2
Oct
2017

Know the Surpassing Love of Christ

Sermon on Ephesians 3:13-21, for the 16th Sunday after Trinity (1 Yr Lectionary), about Paul's prayer for the Ephesians, and how it illustrates the exceeding grace and love of Christ Jesus. How do we often ignore or pass by glory? How can it be recognized and seen? What is the glory of what God has done for us in Christ Jesus? 

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23
Jan
2017

Here We Stand

Sermon on Ephesians 6:10-18, for Life Sunday, about the spiritual battle and taking up the full armor of God to defend life. What is our identity in Christ? What does "the thief" come to do? John 10:10. How do we know the devil has no claim on us? Who does instead, and what does that mean for how we live our life? What equipment do we have for the spiritual battle?

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16
Mar
2015

The Path left behind, and the Path chosen for us

Sermon on Ephesians 2:1-10, for the 4th Sunday in Lent, about sin, our sinful nature, God's immeasurable love and grace in Christ Jesus, a brief description of grace and faith, and the role of our good works in the Christian walk.

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31
Mar
2014

Children of Light

Sermon on Ephesians 5:8-14, for the 4th Sunday in Lent, about the call from darkness into light, and how we are to walk as children of the light. 

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13
Aug
2012

Put on the New Self!

Sermon on Ephesians 4:17-5:2, for the 11th Sunday after Pentecost, on the contrast between the old way of life we leave behind with its sinful desires, and the new life of the Spirit in which we live.  What's life like, living with this tension?

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

  1. Although the Ephesians that Paul wrote to were also Gentiles (non-Jews), in what sense were they now different, that Paul calls on them not to walk any longer as the Gentiles do? Eph. 4:17-21
  2. What is our natural state of being, or our old way of operating, apart from God? Eph. 2:1-3; 2:17-19; 4:17-19; 5:8. How does one become “callous” or “hard of heart”?  What is the impact of continual sinning and rejection of God on one’s conscience? Titus 1:15-16.
  3. How does one “put off [their] old self”? Col. 2:13; 3:3-10. What new life or new self does Christ give us? Describe the contrast between the sinful nature and the new spiritual nature. How are you  “renewed in the spirit of your minds” (4:23)? Romans 12:1-2; Col. 3:10
  4. How does this renewal of our minds, and the putting on of the new self  begin to change our behaviors in regards to speech, anger, work and integrity? What reality do we face with the continued “survival” of our old sinful self? Romans 7.
  5. What is the great comfort in knowing that Jesus’ gift and supply for us was not a “one-time deal” in securing our justification (God’s declaration that we are innocent by the forgiveness that is in Jesus), but that His grace applies (and supplies) our ongoing Christian life in sanctification (making us holy)? Romans 7:25-8:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30. Describe what it means to you that your salvation is by grace alone, from start to finish, and does not depend on your works, but on Jesus Christ. Give thanks!!
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6
Aug
2012

The Body of Christ

Sermon on Ephesians 4:1-16, for the 10th Sunday after Pentecost, on the church as the body of Christ. How does Paul teach about the unity, health, and cooperation of the body of Christ, as concerns its internal and external relations? What does it mean for us that the Church is a work and creation of God, and not man?

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

  1. Paul urges us in Ephesian 4:1 to “walk in a manner worthy of [your] calling.” What is your calling as a “saint” or “holy one” in the Lord? What is a “worthy manner of life?” Colossians 1:10; Philippians 1:27; 1 Peter 1:13-2:3; 4:12-19.
  2. What fruits of the Spirit or virtues does Paul name in Eph. 4:1-3 as essential to the life of a Christian as a member of a congregation? How do they serve the unity and building up of the body? What are the contrary works of the flesh that are destructive to the same? Gal. 5:19-26.
  3. In verses 4-6, what are the seven “ones” that describe the unity of Christ’s church? How is that unity founded and established by Christ Himself? John 17. How are spiritual gifts given in different measure to different Christians? Eph. 4:7; Rom. 12:3; 1 Cor. 12:12-31
  4. What “ascent” and “descent” did Christ Jesus undergo for us and our salvation, and what sort of victory and triumph did He display as He rose and ascended to God? Psalm 68:18; John 1:51; Rom. 10:6-8; Col. 2:15
  5. What special callings does Christ supply His church with, to equip the saints and build up the church? Eph. 4:11-13; Rom. 10:14-17
  6. How do Christians individually and also as group (in the body) go through stages of maturity and growth? What supplies our growth? Eph. 4:12-16; 1 Peter. 2:2-3; Heb. 5:11-14. What can threaten and unsettle those who are weak in the faith? Eph. 4:14; 1 Tim. 1:3-7; Matt. 24:22-27
  7. How does the human body physically depend on healthy nourishment and the smooth interaction of its parts? How is it harmed or affected by malnutrition or injury? How does it repair? How do these analogies apply to the healthy growth and functioning of the Christian Church? Why can’t the body survive without Christ, its head?
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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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14
Apr
2011

