Posts in the "Sunday Sermon" Category

Galatians: A Defense of the Gospel of Salvation by Faith in Jesus: How Do We Know the Gospel Is True? Paul Defends His Apostleship

Sunday Sermon Series Galatians

Galatians 1:11-2:14

This letter is about defending the Gospel, but before Paul can defend the Gospel, he must first defend himself and his apostleship. What does this have to do with us and why is Paul’s credibility important even today? Paul wrote much of the New Testament and his teaching have been important to Christians ever since he wrote them down. If Paul’s credibility is no good, then neither are his teachings. He understood this and defended himself as an apostle.

  1. Paul’s apostleship came by revelation from Jesus (Galatians 1:11-24). … Paul, who was originally Saul, persecuted Christians before his conversion. Then Jesus appeared to him on the road and called Paul to serve Him. Paul’s apostleship wasn’t simply granTed by some man or woman. He had a miraculous meeting with Jesus.

  2. Paul’s apostleship was affirmed by the leaders of the twelve apostles (Galatians 2:1-10). … The apostles recognized that Paul was an apostle like them and was called by Christ like they were.

  3. Paul’s apostleship was asserted in a confrontation with Peter (Galatians 2:11-14). … Peter, also called Cephus, feared some of the Jewish believers who thought every believer should be circumcised and started to draw away from the uncircumcised gentiles. Peter already knew God didn’t show favoritism between circumcised and uncircumcised, but still withdrew fellowship from the gentiles and comprised his faith because of peer pressure. Others noticed Peter doing this and followed suit. Paul also noticed and rebuked the leader, Peter.

Questions to consider:

  • Do you accept the whole Bible as God’s revelation to you through the apostles?

  • Will you listen to God’s call in your life? Is He calling you to salvation? To a ministry Assignment?

  • Is there an area of compromise in your life due to the pressure of other people?

Galatians: A Defense of the Gospel of Salvation by Faith in Jesus: Don’t Desert the One True Gospel

Sunday Sermon Series Galatians

Galatians 1:1-10

This week we start a series of sermon going through the book of Galatians. It’s going to take a while to get through it, but the goal is to know what Galatians is about by the end of this series. That way we know where to look when we struggle with something that relates to it. Galatians is primarily “a defense of the Gospel of salvation by faith in Jesus” as the title suggests. The background for Galatians comes from Acts 13-15 and is in modern day Turkey. Certain teachers were instricting believers among the gentiles that they must also be circumcised to be saved. Paul didn’t like this because it added a required work to the free gift of salvation, which is obtained by faith alone.

Paul opens the letter defending his own apostleship, which gives him more authority on the subject in the letter. Then he states who the letter is for and greets them with a summarisation of the Gospel. The next part is typically where the thanksgiving goes, but Paul foregoes that here because he is apparently ticked off. He jumps straight into the issue.

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel--which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the Gospel” (Galatians 1:6-7).

Paul expresses his astonishment at how quickly the people have turned from what he had taught them. Scholars believe that this letter was written just a year after Paul was at the church he’s writing to. It took only a short time for them to be led astray by false teachers, and Paul has to write to them in an attempt to turn them back.

Paul really finds the perversion of the Gospel to be a truly horrible thing. He says that they shouldn’t listen to anyone who preaches a different gospel, even if it is him or an angel, going so as far as saying to let them be damned to Hell. Sometimes people change the gospel to please people; however, we aren’t here to please people; we’re here to please God. Changing the Gospel does not please God.

Questions to consider:

  • Have you embraced the Gospel of salvation by faith in Jesus?

  • In what direction is your life trending?

  • Are you allowing anyone to lead you astray?

  • Do you have friends or relatives who are trending away from the Gospel for whom you need to pray? (James 5:19-20)

For Such a Time as This

Sunday Sermon

Esther 1-7

Context: Esther’s story begins in 483 BC. Esther is part of a large Jewish community that has remained in Persia (modern day Iran), where God had sent them into exile. In 536 BC the Persian king, Cyrus, said the Jews could return to their homeland and rebuild the temple. A large group returned the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah. But there was a group of Jewish people remained in Persia and didn’t go with Ezra and Nehemiah. The group that remained in Persia was sometimes looked down on by the Jews who returned to Israel. They were looked down upon because they were considered too worldly.

