Sermon on 1 Corinthians 12:12-26, for Life Sunday, about how we can unwittingly treat the lives of others around us as "invisible", and how they are really invaluable to the body of Christ. Where does our value come from? Who are the "least of these" who need our special love and protection? What "superpower" is given to members of the body of Christ, that helps respond to the isolation or devaluing of life around us?
Sermon on 1 Corinthians 15:20-28, for the Last Sunday of the Church Year 2020 (A), about the implications of Christ's Second Coming, and how He will hand over the kingdom to God after destroying every rule, authority, and power. What are the earthly and spiritual rulers, and why has all rule but God's rule ultimately failed? What is the hope and anticipation of believers in the restored rule of God?
Sermon on 1 Corinthians 10:6-13, for the 9th Sunday after Trinity (1 Yr lectionary), about how we should wrestle with difficult passages of scripture. We affirm the wholeness and integrity of God's Word, and understand that we need to hear even the more difficult passages, as they may expose our personal sins, or challenge us where we need it. What sins were Israel committing in these examples? How did God (and Moses) respond? What do we learn about God's judgment and grace from these, and also about Christ's intercession for our sins? Why is it worth it to wrestle with Scripture? Also recommended for further reading: "The Executioner's Redemeption" by Rev. Timothy Carter, about his own journey of prayer and wrestling with God's Word.
Sermon on 1 Corinthians 9:24-10:5, for Septuagesima ("Seventy"), (1 YR lectionary), about Paul's two images of the Christian life/discipleship. How is the Christian life like a race, and what is required of us to finish the race to obtain the prize? What is self-control, and how do we "exercise" it? How is the journey of Israel through the desert a lesson for our Christian life? How does one finish the race with Christ? What does it mean that Christ is the "spiritual Rock that followed them?"
Sermon on Proverbs 8:11-22, for the 23rd Sunday after Trinity, about how Christ is the Wisdom of God, how Wisdom is personified in Proverbs 8, and how the pursuit of earthly, practical wisdom relates to the higher pursuit of Christ as the Wisdom of God. How is Wisdom woven into creation? What did God delight in Wisdom and in His creation?
Sermon on Genesis 2:7-17, for the 7th Sunday after Trinity, about the creation of Adam, who we are as humans, and what God's original good purposes were for mankind. What image do we bear now? (1 Corinthians 15). What does this passage foreshadow about the Fall into sin? What's the passage illustrate about work? Stewardship? How does the knowledge of evil affect us? What is significant about how it did not affect Jesus? How will we bear the "image of the man of heaven?"
Sermon on 1 Corinthians 13, "The Great Love Chapter", for Quinquagesima Sunday (approximately 50 days till Easter, in the 1 year lectionary). What does this chapter teach us about love? Do we have this love? Who does? How do we get this love in our lives? Is it an abstraction, fantasy, or unattainable ideal, or where does this love exist?
Sermon on 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a, for the 3rd Sunday after Epiphany, about the unity of the body of Christ. How are the members of the body intended to work together? How are they uniquely different? What are the sins that are peculiar to the Christian body, as Paul describes here? What is the goodness of God's design, and our worth and place in it?
Sermon about the legalization of same-sex marriage in the U.S., and about how Christian's respond to a society that is unwelcoming to the Gospel. What is the authority by which the church speaks? What is the identity of a Christian disciple, and what calling does that place on their life? How does the church speak or respond to those outside the church, or who do not receive the teachings of Jesus? Texts from Mark 6:7-13, Psalm 146:3-4, and 1 Corinthians 5 & 6.
Sermon on 1 Corinthians 9:16-27 for the 5th Sunday after Epiphany, about the joy and reward that motivated Paul to preach the gospel free of charge to the Corinthians. How is the Christian life a paradox of freedom and service? How has the Christian church misunderstood Paul's "becoming all things to all people", and how should we understand this for how we serve and reach the lost? How did Jesus do all of this for us?
Sermon on 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, for the 2nd Sunday after Epiphany about God's design for human sexuality. How Christians are called to a higher view of sexuality and what our value and identity is as forgiven children of God.
Sermon Talking Points
Read past sermons at: http://thejoshuavictortheory.blogspot.com
Listen to audio at: https://thejoshuavictortheory.podbean.com
1. In 1 Corinthians 6:12-13, Paul seems to be addressing some common “slogans” or sayings that were circulating in the Corinthian church, or perhaps on the streets of Corinth. What are the “slogans” that is responding to, and how does he redirect or reshape them to make his point that sexual immorality is not permissible for the Christian?
