Luverne Christian Reformed Church


We believe that God is praised and His people are blessed through the preaching of the Holy Scriptures. If you are blessed through -- or have questions about -- one or more of the messages below, please let us know by sending an e-mail to  

Note: more recent sermons are listed first.

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"How Blessed We Are! Forgiven!" (Psalm 32, Q/A 56)
   --  Good news: We have a REAL Savior in whom there is
                                                  REAL forgiveness for our REAL sins!
   -- Why "defense mechanisms" don't work when it comes to guilt. 
1)  descriptive words for sin:
      a)  transgression = crossing moral lines
      b)  sins = missing targets
      c)  sin = straying from the path
2)  David's guilty silence (and ours?)
3)  convicted to be comforted 
4)  Why does God forgive us? 100% for the sake of Jesus!
"The Hallelujah Refrain" (Revelation 19:1-10)
  hallelu = to thank or praise
  Yah = short for Yahweh (the great I AM)
  imperative. Why this must be done.
1)  Praise for God's justice (1-6)
      --  In this lifetime, may crimes go unpunished
      -- but God will make things right
2)  Praise for the wedding of the Lamb (7-8)
3)  Worship reserved for God (9-10)
"To God Be Glory In The Church" (Eph. 3:13-21, Q/A 54)
Introduction:  our joyful declaration -- We believe in God!
-- we name and praise Father and Son
-- do we also praise the Holy Spirit? Yes!! We praise Him for...
    ... our place in the church
    ... fellowship with other believers
    ... the assurance of salvation
    ... hope of resurrection and eternal life, etc.
1)  What is the holy catholic (worldwide) church?
      a)  It is NOT a building but believers! (1 Peter 2 - living stones)
      b)  It is the handiwork of Jesus who promised to build it (Spirit and Word)
2)  How valuable is the church?
      a)  It's valuable to Jesus, who loves it! 
      b)  It's valuable enough to Jesus that He sustains it. 
"Overcome: Babylon the Great" (Revelation 17)
-- a complex passage with layers of symbolism
    -- "Babylon" a coded reference to Rome, stands for all powers that rebel
    -- encouragement for the persecuted church
1)  a not so nice symbol -- Great Prostitute on red beast
2) 10 kings: allies that turn against her
3) the One who overcomes: King of kings, Lord of lords
"Receive the Holy Spirit" (John 20:19-23, Acts 1:1-8, 2:1-21, 41; LD 20
1. We worship/rely on the Holy Spirit as God.
2. We receive the Holy Spirit.
3. the Spirit's main work in our lives:
    -- position -- connecting us to Jesus
    -- direction -- making us more like Jesus
"Behold, I Am Coming!" (Revelation 16)
-- the brokenness/disobedience that God sees
-- God's patience doesn't mean indifference
1) poured out plagues
    -- where: on the earth
    -- increasing intensity (compare Rev 8:8-9 and 16:3)
2) seven judgments
3) encouragement for overcomers
    -- God always does what is right/just (16:5-7)
    -- Jesus says, "Behold, I am coming..."  (16:15) 
"The Son of Man Will Come..." (Matthew 25:31-46, LD 19)
Introduction: Jesus is exalted and Jesus is coming!
1) a comforting truth
2) a comprehensive (all-inclusive) truth: living and dead
3) a challenging truth
    -- sheep and goats
    -- are we really serving Jesus???
"Opened: the Temple in Heaven" (Revelation 15:5-8)
Introduction: Is there a tabernacle/temple in heaven? Not sure!
      But we know what it signifies: fellowship with God!
      That's what makes heaven "heaven". Foretastes!
1)  its name: Tabernacle of the Testimony
2) its function: Throne of Judgment
3) it's glory: filled with signs of God's majesty
"ANOTHER Great and Marvelous Sign" (Rev. 15:1-4)
Introduction:  the book of Revelation is a series of visions, first given
to the Apostle John. Chapter 15 is a bridge into the next vision.
1)  a marvelous sign -- something to marvel at (and learn from)
2) a sign that God's wrath/plagues will be fulfilled
     -- yes, the Bible speaks of God's wrath
     -- does God hate sin but love sinners? (Saved by grace through faith!)
     -- see John 3:36
3) a sign of salvation -- the song of Moses and the Lamb
Everlasting Encouragement" (Revelation 14)
Introduction: visions and symbols... AND messages for us!
1) the song of the redeemed (v 1-5)
2) the everlasting Gospel (v 6-12)
3) the final harvest (v. 13-20)
"Counting MORE Blessings in Christ" (Romans 6, LD 16b)
1)  He descended into hell
     -- a later addition to the Apostles' Creed
     -- Ursinus -- meanings of "hell"
         a. the grave
         b. a place of judgment
         c. a figure of speech for extreme pain
      -- Jesus took the extreme suffering we deserve, to deliver us! Hallelujah!
2)  Further benefits IN CHRIST (union with Christ)
      -- no condemnation
      -- released from curse
      -- declared righteous
      -- Revealed in Romans 6
          a. baptized into Jesus (6:3) 
          b. crucified with Christ (6:6-7)
          c. a call to action (6:11)  "Consider/reckon yourself..."
"Easter: That You May Have Life in His Name" (John
Question:  How can we believe Christ is risen if we haven't directly seen Him??
Answer:  Eyewitness testimony! 
1)  The I AM sayings of Jesus....
2)  The amazing teachings of Jesus....
3)  Verified by the miracles of Jesus!
Why believe? To have LIFE in Jesus' name.
"Into Your Hands..." (Luke 23:44-46)
Introduction: Good Friday was a day line no other!
-- signs in the heavens (darkness)
-- signs on earth (ground shaking, curtain torn from top to bottom)
-- at the center: Jesus on a cross
1) a borrowed prayer -- Psalm 31:5
2) ready to die. (Are you ready??)
3) Father...  (family fellowship and trust)
"It is Finished" (John 19:28-30)
Introduction: "completeness"
1) tetelestai= τετέλεσται
    -- fulfilled/completed
    -- "perfect tense" means completed action, continuing results
2) paid in full -- our debt to God's justice
3) spiritual warfare
4) motivation -- to live for Jesus
"Healed By His Wounds" (1 Peter 1:18-20, 2:21-25, 3:18; LD 15)
Introduction -- a timely topic
-- where we are in the church year
-- always good to look to the cross (and empty tomb)
    -- Does God love you? How can you be sure?
    -- By God's words and deeds!
1) precious blood
2) empty way of life
3) redeemed
4) not to "balance" good and evil, but to overcome evil with good
5) once for all
6) cursed on the tree -- that we might be blessed
"I Thirst" (Matthew 27:46-50, John 19:28-29)
Introduction: where this saying "fits" in events of  Good Friday. 
1)  a puzzle: No, then Yes to what soldiers offered to drink
     -- No to wine mixed with "gall" -- anesthetic
     -- Yes to wine vinegar (posca
2)  a pronouncement: "I am thirsing..."
      -- a practical need
      -- prophetic meaning
3)  Scriptures fulfilled (Psalm 22:15, Psalm 69:21)
"All the Fullness of God Lives in Him!" (Col. 2:1-10, LD 14)
The Apostle Paul's prayer for fellow believers:
1) minds open to the truth of Jesus Christ. MYSTERY
2) minds protected from "fine-sounding arguments"
This is why we worship and follow Jesus!
"Why Have You Forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:45-49)
On Good Friday....
- mid-morning: crucified; "Father, forgive them..."
- next hours: taunted; "Truly... with Me in paradise."
- before noon: lamented; "See your son... see your mother."
- then: three hours of darkness; "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"
This reveals what theologians call penal, substitutionary atonement.
- Jesus was punished (penal) 
- Jesus took our place (substitutionary)
- Jesus covers our sins (atonement)
Gospel. Jesus was forsaken for us, that we might never be forsaken!
"Behold Your Son; Behold Your Mother" (John 19:16-27)
Introduction: Jesus' cross and ours
1)  the few who identified with Jesus:
     -- Mary, mother of Jesus
     -- Mary's sister (Jesus' aunt)
     -- Mary (wife of Clopas)
     -- Mary Magdalene
     -- John the disciple
2)  what Jesus said -- Mother and Son
     -- our Savior's sinlessness
     -- our Savior's love
3)  Will we identify with Him?? 
"With Me in Paradise" (Luke 23:34b-43)
Introduction: Murder! Injustice! 
1)  life goes on...
2) increasing pain
3) taunts and insults: I.N.R.I.
4) change of heart
5) profession of faith: "Lord, remember me..."
6) word of blessing: "You will be with Me..."
"Father, Forgive Them" (Luke 23:32-35)
Introduction: the scene on Skull Hill
1)  Why the cross? A great injustice.
2)  Such suffering! Ex-cruc-iating!
3)  What suffering does: exposes what's in our hearts.
4)  Why the cross? God's plan of salvation!
      -- Isaiah 53:12 -- fulfilled!
      -- Isaiah 53:10 -- guilt offering -- fulfilled!
5)  Them? For whom did Jesus pray?
6)  To forgive is not to excuse, but to allow relationships to grow.
7)  Hope!
"He Is Our Peace" (Ephesians 2:14-15)
Introduction: this message brings us again to the Lord's Supper,
in which we see a picture of peace with God/one another. This lesson
was also taught in OT guilt and peace offerings.
1.  both were blood sacrifices -- offered by unholy people to holy God
2.  guilt offerings were holocaust -- completely burned on altar
3.  peace offerings -- part given back to people for food/fellowship
4.  gathering at the Lord's Table:
      -- praise and thanksgiving for Christ's "holocaust" sacrifice on the cross
      -- living this peace in fellowship with one another at the table
"Called the Christ; Called Christians" (Matthew 1:1,16-18; Acts 11:25-26; LD 12)
1)   personal names and titles
2)  Jesus’ title: Christ/Messiah/Anointed
3)  Jesus’ Spirit-empowered work:
       -- prophet -- Hebrews 1:1-3a
       -- priest -- Hebrews 1:3b
       -- king -- Hebrews 1:8-9
4)  Why we are called “Christians”
"Beasts! From the Sea; From the Earth" (Revelation 13)
Review: a vision of a Dragon! (Rev. 12)
In chapter 13 we see some of the Dragon's allies/helpers
1) the beast from the sea = government serving the Dragon
    -- compare to 4 beasts from Daniel 7 = empires
    -- this beast points to human government
        -- Romans 13:1-5. Authorities appointed by God.
        -- But governments become "beastly" if resist God's will.
2) the beast from the earth = religion serving the Dragon
    -- horns like a lamb (sacrifice, ritual)
    -- voice like the Dragon (speaking for Satan)
These things call for patient endurance (v. 9) and wisdom (v. 18).
"A Woman, A Child, A Dragon" (Revelation 12)
Introduction: the end will come!
1)  signs in heaven
     -- a woman: her identity and appearance
                            about to give birth
     -- a dragon: its identity and appearance
                            its desire to kill the baby (Jesus)
     -- the child: Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 9, Psalm 110
2)  a battle in the heavens
3)  persecution on earth
"The Seventh/Last Trumpet" (Revelation 11:15-19)
Introduction: Review of trumpets 1-6
-- calamities touching the earth (1-4)
-- calamities touching people (5-6)
Thought question: Does anyone who fights God end up winning?
1)  loud voices
2)  grateful worship
3)  opened temple
"Measured Witnesses" (Revelation 11:1-14)
1)  Measuring (v 1-2)
2)  Witnessing (v 3-14)
      -- Acts 1:8. "You shall be My witnesses..."
      -- wearing sackcloth
      -- lamps and olive trees
      -- like Elijah and Moses
      -- echoes of Easter 
"Call His Name Jesus" (Luke 1:28-35, Matt. 1:18, LD 11)
Introduction: a parental task; naming children
-- God-given names: 
-- example: Mahershalalhashbaz (revealed a warning)
-- "Jesus" (offers us hope)
1)  a wonderful name for a wonderful Person
     -- He is the Son of God, conceived by the Holy Spirit
     -- He is Immanuel (God with us)
     -- His name is Jesus = Savior (the LORD Yahweh saves)
2)  why this is so important:
     -- We all have a sin problem.
     -- We can't fix it ourselves.
     -- Can other creatures and/or religions save us?
     -- We need God Himself to save us!
"The LORD Will Provide" (Genesis 22:1-19, LD 10)
1)   faith tested -- Would God do through Isaac what God promised?
2)  faith encouraged 
     -- Jesus: consider birds and flowers (Matt 6:25-34)
     -- word picture: God's Fatherly hand
3)  faith opposed
     -- God sees/knows everything? No thanks!
     -- No God = no providence
     -- God means well but...
 4)  the God of the Bible
"God the Father: I trust Him So Much..." (Psalm 33, LD 9)
Are you telling the truth when you say you trust God?
Psalm 33 reveals the God who is worthy of our trust:
1)  He created us (v 6-9)
2) He chose/adopted us (v. 12)
3) He cares for us (v. 18-19)
4) So let us trust and serve Him (v. 1-4, 20-22) 
"Blessed by God Triune" (2 Corinthians 13:11-14, LD 8)
1)   the beyond-us-ness of God
2)  the Trinity
      -- God is One (Deut 6:4) in essence
      -- God is three (2 Cor 13:14) in persons
"Saving Faith: What a Valuable Gift From God!" (Eph. 2:8-10, LD 7)
Introduction: Why we appreciate gifts.
1)  Through faith we are linked to the Savior
      -- a vital/life-giving connection
      -- John 15 -- the Vine and the branches
      -- born with natural/spiritual link to Adam
      -- We need to be linked to the Last Adam (Jesus)
      -- Whoever believes. John 3:16, 3:18, 3:36, 5:24
2)  Through faith we grow in assurance
       -- “…so that you may know…”      1 John 5:11-13
       -- not by examining the quality of our faith
       -- by looking to our perfect Savior
3)  Through faith we become witnesses
"A Sweet and Bitter Scroll" (Revelation 10)
Introduction. The vision of seven trumpets
-- not music, but warnings
-- disasters of judgment
-- hardened hearts
-- readying for the seventh trumpet
1)  a mighty angel
2)  a little scroll
3)  seven thunders 
4)  eat the scroll -- sweet in mouth, sour in stomach
"Members of Christ's Body" (1 Corinthians 12:1-27)
Introduction: layers of good news!
-- We belong to Jesus; members of His body
-- Jesus is ours; He's our Savior.
-- Also, we belong to one another!
1)  What a gift from God the Holy Spirit!
2)  A bond of fellowship with one another!
3)  Where does this lead us?
      -- giving thanks
      -- serving
"Stay In the Boat" (Mark 4:21-41, LD 9)
(Guest Pastor Carl Klompein led us in worship.)
1) safety is promised
2) safety is sought
3) safety is provided
"Worship Christ the Newborn King!" (Luke 2:1-20)
1)  established facts
2)  awesome announcement
      -- good news of great joy
      -- Glory to God in the highest!
3)  active faith
      -- “Let’s see this thing that has happened…”
      -- life goes on…
      -- rejoicing in hope 
"God Raised Up a Horn of Salvation!" (Luke 1:57-80)
1)  Extraordinary events
     -- most astonishing of all:
         -- the Creator living a created human life!
         -- God with us in our flesh (John 1:14)
     -- leading up to this:
         -- an angel visited Zechariah, who was "muted" as a sign
         -- an angel visited Mary, who conceived while still a virgin
         -- Mary visited Elizabeth, whose unborn baby leaped for joy
2)  prophetic praises
      -- for providing a mighty Savior (the horn of salvation)
      -- for remembering His covenant/oath/promise
      -- for what God would surely do through John (Malachi 4)
      -- for the saving work of the Messiah (Luke 1:77 & 79)
          -- forgiveness of sins
          -- path of peace 
"The Kind of Mediator We Need" (Romans 1:1-4, LD 6)
Introduction: Would you operate on yourself? Some things aren't "do it yourself"!
1)  the Mediator must be human. So why animal sacrifices?
      -- show us the seriousness of sin
      -- teach us that God's justice must be satisfied
      -- prefigure the greater sacrifice the Messiah would offer
2)  the Mediator must be sinless. See Hebrews 7:26-27
3)  the Mediator must be as strong/mighty/holy as God
"The LORD Has Done Great Things For Me!" (Luke 1:39-56)
Introduction: two visits from Gabriel -- to Zechariah and to Mary
Notice the Spirit's work in what happened when Mary visited Elizabeth!
1)  the Spirit's work in Elizabeth's unborn son, John
2) the Spirit's work in Elizabeth -- praise and blessing
3) the Spirt's work in Mary -- words of prophecy
"Nothing is Impossible with God" (Luke 1:26-38)
Review: Gabriel's message to Zechariah and Elizabeth (the meaning of names)
1) When?  Six months later.
2) Where?  Nazareth.
3) To whom?  Mary (with implications for Joseph!)
     a. -- the King David connection
     b. -- the “impossible” conception (parthenos)
     c. -- an example of obedience
     d. -- who Jesus is: the Son of God
              -- prophecy fulfilled -- Isaiah 7:14
              -- victories won -- Romans 1:2-4
"The LORD Remembers" (Luke 1:1-25)
1)  the foreword to Luke’s Gospel
      -- Theophilus, a man who needed to know 
      -- the certainty of what you have been taught
2)  the forerunner of Messiah Jesus
      -- real history, real hope
      -- Zechariah: zachar (remember) Jah (Yahweh)
      -- Elizabeth: El (God/power) sabeth (oath/promise)
      -- John -- Johannes -- “Yahweh is gracious”    
"The Ransom for a Life is Costly" (Psalm 49, LD 5)
Introduction: a challenge we all face -- death!
-- eventually the grave "feeds" on us.
-- Why? We've sinned against the God who is our life.
1)  a ransom we cannot pay
2) a ransom God can pay. He has paid it!
“You know that it was not with perishable things like silver and gold
that you have been redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you 
by your fathers, but with the precious blood of Jesus Christ….”   1 Peter 1:18
"The LORD: Merciful and Just" (Exodus 34:1-8, LD 4)
Introduction: De you see the contrast/difference God's grace makes?
