Sermons by Doug Hileman
Current Series: The Book of Acts
|October||15,||2017||In Acts 22, two questions are posed. One has to do with Jesus’ identity. The other has to do with our response to that. It’s pretty certain that these two questions are the most important ones you’ll ever ask. This sermon examines the life-changing power of asking just the right question.|
|October||08,||2017||There are times when sincere, Spirit-led Christians will see things differently from one another. Acts 21 is the record of one such situation, and provides us with some helpful insights regarding the pursuit of God’s will. In addition, a critical component of Christian unity is illustrated.|
|October||01,||2017||During two congregational meetings, the Apostle Paul attempts to tie up some loose ends. In the first meeting, a near-tragedy serves to illustrate the dangers of drifting in the spiritual life. In the second meeting, Paul shares a basic ingredient of a joyful life. This chapter concludes the record of Paul’s life as a free man.|
|September||24,||2017||Formulas don’t get the job done. Some people are struggling against spiritual forces that defy logic. And all of those neat and tidy pointers for Christian living won’t add up to much in such cases. What is needed at that point is a visitation of the Holy Spirit, grounded in the Word of God. The Bible says that the anointing breaks the yoke. If we want to see people really set free, that is what it will take.|
|September||17,||2017||This message is an examination of 3 distinct communication platforms in the Christian life. If they are all functional in your life, substantial spiritual growth can be expected. Without them, you will face unnecessary struggles, and your progress in your Christian life will be hindered.|
|September||10,||2017||Paul tended to use a two-pronged approach in ministry whenever he came to a new town. He would start off with teaching. And inevitably, the teaching would turn a corner and Paul would begin preaching. In this message, we examine the difference between the two approaches, and see how to apply that to our own practice of sharing the Good News with others.|
|September||03,||2017||This message addresses perhaps the most common question amongst growing Christians: “God, what is your will for my life?” From the record found in Acts 16, we will get some valuable lessons on the subject spiritual navigation, taken from a period of time in Paul’s life when he wasn’t sure just which way to turn.|
|August||27,||2017||The Apostle Paul and Barnabas hit their famous impasse` in this chapter. As a result, decisions are made that seem questionable. This message examines the devil’s use of discouragement in the lives of believers. It is his most effective tool in his quest to divert Christians from their mission in life.|
|August||20,||2017||This sermon emphasizes the fact that God insists we all line up with reality. Man’s propensity to invent alternate realities has been the source of most of our major problems. And it is an easily-neglected truth that worship—at its root—is solidly planted in reality. Once we understand that, it changes everything for a Christian.|
|August||13,||2017||One explanation of what worship is goes like this—“Worship is engagement with God on terms that He proposes…” In this message, we discuss exactly what those terms are.|
|August||06,||2017||This is the first message in a 3-part series on worship, where we examine the reason that human beings are compelled to worship…something. And how true joy and fulfillment in our lives can only be realized when we worship the one true and living God.|
|July||30,||2017||Please select "Jim Myers" in the dropdown selection at the top of this page to hear Pastor Jim's message.|
|July||23,||2017||This sermon does not deal with resignation in terms of quitting or giving up. Rather, it deals with the inevitability of trouble in our lives. While we are to avoid trials and tribulation if we reasonably can, we must also resign ourselves to the fact that trouble is part and parcel of life. That attitude of resignation actually frees us up to follow the Lord’s leading with a greater degree of joy and holy abandon.|
|July||16,||2017||God claims exclusive rights to your future, and has made it His business to direct your steps into your calling. The pattern for such a life is portrayed for us in Acts 13, compliments of Barnabas and Saul. Believe it or not, all of your life God has been maneuvering you into position. Bringing you to the place where you will live as one who has been separated unto His purposes (only the manuscript is available - there is no recording for this week's sermon. We apologize for the inconvenience)|
|July||09,||2017||Prayer is the focus of this message. Sometimes we feel so sinful and unworthy that we hesitate to come before a holy God and pray. That notion is a c0n job from Satan. It’s time to set his lies aside and come boldly before the Throne of Grace.|
|July||02,||2017||This message examines several things: A sanctified imagination, purpose of heart, and the ministry of Exhortation. To sum it all up - we are challenged to dream again. And to help others do the same.|
|June||25,||2017||This message has to do with specific aspect of guidance in the Christian life. And that is the idea of flexibility. We must be able to wrap our heads around a new idea when the time comes. And it will come—in the life of every believer. None of us at the present moment know everything that the Lord will teach us from His Word. Our tutor for this lesson is the Apostle Peter. He displays a magnificent ability to make adjustments. Like a football quarterback does. In fact, football is the allegory that is used to convey this message (only the manuscript is available - there is no recording for this week's sermon. We apologize for the inconvenience)|
|June||18,||2017||Ananias was an ordinary Christian who played a pivotal role in the early development of the Apostle Paul’s ministry. Learn what God’s perspective might be regarding your own role in the ongoing drama of transformation in the lives of other people.|
|June||11,||2017||The disruptions that are a part of our lives are often used by God to further His Kingdom. It is safe to say that the next step in God’s will for your life lies just beyond your comfort level. This message examines the beginnings of persecution in the early church, and the further spread of the Gospel as a result (only the manuscript is available - there is no recording for this week's sermon. We apologize for the inconvenience)|
|June||04,||2017||A single word in Acts 7 becomes the occasion for the murder of Stephen, the Church’s first martyr. Down through the years and in our own day and time, bitter resistance to that same word lies behind the rejection of God’s truth—both outside of the church and sometimes even within it.|
|May||28,||2017||One of the biggest problems the church grapples with today—both internally and externally—is that of neglect. There is a common reason for that, and some effective steps to address it are found in Acts chapter 6.|
|May||21,||2017||Please select "Jim Myers" in the dropdown selection at the top of this page to hear Pastor Jim's message on Acts 5.|
|May||14,||2017||What the world needs now is…a few more preachers. That includes you, my Christian friend. But it might not be as hard as you think.|
