Text: Matthew 15:32-39
The 3rd Sunday in Advent, we had a Christmas Pageant with the children.
A series of sermons on the Gospel of John. Small sections of John’s Gospel are explored in search of the majesty and glory of Jesus Christ, our only hope. Sermon outlines follow the audio files.
Message: The Word
Text: John 1:1-18
I. Introduction: John introduces his gospel with this foundational statement about who Jesus is and the importance of our believing in Him. The preamble to his gospel is a gospel message in concise detail.
II. The Word, “Word”
III. What is not the Word? (v 7 & 8)
IV. The Right to Become Children of God
a. Not by blood
b. Not by human effort
c. Not by human desire
d. But by God’s desire
V. What the Word is (vv. 10, 14)
VI. The Law Vs. The Word
a. Grace upon Grace (v. 16)
b. To Know Jesus is to Know God (vv. 17, 18)
VII. Conclusion: Knowing and trusting in Jesus Christ for our hope of life and eternity with God is our only hope. We cannot trust in the blood of bulls and goats, we cannot trust the blood in our veins. Our heritage will not pave the way for us. We cannot trust in our own ability to perform for God. We cannot trust in our own desire to be righteous. Our only hope is that we trust in God’s desire to love and redeem us through the gift of the Son, Jesus Christ. The law and the observance of it will not accomplish our salvation. We will be lost in our sin unless we cast our cares upon Christ who is the very revelation of God the Father. Not works upon grace, grace upon grace.
Message: The Forerunner
Text: John 1:19-28
19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
I. Introduction: This portion of scripture is saturated with references to the Old Testament that point to Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the great Deliverer.
II. Are you the Christ (Messiah)?
a. Christ is the Greek rendering of the Hebrew/Aramaic word Messiah. Both of them mean, “anointed one”.
b. OT References to the Anointed One
i. Daniel 9:24-27 (70x7) Messianic Fever because of a time table
ii. Psalm 2:1-12 Anointed One
iii. Micah 5:2 From Bethlehem and Ancient of Days
III. Are you Elijah?
a. Elijah was an amazing prophet who was taken up into heaven in a chariot of fire.
b. His protégé was Elisha who did twice as many miracles as Elijah. It was believed that Elijah would come back as a forerunner of the Anointed One.
c. O.T. references to the forerunner
i. Isaiah 40:3-5
ii. Malachi 3:1
iii. Malachi 4:5-6
IV. Are you the Prophet? A prophet greater than Moses was prophesied in Deut. 18:15-19. Most of the people of Israel assumed that this prophet was the Anointed One, but some thought he would simply accompany the forerunner.
V. Bethany across the Jordan
a. Map: xxx
b. Joshua leading Israel across the Jordan to the Promise Land
i. O.T. references
1. Joshua 3:1-16
a. Joshua 3:16, Death is Cut off.
b. John 3:16 Jesus does it for real.
2. All the Days of the Harvest (Barley Harvest right after the spring rains). April was also Passover.
3. Jordan means “descender” or “to go down”. The Jordan not only speaks of the justifying grace we receive through the cross, but also of the humbling, completing, sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit who descended on Christ during His baptism.
VI. Conclusion: We have this great hope in Jesus Christ who was heralded across the ages. The Jewish people expected him, He fulfilled the promises of God as the Living Word of God. John the Baptist was a great forerunner and we can be too. We can prepare the way for the Lord to enter the hearts of our neighbors. The greatest words that John the Baptist ever uttered came as he was directing those who were following him toward the one that they should be following. Instead of worrying about his own reputation, he said, “Behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Oh, to be a witness to the light. This is our highest calling. It trumps all of our other good works. We will talk more about what it means that Jesus was the Lamb of God next week.
Message: The Lamb of God
Text: John 1:29-34
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
I. Introduction: This portion of scripture comes directly on the heels of what we talked about last week concerning John the Baptist and his pivotal role in the sacred story. Because he understood that he was a forerunner, he had no qualms about passing the torch to Jesus who he believed was the Messiah. John the Baptist makes a very clear statement about what role the Messiah would play in this sacred story when he calls Jesus, “The lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” This was not a light statement in the least and the hearers would have understood the implications even if they did not understand why John the Baptist would have said it. This is John the Apostle’s attempt to continue with the theme of Jesus being the fulfillment of everything God has said or promised in the Old Testament.