-- from outcasts (wretches) to redeemed
-- from drowning in misery to rescued
-- from slimy pit to solid rock
-- from death to life
-- from abandoned to loved
-- from scattered bones to living army
-- the penitent thief
1) our need: the chasm between us and God
2) where we stand with the God who is merciful and just
      -- Exodus 43:6 & 7
      -- Q/A 9  -- Is God fair to expect us to obey?
      -- Q/A 10 -- Is God just or can He let us off?
      -- Q/A 11 -- Is there hope for us? Mercy!
"The Fifth and Sixth Trumpets" (Revelation 9)
Introduction: Review...
-- warnings/trumpets sounded
-- an eagle's cry: woe, woe, woe
-- What could be worse than what trumpets 1-4 signaled?
1)  The fifth trumpet
      -- someone/someone falls to the earth
      -- the "star" makes choices -- probably Satan
      -- the plague released from the abyss
      -- the protection: sealed by God's saving grace
2)  The sixth trumpet
      -- Beyond the Euphrates River
      -- 200,000,000
      -- another lesson re: God's sovereignty
3)  The appraisal.  Still they did not repent!
"You Must Be Born Again" (Genesis 3, LD 3)
Introduction: An evening chat with Jesus. (See John 3)
-- Jesus: "You must be born again!" 
-- Nicodemus: "How can this be?"
-- Jesus: the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
-- YOU must be born again.
1) What we can and cannot fix
2) Are we (mankind) able to fix ourselves?
    -- our good Creator
    -- our own disobedience
    -- poison! Flesh gives birth to flesh!
    -- hope. What God can do!
"Go Away, Lord! For I Am a Sinful Man" (Luke 5:1-11, LD 2)
Introduction: a necessary “detour”
1) definition: elend -- banished from paradise
2) evidence: misery in Luke 5
3) truth: taught in God’s law
4) hope:  “They left everything to follow Jesus.”
"Here We Stand: on the Word of God" (2 Tim 3:16-17)
Introduction: the B-I-B-L-E! Stand alone? Yes! Let's...
-- build our lives on it
-- stand alone (if necessary) instead of conforming to world
1) an example:  Reformation Day (Oct. 31, 1517)
      -- purgatory
      -- indulgences
      -- 95 theses 
      -- justification by faith alone
      -- “Here I stand…”
2) the useful Scriptures: doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction
"Put Your Hope in the LORD" (Psalm 131, LD 1)
Introduction: The joys and fears of children
1) Things that may disquiet us
2) Clearly we need comfort = strength
3) The LORD is our comfort 
4) What we need to know
"Warning: Trumpets Begin to Sound!" (Revelation 8:6-13)
Introduction: more than music -- warnings!
-- like the "signs of the times"
-- symbols which point to what is real
1) first trumpet: a third of the land burned down
2) second trumpet: a third of the sea turned to blood
3) third trumpet: a third of fresh waters/streams made bitter
4) fourth trumpet: a third of the light gone by day and night
Woe, woe, woe! But also, "God so loved the world..." (Jn. 3:16)
"Before God's Throne" (Revelation 8:2-5)
Introduction: the seven sections of Revelation
1)  angels standing  
      -- holy of holies in heaven
      -- ready to do God’s will 
      -- Nietzsche’s ideal -- the Übermensch
      -- Gospel motivation
2)  prayers ascending
      -- encouragement
      -- heaven and earth
"Good Truths for Bad Times" (Psalm 12)
1) Bad times:
    -- worse than what David could fix
    -- "Help, LORD." 
    -- oppressed by smooth talkers
    -- boastful tongues
    -- the wicked freely strutting about
2) Good truths:
    -- Yahweh, "I AM"
    -- prayer
    -- God's salvation/help: creating space 
"Who Are These People?" (Revelation 7)
Introduction: a vision of God's glory in heaven's throne room. An interlude of
encouragement after signs of persecution and judgment day.
1) The securely sealed servants of God
     -- restraining destructive winds
     -- the seal of salvation
     -- 12,000 x 12 tribes = 144,000
2) The utterly saved people of God
    -- white robes
    -- wonderful worship
    -- out of great tribulation
"The Lamb Opens Six Seals" (Revelation 6)
Introduction: review -- the sealed scroll and the worthy Lamb of God.
1) First four seals:  the four horsemen of the apocalypse
     -- white horse -- Christ Jesus conquering to save 
     -- red and black horses -- forms of persecution
     -- pale horse -- death and hades (realm of the dead)
2) Fifth seal: cry of the martyrs
3) Sixth seal: the wrath of the Lamb
"Worthy Is the Lamb" (Revelation 5)
Introduction: praising the Creator in heaven's throne room
1) a scroll sealed with seven seals
    -- Who is worthy? 
    -- John weeps/despairs
2) the Lion who is the Lamb
     -- seven horns = all authority
     -- seven eyes = all knowledge/wisdom
     -- seven spirits = gives the Holy Spirit
3) more worship: a new song to the worthy Savior
"A Vision of God's Throne Room" (Revelation 4)
1)  a door to heaven's glory
     -- transcendence: the beyond-us-ness of God
     -- immanence: the with-us-ness of God
2)  the throne at the center 
3)  twenty four lower thrones
4)  other creatures -- covered with eyes!
5)  You are worthy
"Promises to Overcomers" (Revelation 2 & 3)
1)  Are we overcomers??
     -- nikao
     --  the Great Overcomer is Jesus  
     --  overcomers follow Him (trust/obey)
2)  Promises embedded in letters to 7 churches 
3)  Encouragement for us in the struggle: press on following Jesus!
"Like a Flourishing Olive Tree" (Psalm 52)
1) a story of treachery
2) a cry for justice
3) counting on mercy
      "But I am like an olive tree flourishing
      in the house of God. I trust in God's unfailing love
      for ever and ever." (Psalm 52:8)
"Rejoice! Your Names are Written in Heaven" (Luke 10:1-24)
1) a difficult task -- like sheep among wolves
2) miracles with a message -- Jesus is the key to the coming Kingdom
3) Satan fell like lightning
4) Nothing will harm you. See Psalm 121.
5) Sometimes the sheep are torn.
6) Written in the book of life. See Revelation 20.
"How Long? A Cry for Mercy Under Discipline" (Psalm 6)
-- a penitential psalm
-- structure: two parts. Crying to God (1-7). Praising God (8-10)
-- addressing God as YAHWEH (Great I AM)
Message: verse by verse
"Rejoice in the Lord's Righteous Reign" (Psalm 97)
Guest Pastor Stephen Wynja brought this message.
1) God's power revealed (v. 2-6)
2) The response of the wicked (v. 7)
3) The response of the righteous (v. 8-9)
4) Encouragement for the righteous (10-12)
"God Granted What He Prayed" (1 Chronicles 4:9-10)
1)  Jabez -- a person of prayer
     -- more honorable than his brothers
     -- how he got his name: Jabez = pain
     -- he kept calling out to the God of Israel
2)  What Jabez asked of God. Strength/courage to obey!
3)  What we can learn from his prayer:
       -- how much we depend on God
       -- to ask God to bless obedience, not disobedience
4)  Behold the wisdom and power of God
"An Evening Hymn of Trust" (Psalm 4)
Introduction: what is a hymn? A song about God, directed to God like a prayer!
1) Verse 1 -- David cried out to God, remembering past blessings
2) Verses 2-6a -- David gave godly advice to foes. How long will you stay on 
     a road that leads to disaster? Tremble (with respect for God) and do not sin!
3) Verses 6b-8 -- Resting in God's care, David planned on getting a good night's sleep!
"Take Hold of Life that is Real" (1 Timothy 6:17-21)
Introduction: True or false: though honestly acquired wealth is a blessing,
temptations come along with it.  TRUE!
1) the rich (and those who love riches) are tempted:
    -- to be arrogant
    -- to put their hope in wealth
2) the better way: put hope in God
    -- God provides all that is good
    -- God never fails those who trust in Him
"He Made His Wonders to be Remembered" (Psalm 111)
1) God means for us to remember His works
2) Praise to the LORD (Yahweh) the Great I AM
3) How to have truth/joy filled worship
4) Memorials 
5) A supper in remembrance of Jesus
"Godliness: What We Gain" (1 Timothy 6:1-10)
Review: What does it mean to be godly? Deep respect for God!
What about the Prosperity Gospel? What we gain:
1) purpose for daily labors
2) love for sound doctrine 
     -- matches what Jesus taught
     -- encourages godly living
3) ability to be content
"Keeping Selves Pure in the Family of God" (1 Timothy 5:21-25)
1) avoid playing favorites (v. 21)
2) don't make new believers leaders (v. 22a)
3) take care of yourself (v. 23)
4) don't forget about Judgment Day (vv. 24-25)
5) keep yourself pure (v. 22b)
"Leading Well in the Family of God" (1 Timothy 5:17-20)
Introduction: prohistemi = direct the affairs.
-- the need for love and
-- overcoming individualism
Applied to the Family of God:
-- double honor for elders
-- protect leaders from false accusations
-- public rebuke with a warning to others
-- picture a car, stuck in reverse, with no driver
"Benevolence in God's Family" (1 Timothy 5:3-16)
This message reminds us that we are not alone in life's trials. We are the family of God.
What about NEEDS? Consider the call to help widows as an example of true faith.
"Ready to Share our Hope" (1 Peter 3:8-18)
Introduction: words are important! Our calling is to reply to insults
with blessings. How are we doing these days on social media?
1) a necessary step: setting apart Jesus as Lord
2) why we have hope. 
    a) hope in our almighty Creator 
    b) hope in the God who has spoken (the Bible's unity, honesty, prophecies)
    c) hope in the risen Jesus 
"Setting Godly Examples" (1 Tim. 4:11-16)
Introduction: What to do? Work at being a GOOD servant of Christ Jesus. How?
By developing growing godliness! 
-- Command and teach? 
-- Yes, because Truth requires faith and obedience!
1) Give people something to look up to.
2) Blessed by others' godly examples.
3) Sharing this blessing.
4) The Greatest Example = Jesus Christ
5) Meshing the gears of live, love, faith, purity.
6) The foundation for it all: the Word of God.
"Give It Up and Serve" (Philippians 2:1-11)
Mr. Sam Gesch led us in worship and brought this message in having the mind of Christ
and unity in Christ which leads to serving one another as Christ humbly served us.
"Where We Put Our Hope" (1 Timothy 4:9-10)
Introduction: Called to work at something -- good servants of Christ Jesus
    -- How? Train ourselves to be godly (verse 7)
    -- Not the anxious work of legalism, but the joyful work of thanksgiving.
    -- Remember what godliness/piety is: deep respect for God.
1)   We put our hope in the LIVING God
2)  We put our hope in the God who SAVES
      -- all people -- for as long as they live
      -- especially (eternally) all who believe
“Living in God’s World” (Gen 1:1, Psa 24:1-2, 1 Chron 29:11)
Introduction: Everyone has a worldview by which we answer life's big questions.
1)  Do we see the world/life clearly? Corrective lenses required!
2)  If we exclude our Creator/Redeemer, all is meaningless
3)  The truth sets us free from distorted "-isms".
      -- secularism
      -- hedonism
      -- racism
      -- relativism
"A Good Minister/Servant of Jesus" (1 Timothy 4:6-8)
1)  a servant = diakonos
2) our good Master
3) called to be good servants, by...
     a) sharing/teaching the truth of God's Word
     b) living in the light of eternity, developing godliness
"Living In Covenant With God" (Matthew 26:28)
Before we celebrated the "covenant meal" of the Lord's Supper, we talked about
the amazing fact that God makes and keeps covenant with us, His beloved and
redeemed people, all for the sake of Jesus.
"Exalted To the Highest Place" (Psalm 110:1)
Introduction: Was Jesus the first to ascend bodily to glory? No.
-- Enoch
-- Elijah 
-- God counted as REAL the salvation He promised!
Psalm 110:1
-- David (the first "my")
-- the LORD Yahweh -- the great I AM
-- my Lord Adonay -- David's Master
-- heaven's throne room 
"I Press On..." (Philippians 3:10-14)
Introduction. The assurance of faith leads to persevering faith!
1) Paul's story
    -- BC and AD
    -- "I want to know Christ..."
    -- the power of His resurrection
    -- the fellowship of His sufferings
    -- so I press on!
2) Persevering Faith
    -- humility
    -- respect for God
    -- patience
    -- prayer
"Behaving in God's Household" (1 Timothy 3:14-16)
Introduction. Part of wisdom is matching our actions to our situation. Not like
a gold ring in a pig's snout, but like apples of gold in settings of silver.
1) our new situation -- we belong to Jesus!
2) our ongoing task -- "grow into" the robe of Christ's righteousness
3) Paul's travel plans and inspired instructions
4) If we have godly leaders must we be godly?
5) the church as assembly and pillar
6) the mystery of godliness (why we respect God)
"The Glory of the LORD" (Exo. 34:29-35; 40:34-38; 2 Cor 3:7-8)
Guest Pastor LeRoy Christoffels brought us this message, reminding us that
God revealed (and reveals) His glory...
1) in Moses' radiant face
2) in the tabernacle
3) in Christ and His Gospel
"Christ-like Leaders" (1 Timothy 3:1-13)
Introduction. The danger of ungodly leaders shows us the value of Christ-like leaders.
1) Survey of qualifications/desired qualities of...
    -- overseers (elders)
    -- deacons
    -- others who lead
2)  May this teaching not discourage us, but challenge us to grow into being
Christ-like leaders.
"What Love the Father Has Given Us!" (1 John 3:1)
This message explores the GEMS Girls club theme, that we are Loved. Period.
1) God does NOT love everyone unconditionally. Scripture proofs:
     -- the flood (Genesis 6-9)
     -- Psalm 11:4-6
     -- New Testament references to the wrath of God: Romans 1:18, Col. 3:5, Bowls of Wrath
2) So... how can we know that we are loved by God, period?
     -- add the Gospel to the statement: "For the sake of Jesus we are loved by God!"
     -- If anyone is in Christ, new creation! 
3) Our response to the Gospel -- thankful, joyful, loved and loving service
"Learning and Serving" (1 Timothy 2:11-15)
-- what we (male and female) have in common
-- no room for racism or belittling one another
-- Question: since culture has changed, do these verses no longer apply?
-- Examples and prophecy (Joel 2)
1) Women must learn!
2) In quietness (calmness) and full submission (respectfully)
3) Not to teach or have authority over a man.
4) Minimum application: teaching elder, ruling elder
5) Yet... how wide, broad and expansive are opportunities for ALL to serve
6) Do these instructions still apply?
     -- nothing in 1 Timothy 2 limits to particular time or place
     -- references to Creation, Fall and Redemption 
"The Promise of God's Presence" (Exodus 33:12-33)
Guest Pastor Leroy Christoffels brought us this message. 
1) why we need this promise
2) what God has promised
3) how we cling to this promise
"Guidance for Men and Women" (1 Timothy 2:7-9)
1)  What men and women have in common!
2)  Guidance for men -- Pray!
3)  Guidance for women -- Decorate with inner beauty!
"I AM the Way and the Truth and the Life" (John 14:6, John 18:6)
1) Trouble for the disciples; Jesus would be leaving!
2) Encouragement for the disciples
     -- "I will come to you..." (by the Spirit of Truth)
     -- "I will prepare places for you in my Father's house."
3) The Way, the Truth and the Life
4)  I AM
"I AM the Resurrection and the Life" (John 11:25-26)
Introduction: the "I AM's" -- information and promises
1) a deadly sickness = we are mortal
2) Someone greater than death
     -- able to "wake the dead"
     -- Martha, Mary and complaining faith
3) Do you believe this?
     -- That the Resurrection is a Person and not just an event?
     -- Evidence that supports our faith
"I AM the Good Shepherd" (John 10:11ff)
Introduction: Jesus' "I AM" statements and promises
1)  the good shepherd -- the "right" Person for the job
2) the proof of His goodness
     -- a hired hand cares for himself
     -- the shepherd cares for the sheep
         -- I know my sheep
         -- I lay down my life for the sheep, with power to take it up
"I AM the True Vine" (John 15:1-14)
Introduction: Jesus' identity and promises
1) the TRUE Vine and how much we need Him
2) the Gardener (God the Father and His work of pruning...
     -- dead branches cut off
     -- living branches cut back
3) an invitation and promise for all believers
"...And Don't Forget to Pray" (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
Introduction: Encouragement! (review of chapter 1)
-- God's good plan
-- God's abundant grace
1) words that describe the activity of praying
    -- requests
    -- prayers
    -- intercessions
    -- thanksgivings
2)  how broadly we may pray
    -- all mankind
    -- kings and rulers
3)  motivation -- This pleases God our Savior!
"I AM the Door" (John 10:1-10)
Introduction: a double/emphatic "amen"
1) a parable for unbelieving critics
    -- a tense conversation (John 9)
    -- an illustration: the right way to enter a sheepfold
2) a promise for believing sheep
    -- whoever
    -- pasture
    -- abundant life
"Hold On to Faith and Good Conscience" (1 Timothy 1:18-20)
Introduction: "Hold on..." not to hoard but that we might share! 
1)  hold on to faith (the God-revealed truths worth believing)
    -- guard the good deposit (2 Tim. 1:14)
    -- the Gospel I preached to you (1 Cor. 15)
    -- trustworthy sayings: the Gospel and Gospel living
2) hold on to good conscience (living for God right now)
    -- the link between trust and obey
    -- it's never a good time to let go of these things
3)  fight the good fight
    -- encouragement: God equips us, we are not powerless!
    -- warning: shipwreck! 
"I AM the Light of the World" (John 8:12, 9:1-7)
1) The setting: a trap for Jesus (John 8:1-11)
     -- giving the "light" of truth
     -- resisting the "light" of truth
2) The question: why was a man born blind?
      -- typical answers (like Job's friends)
      -- our suffering and God's glory (2 Cor 12)
3)  Jesus is the Light
      -- day and night
      -- Let's walk in the light! 