In Esther the king throws a massive party to celebrate himself. When he summoned the queen to come to the party wearing only her crown, she refused. This greatly embarrassed the king and would set a terrible precedent in the eyes of all the men of Persia. So Queen Vashti was kicked to the curb and the king held a long search for a new queen. Esther was one of the young women that was taken to the king as a possible queen. She was apparently extremely beautiful. She had been living with her cousin Mordecai as his daughter until then. She was chosen as the new queen.

Haman was an adviser to the king and had an agenda to get rid of the Jews. There was a decree that everyone had to bow to Haman. Well, Mordecai refused to. Mordecai learned of Haman’s plan to rid Persia of the Jews requests Esther’s help since she is the queen. Esther hosts a dinner with Haman and the king. Haman thought he was really doing well to be eating with the king and queen and Esther asked them back the next night.

When Haman was walking home, he saw Mordecai and grew angry and ordered a gallows to be set up for him tomorrow. That same night the king had trouble sleeping and had some past events read to him. One of those events was when Mordecai had saved the king’s life. The king had never done anything to thank him though. Haman walked in and the king asked him what he would do for someone who deserved the highest praise. Haman assumed the king meant Haman, so he suggested a grand parade.

The king told him to put together the parade for Mordecai. After the parade, Esther hosted that second dinner and revealed Haman’s evil plot against the jews and the fact that she was a Jew. The next day, Haman is on the gallows instead of Mordecai.

Four big ideas for a new year:

  1. God is able to use ‘Mordecais’ and ‘Esthers.’ … What matters in the Kingdom of God is your surrender and availability to the King. Mordecai and Esther were normal people who simply were willing to be part of God’s plan.

  2. God is always at work in your life. … God is weaving the stories of His people for His Redemptive Plan. God’s name is never mentioned in the book of Esther, but His fingerprints are all over it. There’s just too many coincidences for it not to be a plan.

  3. You can’t hold on to this life, so risk it all for the Gospel. … “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” --John Elliott

  4. The need is urgent. Our time is short. … Just like Esther could not ignore the life and death reality, neither can we.

We’re in the same moment as Esther--we’re in a divinely orchestrated moment, with life or death implications. We’ve been placed here for “just such a time as this.”

How are you going to respond in 2019?

The the Christmas Story Teaches Us about God: God Saves Us

Sunday Sermon Series What the Christmas Story Tells Us about God Christmas

The main theme of the whole Bible is God’s intention to save us. The Christmas story reveals some things about God’s salvation that we did not clearly see before then.

  1. Christmas reveals the nature of God’s salvation:
    God saves us from our sins (Matthew 1:20-21; John 3:17-18). … The very name of Jesus means “God saves”. The angel tells Joseph to name the baby Jesus to show the character of God. The angel also told Joseph whose sins the people needed to be saved from: their own, not their oppressor’s sins. Our biggest problem is ourselves. My biggest problem is me and your biggest problem is you. Our sins, not others’, are what condemn us to Hell, but Christ came to save us from our own sins so that we may have a way into to Heaven.

  2. Christmas reveals the method of God’s salvation:
    God saves us through His Son (1 John 4:14; Matthew 20:28). … It was possible to keep the law and make it to Heaven before. God tried to reach the world through the Israelites. They failed Him over and over again. Eventually God decided to go Himself, to send His Son. They used to teach “reach, throw, row, and go” in lifeguard classes. The first option to reach in and help is the safest but isn’t always possible. The last one, going out to the person who needs help, is the most dangerous and can result in the deaths of both the original person in need and the one who went to help. God sent His Son knowing that He would have to die to save us all.

  3. Christmas reveals the scope of God’s salvation:
    God extends His off of salvation to the whole world (Luke 2:10-11, 29-32; John 4:42). … Luke emphasizes in his Gospel that Jesus is the savior for all, not just the Jews. Jesus is the Savior of the World, not just the savior of the Jews or the savior of my family or your family. He is the Savior of the World. What this means for us is that the best gift we can give to others is our testimony in Christ and the offer of salvation through Christ.

