This week’s sermon was given by Drake Williams, Professor of New Testament and Academic Dean of Tyndale Seminary in the Netherlands. The title of the sermon is “Potential or Problem?” We live in a world of problems! No matter where one turns, there is an abundance of problems. Even as Christians we find it easy to be overcome with the problems that confront us and become more than a little discouraged. In today’s gospel text Jesus encounters a man born blind. Rather than pointing to the problems in the past, He urges His disciples to see the potential in what is taking place rather than the problem. Examples on today’s mission field illustrate that God’s potential to act is often found in the problem that is before us.
This week’s sermon is titled, “It’s Real!” Do you remember the response of the Greeks in Athens when Paul told them about the resurrection of Jesus? They said he was an idle babbler! It’s a truth commonly accepted that when you’re dead, you’re dead. No one knows anyone who died, came back to life, and never died again. Well, except for Christians. Their testimony is that they know of just such an incident. It’s not made up. It’s not wishful thinking. It’s not a fabrication. It’s real! The physical resurrection of Jesus and His ascension to heaven are bedrock facts of the Christian faith.
This week’s sermon was delivered by guest preacher Kevin Noyes and was titled “The Joy of Zaccheus.” Luke’s gospel tells the story of Zaccheus – yes, that wee little man! It’s a passage that displays Jesus’ compassion, while confronting our tendency to lack compassion for those who are hard to love. The account of Zaccheus demonstrates Jesus’ commitment to reaching the lost, and how the lost turn their lives upside down to follow Jesus when they accept Him. We also see the temptation to grumble at what God is doing instead of joining in His work of making disciples. In Zaccheus we see the joy of changed hearts that rejoice in reaching the lost.
This week’s sermon is titled “Distinguishing Truth from Error.” Lots of young people dream of being a doctor or a nurse or some other worker in the field of medicine. They want to help sick people get well. Medical practitioners do so by forming a diagnosis based on medical exams, and medical tests. In a similar fashion, the Apostle John offers us diagnostics to verify truth so that we stay in fellowship with God, while avoiding spiritual errors promoted by adversaries that seek to impede our relationship to God. Let’s use these diagnostics to do self-examination to make sure nothing is obstructing our fellowship with God.
This week’s sermon title is “Tests”! Teachers and professors use tests to measure students’ learning. What student looks forward to test day – none! Usually, test days are preceded by many painful hours of preparation, times when we know we’re going to fail! So, we endure all night cramming sessions seeking to fill our brains with the data needed to do well on the test. If, in the end, one earns a good grade, then it seems as though the stress and strain was worth it all. In 1 John the apostle lays out certain tests to prove if one has fellowship with God. Those are the tests we need to pass.
This week’s sermon is titled “Here’s Why.” Two men on the road to Emmaus meet the risen Jesus but do not know it. As they walk and converse with Him, He is amazed at what they don’t know. They’d had their highest hopes crushed by the stone that sealed the tomb of Jesus. They had no clue that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer. Why? To make atonement for the sins of His people. Like those two men, most folk today have little awareness of the nature and necessity of atonement. Don’t leave this world without an experiential knowledge of Christ’s atonement.
This week’s sermon is titled “Awe and Wonder.” Are you ready for some fireworks? It’s that time of year! During the course of history no one has caused more fireworks – in one sense – than Jesus Christ. The Messiah has been a point of contention from Genesis 3 forward. Our OT text indicates it is Jesus that causes the nations to rage and be in an uproar. Things are much different for the Christian. We look at Christ with awe and wonder, overwhelmed by the magnitude of who He is and what He does. We need a solid foundational understanding of the person of Christ. We hope to get that this Lord’s Day.
This week’s sermon is titled “The X Factor.” Almost every family has a story or two about recipes getting fouled up. It may have been the time baking powder was used in place of flour. What family has not had helpful children refill the salt shaker with sugar or vice versa? All such instances lead to unpleasant surprises; after all, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. That helps explain why many folk have a sour taste in their mouth from regular life experiences. To rightly taste life one must not leave out the X Factor. Most folk nowadays do. With disastrous results. What is the X Factor? The Fall.