II. The Lamb of God
a. Exodus 12:3 – Spotless lamb, blood on the doorposts
b. Isaiah 53:7 - The Messiah would be one of these spotless lambs
III. Takes away the sins of the world
a. Isaiah 53:8 – For the transgressions of the people
b. 1 John 2:2 – Not just for Israel, but to save the world from sin
IV. Back to the Future
a. Jesus comes after John but ranks higher because he was before John. (The Preamble)
b. Before the foundations of the world (1 Peter 1:19-20)
V. The Spirit remained on him (Isaiah 11:2)
VI. Water vs. Spirit
a. Moses took them through the Red Sea, Joshua took them across the Jordan, Ritual Baptism always referred to this leaving the old behind and coming to the new as a new way of living, behaving, even a new location. This was the baptism that John operated in.
b. Jesus would Baptize in the Spirit. This would transform the inner workings of our nature, not just fitting us for a new way of living but fitting us to be in the presence of the Father. We become heavenly citizens with new natures, new hearts, new desires, new hopes, new passions.
c. John the Baptist is talking about the new covenant here. He is saying that Jesus is about to bring about a new paradigm and the way things used to work are no longer going to be the case. The old religious trappings would be of no use and would actually become a trap for those who hung on to them.
a. Jesus is the fulfillment of all of God’s promises
ii. Great Deliverer
iii. Lamb of God
b. The New Covenant is not simply a new way of doing the old thing, it is a new thing. New Wine, New Deal, New People.
Patrick Davis teaches on four valuable lessons that we can take away from the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well.
MESSAGE – Lessons from the Life of Gideon: The Source of Your Courage.
TEXT Judges 7:1-8
I. Introduction: The Midianite army along with the Amalekites and another unnamed Eastern nation had encamped against Israel and are preparing to pillage and ruin. Many have answered the call to help Gideon fight the enemy off. However, may of them are afraid and 2/3 of them (22,000) go home. Gideon is left with 10,000 men. Then God tells Gideon that there are still too many men and he separates the men into two groups (those who lap water like a dog, and those who kneel down to drink). God told Gideon to go to war with the 300 men who lapped like dogs and 21,700 were sent home.
II. The Enemy is Big
a. It is easy to assume that in order to go about transforming the world for Jesus Christ, that we will need a large army of disciples. But if 2/3 of that army is fearful, it will actually have them defeated before they even reach the battlefield. One naysayer will always ruin the whole atmosphere. The party-pooper, the negative person, the whiner. Jesus had people who did not believe, leave the room before he prayed for the dead girl (Matt. 9:24). When going after the enemy, there is no room for fear.
b. Narrowing the field down to 300 was next on God’s to-do list. Perhaps it was the undignified manner in which these men drank that demonstrated a lack of pride. Perhaps it was their unhindered thirst that caught God’s eye. I really like this second notion. Thomas Edison liked to say, “There are no rules here, we are trying to accomplish something.” We can easily let the way we think is “proper” get in the way of actually getting something done. Either way, God chose to deliver Israel with a few who had integral character than a multitude who lacked integrity.
III. Conclusion: If you answer to call of God to respond to the enemy and you go out to meet him in battle, there are prerequisites for victory.
a. With God – There is no victory apart from God. Strength to overcome the odds is not found in numbers, but in God.
b. Courage – There is no victory in fear. Courage and metal are not found in the multitude, but in God.
c. Reckless Abandon – There is no victory in mediocrity. Devotion and commitment are not found in the crowd, but in God.
 There is a slight translation issue with how exactly the two groups of men drank and which group used their hands. Logic dictates that the kneelers did. However, most manuscripts state that the lappers used their hands. It is confusing and different versions say different things. However, in the end, it is clear that God chose the smaller number. As the first test weeded out the fearful and kept the fewer who were courageous, it also makes sense that this second test was bringing out a certain quality that God wanted in warriors and not a weakness as some commentaries suggest.
MESSAGE – Lessons from the Life of Gideon: Expect Retaliation.
TEXT Judges 6:28-34
I. Introduction: As soon as Gideon accomplishes his task, there is immediate backlash. The town folk are not just bothered, they demand his life. His father, Joash, comes to his defense. Baal is unable to strike back at Gideon without the help of his worshippers because he is powerless on his own. A large army of three nations came together against Israel. The Abiezrites are called to assist Gideon in the fight.
II. Backlash and Habit
a. When you take out a stronghold that the enemy has had for a long time, the enemy will always try and take it back. Jesus explains that the enemy will come back with seven of his friends to make sure that it never falls again. (Matt 12:43-45). Backlash will err on the side of noise though (FEAR). If the enemy can get you afraid, he will be able to take back his ground without a fight.
b. The other element to be aware of is habit. Sometimes., we do the enemies work for him as we fall back into our old patterns of living and then he just cozies on up to us in our ruts.