What the Christmas Story Teaches Us about God: God Loves Us

Sunday Sermon Series What the Christmas Story Tells Us about God Holidays Christmas

How do we know God loves us? 1 John 4:9-10 shares two ways you know God loves you:

  1. Christmas (1 John 4:9) … The Greek word here used for “sent” is the same root word we get the word “apostle” from. The term for “one and only son” was previously translated as “only begotten” but that, while a good translation at its time, is not completely accurate. God did not “beget” or create Jesus. God and Jesus are one and the same. Jesus has existed forever. They are of the same “genetic makeup” in human terms. … Jesus was sent to the world because God loves us.

  2. The Cross (1 John 4:10) … Jesus was not only sent, but He was sent as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. … The crazy part of this is that our sins that Jesus is the sacrifice for are against His law. Our sins are against God. Yet, Jesus, who is God, has paid the price for our sins. … It’s similar to a police chief pulling over a car for speeding and the driver is his wife. The police chief writes the ticket and then pays it himself because it was for his wife. … We know God loves us because he sacrificed Himself for us.

John 3:16 tells us that God loves the world. … The term translated “so” can have two meanings. It could refer to degree (“so much” or manner (“in this way”). John is known for using phrases with double meanings, so it is likely supposed to be both.

Here is a four-part summary of John 3:16 by Max Lucado:

  1. God Loves

  2. God Gave

  3. You Believe

  4. You Live

The initiative is with God. God loves us and gives us the chance for salvation. All we do is believe and are granted eternal life.

What the Christmas Story Teaches Us about God: God Is with Us

Sunday Sermon Series What the Christmas Story Tells Us about God Holidays Christmas

Today we look at two terms that help to describe God. They are very different terms, and both are important aspects of who God is.

Transcendent means God is far away; God is different from us, He is holy.

Immanent means God is near to us; God is present in our world, He is like us.

Which of these is emphasized in the Old Testament? Transcendent (Isaiah 55:8-9; Isaiah 6) … In general, the Old Testament gives us a sense of God’s holiness and greatness. God is a being that no human can wrap their mind around. … However, there are times that God makes his closeness known to His people in the Old Testament, such as in Isaiah 7 which also happens to be a prophecy of the birth of Jesus. The prophecy there has a fulfillment in the same chapter, but also another (and greater) fulfillment later (Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 1:18-23).

Which of these is emphasized in the Christmas Story? Immanent (Matthew 1:18-23) … This is the greater fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 6 and 9. God came to Earth. He walked with humans, ate with tax collectors, conversed with prostitutes, and forgave sinners.

God is both transcendent and immanent. If we view God as one and not the other, we get a wrong view of God. … If God is immanent and not transcendent, then we lose fear of God and start worshipping everything because God is in everything and everything is good. There is no reverence for God. … If God is transcendent and not immanent then we have no personal relationship with God and risk believing God exists without living like we believe in the God the Bible tells us about. God is just out there and doesn’t care to be involved in our lives.

The incarnation means God became a human (John 1:14; Hebrews 2:11-18; 4:15-16). … Jesus lived as a human and has gone through everything that we have or will go through. Jesus has faced the temptations that we face. Because of this, we can go to Him for help when we face issues we struggle with.

Look at the passenger side mirror the next time you get in a vehicle. It should say “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” So is God. Sometimes God can seem so far away that it feels like He couldn’t understand what we go through, but He is always near and has gone through temptations the same as us.

What the Christmas Story Teaches Us about God: God is Father and Son

Sunday Sermon Series What the Christmas Story Tells Us about God Holidays

The Christmas story has a bunch of colorful characters: a young engaged couple, an elderly couple, an evil king, angels, shepherds, and wise men. But the main character is God. This week we start a series where we will look at the Christmas story and see what it reveals about God.

The most basic thing we learn about God from the Christmas story is that God has a Son (Luke 1:26-35). … An Angel revealed to Mary that she would give birth to God’s son, Jesus.

When Jesus grew up, He spoke of God as His Father. He said there is a unique relationship between the Son and the Father (Matthew 11:27; John 3:35; 10:30). … Here we start to see what it means for Jesus to be the Son of God. They have a unique relationship where they are one and the same.

John explains in the introduction to his Gospel that the Son was with God in the beginning and the Son was and is God (John 1:1, 18). … John gives us an interpretation of what the Father and Son relationship means. They are the same and yet distinct, something that is difficult to imagine and explain. … Side note: yes, we are also sons and daughters of God, but Jesus is the unique Son of God.

