The Joshua Victor Theory
Who is Approved by God?

Who is Approved by God?

October 25, 2010

Sermon on the Parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector, Luke 18:9-17, for the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost

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

1. What was the problem that Jesus addressed in this parable? What were some people confident of? Luke 18:9. How did that false confidence affect how they looked at others? How is the same attitude present within us? What thoughts or actions toward others betray this sin in us?

2. Why was the prayer of the Pharisee really no prayer at all? Was he an outwardly moral man? What was his failure then? What was the “pedestal” he built up for himself, with which to look down on others? How do we build similar pedestals for ourselves?

3. Why is boasting in our own works a futile enterprise? Only other humans can possibly be impressed, not God. Romans 4:1-6; 2 Cor. 10:12, 17-18.

4. How do we break free from these sins of self-confidence in our own righteousness, or trying to justify ourselves and look down on others? 2 Cor. 10:18; Rom. 3:23-24. Psalm 51

5. Realizing that he could not ascend by himself to God’s righteousness, what did the tax collector look to instead? His prayer, “O God, have mercy on me, a sinner” has the fuller sense of “make atonement for me”. Read what Jesus’ atonement for us did: 1 John 2:2; Hebrews 2:17. Instead of ascending to God’s righteousness on a ladder of our good works, how did Jesus bring God’s righteousness to us? Luke 23:44-48.

6. Instead of coming to condemn the world, for what reason did Jesus give up His life on the cross? John 3:16-18 How does this change how we regard other sinners? How do we finally become approved by God?



October 18, 2010

Sermon on 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5 about the God-breathed (inspired) Scriptures and how "itching ears" want to hear something different. For the 21st Sunday after Pentecost.

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

1. What evidence do you see that we are living in the times that Paul described in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, where people will turn away from the truth and sound teaching, to listen to what their itching ears want to hear? What are the things that your ears itch to hear, even when you know that they are not true or right?

2. How can it happen that we become unaware of the sinful influences of our world? How early is it ideal for us to begin instructing children in God’s Word? 2 Tim. 3:15; Psalm 71:5-6

3. Why is “sound teaching” or doctrine “healthy”? How is false teaching unhealthy? 1 Timothy 1:8-11; 6:3-5; 2 Tim. 1:13; 4:3; Titus 2:1

4. What does God say is holy? Leviticus 22:2; Exodus 31:14; Rom. 7:12. If God alone is holy, how is His holiness communicated to us? 1 Cor. 3:17; 1 Peter 1:15. What is the holy and proper use of God’s name? Ex. 20:7; Matthew 6:9

5. What does it mean that Scripture is “God-breathed”? 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:16-21; John 17:17. How have people within the Christian church lowered God’s Word to suit their itching ears? How have we done it ourselves? What sins do we desire to “protect” by trying to hide them from God’s judgment? What does it mean to hold to “Scripture alone?”

6. What four things is Scripture useful for in 2 Tim. 3:16-17? How is God’s word eternal? Matt. 24:35; 1 Peter 1:25.

7. How does God’s Word forgive us and make us holy, so that we can see the holy God? 1 John 1:7; Matt. 5:8; John 17:17

Have Mercy on us!

Have Mercy on us!

October 11, 2010

Sermon on Luke 17:11-19, for the 20th Sunday after Pentecost. The healing of the ten leprous men, and the one Samaritan who returned to give thanks.

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

1. What do you know about the experience of people with leprosy in recent times, such as those on Kalaupapa? How was it similar or different from Bible times?

2. What did the law of Moses require for lepers, in terms of their isolation? Leviticus 13, esp. vs. 45-46. Their cleansing and return to the community? Leviticus 14. How were the priests involved?

3. Contrast inhumane and compassionate ways of dealing with those who suffer serious illnesses or are outcasts. What are some ways that people try to hide suffering from their eyes today? How does compassion shape our response to suffering? Matthew 5:7

4. Who should cry out “Lord have mercy?” and why? Matthew 9:27; 15:22; 20:30-31; Mark 10:47-48; Luke 18:13. Romans 11:30-36. What sins have you committed, in thought, word, or deed? What wrong have you done? What good have you left undone? What is the fatality rate for sin?

5. Why would the Samaritan not have been welcomed into the worshipping Jewish community, even though he was healed? How should we show kindness and welcome to even those who seem as “outsiders”? Where did he find acceptance instead? Reread Luke 17:15-19.

6. What was the response of the Samaritan at being healed? How is this an example for us to follow? Psalm 71:20-23. More than just bodily healing, what else did he receive by faith? Luke 17:19.

7. How is this physical & spiritual cleansing a picture of baptism? How are we “reclothed” in baptism? Gal. 3:27; Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:9-10. How are we reborn? John 3:1-8; Titus 3:5-7. Whose innocence do we now wear?

Increase our Faith!

Increase our Faith!

October 4, 2010

Sermon on Luke 17:1-10, for the 19th Sunday after Pentecost. Jesus' teachings on discipleship.

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

1. Why is “Lord, increase our faith!” a fitting prayer for this section in Luke 17:1-10 on discipleship? How is your faith challenged, stretched, and strengthened by these words?

2. Why is temptation so serious? What promise are we given about temptation? 1 Corinthians 10:13. What strong warning against creating temptations does Jesus give? Luke 17:1-2. Who are the “little ones?” Matt. 18:6; cf. 1 Tim. 3:6; Luke 8:13-14.

3. What “checks” does Jesus put against sin and its power? What instructions and also cautions are given about rebuking sin? See Rom. 1:32-2:3; Galatians 6:1-3; 1 Timothy 5:1, 20; James 5:19-20; Matt. 18

4. Why is forgiveness central to the Christian proclamation? Matt. 26:28; Luke 24:47; Acts 13:38 Why is it essential that it be practiced in the Christian community? Matt. 18; Galatians 5:15; 2 Corinthians 5:18-21. Briefly picture for yourself a community without forgiveness. Then with forgiveness.

5. Why is Jesus not establishing a “quota” when He says to forgive 7 times a day? Why should we not keep a “record”? Instead of trying to just “cover our bases” what should our attitude be? Matt. 18:21-22, see again 2 Cor. 5. What if God kept a record of sins? Psalm 130:3

6. How does God respond to the prayer: “Increase our faith?” Luke 11:13.

7. Does a servant deserve thanks for merely doing his duty? How can we more greatly appreciate the unworthiness of our work, and the greatness of the undeserved love we have received? Isaiah 53:7

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