Sermons from 2017 (Page 4)

Sermons from 2017 (Page 4)

Elders, Younger Ones, Everyone

1 Pet 5:1-5 What is the role of elders in a local church? More specifically, who are the elders at PBCC and what do they do? We’ll answer these and other questions this Sunday as we look into 1 Peter 5:1-5, Peter’s exhortation to the elders. What underlies church leadership is the humility and servant leadership exemplified by our Lord Jesus. There are lessons here for all of us, whether or not we are elders. Jerry Tu will be preaching and will be joined by the whole board of elders during the service. See you there!

Life Together

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.

Persevering in Faith

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.

Doing Good Even When Suffering

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.

Words That Bless

1 Pet 3:8-12 We return to our series in 1 Peter this Sunday and the reminder that his audience had little or no power to change their less than ideal circumstances. So Peter turned their focus to the one thing they always had control over: their words. Words are a powerful force that have the ability to unify or divide. They can either strengthen or damage one’s witness for Jesus. Peter issues the challenge to his readers to always use their words as instruments of blessing. It seems fair to say the same challenge could be issued to us today!

Sacred Order

Exod 31:1-18 The tabernacle gave Israel a sacred geography. The Sabbath gave it a sacred calendar. The two tablets of the law gave it a sacred ethic. In these three ways the Lord gave his people order after the harsh disorder of slavery in Egypt. Freedom was not freedom from order, but order itself: order in space, order in time, and order in life. How should we understand sacred space, sacred time and sacred ethics today? Do we have a sacred order that gives us freedom?

Consecrated to God

Exod 29:1-46 017 is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, dated to the moment when Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Luther recovered many Biblical truths that had been lost by the church in the previous thousand years. Among these was the idea of the priesthood of all believers. The medieval church divided Christians into a spiritual class of priests and monks consecrated to God, and the secular laity. In ancient Israel Aaron and his sons were ordained and consecrated to the Lord to serve him as priests in his sanctuary. But this exclusive priesthood did not carry over into the New Testament church. Instead, all God’s people are priests. We are “being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).

Jesus our Great High Priest

Exod 28:1-39 Continuing our series on the Tabernacle, we consider the high priest. He was the only one able to pass through both screens and the veil to enter into the Holy of Holies. He entered only once each year, on the Day of Atonement. Dressed in an elaborate set of holy garments, he carried on his heart and on his shoulders the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, so that, represented by him, they too were remembered before the Lord. But each year he had to come back out of Holy of Holies. Jesus, though, as our great high priest, has entered permanently into God’s presence, a minister in the holy places. In him, we are remembered permanently before the Lord. Our names are written on his hands.

Exclusion and Embrace

Exod 26:1-37 & 27:9-19 We return to the tabernacle for the month of February. This Sunday we will consider the tent and the courtyard which housed the seven items of furniture. God instructed Israel to make the tabernacle as a sanctuary so he could dwell in their midst (Exodus 25:8-9). But it was a dangerous thing for a holy God to dwell in the midst of a sinful people. They needed protecting from each other. Two screens and a veil progressively excluded people from approaching closer to God. They were excluded on the basis of ethnicity, of gender, of family background, and of physical perfection, until only one person was left who could enter the Most Holy Place, and he only on one day of the year. But now “we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain” (Hebrews 9:19-20). All the barriers are gone: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). Exclusion has changed to embrace. God invites all to enter into his hospitality in Christ.

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.

Submitting, Suffering, & Serving: The New Way Forward

1 Pet 2:18-25 “That’s not fair!” Something we’ve all thought time and time again. “Life’s not fair” is a reality we try to teach our children, yet it’s also a reality we struggle to accept even as adults. Jesus had every right on numerous accounts to speak up in his own defense with, “That’s not fair.” But He didn’t. He accepted unjust punishment and suffered an unjust death. This was the model He left for us. How can a passage in Peter that speaks to household servants teach us to better represent Jesus 2000 years later? What does it look like? Here’s a hint from Peter: See the “Suffering Servant” passages from Isaiah 53 for the blueprint to follow!

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.