Sermons by John Hanneman
As humans, we long for community, a place of belonging and connectedness. However, these longings are being eroded by a culture that does not make time or create space for deeper relationships. Instead of togetherness there is an increasing sense of isolation and loneliness. The influences of the culture seep into the church. Authentic spiritual community is more difficult to find. Our souls suffer and God’s presence in the world is diminished. This Sunday we conclude the summer series by exploring the question, Does Community Matter?
Col 1:15-20 Your desire for God and your capacity to connect with God as a human soul is the essence of who you are. And the place where that desire is met is in a person who makes visible and tangible the invisible and intangible God. God becomes human flesh in Jesus. “The Incarnation brings the world (God’s) presence. It is a presence so complete that it overshadows every presence before it.” (Carlos Caretto). If God isn’t like Jesus, he ought to be.
2 Tim 3:14 – 4:4 “Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” (Deut 8:3 ESV) Do you realize that there is something more important to our lives than food? The Word of God is our daily bread that nourishes our soul. Through the Scriptures we feed on God’s revealed truths that are indispensable for spiritual life and growth. As we continue our four-week series on key family values this week we turn our attention to the importance of God’s Word and how that shapes who we are at Peninsula Bible Church.
Gal 6:1-10 A freedom that asserts independence and self-sufficiency is not freedom at all. Rather it results in a life turned inward on self that becomes empty. Christ has set us free from a self-focused life (law) to a sacrificial life of loving service towards others (grace). The ability to care for others through the work of the Spirit is the highest form of freedom, to which we have been called (#free2live). As we conclude our studies in Galatians this week, we will examine what love looks like in action, especially in the community of faith.
Gal 4:8-20 Our deepest desire is to be transformed into the image of Christ rather than becoming a cardboard cutout of religious perfection. We don’t want to just talk about freedom. #free2live.
Gal 4:1-7 The story of the prodigal son in Luke 15 portrays God as a father who shows extravagant love to his two sons and desires to have an adult relationship with them, meaning a relationship based on total acceptance, free of judgment, fear, and control. Believe it or not this is the relationship that God wants to have with each of us. God wants us not only to know his love but to be the beloved, even as his Son. Galatians is a book that talks about gospel freedom as opposed to living under law. Christ sets us free from a rule-keeping, performance-based relationship with God where we try through our own efforts to gain his approval and love. But it is hard to break away from living as a slave to law. The key to the free life is knowing in our hearts, not just in our minds, that we are beloved daughters and sons of the Father. This incredible relationship comes as a total gift. Jesus redeems us from the law and the Holy Spirit allows us to address God as “Abba.” In preparation for our study this week I would encourage you to read Luke 15 and Galatians 3:25-4:7 and think through how you would describe your relationship with God.
Gal 2:1-13 Jesus ushered in a new era for the people of God, one where we are set free from rule-keeping and empowered by the Spirit to live a transformed life. But the free life is not easy to maintain. There are many factors that pull us back into slavery under the law. We can know intellectually that we are a new creation but the reality of our lives is often different. Freedom goes against our natural inclinations and default mechanisms. If we want the free life we are in for a battle. This week we continue the journey from law to freedom by looking at the apostle Paul and his battle for freedom against the early church leaders. We realize that if Paul had not taken such a firm stand on the gospel of freedom that was revealed to him by God the Christian life would still be defined by rules. In preparation for this week I would encourage you to read Galatians 1:11-2:14 and think about the question, why is it hard for you to live in freedom? You might even want to post a response to #free2livepbcc before Sunday.
Gal 1:6-9 Many people outside the church have a negative perception of organized religion. And many others who have attended church deal with negative experiences. Church is often viewed as an oppressive system of do’s and don’ts where people keep track of your progress. Tragically, people live with a distorted picture of God. In the book of Galatians, the apostle Paul dispels the myth of a rule-keeping God and calls us to life and freedom. As Paul explains the gospel through the lens of Israel’s story, we get a clear picture of God and his love for us. Christ sets us free from the bondage of law, and the Spirit empowers us so that we can become the holy and loving people of God. Sounds great, doesn’t it? But living this out isn’t always easy. This Sunday we are going embark on a journey from law to freedom. Plus, since Paul’s explanation of the gospel centers on Israel’s story and the “seed” of Abraham, we will have two evening forums to allow more in depth discussions: July 16 – Israel and the Church August 6 – Understanding Islam (Both forums will be from 7:00-8:30pm) Our hope is that God would open our minds and hearts to a deeper understanding of the gospel and a renewed relationship with God. Indeed, Jesus has set us #free2live. Bring your friends. This is exciting stuff!
This week Christians all over the world will remember the last days and hours of Jesus’ earthly life. Some will act out the events of the passion on Good Friday. Others will gather at sunrise on Sunday to rejoice in the resurrection. Even non-believers and non-churchgoers will be reminded that it is Easter weekend through the programs on television, signs they see in front of churches, or relatives who invite them to church. Most people know that Easter is not about bunnies and egg hunts. On Friday night, we will gather to read the story and sing the hymns reminding us of Jesus’ suffering and death. And then on Sunday we will gather to rejoice in the resurrection. Both events are crucial to the Christian faith. Death and resurrection are the story of Jesus, and they become our story as well because we have been united with Christ. We surrender our life to be raised to new life. Even though we are in our earthly body we live a resurrected life now. Hallelujah!
1 Pet 4:7-11 How important is the health and unity of a local church congregation? According to the apostle Peter, the health and unity of a church body are vital in withstanding the hostility to the gospel coming from outside the church, and they are essential if the church seeks to influence the world with the message of God’s grace. But this runs so contrary to the individualistic Christianity prevalent in the United States today. This week we focus on Peter’s word for living in the household of God. Peter mentions four key aspects for the local church: prayers, love, hospitality, and service. God calls us to be intentional in building healthy, caring relationships for the sake of Jesus and his kingdom because the end of all things is near.
1 Pet 4:1-6 The journey for believers is not an easy one. We all face a battle against our temptations and areas of weakness. We want to avoid the extremes of plunging ourselves into human passions or isolating ourselves from the very people we want to influence for Christ. What is required? In a word “perseverance,” neither a giving in or a giving up, even if it entails suffering. This week we will look at how Peter encourages us from two perspectives, from the life of Jesus in the past and our eternal destiny in the future.
1 Pet 3:13-22 Living in an environment hostile to the Jesus of the gospels is no picnic, as the Christians in the first century experienced. What would it be like to be called an evildoer and hated for being a follower of Christ? How are we to respond to this kind of suffering? How are we to respond to suffering in general? Peter has a simple word for all of us: if you suffer, suffer for doing good rather than evil and even when you are suffering, continue to do good. Much easier said than done. What can encourage us? The simple answer is Christ and what God accomplished through him. We will explore the depth of this answer on Sunday.