This week’s sermon is titled “The Doctrine of Man.” It’s Father’s Day. What better day to consider what God has said about man? Maybe that should be, “What God has said about humans.” Or, again, “What God has said about man/male and woman/female.” We’ll see about all that. We also will consider how it is that we bear the image of God. It is important to know that man is unique in God’s creation – fearfully and wonderfully made as Psalm 139 expresses it. If we bear the image of God and are meant to glorify Him, then we need to know how to do so. Good old Job might give us some insight on that.
This week’s sermon is titled “The Promise.” The Holy Spirit is the One who brings God’s promises to fruition. Without the Holy Spirit we have no real basis for hope. This Sunday we particularly want to consider this reality with respect to children. Speaking through Isaiah, the Lord gave a wonderful promise to His people, a promise that is only accomplished by the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus famously told Nicodemus the work of the Spirit was like the wind: it blows where it wills, we hear the sound of it, yet we don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. We say, “Come Holy Spirit.”
This week’s sermon is titled “Let’s Pray.” When is it that you hear folk say, “Let’s pray”? Prayer is foundational for Christian living. All of us pray, but none of us think we pray enough or pray well enough. You know what? We’re probably right! The foundation for praying is a desire to pray. So, how does one get a desire to pray? Once we begin praying we wonder how to order our prayers. Is there a pattern or model or order we can follow to help us? Some wonder if prayer is worthwhile, does it accomplish anything? Isn’t God going to do what He wants to do anyway? Why say, “Let’s pray?”
This week’s sermon is titled “Angels and Demons.” A particularly thorny, but interesting, element of the doctrine of creation concerns angels and demons. The Bible is full of angels and demons. The vast majority of us, though, have never seen an angel or a demon. In fact, the vast majority of humans have never seen an angel or a demon. Nevertheless, we see and experience the effects of angels and demons regularly. It is important that we have a clear understanding of these created spiritual beings. Man was made a little lower than the angels, yet Christians in due time will judge the angels. Could be interesting.
Sadly, there will be no service video or audio available from Sunday, May 21 due to now resolved technical errors.
This week’s sermon title is “God Said.” How do you think the world came to be? That’s not a question we answer reflectively. Most folk (if and when they actually consider it) answer it reflexively. One says, “I’m a creationist,” while the other says, “I’m an evolutionist.” Often, neither reflects on the implications of the answer given. Today we want to give our attention to the doctrine of creation. If you’re a creationist, how do you account for the suffering, injustice, and evil in our world? If you’re an evolutionist, do you really believe all that you see came about by fortuitous happenstance?
This week’s sermon it titled “Exposing Hidden Idols in Our Lives.” The exposure of political corruption has dominated the news since the surprise elections of 2016. Coverage of political figures has reached a fever pitch, so that some in the Congress are saying newscasters are on a “witch-hunt”. Not all forms of exposure are identified in this way. In fact, we are relieved when political corruption is uncovered, just as we would be if cancer was exposed and then surgically removed from our bodies. Today we want to expose potentially hidden idols in our lives and eliminate them, so that we can truly live and glorify our God.
This week’s sermon is titled “Inconceivable.” A core doctrine of Christianity is the Trinity. It is a cause of great offense to Judaism and Islam, though each claims an Abrahamic origin also. Jew and Muslin alike consider the Trinitarian God inconceivable. In fact, they each consider it blasphemous, utterly to be rejected. There are groups that identify as Christian who also dismiss any notion of the Trinity. They say it is an extra-biblical term that should be rejected. The Church answers that this non-biblical term is designed to protect essential biblical truth. We say, “Praise God for the truth of the Trinity.”
The is week’s sermon is titled “What is God Like?” What do you think God is like? This is a very important question. It’s a question we each need to ask and a question we each need to answer. Answers will range from the skeptics’ assertion that God is entirely a construct of human imagination, to those who see God as a petty tyrant unable to impress His will on all of creation. We will seek to answer this question by answering a series of questions. For instance: Does God really exist? Is God good? Is He wicked? Is God knowable? Has God ever been lonely? Is He trustworthy? What does He do?
