Thursday, March 10, 2022

5 Practical Applications from Luke

Luke's stories are rich and full of detail. Yet they are not just for entertainment. In them, we see a complex and beautiful Savior who desires us to follow Him and be changed by Him.


  • Peter and the others fished all night without results. When Jesus told them to try something new, he simply obeyed. Don’t miss out on Jesus’ blessings because you are stuck doing things the way you’ve always done them.


  • Jesus told the disciples they were going to be fishers of men. How many people have you caught with the good news of the Gospel? If it's not very many, perhaps you need to change up your strategy.


  • The leper’s prayer to Jesus should be the same as our prayer. “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” The good news is that Jesus will! He always desires to make us clean.


  • By healing the paralyzed man AND forgiving his sins, Jesus demonstrated that He has power over spiritual and physical evil. Nothing in the universe is more powerful than Him.


  • People who think they are spiritually healthy will never seek the assistance of God. Jesus came for those who know they are sick. Repentance is the recognition that we need His help, it is our act of preparation to receive His spiritual healing.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

5 Sermon Starters from Luke 4

Adam was tempted in the garden and succumbed, and so sin entered the world, and death passed to all men. Jesus was tempted in the wilderness and triumphed, and so righteousness entered the picture, and life was passed to all who would accept it.


  • The temptations brought by Satan are similar to John’s description of the love of the world (1 John 2:16). Beware of the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life.

  • Jesus defeated temptation by quoting Scripture. The more time you spend with God’s Word, and the more God’s Word gets into your heart and mind, the more effectively you will be able to fight against temptation.

  • Verses 18-19 are a reminder that Jesus’ mission was two-fold. He came to REDEEM SINNERS and he also came to RELIEVE SUFFERING.

  • The people of Jesus’ hometown never experienced what Jesus could have offered because they refused to accept Him as Lord. Once we believe in Jesus, we open ourselves to receive the abundant life He offers.

  • Jesus always wanted more people to hear the good news of the Kingdom. He kept moving from village to village so that more people could receive His salvation.

Monday, March 7, 2022

5 Observations from Luke 2

Luke 2 is more than just a Christmas story. There is much there for us to apply to our own lives all year long.


  • According to the angels, Jesus came to bring peace. He makes it possible for us to be at peace with God and He makes it possible for us to live at peace with one another.
  • Even though Simeon had lived a long and full life, the one thing that completed his life was meeting Jesus. You will never be content if you choose the wrong people or objects from which to seek completion. (Jerry Maguire had this wrong)
  • Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the temple according to the law of Moses. Good parents teach their children to know, love and obey God’s Word.
  • In Luke 2:47-48, Jesus’ interaction with the religious leaders AMAZED everyone, and when His parents found Him, they were ASTONISHED. If your interactions with Jesus don't shock you sometimes, you may not be paying close enough attention.
  • When Mary and Joseph were separated they finally found Him in the temple, and Jesus told them they should have known He was there. If you ever feel like you are having a hard time finding Jesus, you’ll find Him in His Father’s house.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

On Russia, Ukraine, Gog, Magog, and The End of The World

In December, we made the decision to read through the New Testament as a church this year. Rather than planning out several sermon series, I selected passages from each week's reading. Since the Olivet Discours appears in three Gospels, I knew I wanted to cover it at least once. 

When I chose February 27 to preach on Mark 13, I had no idea that would be the week Russia would invade Ukraine. By the time we arrived at church on Sunday, many people were on edge. The largest land war in Europe since World War II was under way and a great deal of uncertainty hung in the air. How was this going to affect us? Would we be at war soon? Was this the beginning of the end? 

I decided that I couldn't possibly answer everyone's questions, give a comprehensive perspective of end times, and be faithful to the message I had prepared on Mark 13. So I told my congregation I would do a Facebook Live Stream on Wednesday, in which I would give a much more detailed perspective of the Bible's teaching about end times.

I probably bit off more than I could chew, but 75 slides and almost 2 hours later, I had walked our church through a birds eye view of the "end of all things". You can watch the end times presentation here:

   


You can watch the sermon on Mark 13 here:
   

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

10 Application Principles from Matthew 18

Matthew 18 is an oft-quoted chapter. Ironically, it is a chapter, more than others that should lead to introspection rather than blaming or accusations.


