Posts in the "Series" Category

Open Our Eyes: Our View of God Is too Small

Sunday Sermon Series Open Our Eyes

Exodus 3: 1-14

Big Idea: all of our spiritual problems come from a lack of spiritual vision.

Often our view of God is too small
If our view of God is too small, insecurity often emerges.
When our eyes are on ourselves, we come to the natural conclusion: “I can’t do this.”

Insecurity is that voice inside you that whispers: “I am not _ enough.” … What do you most often put in that blank? We all have something.

Exodus 3 opens up with Moses as an insecure man. … We all experience insecurity, even the heroes of the Bible. Moses was a shepherd living with his in-laws at around 60 years old. Then God calls Moses to lead His people. Moses believes he isn’t up to the task. Well, Moses isn’t, but he was missing the point. Moses asks “who am I?” and thus made it all about himself. God refocuses the conversation back onto Him, not Moses, but Moses keeps making it all about himself, indicating great insecurity about his own abilities.

God shows Moses: I don’t need you to e a VICTOR--I just need you to be a vessel. … Confidence comes when we put our faith in God and follow His will.

If the eternal I AM is on your side--you won’t need anything else. … God’s name isn’t so much a name as a descriptor. It tells us God is eternal. He had no beginning and has no end. He doesn’t fear anything and has no needs. … If we are on God’s side, we have nothing to fear, nothing to worry about.

In the New Testament, Jesus takes this “I AM” name to Himself and applies it to our greatest areas of need.

To those who hunger--”I am the bread of life” (John 6:35).

To those who thirst--”I am the living water” (John 7:38-39).

To those in darkness--”I am the light” (John 8:12).

To those who need a fresh start--”I am the door” (John 10:9).

To those feel abandoned--”I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11).

To those who feel lost--”I am the way” (John 14:6).

To those who are confused--”I am the truth” (John 14:6).

To those who are afraid of death--”I am the life” (John 14:6).

We all have insecurities that we cannot overcome on our own, but in Christ they disappear.

Fill in the blanks here:
I am not _ enough, yet in Christ I am _.

Examples:
I am not good enough, yet in Christ I am righteous.
I am not patient enough, yet in Christ I am persevering.

We tend to focus on ourselves, which leaves God out of focus in our lives, making Him seem smaller than He is. How do we put God in focus? One word: Surrender … Eventually Moses surrendered to God and God did amazing works through him.

Prophecies of Jesus from the Book of Zechariah: Week 3

Sunday Sermon Series Prophecies of Jesus from the Book of Zechariah

Zechariah 9

First, let’s remember the theme for this year: Turning Everyday Conversations into Gospel Conversations. This is one of the easiest weeks to do so. Easter is one of the easiest time to talk to people about the Gospel.

Archeology has confirmed the accuracy of the Bible in many stories.  This is one reason we believe what the Bible says.

Other evidence is the number of fulfilled prophecies which is what this sermon series is about.

Zechariah 9 contains three prophecies, like three distant mountain ranges. … Mountain ranges can look close to each other. You may go hiking and see two ranges, one behind another and they look close, but when you reach the top of the first you see a large valley between the two.

  1. Tyre and the Philistine cities will be destroyed, but Jerusalem will be kept safe (Zechariah 9:33-6, 8).

    1. Fulfilment: Alexander the Great in 332 BC. … 188 years after the prophecy was made, Alexander was conquering all of the known world. Then he came to Jerusalem. The only account we have of this is from the Jewish historian, Josephus, who tells us about how Alexander left Jerusalem alone. Josephus tells us that the night before Alexander approached the city, the high priest had a vision. The high priest was to wear a special outfit and march out with other priests and citizens to meet Alexander. He did so. Apparently Alexander had also had a vision that he would see a man dressed like this. He was taken into the temple by the high priest and offered a sacrifice to God. Then he was shown the prophecy in Daniel about the fall of the Persian empire, at which point he believed that he was the one prophesied about who would conquer Persia. He then left, allowing the Jews to go on living as they had been.

  2. A gentle king will come to Jerusalem. He will ride into the city on a donkey. He will bring salvation and proclaim peace (Zechariah 9:9-10).

    1. Fulfillment: Jesus on Palm Sunday (Matthew 21:1-9). About 550 years after the prophecy, Jesus rides into Jerusalem, on the back of a young donkey.