|May||07,||2017||This message focuses on the subject of God’s timing. God’s timing, and our involvement in transmitting His grace along to others. It is a beautiful thing to behold.|
|April||30,||2017||This message deals with the manifestations of the Holy Spirit, and the fact that their continuance is not an automatic thing. As the Protestant Reformation reminds us, things that God intended to be present in the life of the church were allowed to fade from view through simple neglect. So whatever we do, we must give heed to Paul’s advice—“Desire spiritual gifts.”|
|April||23,||2017||Nobody enjoys waiting. Unless there is a high degree of anticipation involved. Then waiting takes on a whole new appeal. This message from Acts 1 investigates what the Disciples were waiting for in the Upper Room, and why it was important enough to wait for.|
|April||16,||2017||Twice in his dealings with Jesus, Simon Peter was a man just going through the motions. But in both cases, a miracle of restoration occurred. Sometimes we feel like we don’t have what it takes, and so we opt out of the thing God is calling us to. This Easter message explains how going through the motions can actually be a trigger that initiates your entry into your God-ordained destiny.|
|April||09,||2017||Mary might have seen Jesus sooner than she did, if only she had not made certain assumptions. This message emphasizes how we can benefit from her experience, and perhaps av0id making the same mistakes.|
|April||02,||2017||From the cross, Jesus said “It is finished.” This message takes a slightly different take regarding what “it” might have been. The stuff that nightmares are made of. And how Jesus put an end to the nightmare.|
|March||26,||2017||Please select "Jim Myers" in the dropdown selection at the top of this page to hear Pastor Jim's message.|
|March||19,||2017||Two things are noted in this message. First, we see how Jesus was in full control of the situation during His arrest and interrogation. Second, we see a moment of tremendous opportunity come and then fade in the life of Pontius Pilate. There is an unnerving parallel that occurs in each of our lives—and it is to be avoided at all costs.|
|March||12,||2017||The struggle against sin. Self-doubt. Minor trajectory corrections as opposed to U-turns. Avoiding unnecessary obsession with your own salvation. These are some of the closing thoughts as we conclude our study in Psalm 119.|
|March||05,||2017||The truth is, God rarely gives explanations when it comes to the things in life that cause us pain. Instead, He prefers to give us instructions. And if we can just keep that straight in our heads, we can handle whatever He allows to come our way. In this message, Cypher illustrates how that works.|
|February||26,||2017||One major action item is outlined in this message. Simple, straightforward, and not very difficult to implement. And it is undoubtedly, absolutely life-changing. So why don’t more Christians take this step? Maybe because they’ve never been asked to. Well, this sermon asks you.|
|February||19,||2017||There are times in life when all a person can do is just hang on. This message deals with the question, “Hang on to what?”|
|February||12,||2017||This sermon has a simple message—when we see our spiritual life overflowing into our day to day life, the inevitable result is an increased love for the Bible.|
|February||05,||2017||This message addresses the life-changing practice of writing down what God speaks into your life through the Scriptures. The result will be an accumulation of spiritual resources; a backlog of inspiration. A blessing that will strengthen you many times over, as you move forward into your destiny as a believer.|
|January||29,||2017||Please select "Jim Myers" in the dropdown selection at the top of this page to hear Pastor Jim's message on Psalm 119.|
|January||22,||2017||This message poses a question that is very, very important, and yet seems to go unasked much of the time. It gets to the core of how and why a Christian lives their life. Serious consideration of this question has the potential to revolutionize our lives. What is it? Listen and find out…|
|January||15,||2017||The enemy of our souls challenges the validity of our own spiritual experience. The first part of the sermon deals with counteracting that. Then two steps must be taken in order to hear from God. “Incline my heart to Your testimonies…” is the first one. And secondly. “Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things…”|
|January||08,||2017||This message is based on content found in the 3rd and 4th sections of the Psalm. Our focus highlights four aspects of movement in the life of a disciple: (1) How to move beyond your former sins and escape the endless merry-go-round of self-condemnation (2) Moving closer to God (3) Moving forward in the face of opposition (4) Moving faster as God enlarges your capacity|
|January||01,||2017||Psalm 119 is all about the Bible, and what it can mean to you. This first sermon examines the power that a new routine holds in terms of serious discipleship. It will cost you something to take this approach—but the payoff is amazing.|
|December||25,||2016||There is no recording for this week's sermon. We apologize for the inconvenience.|
|December||18,||2016||Please select "Jim Myers" in the dropdown selection at the top of this page to hear Pastor Jim's message.|
|December||11,||2016||This message discusses how Jesus make His own preparations for the very first Christmas. Something we can apply directly to our own lives.|
|December||04,||2016||A discussion regarding the right way and the wrong way to seek the Lord, and a brief look at the contrast between Jesus’ divine nature and His human nature.|
|November||27,||2016||This message examines the difference between the love that God has for the whole world, as opposed to the love that He has for those who believe in Christ. That, and how to upgrade His love in your life to the latter of the two.|
|November||20,||2016||Jesus’ prayer in John 17 illustrates the distinct connection between heartfelt desire and effective prayer. In this message we take a look back at an Old Testament saint, who happened to be a housewife struggling with depression. She discovered that when she linked her desperate prayer request with God’s purposes for her generation, prayer took on a whole new dimension.|
|November||13,||2016||Jesus said this—“And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one…” This message focuses on two questions. First, what is this glory that Jesus shares with His followers? And secondly, how does this glory make oneness amongst Christians a reality?|
|November||06,||2016||We are given a key of sorts in this passage from John 17. A key that comes in the form of a word— the word “sanctification”. This somewhat confusing term actually has the potential to unlock the power of evangelism in our individual Christian lives.|
|October||30,||2016||There is no recording for this week's sermon. We apologize for the inconvenience.|
|October||23,||2016||Jesus said that his followers are not of this world. We don’t fit in anymore. Jesus also said that the world hates us because of that. This message is a frank discussion on the dynamics involved in the dilemma of being sent into the word, while not being of the world.|
|October||16,||2016||Many Christians suffer a chronic deficiency of joy. This message examines the connection between faith, the Bible, and the joy of the Lord.|