  1. Human tendency is to pursue greatness, but the way of Jesus is one of humility and dependence.
  2. Every time Jesus talks about children, He elevates them and prioritizes their protection.
  3. Temptation is a part of life, but you can choose to not make it worse.
  4. In your struggle against sin, you have not really given all until you have made painful sacrifices.
  5. God cares deeply about children who are lost or invisible.
  6. Conflict resolution should always begin in private.
  7. As long as you can and as much as you can, avoid bringing more people into your disagreements.
  8. Forgiveness never goes out of style.
  9. You may not forgive that person, but God in Christ would.
  10. Accusations of others don’t fit well on those whom God chooses not to accuse.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

5 Sermon Sound Bites from Matthew 17

 It is interesting, that Matthew's gospel devotes very little ink to the most glorious moment of Christ's life (the transfiguration), while spilling much to demonstrate His compassion and the point towards His coming suffering.


  • The mountaintop is a great place to visit, but a bad place to live.
  • Overshadowed by the Spirit, listening to the Father, and communing with the Son is the best way to live.
  • The way of Jesus must include suffering.
  • The more closely aligned your purposes are with God’s purposes, the more He will be able to do through you.
  • Children of God obey earthly authority, not out of obligation, but to demonstrate loving submission.

Monday, January 24, 2022

5 Sermon Sound Bites from Matthew 16

Often, when I preach, I try to have several sound-bite-type statements sprinkled throughout my sermon. These statements are usually the last piece of my sermon to develop as they are in many ways the transitions and summations of the key points of the sermon. 

Read more about "sound bite sermons" here.


  1. Increased understanding of nature should lead to increased understanding of God, but the more humanity learns about creation, the less they seem to appreciate the creator.
  2. Left unchecked, legalism always grows, infects, divides, and destroys.
  3. If your answer to the question, “Who is Jesus?” doesn’t include the word “GOD”, you still don’t have it right.
  4. Jesus lived to die. Nothing could get between Him and the cross.
  5. We must die to live. Nothing should get between us and His cross.

Friday, January 21, 2022

25 Observations from Matthew 15

 Matthew 15 is not easy. These thoughts are starters, but most require more digging.


  1. These scribes and Pharisees are from Jerusalem. They are the heavy hitters trying to assess how much of a threat Jesus actually is.
  2. Not only can tradition not save, it often causes us to drift further from God.
  3. Religious traditions are usually an effort to create or preserve the life we want. Traditions serve us but rarely do they serve God.
  4. The Pharisees had used tradition to create a loophole by which they could shirk their responsibility to care for their parents.
  5. Throughout history, religious groups have existed that exhibit fervent external worship but whose hearts have not been changed at all.
  6. Remember, man looks on the outward appearance, while God looks at the heart. (1 Sam 16:7)
  7. Beware of worship that sounds, looks, and feels powerful, but which is only an external expression. (Amos 5)
  8. The Pharisees claimed to be clean because they only ate “clean food” and they ceremonially washed before eating it.
  9. The Pharisees thought the disciples were unclean because they were eating clean food with unclean hands.
  10. Jesus made it clear that cleanliness before God has nothing to do with the food we eat or the hands with which we eat it.
  11. What goes into the mouth is physical but what comes out of the mouth is spiritual.
  12. In verse 13, Jesus references the truths told in chapter 13’s parables. Not all plants are good plants. Let God sort them out.
  13. How do you know if your guides are blind? If the fruit of their heart does not match the actions of their tradition.
  14. Verses 17-20 are a summary/remix of the sermon on the mount. 
  15. Guard your heart, for from it flows everything (Proverbs 4:23)
  16. It’s worth noting that Jesus lists “evil thoughts” and “slander” in the same category as murder.
  17. By including the story of the Canaanite women, Matthew is building the case that Gentiles were, in many ways, more receptive to Christ than the Jewish people were.
  18. Having just confronted the Pharisees about unclean food, Jesus now has a conversation with an unclean person.
  19. This woman had every reason to lose her faith, but she didn’t. Jesus was silent when she prayed. She was mistreated by Jesus’ followers. She felt like she didn’t fit in.
  20. Jesus wanted everyone to know that she was a Gentile, so he emphasized it several times.
  21. The woman’s appeal to Jesus is not based on who she is or what she has done, but rather on who He is and what He can do.
  22. In verse 27, the woman is actually referencing an idea that has always been true. Even in the OT, there was room within the Jewish community for outsiders if they were willing to take the prescribed steps of assimilation.
  23. Crumbs from Jesus are better than a feast from anyone else.
  24. Jesus’ healing of many as well as his second feeding both illustrate an important point: There is plenty of Jesus to go around.
  25. This feeding is a second feeding as Jesus will reference both of them together in the next chapter.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

3 Sermon Outlines from Matthew 14

 Matthew 14 contains three familiar stories, and each carries with it valuable lessons about God, Jesus, and us. From these stories, we not only discover more about who Jesus was, but also how we can learn and grow through our interactions with and our faith in Him.


