Him We Proclaim

Our sermon podcast Him We Proclaim is also available on iTunes and Spotify.
Do Not Be Deceived: Born Again to Live Anew, Part 1

Summary:

For James, the Christian life is the tried life. Trial is of two broad sorts: external pressures (1:2-11) and internal principalities at war (1:13-27). James doesn't want us to be deceived. Temptation to sin, bringing forth death, originates from within us. We're tempted with evil when our desires, corrupted by sin, convince us the evil is desirable. We are our own worst enemy. No one is responsible for one's spiritual demise but the person themselves. Don't be deceived. God's the Savior of sinners. While, by nature, our desire is for sin, God's desired and, therefore, willed to bring us forth through the Word of truth that, above nature, we might live to God. The new birth frees our desires, infuses them with light and life and truth, so that, when temptation to sin arises, love for God is there to put away sin for 'the righteousness that God requires.'

Semon Outline:

  1. Don't be deceived, we are the sinners by nature. (1:13-16)
  2. Don't be deceived, God's saved us to live above nature. (1:16-18)

When Loving God Unsteadies Life: Heavenly Wisdom for Suffering Saints, Part 2

Summary:

Continuing the theme of embattled Christian living, James exalts wisdom as a pivotal excellency. For seasons where loving God unsteadies life, get wisdom. But how so? By asking God for it in faith. James simply exhorts believers to be believers. Doubting is the evil twin of faith. It reveals a spiritually unstable person very much in danger of compromise under trial. Against doubt, he offers 'articles of faith' for faith: God is God, God has what you need, God delights to give it generously, and God honors 'the prayer of faith,' the prayer that believes God as He is. And if doubt endangers, so too do the anti-trusts that enter through that door. Here, it's the anonymity and/or publicity of one's social status. Wisdom grabs ahold of what's solid and everlasting, however invisible. It helps us see through the fog of earthly status to the radiance of heavenly status, so that we can afford whatever the cost of living publicly for Jesus. Setting aside doubt to gain wisdom in application of its eternal perspective is basic to loving God without limits. Such are assured: God will grant them Life.

Sermon Outline:

  1. When loving God unsteadies life, know what's pivotal for standing fast---get wisdom. (1:5a)
  2. When loving God unsteadies life, know the perils to standing fast---overcome them. (1:5b-11)

  3. a: The peril of doubt, and overcoming it. (1:5b-8)
    b: The peril of status, and overcoming it. (1:9-11)
  4. When loving God unsteadies life, know the prize for standing fast---live for Life. (1:12)

Learning to Count: Heavenly Wisdom for Suffering Saints, Part 1

Summary:

James introduces himself to dispersed but gathered Christians. As is required to serve them well, James is first a servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ. The Gospel is underneath him as he launches into deeply practical Christianity---heavenly wisdom for living faith. He deals initially with their approach to the trials they're facing. The main imperative is to count it all joy when they face them. This heavenly calculus demands applying what they know to be true about (1) God's goal with Christ's people, (2) the nature of true faith, (3) the result of testing of it, and (4) the cumulative effect and/or gain of steadfastness. Joy is in likeness to Jesus and, insofar as trials produce that, we can count it all joy when we meet them.

Sermon Outline:

  1. James, and what to know of him. (1:1)
  2. Trials, and how to meet them. (1:2-4)

Yet I Will Rejoice in the Lord: The Faithful Resolve of a Righteous Sufferer

Summary:

Habakkuk finishes his lyrical prayer with a loveliest resolve. Framing God's sufficiency by counting the cost of the nation's sin, grieving the result of the impending exile, the prophet resolves: as I have God, all is not lost. Indeed, where one has God, they have all they need or could ever want, even a joy that no terror can finally steal away. The believer's joy, being God Himself, is not situational or circumstantial. It is ultimately impervious to the change in wind and tide. Habakkuk takes joy, then, in God, focusing specifically on how the Lord has saved him, strengthened him, and given him a song to share with all who suffer for righteousness. Not suffering, but salvation will have the final say for all who live by faith.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Framing the sufficiency of God for seasons of suffering. (3:17)
  2. Standing on the sufficiency of God for seasons of suffering. (3:18-19)

In Wrath Remember Mercy: The Faithful Prayer of a Righteous Sufferer

Summary:

Living by faith, the righteous prophet responds to God's Word with humble and hopeful prayer. God's purposes cannot be thwarted and though it includes the suffering of His own, His own will take heart and grant God to do whatever is most fitting to His glory. Though it involve a cross, faith pleads for a revival of God's work, 'in wrath remember mercy.' God shows up responsively. By faith, Habakkuk sees the Lord. He's granted to see the promise of Genesis 3:15 upheld and reaffirmed in his own day and situation. As promised, as in the Exodus, God will save His people through the judgment of His enemies. What they devised for their victory, God's designed for their downfall and the deliverance of all who believe. Seeing this, the prophet finds himself in a personal Gethsemane. He quakes, but doesn't falter. Living by faith, he resolves to wait patiently for the promised mercy of God. Like another, Habakkuk will bear his cross for the joy set before him.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The prayer of faith under trial. (3:1-2)
  2. The promise(s) for faith under trial. (3:3-15)
  3. The perseverance of faith under trial. (3:16)

Let All The Earth Keep Silence: God's Messages to the Self-Exalting

Summary:

God's answer to Habakkuk continues. Having addressed his own people, he now directs his attention to Babylon. Though this nation may think its power uncontestable, it will find that all its wickedness will come back on its head. Though his people are chastened, God has not abdicated his throne. He still rules heaven and earth. He still speaks. And all that would boast in themselves and stand in opposition to his glory will be silenced.

Sermon Outline:

  1. To the one storing up judgment for the future
  2. To the one who would have safety at any cost
  3. To the one benefiting off of others' pain
  4. To the one finding joy in others' shame
  5. To the one who trusts in the work of his own hands

The Righteous Shall Live By Faith: God's Cross-Centered Answer to the Questions Our Suffering Surfaces

Summary:

Habakkuk despairs over the spiritual condition of Judah. If he's pained by it, why doesn't God seem to be? And when God answers, why is the answer not revival? On the farthest end, why is it judgment by means of a wicked enemy? In revealing His knowledge of the Chaldeans, God reveals His control over the situation. His purpose will not be thwarted. Still, acknowledging this, how can the everlasting Holy One ordain the evil as instrumental in the judgment of His people? It seems out of character that the righteous should perish at the hands of the wicked. Habakkuk takes to his post and waits for the Word. God's answer is intended to fuel the faith of His people. It's for running under the weight of a cross. What God says will come to pass, so best not to be prideful. Instead, 'the righteous shall live by his faith.' By faith, the sinner is justified, and the justified is stabilized, and the stabilized is enabled to view present sufferings in light of the life won for them in that great reversal: Christ and Him crucified. This world is meant to give way to a never ending one.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The righteous surrounded: Habakkuk's perplexity over the state of God's people. (1:1-4)
  2. The righteous exiled: the Lord's unexpected answer to the plight of the righteous. (1:5-11)
  3. The righteous stationed: Habakkuk's perplexity over the content of God's answer. (1:12-2:1)
  4. The righteous quickened: the Lord's sure Word for the waiting of His suffering saints. (2:2-4)

God Raises the Dead: The Un-Incredible Hope that Christ and Christianity Confirm for the World

Summary:

Paul is on trial for his hope in the resurrection. Given a pulpit, he addresses the king on the matter. Pleading for patience, Paul recounts his roots. Laying the foundation for the dramatic reversal in his life, he speaks to his upbringing and notoriety within Pharisaical Judaism, and how that led him, against hope, to oppose Jesus by persecuting the Church. In the midst of his rage, however, his hope found realization where he'd have never imagined it: the risen Jesus. Meeting him, Jesus apparently converted, then commissioned Paul to preach the message he once tried and failed to destroy. And because he obeyed Jesus, he was on trial. It is not incredible that God raises the dead. He's God. Jesus lived. The Church endured. Paul was new. This was the Word of God. And it wasn't like it all happened in a corner! Christ and Christianity confirm for the world that God will raise the dead---and that it's essential that one become a Christian by faith in Christ.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Paul's Christian hope. (26:2-8)
  2. Paul's defense of the Christian hope. (26:9-26)
  3. Paul's Christian hope for the 'almost Christian.' (26:27-29)

The Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ: The Churches' One and All-Bearing Boast

Summary:

Paul pours out his heart in these final words of the letter to the churches of Galatia. The flood of love is filled with the cross of Christ. The false teachers' concern is their own glory and comfort. Thus, they preach circumcision for man's praise and to avoid man's persecution. Their preaching isn't aimed at obedience to God, but only earthly acclaim. Their boast is in their success rate. Paul however cannot fathom boasting, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. In his love for Christ's churches, Paul holds all self-boasting at a great distance, exalting instead in the power of the cross, for which he's identifiably suffered. What counts is the new creation that testifies to the absolute sufficiency of Christ and Him crucified. Among the Israel of God, His true people, that's the rule by which we walk; and as we do, we have every reason to repose in the peace and mercy of God. The tested apostle has said his peace. All that's left is to ask Christ for still more grace in staying true to the Gospel of God.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The large letters of a cross-exalting minister. (6:11-12)
  2. The exemplary boast of a cross-exalting man. (6:13-14)
  3. The defining rule of a cross-exalting church. (6:15-16)
  4. The fitting benediction of a cross-exalting letter. (6:17-18)

Sowing and Reaping: Heirs of Grace Sow to the Spirit

Summary:

Continuing with the theme of walking in the Spirit, Paul urges the Galatians to support those who teach the true gospel, sow to the Spirit and not to the flesh, and continue to love your neighbor as yourself. True teachers will not teach you to obey the law, but rather, because of the freedom found in the grace of Christ, to love one another rather than self. The freedom found in Christ is not to be used to serve the flesh. Sowing to the flesh, will just like in the physical world of sowing seeds, will reap fleshly results. While sowing to the Spirit will reap heavenly results. Paul argues that a day of eternal reaping is coming. And what we sow now will be reaped at the proper time.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Heirs of Grace Will Support True Gospel Teaching (v. 6)
  2. Heirs of Grace Will Sow to the Spirit (v. 7-9)
  3. Heirs of Grace Will Seek the Greater Good of the Body (v. 10)

Test Your Own Work: How Holy Love Attests to Heirs of Saving Grace

Summary:

The grace of the Gospel creates a different community than man-centered law-keeping. The law, inciting the flesh, leads to sin, rivalry, hypocrisy, and conceit. The Gospel, fixated on Christ, supplying the Spirit, and stirring up faith, creates and cultivates a culture where love and holiness are a constant passion and care. Paul thus calls the Galatians to exhibit this. A sincere and gentle care for corporate holiness, with a cross-centered humility that bears the burdens of the body squares with, both, the truth of the Gospel and the reality of grace in the soul. Though we have been justified by faith, a judgment of final validation remains for the people of God. For this reason, it remains vital that we test ourselves by the law of Christ. Coattail Christianity won't work. Each will have to bear their own load. All you do to maintain an abiding zeal for growth in truth and grace will not be in vain.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Heirs of grace will live to support congregational holiness. (6:1)
  2. Heirs of grace will love to lighten congregational burdens. (6:2-3)
  3. Heirs of grace will look to their own work for attestation. (6:4-5)

Walk by the Spirit: The Sufficiency of Christ for Christian Living

Summary:

By His work, Jesus has purchased the power for our walk. He has lived by, died to procure, risen to receive, ascended to send down, and sat down to mediate---the Holy Spirit. As He is not a Gift promised through Moses, or able to be obtained through the flesh, it is foolhardy and unbiblical to come under the yoke of that covenant for living to God. The righteous shall live by faith. Presently, this remains a battle, just a battle Christ has equipped us to win under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Ultimately, the Christian will prove that Christ is enough for the Christian life. We will be evidently His. The works of the flesh are evident, as is the fruit of the Spirit---and those who belong to Jesus have crucified the flesh! In the new birth, we died, and we arose with the Spirit of God's Son in our hearts. Just so, having come alive by Him, we're to walk by Him. This finds concrete expression in entire, increasing, church-edifying obedience to God. It's the formation of Christ in us on display. Against this, there is no law.

Sermon Outline:

  1. There is a spiritual warring in our Christian walking. (5:16-18)
  2. There is an evidential warning for our Christian walking. (5:19-23)
  3. We have then a vital calling: walk by the Spirit. (5:16, 24-26)

You Were Called to Use Your Freedom: Removing Hindrances to Running Well

Summary:

Paul affirms, the Galatian believers had started well; but as steadfastness in the truth agrees with smoothness of gait, their toleration of a false gospel had hindered their running. They were attempting to go forward with a backward looking limp. Paul assures them a self-justifying view of the Mosaic law is not from the God Who called them in His grace. And as they were united by faith in Jesus, they needed to know: a little leaven leavens the whole lump. Paul expresses his confidence in Christ that, as Christians, they'd adopt the apostle's view and 'cast out Ishmael.' As with Paul, faithfulness would come at a cost. Forfeiting what stroked the flesh in order to preach the cross would come with a cross to bear, but that only confirmed the divine truth of it. Paul wishes the troublers would reap in full what they've falsely sown. Christ has set these churches free that they might learn to love one another, fulfilling the law in the power of the indwelling Spirit.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Running free insists on fidelity to the truth of the cross. (5:7-12)
    • This fidelity will call out hindrances to freedom. (5:7-9)
      It will also cast out hindrances to freedom. (5:10b)
      It will finally bear a cross in keeping to the cross. (5:10a, 11-12)
  2. Running free will look like love serving one another. (5:13-15)

Cutting Words: An Apostolic Guide to Identifying God's People

Summary:

Having illustrated the difference between grace and law through the examples of Hagar and Isaac, Paul moves to apply the message to the Galatians. They are free! What a glorious truth! And they are not to sacrifice this freedom for anything the world offers. And to be specific, circumcision is simply off the table for them. Though its proponents promise that it will truly make them one of God's own, and open up the door to righteous living, Paul spies the fly in the ointment. If these Galatians reject Jesus' work for a work of the flesh, even one with such a biblical pedigree, they will find themselves severed from Christ, cut off from his Spirit-filled people. They will find themselves bound to the law, its terms, its promises of coming judgement for unbelief and sin.

Sermon Outline:

  1. What Christ's victory bought (5:1)
  2. An all-or-nothing choice (5:2-6)
    • -Walking with rebellious Israel (5:2-4)
      -Walking with Christ Jesus (5:5-6)

We are Children of Promise: Staying True to Sovereign Grace

Summary:

Paul builds on the assertion that the false teachers want, however unconsciously, to shut these churches out from the inheritance of Christ. He makes an allegory out of an historical situation to prove his point. The law records Abraham as having two sons, one by a slave woman, another by the free woman. Ishmael was the byproduct of pragmatic unbelief---man's attempt to secure God's promise. Isaac was the byproduct of sovereign grace---God's faithfulness to His promise. And the inheritance goes then to Isaac, not Ishmael. Paul relates these women to the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants. He then relates what they birth to what's birthed by Jerusalem below and Jerusalem above. Point being, the Judaizers, conditioning justification on faith plus works, are like Hagar, enslaved and bearing children for slavery. But the Christian is a child of the Jerusalem above. We've been born again, and we are heirs of Christ's work (Isaiah 53 into 54:1). We are the recipients of sovereign grace, grafted into the line of promise. What's born according to the flesh persecutes what's born according to the Spirit by seeking to move them off the Gospel. Scripture calls us to cast out anyone who, through false teaching, would draw us away from the grace that's made us justified sons and daughters of Heaven.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Abraham had two sons, with different origins. (4:21-23)
  2. Paul's interpretation: origin matters for inheritance. (4:24-27)
  3. Promote the line of promise by preserving it. (4:28-21)

Until Christ is Formed in You: Pushing Through the Pains of Gospel Labor

Summary:

Having been delivered from the redemptive ideologies of the world, the Galatian churches are now returning to their former slavery by adopting the Mosaic covenant as part of their justification. Anything that robs Jesus of His saving sufficiency, including a false understanding of God’s law-covenant, is anti-Christ, anti-Gospel. Fearing thus that he’s labored over them in vain, Paul reminds them of how God blessed them, and of how it was proven by their Christian care of Paul himself. Expressing his grief, however, those he led to the truth now oppose him for it. Having essentially adopted a man-flattering religion, Paul counteractively resolves to press forward in his labors until Christ is formed in them. At the heart of the true Gospel and true Christianity is the truth as it is in Jesus.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Paul's fear: the churches' turning from the Gospel. (4:8-11)
  2. Paul's grief: the churches' opposition to the truth. (4:12-17)
  3. Paul's resolve: the churches' maturity in Christ. (4:18-20)

Since We Have a Great Priest Over God's House: First Five Series

Summary:

Through Jesus, we have forgiveness of sins, unfettered access to God, and the oversight of this great Priest. Flowing from His dying love, and the confidence it affords us as the family of God, the author gives us a trio of exhortations: let us draw near, let us hold fast, let us consider how. A local church is a priestly family especially given to the ministry of confident prayer, confessional courage, and corporate encouragement and/or Christian competency.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The finished work of Jesus for the house of God. (10:18-21)
  2. Exhortations for the house because of Jesus' work. (10:22-25)
    • Let us draw near: the family ministry of confident prayer. (10:22)
      Let us hold fast: the family ministry of confessional courage. (10:23)
      Let us consider how: the family ministry of Christian competency. (10:24-25)

Establish Justice in the Gate

Summary:

Forsaking their assignment, God's people have sided with the world in perverting justice. Reminding them that He is the Creator, and that He cares about the morality of His image-bearers, and that He knows the full-measure of our sins, and that He will administer infallible justice, and that they are under His judgment, He calls on them to seek Him and live. In effect, He calls on them to love good and seek it, to hate evil and banish it. He calls on them to establish Heaven's notion of justice on earth. We will explore this with particular application to the protection of the neediest among us: children in the womb.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Injustice thrives where souls are dead. (5:6a, 7)
  2. Might does not make right. (5:9-12, 13b)
  3. But the Almighty does and will. (5:6b-12)
  4. Like Him, act to establish justice in the gate. (5:13a, 14-15)

Feast, or Famines

Summary:

God has spoken, but His people have not listened. They act like the world. Their worship is barren. They despise true heralds. They won't repent. They're at ease in Zion. And that's how you incur the judgment of judgments, a famine of hearing and/or finding the Word of God. Silence! Such a silence signals the end of God's people. Is there any hope? Will the Word sound forth again? It will. It has. It does. But how can we learn from Israel's downfall? How are we to avoid famines of the Word? The answer is to feast on it, implying a number of tangible activities. But ultimately, it's to create a habitat where the Word of Christ can dwell in us richly.

Sermon Outline:

  1. If we don't feast on God's Word, we can expect a famine of it. (8:11-12)
    • This famine, the great judgment. (Amos)
      A famine of hearing. (8:11)
      A famine of heralding. (8:12)
      Why this famine at all? (Amos)
  2. Feast on God's Word.

They Ought Always to Pray and Not Lose Heart

Summary

With this passage in Luke, we tackle the second theme of our "First Five" series, prayer. In ongoing discussion of discipleship, humility, and eschatological judgment, Jesus cuts to the chase, calling for persistence in prayer. Working from a proper understanding of who God is and how he responds, we are encouraged to pray, to set our hopes in the context of the already-but-not-yet kingdom and rule of Christ. While we often root God's willingness to hear and respond to his people in his loving character, Jesus points to the centrality of God's justice. We are beckoned to consider the relationship between love and justice illustrated in his calling and care for a people promised to bear his name.

Sermon Outline:

  • Love: The God worthy of our prayers
  • Justice: The God who hears our prayers
  • Faith: The God who awaits our prayers

Those Who Are With Us Are More: A New Year's Eve Sermon

Summary

The king of Syria, in initiating war with Israel, intends to encamp at a certain place in the hope of successful raids. The King of kings consistently frustrates his best laid plans. Elisha, the man of God, is God's vessel of revelation for the peace of God's people. Greatly vexed, the Syrian king learns of Elisha's debilitating ministry and seeks to capture him. An army of men is deployed against the man of God. Elisha's servant awakes to this enemy army. Elisha meets his fear and anxiety with a world present but unseen. 'Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.' According to Elisha's prayers for sight and blindness, the Lord helps the servant see the unseen, while blinding the enemy to what they could see. Elisha leads the blind into the seat of Israel's king and power. Expecting judgment, however, the prophet wins the king to pity instead of punishment. Mercy received, the raids end. The passage is for our confidence in the Lord when pressed hard by enemies, big, small, near, far. It's for living, not by sight, but by faith, with all its implications in tow.

Sermon Outline:

  • Be equipped with the Word: Israel's prophet (6:8-12)
  • Be equipped with a worldview: Elisha's perspective (6:13-18)
  • Be equipped for the wayward: Elisha's pity (6:19-23)

He Tabernacled Among Us

Summary

Exodus closes as the Lord enters the tabernacle, filling it with His glory. Even Moses, who finished all the work as the Lord commanded, is put out by His indwelling presence. Is there a way back into the tent of meeting? Indeed. It's now furnished with emblems of grace that keep relationship with an ever-present Lord. In this way, their Shepherd visibly dwells among them, guiding them through the wilderness to the Promised Land. They see Him. As He moves, they move. But will they live by faith always? The answer finally comes as the Son puts on flesh and tabernacles among them. Jesus is God incarnate. He calls Himself the temple. As He dies, the way into God is opened. As He lives, He indwells all who believe. The Church is the temple of God, the local church, the visible manifestation of Him and His glory on earth. The more we fix our eyes on Him, the more we keep in step with Him, the more we'll show what He's saved us to show.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Meeting the God Who dwells among us (40:34-35)
  2. Following the God Who dwells among us (40:36-38)

Jesus, the Radiance of the Glory of God

Summary:

From covenant-affirming to golden-calf making, Israel has broken faithfulness with their God. Can sinners be reconciled to God? Can He be reconciled to us? Moses records a conversation between friends, he and the Lord. This is his concern, and God's glory is the answer. But what is that? Can His glory be described? Can we understand it? And if so, how so? To this end, God preaches Himself and, in doing so, reveals the 'backside' of His essential glory to Moses as a goodness weighted to do all that's necessary to save whomever He wills. And as that's hope for a world of sinners, Moses bows, worships, and pleads for Israel's pardon and perseverance as the people of God. The account is an advance upon the glory of God---knowing Who He is---a thing that, in so many ways, ultimately comes to a Head in Jesus Christ. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature! If you want to know Him, know, trust, love Jesus.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Sharing Moses' concern. (33:7-16)
  2. Seeing the Lord's answer. (33:17-34:7)
  3. Savoring Christ, the Radiance of God's glory. (34:8-9)

Bread From Heaven

Summary:

Israel has left Egypt and finds itself longing for the "comforts" of Egypt. God promises to give them meat and bread from heaven, but intends to test them as to whether their hearts are truly with him. Do they just want food? Or are does he have their hearts? Will they obey, or will they ignore God in their effort to serve themselves?

