Posts in the "Sunday Sermon" 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.

I Will Not Forget Your Word

Sunday Sermon

Psalm 119:9-16

We all forget stuff. Whether it’s our keys or wallet being left somewhere or forgetting why we came into a room, we all forget stuff. There’s also some things that we never forget. Maybe someone said something that will stick with you forever, a piece of advice or a funny moment that impacted you. Marriage proposals, weddings, births of children are all things that we never forget. 

Let’s make 2020 start off with a declaration that we will make God’s word one of those things we never forget. 

Eight Messages from Psalm 119

  1. Submit so you can commit (Psalm 119: 9). … Living out God’s word begins with submitting to God’s word. The psalmist assumes we are walking the path of purity, but many of us have not submitted and are trying to travel with one foot on the path of purity and one off it. That doesn’t work. We end up feeling out of place at church and guilty when we sin outside it. 

  2. Declare your desire (Psalm 119: 10). … God gives us the desire to know Him and His word. However, sometimes we spoil that appetite with worldly things. Is something spoiling your desire to know His word? What is it? 

  3. Treasure the word (Psalm 119: 11). … We don’t treasure it just so we can hold it over others and act better than them. No, we treasure it so it can change us and we might not sin against God. 

  4. Love to learn the word (Psalm 119: 12). … When we learn to love the word, we are learning to love its Author too. 

  5. Find Your voice (Psalm 119: 13). … When we learn to treasure the word, it fills us up. And when anything fills us up, it must come out. Let your voice be filled with the word. Fill your heart and mind with as much as God’s word as you can, so that when the time comes it just flows out in your words. 

  6. Anticipate the celebrate (Psalm 119: 14). … We know that one day we will celebrate something much greater than anything in this world. What act of obedience has had the biggest cost for you? Consider that the payoff will be infinitely better. 

  7. Carefully consider God’s word (Psalm 119: 15). … There is a cost to obedience and also a cost of inobedience. However, one leads to eternal joy and the other doesn’t. 

  8. I will not forget God’s word (Psalm 119: 16). … What in God’s word are you most likely to forget? If you can answer that question, that is probably where the devil is attacking you currently. 

Final question: How would your life look different if you did not forget God’s Word? 

Consider spending time in the word and trying to understand it for yourself. Read through a book of the Bible. Follow devotional plans. Study the Bible with the intent of remembering it and knowing the Author.

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?

Mission Emphasis Sunday

Sunday Sermon

Mathew 28:16-20

We had a guest speaker of sorts in church this week. She is a missionary who leads a team in Paris, France that focuses on reaching Sub-Saharan Africans who live in Paris. Our church is currently partnering with her since we adopted the Wolof as our unreached people group to focus on. The church has gone on a few mission trips to Paris over the past few years. 

The missionary covered several things such as how they categorize people they interact with and the programs they use for reaching people. They group people into categories like “unresponsive”, “asking questions”, and “ready for discipleship”. Those aren’t the exact terms but they represent what the categories meant. “Unresponsive” people are ones that hear but aren’t ready to explore Christianity as an option for them; the missionaries will continue to serve these people, but they won’t push the Gospel until they move into the next group. The people “asking questions” have heard and want to know more; they are curious and this is the group of people that the missionaries spend the most time with. The ones “ready for discipleship” have heard and accepted the Gospel as truth. They start their preparation for reaching others. 

Some of the programs they use for reaching people are classes for English and French. They also hold Bible studies and worship services and just talk with people on the street as well as inviting them over and going to houses when they’ve built a strong enough relationship. 

A big part of reaching the lost is just building relationships. 

After the little interview, our associate pastor gave the shortest sermon of all time. The great commission in Matthew 28:16-20 tells us to go and make disciples, but the language used also tells us some other things. 

Five observations from the Great Commission:

  1. Jesus is LORD of all things.

  2. Join God at work in of all things

  3. Surrender all things to Jesus. 

  4. Trade all things for everything your soul desires/requires. 

  5. Jesus traded all things in Heaven for you have everything. 

Jesus’ Connection Group

Sunday Sermon

Mark 3 :13-19

We believe small groups are the primary way of making disciples. Why? That’s what Jesus did! It’s why we do Sunday School and Connection Groups. 

Jesus chose twelve of His followers to be His disciples. He chose them that He might be with them and that He might send them out (Mark 3:14). They were Jesus’ Connection Group! There are four lists of the twelve disciples in the New Testament (Matthew 10, Mark 3, Luke 6, and Acts 1). We will look at Mark 3. 

Jesus’ Connection group was comprised of ordinary, flawed people whom He gradually transformed into His image (Mark 3:15-16; Acts 4:13). … The first three (Peter, James, and John) were his inner circle and the leadership team of the twelve. He took them places where he didn’t take the others and even gave them nicknames. Peter’s given name was Simon, but Jesus called him Peter, which means “rock”. Yeah, Simon had that nickname long before Dwayne Johnson. Peter though, was not very rock-like. He wavered and was unstable much of the time. Yet, Jesus called him “rock” and Peter would eventually become part of the foundation of the early church. James and John were brothers who had tendencies of being hot-headed. They had tempers. Jesus called the, “Sons of Thunder”. They suggested calling down fire from Heaven to destroy a village. They started an argument about who would sit next to Jesus in Heaven. Yet, later on John would be known as the disciple of love. He went from suggesting that Jesus rain down fire to being known for his love. 

Sometimes people see these ordinary, flawed people messing up and say they don’t want to go to church because of the hypocrites in the church. Mark 3:19 shows us that those hypocrites might be false disciples. They might not be true believers. But verses 15-17 show us that they could just be in the process of becoming more like Jesus. We aren’t perfect and don’t claim to be. 

Jesus’ Connection Group was comprised of people with very different backgrounds whom He molded into one body (Mark 3:18). … Matthew was a tax collector. The tax collectors were hated by the Jews and often lumped together with sinners and prostitutes. They were known for being deceptive and taking more than they needed to. Simon the Zealot would have been on the opposite end of the spectrum. He was all for Jewish freedom and probably would have liked to kill Matthew the tax collector. Jesus brought them together. 

Tommy Tarrants was once a racist and a member of the KKK. He was consumed by hatred for people who were not like him. Through certain life events, he has become a Christian and pastor of a diverse church as well as being in a leadership position with the C.S. Lewis Institute. Read about his story here and here and several other places. Tarrants is a modern day example of how much we can change with the help of Christ. 

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?