God has been empowering and partnering with mankind since the beginning of the world through his personal presence, the Holy Spirit. Through the guidance of the Spirit, God accomplishes the writing of the scriptures through prophets, and for the proclaiming of the gospel through preaching.
Often we come to the scriptures it feels like we aren’t fed by God’s word because we are unsure of what to do with it. The simple tools of observation, interpretation, and application help us immensely when seeking to truly understand the real meaning of the text. In 1 Peter 1:3-5 we see simple glorious truths: God is worthy of praise, God has made a way for us to be born again, God is giving us a heavenly inheritance that cannot change, and we are being kept by God through faith.
This story of disciples that knew the facts but couldn’t see Jesus makes us ask the question: What does it take for someone to see Jesus as their hope? Through the text we see that there must be opening of their eyes by Jesus himself to see him and believe. And it’s often in the mundane things that Jesus ultimately reveals himself.
An incredible truth from a familiar parable, the Prodigal Son, that God loves sinners. In this sermon we see that God joyfully demonstrates is love for prodigals and the prideful, at great cost to himself, by sending Jesus to die for us.
In this passage Jesus says to the Pharisees and Lawyers: You look ok on the outside, but really you are not ok on the inside. Jesus doesn't ever wound for the sake of inflicting pain. Jesus is going to reveal their deepest faults so that they can be cleansed from within.
James has harsh words to say for the arrogant and the proud. Why would James speak so bluntly to these people? James cares deeply about these things because God has revealed that throughout all of scripture that he cares greatly about us looking to him in all things and loving others, especially the most vulnerable. Join us as we grapple with these strong words from James 4:16-5:6
“God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble”. In chapter 4:1-12, James like an expert surgeon cuts through our selfish desires to reveal that our true problem is a heart that desires other things more than God. Then graciously he points us to the cure: the grace of God. James will not let us know the sweetness of grace until we have tasted the bitterness of our own sin. In all of this James shows us that true faith is marked by humility.
In this sermon we see James introduce topics that that are hard and perplexing for many of us: faith, trials, and temptation. In James 1:2-18 we will see that our faith will be tested, that trials actually come from God, and yet temptation never does.
Just like the Israelites, we run. We fall into the same pattern of behavior that humans have been falling into since our first father and mother fell into sin in the garden. Our hearts are idol-factories that make things far worse than the Israelites’ golden calf. What we need is our sin atoned for, and only Jesus can fully cover our failings.
In an opportunity for division to arise within the church over adherence to the law after being saved by Jesus, Jesus unifies the church by his Spirit. We are freed by the gospel to pursue obedience to Jesus without submitting to the slavery of legalism.
In Acts 13-14 we see what has been traditionally referred to as Paul’s first missionary journey. Over a period of two years the gospel spreads all over modern day Turkey. People respond to the gospel and churches are planted in the midst of opposition. What does that have to do with us, though?
As we continue looking at stories of mission in the book of Acts, we come to the story of the church at Antioch. They display open-handed faithfulness as they, together, are wholeheartedly devoted to the mission of God. In this preach we look at the characteristics of a sending church.