We’ve all been through challenging phases of life. Hardship and struggle are never fun. But, could you imagine facing that hardest challenge of our life -- and having to do it alone? The Christian life is never easy. But we don’t have to face it alone. We have our brothers and sisters in Christ. Worship because your fellow Christians need you.
There are so many created things and desires that aim to have our hearts. If we are not careful, it is so easy to fall into worshiping beauty, power, control, comfort, and many other things. Keeping a heart set on God begins with worshiping him from the heart. Worship because you need it.
Sad to say, humble service to those in need is not only rare in our society, it often results in surprise, even suspicion, at the unexpected kindness poured out by the heart of faith. For us who know the mercy of our King, we cannot help but reflect humble service of the King’s Son in our daily lives. By Faith – We live out God’s will.
At the foot of Mt. Sinai, God gave his law. Divine justice would not leave the guilty unpunished. But we have a better mountain. The new covenant, given through Jesus Christ, invites the nations to come to Mt. Calvary with the confidence that we have been declared innocent and made perfect through Jesus. Because of him, we enter the narrow door to paradise. By faith – We climb a better Mountain.
Running the race of life requires perseverance. There will be hardships that cause the heart to grow weary. But God promises that these trials are meant for our good. They are God’s way of disciplining us as his sons. The result will be a harvest of righteousness in our lives and peace in our hearts. The Christian faces the hardships of life by fixing his eyes on Jesus. By faith – we see hardship as a sign of love.
How long seems the road from grace to glory! We cry with saints across the centuries, “How long, O Lord?” Using the life of Abraham as an example, the writer to the Hebrews encourages faithful living that looks forward to the fulfilled promises of the Lord. Jesus promises to us the same heavenly country, the same eternal city prepared for the faithful. By faith -- We live for heaven.
Hugh Mackay, an Australian psychologist has said, "Nothing is perfect. Life is messy. Relationships are complex. Outcomes are uncertain. People are irrational." Our own imperfections combined with those of people in our lives make managing relationships one of the biggest challenges we face in life. Done well, relationships promise the greatest joy. Done poorly, relationships can be the greatest source of sorrow in life. In our service and sermon today we will look for the wisdom God provides for "Managing Relationships."
Most of us would NOT think of 'success' or 'prosperity' as a problem. In fact, those things are part of what we like to think of as the American Dream! We are encouraged to strive for prosperity and success. The Biblical record would suggest that success and prosperity do pose very really threats to our spiritual well-being. Today we'll consider how Moses both warned and encouraged the people of Israel to manage success and prosperity as they prepared to enter the promised land. Their experience offers some great lessons for all of us.
There is always so much Kingdom work to do - so much so that our work in God’s Kingdom isn’t complete until the day he takes us home with him. So that the work can continue when we are gone, we’re called to pass the task of Kingdom work on to the next generation. This is no task for the feint of heart. History speaks, declaring that God’s grace calls to committed service.
It is easy when we see God, his work, and his messengers opposed, to think that perhaps we’re no-good failures, that we’re not doing something right, or, even that we’re following and trusting the wrong God. But today, history speaks, reminding us that God’s grace works through apparent weakness.
Often, when we’re opposed as God’s people in the world, we might think something like this: “If only God would do some kind of miracle still today - then more people would believe in him.” But history tells us that is not often the case, instead, history speaks, reminding us that God’s grace is not found in acts of power.
To what extent can we trust God? Facing our own mortality, or that of our loved ones, often brings out the weakest parts of our character. But God helps us in our weakness. History speaks, telling us that God’s grace can bring joy out of sorrow.
Supporting those who speak God’s Word requires sacrifice. Yet, that sacrifice comes with a promise: God will provide for our needs. Therefore we don’t need to worry. We can trust him. History Speaks, telling us that God’s grace provides for his people.
What does God do when wickedness increases in the world? How does he battle against it? Certainly, he has many means, but the chief way that God makes war against wickedness is by raising up faithful people to proclaim his Word. History tells us that God does not abandon the world into its wickedness, but his grace abounds in sending prophets to confront wickedness with his Word.
The Christ-promised coming of the Holy Spirit reverses the confusion of Babel as the disciples are given the gift of speaking in tongues. In a rush of wind and with tongues of flame the prophecy of Joel is fulfilled. The timidity of the Twelve dissolves in fiery witnessing to the Truth. What began in the streets of Jerusalem, is even now carried to the ends of the earth
Our King mounts his throne in victory to sit at the right hand of the Father. Jesus visibly departs, leaving his followers with the promise of the Holy Spirit, a call to witness, and the promise that he will come again. We proclaim in the power of our Ascended Lord.
Sometimes sharing the gospel can put us in a situation we had never dreamed of. We see an example of this in Acts 14.
Through what happens to Paul and Barnabas here, we learn some important truths about ourselves and those who speak God’s Word.
Have you noticed how two different people can sometimes see and hear the exact same event and have two radically different takes on it?
This often happens when we speak God's Word. Some hear it gladly. Others, not so much. So then, what are we to do when opposed?
That's what we see in this sermon based on Acts 13
Where do we turn when we need encouragement and hope?
We turn to Jesus our true Shepherd.
What does Jesus think about seemingly lost causes -- people who we think will never listen to God's Word, let alone believe it? And then, what impact does this have on the way we speak of Jesus to others?
That's what we see in this sermon based on Acts 9