Posts in the "Series" Category

What Is the Kingdom of Heaven Like? The Parables of Jesus: The invitation to the Kingdom

Sunday Sermon Series The Parables of Jesus


Luke 14:15-24; Matthew 22:1-4

The plan is to spend the next nine weeks looking at twenty or so parables about the Kingdom of Heaven.

The interpretive key to understanding the parables is:

The Kingdom of Heaven is already here.

The Kingdom of Heaven is not yet here in full.

The lessons we learn will apply to the now as well as the future; the Kingdom that is already here and the fullness of the Kingdom that is yet to come.

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a party.  … The King of the Kingdom offers joy, a deep joy. … We see that Heaven will be like a party (the “not yet” part), but we can also live a life of celebration and joy (the “already” part). ,,, Isaiah 25:6-8 tells us partially what Heaven will be like as it describes a big banquet, a party.

Jesus says there are two ways you can miss the Kingdom:

  1. You can miss the Kingdom by rejecting the invitation (Luke 14:15-24; Matthew 22:1-10). … A man was throwing a party and sent out invitations that were accepted. Then all the people who were coming suddenly had stuff they needed to do. The man then invited the poor and homeless, so many that if anyone who was invited before had come, they would not get any food. … God invited the Israelites to a party but they didn’t come, so He threw the door wide open and invited everyone, the bad as well as the good. Anyone can attend the party and have joy in life.

  2. You miss the Kingdom by refusing to put on the righteousness of Christ (Matthew 22:11-14). … You can be part of a congregation and stil not get in. We are given the righteousness of Christ and must put iot on. We must allow ourselves to be transformed by Christ. There are some in the church who will be kicked out of the party because they did not cooperate with Jesus and let Him transform them.


Three Gospel Conversations

Sunday Sermon Series Gospel Conversations

Acts 16:13-34

Background: By 325 A.D. Christianity had spread to over half of the Roman Empire. It began with twelve guys on a hillside with no power, no money, no endorsements, and no celebrity recognition. All they had was an absolute conviction that Jesus had risen from the dead and a power poured into them called: the gift of the Holy Spirit. The key to this exponential growth was that every person, not just a handful of specialized apostles, carried the message of the Gospel. The whole church saw it as their responsibility to have Gospel Conversations.

The question we want to ask this morning:
What does evangelism by the ordinary people look like?

We are going to observe three Gospel Conversations with three persons of interest:

Conversation #1: Lydia the Merchant (Acts 16:13-15). … Lydia was a merchant who was on her way to a prayer meeting. She believed God existed but was not yet a Christian. God opened her heart to hear the message in such a way that she craved to hear more.

Conversation #2: The Slave Girl (Acts 16:16-18). … Paul and friends went back to the same place they met Lydia. Why? When you make return trips to a place, you can get to know the people there and build relationships with them. Those relationships can lead to Gospel Conversations. … This time Paul and his friends meet a slave girl. (Human trafficking is still something that is a problem today just as it was then.) This slave girl has a demon inside here that allows her to predict the future. The demon also who the apostles were and who they serve. So, she followed them around for a few days announcing who they were. Eventually Paul got annoyed and cast the demon out. As a result, she lost her ability to predict the future and earn money for her owners. This causes problems and leads to the next Gospel Conversation.

Conversation #3: The Roman Jailer (Acts 16:19-34). … This Roman jailer would have likely been a well-decorated, retired veteran of the Roman military. They put Paul and Silas in the inner prison, which was likely down below the other cells and also where any refuse from the upper cells would go. To make it even worse, Paul and Silas were likely hanging by their feet. … Somehow they had the idea to sing praises to God. Then the prison shook and the doors opened and the chains came loose. The jailer knew if anyone escaped, his life was forfeit, so he prepared to kill himself until Paul called out to him. No one had left. The jailer was so moved that he asked what he needed to do to be saved. So Paul and Silas preach the Gospel to him and he and his family become saved.