  3. The Lord will appear over His people in battle. His arrow will flash like lightning. He will sound the trumpet and save His flock (Zechariah 9:14, 16).

    1. Fulfilment: The return of Jesus (Matthew 24:27-31). … Jesus tells His disciples about His second coming and it sounds a lot like what Zechariah predicted. One reason to believe Jesus is coming again is that the first two prophecies here were fulfilled. Why shouldn’t the third also come true?

These prophecies look like they should occur close to each other, but there are large gaps of time between their fulfilments. The first was fulfilled 188 years after being made. The second was around 550 years after the prophecy. And the third has not been fulfilled yet, but was spoken about by Jesus.

Prophecies of Jesus from the Book of Zechariah: Week 2

Sunday Sermon Series Prophecies of Jesus from the Book of Zechariah


Zechariah 13

Last week we looked at how Jesus is the Good Shepherd that Zechariah predicted and that He was rejected and killed just as Zechariah said. This week we look at a couple more fulfilled prophecies from Zechariah.

Preaching in 520 BC, Zechariah predicted a great future for Jerusalem. He wrote: “The Lord will again comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem” (Zechariah 1:17). He predicted a coming King who would be a Good Shepherd.

Prophecy: When the Shepherd is struck, the sheep will scatter (Zechariah 13:7).

Fulfillment: Jesus quoted this verse to His disciples and warned them they would fulfill it. They tried to avoid fulfilling it, but they did! (Matthew 26:26-35, 55-56, 69-75). … This is where Peter’s infamous three denials before the rooster crows experience comes in

Prophecy: On the day the Shepherd is pierced, a fountain of cleansing will be opened in Jerusalem (Zechariah 13:1).

Fulfillment: When Jesus was pierced with a spear, there was a flow of blood and water (John 19:34). The fountain of cleansing is the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7; Revelation 7:13-14). … The idea of blood being a cleansing agent is a bit disgusting until the history behind it is understood. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were told by God to sacrifice animals as a way of cleansing them of their sin. This is because, as Paul put it, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) and that wage must be paid. In the Old Testament, it was paid for by the animal sacrifices. Now we have the perfect sacrifice of Jesus who died “once for all” (Hebrews 10:10) so that we don’t have to keep offering sacrifices. … Sin is like stains on clothes. Some are harder to get out than others. We tend to hold on to guilt for some things. This is a limitation we put on ourselves. The blood of Christ will clean even the most stubborn sin stains if we simply apply it. Part of that process is forgiving yourself and letting go of the sin. … Sometimes we hold on to stains that may have been caused by someone else’s sin. We keep bringing it up and holding it over them. Let the blood of Christ cleanse that stain too. Forgive the person and let it go. … Forgiving doesn’t mean you forget the sin. That’s a whole other sermon though.

Prophecies of Jesus from the Book of Zechariah: Week 1

Sunday Sermon Series Prophecies of Jesus from the Book of Zechariah

It’s three weeks until Easter. In these three weeks we are going to look at the suffering of Jesus. To do this we’re going to look at prophecies of His suffering from the prophet Zechariah.

God had allowed the Babylonians to conquer Israel as punishment. After 70 years, they were released. Ezra brought some of the Israelites back to Jerusalem. Haggai and Zechariah came along as prophets who would help lead the rebuilding of the city. Haggai was a bit more practical and focused on the current times. Zechariah was looking to the future and had visions.

Zechariah preached during the time of Ezra in 520 BC, encouraging the people of Israel to rebuild the temple. Zechariah told them God has a great future in store for Jerusalem. His book is like Revelation, containing visions full of strange symbols. In the final chapters of his book, he predicts a coming Shepherd/King.

  1. God will send a Good Shepherd to lead His people. He will come from the tribe of Judah (Zechariah 10:3-4; John 10:14).

  2. The Good Shepherd will be rejected. The Shepherd will be paid 30 pieces of silver. This money will be thrown to the potter (Zechariah 11:12-13; Matthew 26:3-4, 14-15; 27:3-7).

