Sermons by John Hanneman (Page 2)

Sermons by John Hanneman (Page 2)

Grace and Marriage

1 Pet 3:1-7 “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Eccl. 4:12 NIV) This verse from Ecclesiastes describing the advantage of being joined with friends and companions rather than remaining alone is often used as a metaphor in marriage ceremonies to describe the union of a man and a woman in Christ. In the world, there is much discord between men and women and husbands and wives. But this is never what God intended. He created male and female so that together they could reveal his glory and grace. The gift of marriage is an aspect of these purposes. Three strands joined together can have incredible influence. Marriage is our topic in the book of 1 Peter this Sunday. But even if you are not married there is much to be gained from these verses that can aid the spread of the gospel in the world.

Nations Under God

1 Pet 2:13-17 Leadership has been and continues to be necessary for any country or tribe of people. People around the world live under governing authorities and that government differs from nation to nation. Living in the U.S is different than living somewhere else in the world and living in this century is different than living in the 1st century. How are we as pilgrims on earth to relate to governing authorities? This was a question Peter dealt with in his first epistle and a topic we encounter this Sunday, quite appropriately, on the eve of the inauguration and the beginning of a new administration. For us today the topic of government and laws is very complex especially living in a world where we are so aware of global events. The topic raises for us very difficult questions. We will pray for our new leaders on Sunday and raise some challenging questions to ponder. Hopefully this will lead to some edifying discussion and conversations. Remember, as we talked about last week, people are watching and listening to us as followers of Jesus.

People Are Watching

1 Pet 2:11-12 As believers, we are pilgrims on the earth making our way towards the heavenly city. The future is certain and we know where we are headed. But we also have a high calling for the present and that is to live not only in a right relationship with God but also within our society. Even though we are weak and imperfect we have been called out of darkness into the light to bring the light of Christ into the world through the way we live our lives. We return this Sunday to Peter’s first epistle, a study we began last winter. We pick up the series as Peter transitions to the main section of the letter. Peter has two concerns. First, when possible they are to live in accordance with the social order of their society. Second, if they suffer for their faith in Jesus (which was already beginning to happen) they are to follow the pattern of Jesus. This is a great word for today, especially in our culture of power and control. People are watching how we live our lives. To prepare for this Sunday you might want to read the first couple of chapters of 1 Peter.

The Benedictus: Advent Blessings

Luke 1:57-79 “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel.” When John is born and Zechariah suddenly regains his speech, these are the first words out of his mouth. Why does Zechariah bless God? Why should we bless God? Advent is a “speed bump” during the year that allows us the opportunity to remember the blessing of the incarnation and to bless and praise God in return. During these weeks of Advent, we are focusing on the songs of Mary, Zechariah, Simeon, and the angels which we find in the opening chapters of Luke’s gospel. This week we turn to the Benedictus, named for the first word of the song in Latin, “blessed.” Many people do not feel blessed during the Christmas holidays, but Luke’s gospel comes to the rescue. As we gather this Sunday we will look to Zechariah’s song to set our hearts on God and remember the blessings of the Christmas season.

Wisdom for Relationships

As we saw last week Samson was a man ruled by his passions and desires and this manifested itself primarily in relationships – wife, parents, in-laws, and not so good friends. Samson’s problems with women continued after his wedding. In Judges chapter 16, Samson sees a woman in Gaza and then he loves a woman in the Valley of Sorek named Delilah, who ended up costing him his eyes and eventually his life. Relationships can be a real “killer!” In light of Samson’s weakness we realize that we need incredible wisdom and life-changing truth from God and his word. And so this will be our topic for this Sunday, seeking wisdom for interacting with the many different people in our lives.

Timber! I’m Falling in Love

Judg 14:1-20 After an amazing birth narrative in Judges 13 one would have expected an equally amazing life. But that is not what we see when we turn to chapter 14. Despite a special calling on his life, Samson sees a Philistine woman and immediately wants her for a wife. We see in Samson a man who is physically strong and Spirit-empowered but one who is ruled by his passions, especially lust and anger. Like Samson all of us can be tempted by our desires to act outside of God’s will. But as recipients of God’s grace through Christ we are called to have control over these desires, to “flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” (2 Tim 2:22 ESV)

A Mighty but Unwise Warrior

Judg 11:1 – 12:15 As the spiritual condition of Israel declines in the book of Judges so goes the character of its judges. This week we will look at the story of Jephthah. Jephthah was an outcast who was disinherited from his family. Even though he is listed in Hebrews 11 as a man of faith his story is one of contention and ambition. His foolish vow costs him his daughter and is one of the saddest stories in all of Scripture. And yet Jephath can teach us valuable lessons about spiritual wisdom and leadership. Since there is way too much material to cover on Sunday morning, I urge you to read Judges 10:6-12:7 to have the story fresh in your minds.