Sermons

Community
Sun, Sep 01, 2019
And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. - Acts 2:44–47 (ESV) There are some amazing pictures for what God does when He saves us. He redeems us. He frees us. He rescues us. He pays our debt. He adopts us. The first few lets us see what God has done for us and between Him and us. However, that final one adds another dimension. We are called, not only to Him, but also into a family. We (together) are His kids. We are going to talk about this idea this coming weekend. Mickey Counter will be opening God's Word to challenge us about our need to not only be connected to God through Christ, but be connected to each other because of Christ. One of the ways we do that at Hope is through Community Groups. Community Groups are smaller gatherings of households who meet regularly for study, encouragement, prayer, and outreach. We want to challenge everyone to make this type of connection with other believers at Hope.
Real Unity
Sun, Aug 25, 2019
As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. - Romans 14:1–3 (ESV) For what was supposed to be a group founded on love and should be characterized by unity, we seem to be highly skilled at dividing. We seem to do it over a lot of things. We group together with other Christians that think like we do, school like we do, vote like we do, do culture like we do, eat and drink like we do. And on and on and on goes the list. Honestly, sometimes I look around at the greater church and think God has to be in this somewhere because only He could possibly hold this thing together, and only He could make it even close to fulfilling its mission. How do we think about and live in these differences? Should we just get into our self-perpetuating groups? Or do we just become people with fluid convictions that don't really stand for anything? Is there a core we can't lose? The next few weeks we are going to look at Romans 14-15. The Roman church was far from monolithic. They were made up of Jews, former idol worshipers, slaves, and more. They thought differently about their faith and what it meant to live it out. Paul wanted them to wrestle with the application and implications of the gospel he had presented. As we do this I want to challenge you to think about your own assumptions of living out the Christian life. I want to you to consider what will bind Hope Church together. Take a few minutes and read through Romans 14-15 to prepare your heart and mind for Sunday.
The Gospel Applied
Sun, Aug 18, 2019
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. - Romans 12:1–2 (ESV) Last week we spent time on the ground floor of the 'Gospel Museum' checking out the beauty and truths of the beginning of Romans. We looked at 5 important words - Guilty, Representation, Justification, Faith, and Assurance. These words helped us explore the truth that God has 'justly justified the unjust'. What amazing grace! These truths are not just ethereal, theological distant realities, but these are truths with effect on our relationship to God, each other, and the world. As Paul transitions from the bottom floor of the gospel to the top floor we being to see those implications. Join us this Sunday as we review some of those implications. This review will prep us as we head back into Romans 14 soon. Maybe along the way you have lost the big picture, or maybe you weren't here at the start and don't know where we have been. This week is for all of us to review, catch up, and get up to speed before we launch in chapter 14.
The Gospel Explained
Sun, Aug 11, 2019
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” - Romans 1:16–17 (ESV) The old saying asks, "How do you eat a whole elephant?" The answer: "one bite at a time." It's a weird saying. Why not a cake or watermelon. After all who eats elephants? The point is that understanding or taking in large, complex ideas can seem overwhelming, but taking a piece at a time can help you understand and integrate the whole. That's what we have been doing with the book of Romans. We have been taking it apart chapter by chapter for well over a year and a half, but we are nearing the end. We have just three more chapters to go. Maybe along the way you have lost the big picture, or maybe you weren't here at the start and don't know where we have been. This week is for all of us to review, catch up, and get up to speed before we launch in chapter 14. Here is a brief introduction from the ESV study bible that I want to encourage you to check out.
Worldview
Sun, Aug 04, 2019
Does not wisdom call? Does not understanding raise her voice? On the heights beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand; beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud: - Proverbs 8:1–3 (ESV) Along the way this summer we have heard from various voices. It's been great to hear God use different leaders in our church to open up God's word, but there is one voice, one call that hopefully has dominated. Solomon continues to point his son toward that one voice. In many ways he was begging his son to not only listen, but to marry her instead of indulge his lesser passions. This week we conclude Walk with the Wise series by listening to the voice of lady wisdom one final time. Her call is to us not only because of her ancient origins but her promises. I'd encourage you to read through Proverbs 8 to prepare your heart and mind for this coming Sunday. We will have the opportunity to be drawn to Christ and his work through communion.
