Sermons by Brian Morgan (Page 3)
Acts 14:8-28 Commenting on our text for this week, Luke Timothy Johnson observes, “The growing resistance to Paul’s messianic preaching by Diaspora Jews reaches a savage pitch in Lystra.” After jealous rage and ridicule in Antioch and death threats in Iconium, Paul is now stoned and left for dead in Lystra. However, as God would have it, Paul’s life is anything but finished. He simply gets up, goes back into the city and the following day Paul and Barnabas set out for their final destination, Derbe, where they make many disciples unhindered. What Luke demonstrates is that the more violent Jewish resistance becomes, the more receptive is the Gentiles’ acceptance of the gospel. What a mystery! Given the violent resistance they’ve encountered, one would think they would choose the shortest and safest route home. To our surprise, they head straight back into the fire and retrace their steps all the way home. What are they thinking?
Acts 13:42 – 14:7 As we continue following Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey, things begin to heat up. After the conversion of the Roman proconsul in Cyprus and a very positive response to Paul’s sermon in Antioch, opposition arises and quickly becomes violent, spreading like wildfire among the people. Yet, to our surprise, Paul and Barnabas refuse to be intimidated. Instead of cowering in fear, they appear more courageous and confident with every move the enemy makes. They are like champion chess players, who had predetermined their responses to every move their opponents will make to the very end of the game. However, in this case, God has predetermined all the moves and has given them their endgame strategy. There is no need to be anxious when you know how the game ends. Do you?
Acts 13:13-43 What makes the difference between a boring sermon and one that strikes like lightning? On a more personal level, how do you have a significant encounter with people who are well versed in religion and already have their minds made up? In this week’s text, Paul and Barnabas travel north through the Taurus Mountains and enter the city of Pisidian Antioch. On the first Sabbath day after their arrival they are invited to give a word of exhortation to the congregation. For three hundred years Jews in the Diaspora have been reading the Scriptures and listening to countless sermons exhorting them to remain faithful to the law. But never have they heard a sermon like this with such good news, declaring God has fulfilled all of Israel’s longings and is on the move, doing revolutionary things where new life is breaking out for whole world and nothing is going to remain the same. And unless you jump in with both feet, you are going to be left out! So don’t you be left out.
Acts 13:4-12 In this week’s text we come to a historic moment in the history of the church, when Paul, Barnabas and John Mark set sail for Cyprus on the first missionary journey. Up until now evangelism was the spontaneous, less-systematic work of individuals. But now the task of missions will be intentional and strategic, following the lead of the Spirit coupled with wise strategy. Straight away we will discover the pattern of outreach that will be repeated in place after place. We will see the power of prayer to open doors, the approach Paul takes with politicians, the inevitability of fierce and sometimes violent attacks, and the relentless power and authority of the Holy Spirit to overcome all opposition. As Paul writes to the Thessalonians, “our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction”. (1 Thes 1:5)
Acts 12:25 – 13:4 This week we begin an eight-week series following Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey in the book of Acts. It is a historic moment in the history of the church. As Luke has shown how God was faithful to his promises by restoring a faithful Israel in Jerusalem, now in the person of Paul, he demonstrates how God is calling out for himself a people from among the nations – the ultimate goal of salvation history. As we travel along with Paul and Barnabas, I have three goals in mind: That we have a greater appreciation for our apostolic foundation and the price they paid that we might be full heirs of the gospel of Christ That we will come to understand the vital role of the Spirit for mission and personal evangelism That our hearts be transformed to have a passion for God’s mission for the world
Luke 2:1-20 On this fourth Sunday of Advent, Christmas Day, we hear the voice of the angel announcing to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10-11). At critical times in Israel’s history when their world grew oppressive and morally dark, God intervened to subvert the existing order announcing “good news” of a new beginning, a fresh start, often through a deliverer who would be born to a barren woman. Yet, despite God’s faithfulness, giving Israel a fresh start again and again, it never lasted. There was always an ominous crack in the foundation of the new order, a fatal character flaw in the human instruments. Why should we expect this “good news” to be any different? How can we be sure it will last? What clues does Luke give us that this will be history’s last new beginning upon which everything else will be built, a beginning that evokes everlasting praise from every creature and all of creation? Join us Christmas Day to receive God’s gift and when you open it, “heaven and nature sing!”
Judg 16:1-31 As we conclude out summer series with the book of Judges, we will examine how to further the kingdom of God when we are living in a world dominated by idolatry, greed and narcissistic leaders. In the days of the judges, men became passive confronting evil in the home and lacked courage go to battle for the sake of the nation. With a vacuum in leadership, heroic women took the initiative to fill the gap. Through the examples of Deborah, Ruth, and Hannah, we will discover the key character traits that bring light out of darkness and hope in the midst of despair.
Judg 13:1 – 15:20 This week we will take a critical look at the life of Samson, the judge who began his career with the greatest potential and divine privilege, yet fails so miserably, ultimately receiving the gold medal as Israel’s worst judge. In his Old Testament Theology, Bruce Waltke writes that Samson, the Philistine slayer, is also an antihero. He does what is right in his eyes, disdaining his parents, his vows, and God; he cooperates and copulates with the uncircumcised; he is a spiteful manslayer and a self-satisfying whoremonger… This prankish, narcissistic womanizer ironically has no children; he squanders his gifts and does not actualize his potential to completely deliver Israel. We can’t help but wonder why the narrator devotes 96 verses to this narcissistic abuser who lives solely to satisfy his lustful cravings and violently destroys anyone who gets in his way. And why did he place his narrative at the climax of the book? There is much more to Samson’s story than meets the eye. If you allow the narrator to draw you into the story, you just may find yourself alongside Samson buried in the rubble of some idol’s temple, reaching your hand out to the real hero of the book of Judges.