Here is my sermon from New Year’s Day on Hebrews 9. I think my favorite thing about this section is the hope it instills. This world and everything in it is passing away, and the old ways of Torah and the Law are part of that. The temple, tabernacle, priestly order — the whole bit — were just a shadow of all of the life Jesus would bring to us. Enjoy.
Christ in Our Flesh and His
I love the way this was put:
I love the way Mark put this. It’s true. Jesus was God in the flesh. He came and lived a life that every one of us lives, except He lived the 0 A.D. version. Hebrews says He was tempted in every single way that we are tempted. That doesn’t mean He thought about looking at things on the Internet or had an easy and secret way to cheat on His taxes.
It means that when Jesus was here, He could do just the same thing Adam did and that all of us have done. He could have ignored God and lived by His own will.
Instead, He gave up His own will and lived for the Father’s will. That will sent Jesus to the cross for all of the rest of us.
John 1 – In the Beginning was the Word
This is my sermon from Westminster Church of Evansville from August 12, 2018. I’m just starting through the Gospel of John, so get ready!
My Sermon on John 6:35-71
Here are my notes/sermon from John 6:35-71.
 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.  But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.  All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.  For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.  And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.  For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Some people can read this from a Calvinist perspective and think “All that the Father gives to me will come to me” means they are pre-chosen. BUT notice what He says next:
Whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
Any fear we have of ‘not being chosen’ here is blown away, since Jesus says whoever comes to Him will never be cast out.
 So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”  They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”  Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves.  No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
Look at how many times Jesus talks about His mission being resurrection. His mission is to raise people on the last day. He succeeded at that for Himself, and we can be confident that He will succeed at that for us too.
Also notice this language about “nobody can come unless my father calls him” We get some insight into this with Pharoah and Moses in Exodus. God reached out to Pharaoh for a time. Eventually, Pharaoh’s actions showed that he wasn’t going to turn and listen to God, so God gave him over fully to what he, Pharaoh, wanted. That is Romans 1 kind of stuff. God has reached out to the Pharisees, but only those that responded are going to be drawn to Jesus, the rest will be driven away.
You Really Can Know God
 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father.  Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.  I am the bread of life.  Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.  This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.  I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
Jesus says He is the basic living sustenance of everything we could ever need. Him, giving up His flesh/desire/self-seeking is the bread of life.
 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”  So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.  Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.  For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.  Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.  As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me.  This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”
Remember that Jesus said He would teach in parables to make people wonder and ask for more. If you don’t stumble over the ‘feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood’ part, Jesus says He abides in you and you abide in Him.
If Jesus really is the Son of God, wouldn’t you want to figure out how to live in Him and for Him to live in you? That seems like a high priority. That seems like a big enough deal to say, “I want to know what He means by that.” Rather than saying, “That’s Nuts!”
 Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.
He wasn’t teaching this on the countryside anymore. Somewhere in this discourse, the crowd and Jesus have moved into the synagogue, where He taught sometimes as a guest Preacher.
With that whole idea of what if it’s true? In mind, read this next section:
 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”  But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this?  Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?  It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.  But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.)  And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.  So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”  Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,  and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
Peter gives the awesome statement that is the true follower of Jesus. It’s the statement that whatever Jesus says, we acknowledge that He’s our only hope!
 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.”  He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray him. (ESV)
Mark 3 – The Law that Takes Away Freedom
This is my sermon from Mark 3 that I preached in October of 2017. I cover some details of the Mosaic Law then the added on law from the Mishnah and other later commentaries.
Then I talk about how Jesus trashed all of those goodies to point everyone to depend on Him by faith.
John 19 – Jesus Died on the Cross on Purpose
Here is my sermon on John 19. What is unusual about this is that usually I would preach on the passion and crucifixion on Easter, but since I’m doing expository preaching chapter by chapter through John, we have Easter in February!
Pilate, Jesus, the Jewish leaders of the day, I talk about a lot of things in here.
Enjoy, and share any feedback or comments on your own blog or Facebook.
