Sermons

Mission Sunday
Sun, Oct 28, 2018
The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.” - Matthew 11:19 (ESV) It's instructive to me the people that Jesus counted as friends. They were a motley crew. Most of the religious people didn't want to be associated with them. They were from the bad parts of town and had major problems. But Jesus called them friends. In contrast, we often see 'those people' as folks who need our help. We 'do ministry' to them and for them but not often alongside them. If we aren't careful they are projects not friends. That's one reason why I'm excited about the way God has been weaving Hope together with the ministry of the Downtown Rescue Mission. In this tapestry of ministry the 'us & them' is disappearing as we are just the church. This week we are excited to have our friends share with us more about what God is doing at DRM. Some will come and lead worship. Some will share testimonies. And Kevin and Mickey will teach us about God's plan in the midst of it all. I hope you plan to be there and hear more.
No Condemnation - Part 2
Sun, Oct 21, 2018
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. - Romans 8:9–10 (ESV) Most Christians don't really know what to do with the Holy Spirit. We believe that the supernatural exists, but most of the time we sequester this supernatural to the spectacular (or spooky) either in the pursuit or denial of it. The work of the Spirit is greater and more regular then we realize. This week we continue through Romans 8 and we will begin to see how the Spirit is involved in our salvation from the very beginning. Take some time this week to read through Romans 8 again looking for the Spirit's work and the security He provides.
No Condemnation - Part 1
Sun, Oct 14, 2018
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. - Romans 8:1–2 (ESV) In chapter 7 of Romans, we are exposed to the personal and universal struggle of every Christian with sin. While the war is over and Christ has defeated Satan, sin, and death, there is still a battle that rages in every Christian. And while the chapter ends with a triumphant note, we may want to hear more of that song. Enter Romans 8. In this chapter, Paul will go on to tell us about the new connection and power that every Christian possesses. And how the third person of the Triune God is involved with you, personally. This chapter has been called one of the greatest in the Bible. And an encouraging assurance to what God has accomplished through Christ and applied by the Spirit to us. Take a few minutes to read through it before Sunday. And come ready to worship together. Also, don't stop reading here. Check out the rest of what is going on around Hope.
Law and Gospel - The Law for the Redeemed
Fri, Oct 05, 2018
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. - Romans 7:21–23 (ESV) I believe that God's word is completely true. God doesn't lie. However, if I'm honest, there are passages that I read that just don't match up with my experience or my feelings. When Paul says Romans 6 that I'm 'dead to sin' my skepticism grows. Am I really? When he says 'I'm no longer a slave to sin but righteousness' that's not what it feels like in the struggle to do right. Do you feel like me? This week we get to a passage that will probably ring more true in your experience. In Romans 7, Paul gets personal. Some might even say too personal. He opens up about his own struggle as one trusting in Christ but living in this fallen world. Take a few minutes and read the last half of Romans 7, starting in verse 13. Can you relate to Paul? Come hear how this helps us to reconcile what we were, where we are going, and the struggle in between.
Law and Gospel - The Law for the Lawless
Sun, Sep 30, 2018
But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. - Romans 7:8–10 (ESV) We are confused about what part God's law is to play in our personal and public lives. One example that has caused controversy especially in Alabama is the posting of the 10 Commandments. These clear unshifting delineations of God's standards stand in contrast to our moral fluidity of our culture. No matter how you feel about their public display, there is a great question to us to ask. 'Do these laws make anybody better?' If we just follow these laws we will be good with God and God will be good with us, right? This week we take another look at Romans 7. This time we look at Paul's explanation and place of the law in our lives. He already told us that because of Christ we are free from the law. Does that mean we don't need it? His answer may surprise you. Take a few minutes to re-read Romans 7 and come with your heart and mind ready to worship, learn, and fellowship on Sunday.
Law and Gospel - The Law for the Legalist
Sun, Sep 23, 2018
Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. - Romans 7:4 (ESV) Christians think of themselves as 'law & order' folks. Not the show as much as the attitude. Generally, politically we are for an active civil government that legislates and enforces order. We are positive about the police and we see the system set up as generally just. Anarchy is something to be feared and stopped. So when we come to Romans 7, you might be taken back because Paul's descriptions of the law aren't very positive. He's not talking about man's laws or governmental justice, but God's law. In fact this law doesn't prevent sin but promotes it. This week we head into this critical chapter in Romans. It's a chapter that brings with it a lot of debate. But also one that I think resonates deeply in the heart of every sinner-saint.
