The Joshua Victor Theory
What’s in your heart?

What’s in your heart?

August 31, 2015

Sermon on Mark 7:14-23, for the 14th Sunday after Pentecost, about how Jesus sees transparently what's in our heart, and how the heart is the source from within of all the sins and unclean things that defile a person. How does Jesus respond when He sees what's in our heart?

Lip Service

Lip Service

August 24, 2015

Sermon on Mark 7:1-13, for the 13th Sunday after Pentecost, about the Pharisees' question to Jesus about handwashing, and the bigger implications of the discussion about traditions of men vs. the commandments of God. What was the core problem of their worship? How is the sinful flesh stopped? What makes for true worship from the heart, that is not empty lip service?

From Hardness to a Trusting Heart

From Hardness to a Trusting Heart

July 27, 2015

Sermon on Mark 6:45-56, for the 9th Sunday after Pentecost, about Jesus' walking across the water to the disciples in the boat, and the challenge of their hardened and unbelieving hearts. How does God address our unbelief? What is the meaning of the courage and new heart that Jesus gives us?

Lessons and Loaves

Lessons and Loaves

July 23, 2015

Sermon on Mark 6:30-44, for the 8th Sunday after Pentecost, about the feeding of the 5,000, and the lessons it teaches about rest, God's provision, our resources, trusting in Christ, and His power to use what He has given us to serve the needy.

Misidentified

Misidentified

July 13, 2015

Sermon on Mark 6:14-29, for the 7th Sunday after Pentecost, about the execution of John the Baptist, and Jesus' being misidentified by Herod and others as being John, risen from the dead. What is the contrast between kingdoms of men, and the kingdom of God, as represented by Jesus and John? What are the consequences of continued, unrepentant sin, and ignoring conscience? Where does the courage come from to stand and speak the truth when it is unpopular? How are we saved from our sin?

Marriage

Marriage

July 6, 2015

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.

We Need Jesus

We Need Jesus

July 6, 2015

Sermon on Mark 5:21-43, for the 5th Sunday after Pentecost, about the healing of the woman with a chronic bleeding problem, and the raising of Jairus' daughter. How do we deal with chronic illness and death? How do we wrestle with God's answers and timing to our prayers? What is Jesus' perspective as He enters the situation?

Path of Life

Path of Life

April 6, 2015

Sermon on Psalm 16 and Mark 16:1-8, and the parallels between the Exodus of the Israelites led by Moses, and the new, Second Exodus led by Jesus. A sermon for Easter Sunday, the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus, and how He makes known to us the path of life.

Meditation on the Passion of Our Lord

Meditation on the Passion of Our Lord

March 30, 2015

A brief meditation on the Passion of our Lord Jesus, following a narrative reading of the Gospel of Mark, chapters 14-15, about the betrayal, trial, suffering and death of our Lord.

Self-denial and cross-bearing

Self-denial and cross-bearing

March 2, 2015

Sermon on Mark 8:27-38, for the 2nd Sunday in Lent, about the marks of discipleship, and how Jesus calls us to see our life of discipleship to be modeled after His own self-denial and cross-bearing. What does it mean to bear our crosses, and how do we find strength or victory? What does it mean to reject or say no to ourselves?

Victory in Him!

Victory in Him!

February 23, 2015

Sermon on Mark 1:9-15, about the Baptism and temptation of Jesus, and how that relates to our own struggle in bearing our cross and facing temptation, and how we find victory in Jesus. How does the world make light of sin, the devil, and temptation? What is the Bible's view of the consequences of sin?

Receive the Gospel

Receive the Gospel

December 8, 2014

Sermon on Mark 1:1-8, for the 2nd Sunday in Advent, about preparing our hearts for Christ's coming. How is repentance a preparation of our hearts? Who accomplishes this? What is the impact of the Gospel, or good news, of Jesus, the Son of God?

The Impossible? That’s God’s Job!

The Impossible? That’s God’s Job!

October 22, 2012

Sermon on Mark 10:23-31 for the 21st Sunday after Pentecost, on the impossibility of entering the kingdom of God apart from Christ. How riches are a hindrance to entering heaven, and how Jesus does the impossible for us.

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

  1. What typical attitudes have you encountered (inside the church, or outside it) about how or whether one will go to heaven? Do people even think about it at all? Do you agree most people think it’s easy or natural for most people to end up in heaven? On what basis? Good works?

