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Showing posts from May, 2013

Sermon on John 8:48-59, for Holy Trinity Sunday, "The Holy Trinity"

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Today, a little different than usual, rather than focusing on a single text, I’ll be focusing on the theme of the Trinity, and related Bible passages. When we reflect on that teaching—do we think of it as a high and lofty “doctrine” that has no practical bearing on our Christian life? Or is it central to all the articles of Christian faith? You can probably already guess my answer. The word “doctrine” has a tendency to cause a knee-jerk reaction, or raise suspicion that we’re talking about something abstract or academic. Strangely, the word “teaching” doesn’t cause the same reaction, even though teaching and doctrine are the same thing. Doctrine is simply the church’s teaching. And the “doctrine” or teaching of the Trinity, while it may be lofty, mysterious, and even difficult to grasp—is not just for academics, nor is it impractical and irrelevant to our lives. Granted, the terms that theologians later used to d…

Sermon on John 14:23-31, for Pentecost, "Taught by the Lord"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. Isaiah 54:13 prophesied a day to come when “All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.” Jesus fulfilled this in His teaching, and among those who heard and learned from the Father, and came to Him (John 6:45). Being “taught by the Lord” was carried forward when the Holy Spirit was outpoured on the apostles at Pentecost. In a sudden and miraculous fashion, the apostles were able to teach the Good News about Jesus’ redeeming work, in many different languages—and people heard and understood in their own native language, about the mighty deeds of God. In our Gospel reading, Jesus teaches about how the Spirit will come and teach the disciples, after Jesus’ departure. We’re among the future generations that are “taught by the Lord” until His return. Today we celebrate a significant passing on of Christian teaching, from one generation to ano…

Sermon on John 17:20-26, for the 7th Sunday of Easter, "That they may be one"

Sermon Outline: Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer—longest prayer of Jesus, earlier part is for His immediate disciples, second part expands to all future disciples. Interceding—seeking God’s blessing. Reflect on the great comfort that Jesus prays for us. We need God’s prayer, because apart from Him we all go our own separate ways, and here Jesus is praying for our unity. We may tend to think of prayer as only directed from us to God, but here Jesus prays on our behalf. This affirms what is elsewhere said, that the Holy Spirit also intercedes or prays for us “in groans too deep for words to express” (Rom. 8:26). This section focuses on all future believers “who will believe in me through their word”. These people for whom Jesus’ prays, are not yet part of the church, but He prays for them to believe—showing God’s concern for the lost, and for those who have not yet come to faith in Him. So, like Christ, we too should have a …

Sermon on John 16:23-33, for the 6th Sunday of Easter, "Joy and Peace in Parting"

Sermon Outline: ·2 weeks ago—Paul’s “farewell speech” in Ephesus. Today in John 16, small section of Jesus’ lengthy farewell discourse to His disciples. Eve of His betrayal, arrest, coming crucifixion. Everything in His ministry had been aiming toward this moment, this hour of His cross. The necessity of God’s plan unfolding, urging Him to that momentous sacrifice. Preparing them; but not a farewell speech of one leaving them behind or never coming back. Rather: remain with them through the Holy Spirit and accessible to them through prayer. ·Sadness comes with saying goodbye—but Jesus’ departure also brings joy and peace. Jesus recognizes their sorrows; prepares them for the tribulations ahead. Though sorrow would soon overcome them at His crucifixion, inexpressible and untouchable joy would be theirs at His resurrection. Life was about to change radically for them. Nothing could totally prepare them for the total transformation of their lives and their whole view of the world—of life,…