Sermon Outline:

  1. Grumbling along the way
  2. But they did not listen
  3. Not what they asked for

Oh, Beautiful Child

Summary:

Israel mourns in Egypt. The respected name of Joseph is no longer known in the halls of power. The fruitfulness of Israel stirs fears in Pharaoh, resulting in oppression, and eventually an edict condemning all Hebrew male children to be cast into the Nile. An unvoiced question hangs in the air: How will God be faithful to his promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? Does God hear their cries? How will he answer Pharaoh's determination? At just the right time, God enters the scene. The birth of Moses is hidden until it can no longer go unnoticed. Then, in ironic obedience to Pharaoh's command, God provides a deliverer to Israel by rescuing him from the waters, undermining the leader of Egypt through his own house. Enter Moses, providentially cared for by his family, nursed by his own mother, but adopted into royal splendor. One day, he will feel the weight of these two worlds colliding, but for now, we watch in hope as God orchestrates the deliverance of his people.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Hope's foundation: God, present (2:1-4)
  2. Hope's design: God, compassionate (2:5-6)
  3. Hope's guarantee: God, sovereign (2:7-10)

God Sent Forth His Son: From Slaves to Heirs through God

Summary:

Paul expands his argument to show more precisely what God has done to make heirs out of slaves. Continuing a prior analogy, he seems to relate a view of salvation history to personal history. As believers in the age of promise owned everything, yet lived under the law, being shorted the full enjoyment of faith in Christ, so those heirs in the age of faith were, at one time, slaves under the law. Paul now expands on 'under the law' as slavery to 'elementary principles of the world. ' To co-opt God's law and use it in a way that nullifies Christ is a demonic tactic, which we all once believed. And we never would have broken free from it, except that, in the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son. The fallout of His coming was our redemption, adoption, indwelling, and title to Life. God didn't send His Son to be anything less than the all-sufficient Savior of all who believe in Him..

Sermon Outline:

  1. Paul's recasting of our former slavery: enslaved to principles. (4:1-3)
  2. Paul's reciting of God's sovereign redemption: heirs through God. (4:4-7)
    • Redemption accomplished. (4:4-5a)
      Redemption applied. (4:5b-7)

Heirs According to Promise: On the Fullness of Faith in Jesus Christ

Summary:

Paul, reasserting the temporary nature and function of the Mosaic covenant, states its final purpose: to clarify that the sinner's only hope of a right standing with God is by faith in Jesus Christ. Once Christ came, and faith in seed matured to faith in Jesus, the Mosaic covenant had served its purpose. Faith had come full, so that being part of the family of God was no longer identifiable by observing the law. As with justification, so also adoption was through faith in Jesus Christ. Baptism is the new covenant sign, identifying the person who, through faith, has been received into the family of God. It has no part in justification, but a very significant one in identification of the justified by faith. It signifies that one has put on Christ, so that Christ, or being a Christian, has become our dominant and unifying identity. While admitting ethnic, social, and gender distinctions, such distinctions give no leg up in the family of God. As we're Christ's, we're Abraham's offspring, equal heirs of grace according to the promise of God.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The law, as temporary guardian, promoted justification by faith. (3:23-24)
  2. Faith, coming full in Christ, suffices for being a justified child of God. (3:25-26)
  3. Baptism, publicizing that faith, makes those children visible heirs. (3:27-29)

Why Then the Law?: How God's Law Serves Faith in the All-Sufficient Christ

Summary:

Likely against accusations that his Gospel makes the law pointless, Paul continues to explain the Bible's testimony to the grace of God. Drawing on a human example from the world of legal documentation, once a covenant (and its contents) are ratified, nothing can be added to nullify it. How much more a covenant that God has made and conditioned upon Himself? The promises God made to Abraham in Genesis 12 were finally to Christ. 430 years later, the law, being added, is no addendum or amendment to the covenantal promises God made in Christ. Those promises depend on grace and are made to faith in Jesus Christ. Why then did God add the law? To clarify sin as transgression while waiting on the advent of Christ. Thus, the law is not contrary to the promises. It served it by condemning us as guilty sinners, so that we'd be directed to the all-sufficient Christ, and to faith in Him

Sermon Outline:

  1. God's promises have always been promised to faith in Christ. (3:15-18)
  2. God added the law to serve that faith. (3:19-22)
    • By its being principally different than the promise. (3:19-20)
      And yet perpetually directional to it. (3:21-22)

It, the Gospel, Is Written: God's Word for Our Faith in Jesus' Work

Summary:

Having scoured his personal meeting with Jesus for Gospel affirmation, Paul now turns to the testimony of Scripture for proving that faith in Christ is all that's necessary for salvation. For Paul, affirming the sufficiency of Jesus is finally about the sufficiency of Scripture. What does God's Word say? That Abraham was justified by faith. That those of faith are likewise blessed. And that the Law serves and forwards that blessing by cursing us. As prior to the Law with Abraham, so also after the Law in Habakkuk, the insufficiency of the Law is evident in that the righteous shall live by faith. And that having uniquely kept the Law, Christ redeemed us from the curse of it, by becoming a curse for us, hanged, as He was, on the tree. Thus, in Jesus, the blessing of God's Spirit, to convert, sanctify, preserve, empower, has come to us, through faith.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The Bible teaches: true faith suffices to bless the sinner. (3:7-9)
  2. The Bible teaches: the Law labors to generate that faith. (3:10-12)
  3. The Bible teaches: Christ crucified is the object of that faith. (3:13-14)

How Did You Receive the Spirit?: The Sufficiency of Christ Crucified and Hearing with Faith

Summary:

Though they'd heard the message of Christ crucified, some had bewitched these churches. They'd stopped beholding Christ in His sufficiency, and started believing they needed to (and could) supply what, apparently, He didn't completely purchase. It pays to return to one's beginning in Christ. Paul asks but one question: how did they receive the Holy Spirit? The Spirit's work of regeneration, sanctification, and preservation is implied; but the question is, from Whom did/does He come, and how was/is He received? Is God's eschatological promise and blessing of the Holy Spirit earned by works of the law, or is He freely given on the basis of Christ's work to all who, hearing the message, and believing God, are counted as righteous in His sight? In proving the latter by Abraham as the paradigm for all, Paul begins to make his Scriptural case for the efficacy and sufficiency of faith in Jesus Christ. The Law of Moses serves faith in Christ crucified whereby, being justified, we become heirs of God's Spirit, regardless of ethnicity.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Don't be foolish; be faithful to what you heard of Christ crucified. (3:1)
  2. The Spirit is received by hearing, with faith, Christ crucified. (3:2-5)
  3. The Law itself asserts the sufficiency of faith in Christ crucified. (3:6)

I Do Not Nullify the Grace of God: Upholding the Purpose of the Cross

Summary:

Paul asserts that the only way any person, Jew or Gentile, can be justified is through faith in Jesus Christ. Otherwise, no one will be justified. As this assertion settles the truth of our sinfulness, it also appears to allow for continued sinfulness. Paul seems to counter this probable accusation against a Gospel that posits full acceptance with God on the basis of a righteousness not our own. Every person God has justified, He has also vivified (made spiritually alive) in Jesus. His death and resurrection have both legal and personal power for us. As Christians, who we once were has been crucified with Christ. That person no longer lives. Christ lives in you. He now animates your life. The Christian life starts, not with 'I', but with 'Christ.' It's a life lived no longer by faith in ourselves, which leads to sin, but by faith in self-giving Son of God, which leads to Christlikeness. Accusation answered, Paul stands pat on the grace his opponents would cancel out. Jesus died out of divine necessity. To God's glory, there remains no other way for sinners to be justified with God than through faith in Christ and Him crucified.

Sermon Outline:

  1. If any one will be justified, it will be through faith in Jesus. (2:15-16)
  2. Every sinner God's justified, He's also vivified in Jesus. (2:17-20)
  3. Justification, as Paul holds it, upholds the purpose of the cross. (2:21)

Gospel Megaphones

Summary:

With thanksgiving to God, Paul recounts the remarkable advance of God's eternal love, first, for and, then, through the Thessalonian church into all the world. Indeed, their faith in God went forth everywhere.

Famous Faith

Summary:

With thanksgiving to God, Paul recounts the remarkable advance of God's eternal love, first, for and, then, through the Thessalonian church into all the world. Indeed, their faith in God went forth everywhere.

Conduct Unbecoming: When Our Actions Counteract God's Gospel

Summary:

Gospel truth is for living that commends the Gospel. Continuing to advance the truth that his Gospel is the Gospel, Paul recounts an instance in which Peter's actions, and those of others, including Barnabas, counteracted the truth of the Gospel. Fear of disapproval with the circumcision party leads Peter to withdraw from table fellowship with Christians in Antioch. It's hardly an immaterial action. In it, Paul sees a public act of hypocrisy with the power to spread abroad against the Gospel truth of justification. Peter has effectively made living the Jewish life mandatory for these Gentiles in order to be justified, adopted, accepted fully by God. By his action, he's introduced a lie: faith in Christ isn't enough for equal standing with God; and just there, he stands condemned as a hypocrite out of step with the truth. Peter must repent. And for the Gospel, Paul makes sure that he and everybody else knows it.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Conduct out of step with the truth of the Gospel: hearing the account. (2:11-14)
  2. Conduct out of step with the truth of the Gospel: heeding the lessons. (2:11-14)

Together for the Gospel: Navigating Paths of Faithful Stewardship

Summary:

Paul returns to Jerusalem, having spent 14 years preaching the Gospel among the Gentiles. His visit is couched in humility. He wants (and needs) still to be grounded in the Gospel. Remember, revelation over 'revelations.' While there, Titus the Greek becomes a case study in justification. Though false brothers slip in like serpents to spy out and throw down the churches' justified freedom in Christ, Paul stands his ground on the Gospel of grace and, in doing so, is backed by Peter, James, John, and the Judean churches. Titus needn't be circumcised to be justified. He's justified by faith in Jesus. Out of this unyielding stance, unity in the one Gospel for the whole world is strengthened. As ambassadors of the living, working Christ, they're together for the Gospel. The only added exhortation to Paul as he departs is the very thing he was eager to do: show no partiality in showcasing the charity of the Gospel he preaches. Therefore, ministry to the poor, those who could not give a return on the apostle's labors, was yet a Gospel priority for them all.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Humility in service of the Gospel. (2:1-2)
  2. Stability in service of the Gospel. (2:3-5)
  3. Unity in service of the Gospel. (2:6-9)
  4. Impartiality in service of the Gospel. (2:10)

In Defense of God's Gospel: The Grace that Made Paul a Gospel Preacher

Summary:

Paul continues to assert that he preaches God's Gospel. His source is the risen Jesus. In defense of this, Paul shares his testimony. Centrally, the eternal and sovereign grace of God applied, wherein Christ was effectually revealed to him, made Paul, yes, a Christian, but also an apostle and preacher, though former persecutor, of the Gospel of God's all-sufficient grace in Christ crucified and raised. Paul's understanding of the Gospel is divinely derived---and in no way distinct from the Christian churches and leaders in Jerusalem. The latter's time with Paul rendered only confirmation of the truth: Paul, our persecutor, is now Paul the preacher of the faith we hold in common. The ethnically Jewish churches of Christ trust this report, to the praise of the glory of His grace. Paul has believed and is now preaching the Gospel of God, and the Galatian churches would do best to give his correctives their whole heart.

Sermone Outline:

  1. The source of the Gospel Paul preached. (1:11-12)
  2. The story in defense of the Gospel Paul preached. (1:13-24)
    • Paul's conversion. (1:13-17)
      Jerusalem's confirmation. (1:18-24)

Apostolic Astonishment: Serving Christ by Safeguarding the Gospel of His Grace

Summary:

Paul showcases his love for these churches by reproving them as a father, his wayward children. Having begun by the sheer grace of God in Christ, these churches have begun to introduce merits (and demerits) into the equation of salvation, and Paul is astonished and agitated by this. He clarifies: to do this is not to continue in the Gospel. It's to turn from it to no Gospel at all. If you deny the sufficiency of Christ, you deny Christ, the all-sufficient Savior, Himself. There is one Gospel, but multiple distorters of that Gospel. It is the responsibility of the churches to know and safeguard this Gospel against any and everyone who would ever preach against it, Paul included. Again, he doesn't hold back. To preach a non-Gospel as Gospel is to draw down a curse from the apostle. It's to invite upon oneself the curse Jesus suffered for His people. If you say His work didn't suffice for it, you will find yourself under the brunt of it. At heart, faithfulness, as preachers and churches, is a matter of who we serve. If Man, we will bend to the errors that draw their praise; if Christ, we'll stand upon His Gospel, willing to be fools for Him.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The reproofs in Paul's astonishment. (1:6-7)
    • a: In departing from the Gospel, you're deserting God. (1:6)
    • b: You're deleting the grace of Christ. (1:6)
    • c: You're denying your responsibility as churches. (1:7)
  2. The rules of Gospel allegiance. (1:8-10)
    • a: Revelation over revelations. (1:8-9)
    • b: Message over messengers. (1:8-9)
    • c: God and Christ over Man. (1:10)

Introducing and Establishing: Paul's Authority for Christ's Churches

Summary:

Galatians begins with introductions that establish Paul's authority for giving necessary correction to Christ's churches against enemy incursions that would negate or nullify the saving truth of the Gospel. He's an apostle, and his apostleship is not of earth. It's from God through the risen Jesus. As the resurrection of Jesus establishes Paul's authority, Paul's apostleship acts as an apologetic or defense of Jesus' resurrection. He's to be heard with ears attuned to Jesus. What he says, he says to every true church. And what remarkable words! He speaks grace and peace to them from God and the risen Lord. And this greeting is rooted in an objective fact: the self-giving of Jesus, for our sins, to deliver us from the present evil age. The will of the Father to justify and sanctify a people for His glory has been manifest in the work of Jesus Christ. As Christians, Christ's work has sufficiently saved us. Let us never be moved in the slightest off this glorious grace and fact.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Why Christ's churches should listen to Paul. (1:1-2)
  2. What Christ's churches need to hear (and heed). (1:3-5)
    • Grace and peace to us. (1:3)
    • Through Christ's all-sufficient sacrifice. (1:4)
    • To the everlasting glory of God. (1:5)

Malachi, Messenger of the Unchanging Lord of Love: Part 4

Summary:

By Malachi, the unchanging Lord of love addresses the distinction that will be made at the Day of the Lord. For the wicked, it will be as a burning oven, certain to set all the wicked ablaze without hope of regrowth. The same Day, for the righteous, will be as a healing sun. The light of Christ will disperse the darkness. Our wounds for His sake will be mended, our battle scars, renewed as youth, our tears, wiped forever away, our lives in His footsteps, once and for all vindicated. The righteous will rise and come out on top. Whether a soul is lost or found, let it be prepared. Let it be known that the Day is coming when such a distinction will be made. Let each and all remember the Law (live by the Word of God) and look for Elijah (John) who, by targeting the hearts of fathers, will make a people prepared for Christ. Can we, the Israel of God, do better in light of Christ's second coming? Ready yourself for the coming of the Righteous One by devoting yourself to righteousness.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The coming Day of the Lord with respect to the wicked. (4:1)
  2. The same Day with respect to the Lord's righteous ones. (4:2-3)
  3. Preparations for the Day of divine distinction. (4:4-6)
    • a. Listen to Moses. (4:4)
      b. Listen to ‘Elijah.’ (4:5-6)

Malachi, Messenger of the Unchanging Lord of Love

Summary:

There is an esteem for God that distinguishes the lovers of God in time and for eternity. Israel and his priesthood had failed at this point. They wearied God with their words as those who had wearied of God in their hearts. Once more, they'd lost touch with His love, and it showed. They questioned His justice, withheld His due, depreciated His service and, in these ways, shot themselves in the soul. But not without hope. Amazing. The Lord is coming to purify His people. He will establish justice. Yet never to be discounted, He's immutably patient, offering Himself to sinners in return for repentance---a faithfulness that looks beyond this world to the day that being faithful in all God's service now, trusting and treasuring through trial, will be forever vindicated.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Israel's wearying words (and the Lord's distinguishing ones). (2:17-3:15)
    • a: Where is the God of justice?
      b: How have we robbed Him?
      c: What does it profit to serve Him?
  2. God's Israel made visible, now and forevermore. (3:16-18)

Malachi, Messenger of the Unchanging Lord of Love: Part 2

Summary:

Unfortunately, the sons of Levi have not followed in Levi's footsteps. Accordingly, God will curse their blessings. Their ministry, mighty in producing godless lives, will be disavowed of God's pleasure and power. Oh that they would have hearts for God that listened well and taught what was true to the good of souls. Because they didn't, the people didn't live faithfully. In their disregard for the sanctuary, they were faithless to one another, allowing idolatry to take root; more, in their lust for godless living, they also disregarded the sanctity of marriage and its aim: godly offspring. When God's ministers fail, marriages and families, home and church, these institutions intended to reflect the glory of the Gospel, are likely to crumble. Thankfully, we have a High Priest Who will never fail us and, in His mercy, He lives to make us a priesthood of believers devoted to a ministry with lasting power in the lives of those it envelopes.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Levi's ministry, or a faithfulness to take to heart. (2:1-9)
  2. Israel's failures, or a faithlessness to guard against. (2:10-16)
    • a. Faithlessness toward the sanctuary of God. (2:10-12)
      b. Faithlessness toward the sanctity of marriage. (2:13-16)

Malachi, Messenger of the Unchanging Lord of Love: Part 1

Summary:

This book, mighty in zeal and reproof, accordingly begins with a declaration of God's love for Israel. This love is magnified by its contrast in the history of Esau and Edom, whom God hated. This opening scene is meant to fuel love for God, expressed in biblical worship; at the same time, however, it gives the reason (and rebuke) for Israel's polluted worship. They doubt the love of God. They've lost touch with it; and you cannot lose touch with the love of God for sinners without the corresponding corruption of worship. Setting aside His love is inviting evil to creep into a people's practice. Signifying a shift in one's zeal for the glory of God, it degenerates true worship by demanding less---from the clergy, from the congregation, from our lives, from our hearts. It makes our loving Lord worthy of less than our all. It muddies His reputation and, as He doesn't take kindly to that, as He will be feared among the nations, He will chastise an Israel that, for a loss of 'love that calls out to Love,' fails to be a looking-glass upon His divine greatness.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The love of God for His people, stated and magnified. (1:1-5)
  2. The lovelessness of that people for God, clarified and reproved. (1:6-14)
    • God despised when His altar is cheapened. (1:6-9, 13b-14)
      God despised when upholding His worth is wearisome. (1:10-13a)
  3. Putting the pieces together: Gospel-centered worship matters globally.

Haggai's House of Greater Glory: Haggai, Part 2

Summary:

The Lord sends Haggai with three more messages to support the people in the building of God's house and beyond it. He speaks first to the means of the House---serving in the strength that He supplies. He speaks next to the ministry of the House---its sanctifying effect in the life of His people. Finally, he speaks to the man of the House---by Zerubbabel, the Lord will resume the Davidic dynasty, effectively bringing His throne and His house together. He will bring about an exodus event by the regal authority of God---a prophecy that finds its fulfillment in the death and resurrection of Jesus. So we have a House built by God that sanctifies a people through the reign of Christ. The local church is a visible outpost of the Kingdom of God on earth.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The means for God's house made glorious. (2:1-9)
  2. The ministry of God's house made glorious. (2:10-19)
  3. The master of God's house made glorious. (2:20-23)

Haggai's House of Greater Glory: Haggai, Part 1

Summary:

The Lord speaks through Haggai to a spiritually negligent people. They don't share the same concern of their covenant Lord for the glory of His house. Not recognizing the signs of His displeasure, they seek their profit in this world only to be perpetually frustrated by its returns. The Lord speaks to recenter their lives around Him, His glory, and Kingdom. Ever in His hands, the Sovereign of our circumstances proves the Sovereign of spirits, stirring them up to a work that, by its destruction, finally directs us to a true house of God that can never be destroyed, a house of greater glory - the Church of our risen Lord Jesus.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Realigning hearts with the building of God's house. (1:1-11)
  2. Advancing to action in the building of God's house. (1:12-15)
  3. Applying Haggai 1 to the building of God's house today.

Zephaniah's Lord Will Be Awesome: Zephaniah, Part 3

Summary:

Zephaniah pronounces woe on the people of God for a spiritual ugliness, spanning prophet, priest, and people. The primary indicator of death and decay? An unwillingness to be corrected by the Word of God; indeed, they turn attempted correction into accelerated corruption. In the midst of this, the remnant of grace may wonder, 'Will we ever see the beauty of the Lord upon His people again? Will we ever have cause again to joyfully sing aloud?' The first of two main imperatives, God charges His people to wait for His deliverance. He will judge all who have given truth a bad name. He will then create a new people bearing His loveliness, a praying, humble, sincere, well-fed, and fearless sheepfold from all the world; and as the Chief Shepherd is evidently in their midst, they're exhorted to sing aloud with all their heart. For those who mourn for it, He will create and sustain a people reflecting the radiance of His Almighty grace.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Weeping over a people of God proving their rebelliousness. (3:1-8)
  2. Singing over a people of God bearing His loveliness. (3:9-20)

Gather Together, Yes, Gather: Zephaniah Part 2

Summary:

While the ungodly world gathers to play God, the remnant of grace gathers to seek the Lord, which is essential, both, to our preservation as God's true and distinctive people and, thereby, our evangelization of an ignorantly taunting world on the cusp of condemnation. It is quite the burden that Zephaniah is made to bear and unload, that while God's Word has been recovered and reformation seems to be underway, God's people must be warned of judgment with the world instead of celebrating the grace that's so obviously set them apart from within it. Outward reformation without inward regeneration and/or revival is not agreeable to saving faith.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The ungodly world and the Lord's certain woes. (2:4-15)
  2. The remnant of grace and the Lord's sanctifying remedies. (2:1-3)
    • Gather together, yes, gather.
    • To seek the Lord.
    • And keep at it---as you see the Day drawing near.
    • Believe, the Lord will be awesome for His own.

The Lord Will Be Awesome: Zephaniah, Part 1

Summary

The glorious creator of everything sends his word through Zephaniah. "I will utterly sweep away everything from the face of the earth!" Turning on its head Israel's expectation that the Day of the Lord is a time for rejoicing, Zephaniah lays out the coming devastation the earth and its inhabitants will experience because of the sin of man, and more specifically, the sin of God's covenant people.

Judgment Belongs to the Lord: Nahum, Part 3

Summary:

Nahum continues to share God's oracle concerning Nineveh and Assyria's fate. Beginning with a woe concerning the bloody city, God puts judgment in perspective, focusing on the victims of Assyria's policies. Following are three taunts that reflect on Assyria's claims to power. Though strong, Nineveh will fare no better than its victims. Though sure of its military dominance, it will find no refuge in the day that the tables turn. Despite its long reach, its presence and impact will evaporate. And in the end, no one remains to mourn Assyria's downfall. All her victims rejoice to be free of her. So will God do to every empire that sets itself up against God's glorious and just reign.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Woe - God versus city (3:1-7)
  2. Taunt - God versus empire (3:8-17)
  3. Dirge - God versus king (3:18-19)

Judgment Belongs to the Lord: Nahum, Part 2

Summary:

As Nahum continues to explain the vision, he sketches in detail the demise of Nineveh and the demise of the empire. Despite the seeming strength of Nineveh, it is already ready to topple. Unbeknownst to it, YHWH is already here. He chides them to prepare, but it is for nothing. The march to the city is a song of increasing ruin and failure, shaming Assyria's military might and aspirations, as well as the king's claims to provide for his people's security. Nineveh's commitment to violence, to idolatry, to glorying in its strength leaves room for nothing but judgment from God as he restores the hope of his people.

