Posts in the "Sunday Sermon" Category

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? 

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.

Even If Not

Sunday Sermon

Daniel 3:17-18; Genesis 28:20-21

Today, let’s consider this question: Is your faith conditional or unconditional? Think on that as you read through these notes.

Daniel and his friends were taken to Babylon to train in the king’s palace. Their names were changed from Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, which all reflect faith in God to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, which all indicate belief in the Baylonian gods. King Nebuchadnezzer had a massive gold statue built and proclaimed that anyone who didn’t bow down to the statue when the music played would be thrown into a furnace. Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah had a dilemma. Bow down or not? Why not just fake it? Bow down without meaning it? Isn’t it what’s on the inside that counts? Outward appearances don’t matter, right? Wrong. Our actions do matter and Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah knew that. They refused to bow down and were reported for it. The king gave them another chance, but, well, here’s their response:

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it. But even if He does not, we want you to know, your majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. - Daniel 3:17-18

Some people have “if” faith (Genesis 28:20-21). But Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah had and “if not” faith. … Jacob had an “if” faith early in his life. His faith was conditional on getting something from God. 

When the king heard their response he grew angrier and hjad the furnace heated seven times hotter. It was so hot that the soldier who threw them in died. Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were now in the fire, but the king saw a fourth man who looked like an angel (some scholars believe it was Jesus). When the king called for them to come out of the fire, not a hair on them was singed and they didn’t even smell like smoke. As a result, the king praised God and promoted Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah within the kingdom. 

Jeremy Camp, when he started out as a young singer, spotted a woman in the crowd and nearly stopped playing. They started dating. She developed ovarian cancer and put a pause on the dating. Then they resumed shortly after and were married. Three months after their honeymoon, she died of ovarian cancer. Jeremy Camp then wrote the song “I Still Believe”. 

What is the character of your faith? Is it conditional or not?

Remain in Jesus

Sunday Sermon


John 15:4-10

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. - John 15:4-5

The most important thing in life: 

Stay in a close relationship with Jesus so that His life can flow through you. … This is perhaps the most important thing that we need to do as Christians. If we remain/abide/stay/dwell/live in Jesus, we can thrive as His spirit in us.

How do we remain in Jesus?

  1. We remain in Jesus as we relate to Him over a period of time (John 15:4-5). … Some new believers get off to great starts but then fade. They fade because they don’t give it enough time to soak up all the goodness Christ has to offer. 

  2. We remain in Jesus as His words remain in us (John 15:7). … When we keep His words in us, when we memorize His words, we can use them to help us and they can help us stay on track. 

  3. We remain in Jesus as we obey His commands (John 15:9-10). … By keeping His commands, we show our love for Him. And as we obey Him it connects us to Father and His love. Disobedience can disconnect us from that love temporarily. 

Together, these three keys lead to a healthy Christian lifestyle. Here’s a little formula our pastor showed us during the sermon that may help us in some areas:

Time + the Word + Obedience = Growth and Faithfulness 

When we spend time in the Word and obey Jesus’ commands, we grow in our relationship with Christ.

One event we use to help keep us grounded in this is taking the Lord’s Supper. The bread (or crackers) and juice (or wine) represent His body and blood that were broken and spilled for us, instead of us.