  3. The Good Shepherd will be killed. Those who kill Him will look on Him and mourn (Zechariah 12:10-11; John 19:31-37; Revelation 1:7). … This one has a two-part fulfilment. The first occurred at the crucifiction. The second will occur at His second coming. …

This is not just the story of those who were there. This is our story as well. We have pierced Him with our sin and rejected Him and killed Him. We have the choice of when and what to mourn though. We can wait and mourn His second coming with regret or we can mourn our sin now in repentance (Acts 2:22-24, 37).

David Brainerd was a missionary to Native Americans and kept a journal. On August 8, 1745 (page 11), he witnessed a revival among the Native Americans that saw them mourn and cry and just be broken over their own sins, no matter how big or small.

God doesn’t want us to be sad. He wants us to choose the path that leads to joy, but to do that we must mourn our sin and repent of it. May our hearts break for our sin so we don’t mourn with regret when Jesus comes again.

The Lamb Will Triumph: God Will Create a New Heaven and New Earth

Sunday Sermon Series The Lamb Will Triumph

This is the seventh and final sermon in this series covering the broad themes of Revelation. In this story, the greatest ever told, we’ve seen the set up, the conflict, and the climax so far. Today we see the resolution, the conclusion, the happily ever after.

Revelation 21-22

The New Heaven and New Earth (Revelation 21:1-8). … It’s not just a New Heaven. There will also be a New Earth. We won’t be just floating around in Heaven with our spiritual bodies, we will have physical bodies on a physical earth that bares similarities to this earth, but is glorified and perfect. … The sea represents separation from God. On this New Earth, there will be no separation from God, no sin. We will dwell with God in Heaven and on Earth. God will make everything new and perfect. … Those who are victorious, those who persevered for Christ, will inherit the New Heaven and New Earth. Unfortunately, not everyone will make it to Heaven. Some will go to Hell. Heaven and Hell are both real. Those who repent of their sin will go to Heaven and the others will die a spiritual death in Hell.

The New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:22-27). … We get an image of a dazzling city. Gemstones. Kingly Splendor. Work without frustration! … Once again we are reminded that not everyone will be there, but only those who have repented.

The River of Live and Tree of Life at the Center of the City (Revelation 22:1-5). … This tree was in the Garden of Eden. Humankind was kicked out of there for disobeying God. In the New Heaven though, there will be many trees of life to eat from.

The Conclusion:

Jesus says, “I am coming soon” (Revelation 22:12). … Jesus says that three times in the last chapter. That should

The Spirit and the Bride invite anyone who is thirsty to drink the water of life (Revelation 22:17). … The Spirit has always been inviting people drink of the living water. Now the Bride, the church, also has the authority to invite others to drink of this living water.

The Lamb Will Triumph: Jesus Will Return to Earth and Defeat Evil

Sunday Sermon Series The Lamb Will Triumph


This is week six of seven looking at the greatest story ever told. All the other great stories follow a similar template, but they are all echoes of this one. All great stories have conflict and we’ve seen that the last three weeks. Every great story also has a climax where the hero somehow saves the day. That’s what we will see today.

Revelation 16-20

The Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:13-16; 17:14) … God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are the Holy Trinity. Well, Satan is an imitator and there is an unholy trinity formed by the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. These two trinities will go to war. … The scripture says it will be at a place called Armageddon. It may be literal or symbolic. Armageddon is an actual place that has seen some crucial battles in history. When this was written, Armageddon was symbolic of any big battle.

The Return of Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:11-16, 19-20) … Christ will return, bringing justice and vengeance with Him. He will judge the world and all of the wrongs done will be corrected. He will fight battles and the blood on His robe won’t be His own. When it looks like the armies of the world are overwhelming the armies of Heaven, Jesus will defeat them with the words He speaks. The beast and his false prophet will be captured and thrown into Hell. … How much of this is symbolic and how much is literal? It’s hard to know for sure, but it definitely gives quite the image.

The Binding, Release, and Defeat of the Devil (Revelation 10:1-3, 7-10) … It’s hard to know if the events in the visions are sequential or if they are overlapping visions, each telling a different perspective of the same events. Regardless of everything else, if you stick with Jesus, you’ll be good.

Judgment Day (Revelation 20:12, 15) … There will be judgment for everyone. There is a book that contains all of our sins, but for those of us who have accepted the salvation that Christ offers, the sins will be unreadable because they are covered by His blood.

