Posts in the "Sunday Sermon" Category

VBS Key Verse: The Purpose Statement of the Gospel of John

Sunday Sermon

John 20:30-31

Why did John write his gospel (story of Jesus)?

John wrote his gospel to help us believe in Jesus. … This is why it is often recommended as the first book of the Bible to read for those who have never read it before.

John calls the miracles of Jesus “signs”. … They are signs that point to who Jesus is.  

“Believe” is the key word in John. This word occurs 11 times in Matthew, 10 times in Mark, 9 times in Luke, and 98 times in John! … That’s quite a stark difference from the other gospels and shows a major emphasis.

What does John want us to believe about Jesus?

  1. Jesus is the Messiah (Christ). … Jesus is the One who was promised in the Old Testament prophecies.

  2. Jesus is God’s Son. … He is the Son of God, holy and eternal.

Why is it important to believe in Jesus?

When you believe in Jesus you receive life through Him.

  1. Jesus gives abundant/rich/satisfying/full/better life. … Jesus gives life better than we can dream of, better even than the life King Solomon had. Solomon had everything he wanted and came to the conclusion that it was all meaningless. To be more specific, that it was meaningless without God.

  2. Jesus gives eternal life. … We know that even after we physically die our spirit will live on in eternity because we believe in Jesus and have put our trust in Him.

One of Jesus’ disciples, Thomas (called twin) struggled with believing Jesus had risen from the grave. He wasn’t with the other 10 (Judas Iscariot was dead) when Jesus first appeared to them and he doubted their reports. Jesus appeared to them again and showed Thomas His scars and Thomas believed. And because he believed, he will have eternal life. Then Jesus says that those who believe without seeing will be blessed. That’s us!

The Avenger: End Game

Sunday Sermon

Nahum 1:1-8; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9; Romans 12:19

Vengeance is defined as payback or retribution for something that someone has done wrong. Some people say they don’t want a God who is vengeful. But it’s possible these people are deceiving themselves and they really do want a God who is vengeful and deals out justice. Just look at the current number 1 movie, soon to be number 1 all-time, Avengers: Endgame. The movie is about heroes who are taking vengeance on the villian on behalf of the universe. People may say they don’t want a vengeful God, but the evidence in our culture indicates otherwise.

God is an avenging God. Vengeance means God brings justice and punishes evil. Today we look at three Bible passages that explain God’s vengeance.

Nahum 1:1-8

Nahum’s prophecy is about the city of Nineveh. Another book about this city is Jonah. These people returned to their evil, and now Nahum says they will be destroyed. God can use natural disasters and wars to exercise His vengeance. … The people of Nineveh were cruel people and did detestable acts. However, in the book of Jonah, God sends a prophet to warn the city that He would destroy them unless they repented. They repented and God relented, showing His mercy. Then about 150 years later, Nahum has a new message for the people of Nineveh. Nahum starts out by saying God is slow to anger, telling us that anger and vengeance are not the first of His attributes to be revealed. His wrath is great and terrifying. But God also is merciful and extends grace, but that mercy and grace looks even more welcoming with His wrath in the background. After stating these attributes of God, Nahum prophesied that Nineveh will be destroyed and doesn’t give an option for repentance and mercy. The people of Nineveh, the Assyrians, no longer exist today.

2 Thessalonians 1:6-9

The vengeance of God in this present world is uneven and incomplete. But there is coming an endgame to His vengeance. When Jesus returns, He will take vengeance on those who do not know God and do not obey to His Gospel. … In our world, some crimes go unpunished. Sometimes innocents are punished with or in place of the guilty. Endgame spoilers: In Endgame the forces of Thanos gather on one side of the battlefield and the Avengers gather on the other side. Using time travel, they were able to bring back those who died in the previous movie. When Jesus returns the dead will rise and join Him and He take vengeance on those who do not know Him.