|October||09,||2016||The foundation of faith in our individual lives must come from the Word of God, as the Holy Spirit reveals it to us. Mere observance of religious ceremony or even the witnessing a miracle cannot provide a faith foundation that is adequate for the Christian life. Only the faith that comes from the Word will make us true believers.|
|October||02,||2016||In this passage taken from John 17 we examine the problems associated with pursuing a false humility, a humility based on an unbiblical view of God. But it is as we address these mistaken notions that we will discover a couple of amazing gifts.|
|September||18,||2016||Jesus speaks of His impending death with these words— “The Hour has come.” His death would open a door for all of us: the door to salvation. But it must be understood to be a door of opportunity, not of inevitability. That’s because salvation is not an automatic thing. We must walk through that door ourselves. In that sense, “the hour has come” for each one of us as well. What we do with that opportunity is the most important thing we will ever do—both in this life and the next.|
|September||11,||2016||This message is not from the Gospel of John, but was preached in response to some things that we recently studied in John. Recovery from failure is what we had been looking at previously. The 2nd chances that the Lord gives us over and over again. That kind of grace is a wonderful thing. But preventing failure in the first place is a better option all around, and that is the focus of this message. Taken from Ephesians 6: a different take on the armor of God.|
|September||04,||2016||Jesus speaks to the disciples about what is up ahead. Sorrow. Joy. Tribulation. Overcoming. But His last words to them in this passage are to “…be of good cheer.” To be positive. And that advice came with the understanding on the part of both Jesus and His men that they were just about to fail Him badly. Jesus was giving them assurance that the stumbling they were about to experience would not be a deal-breaker from His perspective.|
|August||28,||2016||As things seemed to be falling apart all around them, Jesus speaks to the disciples with a voice of incredible optimism. His reason? The Holy Spirit is going come and be with the disciples once Jesus has departed. Jesus called that a big advantage. And not just for them, but for us as well. This message deals dark times morphing into good outcomes, all because of this wonderful advantage that will lead us into all truth.|
|August||21,||2016||Jesus said of the religious leaders of His day, “They have no excuse.” Here we examine why that was, and what it means for us. An appeal to give up—once and for all—the false notion that we can successfully navigate through life without having a deep reliance on Jesus.|
|August||14,||2016||The words of Jesus in John 15—“You have not chosen Me but I have chosen you…” do not have as much to do with salvation as they do with ministry. Once you know the Lord, ministry is on His agenda for you. In spite of any reluctance on your part, ministry for you is inevitable.|
|August||07,||2016||Many Christians exist without any sense of God taking any actual pleasure with their life. To abide in the love of the Lord is to bask in the warm glow of His favor. This message addresses both our deep need for that, as well as the way to consistently experience it.|
|July||24,||2016||The dual reality of simultaneously abiding in Christ while He abides in us is examined, with special emphasis placed upon an intended outcome of that arrangement—an effective prayer life. In particular, the adventure of Spirit-directed praying is highlighted. This is not your normal routine religion.|
|July||17,||2016||Jesus said “Abide in Me.” We become spiritually connected to Christ at conversion, by a sovereign act of God. But this union must not be taken for granted. If we become careless, spiritual erosion, backsliding—whatever you want to call it— has a high probability of developing. In this passage taken from John 15, Jesus addresses our contribution to the effort of maintaining a vital, dynamic connection with Him.|
|July||10,||2016||The focus of this message is on perseverance. Making it through as a Christian. Jesus notes several things in this passage that are absolutely essential for a disciple to thrive in their life for the Lord. Most of the content of this study relates in some way to the ministry of the Holy Spirit as our Teacher.|
|July||03,||2016||When Jesus was about ready to leave this world, He told the disciples, “I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you.” The disciples existed as orphans for a brief time after Jesus died. Spiritual orphans, that is. They suddenly and unexpectedly found themselves navigating through a world where Jesus was no longer present. And that metaphor speaks to a common dilemma shared by many professing Christians in our day. It symbolizes the struggle of people who believe in Jesus theologically. But these same people live in a world where, from their perspective at least, Jesus seems to be functionally absent. This message charts a clear path to take, in order to be free from the invisible pain of an orphan’s heart.|
|June||26,||2016||The word “extreme” is in vogue. We call things extreme to convey a sense of intensity, of having an experience that is over the top. From the middle of John 14 through chapter 16, Jesus describes “Extreme Christianity”. It may be time to stretch your thinking just a bit.|
|June||19,||2016||Jesus said if you love Me, Keep my commandments. One comes before the other, and we get in trouble if we try to reverse the order. This message discusses the very important role that emotions play in the life of a Christian.|
|June||12,||2016||This message focuses on the matter of faith in the Christian life. In particular, the faith for everyday Christians to accomplish great things for the Kingdom of God.|
|June||05,||2016||Simon Peter’s denial of Jesus is predicted, and Jesus gives Peter grace in advance to deal with it. The bottom line for believers: keep moving forward, even when it hurts.|
|May||22,||2016||This message should settle some doubts. Self-doubts, actually. A comparison between Judas and the rest of us. If you need a fresh perspective on grace, this might be the one for you.|
|May||15,||2016||This message is about serving one another in love because like Jesus, we know where we came from, and we know where we’re going. This sermon ends with an exhortation to wash one another’s feet—only not in a literal sense. What was the universal command behind the outward act of washing the disciples’ feet? It has something to do with correcting attitudes and perspective.|
|May||08,||2016||Jesus is leaving Jerusalem under discouraging circumstances. The people did not believe in Him, in spite of all the miracles. On the other hand, many of the rulers had come to believe in Him. But were afraid to admit it. Jesus preaches a short sermon—sort of over His shoulder, as He is leaving town. It is not a condemnation. Rather, it is an important reminder for those whose faith might be flagging. Jesus never gives up on us.|
|May||01,||2016||A message on putting the light that God shines in your life to good use. Light rejected tends to make our hearts grow hard. The experience of the Egyptian Pharaoh in Exodus is highlighted, because he is an example of a man whose heart was hardened—both by himself, and subsequently by God. We learn how to avoid this sort of thing.|
