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)
One of the biggest struggles for us as American Christians, it seems, is our radical individualism. Even in our devout spirituality, we are very self-focused, and we often tend to forget about the larger purposes of God that transcend us. In Ephesians 3:1-7, Paul declares that the mystery of God with regard to the place of the Gentiles in His people has been revealed. He also reminds us that we have a place in the proclaiming of that truth. The mission had captivated him and become the driving force of his life. Beginning in verse 8, though, Paul steps back and provides an even broader, birds-eye view of God’s plan with regard to the revelation of this mystery. God’s plan is much larger than just saving us, and we do ourselves, and the world, a grave disservice if we fail to recognize this grander perspective. We need to remember the larger purposes of God so that we do not lose heart.
Continue reading Live By the Word (Ephesians 3:8-10)
This past Sunday, we continued our journey through Mark by looking at Mark 4:21-34. In this section, Jesus uses some everyday items and objects as illustrations about the nature of the Kingdom of God. Notes and audio can be found here.
We also continued our sermon series through the book of Revelation by looking at Revelation 8-9. After promising the ultimate security of God’s people in chapter 7, these two chapters give a vivid glimpse of the wrath of God which will be poured out on the earth when the Day of the Lord arrives. Notes and audio can be found here.
Genesis 24 represents a critical turning point in the history of God’s people. As we have seen, God chose Abraham and promised to make him into a great nation. And yet, even after the miraculous birth of Isaac (Gen. 21), Abraham is still far from having offspring as numerous as the stars in the heaven like God promised (Gen. 15:5). How is this promise going to be carried out? And when? This chapter begins to show us the answer. The same God who called Abraham and made sure that he was protected and blessed also made sure that the promised line would continue so that the promises could be fulfilled. God keeps His promises and carries out His plans – even when we do not understand how it can happen.
Continue reading Live By the Word (Genesis 24)
This past Sunday, we continued walking through Mark by looking at Mark 4:1-20. This is the parable of the soils, and it is full of lessons that are as applicable today as ever – lessons about salvation, evangelism, conversion, and the kingdom. Notes and audio can be found here.
We also continued through Revelation by looking at Revelation 7. After the seals of Revelation 6, John sees a glorious vision which makes clear that God will preserve His people through the judgment that is coming. Those who are alive in that day will be sealed by God and, as a result, they will make it to glory where they will dwell with God in perfect peace forever. Notes and audio can be found here.
After the intensity of Genesis 22:1-19, the events described in Genesis 22:20-23:20 seem rather benign. In fact, if we are honest, we might even call them boring because they seem so “ordinary”. Sadly, we might interpret such “boring” events as being unimportant. However, it actually seems like the main point of this section is found in the very “ordinariness” of the situation. In these verses (Gen. 22:20-23:20), we see God working out His plan and purposes even in the midst of “ordinary” life – achieving and accomplishing things even as no one really seems to take notice.
Continue reading Live By the Word (Genesis 22:20-23:20)
In the first part of Ephesians 3, Paul is preparing to (once again) pray for his readers – much like he did in the last half of chapter 1. In the process, however, he seems to get “sidetracked” (obviously, under the perfect guidance of God’s Spirit) on the “stewardship of God’s grace” that has been given to him. This “stewardship” with which he has been entrusted is the “mystery” of the gospel. In 3:1-5, he discusses the nature of the mystery – that it was not made known to other generations but has now been revealed. Then, in 3:6, he lays out the content of the mystery – that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promises of God. Having said all of that, Paul then moves to discuss his calling as a “minister” of that gospel. He reiterates that he has been called to preach it. And in the process, he reminds us that our task – though it may be carried out differently than Paul – is the same. The mystery of the gospel has been entrusted to us, and we are called to proclaim it.
Continue reading Live By the Word (Ephesians 3:7-8)
This past Sunday, we continued going through the Gospel According to Mark in Sunday School by looking at Mark 3:31-35 and Mark 4:10-12. In the first section, Jesus teaches about the primacy of the Kingdom in relation to family. And in the second section, He addresses the issue of parables and their role in the revelation of the Kingdom. Ultimately, even our understanding of the truth is a gift from God – just like our salvation. Notes and audio can be found here and here.
We also continued our sermon series through Revelation by looking at Revelation 6. In this text, we get a symbolic picture of the time leading up to the very edge of the end of all things. Trials and tribulations build and mount until the arrival of the day of the Lord. We see very clearly the sovereignty of God – as well as the clear results of both opposing Him and trusting Him. Notes and audio can be found here.
Genesis 22 is one of most well-known and – if we are honest – strangest stories in the book of Genesis. After the joy and blessing that runs through chapter 21, the text tells us of an instance in which God commanded Abraham to sacrifice the promised son, Isaac, as a burnt offering. The story is one of intense emotion and suspense, but that is not its main purpose. Ultimately, it is a story about faith, obedience, and salvation.
Continue reading Live By the Word (Genesis 22:1-19)