31
Jan
2011

Under the Cross

Sermon on 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 for the 4th Sunday after Epiphany about the relationship of Christianity, reason, and the cross.

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

1. In what ways does the “wisdom of the world” consider the Christian faith to be foolishness? What Biblical teachings clash with our human reason? What have you wrestled with? Why does our mind and reason rebel against God’s word? 2. Why in particular is the cross of Christ a “stumbling block to the Jews?” Romans 9:30-33; Gal. 5:11; 1 Pet. 2:6-8. Why is it “foolishness to the Gentiles?” Acts 17:18-21, 32; Acts 26:22-29 3. Why is the word of the cross the heart and center of Christianity? 1 Cor. 1:18, 23; Luke 24:25-27, 45-47. How does this message give life and power to Christians? 4. How does our mind become humble and submissive to God? How does this locate reason in its proper role? Consider the following quote: “Reason as such has by no means been abolished from the Christian church. But before it can enter there, it must be converted from a judge into a penitent, from a master into a servant, from a professor into a pupil—or, more precisely, from a pagan into a Christian.” 5. When reason is in its proper role, as a student of God and His Word, how does Scripture praise this gift of knowledge in contrast to the blind ‘knowledge’ of unbelief? 1 Sam. 2:3; Ps. 14:1-4; 19:1-4; 94:8-11; Prov. 1:7; Rom. 11:33; 15:14; cf. Eccl. 1:8; 2 Cor. 10:5; 2 Tim. 3:7 6. What is the true wisdom of the cross of Christ?

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24
Jan
2011

I Appeal to You

A sermon on 1 Corinthians 1:10-18 for the 3rd Sunday after Epiphany. Paul appeals to the Corinthians to end the divisions amongst themselves.

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

1. Read the letters of 1 & 2 Corinthians. Identify the doctrinal and moral struggles they faced. What similar challenges does the church today face, both in matters of doctrine and morality?

2. Despite all their sins and controversies, how does Paul address the people of this church? 1 Cor. 1:2 On what grounds could he call them this? How is the same true for us?

3. What kind of factionalism was developing within the Corinthian church? What are examples of the same today?

4. What is the ground for Paul’s appeal for unity? What is the strength of this appeal? What greater unity did it call them to recognize? How do we know that the body of Christ is truly not divided, despite external appearances? How is this an article of faith, not sight? 1 Cor. 1:13; Matt. 16:18. John 10:14-16.

5. Describe unity of voice and mind. What it means and doesn’t mean. See 1 Cor. 1:10; Rom. 15:5-6; Phil. 1:27-2:7.

6. What is the difference between (necessary) divisions over truth (ex. Luke 12:51; John 7:43; 9:16; 10:19; Romans 16:17; 1 Cor. 11:18) and (unnecessary) divisiveness (ex. 1 Cor. 1:10-13; Gal. 5:20; 1 Tim. 1:3-7; Titus 3:10; Jude 19)? What is the difference in motivation behind each?

7. How is our new identity and name in Christ the source of reconciliation? Gal. 3:26-28; Col. 3:11; Rev. 2:17; 3:12. How does the cross re-center our loyalties? What is the ministry of reconciliation begun at the cross? 2 Cor. 5

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17
Jan
2011

Formed from the Womb

Sermon on Isaiah 49:1-7 for Life Sunday.