John 8 and the Best way to Purge the Land of Evil
This is my sermon on John 8 where I talk about the woman caught in the act of adultery and forgiveness. You can listen to the recording of the sermon below or read my notes, which are reasonably close to my sermon. You can also subscribe to the podcast to get these delivered to you automagically.
The Woman caught in Sin
1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”
Here is the part of the Mosaic Law they were thinking of. I’m sure there is more from the Mishnah and Talmud on this, and that would be on their minds too.
24 then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbor’s wife. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.
Their desire was the purge the evil from their land. They wanted to obey the Law, but they were obviously not doing it quite right. They made it look like they wanted to obey the law, which is the worst kind of religion. James says that you show your faith by your works, but they were just trying to do works to make it look like they had faith.
The very next verse exposes their motives.
6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them,
Don’t you love it how Jesus argues with them? Does He retaliate and bring this point and that point? Does He shout them down and shut them up?
Nope. He lets them carry on and dig themselves deeper and deeper into the hole.
“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
That was all He said! Then He goes back to ignoring them.
8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
He didn’t beat her up or rub her face in her sin! By asking her “where are they?” He drew her attention to the fact that they were all sinners too. You only have shame and condemnation from others if you receive it. Instead, receive your forgiveness from Jesus and stop sinning.
What do you think purged the evil from the land better on that day? Corrupt law-keepers bringing that lady in to kill without the man, or Jesus setting her free from a near-death experience?
Jesus’ Perfect Love, Observed by John
The same John that wrote down these events wrote a letter known as First John. In it he describes the love of God that is going on here.
1 John 4:13–18
13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
That is the LOVE with which Jesus loved us. Perfected and free.
Then Jesus gives a commentary on what had just happened. It might not be right afterward, chronologically, but as John is recording the story, he is led by the Holy Spirit to put these in together.
12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 13 So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. 17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. 18 I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.” 19 They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20 These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.
Ephesians 5:1-21 Ways to Show Our New Thinking
Sermon on Ephesians 5:1-21 from Westminster Church in Evansville, Indiana. Here are the notes I used.
 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.  And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
This is a response to the last verse of chapter 4: Ephesians 4:32
 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (ESV)
Again, just like last week, this stuff isn’t a law, but a response to what God has already done. This list is here because we do better when we have a guide instead of just trying to figure stuff out.
It’s like bending your elbows when you give someone CPR. You might know you are supposed to give chest compressions, but in the training they tell you not to bend your elbows. You need that weight and those shoulder/back muscles to do it because your little arms will wear out too fast. I don’t want you to figure that out for yourself! That’s why this stuff is in here. We can gain wisdom from it and grow in the Lord from these insights. This is our head-start on living a life that is pleasing to God.
 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.  Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.
Again, this isn’t a law saying that we should talk about it. We should be so blameless in this that nobody can talk about us doing it! We all have to be examples of this because we are all affecting the world’s perception of Christ.
- Filthiness – ranges according to the culture, and we need to be sensitive to that.
- Crude jokes
- Covetousness – “greedy desire to have more”
- Impurity – Out of control living, reckless, amoral, wasteful
Amish people have a reputation in the world.
 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.  For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. (ESV)
Then back to Ephesians
 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.  Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
Note the difference here between people that own this sin as a lifestyle and people that stumble into sin and fall.
 Therefore do not become partners with them;  for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light  (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true),  and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.
We have to be completely deliberate with these things. Holiness will not be executed on accident or by passively doing whatever.
“No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness — they have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means — the only complete realist. – CS Lewis
 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.  For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.  But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible,  for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
Darkness is not exposed by our elaborate and excellent definition of darkness. Darkness is exposed by light!
 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,  making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,  addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,  giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,  submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. (ESV)
Christmas in the Gospels Part 3: Luke
I taught from one of the Gospels for each Sunday of Advent. Luke is the most robust, of course, because his Christmas story was meant to fill in the details of what Matthew and Mark had already written.
Mark Chapter 2 – Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man
In this sermon, I talk about Jesus healing a paralyzed man in Mark 2, and the fanatical dudes that brought him there.
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