"A Testimony to God's Saving Grace" (1 Timothy 1:12-17)
Introduction: What if God asks you to do something difficult?
1)  What kept Paul keeping on serving Jesus?
     -- through many dangers, toils and snares (2 Cor. 11)
     -- God's saving grace!
2)  Paul's testimony. What made the difference in his life?
     -- before: blasphemer, persecutor, man of violence (1:13)
     -- after: saved by grace, mercy, unlimited patience of God (1:16)
3)  Applications:
     -- hope for false teachers (and us)
     -- motivation for Timothy (and us)
     -- praise to God (1:17)
"If the Tempter Has Tempted You" (1 Thes. 2:17-3:7, LD 52a)
Introduction: “…from the evil one…”
1)  personal and pastoral; the “P” in T-U-L-I-P
2) how the Tempter tempts us
      -- trials and persecution. “Is it worth it?”
      -- putting good for evil and evil for good
3)   why the Tempter tempts us
4)   how to overcome: faith and love
"Truth and Love" (1 Timothy 1:3-11 Part 2)
Introduction: Stories of faith and conforming to the Gospel.
1) Is the church a big happy family?
2) important work -- “remain” and “command”
3) speaking truth to those who were…
     -- treating the Word/Gospel like myths
     -- disrupting fellowship with endless genealogies
4) the goal of truth-speaking: love
"One Blood" (Colossians 3:11-14)
Guest preacher Sam Gesch
"Conforming to the Glorious Gospel" (1 Tim. 1:3-11 Part 1)
Introduction. To what/whom must we conform? (See Romans 12:1-2)
1)  how Timothy's story met and overlapped with Paul's
2)  a lesson for growing believers
3)  difficult but important instruction
"Prayer: Forgive as We Forgive" (1 John 2:1-14, LD 51)
Introduction: Ravensbruck. The Gospel. How to forgive? Pray!
1)  Forgiveness
       -- doesn’t approve sin or remove all consequences
       -- does allow healing in relationships
2)  Debts -- what we owe God
       -- He is our Creator
       -- He is our Judge
       -- He is our Savior
3)  Forgiving debtors 
"Family in Faith" (1 Timothy 1:1-2)
Introduction. Family: longing for a place to belong.
1) household of faith
    - brothers and sisters
    - "gaps" bridged in Christ
2) apostles (missionaries) of Christ
3) "my true son"
4) God's greeting. We can count on grace, mercy and peace!
“Prayer: Asking for Daily Bread” (Psa 104:27-29, Psa 145:15-16, LD 50)
Sermon preached before the Lord's Supper.
Introduction: What’s for dinner?
1) our many limitations and needs
2) God, the unlimited Great I AM
3) “our daily bread” = synecdoche
4) God’s open hand and living bread
"Prayer: May Your Will Be Done" (Psalm 103:19-22, LD 49)
Introduction. Capone's question: What kind of a lousy messed up world is this?
1) Fallout from MANKIND'S disobedience.
2) Good News! God's saving power!
3) "Your will be done..."
4) JOY-ful obedience
5) Angelic examples
"How Blessed We Are To Pray" (Jeremiah 29:12, et al)
Sermon preached on "Cadet Sunday" 2020 on the theme "Hi, God. It's Me!"
1) an important theme -- prayer
2) Many Bible prayers are in the thick of life's experiences. 
    -- Peter's "sinking" prayer                   -- Elijah's 7x prayer
    -- Bartimaeus' cry for mercy               -- Jonah's submarine prayer
    -- the healed beggar at the temple     -- Daniel's prayer
    -- Abraham's questioning prayer       -- thief on the cross
    -- David's overdue confession             -- pleading for Peter
3)  What about "Hi, God, it's me."?
4)  Barriers to prayer -- see Psalm 66:18, Prov. 28:9, 1 Peter 3:7
5)  Jeremiah 29
      -- the context -- sent to exiles in Babylon
      -- the comfort: God's plans (v 10-11) and His promise (v. 12)
"Woe to Those In the Way of Cain" (Jude 1:11-16)
Introduction: the kindness in strong warnings.
1) the way of Cain (Genesis 4)
2) the error (greed) of Balaam (Numbers 22-24)
3) Korah's rebellion (Numbers 16)
4) reefs (spilades) or stains (spilodes)?
5) shepherds that feed only themselves
6) clouds without rain, trees without fruit
7) wild waves and wandering stars
8) the prophecy of Enoch
"True Faith: Respecting God " (Jude 1:5-10)
-- our new identity in Christ: called, loved, kept
-- a feature of true faith: respect for God and His Word
Examples for our learning:
1) the Exodus generation that died in the desert
2) angels that rebelled and became demons
3) the people of Sodom who perished
4) the struggle between Michael and the devil
"Prayer: May Your Kingdom Come" (Psalm 9, LD 48)
Introduction: how our view of God affects the way we pray.
1)  the truth about God (Psalm 9, Psalm 46, etc.)
2)  we cry out for the fullness of God's kingdom of power
     -- the second coming of Jesus
     -- like a stone that fills the earth (Daniel 2)
3)  we seek more of God's rule of grace in our hearts
     -- intensively -- our own hearts
     -- extensively -- the growing church
"Contending for the Faith" (Jude 1:1-4)
1) the (human) author: Jude
2) those who received this letter
     -- called by the Holy Spirit
     -- loved by God the Father
     -- kept by Jesus Christ
3)  the greeting: mercy, peace and love in abundance
4)  contending with trouble in the churches
     -- using "grace" as license to sin
     -- the place of Jesus in our lives
"IF You Make God Most High Your Dwelling" (Psalm 91)
Introduction: the useful Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:16)  Fact +Faith +Feelings!
1)  Verse 1 -- facts about God the Almighty (pantokrator)
2) Verse 2 -- a personal testimony of faith 
3) Verses 3-16 -- what God is ABLE to do for us now, and will SURELY DO 
     in eternity for all who follow Jesus.
"Praise Be to the LORD Forever!" (Psalm 89)
1) The heading. A maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite
    -- a man of great wisdom
    -- a maskil -- lesson for godly living
2)  Two key words: hesed and emmunah
3)  Hebrew poetry in verse 1. Theology becomes worship!
4)  The foolishness of serving other gods
5)  Confidence in God sorely tested
    -- what God had promised (verses 16-37)
    -- what the psalmist experienced (verses 38-51)
6)  Lessons in wisdom:
    -- we may be honest with God
    -- we must cling to God's hesed (love) and emmunah (steadiness)
"Advent: God's Fullness in His Son" (Colossians 1:15-20)
Introduction: six honest, serving men! (Kipling) 
1)  Surprise! All the fullness of God in Him! 
2)  Image of the invisible God 
3)  Firstborn over all creation
4)  Fullness of God in helpless babe.
5)  He HIMSELF is before all things.  (I AM who I AM)
6)  Why? Reconciliation! 
"What an Encouraging Sign: Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:1-15)
Introduction: Have you ever been outnumbered?
1) Encouragement for the people of Judah
     -- attacked by Rezin (Syria) and Pekah (Israel)
     -- God's offer: Ask for a sign!
     -- "pious" unbelief
     -- the sign given: Immanuel
2) Encouragement for our fallen world
     -- Gabriel's message -- supernatural fulfillment
     -- God With Us -- in our flesh, full of grace and truth
"The Anointed One WILL Come!" (Daniel 9)
Introduction -- the important, faith-encouraging theme of Promise and Fulfillment.
God sent His son when the time had fully come (Galatians 4:4)
1) We see this in history in terms of:
    -- pax romana
    -- viae romana
    -- common/koine Greek
    -- widespread questioning of the gods of Greece and Rome
2) We see this in prophecy, especially in Daniel 9
    -- Background -- life experiences of Daniel
    -- need for encouragement after many years of exile
    -- insight gained from scroll of Jeremiah
    -- a heartfelt prayer of confession
    -- an interruption by angel Gabriel
    -- a vision of 70 "sevens"
    -- the first 69 "sevens" bring us to about 32 AD
"Advent: The Mighty Good News of Messiah Jesus" (Colossians 1:1-8)
Introduction: "mighty" can mean "very" or "powerful".
1) Colossians and other epistles interpret the Gospel
    -- a mystery from the beginning
    -- a mystery fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareht
2) Power to change us
    -- family of God
    -- growing all over the world
"When You Pray: Talk to Your Father" (Matthew 6 & 7, LD 46)
Introduction: The problem of heavy hands and cold hearts. Starting with God the Father...
  -- He is the source of life
  -- He graciously adopts us
  -- He cares enough to discipline us
  -- He provides for His children
  -- He welcomes us back with open arms
1) focusing our faith
2) claiming/resting in God's promises
"Prayer -- We Look to Our Lord" (Psalm 123, LD 45)
Introduction: Should we expect praying to be easy?
1)  the importance of prayer
     -- strength for the struggle (Ephesians 6)
     -- thankfulness that God requires
2)  what prayer is: simply talking to God
3)  the duty of prayer -- 1 Thessalonians 5:17
4)  praying as servants -- Psalm 123
"A Basket of Summer/Ripe Fruit" (Amos 8)
1)  “summer” fruit (end of the season)
2)  beautiful fruit (Does prosperity equal God’s favor?)
3)  rottenness in the fruit (KaYiTZ, HaKKeYTZ)
4)  The end is near!
5)  Sabbath complaints; weights and measures.
6)  darkness, not light
7)  the worst kind of famine
8)  Hold on to Gospel hope. Amos 5:6, Jeremiah 18:7-8
"The Plumb Line" (Amos 7)
Introduction: A message of warnings, with Gospel hope.
1) Visions and Amos' responses
    -- locusts -- "Sovereign LORD, forgive!"
    -- fire -- "Sovereign LORD, please stop!"
    -- a plumb line -- silence
2) Amaziah's attack 
    -- a priest at Bethel
    -- judged by the plumb line
"Woe to the Complacent" (Amos 6)
Introduction: a high tension warning; strong but needed
1) complacent = careless, misplaced trust
2) the rich and powerful tempted by riches and power
3) redirecting misplaced trust, when hedonism and secularism hold hands
    -- hedonism -- living for pleasure
    -- secularism -- living for the here and now
4) specific warnings for capital city of Samaria
5) the final word is the Gospel
"Seek the LORD and Live!" (Amos 5)
Introduction: sustained warnings and a word of life.
1) a funereal song (fallen; decimated x 9)
2) a Gospel message -- find life in God, not idols
3) a blunder at Bethel -- sinning in the name of the LORD
4) proof of repentance -- a rolling river of justice
"Oh, How I Love God's Law!" (Psalm 119:97-104, Q/A 114-115)
Introduction: Would you write a poem/song of thanks for God's law? 
Hopefully "yes" because God's law is so very useful!
1)  Psalm 119:98-100
    -- enemies (wiser)
    -- teachers (more insight)
    -- elders (more understanding)
2)  Uses of God's law
    -- useful like a mirror (James 1 & Romans 7)
    -- useful like a tutor (Galatians 3:24)
    -- useful like a map/compass (John 14:15)
"Desiring Our Neighbor's Good" (Ex 20:17, Deut 5:21, Q/A 113)
Introduction: Either wanting for ourselves our neighbor's good or wanting
what is good for our neighbors. 
1) comparing Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5
    -- synonyms -- HaMaD and 'aWaH
    -- different order -- house and wife vs wife and house
2) created to rest in God's providence
    -- adults and children
    -- an extreme example of disobedience: Ahab and Naboth
3) choosing to be content
4) confronting what is in our hearts
"The Lion Has Roared" (Amos 3)
Introduction. In review -- the "spiraling" message from God.
-- for three sins, even four
-- Are we comfortable with our sins?
-- Grace even in strong, stern wake-up calls.
1)  a reminder from Israel's past (covenant history)
2) a series of questions (cause and effect, foreshadowing)
3) another word of warning --  Do we want to be "saved" like retrieving a bone or ear?
"Who Needs A Savior? We do!" (Amos 1 & 2)
Introduction: The prophet Amos...
-- a shepherd/farmer
-- prophesied circa 760-755 BC
-- sent from Judah (Tekoa near Jerusalem) to Israel
-- not a professional prophet on king's payroll
1)  For three sins, even four -- confronting an abundance of guilt
2) Sins of surrounding nations
3) God's covenant people in the cross-hairs
4) Grace in warnings: Seek the LORD and live! (Amos 5:4 & 6) 
"Do This In Remembrance of Me" (1 Cor. 11:23-26)
A message given along with celebration of the Lord's Supper. Things to ponder:
1) How does it feel to be forgotten?
2) Will God ever forget us who follow Jesus?
3) Is it possible for us to forget God?
4) The value of remembering our Savior.
"From Stealing to Sharing" (Ephesians 4:17-32; LD 42)
Introduction: What is stealing? How do we avoid legalism?
1) Dying to greed
    -- steal(th). "Differing weights..."
    -- greed = lack of love
    -- Will a person rob God? Malachi 3:8
2)  Coming alive to generosity
    -- real change: example -- Zacchaeus
    -- the joy of giving
"Keeping the Temple Clean" (Matt 5:27-30, 1 Cor 6:12-20, LD 41)
-- This topic is very personal.
-- This topic might stir old feelings of guilt. But we're looking to the future!
-- The Gospel applies 100%. 1 John 1:9
1)  1 Corinthians 6    Good News and Godly Advice
    -- good news for our bodies
        -- members of Christ
        -- temples of the Holy Spirit (hieron or naos)
        -- washed, sanctified, justified
    -- godly advice: Keep the temples clean!
        -- everything is permissible??? (Plato)
        -- not everything is beneficial
2)  Matthew 5
     -- letter and spirit of 7th commandment
     -- looking lustfully = adultery in one's heart
     -- Do something about it!
"Three Miraculous Months on Malta" (Acts 28:1-10)
Introduction: Safely on shore and promises kept.
1)  experiencing hospitality
2)  responding to critics
3)  glorying in miracles
"Devoted In Brotherly Love" (Matt 5:21-26, Rom. 12:9-21, LD 40)
Introduction:  "At least I haven't murdered anyone!"
1)  the "letter" and "spirit" of the law
     -- the letter: Cain and Abel, etc.
     -- the spirit  Sermon on the Mount -- progression from anger to Hraca! to You fool!
2)  the heart of the matter
     -- serious soul searching
     -- choices we make
3)  What to do? Devoted in brotherly love, overcome evil with good!
"During the Storm He Gave Thanks" (Acts 27:27-28:1)
Introduction: On Paul's journey to Rome, a violent storm at sea!
Hope/comfort was needed and supplied.
1) adrift in the "Adriatic" Sea
2) approaching land
3) abandon ship???
4) breaking bread and giving thanks
5) trusting God's promises
6) bearing witness with hope
"Jesus Was Obedient to Them" (Luke 2:41-52, LD 39)
-- God is good and He calls us to reflect His goodness in relationships.
-- God our Creator has the right to define what is good and how He rules over us.
1) our Savior's example -- the fifth commandment
    -- childhood
    -- adulthood
2) authority -- how God rules over us
3) patience -- with imperfect parents, teachers, etc.
4) above all -- obedience to God
"But We Must Run Aground" (Acts 27:1-26)
Introduction: For Paul, two years of injustice were spent in prison but not wasted.
He appealed to Rome, but relied on Providence.
In this message we find part of the voyage from Caesarea to Rome.
-- the first ship and its passengers (Caesarea to Myra)
-- the second ship and its passengers (Myra to ????)
"A Sabbath Rest For God's People" (Hebrews 4:1-12, LD 38)
1) God's Authority. The Creator rules over His creatures.
2) Christ's Victory. From old to new covenant.
3) Eternal Rest. We enter it by faith.
     -- in eternity we will never, ever sin
     -- something to "grow into" even now.
"At the Table Like a Son of the King" (2 Samuel 9)
Introduction: Why do we (dare) come to the Lord's Table? Consider the
story of David and Mephibosheth.
1) Personal Losses
2) Lingering Fears
3) Covenant Blessings
"Doing Favors or Doing Justice" (Acts 25:1-22)
Introduction -- A Challenge: trusting God through long-term injustices. See Luke 18:1ff.
1)  a frustrating situation -- in the custody of Felix for two years
2)  a new official: Porcius Festus
    -- more false charges
    -- more doing favors
3)  a bold/daring move -- appealing to Caesar Nero
4)  a visit from Agrippa II and Bernice
"Coming Alive to the Wonder of God's Name" (Psalm 99, LD 36)
Introduction: The commandments and Christian living. Dying and coming alive!
Putting off profaning and putting on praising God's name.
1)  What God is like
    -- Creator
    -- Savior
2)  Using God's name
     -- not conforming to the world
    -- loving God by confessing, praying, praising
"I am God; there is None Like Me" (Isaiah 46; Q/A's 95-98)
Introduction: the differentness (i.e. holiness) of God.
1) Why the second commandment?
    -- so the Israelites would be different?
    -- because the LORD God is different! He is the Creator!
2) Why we tend to break this commandment.
3) Isaiah 46: the LORD God vs. idols. He will carry you!
4) Application: what to do if God seems to be "shrinking"
"Serving the God Who Saved Us" (Deuteronomy 5:22-33, LD 34)
1)  Observations
     -- commandments or suggestions
     -- Jesus kept the 10 commandments for us!
     -- the Christian life as dying and coming alive
2)  The first commandment:
     -- dying to gods that cannot save
     -- coming alive to God our Savior
"They Conspire to Take My Life" (Acts 23:12-35)
Introduction: Has anyone ever plotted to harm/kill you?
1) a plot sealed with a vow
2) a plot exposed by Paul's nephew
3) a plot overcome by God's providence
'Take Courage and Testify" (Acts 23:1-11)
Introduction: Paul's troubles in Jerusalem
-- a meeting with the Sanhedrin
    -- hope of the resurrectin
    -- a "low" high priest -- Ananias
    -- a house divided
-- a visit from the Lord Jesus
    -- take courage
    -- you will testify
"Doing What is Good" (Titus 3:1-8, Q/A 91)
We rely on the Good Work of Jesus as we do good works!
