Sermons

Into Jerusalem
Sun, Dec 17, 2017
Now when the king lived in his house and the LORD had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.” And Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the LORD is with you.” -- 2 Samuel 7:1–3 (ESV) 'Christmas is about family.' There are even songs about it, about how everyone needs to go home for the holidays. One of the things that most of us look forward to is time together with those we love. In the story of redemption, family is an important, vital part. God's promises were made to a man who turned into a nation. But God's promises also came to another man whose family would lead that nation, David. This week we take another step in seeing this unfolding plan. Who would be God's forever king? What line would he be from? How would he rule forever?
On Sinai
Sun, Dec 10, 2017
And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the rules that I speak in your hearing today, and you shall learn them and be careful to do them. The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. Not with our fathers did the LORD make this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive today. -- Deuteronomy 5:1–3 (ESV) Some people have funny 'rules' or traditions for Christmas. I knew one family that made all their kids brush their teeth and then drink a full glass of orange juice before they could open presents. Other have rules how, when, and in what order gifts are to be opened. These traditions can be fun and form memories. They don't really serve a moral purpose. God's rules are different. God set out how His creation was to relate to Him and to one another. He did that through laying out the law. These provide us a standard by which we can see what is right, what is wrong, and how we fail on both ends. This week we take another step in understanding God's redemptive storyline and how it reveals the place and person of Christ as we draw near to Advent. This is a great time to invite someone to join us, and don't forget to check out the rest of the newsletter to get the info on all the upcoming celebrations and meetings!
Out of Ur
Sun, Dec 03, 2017
And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness. -- Genesis 15:4–6 (ESV) Just 24 days till Christmas. The countdown is on. Like no other time of the year, there is an anticipation built into the season. We all have different traditions that build toward Christmas Day. As the first presents appear under the tree, the kids know it’s getting closer. We put out stockings in expectancy. We might open advent calendars, counting down the days. We light candles on wreaths to mark the weeks. But what if, in the words of C. S. Lewis, ‘it was always winter, but never Christmas.’? Would our hope be dispelled? Would our high hopes build or eventually wane? This week we look at God making the promise of a son, an heir, a child of promise. However, that promise would take years to arrive and even in its arrival it would be threatened. We will take a look at the next development in God’s unfolding redemptive plan by looking at a childless couple and God’s big promise to them.
In The Garden
Sun, Nov 26, 2017
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. - Romans 5:12–13 (ESV) Christmas time is nostalgic. We pull out decorations from years gone by. We listen to music from people and genres from years ago. We eat those secret family recipes. We rehearse memories of days gone by. One of the anchors of this nostalgia is the story of Christmas. We think back to shepherds, mangers, and a child, but in fact the story of Advent is much, much older than we usually think. This Advent season we will look back, way back. We will consider the full story of Advent that points much farther then most think. This week we will look back to the very beginning, not just to Mary, Joseph, or even John the Baptist, but back to the very beginning, the beginning of everything. In this beginning we will discover why Advent was even necessary. This is a great time to invite a friend to join you.
Fearless
Sun, Nov 12, 2017
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, - 2 Timothy 1:6–8 Fear is a crippling enemy. When we look around our world and we fear the threats that seem to be coming to our doorstep. We look inside and we fear our own inadequacies. We spin up scenarios of what might be and fear wells up again. With all of these threats, it seems the best option to take is to retreat. This week, Kevin Mays will be considering with us what it means to be a group of people ‘fearlessly on mission’. This involves us confronting what stands in our way and facing the consequences of what will come.
This is Us
Sun, Nov 05, 2017
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. -- Philippians 1:3-6 (ESV) How do you feel about your spiritual life? I’ve never heard anyone answer this question with a fully positive answer. We might be frustrated with our lack of prayer or bible reading. We recall our failures to speak with grace or to love the unlovely. We run through our minds all the opportunities squandered to communicate the gospel. It’s in those moments I turn to the Philippian 1 verses. In these verses, there is hope in Christ. We are in the midst of His work that He will complete. When I widen my gaze to Hope Church, I’m grateful that these verses don’t just apply to me individually, but corporately. This is God’s church, his bride. He will do His work. He will complete it. This week, I want to take a step back and consider Hope. Who are we? What are we about? What do we believe? If you are new to Hope, my desire is to give you a better understanding about your church. If you have been around Hope for a while, I hope this will re-focus us on our core commitments as a church. This will also give us a chance to consider what is ahead. Plan to be with us.
Beyond the Sacred Secular Divide
Sun, Oct 29, 2017
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.--1 Peter 2:9-10 (ESV) Who's the holiest person you can think of (and don’t give the Sunday School answer of "Jesus")? What do they do? Where is the holiest place you can think of? What kind of place is it? In the Medieval world, that was an easy answer. The holy people were the priests and monks. After all, they had given up everything to follow God. And they stood between the common, unholy people and God. And the holy places were churches. In those four walls the sacred work happened. You met God there. But when Luther and the other reformers rediscovered the doctrine of Justification, a different perspective was introduced. Your access to God was not through the priest but directly through Christ. Worship was connected to the community of the church, but not attached to a building. The sacred and the secular were merged. This week, we will close out our Reformation 500 series by looking at how the reformation will help us see all of life as worship, including our churches, occupations, and marriages.
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.
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