Why are these stories included?

  1. To show the transformative power of the Gospel.

  2. To give a glimpse of different people in our community and show us how to reach them.

    1. The Spiritually Interested
      How to reach them: Engage them. Invite them to read the Bible with you. Ask them to come to a service. Invite them to join your connection group.

    2. The Physical and Spiritual Captive
      How to reach them: Get involved in their life. Get to know them. Do life with them. Have cookouts with them. Build relationships with them.

    3. The Skeptic
      How to reach them:

      1. Be joyful at all times. People are always watching and God can use even the worst situations to further His kingdom.

      2. Show them God’s grace.

Family Life: Following Jesus Is More Important Than Family Relationships

Sunday Sermon Series Family Life

This is the final sermon in the Family Life series. We’ve seen how being single is a good life and how being married is good too. We’ve also seen how we should interact with each other in our families.

This week is the curveball as we see that Jesus is more important than family.

  1. Following Jesus means you may harm some relationships. Being a Christian can strain or even divide families (Matthew 10:34-36). … Not everyone follows Jesus, and that can lead to problems within the family. … This doesn’t make divorce ok. We’ve covered that already in this series. … In much of the world, when someone starts following Jesus, their family looks down upon them and may even disown them. We’re not as likely to see that extreme in our part of the world, but we still may receive disappointment from them. Even Jesus had to deal with this to an extent.

  2. Following Jesus must take priority over family relationships (Matthew 10:37-39; Luke 9:57-62). … Jesus uses some shocking language get this point across. Nothing and nobody should be the center of your life except Jesus. Family is a good thing, but even good things become idols when we put them ahead of Jesus.

  3. Following Jesus means you will gain many new family relationships (Mark 3:31-34; 10:28-31). … We gain brothers and sisters in Christ when we follow Jesus. We may lose some relationships, but we will gain many more. Even if you are alone, have no family, In Christ you have many brothers and sisters. … We may even get the family members that lost back. They may come to accept and follow Jesus too. Jesus’ family wasn’t too supportive of Him for a long time, but they came to follow Him in the end.

Family Life: Relationships of Parents and Children

Sunday Sermon Series Family Life

Ephesians 6:1-4

Ephesians 5 provides some context for the main scripture today

  1. Verse 8 tells us the first thing that we need is a relationship with God. Verse 9 tells us that relationship is what can bring good things to our family.

  2. Verse 18 tells us we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit so our homes can be filled with the fruits of the Spirit.

  3. Verse 21 tells us the importance of a mutually submissive marriage.

What is the responsibility of children to their parents?

  1. Obey your parents (Ephesians 6:1). … This is part of our spiritual growth. Submitting to our parents’ rules teaches us how to submit to God. The only time children shouldn’t obey their parents is if their command goes against God.
    What does this mean?

    1. Listen to them. … The root word of “obey” in Greek is “listen” and so we should listen to them. Even Jesus listened to and obeyed His earthly parents.

    2. Respond promptly.

    3. Respond completely. … Partial obedience is disobedience.

    4. Respond without whining or complaining.

  2. Honor your parents (Ephesians 6:2-3). … This is the first commandment with a promise. We are told that honoring our parents gives us a better chance at a long life. … While obedience is a temporary obligation, honoring them is a permanent obligation. Once children become adults, they leave the house and are no longer obligated to obey their parents but should continue to honor them.
    How can adult children do?

    1. Express gratitude.

    2. Seek wisdom.

    3. Refuse to speak evil of them. … It’s possible that your parents wronged you in some way. In this case, forgive them. Don’t bring up the past mistakes. This is how we want God to treat us and should be how we treat our parents.

    4. Communicate with them.

    5. Provide for them.

What is the responsibility of parents to their children?

There are two extremes to avoid in parenting:

  1. Do not over-correct your children (Ephesians 6:4a). … This is the extreme of being too hard on your children. This can come from the parent who always expects perfection and focuses on the negative. Or the parent who is always angry and takes it out on their children.