Sermon One: Consider the motivations of Herod

  1. He was motivated by lust.
    1. He entered an alduterous marriage
    2. He was “pleased” by his step-daughters dancing
  2. He was motivated by fear.
    1. He feared the people’s opinion of him
    2. He feared his guests’ opinion of him (at the party)

Conclusion: The pursuit of pleasure and the pursuit of popularity will almost never lead to wise or God honoring decisions. While neither of these things are wrong on their own, if they are allowed to govern one’s life, they become the second master that no one can serve if they are seeking to serve God.



Sermon Two: Jesus’ process of leadership training

  1. You give them something to eat.
  2. Bring what you have to me.
  3. He broke the bread and gave it to the disciples.
  4. The disciples gave them to the crowds.
  1. He challenged them to take on a project they did not think they could do.
  2. He instructed them to rely on Him to use what they had
    1. We all have gifts and resources, and whatever gifts and resources we have are exactly what we need to accomplish what God has called us to do.
    2. Sometimes, we need to allow Him to set the agenda for how we will use those gifts and resources. Because then, they’ll be enough.
  3. When they gave Him control of what they had, He multiplied it and gave it back!
  4. He gave to them so that they could give to others.

Conclusion: We can do more than we imagine with less than we think if we are willing to let Jesus set the agenda.



Sermon Three:  Peter’s RollerCoaster Night

  1. First he was awestruck.
    1. Imagine getting on the boat after the feeding miracle.
    2. The disciples were likely energized and excited about what would come next.
  2. Then he was afraid.
    1. The storm was unexpected
    2. The storm was strong
    3. The storm was winning
  3. Then he was amazed.
    1. Imagine seeing a man walking on the water
    2. Imagine realizing that man was Jesus
  4. Then he was acting.
    1. He joined Jesus in the miracle
    2. He experienced something no one else ever has
  5. Then he was anxious.
    1. He took his eyes off Jesus
    2. He was too focused on the storm
  6. Then he was awake.
    1. Jesus saved Him
    2. He had no more doubts about who Jesus was

Conclusion: Life is never a simple straight line. We will always experience ups and downs. There will often be storms to distract and deter us. The key is to keep your eyes on Jesus.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

30 Sermon Starters from Matthew 13

Matthew 13 is the beginning of Jesus' parables. The majority of these parables help us understand the nature of God's Kingdom as well as the exclusivity of God's Kingdom. At the end of these parables, we should be left with a sense of gratitude that we have been included as well as a sense of responsibility to see as many others included as possible.

  1. A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.
  2. A parable is a true-to-life story that teaches truth about eternal life.
  3. A parable usually teaches one main point. The details are important to the degree they pertain to the main idea.
  4. Jesus used parables to obscure the truth from those who had rejected Him.
  5. Just as God “gave them up” in Romans 1, Jesus has allowed those who rejected truth to experience the consequences of that decision.
  6. Many of Jesus’ parables were warnings about the religious leaders, thus the people could be warned without the religious leaders understanding.
  7. The see is the word of the Kingdom. God spreads the Gospel everywhere to everyone, but not always with the same effect.
  8. Equal opportunity does not always lead to equal outcomes.
  9. The footpath represents those who intellectually cannot accept the Gospel. With the help of the evil one, they “reason” their way away from Jesus.
  10. Satan’s greatest deception is to cast intellectual doubt into the minds of those who would believe. “Has God really said…?”
  11. The rocky soil prevents deep roots.  Without roots, one cannot stand in the midst of suffering.
  12. Those who say, “I cannot worship a God who allows this…”, have never truly understood who God truly is. They have not put down roots.
  13. The thorns represent the distractions in our world which choke out the spiritual life of people.
  14. The cares of the world could also be worded, “Caring too much about the world.”
  15. The deceitfulness of riches takes many astray. Following Jesus is fun until it is costly.
  16. The parable of the weeds reveals there are people who look like Christians, talk like Christians, hang out with Christians, and may even think they are Christians; but who will be revealed to be lost at the final judgment.
  17. Warning for pastors: In your fervor to defend the Gospel (by destroying weeds), be careful that you do not destroy the good plants who are among them!
  18. Jesus will sort everything at the end. For now, just be faithful.
  19. The Kingdom of Heaven will expand and will impact all of life.
  20. The parable of the mustard seed and the parable of the leaven make it clear that God’s Kingdom is NOT to be segregated from the rest of life. It shoul

