31
Oct
2011

Slavery, License, and Freedom

Sermon on John 8:31-36 for Reformation Day, on how Jesus sets us free, and about differing understandings of freedom. Freedom that is turned toward sin or evil always ceases to be freedom.

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

  1. What is the reason for skepticism toward truth today? Was this skepticism equally present in Jesus’ time? John 18:37-38; Acts 17:21 Is God able to make His truth known, and how did He choose to do so?
  2. How were the Jews who talked to Jesus blind about their own slavery & the meaning of freedom? Exodus 1:13-14; 24:18; Ezra 9:9. How is blindness to sin also slavery? John 8:34; Rom. 6:17-18
  3. How does freedom undermine itself when we idolize it? What does freedom easily turn into? Galatians 5:13; 1 Peter 2:16; Jude 4
  4. Describe how this false sense or use of freedom can enslave us and hurt others. Give examples. Where do you see this danger in your own life?
  5. What “chains” are broken off of us when Jesus sets us free and forgives our sins? What truth did Martin Luther grasp from the book of Romans that set him free, and helped him realize the source of our freedom? Rom. 3:23-24.
  6. What reaction came against Luther’s (Paul’s!) teaching of salvation as a free gift? What did people fear would happen? How they would misuse freedom? Rom. 6:1-3. Why can’t this fear change the message of the free Gospel? What would happen if fear and compulsion again drove our obedience to God? 1 John 4:18-19.
  7. Who is the Truth that sets us free? John 14:6. How do we exercise our new-found freedom in Christ? How do we walk on the Way that He freed us for?
00:0000:00
24
Oct
2011

Who Fulfills Love’s Duty?

Sermon on Matthew 22:34-46 for the 19th Sunday after Pentecost. A sermon about the lawyer's question to Jesus, "Which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus describes man's duty to God and neighbor, and goes on to point them to Himself as the Christ, who would fulfill that duty for us.

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

  1. When is a question a good question? Is skepticism always harmful? What are types of questions that are bad? What should the goal of a good question be?
  2. What does it mean to say that the question about the commandments were a question of duty? What directions does our “duty” take us in the two commandments Jesus gives? What was the brilliance of Jesus’ answer? Why is love unafraid of, or willingly accept duty? How does that contrast to obedience based on fear? 1 John 4:18
  3. Did Jesus’ simplification or summary of the commandments make them easier or harder? Describe what it means to love God with all your heart. Soul. Mind. Exodus 20:1-11; Job 2:9-10; Luke 23:45; Matt. 16:24-27; Prov. 1:7; Rom. 12:1-2
  4. What does it mean to love your neighbor as yourself? Matt. 5:44-46; 10:37; 1 John 4:20-21. When is it especially difficult to love our neighbor as ourselves? Where do we find the capacity for such love? 1 John 4:10, 19
  5. How do all the Law and Prophets (the Old Testament) hang or depend on these two commandments? What would happen if love was removed? How is Jesus’ death on the cross the fulfillment of all the Law and Prophets? These two great commands? Spend time reflecting on how Jesus specifically loved God with all His heart, soul, and mind, and loved His neighbor as Himself.
  6. Why did Jesus’ last question for the Pharisees and Sadducees, turn them back to Him for the final deliverance from the guilt of our failed duty to God? What truth about Jesus were they unwilling to see or admit? What made Jesus greater than David or any other earthly king, and what made Him the solution for our dilemma before God?
00:0000:00
17
Oct
2011

Minted In God’s Image

Sermon on Matthew 22:15-22 for the 18th Sunday after Pentecost, on what Jesus meant by saying that we are to "render to God what is God's". This also was a "Children's Sunday" service at our church.

