This week’s sermon is entitled “Proclaiming Light.” It’s Christmas Day! A day to celebrate God’s great gift to the world. As he concludes his testimony to Agrippa and Festus, Paul says he has not proved disobedient to the heavenly vision. That vision provided the focus for all his life; it’s what he’s all about. He lives to call folk from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. Though he’s been imprisoned for two years (!), his passion for fulfilling the vision is undiminished. He wants to see folk turned from darkness to light. That also is the burden of the Christmas message. It is the proclamation of Light!
This year’s 7:00pm Christmas Eve presentation is titled The Light of the World. Arranged and conducted by Curt Lockman, it will be a celebration of Jesus’ birth with carols, hymns, and spiritual songs.The original purpose of Christmas was to provide a season to celebrate the coming of Christ into the world, a specific time to give thanks to God for His great gift to us. The Light of the World will give plenty of attention to how Christ came into the world and the wonders that complemented His coming. Sometimes, though, we can be consumed with all the wonders and forget the reason why Jesus was born. Why is the world dark? How is it that Jesus is the light of the world? How does this darkness and the light of Jesus apply to us as individuals? All those questions will be addressed in The Light of the World. Leidy’s Church is blessed with many persons possessing exceptional musical talents. A good proportion of them will be participants in this presentation – as well as the gathered congregation! There will be instrumentalists, a treble choir, soloists, and some candles.
Every Christmas Eve Leidy’s has at 10:30pm a more formal service of worship including our traditional liturgy of worship and communion. It is a preaching service, this year with the focus on God’s purposes in sending the Redeemer that makes Christmas a big deal for each Christian. There will be some special music as well as an anthem from the chancel choir and the sharing of the Lord’s Supper. Our time of worship will end with the candlelight singing of Silent Night.
This week’s sermon is titled Blinded to See. Paul tells the gathered dignitaries he was convinced he had to suppress, root out, and destroy the errant teaching about Jesus of Nazareth. It was clear as a bell to him that what some were saying about Jesus was entirely wrong. Such folk were misguided and wrong-headed. He went to great lengths to stomp out this new teaching. He was unstoppably relentless. Until he was blinded. It was while he was blind that he began to see clearly. Zacharias had to be muted before he could begin to proclaim the excellencies of God. It’s really God’s word that is relentless, it does not fail.
This week’s sermon is titled The Promised Hope. Jesus told His followers they would be persecuted and brought before kings and governors for His name’s sake. They were not to be upset by such events, but to recognize such times as opportunities to share their testimony. That’s exactly the situation with Paul as he is brought before King Agrippa and Governor Festus. So, he tells them how he got to be where he is. He says it is because of his belief in the promises made to the people of God. We’ll hear Mary reflecting on those same magnificent promises made to Abraham and the other patriarchs of old.
It’s that time of year again, time for the annual Quodlibet sermon. In case you’ve forgotten, or have never heard of this phenomenon, here’s what it means. The pastor does not prepare a sermon for Sunday. Instead, in the bulletin is a slip of paper on which attendees may write a question. These slips of paper will be collected just prior to the sermon, then the pastor will take them into the pulpit to read and respond to as many as time allows. The questions can be about anything – that’s what Quodlibet means: ask what you will.
This week’s sermon is titled At a Loss. The incarnation of Jesus changes everything. The conception and birth of the Son of God as a human baby is the decisive and definitive act of God. How do you explain what happened? How do you explain what it means? The life of Jesus of Nazareth is a mystery to the human mind from beginning to end. The Roman governor Festus says he is at a loss to understand the assertions made by Paul about Jesus. We’ll see others at a loss to explain the work of God, folk like Abraham, Sarah, and Zacharias. How about us – what do we say about Him?
The sermon this week is titled Consistency. Paul the prisoner knew about consistency. For two years Felix consistently spoke with him, knew the charges against him were trumped-up, and yet did not release Paul or seek to settle his case. When Festus arrives in Jerusalem to succeed Felix, the first thing the Jewish leaders ask of him is to have Paul brought to Jerusalem for trial. Consistent with their previous purposes, they plan to ambush and kill Paul on the way. Paul, however, is inconsistent. Two years earlier he pushed hard to get to Jerusalem, now he refuses. He appeals to Caesar instead.
This week we have a guest preacher Pastor Christopher Tawney and his sermon this week is titled To Be Discussed. When you talk with other folk about important issues of life, what exactly are the sorts of issues you should raise? In our main text today we have a window of observation into just such a conversation. It’s between the prisoner Paul and the man who keeps him in prison, the Roman governor Felix. We might be surprised at what they discuss and the reactions of Felix to the discussions. In his telling of the discussions, Luke mentions three topics: righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come. Jesus and Peter talk about those topics as well
The sermon this week is titled Inevitable Conflict. The Jews of Jerusalem and the apostle Paul had absolutely contrary views on the most important of issues. We’re talking about issues that are deal breakers for each – issues on which they could not budge. While they might live in an agreed-upon truce for a time, it only took a spark to get the fire going. In His Olivet Discourse, this is exactly what Jesus told His disciples to expect, namely, that because of His name His followers would be maligned, imprisoned, and brought before court to be condemned. Jeremiah experiences this as well. Will we?
The sermon this week is titled Foreshadowing. It’s good to know that we’re God’s workmanship and that He has prepared works for us to do – ahead of time! Paul had a number of profound experiences with the risen Lord Jesus. There is one in today’s text from Acts. The Lord speaks to Paul audibly, foreshadowing what lies ahead. The accusers of Paul also experience foreshadowing. There’s a big difference, however, for their foreshadowing comes through the words they say rather than through what God has said. The Bible is full of foreshadowing, for all things work according to God’s plan.