    d impact all of life.
  21. Jesus’ explanation of the Kingdom’s scope was new. It had been hidden until then.
  22. The mystery Jesus revealed in these parables is the mystery Paul revealed in His letters (Colossians 1; Ephesians 3).
  23. The Kingdom of Heaven is more valuable than anything we could ever find or own.
  24. The Kingdom of Heaven is worth losing everything.
  25. The Kingdom of Heaven is the most important pursuit in life.
  26. The great sorting of humanity will not happen until the end.
  27. Humanity WILL be sorted at the end.
  28. In these parables, Jesus refers to the final judgment as fire/burning three separate times.
  29. The judgement awaiting those who are sorted includes separation, pain, and regret.
  30. Those who truly understand the Kingdom are able to synthesize the truth they have always known with the truth they are continuing to learn.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

30 Sermon Ideas from Matthew 12

A great amount of material is present in this chapter. It would be easy to focus on the minor issues and miss the major issues. At the end of the day, the main thing is (as it almost always is), "WHO IS JESUS?!" 


  1. The Pharisees weren’t upset about theft, they were upset about Sabbath. This shines a light on some of the “property” mindset of the time.
  2. This activity by the disciples was specifically permitted in the law - Deuteronomy 23:25.
  3. Imagine it being considered “work” to walk through a field and have a snack.
  4. When you want to find something wrong with someone, you will. The Pharisees wanted to find fault with Jesus and His disciples. They did.
  5. Only you can choose whether or not to be a fault finder or a gift giver.
  6. Everything in the law points to something greater. Everything in the temple points to something greater. That something is a someone. It’s Jesus.
  7. Your vertical relationship will be impeded by dysfunctional horizontal relationships.
  8. The minor prophets repeatedly condemn God’s people for participating in ceremonial worship gatherings while oppressing their fellow man (Hosea 6:6, Micah 6:6-8, Amos 5:18-24)
  9. Interestingly, in healing the man with a withered hand, Jesus didn’t do any work. He told the man to do the work.
  10. In order to be healed, the man had to actively and visibly oppose the Pharisees and obey Jesus.
  11. Sometimes, obedience precedes healing.
  12. The law, properly understood, always reflects God’s care for people and will never instruct us to not love and care for our fellow man. 
  13. Imagine desiring to kill someone because they healed a person!
  14. Be careful where your rage and anger take you. Beware of personal feuds that blind you to wisdom.
  15. In the middle of the chapter, Matthew references Isaiah’s prophecy which spoke to the Messiah’s work on behalf of Gentiles. In this chapter, we are seeing the Jewish leader’s rejection of Jesus.
  16. The people’s trajectory of understanding Jesus is radically different than the Pharisees. At one moment, they ask if He is the Messiah and the Pharisees are convinced He is from Satan.
  17. An interesting observation is (that when speaking about others) it is always wiser to ask a question than make a proclamation, especially when the proclamation is accusatory.
  18. Satan is the master of chaos and disunity, but his forces are unified in their hatred for God.
  19. Beware of those who would seek unity in their ambition against a shared enemy.
  20. In His response to the Pharisees, Jesus answers the question of the people… The Kingdom has come.
  21. When a demon is cast out, the first question is, “who is being bound?” Therefore, who is the strong man and who is being plundered.
  22. A corollary is to realize that Satan seeks to plunder our lives by binding us with the cares of this world!
  23. The Pharisees had so hardened their hearts at this time, they were beyond repentance. They had become Pharaoh of the New Testament.
  24. Jesus viewed Jonah as a historical character. If Jesus did, we should.
  25. Ninevah and the Queen of the South are further hints at Jesus’ coming salvation of Gentiles. What binds them together is their repentance when confronted by the truth. They had a lesser testimony than Jesus and still they repented.
  26. In their rejection of Jesus, the Pharisees had become seven times more guilty.
  27. In all of these conversations, what emerges is a litmus test for our relationship with Jesus. Do we accept Him as God and Lord or do we try to explain away what He has done? Naturalism is the enemy of faith.
  28. Often the people we think should truly understand Jesus are the ones who can’t actually grasp who He is.
  29. All the knowledge in the world (the Law, the Family) cannot save you.
  30. Don’t be distracted by all the excitement of this chapter. Demon-posession, unforgiveable sins, debate about the law are all issues, but what is really at stake is: Will you do the will of God?