The sermon this Easter is titled “Unbelievable! No Way! Hallelujah!” It’s Easter Sunday morning! In our circles Easter Sunday morning is taken for granted. We know what it’s all about. We know how we’re going to spend this day. So, while it’s special, it’s also ordinary. That is to say, we take for granted the events celebrated on Easter Sunday morning. Not so on the day it all happened! If one reads the accounts of the resurrection in the gospels, one of the consistent elements is the refusal of the disciples to believe Jesus was physically raised from the dead. I know, that sounds unbelievable, no way that’s true. We’ll see!
This week’s sermon it titled “Reasons for Praise.” The crowd on Palm Sunday has gotten a bad rap. Often the storyline is those folk were fainthearted followers of Jesus at best, mere hangers-around-the-edges at worst, for on Good Friday those same folk were the ones chanting for Jesus to be crucified. Such is not the case. It was a different crowd of folk for each event. The crowd on Palm Sunday had good reasons for praising the Lord Jesus. We will look at some of those reasons, but with a view to examining our praises! Why do we (or, don’t we) praise the Lord Jesus? There can be right and wrong reasons.
The sermon this week is titled “The Forever Foundation.” The University of Southern California’s Law School has a quotation from the gospel of John inscribed above the pillars of its main building. It’s part of our gospel text this Lord’s Day. The text is this: “You will know the truth and truth will make you free.” That’s a great text. It is, however, only a partial text. Without the rest of the text it’s possible to misuse and misunderstand the text quoted. Texts that are inscribed in such high, distinguished settings are meant to be foundational for the institution. We’ll consider the rest of the text this Lord’s Day.
The sermon this week is titled “Blind Seers.” To speak of “blind seers” is an oxymoron, it is a contradictory joining of words. “Seers” is a term designating folk who can “see” with great clarity, especially with regard to moral and spiritual matters. They can “see” what you need to do and tell you what you need to know. Hence a “seer” is a “see-er.” The Jews were meant to be seers; they were the ones entrusted with the oracles of God. Yet, the consistent charge against them by Jesus and the prophets is that though they say they can see, as a matter of fact they are blind. A blind man proves such is the case.
This week’s sermon is titled “What’s in a Name?” Why is Jesus of Nazareth known to most folk as Jesus Christ? Certainly “Christ” is not the last name of Jesus! There have been many men named “Jesus” but to only one has the name “Christ” been attached. In the apostolic era, the name “Christian” designated a despised person. It was almost a curse word. It was a term of rebuke and judgment and scorn. The term was applied only to a person who attached the name “Christ” to Jesus of Nazareth. Peter writes that Christians should not be ashamed of the name, but give glory to God for being so named.
The sermon from this week is “Marked by Miracles.” God makes a way for His apostles. He lowers the hills and raises up the valleys so they have a smooth way to go. In today’s text from Acts we read about the last of the many miracles in that book. It’s precipitated by an act of concern and mercy. That miracle smoothed the way for Paul and the rest of the shipwrecked group to leave Malta with honors. Rome is reached at last! What happened all along the way as the apostles roamed the apostolic world was one miracle after another. Jesus had promised as much. What did those miracles mean; where are they now?
The sermons this week is titled “Drunken Maltese Peasants.” Here’s an unusual portrait of Paul: a prisoner shipwrecked on an island hustling about picking up sticks for the fire. A poisonous snake is in the sticks and latches onto his hand! He shakes it off into the fire. Anticipating Paul will soon swoon and die, the residents of the island conclude he must be a wicked criminal. But he doesn’t die. Nor does he get the slightest bit woozy. They conclude he must be a god. Ah, the shifting sands of human speculation! Each time, they ask the question “Why” and each time reach the wrong conclusion. We need to do better.
This week’s sermon is titled “Time to Act.” The ship by which Paul and 275 other souls were seeking to reach Rome met a disastrous end. It was obvious to all aboard that if they did not act quickly and decisively all aboard would perish. It was a desperate time and decisions had to be made immediately. There were no easy choices. Julius, the centurion, chose life for Paul and the other prisoners. It was much the same with Esther. The Jews were in the cross-hairs of a genocidal plot and they were helpless to stop it. Esther had to act. She did, saying, “If I perish, I perish!” She didn’t perish; nor did the Jews.