The Lamb Will Triumph: God Will Protect His people from His Wrath

Sunday Sermon Series The Lamb Will Triumph

Revelation 6-18

This is our fifth week in this series and third week covering the middle chapters of Revelation where the conflict is at its height. This week we will see that God will protect His people from His wrath.

Before God unleashes His wrath He sends an angel to put a seal on the foreheads of those who are His servants (Revelation 7:1-4, 9-10, 13-14). … The angels are about to release more of God’s wrath but they pause for a moment so that the servants of God may receive a mark, separating them from the followers of the Antichrist. … Let’s look back to Exodus for a moment. When God sent the plagues, the people of Israel were unaffected, then on the last plague, they were required to put the blood of a lamb on their doorposts for protection. This appears to be a similar thing.

This is a seal of ownership and protection like that in Ezekiel 9:4 and like the sealing of all believers with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14). … We don’t know what the seal will be or even if it will be visible.

The 144,000 mentioned in chapter seven has many interpretations. It might be literal. It may represent all believers. It may be just a group of believers from Israel, 12,000 from each tribe. … Regardless, it appears there will be a group of believers who will receive a special mark.

Three audiences:

  1. First Century Christians: The people who were reading this when it was written would be warned that they would have to suffer persecution, and they did suffer bad persecution.

  2. Christians of all Ages: Even today Christians face some persecution. Depending on where you live in the world, it will be to different extents.

  3. The Last Generation: Christians in the end times will face great persecution.

This seal is related to the name of God, and it contrasts to those who are marked with the name of the beast (Revelation 14:1, 9-11). … God will essentially put His name on those who are sealed. It is a mark of ownership and protection.

Those Who Worship the Beast

Those Who Follow Jesus

Marked with the Name of the Beast

Sealed with the Name of the Father

Protected from Persecution

Exposed to Persecution

Exposed to God’s Wrath

Protected form God’s Wrath

Exposed to Suffering from the Curse of Sin


Christians and non-Christians alike get the flu. We all suffer due to the curse of sin in this fallen world.

Without the mark of the beast, we will be persecuted on Earth, but with the seal of God, we will be protected from God’s wrath, which is a better deal.

The Lamb Will Triumph:God Will Pour Out His Wrath upon the Earth

Sunday Sermon Series The Lamb Will Triumph


Revelation 6-18

This is the second of three weeks we’ll spend in this middle section of Revelation where the conflict reaches its height. Last week we saw that evil will win some battles, but this week we see God release His wrath upon the earth in judgment. … When we see injustice in the world, we feel a righteous angry towards those who commit the injustice. That anger comes from being made in God’s image. If we have trouble accepting injustice, just imagine how God feels towards injustice and those who commit them.

Wrath is God’s intense hatred of all sin. There are two aspects to God’s wrath:

  1. God’s wrath is expressed every day (Romans 1:18; Psalm 7:11). … God judges people everyday and His wrath is poured out a little everyday.

  2. God’s wrath is being stored up (Romans 5:25). … God’s patience allows him to store up wrath so He doesn’t pour out all that we deserve every day. Revelation shows God pouring out all of His stored up wrath.

In Revelation, God’s wrath is poured on the earth in three series of sevens:

  1. Seven seals (Revelation 6:15-17) … The first four seals release the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

  2. Seven trumpets (Revelation 8:1-2). … The trumpets herald judgments that affect creation.

  3. Seven plagues/bowls (Revelation 15:1-4; 16:1) … The seven bowls release plagues upon the earth.

God’s wrath is described as a cup which sinners must must (Revelation 14:9-10).

On the cross, Jesus drank the cup of God’s wrath for us (Luke 22:42; John 3:36). … Today we took the Lord’s Supper as a way to remember what Jesus did for us. Jesus knew the wrath of God and that all sinners deserved it. But Jesus took our cup and drunk it. Jesus has already endured and absorbed the wrath of God for those who have accepted Him as savior.

The Lamb Will Triumph: Evil Is Strong and Will Temporarily Conquer God’s People

Sunday Sermon Series The Lamb Will Triumph


Revelation 6-18

These chapters will take three weeks to get through. They hold the conflict part of the story. The best stories always have some sort of conflict. Those are just shadow of this story though. … C.S. Lewis was an atheist and one of the big factors in his conversion to Christianity was J.R.R. Tolkien explaining to him how all the stories he loved so much were just shadows of this one.

