Sermons

The Theology of Glory vs The Theology of the Cross
Sun, Oct 22, 2017
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. -- 1 Corinthians 1:18 (ESV) What is your proudest achievement? What would you want to let everyone know about you? Would it be a project you worked on? Or an athletic achievement? Or some problem you solved? Or something you invented? We are taught from a young age to achieve and be proud of it. We wear it as our identity. What if what you were known for was a notorious event? What if instead of pride, your name was associated with shame? How would you feel? This week we continue our series looking into the Reformation through the life and theology of Luther. One of the key ideas he taught was how God was revealed, not what he called the 'theology of glory' but in 'the theology of the cross'. This important distinction changes our perspective on both God and ourselves. We will take a look into 1 Corinthians 1, where Paul lays out a similar explanation of God's plans. Take a look there before Sunday. Luther was far from a perfect man. In fact, many of his attributes and sins are obvious and detestable. I encourage you to look at this thoughtful article about one of the worst issues, his antisemitism.
Sinner and Saint
Sun, Oct 15, 2017
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 7:22-23 (ESV) Edwin Star famously asked the question in his 1970 lyric ‘War, what is it good for?’ His conclusion was ‘nothing’. Is that how you think of your Christian life? It’s a war which ain’t good for nothin! Maybe you see that war as one with the combating forces outside of you and with the battlefront all around you. Luther and Paul would agree that there is an ongoing war, but it’s not primarily with the culture or the world outside of us, but rather it's within ourselves. This week we will look at the important theological idea that we are at the same time a sinner and a saint. This idea not only reminds us of our true position with God, but also calls us to continue to struggle with our sin while in that position. Plan to be with us. Also, I want to point you to another interesting resource. One of the movements that happened in the Reformation was one of taking theology to the streets. Instead of it being locked in the church the common man needed to have access to the scriptures and then to put feet to it in everyday life. So when Luther’s barber asked for help in his daily prayer, Luther wrote him a letter. Check out his simple way to pray.
Law and Gospel
Sun, Oct 08, 2017
For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:3-4(ESV) A few years ago the easiest way to display your Christianity was to wear a rubberized bracelet with the letters WWJD stamped into it. It was meant for people to live constantly with the question, ‘What would Jesus do?’ This movement gained momentum, solid millions of bands, and even fostered pop culture reactions. But for all it's good intentions, it had one major flaw. In fact, if it had existed in Martin Luther’s lifetime I think he might have nailed a bracelet to the Wittenberg door next to his 95 Thesis. Know why? Come this Sunday and find out. We will continue our series, Reformation 500, as we examine different portions of Luther’s theology and practice. And if you missed it last week, there are several great books and a couple of audio resources (5 Min in Church History & Here We Stand) to easily learn more about the Reformation.
Just by Faith Alone
Sun, Oct 01, 2017
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Romans 1:17(ESV) You might say that the central question of the reformation is how will we, as sinful creatures, be reconciled with a completely holy God. The medieval answer took the work of Christ and mixed it with our own work to create a rickety bridge back to God. But for those who were honest with themselves, this bridge would not hold the weight of their guilt. Luther was someone plagued by these honest doubts. Even after becoming a monk with doing holy things and regularly confessing his sin, salvation assurance was an elusive truth. Clarity for Luther did not come in a moment. But only as he began to study and teach the Psalms, then Romans, and then Galatians did he begin to uncover a grand truth. It was a truth that freed him from doubt and ushered in an assurance in which he was finally able to rest. What was that truth? This Sunday, we begin our Reformation 500 series. It will be a great look back at some of the key truths & ideas that were taught by Martin Luther and other reformers. I’m praying that this look back into history not only gives you an appreciation for figures of the past, but helps you better to understand the gospel and it's implication today. And in that celebration of the true gospel, we will also be celebrating communion together. This will be a great week to bring a friend. Who will you invite to come along? Don’t forget to check out the other events and needs around Hope in the rest of this Newsletter.