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

25 Sermon Ideas from Matthew 8

 Matthew 8 is the "healing chapter". Here Jesus demonstrates His power.

  1. Only Jesus can make us clean. Not even the teachings from the sermon on the mount can make us clean, but Jesus can.
  2. Jesus is willing to make you clean.
  3. Jesus will not make you clean until you are willing to bow your knee to Him.
  4. In Matthew 8, several people approach Jesus for help. In each case, they submit to His will.
  5. Submission is necessary for sanctification.
  6. True faith requires recognizing and submitting to Jesus’ authority.
  7. When you truly understand Jesus’ power, your life will be changed forever.
  8. Jesus came to heal and save everyone, not just the people who looked like Him.
  9. Jesus relieved suffering and rescued sinners.
  10. Jesus’ followers should seek to relieve suffering and rescue sinners.
  11. God’s plan was always that Jesus would heal and save.
  12. Following Jesus means letting go of everything else.
  13. You cannot rely on Jesus while you are still relying on yourself.
  14. There is no responsibility in life so important that it should keep you from following Jesus.
  15. Jesus slept in the storm because He knew who was in control of the storm.
  16. The ability to sleep is often connected to the degree of our trust.
  17. There is no storm so great that Jesus cannot control it.
  18. My lack of control in life’s storms should never lead to fear, it should be conquered by faith.
  19. Jesus took His disciples through the storm so that He could show them His power.
  20. In Matthew 8 Jesus demonstrates power over disease, injury, nature, and evil.
  21. The response of the men who were saved by Jesus was to tell others about Him.
  22. If Jesus has really saved you, you won’t be able to keep your mouth closed.
  23. The response of those who hadn’t been saved was to chase Jesus’ off.
  24. The people begged Jesus to leave because He had created an inconvenience for them.
  25. Everyone who meets Jesus must either accept Him or reject Him.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

25 Sermon Ideas from Matthew 7

Matthew 7 is the final chapter of the Sermon on the Mount. Here are twenty-five sentences that can be starter ideas or just help to fill in a sermon or Bible Study on Matthew 7.

  1. Be known as a person full of mercy and grace, not as a person full of judgment.
  2. Choose to look at yourself more critically than you look at others.
  3. Don’t sit in judgment on those whom Christ has forgiven.
  4. Beware of the cycle of judgment. You don’t have to return judgment for judgment. You can choose to give mercy.
  5. Asking, seeking, and knocking are all pursuit words. God loves it when we pursue Him.
  6. God only has good gifts for His children, and everything God gives to His children is good.
  7. Our heavenly Father is better than even the best earthly Father.
  8. Our heavenly Father is the embodiment of our ideal father, and more.
  9. Pay attention to your expectations of others. Don’t expect more of them than you do of yourself.
  10. Love your neighbor as yourself.
  11. The more resistance you face in life, the more likely it is that you are heading in the right direction.
  12. An easy life almost always leads to the wrong destination.
  13. The end result of your life will either be destruction or life.
  14. The majority chooses the wrong path a majority of the time.
  15. Not all “teachers” are as they seem. Before you pay attention to their words, pay attention to the fruit of their life.
  16. All the “good doctrine” in the world is meaningless if it doesn’t lead to love and mercy.
  17. Galatians 5:22-23 outlines the fruit of the Spirit. These fruits should be the outcomes of our life.
  18. Those who truly know and trust Jesus will bear Jesus’ fruits in their life.
  19. Fruitlessness leads to the fire.
  20. If Jesus doesn’t know you, you can’t spend eternity with Him.
  21. At the final judgment, Jesus will “know” everyone in the Lamb’s book of life.
  22. The sermon on the mount teaches how to be successful while living on earth.
  23. Ignoring the words of Jesus leads to collapse when life’s storms hit.
  24. Jesus isn’t afraid of life’s storms because He controls them and He can use them for our good.
  25. If you want to know what the foundation of your life is, take a look at your calendar and your bank account.

