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Showing posts from January, 2016

Agape: A Still More Excellent Way

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“And I will show you a still more excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31b). Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! If there’s ever been a part of the Bible that’s been used, misused, and abused, it’s our Epistle for today, 1 Corinthians 13. We’ve understood it in so many different ways we’re not even sure what point Paul is making, except that it’s something about love. To understand what Paul was getting at, we need to know why he wrote the great love chapter in the first place. That means backing up a bit. Paul originally wrote this epistle to help heal and restore unity to a divided and bickering congregation. The church at Corinth was dysfunctional. They were splintered into factions. They tolerated gross sin within their midst. They offended their weaker brothers by their unwillingness to forego eating meat sacrificed to idols. They even abused the Lord Jesus’ great gift of His body and blood as they partook of Holy Co…

The First of His Signs

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“This, the first of His signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested His glory. And His disciples believed in Him” (John 2:11). Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Three days after He called His first disciples, Jesus arrived with them at a wedding in Cana of Galilee, a small town about nine miles north of Nazareth. Jesus’ mother was also there. We don’t know what connection they had with the wedding except Jesus’ mother was close enough to the bride and groom to be involved with the serving and to assume some authority over the servants. Then the wine ran out. To be sure, it was not a crisis or an emergency, but it was embarrassing, a major first century social faux pas. Why they ran out of wine doesn’t matter. The text does not say, so we leave it alone. What does matter is that the stage was set for the first miracle of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus’ mother came to Him. “They have no wine,” she said. She told Him o…

Sermon for the Funeral of Roger Boomgaarden: To Be Content

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Click here to listen to this sermon. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! When death comes to one whose life was marked by pain and suffering, both believers and unbelievers can be heard to say: “His death was a blessing.” For the unbeliever this conveys the idea that it is better to be dead than to be alive. But even if death were the end, would it not still be a mockery to welcome such an event which has taken a loved one from his family and friends? For the Christian to say: “His death was a blessing,” means something much different. Dear members of the family and friends of Roger, your hearts, which are aching at the great loss you have sustained, are now yearning for a word of comfort and contentment. Let me say unto you: “Indeed, Roger’s death was a blessing to him. He is better off now than before. Death was a great gain to him.” Among Christians, these words are comforting. We have not lost those who died. We know exactly where they are at, and we …

Created, Redeemed, and Called by the Lord

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“But now thus says the Lord, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1). Grace and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ! We are in the second week of the new year, a couple of days past Epiphany, the end of the twelve days of Christmas. Are you experiencing a little bit of a letdown? The Christmas decorations have been packed away and there’s a bit of a holiday hangover? Or maybe the credit card bills have started coming in and the reality of just how much you got in the commercial spirit of Christmas has come home to roost? Perhaps your struggle to keep this year’s New Year’s resolution reminds you of your miserable failure last year? Maybe your family gatherings were not so much like those painted by Norman Rockwell, but more like an episode of Jerry Springer? And then there’s the weather that’s generally so cold and drear…