23
Apr
2012

Author of Life

Sermon on Acts 4:11-21 for the 3rd Sunday of Easter, on Peter's second sermon in Acts, after healing the man born lame. How Peter highlights the irony of the denial and death of Jesus, while the crowds asked for a murderer to be set free.

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

1. Read Acts 3:1-10 about the healing of the lame man, which precedes today’s reading. What catches your attention? Re-read Acts 3:11-21. Peter and John don’t claim any credit for this miracle. Why? Read Psalm 115:1. How do Peter’s words in v. 12 contrast to the behavior of so many “faith healers” today?

2. What is the startling irony that Peter exposes in his sermon? v. 13-15. Contrast from this reading how God treated Jesus, and how humans did. How is sin and evil simply inexplicable/inexcusable? Rom. 1:20; 2:1. Why do we make excuses, justifications, denials, etc anyway?

3. How is the guilt of sin immeasurable? Ps. 130:3; 38:4. How are we participants in the guilt that put Jesus on the cross? Isaiah 53:6

4. What is astonishing about what Peter is able to proclaim to the crowd despite the immeasurable guilt which was theirs and ours? What is so incredible about the good news (Gospel)?

5. Contrast what you would expect to happen if you killed a person and they came back to life, with what actually happened when Jesus rose from the grave. What was His message to people? Luke 24:46-47

6. Describe what it means to experience “times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.” How is your soul in need of refreshment? How is this provided to you by Jesus? Luke 7:47; Prov. 15:30; Philemon 20

7. Explore the idea that Jesus is the “Author of Life.” Heb. 12:1-2; Rev. 3:5; 20:15; 21:27. How does He write your name in His Book of Life?

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16
Apr
2012

Faith in Action

Sermon on Acts 4:32-35, for the 2nd Sunday of Easter, on what we can learn from the example of the early Christians as they showed "faith in action" after the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

1. During the season of Easter, readings from the New Testament book of Acts replace the Old Testament readings. What takes place in this “new history” of the Christian church? What central events at the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry drive forward the action and events of the book of Acts? Why? Luke 24, Acts 1.

2. Describe the early Christian church as seen in Acts 4:32-35. What do you find remarkable about it? What was responsible for these characteristics?

3. Where does the church find unity of  “heart and soul”? 1 Cor. 12:12; Eph. 1:22; 4:14; 5:23; Col. 1:18; 2:10, 19. 1 Cor. 1:10; Phil. 2:2

4. What was basic to the success of the communal living of the early Christians? What later threatened to disrupt this success? See Acts 5:1-11; 6:1-7. What is basic to a Christian understanding of stewardship, even as practiced individually? Who does it all ultimately belong to? How does that change our perspective on how we “steward” what is entrusted to us?

5. How was the early Christian church attuned to the needs of the poor? What is a focused way that we can direct our help to the needy? What moved them into action, and motivated them? Find that same joy in Christ’s Word and in Worship!

6. What should the church’s response be to inevitable conflicts and disagreements? How should they be resolved? Matt. 5:22-24; Eph. 4:1-3

7. How does having Christ as our head keep the body coordinated and working together? How does it shape our treatment of the other members of the body? Gal. 6:1-3; Col. 2:19

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9
Apr
2012

The Morning News!

Sermon on Mark 16:1-8 for Easter Sunday, the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Mary and the women report the empty tomb to Peter and the disciples. Why this "news" is unlike any other!

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

1. Read Mark 16:1-8, the account of the women’s arrival at Jesus’ tomb. How did the women react to this unprecedented morning news? What makes for the enduring relevance and universal importance of this particular news of Jesus’ death and resurrection? How is this news “delivered” around the world?

2. In what ways do we become dulled to the significance of this message? How do we overlook its importance for our lives?

3. Why are Good Friday and Easter inseparably linked together? Why must we remember both together? What does Good Friday mean for us and our salvation? Easter? Romans 5:10; Heb. 9:11-28; 1 Cor. 15

4. How must the sorrow of Good Friday affected the disciples of Jesus? How might such sorrow have affected their worship that Sabbath day? Has there been a time in your life where sorrow quenched your worship of God? How do the Psalms give answer to this grief? Read Psalm 42, especially vs. 4-5, 11. God also desires to hear our sorrows and griefs.

