The Joshua Victor Theory
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

I Believe; Help my Unbelief!

I Believe; Help my Unbelief!

September 17, 2012

Sermon on Mark 9:14-29 for the 16th Sunday after Pentecost, on Jesus' healing of the demon-possessed boy. How Jesus responds to the plea of a troubled and doubting father, creates faith in him, and the father seeks further strengthening of his faith from Jesus. How this is a lesson for us in times of weak faith.

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

  1. The account of the boy who Jesus healed of an unclean spirit follows right after the Transfiguration in Matthew 17, Mark, 9, and Luke 9. What scene was developing when Jesus returned from the mountain?

  1. How did Jesus react to the news that the disciples had been unable to cast out the demon? Why was their lack of faith troubling to Him?

  1. Describe the passionate plea of the father to Jesus. Why did Jesus stretch out His response, instead of immediately granting the man’s request? What was He seeking to do? Isaiah 42:1-3, 7; 50:4. How was He inviting him to have hope and faith? Matthew 11:25-30

  1. How does the father’s faltering but hopeful response become a model prayer for us when our faith is weak? Cf. Luke 17:5. When have you been weary and burdened to the point of giving up or losing hope? Why would the devil be delighted for us to be trapped in resignation? How does hopeless despair work in the devil’s favor?

  1. How does Jesus give and sustain faith? How does He enliven and support us? How do we know God is always willing to answer the prayer for more faith and for the power of His Holy Spirit? Luke 11:13

  1. Why is it essential that our faith/trust be in the right person—the true God? Why is this truly saving faith? Isaiah 43:10-11. Like faith, how does the power of prayer rest with God alone, and not our words or “formula” for prayer? Cf. James 5:16. To whom alone should prayer be directed? Matthew 6:7-13; John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:5
Keeping a Clear Conscience

Keeping a Clear Conscience

July 16, 2012

Sermon on Mark 6:14-29, for the 7th Sunday after Pentecost, on the Martyrdom of John the Baptist. A sermon about why God has given us conscience, the dangers of ignoring conscience, and how to receive a clear conscience from God.

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

  1. Why is it dangerous to go against the voice of conscience? What does God give us a conscience for? Rom. 2:15. What does it do (say)? Why should we strive for a clear conscience? Cf. Acts 24:16
  2. Who has a conscience? How (or when) is conscience like a prisoner moaning in his cell? How can it’s “alarm sounds” be turned down, but not off? Ps. 32; 51. Why is the existence of conscience unexplainable without God, and its wrestlings inconsolable apart from Christ?
  3. Read Mark 6:14-29. What signs of conscience (and ignored conscience) are evident in Herod’s actions? What consequences faced Herod (and many others) because of his mounting sins? See Josephus, the Jewish historian for corroborating historical evidence about Herod Antipas.
  4. What is the danger of convincing our conscience that we can commit “small sins” while aiming for a good purpose? How does Scripture contradict the idea of the “end justifies the means?” Rom. 12:21
  5. What are two different ways the conscience can be harmed? 1 Tim. 4:1-5; Titus 1:15. What behavior and thinking are responsible for each?
  6. What remedy does the Bible supply for a burdened and guilty conscience? Joel 2:13; Mark 1:15. How is baptism an appeal to God for a clean conscience? 1 Peter 3:16. What act of God provides us with a clean conscience? Heb. 9:14; 10:22. What assurance do we have that God will grant us this promise of forgiveness? 2 Cor. 1:20

Taking Offense at Jesus

Taking Offense at Jesus

July 9, 2012

Sermon on Mark 6:1-13 for the 6th Sunday after Pentecost. About Jesus' homecoming and His rejection in Nazareth. What are the causes of offense against Jesus? How is our heart made receptive to Him?

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

  1. How was Jesus’ return to His hometown not received with such a warm welcome? Mark 6:1-6. How did Jesus’ own family react to Him during His ministry? Mark 3:21, 33; John 7:5. How did this later change? 1 Cor. 15:7; Acts 1:14. What was the cause of their dishonor toward Jesus?

  1. Why is rejection and dishonor part and parcel of what Jesus, the prophets, His disciples, and Christians today still face, when bringing God’s Word of repentance and forgiveness? Ezek. 2:3-5; John 17:14; Matt. 10:16-25.