Respect Property

A sermon on the 7th Commandment (and by extension the 9th-10th Commandments on Coveting) based on Exodus 20:15, 17, and 1 Kings 21:1-16; Ephesians 4:17-32. How we are commanded not to steal or deprive our neighbor of their property unjustly, and what Jesus teaches us to do with our possessions and property, and how He Himself used His riches.

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30
Aug
2009

The Whole Armor of God

Sermon on Ephesians 6:10-20 for the 13th Sunday after Pentecost

Sermon Talking Points: Read past sermons at: http://thejoshuavictortheory.blogspot.com Listen to audio at: http://thejoshuavictortheory.podbean.com

1. What is the source of power for the “armor of God” that we wear? How does the text tell us this?

2. Who or what is our real enemy? What kind of battle are we constantly engaged in, even though life may seem calm and peaceful? Who or what is not our real enemy? How do we sometimes mistakenly war against the wrong enemy?

3. What are the two opposite errors about the existence of the devil that we can fall into, according to C.S. Lewis?

4. How is it to the devil’s advantage when people deny his existence? Or when they’re too fascinated with demons, etc? What are examples of either thing happening?

5. Whose armor do we wear, and how does each implement of armor protect us? Why should a Christian never enter battle half-dressed? Why wear the whole armor?

6. What are some of our offensive weapons against Satan? How do we keep the devil on the run?

7. What is the sole reason that we can face down the spiritual powers of darkness at all? How do we have assurance of victory?

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23
Aug
2009

Marriage and True North

Sermon on Ephesians 5:22-33 for the 12th Sunday after Pentecost

Sermon Talking Points:

1. Why are our feelings not a reliable indicator of truth? What is, and why can we be certain? John 17:14-19; John 18:37-38.

2. What are examples of how God’s design for sexuality and marriage are being eroded around us? How have we sinned in this way, in words, actions, or in our heart?

3. A friend who isn’t aware of the differences between the ELCA or the LCMS asks you, “Hey, didn’t you Lutherans just issue a statement accepting homosexuality and gay marriage?” How would you respond? Mark 10:6-9; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Rom. 1:26-27

4. How can we gently but firmly use the compass of God’s Word to guide people back to the truth? Be in prayer!! Eph. 4:14-15

5. Why could God’s pattern and design for sexuality and marriage be appealing to our broken world? 1 Cor. 13; Eph. 5:22-33, etc

6. How does God describe the interaction between husbands and wives? How does this contrast to the way of our sinful nature?

7. How does Christ show His love for the church? How does He present her to God? How does this help us in our failures? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Side note: Mark 7:4 is very interesting, because the word used for “washing” in the Greek original is “baptismos,” the same as the word for baptism. But here it refers to the washing of cups, pots, copper vessels, and (in some ancient manuscripts) dining couches. Why is this significant? Some have argued that the word baptism must refer to a full-body immersion, not dipping, pouring, or sprinkling. But the kind of washing described using the word “baptismos” in this verse includes large items that couldn’t be immersed or would be impractical to wash in that way. Conclusion? Baptism simply means to wash with water, and doesn’t specify how much water or the method that is used.

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13
Jul
2009

Predestined to the Praise of His Glory

Sermon on Ephesians 1:3-14 for the 6th Sunday after Pentecost.

Sermon Talking Points:

  1. Do you ever have doubts about your salvation? Why or why not? What things can contribute to our complacency about such questions?

  1. What are harmful ways of thinking about predestination? What focus is lost in them?

  1. What are the implications of the fact that God chose us before the foundation of the world?

  1. Read Romans 15:4. Why can’t it be that one of God’s teachings (such as predestination) should cause our faith harm or trouble? What is the purpose of God’s Word?

  1. Does predestination make it irrelevant how I live my life? (reread Eph. 1:4)

  1. How does the eternal decree of predestination intersect with faith in Christ in time and history?

To study further on the teaching of Election/Predestination, there is a short summary explanation in the Book of Concord in the section called the “Epitome, article XI”, or there is a more in-depth treatment in the “Solid Declaration, article XI.” Both links are below if you don’t have a book copy.

http://www.bookofconcord.org/fc-ep.php#XI. Election.

http://www.bookofconcord.org/sd-election.php

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