Showing posts from September, 2012

Sermon on Mark 9:30-37 for the 17th Sunday after Pentecost, "Instructable and Humble"

Sermon Outline: 1.       Happens every day in classrooms—teacher is explaining a new word or concept; students don’t understand, but are afraid to ask. Am I the only one? (usually not). Embarrassed? Seem smart as the rest—so stays silent. What happens? Learning gets stuck. As every teacher knows, asking questions is one of the best ways to learn and understand. Every good teacher is a pushover for good questions. Almost every one of them will follow a teachable tangent. Questions are a sign that minds are engaged and curiosity is opened. Clever teacher knows not to be sidetracked by distractions, questions that aren’t serious, or can’t be answered. 2.       We shouldn’t be afraid of asking questions. Encouraged. Dozens of questions just based on our Bible readings today. Some tough material. Each Sunday we read three sections of the Bible, taking us through major portions of the Bible every three years. Many more questions than can be answered in a single sermon, or I’d keep you

Sermon on Mark 9:14-29 for the 16th Sunday after Pentecost, "I believe; help my unbelief!"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Our Gospel reading from Mark takes place right after Jesus has returned from His mountaintop transfiguration, where 3 disciples saw Him revealed as the Son of God. Returning to the plain, He finds out that the other disciples had failed in casting out a demon from a young boy, and were now surrounded by a crowd, arguing with the scribes. Jesus enters the scene, with the disciples likely embarrassed by their failure and the crowd eager to see if Jesus could succeed where the disciples had failed. Even the father of the child has a lukewarm hope in Jesus’ ability. When Jesus hears the father’s report of the disciples’ failure, He shows great disappointment: “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you?” Where was their faith? Later He would explain to them they also lacked prayer. How would Jesus attend to this man’s needs, as well as to the weakness and lack of faith aro

Sermon on James 2:1-18, for the 15th Sunday after Pentecost, "The Way of the Christian"

1.       James teaches what the “way of the Christian” looks like. What the manner of life looks like due to the faith that the Holy Spirit has put in our hearts by God’s Word. Suspicion because of strong emphasis on good works. But actually James in no way diminishes the importance of faith, but rather sees it as a necessary first before we have good works. The words of the sermon hymn explain it well: “Faith alone can justify. Works serve our neighbor and supply the proof that faith is living.” Today James sets out to prove that faith is living. 2.       Since only God can see the faith in our heart, it is through faith expressing itself in good works that we can see and recognize faith as genuine. Good works indicate faith that is present, while the absence of good works indicate that faith is absent. “So faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead”, James says. 3.       So what is the way of the Christian? Follows the life of Jesus. James begins with the example of fa

Sermon on Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9, for the 14th Sunday after Pentecost, "Light for the Nations"

Sermon outline: 1.       Deuteronomy (“second law”): Moses’ reaffirming God’s statutes and rules to a fledgling nation, about to enter the promised land. High calling, exalted among the nations as the treasured possession of God, kingdom of priests, holy nation (Ex. 19:6). Warned not to think too highly of themselves (Deut 9—you are not more righteous, or greater, but rather are stubborn). But because of God’s gracious choosing & show His glory. Their obedience to His law > witness for the nations. Righteousness and wisdom of God’s teaching. Show that God is not a national God (Israel only), but the God of all the nations. 2.       How did they do? Did they reach that high standard? Tried at times. Nearest example: Solomon’s reign. Temple dedication (1 Ki. 8:41-43)—draw in the nations. Queen of Sheba (1 Ki. 10). Did it last? Not even a generation. Fell away, disregarded law. Warning in Deut. 17 about kings not assembling power, prestige, wealth, and many wives to himself—bu