The Joshua Victor Theory
Important News

Important News

September 27, 2010

Sermon on Luke 16:19-31, for the 18th Sunday after Pentecost. Preached for "Children's Sunday", the story of the rich man and Lazarus.

Sermon Talking Points: Read past sermons at: Listen to audio at:

1. What are the things that are most important to you? Do you listen to important news? How do you recognize if a message is important? If you realized a message was important, how would you act on it?

2. What responses do we have to the flood of information that comes to us, claiming to be “important?” How do we sort them out to know what’s truly important?

3. What was the “important news” that the rich man (and his brothers) in the story ignored? “Moses and the Prophets” represented the messengers of God who wrote the Old Testament. They taught of the One True God (Deuteronomy 6:4-6), and what His commands were (Exodus 20:1-21). What did they teach about how to treat our neighbor, and in particular the poor and disadvantaged in society? Leviticus 19:9-18; Deuteronomy 10:17-22; 14:29; 15:7-11; Malachi 3:5

4. What was the consequence of the rich man ignoring that message, and mistreating his poor neighbor? Reread Luke 16:19-31. How was Lazarus relieved from his suffering? How would knowing and believing in God, and reflecting His love change how we would live, and also treat our neighbor?

5. What was Jesus’ purpose for coming into the world? John 18:37-38. Jesus not only witnessed to the truth, but said He was the Truth. John 14:6. How does believing this lead to eternal life? John 3:16

6. Does the death and resurrection of Jesus persuade you to believe in the importance of His message, that He is truly God’s Son and our Savior? Why or why not? How was His death confirmed? John 19:28-37. How was His resurrection confirmed? John 20-21, 1 Corinthians 15.

7. Finally if we hear the Word of Jesus, we will know the truth, and the truth will set us free. John 8:31-32. It is through the Holy Spirit that we are convinced of the truth of Jesus’ words, and believe them. John 16:13

The Merciful Master

The Merciful Master

September 20, 2010

Sermon on Luke 16:1-15, the parable of the "Dishonest Manager," for the 17th Sunday after Pentecost.

Sermon Talking Points: Read past sermons at: Listen to audio at:

1. How does the Bible warn against learning the ways of the world and adopting them? Jeremiah 10:2; Romans 12:2. Was the dishonest manager actually commended for his dishonesty, or what?

2. What kind of action might it have been reasonable and just for the master to take against the dishonest manager, 1) when he found out he wasted his possessions, and 2) when he found out the unauthorized reductions of debt he had made? What about the master’s character made him resist those actions? How is this a picture of our heavenly Father? Mt. 18:21ff

3. What was so clever about the dishonest manager’s action? What factor did the success of his plan depend on? What was the result for him? For the master? On the other hand, how does the parable show that while his cleverness was praised, his dishonest actions were condemned? See esp. verses 8, 10-13.

4. What are the greater things or the “true riches” we might be entrusted with? Luke 12:21; Matt. 6:19-24; 1 Peter 1:3-8. What is so difficult about accepting that what we “have” is not truly ours? Why doesn’t it work to be devoted to both God and money? Why must we be devoted only to God? Luke 16:13.

5. What will inevitably happen to money and material things? Luke 16:9; James 5:2-3. So in the meantime, what trait of God’s are we to imitate as we use our worldly wealth? Luke 12:31-34

6. Who is the perfectly faithful Son in whom we put our trust? Heb. 3:6. How well did He manage what was given to Him? John 17, esp. v. 12. In what can we trust for our accumulated debts to God? Col. 2:14

The Lost are Found

The Lost are Found

September 13, 2010

Sermon on Luke 15:1-10, the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin, for the 16th Sunday after Pentecost

Sermon Talking Points: Read past sermons at: Listen to audio at:

1. What are the stories of “lost sheep” that you know? Your own? Where is there an opening to share God’s Word with them? In what situation might such a lost sheep need to hear the Word of God’s Law, to reveal to them their sin? In what situation might they need to hear the Word of God’s Gospel, to assure them of God’s forgiveness and a way home?

