Sermons

“God is Not Safe” – 1 Samuel 5-6

Have you ever had something stolen from you? It’s a pretty nasty feeling. We’ve had a car stolen. I’ve had my wallet stolen more than once. It’s not a good feeling to know something is gone and you’re probably not getting it back. Last week, Israel lost the most valuable thing they had – the ark of the covenant. And humanly speaking, it should have been the end of a religion. How could an ancient god recover from something like…

Sola Gratia

The Five Pillars of the Reformation5.9.2021 – Week 3 – Sola Gratia Sola Gratia – “Grace Alone” “We reaffirm that in salvation we are rescued from God’s wrath by his grace alone. It is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ by releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual life. We deny that salvation is in any sense a human work. Human methods, techniques or strategies by…

“Shameful Loss” – 1 Samuel 4

A few times during his ministry, Jesus quoted from the prophet Isaiah. “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” The world today has an abundance of knowledge. We have more information than we could ever need. But knowledge is not the same thing as understanding. Look with me at 1 Samuel 4, beginning in verse 1: 1 Now Israel went out to battle against the Philistines. They encamped at Ebenezer, and…

Solus Christus

The Five Pillars of the Reformation5.2.2021 – Week 2 – Solus Christus Solus Christus – “In Christ Alone” “We reaffirm that our salvation is accomplished by the mediatorial work of the historical Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to the Father. We deny that the gospel is preached if Christ’s substitutionary work is not declared and faith in Christ and his work is not solicited.”– The Cambridge Declaration, Alliance of…

“The Word of the Lord” – 1 Samuel 3

No introduction today. This is a familiar Bible story so I want to just dive right in. 1 Samuel 3. 1 Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision. 2 At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place. 3 The lamp of…

Sola Scriptura

The Five Pillars of the Reformation4.25.2021 – Week 1 – Sola Scriptura Sola Scriptura – “Scripture Alone” “We reaffirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written divine revelation, which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured. We deny that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian’s conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks…

“Good Father, Faithful Son” – 1 Samuel 2:12-36

I introduced the book of Samuel last week with a question: Is God King? Does He mean more to you than whatever it is you want from Him? How can you tell? How do you know? Let’s continue reading in 1 Samuel 2: 12 Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the Lord. In Hebrew, it says that these men were “sons of Belial”, which is possibly the name of a demon or another name…

“Favored, but Barren” – 1 Samuel 1

This morning we will begin a study of first and second Samuel. The story begins during the period of the Judges with a man named Elkanah. 1 There was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim of the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, an Ephrathite. In other words, Elkanah has roots in Bethlehem, from the same family as Naomi. 2 He had two wives. The name…

“Resurrecting Love” – Ruth 4

My job is to teach the Bible and it is becoming increasingly difficult because less than half of all Americans are now committed to a Christian church. Less than 35% attend any church regularly. Pastors used to assume that the people listening to us believed the Bible is true. We cannot assume that anymore. And maybe we never should have. So, before I teach the Bible, I want to give you just one of the many reasons why I trust…

“Sacrificial Love” – Ruth 3

Today is Good Friday, the day when Christians around the world remember the cross of Jesus Christ. The death and resurrection of Jesus was the most significant event in human history. It demonstrated the character and depth of God’s love. We will celebrate the resurrection on Sunday, but today I want us to pause and consider God’s love through the lens of the cross. We are not going to use the typical Gospel narratives. Instead, we are going to continue…

“One-Way Love” – Ruth 2

The best days are the ones you didn’t expect to be great. Your expectations were low, but the day turned out much better than you expected. Have you ever had a day like that? If we kept that attitude, we might realize that most days are far better than we deserve. We are only disappointed when we think we deserve better. Last week, we started a brief study in the book of Ruth. Ruth was a young woman from Moab,…