Monday, January 10, 2022

25 Sermon Starters from Matthew 6

 Each of these sentences can serve as an idea seed from which to build an entire sermon, or they might be one key point in a sermon. Ideally, they will help you process what God wants to say through you to the people to whom you preach.



  1. Motives matter.
  2. If you are living for the approval of people, you’ll likely not receive the approval of God.
  3. If you have to tell people about your acts of generosity, it wasn’t really generosity.
  4. Maintain secrecy about our “good deeds” is a helpful way to check our motivation.
  5. Never pray for the approval of someone else.
  6. Never be embarrassed about the way you pray. God’s opinion of your prayer is more important than anyone else’s.
  7. Even if no one ever knows the “good things” you have done, God knows.
  8. Fancy words do not a good prayer make.
  9. Jesus’ prayer contained ten lines. Only one of them is a request. Our prayers need to be more than request lists.
  10. If you pray that God’s name will be honored, make sure you don’t dishonor His name with your actions.
  11. Praying that God’s kingdom will come is an empty thought if we don’t submit our lives to His rule.
  12. If we truly want God to be obeyed on earth as He is in heaven, we must obey Him on earth.
  13. Those who have been forgiven, must forgive.
  14. Step number one in resisting temptation is to pray every day for God’s strength in resisting temptation.
  15. “Your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
  16. Invest in things that last.
  17. Your actions, words, responses, and attitudes are all investments. With those investments, you are either building God’s kingdom or your own.
  18. Whatever you look at is what you will see. Choose to focus your attention on the right objects.
  19. Instead of serving your money, make your money serve God.
  20. If you are serving money, you will eventually be mastered by anxiety.
  21. The more you worry about what you cannot control, the more you will be controlled by what you worry about.
  22. Worry only makes us suffer twice.
  23. You will find what you seek, so choose wisely what you will seek.
  24. The best way to receive everything you need, is to stop seeking it and start seeking the Kingdom.
  25. Work at what you can control. Pray about what you cannot control.

Friday, January 7, 2022

3 Sermon Ideas from Matthew 5

SERMON ONE 

The Blessed Life

Jesus’ teachings at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount are a call to introspection. We must be willing to take an honest look at ourselves, and then to respond appropriately to what we see.

1. The Internal Life
    1. Poor in Spirit - Recognizing my own spiritual poverty, I choose to not think too highly of myself.
    2. Mourn - Recognizing its effects on myself and others, I mourn my sinfulness.
    3. Meek - Recognizing that God’s strength is shown in my weakness, I choose to keep my own strength under control.
    4. Hunger and Thirst - Recognizing my own emptiness, I choose to fill myself with God’s provision

2. The External Life
    1. Mercy - Recognizing that I have received mercy, I freely give mercy (Matthew 18:21-35)
    2. Pure in Heart - Recognizing that God sees the heart, I choose to act from pure motivations such as love and generosity rather than selfish motivations
    3. Peacemakers - Recognizing that relational dysfunction only destroys God’s creation, I choose to escalate peace rather than conflict
    4. Persecution - Recognizing that many people are opposed to God, I choose to rejoice in persecution and to pray for my persecutors (John 15:18)

Conclusion: Once we are willing to acknowledge the difficult truths about ourselves, we can recognizing the glorious truths about Jesus. Once you recognize what He has done for you, it is easy to live for Him!

SERMON TWO

Being Salty Isn’t Always Bad

1. Four uses of salt
    1. To preserve
    2. To bring flavor
    3. To wake up (smelling salts)
    4. To make thirsty 

2. Four ways to be salty
    1. Be active in your community as a means of preserving God’s creation and God’s image
    2. Be generous with God’s gifts so that you can make others’ lives betters (more flavorful)
    3. Be gracious in the way you speak the truth, but speak the truth so others may wake up to God’s grace and mercy
    4. Live in such a way that others will crave (be thirsty for) what you have

Conclusion: God saved us so that we can bring others to salvation. How we live either points people to God or to ourselves. Choose to live in a way that points people to Jesus.