  2. Do not under-discipline your children (Ephesians 6:4b). … This extreme is the permissive parent who does not correct enough. Children need to be trained and instructed; they need to be warned and disciplined. This can come from parents who are just lazy or maybe they have a medical issue that makes it harder to discipline. Or sometimes this is the parent who seeks satisfaction from their kids because that parent isn’t in the right relationship with God. Sometimes this parent is living with guilt from some past event and refuses to discipline because of that.

Family Life: What Jesus Says about Children

Sunday Sermon Series Family Life

Matthew 18:1-14

This passage begins with a couple of the disciples

  1. Learn from children how to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 18:1-4).
    Children are dependent. Your independence will prevent you from entering Heaven. … We think we can do everything on our own and don’t need help from God, we don’t think we need to depend on God. Or even if we do think that, we often do not act like it.We’re wrong. We need God or we won’t enter Heaven. We can’t enter Heaven unless we depend on God.

  2. Whoever welcomes a child in the name of Jesus welcomes Jesus (Matthew 18:5). … What does it mean to welcome children? Here are some things it could mean.

    1. Welcome children into the world. Abortion is not welcoming children into the world.

    2. Special needs children are often not welcomed in the world or in the culture. Treating them with respect is a way to welcome children.

    3. Adoption and foster care are great ways to welcome children who really need it.

    4. Sponsoring a child who needs it welcomes that child

  3. Whoever causes a child to stumble brings trouble upon himself (Matthew 18:6-7). … Now Jesus is talking about actual children as well as anyone who becomes like a child and depends on Him. Everyone will face temptation and stumbling blocks, but you don’t need to be the person who creates that temptation or stumbling block for anyone.

  4. Do not look down on children (Matthew 18:10).
    Two reasons to value children:

    1. Because their angels have a direct audience with the Father in Heaven (Matthew 18:10). … We’re not really sure if this means every child and believer has their own “guardian angel” or if there are jsut angels asigned to certain groups of people.

    2. Because the Father cares for and actively seeks each individual child (Matthew 18:12-14). … Even if 99% of them are safe, Jesus still goes after the 1% to make sure He keeps 100%.

Here are a couple things to consider from this sermon:

  1. Do you look down on children? What can you do to show more respect to kids?

  2. Are you dependent on God? What are some areas in your life where you need to rely more on God?

Family Life: Relationships in Marriage

Sunday Sermon Series Family Life


Media frequently portrays marriage in a negative light, as a prison to escape. There are shows that let us watch a man try to find his perfect match, or woman try to find hers. The Bachelor has 22 seasons right now. Only one couple produced by that show is still together. The model of love often presented by the media does not work. Perhaps we need to use a different model, maybe the Biblical model.

Ephesians 5:21-33

Spouses, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21). … In this chapter, just before the passage we’re looking at today, Paul lists four indications that we are filled with the Holy Spirit:

  1. Speaking (Ephesians 5:19)

  2. Singing (Ephesians 5:19)

  3. Giving Thanks (Ephesians 5:20)

  4. Submitting (Ephesians 5:21)

Notice how the fourth is submitting. We are called to submit to Christ. Spouses should also submit to each other.

Wives, support your husbands and follow their leadership (Ephesians 5:22-24).

Husbands, love your wives:

Our culture defines love as a feeling, but the Bible defines love as an action.

  1. Love your wife as Christ loved the Church (Ephesians 5:25-27). … Christ gave Himself up for the Church (John 3:16). Love is shown by the way we act. … We are all imperfect and sometimes we may not feel like loving, but we are still called to love.

  2. Love your wife as your own body (Ephesians 5:28-31). … One feeds and cares for one’s body; likewise, one should feed and care for one’s wife. … When man and woman marry, they become one flesh, one body.

