Posts in the "Sunday Sermon" Category

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.

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

Sunday Sermon Series Stress and Distress


2 Samuel 24

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stress and Distress: Cumulative Stress: When Giants Keep Coming

Sunday Sermon Series Stress and Distress

2 Samuel 21-22

We’ve already looked at circumstantial stress and relational distress. Today we look at cumulative stress, stress that just piles up. The Holmes-Ray Stress Inventory is a scale that rates how stressful certain life events typically are. When you add up all your stress over the past year, they say that if your score is 350+ you are likely to have a breakdown in the next two years. Stress can really add up and affect lives. 

Cumulative stress means stress that accumulates in your life. We can handle one or two stressors in our lives, but what do we do when stressful events seem to pile up? You probably know that David killed a Philistine giant named Goliath. Did you know there were other Philistine giants who attacked David and his men? What do you do when the giants keep coming? … Wait, just how big were these giants and is this possible to be that tall? We’re told Goliath was 9 feet tall. Even in recent history there was a man, Robert Wadlow, who was 8’11” and still growing when he died at only 22 years old. Wadlow was a rather skinny man but weighed over 400 pounds just because he was so tall. Imagine how much Goliath and these other giants must have weighed as warriors likely with broad shoulders and large muscles. Well, he was a descendent of Rafa and had brothers and cousins. Some of them were also giants and they attacked Israel. 

How do you deal with cumulative stress? 

  1. Lean on your relationship with other people (2 Samuel 21:15-22). … David had help from other people in defeating these giants. He had a group of warriors known as David’s Mighty Men. These men were incredibly loyal to David. Why? Well, he had shown his willingness to die for them and now they show their willingness to die for him. … None of these men were perfect and neither was David. They all were sinners and had flaws, but they were loyal to each other and to God.

  2. Lean on your relationship with God (2 Samuel 22:1-7, 17-210). … David sang Psalm 18 to God. This where he writes the psalm. David recalls what has happened and praises God for saving him as David called out to God in distress. 

One more thing: Committing your life to God will increase some stress in your life. Our goal is not stress-free living. Our goal is to follow even if that causes us greater distress. … Following Jesus will introduce certain new stresses but it will also get rid of other stresses that are caused by sin. 

Adoniram Judson, one of the more well-known missionaries, was serving in a dangerous location in India. He was in love with a woman, Anne. He sent a letter to her parents asking their permission to marry her and take her to this dangerous place where they could die any number of ways. It had to have been stressful writing that letter, reading the letter, and allowing their daughter to go. Serving in such a place also must have been stressful. Eventually Anne would die of a sickness. But not before becoming the first person to translate the Bible into the local language. 

Stress and Distress: How to Deal with Stress from Broken Relationships

Sunday Sermon Series Stress and Distress

2 Samuel 15-19

There’s good stress in life. For example, the strings on a guitar are under stress and make beautiful music, but if you tighten them too much, putting them under too much stress, they’ll snap. 

Ten years before the events we’ll look at, Absolam killed his half-brother because David, who was furious, refused to punish him for raping Absolam’s full sister. Absolam then fled the kingdom. David longed to be reunited with Absolam but there was this barrier that kept them from each other. 

David’s son, Absolam, rebelled against him and tried to take the kingdom from his father. David’s reaction models how to deal with relational distress. 

David’s encounter with Ittai, Zadok, and Hushai reminds us to focus on good relationships in times of distress (2 Samuel 15:14-34). … Ittai, one of his sons, is an image of loyalty here. Zadok the priest also shows his loyalty to David. Then David heard that one of his elder advisors was helping Absolam, but another of his advisors (Hushai) offered to help counter any knowledge the traitor gave to Absolam. … We all need people in our lives we can count on in times of need. This is why being in a connection group and part of the local church is important. 

David’s encounter with Shimei reminds us not to retaliate in times of distress (2 Samuel 16:5-13). … Shimei is throwing rocks and cursing at David from above, so one of his people takes offense and offers to cut off Shimei’s head. David stops him and allows God’s plan to play out. 

During this time of distress, David wrote Psalm 3. … Absolam’s spy gave him some good advice on how to defeat David, but Hushai gave Absolam some different advice and gave David time to get away.

David affirmed that God was his shield (Psalm 3:3-4). 

When you are in distress, don’t focus on what you don’t know; focus on what you do know. … We know God has promises that He will keep, than we can rely on Him. 

David determined that he would sleep (Psalm 3:5-6). 