No Other Gospel
Sun, Sep 24, 2017
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.Galatians 1:6-7 (ESV) If you were to pick one book of the Bible that propelled the Reformation forward it would be Galatians. It was a lighting bolt that shot through Martin Luther and the thunder that resulted echoed across Europe. Next week we will begin our series looking into Luther's teachings, but this week you get a preview. We will be joined by a friend, Ryan Haskins. He is the youth pastor at Community Bible Church in Nashville. He along with the other church staff podcast and write for Theocast. I want to encourage you to read through the opening chapter of Galatians to prepare your heart and mind.
Grace and Fire - Part 2
Sun, Sep 17, 2017
Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! --2 Peter 3:11-12 (ESV) Doctrine is contained in thick, dusty books located in the back of libraries far away from everyday life. It’s great for seminary students and professors but unnecessary for real people. Be honest. Is that how you think of doctrine? My guess is, you wouldn’t pick up a book on doctrine for some light pleasure reading. In the buzz of life it seems pretty distant. But I propose it really is not. In fact, I think everyone is a theologian. And everyone lives by some doctrine, even atheists. This week, we are going to examine the connection between our understanding of the end with our life today. Peter wants us to connect the dots. How we understand the end will change the way we live today. I want to encourage you to read through 2 Peter 3. We will close out our series this week.
Grace and Fire - Part 1
Sun, Sep 10, 2017
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. 2 Peter 3:10(ESV) From the eclipse to the fires to the hurricanes, I’ve heard more theories, ideas, predictions, and fear about the end times then in my recent memory. Some even come with an extra side of bad theology, and others tend to use the Bible more like a Nostradamus prediction. Most severely lack a clear biblical understanding and history, and most betray our American centric perspective. None that I have seen point to a greater Hope. Peter won’t let us maintain such a perspective. In fact, what we are going to look at this week is bigger then America or even the globe. This is truly universal. We will be continuing to look at 2 Peter 3. I want to encourage you to read through the chapter and find what understanding the end produces in the believer.
Grace to the End - Part 2
Sun, Sep 03, 2017
. . . knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” --2 Peter 3:3-4 (ESV) The BIG one is coming!!! We are told that something will end life as we know it. Global climate change, a super-virus, shortages of food or energy, and even a zombie outbreak have all been cautioned about. What is out of vogue is to think that God is the one that will end things, that being only a silly, non-scientific, ancient notion that holds no weight. But, Peter reminds his friends that Christ will surely return. But how can we know? This week we will explore the arguments that Peter makes as he argues for Christ’s return. These truths point us toward a God that is just and merciful. It’s a great text. Take a few minutes and read through 2 Peter 3. I also want to encourage you on this holiday weekend to invite a friend to join us! And take a few minutes to read through the rest of the email to find out about the needs and news around Hope.
Grace to the End - Part1
Sun, Aug 27, 2017
. . . knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” --2 Peter 3:3-4 (ESV) Talking about eschatology brings out all sorts of different ideas and emotions. Some people are excited to figure out the puzzle. Some start scanning the headlines. Some begin to question and fear that they are not ready. Some are hoping it doesn’t come anytime soon because they have more to do. Others are just confused or even frustrated. How about you? This week we begin to unfold 2 Peter 3. In this passage, Peter turns back to his brothers and sisters. He wants to comfort and encourage them with what is to come. I want to approach this text a little differently than you may have heard it in the past, but still take a few minutes to read ahead.
Portrait of a False Teacher
Sun, Aug 20, 2017
But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. -- 2 Peter 2:12-13 (ESV) 'Your words are so foolishly and ignorantly composed that I cannot believe you understand them.' 'You are a bungling magpie, croaking loudly.' Martin Luther When I first encountered Martin Luther's insults I was conflicted. I didn't know whether to laugh or be offended. Many think of theologians as passionless people devoid of humor. Those people have never read Luther. His wit was unleashed during the struggles and theological wrestlings of the Reformation. In fact, through the 'magic' of the inter-webs, if you would like to be insulted by Luther you can hit up the Luther Insulter. Luther was not just doing this for comedic value, but instead his passion for truth was directly employed in his insults to injure and shock those that opposed him. Our passage this week within 2 Peter 2 reminds me of Luther's words. Using the same method, Peter highlights the danger, foolishness, and emptiness of the false teachers through various pointed descriptions of their personalities and doctrine. He pleads with us to know the truth.
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