1) Three lessons from Titus
    --  chapter 1 -- we were unfit, but now fit for doing good
     -- chapter 2 -- groups in the church need to learn from examples of doing good
     -- chapter 3 -- born again to devote selves to doing good
2)  But how do we know what is good? 
"Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is Near" (Isaiah 55:1-7, Matt 4:17, Q/A 87-90)
1) Word study -- shuv & metanoia
2) Calls to repent
3) Examples of repentance
4) How this applies to us
"Our Citizenship is In Heaven" (Acts 22:25-30)
Introduction: What a difference the Gospel makes! (Philippians 3)
1)  trouble from two sides
    -- a mob that wanted to kill Paul
    -- a commander who meant to torture Paul
2)  invoking rights as a citizen of Rome
    -- not always, for example, not at Philippi (Acts 16)
    -- on this occasion, so that Gospel work might continue 
"He Returned and Thanked Jesus" (Luke 17:11-19, HC Q/A 86)
Introduction:  What's our motivation? Fear or love?
1) ten men and their great need
2) the Savior who is merciful
3) the one who came to give thanks
"Paul's Testimony/Apology" (Acts 22:1-24)
1) situation -- Paul faced a tough, hostile audience
2) opportunity -- Paul defended the faith (apologia)
3) story -- Paul spoke of Someone real who really changed him
4) trouble -- when Paul mentioned being sent to the nations (Gentiles)
"May God's Will Be Done" (Acts 21:14-40)
1.  Spirit-given warnings
2.  trusting God's providence
3.  kind hospitality
4.  warm fellowship
5.  dangerous rumors
6.  faithful witness
"Christ Lives in Me!" (Galatians 2:20)
1)  a puzzle: How can the ascended Jesus be with us?
     -- the two natures of Christ
     -- He is seated above and is never absent from us!
2)  a battle: How can we overcome Satan's lies?
3)  a mystery: How are we united with Christ
       -- legally
       -- organically/vitally
       -- covenantally
"Ready to Live; Ready to Die" (Acts 21:1-14)
Introduction: this text describes the last part of Paul's 3rd missionary journey.
1)  Tearing selves away
2)  Real historical places
3)  Gifts of prophecy
4)  Prepared for hardship
"Keys of the Kingdom -- Part II" (Mat 18:15-20; Luke 15:1-6; Ld 31b)
Introduction: Christian discipline is personal application of the Word of God
to help us become more like Jesus. That's positive, not negative!
1)  we all need discipling/discipline (we're trainees who need training)
2)  some resist discipline
3)  some accept discipline 
"Our Message: Turn to God and Have Faith in Jesus" (Acts 20:13-38)
Introduction: the encouraging miracle at Troas, and the journey to Miletus
where Paul met the elders from church at Ephesus.
1)  Paul's testimony
     -- I came as a servant and with tears
     -- I had to deal with plots against me
     -- I taught the same message to everyone
2)  Paul's challenge/encouragement
      -- commending to God's grace
      -- deflecting criticism re: greed
      -- sorting priorities
"Encouragement to the People!" (Acts 20:1-12)
Introduction: the power of encouragement.
1) travels and troubles
2) Is it worth it to follow Jesus?
     -- the hostile world
     -- the imperfect church
     -- our imperfect selves
3)  Gospel encouragement -- see 2 Corinthians 4
4)  The collection for Judean Christians
5)  a plot and change of plans
6)  encouragement at Troas
"You Will Not Not be Put to Shame" (1 Peter 2:4-8)
Introduction: not + not = good news!
1) descriptions of faith
     -- coming to Jesus
     -- relying on Jesus -- the Great Promise Keeper
2) a note of warning
3) confidence in Christ
"Coming to, Built on, and Serving Christ" (1 Peter 2:4-6)
This message is from the 75th Anniversary of Luverne CRC.
1.  Coming to Jesus (not just to the idea of Jesus, but to Jesus Himself)
2.  Built on Jesus. He is the Living Stone (Cornerstone) who makes us living stones.
3.  Serving Christ. He builds the church... and calls us to work with Him.
"The 'Dangerous' Word of God" (Acts 19:20-41)
Introduction: Do you love or hate the Word of God? Do you see the Bible as
a treasure or as a threat/danger?
1) the Word's growing power
2) Paul's ministry/travel plans
3) the world's loud opposition
"Our Confidence: God will Finish what He Began In You" (Phil 1:1-6, Canons on Perseverance)
Introduction: does the "P" in TULIP for stand for Perseverance of Preservation or both?
1) Perseverance
     -- picture a marathon. It takes perseverance to get to the finish line.
     -- Scriptures about "standing firm" and "not falling away"
         (Matthew 10:22, 24:12-13, Rom. 2:7, Heb. 10:36, Hebrews 6)
     -- can we be confident that we will persevere?
2) Preservation
     -- Arminius' students -- Only a few, who have extra revelations, can be sure.
     -- teachings from the Canons, Heading 5
         -- to have assurance, fully rely on God. He is faithful!
         -- the chain God makes will not be broken (Romans 8:38-39, Romans 8:29-30)
         -- our duty: make use of the tools God has given us (means of grace)
         -- the importance of God's promises: Phil. 1:6, John 10
"Jesus' Name was Highly Honored" (Acts 19:13-20)
Introduction: the M.I.P. (Most Important Person) in the story -- and our lives!
1)  a bridge (verses 11-12) -- extraordinary powers
2)  angels and demons -- Are they real if we can't see/touch them?
3) Sceva's seven sons -- used Jesus' name without believing
4) a bonfire in honor of Jesus 
"All of this is From God" (Matt. 13:1-23, 2 Cor 5:17-18) Canons of Dort on Irresistible Grace
Introduction: TULIP -- Doctrines of Sovereign Grace
-- God has to do the saving!
-- Example -- Ezekiel 37. "Can these bones live?"
-- The soil that yields a harvest
1)  The "I" in Tulip -- "Irresistible Grace"
     -- God never fails to bring to salvation anyone whom He, in love, has chosen.
     -- The story of Saul of Tarsus. 
2)  Bible truths expounded by Synod of Dort
3)  The witness of 2 Cor. 5:18
4)  Nothing to Boast in but the Cross (Galatians 6:14)
"The Way of God's Kingdom" (Acts 19:8-12)
Introduction. Paul's missionary travels; disciples of John who became disciples of Jesus.
1)  persuasive preaching about the kingdom of God
     -- power
     -- grace. What is our calling? To make visible the invisible rule of God in our hearts.
2)  trash talk about "the Way"
3)  Christ builds the church!
     -- "everyone" in Asia heard the Gospel
     -- miracles/powers. What God did through Paul's hands and linen cloth Paul handled.
"The Atoning Sacrifice for Our Sins" (1 John 4:9-14) Canons of Dort on Limited Atonement
Introduction: the "L" in T.U.L.I.P.  This builds on the "T" (total depravity)
and the "U" (uncondititional election).
1)  Summarizing the Scriptures -- statements from Synod of Dort 
2)  The issue: what did Jesus set out to do and accomplish when He went 
      to the cross. Four possibilities.
3)  How the Scriptures describe what Jesus "finished" on the cross
4)  A Savior who really saves! Just what we need:
      -- hilasmos -- at-one-ment
      -- for the "world"
5)  Pastoral advice:
      -- don't waste time wondering if you're among the elect
      -- do stand in awe of God, who has the power to save sinners
      -- do believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and joyfully serve Him
"Chosen in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3-14) Canons of Dort on Unconditional Election
[Note: the last couple of minutes of the audio of this message were cut off.]
Introduction. Four hundred years ago (1618-19). The Synod and Canons of Dort. 
Taking seriously the the TOTAL fall of Adam and Eve, we see that salvation has 
to be sola gratia, by grace alone.
1)  Summarizing the Bible -- statements from Dort
      -- bad news: all people fell in Adam
      -- God is under no obligation to save anyone
      -- good news: from eternity God chose to save some/many fallen sinners
2)  Election and Predestination -- truths to celebrate
3)  The problem with "conditional election"
      -- we make choices every day, but not free from our fallen desires
      -- we would not choose to believe had God not first chosen us
      -- so when we witness professions of faith, we give all the glory to God
"Our NEED for Saving Grace" (John 3:1-21, Canons of Dort on Total Depravity)
Introduction -- lessons from history
-- Pelagius vs Augustine on original sin
-- Semi-Pelagianism vs the Reformers
-- Arminius' students vs. the Synod of Dort (1618-19)
    -- five points of the Remonstrants
    -- five points of Dort -- TULIP
1)  What Jesus said to Nicodemus 
     -- flesh gives birth to flesh
     -- you must be born again
2)  How much of Adam and Eve sinned? 
      -- their total selves
      -- what we inherited
      -- John 3 -- "darkness" needs "light"
"Remember and Believe" (John 6:25-59; LD 28)
Introduction. The Lord's Supper is filled with meaning!
1)  Believing Hearts -- John 6:54  "Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood
      has eternal life."
2)  Beloved Bride -- Ephesians 5:30. "...the two become one flesh... Christ and
      the church."
3)  Blessed Body -- Ephesians 5:29. Christ feeds and cares for the church,
      "...for we are members of His body."
"Count Our Days" (Psalm 90)
Mr. Sam Gesch brought this message based on Psalm 90. 
Do we want heart-level wisdom? How can we receive it?
We can learn a lot from this psalm of Moses.
"Journeys of Faith" (Acts 18:23-28)
1)  Paul's journey to "strengthen the believers"
     -- what things may weaken our commitment to follow Jesus?
     -- trials/persecution. Is it worth it to follow Jesus?
     -- secularism. All that matters is the here and now.
2)  Apollos' journey in the faith
     -- a strange name for a Jewish man
     -- highly educated, with thorough knowledge of the Scriptures
     -- zeal for Messiah Jesus
     -- more instruction needed
     -- serving in Achaia/Corinth
     -- a co-worker for Christ
"Questions about the Baptism that Saves You" (1 Peter 3:18-22, LD 26-27)
1) How does baptism remind/assure you that Christ's sacrifice is for you personally?
2) What does it mean to be washed with Christ's blood and Spirit?
3) Where does Christ promise us these things?
4) Does outward washing with water save you?
5) Why does the Spirit call baptism the washing of regeneration and washing away of sins?
6) Should infants be baptized?
7) How can floodwaters picture baptism, which in turn pictures salvation?
"Iron Sandals and Daily Strength" (Deut. 33:24-29)
Introduction:  Before he climbed Mt. Pisgah/Nebo and died, Moses blessed
the Israelites.
1)  For all the tribes:
     -- verses 1-5 -- remember and give thanks
     -- verses 26-29 -- trust God for the future
         -- challenges -- high places to trample
         -- comfort -- "underneath are everlasting arms"
2)  For the tribe of Asher
      -- verse 24 -- fellowship in unequal prosperity (feet in oil)
      -- verse 25 -- sandals of iron and strength for days
"We Have Come to Worship Him" (Matthew 2:1-11)
1)  a sign in the heavens
     -- seen by Magi
     -- journeying in its light
2)  trouble in Jerusalem
      -- Herod the Great
      -- other leaders
3)  prophecy in Micah fulfilled
4)  worship and warnings
5)  lessons to be learned
"Mary and the Holy Son of God" (Luke 1:26-38)
1)  Promise (Isaiah 9:6) and fulfillment
     -- Son of the Most High God
     -- Kingdom of Peace (shalom)
2)  Why Mary??
     -- providence: time, family tree, marital status, gender
     -- Why else?
         -- She was "troubled" by Gabriel's unexpected greeting.
         -- Was she immaculately conceived, so that Jesus would be
             born without sin?
             -- the Lord is with you
             -- God my Savior
3)  Mary's son/Holy Son of God
4)  True, curious faith
"The Light Who Gives Light" (John 1:9-13)
1) Two kinds of light
2) True light gives life
3) Coming into the world
4) Known and unknown
5) Fact and promise: children of God
"I Have Many People In This City" (Acts 18:1-11)
1)  Corinth -- a wicked and needy city
     -- its strategic location
     -- it's "sin-city" reputation
2)  Paul's ministry at Corinth
     -- teaching in the synagogue
     -- tent-making coworkers: Aquila and Priscilla
     -- strong opposition and strong warning
     -- saving grace: Crispus -- what he lost but gained
     -- "I have many people..."
     -- How can we reach people in non-family-friendly places?
"Bearing Witness to the Light" (John 16-8, 15-34)
1) Timing
2) Testimony
3) Truth and true faith
4) Prophet
5) Prepare
6) Pointing to Jesus: 
      -- He outranks me
      -- He is the Lamb of God
"Making Known the Unknown God" (Acts 17:15-34)
Introduction. Paul's time in Athens, waiting for Silas and Timothy.
1)  Very religious but very lost
2)  Epicureans and Stoics
      -- Epicurus (BC 341-270) and the pursuit of happiness
          -- physical pleasures and inner peace
          -- the gods don't care
      -- Stoics. Zeno (BC 333-264) and the painted porch
          -- follow nature (nature is god, god is nature)
          -- common sense: how to treat each other
3)  The Gospel -- to make known the "unknown" God
      -- the Creator
      -- God's works of providence
      -- Judgment Day
      -- repent and be saved
"Advent: In the Beginning..." (John 1:1-5)
Introduction:  When did the Christmas story begin?  
1)  In the beginning
      -- there was only God, but not a lonely God
      -- God's free and gracious works: creation and salvation
2)  Survey says....
      -- True or false: Jesus is the first and greatest being created by God.
      -- Nicene Creed 
3)  Word, Life, Light 
"By Grace, Through Faith" (Ephesians 2:1-10, LD 25)
Introduction: Faith -- like reaching out to God.
1)  With empty hands to receive salvation/forgiveness (Eph 2:1-9)
      -- we were the living dead
      -- we were in step with Satan/world
      -- but God was merciful to us
      -- made alive with Christ
      -- trophy cases
2)  With full hands to offer thanks/obedience (Eph. 2:10)
      -- time for growing faith (sanctification)
      -- blessed with means of grace (Word and sacraments)
"Eagerly they Searched the Scriptures" (Acts 17:10-15)
Introduction:  teaching the Gospel from the Scriptures
1)  onward to Berea
2) prophecies fulfilled: Messiah's rising from the dead
     -- Isaiah 53:10-11
     -- Job 19:25-26
     -- Jonah
3)  noble-minded Bereans
4)  learning from their example as we follow Jesus
"Bearing the Fruit of Gratitude" (John 15, Lord's Day 24)
Introduction: The many "facets" of salvation. By grace!
1)  Does this teach us to be lazy and indifferent?
      Ephesians, Revelation 2 & 3, Matthew 5, Titus 3, Romans 12, John 15
2)  Some have opposed justification by faith alone
3)  What's your motivation -- fear or gratitude?
4)  Not able not to bear fruit!
"This Jesus is the Messiah" (Acts 16:34-17:10)
1)  The "untying" of a story -- denouemont
      -- invoking rights and/or suffering for Jesus
      -- encouraging new believers
2)  On to Thessalonica
      -- providence and the Via Egnatia
      -- a leading city
      -- Scripture teaching (suffering and rising)
      -- two results
"Facing Eternity with an Abundance of Comfort" (Isaiah 55; Q/A 58)
Introduction: we now live between the "times"
1)  Already -- blessings we now enjoy
2)  Not Yet -- the best is yet to come
      -- "today" we live by faith
      -- "someday" the shadows will disappear
      -- better than what the world can give us
      -- He who promised is faithful
"Seller of Purple Given White Robe!" (Acts 16:11-15)
1)  From Troas to Philippi
2)  Down by the riverside
3)  The Lord opened her heart
4)  Household washed in Jesus' name
5)  Hospitality and learning
"As You Are Going Make Disciples" (Matt 28:16-20)
Guest speaker Mr. Sam Gesch brought this message from Matthew 28, reminding us 
that the church is still called to make disciples.
"With You There Is Forgiveness" (Psalm 130, Q/A 56)
Introduction:  Forgiveness is REAL, but with God it's not simple.
1)  It's complicated!
      -- who God is
          -- Holy, Holy, Holy
          -- righteous Lawgiver/Creator and Judge
      -- Exodus 34. Forgiving wickedness, yet leaving no guilt unpunished.
2)  It's real!
      -- because of Christ's atonement
      -- Psalm 130 -- terrifying becomes comforting
      -- a gift received to be shared
"When You Meet Together" (1 Cor. 11:17-34, Q/A 54, 55)
Introduction: What is the church? kahal, ekklesia -- worldwide and local.
Membership has its privileges and duties!
1)  a problem at Corinth -- not discerning the body of Christ
     -- groups
     -- "love" feasts
     -- a pattern of put-downs
2)  a solution for Corinth -- discern the body of Christ
      -- attitudes and actions in the family of God
      -- questions worth asking
"Timothy and the Man of Macedonia" (Acts 16:1-10)
1)  Paul and Barnabas agreed, strongly disagreed; but the work continued
2)  Paul and Silas -- came to Lystra, Derbe, etc., with GOOD NEWS!
3)  a new co-worker, Timothy
      -- a young disciple
      -- a convert who knew to expect persecution
      -- willing to "become all things" in order to reach others
4)  guidance from the Holy Spirit
      -- doors closed
      -- the Man of Macedonia; appointments to keep
"Encouragement for ALL Believers" (Acts 15:28-41)
1)  Good news for ALL -- God justifies sinners!
2)  Godly guidance for ALL -- avoid idolatry and porneia.
3)  Growing fellowship for ALL -- deep and wide
4)  God's purposes prevail
      -- dispute and division
      -- two (not one) missionary teams!
      -- eventual reconciliation
"Shining Light into Darkness" (John 3:16-21)
Introduction:  Abuse awareness Sunday. Why talk about abuse?
1)  The value of shining light/truth into darkness
2)  Abuse is often done and kept in the dark
      -- abusers want to hide their crimes
      -- conspiracies of silence
3)  Anyone uncomfortable?
