Sermons on Spiritual Growth (Page 3)

Look at it and Live

If you’re following the church’s Bible reading plan this year, you’ve just begun the book of Numbers, so you’re about to read about a series of rebellions that culminate in an event at Kadesh-Barnea that seems to be the tipping point (the 12 scouts, Israel’s disbelief, etc.). God turns them back toward the wilderness where they’ll spend almost four decades. Our story today falls into this period of time–after the Kadesh rebellion and during the wilderness wandering. It’s short, but…

The Temptation of Christ

There’s an obvious connection with Israel’s temptation in the wilderness in this story. Israel experienced “baptism” in the Red Sea, then went into the wilderness for 40 years, while Jesus was baptized by John then went into the wilderness for 40 days. Jesus’ response to the devil with each temptation was to quote from Deuteronomy, the book of the Torah that in many ways summarizes and completes Israel’s wilderness experience. Israel failed, while Jesus did not. That, in itself, helps us…

Surprised on Judgment Day

This is a familiar story to most Christians, and it’s been preached many times over the years to help people realize how much Jesus cares about our attitude toward those who are disadvantaged. And that’s certainly a needed emphasis. Tomorrow I plan to focus on an interesting nuance in the text, something that I’ve never thought that much about. For the most part, I’m going to ignore the last part of the story–about the ones who ignored the needs of…

Our Daily Bread

We come to the part of this beautiful prayer where Jesus leads us to express our needs. There are three requests–Give us our bread, forgive us our debts, and lead us not into temptation–and we’ll consider the first one tomorrow. The one about the bread is the only one that has to do with physical needs, and it’s very brief. You’ll notice there’s nothing extraordinary there–no requests for luxuries, obviously, and not even a request for something more than simply…

Waiting on God

Most of us don’t enjoy waiting, but it’s interesting how God seems to think it’s an important part of the walk of faith. How long did Abraham and Sarah wait for Isaac? Jacob waited for Rachel. Joseph waited for years in Egypt, and of course the Hebrews waited in slavery for 400 years. Throughout centuries of struggle, Israel longed for the anticipated Messiah. And we wait as well. In the text above, Paul says that “in this tent we groan,” and…