Sermon Outline:

  1. hope (2:1-2)
  2. unmitigated defeat (2:3-10)
  3. the divine warrior (2:11-13)

Judgment Belongs to the Lord: Nahum, Part 1

Summary:

Nahum receives a vision from God. God arrives in glorious mastery of his creation, jealous, avenging, wrathful, and ready to judge those who would stand against him, to steal his glory. Yet, the master of all, the one who can pursue his enemies into darkness, is a stronghold for those who take refuge in him. Nahum is a master artist, a deft poet. His subject will one day bring the full weight of his wrath on those who oppose him, but in an act anticipating this final judgment, God utters destruction for Assyria and comfort to Judah - at least, a Judah that takes its refuge in the Lord of the day of trouble. It's great news for some, but devastating news for all those standing in opposition to a holy and just God.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Opening credits (1:1)
  2. The main feature (1:2-8)
  3. The previews (1:9-15)

Salvation Belongs to the Lord: Jonah, Part 4

Summary:

God has relented, and Jonah is exceedingly angry about it. He has nothing good to say about the goodness of God's glory applied to the Ninevites. In fact, he'd rather the Lord take his life than live in a world where God's love envelopes the world. The gentleness of God with Jonah is divine. He asks him to reflect on whether he's doing well in being angry that a city of souls has been spared. While he stews outside the city, God comforts him beyond his ability to comfort himself. His kind sovereignty comes into prominent view. He appoints a plant, then a worm to kill it, then a wind to afflict the prophet, and all to make a point: Jonah's angry over grace removed from him, whereby he's made to experience a wilting wind, but he has no pity for graceless souls standing on the precipice of eternal judgment. Grace removed from him, anger; grace applied to Nineveh, anger. Dreadfully self-centered, he's invited to consider, over against a plant, God's heart for people. It's a final prod to cultivate a gracious, Christ-like heart. Will Jonah do it? What will we do? So the book ends. Salvation belongs to the Lord.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Jonah angry with God. (4:1-3)
  2. God gentle with Jonah. (4:4-11)
  3. A question to expose Jonah. (4:4)
  4. A provision to comfort Jonah. (4:5-6)
  5. An affliction to test Jonah. (4:7-9)
  6. A lesson to change Jonah. (4:10-11)

Salvation Belongs to the Lord: Jonah, Part 3

Summary:

Jonah receives his second opportunity to serve the cause of God's truth and grace to Nineveh. At the call, he goes, walks a third of the way into the great but evil city, and preaches God's Word. It's a Word of judgment, fronted with mercy. How will the Ninevites receive it? Though it shouldn't be to our amazement (4:2), they believe God. They all seek God for mercy, the king serving as head of their citywide repentance - and that on the hope that the Lord is merciful and gracious toward sinners as they are. How much more ought those who know He is be advocating with sinners for repentance and faith in the grace of the just God? Salvation is available to sinners, just not on our own terms. We must repent, if we would be saved. And as we do, as we repent, God is happy (incredibly) to relent. What do we believe about the power of the Word, the grace of God, and the salvation of sinners, and how are we applying that in our lives?

Sermon Outline:

  1. Jonah preaching. (3:1-4)
  2. Nineveh repenting. (3:5-9)
  3. God relenting. (3:10)

Salvation Belongs to the Lord: Jonah, Part 2

Summary:

Jonah is down, but not dead; because God is no vain idol, but the true, living, and faithful Lord of salvation. A great fish is appointed as an instrument of rescue. Jonah has sunk to the bottom of the sea, the depths of almost certain despair and death due to his rebellion---but God above is able to deliver His people from our lowest depths. The fish is an ark, sustaining Jonah's life; it's made into a kind of sanctuary, in which the prophet remembers the Lord, calls out to Him, hopes in His mercy, exalts His truth, crowns Him Savior, and redirects himself toward faithfulness to the call. The Lord then commands the fish to give up the prophet upon dry land. His impending ministry is miraculous, a sign of God's Lordship and sovereign mercies upon all the world of sinners. It's a type of what's to come in the greater Jonah, our Lord Jesus Christ. He will be swallowed up, buried for three days, and spit out again alive from the dead. Will we listen to Him? Will we live to Him? Will we carry out the grace of new and risen lives to those in need?

Sermon Outline:

  1. God to the rescue. (1:17-2:1)
  2. A psalm of the rescued. (2:2-9)
    • God's sovereignty in our sinking.
    • God's salvation in our sinking.
    • God's sanctuary in our sinking.
    • God's service in our steadying.
3. The reset of the rescued. (2:10)

Salvation Belongs to the Lord: Jonah, Part 1

Summary:

God commissions Jonah to preach judgment against Nineveh, something it'd seem he'd love to do. Instead, for a reason explored in chapter 4, he tries, by all means, to run away from God's presence and ministry. For a prophet of God, he displays a shocking carelessness for the souls of others. While the mariners who gave him refuge are doing their best to keep from perishing at sea on account of his disobedience, he sleeps in the hull of the ship. A pagan captain asks a great question: what do you mean, you sleeper? Devoid of counsel, they take counsel together. God puts the spotlight on Jonah to illuminate the situation further than he has. At their asking, he then offers to be thrown overboard in order to spare the crew. The ungodly show more resolve about his life than the prophet does for theirs. When at last their extremities cannot calm God's judgment, they're pressed into prayer for themselves and for their actions with respect to Jonah. They do with him as he had originally suggested and, soon as he splashes into the sea, it calms for them. The mariners become God-fearers, vowing, as it were, to be living sacrifices. It's a moving beginning to a little book with a big message: salvation belongs to the Lord. This truth calls on us to be ready to go to whomever the Lord gives with the truth of the Gospel, the good news of another Jewish Man Who went as God directed to bring sinners peace with God.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The Lord's runaway prophet. (1:1-3)
  2. The Lord's revelatory providence. (1:4-16)
    • The storm and the only sleeper. (1:4-6)
    • The lot and the only Lord. (1:7-10)
    • The sea and the only solution. (1:11-14)
    • The result and the only (right) response. (1:15-16)

The Kingdom Shall Be The Lord's: Obadiah

Summary:

Summary: Obadiah, minor prophet, but big for God and the preservation of His Word to His people. His vision concerns the hope of Israel in the Kingdom of God, a Kingdom that rules all others and will not hold them guiltless for their sins. The word is specific to the judgment of Edom for her national pride and her unjust treatment of God's people. The prophecy reminds us that God is the King of nations, sovereign in every dispensation, Witness, Judge, and Jury of all our activities under Heaven. There will be a Day of judgment---but also a way of escape. Though Israel has undergone so many desolations, Zion will be holy, a fire that consumes the wicked, particularly in the Day that the Savior of saviors shows up in Jerusalem. In that Day, the Kingdom behind all will come to the fore of history and be established over Mt. Esau, as over all the world. To this end, few can be thanked more for their labors than this obscure prophet, Obadiah.

Sermon Outline:

    1: Obadiah, humble servant to the Word of our King. (1:1a)
    2: Our King's ability to humble our enemies. (1:1b-4)
    3: Our King has a Day for humbling our enemies. (1:5-16)
    4: Our King's humility in establishing His Kingdom. (1:17-21)

To Him You Shall Listen

Summary:

Summary: Preparatory for life in a new land as God's peculiar people, God, by Moses, forewarns them to be careful to what they listen. In obedience to God, as Adam, Israel is to lend their ears to the Word of God, according to its origin and authority. In light of this, and with Moses on his way out, God promises an Israelite Prophet like Moses. To Him, they are to listen. Due to their sinful state, He'll be a mediatorial Voice. In listening to Him, they will not die, but live, as He will speak nothing but the Word of God. Anyone rejecting Him, rejects God, and will not go unpunished. Of course, where God has His Word, the serpent has his snakes. The people must be prepared to discern God's truth from the devil's error as they await the Christ. As a deterrent, speaking lies in God's Name is punishable by death. The sacred desk is a serious matter. Israel is then given a couple ways to discern erroneous, insubstantial 'wind-bags.' The text offers a handful of marks for true prophets (and preachers) of God. It's not until the advent of Christ, and His baptism and transfiguration specifically, that the prophetic testimony comes full, and God Himself confirms Jesus to be the One to Whom we must listen. All the prophets point to Him.

Sermon Outline:

    1: Godly living demands listening to God. (18:9-14)
    2: God has spoken by His prophets---and One above all. (18:15-19)
    a: Moses gives way to Him. (18:15)
    b: He's the Way to Life. (18:16-18a)
    c: He speaks God's Word. (18:18b)
    d: To reject His words is to invite God's judgment. (18:19)
    3: Godly listening demands spiritual discernment. (18:20-22)

The Risen Jesus, Part 4: You Follow Me!

Summary:

Summary: After breakfast, Jesus takes a walk with Peter, John following them. Savior and Sanctifier, He at once reproves and restores, wounds and heals Peter. To match his earlier denials, Jesus questions him three times about his love for Him. Peter affirms he does, but is grieved in a way that opens the path to grace. Jesus loves Peter, abides with Peter, and restores Peter to a leading place in the firmament of His Church. Tending Christ's flock seems to major on feeding it, and tending it just so will demand a courage that only Jesus can give. Peter will die for the cause of Christ, but God will be glorified in it. Relaying this, Jesus says to him as he said at first, 'Follow Me.' Peter turns around---to find John following them. Allowing Christ's call only a glancing impact, he concerns himself with John's path forward. Jesus, in Whose hand is our life and death, calls Peter to concern himself chiefly with the path Jesus walks, one of obedience through the cross to resurrection. He who has an ear, hear. As we do, our humble hope is to flood the world with the truth about Jesus Christ. May we decrease, but The Word increase.

Sermon Outline:

    1: Following Jesus and Christian restoration. (21:15-17)
    2: Following Jesus and Christian dying. (21:18-19)
    3: Following Jesus and Christian living. (21:20-23)
    4: Following Jesus and Christian ambition. (21:24-25)

The Risen Jesus, Part 3: Do You Have Any Fish?

Summary:

Summary: John records the fourth appearance of Jesus overall, third to His official disciples. Without judging the disciples of wrongdoing, John lets us know they have not yet realized the full import of Christ's resurrection for their day to day. Alas, at Peter's leading, seven of them go fishing, but they catch nothing. Jesus then reveals Himself. As the day breaks, Jesus asks about their non-catch and commands them to cast their net under the promise that they will find some. So many large fish fill the net that they can't reel in the haul. John then identifies the guide as Jesus. Peter throws himself into the sea to get to Jesus. The others follow in the boat. When they arrive, they find a meal prepared for them. Jesus enjoins them to add to the meal. Peter leads in this also, and John records the number of fish, and that the net, miraculously, had not been torn. Jesus' resurrection has altered His appearance, so that they know it's Him, but are filled with questions that they keep to themselves for the time being. Jesus acts as Host of the breakfast. His resurrection serves the continuance of apostolic Christianity. Apart from Him, who knows our times and places, they (and we) can do nothing. By Him, we may expect the help of Heaven in life and ministry.

Sermone Outline:

    1. Jesus revealed in the apostles' catch. (21:1-8)
    a. The apostles' fishing without Jesus. (21:1-3)
    b. Jesus fishing for/with the apostles'. (21:4-6)
    c. Identifying the Lord and getting to Him. (21:7-8)
    2: 2: Jesus known in the Lord's breakfast. (21:9-14)

The Risen Jesus, Part 2: That You May Believe

Summary:

Summary: On the night of the first Easter Sunday, the disciples are gathered together under the premise that the tomb is empty and the report that Jesus is apparently risen. Amid their fear, Jesus, never minding closed doors, appears, preaching the grace of peace to them. He invites them to see Him, that neither the cross, nor the grave have conquered Him---or them. Again, He preaches peace! He then breathes on them, and they receive the Holy Spirit from Him for the sake of the task in front of them, which appears to be authoritatively preaching the message of forgiveness and charitably affirming true faith in Jesus Christ. Thomas was not present, so he missed this blessing. Though the others tell Him the good news, he refuses to believe it unless he can see Jesus Himself. Jesus appears again. In mercy, He invites Thomas to examine Him. Thomas believes and gives the great confession: Jesus is his Lord and his God. Blessed, Jesus says, are those who do not see as Thomas did and still believe. John notes that he's been selective in his reporting, choosing things he thinks most conducive to faith in Jesus as the divine Christ and Giver of spiritual life to sinners.

Sermone Outline:

    1. The peace of the risen Christ to combat all fear. (20:19-20)
    2: The power of the risen Christ for carrying out His commission. (20:21-23)
    3: The presentation of the risen Christ to remove all doubt. (20:24-31)
    a: Christ's presentation to Thomas. (20:24-29)
    b: John's presentation to all. (20:30-31)

The Risen Jesus, Part 1: I Have Seen the Lord

Summary:

Mary Magdalene goes weeping to the tomb of Jesus only to find the stone taken away. As her first thought is not resurrection, she runs to the disciples. At the news of an empty tomb, Peter and John race to see what's no longer visible to the eye: the body of Jesus. The scene is one of decor and order. There's been no heist in haste. John believes. Peter marvels. Mary weeps. The resurrection of Jesus illumines the Word of God which necessitated His death and resurrection. The men return home, but Mary, still in sorrowful earnest, stays. They do not seem to minister to her. But angels begin to do so. And upon her words, Jesus also appears to do so! This is more than seeing an empty tomb, which might be empty for any number of reasons. This is seeing the Man Who was crucified and dead alive from the dead! It reduces the cause of the empty tomb to one: the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It appears some part of His ministry to help His people see Him, to call on them in such a way that they know there is continuity of love and care even amid the discontinuity of His earthly and now heavenly life. He sends her to testify to His spiritual brothers that He goes to ascend to their God and Father, an act that will, among other graces, fill them with the Spirit of Life and resurrection power. Mary is obedient, and the good news of life from the dead begins to go out.

Sermon Outline:

1: The empty tomb. (20:1-10)
    a: Its visitors. (20:1-4)
    b: Its remains. (20:5-7)
    c: Its effects. (20:8-9)
2: The risen Jesus. (20:10-18)
    a: Mary's staying (and weeping). (20:10-13)
    b: Jesus' appearing (and alighting). (20:14-17)
    c: Mary's going (and announcing). (20:18)

Jesus Fulfilling and Finishing: One Man, For the People, Part 5

Summary:

Having begun the work of atonement, Jesus finishes it. Along the way, we're to take special notice that every aspect of the cross is directed by the Word of God and the God of the Word. We're to see that Christ crucified is the wisdom and power of God. We're to see our Lord's otherworldly love for His own and, in it, the establishment of a new cross-centered family of faith. Of course, we're to find the utmost solace and joy in redemption accomplished. We're to mark that He truly died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures. He not only suffered for us, but He also really died for us, that we might die in the certain hope of eternal life. If we have believed in this pierced Passover Lamb of God, we have refuge from the judgment our sins deserve. John calls on us to believe---and to believe truly; which he depicts in the publicity of Joseph and Nicodemus' identification with Jesus at the cross! With nothing to gain and all to lose, they claim Him, for they have been born again. He is their Savior-King and, as such, He's buried, so that God might add yet another stamp of approval upon the redeeming work of His Son: resurrection!

Sermon Outline:

The crucified Jesus is the Bible's Christ---be exposed at the cross. (19:23-24)
    The Bible's Christ is His family's bond---be stayed at the cross. (19:25-27)
    His finishing death is the fountain of life---believe the truth of the cross. (19:28-37)
    His glorious burial, our glorious burial---bear your cross for Christ. (19:38-42)

Jesus Crucified and Crowned: One Man, For the People, Part 4

Summary:

Summary: The holiest, most wondrous words ever recorded: 'there they crucified Him.' Simply astounding; worthy of our richest tears of gratitude and joy. The purchase of Heaven for guilty sinners formally begins. Jesus is given a mock coronation. He's mocked a King. At His re-presentation, the Jewish crowd cries for His cross, asserting He's committed blasphemy. Curious Pilate, having missed it the first time, asks Jesus where He's from; Jesus remains silent, though He speaks when Pilate brings up the issue of authority. The cross is the goal of this King in obedience to the Sovereign of all. Pilate attempts to release Jesus, repeatedly declaring His innocence, but he ultimately succumbs to the crowd's sinfulest desire, as, in their two-faced idolatry, they threaten him politically. He hands Jesus over to be crucified. He then is crucified atop The Skull and in between two criminals. We're reminded of the nature of what He's now begun to do: bear the sins of His people. That is His glory. There is His true crown. Alas, Pilate dubs Him King. If only he'd believed what he'd written. May we and so many more believe it.

Sermon Outline:

  1. See the soldier's ironic defamation of King Jesus. (19:1-5)
  2. See Pilate's dreadful indecision about King Jesus. (19:6-11)
  3. See the crowd's idolatrous desire for King Jesus. (19:12-16a)
  4. See God's crowning of King Jesus - on the Cross. (19:16b-22)

Jesus Tried and Truth: One Man, For the People, Part 3

Summary:

Unable to find anything condemnable in Him, Jewish leadership delivers Jesus to Pilate. Callously straining at gnats, they'd rather not enter Pilate's quarters than have God's Christ take over their hearts. They prove ignorant of the true meaning of the Passover, while proving no less ignorant of Christ and themselves. To show their intent, and fulfill the Word of Christ, they would have Pilate deliver Him to the cross. What they think to discredit Jesus once for all, God has designed to His glory. Pilate tries Jesus, only to have Jesus try him. He is a King---the King of Heaven. He came into the world, not to bury Rome, but to bear witness to the Truth. To Pilate's question, 'What have you done?,' Jesus essentially answers, 'I've come into the world.' Pilate is content to be dismissive of the Truth; though he does seek to free Him. Underestimating the zeal of the people to be rid of this innocent Man, He's substituted, the Savior for the sinner. So the stage is set for the wisdom and power of God in the cross of Jesus Christ.

Sermon Outline:

    1. Sinners seeking the cross for Jesus---Truth despised. (18:28-32)
    2. Jesus revealing His Kingdom to Pilate---Truth dismissed. (18:33-38a)
    3. Jesus taking the place of Barabbas---Truth displayed. (18:38b-40)

Jesus Denied but Not Denying: One Man, For the People, Part 2

Summary:

As Jesus is bound to be tried by Annas, we're given a lesson in discipleship: a humble sincerity of public faith is far more to be desired than a false bravado that speaks great allegiance, only to distance from Jesus under mounting pressure. We have two true disciples, but two contrary courses of action under trial. Peter stands at a distance, warmed with the lost in the chill of that night. The other disciple enters the trial space with Jesus and invites Peter along, but once, twice, and a third time he denies Jesus. In between, Jesus is asked about His disciples and His doctrine, things that are supposed to match. His ministry has been one of revelation, but people, more concerned about likes and dislikes than right or wrong, will find a way to shield themselves from anything that would otherwise confront, convict and, God willing, convert them. They prefer to hear but not hear, and to strike the face of God, and move forward with the goal of crucifixion; and just there, the disciple, like Peter, has a decision to make: to deny or to identify.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Following Jesus - to a point. (18:15-18)
  2. Questioning Jesus - to a punch. (18:19-24)
  3. Denying Jesus - (back) to a prophecy. (18:25-27)

Jesus Arrested and Arresting: One Man, for the People

Summary:

So begins the final crises of Christ. Let us not be unaffected. Having prepared and prayed for His disciples in view of His departure, He now takes to the Garden of His distress. Being often frequented, a place of sweetest assembly becomes a place of sinfullest arrest. Proving ignorance of Christ, the betrayer comes to Him with a weaponized hoard. To display His authority over the situation, and to give a manifestation of His guardianship, Jesus unsheathes the divinity of His Word. Something of Him is revealed in His self-identification. His enemies reflexively bow. His disciples, in contrast, safely stand. One disciple, Peter, however, continues to misunderstand. Perhaps enemies of Christ approach Him on-guard, not because of Christ, but because of disciples who, sadly, fail to appropriate the heart of Christ and the true character of His mission. To that end, Jesus is arrested and 'bound,' and the process of unjust examination begins, whereby one Man will die for the people---whereby Jesus will justify, free, and arrest the hearts of all who believe.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Coming to Jesus---in the dark. (18:1-3)
  2. Jesus stepping forward---to give Light. (18:4-11)
    • The Word in charge. (18:4-6)
      The Lord our Shepherd. (18:7-9)
      The Lamb of God. (18:10-11)
  3. Jesus arrested---to be arresting. (18:12-14)

Yet Distance Makes No Difference: Jesus Praying, Part 3

Summary:

Looking ahead to future generations of Christians, Jesus finishes His priestly prayer for His people with a petition, a passion, and a promise. He prays for our Word-centered unity as the children of God, and for its missional effect in the world. He articulates His passion for us, that we see His glory and, in that, we're challenged to esteem His glory above all the matters of life. And He makes a promise to that end, that as He's made God known to us, He will continue to do so, so that we become the Body of Christ, filled with the love of God. Let's join our Lord in praying for the very same excellencies of love and grace.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Jesus' final petition for His people (17:20-23)
  2. Jesus' ultimate passion for His people (17:24)
  3. Jesus' closing promise for His people (17:25-26)

Yet Distance Makes No Difference: Jesus Praying, Part 2

Summary:

If you could have Jesus pray anything for us, what would it be? What does Jesus pray for His people? John 17:6-19 begins to give us a few definitive answers to such questions. It begins with our Lord's gracious perspective of His people, before moving into His glorious prayers for His people. By grace, we know that He's the Christ of God, and we keep the Word of God. And by grace, though He leaves the world and, for mission, we remain, He departs to intercede for us and hold us fast. The petitions concern His glory in His people, and they are three, and all rooted in the soils of His Word: our perseverance, our joy, our holiness. For this, He also sanctifies Himself to the death of the cross. Is it possible, then, that His prayers for us will go unanswered? Will He Who died for us, Who lives for us, fail to do all His desire for us? Will the Father, having given Christ, refrain from giving us these most essential requests? Surely not.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Jesus' grace-filled perspective of His people. (17:6-8)
  2. Jesus' glory-minded petitions for His people. (17:9-18)
    • a: For divine and Word-centered preservation. (17:11b-12)
    • For undaunted and Word-centered joy. (17:13-14)
    • For missional and Word-centered holiness. (17:15-18)
  3. Jesus' guarantee on His praying for His people. (17:19)

Yet Distance Makes No Difference: Jesus Praying, Part 1

Summary:

The Olivet Discourse (Jesus departing) is ended, moving immediately into prayer. John 17 is most properly the Lord's prayer. In this first section, we're party to the conversation of the Son directed trustingly to the Father. We get to hear Jesus pray. And He begins by asking the Father to glorify Himself by glorifying Christ in His death on the cross---in His purchase of eternal life for His people. Next, Jesus defines eternal life for His people. And finally, He expresses His utter confidence in the completion of the work the Father gave Him to do. This leads Him to ask for exaltation---the Man Christ Jesus to the throne and glory He had with the Father before the world existed. In this final request, we are comforted about our own destiny in Christ, and that, while we are at distance from Him now, it makes no difference, He is the Lord of all, and He's praying for us.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Jesus' primary concern: the glory of the Father in the Son on earth. (17:1)
    • a) God glorified in the cross of Jesus. (17:1)
      b) God glorified in the authority of Jesus. (17:2)
      c) God glorified in the gift of Jesus. (17:3)
      d) God glorified in the confidence of Jesus. (17:4)
  2. Jesus' intercessory concern: the resumption of His glory in Heaven. (17:5)

To Him Be Glory in the Church: First Five Series, Part 5

Summary:

Having just arrived at the centrality of the Church in the eternal purpose God has realized in Christ, Paul bows himself before God the Father. The prayer is involved yet simple. He asks the Father to make the Church, in all of Her localized assemblies, a visible and triumphant display of His glory. There is a 'gotcha' element to the Church, in that Her very existence cries an eternal victory over enemy principalities and powers---but becoming what God's adopted us to be is a real and essential labor. It's a work of God by the Holy Spirit in our inner being as we appropriate by faith the boundless love of Jesus. As we engage in that community project, marinating in His love, Christ Himself gains area in our collective heart. God Himself fills us, so that we display His glory. As He alone is able to do it, we're to look to Him for it always. His Church-centered plan has no replacement. Into the new creation, we're it---by His grace and for His glory.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The essential power for displaying Christ as a church. (3:14-17)
  2. The essential practice for displaying Christ as a church. (3:18-19)
  3. The essential praise for displaying Christ as a church. (3:20-21)

He Who Made Me in the Womb Made Him

Summary:

Job, the righteous-sufferer, details his righteousness in terms of love in the fear of God toward the entirety of human society, and at its base is a single principle, a God-entranced worldview: our sanctity, rights, and worth as human persons is established, not by what we are or become in the world, but by what we all are in relationship to God from creation in the womb. God's work in the womb, the distinct creation of a human being, gives every person an irrevocable dignity and right, from the womb, to be treated as a human being with a protected right to life. The righteous are, thus, especially to use their God-given strength in the most righteous treatment of every person---and certainly the most vulnerable among us: those yet in the womb.