|April||24,||2016||Have you ever wondered what your purpose in life is? Jesus said He was born, “…for this purpose...” And He outlines that purpose here in the context of two distinct objectives—the judgment of this world, and the defeat of Satan’s work. The cross of Christ became the ultimate weapon; both to break the iron grip that Satan had on this planet, and also to pull the curtain back on the nature this present world—revealing the emptiness and futility behind all of the false claims that happiness and fulfillment are possible without loving and serving God.|
|April||17,||2016||Followers of Jesus play a part in the salvation of other people. By God’s design, the actions and the testimonies of believers become integral links in the chain of events leading to a given individual’s decision to receive Christ. But we cannot play our part unless—as Jesus put it—we hate our lives in this world. But doing that looks very different from what you might imagine. We need to learn the balance between enjoying the legitimate pleasures of this life, and knowing when to make appropriate sacrifices to serve the eternal needs of others. Jesus is the pattern we follow.|
|April||10,||2016||Moved to action by a force she did not comprehend, Mary lavishes a costly ointment on Jesus. He said it was in preparation for His burial. Only Mary did not know He was going to die. No one but Jesus did at that point. An interesting parallel is in this passage, and gives us some instruction on how God sometimes moves within our spirit before we understand exactly what is happening. It’s called “having a burden”.|
|April||03,||2016||Jesus said to Mary, the sister of Lazarus, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” Then He raised her brother from the dead. We need to believe the same thing; that in our own lives and in our own situation we can see the glory of God too. We shouldn’t settle for a version of Christianity that is long on theology and short on experience. We need both. Desperately.|
|March||27,||2016||There is no recording for this week's sermon. We apologize for the inconvenience.|
|March||20,||2016||Celebrating Palm Sunday and the Triumphal Entry, this passage draws on several passages of scripture from the four Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It focuses on one thought—if you are a believer, your King is coming to you, and He has certain expectations.|
|March||13,||2016||Jesus’ final attempt to reason with His religious adversaries was rejected. But in the process, He draws an astounding parallel between what He says about Himself, and an Old Testament verse that speaks of the nature of mankind—“You are gods”. How far should this idea be taken?|
|March||06,||2016||A message that emphasizes one thought—we will not make it as Christians because of our commitment to Jesus; we will make it because of His commitment to us.|
|February||28,||2016||Using a metaphor borrowed from a vanishing technology—film photography—this message explores the nature of spending time in God’s darkroom. It is there that those little flashes of inspiration that we experience are developed into tangible qualities in the lives of believers. There is another type of darkness also examined, the type embraced by the Pharisees, a darkness rooted in pride that kept them at a distance from God. Inward honesty is the only way out of that spiritual prison.|
|February||21,||2016||One word sums up a sheep’s biggest problem: wandering. The Good Shepherd is in the business of rescuing wandering sheep. Once their wandering days are over, they begin to enter into a phenomenal destiny.|
|February||14,||2016||An investigation into the connection between reading the Bible with heightened anticipation, and the ability to hear the voice of the Lord in the scriptures for your own life.|
|February||7,||2016||A blind man has been miraculously healed by Jesus. He has boldly spoken up for Him, and his irrefutable testimony has reduced the arguments of the Pharisees to rubble. And all of this has happened without the man's conversion to faith in Christ. That loose end is taken care of in this final installment of our study of John chapter 9.|
|January||31,||2016||There is no recording for this week's sermon. We apologize for the inconvenience.|
|January||24,||2016||Three verbal encounters occur in the wake of a blind man's healing. These encounters illustrate the importance of testifying for Jesus. The passage under consideration records the most eloquent defense of Jesus given anywhere in the four Gospels by someone other than Jesus Himself. The tremendous benefits of being a witness for Christ are discussed.|
|January||17,||2016||When Jesus heals a man who was born blind, two things occur almost simultaneously. First, his eyes are opened, essentially unveiling a whole new world to him. But inwardly, this man also experiences an unveiling of himself, and awakening of things that had long lay dormant inside of him. This message is a discussion of crossing the threshold into discovery of our spiritual gifts, as well as a study regarding how the Lord will expertly insert Himself into the difficulties of our lives.|
|December||27,||2015||This message highlights the fact that more information and better information do not necessarily add up to non-believers receiving Christ as their Lord. Based on Jesus’ words regarding who does and does not hear from God, some of ancient Israel’s history is revisited. Attention is also given to how questions regarding the Bible are sometimes merely used as excuses, in order to avoid making a decision for Christ.|
|December||13,||2015||This message begins by looking at the understated way in which Jesus entered our world as one of us. A small beginning, symbolized by the location of His birth—Bethlehem. A further detail of this little town is noted—the literal meaning of its name, which is “The House of Bread”. And that, in turn, is a symbol of what Jesus would become to all who would receive Him—the Bread of Life. Two questions are examined in the light of this. First, what are the results in the life of a believer who partakes of this Bread? And secondly, just exactly how are we supposed to partake of Jesus? The answer to that last question provides a pathway from the realm of religiosity into spiritual reality.|
|December||06,||2015||This message examines one of the greatest mysteries of the Bible. It was an undercover operation that no one saw coming—how an entirely new race of human beings would come about through Jesus becoming what the Apostle Paul referred to as, "the Second Adam". This is the same thing that Isaiah spoke of when he prophesied that Jesus would enter the human race as a baby, bearing the title of "Everlasting Father". These passages of scripture provide us with a powerful reminder of what the Christmas message is really all about-a new kind of life, smuggled into this dark world under the radar.|
|November||22,||2015||Jesus draws a parallel between Himself and the religious leaders (most likely some Pharisees) who were challenging Him. A parallel, but with a major difference. The parallel was that both Jesus and the Pharisees were behaving in ways that were consistent with their Fathers’ hearts. The difference was that Jesus’ Father was God, and the Pharisees’ father was the devil.
