Sermons: January to March 2010

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28 Mar 2010

The Temple Tantrum

"After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.  As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, ""Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden.  Untie it and bring it here.  If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' tell him, 'The Lord needs it.' ""

Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them.  As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, ""Why are you untying the colt?""

They replied, ""The Lord needs it.""

They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it.  As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.

When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

""Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!""

""Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!""

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, ""Teacher, rebuke your disciples!""

""I tell you,"" he replied, ""if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.""

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ""If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace but now it is hidden from your eyes.  The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side.  They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls.  They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you.""

Then he entered the temple area and began driving out those who were selling.  ""It is written,"" he said to them, "" 'My house will be a house of prayer'; but you have made it 'a den of robbers.'""

Every day he was teaching at the temple.  But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him.  Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words."

21 Mar 2010

A Costly Gift

"Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.  Here a dinner was given in Jesus' honor.  Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.  Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair.  And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, ""Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor?  It was worth a year's wages.""  He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

""Leave her alone,"" Jesus replied.  "" It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.  You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me."""

14 Mar 2010

Diplomatic Discipleship

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.  Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:  that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them.  And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.  We implore you on Christ's behalf:  Be reconciled to God.  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

07 Mar 2010

Turn or Burn

"Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.  Jesus answered, ""Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?  I tell you, no!  But unless you repent, you too will all perish.  Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?  I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.""

Then he told this parable:  ""A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any.  So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, 'For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any.  Cut it down!  Why should it use up the soil?'

"" 'Sir,' the man replied, 'leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it.  If it bears fruit next year, fine!  If not, then cut it down.' """

28 Feb 2010

God's Ultrasound

"After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision:

""Do not be afraid, Abram.  I am your shield, your very great reward.""

But Abram said, ""O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?""  And Abram said, ""You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.""

Then the word of the LORD came to him: ""This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.""  He took him outside and said, ""Look up at the heavens and count the stars if indeed you can count them.""  Then he said to him, ""So shall your offspring be.""

Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

He also said to him, ""I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.""

But Abram said, ""O Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?""

So the LORD said to him, ""Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.""

Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half.  Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.

As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him.

When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces.

On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, ""To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates-"

21 Feb 2010

The Devil Made Me Do It!

"Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.  He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

The devil said to him, ""If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.""

Jesus answered, ""It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone.'""

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.  And he said to him, ""I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.  So if you worship me, it will all be yours.""

Jesus answered, ""It is written: 'Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'""

The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple.  ""If you are the Son of God,"" he said, ""throw yourself down from here.  For it is written:

"" 'He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'""

Jesus answered, ""It says: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'""

When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time."

14 Feb 2010

Mountaintop Moments

"About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray.  As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.  Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus.  They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.  Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.  As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, ""Master, it is good for us to be here.  Let us put up three shelters one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.""  (He did not know what he was saying.)

While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud.  A voice came from the cloud, saying, ""This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.""  When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone.  The disciples kept this to themselves, and told no one at that time what they had seen."

07 Feb 2010

Biblical Olympic Demonstration Sports IV: Raising the Dead/Death of a Seamstress

"In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas), who was always doing good and helping the poor.  About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room.  Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, ""Please come at once!""

Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room.  All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.

Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed.  Turning toward the dead woman, he said, ""Tabitha, get up.""  She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up.  He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet.  Then he called the believers and the widows and presented her to them alive.  This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord."

31 Jan 2010

Biblical Olympic Demonstration Sports III: Walking on Water

"When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum.  By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them.  A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough.  When they had rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were terrified.  But he said to them, ""It is I; don't be afraid.""  Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realized that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone.  Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks.  Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus."

24 Jan 2010

Biblical Olympic Demonstration Sports II: Chariots of Fire

"When the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal.  Elijah said to Elisha, ""Stay here; the LORD has sent me to Bethel.""

But Elisha said, ""As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you."" So they went down to Bethel.

The company of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and asked, ""Do you know that the LORD is going to take your master from you today?""

""Yes, I know,"" Elisha replied, ""but do not speak of it.""

Then Elijah said to him, ""Stay here, Elisha; the LORD has sent me to Jericho.""

And he replied, ""As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you.""  So they went to Jericho.

The company of the prophets at Jericho went up to Elisha and asked him, ""Do you know that the LORD is going to take your master from you today?""

""Yes, I know,"" he replied, ""but do not speak of it.""

Then Elijah said to him, ""Stay here; the LORD has sent me to the Jordan.""

And he replied, ""As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you.""  So the two of them walked on.

Fifty men of the company of the prophets went and stood at a distance, facing the place where Elijah and Elisha had stopped at the Jordan.  Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water with it.  The water divided to the right and to the left, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground.

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ""Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?""

""Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,"" Elisha replied.

""You have asked a difficult thing,"" Elijah said, ""yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours otherwise not.""

As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.  Elisha saw this and cried out, ""My father! My father!  The chariots and horsemen of Israel!""  And Elisha saw him no more.  Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them apart.

He picked up the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan.  Then he took the cloak that had fallen from him and struck the water with it.  ""Where now is the LORD, the God of Elijah?"" he asked.  When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over."

17 Jan 2010

Biblical Olympic Demonstration Sports I: Angel Wrestling

"That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok.  After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions.  So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.  When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.  Then the man said, ""Let me go, for it is daybreak.""

But Jacob replied, ""I will not let you go unless you bless me.""

The man asked him, ""What is your name?""

""Jacob,"" he answered.

Then the man said, ""Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.""

Jacob said, ""Please tell me your name.""

But he replied, ""Why do you ask my name?""  Then he blessed him there.

So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, ""It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.""

The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip."

10 Jan 2010

Named and Claimed

"The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ.  John answered them all, ""I baptize you with water.  But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.  His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.""

When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too.  And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove.  And a voice came from heaven:  ""You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."""

03 Jan 2010

They Grow Up So Fast

"The Wesleyan Covenant

I am no longer my own but yours.  Your will, not mine, be done in all things, wherever you may place me, in all that I do and in all that I may endure; when there is work for me and when there is none; when I am troubled and when I am at peace.  Your will be done when I am valued and when I am disregarded; when I find fulfillment and when it is lacking; when I have all things, and when I have nothing.  I willingly offer all I have and am to serve you, as and where you choose.  Glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are mine and I am yours.  May it be so for ever.  Let this convenant now made on earth be fulfilled in heaven.  Amen."
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