2. How does Paul argue that sins committed in the body are truly significant and spiritually harmful? Instead of sex being a “casual encounter,” what in fact takes place? 1 Cor. 6:16-20. The “one flesh union” that sex creates is actually a good gift of God’s creation when used within the design that He gave for it: marriage between one man and one woman. Gen. 2:24; Mark 10:6-9.
3. How does the proper use of our bodies then directly impact the holiness and purity of the Holy Spirit’s Temple (our body)? How ought a single Christian to live? A married Christian? (See 1 Cor. 7 for Paul’s further instructions on sexuality). 1 Thess. 4:3-8.
4. What distinctly high honor and value does the Holy Spirit’s dwelling in us grant to our bodies? How has the influence of the world and sexual attitudes of our culture eroded or disregarded that value? How can we rebuild it among ourselves and with the youth of our generation? What have the consequences been of increasing sexual immorality?
5. For those who have repented of sexual sin, and discovered God’s better plan for themselves and their bodies, what cleansing/purification has Christ accomplished for our bodies as God’s Temple? 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Col. 2:11-14; 3:1-11; John 8:10-11. What new purpose for living does He grant us? 1 Cor. 6:20; Heb. 13:4; 1 Thess. 4:3-8
Sermon on the proper use of the Supper and how to receive the Sacrament worthily. The text is 1 Corinthians 11:17-34
IV. How to Receive This Sacrament Worthily 299. Why is it important to receive the Sacrament worthily? It is very important because St. Paul clearly teaches: “Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself” (1 Cor. 11:27-29).
300. Is it necessary to fast before receiving the Sacrament? Fasting can be good training for the will, but God does not command particular times, places, and forms for this. 1 Tim. 4:8; 1 Cor. 9:24-27
301. When do we receive the Sacrament worthily? We receive it worthily when we have faith in Christ and His words, “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”
302. When is a person unworthy and unprepared? A person is unworthy and unprepared when he or she does not believe or doubts Christ’s words, since the words “for you” require all hearts to believe.
303. How are we to examine ourselves before receiving the Sacrament? We are to examine ourselves to see whether A. We are sorry for our sins; Ps. 38:18; 2 Cor. 7:10-11 B. We believe in our Savior Jesus Christ and in His words in the Sacrament; Luke 22:19-20; 2 Cor. 13:5 C. We plan, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to change our sinful lives. Eph. 4:22-24. As a preparation for the Sacrament, use “Christian Questions and their Answers.” (found on page 329-330 in the LSB hymnal)
304. May those who are weak in faith come to the Lord’s Table? Yes, for Christ instituted the Sacrament for the very purpose of strengthening and increasing our faith. Mark 9:24; John 6:37
305. Who must not be given the Sacrament? The Sacrament must not be given to the following: A. Those who are openly ungodly and unrepentant, including those who take part in non-Christian religious worship. 1 Cor. 5:11, 13; 1 Cor. 10:20-21. B. Those who are unforgiving, refusing to be reconciled. They show thereby that they do not really believe that God forgives them either. Matt. 6:15. Bible narrative The unmerciful servant (Matt. 18:21-35) C. Those of a different confession of faith, since the Lord’s Supper is a testimony of the unity of faith. Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 10:17; 1 Cor. 11:26; Rom. 16:17 D. Those who are unable to examine themselves, such as infants, people who have not received proper instruction, or the unconscious. 1 Cor. 11:28. Note: Pastors as stewards of the mysteries of God (1 Cor. 4:1) have the greatest responsibility as to who should be admitted to the Sacrament. Some of the responsibility also rests with the congregation and the communicant.
306. What is confirmation? Confirmation is a public rite of the church preceded by a period of instruction designed to help baptized Christians identify with the life and mission of the Christian community.
Note: Prior to admission to the Lord’s Supper, it is necessary to be instructed in the Christian faith (1 Cor. 11:28). The rite of Confirmation provides an opportunity for the individual Christian, relying on God’s promise given in Holy Baptism, to make a personal public confession of the faith and a lifelong pledge of fidelity to Christ. Matt. 10:32-33; Rev. 2:10
From Luther’s Small Catechism © 1986, 1991 Concordia Publishing House. Used with permission. www.cph.org.
Part two of a teaching series on the Lord's Supper, focusing this week on the teaching of the "real presence" of Christ in the Supper. Based on 1 Corinthians 10:14-22.