4)  Goals: repentance and healing. You don't have to suffer in silence.
      -- isolation
      -- challenges to faith
5)  Hope for all in Christ
"You Will Do Well to Avoid These Things" (Acts 15:22-35)
Introduction: the controversy at Antioch and the meeting at Jerusalem.
No burden for new believers! Yet guidance for godly living.
1) avoid food offered to idols (the pollution of idolatry)
2) avoid meat of strangled animals/blood (mysticism/spiritism)
3) avoid fornication -- porneia -- which can be a physical as well as spiritual addiction.
"We Wait For His Coming" (Phil. 3:20-21, LD 19)
Introduction. Citizens on earth; yet our citizenship is in heaven!
-- Nebuchadnezzar's dream
-- Daniel's friends
Jesus is coming to judge "the living and the dead"!
1) to condemn God's enemies to destruction
2) to bring the elect to glory
3) to silence all who accuse God of injustice
"I Am Going There...For You" (John 14:1-20, LD 18)
Introduction:  Why did Jesus wait 40 days before ascending?
  -- to give His followers many convincing proofs (tekmerioi)
  -- eyewitness testimony in writing and in living/suffering/dying
1)  Jesus' parting from us isn't permanent (14:3)
2)  Jesus' absence from us isn't absolute (14:13-14)
3)  Jesus left to send us and important Gift (14:16-17)
"No Distinction Between Us and Them (Acts 15:1-21)
1) contradiction: Paul and Barnabas vs. teachers from Judea
2) on the way "up" to Jerusalem
3) discussion and Spirit-led decision:
      -- the party of the Pharisees
      -- Peter and Paul
      -- the decision James announced:
          -- no burden for Gentile believers
          -- for ways ALL believers can be different from the world
"The Power that Raised Jesus" (Gal. 2:20, Eph 1:15ff, LD 17)
Introducton: the same power that raised Jesus is for us!
-- real power!
-- energeia, kratos, ischus
1) our risen Savior shares His righteousness with us.
2) the power that raised Jesus unites us with Him.
3) this guarantees that God can/will raise us too.
"Gospel Power at Iconium" (Acts 14:1-7)
1) surprising joy (13:52)
2) bold speaking (14:1-3)
3) intense division (14:4-5)
4) ongoing ministry (14:6-7)
"Is This Joseph's Son?" (Luke 4:14-30; LD 14)
1)  Confusion in Nazareth
    -- Scriptures fulfilled
     -- how the poeople of Nazareth knew Jesus
2)  New Wine calls for New Wineskins
    -- What if the people of Nazareth were right?
    -- It takes a holy Savior to make us holy
3)  Confronting unbelief
    -- "Physician, heal yourself."
    -- a holy Savior for unholy sinners
"On to Antioch: Good News and Sovereign Grace" (Acts 13:13-52)
1) further travels to Antioch of Pisidia
2) faithful preaching
     -- encouraging because God-centered
     -- history is His story
     -- what God accomplished by raising Jesus from the dead (justification)
3)  mixed responses
     -- some believed; others didn't
     -- but all appointed to eternal life were saved
"He Believed, Amazed at the Teaching about the Lord" (Acts 13:1-12)
1)  messengers sent by church and Spirit
2) Gospel preaching on Cyprus
3) dark spiritual opposition
4) believing the amazing teaching
"Jesus is Lord. Is He Your Lord?" (Rom. 10:6-13; LD 13b)
Introduction:  What would it be like to live as a slave?
1)  the Apostles' joyful confession -- doulos of Jesus Christ
2)  Good News! Jesus is Lord!
      -- Acts 2 -- God raised Jesus, making Him Lord and Christ
      -- At the Father's right hand, Lord over "every square inch"
3)  Is Jesus your Lord?
      -- baptism as mark of ownership
      -- Why do you call Me, "Lord, Lord"?
      -- confessing/believing that Jesus is Lord 
"Jesus: God's One-of-a-Kind Son" (John 3:16-21, Gal. 3:26ff, LD 13a)
1)  What makes Jesus the unique Son of God?
      -- supernatural conception / parthenogenesis
      -- eternal oneness with the Father and Holy Spirit
          -- objection by Arius: a time when the Son was not
          -- the church's teaching at Nicea: no time when the Son was not
2)  How is it that we are called God's children?
      -- God saves us through the Son, adopting us as "sons"
      -- God's love -- gives us a share in the family inheritance
3)  Steps of Faith
"Rescued from Herod's Clutches" (Acts 12)
Introduction:  the Herods -- a tangled family tree
1)  politics at their worst (and evidence that the Gospel is true)
2)  prayers to the Great King
3)  the God who is able to rescue and destroy
      -- an angel from God -- Peter released
      -- an angel from God -- Agrippa struck down
"Anointed" (Messiah, Christ) Isa 61:1-3; Luke 4:14-21; LD 12
Introduction: an example of promise and fulfillment.
1) mashach = Messiah, chrien = Christ; both mean Anointed
2) a visit to Nazareth
3) an everyday activity with symbolic meaning
4) Messiah's work:
     -- good news for poor
     -- bind up brokenhearted
     -- jubilee
     -- comfort
     -- beauty and gladness
5) What makes us Christians? Sharing the anointing!
"Believing IN and Trusting Jesus" (Mat 1:18f, Heb. 7:23f; Lord's Day 11)
Introduction: Steps in the journey of faith. First, that God the Father exists; then that He is trustworthy. 
This is also true of faith in the Son of God.
1)  His personal name and what it means: Jesus 
     -- given by God
     -- the hope and longing of the prophets 
     -- the Messiah's mission 
2)  There is a Savior! Do we really need Him? Do we believe and trust Him?
3)  A challenge to our faith.
      -- Some allege that Jesus of Nazareth is a myth.
      -- the testimony of extra-Biblical history
4)  Let us take the steps of faith, when we hear the invitation, "Come to Me..."
"Trusting Your Heavenly Father" (Mat. 10:26-31, LD 10)
Introducton: In the journey of faith we have to move from believing IN God to TRUSTING Him.
1) trusting God in this sad (fallen) world
    -- tempted to murmur/complain
    -- how Jesus sent the disciples: power, problems, promise: "You are worth more
        than many sparrows."
2) providence and the problem of evil
    -- a humbling teaching. We are always dependent on God.
    -- an encouraging teaching. God's wisdom and our future.
"It is True: God Does Not Show Favoritism" (Acts 10)
1.  Cornelius and what he needed
2.  Peter and what he needed
3.  what the church needs to know
"He is My Chosen Instrument/Vessel" (Acts 9:1-19)
Introduction: Saul was an unbeliever who put his beliefs into action.
Was he beyond the reach of God's saving grace?
1)  Confrontation -- a supernatural light and voice
      -- "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?"
      -- "Wh0 are you, Lord?"
2)  Revelation: "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting."
      -- The I AM -- risen, ascended and reigning.
      -- Pride demolished; hope begun.
3)  Vocation -- called to carry (instrument/vessel) the Gospel
"He Went On His Way Rejoicing" (Acts 8:26-40)
Introduction: the pattern of the Great Commission fulfilled in the Book of Acts.
From Jerusalem and Judea to Samaria and to the Ends of the Earth.
1)  a Gentile from Ethiopia
      -- keeper of the treasury
      -- a eunuch
      -- a seeker (whom God was seeking)
2)  a dialog with Philip
      -- Philip: Do you understand what you are reading?
      -- Eunuch: "Why shouldn't I be baptized?"
3)  a life renewed -- "...on his way rejoicing...."
"Gospel Power, Not Magic" (Acts 8:5-25)
Introduction:  Magic/Sorcery -- interesting stories; strong warnings!
1)  Simon -- a great sorcerer who was far from God's kingdom
2)  Philip -- brought Gospel truth/power for salvation
3)  Samaria -- another Pentecost!
4)  Peter -- gave correction for Simon to grow in faith
5)  Gospel Power -- yields humble service
"Scattered But Not Destroyed" (Acts 8:1-8)
1)  violent unbelief (Stephen stoned; believers persecuted)
2)  deep mourning (godly men buried Stephen)
3)  Gospel witness (as believers scattered they spoke of Jesus)
4)  great rejoicing (Gospel power among the Samaritans)
"Whoever Believes Has Life" (John 3:26-36, Lord's Day 7)
Introductions: There are two "Adams". Their choices, in their roles, affect others!
-- The first Adam (with Eve) is "head" of all who are "in" him.
-- The second/last Adam (Jesus) is "head" of all who are "in" Him."
1)  How many are in the first Adam? All mankind.
2)  How many are in the second Adam (Jesus)?  All who believe on Him. 
3)  Why we keep sounding the call to believe on Jesus Christ. 
"I See Jesus at God's Right Hand" (Acts 6:8-7:60)
  1. Stephen -- a believer who relied on/was filled with the Holy Spirit
  2. Opposition -- unbelievers who relied on Jewish heritage and rejected Jesus.
  3. Testimony -- a pattern in covenant history and the story of Jesus
  4. Murder -- stoned by a teeth-gnashing mob
  5. Vision -- "I see Jesus"
"The Gospel Tells Me So" (1 Timothy 2:4-6, HC Lord's Day 6)
Introduction: an ad offers future perfect skin. God promises something much better.
1)  Gospel = good news euangelion
     -- compared to the bad news (fall, misery, hell)
     -- we see the goodness of the good news
2) Four potential ways of salvation 
     -- save ourselves
     -- other kinds of creatures/spirits save us
     -- other fallen people save us
     -- God Himself saves us
3)  Keeping it simple
4)  The Gospel tells us so (all along!)
"I Am the Resurrection and the Life" (John 11:25-26)
This message is from our recent Sunrise Service. Jesus' claim to have power
to raise the dead and give eternal life is good news -- but only if it's true! 
"As the Word of God Spread..." (Acts 6:1-7)
1)  a complaint -- some were being neglected
2) a new committee -- to wait on "tables"
3) a wonderful development -- priests obeying the faith
"Hosanna to Messiah Jesus!" (John 12:1-19)
Introduction. Jesus visited Jerusalem many times. So why was there so much
excitement/celebration on Palm Sunday?
1)  a dinner in the town of Bethany (verses 1-11)
     -- who hosted it and why
     -- gratitude shown in several ways
     -- Did expensive perfume go to waste?
2)  the procession to Jerusalem (verses 12-19)
     -- "Hosanna" as a cry for help
     -- "Hosanna" as a shout of praise
"Lifted Up to Die" (John 19:28-37)
Introduction:  In the trial and death of Jesus we see that "mankind" is has become "man-unkind."
Two of Jesus' sayings on the cross:
1)  I thirst
     -- a symptom of crucifixion, which went beyond capital punishment
     -- part of God's plan from eternity
     -- the Thirsty One and our sins
2)  It is finished
      -- reaching a goal, paid in full forever
      -- a word of victory both for Jesus and for us
"We Preach Christ Crucified" (John 19:17-27)
1)  the way to Golgotha 
      -- a path of suffering
          -- He humbled Himself (Philippians 2)
          -- Man of Sorrows (Isaiah 53)
      -- the magnitude of pity/love
2)  near the cross
      -- a sign of “crime” and punishment
      -- dividing clothes/casting lots -- Psalm 22
      -- the fifth commandment
"Jesus Betrayed Again" (John 19:1-16)
Introduction: Jesus was on trial, but so were Pilate and those who accused Jesus!
1)  doing justice or playing politics
2)  seeing (blepo) or looking with understanding (horao)
3)  fearing God or fearing people
4)  handed over/betrayed again
"Are You Really the King of the Jews?" (John 18:28-40)
Introduction:  a way to measure Jesus' redeeming love
1)  clean and unclean
2)  Truth on trial
3)  using truth or surrendering to the Truth
"Shall I Not Drink the Cup?" (John 18:1-26)
Introduction: Jesus can offer us the cup of blessing/forgiveness because He 
drank from the cup of suffering. Here we see four bitter dregs.
1)  betrayed -- only a friend can betray a friend
2)  arrested -- notice the divine power and determined love of Jesus
3)  interrogated -- words with two meanings
4)  denied -- the "I AM" and the "I am not"
"I Will Fear No Evil" (Psalm 23:4)
Introduction -- Word Pictures for God's love and care that Jesus earned for us. 
-- sheep on the move
-- passing through dark ravines
-- no need for fear. The Shepherd is with them!
"Unity and Fear in the Church" (Acts 4:32-5:11)
Introduction: Two glimpses of the post-Pentecost Church
1)  one in heart and soul
     -- sharing resources (the "third conversion")
     -- loving one another
2) coping with imperfection
     -- lying to the Holy Spirit
     -- Divine discipline and "fear" 
"An Honest Look in the Mirror" (James 1:12-27; Lord's Day 2))
Introduction:  The dangers of living in denial. We can't live and die in the
JOY of the only comfort if we don't face the truth.
1)  The mirror of God's law -- Matthew 22
2)  What we see in the mirror
      -- what we haven't done
      -- what we are unable to do unless we are born again

3)  Hope in Jesus

"Not Your Own, Bought At a Price" (1 Cor. 6 and Catechism Q/A 1)
Introduction: Asking the right questions!
1)  What is your only comfort in life and in death?
      -- comprehensive, realistic, personal
      -- fortis = strength
2)  The Gospel of Jesus Christ -- layers of good news!
      -- we belong to Jesus (by creation and purchase)
      -- Jesus fully paid for our sins. Three “R’s” of salvation.
      -- Jesus set us free from Satan’s tyranny
      -- Jesus watches over us
      -- Jesus assures us
      -- Jesus changes us, making us willing to live for Him
"I Will.... (With God's Help and Blessing)" Psalm 119
Psalm 119 -- an amazing, revelatory poem!  David stated his intentions based 
on the Word of God. We can learn from this.
1)  I will praise You (v. 7)
2)  I will obey Your decrees (verse 8)
3)  I will meditate on Your wonders (verse 27)
4)  I will answer those who taunt me (verse 42)
"Walking Together In The Truth" (3 John)
Introduction -- the elder, his friend, agape love in truth.
-- body and soul
-- walking in the truth
-- Diotrephes and Demetrius
"Advent: Expecting and Experiencing Love" (John 3:11-21)
1)  How light has come….
     -- literally -- “Let there be light.”
     -- metaphorically -- “Your Word is a lamp to my feet…”
     -- personally -- “I am the Light of the world…”
2)  Why light has come
     -- for the glory of God
     -- to reveal God’s love
3)  Come into the light to experience God’s love

"Advent: Expecting and Experiencing Joy" (Luke 2:10-14)
Introduction:  Is advent/Christmas a time for joy?
1)  What if we don’t feel joyful?
      -- Longfellow’s despair
      -- our own challenges
2)  Question (from John the Baptist) and Answer (from Jesus)
      -- Are you the One?
      -- Don’t fall away!
3)  Finding joy in Jesus -- past, present, future
"Advent: Expecting and Experiencing Peace" (Isaiah 9:1-7)
1)  The setting -- times of warfare/destruction
2)  References to peace in Isaiah 57
                        No God = No peace
                        Know God = Know peace
3)  The promised Prince of Peace
      -- honoring Galilee
      -- power to stop wars/make permanent peace
      -- great enough to crush the Tempter
      -- both weak and strong enough to save us forever
"Advent: Waiting, Hoping, Trusting" (Proverbs 24:13-20)
Introduction: Hope -- waiting for things that are certain and good.
1)  Genesis 3 -- a sad but hope-filled story
2)  We also are waiting for the Tempter's defeat
3)  The wisdom of walking with God
       --  a lamp that never goes out
       --  a sun that never sets
"Confidence With God" (1 John 5:13-21)
1)   As we approach God in prayer
2)  As we pray for straying brothers/sisters
3)  As we contend with Satan
"Discovering God's Compassion" (Jonah 3-4)
1)  Jonah's obedience
2)  Nineveh's repentance
3)  Jonah's complaints
4)  God's compassion
"Sinking Down but Lifted Up" (Jonah 2)
Introduction: God is everywhere to hear our prayers!
1)  caught by God
2)  gratitude after crisis
3)  testimony to mercy
4)  lessons learned:
      -- God is not a worthless idol
      -- salvation is of the LORD
"The Word of the LORD Came to Jonah" (Jonah 1)
Introduction: People and places in the book of Jonah. Myth or history?
Remember that nothing is impossible with God!
1.  a great city -- Nineveh
      -- “The Word of the LORD came…”
      --  Jonah’s disobedient response
2.  a great wind
     --  to Joppa and Tarshish
     --  crisis at sea
3.  a great fish -- time to think and pray
"This is the Victory: our Faith" (1 John 5:1-12)
1)  More on the assurance of faith
      -- how we know we’ve been born again
      -- how we know we’re loving each other
2)  God’s commands are not burdensome
3)  Victory: faith that overcomes the world
      -- faith that has Jesus Christ as source and object
          (double possession)
      -- life in Christ beats anything the world can offer
4)  Believing the witnesses to Christ: water, blood, Spirit

"Because He First Loved Us" (1 John 4:7-21)
Introduction. Why revisit the command to love one another?
1)  We may not be as loving as we think we are.
2)  We are empowered to agape love one another.
3)  Making visible the invisible.
"Soli Deo Gloria" (1 Timothy 1:15-17)
1)  what it means to “give glory” to God (weightiness)
2)  why God alone deserves glory
      -- He is the Creator
          -- Genesis 1, 1 Chronicles 29
          -- Colossians 1:15, 1 Tim. 6:15, Revelation 4
          -- problem -- exchanging truth for a lie
      -- He is the Savior     
          -- based on Scripture alone, we are saved by grace alone,
              through faith alone, in Christ alone.    S.D.G.
"Solus Christus" (1 Timothy 2:1-7)
Introduction: Are we bored with the same old thing? It's tempting to add to or 
alter the fact that Jesus Christ is the only mediator.
1)  Luther's terror-provoked prayer
      -- St Anne, help me!
      -- someone less frightening than Jesus?