SERMON THREE

God Looks At The Heart

In Matthew 5:21-37, Jesus doesn’t eliminate the law, He illuminates it. He shows that the law can only govern men’s external actions, but not their hearts. God’s words to Samuel in 1 Samuel 16 are still true today. We look on the outside, but God looks on the heart.

1. Murder and Anger
    1. The command - Thou shalt not kill
    2. The illumination - Don’t be angry or insulting to your brother
        1. (Anger is not always wrong. Righteous indignation is sometimes appropriate, but one must never be ruled by anger)
        2. In your anger do not sin.
        3. Do not let the sun go down on your wrath.
    3. The principle - All people are made in the image of God and are therefore loved by God. To take a life or diminish a life is to insult God’s creation.

2. Adultery and Lust (and divorce)
    1. The command - Thou shalt not commit adultery
    2. The illumination - Don’t look (or think) lustfully at others
    3. The principle - Marriage is a covenant in which God’s unity is represented by a man and woman. To violate that covenant in any way (including an “emotional affair”) is to violate our connection with God.

3. Lying and Oath Swearing
    1. The command - Thou shalt not bear false witness
    2. The illumination - Don’t even take oaths
    3. The principle - God is truth. God’s children should be so full of truth that everyone knows they are telling the truth no matter what they say. You should never have to say, “I promise” or “I swear”, because people should simply know you are a truthful person.

Conclusion: Protect your heart from influences that drive you away from God. Fill your heart with influences that drive you closer to Him.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

3 Sermon Ideas from Matthew 4

SERMON ONE

 Three Lies Satan Tells

1. You can HAVE whatever you want
    1. “Turn those stones to bread”
    2. This is an appeal to our desire to feel good. We fill our stomachs with food, we fill our lust with sex, we fill our emotions with drugs, etc…
    3. Jesus’ response reminds us that we cannot fill our emptiness with earthly things. We need something more.
2. You can DO whatever you want
    1. “Throw yourself down”
    2. This is an appeal to our desire for autonomy. We don’t think anyone should be able to tell us what is right and wrong or what we can and cannot do.
    3. Jesus’ response reminds us that God’s laws are designed for our safety and protection and real consequences exist for those who ignore His law.
        1. Specifically, we should not expect God to bail us out of situations when we have made bad decisions.
3. You can BE whatever you want
    1. “…all the kingdoms of the world… These will I give you”
    2. This is an appeal to our desire for affirmation. We want people to like us and respect us even if we are not being the person we were made to be.
    3. Jesus did not come to earth the first time to take rulership of all kingdoms. That was not God’s mission for Him, that was not the identity He was supposed to assume.
    4. His response reminds us that we find our true identity in God. When our starting point is true worship, our finishing point will be contentment with who we are.

CONCLUSION: God’s way is best. The more time we spend in His Word, the more prepared we will be to deal with the temptation to abandon His way in favour of what we think is better. Doing it our way always seems appealing in the moment, but it never ends well. Do it God’s way.




SERMON TWO

The Wilderness and the Garden

Notice how similar Satan’s temptations in Matthew 4 are to his temptations in Genesis 3. The devil’s strategies haven’t changed that much. He plays to our lack of contentment, suggests that we don’t have what we want because God is not good, and then deceitfully suggests we can be something much better if we’ll go His way.

1. The devil suggested they eat what has not been provided
    1. “Command these stones to become loaves of bread”
    2. “You will not surely die.”
2. The devil suggested they didn’t understand God as well as he did
    1. “He will command his angels concerning you”
    2. “God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be open”
3. The devil suggested God was holding them back
    1. “All these (kingdoms of the world) I will give you”
    2. “You will be like God.”

Conclusion:  Even though, in the garden they had everything, Adam and Eve fell for these lies and as a result sin entered the world and death by sin. However, even though, in the wilderness he had nothing, Jesus resisted the temptation. Because He succeeded where Adam and Eve failed, Jesus became the perfect sacrifice to bear our sins and make it possible for us to have eternal life, free from the penalty, presence and power of sin.