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me.” This message is an inquiry into how that works. How does a person come to love the Lord? They have to have God as their Father. And that means being born again.
|November||15,||2015||Jesus is teaching on the connection between knowing the truth and experiencing inner freedom. It hinges upon whether we abide in His word. That is to say, whether or not we factor His word into all areas of our lives.
A distinction is drawn between being well-informed and knowing the truth. Knowing the truth the way Jesus speaks of here has more to do with an accurate perception of reality than it does with memorizing a bullet list of orthodox doctrines.
The devil is pretty well-informed, but he is not of the truth. He lives in a “reality” of his own making, an untrue mental reality that denies God His proper place. We can make the same mistake.
The litmus test of genuine discipleship—taking the word of Jesus seriously enough to apply to your life, and not treating it as optional.
|November||08,||2015||Jesus emphasizes a certain aspect of His witness here on earth that has far-reaching implications. He said, “I know where I came from and where I am going.” This is Jesus placing an emphasis on His personal history—and that would include His pre-incarnate history, His time among us on earth, and also His history beyond death and resurrection, when He was received back into heaven by the Father. These truths comprise the deepest foundation of the Christian faith, and need to be firmly grasped by all believers.
Toward the end of the message, we look at the practical reason behind the presence of God in certain people’s lives, illustrated by Jesus’ own experience. And we are encouraged to embrace the fact that such a thing is possible for all true disciples of the Lord.
|November||01,||2015||This passage of scripture is one that just about everyone is familiar with. The account of the woman caught in adultery and brought to Jesus. Brought to Jesus by a bunch of religious thugs, who were just using her to attack Jesus. Jesus wins her freedom and her safety with a single sentence that He spoke. This is the one location in the New Testament where a group of Pharisees actually do the right thing.
The prescription given to her by Jesus was, “Go and sin no more.” This is examined in detail in this sermon.
|October||25,||2015||We all have questions about G0d, the Bible, the supernatural world, and things like that. Even questions about Jesus. This sermon looks at 4 different groups of people, each grappling with the things that Jesus said about Himself. Three of them still had questions, but remained open to further information. But the 4th group had not only stopped listening; for all intents and purposes had stopped thinking too. Their way of dealing with Jesus was to stake their claim on the first convenient excuse they could find, put their hands over their ears, and accuse everyone else of being weak-minded.
A couple of examples of God’s power to change hearts are shared, and a challenge is issued to embrace the truth, no matter where it leads. But in the final analysis, the truth will always lead us to Jesus.
|October||18,||2015||This message begins by correcting a false impression that many people have regarding our Heavenly Father and His attitude toward humanity. It finishes up with a discussion regarding the reality of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians. By the Holy Spirit, we experience God. And it’s not as much a mental thing as it is a “gut” thing. At least according to the original Greek.|
|October||11,||2015||In this message, Jesus describes several characteristics of authenticity in the Christian life. They are:
• The pursuit of God for His own sake.
• A response to an inward sense of purpose and calling.
• The ability to exercise discernment regarding spiritual things.
Special attention is given to the thought of pursuing God, with an emphasis on the fact that God is always on the move, and we need to catch up.
|October||04,||2015||In John 7, we see Jesus staying out of sight until the Feast of Tabernacles was in full swing. He was strategic. Careful. And God had His back. Scripture says, “You are my hiding place…” Some discussion of God’s protection and other ways He shows up in the lives of those who make it their goal to live in the center of His will. The issue of education in the ministry came up while Jesus was teaching in the Temple. Peter and John are cited as examples of having effective ministries via having “been with Jesus.” Lastly, Jesus promises assurance regarding His teaching. But only if we are committed to do the will of God once we discern it. And that means commitment, something we in our modern culture seem to shy away from. But we can’t have strong assurance in the Word of God without such a commitment.|
|September||27,||2015||This passage gives an account of Jesus’ interaction with His brothers, noting that they did not believe in Him. In a parallel fashion, we examine the possibility of resistance from within our own families regarding our growing commitment to God.
The type of discipleship that Christ calls us to is examined, being contrasted with the tendency in some Christian circles to treat the Christian life as little more than a weekly foray into self-improvement. In point of fact, the New Testament makes it pretty clear that for the c0mmitted Christian, following Jesus will more closely resemble what takes place on a battlefield than attending a religious finishing school.
