Pharisees and Sinners
Sun, Jun 11, 2017
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: Luke 18:9(ESV) Bell curves have generally been my friend. I did pretty well in school . But there were a few subjects that baffled me. Maybe it was me, maybe it was the teacher. One such subject was Physics. Our teacher, Mr. Rogers (seriously), had mantras that he would repeat, but explanation and application seemed to escape him. It was as if we would magically absorb the formulas and their applications merely by the multiplicity of the repetition. So when I received a 60ish score on an exam, I was in a bit of a shock. Until I learned he graded on a curve. And the top of the curve was 70! Grading on a curve is helpful - if you are on the top. But if you are on the bottom, it feels like an unscalable pit. How do you grade others? Do you give some a pass while looking down your nose at others? How do you grade yourself? Do you get a pass because you are aware of your thoughts, intentions, and actions? Jesus had something to say about how our righteous acts stack up to everyone else. This week, Kevin will be opening up the scripture to us in our series: Parables - Truth hidden in plain sight. I want to encourage you to read Matthew 18 to prepare for his teaching. And why not bring a friend with you. Also, make sure you are introducing yourself to the new friends God is bringing to Hope this season!
What are parables?
Sun, Jun 04, 2017
Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. Matthew 13:10-11(ESV) Some stories stick with you. Do you know the story of the Tortoise and the Hare? Or have you heard the one about the Little Red Hen? These childhood stories are cute but they are meant to teach greater lessons like persistence and hard work. Through the plot and characters of narratives like these, we come to learn valuable lessons. Jesus was a master at hiding truth in plain sight. He told stories to the masses. Some are easily and quickly grasped. Some have wholesome characters while others include unrighteous villains. But all of them contain spiritual truths about salvation, the kingdom, and on following Him. This summer we will explore these stories - the Parables. Join us as we seek to discover truths hidden in plain sight this Sunday at 10:30!
Grace Revealed
Sun, May 28, 2017
For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. -- 2 Peter 1:16 (ESV) We live in a world of competing voices. You will define yourself and your story against other narratives around you. Who are you? What will you value? How do you know what is right? We would like to think that these are 21st century issues amplified by our connections to our world. But actually, these are questions that have resonated in the human heart since the the beginning with the fall. Peter wants his readers to know where they can turn to for these truths. After calling them to remember, he tells them where and how to rehearse these truths. I want to encourage you to read through 2 Peter 1. At the end of this chapter, Peter points to two sources. Take a minute and see if you can identify both of them.
Grace Amnesia
Sun, May 21, 2017
I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder -- 2 Peter 1:13 (ESV) One of my fears is succumbing to dementia. With a history of it in my family, there is a real possibility of it happening to me. And having recently seen the effects of it first hand, I can attest that it is a living death. At some point, however, the sufferer is spared by no longer understanding what is happening. But I also think there is an amnesia that is a greater danger - Gospel Amnesia. When we fail to keep in view what has been done for us in Christ, we stand in a risky, dangerous spot. When the grace of God seems regular and normal, we will venture into apathy or self-righteousness. Peter wanted to point his readers back to the basics. He calls them to remember. He calls them to return. And he wants to rehearse all of this. These restatements of the gospel are essential not only to our understanding or conversion, but to our continued growth in maturity and Christian living. As we continue to look at 2 Peter, I want to encourage you to read through that first chapter.
Grace Assured
Sun, May 14, 2017
For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. -- 2 Peter 1:9-10 (ESV) Have you ever doubted your salvation? Did you really mean the prayer you prayed? Have you done enough? How does God look at you? These are important and can be scary questions. When the answers to these questions linger we start to live in a circle of fear for our soul. Peter's statement here does not seem to quell those questions. Or do they? This week we will struggle with the ideas of assurance, election, and salvation. So it will be a light, easy sermon (Just kidding). I want to encourage you to read through 2 Peter 1 to remind yourself of the context.
Salvation, Church, & Future Things
Wed, May 10, 2017
How are we saved? What is salvation? Who is part of the church? What happens when we die? What happens at the end of time?
Grace Unleashed
Sun, May 07, 2017
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. -- 2 Peter 1:5-7 (ESV) How would you describe the gospel? What adjective best displays it’s nature? Some of my favorites are - amazing, scandalous, grand, and gracious. To take sinful, rebellious creatures and redeem them through sacrificial love can only be described as super-natural. But that is exactly what God did through Christ. And that act is applied to us through the Holy Spirit granting us life, relationship, and family. When we understand this movement of God, we are driven to respond. That’s what we find in 2 Peter 1:5-7, our natural response to the gracious movement of God. This week instead of seeing these as a chain of virtues, I want you to understand these as appropriate and empowered responses to the gift of the gospel. And when we do, these become not a task list, to painfully accomplish, but a worshipful, thank you note written across our lives.
Finding Empowering Grace
Sun, Apr 30, 2017
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence -- 2 Peter 1:3 (ESV) The machine of marketing is constantly running in our culture. Do you need more or something that’s bigger, faster, cooler, better, or cleaner? Then get, get, get. What we need and what we want becomes conflated. And after a while an expectation is built into us that drives us. Contentment is almost impossible to find. This kind of marketing is not exclusive to things. Go to a Christianbookstore. Your spiritual life is in need of an upgrade as well. If you do this study or read this book or have this new experience, then you can climb that spiritual mountain and overcome any negatives. Is that how the Christian life works? This week we take a look at our Christian growth through the lens of 2 Peter. We want to examine what the believer already possesses. Because, when we understand this, it produces in us contentment and gratitude which moves us even closer toward Christ. Do you have it?
Angels, Man, Sin?
Wed, Apr 26, 2017
What are angels? What is man? How are we put together? What is sin?
Introduction to Grace
Sun, Apr 23, 2017
Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 2 Peter 1:1-2 (ESV) Sometimes it feels like there are those good, together, super Christians. Then there are the rest of us. We would like to do and be better but we aren’t. We seem to wrestle with the same things over and over again. Our spiritual growth seems to go through peaks and lulls. When it comes to the spiritual disciplines, well, let’s just say we had resolutions in January but now its April. Is there any hope for us? In Peter's second letter, the apostle is writing to people like you and me. They are struggling to live out their faith in a complicated and diverse world. And to add to this complexity, there are a few ‘teachers’ telling them that they have some secret special sauce to being a Christian. Peter writes this letter near the end of his life to reassure them and point them toward the one unchanging source of their righteousness - Christ.
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