? Is it clean? Do you think like Jesus or

  1. The natural person (1 Corinthians 2:14) … This is how we are. This is how everyone starts out. 

    1. Does not receive spiritual things.

    2. Views spiritual things as foolishness. 

    3. Does not understand the value of spiritual things. 

We don’t start out just knowing about spiritual things. We don’t start out with an experience in these matters and we don’t start out with the Holy Spirit helping us understand it. … It’s akin to discovering a new sport. At first you know nothing about it, but then you start to receive it.  2 Corinthians 4:4 says Satan has blinded us. Acts 26:18 says the Gospel can open our eyes to see the light. 

  1. The spiritual person (1 Corinthians 2:15-16) 

    1. Is able to discern the real value of everything. 

    2. Is misunderstood by the world. 

    3. Has the mind of Christ.

Spiritual people have the Holy Spirit, and through Him, they are able to discern or know the value of spiritual things. The world tends to struggle with understanding spiritual people, which can make it difficult to live as a spiritual person. These spiritual people also think like Jesus. 

  1. The carnal person (1 Corinthians 3:1-3)

    1. Is a believer, but is spiritually immature. 

    2. Is jealous and quarrelsome. 

    3. Behaves like a natural person. 

Carnal people believe in God but don’t grow in their faith. Since they fail to mature in their faith, they end up being continuously jealous and quarrelsome and act like a natural person. The natural person is what we are prior to salvation and that salvation should change us to be spiritual people. However, many of us are carnal people instead. The Holy Spirit should change us into spiritual people

The key to thinking like Jesus is your relationship to the Holy Spirit. … You probably caught that He was mentioned in all three sections. He is the one who changes us if we keep our relationship with Him strong.

Stress and Distress: Some of Our Distress Is Caused by Our Sin

Sunday Sermon Series Stress and Distress


2 Samuel 24

We’ve looked a few types of stress from outside sources already, but today we look at stress that we cause for ourselves through sin. 

Why does 2 Samuel 24:1 say the Lord incited David to take a census, while 1 Chronicles 21:1 says Satan incited him? … We don’t really know why these accounts differ. It doesn’t make sense for God to incite someone to commit a sin. One possible explanation is that God allowed Satan to incite David to sin. This is what happened to Job and to the Israelites when God allowed more sin influence in their lives as an act of discipline. 

What was wrong with taking a census? … It seems like a strange act to consider a sin. Was his motive wrong? Was the method incorrect? 

Joab tried to persuade David not to take a census (2 Samuel 24:3). What can we learn from this? … Whatever made it sinful was obvious to Joab as he protested immediately. Often when we are about to go down a bad path, God sends someone to warn us. Joab was far from perfect but he was God’s messenger (apparently along with other commanders) in this case. David would not listen and overruled them and carried out the census. 

2 Samuel 24:10 shows what truly made David great. He wasn’t great at avoiding sin, but he was great at confessing it. He knew he had sinned and he immediately confessed it to God. Then he’s given three options that he must choose from as punishment. The three options show us that our sins have consequences not only for ourselves, but also for innocents.

David said, “Iam in deep distress” (2 Samuel 24:14). Is sin the root cause of any distress in your life? … Have you been dishonest? Consumed by greed? Wronged somebody?

In Psalm 25:18, David prayed, “Look on my affliction and distress and take away all my shame.” … 70,000 people in Israel had died because of his sin. David felt some heavy shame and distress from his own sin. David knew that God could remove that shame and he asked God to take it from him. 

David bought Araunah’s threshing floor, which would have been on the top of a hill, so he could build an alter and make sacrifices. Araunah offered to give it to him free, but David insisted on paying. David didn’t want to offer sacrifices that cost him nothing. 

What is the significance of the threshing floor of Araunah? … But what makes it more significant than any other threshing floor? This is Mt. Moriah where God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. This is the place where Solomon would later build the temple. Later, the temple was destroyed and rebuilt in the same place. It was destroyed once more in the first century A.D. All that remains is one wall that has been a pilgrimage destination since then.