When you are in distress, you need to talk to God, but you also need to talk to yourself. … It often helps to give ourselves a good talking too. 

Eventually Absolam died in a rather dramatic way (2 Samuel 18:9) and David went back to Jerusalem to retake his seat on the throne. Remember Shimei? The man who threw rocks and curses at David? He came crawling back to David seeding forgiveness and David forgave him. 

Prepared to Give an Answer: “I don’t need religion to be spiritual” Be Prepared to Answer the New Age Spirituality

Sunday Sermon Series Prepared to Give an Answer

This is the final sermon in this series about being prepared to answer others who have questions. 1 Peter 3:15 has been our theme verse and it tells us to be ready to respectfully and gently defend our faith. 

We’ve only covered a few worldviews and there are many more out there. 

New Age Spiritualism hold that oneself is one’s own god and is not an organized religion. They hold  pantheist view that everything in the universe is god and god is everything. Everything is divine. But “self” is sovereign over all. This is a bit like the “force” in Star Wars where the force is in everything and everyone and it connects us all. They meditate to clear 

The Biblical worldview says:

  1. God created everything. Creation is distinct from God yet dependent on God (Genesis 1-2; Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 33:6; 104:12-25; John 1:3; Revelation 4:11). … God created everything and called it good. However, creation is not God and God is not creation. But He provides for us through creation as we and the animals and the flora all depend upon God. 

  2. God is transcendent (Isaiah 55:8-9; Romans 11:33-36). … Nothing about us makes us equal with God. He is above all, even ourselves. 

  3. Balance God’s transcendence with His immanence/nearness (Acts 17:27-28a; Jeremiah 23:23-24). … God is way above us but He is also among us. He is with us and wants a personal relationship with us. 

  4. God reveals Himself to people through His creation, through the scriptures, and through Jesus Christ (Psalm 19:1-2; Hebrews 1:1-3; Romans 1:25). … Creation points to a creator and reveals certain characteristics of God. The scriptures reveal even more about God. And, well, Jesus is God. 

Why is Christianity a more plausible worldview? 

  1. The New Age movement is man-centered and doesn’t account for sin. Christianity is God-centered and recognizes our need for a Savior (Romans 3:23; Isaiah 53:6; 64:6). … New Age Spirituality says we are basically good. Scripture tells us we are sinners in need of a savior. 

  2. The New Age Spirituality ignores the problem of evil; that is sin, disease, natural disaster, and pain in general (Romans 18:18-24a; John 16:33). … Are they ok with calling certain things good and certain people god? Their worldview seems to demand it. Christianity is different and warns us that we will suffer through evil in the world but that we will see rewards in Heaven. 

  3. As with many other worldviews, the New Age Spiritualist would say that truth is subjective. New Agers create their own reality (Romans 1:25). … Any time a view claims truth is subjective, there is no way to prove it or reach that conclusion without going against that view. The Bible warns us that people will reject the truth for lies. 

Chew and Spit:

  1. They believe in reincarnation (Hebrews 9:27-28). … Scripture says physical death is final. We do not come back in another body. 

  2. They practice meditation to work toward enlightenment. Biblical meditation is filling the mind with Scripture and praying and focusing on the work of God in your life. … They try to empty their mind instead of filling it with God. 

  3. Spiritualists are often holistic in practice. … They are often vegan in diet because of karma and are also good environmentalists. These are a couple things Christians could consider also for their own lives. 

  4. Spiritualists have many practices that they use to connect with their inner divinity and pursue enlightenment. … They use things like ouija boards and seances to try to reach the spiritual realm. This is something the Bible warns against. 

Prepared to Give an Answer: “There Are Many Ways to God” Be Prepared to Answer Pluralism

Sunday Sermon Series Prepared to Give an Answer

Key verse for this series: 1 Peter 3:15 tells us to be gentle and respectful when discussing issues with people who disagree with us, and that we need to be prepared to give an answer. 

Pluralism is the idea that ALL religions offers legitimate paths to God. NO single religion has a monopoly on how to be saved. In religious pluralism all roads lead to God. A pluralist is okay with stating that all truth claims are equally valid. It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are sincere. … If you ask three blind people to touch an elephant and say what it is, one might touch the trunk and say it’s a snake, Another might touch the tusk and say it’s a spear. The third might touch the tail and say it’s a rope. None is more right or wrong than the others and all reached their own conclusions based on the information they had. The Pluralist will tell you that’s how religion is too. 

