22
Oct
2012

The Impossible? That’s God’s Job!

Sermon on Mark 10:23-31 for the 21st Sunday after Pentecost, on the impossibility of entering the kingdom of God apart from Christ. How riches are a hindrance to entering heaven, and how Jesus does the impossible for us.

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

  1. What typical attitudes have you encountered (inside the church, or outside it) about how or whether one will go to heaven? Do people even think about it at all? Do you agree most people think it’s easy or natural for most people to end up in heaven? On what basis? Good works?

  1. How did Jesus flip the disciples’ (and our) expectation about how easy the kingdom of God is to enter? Why did He start with identifying riches as an obstacle to entering heaven? What challenge does wealth present to faith? 1 Timothy 6:10; Hebrews 13:5; Luke12:13-21

  1. How does Jesus further close the door to show that not just the wealthy will find it difficult to enter the kingdom? Who then can get in by human effort? What kinds of human effort do people usually consider as deserving an entrance into heaven?

  1. Why does Jesus and more broadly the whole Bible strike down human pride? Luke 1:52; 14:11; 18:14; James 4:6; Ephesians 2:8-9. Why cannot salvation be a “do-it-yourself” job? What is the power of sin to enslave us? Why did this require a “rescue job” from Jesus? What did it cost?

  1. Since God gets all the credit, and deserves all the credit, how should we live? Explaining the 1st and 2nd articles of the Apostle’s Creed, Martin Luther describes our response to God’s Fatherly divine goodness and mercy, and the Son’s gift of redemption this way: “For all this it is my duty to thank and to praise, serve and obey Him”…and “that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.” How can we praise and thank Him today and every day?
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15
Oct
2012

Justice in the Gate

Sermon on Amos 5:6-7, 10-15, for the 20th Sunday after Pentecost, about the prophet Amos' warnings against injustice and corruption, and how we are to "establish justice in the gate."

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

  1. Amos lived in the mid 700’s BC. Who was he? Amos 7:14-15. What was the primary sin that the prophets of God usually spoke against? How did idolatry overtake the city of Bethel? 1 Kings 12:26-33. How did it originally get that name? Genesis 28:10-22; cf. Hosea 4:15
  2. Why is it not surprising that sins of idolatry and injustice were the same yesterday as they are today? Ecclesiastes 1:9-10.
  3. What basic expectation would people normally have when taking a matter to the courts? Leviticus 19:15. What kind of practices threaten to interfere with justice? What normally took place at the city gate? Deuteronomy 21:10; Ruth 4:1–12.
  4. What injustices do we see in various realms of life? The court? Business, government, education, church? What must we do if it is in our power to change injustice? To whom should we cry out if it is not in our power? Who are most in need of our protection today?
  5. How does God assure us that He brings justice and is the defender of the weak? Psalm 68:5; 146:9; Hebrews 10:30. Why should those who are corrupt and cause injustice fear God and His judgment? What should they remember?
  6. How are we to “establish justice in the gate”? Where can we assist and protect the cause of the weak, the helpless, the poor, and the vulnerable? Isaiah 1:17; Jeremiah 7:5-11; James 1:27
  7. How does justice and injustice relate to Jesus’ coming into the world, and His death on the cross? How was He delivered from the injustice of His innocent death? How was the sin of the world justly dealt with? How is He the hope of all those who have suffered injustice and wrong? How then shall we live until He returns? 2 Peter 3:10-13

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8
Oct
2012

Marriage and Family in God’s Plan

Sermon on Mark 10:2-16, for the 19th Sunday after Pentecost, where Jesus gives God's definition of marriage as a lifelong, faithful union between one man and one woman.

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

  1. What is the present state of marriage in the society and in the church? What is at work to redefine marriage? What threatens the stability of marriages? Why do not only Christians have an interest in protecting natural marriage between man and woman?
  2. How was Jesus’ approach to marriage not “from the ground up?” Where did He begin? Mark 10:5-9; Genesis 1:27; 2:18-25. Stated simply, what is God’s good design and plan for marriage?
  3. How are same-sex unions contrary to both nature and God’s Word? Romans 1:26-27; 1Corinthians 6:9-11. How are all forms of sexual immorality contrary to God’s command? 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
  4. How does marriage create a one flesh union between husband and wife? How does it involve a significant parting from parents? How does the faithfulness and exclusivity of this union foster the stability of family? How does this in turn provide countless social goods? How does marriage turn our love from ourselves outward to another? How is Jesus’ love the perfect model for us? Ephesians 5:22-33. What self-sacrifices do spouses make for each other?
  5. How do we measure up against God’s perfect design? Why is our natural tendency to find loopholes or some escape from the law’s judgment? If Jesus was not a “savior by loopholes”—how does He save us from the judgment of God’s law against our sin? Acts 15:10-11; Romans 8:1-8
  6. How is baptism both our death to sin, and our resurrection to new life? Romans 6. How does Christ bless and sustain marriages? Who is it that joins man and wife in the marriage union? Mark 10:9
  7. How are Jesus’ wounded hands comfort to us who need grace to leave our sins behind and to cover them? What does it mean for us that by faith Jesus’ innocence and perfect life are now ours?
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