The forces of evil strike back against the Lamb. The key word in Revelation (nike: conquer) is used two times in this section of the forces of evil conquering God’s people. … There are three audiences the same as the previous sermons.

A red dragon seeks to destroy a male child, but Go protect the child. There is war in Heaven. The dragon is thrown down to the earth and wages war on the followers of Jesus (Revelation 12:1-5, 7-9, 13, 16-17). … The dragon is Satan, the devil. It is commonly thought that the stars he swept from the sky represent angels that followed him in his rebellion, but we don’t know that for sure. It may be symbolic that a third of the Trinity died for our salvation. … The dragon is kept from harming the child and is then hurled to the earth where he pursues the mother of the child and all her offspring. The child is Jesus and the mother is Israel. The offspring of Israel is representative of Christians.

A beast come out of the sea. He is given great power. He conquers God’s people (Revelation 13:1, 4, 7-8). … The beast represents a great political power that serves the forces of evil. In the time this book was written, it was the Roman empire. It has also been Hitler and other leaders who do the bidding of the forces of evil. Today it’s Kim Jong Un and others. There will be more, including one that is worse than all the others

A second beast comes out of the earth. He makes the earth worship the first beast. (Revelation 13:11-12, 16-7). … This second beast appears as a lamb but speaks like a dragon. It pretends to be a force of good, but points everyone to the first beast. In first century Rome, it was a priesthood that encouraged people to worship Ceaser. Today it’s churches that teach values that go against the Bible.

God appoints two witnesses to preach. The beast conquers and kills them (Revelation 11: 3, 6-7). … God will raise up two people to preach the truth, but the beast will conquer them and have a sort of Anti-Christmas.

Applications:

  1. Evil is strong: don’t take it lightly. … 1 Corinthians 12:10 also expresses this idea. Don’t underestimate the ability of evil to take hold of you.

  2. We are in a spiritual war. Expect to get shot at. We will lose some battles. … War is ugly and there are casualties on both sides. This won’t be easy.

  3. There are only two sides in the battle. You must choose a side. … It’s easy to straddle the fence while the battle doesn’t appear to be affecting us, but a time is coming when that won’t be an option.

This seems a bit gloomy, but just remember our key verse: Revelation 17:14. God prevails in the end.

The Lamb Will Triumph: God is on His Throne and Jesus Is in Control of the Future

Sunday Sermon Series The Lamb Will Triumph


Revelation 4-5

The  word “nike” is the key word in the book of Revelation. It means “victory” and is translated a few different ways in Revelation, but it always has something to do with victory.

John is allowed a glimpse into Heaven. This vision is given to encourage God’s people when the world seems out of control. … We don’t often get to peer into Heaven, but John was and his vision was also in the future.

God is on His throne in Heaven (Revelation 4). … John attempts to describe what he sees, and it sounds like a glorious sight, full of diversity in color and even angels. The throne that God sits on is surrounded by four angels who appear to be leading worship. Surrounding them are 24 elders who we do not know much about. These elders have crowns but they fall down and cast their crowns at the feet of God. God is being worshipped as the creator of all things. God is in control. … It doesn’t always seem like God is in control, but He is. This vision is given to help us realize that truth.

Jesus is in control of the future (Revelation 5). … The scroll in the right hand of God likely represents the future. An angel asks who can open and read it, but no one worthy was found. John wept hopeless tears as he as he sees no one is worthy of controlling the future. Then an elder tells him not to worry because the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” has triumphed and is worthy and is coming. Then a lamb that appears as if it had been slain appears. The elder said a lion was coming, but a lamb showed up. Jesus is the Lion and the Lamb. The symbolic description given is quite amazing as it shows the power and wisdom Jesus holds. The Lamb stands in the middles, next to the throne while everyone else bows down. The Lamb takes the scroll. The angels and elders break out in song, praising the Lamb. Then every creature everywhere joins in on this praise and worship song.

These chapters show us that God is on His throne and Jesus is in control of the future. It is a reassurance that God is in control and that Jesus will be triumphant over evil. When John cried tears of hopelessness, the Lamb brought hope with Him and does the same for us.