The Biblical worldview says: 

  1. There is only one way to God and Heaven and that is through Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:10, 12). … This is an exclusive truth claim. There is no way for it to accommodate other religions. 

  2. Christianity is unique because it is based on grace, not works. … Our society is all about works and what we have accomplished. Fame is gained through works, good or bad. But Christianity is upside down and everything is based on grace, There is no work we can do to gain salvation. Only the grace of God can save us. Other religions require works and don’t offer certainty of salvation. 

  3. God has become human in order to die in our place (Philippians 2:6-8; Romans 3:23-26). … We are all sinners and need salvation. Christianity offers assurance of salvation because it doesn’t require works. The hard part is done and all we have to accept the grace of God and believe in Christ. 

What evidence is there that Christianity is a more plausible worldview than pluralism? 

  1. All religions cannot be true because they make exclusive truth claims. This is called the Law of Non-Contradiction. … Different religions contradict each other. They refer to different gods and different paths to their god(s) and different end results. There is no way to reconcile all religions. … Any time we make a truth claim, we say that anything contradicting it is false. 

  2. No other religion addresses the problem of sin and the need for atonement. The truth is in the Gospel. … Many religions offer no guarantee of salvation because they are works-based and rely on a scale. You have to hope your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds. Christianity offers assurance of salvation through the grace of God. 

Chew and Spit: 

  • Christianity is not intolerant and unloving because of its exclusive truth claims. … We are often told we are intolerant because of these claims, but other religions also make exclusive truth claims and are deemed tolerant. 

  • The Bible teaches us to live peacefully with those of differing worldviews, not through silence but through example of faith. … When we treat people without respect and gentleness we are being intolerant. We should listen to others and treat them respectfully. … When Daniel and his friends were taken to Babylon and told to eat food that was against the Law God had given them, they respectfully declined and ended up healthier than the rest of the men. They didn’t set up organized protests or call anyone names. They responded peacefully without compromising their beliefs. This is seen throughout Daniel’s life as he refused to bow down to the golden statue and he refused to stop praying to God. 

  • Culture has tried to redefine the meaning of tolerance. … Too often it seems as though tolerance simply means that we agree with the popular view. If we disagree, we are labeled intolerant by those who claim to be tolerant. 

Prepared to Give an Answer:“Is the Bible Really True?” Be Prepared to Answer Skepticism

Sunday Sermon Series Prepared to Give an Answer

Key verse for the series: 1 Peter 3:15 tells us to gently and respectfully respond to those who question our faith. We’ve looked at a few ways to do that already. This week we look at how to do that when skeptics are asking the questions. 

There is a certain amount of skepticism needed in life. That’s the idea behind the ”chew and spit” part of each sermon in this series. However, there is an unhealthy skepticism in our culture and this sermon will look at three of the most common questions or claims made by skeptics. 

Skepticism says we cannot know truth even if it exists. Skeptics ask, “How can we be sure?” 

Chew and Spit: 

  • We want our kids to be skeptics to an extent (1 Thessalonians 5:21; Acts 17:11; John 20:25). 

What Skeptics Say About the Bible:

  1. “The Bible is full of contradictions and errors.”
    Minor discrepancies characterize eyewitness accounts. These can often be harmonized. Archaeology has repeatedly proven the Bible to be in small details previously unknown to us. … The book Cold Case Christianity looks at these discrepancies and determines that these discrepancies add validity to the eyewitness accounts. It’s written by a homicide detective who was not a believer before he studied the discrepancies in the New Testament … One example of a discrepancy that has caused people to lose faith is Mark 2:26. … An example of the Bible being proven right is the existence of the Hittites., For the longest time, the Bible was the only record of their existence until an archaeological dig discovered physical evidence that they existed. 

  2. “The Bible has been changed over the years.”
    Recent discoveries of ancient manuscripts like the Dead Sea Scrolls show the Bible has not changed substantially during the centuries it was hand copied. … The Dead Sea scrolls are 95% the same as the next oldest scrolls we have. The people who copied the scriptures followed meticulous methods that helped ensure the accuracy of their copy. … Many of the actual discrepancies that exist are one letter differences like John being spelled with one ‘n’ or two ‘n’s. They have no significance to the actual message.

  3. “The stories in the Bible are myths or legends.”
    Legends require a long period of time to develop, but the Bible was written by eyewitnesses (John 19:35; 2 Peter 1:16; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8; Luke 1:1-4). … There is a partial manuscript of John that dates back to 90 A.D. The authors of the new Testament all claim to be eyewitnesses or to have interviewed eyewitnesses.