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Showing posts from May, 2017

As You Share Christ's Sufferings

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“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:12-13). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! I don’t know of anyone who enjoys suffering. I think that would be considered a psychological disorder. But there is some suffering that results in our good. There’s the suffering of the athlete who trains hard for the Olympics. There’s the marathon runner who runs miles each day just to compete. Christian suffering, like the suffering of an athlete in training, also results in good, only more so. For a Christian never suffers alone, but shares Christ’s sufferings. Christian suffering will come. It comes in the form of “fiery” trials (4:12). These fires test the confession of faith professed by the believer. Thes…

Now What?

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“And when [Jesus] had said these things, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as He went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes,and said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Well. It came and went. Did you miss it? The great apocalypse linked to the last day of the Mayan calendar: December 21, 2012? Just another failed attempt to forecast the end of the world. I’d always wondered: What do you suppose those people who count so heavily on the world ending on a particular date do the day after? You know… the ones who give up everything they own, and then gather on a mountainside and wait for Jesus or the mothership to return. Now I know; I met one of them…

Christ Has Indeed Been Raised: A Funeral Sermon

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Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! I must admit right up front: I’ve only known Alvin for about six months. So I never had the opportunity to meet him in the active years of his life. I never had the chance to get to know the man who was your Dad, Grandpa, Great-Grandpa, or friend. I don’t have any personal memories to share with you. While I’m sorry that I never had that chance, in some ways I consider it an advantage as I speak to you today, because although it’s helpful to be able to personalize the message, a funeral sermon (as all sermons) should be focused on Christ and not the Christian. It should tell us what Jesus has done to seek and save lost sinners like Alvin and you and me. Realizing our time together was limited, we focused on matters that are eternal. And I was very fortunate to have time to visit with Alvin about his Christian faith. When He was no longer able to come to church I had the privilege t…

With Gentleness and Respect

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Click here to listen to this sermon. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). Ever since I started attending seminary, this verse has been my theme, my mission statement, my philosophy of ministry, if you will. For almost that long, it has been the signature on all my emails. I used to focus on the first part: “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” More and more I’ve realized the importance of focusing on the second part: “do it with gentleness and respect.” At least as important as being prepared to confess our faith, is the loving way we witness to the truth. That’s not to say it’s easy. Even as he encourages the readers of his epistle to witness faithfully, the apostle does so knowi…

A Time and Season for Everything: A Funeral Sermon

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Click here to listen to this sermon. Grace and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ! “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4). Solomon’s words ring true in our ears, especially today. For JoAnn, there was a time to be born and a time to die: August 28, 1931 and February 2, 2017. Indeed, there is a time to be born and a time to die for all of us. But this was not always so. In the beginning, there was only a time to be born and not a time to die; a time to laugh and never to cry; a time to dance and never to mourn. The Lord God looked upon all that He had made and behold it was very good. The world knew nothing of weeping and mourning and death. Man was created wi…

The Cornerstone and His Living Stones

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“As you come to Him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones 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 2:4–5). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Back in Matthew 16, Jesus said to the disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered for the disciples and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” He was absolutely right, and so to Peter Jesus said, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shal…