26
Nov
2012

In Our Hand

Sermon on Deuteronomy 26:1-11 and Luke 12:13-21 about thankfulness, and seeing the Hand of God our Giver, as He places all good things in our hands. We read the Deuteronomy reading responsively, following the flow of the text, and then the sermon concluded with the responsive reading that follows, composed from other Bible passages as a reflection of our own deliverance and blessings received from the hand of the Lord, and modeled after the Deuteronomy recitation.  The Deuteronomy passage had been used as a recitation of worshipers on the Day of Pentecost, a harvest festival.

· Pastor: So let’s look up today, refocus our eyes from our hands and our feet, up to the gracious hand of God, our Giver, and remember how He has blessed us.

· Congregation: Our fathers came out of many nations, and we are Gentiles, who were once separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. We were dead in the trespasses and sins in which [we] once walked. Out of [our] distress [we] called on the Lord; the Lord answered [us] and set [us] free. But now in Christ Jesus [we] who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.  And he came and preached peace to [us] who were far off and peace to those who were near.  For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. And according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. He who called [us] is faithful, and He will surely do it. And so we present [our] bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, which is [our] spiritual worship, and continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. (adapted from Eph 2:1-2; 11-18; Psalm 118:5; 2 Peter 3:13; 1 Thess. 5:24; Rom. 12:1; Heb. 13:15)

· Pastor responds: And you shall [give thanks] before the Lord your God and worship before the Lord your God. And you shall rejoice in all the good that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house, you, and [all those who live] among you. (adapted from Deuteronomy 26:10-11)

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26
Nov
2012

Presented Blameless

Sermon on Jude 20-25, for the Last Sunday in the Church Year, about Jude's warning against false teaching and the call to rescue those trapped by it. How one is preserved for salvation and presented blameless before God.

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

1. Read the 25 verses of the Book of Jude. The author of this short letter was the brother of James (cf. Jude 1 & James 1:1) and they both were the half-brothers of Jesus (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3; 1 Corinthians 9:5). The book is very similar to parts of 2 Peter.

2. What was Jude’s purpose in writing? Vs. 3-4. What kind of people had crept into the church, and what false teaching were they spreading in it? See vs. 4, 8, 13, 16, 18, 19. How does one distinguish false teaching within the church, from the truth? Acts 17:11; 1 Thess. 5:21; 1 John 4:1

3. How does he encourage the embattled Christians to strengthen themselves against the false teachings? V. 20-21.

4. Jude also calls them to be active in helping those who have fallen victim to false teachings, or fallen into doubt. What should our attitude and approach be toward those who doubt? V. 22; Luke 24:36-40; Ephesians 4:2; 2 Timothy 4:2.

5. How should we help those who have already given into temptation and are facing judgment, or who have defiled themselves and are filled with guilt or shame? V. 23; Galatians 6:1-2; James 5:19-20; Amos 4:11; Zechariah 3:2.

6. How do verses 24-25 show that Jesus is uniquely able to save and protect us? What does it mean for us to be presented blameless before Him? Romans 8:1; Ephesians 5:25-27. How does this give us confidence to face the judgment? How shall we rejoice, now and into eternity?

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12
Nov
2012

God’s Provision

Sermon on 1 Kings 17:8-16 for the 24th Sunday after Pentecost, about the Widow at Zarephath, and God's provision in a time of neediness, weakness, or when we are at the "end of our rope."

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

  1. Zarephath was not a Jewish town, and God’s sending Elijah there showed God’s love for the Gentiles as well. How was this an offense to the crowds centuries later when Jesus referred to this story in Luke 4:25-26? How did Jesus show them that God came not only for the Jews?

  1. How was the widow “at the end of her rope?” 1 Kings 17:12. How had things come to such a desperate situation? In what ways are we distant from her circumstances? In what ways might we come to a similar point of desperation, whether financial need or otherwise? Have you ever felt that you were “at the end of your rope?”

  1. What can we learn from the way in which Elijah and the widow with her son, were mutually needy? How were they both positioned to help each other, yet also in need of the other? Why might this position of apparent weakness actually be in service of reaching others with the Gospel, compared to coming from a position of power or superiority? Compare to other Biblical examples: John 4:1-15; Mark 6:8-9; Luke 5:1-3.

  1. How did God bless the widow’s generosity and trust? How is God a refuge for the poor and brokenhearted? Psalm 16; 46:1-3; 34:15-19.

  1. Why can we be confident that God’s provision for us will always be enough? Matthew 6:25-34; Psalm 37:25-26. What does God promise He will provide there? How do we simultaneously face the temptation of expecting or demanding too much?

  1. Why is Jesus the only true refuge when our sins leave us at the end of our rope, and when we are brokenhearted or despairing of all hope? What is the spiritual comfort of knowing who God is and His love for us?
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5
Nov
2012

Hungry and Thirsty for Righteousness

Sermon on Matthew 5:6 for All Saints' Day,  about what it is to be spiritually hungry, and what does and doesn't satisfy that hunger.

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

  1. Matthew 5:6 says “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” How do we experience “hunger pangs” for righteousness? What is missing, that causes us to hunger for it?

  1. What do we long for in this life? Romans 8:18-25; Psalm 63. How will this hunger be satisfied?

  1. Describe the difference between civil (or ordinary) righteousness, and the true spiritual (extraordinary) righteousness that we have from God. Why does man’s own righteousness (civil), fall far short of God’s requirement? Romans 3:10-26; Matthew 5:17-20, 48; 6:1-4. What is “His righteousness” that is spoken of in Matthew 6:33? How will this kind of righteousness, the true spiritual righteousness, satisfy us?

  1. In what ways is a worship service like a Feast that God spreads before us? What is different about this kind of eating and drinking? What does it cost us? Isaiah 55:1-11.

  1. What is our spiritual drink? John 7:37-38; 4:10-15; 1 Peter 3:20-22; Titus 3:5-8. What is our spiritual food or bread? John 6:31-34; cf. 4:34. How is Jesus offered for us to eat in a unique way? Matthew 26:26-29.

  1. When we are spiritually satisfied in Christ, how does this overflow from us to others? John 7:38; 4:13-14; 6:27; 15:1-7.

  1. Though it cost Jesus’ His life to bring us this feast of spiritual blessings, it comes to us free, by His grace and love for us. And now He lives again to share His feast with us. How can we thank Him for all He has done?
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5
Nov
2012

Reformation Day

Sermon on Romans 3:19-28 for Reformation Day, preached by Pastor Paul Roschke.

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