2)  The Bible's witness to Jesus
     -- Revelation 5
     -- Acts 4
     -- Jesus' own testimony in John 14
     -- Colossians, etc. 
3)  Today's challenges
"Sola Gratia" (Ephesians 2:1-10)
Introduction -- Remembering principles of the Reformation by several "solas".
1)  What grace is and why it is amazing!
2)  Other references to grace in Ephesians
3)  By grace you have been saved (2x), not by works. 
     -- no boasting except in Jesus!  
     -- a teaching that is offensive/humbling
     -- learning personal repentance
4)  Saved. but not by our sacramental good works
"Sola Fide" (Romans 1:16-17)
Introduction. As they turned back to the Bible (sola scriptura) Luther and other 
reformers faced the question: how can sinners be justified by God (i.e., declared
righteous and be at peace with Him)? They discovered good news: that sinners
are justified by faith alone (sola fide) in Jesus Christ. See Rom. 5:1.
1)  Luther's decision to become a monk. Why was he so terrified of dying?
2)  What the church/tradition had taught him about justification
3)  Luther's quest for righteousness
4)  What he learned from Romans 1:16-17. 
      -- righteousness provided by God for the unrighteous
      -- righteousness received by faith alone  (faith from first to last)  
"Sola Scriptura" (1 Timothy 3:13-17)
Introduction. Some will try to lead the church astray. How can we overcome?
By relying on Scripture alone as the rule for faith and living.
1)  Martin Luther and indulgences (purgatory, treasury of merit)
2)  Huss -- a century before Luther; burned at the stake
3)  "I am held captive by the Word of God...."
4)  The inspired Scripures are able....
       -- to make us wise unto salvation
       -- to prepare us for every good work
"Assured by the Spirit of Truth" (1 John 3:24-4:6)
Introduction: More of the good news that we can KNOW we have come to know Jesus.
1)  No assurance if...
     -- If we can lose salvation!
     -- If seeking assurance is prideful or presumptuous!
2)  The Spirit's work of comforting/assuring
      -- see Romans 8
      -- Abba, Father!
3)  The Spirit of Truth's true testimony
"God is Greater Than Our Hearts" (1 John 3:19-24)
Introduction: Since God is greater then the entire universe, obviously He is
greater than our hearts. Why did John state the obvious in this passage?
1)  more "good news" that we can be sure we are saved
     -- even a little faith in a great Savior who is the propitiation for our sins
     -- dealing with doubts because we're forgiven but far from perfect
     -- our hrearts may condemn us; but God is greater than our hearts!
2)  living for Jesus (trust and obey) we don't give hearts reason to condemn us
      -- kataginoskein vs katakrinein
      -- Jesus doesn't lay on us judgment that He took on Himself!!
3)  confidence in praying
"Loving the Family of God" (1 John 3:11-18)
Introduction -- spiritually speaking, there are two kinds of people:
children of God and children of the devil. We can know in which group
we are located. Do we love God and want to obey Him? That's a sign we
are His children. This passage gives us another way to know -- Do we
love the family of God?
-- an command from the beginning. Genesis 4. Cain and Abel
-- don't be surprised if the world hates you
-- we are born again to love one another
"Always Pray and Don't Give Up" (Luke 18:1-8)
1)  then -- the setting
      -- as in the days of Noah...
      -- trials, injustices await us -- but Jesus will come
2)  now -- branches drawing strength from the Vine
3)  a persistent widow and unjust judge
4)  praying to the compassionate God who loves justice
"Knowing and Making Known God's Great Name" (Psalm 76)
Part 1 -- verses 1-3
        In Judah God is known (made known)
        In Israel great is His name (reputation)
    -- knowing God through His works
    -- the battle of Zion
Part 2 -- verses 4-9 -- God is wonderfully DIFFERENT
Part 3 -- verses 10-12 -- keeping covenant
"Praising God for His Wonderful Deeds" (Psalm 75)
1)  Asaph -- begins with praise/thanks
     -- "thrown" toward God/Elohim
     -- remembered God's awesome deeds
2)  God speaks into a difficult situation
      -- the land/people were shaking/melting with fear
      -- God steadies the pillars. Selah.
      -- God warns the wicked proud (horns, necks, horns cut off)
3)  Asaph -- learns from God's Word
      -- to warn the proud
      -- to trust that God will raise His people up
"Has God Forgotten to be Merciful?" (Psalm 77)
Introduction. Have you ever prayed without experiencing peace?  Selah.
1)  Wisely praying to Elohim (1-3) but not comforted
2)  Persistently praying (4-9) and asking hard questions
3)  Remembering "years of the right hand" of God (10-15)
      -- miracles at the Exodus
      -- after years of suffering/slavery
4)  Lessons learned from how God redeemed His people (16ff)
      -- God is: faithful, mighty, with us
      -- an even greater work of salvation
"Caution: Anti-Christs!" (1 John 2:18-27)
Introduction: the value of "caution" signs
1)  living in the last days
2) hearing about THE Anti-Christ who will appear
3) being watchful because of present dangers
4) caution: anti-Christs
     -- some of them went out from among the church
     -- in various ways they deny/demote Jesus
    -- cults, other religions, the godless culture
5) equipped by the Word and Spirit
"I Will Pour Out My Spirit" (Joel 2:28-32)
Introduction:  "Afterwards" points to a new topic -- what God promised to do after
the time of Joel, after God restored what locusts had destroyed.
1)  another kind of restoration:  I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh
     -- basar -- mankind as we are affected by the plague of sin
     -- My Spirit on all flesh = new life for all kinds of people
2)  a promise fulfilled at Pentecost and beyond
      -- prophesying in "tongues" and in evangelism
      -- dreams and visions
3)  additional signs and wonders
4)  whoever calls will be saved
"Loving: Not the World but God's Will" (1 John 2:15-17)
Introduction. John wrote to encourage ALL believers to grow. Be alert to
something that can hinder your growth in Christ.
1)  Do not love the world
      -- agapein -- to love
      -- kosmos -- the world
2)  Things in the world
       -- lust of flesh, lust of eyes and pride of life
        -- Jesus shows us the better way
3)  Loving God's will -- which endures forever 
"I Write to You (ALL) Because..." (1 John 2:12-14)
Introduction: John told us why he wrote to fellow believers.
1)  Emphasis on writing (six times -- graphein)
     -- present tense and aorist tense
     -- addressing three groups; Gospel truth for ALL believers
2)  Groupings in the church
       -- new believers (teknia, paideia)
        -- most mature believers (pateres)
        -- those in between (neaniskoi)
3)  What John wrote to them
       -- youngest:  sins forgiven, children of God
       -- in between:  strong, overcome evil one
       -- fathers -- know Him who is from the beginning
"I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship
of His sufferings...."  Paul, Philippians 3
"A Command That's Old, Yet New" (1 John 2:7-11)
Introduction: Good News! We can KNOW that we have come to KNOW Jesus!
How? By keeping His commandments. This is the assurance of faith, which is
like crossing a bridge.
1)  A commandment that's old
     -- the law of Moses
     -- from the beginning
2)  Yet this commandment is new
      -- John 13:34 -- A new commandment: Love one another
      -- What makes it new? "As I have loved you..."
"This is How We Know that We Know Him" (1 John 2:3-6)
Introduction:  Why do we make so much of Jesus? Because of His
      unique identity and His unique ability to save.
1)  Must we believe on Jesus to be saved?
      -- propitiation for the whole world
      -- yet we are saved by grace through faith
2)  knowing about Jesus vs knowing Him personally
3)  Can we know that we know Him (assurance)?
      -- Yes! Doubt is not a virtue.
      -- This is how we know: obeying Jesus
"Walking In the Light" (1 John 1:5-10)
Introduction: John's purposes for writing:
-- fellowship (verse 3)
-- joy (verse 4)
1)  The Word who gives Light
      -- light = God's goodness
      -- in Him there is no darkness
2)  claims and reality
      -- that we have fellowship with God (but walk in darkness)
      -- that we are without sin (perfectionism)
3)  comfort and joy in the reality of forgiveness/cleansing
"That You May Have Fellowship"
Introduction: John's purpose for writing -- fellowship (koinonia)
1.  Why fellowship isimortant
2.  The Word of Life
      -- from the beginning = the Son of God
      -- seen, heard, touched = fully human
3.   Objections new and old -- atheism and Gnosticism
4.   Questions to ponder:
       -- What do you have "in common" for fellowship with God/others?
       -- What should our fellowship be like?
"Time to Seek the Lord" (Hosea 10)
Introduction:  a living parable that revealed HOPE.  What time is it... spiritually?
  • a rogue vine
  • hearts divided/deception
  • King Hoshea, like a splinter drifting away
  • untended fields
  • scandalous men of Gibeah
  • time to seek the Lord
"Where our Risen Savior Leads Us" (Revelation 21)
Introduction: the Tabernacle/Temple... and something better!
1)  a living Savior who leads us
2) back to the Tabernacle/Temple??
3) to where the "not yet" will be "already"
    -- new creation
    --  new Jerusalem
4)  links to the past and promises for the future:
     God's presence; 12 names; perfect cube
"A Judged Judge" (Ezekiel 18)
Seminarian Ehren Gaebler led us in worship and delivered this message
from Ezekiel 18:
1)  God's judgment
2)  God's justice
3)  God's mercy
"Christ in the Tabernacle: Table and Altar of Incense"
Introduction. The rituals in the Tabernacle courtyard show what had to happen
before sinners could have fellowship with God. The rituals in the holy place point
to blessings we experience when we're at peace with God.
1)  The Table and Bread (Exodus 25:23-30)
      -- how it was made and what it was used for
      -- it's meaning (with the bread)
          -- presence
          -- sharing a meal = fellowship
          -- Jesus the Bread of Life
2)  The Altar and Incense (Exodus 30:1-10)
       -- how it was made and what it was used for
       -- it's meaning (with the incense)
           -- ever present fragrance: God with us
           -- offerings to God -- prayer and praises
           -- a High Priest who lives to intercede for us
"Do Not Rejoice!" ??? (Hosea 9)
Introduction: Part of Bible study is discovering how apparent contradictions
actually complement each other, giving us a fuller understanding of the truth.
1)  to rejoice or not to rejoice
     -- if we're following Jesus, "Rejoice always..."
     -- if we're facing eternal death, "Do not rejoice..."
2)  threshing floor temptations
3)  "foolish" prophets
4)  choice fruit gone bad
"Sow the Wind? Reap the Whirlwind!" (Hosea 8)
  1. dangerous calf-idols
  2. impending judgment (trumpet, "eagle")
  3. Does God "know" us?
  4. sowing and reaping
  5. sin offerings vs. sinful offerings
"God's Desire: Mercy, not Sacrifice" (Hosea 6:4f-7)
1)  What can I do with you?
2)  Treating prophets like clowns
3)  God's desire: mercy not burnt offerings
4)  Exposing wickedness: at Adam and Gilead
5)  God's patience isn't ignorance
6)  Metaphor messages:
      a cake not turned, gray hairs, senseless dove, faulty bow
"Why Tell the Good News?" (Rom. 10:14-15)
Pastor Tim Brown shared this message with us.
Introduction:  A drowning man. Will he call for help?
-- the need for believing
-- the need for hearing
-- the need for proclaiming
-- the need for sending
"On the Third Day He Will Restore Us" (Hosea 5:1-6:3)
Introduction: The message warning continues, especially to leaders.
1) significant places:
    -- Dan and Bethel
    -- Mizpah and Tabor
2) "stuck" in sin (unable to repent)
3) warnings: empty religion, moth and rot, great lion
4) a word of hope: what God will do on the third day
"Hope for a Stubborn Heifer?" (Hosea 4)
Reviewing Hosea 1-3 -- the prophet's home life as a living parable (and preview of
chapters 4-14)
1)  Why so much repetition? 
2)  Confronting people and leaders/priests
3)  Is there really hope?  (torn and healed)
"Children: Burden or Blessing?" (Psalm 127)
Introduction: Is the “world” changing us, as it keeps saying it should be legal
to destroy unborn children?
1)  human life is sacred -- made in the image of God
      -- Genesis 1, Genesis 9, etc.
2)  a true story: pressure to abandon “belief” to do what was practical
3)  more Bible truth -- Psalm 127, Exodus 22
4)  providence -- Psalm 139 and a case study
5)  hope for forgiveness and new life
"So I Bought Her For Myself" (Hosea 2-3)
Introduction: Protest where there should be repentance.
-- my "lovers" treat me better than my husband does
-- God's response: a thorny path; stripped bare (exposed to judgment)
-- the timeline shows us: not a happy ending for everyone
-- Hosea's mission: to seek and bring home his wayward wife
    -- Gomer: sin's freedom had become slavery
    -- Hosea: paid a price to bring her home
    -- Jesus: the price he paid to bring us home
"The Word of the Lord Came to Hosea" (Hosea 1)
Introduction: A snapshot of Old Testament History. 
Hosea's life -- a living parable
1)  a strange command: marry an adulteress
     -- Hosea represented God
     -- his wife represented Israelites who worshipped other gods
2)  messages through children's names
     -- Jezreel
     -- Loruhamma (no more mercy)
     -- Loammi (not my people)
3)  hope for all in Christ
"Our Confident Dependence On God" (Psalm 124)
Introduction: Liturgical use of Psalm 124:8  (the votum)
1)  when the odds are against us (fire and flood) v. 1-5
2)  God can still help us (teeth and snares) v. 6-7
3)  so we face the future joyfully/confidently depending on God. v. 8
"May God Equip You To Do His Will" (Hebrews 13:17-25)
Introduction:  a “book” that is a letter, inspired and encouraging. “Let us….”
-- leaders: work with them
-- pray for us: humility and faith in action
-- Christian affection -- a “blessing prayer”
    -- focus on God (verse 20)
    -- seeking power from God to do His will (verse 21)
-- personal comments seasoned with grace
"Sacrifices that Please God" (Hebrews 13:15-16)
Introduction: What is the "therefore" there for?
1)  our Savior's acceptable sacrifice
2)  thank offerings: the fruit of lips that bless His name
     -- murmuring vs praising
     -- cooperating with the Holy Spirit
3)  doing good to praise our good Savior
"Following our FAITHFUL Leader" (Hebrews 13:7-14)
Introduction:  Do's and don'ts -- not a "ladder" but a guide.
1)  Honoring those who spoke the Word to us
2)  The ultimat Leader -- yesterday, today and forever
3)  Identifying with Jesus -- What a "disgrace"!
"Content With God's Promised Presence" (Hebrews 13:5-6)
Introduction: The opening verses of Hebrews 13 call us to put our faith into action
by strengthening relationships in the family of God. In verses 5-6 the focus shifts
to our relationship with God Himself. 
1)  a call to contentment
    -- challenges that believers have faced
    -- whom/what do we love the most?
2)  learning contentment
    -- "all things" through Christ (Phil. 4:13)
    -- God's promised presence
3)  promise-driven confidence
"Honoring Marriage -- Part 2" (Hebrews 13:4)
This message explores new interpretations of key Bible passages about marriage and 
human sexuality, to make a case for same-gender marriage. Under closer examination
these new interpretations fall short, leaving the traditional, Biblical understanding of
mariage as one man, one woman for a lifetime of service to God, each other, and people
around them. 
"Honoring Marriage -- Part 1" (Hebrews 13:4)
When it comes to ideas about marriage and sexuality, the times they are a-changing!
Nations are changing the legal defintion of marriage. Should we, the church, go along
with these changes and accept same-gender marriages? This message presents the
traditional Biblical view of marriage and sexuality in view of the themes of creation, 
all into sin, redemption, and the coming new creation. Next time we will examine 
efforts to deconstruct the traditional Biblical view and put something different in its
place. [It is best to look up the Bible passages that the sermon refers to as you listen to 
this message.] 
"Seeing the Light" (John 9)
1)  a question -- Who sinned? (vv. 1-5)
2)  a miracle -- washed and healed (vv. 6-12)
3)  a controversy with "blind" leaders (vv. 13-34)
4)  a greater miracle: "Lord, I believe..." (vv. 35-41)
"Brotherly Love: Let it Continue!" (Heb. 13:1-3)
Introduction. What about worship? Consider Hebrews 12:28-29 and remember
that "our God is a consuming fire. Also, since we're in the race of faith together, 
let there be....
1)  brotherly love (philadelphia)
     -- watch out for bitterness in the family of God
     -- God gives us strength to confess/forgive
2)  space for strangers
3)  sympathy for those who suffer
"Where Jesus Leads Us" (Hebrews 12:18-29)
Introduction:  The first people to read Hebrews needed encouragement.
So do we! It helps to know where Jesus is leading us.
-- not back to Mt. Sinai (old covenant)
-- to the heavenly Jerusalem (new covenant)
-- to an unshakeable kingdom
"Helping Each Other Live By Faith" (Hebrews 12:12-17)
Introduction. We've learned that living by faith is like running a long race and like 
striving against an opponent named Sin. Verses 12-17 show us that
we are in the race/match together along with other believers.
1.  Strengthen the weak
2.  Work at being at peace: confess and forgive (uproot bitterness)
3.  Learn from Esau, before it is too late!
"To The Shedding of Your Blood?" (Hebrews 12:4-11)
Introduction. To help us understand the Christian life, the word picture changes
from "race" to "match".
1)  resisting sin to the point of shedding one's blood
2)  accepting discipline as God's love
"How Blessed We Are in Christ!" (Psalm 32, Belgic Confession 23)
Introduction: Psalm 106 gives us a summary of covenant history from Moses 
to David. It is a story of sin and mercy. It is a story of hope!
1)  In Psalm 32 -- three diagnostic words
    -- transgressions -- out of bounds
    -- sins -- off target
    -- sins -- iniquities (in-e-quities)
2)  Righteousness that God credits to sinners
3)  The liberating verdict: Justified!
"The Race Before Us" (Hebrews 12:1-3)
Introduction:  What kind of race are we to run?
1)  a cloud of witnesses
2)  a course marked out for us
3)  a Leader to follow
"By Faith: Following Jesus to the End" (Hebrews 11:35-40)
Introduction. The pattern of faith: God speaks, we trust!
