The Bond of Perfectness

1 Cor. 13 & Col. 3:14-20 In the reading from Colossians Paul says, “Above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Col. 3:14). Paul has just finished telling the Colossians to put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, and forgiveness. In some ways it might seem kind of redundant to…

Foundations of Mercy & Mission #3: The Politics of Sex

Ps. 19:1-14, Rev. 21:1-8, John 4:5-26 Introduction One periodic objection leveled at Christians when it comes to the topics of sex and marriage is that we are unnecessarily politicizing private preferences. The implication is that the Christian impulse to care about the way our culture speaks about and enacts our sexuality is like turning food…

Foundations of Mercy & Mission #2: Time & Resources

Dt. 5:12-15, Gal. 2:16-20, Mt. 6:19-34 Introduction The mission of Jesus is to baptize the nations and teach them everything He commanded. This is how you distinguish between God providing in what seems like scarcity and folly. If God commands it, then He promises to provide for it. Justification is God’s gracious gift of setting…

Foundations of Mercy & Mission #1: Abundance & Scarcity

Gen. 3:14-24, 1 Jn. 4:7-21, Lk. 9:12-17 Introduction The Bible opens in mission (Gen. 1:27-28), and the mission is predicated on abundance not scarcity (Gen. 1:29, 2:8-15). The mission of the Church rests on an even greater abundance in the inheritance and authority of Jesus (Mt. 28:18-20, Rom. 8:32). Sin is the assumption of scarcity…

I Saw Satan Fall

Luke XXXVII: Lk. 10:1-24 Introduction One of the most important lessons of the Bible is that things are not always what they seem. Here, we have the relatively unassuming record of Jesus sending out the seventy to proclaim peace, heal the sick, and announce the arrival of the kingdom of God, but in this event,…

Pentecost Sunday: Fire From Heaven

Luke XXXVI: Lk. 9:49-62 Introduction Today is Pentecost, the fiftieth day after Easter, the day we celebrate the pouring out of the Spirit and the birth of the Christian Church. The Text: The theme that ties these three scenes in Luke 9 together is the call to follow Jesus and the way other people and…

The Majesty of the Son

Luke XXXV: Lk. 9:28-48 Introduction This section of Luke seems intentionally structured to emphasize the point that Jesus is repeatedly making. We move from miracle to confession of faith to foretelling His death to a call to discipleship in 9:10-27, and that same pattern repeats here: transfiguration/healing (9:28-42), confession/astonishment at the glory of God (9:43),…

Far Better

Ascension Day 2016 Jesus said, “It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you.” (Jn. 16:7) The ascension of Jesus is one of the harder things to understand as Christians. From our perspective, it seems like Jesus leaving made everything a…

Knowing Christ

Luke XXXIV: Lk. 9:18-27 Introduction In our text today, Jesus asks His disciples the most important question of all time: Who am I? Who is Jesus? The answer to this question is the center of the Christian faith. Prayer Avails Much One of the lessons of the book of Luke is that prayer matters. The…

When Silence is Love

Greyfriars Hall Spring 2016 Preaching Retreat Sermon Text: Acts 8:26-40 Introduction The problem of exegesis and the meaning of language goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden where the serpent asked the woman: Did God really say? And ever since, men have asked why God doesn’t speak more clearly. If there is…