“No Exit Love” – Ruth 1

I decided that I could not preach through the book of Judges without also preaching the book of Ruth. Judges is a book full of tragedies, but Ruth is like an appendix of hopefulness. Ruth takes place during the period of the judges. It shows us that God was up to something very special behind the scenes and I can’t wait for you to see it. 1:1 In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the…

“Rock Bottom” – Judges 19-21

Last week, I told you that this story we are about to read is rock bottom for the nation of Israel. You may already know that names are a big deal in the Bible. They carry a lot of weight and meaning. Names in the Bible are very important. Well, no one in this entire story will have a name. The writer chose not to tell us who these people were, probably because this is one of the most shameful…

“The Cult of Micah” – Judges 17-18

Samson was the last of the Judges, but there are still five chapters in the book. This is “the rest of the story” and it’s not good. The story we will read next week is going to be rock bottom. Today’s story I would describe as careening off the side of a cliff in a car with no brakes. How’s that for an introduction? 1 There was a man of the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Micah. 2…

“Samson” – Judges 13-16

Today, we will study the life of Samson – the most famous or infamous of the judges. Samson was unconventional, unsavory, and mostly unfaithful. But the writer spends four chapters telling us Samson’s story, because it teaches us so much. I’ve never preached four chapters in one sermon before, so buckle up. And the story begins before Samson was born. 13:1 And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, so the Lord…

“No Bargains” – Judges 10-11

Another Sunday, another tragic story to read in the book of Judges. Let’s begin reading in chapter 10, verse 6: 6 The people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites, and the gods of the Philistines. And they forsook the Lord and did not serve him. The worship of false…

“Power-Trip” – Judges 8-9

We have established a clear pattern in the book of Judges. Israel suffers embarrassing failure followed by embarrassing loss. They fall into idolatry and God hands them over to the enemy. The people then cry out for God’s help. He sends a judge. The judge brings peace. He or she dies. And then the cycle begins again. Except for Gideon. Gideon is different. The writer now takes some time to show us that Israel’s failures begin while the judge is…

“Mighty Man of Valor” – Judges 6-7

Most people have heard of the famous Battle of Thermopylae, when Leonidas and 300 Spartan soldiers defended the retreat of the Greek army at a narrow pass for an entire day. The Persians eventually killed them all, but it is perhaps the most famous “last stand” in history. It was an amazing feat of military strength against overwhelming odds. The sermon this morning is about a group of 300 Israelite soldiers who won a battle despite overwhelming odds – and…

“Poetic Justice” – Judges 4-5

Our story today is the only story in the book of Judges with a narrative and a poem. Chapter 4 tells the story in prose. Chapter 5 tells it again in poetry. That makes the story special and it pleads for our attention. Let’s give our attention, but first let’s pray for God’s help. 1 And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord after Ehud died. I’m going to spend a few…

“Son of the Right Hand” – Judges 3

“The bigger they are, the harder they fall.” That phrase was popularized by a British boxer in the 1800s named Bob Fitzsimmons. Bob was the first boxer to become a three-division world champion. He still holds the world record for being the lightest boxer to win the heavy-weight championship at just 165 pounds. “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.” One reason for Bob’s success is that he was just as dangerous with his left hand as he was…

“The Judge” – Judges 1-2

This week, we watched as protestors entered the Capitol building and disrupted congressional meetings to certify the next president. We’ve heard a lot of talk about the rule of law, the peaceful transfer of power, and the institution of democracy. I have no intention of making a public statement on politics this morning. I will, however, make a pastoral statement about human beings in general. Our tendency is to slide toward lawlessness and chaos – not law and order. That…

Joshua 24:14-28

With unanimous consent from our elders, I have decided to teach the book of Judges. But I want to warn you now. Judges is not for the faint of heart or the easily offended. The book is intentionally disturbing. If they made an HBO series with the book of Judges, it would not be suitable for young audiences. There are some shocking stories, but that’s not why I want to teach the book of Judges. I want to teach it…
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