30
Jul
2012

Remembered by God

Sermon on Genesis 9:8-17 for the 9th Sunday after Pentecost, about the Covenant that God made with Noah, his descendants, and all creation, the covenant that is memorialized by the rainbow. What it means for us that God "remembers His covenant" and how we are "remembered by God."

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

  1. What was the reason that God flooded the whole earth in Noah’s day? Genesis 6:1-13; 2 Pet. 2:5. How does it foreshadow the Last Day on earth? Matt. 24:36-39; 2 Pet. 3:1-13.
  2. Read about God’s covenant with Noah in Genesis 8:20-9:17. What specific promises were included in this covenant? Where they mainly spiritual blessings, or physical blessings? Explain what it means that this was an “unconditional covenant.” Who would guarantee the keeping of the covenant? Who else besides Noah was included in this covenant, and why is that significant? (see. 9:9-10, etc)
  3. How does the Rainbow, as the sign of God’s covenant, testify to us today?
  4. What is the likely reason for the frequent repetition in this passage, about who is included in the promise, and God’s promise to keep it? Why might Noah and his family have needed these reassurances after what they experienced over the last year? Gen. 7:6, 11; 8:13-16. What simultaneous emotions would it have stirred to see the destruction of the world, while safe aboard the Ark?
  5. Why does God say He will “remember” His covenant to us? How is that intensely comforting? What do we call on God to remember for us? Psalm 25:6-7; 98:1-3; 103:11-19; 105:7-11; 106:44-46; 111:4-6; 119:49-50; 136:23. What do we ask Him to not remember? Psalm 25:7; 79:8; Isaiah 64:9; Jeremiah 31:34.
  6. What does it mean for us to be remembered by God? Luke 23:40-43. How does God’s faithfulness in His covenant to Noah and us and all creation assure us of His faithfulness to us in the greater promises and New Covenant in Jesus’ death and resurrection for us?
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23
Jul
2012

What is the Church?

Sermon on Ephesians 2:11-22 for the 8th Sunday after Pentecost on what the church is, and how we find it on earth.

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

  1. What kind of “structure” does Ephesians 2 say that Christ is building? In what way could you say that it took a lot of “blood, sweat, and tears” to make it? Luke 19:41-44; 22:41-44; John 19:31-37. Read carefully in Ephesians 2:11-22. What does it say His blood and His death accomplished for His people?
  2. What is this “structure” built on? Eph. 2:20. How is it different from any earthly structures or physical buildings? Eph. 2:21-22.
  3. Use the analogy of individual bricks or stones compared to a structure of which they are a part, to explain why Christ puts us in community in the church, rather than leaving us in isolation. How do we “living stones” retain our individuality and purpose, while becoming part of a greater whole? Why does this truth lead Paul to mix metaphors between a building and a body? Eph. 2:14-16, cf. 2:20-22; 1 Cor. 12:12-31.
  4. How does this body/structure grow unlike an earthly building? How is it more like a living organism than a static structure? Col. 2:19; 1 Pet. 2:4-5 How does the (physical) death of individual Christians (amazingly) not lead to the gradual decay and decline of the Christian church? Rom. 8:38. How do they remain part of the body, as it continues to grow through time? John 11:25-26
  5. What “hostility” or enmity did Christ have to overcome by His death and blood to make us all members of His body, this “structure” the Church? Eph. 4:18; Col. 1:21. Reduced to its simplest definition, what is the Christian Church, as every 7 year old (should) knows? “The believers and lambs who hear Christ’s voice and follow Him”. John 10:1-18
  6. Though the Christian Church’s true membership is hidden from our eyes, what outward signs serve as identifying “marks” so that we can recognize where the Church is here on earth? John 8:31-32; 14:23-26; 20:21-23; Matt. 28:18-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26.
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16
Jul
2012

Keeping a Clear Conscience

Sermon on Mark 6:14-29, for the 7th Sunday after Pentecost, on the Martyrdom of John the Baptist. A sermon about why God has given us conscience, the dangers of ignoring conscience, and how to receive a clear conscience from God.

