This week we continued looking at Mark’s account of Jesus’ life by looking at Mark 5:21-43. This passage closes a section beginning with Mark 4:35 in which Jesus faces progressively stronger opposition – and proves Himself mighty over it all. Notes and audio can be found here.
We also continued walking through Revelation by looking at chapter 12. This chapter begins a section which passes back over some of the same terrain and gives us further insight into what will happen at the end. God and Satan are in a cosmic war. Satan has been defeated but not destroyed. Nevertheless, Satan still rages because he knows his time is short. Audio can be found here.
We have seen before that God is not limited in any way. He is eternal – meaning He is not limited by time. He is also everywhere – meaning He is not limited by space. Today, we will see another way in which He is not limited: He knows everything. In fancy “preacher language”, He is “omniscient” – which means “all-knowing”.
Continue reading God Knows Everything (God, Part 6)
It is easy to forget – especially in the affluent Western civilization in which we live – that we are actually in the middle of a war zone. Most people – including Christians – are unaware of that fact. For the most part, their ignorance stems from the fact that the war is mostly invisible. It is not a war for land or territory but for authority and worship. I am talking, of course, about the cosmic battle between God and Satan. It has lasted for thousands of years and even though Jesus has struck the blow that seals the victory, Satan continues to lash out even in his final death throes.
But why do we care? Why does it matter to us? It matters because we are part of the war – whether we like it or not. Continue reading Pick Up Your Sword
This past Sunday, we continued walking through the Gospel According to Mark by looking at Mark 5:1-20 – a story that serves yet again to show the power of Christ over all things – even evil spirits. Notes and audio can be found here.
We also continued our sermon series through the book of Revelation by looking at Revelation 11. This is a chapter meant to show us that God knows His people and will hold them fast through every trial and tribulation that comes. Moreover, He will make sure that His word is proclaimed – no matter how bad it gets. And in the end, Jesus will reign forever and ever. Notes and audio can be found here.
In Ephesians 3:14, Paul actually utters the prayer which it seems he began to utter in 3:1. If you look back at Ephesians 3:1, it seems as if Paul begins to say something before getting “sidetracked” by a discussion about the mystery of God and his place in proclaiming it. Because verse 14 begins with the same phrase as verse 1, it seems likely that Paul has resumed his thought after the “digression” of verses 2-14. And what was Paul’s “original thought”? Prayer. He was about to offer up a prayer for his readers. So as we look at the last part of chapter 3, we are looking at a prayer of Paul – much like the prayer in 1:15-23. This is a prayer offered by Paul on behalf of his readers that turns out to actually be inspired of God and useful to teach us. So what can we learn from Paul’s prayer?
Continue reading Live By the Word (Ephesians 3:14-16)
Beginning in Genesis 25:19, the focus of the story shifts from Abraham to his son, Isaac and Isaac’s children, Jacob and Esau. Over the next several chapters, we see the promises of God transferred from Abraham to Isaac and then from Isaac to Jacob. In the initial section – Gen. 25:19-34 – we see God miraculously provide children to Isaac and Rebekah while also declaring their futures in advance. Much like the stories involving Abraham, we see the truth about God revealed through “normal”, “everyday” life situations.
Continue reading Live By the Word (Genesis 25:19-34)
As we have seen, Ephesians 3 deals with the grand purposes of God. In His sovereign time, God chosen to reveal the “mystery of Christ” to His holy apostles and prophets through the Spirit. This “mystery” is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the covenant promise. God chose Paul to be a minister of this message, and Paul’s task was to bring to light the mystery for as many people as possible since it was the purpose of God to show His wisdom even to the angels in heaven by means of His work in the church. God’s grand plan is – and always has been – to reveal Jesus and save sinners through Him. As verse 11 says, “This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord.” God has brought this great “mystery” to pass by sending Jesus to make it so.
But that still leaves this question: why do we care? Does this have any relevance for our day-to-day life? It certainly does – as verses 12 and 13 of chapter 3 make clear.
Continue reading Live By the Word (Ephesians 3:11-13)
This past Sunday, we continued looking at the Gospel According to Mark by walking through Mark 4:35-41. It is a passage in which Jesus teaches the disciples both about Himself and about the nature of faith itself by calming a stormy sea. Notes and audio can be found here.
We also continued our sermon series through Revelation by looking at Revelation 10. In this text, there is a “pause” in the action between the blowing of the sixth trumpet and the seventh trumpet. This “pause” is used to remind John – and us – that though we do not know everything, we know that God’s purposes in Christ will come to pass, and we are called to proclaim that news for good or ill. Notes and audio can be found here.
At first glance, the beginning of Genesis 25 seems very similar to Genesis 5 and the last part of Genesis 11. It is a section full of strange names and little action and details that seem relatively unimportant. However, recognizing that all Scripture is breathed out by God and useful (2 Tim. 3:16) helps us slow down in passages like this so we can see the reason for which the words were spoken. In the case of Genesis 25:1-18, the information about the rest of Abraham’s family reminds us both of God’s faithfulness and of the nature of true faith.
Continue reading Live By the Word (Genesis 25:1-18)
If you have the time, I would recommend this blog post to you. It is a wonderful meditation on the fact that Christians are not supposed to be concerned merely for themselves but also for others who call themselves Christians. The moment we are born again and made new creations by the power and grace of God, we are immediately made part of the larger body of Christ. We become part of something larger. Whether we realize it or not – whether we like it or not, we immediately have responsibility to other Christians and they have responsibility to us. Put simply: we owe each other things because we are brothers and sisters in Christ. The article is a wonderful reminder of that.
Continue reading No One Left Behind