Romans 12:19

Christians must not take revenge. We must leave room for God’s wrath Because of the vengeance of God, we can let go of bitterness, trust God’s justice, and pray for our enemies. … Whenever we try to take vengeance into our own hands it turns into revenge, which involves more personal feelings and emotions. Paul quotes Deuteronomy here and tells us that vengeance belongs to God and that we should leave it to Him. This allows us to let go of bitterness.

Oh the Places You'll Go

Sunday Sermon

Joshua 1:1-9

This week we celebrate the graduating seniors with a sermon from our youth pastor.

You may recognize the sermon title as the title of a Dr. Seuss book. In the book, a young character leaves home and goes on a journey. The journey takes him to various places and requires courage. Today’s sermon is mainly directed at graduating seniors, but also applies to all of us.

God commissions Joshua to be the next leader of the nation of Israel. He must be courageous and step up to the task. … Joshua has seen many powerful works that God has done through Moses. Now, it’s his turn to lead his people and he has some big shoes to fill.

4 distinct pillars of courage to lead you into the future:

  1. Courage rests upon a clear assignment from God (Joshua 1:2-4). … These graduates have been doing assignments all their lives in school, and they are also on assignment from God, just as we all are. We’ve been given our assignment by Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20 and are reminded of it in 2 Corinthians 2:17-20. That assignment is the great commission, to go and make disciples.

  2. Courage rests upon the assurance of God’s presence (Joshua 1:5). … God reminds Joshua that He was always with Moses and He promises to always be with Joshua too. We can also claim this promise for ourselves.

  3. Courage rests upon a focused determination (Joshua 1:6-9). … God repeats Himself, telling Joshua to be strong and courageous. We won’t be any more courageous without using what courage we do have, and sometimes we need to be encouraged to use that courage. … In Dr. Seuss’ story, the character needs courage as they go on their journey. There will be tough times and easy times and we need to be strong and courageous in all those times. … God is with us wherever we go and He gives us the courage we need for every situation.

  4. Courage rests upon the Word of God (Joshua 1:7-8). … As long as we trust in the Lord and His promises, His Word, we can be courageous. These verses tell us how to use His Word to live courageously.

    1. Proclaim Truth … Joshua proclaims truth, he speaks it and references Deuteronomy 6:7-9

    2. Possess Truth … We need to take ownership of God’s word and meditate on it as we see in Psalm 1:1-2

    3. Practice Truth … We are told do some things in the Word. James 1:22 also tells us we need to do as the Word states. We need to live out the Truth.

In one of his Unspoken Sermons, George MacDonald writes, “In whatever man does without God, he must either fail miserably--or succeed even more miserably.” MacDonald understood that wherever we go and whatever we do, God is there and we should do all things with Him. Many of the things we do require courage, and our courage rests upon Him, His assignment, His presence, His encouragement, His word.

A Kingdom-Focused Family

Sunday Sermon


The example of Aquila and Priscilla:

  • Acts 18:1-2

    • Expelled from Rome in 49 AD. … Suetonius, a historian, confirms that Christians were kicked out of Rome in 49 AD. The order was issued Claudius, the Roman Emperor.

    • Met Paul in Greece in 51 AD. … Interestingly, they had the same occupation as Paul. They were tent makers and would have been good with leather.

  • Acts 18:18-19, 24-25

    • Traveled with Paul to Corinth in 52 AD. … After working with Paul and becoming good friends, they decide to go on a mission trip with him. … When they heard someone preaching about Jesus without the full picture, they invited him into their home and helped him learn more about Jesus. … When Paul went to Ephesus, they followed him there, but they remained there when Paul moved on.

  • 1 Corinthians 16:19

    • A church meets in their house.

  • Romans 16:3-5

    • Return to Rome in 57 AD. … We know they returned to rome because Paul addresses them in his letter to the Romans. Apparently they even risked their lives for Paul and they still have a church meeting in their house.

  • 2 Timothy 4:19

    • They are back in Ephesus in 68 AD. … Paul finally made it to Rome, but Aquila and Priscilla are in Ephesus again, as evidenced by him greeting them in his letter to Timothy

A kingdom-focused family:

  1. Works as a team. … Be on each others’ teams. Work together. Sometimes one must submit to the other, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still work together.