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

1. Who is the main speaker in the passage, Isaiah 49:1-7? How was He called by God and named before birth? Is. 7:14; 9:1-7; Luke 1:31; 2:21. 2. How does the Eternal Son of God, Christ, reflect on His purpose and ministry in this prophecy? How is this passage an affirmation of life from within the womb? How else does Scripture affirm the life of the unborn? Psalm 139:13-16; Ps. 71:5-6; 22:9-10. How do these verses show that unborn infants can trust in God, and are already spiritual beings? Cf. Luke 1:15; 1:41-44. Why is all human life valuable? Gen. 9:6 3. How can we work to protect the innocent and vulnerable in society, especially those children who are unborn? Why must we never do evil so that good may result? Why doesn’t the end justify the means? Romans 3:8; 12:21. How can we work to overcome evil with good? 4. Why did Christ seem discouraged and almost defeated? What opposition did He encounter? John 1:11; 6:41-71; continue reading the following chapters of John 7 & 8 for further examples of His rejection. 5. What was Christ’s hope in the midst of the doubt and discouragement of His ministry? What was His recompense? Who would guarantee the final success of His work? 6. How did God have even greater things in mind for Jesus than merely the promised redemption of Israel? How will all finally see and glorify Jesus for His salvation? How is Christ the nation of Israel reduced down to one man? How is He the one faithful Israelite, and what did God prepare Him from before birth to do? Hosea 11:1; Matt. 2:15

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10
Jan
2011

Rescue at Sea

A story sermon based on Romans 6:1-11, addressing why Paul tells us that we cannot sin so that grace may increase. For the Baptism of Our Lord.

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

1. My sermon attempts to put the question of “Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?” into a story about salvation, that can help us to see why it’s completely illogical to dive back into sin—as Paul says: “By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”

2. How is our salvation and rescue from sin truly like being drowned, rescued, and brought back to life? Ephesians 2:1-10, especially vs. 1 & 5

3. What are the new clothes of salvation that we wear? Gal. 3:27; Romans 6:1-11; 13:14. What are the old rags that Christ takes off of us? Isaiah 64:6; Rom. 6:6; Col. 3:5-11. Why can we not enter the “Heavenly Harbor” wearing our old rags? Matt. 22:1-14

4. What is Jesus’ aim and purpose? Luke 19:10; John 10:11-18; 1 Tim. 2:4

5. Why are some people dissatisfied to remain aboard the “Ship Salvation?” Why would people prefer to live in the old ways of sin? How is this incompatible with “life aboard ship”?

6. How is the “ocean of sin” a powerfully deceptive lure? Matt. 13:22; 1 Tim. 6:6-10; Prov. 11:28; John 8:34.

7. How do God and Jesus show their patience toward us in salvation? 2 Pet. 3:8-10; How is Jesus the agent of God’s justice? Isaiah 42:1-9; James 2:13. What should our response be to such a great salvation?

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3
Jan
2011

In His Father’s House

Sermon on Luke 2:40-52 for the 2nd Sunday after Christmas, about the childhood of Jesus and His visit to the Temple at age 12.

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

1. All that we know about Jesus’ childhood, before Jesus began His public ministry at age 30 (Luke 3:23), is recorded by Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2 in the birth narratives, and then this one incident from Jesus’ childhood at age 12. What important details about Jesus’ youth and maturing do we learn from this story? Why is it dangerous and inadvisable to speculate about the rest of Jesus’ childhood? Why do some wish to do that? 2. What does this story tell us about Jesus’ family and environment? What was required of Jewish males every year? Deut. 16:1-8, 16. What does it show about the faithfulness of Joseph and Mary? 3. Rather than being disobedient or causing trouble, where was Jesus eventually found? Why were the teachers amazed at Him? 4. What do Jesus’ first recorded words tell us about His self-awareness and clarity about His own identity? What did He mean that “I must be in my Father’s house?” See also Psalm 26:8 5. If the Bible doesn’t record a complete biography of Jesus’ life, why does it include the stories, teachings, and details that it does select? John 20:30-31; 21:25. 6. As true man, Jesus also grew like other children, physically and mentally. How did His full growth and maturity reflect what God intended for humans made in God’s image? How was Jesus the perfect image of God? (Col. 1:15). 7. What does this story teach children about obedience to their parents? Exodus 20:12; Col. 3:20; How do children and adults show respect and obedience to authority? What is the blessing of doing this? See Eph. 6:2-3. How does Jesus’ obedience trace through His whole lifetime, and what was the final outcome of that obedience for us?

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