Bottom line—resistance from the world isn’t futile; it is inevitable. Jesus models some ways of successfully dealing with it.
|September||20,||2015||Jesus preaches a sermon where most of His listeners—who are identified as disciples in this case—go away, and as John puts it, “walked with Him no more.” However, the focus of this message is not on the large group of disciples that left, but on the 12 apostles stayed. They were asked by Jesus if they planned on leaving too. Peter answers for them all. His response consists of three parts, providing Peter’s rationale as to why the thought of leaving Jesus would never occur to them. They were the following:
• Lord, to whom shall we go?
• You have the words of eternal life.
• We have come to believe and know that you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
Having a firm grip on these three things in our own lives will make sticking with Jesus much more likely.
|September||13,||2015||Jesus continues His discussion on being a true follower. This time He focuses on the essence of conversion—hearing the Father’s voice. Being taught by the Father. It is so essential that no one can come to Christ without this occurring. No one is a Christian without first being converted. And conversion brings with it a fundamental transformation comprised of three amazing changes.|
|September||06,||2015||Following the feeding of the 5,000, a group of enthusiastic men track Jesus down on the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Instead of getting a warm reception from Jesus, they are rebuked for seeking Jesus with the wrong motivation. This is a study on God’s pursuit of our hearts, and our tendency to try to evade His grasp. The joys of genuine discipleship are highlighted, confronting us with the challenge to embrace the Great Adventure to seek first the Kingdom of God.|
|August||23,||2015||In John chapter 6 as Jesus feeds the multitude with just a few loaves and a couple of fish, we are given a great deal of information regarding how to best minister the Word of God through preaching and teaching. The bottom line is that peoples’ souls must be fed, and that reality makes the symbolism in this chapter fairly easy to recognize. The steps the disciples took fulfilling their part in this feeding miracle provides graphic instruction for any who desire to be used by God in preaching or teaching. It is not enough for us to simply be biblically accurate and doctrinally orthodox, and simply inform a congregation of the true facts regarding God and themselves. There is a need that transcends the need for mere information. The great need in any preaching/teaching event is for God’s touch to be upon what we say, as well as upon the ears and the hearts of those who hear us. In this context, Paul’s instruction in I Corinthians 14 regarding the gift of prophecy is discussed.|
|August||16,||2015||In the lead-up to the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus puts Philip to a bit of a test. Just to see if he had learned to factor Him into every situation. Philip fails the test, but through what follows we learn a few things about the nature of miracles in general. Also the point is made that miracles will occur in the life of believers as a matter of course, without reference to their faith or lack of it, simply because of their connection with Jesus. So let’s say you don’t have great faith. Like the disciples on this occasion. So your faith is lacking. Can you at least follow Jesus’ orders? Follow His orders, stay close to Him, and you will see miracles. Mostly little ones, but real miracles, nonetheless. Provision, direction, lots of “coincidences”—things that can’t be explained in terms of human effort or wisdom. And those experiences are how a believer’s faith grows—just like with the disciples: hanging around Jesus and watching Him do His thing. Also, a few comments regarding bringing what you have to the table for Jesus to bless and multiply.|
|August||09,||2015||There is no recording for this week's sermon. We apologize for the inconvenience.|
|August||02,||2015||Jesus pulls out all the stops in a discussion with some religious leaders who had decided to give him grief for performing a healing on the Sabbath. He explains how He personally shares divine attributes with His Father. He is the Life Giver, the Final Judge, and is to be given honor from people in exactly the same way that they honor the Father. Two sides of the same coin are examined—matters of life, and matters of death. The purpose of this life is more than mere survival. We have a destiny to fulfill. But we will only realize this if we hear the voice of Jesus speaking to our soul. His words make dead people come to life—both physically, as in the case of Lazarus, and spiritually, as in the case of anyone who has been born again ala John chapter 3. The importance of embracing eternity as a high-priority value in our lifestyle choices is emphasized. The best way we can honor Jesus is to try to be like Him; to follow in His footsteps. Embracing His values and priorities is the highest honor we can personally offer up. Here’s the thing—when Jesus makes us alive spiritually, He makes us come alive to eternity. Embrace that, and adjust your life to that reality for Jesus’ sake. It’s a matter of honor.|
|July||26,||2015||This is a message on ministry. In particular, the ministry of every believer. Your true destiny in life is the fulfillment of your ministry, whatever God has ordained it to be. Jesus is our pattern in this.
The false impression that many have regarding Jesus being omniscient during His pilgrimage on earth is corrected. We see that as a child, Jesus is described as growing in wisdom. In the incarnation, Jesus truly and actually became a human. He did not automatically know everything. He learned to walk. And to talk. As He grew older, He was no doubt taught by His earthly father Joseph the ways of a carpenter. And He was also instructed by His Heavenly Father in the ways of ministry. By His own confession, Jesus said that He learned how to minister by observing what His Father in Heaven. He did what His Father did, and He would only speak what He heard His Father speak. So what we had before us—for want of a better term—is a concise description of Jesus’ ministerial education. Jesus learned the ways of God.
Learning the ways of God is described as essentially learning what makes God tick; How He thinks. How He does things. What He values most.
Jesus’ answer to the religious leaders who accused Him of breaking the Sabbath was essentially this—“I saw my Father behaving in this way, so I did the same thing.” (John 5:17) That was how Jesus did everything—based on His own observations of how the Father did things.