2. What are the traps for lost sheep in this world? What is the call for those who are entangled in them? Eph. 4:22; Hebrews 3:12-13. What will Jesus do for the lost sheep? Ezek. 34:11-16, 23-24.

3. What’s the surprise in each of the parables—of the lost sheep and lost coin? What is “impractical” about it? Why is pragmatism a poor basis for deciding to help those in need? How does God view the matter differently?

4. To what extent did Jesus go to search out the lost? Phil. 2:7-8; Gal. 4:4-5; What defines the Good Shepherd? John 10:11-18.

5. What gives us value, even when we often have a low opinion of ourselves? How does Jesus make us presentable to God? 1 Peter 3:21; 1 Peter 1:13-23

6. How does heaven react at the return of every single lost sinner? How can we participate in this joy and celebration? How can we bring more joy to heaven? James 5:19-20

7. In what way is every believer a sinner who once was lost, but now is found? Rom. 3:23-24; Isaiah 53:6-7

Count the Cost

Count the Cost

September 6, 2010

Sermon on Luke 14:25-35, on counting the cost. First I discussed our current building project, next I addressed the cost of discipleship.

Sermon Talking Points: Read past sermons at: Listen to audio at:

1. What are the practical implications of “counting the cost” for us in our building program at Emmanuel? Why is it so important? What sort of things must we take into consideration?

2. What is unique about planning our undertaking, that requires a two-fold approach—involving both “business work” and “spiritual work?” Describe each of these and what we should be doing to attend to them.

3. What happens when you work at a task without also praying? What happens if you pray but don’t work?

4. How does planning our personal giving help us to “count the cost?” How should we take care to be good stewards of what we’ve been given?

5. What is the much greater undertaking that Jesus is teaching about, that requires us to “count the cost?” Is salvation something free or something we work for? Romans 4:1-8; 6:23; 11:35.

6. What does Jesus mean by “hating” one’s family in order to follow Him? See Matt. 10:34-39. Who becomes the family of Jesus? Luke 8:21. What are the implications for the Christian of “bearing their cross?”

7. Why must a believer also forsake their possessions and the love for the things of this world? 1 John 2:15; Hebrews 11:25-26; Luke 8:14;

8. When we count the cost of discipleship, it may seem impossible. Indeed without Christ it is impossible! But what factor must we always count into the equation? Hebrews 12:1-2; Phil. 3:8; James 1:2; 2 Pet. 3:15

Leaving the city, Going to the City

Leaving the city, Going to the City

September 1, 2010

Sermon on Hebrews 13:9-16, about the earthly city we leave behind to follow Christ, and the migration to our Heavenly City.

Sermon Talking Points: Read past sermons at: Listen to audio at:

1. In what way are Christians called to leave behind their “earthly city?” See Hebrews 13:12-14; Eph. 2:18-19; John 17:14-16; Phil. 3:20

2. How were the sacrifices of the Old Testament and the work of the priests, imperfect and incomplete? What couldn’t they accomplish? Hebrews 9:11-28; Col. 2:16-17; What special duty did the High Priest perform once a year on the Day of Atonement? Leviticus 16. Why couldn’t the meat of the sacrifice be eaten on that day? Leviticus 6:30.

3. How was Jesus in death, like both the High Priest on the Day of Atonement, and also like the sacrifices burned outside the camp? How was He greater? John 1:29; Heb. 10:12. The entire book of Hebrews.

4. Why must we “go outside the camp” or leave our earthly city behind, to share in the reproach of Christ? What is there to be lost? To be gained?

5. How do we eat at the altar of Jesus? What do we receive there? Matt. 26:26-29; 1 Cor. 11:17-34; John 6:41-59

6. In what way are baptized believers called to be priests? 1 Peter 2:5; Rev. 1:6; 5:9-10. What are our acts of priestly service? Heb. 13:15-17; Rom. 12:1. What is a sacrifice of praise or thanksgiving about? Isaiah 63:7; Ps. 9:1, 11, 14.

7. Knowing that Jesus has secured our heavenly citizenship for us and blessed us with all the privileges of citizens of the kingdom, how should we live? Phil. 3:14; Heb. 3:1

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