  2. Finds a mission bigger than their jobs. … Aquila and Priscilla weren’t full-time church workers and probably carried on as tent makers throughout the time we looked at, but they risked their lives for a mission that was bigger than their jobs.

  3. Uses their home to glorify God. … Aquila and Priscilla invited others into their home so could teach them about Jesus.

  4. Connects to a local church wherever they move. … Aquila and Priscilla always connected to a church, whether it was in their home or somewhere else, they were part of a church.

Aquila and Priscilla thought Claudius, the Roman Emperor who expelled Christians from Rome, had simply kicked them out of their home. But God used Claudius to cause them to meet Paul. They somehow saved Paul’s life and he kept preaching. Their encounter with Paul led them to many other places and to good work for Christ.

We Are Sent

Sunday Sermon

Acts 25-28

Today we are going to look at how God sends the Apostle Paul to fulfill his dream of getting the Gospel to Rome, nearly 3000 miles from where the Spirit first descended upon the church in that Upper Room.

  1. Live provocatively (Acts 25:22)... Paul was arrested and left in jail for two years and seemingly forgotten. A new ruler eventually comes to power and calls before him, but Paul, who is a Roman citizen, appeals to Caesar. So, they make plans to send him to Rome to plead his case, but before he can get there, King Agrippa asks to speak with Paul so he could try to understand Paul's motivations for how he lives. 1 Peter 3:15 tells us our lives should prompt others to ask how and why we live the way we do.

  2. Seize opportunities (Acts 26:27-29).... As Paul speaks to Agrippa he tells Agrippa about Jesus and how the Old Testament prophets point to Him. Paul saw every situation as a platform to proclaim Christ and he knew the Spirit can work in any situation.

  3. Embrace sovereignty (Acts 27:21-26).... At the start of this sermon, Paul had been in prison for two years, and now he is on a ship in a storm. Following Christ is not easy. The storm gives him an opportunity to proclaim his faith and the sovereignty of God.

  4. Live a sent life (Acts 28:30-31).... By the end of Acts Paul is renting a house and welcoming everyone and proclaiming the Gospel to everyone. That's how the book ends.

The book of Acts only has 28 chapters and ends abruptly, But did it really end or are we in chapter 29 right now? Here's some tips on how to live like we are in Acts 29.

Be Sent in your inviting…. We tend to invite other Christians to church events. That's not a bad thing, but we really need to invite non believers even more so.

Be Sent in your volunteering…. Have you been affected by a volunteer? Pay it forward. Volunteer to go on missions or teach a class or do nursery.

Be Sent in your generosity…. Giving is important. It's how we pay for new materials for missions and classes among other things.

Be Sent in your faith…. Share your faith. Don't be afraid to follow God's direction.

God's Principles of Time Management

Sunday Sermon

A word of encouragement: There are different seasons in life (Ecclesiastes 3:1). … Many families have hectic schedules. Kids have practices for sports and band. Parents have work stuff. Both the kids and parents have friends and events they either want or need to do.

  1. Put the big rocks in your schedules first (Matthew 6:31). … Check out this video about time management to understand the rocks reference.… The biggest rock ought to be the “God rock”. It needs to go in first. The next biggest rocks should be work and family. Unfortunately what many of us do is put in small rocks first. We fear that we will miss out on something and keep throwing these small, less important rocks in the bucket. Sports, band, ballet, martial arts, parties, beaches, restaurants, screen time (phones, computers, TV), etc. are all small rocks. We tend to put them in first and then there isn’t room for the big rocks.

  2. Develop a weekly routine of worship, work, and rest (Genesis 2:1-3; Exodus 20:8-11). … This is how to put the big rocks in first. … Why did God create everything in six days and rest on the seventh? Why did God send mana to the Israelites for six days but not on the seventh? Why does one of the Ten Commandments tell us to keep the Sabbath holy? God is teaching us a pattern that we should live by, a pattern that gives us a routine of worship, work, rest. … Some professions require workers seven days a week and those are important jobs. But the people working those jobs also need this pattern of worship, work, rest.

