Sermons on Faith

At Mary and Martha’s House

Meals play a central role in Scripture. The crucial holiday in Israel’s calendar was a meal that commemorated their deliverance from captivity, and the central commemoration of Christians is a weekly meal that reflects on God’s ultimate deliverance from bondage. Our presence in the new heavens and earth is sometimes described as a huge feast where we take our places at a banquet table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the central part of our favorite Psalm is about God’s…

A Simple Life

Three weeks ago we started a short series on what it looks like to follow Jesus in the midst of busy lives, lives where we feel pressured by so many expectations and distractions. What does following Jesus look like day-to-day? How do we do what life demands while also finding time to cultivate a real-life relationship with Jesus? The answer is in actually following Jesus, not just in the abstract I’m-a-Christian-because-I’ve-been-baptized sense, but actually walking in his footsteps, doing what he…

I Will Follow You

It almost sounds like Jesus is trying to discourage people from following him, doesn’t it? And yet, of course, we know that he came to invite everyone to follow him, so we know he doesn’t want to turn anyone away. So what’s going on? There’s a theme in Luke’s gospel that comes into play here, I think. The paragraph we’re studying tomorrow is at the beginning of a part of Luke that is often called The Travel Narrative or The…

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…

The Word That I Have Spoken

And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who…

Do Not Lose Heart

Depending on our particular situation, we can probably relate to Paul’s reminder that the “outer self is wasting away” and that “the tent that is our earthly home [may be] destroyed.” And we, like Paul, sometimes “groan” while we “are still in this tent.” We feel the effects of aging, we get bad results from an MRI, we hear the news of a good friend’s death . . . and we’re reminded again about the brevity of this life as…

Faith Works

Easy believism. Cheap grace. It’s called by different names, but it’s been around for awhile, probably since the beginning of time. Some people claim to believe, but they don’t live like it. James apparently had people in his community of faith who made a big deal of their faith, but their lives didn’t show it. Some of them were showing favoritism to the rich, while others weren’t helping the needy even though they had the means to do it. To them…

But He Was a Leper . . .

Naaman had everything, it seems, except one thing: “he was a leper.” Depending on what the text means when it says “leprosy,” Naaman’s condition was at best a disease that marred his appearance and at worst something that devastated his entire life. But the turning point of this story is what he does when he’s given the opportunity for the leprosy to be taken away. But he refuses to obey. Was it because he didn’t really believe it would happen?…

Be Still, and Know That I am God

The words of this Psalm may have been especially meaningful to Hezekiah. A few years earlier his kinfolks in the northern kingdom of Israel had been absolutely annihilated by the cruelest nation on earth–the Assyrians. And now the conquerors are back, this time with Judah and Jerusalem and Hezekiah in their sights. No army on earth was built to stop Assyria, and everybody knew that. Even Hezekiah knew that. “. . . though the earth gives way, though the mountains…
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