  1. How did Jesus flip the disciples’ (and our) expectation about how easy the kingdom of God is to enter? Why did He start with identifying riches as an obstacle to entering heaven? What challenge does wealth present to faith? 1 Timothy 6:10; Hebrews 13:5; Luke12:13-21

  1. How does Jesus further close the door to show that not just the wealthy will find it difficult to enter the kingdom? Who then can get in by human effort? What kinds of human effort do people usually consider as deserving an entrance into heaven?

  1. Why does Jesus and more broadly the whole Bible strike down human pride? Luke 1:52; 14:11; 18:14; James 4:6; Ephesians 2:8-9. Why cannot salvation be a “do-it-yourself” job? What is the power of sin to enslave us? Why did this require a “rescue job” from Jesus? What did it cost?

  1. Since God gets all the credit, and deserves all the credit, how should we live? Explaining the 1st and 2nd articles of the Apostle’s Creed, Martin Luther describes our response to God’s Fatherly divine goodness and mercy, and the Son’s gift of redemption this way: “For all this it is my duty to thank and to praise, serve and obey Him”…and “that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.” How can we praise and thank Him today and every day?
Marriage and Family in God’s Plan

Marriage and Family in God’s Plan

October 8, 2012

Sermon on Mark 10:2-16, for the 19th Sunday after Pentecost, where Jesus gives God's definition of marriage as a lifelong, faithful union between one man and one woman.

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

  1. What is the present state of marriage in the society and in the church? What is at work to redefine marriage? What threatens the stability of marriages? Why do not only Christians have an interest in protecting natural marriage between man and woman?
  2. How was Jesus’ approach to marriage not “from the ground up?” Where did He begin? Mark 10:5-9; Genesis 1:27; 2:18-25. Stated simply, what is God’s good design and plan for marriage?
  3. How are same-sex unions contrary to both nature and God’s Word? Romans 1:26-27; 1Corinthians 6:9-11. How are all forms of sexual immorality contrary to God’s command? 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
  4. How does marriage create a one flesh union between husband and wife? How does it involve a significant parting from parents? How does the faithfulness and exclusivity of this union foster the stability of family? How does this in turn provide countless social goods? How does marriage turn our love from ourselves outward to another? How is Jesus’ love the perfect model for us? Ephesians 5:22-33. What self-sacrifices do spouses make for each other?
  5. How do we measure up against God’s perfect design? Why is our natural tendency to find loopholes or some escape from the law’s judgment? If Jesus was not a “savior by loopholes”—how does He save us from the judgment of God’s law against our sin? Acts 15:10-11; Romans 8:1-8
  6. How is baptism both our death to sin, and our resurrection to new life? Romans 6. How does Christ bless and sustain marriages? Who is it that joins man and wife in the marriage union? Mark 10:9
  7. How are Jesus’ wounded hands comfort to us who need grace to leave our sins behind and to cover them? What does it mean for us that by faith Jesus’ innocence and perfect life are now ours?
Instructable and Humble

Instructable and Humble

September 24, 2012

Sermon on Mark 9:30-37, for the 17th Sunday after Pentecost, where Jesus teaches His disciples about His coming death and resurrection, the necessity of humility and obedience in His kingdom, and how children are exemplary of the humility and trust He desires.

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

1. How comfortable are we with asking questions? To whom do we usually ask them? What things might keep us from asking (especially the important) questions? What kept the disciples from asking Jesus in Mark 9:30-32?

2. When Jesus taught His disciples about His ultimate purpose for coming on earth (Mark 8:31-33; 9:30-32; 10:32-45), what uncomfortable truth did He reveal? Why might we not want to hear about Jesus’ death and resurrection? Why are we uncomfortable with death? What ultimate questions face us? How does Jesus take away the fear of death for those who believe in Him? 1 Corinthians 15:56-57; Philippians 1:21

3. Why are we so consumed with self-promotion and comparison to others? How is this completely opposite from the way the kingdom of God works? Read Mark 9:33-37 & 10:32-45. How is being last of all and servant of all a portrait of Jesus’ own life, death, and resurrection? Philippians 2:1-11.

4. Why would Jesus compare the status of a child to that of a servant? Galatians 3:23-4:7. How are children dependent on, and directed by their parents? How did Jesus completely and willingly submit Himself to God and His Law? Galatians 4:4-5; John 8:27-30; 10:17-18. What motivated this self-sacrifice? John 15:13

5. What does Jesus mean about “receiving” a child in His name? Mark 10:13-16. How does this show Jesus’ value for children? How do we receive Jesus? John 1:10-13. What privileges are granted to those who are re-born as children of God? How does it happen? John 3:1-8; Galatians 3:25-29; 4:6-7

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