Sermoun Outline:

  1. Job's righteousness. (31:1-23)
  2. A chief principle behind it. (31:15)
    • a: 'He Who made me in the womb made him.'
      b: A case from Job for doing uprightly by the unborn human being.

A Great Multitude, One Loud Voice

Summary:

The seals 'sealing up' redemptive history are being opened in various judgments against sinful humanity. God seals up the redeemed of Christ, so that they, no matter their experience of trial, will be saved. John is enabled to see the future certainty of the Church glorified and gathered around the throne of God and grace. He sees an innumerable multitude. In many ways, they are distinct; and yet, in primary and indestructible ways, they are one great and unified assembly. As we take a break from our normal course of exposition to give focus to yearly matters of importance, and as that brings us to dwell upon the important matter of the ethnic harmony only Christ can create, we get to take a look at ourselves in our glorious and eternal future, as part of a global Church, and ask, 'what makes for this? How can it be? And why? And how might we become more of a foretaste of this vision to the glory of God in Christ today?'

Sermon Outline:

  1. Behold the great multitude. (7:9a-b)
  2. Behold their oneness. (7:9c-10)
  3. Behold the angelic Amen. (7:11-12)

Three Things About The Word

Summary:

Full of thanksgiving. Some people complain Paul has a too frequent harsh tone. The reality is that Paul loves God's people deeply, and so he takes the holiness of the saints, God's chosen people, seriously. And as he reminds himself of the faith of the Thessalonian church, he can't help but thank God for their response to the gospel. He considers not just their conversion from lifeless idols to the living God, but he wonders at the outworking of that faith and their steadfast patience. As Paul and his associates follow Christ, the church at Thessalonica has fruitfully imitated both, and Christians all over now echo the results. Underlying all is the Word.

Something to Pray

Summary:

On the heels of Paul's great (and longest) sentence on the grace of God in our salvation, he moves to thanksgiving and prayer. He praises the glory of God's grace for its creative effect: a people, a true and visible church, with an amplified faith in Jesus and love towards all the saints. He then prays that the God of Christ and Father of glory may not only sustain that beauty but increase it by giving us 1) a better knowledge of Himself, in which Light, our hearts might further know 2) the hope to which He's called us, 3) the wealth we have in His heavenly assembly, and 4) the (immeasurable greatness of the) power He exercises in Christ for our benefit and ministry as the Body of Christ in this world. As we move into our 'first five' series, giving focus to prayer, this text provides us with something wonderful to pray for our church as a church this year.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Paul's thanksgiving to God for healthy churches. (1:15-16)
  2. Paul's prayer to God for healthy churches. (1:17-23)
    • That we'd know God better. (1:17)
    • That we'd know God's inheritance better. (1:18)
    • That we'd know God's power better. (1:19-23)

The Scepter Shall Not Depart from Judah

Summary:

Genesis is critical, foundational to our whole-Bible understanding of Jesus Christ. As we approach the end of the book, Moses brings various Christ-centered promises to bear upon a future King from Jacob's family and, more specifically, of Judah's line. Echoing Genesis 3:15, this descendant will be the serpent-crushing Lion-King. Echoing Genesis 12:1-3, He will establish God's everlasting Kingdom, as well as its global and regenerated citizenry; and there is no chance that He will fail to achieve the purpose for which God sent Him into the world. His Vineyard will be abundantly blessed. As He reappears in Revelation 5, He is the Sovereign of history and of God's redemptive plan. He will surely bring it all to pass to the praise and worship of God in Christ. Let all His citizens rejoice and take heart. The scepter shall not depart from the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The fighting King of Judah---and His victory.
  2. The everlasting King of Judah---and His subjects.
  3. The harvesting King of Judah---and His sovereignty.

God's Promises to Abram

Summary:

At this point in Genesis, God's overarching plan of redemption takes a curiously specific course. God takes a man past his prime, and a woman with little hope, and calls them to follow him into uncharted waters. Abram obediently follows where God leads. In the lead up to the journey we find God's commands and promises to Abram. We see a picture of the Father who would send Jesus to redeem us. And we get a picture of what it means to be led by the Spirit, to place our faith and hope in the future rest for God's people, in the presence of the very God of the universe

Sermon Outline:

  1. Weeds: The Call of Abram
  2. Wonders: God the Son Incarnate
  3. Walks: Strangers and exiles

God's Promise to the Serpent

Summary:

These verses recount the Fall of Man - and the Redemption of Eve's offspring by one of her children in particular. The serpent starts a war against God, His Word, and His family that he was never able to finish. Despite his advances, and the ruin he's wrought amongst us in this world, the 'walking' God maintains His sovereignty and ushers a promise to the serpent (and to humanity): God will finish what the serpent began. There is a Christ, even the Son of God, Who, by way of His suffering for us, will flatten the devil's head and secure our salvation in all its parts. Jesus undoes what Satan enticed Adam to do. He reverses the curse upon us due to our sins.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The ruinous rival. (3:1-6)
  2. Our rivalrous ruin. (3:7-13)
  3. God's great Redeemer. (3:14-15)

They Shall Become One Flesh

Summary:

The eternal God has created the world. He's created Man in His own image. He's given Adam a vocation, as well as authority to be exercised in view of God's exceeding charity, terrifying penalty, and communicated sovereignty. But for all that God intended him to be, Adam needed a human counterpart, a co-equal complement. Adam needed the divine goodness of a wife. Our text gives the historical account of this, but there's more than meets the eye at first. The divine institution of marriage, the true crown atop creation, is a profound and prophetic mystery revealed in the Gospel of Christ, His pursuit of His Bride, and her everlasting union to Him. Alas, we find a remedial revelation before the plague of sin takes over the world. Creation exists for the glory of God's grace in Christ, our Redeemer. He is the Lamb of God, slain before the foundation of the world.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The prelude to creation's crowning moment. (2:18-22)
  2. The poetry of creation's crowning moment. (2:23)
  3. The principle in creation's crowning moment. (2:24-25)
  4. The prophecy in creation's crowning moment. (Eph 5:29-32)

That in Me You May Have Peace

Summary:

Though Jesus is departing, His disciples will be left in a world that, by nature, despises them and their community of love. They will have tribulation, but the call is to take heart, and lean into the peace they have in Him. In this section, that heartening peace is found in four Christ-centered realities: His counsel for the confused, His surety for the sorrowing, His props for the praying, His triumph for the trembling. In these things, the Christian community is settled inwardly to press forward in this pressuring world for the good of souls and the glory of Jesus.

Sermon Outline:

That we might have heartening peace in Christ, He gives:

  1. His counsel for the confused. (16:16-19)
  2. His surety for the sorrowing. (16:20-23)
  3. His props for the praying. (16:24-28)
  4. His triumph for the trembling. (16:29-33)

To Keep You From Falling Away

Summary:

Having just encouraged the 11 disciples with the hope of his return and the promise of the Holy Spirit and commanding them to abide in him, Jesus forewarns his disciples that their lives are about to get a lot harder. As he wraps up this final discourse just hours before his betrayal, he reminds them that true disciples are missional disciples. And the world, ruled by Satan, hates true disciples. They want them silenced by all means necessary. Jesus warns the 11, and us of this and gives true, missional disciples hope of being forewarned and a promised Helper to endure all that the world can hurl in its hatred.

Sermon Outline

  1. Jesus' Stated Purpose – To Keep You From Falling (16:1-4a)
  2. Hatred from the world (15:18-25)
    • Of us (15:18-19)
    • Of Jesus (15:20-25)
  3. Hope of the Helper (15:26-27)
    • His witness (15:26)
    • Our witness (15:27)
  4. Mission of the Helper (16:4b-11)
    • To us (16:4b-7)
    • To the world (16:8-11)
  5. Heart of the Helper (16:12-15)
    • To guide us (16:12-13)
    • To glorify Jesus (16:14-15)

That My Joy May Be Fully in You

Summary:

Jesus, the true Vine, seeks, as He speaks, the fullness of our Christian joy. He wants His people, His branches, to have His joy---the joy of sanctified and fruitful relationship to God. To that end, He asserts (again) His place in our having a relationship to God at all. He calls us to abide in Him, as is critical for bearing fruit and sustaining assurance in the Christian life. It's what ultimately separates living from dead branches, heirs of grace from those only apparently united to Jesus. This further lends itself to the great means of fruitfulness: prayerfulness. As branches, we look to the Vine as dependents. As we abide in Him, we're to abide in His grace, in His Word, in prayer, but also in His love, which takes center stage as the example for His consummative command: that, as His branches, His friends, His people, we operate as a missional community of self-sacrificial love. Christian joy, as well as being Christ-centered, is cruciform and church-shaped. As His joy was found in the realities of love and obedience to the Father, so ours will no less be.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Jesus' stated purpose: His pursuit of our Christian joy. (15:11)
  2. Jesus' commanded impetus behind our Christian joy: abide in Me. (15:4a)
    • Know our identity in light of His. (15:1-3)
    • Be motivated by His motivations. (15:4b-8)
    • Keep His commandments. (15:9-10)
    • Befriend His friends. (15:12-17)

Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled, Part 2

Summary:

Jesus continues to offer relief to the troubled Christian heart. As our hallmark will be heartfelt obedience to the Word of Christ, a thing He knows to be beyond our natural reach, He introduces His disciples to several helps and motivations. He promises the Person and work of the Holy Spirit, assures us of the divine love, singles us out as a peculiar manifestation of Himself, settles us in the truth of His Word, blankets us in His peace, challenges our love, and leaves us an example of love and maxed-out obedience to the Father. By all of this, He means for us to rise and walk with Him in the good hope of heavenly help along the Way.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The test of our love for Jesus: obedience to Jesus. (14:15)
  2. The gift of His 'test-helps' for us. (14:16-31)
    • Jesus' answered prayer. (14:16-17)
    • Jesus' adoptive presence. (14:18-24)
    • Jesus' authoritative pen. (14:25-26)
    • Jesus' actual peace. (14:27-29)
    • Jesus' attesting piety. (14:30-31)

Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled, Part 1

Summary:

How might Christ relieve the inevitably troubled Christian heart? Might it simply be by exhorting us to believe more and better about Him? John 14 is a most precious portion of Scripture for Christ's people as, through this world, we make our way Home to Him. It is a medicine cabinet for the soul from the Great Physician. He's gone to prepare our place in Heaven. He will return to take us entirely there. We know the Way Home, because we know Him. For all our troubles in the Way, He is one with the Almighty. For the task to which He's called us, He hears and greatly answers prayer. Will these things not relay peace to our hearts until we see Him face to face? Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God. Believe also in Jesus Christ, believer.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The troubled Christian heart. (14:1a)
  2. The urgent remedy of Jesus: believe in Me. (14:1b-14).

    Troubled heart:

    • Believe He's gone to prepare a place for you. (14:2)
    • Believe He's returning to take you home. (14:3)
    • Believe He's the Way to God (the Father). (14:4-6)
    • Believe He is God (the Son). (14:7-11)
    • Believe He still acts exceedingly through prayer. (14:12-14)

Lord, Who Is It?: The Missional Importance of Our Cross-Centered Authenticity

Summary:

Still at table, the ball to crucifixion begins to roll with the betrayal of Judas. Though so long a friend to the Friend of sinners, and hidden among the apostles as one himself, Jesus finally reveals Judas for who and what he truly is: no true disciple of Jesus at all. This tragic reality prompts our humility to ask, 'am I genuine?' It should stir in us a desire to do our all, to make good use of the means of grace, to stay as close as possible to the Word Incarnate, Jesus Christ, and to endure in the grace of the cross, the truth of His Word, the community of His love, and the promise of His preserving mercies. We won't be perfect, Peter. But Christ laid down His life for you. And that is sufficient, both, to forgive you, and also to uphold and develop you all the way to Glory. And as we, the church, then sup at the cross together, becoming a visible demonstration of His love, He and the truth of His Gospel will, at least, be vindicated before the eyes of a world watching for heavenly authenticity. For us, such authenticity is thus mission-critical.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The discovery of an inauthentic disciple of Christ. (13:21-30)
  2. The discovery of authentic(ating) Christian community. (13:31-35)
  3. The discovery of Christ for authenticity's endurance. (13:36-38)

Having Loved His Own: Squaring Off with the Serpent

Summary:

As Jesus transitions from public confrontations to private preparations with his disciples, all are gathered for a meal where John showcases Jesus' love for his disciples. Jesus is like no other. He is not like a Roman governor, nor is he like the priests, the synagogue leaders or the Pharisees. He is everything that he said he was. And he calls his disciples to love one another and follow his example of humble service. But as he prepares the disciples for the impending conflict, it is now time to address the elephant in the room. Not all who have tasted of his glory are his own. And even among those who are, there are serious breakdowns between head and heart - between their knowledge of the Lord of Scripture and his actual lordship. Satan longs to destroy God's work, but Jesus in trusting and determined dependence and submission to the Father is well prepared for the fight.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The definite plan and foreknowledge of God (vv1-4)
  2. Knowing and trusting the real Jesus (vv5-11)
  3. Demonstrating love in leadership (vv12-20)
    • Leading in love
    • Following in love

Whoever Believes in Me: Unbelief as a Reason to Cry for True Belief in Jesus

Summary:

For John's contemporaries, Jewish or otherwise, it would've been expected that the Jewish Messiah would've been believed upon by the Jewish people. That most did not was an obstacle needing clearance. Perhaps Jesus was not all He was rumored to be. Or, as John means to persuade us, the bear mention of their unbelief actually solidifies the historicity of the Gospel, and (more to the issue) their unbelief was expected. Their rejection of Christ was foretold by God in Scripture. Thus, their unbelief is really an apologetic for why one should believe in Jesus. He is the holy, divine King Who suffered and died for us and, as such, His ministry fulfilled the tenor of ministry for all God's servants, like Isaiah. But again, that then becomes a call to truly believe in Jesus---as the saving Word of God to sinful people. In a text that emphasizes the sovereignty of God even in unbelief, it boldly calls upon people to responsibly place their faith in Jesus for eternal life, and to be careful that they not reject the Word intended to save them, lest it stand to judge them. It is a fitting Word for the culmination and close of Jesus' public ministry.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Unbelief as a reason to believe truly in Jesus. (12:36b-43)
    • Unbelief establishing Gospel historicity.
    • Unbelief fulfilling biblical prophecy.
    • Unbelief underscoring Christ's glory.
  2. Jesus crying out to all to believe truly in Jesus. (12:44-50)

The King of the World and the Throne of His Cross

Summary:

Sometimes, we want life to slow down. And sometimes, we need life to slow down. In the case of Jesus' life, John thinks it vital for the whole world that we slow it down. The last week of His life is the most important week for all people in the history of creation, and John takes great measures to record the most important things about it. He's begun to frame the death of Jesus, and he continues that effort in these verses. In them, he gives the cross its divine meaning, with an emphasis on Jesus as the triumphant King, His global harvest, the achievement of God's saving will, and the necessity, in the end, of faith in Jesus. So begins the Passion week.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The cross and the triumphant King. (12:12-19)
  2. The cross and the global harvest. (12:20-26)
  3. The cross and the Father's glory. (12:27-33)
  4. The cross and the great question. (12:34-36a)

I Am the Resurrection and the Life: Do You Believe This?, Part 3

Summary:

How has the resurrection power of Jesus impacted us? How should it? Are those at all at odds? Or is there a growing agreement and similarity between the things we profess and the lives we live? In these verses, John frames for us the death of Life (Christ), how His resurrection power impacted Him and those who saw no reason to believe in Him. In the process, God's given us much to consider about Christ's death and what it centrally means---about His work, His cross, His Person. John then moves to help us consider a right response to it all, how we should take pure delight in the Life that would go on to die for us. The model of delight (and devotion) is given in Mary. Her devotion is challenged by a 'disciple.' In taking her side, Jesus makes a profound and unique statement about Himself, as well as what should then be, as seen in Lazarus, at the center of our lives. No cost is too great for spreading the worth of Christ. Do we believe this?

Sermon Outline:

  1. Framing the death of Life. (11:45-57)
    • Jesus died because He did raise the dead.
    • Jesus died because unbelief demanded it.
    • Jesus died because God yet ordained it.
  2. Delighting in the Life that would die. (12:1-11)
    • An example: Mary.
    • A challenge: Judas.
    • A cost: Lazarus.

The Fuel for Missions with Johnny Touchet

Summary:

A message from God's Word by an international missionary on domestic missions.

Global Missions with Dave Hare
I Am the Resurrection and the Life: Do You Believe This?, Part 2

Summary:

In continuation of His movement toward raising the deceased Lazarus, Jesus encounters more grief beneath the hope of belief in Him and basic biblical reality---and it causes Him to respond with a sinless mixture of both anger and sorrow. Called to Him, Mary quickly goes, and her consolers with her, to Jesus, near the tomb of Lazarus. With the intensest affection, Jesus begins a series of commands, first, to some who would remove the stone, then, by way of reminder, to Martha's disbelief, that she believe; next, having made His continual communion with the Father visible to all, having drawn-in the reality of God's attendance, presence, and affirmation, He commands the dead man himself! And Lazarus is raised! Finally, as he then lived again, Jesus commands attendants to exchange his grave clothes for apparel befitting life. By His Word, mixing in the actions of people, Jesus has raised the dead! He is the Resurrection and the Life! And His earlier question to Martha is intended to be raised again: do we believe this? Some did. And some, nonetheless admitting that this deed had been done by Jesus, did not. The issue is put to the world, bearing eternal consequences.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Jesus meeting with undue despair: grief and disbelief. (11:28-37)
  2. Jesus moving for His due praise: Lazarus raised to life! (11:38-44)
  3. Jesus making unbelief unbelievable: Do you believe this? (11:45-46)

I Am the Resurrection and the Life: Do You Believe This?, Part 1

Summary:

Situated at the center of the Gospel and, thus, central to true faith in Christ, John gives an account of Jesus' claim to be the Resurrection and the Life. We're told of an ill man named Lazarus, brother to Martha and Mary. They are a model family of love and faith to Jesus. And Jesus loves them; but what if His love to us and His actions toward us don't seem to match? Are hard things an indictment of God's love for us? Or are they part of Him loving us divinely? The most loving thing God can do for sinners is reveal Himself. This text reminds us that He does that supremely in His Son, Jesus Christ. Though the path is riddled with opposition, Jesus, driven by His love for us, will risk all danger to glorify God and enhance our faith in Him. To that end, He goes to Bethany, instructing His disciples along the way. He's greeted by Martha, who gives an incredible expression of her great faith in Him---which Jesus intends to expand still more. He is the Resurrection and the Life. Lazarus has died and been buried, but Jesus will raise him up. Before He does this, He asks Martha, 'Do you believe this?' As a true believer, her faith expands to do so. It will be challenged in application, but her heart really does trust Jesus for Who He is. How would we be changed, our 'walk' altered, in truly believing Jesus to be the Resurrection and the Life? Do 'we' believe 'this'?

Sermon Outline:

  1. True faith and the purposing love of Jesus. (11:1-6)
  2. True faith and the steadying hand of Jesus. (11:7-16)
  3. True faith and the consoling word of Jesus. (11:17-27)

Make Haste, My Beloved

Summary:

'I now pronounce you husband and wife.' These final verses of The Song readdress its two primary themes: purity until matrimony. It's a fitting conclusion. The daughters, it would seem, seek (or better, appropriate) advice on how to help a young girl towards sexual purity until she's spoken-for by a man. The bride exalts such purity, having set an example for it, before she goes on to address the worth of it. The Song ends, as it should, with an exchange between this model couple, between husband and wife. He sees her in an Edenic habitat, dispensing wisdom to the daughters. Her voice is irresistible to him. He wants to hear it himself. He wants to be in her presence. She invites him to more than he's even asked: to the marriage bed. 'Make haste, my beloved.' Such love really is worth the wait that purity demands. Notably, The Song ends with a wait. He longs for her. She calls to him. But there is no embrace. There's only the expectancy, based on all that's preceded it, that there will be an embrace, a consummation of their love. So as at the beginning, also in the end: love, marriage, sex, etc. is eschatological. It points us to the Day when the everlasting marriage, the one for which we now wait, will be finally consummated. Are we letting Christ's love for us compel our final longing for Him? Come, Lord Jesus!

Sermon Outline:

  1. Another push for the wisdom of purity. (8:8-12)
    • The others. (8:8-9)
    • The bride. (8:10-12)
  2. Another call to the world of consummation. (8:13-14)
    • Husband. (8:13)
    • And wife. (8:14)

Mandrakes and Monogamy

Summary:

Having made his invitation to intimacy, the bride now takes the initiative. She wants to take him on a walk to see if it's the season for love---and certain 'fertility fruits.' Once more, sex is more than a biological necessity. Ideally, it's the fruit of love, passing through pleasure to procreation. She promises to give him her love for it's own sake, but also with an eye to another miracle of their union: children. Doing as her mother taught her, she brings her husband home, and offers the juice of her pomegranate. It's a reign he gladly takes into his hands. For the third time, the bride adjures the virgins to patience in the exercise of passions. It's a morality (matrimony) issue. It's a maturity issue. And perhaps, it's also---becoming a mommy issue? Again ideally, sex has a righteous source (marital love) and a miraculous consequence (babies). The exercise isn't to be taken lightly, impatiently, or out of order. Thus, she returns again, in the most powerful part of The Song, to the matter of marital, monogamous, miraculous love. It's redemptive nature points us again to the love of God in Christ, a love without rival, beyond comparison.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The bride's invitation to the gifts of their love. (7:11-8:4)
  2. The bride's tribute to the gift of that love. (8:5-7)

Yes, Still, How Beautiful Are Your Feet

Summary:

How should spouses respond when once they've experienced some discord? We saw the bride's response in 5:6-6:3. What about the bridegroom? Again, we have two poems connected by an intermediate interlude. The first (6:4-10) shows us his reassuring heart of forgiveness. The interlude (6:11-13) gets the idea that she's more than a mere beauty. Many desire her presence, but her time belongs chiefly to him. It also serves to pose the question that the second poem answers. What's so special about her? The answer (7:1-9) returns us to the marriage bed that had been temporarily put aside (5:2-6). His description, again, offers more (but not less) than his delight in and desire to engage her body sexually. She is truly a character of great nobility and royalty in his heart. She's his radiant and fruitful 'queen.' This rendition of their marital consummation is capped off by her equally delighted acquiescence (7:10). In this final verse, she maintains the order she'd reversed in 6:3 from 2:16, but with the further twist that 'his desire is for me.' The word 'desire' used here is the only usage in the OT since it's only other two uses . . . in Genesis 3:16 and 4:7. Significant? Probably. Healthy marriages, modeling grace and intimacy, are a testimony to the recreative work of Jesus 'far as the curse is found.'