1)  women received back their dead
2)  others obtained a different kind of victory
3)  Will we follow Jesus to the end?
"By Faith: Strength Out of Weakness" (Hebrews 11:32-34)
1)  Even more believers
     Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel
     .... and the prophets
2)  Evidence of their faith -- obedience
3)  Proof of God's faithfulness -- the impossible made possible
"By Faith TOGETHER: Walking, Marching, Trusting" (Hebrews 11:29-31)
1)  by faith -- walking together through the Sea
     -- relying on the invisible God
     -- the difference between faith and presumption
     -- are our best days behind us or before us?
2)  by faith -- marching together around Jericho
3)  by faith -- transferring one's trust to God Most High
"By Faith: Moses (Part 2)" Hebrews 11:27-28
Introduction:  Recall the faith of Moses' parents and his own faith decision.
Here are three ways Moses put his faith into action.
-- he left Egypt
-- he persevered
-- he observed the Passover
How will you put your faith into action? 
"By Faith: Moses (Part 1)" Hebrews 11:23-26
1)  his parents' faith
     -- their names and their times
     -- no ordinary child
     -- taking a stand (unafraid)
     -- promises and providence
2)  his own faith
     -- option one: the pleasures of sin
     -- option two: suffer with God's people
"By Faith: Trusting God while Facing Death" (Hebrews 11:20-22)
1)  Isaac -- blessed Jacob and Esau
2)  Jacob -- blessed Ephraim and Manasseh
3)  Joseph -- spoke of the exodus and his bones
"By Faith: Abraham Tested by God" (Hebrews 11:17-19)
Introduction:  Abraham and Sarah's faith examples (Heb 11:8-12)
-- counting as real the land God promised
-- relying on God to give the son He promised
1)  a good but difficult test
2)  a "heart of the matter" test
     -- parental affection on the altar [faith as surrender]
     -- covenant future in the balance [God and the 'impossible']
"A Willing Spirit to Sustain Me" (Psa. 51:12; Belgic Confession Art. 14)
Introduction: What about "Free Will"?
1)  we make many choices
2)  we make unforced choices in keeping with 
     -- our limited options
     -- our greatest desires
3)  our hearts/desires are distorted by sin
     -- "You must be born again..." (John 3)
     -- more than forgiveness, we need renewal
"By Faith: Abraham and Sarah" (Hebrews 11:8-16)
Introduction:  Faith is being sure of what we hope for. The Word of God is true
and God is true to His Word.
1)  Obeying God's call -- for time and eternity
2)  Waiting for the promised child
3)  Trusting though not now receiving
"Noah: Example of Faith" (Hebrews 11:7)
Introduction: What is faith? It is being assured of what we hope for. How? By knowing that 
the Word of God is true and that God is true to His Word.
1)  God's grief -- increasing depravity
2)  God's grace -- given to Noah
3)  Noah's faith:
     -- counting on promised judgment and salvation
     -- serving the One who keeps His promises
"More Valuable Than Sparrows" (Matt. 10:16-31; Belgic Confession Art. 13)
1)  Is God at work in the good things that happen?
    -- every good and perfect gift (James 1:17)
    -- more valuable than sparrows
    -- a source of comfort for God's children
2)  Is God at work in bad/evil things that happen?
    -- experiences with evil/suffering
    -- doubts arise; but God is still good and almighty
    -- the testimony of Joseph
3)  Trusting in God's care
"Our Struggle Is Not Against Flesh and Blood" (Eph. 6:10-18; Belgic Confession Art. 12b)
1)  the "spirit realm" God created
2)  the fall from righteousness
3)  our ongoing struggle
"By Faith: Assurance and Confidence" (Hebrews 11:1-6)
Introduction: definitions of faith
-- a working definition -- relying on God to do what He has promised
-- a more "systematic" definition (notitia, assensus, fiducia)
1)  The foundation for true faith
    -- not our wishful thinking
    -- the character and promises of God
2) Taking God at His Word -- the creation
3) Early examples of faith:
    -- Abel  (a better sacrifice)
    -- Enoch (walked with God)
"Gospel Encouragement and Warning" (Hebrews 10)
Introduction. Hebrews 1-9 is filled with Good News, teaching us ways that Jesus is GREATER!
But what difference does this make?
1) Gospel Encouragement because Jesus is greater!
    -- let us draw near (assuredly)
    -- let us hold on to hope unswervingly (without "leaning")
    -- let us encourage one another (pointedly)
    -- let us meet together
2) Gospel Warning because Jesus is greater!
"In Wisdom You Made All Things" (Psalm 104, Belgic Confession 12a)
1) Two ways to understand ourselves and the universe:
    -- supernaturalism (God our Almighty Creator)
    -- naturalism (no God, just nature)
2) The story line of naturalism
3) Apologetics -- why our hope is in God
    -- the supernatural, historical, resurrection of Jesus Christ
    -- non-material things we experience
    -- the implications of complex information
"Jesus: Greater than Death" (Hebrews 2 and 7)
1)  We see Jesus now... (glory and honor)
2)  How Jesus got there... (perfected through suffering)
3)  We see Jesus risen and glorified... (greater than death)
4)  We look to Jesus and are set free from the fear of death
     -- why fear death and dying
     -- how Satan uses that fear against us
     -- the perfect love of our perfect Savior
"He Got On His Knees and Prayed" (Daniel 6)
1) Daniel -- a person of prayer
    -- wise/humble
    -- a way of life
    -- thanksgiving/praise
2) Daniel -- a particular challenge: a law restricting prayer
3) How God answered
    -- circumstances vs. hearts
    -- the lions' mouths were shut
"Jesus: Greater than Other Priests" (Hebrews 5)
Introduction. Sharing the Good News of Jesus: some believed; others objected
and set up "roadblocks".
-- Objection: Jesus isn't from the tribe of Levi
    Answer: in the Scriptures, Messiah is a priest from order of Melchizedek
-- Objection: Jesus didn't do priestly work in the temple
    Answer:  Jesus isn't a ritual priest, but a saving priest
-- Our Priest is THE "bridge-builder" (pontifex) who sympathizes and saves
"Jesus: Greater than Other Revelations" (Hebrews 1:1-3a)
In this, the first of a Lenten series of messages, we begin to explore themes in the book of Hebrews.
Introduction: Encouragement needed because of pressure to stop following Jesus.
1)  The God who is There is not Silent
2)  Awesome revelations sent from God
3)  The greatest revelation brought by the Son
"Elisha: the Word Gives Life" (2 Kings 13)
1)  King Jehoahaz -- 17 years
      “…did evil in the eyes of the LORD…”
2)  King Jehoash -- 16 years
      “…did evil in the eyes of the LORD…”
3)  Jehoash visits Elisha
      “My father; the chariots and horsemen of Israel…”
4)  The Word gives life
"In Need of Grace: our Total Sinfulness" (Romans 3:9-20)
Pastor Tim Brown (Edgerton 1st CRC) recently led us in worship and brought this
message which explores our need for God's saving grace.
"Joash: a King, a Mentor, a Catastrophe" (2 Kings 12, 2 Chronicles 24)
1) a sad beginning 
2) a godly mentor 
3) a catastrophic ending
Elisha: God Restores a Son of David to the Throne" (2 Kings 11)
Introduction: Jehu was zealous for the LORD, but not with complete trust.
Is it okey to break commandment "X" if we keep commandment "Y"?
1)  a wicked person seizes power (Athaliah)
2)  God's providence is greater than evil
3)  a seven-year old becomes king!
"Elisha: God's Holy Fire Burns Stubble from His Field" -- Part 2 (2 Kings 10)
Introduction. In 2 Kings 9, Jehu began the God- assigned work of destroying the house of Ahab
and Jezebel. But did Jehu trust the LORD? Was he a type or antitype of the Messiah?
2 Kings 10:1-11 -- seventy severed heads
2 Kings 10:12-17 -- Jehonadab son of Recab
2 Kings 10:18-28 -- a trap for the priests of Baal
2 Kings 10::29-36 -- a summary of Jehu's reign
    -- he served God like a fire that burned away stubble
    -- he held to the sin of Jeroboam
    -- the Messiah's perfect faith, zeal and saving power
"Elisha: God's Holy Fire Burns Stubble from His Field" (2 Kings 9)
Background:  Naboth's vineyard and God's Word of Judgment
2 Kings 9:1-10      Jehu unexpectedly anointed
2 Kings 9:11-13    "Jehu is King!"
2 Kings 9:14-26   Joram wounded by Hazael, killed by Jehu
2 Kings 9:27-29   What about King Ahaziah of Judah???
2 Kings 9:30-37   Jezebel becomes "fertilizer"
Let us learn to take God seriously: His words of warning and His promise of salvation.
"Elisha: What the LORD has Shown Me" (2 Kings 8:7-29)
1) Verses 7-25 -- The Anointing of Hazael
    "To weep but not to despair...."
2) Verses 16-23 -- Kings (and problems) in Judah
    Kings in Israel (House of Ahab)       Some Kings in Judah (House of David)
   -- Ahab 874-853 BC                                 -- Jehoshaphat 870-845 BC
   -- Ahaziah  854-853 BC                           -- Jehoram 853-842 BC
   -- Joram  853-841  BC                             --  Ahaziah  842-841 BC
"Elisha: The Enduring Witness of God's Works" (2 Kings 8:1-6)
Introduction: here we find, not a new miracle, but the ongoing testimony of
a previous revelation of God's power.
1) Background
    -- the miracle at Shunem: God raised the dead!
    -- Elisha's advice: leave the land for a few years
    -- a problem: squatters!
2) Why did King Joram ask about the miracles?
     -- troubled or comforted by God's Word (and works)
     -- other kings troubled by the truth
3) King Joram -- moved but not comforted
     -- the witness of even greater works
"Imitate God; Imitate Christ" (Ephesians 5:1-2)
Pastor Tim Brown, from 1st CRC of Edgerton, MN, recently led us in worship
and shared with us this message which teaches principles for Christian living.
"Elisha: You Will See it With Your Own Eyes" (2 Kings 6:24-7:20)
Introduction: disturbing evidence that we live in a sin-broken world.
1) political payback
2) desperate depravity
    a) a woman's cry for 'justice'
    b) a king's oath to kill Elisha
3) God's provision
4) blessings sent but not experienced
"Elisha: Eyes Closed and Opened" (2 Kings 6:8ff)
Introduction:  a history of conflict between Aram and Israel
1) the King of Aram's battle plans -- frustrated by Elohim
2) the King of Aram's decision -- reject Elohim, silence Elisha
3) the fear of Elisha's servant: "Open his eyes...."
4) two miracles revealing God's power and mercy
"Elisha: An Iron Ax Lost and Found" (2 Kings 6:1-7)
Introduction: Is it possible for iron to float on/in water? How about an iron ax head?
1)  the sons of the prophets
2)  an "asked" for ax head
3)  Alas! Irretrievably lost?
4)  a lesson in grace (wonderfully found)
"Elisha: Miracle of Mercy for a Gentile" Part 2" (2 Kings 5:13ff)
Introduction: the Jewish servant girl -- faith, courage and compassion.
1)  Naaman's anger, fueled by pride
2)  a servant's counsel; Naaman healed
3)  Naaman's desire to pay for God's mercy
4)  Gehazi's greed -- an obstacle to the way of grace.
"Elisha: Miracle of Mercy for a Gentile" Part 1 (2 Kings 5:1-12)
1)  meet a Gentile -- Naaman
    -- a great man of Aram
    -- a serious problem -- leprosy
2)  meet a Jewish servant girl
    -- a difficult life
    -- faith, courage, compassion (growing seeds of truth)
3)  meet a fearful Jewish king
    -- likely a vassal to Aram's king
    -- result of half-hearted repentance
4)  Hear the Word of the LORD
"Elisha: Miracles in a Time of Famine"
Introduction: In a setting where food was scarce (famine), God chose to reveal 
His power and mercy by working miracles that provided what was needed.
1)  "There is death in the pot...!"
2)  "How can I set this much before so many?"
"Elisha: Life, Death and Resurrection" (2 Kings 4:8-37)
1) generous hospitality
2) a child is born; a son is given
3) shalom in sorrows
4) he prayed to the LORD
"Elisha: A Miracle of Mercy" (2 Kings 4:1-7)
Introduction:  WHY miracles (signs and wonders)?
1)  difficult circumstances
2)  willing to help
3)  a mighty mercy
"Elisha: This Is An Easy Thing For the LORD" (2 Kings 3)
1)  half-hearted repentance
2) "impossible" circumstances
3) an easy thing for the LORD
"Elisha: Empowered For Service" (2 Kings 2)
Introduction. Elisha "disappears" from the story for a while after he was called 
to serve Elijah. Why?
1)  a contrast in departures
2)  empowered by the Spirit
3)  Elisha' prophetic role put to the test:
     -- "Let's look for Elijah..."
     -- "Our water supply is ruined...."
     -- "Go up, you Baldhead!"
"Elisha: Found and Called" (1 Kings 19)
Here we see that Elisha was called:
1)  in troubled times
2) no turning back
"Peace Be To All Who Follow Jesus" (1 Peter 5:10-14)
1)  a benediction
    a) what God is like
    b) why we need His blessing
    c) words of blessing
2) a doxology
3) fellowship
"Give Thanks That You Bear the Name" (1 Peter 4:12-19)
Suffering is unpleasant. Yet we should consider it an honor to be able to suffer
for the sake of the honor of Jesus Christ!
"The End of All Things Is Near" (1 Peter 4:7-11)
Introduction: Peter was NOT a doomsday prophet, but an Apostle of Jesus
who preached a message of hope. Yet Peter said the end of all things is near.
Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
1)  the telos which is near/at hand
     -- scary for unbelievers
     -- great news for all who follow Jesus
2)  scoffers and God's patience
3)  since the end is near, therefore:
     -- pray
     -- love deeply (forgive)
     -- praise
"The New Goal: Doing God's Will" (1 Peter 4:1-6)
1)  Christ's redemptive example
2)  arming ourselves with Christ's attitude
3)  the hope that sustains us
"The Righteous For the Unrighteous" (1 Peter 3:18-22)
Introduction. Peter calls us to live "such good lives" that even unbelievers
would notice and praise God for the good we do. But what motivates us to do this?
1)  Jesus' example -- He suffered for doing good
2)  Jesus' redemptive purpose -- to bring us back to God
3)  Jesus' preaching to imprisoned spirits
4)  the baptism that saves you
"If You Suffer for Doing Good" (1 Peter 3:13-17)
Introduction. This passage continues with Gospel application: to live good lives
among unbelievers. But how will unbelievers treat us?
1)  a rhetorical question
2)  exceptions to the rule (but even then we are blessed)
3)  the task of apologetics (apologia = answer)
4)  humbly and honestly
"The Good Life: Harmony" (1 Peter 3:8-12)
Introduction. Here is yet another way to "live such good lives" as to make the Gospel
attractive: by how we relate to each other in the family of God.
-- harmony
-- sympathy
-- brotherly love
-- humble compassion
-- good for evil
"Wives and Husbands" (1 Peter 3:1-7)
Introduction:  the topic in this text is marriage, part of a larger discussion of our
calling as Christians to "live such good lives".
1) marriage as God designed it
2) falling sort and needing commitment
3) prescriptions for wives and husbands: WWJD
    -- wives: be submissive and respect
    -- husbands: be considerate and respect
"In His Steps" (1 Peter 2:18-25)
Introduction: a book by Charles Sheldon about following Jesus. A challenge to ask,
"What would Jesus do?"
1)  an example to help us "live such good lives" (verse 12)
2)  the context: many slaves and bond-servants
3)  a pressing question: must Christian slaves submit to Christian masters?
4)  implications for the workplace
"Now You Are the People of God" (1 Peter 2:9-12)
Introduction:  God created us to live in space and time. We can speak of the Christian life
in terms of the three temporal senses: past, present and future. As we follow Jesus.....
1)  we have a dark past
2)  we are given a bright today
3)  we pursue a glorious future
"Come to Jesus, the Living Stone" (1 Peter 2:4-8)
Introduction: In every generation people have to decide if it's "worth it" 
to follow Jesus.
1)  first century persecution, other opposition
2)  blessings promised and presently received
3)  word pictures from building projects 
     -- cornerstone
     -- capstone (keystone)
4)  Jesus: rejected by some but so precious!
"Through the Living and Enduring Word" (1 Peter 1:23-2:3)
Introduction: the Bible, like its Author, is living and enduring.
1)  Spirit-breathed and useful
2)  canonical and self-authenticating
3)  flowers fall but the Word endures
4)  craving "pure milk" that changes us
"Prepare Your Minds for Action" (1 Peter 1:13-25)
Introduction:  Up to this point, the Spirit led Peter to encourage his first century
readers who soon would face persecution. Since we're saved to serve, Peter challenged
the believers to prepare their minds for action.
1)  action that is holy
2)  action that is God-directed
3)  action that is obedient
"The Prophets and our Salvation" (1 Peter 1:10-12)
Introduction: In the opening chapter of 1 Peter, the Holy Spirit led Peter to give
encouragement to believers who soon would face persecution. The encouragement
continues in verses 10-12 where Peter referred to the prophets who served God
in difficult circumstances. 
1)  they spoke
2)  they searched
3)  they kept serving 
"Following the Unseen Jesus" (1 Peter 1:8-9)
Introduction:  Peter, writing to Christians, pointed out three things that
are true of all who truly follow Jesus.
1) things that are true of Christians
    -- you love Jesus
    -- you believe "into" Jesus
    -- you rejoice in Jesus
2) yet most Christians have never seen Jesus
    -- does this make us weak-minded?
    -- solid evidence
"Why Trials Come" (1 Peter 1:6-7)
Introduction:  For the future we have a "living hope". What can we expect in the
here and now? A variety of joys and trials.
1)  Why trials?
     -- Longfellow:  "Into each life some rain must fall."