Then we looked at the practical ramifications of these things in our own lives, for we are all called to serve in a ministry capacity of some sort. Hence, we all stand in need of a ministerial education. And regardless of whether we are “professional” ministers or lay-ministers, the single greatest contribution to our ministerial education will not come from some Bible college or seminary, but will come from simple observation and thoughtful reflection as we purpose to learn the ways of God. From the Bible. On our own. What we get from outside sources—Christian education, sermons in church, books we read, etc.—all of these things are important. But none of that is as critical as what we get from the Word through personal study and meditation, as we grapple with the questions of what God thinks, what God would do, and how He would approach a given situation. Knowing the facts of the Bible is one thing. Knowing the ways of God takes revelation from His Spirit.
Moses and David are held forth as good examples of believers who longed to know the ways of God, and pursued them diligently.
|July||19,||2015||This passage deals with certain aspects of physical healing, and we in turn make certain parallels between the nature of physical healing and the healing of the soul. We begin by looking at the sovereignty of God. Then there is the matter of our tendency to relate to God and obeying God based on our own pre-conceived ideas regarding how God should do things. The story of Naaman in the Old Testament provides us with some insight in that regard.
In contrast with the example of Naaman, we see that the man who is healed in our text in John has been broken for a long time. What’s more, it appears that his illness was the result of some sinful behavior in his past. That detail provides the basis for a useful template regarding the healing of our souls. In particular, long-term brokenness need not require long periods of time to be healed. However, there is the need for continuing on the right path if we want the healing to be last. As usual, the Bible is held up as the requisite medicine for our souls. As this man was healed by just a word from Jesus, it is the Word of the Lord from Scripture that performs a deep and lasting work in our hearts. Hearing from Jesus—really hearing from Him—is our great need. When the eyes of our heart (Ephesians 1:18) are opened by the Holy Spirit, we will find in the Bible both the power and wisdom to form godly attitudes. It truly is “the Word” that heals.
|July||12,||2015||In this passage, a contrast is drawn between people being impressed by Jesus and actually believing in Him the way He desires them to. Having just witnessed a powerful spiritual awakening among the Samaritans, Jesus returns to the familiar territory of Galilee. He responds rather brusquely to a distressed father with a critically ill child, and we explore the most logical reason for that. John says that the people of Galilee received Him, but it is obvious Jesus is not all that enthusiastic about their enthusiasm. The question is why. The answer appears to have something to do with what is termed, “pragmatic faith”. That is to say, the kind of faith that believes in Jesus as the One who can get things done.
These folks were impressed with the signs and wonders they saw done at the recent feast in Jerusalem, but evidently their hearts remained unchanged. Their experience is contrasted with Peter’s reaction to one of Christ’s early miracles, where he dropped to his knees in repentance. The bottom line for believers here is this—Jesus could care less if we are impressed with Him. But if we allow ourselves to become absorbed with the things that absorb Jesus; if we build our lives around the Lord’s priorities, we will embrace a deep and lasting faith, not the shallow hero-worship that comes and goes with prevailing public opinion.
|July||05,||2015||We are saved by grace. There is nothing that we can add to tip the scales of salvation in our favor. Christ’s work on the cross did it all, and nothing can be or needs to be added. But there are rewards in heaven for believers that are directly related to how they serve God on Earth.
The notion that it is kind of unspiritual to emphasize our heavenly rewards is discussed, citing the biblical examples of Moses and Jesus. Moses, “…looked to the reward,” of aligning himself with the people of God. And in Jesus case, we are told that He endured the cross, “for the joy set before Him…”
The practical lesson for us is this—if we don’t think of our heavenly reward, we lose motivation. It will also cost us a great measure of joy. After all, didn’t Jesus say, “Rejoice, for great is your reward in heaven.”?
He also gave us this counsel—“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
All of this talk about motivation is related to working in the harvest for souls. Winning people to Christ, strengthening Christians in their walk with God. We will be much more effective in both areas if we will just give some serious thought to our heavenly rewards.
|June||28,||2015||Jesus doesn’t really care if people are impressed by Him. A bunch of people from His hometown region had been quite impressed by the signs and wonders that Jesus did. Their enthusiasm about these things sometimes seemed to get in the way of what He really wanted them to understand and experience. People needed to believe in Him the right way much more than they needed to be healed, even though He was compassionate and healed multitudes of people. Miracles are still for today. The supernatural did not cease and desist with the death of the Apostle John. But seeing a miracle is not a cure-all for the lackings of our faith. But if we will build our lives around His priorities, if we will only allow ourselves to become absorbed with the issues that absorbed Jesus, we will see God at work in us and around us in ways that will certainly build up our faith. Jesus was not impressed with how impressed the crowd was. But He was impressed with the likes of Simon Peter, who was the poster boy for the proper way to respond to a miracle.|
|June||21,||2015||Jesus came to earth as an eyewitness of His Father, and of Heaven. His main mission was to glorify His Father, and to reveal Him to others. The question every person on earth has to grapple with is this—will we receive the testimony of Jesus or not? Will we receive His testimony regarding how wonderful God is? Will we receive His testimony about the reality of life after death, and heaven and hell? Many people are in a virtual standoff with God regarding these concepts. But Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit has the ability get through to us by means of His words. That explains why the Bible bugs people the way it does sometimes. That is why contrary to all reason and all logic, when we hear the gospel preached there is an undeniable tug at our hearts. It is simply because these are not just words that we are hearing. Beyond and behind the words of Scripture is the voice of the Spirit, fighting to save our soul. For us to be reconciled to the Father, which was what Jesus wanted for all people. Unfortunately, many will refuse to be persuaded. How about you?|
|June||14,||2015||John the Baptist put it this way--“A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven.” His disciples had been wondering why the focus seemed to be shifting away from John and over to Jesus. John took the time to help them see things from God’s grand perspective. Changes were coming—changes that might be uncomfortable for them, and even disappointing. But it was all part of God’s unfolding plan to save the world.