Sermon Outline:

  1. Reassurance: she's still the one. (6:4-10)
  2. Interlude: her desire and desirability. (6:11-13)
  3. Resumption: seeing and sa(y)voring---again. (7:1-10)

I Am My Beloved's, and My Beloved is Mine

Summary:

In these verses, Eden is temporarily interrupted. The ideal is welcomed to 'the real,' even if, perhaps, in a dream. For the first time, the bride and her groom seem to have contrary desires. We don't know why, but he's late to bed, and she's feeling inconvenienced by his overtures. Still, he puts his hand to the latch, and her hesitancy is overcome. She rises to open to him, her heart thrilled, her hands dripping with myrrh. However, by the time she arrives, a nightmare begins. He's gone. She can't find him. She goes about the city again, only this time she's beaten by the watchmen. She adjures those daughters to help her in the hunt, implying (perhaps) that she has done wrongly. They ask what's so great about him (that she pursues him so). The short answer is he's hers and, thus, he's the best. She describes him in divine and Christic terms. Accordingly, they want to join the search-party but, just as soon as they lend their hand, good news! They're together again. Eden is regained. And whatever division there was, for whatever reason it existed, it's all mended; and their covenant-union is reaffirmed. What is your beloved more than another? How might we answer that concerning our spouse? How might we answer that concerning, in truth, the best Husband, Jesus Christ?

Sermon Outline:

  1. The bride's nightmare: Eden interrupted. (5:2-6)
  2. The bride's cross: Eden resumed. (5:7-6:3)
    • Her self-sacrificial love for her beloved. (5:7-8)
    • Her effusive praise for her beloved. (5:9-16)
    • Her covenantal reassertion for her beloved. (6:1-3)

Let My Beloved Come to His Garden

Summary:

The bride and her groom consummate their marriage. He delights in her figural beauty. He sees, and he says. To him, she is altogether beautiful. To be sure, while emphasizing her body, her beauty is more than bodily. She's captivated his heart with her sisterly, marital, romantic love. He can hardly stand to be kept from intimacy, but she is a garden locked, a spring locked, a fountain sealed. She is his, but his desire isn't forcible. It's submissive to her will. She must open to him. Alas, she's given him the key. She invites him to take pleasure in his garden---and he does! The consummation of their marriage is affirmed by holy 'others,' good, right, true, and glorious. Throughout, his descriptions vividly communicate that she (her person, body, and love) are like Eden, the Temple, the Promised Land. Sex according to God's rules is a foretaste of Heaven! It's a blessing from God to enjoy rightly, a signpost to God's most intimate presence with us, a most amazing gift, between husband and wife, that, in the end, always leaves wanting that eternal more. May God be glorified for it---and for the greatest Gift He's given to reconcile us to Himself.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Seeing and sa(y)voring this promised land: covenant-commendation. (4:1-7)
  2. Enriching one's pulse for this promised land: covenant-captivation. (4:8-11)
  3. Entering and enjoying this promised land: covenant-consummation. (4:12-5:1)

To Have and to Hold

Summary:

What a man, who would so singly love his wife, as the ideal husband in The Song. His love is apparently worth the risk involved in seeking him out, finding him, and bringing him home. There is, perhaps, a healthy sort of separation anxiety between spouses that only togetherness can remedy. Still, until the right time, it is a door best left unopened. When the time is right however, it should abide a season embodying those words, 'to have and to hold until death do us part.' Somewhat mysteriously, the bride describes the approach of Solomon for his wedding day. It is a divinely-glorious display, the Davidic King in His messianic array. As to how this poem connects to the preceding, explanations and applications abound. From this corner, suffice it to say that Solomon seems to use himself as a foil in The Song. He's not the bride's bridegroom. He's not '(the main) character in (the poetic) story, but serves as a symbol.' No disrespect to his office and splendor, but he seems to present himself as 'an ironic contrast to the unspectacular, single-minded, committed love' of the couple in The Song. Her beloved is a 'greater' Solomon, their marriage (as opposed to his many), the true spectacle. Both he and Solomon, in their own ways, then, typify Jesus, the coming King and greatest Lover. Oh to have and hold Him, and be had and held by Him, until death do us...meet.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Poem 1: To have and to hold. (3:1-5)
    • Separation-anxiety. (3:1-3)
    • Soulful-union. (3:4)
    • Second adjuration. (3:5)
  2. Poem 2: The greater-than Solomon. (3:6-11)
    • The glorious Davidic king. (3:6-10)
    • Go see him ‘wedding.’ (3:11)
  3. Connecting the poems: Her soul-mate and Jesus.

A Love that's Worth the Wait

Summary:

Spouses, is our love the love worth waiting for? If single, and desiring marriage, are you waiting for it? Are you trusting God for it? And what does a love worth the wait look like? What does it involve? Welcome to chapter 2 of The Song. We're given two of the most beautiful poems ever penned. In them, we're given descriptions and depictions of heavenly love between the bride and her bridegroom. In between these two poems, the bride speaks to a group of ladies coming into the age of marriage. Her counsel to them? Wait for this kind of love! Trust me, the wait is worth it! And that love finds its climax in the love of Christ to us. Are we sick with love for Him? Is His love incomparable to us? Are we catching all the 'foxes' that threaten to ruin our resurrected walk with Him? Are we putting off immediate gratification (sin) by the eternal satisfaction promised us? It is a Love that's worth the wait.

Sermon Outline:

  1. His banner over me is love: poem 1 on love worth the wait. (2:1-6)
  2. Arise, my love, my beautiful one: poem 2 on love worth the wait. (2:8-17).
  3. The bride's adjuration: wait for this love. (2:7)
  4. Reflections on the most excellent love of Christ.

Draw Me After You, Let Us Run

Summary:

In the Song of Songs, the Holy Spirit, by way of wise-Solomon, gives us 'the most sublime song.' It's the greatest love-song in existence, and it starts rather steamy. The bride longs for the physical intimacy overflowing from the experience of the bridegroom's most precious love. But in light of that, she is, perhaps, quite the opposite of what we might think at first. Properly understood, there is not a hint of impropriety. She's not a lusty dame. She's a bridegroom's beloved, and he's loved her with love-winning particularity. Alas, she is humble and hard-working, modest but motivated to be with her 'shepherd-king.' And as such, he meets her insecurities with his reassuring words. She longs to be with him, and he longs to be found by her. The way made, the embrace renewed, he adorns her with his tender words. She is his queen. And their shared affection for one another, their mirrored love, finds, as a good and lovely effect, a 'green couch.' Their love and devotion to one another, soul and body, is aromatic of Edenic love and life. They breathe each other in with the sweetest (and most fiery!) intimacy, the curtains close (for now), and so begins The Song of Songs, a song that ultimately preaches to us, as biblical marriage and marital intimacy do, about the relationship of love, the best and most soul-satisfying love, between Christ and His church, between us and our loving Lord. With respect to it, is it our prayer: draw me after You, let us run?

Sermon Outline:

  1. The greatest Song. (1:1)
  2. A Romanee-Conti love. (1:2-4)
  3. A shepherd's touch. (1:5-11)
  4. A green couch. (1:12-17)
  5. Draw me after You, let us run.

A Proper Plea: Knowing and Serving the One Who Is Able

Summary:

King Solomon has recently ascended to the throne of Israel. As he remembers all God has done for his father, and reflects on the task ahead, he recognizes he is in desparate need. God's people need God's wisdom to live in the promised land. They need a wise leader to provide continuing security and peace for them. So Solomon, rather than seeking his own glory, pleas for discernment to govern well. In this way, he points to Jesus Christ, the wisdom of God that created everything, and the presence of God, mediating for God's people. Despite Solomon's many failures as a king, he points us to the the value God places on his people, and the benefits of wisdom worked out for their good.

Sermon Outline

  1. Reading the story
  2. Engaging the story
    • The good
    • The bad
    • The ugly
  3. Redeeming the story

Total Recall: Won't You Come to Your Senses?

Summary:

Jesus having just declared himself one with the Father, the Jews intend to kill Jesus on the spot. But Jesus keeps his head, and points to his actions, done in broad daylight. As the Jews respond, Jesus confronts their use of Scripture. But more than that, he shows them that their judgement is flawed. They don't hear the shepherd's voice, and they are blind to his good works. They may know the Law but they are oblivious to its application and worse, unresponsive to its judgement of them. And so, Jesus departs the scene unscathed, and the people he soon finds are an additional indictment of the Jewish leaders' failure. The shepherds have fared no better than their fathers, but these people are prepared to hear his words, see his actions, and respond in faith.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Recalling the works of Jesus, vv.31-32
  2. Recalling the words of Jesus, vv.33-36
  3. Recalling the mission of Jesus
    • Revealing the glory of Jesus, vv.37-38
    • Separating a people for Jesus, vv.39-42

I Am the Good Shepherd: Pastor Jesus and the Flock of God, Part 2

Summary:

It's Hanukkah! And while Israel celebrates the recovery of rightful worship in the hope of Messiah's advent, Jesus returns to the temple and is seen walking in Solomon's colonnade. Folks gather around Him and ask Him to tell them plainly whether He (thinks) He is the Christ or not. But the problem is not with Jesus. He's told them. He's shown them. They just refuse to believe. Jesus attributes their unbelief to the fact that they are not of His sheep. Without erasing their responsibility, He focuses on God's sovereignty in the matter. God has given Jesus a fold. He calls them. They hear Him. He knows them. They follow Him. He gives them eternal life. They shall never perish. But it's not so much the power of the life itself that keeps as it is the power of the One exerting, holding that power. Christ's sheep are in Christ's hand and, as it is no less than the hand of God, and nothing is greater than God, Christ's sheep are utterly safe. They will be brought Home! This is the Father's will, and Jesus will execute it. As then, before 'it is finished,' all the more assuredly now. At the Feast of Dedication, Jesus reveals His dedication to His sheep. In return, may we be increasingly dedicated to Him. If we cannot perish, what have we to fear ultimately?

Sermon Outline:

  1. Unbelief exercised against Jesus. (10:22-24)
  2. Unbelief explained by Jesus. (10:25-26)
  3. Belief in Jesus explained by Jesus. (10:27)
  4. Believers in Jesus encouraged in Jesus. (10:28-30)

I Am the Good Shepherd: Pastor Jesus and the Flock of God, Part 1

Summary:

Jesus takes aim at the blind guides of Israel. Fulfilling passages like Ezekiel 34, He declares that He is the Good Shepherd. He is the Christ-Pastor of God's flock. He speaks first to clarify God's true shepherds for God's true sheepfold and, especially, that He is and has always been the Door, i.e., the focal point of all their relations. Any who seek to enter into His ministry by any other way are thieves, imposters, a danger to the flock. In giving a point of discernment, He gives attention to the elevation of His peculiar voice. Good shepherds echo it, and true sheep recognize it, and heed it, chief among ten thousand beside. Ultimately, as He continues, Jesus lays claim to being both the Door and the definitively Good Shepherd. He is the Chief Shepherd and Overseer of our souls. His primary pastoral emphasis is gracious self-sacrifice. He lays down his life for the sheep. He is their Savior from first to last. His cross defines His care, His knowledge, His use of authority. This is why the Father loves Him chiefly. Christ's heart is pure love to God and to His people, even to the point of a triumphant death on a cross. The hearers have an opportunity to prove themselves sheep or goats. Just so, the matter is put to us.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Christ's good shepherds. (10:1-6)
    • They enter the sheep-pen by the Door. (10:1-2)
    • They identifiably profit Christ's sheep. (10:3-6)
  2. Christ, the Good Shepherd. (10:7-18)
    • His primary uniqueness. (10:7-10)
    • His pastoral emphases. (10:11-18)
      • The self-sacrificial protection of His sheep. (10:11-13)
      • The self-sacrificial knowledge of His sheep. (10:14-16)
      • The self-sacrificial use of authority for His sheep. (10:17-18)
  3. Respond better to the Good Shepherd. (10:19-21)

I Am the Light of the World: Jesus Divine Addressing Darkness Blind, Part 4

Summary:

Jesus leaves the temple on those words, 'I Am,' and 'passes by' a man born blind. True spiritual sight is the conviction that Jesus is the all-glorious Christ. This miraculous account is an acted parable intended to press home this spiritual reality. We all need this sight, and Jesus gives this sight. God has given Him works to accomplish in confirming His identity as the climactic self-disclosure of God, i.e., the Light of the world. Thus, He regenerates this man's eyes. The man goes through a string of questioning in which the Pharisees become integrally involved. Contrary to them, he sees Jesus with increasing clarity. Contrary to his own parents, he's willing to speak in favor of Jesus with increasing courage. In the end, he teaches and convicts the learned scribes. Arrogance offended, they rebuke, revile, and discard him---but as he's 'given glory to God' by speaking boldly for Jesus, Jesus finds him and 'closes' with him. Cast out by his own, Jesus makes him His own. Let the seeing heart take comfort and courage! The man believes in Jesus and worships Him! Jesus receives it. He then publicly introduces the plain truth: light exposes darkness and, as such, judges it to be so. Insofar as one admits spiritual blindness, Jesus is happy to give them the sight that saves. Insofar as one admits spiritual sight, while rejecting Jesus, Jesus condemns them as being, in truth, spiritually blind---and therefore liable to the judgment of God.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The working Light before the coming Night. (9:1-7)
  2. The seeing man interrogated. (9:8-23)
  3. The seeing man giving glory to God. (9:24-34)
  4. The seeing man believing and worshipping Jesus. (9:35-38)
  5. The judging Light exposing spiritual Night. (9:39-41)

Memory passage: John 9:39

Benediction: 2 Corinthians 4:1-6

I Am the Light of the World: Jesus Divine Addressing Darkness Blind, Part 3

Summary:

Those who had believed Jesus don't take kindly to His Word. They insult Him to spare themselves. If they only knew where His Word would land! Jesus leaves His vindication and exaltation to the Father. God seeks the glory of Jesus---and He's the judge. Thus, it is critical to honor Jesus by keeping His Word and, with that, comes the added bonus of victory over sin and death and hell. True faith in Christ Who provides that victory, that is, is manifest in an adhesive allegiance to Him. Is He then greater than Abraham and the prophets, they ask? In a word: yes! By far. In fact, Abraham saw His day and rejoiced. And how could that be, seeing Jesus was a young man? Well, before Abraham was, Jesus is. He is God the Word made flesh. They don't miss the point. Sadly, they want to kill Him for it, but because the supreme manifestation of His Person necessitated the cross, Jesus is able to get away unharmed. The real issue, however, is what to make of those stony hearts from which God incarnate flees. They are sinners. And He, as God, is the only Savior. May we take solace in Him, even as we labor to bring such hearts to the Light of the world.

Sermon Outline:

  1. God seeks the glory of the God-honoring Jesus. (8:48-50)
  2. Eternal life thus belongs to anyone who keeps the Word of Jesus. (8:51-56)
  3. Jesus is God our Savior; don't drive Him away. (8:57-59)

Memory passage: John 8:58

Benediction: Titus 3:3-7

I Am the Light of the World: Jesus Divine Addressing Darkness Blind, Part 2

Summary:

Jesus addresses those who have just believed in Him and, more specifically, His words. It seems like this is the sort of faith John means to affirm as true and saving. However, as the text bears out, this faith too is superficial. True disciples of Jesus abide in His Word. True professions are proven by perseverance over time---perseverance in doing the Word of Jesus. This is a free person, a person free from the power of sin to live to God. The inauthenticity of this faith becomes immediately evident in their response to Christ's Word. They have not come to fully entrust their souls to the Son of God and Savior of sinners. Self-righteousness persists. And as Jesus exposes it as a fraudulent hope, their true state comes out. They do not love Jesus. They cannot bear His Word. They are not 'of God.' For all their religious badges, sin is still their lord, and the devil, in fact, is their 'daddy.' Once again, Jesus proves patient in affirming professions of faith. The fallout of this text is the reason why---why we must affirm His wisdom in this and follow in His footsteps. Most importantly, however, we must put our own lives under this microscope: if you are truly My disciples, you will abide in My Word. Here again is light from the Light of the world.

Sermon Outline:

  1. True disciples of Jesus abide in His Word. (8:31-38)
  2. Abiding in the Word of Jesus is a family matter. (8:39-47)

I Am the Light of the World: Jesus Divine Addressing Darkness Blind, Part 1

Summary:

At the apex of the feast, a feast of lights featuring Messianic hope, Jesus declares that He is the Light of the world. He invites the crowds to follow Him, to partake in the Light of Life. The Pharisees, standing opposed to this Light, state their opinion and, by it, their obstinance to the truth of God they claim to singularly uphold. They begin by calling Him errant (and arrogant), question things (again) He's already made plain, avoid the subject of their sin altogether, and prove (per usual) to be darkened in their understanding, devoid of spiritual Light and Life. Jesus, perfectly patient, alights their darkness all along the way, reasserting the truth of His testimony, the reasons they cannot receive it, the eternal danger in which they find themselves and, yet, the Way of escape. God comes into focus in Christ, and Christ comes into focus at the cross. He shines most radiantly in that darkest hour as the divine Christ, the Savior of sinners. Many heard this and believed, but is it authentic faith? Pausing there, are we, like John, burning and shining lamps for Jesus? Are we walking in the light? Are we His stars in the darkened firmament of this world? Are we visible followers of Jesus?

Sermon Outline:

  1. Jesus as the Light of the world. (8:12)
  2. The Light of the world addressing manifest darkness in people. (8:13-29)
    • His testimony is divine truth. (8:13-18)
    • Our problem is blind unbelief. (8:19-24)
    • God's solution is the cross of Christ. (8:25-29)
  3. People believing in Jesus. (8:30)

Rivers of Living Water: Jesus, the Hope of Israel

Summary:

As the festival reaches its conclusion, Jesus offers living water to the weary. This reminder of God's care for his people, and his repeated promises of restoration, is met with mixed reaction. All seem to see it for the claim that it is. But it will take more than the word of God to convince some that they are in the presence of their judge and king.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The nation's hope, vv.37-39
    • Longing, v.37
    • Living, v.38
    • Looking, v.39
  2. The people's hope, vv.40-44
  3. A Pharisee's hope, vv.45-52

Purpose Despite Persecution: Proclaiming Christ so All May Know

Sermon Outline:

  1. Ignorance of God (7:25-27)
  2. Revelation of God (7:28-29)
  3. Persecution of God’s Messiah (7:30-32)
  4. Prophecy of Messiah’s Victory (7:33-36)

Benediction: Hebrews 1:1-3

Encouraging Information: Jesus Died and Rose Again

Summary:

In a world full of grief and discouragement, it's critical that we who believe that Jesus died and rose again never lose sight of that fact. Paul never did, and never wanted the church to either. As a matter of true hope and sure anchorage, in life and death, Jesus did rise and will return to save His people in full. It's information full of encouragement---encouragement we need for living that differentially Christian life together. As the years roll by, and His own are laid to rest, and the certain patterns of life seem to accentuate only the sure of victory of death and, perhaps, the world mocks (even as it mourns), we're to be a people nonetheless marked by resurrection life and, thus, a proven hope in our risen Lord.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The need for resurrection encouragement. (4:13, 18)
  2. The supply of resurrection encouragement. (4:14-17)
    • Jesus died and rose again. (4:14)
    • Jesus will descend again. (4:16a-c)
    • God will raise the dead in Christ. (4:14b, 16b)
    • God will change the living in Christ. (4:17a-b)
    • And together, we will always be with the Lord. (4:17c)
  3. The ministry of resurrection encouragement. (4:18)

Judge with Right Judgment: Jesus, the Holy One of God

Summary:

Half a year has passed since 'the hard saying.' Jesus has ministered in Galilee. Acknowledging His claims, His siblings tell Him what they would do if they were Him. 'Go big, or go home. Put up, or shut up, brother.' It's unbelieving counsel. They were, at this time, part of the evil world. Jesus makes this explicit. They may be from the same womb, but they need to be born again. He doesn't operate by their opinions, methods, aims, but by the Father's plan. He is God's Messiah. Apparently then, the Father's will comes clear: Jesus should go up, only not in a way that would expedite the cross before the appointed hour. Jerusalem is all up in arms about Him. All need to be willing to submit to Him as the definitive revelation of God. If any has a heart to take God at His Word, they will recognize Jesus to be the Truth. Therefore, the reason one might not is because, despite their claim to love God, they don't. They're yet sinners who hate exposure to the Savior. Sin makes one spiritually irrational, unwilling to come to terms with the divine truth, to judge of Jesus with right judgment: He is the Holy One of God.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Wrong judgment #1: God's Christ should be about popularity with worldly people. (7:1-9)
    • The strategy of Jesus' siblings. (7:2-5)
    • The obedience of God's Christ. (7:1, 6-9).
  2. Wrong judgment #2: God's Christ will be obvious to worldly people. (7:10-24)
    • Opinion and revelation. (7:10-14)
    • Sinners and the Holy One. (7:15-20)
    • Criminal or Christ?: Judging with right judgment. (7:21-24)

You Have the Words of Eternal Life: Christ All-Sufficient, Part 3

Summary:

'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.' Is that our stance also? Well, it is the stance of every true disciple, that every word of Christ is life-giving to our souls, and worthy then of all our devotion. In this section of John 6, that stance is put to the test. Jesus says hard things, yes, to unbelievers, but no less to his 'disciples,' including the sovereign initiative of God in salvation and the outrageous notion that such salvation somehow involves the death of Christ. In it, we learn just how incapable and, therefore, dependent we are on the divine and crucified Christ for eternal life. Many 'disciples' show their true colors by taking on the grumbling response of the world to the things of God and, in truth, we're led to see that the only thing that distinguishes us from any unbeliever, however styled, is the mere and amazing grace of Jesus.