Slaves of God
Sun, Sep 16, 2018
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. - Romans 6:16–18 (ESV) One of Martin Luther's most notable quotes is 'Love God and sin boldly.' This has been used from several corners to accuse him of blatant disregard for God's commands. After all he was a nun-marrying, nail-driving monk with a mallet. When you hear someone talk about God's overwhelming grace, how do you respond? Do you hope that there is some balance given to our obligation? If it doesn't come do you feel a need to fill it in? This week we will continue studying the relationship of God's saving work and our obedience. Last week we learned the vital role that our union with Christ plays. This week we look at a similar question from a different vantage point. If we talk about grace too much, won't it unleash people to sin? Read through Romans 6:15-23 to see Paul's answer.
United to Christ - Part 2
Sun, Sep 09, 2018
We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. - Romans 6:9–11 (ESV) We doubt if anybody can really change. This doubt is driven not by what we know about others but what we know about ourselves. It seems as much as we try, resolve, plan, and seek help, change is an elusive character. What Christianity offers however is not resolve or self-control leading to change, but a change that is occasioned outside of us and without us. In fact, in one way you could say it's change that is imposed on us. This week we will examine how what Christ has done for us goes beyond just our right standing with God but all the way to our holiness before Him. We are both justified and sanctified because we are united with Christ. How does this union fundamentally change our connection to sin? When that change happens what does it mean? Take some time to read through Romans 6:1-14, and come ready to rest in what Christ has done.
United to Christ - Part 1
Sun, Sep 02, 2018
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. - Romans 6:3–4 (ESV) How do you grow in your Christian walk? To answer that question many of us will run to habit, methods, studies, lists, and actions. We see our Christian life as something that comes out of us. When we falter, fail, don't achieve, or just sin we feel like a failure and sense the displeasure of God. We go to the Christian book store and look through the aisles and aisles of books of how to be a better mom or dad, husband or wife, or student or teacher, or employee or boss, or scientist or astronaut (Yes, the how to be a Christian astronaut book exists). All the while, I wonder if we truly understand what sanctification is, where it comes from, and who achieves it. If you have thought up to this point in Romans, I hope he gets to something practical soon then you are in luck because this week we start looking at Romans 6-7 which I have entitled "War". It's a look into how this salvation by faith meets us in our Christian walk. I want to encourage you to read through Romans 6-7. Where do you see yourself in these chapters? Also don't forget to read through the rest of the email. There are several things coming up at Hope including an invitation if you are new, Community group signups, Women's Bible study starting, and an opportunity to run with some friends. How do you grow in your Christian walk? To answer that question many of use will run to habits, methods, studies, lists, and actions. We see our Christian life as something that comes out of us. When we falter, fail, don't achieve, or just sin we feel like a failure and sense the displeasure of God. We go to the Christian book store and look through the aisles and aisles of books of how to be a better mom or dad, husband or wife, student or teacher, employee or boss, scientist or astronaut (Yes, the how to be Christian astronaut book really exists). And we keep piling up the things we should do and our walks become more and more complicated and less and less realistic. I wonder if I truly understand what sanctification is, where it comes from, and who achieved it. Do you? If you have thought up to this point in Romans, 'I hope he gets to something practical soon!' then you are in luck. Because this week we start looking at Romans 6-7 which I have entitled War. It's a look into how this salvation by faith meets us in our Christian walk. I want to encourage you to read through Romans 6-7. Where do you see yourself in these chapters?
John 17
Sun, Aug 26, 2018
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me." - John 17:20–21 (ESV) I sometimes wonder what would happen if the Apostle Paul stepped out of a time machine. What would he think of the church culture? Would he be encouraged or discouraged? What New Testament letter would he demand we go read? Would he wonder how we went from THE church at Corinth or Thessalonica to 6 Baptist, the Roman Catholic church, a couple Methodist, some Church of Christ, a few non-denominational gatherings and more? This week I am grateful to have my longtime friend, David Thew come and open the Word for us. I've known David for almost 13 years. He currently is a pastor as Summit Crossing across town. He will be opening up an important passage from Jesus himself that calls us to consider what it is and what it means for us to be Christians in our city that are united. What draws us together? What might separate us? Read through John 17 to prepare your heart and mind to receive.
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