The Proper Bounds of Sexuality
Sun, Jul 28, 2019
My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call insight your intimate friend, to keep you from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words. - Proverbs 7:1–5 (ESV) Did your parents ever have 'the talk' with you? You know the one about the 'birds and bees'. (How did that become the phrase for it anyway?) Do you remember it? Was it awkward? Have you had 'the talk' with your kids? How did it go? It's an odd and uncomfortable but necessary moment in parenting. Knowing how and what to to say is important. Leaving it to chance invites others to provide wrong or even dangerous information. In Proverbs 5-7, King Solomon has 'the talk' with his son, but this isn't just a discussion of biology. This is one that involves what it means to live in this area under the Fear of Lord. He is not afraid to talk about it, and he explains both the dangers and joys. Thousands of years later, the importance of talking about it remains relevant. This week we are going to open up this text. As I noted last week, we are going to look at our sexuality. I plan to speak candidly, but not crudely about the subject. I want parents to be aware so they can make the decision for their family about what is heard. I'd encourage you to read through Proverbs 5-7 as we consider this topic.
Responsibility, Opportunity, Unity
Sun, Jul 21, 2019
There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. - Proverbs 6:16–19 (ESV) When we talk about theology and use big churchy sounding words, it can easily feel like Christianity and life are two separate spheres of existence. God is interested in the spiritual, but the practical real-life stuff is another matter. The text of Proverbs won't let us make these distinctions. Our 'spiritual life' is also our business life. It's also our personal life. It's also our recreational life. We might just say 'it's life'! This week we continue in our journey in Proverbs as we head into the first section of Proverbs 6. Matt Parrow will be opening this section to us. It deals with how we deal with our money, how we work, and how we relate to others. I encourage you take some time to slowly read through this section before Sunday. How have these areas been impacted by the Fear of the Lord in your life? Why not invite someone to join you on Sunday at 10:30AM? Programming Note: Next week (7/28) we will be looking at the rest of Proverbs 6-7. This section deals with our sexuality. I will be teaching through the section. I will be sensitive, but will be speaking candidly (but not crudely) as the text does, about both the joys and dangers of this part of life. I want parents to be aware as we approach this section. Let me know if you have questions.
Life Giving Wisdom
Sun, Jul 14, 2019
But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble. - Proverbs 4:18–19 (ESV) So far in our study of Proverbs we have heard the need to listen up and pay attention. Wisdom is available and calling, but we have to lean in and listen. When we do that, there are great benefits to be had that are both temporary and eternal. Then we find that this wisdom also has a role in protecting and healing. If you think you have made mistakes and maybe wisdom is beyond you, this week is for you. Lynn Oakes will be opening up Proverbs 4 for us. I want to encourage you to take a few minutes to read through the passage slowly and thoughtfully. Ask yourself what is your inclination toward wisdom? Where do you turn to be taught or find advice? And then come ready to worship together at 10:30 on Sunday.
Trusting God and Distrusting You
Sun, Jun 30, 2019
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. - Proverbs 3:5–6 (ESV) I hate asking for directions. As a guy I feel that I have some innate sense of how to get from here to there. It's almost as if my ancestors passed on to me how to track the sun, look at moss on a tree, and follow the stream to get from my house to anywhere. With those senses and a good cellphone signal I can get anywhere. This is how we often think of our own intelligence. We have both internal direction and external guides that can take us wherever we want to go. Unfortunately these voices don't lead us toward God's path. In the third chapter of Proverbs, Solomon tells his son there is a need for another guiding voice. This voice however is not a fallible human one, but the Divine creator of the universe that know how everything is put together and functions including you and me. For the next two weeks, Derek Fleischmann will be opening up this chapter for us. I look forward to what God is going to show us through this time. Will you take a few minutes and read through Proverbs 3 before Sunday?
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