Sermon Outline:

  1. A hard saying. (6:41-59)
    • No one can believe in Christ crucified apart from God's effectual grace. (6:41-51)
    • You must believe in Christ crucified to have eternal life. (6:52-59)
  2. An authenticating resolution. (6:60-71)
    • 'Who can listen to it?' (6:60-65)
    • 'You have the words of eternal life.' (6:66-71)

I Am the Bread of Life: Christ All-Sufficient, Part 2

Summary:

It's the day after Jesus has fed the crowds and saved His disciples at sea. The crowds search for and find Him, but is He what they really want? Jesus reproves the motive in their search and aims to redirect them to the things of eternal salvation. It is a gift of God by Christ, but unbelievers have no ear to hear of grace. Their instinct is faith in self, and in their ability to earn God's gift. Jesus calls them to believe in Him. Only by faith in Him will sinners know eternal life. In their spiritual obstinacy, they discount the sign He's just performed by asking for another. We vastly underestimate the extent of our problem, unbelief. Jesus corrects their misunderstanding of Scripture, introducing typology. The manna was but a type of what Jesus truly is. His teaching goes over their hearts again, so He speaks plainly. He's the Bread of Life. Whoever believes in Him will have their souls forever satisfied. That they do not believe in Him does not impugn His mission. God has a people He's given to the Son. They will believe in Him---and He will never cast them out. As it's His Father's will, Christ will keep them to the end. Death itself will not loosen His grip on them, for He will raise them at the last Day. So the life He gives is truly eternal.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Jesus pointedly reproving unbelievers. (6:22-27)
  2. Jesus patiently correcting unbelievers. (6:28-34)
  3. Jesus plainly instructing unbelievers. (6:35-40)

For Every Deed and Time of Need: Christ, All-Sufficient

Summary:

Given opportunity to expand upon the Father's testimony to His divinity, Jesus takes occasion by a great crowd near Passover to do, perhaps, His greatest work prior to His death and resurrection. All four Gospels record it and, again, it will serve as an object lesson, an attention-grabber for the identity of Jesus and the word of His cross. As the disciples find themselves confronted by an impossible task, given the resources at their disposal, Jesus displays the sufficiency of His power and grace for every deed by this great one. As it's accomplished, He further demonstrates His mission by refusing to be taken king and captain by the people. His Kingdom is not of this world. While He distances Himself and His disciples from the hysteria, they head to Capernaum without Him. A storm assaults them on the sea. In their trouble, so often the gift after great works, Jesus comes to them, walking on the sea. He comforts them and brings them safely to shore. Another miracle has occurred and, in the process, we're taught that for every deed and time of need, Jesus is all-sufficient. May we lay it lastingly to heart.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The setting of Christ's divine sufficiency. (6:1-4)
  2. The question of Christ's divine sufficiency. (6:5-9)
  3. The exercise of Christ's divine sufficiency. (6:10-13)
  4. The misapprehension of Christ's divine sufficiency. (6:14-15)
  5. The reaffirmation of Christ's divine sufficiency. (6:16-21)

Another Bears Witness About Me: God's Multifaceted Testimony to Jesus

Summary:

Jesus continues to explain His equality with God. Seeking only the Father's will, He judges all in perfect accord with the Father's judgment. His judgment is the judgment of God. He is God the Son incarnate. But in a legal sense, though He is the Word, His word alone is insufficient to establish His identity as the divine Christ. He has four further primary witnesses: John the Baptist, His own works, the Father, and the Scriptures. It is a divine testimony. What will people believe if not that? And if not that, why not that? Along with His proofs, Jesus gives several pointed reproofs: spiritual fickleness, blindness, unwillingness, fear of man, pride. Whatever it is, it's not a failure of the truth, or of the will of Christ to save, but something terribly intrinsic to the sinful heart. He cannot have a better group of witnesses! May we have hearts to hear them and believe.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Christ's testimony about Himself. (5:30-31)
  2. The Father's multifaceted testimony to Jesus. (5:32-40)
    • By John the Baptist. (5:33-35)
    • By Jesus' works. (5:36)
    • By His own attestation. (5:37-38)
    • By the Scriptures. (5:39-40)
  3. Christ's further reproof of His unbelieving audience. (5:41-47)
    • How can you believe?: the fear of Man.
    • How will you believe?: misreading Moses.

The Hour Is Coming: Believing the Lord Jesus Christ

Summary:

Rather than shying away from the conflict with Israel's religious elite, Jesus doubles down. They feel affronted that Jesus considers himself to be intimate with the heart of God? Jesus lets them know that insofar as they dishonor him, they show that they hold no real honor for the Father, either. By rejecting the word and work of Christ, they bring judgement upon themselves. The Father himself has turned everything over to Jesus - eternal life is found in believing his message. Jesus suggests nothing less than understanding Scripture in light of his own ministry. And in so doing, Jesus, through John calls his disciples to truly see Jesus as Lord, as the creator, as the judge, as the rewarder of the righteous. He is not just a powerful teacher or miracle worker, but God fleshed out, demonstrating his love for his people and his desire for their repentance.

Outline:

  1. Like Father, Like Son
  2. Life Eternal
  3. Listen Up

And I Am Working: The Necessity of Faith in the Divine Christ

Summary:

Upon His return to Jerusalem, Jesus sees a man in need of Almighty mercy. He's been an invalid for 38 years. His hope has lain in the pool nearby, but he's not able to enter it, and he has no one to help him. After inquiring whether he wants to be healed, Jesus heals him with a Word. As this was done on the Sabbath, the guardians of the Law take issue with the man's 'labor', who then seeks to excuse himself by placing the blame on his Healer. Later, Jesus comes to the man and charges him, by mercy received, to sin no more, lest something worse (than 38-years of paralysis) befall him. The man then reports to his accusers that his Healer was Jesus. On account of this, the Jewish leaders' persecution intensifies; and all the more as Jesus gives the reason for His activity on the day of rest: He's equal with God. He does only what God does, and cannot do otherwise! The text confronts us with the depth of Man's real problem, the lengths of God's mercy, the main purpose of Christ's mission, and the necessity of believing upon Him as the divine Christ.

Sermon Outline:

  1. See God doing work. (5:1-9a)
    • Jesus hunting. (5:1-6)
    • Jesus healing. (5:7-9a)
  2. See God deepening His work. (5:9b-15)
    • The blindness of these guides. (5:9b-10, 12)
    • The blame-shifting of this man. (5:11)
    • The burden and beauty of Jesus. (5:13-15)
  3. See God defending His working. (5:16-18)
    • Their accusation. (5:16)
    • Jesus' answer. (5:17)
    • What it all means. (5:18)

Go, Your Son Will Live: Honoring Jesus by Elevating and Believing His Word

Summary:

Jesus takes leave of Sychar for his homeland of Galilee. In contrast to His reception in Jerusalem, the Samaritans believed His Word. Will the people of Galilee? They too have seen His signs, but will there faith be only sign-deep, or sin and Savior-deep? It is an apparent irony in that they 'welcome' Jesus. John preempts this welcome with a note, how Jesus had taught that a prophet has no honor in his hometown. The welcome is rooted in His wonders, not (as it must be) in His Word. As a test case, an official has a son on the brink of death. In desperation, hearing Jesus was nearby, he asks Him to heal the child. Jesus calls out the spiritual issue afoot in Galilee, as elsewhere. Is this man any different? Well, he asks Jesus to come and help. Extraordinarily, Jesus needn't be near to accomplish the task. Underscoring His grace and power, He but wills and speaks it from where He stands, and the child is healed. Death is turned back! Importantly, before the father knows this, he's content to take Jesus at His Word, and the healing then only strengthens the faith he'd expressed. His whole household also believes in Jesus as Christ. Let us learn from it to put off the hardening effects of Christian familiarity and flash, and settle it in our hearts to honor Jesus by elevating and believing His Word.

Sermon Outline

  1. Consider Jesus in His prophetic office. (4:44)
  2. Consider two ways to dishonor Him. (4:44-45)
    • Rejecting His Word on account of familiarity. (4:44)
    • Rejecting His Word in favor of flash. (4:45)
  3. Consider a test case on true faith. (4:46-54)
    • The circumstances. (4:46-47)
    • The test. (4:48-50)
    • The result. (4:51-54)
    • The message: true faith ventures all on the Word of Christ.

Look, the Fields are White for Harvest: Evangelistic Constancy and the Savior of the World

Summary

The Lord's most recent convert, the woman of Samaria, has become a model disciple for 'the disciples.' All her concern is to bring her people to Jesus. All their concern seems to be refreshment. Granted, Jesus is weary, thirsty, and hungry but, even then, something else owns the place of priority with Him: the salvation of souls. That's His 'food.' His food is the work the Father sent Him to accomplish. That work is a harvest of souls, and it's not to be delayed by anything. The time to reap is now. So we sow with great expectation and humble, joyful collaboration. Again, the new-born instinct of the Samaritan woman serves as the example for evangelistic urgency, while Jesus further models evangelistic constancy. And as He labors among them, indeed, many more Samaritans believe upon Him, in truth, as the Savior, not just of the Jews, but of the world. Her testimony laid a lofty expectation for Him that He, in flesh and blood, does not disappoint.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The food that's work. (4:31-34)
    • Christ's.
    • And ours.
  2. The work that's 'harvesting' souls. (4:35-38)
    • See the immediacy.
    • Be moved by the motivation.
    • Be joyfully collaborative.
  3. The harvest that's global. (4:39-42)
    • The woman of Samaria.
    • The Savior of the world.

That My House May Be Filled: TMC on Mission Together

Summary:

Jesus is at table with Pharisees. They're watching Him. He's perceiving them. He takes opportunity by the table to address their hearts and practices, to confront them on 'the weightier matters of the Law,' like spiritual sincerity, humility, and charity. These are the things that ought to mark the people of God. But will these Pharisees profitably hear the Lord? Unfortunately, it doesn't seem so. One in particular hears His lessons, and remarks how blessed everyone will be who eats in the Kingdom of God. Presumably, that includes all of them as they are. They've missed the point, and Jesus let's them know it. By a parable, He speaks to those who've been invited to God's banquet, only to make excuses when the Servant comes to bring them into it. They treasure the things of this world over the things of God, over the call of Christ. So they miss out. But that doesn't mean all miss out. No. God's house will be filled. His invitation goes out to all the world, even to those you'd least expect---and they come and enter His glory by the grace of Jesus. Even while we take care to ourselves, then, we're to compel as many as possible to enter while there's room.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Cultivate Christ's community---3 marks. (14:1-14)
    • Spiritual sincerity. (14:1-6)
    • Spiritual humility. (14:7-11)
    • Spiritual charity. (14:12-14)
  2. Embrace Christ's commission---compel all to come in. (14:15-24)
    • Hearing, but not hearing. (14:15)
    • Invited, but indifferent. (14:16-20)
    • Angered, but abounding. (14:21-23)
    • Excuses, and exclusion. (14:24)

For the Sanctity of Human Life: Being Big in the Day of Adversity

Summary:

The divinely-inspired sage exhorts the wise, the God-fearing, to stand up against injustice. The day of adversity, i.e., when the rather innocent are being violently oppressed, even to death---that day is our time to come up big. We may feel like fainting, but we cannot. The wise will prepare themselves to buoy righteousness, to do what's right, particularly when it is costly. Having been rescued, we'll do what we can to rescue the helpless from oppression and slaughter. As it relates to abortion, we may be innocently ignorant, but we cannot afford to be. And whether we are or aren't, God will not allow us to claim ignorance as an excuse. We have a responsibility as His people to be about 'true religion,' to stop making excuses for inactivity, to stop leaving truth with the tongue, and to give it real-time hands and feet. He weighs our hearts. He knows our souls. And He will repay us according to our work. Are we working for the abolition of abortion? Are we standing up for the weakest yet most oppressed part of humanity in the world---the preborn child? Is our strength small for them, or are we going to come up big for them and their parents?

Sermon Outline:

  1. Foresee the day of adversity---and prepare for it. (24:10)
  2. Fear God in the day of adversity---and rescue the oppressed. (24:11)
  3. Flee excuse in the day of adversity---and come up big instead. (24:12)

No Other God in All the Earth: How Knowing Him Helps in Matters of S(k)in

Summary:

Naaman is a great man with a terrible problem. He's a Gentile with leprosy. He has a skin-problem. His ethnicity and disease cast him as unclean in the eyes of observant Israelites. Thing is, the only cure for his skin (and ultimately, his sin) resides in Israel. The story then is one of unexpected compassion. Beginning with a remarkable little girl and ending with the great prophet, Elisha, this great but troubled Syrian discovers grace across ethnic and religious divides---grace that manifests the very heart of the God of Israel to him. He is no tribal god. He is the God of all the earth, the only true God and, in his eventual discovery of a cure, Naaman comes to make the great confession that, it seems, binds him to God and to the company of God's redeemed humanity. Elisha sends him home with a word of peace---a peace they little know will draw out the very blood of Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah and Savior of the world. Knowing Him helps in matters of skin.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The skin-problem of a great man, 5:1.
  2. The great grace of a little girl, 5:2-5a.
  3. The sin-problem of an evil king, 5:5b-7.
  4. The lowly cure of a godly man, 5:8-10.
  5. The sin-problem of the great man, 5:11-12.
  6. The needed counsel of clear-sighted friends, 5:13-14.
  7. The desired result of grace received, 5:15-18.

See, I Have Set The Land Before You: A Heart of Prayer

Summary:

A little pride is a dangerous thing. It makes us buy into the lies of the world, that we can make it on our own, that we control our surroundings, that we don't need one another. It makes us hard-hearted towards God, and hard-hearted towards one another. As Israel is reminded of their failures in the wilderness, Moses gives the people an image of the glorious God, creator and ruler of all creation, compassionate and merciful, just and good. This is the God to whom we speak, and the God who responds.

Sermon Outline:

  1. For your good, vv12-13
  2. The great, the mighty, and the awesome God, vv14-17
  3. You were sojourners, vv18-19
  4. By his name you shall swear, vv20-21

See, I Have Set The Land Before You: The Word of God

Summary:

The Israelites are poised, after a long delay due to their sinful disobedience and hard-hearts, to enter the promised land. God calls for covenant faithfulness, a life built around communicating God's faithfulness and how to worship and serve him as his chosen people. As Christians we find ourselves party to a new and better covenant, and called to faithfully know and communicate the message of salvation procured by the Word of God. The Scripture gives us everything we need in order to know God and please him. And with it he invites us to invite others to know Him.

Sermon Outline:

  1. This is the commandment, vv1-3
  2. Hear, O Israel, vv4-5
  3. You shall teach them, vv6-9

But As For You: The Man of God in Light of the God-Man

Summary:

Against a prideful brand of teaching and teachers marked and giving license to various sins contrary to the doctrine of Christ and His Gospel, Paul exhorts Timothy, the man of God, (a) to pursue holiness, (b) to endure in believing, and (c) to be above reproach until, at the proper time, Christ appears. This appearance is in the hands of God and, as such, is a gift He's most happy to give (the Blessed), and is most sure to give (the only Sovereign), and is most able to give (alone immortal). The immortality implicit in Christ's appearing is God's to give us. By it---that is, through Jesus, we're enabled to approach and see Him Who is unapproachably holy and invisible. That is the gift. May He have all the glory for it. And in the meantime, may it be our aim to honor Him by a life that's worthy of the Gospel.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The man of God defined, 6:11a.
  2. The man of God's charge, 6:11b-14.
    • Flee and pursue, 6:11b-c.
    • Fight and take hold, 6:12.
    • Keep and preserve, 6:13-14a.
  3. The man of God's hope: the God-Man's appearing, 6:14b-16.

Making Space for Forever

Summary:

In Christ, we've come, as it were, to Mt. Zion---and yet, we are not yet Home. The author of Hebrews speaks to the Christian life in the in-between. We might call it City-life. He speaks quickly but broadly to specific manifestations of Christian conduct: love, hospitality, compassion, marital-honor, contentment, and considerate discipleship. And as in this world, that may lead to persecution, so that some teach Christ in order to avoid the offense of His cross, the church needs to be rooted in the immutability of Christ's Person and Work. Our teachers, good or poor, will come and go, and things may change all around us, but Christ is ever the same. So we're to avoid teaching that's strange to Scripture, while sticking with the word of His grace. That will strengthen our hearts to remain faithful to Jesus when it is hard to be so---and it will be hard. Christ suffered outside the gate, and so too must we. Solidarity with Him may very well separate us from life in this world. What will hold us fast, if not that we're seeking a lasting City to come? Where we establish permanence will determine our path in this world. As the King increases in us, so too will His forever City and, consequently, we'll find all the stability we need to live on Calvary.

Sermon Outline:

  1. City-life for City-folk, 13:1-7.
  2. City-prep for City-life, 13:8-16.
    • The immutable Christ, 13:8-9.
    • The altar of Christ, 13:10-13.
    • The City of Christ, 13:14.

Making Space for Godliness

Summary:

The Cretan churches are being infiltrated and disturbed by Judaizers and their own Cretan culture. Paul writes to Titus to put things that have fallen out of order back into good order. He says that the very truth of the Gospel is on the line in the conduct of the churches, for it evinces the reality of God's grace in Christ. Some want to make grace a license for sin. Paul says such do not understand the purpose of God's grace. It's epiphany or manifestation in Christ's incarnation, return, and death (Paul's arrangement in the text) regenerates, trains, and motivates all Christ's own to be godly and zealous for good works as a testimony to the doctrine of salvation. Godliness is the product of keeping eyes on Jesus, back upon His cross, ahead to His appearing, always in His school of grace. Titus is to declare these things with the authority of Christ; and so, the churches are to give the word of godliness, whether exhortation or rebuke, their most attentive and appreciative ear. Where the King increases in us, so too will space for godliness and good deeds.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Adorn the doctrine of God our Savior: the churches' situation, 2:10b.
  2. Adorn godliness because Christ has appeared, 2:11-12.
  3. Adorn godliness because Christ will appear, 2:13.
  4. Adorn godliness because Christ has atoned, 2:14.
  5. Adorn the doctrine of God our Savior: the delegate's commission, 2:15.

Making Space for Devotion

Jesus has come, lived, died, been raised, ascended and, by the Spirit, descended into our very hearts. By Him, He's taken up residence within His people---and it is evident. Peter preaches the first official Christian sermon, and Christ saves many. He is building His Church. Our text explores the earliest version of us, what marked us at our most infant and purest and, thus, what should be prescriptive for us today. That mark is devotion to the Word, table fellowship, prayer, care, praise, and outreach as a unified Gospel community. Such a new creation community is supernaturally compelling. It begets awe, generosity, favor, affirmation and, Lord willing, the saving of many souls. As God does His extraordinary work through the ordinary means of grace, it is incumbent upon us to take up and/or keep up that to which the Holy Spirit says this first church devoted themselves. We will make space for it where Christ increases in us.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Be devoted to the formal means of grace, 2:42-43.
  2. Be devoted to familial displays of grace, 2:44-47a.
  3. Be driven to devotion by its general effect: the Lord's application of grace, 2:47b.

Making Space for Rest

Summary: Jesus has just declared the condemnation of those cities that have not repented in light of His revelation. Far from discouragement, He looks to His Father, the Lord of Heaven and earth, and thanks Him for the inscrutable wisdom of His eternal decree as it relates to the saving efficacy of the truth about Jesus. He hides from those who think they see and reveals to those who, by common grace, know they're rather blind. Still, that is not a merit. The revelation of Christ in the soul is according to sheer grace. It is completely cut off from Man's ability to know. Only God knows God---but Christ chooses to reveal Him to His people. It is His to give. To that end, He gives a rather general call to all who, having a sense of their spiritual death, destitution, and despair, would come to Him for grace and rest. A yoke, a classroom, even a burden abides for any who do, but the Master has changed, and that is all the difference. He is gentle and lowly in heart. He relieves the burden of the yoke, finally, by exchanging our sin and shame for His saving grace. Where Christ, then, takes up more room in our hearts, our hearts will find more space for Rest.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Jesus thanking: the Father's pleasure, 11:25-26
  2. Jesus revealing: the Son's grace, 11:27
  3. Jesus calling: the soul's rest, 11:28-30

Jesus and a Samaritan Woman, Part 1: Can This Be the Christ?

Sermon Outline:

  1. The setting: Jesus wearied, 4:1-6.
  2. The Savior of sinners, 4:7-26.
    • Engaging, 4:7-9.
    • Relating, 4:10-15.
    • Convicting, 4:16-18.
    • Clarifying, 4:19-24.
    • Revealing, 4:25-26.
  3. The sinner saved, 4:27-30.

Jesus Must Increase: Learning from John's Joyful Ministry

Summary:

Jesus and His disciples are baptizing. So are John the Baptist's. Spurned on by a discussion about purification, John's disciples alert John that all the people are going to Jesus to be baptized. They are, we might say, losing their share in the baptism business. John ensures them that this is what is supposed to happen. He teaches them that their ministry is a gift of God. It's all from Him. And it's about Christ. But John's not Christ. Jesus is. This is what John taught. Heaven forbid he steal the Bride away from the Groom! The friend of the Groom rejoices in His Voice. Hearing Jesus, John's joy is now complete. His ministry is fulfilled and vanishing---and he's glad about it. 'He must increase, but I must decrease.' It's his task to make way for more of Jesus. John the evangelist then gives an extended meditation on the glory of Jesus Christ, further clarifying the key to a joyful and fruitful ministry from above: a steadfast focus on the preeminence of Jesus. He unpacks this preeminence as Jesus being the Heaven-down Expositor of God, supremely manifest in His role as the Beloved and Sovereign Savior of sinners.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Taking from John the Baptist?: Jesus increasing, 3:22-26.
  2. Learning from John the Baptist: Jesus must increase, 3:27-30.
  3. Building on John the Baptist: Jesus cannot increase enough, 3:31-36.

Jesus and Nicodemus, Part 2: That Whoever Believes in Jesus

Summary

The all-critical conversation continues between Nicodemus and Jesus. Jesus has told him about the necessity of the new birth for entering the Kingdom of God, as well as the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit in bringing it, mysteriously but visibly, about. The teaching, however biblical, befuddles this great teacher of Israel. How can this happen?, he asks. Jesus finds his response incredible---and *unbelieving. If he can't get the new birth, how can he believe in the *crucifixion of the divine Christ for the salvation of the world? As only Jesus can, as One from Heaven, He reveals the redemptive plan of Heaven, historically prefigured in the account of the brazen serpent. Christ escalates the story, and John goes still further in his meditation upon it for us. The *atonement is the *gracious manifestation of the *love of God for a dreadfully *evil world. It has no greater expression than the saving death of His Son for sinners. The *responsibility is laid upon us to believe in Him. His *salvation implies *judgment for all who do not believe in Him. The root of unbelief is a love of sin and, ironically, a fear of judgment. The text exists to counteract that fear. The Judge is first the Savior. In contrast to the habit of the unbeliever, the born again, the believer in Christ, will make a habit of *living in the light. They fear no judgment. Love has won in their hearts, and they long only for God to be displayed and *glorified in their lives.

Sermon Outline

  1. The dark fruit: an object lesson in unbelief, 3:9-12.
  2. Heaven opened upon it: divine love chiefly manifest in saving grace, 3:13-18.
  3. Man's self-judgment: hating this Light for the blinded-love of sin, 3:19-20.
  4. The fruit of new Life: openly glued to Jesus for God's glory, 3:21.

