Sermons on Spiritual Growth

Sermons on Spiritual Growth

Christ Over All

When we suffer, we’re tempted to question God’s presence and sovereignty, even more so when the suffering is directly tied to our following Christ. Where is God? Does he know? Does he care? Why isn’t he doing anything? Peter’s response–as it so often is for him and other biblical writers–is to go to Jesus, specifically to his death, resurrection, and exaltation. There’s a significant interpretive difficulty in this passage, and we’ll spend a little time with it Sunday, but even…

When They Ask About Your Hope

When the world gets darker, light is more easily seen. In our text for tomorrow, Peter seems to assume this: people who don’t follow Christ will become curious about the source of our hope, and they will occasionally ask where it comes from. “I’ve noticed something different about you . . . you don’t seem to be affected by life’s difficulties as the rest of us are. How do you do that?” “How do you avoid getting caught up in…

The Renewal of the Holy Spirit

The theme for 2021 is “RENEW,” and we’ve been exploring some aspect of that theme on the first Sunday morning of each month. Tomorrow we’ll focus on Paul’s words to the young church planter, Titus, who was in a difficult environment on the island of Crete. Paul uses a quite powerful word in verse 5 when he writes that salvation comes about by the “washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” The Greek word behind “regeneration” quite literally…

Loving Life and Seeing Good Days

We’ve been working our way through 1 Peter lately, focusing on how the church should think about our relationships with those outside of Christ. In the text for tomorrow, Peter sums up his emphasis of the last section. You may remember how he’s just encouraged Christians to submit to “every human institution,” servants to submit to their masters, wives to submit to their husbands, and husbands to honor their wives. In 3:8-12, though, he’s careful to emphasize that he’s talking to…

Forgive

Jesus said a lot about his expectations that his followers forgive people who sin against us, seemingly going so far as to say that God’s forgiveness of us hinges on our forgiving others. It’s embedded in the Lord’s Prayer (“Forgive us, as we forgive those who sin against us.”), and in the story above, the forgiven servant who withholds forgiveness from his servant finds himself being punished severely. And yet many people–even Christians–still harbor bitterness in their hearts from offenses…

Free Servants: How Christians Relate to Political Powers

We’re in the middle of a sermon series on 1 Peter, a letter the apostle wrote to Christians who were struggling to figure out how they were supposed to relate to an increasingly hostile world. Like them, we sense a change in the cultural tides against the practice of historic, orthodox Christianity, and sometimes we’re confused about who we are and how we’re supposed to live. After laying the theological groundwork and encouraging his readers to remember the importance of…