Calm our deep distress

March 25, 2013

Sermon on Luke 23, for Palm Sunday (Sunday of the Passion), about Jesus' suffering on the cross, and its transformative power on the thief on the cross, and also for us. How to see the matter aright, of our sins and Jesus' self-sacrifice.

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

  1. Palm Sunday (Sunday of the Passion) begins Holy Week, and a strange tension or mix of attitudes and emotions. How did Jesus respond to these various forces that pushed or pulled on Him? How does His suffering on the cross have a unique gravity or magnetism that moves us to respond?

  1. Read verse 2 of “Jesus, Refuge of the Weary” (LSB 423). When have you passed by the cross of Jesus, without repentance? What sin still clings to you that you are reluctant to give up in confession? How does Jesus silently plead with us to lay it down?

  1. Why is it a harmful reaction to simply condemn the mob, but not see our sin at the cross? 1 Timothy 1:15-16; Matthew 7:1-5. What parallel is there from the thief on the cross’ confession, to Paul’s words in 1 Tim. 1:15? How does the cross of Jesus expose our sin?

  1. What about Jesus’ words and actions changed the thief? How did Jesus’ words cut right to his heart? Prov. 27:6. Why was Jesus’ friendship and love so unexpected? What would have fed the mockers’ fury instead?

  1. How does God “kill and make alive”; “wound and heal”? Deuteronomy 32:39; Galatians 5:24-25.

  1. How does Hebrews 12:2-4 remind us that Jesus has endured everything for us? What moved Him to do so?
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Hosanna–Save Us!

March 21, 2013

Sermon on Psalm 118 for Lent 6 midweek, a reflection on the Messianic Psalm, and how it relates to Jesus' triumphal entry, passion, death and resurrection.

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Why did God become vulnerable?

March 18, 2013

Sermon on Luke 20:9-20 for the 5th Sunday in Lent, on the parable of the vineyard owner and the tenants, illustrating how God became vulnerable in His merciful appeal to sinful humanity.

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

  1. What are the most astonishing things that happen in this parable? Who is the parable describing?
  2. 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.
  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? In what way was it an appeal to both our sense of shame and honor?
  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. How did Jesus’ vulnerable self-sacrifice “pay off” in terms of what it accomplished? What was the result for Him? For us? For those who remain turned against Him?

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Zealous Love

March 14, 2013

Sermon on Psalm 69 for Lent 5 Midweek, on a Psalm that speaks of the crucifixion of Jesus. Reflecting on the prayers for vengeance in the (imprecatory) psalms, and how God's zeal and love are united in Christ.

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World’s Best Dad!

March 11, 2013

Sermon on Luke 15:1-3, 11-32, for the 4th Sunday in Lent, about the parable of the two sons and their loving Father.

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

  1. What was the great offense that the younger son brought on the Father and family by his request? Follow the astonishing actions of the Father throughout the parable. What is astonishing about His granting the request?
  2. How did the son’s glamorous dreams fall apart? Why is life empty apart from God our Father’s love? What is our spiritual condition apart from God? Luke 15:32; Ephesians 2:1-6. When have circumstances in your life pointed you back toward God? When have you ignored that call?
  3. Why did the son think it was a possibility to come home? What sort of reception did he expect? What sort of reception did he actually receive? What did he learn from this about the love of the Father? How does this invite us to return to the love of our God?
  4. How does God our Father shower extravagant and unexpected love on us? What are the gifts He gives to His children He has forgiven? Acts 2:38-41; Titus 3:5-8; John 3:16; Matthew 26:26-29.
  5. Why is God most deserving of the title “World’s Best Dad”? In what way was the older brother “lost” from the Father? How had he become distanced from the heart of his Father? When does this description fit us?
  6. How are both sons invited by the Father into an understanding of unconditional love? How would this kind of love change our families and relationships?
  7. How is 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 a description of God the Father and Jesus His Son’s joint work in reconciling us to God? What are we to do with that message of reconciliation entrusted to us as well?
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Light or Heavy?

March 4, 2013

Sermon on Ezekiel 33:7-20, for the 3rd Sunday in Lent, about repentance and sin, and about the contrasting "light" and "heavy" views of sin. Also, a discussion of the "balancing scale" model of salvation.

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