In 1972 the O’Jays released “Love Train”. Let’s look at a couple different configurations for a “love train,” one that the world tells us to use and one the Bible tells us ton use.

World:

  • Engine: Loving Feelings

  • Cabin car: Loving Actions

  • Caboose: Commitment

This love train configuration is powered by feelings and eventually leads to commitment. Too often those feelings fade and can’t pull the loving actions and commitment. In order to keep going, they decouple from the rest of the train, leaving loving actions and commitment behind.

Bible:

  • Engine: Commitment

  • Cabin car: Loving Actions

  • Caboose: Loving Feelings

This configuration is powered by commitment which pulls loving action and loving feelings behind. Even when feelings fade, commitment keeps pulling loving actions and even those loving feelings.

Family Life: Relationships of Husbands and Wives

Sunday Sermon Series Family Life


1 Peter 3:1-7

Peter, the author of this letter, was a married man. We know this because he had a mother-in-law (Mark 1:30-31) and because Paul implied it (1 Corinthians 9:5).

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands (1 Peter 3:1-6).

What this does not mean:

  • A wife should submit to abuse … Let’s make it clear that Christians believe wives should not submit to abuse.

    • 1-800-799-SAFE is the hotline to call if you suffer abuse

  • That the husband is superior … There is equality between husband and wife. How is their equality when there is submission? Let’s look at the Trinity. All three Persons are equal, but the Son submits (or defers) to the Father.They serve different roles.

  • A wife should always agree with her husband … The wife does not (and likely should not) always agree with her husband

What this does mean:

  • A wife should follow the husband’s lead. … The wife is to follow her husband as long as he is leading down the right path. Marriage is a bit of a team sport and the wife needs to be on the husband’s team. … If the husband is not a Christian, the wife is told to still follow their lead with the hope that her behavior and actions will win him over.

Let your beauty come from the character of your life. … It’s not wrong to wear jewelry or fine clothes or a fancy hairstyle, but those outward decorations should be secondary to your character.

Peter uses Abraham and Sarah as an example. These two were not a perfect couple by any means, but they do show a wife submissive to her husband.

Husbands, honor your wives (1 Peter 3:7).

Be considerate of your wife as physically weaker but spiritually equal. Failure to be considerate of your wife hinders your prayers. … The husband’s role is not to tell the wife to submit. The husband’s role is to respect her and be considerate of her. … Men and women are created differently. Generally, men are bigger and stronger than women. The husband should never touch the wife in anger. … Spiritually, men and women are equal. Just because the husband is meant to lead, that doesn’t mean he is superior in spirit. … The relationship with your wife affects your relationship with God. If a husband is abusive towards his wife either physically, emotionally, or spiritually, then his relationship with God is hindered.

Family Life: Should I Stay in This Marriage?

Sunday Sermon Series Family Life

1 Corinthians 7:1-6, 10-24

An interesting aspect of this passage is that Paul says the same thing to both the husband and wife. This would have been a revolutionary idea back then.

  1. One should deprive one’s marriage partner of sexual intimacy except by mutual consent. Distance or separation in a marriage relationship is dangerous (1 Corinthians 7:1-6). … Paul was talking about intimacy. A lack of intimacy likely indicates problems that put distance between husband and wife. That distance is something Satan can use to create even more issues.

  2. Two Christians should not divorce (1 Corinthians :10-11). Jesus said the only exception is adultery (Matthew 19:9). … Paul references what Jesus has said on this issue and tells Christians to work through their problems.

  3. A believer should _ to an unbeliever if the unbelieving spouse is willing to do so (1 Corinthians 7:12-16). The presence of one Christians in a family sanctifies the family. … This time Paul uses his own discernment and tells us that Christians should remain with their unbelieving spouse if their spouse is willing to remain married. He says that the Christian spouse can “sanctify” the family. That doesn’t mean a family is saved just because one of the parents is a Christian, but that the family may be blessed because of it.

