Sermons

Death in Adam - Life in Christ - Part 1
Sun, Aug 05, 2018
For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.--- Romans 5:17–18 (ESV) Personal responsibility is a cornerstone of most of our thinking. 'I am responsible for me. I determine my success or failure. I am the captain of my own ship.' We might even be frustrated with those that blame a system for their failure. But what if there is corporate responsibility and guilt that we all share? What if our success or our righteousness doesn't depend on you? What if our fate is tied to our heritage? This week we head back into the book of Romans. In Romans 5:12-24, Paul wants us to understand that all of humanity is classified or related to two individuals. Your connection to which individual determines your relationship to God. It's been a while since we have been in Romans so I encourage you to look back through the opening chapters and slow down to read through Chapter 5. I'm looking forward to jumping back in.
A Crossroads
Sun, Jul 29, 2018
The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” The LORD sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your enemies! --- Psalm 110:1–2 (ESV) Our culture has a very limited picture of Jesus, doesn't it? He's the guy in a stain glass window. He's the one with a lamb around his shoulders. He's the kind teacher with a child sitting on his lap. He's the wandering peasant telling interesting moral stories to those around him. How well do these cultural versions explain the Christ of the scriptures? This week we close out our summer series Songs of the Savior by looking at one of the most quoted and referred to Psalms in the New Testament, Psalm 110. This is a Psalm that Jesus himself uses to point to his nature. It's a Psalm that the writer of Hebrews quotes to teach about Jesus' position. The picture that it paints throws a rock through most of the culture's stain glass window pictures of Jesus. Take a few minutes and read it through before Sunday.
Psalm 24
Sun, Jul 15, 2018
Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place He who has clean hands and a pure heart who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. -- Psalm 24:3–4 (ESV) Do you ever feel like you can't come and worship God? Maybe you had a bad week. Maybe a specific sin seems to be undefeatable this week. Maybe life seems so tiring and suffocating that worship feels like one more thing. In Psalm 24, the Psalmist asks a honest, penetrating question. Who can come and stand in the presence of a perfect, holy, righteous God? Can you? Can I? His answer: someone with clean hands and a pure heart. Uh-oh. Now what?
Psalm 72
Sun, Jul 08, 2018
Give the king your justice, O God and your righteousness to the royal son! May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice! Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness! -- Psalm 72:1–3 (ESV) I'm not an overly political person. And we have purposely not made Hope a political organization. We want the gospel to be the resounding message not any political side. Ultimately, we are not looking to make a voting block but people that bow first and foremost to a king. But that doesn't mean that God has nothing to say about governments and those who lead them. In this royal Psalm, David writes a song or prayer for his son, Solomon who will one day become king. He prays for what he should do and what he hopes it will bring. Take a few minutes and read through this Psalms, that may not be as familiar to you. Did this come to fruition? How should we relate to this now?
Blessings for Sinners
Sun, Jul 01, 2018
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. -- Psalm 32:1–2 (ESV) In the Christian world we tend to have two opposite reactions to our own sin and guilt. Sometimes we try to hide, cover, and dismiss it. We might just treat it as difficulties, mistakes, or personality quirks. We choose to cover it with politeness thinking that we shouldn't discuss such things. Ignore it and it will go away. Right? The other option in the Christian world seems to be to wallow in it. We see the depth and feel caught in an endless cycle of failure, sin, and guilt. We vow to do better. We get accountability. We punish ourselves when we fail...only to slide back into it and the hole grows deeper and darker. Is there a different way? David in Psalm 32 lays out a different path. Probably written looking back at his adultery with Bathsheba. This Psalm points us away from the tragic effects of silence and toward the freedom and forgiveness to be found in confession. I'd encourage you to take a few minutes to read through this Psalm before Sunday and consider how this links to Christ.
Forsaken but Forgiven
Sun, Jun 24, 2018
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. -- Psalm 22:1–2 (ESV) Have you ever felt like God was distant or unavailable to you? Like he forgot who you were or what you needed? Maybe it was in a moment that you needed his help the most. What did you do? What did you pray? One thing I like about the Psalms is the honesty of emotions. The passages are not a pious religious rehearsal but a real human cry of longing, fear, and trouble. They are often more honest then we are willing to be. In Psalm 22, David is struggling to sense and know God's presence and gain God's help. He wonders if God has cast him to the side. This struggle and his words find their way into Jesus' mouth and the gospel writer's pen to describe the life and work of Christ. Join us on Sunday as we explore this Psalm, one of the most used and quoted in the New Testament. It will help us connect not only David's but our experience to that of Christ's work.
Enter the King
Sun, Jun 17, 2018
Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy! For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth. -- Psalm 47:1–2 (ESV) What do you consider worshipful? Maybe a quiet time of reflection. Maybe it's a loud excited melody. Maybe it's an old familiar hymn. Maybe it's a scripture read clearly. Often times our definitions are colored by the times and experiences where we felt close to God. We associate those times and the feelings we had with the truest expression of worship. But this Psalm pushes us to expand our boundaries. First, worship is not primarily about our experience but about the God we worship. Who He is and what He has done should elicit in us a response. That's worship. Second, the Psalm expresses that response in a variety of ways - singing, clapping, loud, soft, quiet, vocal, instrumental, and more. This week we turn to a Psalm that calls for (even demands) our response before the King of the Universe as he takes His throne. Who is He? What is He like? Why should we praise him? Take a few minutes and read through the whole of Psalm 47 before Sunday.
The Day the LORD Made
Sun, Jun 10, 2018
The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. -- Psalm 118:22–24 (ESV) The Psalms are a curious mix of tears and cries of vengeance and beauty and devastation and hope and failure and longing. This week we are going to take a look at Psalm 118 in our series, Songs of A Savior. In it the Psalmist feels the press of his enemies and the need to retreat to the safety of the love of God. But will even this refuge fail him? Where can it be found? How do we get in? I want to encourage you to take a few minutes and read through this poignant Psalm. Mickey Counter will be opening it up to us, as I will be sharing with Shade Valley Church (an EFCA church) in Birmingham on Sunday.
Psalm 14
Sun, Jun 03, 2018
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good. The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. -- Psalm 14:1–2 (ESV) Fools are easy to point out and laugh at but harder to see, especially in the mirror. The Bible is brutally honest about the world around us and the struggle within us, but it also shows us the only refuge from them both. This week we are going to look at another Song of the Savior in Psalm 14. Kevin will be opening up this Psalm that looks at denial and rebellion. It points us to a sure, true, and strong refuge. Take a few minutes to read it through, and plan to join us at 10:30 on Sunday.
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