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

  1. What was Jesus’ advice about paying taxes? Matthew 22:20-21; 17:24-27; Romans 13:6-7.
  2. What was the bigger point that Jesus was making for His hearers? What was the analogy to the coin, for why they also were “due back” to God?
  3. What does it mean that we are made in the “image of God?” Genesis 1:26-27; What qualities of God are reflected in humanity in a lesser degree? Creativity, reason, spirituality; name more.
  4. How does this belief that we are made in God’s image provide the foundation for the belief in universal human dignity and equality, and the value of human life? Genesis 9:6; Acts 17:26-27
  5. In the original perfection of creation, how did God plan for humans to live out that reality of being made in His image? What qualities would He have expected them to show?
  6. What happened to that image of God in us, when Adam and Eve first sinned? Genesis 3. Describe how today, in the state of our “ruined glory” we can see both hints of the image of God in humanity and also see obvious evidence of the corruption of sin in humanity.
  7. Sin obscures the image of God in us, and leaves scars behind, but what “cleansing” and restoration does God offer, and how? Ephesians 4:17-24; Colossians 3:9-10. 1 John 1:7; John 3:16
  8. How does the fact that God became man in the person of Jesus Christ again give the greatest reaffirmation of human dignity and worth, and show God’s great love for us? Philippians 2:4-10; Colossians 1:19-20; 2:9-10; Romans 5:10
00:0000:00
10
Oct
2011

Dressed for the Wedding

Sermon on Matthew 22:1-14, the Parable of the Wedding Feast, for the 17th Sunday after Pentecost

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

  1. Identify who and what the main characters and events of the parable represent. How does Isaiah 25:6-9 shape the view of God’s “wedding feast?” Where else is this wedding imagery significant in the Bible? Matt. 25:1-13; Eph. 5; Hosea
  2. Reflect on the incredible honor to be invited to the wedding banquet of the King’s Son, and how foolish it is to despise that invitation for trivial or mundane reasons. How outrageous is it to scoff at His message? Acts 13:41; 2 Pet. 3:3-7
  3. When was the nation of Israel punished by armies and its city destroyed, for disregarding God’s invitation and abusing and killing the prophets, Jesus, and the apostles? 2 Chron. 36:15-21; Matthew 24
  4. What was the basis for the unworthiness of the guests who were first invited? Acts 13:46, and 13:26-52.
  5. What was the basis for the unworthiness of the guest who was thrown out? Where could he have been expected to get a wedding garment? Isaiah 61:10; Gal. 3:27; Eph. 5:25-27; Rev. 3:18. By contrast, what are we wearing if we keep our own “garments”? Isaiah 64:6; Jude 24; Rev. 3:4-5. Who cleanses us to give a clean garment? Isaiah 1:18; Rev. 7:13-14.
  6. For those who remain in the wedding hall after the final judgment, and celebrate the wedding feast, what is their cry of thanksgiving? Isaiah 25:9. What is there to look forward to? Is. 26:6-8
00:0000:00
3
Oct
2011

The Vineyard

Sermon on Matthew 21:33-46, the parable of the Vineyard, teaching about God's incredible act of sending His Son into the world, and the rejection and death He faced.

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

  1. What is the background of the vineyard imagery so common to Jesus’ parables? Isaiah 5:1-7; 27:2-6; Deut. 6:10-19; John 15. In what way was the vineyard prepared and ready for the people, without their effort? What was expected in return? How were God’s servants, the prophets, treated by the Israelites (tenants)? Jer. 26:20-21; 2 Chron 24:20-22; Mt. 23:34-37; Lk 13:34.
  2. Do we obey God’s commands? Are we bearing fruit that shows we have repented of our sin? Should bearing fruit be difficult if we believe? John 15:5. Why is it dangerous to despise God’s grace?
  3. What is so unbelievable about the master of the vineyard’s final plan to collect the fruits of his vineyard? How does this parallel the incredible love and vulnerability of God in sending His Son?
  4. The tenants had the astonishing thought that they could take squatter’s rights of the vineyard if they killed the heir, the son. How does this parallel the thoughts of the Jewish leaders who recognized they were the subject of the parable? Matt. 21:45-46; John 11:45-53
  5. Though Jesus was rejected and killed, how did God honor Him and crown Him with glory? Matt. 21:42; Psalm 118:22-23. What is the consequence of rejecting God’s offered mercy in Christ? Mt. 21:43-44. Isaiah 8:14-15; Dan. 2:34-35. Why is the cross a stumbling block to people? 1 Cor. 1:18-25
  6. Those who receive instead God’s mercy in Christ, and bear the fruit of His kingdom, gratefully receive the gift of His inheritance, and share in the fruit and blessings of the vineyard. They are built on the sure foundation of Christ.
00:0000:00