This week’s sermon is titled “Savoring God’s Word Together.” A fantastic steak (coffee, ice cream, insert your personal favorite) is sublime. Each bite filled with melt-in-your-mouth goodness meant to be savored slowly with a drink of choice. Do we ever savor God’s Word like a good steak? Colossians 3:16 tells us to let the Word richly dwell within us, to savor it. Just as we desire to share (or, maybe, overshare) on social media the deliciousness of our favorite meals, so also we should share the goodness of God’s Word with each other. That’s how we all may share in the feast that God has prepared for His people.
This week’s sermon is titled “Where Are We?” In 2 Cor. 13:5 Paul exhorted the Corinthians to “test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!” That, of course, has reference to Christian living. In an analogous way, the sailors on board the storm-tossed ship taking Paul to Rome came to the point where they had to take soundings to see if they could determine where they were headed. What those soundings revealed changed how they operated the ship. David strayed far from God’s path and God used Nathan to take the soundings of David’s soul. He found out exactly where he was. Do we know where we are?
This week’s sermon is titled “Dark and Stormy Times.” Human history is replete with dark and stormy times. Likewise, individual lives can undergo “dark night of the soul” experiences. The ship carrying Paul to Rome is a picture of just such a night – though in this case it was for fourteen nights. All those on board experienced the unrelenting fury of the storm. The situation was very bleak. For them, “all hope of . . . being saved was gradually abandoned.” Some years earlier Peter experienced such a time within his soul when he denied the Lord Jesus. For all such persons, Psalm 42 offers comfort and hope.
This week’s sermon is titled “The Catch of Your Life.” Heard any good fishing tales lately? You know the kind where your buddy has his arms widely extended and is like, “It was so massively big!” But nobody likes to talk about the small catch or the trip where you spent all day in the boat but caught absolutely nothing! Well today’s sermon is an epic fishing tale, one where Jesus uses the ocean to challenge both the pride and profession of Simon Peter and other fishermen by giving them the catch of their lives. It is to be hoped that Jesus’ call to go fish will also catch some of us – hook, line and sinker!
This week’s sermon asks the question “Why?” Today we begin the last great action of Paul in the book of Acts: his trip by ship to Rome. Unfortunately, our text is a very mundane text. If you’re looking for great theological truths or glimpses of godly insight, this is not a very fertile text. Mostly it is just details about the trip. We learn the name of the centurion who has charge of Paul. We trace the stops the ship makes around the Mediterranean’s northeastern rim. We also hear Paul giving his opinion about the prospects of the trip: not favorable. Why? Why waste space in the Bible on such mundane facts?
This week’s sermon is titled “Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda.” All of us have wished we could have a second chance on some of the decisions we’ve made in the course of our lives. We simply were not aware of the gravity of some decisions, or the down-the-road fruit of others. How about a do-over! One wonders if that sort of thinking comes to Paul. After he finishes his testimony to the gathered dignitaries, we hear King Agrippa assert that if not for his appeal to Caesar, Paul could be let go entirely. Meanwhile, in our OT text, King Saul engages in some escapist thought. God brings him back to reality.
The sermon from this week is titled “Live for God? Die to Sin”! Though God has called Christians to live for Him, oftentimes believers think of holiness as an unattainable goal! Holiness, we think, is only possible for those who have died and gone to be with God in heaven. As a result, Christians can mentally check out of God’s process of making us His holy people and end up drifting into a type of carnal complacency. Christians can become disillusioned about God’s promises to transform them to experience victory in Christ. As Paul teaches, this detrimental drift can be avoided by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.
This week’s sermon is titled “Best Wishes for a New Year.” Paul had nothing but best wishes for King Agrippa and the gathered dignitaries who listen to his defense of his life and ministry. Some of those present have not the slightest clue about the things he says. Governor Festus interrupts Paul to exclaim that Paul must be mad, a maniac confused by his great learning. Paul insists that he is not delusional or maniacal, but that he is speaking words of sober truth. His response to their various assessments of his witness is instructive for us. We need to have that same attitude in us that was in Paul. He got it right regarding time and goal.