Sermons from September 2016
Matt 5:3 This week we will begin taking a Sunday for each Beatitude found at the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. In this famous passage, Jesus is describing what happens to people when they attach themselves to him. He goes up on a mountain and begins to teach them by describing the character traits found in people attached to him. Jesus starts with ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ This verse is the foundation of and sets the tone for the entire sermon. In fact, it is not a bad idea to read it before every other verse in the sermon. So, what did Jesus mean by ‘poor in spirit’ and what relationship does this verse have to Luke’s version of this Beatitude, which reads ‘Blessed are the poor,’ rather than ‘poor in spirit’ (Luke 6:20)? Hope you will join us as we dig into God’s Word together this Freedom Sunday.
Matt 5:1-10 Now that we have finished our Judges study, what were the judges lacking? In general, they were lacking character. The judges had charisma, but no character. This Sunday we will kick off a new series we’re calling ‘Living Right-Side Up in an Upside-Down World’ in which we will study The Sermon on the Mount. In this famous sermon, Jesus describes for us what his kingdom life is all about, and it all begins with character. What kind of character do the people of God have? Jesus tells us in the Beatitudes, some of the most famous sayings ever uttered. Some might think Hallmark came up with them, but no, Jesus said them. And, he said them to bring us life! Meditate over them this week and decide which one is your favorite, and which one is the most challenging for you.
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.