  3. Submit your schedule to the lordship of Christ: Be open to interruptions that we are divine appointments (Acts 8:10). … If Jesus is Lord of your life, He ought to be Lord of your schedule. Acts 8, 9, and 10 all contain stories of believers who had their schedule interrupted by God to do something they likely would never had done on their own time. They may have done it reluctantly, but they did it.

Jesus exemplified all three of these principles in His life (Mark 1:32-35; Luke 4:16; Mark 5:30-32). … Jesus was busier than we are. And He still made the time for God and prayed. He had a routine that He followed. He was open to interruptions that were divine appointments.

Jesus’ Betrayal, Last Supper, Arrest, Trial, Crucifixion, Burial, and Resurrection: Jesus Is Buried and Rises from the Dead

Sunday Sermon Series Jesus’ Betrayal, Last Supper, Arrest, Trial, Crucifixion, Burial, and Resurrection Holidays Easter

Matthew 27:57-28:20

Jesus is buried by Joseph (Matthew 27:57-61). … This was not Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. This was Joseph of Arimathea, a follower of Jesus. The other gospels tell us that he was part of the Sanhedrin and did not vote for Christ to die. The tomb Jesus would have been buried in would have been easy to close and difficult to open by design.

Why is the burial of Jesus important?

  1. It is evidence He was dead.

  2. It fulfills the prophecy that the Savior would be buried with the rich. … Isaiah 53:9 predicted this.

  3. It is the basis of the symbolism of baptism. … When we are baptized we are fully immersed in water, symbolizing death and burial, and then we come back up from the water, symbolizing the resurrection.

The tomb is sealed and guarded (Matthew 27:62-66). … There was concern that the disciples or other followers would attempt to pull off a hoax and steal the body, so the tomb was sealed and a guard was posted.

The tomb is empty and Jesus is risen (Matthew 28:1-15). … When the two Marys and a few others came to the tomb with spices, the tomb opened up and an angel appeared. The angel isn’t described as some cute little winged baby, but as a great being that imposes fear and awe on those who see him. He tells the women to come and see that Jesus is risen and then to go and tell others about what they have seen. … On their way to tell others, they met Jesus and worshipped Him. … Important note: the tomb was not opened so Jesus could leave, but so that the witnesses could come and see. Jesus didn’t need an open grave in order to leave. … Then we read that when the religious leaders heard about this they paid off the guards to say the disciples must have come in the middle of the night while they slept and took the body. Neither side, believers or non-believers, from the 1st century dispute the evidence of the empty tomb. Rather, the non-believers believe that the disciples came to the tomb in the middle of the night and opened the tomb while the guards slept and took the body, all without waking the guards.

Jesus appears to His disciples in Galilee (Matthew 28:16-20).

Jesus says:

  1. All authority has been given to Me. … Jesus has power over everything, even death.

  2. Go and make disciples, baptizing them and teaching them to obey my commands. … This is the great commission we are given, to go and make disciples of all people.

  3. I will be with you always. … No matter where we go, what we do, who we are with, Jesus is always there. His Spirit is with us.

Jesus’ Betrayal, Last Supper, Arrest. Trial, Crucifixion, Burial, and Resurrection: Jesus Is Crucified

Sunday Sermon Series Jesus’ Betrayal, Last Supper, Arrest, Trial, Crucifixion, Burial, and Resurrection Holidays Easter

Matthew 27:11-54

Early Friday morning, Jesus stands trial before Pilate (Matthew 27:11-25). … Jesus has been interrogated by the Jews all night long and they want to execute Him, but they don’t have the legal power to do it, so they take Him to the ruling Roman governor, Pilate. Pilate questions Jesus and realizes Jesus has nothing wrong and sends Him to Herod Antipas but Herod sends Him back not wanting the mistake of Jesus’ death on his hands either (Luke 23:6-12). Finally, Pilate gives the Jews a choice to set Jesus free or to set a known criminal named Barabas free. They chose to free the known criminal and yelled “crucify Him” about Jesus. (Don’t let this verse lead to anti-semitism. The Jews are God’s chosen people and Christians should have no part in hating them.)