  4. Be content regardless of your material situation (1 Corinthians 7:17-24). Serve God where you are until He moves you into different circumstances. You can be content where you are (Philippians 4:10-13). … We are told not to wish we were somewhere else or with someone else, but to be content. Our circumstances don’t determine our happiness or contentedness. We are defined by God, not our marital status.

Family Life: Should I Stay Single or Get Married?

Sunday Sermon Series Family Life


The church of Corinth wrote to Paul and asked him some questions about how to live as a Christian. One of the topics was marriage. We don’t have the actual question that was asked, but chapter 7 of 1 Corinthians is Paul’s answer to the question.

Four Things to Consider When Deciding Whether to Marry

  1. Am I able to lead a chaste as a single? (1 Corinthians 7:2, 7-9) … For a Christian there needs to be purity, so a single Christian should remain celibate. Paul says not everyone is able to remain chaste and that one reason to get married is so that we don’t burn with passion.

  2. Are the circumstances right at this time for me to marry? (1 Corinthians 7:25-28; 1 Timothy 5:14) … There are some situations in which getting married is not a wise thing to do. And there are other circumstances where marrying is wise.

  3. How will marriage or singleness affect my service to Christ? (1 Corinthians 7:32-35) … Serving Christ is the most thing we do. If being married makes your service to the Lord more effective, get married. If being single makes you more effective, remain single.

  4. Am I marrying a believer in Christ? (1 Corinthians 7:39-40) … Marriage is for a lifetime and it is important to be married to another believer, should you choose to marry.

Four Purposes of Marriage

  1. Partnership (Malachi 2:14; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12) … Marriage is a partnership. Life easier with a partner.

  2. Procreation (Genesis 1:27-28) … Having children is another reason

  3. Pleasure (Song of Solomon 1:2) … God created marriage for pleasure. God gives good gifts.

  4. Purity (1 Corinthians 7:9) … It is better to marry than to burn with passion.

For singles, these purposes can fulfilled in other ways

  1. Partnership can come friends and the church

  2. Singles may not have biological children, but they can have spiritual children

  3. Pleasure can come from many different sources

  4. Purity comes from being chaste.

This Is a Day of Good News and We Are Keeping to Ourselves

Sunday Sermon Series Gospel Conversations

Our church theme for 2018 is Turning Everyday Conversations into Gospel Conversations. A story from 2 Kings 6-7 illustrates our rationale and motivation for this theme. … After Solomon dies, the nation was divided into a northern and southern kingdom. Enemies of Israel came and besieged the northern kingdom’s capital, Samaria. The situation becomes awful as the attackers just waited for them to starve. The king blames the prophet Elisha and sends someone to kill him. Elisha told the officials he was with that the finest flour would be sold at a cheap price the next day and one of them doubted him. Elisha told the doubter he would see it come true but not eat of the flour. … The lepers outside the city decide they are going to die anyways so they go to surrender to their attackers. They come to the camp and find it abandoned. God had made them hear hoofsteps, so many that they thought the Israelites had allied with Egypt and the Hittites to defeat them. So they dropped everything and ran off. The lepers find all this food and start eating everything until they realize they should tell the city. So they do and when the king’s scouts decide the camp is indeed empty, a stampede ensues and the official who doubted Elisha was trampled. He lived long enough to see the flour sold cheaply but never got to eat of it, just as Elisha had said.

We are like the lepers (Isaiah 64:6). … Spiritually, we are all outcasts. We are unfit to enter Heaven because we are unclean.

We have found great treasure (Ephesians 1:7-8, 18, 3:18). … As Christians we have stumbled upon great riches

We cannot keep it to ourselves (2 Kings 7:9). … We would be morally wrong to keep it to ourselves. We are obliged to tell others about these riches we have found.

Not everyone will believe the Good News immediately. We must be patient with them (2 Kings 7:12). … Some won’t believe right away and will need to send out scouts and examine evidence. The best thing we can do is to be patient with them.