From Suffering to Praise: A sermon on 1 Peter 5:6-11

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Build your house on the Lord Jesus Christ: A Sermon from Matthew 7:24-29

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

And when Jesus had finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes (Matt 7:24-29).

Jesus ends the Sermon on the Mount with a parable about 2 builders, 2 foundations, 1 test and 2 vastly different outcomes from that test. Watch my sermon that closed out our 32 week study of the Sermon on the Mount.

2 Gates, 2 Roads: A Sermon on Matthew 7:13-14

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few (Matt 7:13-14).

Jesus issues a firm challenge: all of us will either enter the wide gate and walk the easy road… or enter the narrow gate and walk the hard road. But he also offers us a promise: He is the gate. And he is the way.

Practicing Righteousness, Pursuing Eternal Rewards

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for them you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 6:1).

In prepping for an upcoming sermon on part of Matthew 6, I was struck by the two presuppositions of Matthew 6:1, along with the three specific areas that are then elaborated on. In short, verse 1 serves as the big idea of which the rest of the chapter serves as an explanation and application of verse 1.

Two Presuppositions in Matthew 6:1

Practicing RighteousnessVerse 1 presupposes two important things:

  • We are supposed to practice righteousness.
  • That is a funny statement, but we are to be living out the disciplines of the Christian faith. There are good and necessary out workings of our faith, and we are expected to be applying them to our lives.
  • We are to long for rewards.
  • Unfortunately, too many Christians think that rewards are bad. Never does the Bible condemn pursuing rewards, but instead presents a picture of actively pursuing rewards, crowns, and treasures.

The caution the Bible does provide with respect to pursuing rewards is to pursue eternal rewards, not temporal ones. Pursue treasures that will last forever, not ones that will be pass away. Pursue heavenly rewards, not immediate gratification rewards from those around us. And therein lies exactly the reason that Jesus then elaborates on three specific areas of application.

Three Specific Areas to which Jesus Applies Matthew 6:1

  • Giving to the needy (vs 2-4).
    • “Thus when you give to the needy…” (vs 2)
    • “And your Father who sees in secret will reward you (vs 4).
    • There is a temptation to approach giving to the needy as a means of paying it forward, thinking that it will come back to us in the future. Or we make a big deal about our giving, trumpeting how many kids we sponsor or how many wells we’ve helped dig. There is a reward to our giving to the needy. But for me, I want my reward to come from the Father who sees in secret…
  • Prayer (vs 5-6)
    • “And when you pray…” (vs 5)
    • “And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (vs 6).
    • Daniel went into his closet and prayed. May that be a great example for us that our prayers not be marked by ten-cent words, but rather by humble spirits dependent upon God to move in our lives and on our behalf. But there is a temptation to show off our praying. here is a reward to our prayer. But for me, I want my reward to come from the Father who sees in secret…
  • Fasting (vs 16-18)
    • “And when you fast…” (vs 16)
    • “And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (vs 18).
    • This is one many (most) of us rarely do. But if we do, we want to make sure everyone knows about it. “I’m fasting from Facebook for Lent.” Nevermind my thoughts on that even counting as a “fast,” but notice how self-congratulating it is. And likely, also its own full reward. here is a reward to our fasting. But for me, I want my reward to come from the Father who sees in secret…

Did you see the structure of those sections? Each started with “when you…” and ended with “And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Those sections begin and end by addressing the two presuppositions of verse 1. May each of us ever grow in our practice of righteousness, and eagerly await the day we will be with the Father in glory and receive his eternal rewards.

You Can’t Ride the Fence

On Sunday, I preached a sermon on 1 Kings 18:20-40 entitled You Can’t Ride the Fence. In the famous passage of the battle between YHWH and Baal at Mt Carmel, God wins a decisive victory. That victory over the pretend, impotent, powerless impostor of a god brings with it a promise:

The God who defeated Baal can and will defeat the idols in your life.

Check out the video…

Heaven, Hell and the End of the World

Heaven, Hell and the End of the World
This world will come to an end. And then what? This course investigates what the Bible actually teaches about heaven (hint: it’s not an eternity long worship service!), the gut-wrenching reality of hell, how it will all come to be… and why it should even matter to us. Special thanks to Kyle Cookerly for his partnership in preparing and teaching this class.

Week Message Title Notes Audio
1 On the Study of Heaven
2 Heaven on Earth
3 What will Heaven be like?
4 What will we be like?
5 Hell and Eternal Judgment
6 Hell and the Character of God
7 This World Will End
8 The Return of the King **
9 Living for the Promised Rewards

*An Amazon List has been created with some of the resources used in this class.
** The audio for week 8 was corrupted.

The Renewing of Our Minds

The Renewing of Our Minds
The Apostle Paul makes an incredible claim: We have the mind of Christ. But we know how broken our thinking is, just one of the consequences of the Fall. Through this course, we explore and develop a triperspectival approach to thinking that allows for holistic thinking and places the Bible, us and the world in context of one another.

Week Message Title Notes Audio
1 An Intro to Triperspectivalism
2 The Effect of Sin
3 The Normative Perspective
4 The Bible and Other Norms
5 The Situational Perspective
6 The Existential Perspective
7 Putting the Triads to Work
8 Case Study*
9 Putting It All Together

*Special thanks to Pastor Scott Mawhinney for filling in this week in my absence.

**An Amazon List has been created with some of the resources used in this class.