The day to day demands and struggles of life can often deprive us of a clear perspective of the big picture. What is really going on in the world? What is God up to? We learn from John 10 that there is a bigger story than our day-to-day lives taking place whether we notice or not. Jesus is at work gathering the sheep of His Father’s flock into the fold. Moment by moment, day by day, year by year the Good Shepherd is tenderly, patiently but effectively calling out to his sheep, delivering them out of darkness and into the light. He has laid down his life from the sheep and has pledged to guard and protect them. His sheep can rest in the peace of knowing they are secure with the fold of the Good Shepherd.
This sermon is the Deacon Ordination sermon for Eric Bertolotti, Brandon Granger, Randy Mallard, and Jason Pratt. As we consider the office of Deacon, we look to Christ as the perfect example of how to serve. Following His example, we willingly take up the lowliest of positions in order to see Him glorified in the church. As Deacons serve with this heart, practical needs are met, and the ministry of the Word and prayer continues unimpeded.
This sermon is the second of four sermons exploring the role of the public means of grace in the renewal of the Christian mind. This doctrinal sermon addresses the nature and place of the ordinances in Christian worship, focusing mostly upon the ordinances of communion. Communion is a means of grace as God uses the partaking of the elements to remind us of and nourish us with the truths of Christ’s sacrifice, the blessings of our salvation, and the hope set before us.
In the fast paced, highly connected world in which we live it seems all too common for people to feel overlooked. This sense of falling between the cracks is even more profound when we are struggling with difficulties that overwhelm us with seemingly no explanation for our suffering. We learn from the opening verses of the ninth chapter of John’s gospel that in Jesus we have a savior who sees our struggles. Furthermore, we learn in this passage that the hardships and struggles in our lives are for a purpose that displays the glory and character of God. In healing a blind beggar in Jerusalem, Jesus shows his power over our circumstances and teaches us to fix our gaze upon the higher purposes of our circumstances.
In this Psalm we see a demonstration of the distinction between notional, and experiential knowledge. While intellectual knowledge is necessary, it is not sufficient. We are called to live out the truth in relationship to God, in Christ. To this end, the David shares his personal experience of the goodness of God, and then encourages his readers to partake of God in order to experience his goodness for themselves.
There is something universal in the celebration of mothers, or motherhood. No matter what our life situation may be, or have been, we were all born of a mother. Spiritually, the Bible tells us we are all born of one of two mothers; according to flesh, or according to promise; slave or free. These women are two covenants; Hagar is Mount Sinai, while Sarah is New Jerusalem; works and grace. Understanding this contrasting analogy helps us to think rightly about our relationship to God through Christ.
Scripture teaches that the fallen world in which we live is a dark place. We are so accustomed to this spiritual darkness that we can become blind to the light of truth. The darkness into which we are born deprives us of the ability to see and understand reality. The apostle John wrote his gospel to show us that God has invaded the darkness in the person of Jesus in order to bring us the light of life. Jesus is the life giving light of heaven. In this passage from the eighth chapter of John’s gospel we see Jesus taking advantage of ceremonies associated with the Jewish Feast of Booths to reveal to all who would listen that through him they could come out of the darkness of death and have life eternal in the light of God’s glory.
There is a right way to seek righteousness and a wrong way to seek righteousness. Unfortunately, the largest portion of Israel chose the wrong way. They misconstrued the purpose of the law and sought to justify themselves before God on the basis of works. In response, God hardened their hearts and made them fit for destruction. Yet, the calling of God is irrevocable, and according to His sovereign purpose, those who were chosen by Him did receive the gift of righteousness.
In Romans 10:15, Paul had built up to a crescendo of praise to God for how He sent out preachers of the Word. But it is that triumph of the ministry of proclamation that makes the plight of lost Israel all the more grievous. Here in Romans 10:16-21, Paul returns the the subject of why Israel rejected their Messiah, and in their plight, we find the rebellious heart of all sinful men exemplified, as well as the compassion of God to save all who will respond to outstretched arms.
As Paul wraps up his opening comments to the church at Ephesus, he offers a prayer for them that is centered around the theme of God’s power displayed in the resurrection and exaltation of Christ. As we ‘know’ God and grow in our understanding of His incredible power, we will deepen in the hope of our calling, realize the riches of the glory of our inheritance, and embrace the surpassing greatness of His power.