  1. What does it mean in Mark 6:5, that Jesus could do no mighty works there, except a couple of healings? It shows that Jesus “was not the kind of miracle worker whose primary purpose was to impress His viewers.”

  1. What is astonishing about unbelief, viewed from God’s perspective? Psalm 14; Rom. 1:19-23. How had Jesus given ample opportunity to believe? What gets in the way of our believing? Matt. 13:13-17

  1. How is a person’s heart made receptive to Jesus and His Word? What is the “prep work?” Mark 6:12; 1:2-5. Who alone holds the power to change a heart toward God? 1 Cor. 12:3. How does the Spirit make the heart receptive to Jesus, after He’s done His prep work? Ezek. 36:25-27.

  1. How would Jesus’ rejection continue all the way to His cross and beyond? Also for His disciples? How are they and we to respond to rejection? How do we honor Jesus and receive His Words rightly?
The Automatic Seed

The Automatic Seed

June 20, 2012

Sermon on Mark 4:26-34 for the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost, on the Parable of the Automatic Action of the Seed and the Parable of the Mustard Seed, about the power of God's Word to grow God's kingdom.

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

  1. What is “automatic” about the kingdom of God? Read Mark 4:26-29. What is it that has this power invested in it, to operate by itself in people’s hearts? Re-read the parable of the Sower, Mark 4:1-9. How has God invested His power into His Word? Isaiah 45:10-11
  2. What is the “information” that gives the Word of God it’s saving and life-giving power? I.e. what is the message? Retell in a simple way what Jesus has done, in a way that you could share with someone else.
  3. How does the fact that the seed grows without our observation or understanding change the way that you think about your role in bringing someone to faith? Does it relieve your anxiety? Make you more eager to share the Word and let it do its work? Make you trust more in God’s ability to work even when we don’t understand?
  4. What does impatience cause us to do? What is the kind of patience that the kingdom of God teaches us? Describe the longer view of the kingdom and its growth. What kind of objectives does God have?
  5. How does God determine when the harvest is ready? Will we know the time? Matthew 24:14, 32-36.
  6. How should we be “broadcasting” the seed? How is the growth of God’s kingdom an invitation to prayer? Matthew 6:10
  7. What disappointments and disillusionments does the parable about the growth of God’s kingdom free us from? In the daily life of the church, what outward signs seem to question the growth? What is the surprise in the end, about the church and it’s humble beginnings? Cf. the mustard seed. How does it all simplify our life in the church?
Our Stronger Lord!

Our Stronger Lord!

June 11, 2012

Sermon on Mark 3:20-35 about Jesus' rejection by the scribes and the unforgivable sin. Jesus describes His battle against the kingdom of Satan.

Sermon Talking Points

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

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

  1. What makes passages like Mark 3 and others about Jesus hard for some to accept? Why is it a dangerous error to try to do our own “editing” of the Bible to get what we like out of it, instead of hearing what it’s saying to us? Rom. 9:20-21; Isaiah 29:16; 45:9. What might we miss out on, if we reduce or reshape the image of Jesus?
  2. How did Jesus’ family struggle to accept who He was? John 7:5; Mark 3:21, 33. What bond did Jesus count as even closer than that of family (flesh & blood)? Read Mark 3:33-35.
  3. How was the blasphemy of the scribes against Jesus, just one more incident in an escalating series of confrontations? See Mark 2:16, 24; 3:1-6: 7:1-13; 8:11-12; 10:18; 11:27-33; 14:53-65.
  4. Beelzebub or Beelzebul, was a Philistine idol. 2 Kings 1:1-16. How was the scribes’ denunciation of Jesus’ work intended? How did Jesus show the illogic of their accusation? What was the upshot of the fact that Jesus wasn’t in league with the devil? How should they have reacted to this truth? Luke 11:20, 23
  5. What is the unforgivable sin, or the sin against the Holy Spirit? What difference does Jesus indicate between blasphemy against the Son, and against the Holy Spirit? Matt. 12:31-32; Luke 12:10. What was so malicious about their assault on the Spirit’s work, in Mark 3:22?
  6. What indication can be pointed to as evidence that a person has not committed the unforgivable sin?
  7. How is Jesus’ incredible offer of forgiveness for all other sins, equally amazing? How does Jesus forgive sins and deliver us from the kingdom of the devil? Luke 11:22. How is Jesus’ death on the cross the devil’s complete undoing? Gen. 3:15; John 19:30; Col. 2:13-15

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