Luverne Christian Reformed Church

Sermons

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 sparksr@iw.net  

Note: more recent sermons are listed first.

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"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"Discovering God's Compassion" (Jonah 3-4)
1)  Jonah's obedience
2)  Nineveh's repentance
3)  Jonah's complaints
4)  God's compassion
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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

 
(mp3)
"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.
(mp3)
"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.
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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)  
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
 
 
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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 
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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..."
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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?
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
 
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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)
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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"!
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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. 
(mp3)
"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.] 
(mp3)
"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)
 
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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!
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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!
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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?
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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? 
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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']
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
 
(mp3)
"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)
(mp3)
"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!
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
 
(mp3)
"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.
(mp3)
"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
 
(mp3)
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!
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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.
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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.
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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)
(mp3)
"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.
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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?"
 
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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!"
(mp3)
"Elisha: Found and Called" (1 Kings 19)
Here we see that Elisha was called:
1)  in troubled times
2) no turning back
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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!
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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!
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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 
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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!
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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 
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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)
(mp3)
"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"
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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)
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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! 
(mp3)
"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. 
(mp3)
"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
(mp3)
"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
 

(mp3)
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
(mp3)
"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?
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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
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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
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"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
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"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
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"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!
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"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.
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"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".
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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! 
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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.
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"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. 
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"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 
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"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
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"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.
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"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!
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"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
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"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.
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"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
‚Äč2)  Moses' requests -- so that his heart might be filled with wisdom.
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"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
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"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
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"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!
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"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
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"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
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"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
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"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
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"Inspired By God's Promises" (2 Corinthians 7)
1)  to grow in holiness
2)  to strengthen relationships
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"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
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"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..."
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"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
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"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
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"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
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"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. 
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"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.
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"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
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"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
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"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
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"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"
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"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”
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"With Unveiled Faces" (2 Cor. 3:12-18)
Introduction: the greater  “glory” of the New Testament witness
1)  the veiled face of Moses
2)  the “unveiled” truth of the Gospel
3)  the transformation of unveiled believers
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"The Greater Glory of Serving Jesus" (2 Cor. 3:7-18)
Introduction:  a humble teaching -- “Our competency is from God”
(1) The Old Covenant with Israel was glorious
(2) The Old Covenant was incomplete until fulfilled by Jesus
(3) The New Covenant in Christ is more glorious!
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"Ministers of The New Covenant" (2 Cor. 3:1-6)
Introduction:  In his ministry the Apostle Paul encountered opposition from outside the church and from within.
1)  letters of recommendation
2)  life in the Spirit
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"God Leads Us In Triumph" (2 Corinthians 2:12-17)

Introduction:  The Apostle Paul describes more of his travels -- and the Christian life.

  1. an open door
  2. a triumph procession
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"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)
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"Grief and Gladness In The Church" (2 Cor. 2:1-11)
Sometimes, harmony and "gladness" in our churches is more of a goal we pursue than a reality we experience. We see this in the Apostle Paul's relationship with the Corinthian believers.
  • waiting patiently
  • restoring graciously
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"God's 'Yes' Means 'Yes'" (2 Cor. 1:12-24)
  • hope for the church
  • concern for the church
  • confidence in God's promises
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"Praising the God of All Comfort" (2 Cor. 1:1-11)
Introduction:  Paul's FOUR letters to the Corinthians
(1) Greeting the Church
(2) Praising the God of All Comfort
      (a) why God comfort us -- that we may comfort others
      (b) why God tests us -- that we may rely on Him
      (c) how God blesses us -- through the prayers of others
2Cor01.mp3
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Easter Sermon: "Our Risen Savior" (1 Corinthians 15:1-26)
Introduction:   The story of Christ’s resurrection is historically true or it is worthless.
1)  consider the evidence
2)  celebrate the blessings:
      - a living Savior can share -- righteousness
      - a living Savior can empower -- new living
      - a living Savior can guarantee -- glorious future
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