Jesus and Nicodemus, Part 1: You Must Be Born Again

Summary:

Still Passover. Jesus has done a lot of signs, and a lot of people have believed in Him. We expect this to be a joyful note. It's *not. This 'belief' is met with skepticism by Jesus Himself. Jesus knows all people. Jesus *knew what was 'in Man,' and it's not at all flattering. It's the deceptive effects of the Fall. John gives us a 'case in point.' Nicodemus was 'a man' with a lot of good things going for him in the eyes of Man. But Jesus tells this 'man' that he needs to be *born again. Proving his spiritual blindness, he doesn't get it. Jesus clarifies. He needs to be born of water and the Spirit. *Flesh can only produce flesh. Only the *Spirit can produce spirit, i.e., divine life in the soul of 'a man.' The new birth is not something we can bring about for ourselves. Only God can do this. Still, we 'must be born again.' This is a *sovereign, gracious, and evident work of the Holy Spirit. Like the wind, He comes and goes and blows wherever He wishes---and where He does, the newly born person becomes *proof positive of it. It shows---first and foremost in urgent repentance and *true faith in Jesus Christ (which we'll emphasize next week).

Sermon Outline:
  1. John's alarm: the reality of an unbelieving 'faith,' 2:23-3:2.
    • This reality narrated, 2:23-25.
    • This reality exhibited, 3:1-2.
  2. Jesus' answer to it: 'You must be born again,' 3:3-8.
    • The eternal necessity of the new birth, 3:3-7.
      • Seeing and entering, 3:3-5.
      • Flesh and Spirit, 3:6-7.
    • The Spirit's sovereignty in the new birth, 3:8.
    • The personal visibility of the born again, 3:8.

Not in My Father's House: The Cleansing-Authority of Him Who's Risen

Summary:

It's Passover. An obedient Jewish man, Jesus goes up to Jerusalem to celebrate the historical deliverance typified in the Exodus and fulfilled in Him, the Lamb of God. He enters the temple. He doesn't like what He finds. His Father's house, a direct allusion to His Sonship, has been made a convenience store. Worship as it's supposed to be has been (literally and spiritually) muddied by religious-trading. The purpose of the temple is obviously not being fulfilled. We know that by the response of the owner of that 'house.' He drives out all that's contrary to the biblical worship of God. His disciples see the fulfillment of Psalm 69:9 in it. It confirms that He is the Christ. But the religious leaders are not sold. Ironically, in asking for a sign, they admit the sight of something different about Jesus. Still, their question presupposes an unwillingness to believe. They feel their authority threatened. It has been. They want to know where Jesus comes by such an action. He speaks of the sign of signs: His death and resurrection. Their dull hearts find nothing but supposed arrogance in this. They don't understand Him. He's speaking about His body. His disciples understand this only after He has been raised from the dead. By it, their true faith is strengthened in Jesus as the Christ of Scripture. He has all authority to govern the worship of God. Indeed, He is the fulfillment of the temple and all that it stood for in the Scriptures. In Him, we come to God, meet with God, worship God, become a living stone in the new-age house of God.

Sermon Outline:

  1. Jesus can cleanse this temple (2:13-17).
    • The Lamb to Jerusalem, 2:13.
    • The Son in the temple, 2:14-16.
    • Jesus to His disciples, 2:17.
  2. Because Jesus will raise the Temple: Himself (2:18-22).
    • Authority challenged: seeking a sign, 2:18.
    • Authority declared: giving the Sign of signs, 2:19.
    • Authority dismissed: sign criticized, 2:20-21.
    • Authority confirmed: sign achieved and activated, 2:22.

Manifest Glory: A Wedding To Remember

Sermon Outline:

  1. We have found the Messiah…
    • Cana of Galilee (vv1-2)
    • Distance in the relationship (vv3-4)
    • Exemplar (v5)
  2. We have all received, grace upon grace…
    • Water (vv6-7)
    • Wine (vv8-10)
  3. We have seen his glory…
    • First place (v11)
    • Glory revealed (v11)
    • Heading to Jerusalem (v12)

Come and See: Discipleship and the Surpassing Goodness of Jesus

Sermon Outline:

  1. Discipleship: helping people to Jesus, 1:35-46.
    • From John to Jesus, 1:35-39.
    • From Andrew to Jesus, 1:40-42.
    • From Philip to Jesus, 1:43-46.
  2. Discipleship: Jesus helping His people, 1:47-51.
    • His welcoming grace.
    • His convincing knowledge.
    • His assuring word.
    • His surpassing glory.

Behold, the Lamb of God: John's Testimony About Jesus

Sermon Outline:

  1. What John says about himself, 1:19-28.
    • Who he isn't, 1:19-21.
    • Who he is, 1:22-23. And therefore:
    • What he isn't, 1:24-28.
  2. What John says about his Lord, Jesus, 1:29-34.
    • He's the sin-bearing Lamb of God, 1:29.
    • He's the flesh-wearing Word of God, 1:30-31 (ref. 1:15).
    • He's the life-sharing Son of God, 1:32-34.
  3. What John says to us: behold Jesus!

John 1b

And the Word became Flesh: John's Introduction of Jesus

Sermon Outline:

  1. The Word and His glorious Person, 1:1-5.
  2. The Word and His greatest prophet, 1:6-8.
  3. The Word and His gracious purpose, 1:9-18.
    • To bear and bring a family to God, 1:9-13.
    • By becoming flesh and manifesting God to us, 1:14-18.

The Simple, Surpassing, Surprising Mission of the Church

This sermon was preached by Tyler Miller as part of TMC's annual missions week. Tyler and his wife, Brooke, are missionaries with Cru. They serve in Charlotte, NC and internationally in East Asia. Their desire is to help the church make disciples through evangelism and discipleship by sharing the gospel and teaching others how to do this in their everyday life.

Summary:

Luke, having recorded his Gospel, now embarks on the continued work of the ascended Jesus through His people by the power of the Holy Spirit. He begins by speaking of the proof Christ gave to His apostles, and the directive Christ gave them to wait for the Gift of His ascension for ministry, along with its local and global commission. The section closes with Christ's ascension and the promise of His return as fuel for the church's mission in the in-between.

Sermon Outline:

  1. A Surprising Promise, 1:4-5
  2. A Surpassing Purpose, 1:6-8
  3. A Simple Push, 1:9-11

God Always Faithful: Recounting and Rejoicing in Esther's Redeemer

Sermon Outline:

  1. Recounting redemption (and the God behind it), 9:23-25.
  2. Resolving to celebrate it (and the God behind it), 9:26-29.
  3. Recognizing the redeemers (and the God behind them), 9:30-32.
  4. Rejoicing in the Redeemer (and the God behind Him), 10:1-3.

The God of Great Reversals: Purim, Jesus, and the Lord's Day

There is no suspense. The author tells us the end of the ensuing battle from the beginning. The enemies of God's people, hard-hearted as they proved to be, could *not stand against them *on account of an exalted Jewish man, Mordecai. They make a complete end of their enemies. Ironically, were it not for this book, their memory would've been cut off. *Judgment is certain. By *grace, so too is *victory for God's people. Having gained it, Mordecai records it and obligates God's people to observe the feast of *Purim. At its heart is the theme of *redemptive reversal. As with all the feasts in the OT, this too points to Christ crucified and raised as the apex of redemptive reversal; and thus, it typifies and enriches the *Day we gather to celebrate the Gospel, in all its fullness, together which, itself, is a foretaste of *the assembly in Heaven.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The great reversal completed: God's people win, 9:1-16
  2. Their great rest and rejoicing: Mordecai institutes Purim, 9:17-22
  3. The great Redeemer: our celebration of Jesus

How Beautiful are the Feet: Delivering the Joy of a Counter-Edict

Sermon Outline:

  1. Esther's winning intercession, 8:1-8.
  2. Mordecai's life-giving edict, 8:9-14.
  3. The world's initial response to it, 8:15-17.

Hello Haman, and Goodbye: When Sin Comes Home to Roost

Sermon Outline:

  1. Getting our providential footing, 7:1-2.
  2. Going public in faith, 7:3-4.
  3. Haman revealed: your sin will find you out, 7:5-7.
  4. Haman condemned: your sin will take you out, 7:8-10.

Who's the Man!? In Praise of Providence and Humility Pills

Sermon Outline:

  1. A seed flowered, 6:1-3
  2. A switch of fortunes, 6:4-11
  3. A sure fall, 6:12-14

Graces and Gallows: God at Work in the Shadows

Sermon Outline:

  1. Life, 5:1-8.
    • The support of prayer.
    • The exercise of faith.
    • The experience of grace.
  2. And death, 5:9-14.
    • The god of self.
    • The gods we make.
    • The misery of idolatry.
    • The counsel of the wicked.
    • The irony of retribution.
  3. And God at work.

If I Perish, I Perish: At the Cross-Roads of Compromise and Conviction

Sermon Outline:

  1. Mourning in light of the truth: seeking God's mediation, 4:1-3.
  2. Coming to the light: making the case to Esther, 4:4-14.
  3. The moment of truth: deciding Who to serve, 4:15-17.
  4. You, me, and our cross-bearing Mediator.

Here I Stand: The Jewish Man God Used to Save the World

Sermon Outline:

  1. Standing for God...
    • A fortuitous seed, 2:19-23.
    • A final straw, 3:1-4.
    • A fiery snowball, 3:5-11.
    • A frightening scheme, 3:12-15.
  2. ...Who sits on the Throne.

Esther, Persian Beauty Queen: The Unexpected Rise of a Jewish Deliverer

Sermon Outline:

  1. The ungodly help, 2:1-4.
  2. The unexpected hope, 2:5-18.
    • An old Jewish man in Susa, 2:5-6.
    • A young Jewish woman in conflict, 2:7
    • Willful compromises, his and hers, 2:8-17.
    • Ends and means, 2:18.
  3. The unseen Hero.
    • God, infinite in wisdom and grace.
    • The King in His beauty.
    • Beauty for ashes.

The World is Not Enough: The Stage-Setting of the World's True Sovereign

Sermon Outline:

  1. The exposing of the world's most powerful man.
    • Ahasuerus' front of glory and might, 1:1-8.
    • Ahasuerus' exposing sin and plight, 1:9-22.
  2. The stage-setting of the world's true Sovereign.
    • This thing called Providence.
    • The One we call King Jesus.

Let Unity Flow Down: The Church Consecrated and Refreshed

Sermon Outline:

  1. Christian unity is delightfully good (vs1).
  2. Unity is like…
    • Sacred oil (vs 2).
    • Mountain dew (vs 3a).
  3. Unified worship is a taste of eternity (vs 3b).

The Unfolding Story: Worship We Were Made For

Sermon Outline:

  1. Hope realized
    • gratitude, vv1-2a
    • glory, vv2b-3
  2. Faith engaged
    • expectation, v4
    • investment, vv5-6

Relishing the King's Company Together: Corporate Worship, Then and Now

Sermon Outline:

  1. Corporate worship and heeding the King's heart, 122:1-2.
  2. Corporate worship and reflecting the King's rule, 122:3-5.
  3. Corporate worship and participating in the King's prayer, 122:6-9.

Pillars Unearthed: Peter's Final Supports for Standing Firm in the True Grace of God

Sermon Outline:

  1. Peter's closing exhortation: stand firm in the true grace of God, 5:12.
    • Stand firm in the one Gospel message.
    • Stand firm as the collective Gospel messenger.
  2. Peter's supporting pillars for this:
    • Steadfast Silas, 5:12a-b.
    • Messed-up Mark, 5:13d.
    • The chosen 'she' at Babylon, 5:13a-c.
    • Your loving local church, 5:14a.
    • Peter's prayer for the peace we share in Christ, 5:14b.

The God of All Grace Cares For You: Kind Helps for Keeping to the High King's Highway

Sermon Outline:

  1. Cast your anxieties on Him---because God cares for you, 5:6-7.
  2. Resist the devil---as one of God's many soldiers, 5:8-9.
  3. Endure to the end---for the God of all grace will deliver on eternal glory, 5:10-11.

Elders Unashamed: God's Exilic Flock and the Shepherds We Need

Sermon Outline:

  1. 1. The elders' concern, 5:1a.
  2. The elders' companion, 5:1b-c.
  3. The elders' calling, 5:2-3.
  4. The elders' crown, 5:4.
  5. The congregation's clothing, 5:5.

Enduring by Entrusting: How to Keep Going Unashamedly for Jesus

Sermon Outline:

  1. That we must endure as Christians: we can expect fiery trial for Jesus, 4:12
  2. In what manner we must endure as Christians: with joy and resolve, 4:13-16
  3. Why we must endure as Christians: sifting and salvation, 4:17-18
  4. How we will endure as Christians: entrusting our souls to a faithful Creator, 4:19

It's the End of All Things: Toward the Glory of God in Everything

Sermon Outline:

  1. God's historical reality: the imminent end of all things, 4:7a.
  2. Our practical response: for God's eternal glory in everything, 4:7b-11c.

    How the church is to live as heirs of grace on the edge of eternity:

    • Live to pray, 4:7b.
    • Pray to love, 4:8.
    • Love to serve, 4:9.
    • Serve to glorify God, 4:10-11c.
    • Our practical response then goes through 4:11c.
  3. Peter’s doxological reaffirmation, 4:11d.

Surprise the World: Arm Yourselves For The Coming Crisis

Outline:

  1. A Christ-honoring resolve to...
    • suffer (4:1)
    • treasure (4:2-3)
  2. A self-condemning...
    • orientation (4:4)
    • response (4:4)
  3. A Gospel-based...
    • accounting (4:5)
    • posture (4:6)

Encouraged as Sojourners: Peter's 'Wait, What?' Gospel for God's Embattled Do-Gooders

Sermon Outline:

  1. The unique purpose of Christ's suffering, 3:18.
  2. The unusual proclamation of it's achievement, 3:19-20a.
  3. The unexpected prefigurement of its achievement, 3:20b-d.
  4. The undeniable picture of its achievement, 3:21.
  5. The unrivaled power of Christ's sovereignty, 3:22.
  6. Putting it all together.

Urged as Sojourners: The Good Life and Its Grand Stage

Sermon Outline:

  1. The content of the good life, 3:8-12.
    • Prioritizing gracious relations in the church, 3:8.
    • Pursuing gracious relations with opponents, 3:9.
    • Persevering by faith in the gracious relations of God, 3:10-12.
  2. The contours of it's grand stage, 3:13-17.
    • The trial: suffering for righteousness, 3:13-14.
    • The topic: our enduring hope in Christ, 3:15.
    • The tone: a trusting, irreproachable gentleness, 3:16-17.

Urged as Sojourners: All Sarah's Daughters and All the King's Men

Sermon Outline:

  1. The Christian wife's cross: be subject to your own husband, 3:1-6
    • The mission of her willing submission, 3:1-2
    • The heart of her willing submission, 3:3-4
    • The example of her willing submission, 3:5-6
  2. The Christian husband's care: live with your wife in an understanding way, 3:7
    1. His gentle work, 3:7a
    2. Motive one: her great worth, 3:7b-c
    3. Motive two: God's given warning, 3:7d

Peter, Do You Love Me?: The Restoring Love of Our Really Risen Lord

Sermon Outline:

  1. The minister the risen Jesus is for a fledgling Peter, 21:15-17. Note:
  2. From the context:

    • A fact: Jesus is risen.
    • A failure: the disciples misunderstood it's ramifications for them.

    From the text:

    • Christ's restoring love: His heart for His own, here, particularly Peter.
    • Christ's revealing question: Do you love Me?
    • Christ's reaffirming response: Tend My sheep.
  3. The apologetic Peter will then become for the risen Jesus, 21:18-19.
    • Christ's prophecy for Peter.
    • Christ's call to Peter.
    • Peter's dying love for Jesus, an apologetic that He is risen indeed.

Urged as Sojourners: Displaying the Highest Grace from a Lowest Place

Sermon Outline:

  1. The Christian servant's calling in Christ, 2:18-21a.
  2. The Christian servant's example in Christ, 2:21b-23.
  3. The Christian servant's reminder in Christ, 2:24-25.

Urged as Sojourners: Doing God's Kind of Good in a Not-So-Good Kind of World

Sermon Outline:

  1. Peter's urgent plea to the church: live before the world so as to commend God, 2:11-12
    • An imperative, 2:11b-12a
    • Our identity, 2:11a
    • An intention, 2:12b
  2. Peter's urgent plea applied in how we relate to government, 2:13-17
    • Submit, 2:13-14
    • Silence, 2:15
    • Serve, 2:16-17

That You May Proclaim His Excellencies: The Purpose of God for the People of God

Sermon Outline:

  1. The building of God, 2:4-5.
  2. Our biblical foundation, 2:6-8.
  3. Our overarching purpose, 2:9-10.

Born Again to Love One Another: Keeping the Command at the Heart of Conversion

Sermon Outline:

  1. The conversion enabling this love, 1:22a, 23-25, 2:3c.
  2. The command to love based upon it, 1:22b.
  3. The character of this love, 1:22.
    • It is sincere.
    • It is brotherly.
    • It is earnest.
    • It is pure.
  4. The conditions that make it grow, 2:1-3.
    • Relational evil exiled, put away, 2:1.
    • The Lord spiritually, earnestly ingested, 2:2-3.

Hope Set Rightly: Ransomed For Holiness

Outline:

  1. Imperative 1: Set your hope (vv.13-14)
    • The manner and objective
    • The outcome
  2. Imperative 2: Be holy (vv.15-21)
    • As children of the Father
      • obedience as a way of life
      • reverent exiles
      • the price of our redemption
    • As the people of God
      • God's plan of redemption
      • Continuity

The Prophets' Preoccupation: The Gospel for You

Sermon Outline:

  1. The prophets spoke of the Christ, 1:10-11
  2. The prophets learned they were serving you, 1:12
  3. Two themes of reflection for suffering saints
    • This gospel is glorious and worth our lives
    • God is faithful to save—past, present, future

In This You Rejoice: God's Securing Joys for Our Certain Griefs

Sermon Outline:

  1. The securing joy of our salvation from God, 1:3-6a.
  2. The securing joy of our authentication by trials, 1:6b-7.
  3. The securing joy of our expectation in Christ, 1:8-9.

Grace and Peace Be Multiplied: Encouragement for God's Elect Exiles

Sermon Outline:

  1. Peter's identity, 1:1a.
  2. This people's identity, 1:1b.
  3. The particulars of their identity, 1:2a
    • It’s gracious place of origin.
    • It's gracious point of application.
    • It's gracious purpose in application.
    • It's gracious peace in application.
  4. The prayer to power their identity in practice, 1:2b.

Memory Verse: 1 Peter 1:1b-2a

Him We Proclaim: Treasuring Christ Together

Sermon Outline:

  1. Paul's suffering - and ours, 1:24
  2. Paul's stewardship - and ours, 1:25-27
  3. Paul's subject - and ours, 1:28a
  4. Paul's strategy - and ours, 1:28b-c
  5. Paul's struggle - and ours, 1:29

Expose the Unfruitful Works of Darkness: The World, Our Walk, and Abortion

Sermon Outline:

  1. Let's walk in love (reflect Christ's cross), 5:1-6.
  2. Let's walk as light (reveal the world's sin), 5:7-12.
  3. Let's walk to give life (redeem these evil days), 5:13-17.

He Himself is Our Peace: How Jesus Reconciles Us to God and to One Another

Sermon Outline:

  1. The call to remember our former estrangement, 2:11-12
  2. The work that created our forever reconciliation, 2:13-16
  3. The task of advancing this reconciliation, 2:17-18
  4. The focus of a church adorning this reconciliation, 2:19-22.

But As For You: The Distinct Importance of Continuing in a Word-Centered Ministry

Sermon Outline:

  1. The groaning of a Word-centered ministry, 3:10-13
  2. The grounding of a Word-centered pastor, 3:14-17
    • The grounding character of his teachers, 3:14
    • The grounding character of his discipleship, 3:15a
    • The grounding content of Scripture, 3:15b
    • The grounding cause of Scripture, 3:16-17
  3. The growing of a Word-centered church, 4:1-5.
    • A stated problem for pastor Timothy: people will not endure the Word, 4:3-4
    • A stated charge to pastor Timothy: preach the Word, 4:1-2, 5

When They Had Prayed: The Church's God-Given Way to an Ongoing Impact for Jesus

Sermon Outline:

  1. The context of the text: the threat of persecution, 3:1-4:23.
  2. The church's first inclination to that threat: prayer, 4:24-30.
    • Its corporate nature, 4:24a.
    • Its sure foundation, 4:24b-28.
    • Its supernatural petition, 4:29-30
  3. The Lord's response to that prayer: prayer answered, 4:31.
    • A shaken place.
    • A filled people.
    • Satan's problem: the church praying, the church powerful.

God, Angels, Shepherds, and the Christ They HeraldSermon Outline: 1. The sovereignty of God in the gifted-birth of Jesus, 2:1-7. 2. The saving message God attaches to Jesus' birth, 2:8-14. 3. The set

Sermon Outline:

  1. The sovereignty of God in the gifted-birth of Jesus, 2:1-7
  2. The saving message God attaches to Jesus' birth, 2:8-14
  3. The set of faithful responses we should attach to God's Word about Jesus, 2:15-21
    • The shepherds, 2:15-17, 20
    • Mary, 2:18-19
    • Joseph and Mary, 2:21

Mary's Magnificat and the Christ She Heralds

Sermon Outline:

  1. The primary means of Mary's praise, 1:42-45
  2. The ultimate goal of Mary's praise, 1:46-47
  3. The personal cause of Mary's praise, 1:48-49
  4. The global instruction of Mary's praise, 1:50-55

God's sign through Zechariah - What's in a name?

Outline Questions:

  1. Why does Luke share about the naming of John?
  2. What made the crowd wonder?
  3. How did God answer Zechariah and fulfill His plan at the same time?
  4. What should we take from Zechariah's prophecy of praise and his son's name?

