26
Apr
2010

Easter Letters: Pergamum–Hidden Manna

Sermon on Revelation 2:12-17, the letter to the church of Pergamum. The 3rd in a 7 part series on the letters to the churches of Asia found in the book of Revelation.

Sermon Talking Points:

Read past sermons at: http://thejoshuavictortheory.blogspot.com

Listen to audio at: http://thejoshuavictortheory.podbean.com

  1. The city of Pergamum is only mentioned here in the Bible. It was a city full of pagan temples that may explain the phrase “where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is.” A throne-like temple to Zeus and a temple to the god Asclepios both had serpent-like artwork and sculptures, and the title “savior” was used of these false gods. Also, the strong emperor worship cult here set the sword of Caesar against the ‘sword’ of the Lord.

  1. Identify the following in the letter to Pergamum: (these basic features are repeated in each letter)

Image of Christ:

Local detail about the church:

What Christ sees: A) Good B) Bad

Call to Repent:

Promise to the One who Conquers:

  1. What is the “sharp, two-edged sword” proceeding from the mouth of Jesus? Rev. 1:16; Heb. 4:12; Eph. 6:17. Cf. Isaiah 11:4; 49:2. How does the Word of God have “two edges?” What do they do?

  1. Why is it impossible for Christians to “divide their allegiance” between the ‘gods’ and immorality of the world, and the true God and His calling on our life? Matt. 6:24; Rom. 12:2. Where can false worship and false allegiances (faith) ultimately lead us? How can we find safety instead?

  1. What is the ‘hidden manna’ that Jesus gives to those who conquer with Him? Cf. 1 Cor. 10:1-4; 16; John 6:22ff. What do we receive in hand and in mouth? Matt. 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-23. What heavenly banquet does this anticipate and join us to?
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19
Apr
2010

Easter Letters: Smyrna–Crown of Life

Sermon on Revelation 2:8-11, to the church of Smyrna. The second part of the seven part series "Easter Letters" to the 7 Churches of Asia in the book of Revelation.

Sermon Talking Points:

Read past sermons at: http://thejoshuavictortheory.blogspot.com

Listen to audio at: http://thejoshuavictortheory.podbean.com

  1. The city of Smyrna is only mentioned here in the Bible. Its citizens were proud of its beauty and architecture, and it’s thought that the shape of the city with a hilltop crest in the middle resembled a crown, which was a prominent symbol associated with Smyrna’s beauty. The city had dedicated a temple to Rome there in 195 BC. There was hostility between the Jewish and Christian communities there. In 156 AD, Polycarp, the aged Christian bishop of the city was martyred in the arena.

  1. Identify the following in the letter to Smyrna: (these basic features are repeated in each letter)

Image of Christ:

Local detail about the church:

What Christ sees: A) Good B) Bad

Call to Repent:

Promise to the One who Conquers:

  1. How does the title used for Jesus: “the first and the last” (2:8) show His divinity? Compare to who else receives this title in the following passages: Rev. 1:8, 17-18; 21:6; 22:13; Isaiah 41:4; 44:6; 48:12.

  1. What does it mean to be physically poor, but spiritually rich? How is this greater than all earthly treasure? Matthew 5:2-12; 6:19-24; James 5:1-5

  1. What persecution and slander do Christians face? What are some common slanders against the church? Against God or Christ?

  1. What is the reward for faithfulness in the midst of persecution—even to death? How was Polycarp an imitator of Christ? What is the second death that cannot harm us? Rev. 2:11; 20:6,14; 21:8. Cf. John 5:19-30
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12
Apr
2010

Easter Letters: Ephesus–Eat of the Tree of Life!

Sermon on Revelation 2:1-7, the letter to the Church of Ephesus. The first part of a seven-part Easter sermon series based on the letters to the seven churches of Asia in Revelation 2-3.

Sermon Talking Points:

Read past sermons at: http://thejoshuavictortheory.blogspot.com

Listen to audio at: http://thejoshuavictortheory.podbean.com

  1. For background on the church at Ephesus, read Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Read Acts 18:18-19:40; 20:17-38; 1 Cor. 15:32; also 16:8; 1 Tim. 1:3; 2 Tim. 1:18; 4:12. How do you evaluate the reception of the Gospel in Ephesus? By the time of Paul’s letter, the church seems quite commendable. What positives are mentioned in Paul’s letter? In Jesus’ letter? What negatives?

  1. Identify the following in the letter to Ephesus: (these basic features are repeated in each letter)

Image of Christ:

Local detail about the church:

What Christ sees: A) Good B) Bad

Call to Repent:

Promise to the One who Conquers:

  1. How discerning are we as a church? What is the basis for determining who are true and false apostles/what is true and false teaching? See Matt. 24:3-14; 7:15-23; 2 Peter 2; 1 John 4:1-6; 2 Tim. 3:16-17. How is hatred of evil works and false teaching different from hatred of the person(s) who are caught up and deluded by them? Eph. 6:12; 1 Cor. 5:9-13; 1 John 2:15-17; Psalm 5:4-6. How should we help those who are caught in error? Gal. 6:1.

  1. What is the “first love” which we are to return to as a church? Cf. Jeremiah 2:2ff; 1 John 2:15-17. How is our Christian life and walk changed when we return to our first love? See esp. Rev. 2:5.

  1. What promised blessing is there for faithful endurance and conquering? Through whom do we have victory? How is the promise to eat of the Tree of Life a reversal of the original curse in the garden? Cf. Genesis 3 and Rev. 22:1-4. How is this a promise of resurrection?
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5
Apr
2010

Death’s Greatest Failure!

Sermon on Luke 24:1-12, for Easter Sunday--the Resurrection of our Lord.

Sermon Talking Points: Read past sermons at: http://thejoshuavictortheory.blogspot.com Listen to audio at: http://thejoshuavictortheory.podbean.com

1. Name the greatest failures you can think of in history. What made them remarkable? What personal failures have been most troubling to you? How have other’s failed you?

2. What was the great cost of these failures? What was death’s greatest failure? What did that failure cost Jesus? Read John 1:29; 1 Peter 1:17-19; 2:4-6; Luke 23:26-49.

3. What was the cost of our sin, for which Jesus paid? Romans 6:23; 5:12-21. Why was He willing to pay this price? Did it cost us?

4. What did Jesus’ victory over death look like? What hope did it bring? Romans 8:18-25; 1 Corinthians 15; 1 Thessalonians 4:13

5. How can we help in spreading that urgently needed message of hope and victory? Who is someone you know that is in need of the message of hope and victory over death? Luke 24:47-48; John 20:29; Acts 1:8; 1 Peter 2:9.

6. What “consolations” that people seek have no ultimate power to comfort? What consolation have you sought in life, instead of trusting in God and the message of Jesus’ resurrection?

7. Why does this message make it impossible to merely go on with “life as usual?” What should our Christian life together look like as a result?

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5
Apr
2010

Beginnings and Endings and Beginnings

Sermon on John 19:30 for Good Friday, based on the series "Life Together" by Concordia Seminary St. Loius.

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2
Apr
2010

Finding Ourselves

Sermon on John 13:1-35, Jesus washing the Disciple's feet, for Maundy Thursday. Based on the sermon series "Life Together" by Concordia Seminary St. Louis, MO.

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