The Old Testament hinted that there was some kind of multiplicity to God even though there it also states there is only one true God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Genesis 1:26; Isaiah 6:8).

What analogy does the Bible give to help us understand this two-in-one God? Marriage (Matthew 19:5-6) … In marriage there are two individuals who work together and often function as a single entity. … Here’s a couple more: scientists regard light as waves and particles. And then there’s pants, a pair of pants. Pants are a single garment even though they are also a pair.

As the Bible continues to reveal God, we learn that He is three-in-one--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--which we call the Trinity (John 14:16-17). … Jesus Himself tells us there is a third person who is part of this one true God. The Holy Spirit first appears in the Bible in Genesis 1:2.

What analogy does the Bible give to help us understand this three-in-one God? A body (1 Corinthians 12:12) … A body has multiple parts that work independently and together at the same time. It’s not a perfect analogy, but it’s the best we have and it helps us to see how the church should be too. … Sometimes people try to use water as a way to explain the Trinity because it has three forms: water, ice, and gas. But this comparison falls short and leads to the error of modalism where God is only one of the three at a time instead of all three all the time. … It’s not really possible to fully understand the nature of God, but what kind of God would He be if we could fully understand who and what He is?

What does this mean for our lives? God is relational. … God wants a father-child relationship with all of us. For those of us who grew up with good fathers, this is probably easier for us to accept than for those who grew up with a bad father or no father at all.

Pouring Out Water and Raising Up Stones

Sunday Sermon

Sometimes our pastor likes to change up how he teaches us. There’s always the auditory aspect, but sometimes he uses low-tech visual aids because they can help many people learn and there’s examples of prophets doing the same in the Bible. Singing worship songs and the Lord’s Supper are examples of interactive worship. In 1 Samuel 7, we see another example of interactive worship.

In 1 Samuel 4 the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines. Then in chapter 5 we see that whichever city held the captured Ark faced devastation, so they returned in chapter 6.

Now we get to 1 Samuel 7 and learn the Ark was returned to Israel and stayed at Kiriath Jearim twenty years (1 Samuel 7:1-2a). During that time Samuel was raised up as a prophet.

The Israelites realized they were a mess and turned back to God. Samuel encouraged them to turn to God with all their heart and to rid themselves of the idols and false gods they worshipped, promising deliverance from the Philistines if they did. And so they did as Samuel encouraged (1 Samuel 7:2b-4).

Then Samuel gathered everyone together and led them in an interactive worship experience. They drew water and poured it out before God and fasted and confessed their sins. They poured out their hearts to God and made a break with the past--when you pour water on the ground, you don’t get it back (1 Samuel 7:5-6). .. Our pastor invited us to do this during the invitation. … Is there anything you need to confess to God, anything you need to cut ties with and leave in the past?

Sometimes when you get right with Lord, your worldly circumstances change for the worse. When they gathered together at Mizpah for that interactive worship, the Philistines took it as a sign of aggression and gathered their army together to go against Israel. The Israelites feared the Philistines because they’ve lost in battle to them a few times before this and now they are about to battle again. So they asked Samuel to keep crying out to God so that God might rescue them. So Samuel offered a sacrifice. As he offered the sacrifice, the Philistines drew close to attack, but God caused a great thunder that threw them into a panic and the they were defeated (1 Samuel 7:7-11).

Now we come to a second act of interactive worship. Samuel set up a stone to commemorate the event, to immortalize the Lord’s help (1 Samuel 7:12). Our memories aren’t always very good and sometimes we forget what God has done for us. Samuel didn’t want this to happen to the Israelites, so he raised up that stone as a way of offering Thanksgiving to God. … Our pastor invited us to go write something God has helped us with on a stone during the invitation. … Has God done anything in your life you need to remember forever? Has he answered a prayer, helped you beat cancer, helped you with anxiety or getting over a loss of a loved one? Make a monument somewhere you will see it and be reminded about God’s goodness everyday.

What Christians Believe About People: All People Have a Body and a Soul

Sunday Sermon Series What Christians Believe about People

3 John 1:2 is a greeting that wishes good health for body and soul and is a great summary verse for this sermon.

It is wrong to have too low a view of your body (1 Corinthians 6:13, 15, 19-20). … Having a low view for the body leads to us hurting our bodies and treating them with disrespect. Doing those things leads to sin such as sexual immorality. Paul tells us to have higher views and gives reasons why we should have a higher view of our bodies. One of these reasons is that our bodies are temples where the Holy Spirit resides.