Additional Scriptures to Reference:

  • Prophecy about John - Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1, 4:5
  • Jesus’ confirmation of John - Matthew 11:7-15, 17:9-13
  • Aged Elizabeth, In-Utero John, and the Christ They Herald

    Sermon Outline:

    1. A simple but significant event, 1:39-41a
    2. The Spirit's interpretation of the event, 1:41b-45
      • The blessedness of all who identify the Blessed One, 1:42-43
      • The basis of this identification: John's leap for joy, 1:44
      • Believing God's Word about Jesus: establishing joy in Jesus, 1:45

    The Angel Gabriel and the Christ He Heralds

    Outline:

    1. Luke's grounding details, 1:26-27
    2. Gabriel's Gospel declarations, 1:28-37
      • Gabriel's greeting, 1:28-30
      • Gabriel's Christ, 1:31-35
      • Gabriel's encouragement, 1:36-37
    3. Mary's godly decisiveness, 1:38
    A Great Savior from a Small Town

    Outline:

    1. The Ruler’s humble yet note-worthy origins (vs 2)
    2. The Ruler’s delay (vs 3)
    3. The Ruler’s divine reign (vss 4-5a)

    Recorded For A Generation To Come: That A People That Is "Not a People" May Praise The Lord

    Sermon Outline:

    1. The day of my distress (vv.1-11)
    2. The appointed time (vv.12-22)
      • The time has come (vv.12-17)
      • A generation to come (vv.18-22)
    3. Your years have no end (vv.23-28)

    Believing Balaam: Advent Hope on the Way Home for the Holidays

    Sermon Outline:

    1. Passage Context: Finding Hope in Christ on the Cusp of Home
    2. Passage Content: Seeing Christ
      • A counterintuitive revelation: a blind seer seeing
      • A Christic revleation: a Star and Scepter coming
      • A concluding revelation: Christ judging
    3. God's Christ: Who is He?
    4. Kingdom counsel
      • A word to unbelieving friends
      • A word to Kingdom citizens as we travel Home

    The Lord Takes Away and Gives, and Takes Away: The Gracious Vindication, Restoration, and Anticipation of Job

    Sermon Outline:

    1. Job's vindication, 42:7-9
    2. Job's restoration, 42:10-15
    3. Job's anticipation, 42:16-17

    Then, Out of the Whirlwind, the Lord Answered Job, Part II: Hope in the Scope of our Creator's Sovereignty

    Sermon Outline:

    1. The Lord's challenge to Job, 40:6-41:34
      • The crux of the matter: does Job possess the wisdom and power to rule the universe more righteously than God, 40:6-14?
      • Two lesser creatures illustrated to make God's point:
        • Behemoth, 40:15-24
        • Leviathan, 41:1-34
      • Evil principalities symbolized to make God's point further, 41:18-21, 34; see also Isa 27:1, Ps 74:13-14, Rev 12 and 20:2
    2. Job's change in view of the Lord, 42:1-6
    3. Three conclusions:
      • An affirmation of faith, 42:2
      • An admission in humility, 42:3
      • An action called repentance, 42:4-6

    Then, Out of the Whirlwind, the Lord Answered Job: The Contenting Majesty of our Creator's Supremacy

    Sermon Outline:

    1. The Lord's surprising approach: God in the storm, 38:1
    2. The Lord's silencing address: God in His universe, 38:2-39:30
    3. Some specific application: God in Job, 40:1-5

    Out of the North Comes Golden Splendor: The Surfacing of God in the Storm of Suffering

    Sermon Outline:

    Elihu's 3 pieces of posture-correcting, cloud-clearing advice for Job:

    1. Job, God knows best how to get His best out of His people, 36:1-16
    2. So, Job, take heart, and choose this affliction instead of sin, 36:17-23
    3. To that end, Job, be still and know the Sovereign of the storm, 36:24-37:24

    Do You Think This To Be Just? Keeping Our Grief in Line with God's Glory

    Sermon Outline

    1. Restating Job's case for himself, 34:5-9, 35:2-3
      • I am righteous, 34:5a
      • I have a right to blessing, 34:5b-6a
      • God's taken away that right, 34:6a
      • I am incurably cursed, 34:6b
      • Might as well live for sin if I'm to suffer like this, 34:9, 35:2-3
    2. Elihu's case for God, 34:10-30
      • God is God, 34:13-15
      • God is righteous, 34:10-12
      • It's seen in, 34:16-30
        • His fearlessness, impartiality, sovereignty, accountability, constancy
    3. Elihu's conclusions for Job, 34:31-37, 35:5-16
      • Your righteousness doesn't put God in your debt, 35:5-8
      • You've ceased to truly pray: prayer becomes prayer-less when it's prideful, 35:9-16
      • You need to decide to repent of this pride: you're wrong, not God, 34:31-37

    Then Elihu: Help for Job out of a Zeal for God

    Sermon Outline:

    1. Introducing Elihu
    2. Elihu's zeal to speak for God's glory, ch. 32
      • The causes of his 'burning anger,' 32:1-5
      • The prelude to his burning anger, 32:6
      • The paradigm-shift in his burning anger, 32:8-9
      • The devotion of his burning anger, 32:21-22
    3. Elihu's zeal to justify Job's story, ch. 33
      • Elihu's gentle approach to Job, 33:1-7
      • Elihu's encouraging correction of Job, 33:8-30

        God's not your enemy. He's speaking by your suffering:

        • By it, He's sharpening your conscience, to expose and keep you from sin
        • By it, He's shining light on that 'Savior' Who's always Light at the end of the tunnel

    The Words of Job are Ended: His Righteousness Signed, Sealed, and Delivered to God

    Sermon Outline:

    1. Job's cataglogue of personal righteousness:
      • Job has honored his wife by sexual fidelity, 31:1-12
      • Job has treated his subordinates with equity, 31:13-15
      • Job has provided, as able, for the needy, 31:16-23
      • Job has fled from idolatry, 31:24-28
      • Job has majored in hospitality, 31:29-32
      • Job has confessed his sins openly, 31:33-34
      • Job has signed off on his integrity, 31:35-40
    2. A catalogue of our responsiveness to it:
      • We should affirm we can be righteous
      • We should learn to kill sin at the root
      • We should adopt Job's God-centered worldview
      • We should always return to our rest in Jesus

    I Hoped For Good, But Evil Came: Shouldering the Righteous Man's Cross

    Sermon Outline:

    Part 1 of Job's Summary Defense:

    1. Job reminiscing on past graces, 29:1-11, 21-24
    2. Job reasserting his present righteousness, 29:12-17
    3. Job resubmitting his persistent complaint, 29:18-20, 30:1-31
      • Shouldering the righteous man's cross, 30:28b

    There is a King in Zion: Be Wise and Be Warned

    Sermon Outline:

    1. Drinking from the fire hose
    2. The Way of the Righteous and the Wicked (Psalm 1)
      • The way of happiness and fruitfulness
      • The way of ruin
      • Rethinking Psalm 1
    3. The Reign of the Lord’s Anointed (Psalm 2)
      • The rebellious assembly
      • Declaration and recitation
      • Be wise and be warned
    4. The Spirit of a king

    Behold, I Am Making All Things New!

    Sermon Outline:

    1. The sights of the new creation, 21:1-2
    2. The sounds (or sweet reliefs) of the new creation, 21:3-4
      • It's full of God
      • It's tearless
      • It's grave-less
      • It's painless
      • Because it's sinless
    3. The certainty of the new creation, 21:5-6a
    4. The citizenry of the new creation, 21:6b-8

    It Is Finished!

    Sermon Outline:

    1. The prelude to 'It is finished.' 19:28-29

      Two purposes of 'I thirst':

      • To express Jesus' suffering.
      • To fulfill the Scriptures.
    2. The pronouncement 'It is finished.' 19:30

      3 steps through this holy ground:

      • We never could've begun what Christ has finished.
      • Christ has finished what we never could've begun.
      • TWe needn't do anything else, then, but rest upon what Christ has finished.

    Jesus is Praying for Us

    Sermon Outline:

    1. Two introductory props:
      • The preeminence of Jesus' Person as He prays, 17:1-5.
        • He prays as God.
        • He prays as Savior.
        • He prays as Lord.
      • The priority of Jesus' people as He prays, 17:6-10.
    2. Four most precious petitions He prays for His people:
      • Jesus prays for our preservation, 17:11-15.
      • Jesus prays for our sanctification, 17:16-19.
      • Jesus prays for our unification, 17:20-23, 25-26.
      • Jesus prays for our joy-ification, 17:24.

    No One Will Snatch My Sheep Out of My Hand

    Sermon Outline

    1. The basis of real belief in Jesus, 10:22-27.
      • God's electing grace, 10:26, 29.
      • Christ's 'knowing' grace, 10:27.
    2. A marvelous benefit for real believers in Jesus, 10:28-30: Eternal security. Put three ways:
      • In terms of Christ's gift, 10:28a.
      • In terms of Christ's grip, 10:28b.
      • In terms of Christ's God-ness (His co-equal deity with the Father), 10:29-30.

    The Father Delights to Give the Holy Spirit to Those Who Ask

    Sermon Outline:

    1. Context: Our Lord's encouragement to godly, persistent, and confident prayer, 11:1-13
    2. Focus: God's best Gift, our best request: The Holy Spirit, 11:13b.
      1. How the Holy Spirit comes to us, once for all, Lk 24:44-53, Acts 1:4-8, 2:33.
      2. The peculiar work of the Holy Spirit in Luke-Acts.
        1. He gives new birth, Lk 10:21-22; Acts 10:44, 11:15-16.
        2. He grows a new conduct, Lk 11:2-4; Acts 11:24, 15:28-29.
        3. He creates a new community, Acts 2:42-47, 4:31, 6:3, 13:2-9, 20.28.
        4. He powers a new purpose, Lk 11:2, 24:49-55; Acts 1:4-8, 4:8, 4:31, 8:29, 16:6-7.
      3. What it means to pray for the Holy Spirit today (our great need).

    Ask For The Ancient Paths, Where The Good Way Is

    Summary:

    Jesus offers a gentle and kind heart for those the world despises, those with the wisdom to trust beyond sight and see the Father speaking. Finding that in Jesus we see the Father, we approach Scripture as more than history, more than failure, more than unattainable perfection. We approach it with a vision of God working, renewing and loving his people.

    Behold, a Rattling!

    Sermon Outline:

    1. Sin is deadly, Ezek 1-33
    2. God is yet life-giving, 37:1-14

      3 fulfillments:

      • The return of a purified Israel.
      • The regeneration of the new and true Israel: Christ and His church.
      • The resurrection of our bodies at the last Day.

    He Will Bring Forth a Just Grace

    Sermon Outline:

    1. Putting this Servant Song in it's proper setting
    2. Beholding this Servant, 42:1
    3. Beholding His service: a strange justice, 42:2-9.
      • His being the (new) covenant of grace for us, 42:5-9
      • His tireless ministry of grace to us, 42:2-4

    Open Your Mouth Wide, and I Will Fill It

    Sermon Outline:

    1. A psalm that's a song about worshipping God together in song, 81:1-3
    2. Why we must worship God together in song, 81:4-16.

      3 reasons:

      • God commands it, 81:4-5a
      • God commands it in view of what He's done to save us, 81:5b-7
      • God commands it in view of how He ever-desires to satisfy us, 81:8-16.

        How does He?

        • His desire in this is exceedingly gracious.
        • His desire in this is exceedingly abundant
        • His desire in this is exceedingly secure

    For The Love of God's Word

    Strength and Courage in the Presence of God

    Sermon Outline:

    1. The overwhelming task: Joshua’s and Yours
    2. The overcoming means: The Presence and the Word
    3. The overarching story: The Greater Joshua

    The Lord Bless You

    Sermon Outline:

    1. From Aaron to Jesus, 6:22-23
    2. From Jesus to us, 6:24-27

      3 parts of the blessing:

      • God's gracious preservation, 6:24
      • God's gracious presence, 6:25
      • God's gracious peace, 6:26
    3. From us to the world, a closing word

    Christ Shall Bruise Satan's Head

    1. Context: The serpent's devastation of God's creation
    2. Content: The redemptive revelation of God's serpent-crushing Christ, Gen 3:15
    3. The three most immediate Consolations that we have in Gen 3:15:
      • We get to witness our God back our adversary into an inescapable doom
      • We can know that we can never fall so low but God's grace is able to raise us up
      • We can know that God's purpose of redemption in Christ will prevail

    True Wisdom: God's Priceless Tool for His Tried and True Sufferers

    Sermon Outline:

    1. Bildad's brief theological tantrum, 25:1-6
    2. Job's two-pronged response:
      • The height of human religious wisdom cannot rise to the occasion of righteous-suffering, 26.1-27.23
      • The wisdom we need for it can only be found in God, 28:1-28.

        How is true wisdom the best tool for fine-tuning our suffering?

        • True wisdom says our suffering is *calculated, 28:24-26
        • True wisdom says our suffering's about *character, 28:28
        • True wisdom says our suffering points to *Christ, cf. Col 2:3
        • True wisdom says our suffering has a purposed *climax, theme of Job cf. Eph 3:9-11

    A Last Ditch Dig, and A Treasury Unearthed: The Benefit of our Devotional Life for Darkened Days

    Sermon Outline:

    1. Eliphaz's last ditch dig at Job, 22:1-30.
    2. Job's treasury unearthed, 23:1-24:25.

      • Job has treasured God's Word, 23:11-12.
      • The present benefits of that treasury in the dark of suffering.

        Job has light by which to see:

        • God as his Resting Place, 23:10, 13; 24:24.
        • God as his Burden-Bearer, 23:5-7.
        • God as his Spiritual Metallurgist or Soul-Refiner, 23:10.

    A Tale of Two Portions for the Wicked: Making Sense of Mixed Signals for the Righteous

    Sermon Outline:

    1. Zophar's depiction of the wicked man's portion, ch. 20.
    2. Job's depiction of the wicked man's portion, ch. 21.
    3. Enlisting other counselors to help us make sense of mixed signals.

      Specifically, the path of true prosperity as a comfort for righteous-sufferers.

      • Paul in Rom 2:4. Earthly prosperity calls sinners to repent.
      • Asaph in Ps 73:18-21. Earthly prosperity can be an expedient to judgment.
      • Jesus in Lk 4:5-8. Righteous suffering goes before glory.
      • The writer of Hebrews, particularly 13:14. Righteous suffering goes with sojourning.
      • Job himself in Job 19:25-29. Jesus will reveal the truly prosperous person and life at last.

    There is a Judgment, and My Redeemer Lives: Fortifying God-Sized Hope for Job-Like Sufferers

    Sermon Outline:

    1. Poking a Job-sized hole in Bildad's proverbial worldview, 18:1-19:24.
    2. Fortifying a God-sized hope for Job-like sufferers, 19:25-29.

      5 things Job knows that we must:

      • Job's Redeemer lives, 19:25a.
      • Job's Redeemer will triumph, 19:25b.
      • Job will enter that triumph, 19:26-27.
      • Job will be vindicated.
      • Job knows there is a judgment, 19:28-29.

    Look to the One We Follow, and Take Heart: Sustaining God's Comforts Amid Our God-Given Crosses

    Sermon Outline:

    1. Exploring the main theme of divine comfort for cross-bearers, 15:11, 16:2, 16:5.
    2. How to be beneficial comforters for cross-bearers. 5 thoughts:
      • Comfort by serving through silence, 16:3.
      • Comfort by reassuring of the Gospel, contra 15:14-16; 16:18-22, 17:3.
      • Comfort by clarifying the goal of the Gospel, contra 15:17-30.
      • Comfort by framing our suffering as solidarity with Christ, 16:6-17, 17:1-16.
      • Comfort by relying upon the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

    Pray For Us: Not All Are Faithful, But The Lord Is Faithful

    Paul calls for prayer for the succesful spread of the Gospel and encourages the church to follow Jesus' lead as they endure threats from within and without.

    Beyond the Shadow of a Doubt, Jesus is Risen: From Disbelief to 'My Lord and My God'

    Sermon Outline:

    1. Thomas' lack of faith in the risen Jesus, 20:24-25. 3 aspects:
      • His absence from the gathered assembly, 20:24
      • His obstinance towards the apostles' testimony, 20:25a
      • His defiance flatly stated against the truth, 20:25b
    2. The risen Jesus' surplus of grace towards disbelieving Thomas, 20:26-29. 6 aspects:
      • His appearing, 20:26
      • His greeting, 20:26
      • His granting, 20:27
      • His exhorting, 20:27
      • His receiving, 20:28
      • His blessing, 20:/29

    To Be or Not To Be Worthless Physicians: Supporting Hope in Him Who Slays Us

    Sermon Outline:

    1. We're all called to be useful physicians of the soul.
    2. What are the marks of worthless physicians, 13:4?
      • They lack compassion, 12:2-5.
      • They lack clarity on the things of God, 12:6-13:12.
      • They lack Christ.
    3. What are the marks of useful physicians? They support hope in God, even though He slay us by:
      • Affirming God's meticulous sovereignty, 12:9-10.
      • Affirming God's marvelous salvation, 13:18-14:22. And particularly:
        • The resurrection of Christ.

    Chewing on Zophar's Choke Job: God Incomprehensible, Yet Knowable

    1. Chewing on Zophar's choke job, Job 11.
      • 'Shush, Job. Let me tell you, God knows better than a hypocrite,' 11:1-6.
      • 'His knowledge is beyond you. Trade in stupidity for submission, if you can,' 11:7-12.
      • 'Repent and be secured, or perish,' 11:13-20.
    2. Making a good meal out of Zophar's choke job.
      • Allow for incomprehensibility.
      • Assert God's knowability.
      • Accentuate Christ as most revelatory.

    O For Grace to See Him More: Toward the Alighting Arbiter Suffering Alights

    Sermon Outline:

    1. The darkened case Job makes.
      • The impossibility of contending with God the Creator.
      • The perplexity of contending with God, Job's Creator.
      • The cataracts of suffering vocalized.
      • The desire for 'execution.'
    2. The alighting Arbiter Job needs.
      • Jesus alights God's true character.
      • Jesus alights God's Gospel graces.
      • Jesus alights God's justice at last.
      • Jesus alights God's world upon death.
      • Jesus alights God's redemptive suffering.
      • Jesus alights God's ear to hear us.

    Note that the video cuts off the initial reading of the sermon text. You'll have to read it on your own! But, this seemed better than the copy of the video that had audio/video out of sync by a couple seconds... GEM

    God Will Not Reject a Blameless Man: When Counsel is Devoid of the Gospel

    Outline:

    1. Bildad's graceless counsel, 8:1-22.
      • 'Job, redirect your wind,' 8:1-4.
      • 'Seek God,' 8:5-7.
      • 'And learn from the past,' 8:8-19.
      • 'See that God only ever receives godly people,' 8:20-22.
    2. Turning a profit from Bildad's graceless counsel.
      • Have the humility to say 'I don't know, but God does.'
      • Hold out a whole God.
      • Be clear and competent on grace.

    In Defense of Lament: Justification for Job's Interrogation of God
    Eliphaz's Ill-Aimed Counsel: When Soul-Care Misses the Mark

    Big idea: Our aims in counseling the suffering soul best focus, first, on two things: speak the truth in love and fill it all with Christ.

    1. The ill-aimed counsel of Eliphaz, Job 4-5
      • 'Job, receive your own counsel—and repent,' 4:1-11
      • 'But stop this questioning of God—that's a futile exercise in arrogant folly,' 4:12-5:7
      • 'Instead, humbly seek God and submit to His discipline—that's the wisdom-ticket to renewal,' 5:8-27
    2. Aiming to aim better than Eliphaz
      • Speak the truth in love
        Fill your counsel with Christ

    I Have No Rest, But Trouble Comes: Letting Lamentation Lead to the Lord

    We want to know how to support the lamenter by leading their lamenting hearts to the hope that lamentation still, ironically, reveals.

    Outline:

    1. Hearing Job's lamentation, 3:1-26
      • Job's cursing, 3:1-10
      • Job's questioning, 3:11-26
    2. Helping lamenting Job.
      • Let lamenters lament, and listen well
      • Take (mental) notes to (eventually) serve as eye-salve
      • Search out evidences of grace in the lamenter's lamentation
      • Steady their hope in the ever-attendant presence and promise of God
      • Run a line from their lament to the cross and back

    Have You Considered My Servant Job—Again?: Sitting with Job in the Ashes of Suffering
    Have You Considered My Servant Job?
    Prayer and Care: Saving Faith Drives Believers to Christ-Like Prayer and Care for One Another

    As we step away from the book of Philippians (but not its message to the Church!), we reflect on the value of prayer-filled discipleship.

    The Importance of God's Word

    As we step away from the book of Philippians (but not its message to the Church!), we pause to focus on word and prayer.

    Growing By A Christ-Centered, Gospel-Laced Benediction: Greeting, Hoping, and Enduring in the Grace of Jesus

    Brain finished out the book of Philippians on a strong note. Philippians 4:21-23 is a small passage, but brings the whole together powerfully.

    On Christian Giving and Receiving: Learning Christian Contentment and Gospel Generosity

    Pressing towards the finish, Brian continues at Philippians 4:10-20

    Footholds for Standing Firm in the Lord

    Philppians continues at vv. 4:2-9

    A Psalm for the New Year: Petitioning God Eternal for the Wisest Use of Our Days

    Outline: 1. A God-wise perspective for life, 90:1-11. a. God's eternality (for us), 90:1-2. b. Man's mortality in light of God's eternality (against us), 90:3-11. i. God will return Man to dust—He out-lives our lives, 90:3-4. ii. God brings Man to a sudden end—our days are quick as a dream, temporary as grass, 90:5-7a. iii. God illumines the futility of Man's brief life—toil, trouble, and terror, 90:10. iv. God views all our days as the Righteous Judge—we fly away to wrath, 90.7b-9, 11. 2. A Godward prayer for us, 90:12-17. a. For the wisest use of our days, 90:12. b. For the grace of spiritual renewal, 90:13. c. For the gladness of Gospel satisfaction, 90:14-15. d. For the multi-generational application of God's power, 90:16. e. For the establishment of our work for Him, 90:17.

    Born to Create a Community of Self-Sacrificial Love For One Another

    A final look at the meaning of the incarnation, with eyes on 1 John 4:7-12

    Born to Die to Help His People Live to God

    Looking at the incarnation through the lens of Hebrews 2:14-18

    Born to Buy Back Slaves and Make Us 'Sons'

    Advent continues, with a message from Galatians (Galatians 4:1-11)

    Born to Bear Witness to the Truth

    Brian starts off the advent season with a message from the book of John, specifically John 18:33-38a.

    Walk as Lovers of the Cross of Christ: Standing Firm in Him as We Make Our Way Home

    Brian continues in Philippians, vv. 3:17 - 4:1

    Knowing Jesus More to Become More Like Jesus: The Relentless Pursuit of Christian Maturity

    Continuing at Philippians 3:10-16

    Rejoice in the Lord—Reapplying the Surpassing Worth of Knowing Jesus, Our Righteousness

    Brian continues to share the message of Philippians, at vv. 3:1-9

    Epaphroditus Risked His Life in the Work of Christ for the Church—Imitate Him

    Brian continues in Philippians, vv. 2:25-30

    Missions Report 2019

    Each of The Mount Church's sponosred missionaries give a report this Sunday after an introductory message.

    Timothy Seeks Christ's Interests For His Church—Imitate Him

    Brian continues in Philippians, vv. 2:19-24

    Work Out Your Own Salvation: The Distinctive Nature, Call, Look, and Pursuit of Christian Obedience

    Brian continues in Philippians, vv. 2:12-18

    The Christ Hymn: Progressing in Gospel Humility by Gazing at Christ's Humility

    here is some text

    Gospel Humility: The True Greatness of the Gospel-Worthy Life
    The Prioritization and Priorities of the Gospel-Worthy Life
    To Live is Christ: For the Progress, Joy, and Boast of the Church in Jesus
    Christ Is Proclaimed, In That I Rejoice: Prioritizing the Advance of the Gospel
    How to Pray for a Gospel-Centered, Missions-Minded Church
    Growing By A Christ-Centered, Gospel-Laced Greeting
    A Feast and a Fast
    Let Christ In and Be Zealous For Him Again: Jesus’ Seventh Word to the Church
    Hold Fast in Your Bold Testimony to Him Who Has the Key of David: Jesus’ Sixth Word to the Church
    Wake Up! And Be a Gospel-People Christ Calls Worthy of Him: Jesus’ Fifth Word to the Church
    Only Hold Fast to What You Have---And Add Holy Accountability: Jesus’ Fourth Word to the Church
    Return to a Pure Devotion to Christ and to Purity: Jesus’ Third Word to the Church
    Be Faithful Unto Death: Jesus’ Second Word to the Church
    Recovering the Love You Had at First: Jesus’ First Word to the Church
    Seeing the Glory and Grace of Jesus, Again and Always: The Oil for Christ’s Flickering Lamp-Stands

    2019-06-16
    Seeing the Glory and Grace of Jesus: The Foundation of Healthy Churches
    2019-06-02
    Mary, Martha, Jesus
    Mother's Day
    The Holy Spirit
    The Empty Tomb
    Our Anointed King
    Deacon Ordination (2019-04-07)
    What Makes You Smell?

    TL Berry brings a timely message for the body

    Psalm 1