5. How did the Resurrection of Jesus pull them out of the depths of their sorrows? Describe a time when your sorrow was transformed to joy. How must Peter have felt to know that he had been singled out for mention by the angel, to receive the good news? Mark 16:7. Why was this especially significant? Mark 14:66-72

6. What does it mean for us that Jesus still desires to call us His disciples, and to bring the good news to us, despite our sins and failings? How are we promised to see Jesus also? Rom. 6:4-5; Matt. 5:8; Acts 1:11; Job 19:25-27. How can we keep from letting this news grow old?

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9
Apr
2012

Jonah, The Survivor Series: Part 8: “The Answer!”

The final sermon in the Lenten series adapted from Dr. Reed Lessing's series on Jonah the prophet. Dr. Lessing is professor of Old Testament at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO.

Sermon for Good Friday, Jonah 4:1-11 about the open-ended question God leaves with Jonah and with us, about how He should have compassion on a sinful world.

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6
Apr
2012

Jonah, The Survivor Series: Part 7: “On the Same Page”

The following Lenten series I will be preaching on is adapted from Dr. Reed Lessing's series on Jonah the prophet. Dr. Lessing is professor of Old Testament at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO.

Sermon on Jonah 4:1-4 for Lent 7, Maundy Thursday. A sermon about Jonah's reaction to Nineveh's repentance and God's grace, and examining our own hearts in relation to God's love. How was God's love reflected in Jesus' Last Supper, betrayal, and death for us?

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2
Apr
2012

Prisoners of Hope

Sermon on Zechariah 9:9-12 for Palm Sunday, on Jesus' kingship and how He came to set us free.

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

  1. Read Mark 11:1-11 about Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. How was this an intentional fulfillment of the words of the prophet Zechariah (520-518 BC), in Zech. 9:9-12? What were the characteristics of the King and His coming reign?

  1. What were the “kingly” actions that surrounded this event? 1 Kings 1:33-40; 2 Ki. 9:13; Ps. 118:25-26. The scene looks like a king riding to His coronation. What crown would Jesus wear? Why did many then abandon Him? How did the path to His coronation intersect with suffering and imprisonment?

  1. What does it mean for us to “lay down our cloaks” for Jesus? Read Eph. 4:22; Jude 23; Gal. 5:24; Col. 3:5. How is repentance a humbling of ourselves, and a laying aside of our pride? How is laying down our material possessions for the Lord a sign of obedience and service to Him?

  1. Jerusalem received Jesus with palms and praises. How does Christ come to us today, and how do we properly receive Him? Look at the hymn verse: “Then cleansed be ev’ry life from sin; make straight the way for God within, and let us all our hearts prepare, for Christ to come and enter there.” (LSB 344:2)

  1. Zech. 9:11-12 describes “prisoners of hope.” What does this mean? How are we “prisoners of hope”? What other examples of “prisoners of hope” can you find in the Bible? Read their stories: Joseph, Samson, Jeremiah, the 12 disciples, Peter, Paul and Silas, etc. How does Scripture speak comfort to the prisoners? Ps. 69:33; 102:18-22; 107:10-16; Is. 42:6-7.  How did Christ become one with us, as a “prisoner of hope?”
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2
Apr
2012

Jonah, The Survivor Series: Part 6:

The following Lenten series I will be preaching on is adapted from Dr. Reed Lessing's series on Jonah the prophet. Dr. Lessing is professor of Old Testament at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO.

Sermon on Jonah 3:5-10 for Lent 6, about the repentance of Nineveh, and our repentance.

For Holy Week read Jonah 4:1-11 and ask yourself:

1) Why is Jonah upset?

2) How often has the prosperity of another gotten under your skin? Have you found yourself feeling like Jonah who is “exceedingly displeased” and angry that God relents from bringing disaster upon the Ninevites?

3) How does God’s grace being given to another person assure you of his grace toward you?

Also read Matthew 12:38-42

Ask yourself:

1) The one sign which Jesus says will be provided is the sign of Jonah (a three day and three night confinement). To what two great events does Jesus’ three day and three night confinement refer?

2) How is Jesus similar to, and yet greater than Jonah?

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