It is wrong to have too high a view of your body (1 Timothy 4:8; Matthew 16:26). … Going to the other extreme is dangerous too. We like to look good and often put in time to make sure we do. We are told that physical training has some importance but that “godliness is important in all things.” Working hard to be in great shape might lead to you being the next great athlete and making millions of dollars, but that value is nothing compared to the value of your soul. Don’t forfeit your soul just for material; gains.

Materialists believe the body is all there is, but Christians believe every person has a spirit or soul (Psalm 42:1; Matthew 10:28). The Bible uses these two words interchangeably. … The Bible is clear that we have a body and soul. Jesus warns us that we should fear the One who can destroy both instead of only our body.

When you die, your soul leaves your body (John 19:30). If you have believed in Jesus, your soul goes to Heaven (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:6, 8). … Jesus “gave up His spirit” when He died on the cross. His soul left His body. The criminal who believed in Jesus also had his soul go to Paradise when he died. This tells us that the soul leaves the body upon death and does not wait for the second coming.

God will save our bodies as well as our souls (Romans 8:23; Luke 24:36-43; Philippians 3:20-21). … God will resurrect our bodies. Our bodies will be redeemed. These imperfect bodies that are prone to sickness, cancer, aging, injuries, and other troubles will be raised in a glorified form. This is what happened to Jesus and is what will happen to us upon His second coming. Jesus had a physical body; He had hands and feet and He ate and drank. One day He will return and our souls will return to our bodies, now in their glorified form.

Do you find yourself on either end of the spectrum? Do you neglect your body or treat it with disrespect? Or do you make it an idol and do everything you can to perfect it at the cost of your soul? Do you fear those who can only destroy your body or the One who can destroy both body and soul more? Do you know where you will go when you die?

What Christians Believe about People: All People Are Sinners

Sunday Sermon Series What Christians Believe about People

Do you think people are basically good or basically bad? There was a man and woman who quit their jobs to travel the world for a year in order to prove that evil is a make-believe concept and that people are basically good. Sadly, they were killed in Isis territory.

The concept of sin is disappearing in our society and not just in secular society, but also in the church. Joel Olsteen, the most watched pastor right now, admittedly never talks about sin. The term ‘sin’ appears nearly a thousand times in the Bible. It is obviously a big deal. It is not something to be taken lightly or forgotten.

In Genesis 2:16-17 God gave a commandment, and ultimately a choice, to Adam. Adam could choose to obey God or disobey God.

What is the origin of our sin problem? Genesis 3:1-19) … A talking serpent---the fallen angel Satan--tempted Eve by questioning what God said. The devil likes to make us question what God has told us with His commands and promises. Eve gave in and Adam didn’t stop her, but also ate of the fruit. As a result, sin entered the world and broke the world. With sin came pain and suffering. With sin came evil.

What is the extent of our sin problem? (Romans 3:10-12, 23) …. Paul doesn’t mince words here. He tells us sin is a universal problem. We’re all sinners. It’s a universal problem. If this were an old western, we’d all be wearing black hats. If we were all hackers, we’d all be wearing black hats. None of us would even own a white hat.

What is the magnitude of our sin problem? (Jeremiah 7:19) … We can’t fix it. The elected officials won’t be able to put an end to sin. (But you should still vote.) We can’t even fix our own sin.

  • Our sin is internal

  • Our sin is incurable

  • Our sin is irrational

What are the implications of our sin problem? 1 Corinthians 10:12) … A Biblical understanding of sin should lead to us putting up some boundaries in our lives. If we have appropriate boundaries set up and respect them even when we are at our best, it will be easier to avoid sin.

What is the solution to our sin problem? (Ezekiel 36:26-27, Acts 3:19; Ephesians 4:22-24) … The solution is a radical change. We must repent from our sins and look to God and align our desires with His. Once we do that, our old desires for sin are replaced by the desires that God has for us. … We are always going to struggle with sin, but as we grow as Christians, our old, sinful nature should continue to shrink as our new, righteous nature takes its place.

In Psalm 51 David acknowledges his sin before God and seeks mercy. He knows he was a sinner from birth just like the rest of us and needs God’s help to get out of sin.