III. The Outside World Crashes In: Once we are able to take down the strongholds in our own hearts, the bigger picture will always focus its intensity on us. Just as Gideon jumped out of the pot and into the fire, our battles with strongholds are likely to grow from bad to horrible rather quickly. This can be very disheartening.
IV. But God…
a. Remember how Gideon put God first. We must follow suit.
b. Joash means “God Supports Man” – God comes to the aid of weak people who are tearing down their strongholds.
c. Abiezrites. Abiezer means, “My Father is My Help” – When the world crashes in on you, your heavenly Father will come to your aide.
Conclusion: If you answer to call of God to tear down the enemy strongholds in your life, the enemy will fight back.This is to be expected, but not feared.We do not need to fear because God always offers the strength needed to overcome the enemy.God is our helper.He sends the Holy Spirit to empower us to obey and to protect us from the enemy.It is important to note that when we are called to fight the enemy, it is not by hiding in our holes.We are meant to be on offense, not defense.
Text: Judges 6:25-27
I. Introduction: Gideon is given a specific task by God to take down the altar to Baal and the Asherah Pole in his home town. There are specific ways he is to go about this and we can learn how we are to tackle the strongholds in our own life by gleaning from Gideon’s approach to the matter
II. Your Father’s Bull:
a. The bull was a servant. Used to take down the altar.
i. Humble hearts take down strongholds
1. Combats Pride (I have done this without you)
2. Combats Fame (I have done this better than you)
ii. Quiet obedience takes down strongholds
1. Combats Control (doing things my way)
2. Combats Consumerism (doing other things that I prefer)
b. Strongholds have been in place a long time. They don’t show up overnight
i. The sin went back generations for Gideon, not just something Gideon had to wrestle with. (My experience with Paul Shepherd)
ii. Ruts/Patterns of Thought
III. Build and altar on top (in proper order):
a. Put God First – “No other God’s Before Me”
IV. Sacrifice the Bull:
a. Wood from Asherah Pole for the Fire
b. We see an image of Jesus, the suffering servant being sacrificed on the wood of the tree of bitterness
V. Ten Servants – Don’t do it alone. This is why the church is here.
VI. Conclusion: Pride is the strongest hold in our hearts. Control, Fame, and Consumerism are other big strongholds in our hearts. Most of our strongholds have been in place for a lot longer than we realize. We inherit many of them. We don’t even see them as strongholds most of the time. Racism, Sexism, etc. Wrong thinking is not something that we just change in an instant. We can expect to be confronted for a long time when we begin to allow God to move in our hearts and minds and reveal the strongholds. The answer is to put things in their proper order. Put God first. Subject our strongholds to the sacrifice that was paid on our behalf. Take them to Jesus. He can bring the mercy and grace we need to see them go away. Finally, don’t do it alone. Find some trusted brothers and sisters in Christ to help you take your strongholds down.
Text: Judges 6:7-10
I. Introduction: The context that sets up the story of Gideon is that Israel had strayed from their devotion to God and had followed after the lesser gods of their neighbors. Because of this, God allowed their enemies to take advantage of them, abuse them, and impoverish them. 1. We will look at who these gods were and why Israel would have followed after them. 2. We will look at how the enemies of Israel were able to oppress them. 3. We will look at some possible parallels for our own spiritual lives and why we might be struggling in our faithfulness to God.
II. Paying Reverence to Other Gods
a. Asherah – Fertilely (brought good harvest, children, bounty)
b. Baal – Storm (brought rain, brought wrath and destruction too)
III. Thick as Locusts
a. “Midianite” was Synonymous with Strife.
b. Countless Numbers
c. Robbed and Ruined the Resources
d. Drove Israel Into the Hills
e. Israel was Impoverished
IV. What has Encamped Against our Hearts?
a. Oversaturation with Media because we are medicating our stress.
b. Overbearing Cultural Identification because we favor the opinions of man instead of God.
c. Overdependence upon Money because we don’t fully trust God to take care of us and meet our needs.
Conclusion: We may be driven to create strongholds in our own lives so we can maintain status quos and feel better about life. Contending with the culture around us will always be more difficult than compromising with it. If we continue to turn to lesser gods, then God Almighty will allow those things to encamp against us and humble us. The purpose behind this is that we might taste our need for God and turn in repentance from those things that contend for God’s place in our hearts
In Every Test, a Testimony
Leap of Faith
Pastor David teaches on the need for a plan that is bathed in prayer as it concerns our mission.
Text: Genesis 41:46-49