Wisdom and the Will of God
In these verse, the writer of Proverbs gives us principles that show us how we come to know and experience the guidance of God in our lives. We see that if we are going to grow in wisdom and discerning the will of God in our lives there are a few things we need to cultivate:
1. We need a healthy trust in the Sovereignty of God.
2. We need a healthy distrust of our own hearts.
3. We need to actively commit our works to the Lord.
The Cost of Following Jesus
What is the cost of following Jesus? This passage details three conversations with three different people about what it would mean for them to truly follow Him. As we listen in on each one, we discover that Jesus demands that we follow Him in a way that we don't follow anyone or anything else in this life, and that the only way we can follow Him like this is when we see that Jesus is unlike and more precious than anyone or anything in life.
The Good Shepherd
Psalm 23 has been a comfort to many people through the ages. As we listen to the Psalm again, there are three things we need to listen for through the familiarity of the words if we are to experience the true power and comfort of its words.
As we read the Psalm we need to see:
- the true nature and identity of the Shepherd,
- the true nature of his provision, and
- the true nature of our need.
Gathered Worship and the Promotion of the Gospel
In Psalm 96, the Psalmist calls on God's people to sing his praises before the nations. The idea seems to be that in the simple act of gathering to worship God each week, unbelievers have an opportunity to overhear the truth of the one true God and become worshippers themselves.
When we gather together to worship God we promote his glory to the world. We sing a new song. A song unlike anything else we hear in our culture - a song of true hope and grace.
In the second half of Matthew chapter 2 we encounter the part of the Christmas story that isn't usually included in the imagery used for Christmas cards and festive season wrapping paper. It's the tragic story of a wicked king who conspires to kill the baby Jesus by issuing a decree that sees a whole town's baby boys mercilessly murdered. Although it's a difficult story to read, it provides an important backdrop for understanding the truth of who this promised baby truly is, and what that means for the world to which he has come.
I Am The Resurrection And The Life
In John 11 we encounter Jesus's statement "I am the resurrection and life". In some of the other "I AM" statements we have considered in this short sermon series Jesus uses clever contextual metaphors like light and bread to powerfully convey the meaning of what he is saying. This time, however, it is the very stuff of human suffering and death itself that provides the backdrop for his radical claim. In this passage we catch a glimpse of people responding to suffering in their lives, but even more importantly, we see a clear picture of God's own response to suffering and death that offers us a real hope for life in a broken world.
I Am The Light Of The World
In this passage Jesus makes the claim that he is the light of the world and that only by following him can we know the light of life, or conversely, that by not following him we are lost in darkness. Jesus's claim about himself has very real and unavoidable implications for those who hear it. "Who does Jesus think he is to put us in such a position?" we might instinctively ask in defence. Well, that's precisely the point of this sermons series - who does Jesus think he is? And if his claims are true, what are the implications for us who hear them. In this passage we consider Christ's claim and his call, and discover how this is in fact good news for all who will hear and believe.
In Paul's closing thoughts in his letter to the Ephesian church he urges his hearers to stand firm in the face of the enemy's attack. In order to do so, he encourages them to understand how Satan works to undermine the power of the Gospel in their lives, and to put on the armour of God.
*Preacher's note: In my preparation, I benefited tremendously from many of Dr. Tim Keller's insights in his treatment of this passage and am grateful to have been able to use some of them as the backbone for parts of this sermon.