But the main application from this narrative, the take-away for our own lives might well be found in the answer to this question—“What have you received from God?” Focusing on that can keep us from drifting into negativism and becoming essentially useless to God and our fellow man. It’s time to stop being self-centered, and allow God to open our eyes in a fresh way to our true destiny. John had fulfilled his, and would soon leave this world. We, on the other hand, probably still have a great deal of good we can do. Will we cooperate with the changes God has in mind? “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
|June||07,||2015||The interview with Nicodemus continues. Jesus zeroes in on Nicodemus’ longing to know true peace with God. As a Pharisee, he had been putting his trust in the Law of Moses and his faithful observance of it. But just like the Apostle Paul who wrote of his own sense of futility in this regard a few years later, Nicodemus had severe, nagging doubts about his own standing with God. But in this passage, Jesus shows the way to put all of that to rest. “He who believes in Me is not condemned…” Like water on parched ground, the awesome gospel message from the Lord found a receptive place in the heart of Nicodemus.|
|May||24,||2015||A different take on the man Nicodemus. He came to Jesus by night, and true enough it was probably out of fear of being seen. But that being said, there were some significant advantages to getting an audience with Jesus after hours. A lesson we can all benefit from. Nicodemus came with some questions, but got more than he bargained for. To his credit, he took some criticism from Jesus and kept listening. The journey from a life of religiosity to the experience of the New Birth can be a long one, as was no doubt the case with Nicodemus. But the fact that Jesus shared so freely with this man the deep truths that He did indicates that Nicodemus was a willing student, soaking this stuff up like a sponge. Nicodemus—born again? I think so. What is your take?|
|May||17,||2015||Everyone remembers the time when Jesus drove all the moneychangers out of the Temple. There was probably no other event in Christ’s ministry when His anger rose higher than on this occasion. It was a matter of His Father’s honor. Things that are holy unto God must not be treated like common things. The application to our own lives is obvious—we are the Temple of God, according to the writings of Paul and Peter. He dwells within us, and that makes us holy. And just like with the Temple in Jerusalem, Jesus takes exception to treating the holy dwelling place of God like a common thing. Christians must take seriously God’s intention that we should live up how He views us. (As His dwelling place.) If we forget that, then Jesus may have to “clean house” in our lives. Our gentle Savior can get harsh if He needs to, so that our lives can get back on track, and fulfill His calling within us.|
|May||10,||2015||Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine. But initially, He resisted Mary’s request to do so. Jesus’ reaction gives us some insight into what it means to be led by the Spirit, since that was the principle that He lived by. Spirit-led people can seem to be indecisive while they look to God for an answer. But hesitation can be very beneficial.
The 6 stone waterpots in John chapter 2 are symbolic of us as followers of Jesus. The wine in these pots did not appear out of thin air. The wine was water that had been transformed by Jesus. The application for our lives is clear—we do what we can. (Fill the waterpots with water.) Then the touch of Jesus turns our plain, ordinary obedience into something that can bless others. So that we no longer just do our duty: we do our duty, and then look to Jesus to touch lives supernaturally through the “water” we have filled ourselves up with: Bible study, prayer, and other acts of obedience and devotion.
This chapter is a very clear illustration of the Spirit-filled life. It starts with ordinary obedience. But it doesn’t end there. We should never just settle for doing our duty. We should anticipate and pray for the touch of the Lord through the things that we do. Not everything. Not all the time. But consistently. Christians should live on the edge of the supernatural. It’s normal for those who do whatever He says.
|May||3,||2015||Usually we think of coming to Jesus in terms of inviting Him into our lives. But in this message, the focus is on what it means for you to be invited into Jesus' life. In addition, we look at two applications of the word "grace" in the life of a Christian. And finally, we consider the possibility that God's providence is at work in terms of our connection to Him in the context of our family and friends.|
|April||26,||2015||John speaks of Jesus giving us the right to become the children of God. We know that none of us have "arrived" yet, spiritually speaking. That was the Apostle Paul's view of himself. But we are on a journey of growth, having been granted the authority to make substantial progress in a personal and unique expression of what it means to be a child of God. And when others don't recognize this ongoing process in your life and may even have a disparaging view of your potential, remember that God lo0ks at the heart. David is an example of such a person - devalued by others, and yet having the Spirit of God upon his life. And it is always the presence of God that makes all the difference.|
|April||19,||2015||John the Baptist is described as, "a man sent from God." In such a case, there is a distinction between being a person being sent by God and being sent from God. It has to do with spiritual proximity. To be seent from God's presence is different than simply responding to a need or pursuing a personal spiritual agenda. Isaiah's experience in this area is recorded in detail in chapter 6 of his book. There we see twin revelations given to him - one of God, and one of himself. As we see in Isaiah's case, a clear realization of a person's own spiritual lacking is only possible via an increased understanding of God's nature, and in particular His holiness. Paradoxically, the feelings of inadequacy that result from do not indicate disqualification for service to God. On the contrary, such a frame of mind seems to be a prerequisite to being sent from God. Therefore, we need to stop thinking in terms of being used by God "someday", and aspire to the same end game that John had all along: "They heard him speak, and they followed Jesus." But with such an aspiration, we must understand that the possibility of having that kind of impact in people's lives will hinge on whether or not we have been sent from God. Time in His presence is our greatest calling.|
|April||12,||2015||In the opening words of his gospel, John introduces Jesus from an eternal perspective, as "the Word". (Greek = "Logos") There is also an early emphasis on two words-"life" and "light". Being enlightened is more than just acquiring accurate information about God. It happens through an encounter with Christ, and the life that is in Him. The recurring theme throughout the entire book of John is that Jesus came to make us alive unto God. As John wrote in chapter 20- "...but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name."|