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.
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.