Jesus is beaten, mocked, and crowned with thorns (Matthew 27:26-30). … Jesus is hailed as the King of the Jews, so they give him a sceptre and a crown of thorns.

Jesus s forced to carry His cross to the place of execution (Matthew 27:31-33). … Jesus struggled to carry His cross after such a beating and they made a man named Simon of Cyrene to carry it further, to Golgotha, the place of the skull.

At 9:00 AM, Jesus is crucified (Matthew 27:34-37). … While on the cross, Jesus was offered some wine with gall/myrrh which may have been an act of mercy to help dull the pain or may have been intended as another mocking gesture. Either way, Jesus refused it. Below Him the guards gambled for His clothes. Over His head a sign reads “King of the Jews”. On either side there are criminals also on crosses.

Jesus is mocked by those around Him (Matthew 27:38-44). … Those who walked by mocked and taunted Him. And not only Him, but also God’s plan, whether they knew it or not.

At noon, the sky becomes dark (Matthew 27:45; Amos 8:9-10). … This may well be the result of creation mourning the death of its Creator. Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 are great prophecies of Jesus’ death,but a lesser known prophecy is found in Amos 8:9-10 which prophecies the darkness and that the event would occur during a religious festival.

At 3:00 PM, Jesus dies (Matthew 27:46-50). … Jesus , the Son, experiences separation from the Father, experiences being forsaken. He cries out “eli, eli, lama sabachthani” (“my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) and the crowd thought He was crying out for Elijah. They gave Him wine with vinegar and listened for what else He might say. Then He cried out once more and died.

When Jesus dies, two things split open:

  1. The temple curtain (Matthew 27:51) … This is the veil that separated the outer room from the inner room, the holy of holies. The tear signifies the end of the need for the sacrificial system. The perfect sacrifice has been given. Now we all have the ability to directly pray to God and have no need for priest to mediate for us.

  2. Rock and tombs (Matthew 27:52-54) … Rocks and tombs opened up. And after the resurrection some of the holy men who had died rose and walked among the people.

After Jesus died, his guards, the centurions, saw all this and proclaimed, “surely, this is the son of God.” It’s a proclamation from the lips of a gentile, one that shows us that anyone can believe, not just Jews.

Jesus’ Betrayal, Last Supper, Arrest. Trial, Crucifixion, Burial, and Resurrection: Jesus Is Arrest and Put on Trial

Sunday Sermon Series Jesus’ Betrayal, Last Supper, Arrest, Trial, Crucifixion, Burial, and Resurrection Holidays Easter

Matthew 26:31-27:5

Setting: It’s late Thursday evening and they’ve just eaten supper. They were probably on their way back to the house they were staying at in Bethany.

There are four main characters in this passage. Can you identify with any of these four?

Jesus predicts that His disciples will desert Him (Matthew 26:31-32).

Peter says he will never fall away (Matthew 26:33-35). … Peter is guilty of overestimating himself, which is a dangerous trap we can all fall into.

Jesus goes to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray, where He is betrayed by Judas (Matthew 26:38-39, 47-49, 53-54). … This garden seems to be a place where Jesus would have prayed in often. He left eight of his disciples in one area and took three of His inner circle with Him where He experienced anguish. Then He left those three and fell on His face to pray. He prayed to have the cup of God’s wrath taken away from Him, but He understood what must be done and why. Earlier that night He shared the cup of redemption, representing His blood, with His disciples. We will all drink from one of these two cups, and the one we all deserve is the one full of wrath. Fortunately for us, Jesus has taken that drink for us so that we may drink from the cup of redemption, of salvation. He prayed this three times as His disciples kept falling asleep. … Eventually Judas shows up with the priests and some soldiers to arrest Jesus. Peter cuts off an ear of one of them with his sword and Jesus rebuked Peter, saying He could have many legions of angels there to fight if that was His desire, and healed the man’s ear. This tells us Jesus died voluntarily when He easily could have saved Himself.