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

  1. Why is it dangerous to go against the voice of conscience? What does God give us a conscience for? Rom. 2:15. What does it do (say)? Why should we strive for a clear conscience? Cf. Acts 24:16
  2. Who has a conscience? How (or when) is conscience like a prisoner moaning in his cell? How can it’s “alarm sounds” be turned down, but not off? Ps. 32; 51. Why is the existence of conscience unexplainable without God, and its wrestlings inconsolable apart from Christ?
  3. Read Mark 6:14-29. What signs of conscience (and ignored conscience) are evident in Herod’s actions? What consequences faced Herod (and many others) because of his mounting sins? See Josephus, the Jewish historian for corroborating historical evidence about Herod Antipas.
  4. What is the danger of convincing our conscience that we can commit “small sins” while aiming for a good purpose? How does Scripture contradict the idea of the “end justifies the means?” Rom. 12:21
  5. What are two different ways the conscience can be harmed? 1 Tim. 4:1-5; Titus 1:15. What behavior and thinking are responsible for each?
  6. What remedy does the Bible supply for a burdened and guilty conscience? Joel 2:13; Mark 1:15. How is baptism an appeal to God for a clean conscience? 1 Peter 3:16. What act of God provides us with a clean conscience? Heb. 9:14; 10:22. What assurance do we have that God will grant us this promise of forgiveness? 2 Cor. 1:20

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9
Jul
2012

Taking Offense at Jesus

Sermon on Mark 6:1-13 for the 6th Sunday after Pentecost. About Jesus' homecoming and His rejection in Nazareth. What are the causes of offense against Jesus? How is our heart made receptive to Him?

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

  1. How was Jesus’ return to His hometown not received with such a warm welcome? Mark 6:1-6. How did Jesus’ own family react to Him during His ministry? Mark 3:21, 33; John 7:5. How did this later change? 1 Cor. 15:7; Acts 1:14. What was the cause of their dishonor toward Jesus?

  1. Why is rejection and dishonor part and parcel of what Jesus, the prophets, His disciples, and Christians today still face, when bringing God’s Word of repentance and forgiveness? Ezek. 2:3-5; John 17:14; Matt. 10:16-25.

  1. What does it mean in Mark 6:5, that Jesus could do no mighty works there, except a couple of healings? It shows that Jesus “was not the kind of miracle worker whose primary purpose was to impress His viewers.”

  1. What is astonishing about unbelief, viewed from God’s perspective? Psalm 14; Rom. 1:19-23. How had Jesus given ample opportunity to believe? What gets in the way of our believing? Matt. 13:13-17

  1. How is a person’s heart made receptive to Jesus and His Word? What is the “prep work?” Mark 6:12; 1:2-5. Who alone holds the power to change a heart toward God? 1 Cor. 12:3. How does the Spirit make the heart receptive to Jesus, after He’s done His prep work? Ezek. 36:25-27.

  1. How would Jesus’ rejection continue all the way to His cross and beyond? Also for His disciples? How are they and we to respond to rejection? How do we honor Jesus and receive His Words rightly?
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2
Jul
2012

Waiting on God

Sermon on Lamentations 3:22-33, about patience through suffering, and the confidence that looks to God's faithfulness.

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

  1. The Hebrew word hesed is a rich Biblical word, that is hard to express simply in English. It is frequently used to describe God’s loving-kindness, His steadfast and unfailing love. It is said that God abounds in hesed, His steadfast love is not in short supply. See how it is used in Exodus 34:6-7; Neh. 9:16-17; Joel 2:13.
  2. This great passage of hope (Lam. 3:22-33) cannot fully be appreciated outside the context of the great gloom and suffering that Jeremiah laments throughout the book. Read the surrounding chapter at least to gain a greater appreciation of the contrast between his despair and hope. How does hope (more accurately: “Christian confidence”) shine all the brighter in the midst of real suffering and tragedy?
  3. When are the times in your life where you have lamented, or are? Did you actually voice your sadness, or mourn out loud, or could you not find words? Compare/contrast some examples of laments in the Bible: 2 Sam. 1:19-27; Ps. 79; 83; 89:38-51; Lamentations. How is this Biblical approach different from the way we are told or expected to deal with grief today? What could we learn from the practice of “lamenting?” How do all the laments of the faithful finally find their answer in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ?
  4. In what way is patience both a learned part of the experience of suffering, and also a necessary part of our response to suffering itself? What is our patience “waiting for?” What does it hope to receive? Lam. 3:22-26, 31-32. Psalm 130:5; Isaiah 40:31; Jeremiah 29:11.
  5. How does God’s “record” of salvation in the past give the believer confidence in the deliverance and future to come? Re-read Lam. 3:28-32 in the light of Jesus’ suffering and unanswered cry “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” How is our cry together answered in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead? How does it again show God’s hesed ?
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