30
Jun
2009

Growing in the Grace of Giving

Sermon on 2 Corinthians 8:1-9, 13-15 for the 4th Sunday after Pentecost

Sermon Talking Points:

  1. What is the surprise of “Divine Arithmetic?” How did in show among the Macedonians? What explains how they “begged” Paul to let them participate in giving even beyond their means?
  2. What are the struggles and afflictions you face in today’s economy? What are your blessings even in the midst of this? Name them or write them down. Read Phil. 4:12-13
  3. How did God turn scarcity into plenty in these Biblical examples? Who was it that provided when there was need? Genesis 41-46; Exodus 15:22-17:7; 1 Kings 17:1-16; Mark 5:30-44; Mark 12:41-44.
  4. What does our giving reflect about our hearts? Is guilt an acceptable motivation for giving? How do we grow in the grace of giving then? What turns the tables (and our hearts)?
  5. What’s the difference between giving from what’s left and “firstfruits” giving? What steps can we take to move in that direction?
  6. What is one nearby human need in our community that we could support as a congregation?
  7. How does Jesus’ becoming poor make us rich? What is the wealth He offers to us? Define “grace.” John 1:17; Rom. 5:15
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7
Jun
2009

Encountering God

Sermon on Isaiah 6:1-8 for Trinity Sunday

Sermon Talking Points:

  1. It has been said about the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, that what the Old conceals the New reveals. How is this true of the doctrine of the Trinity? Study these verses to see how the doctrine of the Trinity is hidden even in the Old Testament: Genesis 1:1-2, 26; 11:6-7; 18:1-21; Numbers 6:24-27; Psalm 110:1; Isaiah 6:1-8; 63:8-10; Zech. 12:10 etc.

  1. What sort of encounter with God is unsafe, or dangerous? How did Isaiah experience this type of encounter? Gene Veith? How would you describe your encounter with God in the Bible?

  1. Study Luke 18:13; Matt. 22:11-12; Isaiah 64:6; Numbers 22. What is the danger in approaching God on the basis of our righteousness? What is the alternative? Hebrews 9-10.

  1. What does it mean to encounter God through the Gospel? How is the Lord’s Supper parallel to the burning coal that touched Isaiah’s lips? What do we receive/does it grant us?

  1. Veith writes: “The issue is not our ascent to God, but God’s descent to us” (p.23, Veith, Spirituality of the Cross). How does this change how we look at the accessibility of God? How we encounter Him?

  1. How are God’s Word, Baptism, and Communion the tangible means by which God descends to us with His gracious presence? How are these given and received?
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2
Jun
2009

Concerning Sin, Righteousness, and Judgment

Sermon on John 15:26-27, 16:4b-15

Sermon Talking Points:

  1. In what ways is “spirituality” (in general), popular today? What are some examples? How is this different than Christian spirituality, that has a definitely Christ-centered, cross-focused content?
  2. Look in the passage from John again. What makes it clear that the Holy Spirit’s work is to direct people to Christ rather than Himself?
  3. Why does simple talk about morality fall short of being Christian spirituality? What would such a spirituality without reference to sin look like?
  4. What is the spiritual righteousness that counts before God? How do we get this rigtheousness?
  5. The judgment that Jesus speaks of in this passage is directed against whom? How do we benefit from this judgment?
  6. How can we keep our Christian spirituality Christ-centered and cross-focused?


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