Jesus is arrested and taken to home of Caiaphas, the high priest (Matthew 26:57, 63-64, 67-68). … During the trial Jesus doesn’t answer their questions and there really isn’t enough evidence to convict Him of anything. Then Caiaphas gets the idea to directly ask Him if He is the Messiah. Jesus confirms the accusation and makes a bold statement that explains he calls Himself the Son of Man, referring to a prophecy from the Old Testament (Daniel 7:13).

Peter denies Jesus (Matthew 26:69-75). Judas regrets his betrayal and kills himself (Matthew 27:1-5). … Peter denies being a follower of Jesus just as Jesus predicted. Judas realized he had betrayed an innocent man and tried to return the money. They wouldn’t take it and he killed himself.

All four of these men were religious people, but we are told only two of them knew God and would go to Heaven.

Caiaphas was religious but was only out to protect his own position and status.

Judas was one of the twelve disciples and apparently blended in quite well. He came to regret what he did but to repentance.

Peter failed but he got came to repentance and got back up to become a great leader in the church.

Jesus submitted to the Father’s plan even though He did not want to.

Are you like any of these?

Jesus’ Betrayal, Last Supper, Arrest, Trial, Crucifixion, Burial, and Resurrection: Jesus Eats the Last Supper with His Disciples

Sunday Sermon Series Jesus’ Betrayal, Last Supper, Arrest, Trial, Crucifixion, Burial, and Resurrection Holidays Easter

Matthew 26:17-30

Jesus instructs Peter and John to prepare the Passover meal (Matthew 26:17-20). … The disciples asked Jesus where they should go to set up for Passover, and Jesus gave them some specific instructions, which the Gospel of Luke tells us even more about. So Peter and John went and followed the instructions and everything went as Jesus said. … It’s possible that this room they set up and ate in is the upper room in Mary’s, the mother of John Mark, the author of the Gospel of Mark, house. This is supported by a couple of passages in Acts. … So, they likely set up the meal at u-shaped table where they would recline. In John we learn that the disciples argued about who is greater, then Jesus washed their feet to illustrate a powerful point about humility and servant leadership.

While they are eating the meal, Jesus reveal that one of the twelve disciples will betray Him (Matthew 26:21-25). … When Jesus makes this revelation He also implies man free will to opt in or out of God’s plans and certainly also to refuse the devil. Jesus has washed Judas’ feet and warned him and shown him great love even though Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him.

During the meal, Jesus institutes what we call the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:26-28). … The bread, which was unleavened, represents His body that was broken for us. Why is it unleavened? Because it goes back to the Exodus when the Israelites left Egypt and didn’t have time to add yeast to their bread. Normally, yeast represents evil in the Bible and before the Passover each family would search through their house and throw out any yeast. Do you have any yeast, any sins, you need to throw out of your life? … Then Jesus took a cup of wine (which would have been mixed with water, 3 parts water and 1 part wine), the cup of redemption. He calls it His blood of the covenant, blood that is poured out for the forgiveness of our sins, blood that covers our sins and the shame and guilt from those forgiven sins. If you have sins that you still commit or haven’t confessed then that shame and guilt will remain and won’t be covered until you take those sins and put them away and confess them before God.

Jesus predicts a future time of fellowship in the Father’s Kingdom. They sing a hymn (Psalm 118:22-24), and go out to the Mount of Olives (Matthew 26:29-30). … Jesus didn’t finish the Passover meal. Instead, He said there is a time coming when they will all feast together again. The last words of the psalm they sang are prophetic. In Acts 4:10-12 Peter realizes this and professes it in front of the Sanhedrin. Jesus is the cornerstone that was rejected and is the only way to salvation.