     -- more than that -- God's providence
     -- not less but more trials for us who follow Jesus
2)  Two-Fold purpose
     -- genuine faith
     -- praise, glory and honor
"Born Again to Living Hope" (1 Peter 1:3-5)
Introduction: God's "warm hello" -- grace and peace abounding!
1)  a living hope
    -- historical fact -- He is risen
    -- in contrast to despair
    -- prepared for suffering
2)  mercy and new birth
    -- passive beneficiaries
    -- but wait: there's more!
    -- praise, not despair!
"A Message to God's Elect" (1 Peter 1:1-2)
Introduction:  Peter -- disciple, witness, sinner, shepherd
1)  how people see the church
     -- as strangers
     -- as scattered
2)  how God sees the church
     -- eternally loved
     -- Triunely blessed
"A Shoot from a Stump -- a Branch that bears Fruit" (Isaiah 11:1-9)
Introduction:  the importance of HOPE. From the beginning, believers have found hope
in God's promises, because God is faithful.
-- the axe of judgment
-- a hope-inspiring picture
-- hope for all creation 
"The Rock that is Higher" (Psalm 61)
This Psalm, like many others, is a prayer.
1)  a humble prayer
2)  a needy prayer -- like seeking help in a flash flood -- wadi
    -- fear (Psalm 55:5)
    -- discouragement (Psalm 77:3)
    -- foes (Psalm 124:2)
    -- guilt (Psalm 32:3)
3)  a thankful prayer
4)  a Messiah-focused prayer
"Blessed to Take Refuge in the LORD" (Psalm 2)
Introduction:  Psalm 2 is "Messianic" in that it speaks directly of Messiah Jesus.
Consider its message, which comes to us in four stanzas:
1) plotting in vain ( 1-3)
2) responding with laughter (4-6)
3) conversing in heaven (7-9)
4) taking refuge in the Lord (10-12)
"Born to Overcome" (1 John 5:4-5)
Introduction:  the "new birth" is a REAL change that God works in our hearts.
This REAL change enables us to make REAL changes in the way we live our lives.
One such change is to overcome the world.
1)  an example from church history (Simon Stylites)
2)  the meaning of kosmos (world)
3)  Gospel living in the kosmos
4)  a letter to a church -- "first love"
"Redeemed and Restored" (Ruth 4)
Introduction: a review of the Law of Redemption. For Boaz, to obey this law
would be a labor of love!
1)  deciding who would be the kinsman-redeemer
2)  making a covenant (handing over a sandal)
3)  redeemed and restored
4)  a happy ending through our Kinsman Redeemer
"Cover Me With Your Wings" (Ruth 3)
Introducton:  God provided for the poor in Israel through the law of gleaning
and through the law of redemption.
1)  the provision for redemption -- Leviticus 25:25
2)  a complication for Naomi and Ruth
3)  Naomi's risky plan and Ruth's "winged" request
4)  Jesus, our Kinsman Redeemer
"Praise the LORD, Who Still Shows Kindness" (Ruth 2)
Introduction:  How did Naomi's complaint turn to praise? Something must
have happened to revive her hope! In this story we note three things: 
-- mostly, God works through means (tools)
-- the kindness of a worthy man (Boaz)
-- when the kindness of God appears
"Empty and Broken" (Ruth 1)
Introduction:  the Book of Ruth tells a story of trials, troubles and HOPE in the Lord.
1)  the setting of this story
     -- its historical setting: when the Judges judged
     -- its geographical setting: Midian and Moab
2)  the crisis in this story
     -- ties to the inheritance broken
     -- grief upon grief
3)  the hope that Ruth professed
"My Heart and Flesh Cry Out For God" (Psalm 84)
1)  Longing for fellowship with God 
      a)  encouraging signs:
            -- nesting birds
            -- a torn curtain
      b)  refreshing pools
2)  Gifts that God gives to those who seek Him
      a)  His attention
      b)  His protection
      c)  His favor and honor (grace and glory)
"You Who Serve the LORD at Night" (Psalm 134)
As we study this Psalm we note:
1)  its place in the Psalter
     -- "ascents"
     -- gathering in God's presence
2)  its word of encouragement
3)  its word of blessing
"Busy or Busybodies?" (2 Thess. 3:6-18)
Introduction:  During/near the USA Labor Day holiday, we do well to consider
attitudes and actions concerning work. Is work burden to be endured or is it
a blessing from God? Let's learn from God's Word in 2 Thessalonians 3, which
points to....
1)  an example to avoid -- “idle” or “out of step”
2)  an example to follow -- choosing to work
3)  a Master to serve -- until He comes
"Until The Time of The End" (Daniel 12:4-13)
Introduction:  In His Word, God reveals that there was an alpha point (creation) and
that there will be an omega point (second coming of Christ, judgment day) to life as
we know it. Does this concern you? 
-- God-given instructions
-- angelic conversation about time, times and half a time
"The Book of Deliverance" (Daniel 12:1-3)
Introduction. In the Bible we find that God keeps books (records). Examples -- 
Psalm 56:8 -- a scroll; Revelation 20 -- the books; Revelation 21 -- the Lamb's
book of life.
1)  In Daniel 12 -- "the book of deliverance"
2)  In Daniel 12 -- encouragement for the church
"Yet He Will Meet His End" (Daniel 11)
Through the prophet Daniel, God made known future events: (1) to reveal that He
is Lord over all history, and (2) to prepare His people for a coming time of trouble.
1)  prophecies given and fulfilled
2)  persecution under the Man of Lawlessness
3)  blessings for those who persevere
"A Promise, A Prayer and An Answer" (Daniel 9)
Introduction:  Parts of Daniel 9 are difficult to interpret -- especially the 70 "weeks".
But there is a message that's obvious in the following:
1)  a promise from God
2)  a prayer of confession
3)  an answer involving the Messiah
"A Ram, A Goat and an Anti-Messiah" (Daniel 8)
In Daniel 8, God revealed the fact that He is sovereign over history, by again describing
ahead of time events that would take place during the 500 years between Daniel and
the coming of Jesus. Here the focus is on the empires of Medo-Persia and Greece, and
especially on a "horn" who would persecute God's people. Scary? Yes! But remember
that God is sovereign! 
"A Vision of History, Heaven and Victory" (Daniel 7)
With this chapter of the prophecies of Daniel we come to the second and more challenging
part of the book. With our limited understanding of historical events, some of which
are still future, it's not easy to see how all the details in these prophetic visions have
been or are still to be fulfilled. Yet the visions God gave to Daniel reveal God's awesome
knowledge of past, present and future -- and encourage us to keep trusting Him 
to the end. 
"In The Lions' Den" (Daniel 6)
Introduction:  There was a time of rebuilding by Darius the Mede after the fall
of Babylon. 
1)  Daniel's principled place in the new government
2)  A trap set by the King's decree
3)  God's answer to Daniel's prayer
"Weighed and Found Wanting" (Daniel 5)

Introduction:  It helps to know some of Babylon's history between Daniel 4 & 5.
There were several weaker kings: Evil-Merodach, Nergal-Sharusur, Labashi-Marduk,
Nabonidus and Belshazzar.
1)   a big, blasphemous party
2)   a message of judgment: "weighed and found wanting"
3)   a way that's better than pride

Lenten Series: "The Feast of Firstfruits" (Leviticus 23:9-14)
Introduction:  Was Jesus' resurrection an isolated event or the beginning of
something bigger?
1)  Firstfruits -- an agricultural event with spiritual implications
     -- it's tempting to set our hearts on this world
     -- it's important to give thanks for what God provides
2)  Fulfilled by Jesus:  "Now is Christ risen, as the firstfruits..."
     -- supernatural confirmation
     -- the beginning of something glorious
"Fear and Joy at the Empty Tomb" (Matthew 28:1-15)
This message is from our Easter Sunrise service. There are two ways to explain how
Jesus' tomb came to be empty: natural and supernatural.
Which explanation also accounts for the fear and joy of the soldiers, the women,
the disciples, etc?
Lenten Series: "The Feast of Passover" (Leviticus 23:5, Exodus 12:1-14)
Introduction: “Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed.” (1 Cor. 5:7)
1)  a plague of death
2)  a way of salvation
Lenten Series: "The Feast of Tabernacles" (Leviticus 23:33-44)
1)    “Days of Awe”  and  “Days of Joy”
       -- giving thanks for God’s provision  (waving the lulav)
       -- remembering past blessings (making succoth)
2)   Offering many sacrifices
3)   New Testament times
       -- a water ceremony (drink offering)
       -- a teaching moment
       -- a “reality” for all who follow Jesus
"The Most High God is Sovereign" (Daniel 4)
Again we meet Nebuchadnezzar, a man of power and pride. Was the God
of Daniel able to humble the king of Babylon?
1)  a change of heart?
2)  another dream and its meaning
3)  too stubborn to heed a warning
4)  humbled and restored
"What God is Able to Save You?" (Daniel 3)
Introduction:  Notice the difference between the statue in Nebuchadnezzar's
dream, and the huge statue he set up as an idol in Babylon.
1)  an ungodly demand:  You must worship this idol!
2)  an intimidating question:  What god is able to save you?
3)  an amazing revelation -- of God's presence and power
"There is a God in Heaven!" (Daniel 2:24-49)
The God for whom all things are possible made known to Daniel what King
Nebuchadnezzar had dreamed. Through the dream God also revealed what
the next 600 or so years of human history would be like in terms of the rise
and fall of empires! Consider -- along with Nebuchadnezzar -- the greatness
of the Great I AM and His everlasting kingdom!
"Blessed Be the God of Heaven" (Daniel 2:1-23)
There's something mysterious in Daniel 2 -- the meaning of a strange dream
that passed through the mind of King Nebuchadnezzar. In this message we 
highlight the difference between serving powerless gods (the "wise men" of
Babylon) and serving the LORD Yahweh (Daniel).  Sorry that the audio quality
is not very good.
"Cultivating Confidence In God" (Psalm 71)
Pastor Stephen Wynja, from the Holland, MN, CRC, led us in worship and 
brought this encourage message based on Psalm 71, reminding us that though
God brings us through troubles, His trajectory for our lives us "upward".
Lenten Series: "The Day of Atonement"
This message is based on Leviticus 23:26-33 and Leviticus 16. It describes what
God required of ALL His people, and of the High Priest, on this important day.
What a blessing -- God provided a "covering" for the sins of His people! And in Christ,
the "covering" is now perfect and permanent, delivering us from the PUNISHMENT
and the GUILT of our sins! 
Lenten Series: "The Feast of Trumpets"
This message focuses on the Old Testament "Feast of Trumpets" which is also 
known as Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year). It also speaks of the "reality"
of God's saving grace, revealed in Christ, which prepares us for "the last trumpet"
which will sound at the end of this age.
"Learning to Think with More than Our Stomachs"
Pastor Eisenga from the Worthington, MN, CRC recently led us in worship 
and brought us this message from John 6:25ff. 
"He Determined in His Heart" (Daniel 1:8-21)
1) Challenging circumstances under ungodly rulers
2) Cooperate? Where would Daniel draw the line?
3) Committed to the One who is Greater 
"Kings and THE KING" (Daniel 1:1-8)
Introduction: Is the book of Daniel just a collection of moral object lessons?
No! There's so much more to it than, "Do like Daniel, be like Daniel..." This book
reveals the God that Daniel served. 
1)  Jehoiakim -- a weak and ungodly ruler
2)  Nebuchadnezzar -- a strong and proud emperor
3)  The King of Kings
"Born Again" (John 3:1ff)
Pastor Steve Moerman from the Cornerstone Ministry/Church in Sioux Falls
recently led us in worship and preached on the humbling but wonderful teaching of
Jesus that we must be born again.
"Blessed to Aim for Perfection" (2 Corinthians 13)
This sermon completes a series of messages on the book of 2 Corinthians. Based on
chapter 13, it emphasizes both our DUTY to serve Christ and the STRENGTH that
God grants us to do so!
"It's All to Build You Up" (2 Corinthians 12:11-21)
Introduction:  In this passage Paul continued a lengthy defense of
his apostolic ministry and the Gospel.
1)   signs of being a true apostle
2)   the appeal of false teachers
3)   tough love that builds others up
"You Are God's Field" (1 Corinthians 3:9)
In this message, preached on New Year's Day, we consider the implications for
Christian living of the Apostle Paul's inspired word to the Corinthian believers
in which he compared them, the church, to a field.
"That We May Gain a Heart of Wisdom" (Psalm 90)
Introduction:  this is a psalm of Moses; but when did He write it?
1)  after some defining moments
     a)  at Kadesh Barnea
     b)  at Kadesh Meribah
​2)  Moses' requests -- so that his heart might be filled with wisdom.
"His Unspeakable Gift" (2 Corinthians 9:15)
Introduction -- the fun and meaning of exchanging gifts.
1)  a challenge to be "doers" of benevolence and not just "talkers" 
2)  a gift that's so wonderful as to be "indescribable"
      -- the incarnation of God
      -- the love of God
"My Grace Is Enough For You" (2 Cor. 12:1-10)
In this passage Paul continued to defend His reputation in an effort
to safeguard the Gospel. 
1)  a mysterious testimony
2)  a thorn in the flesh
3)  God's all-sufficient grace
"Wisdom Taught Through 'Foolish' Boasting" (2 Corinthians 11)
Introduction:  Paul's concern -- that people were turning the Corinthian
church against him, in order to lead the church away from the true Gospel
as Paul had taught it.
1)  To safeguard the Gospel, Paul was willing to boast, saying...
     "I am jealous for you...."
     "I will sound an alarm...."
     "I will use strong words....."
2)  Paul "boasted" to prove his loyalty to Christ
3)  The wisdom Paul taught:  find the true Jesus and don't let go!
"Christ-like Combat" (2 Corinthians 10)
Introduction:  Since Jesus is the "Prince of Peace" is there
such a thing as Christ-like combat?
1)  contending for the faith in a Christ-like way
2)  the Apostle Paul defended his reputation to safeguard
      the Gospel
"A Cheerful Giver" (2 Corinthians 9:1-15)
In chapter 8, the Apostle Paul challenged the Corinthian believers
to excel in the grace of giving. Here he taught them to be "cheerful" givers.
1)   giving is like sowing seed
2)  giving is in response to God's grace
3)  giving inspires gratitude in others
"To Excel In The Grace of Giving" (2 Corinthians 8:1-15)
Introduction:  Should we compare ourselves to people around us? 
     No.... but only to a point!
1)  a good example of giving
2)  the best example of giving
"The Sorrow That Leads to Joy" (2 Corinthians 7:5-16)
Introduction:  We may not think of sorrow and joy as having anything to do 
with each other, but there is a kind of sorrow that leads to joy.
1.  sorrow and joy among Paul and the Corinthians
2.  worldly sorrow that leads to death
3.  godly sorrow that makes holy changes
"Inspired By God's Promises" (2 Corinthians 7)
1)  to grow in holiness
2)  to strengthen relationships
"Captured By Christ" (Acts 9:1-22)
Guest Pastor Steven Wynja from Holland, MN, led us in worship and preached
this sermon on the story of the conversion of the Apostle Paul.
1.  Who the Gospel converts
2.  How the Gospel converts
3.  Why the Gospel converts
"What To Do About Unequal Relationships" (2 Corinthians 6:11-18)
1)  With fellow believers:  "Open your hearts..."
2)  With unbelievers: "Do not be yoked together..."
"No Stumbling Blocks!" (2 Corinthians 6:3-10)
Since our goal is to lead others to follow Jesus,
let's avoid putting "stumbling blocks" in their way.
1)  the problem of manipulative messengers -- and some good advice
2)  a positive example -- Paul and his co-workers
     -- what they were willing to give up
     -- what by God's grace they gained
"Now Is The Day of Salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:1-2)
Introduction:  The Bible's chapter and verse divisions
1)  Review -- "new creation" and "ministry of reconciliation"
2)  A plea -- don't receive God's grace in vain
3)  The time of salvation
"In Christ -- New Creation!" (2 Corinthians 5:16-21)
Introduction: What motivates us to try to persuade people to follow Jesus: 
  • the fear of God
  • the love of Christ
1)  A ministry of Reconciliation
2)  New Creations in Christ
"A New Humanity" (Ephesians 2:11-22)
Pastor Carl Bruxvoort was with us on Missions Emphasis Sunday to introduce
New Roots Ministries in Sioux Falls and to bring us this message from God's Word. 
"Do Not Let Your Left Hand Know What Your Right Is Doing"
Pastor Aaron Gonzalez, from the Latino Ministry, led us in worship.
He preached this message from Matthew 6, where Jesus taught us
some of the do's and don'ts of giving.
"The Glory That Will Be Revealed" (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
Introduction:  Is it easy or difficult to follow Jesus?
1)  the sad choice some make -- to desert Jesus
2)  the cost of following Jesus:
     (a) a cross to carry for a while
     (b) on the way to eternal glory
"Our Faith-Filled Testimony" (2 Corinthians 4:10-15)
1)  a realistic view of the Christian life
     -- a change of loyalty
     -- pressure from the world of darkness
2)  a faith filled testimony
     -- acknowledges the pressure
     -- relies on God's promises
"A Valuable Treasure in Fragile Clay Jars" (2 Corinthians 4:7-15)
1)  A valuable treasure
2)  placed in fragile clay jars
3)  for the glory of God
"We Preach Jesus Christ as Lord" (2 Corinthians 4:5-6)
1)   God has the power to open our eyes to the glory of Christ
2)  The theme of our message:  "Jesus is Lord"
"Ministry Through Mercy" (2 Corinthians 4:1-6)
1)  God’s mercy as a source of encouragement
2)  the message shapes how we minister
3)  God’s power to “lift the veil”
"Rest In God Alone" (Psalm 62)
Pastor Stephen Wynja (Holland, MN) led us in worship and brought this message from Psalm 62.
  1. God: He is your Rock (vv. 1-2)
  2. Men: their evil (3-4)
  3. God: make Him your Rock (5-8)
  4. Men: their futility (9-10)
  5. God: your Reward (11-12)