Grace for Ungracious Brothers

Minor Prophets VIII: Obadiah Introduction Obadiah is the smallest book of the Old Testament. Obadiah is a book dedicated to the descendants of Esau, Jacob’s older twin brother. Obadiah is a little book, but it has an important message for brothers. Background Amos mentions Edom in his litany of judgments at the beginning of his prophecy…

A Love Story

Minor Prophets III: Hosea 1-3 Introduction While many scholars do not believe that Hosea is the first minor prophet chronologically, this underlines the intentionality of putting it first as an introduction to the Book of the Twelve. The theme of the first three chapters of Hosea is the determined love of God for His people,…

Beginning After the End

Minor Prophets II: Pentecost Introduction Today we continue our study of the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets. Last week we asked, “What is a Prophet?” And we said that a prophet is fundamentally a “friend of God.” The friends of God know God, speak to God, and God speaks to them. God wants to…

Friends of God

Minor Prophets I: Ascension Sunday Introduction Today we begin a series of sermons on the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets. This coincides with our celebration of the Ascension of Jesus and the pouring out of the Spirit at Pentecost (Joel 2:28-29, Acts 2). What are the Twelve Minor Prophets? Hosea through Malachi. They are…

The Spirit of Forgiveness

Fourth Sunday in Easter: Jn. 21:15-25 Introduction Here, as the close to the breakfast episode, John zooms in on the restoration and forgiveness of Peter. This is not the first time John has highlighted forgiveness as proof of the resurrection (Jn. 20:23), and this comes immediately to the fore in his epistle (1 Jn. 1:5-10)….

Truth at a Table

Third Sunday in Easter: Jn. 21:1-14 Introduction The gospels do not present faith in Jesus as blind or irrational. Rather, Jesus and His disciples present “signs” as evidence of who Jesus is and for the reality of His resurrection. These signs are the evidence that the Spirit uses to convince people to believe that Jesus…

There is Only Easter Faith

In the beginning there was nothing, and then God spoke and in that place where there was nothing, light burst forth. God’s word was true, and the world reflected that truth in utter perfection, in complete justice. And day after day, God spoke and where there was nothing, stars shone, fish filled, feathered creatures flung…

Faith that Overcomes: Second Sunday in Easter: Jn. 20:19-31

Introduction The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus is the lynchpin for the entire religion. But what Christians are often accused of, and sometimes capitulate to, is the claim that this belief is entirely a matter of irrational, unsubstantiated “faith.” On this view, Christians “believe” not based on evidence or testimony, but based on…

How The Risen Jesus Overcomes Shame

Sermon for Easter Sunday 2014: Jn. 20:1-18 Introduction One of the striking elements of all the gospel accounts of the resurrection of Jesus is the fact that women were the first witnesses. There are different details, different aspects of focus, but all four gospel accounts agree that women were the first to find the empty…

Our Jesus Holds the Keys: Good Friday 2014

Note: The audio recording for this message is available here. One of the most unusual elements of the Christian gospel is the fact that we celebrate the death of our leader. For most movements, for most religions, for most kingdoms or empires, the death of the leader is a moment of instability, chaos, disillusionment. But…