SERMON THREE 

The Disciples’ Invitation is Our Invitation

1. Follow me
    1. For the disciples, following Jesus meant walking where he walked, talking like He talked, acting like He acted, treating others as He treated them, choosing the attitudes He chose, and much more.
    2. Everyone is following someone or something. To “follow” is to pay close attention and to sometimes imitate.
        1. The news channel of choice.
        2. A favorite politician
        3. Celebrities or athletes
        4. A preacher or other influencer
    3. Truly following Jesus means we allow Him to be the primary TEACHER, EXAMPLE, INFLUENCER, and BOSS of our life.
2. I will make you
    1. Jesus transformed the disciples from fearful and cowardly to bold and driven.
    2. Jesus wants to make you into the person God created you to be. However, until you can acknowledge that you need help and that, on your own, you cannot make yourself, He cannot make you.
    3. If you choose to closely follow Jesus, the result will be that He re-makes you.
3. Fishers of men
    1. Peter and Andrew were fishermen. Jesus took what they were good at, redeemed it, and used it to accomplish His mission through them.
    2. Jesus can take the gifts you already have, redeem them, and use them to accomplish His mission through you.
        1. Your Power (what you are good at)
        2. Your Passion
        3. Your Personality
        4. Your Possessions
        5. Your Past

Conclusion: The disciple’s three year adventure with Jesus changed everything about them and altered the direction of the rest of their lives. The challenge for us is to choose to follow Jesus and let Him change us as well. He wants to change who we are so that He can use who we are to accomplish His mission for those around us.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

2 Sermon Ideas from Matthew 3

 
SERMON ONE

The Process of Salvation

John’s message was enough to get people moving toward salvation, but not enough to save them. They needed something more than he could offer.

1. I Repent

    1. Repentance is the process of stopping, turning, and moving away. It inherently leads to something new.

        1. It is more than “I’m sorry” or “I was wrong”.

    2. John’s message was that something new was coming, and to receive it a new direction was necessary.

2. I Confess

    1. Those who were baptised by John, first confessed their sin.

    2. Confession is taking responsibility for what one has done, in this case it is taking responsibility for one’s sins.

    3. Confession of sin should include:

        1. Acknowledgement that I alone am responsible for my sins. No excuses.

        2. Acknowledgement that my sin has driven a wedge between myself and the perfectly righteous God.

3. I am given the Holy Spirit THROUGH Jesus

    1. I need the Holy Spirit to be my advocate and to empower my new relationship with God.

    2. I need the Holy Spirit to be my guide and to enable my new life on earth.

    3. I cannot receive the Holy Spirit while I am still a sinful creature.

    4. I need Jesus to wash away my sin, cure my sin nature, and give me the gift of the Holy Spirit.


Conclusion:

Much more can be said and discovered about life in the Spirit. This is simply the starting point. The key for today is to understand our own steps in receiving the salvation offered by Jesus.

Other supporting Scriptures are: 1 John 1:9, Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19, 2 Peter 3:9, Luke 5:32, Acts 26:20.


SERMON TWO


A Glimpse of the Trinity


This passage carries significant parallels to other passages in Scripture which helps us to understand how the Father, Son and Spirit work together.


1. In Creation

    1. The Father spoke (Genesis 1) “And God said…”

    2. The Spirit hovered (Genesis 1:2) “and the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters”

        1. Think of “hovering” as “overseeing” like a manager.

        2. A good manager EMPOWERS. The Spirit EMPOWERS the Son as He acts.

    3. The Son acted (Colossians 1:16) “for by Him all things were created…”

2. At Jesus’ Baptism (Matthew 3:16-17)

    1. The Father spoke  — “This is my beloved Son, which whom I am well pleased.”

    2. The Spirit hovered — “the Spirit of God depending like a dove…”

    3. The Son acted — “Jesus was baptised…he went up from the water….”

3. Throughout Jesus’ life and ministry

    1. The Father spoke — (John 17:4) “…having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.”

    2. The Spirit hovered — (John 3:34) “for He gives the Spirit without measure.”

    3. The Son acted — (John 3:17) “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.”

4. In Salvation (1 Peter 1:1-2)

    1. The Father spoke — “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father”

    2. The Spirit hovered — “in the sanctification of the Spirit”

    3. The Son acted — “…sprinkling with his blood”

5. In our life

    1. The Father speaks — (Philippians 1:6) “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion…”

    2. The Spirit empowers — (John 14:15) “He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever…”

    3. The Son acts — (Hebrews 12:2) “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecto of our faith”


Conclusion:

We need to pay attention to what God has said and open ourselves to what His Spirit is doing in us so that our lives will more closely resemble the life of Jesus.