Questions and Answers about the Lord’s Supper 287. What does Christ give us in this sacrament? In this sacrament Christ gives us His own true body and blood for the forgiveness of sins. Matt. 26:26, 28.
288. How does the Bible make it clear that these words of Christ are not picture language? Christ’s words in the Sacrament must be taken at face value especially because A. these words are the words of a testament, and even an ordinary person’s last will and testament may not be changed once that person has died; 1 Cor. 11:25; Gal. 3:15. Note: Compare also Heb. 9:15-22 B. God’s Word clearly teaches that in the Sacrament the bread and wine are a communion or participation in the body and blood of Christ; 1 Cor. 10:16 C. God’s Word clearly teaches that those who misuse the Sacrament sin not against bread and wine but against Christ’s body and blood. 1 Cor. 11:27, 29.
289. What are the visible elements in the Sacrament? The visible elements are bread and wine. Matt. 26:26-27. Note: “The fruit of the vine” (Luke 22:18) in the Bible means wine, not grape juice. See also 1 Cor. 11:21
290. Do Christ’s body and blood in the Sacrament replace the bread and wine, so that the bread and wine are no longer there? No, bread and wine remain in the Sacrament. 1 Cor. 11:26
291. How then are the bread and wine in the Sacrament the body and blood of Christ? The bread and wine in the Sacrament are Christ’s body and blood by sacramental union. By the power of His word, Christ gives His body and blood in, with, and under the consecrated (blessed) bread and wine. 1 Cor. 10:16.
292. Do all communicants receive the body and blood in the Sacrament, whether or not they believe? Yes, because the Sacrament depends on Christ’s word, not on our faith. 1 Cor. 11:27. Note: All communicants should receive both parts of the Sacrament, since Christ said, “Take and eat; this is my body….Drink from it, all of you” (Matt. 26:26-27)
293. Are the body and blood of Christ in the Sacrament sacrificed again to God for the sins of the living and the dead? No, the body and blood of Christ in the Sacrament are the one perfect sacrifice offered to God once and for all on the cross and are now distributed to us in the Sacrament together with all the blessings and benefits which this sacrifice has won for us. 1 Cor. 5:7; Heb. 10:14; Heb. 10:18. Note: We speak of the “Sacrament of the Altar” because an altar is a place of sacrifice. Jesus sacrificed His body and blood on the cross for the sins of the world once and for all. In the Sacrament of the Altar, He distributes this same body and blood until the end of time.
294. What does Christ command when He says, “This do in remembrance of Me?” Christ commands in these words that His Sacrament be celebrated in the church till the end of time as a living proclamation and distribution of His saving death and all its blessings. 1 Cor. 11:26.
From Luther’s Small Catechism © 1986, 1991 Concordia Publishing House. Used with permission. www.cph.org.
Sermon on 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 for the 4th Sunday after Epiphany about the relationship of Christianity, reason, and the cross.
Sermon Talking Points: Read past sermons at: http://thejoshuavictortheory.blogspot.com Listen to audio at: https://thejoshuavictortheory.podbean.com
1. In what ways does the “wisdom of the world” consider the Christian faith to be foolishness? What Biblical teachings clash with our human reason? What have you wrestled with? Why does our mind and reason rebel against God’s word? 2. Why in particular is the cross of Christ a “stumbling block to the Jews?” Romans 9:30-33; Gal. 5:11; 1 Pet. 2:6-8. Why is it “foolishness to the Gentiles?” Acts 17:18-21, 32; Acts 26:22-29 3. Why is the word of the cross the heart and center of Christianity? 1 Cor. 1:18, 23; Luke 24:25-27, 45-47. How does this message give life and power to Christians? 4. How does our mind become humble and submissive to God? How does this locate reason in its proper role? Consider the following quote: “Reason as such has by no means been abolished from the Christian church. But before it can enter there, it must be converted from a judge into a penitent, from a master into a servant, from a professor into a pupil—or, more precisely, from a pagan into a Christian.” 5. When reason is in its proper role, as a student of God and His Word, how does Scripture praise this gift of knowledge in contrast to the blind ‘knowledge’ of unbelief? 1 Sam. 2:3; Ps. 14:1-4; 19:1-4; 94:8-11; Prov. 1:7; Rom. 11:33; 15:14; cf. Eccl. 1:8; 2 Cor. 10:5; 2 Tim. 3:7 6. What is the true wisdom of the cross of Christ?