Sermon (Ephesians 1:1-10)
Collect for Illumination (Calvin & Bucer)
“Almighty and gracious Father, since our whole salvation stands in our knowledge of your Holy Word, strengthen us now by your Holy Spirit that our hearts may be set free from all worldly thoughts and attachments of the flesh, so that we may hear and receive that same Word, and, recognizing your gracious will for us, may love and serve you with earnest delight, praising and glorifying you in Jesus Christ our Lord.” We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord, in the power of the Spirit, Amen.
God recently blessed our family with the addition of an adopted daughter. As I read through Scriptures, Paul’s use of the adoption-theme jumped out at me. The doctrine of adoption is often over-looked, but it is central to the good news that Jesus brought into this world in His Incarnation.
Continue reading “Sermon – The Good News of Adoption”
I came across an exciting mission opportunity for academics. This organization sends Christian teachers into other countries, finding positions for them in secular universities. A quote on their home-page says it all:
|“The university is a clear-cut fulcrum with which to move the world. Change the university and you change the world,”
declared Dr. Charles Malik, former president of the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council.
The Ascension of Christ is essential to our understanding of the Lord’s Supper. Of course, most of what happens to us at this Table remains a mystery, but we can say a few things, given what we know about Christ. We know that Christ is in heaven, seated at the Father’s right hand. We also know that Jesus Christ still has a resurrection body. Many Christians have never thought about this, but it is true. John says that we don’t know what the resurrection will be like, but we know that we will be like Jesus (1 Jn. 3:2). And we know that Jesus had a real body that Thomas could touch and feel. Jesus ate and drank after his resurrection. This table prepares us for heaven. Revelation tells us that heaven will be the wedding feast of the Lamb. We will eat and drink with Jesus in heaven. We are eating and drinking with him now, in the Church. But, we often assume heaven will be less than what we know now. We think we’ll float around, playing harps. But, what if heaven is an eternal banquet with tastes and pleasures that would make your mind explode now? Perhaps, when Jesus turned the water into wine at the wedding at Cana, he was bringing a little bit of heaven to earth. Whatever heaven will be, we must guard against the gnostic heresy, which says our bodies are not important to our salvation. Christ came to save the world, including our bodies. In the Ascension, Christ took a human body back up to heaven. Things have changed at the center of the universe. We can’t go back. A grand and glorious party is coming. Don’t be left behind. If you’ve been baptized, and are not under church discipline, then you are already wearing the wedding garments, and you need to come to this party.
Preaching of the Particular Word: 1 Peter 1:4-9
Introduction – As 1:2-3 showed us, the Triune God has acted in history to save a people. Although these people are now “strangers” scattered throughout Asia Minor, they are still the special recipients of God’s predestination. God the Father is “blessed” because, out of his “abundant mercy,” he has “begotten us again”. God the Father has foreknown a people; God the Spirit has sanctified a people, sprinkling them with the blood of Jesus, making us an obedient people. We have a “lively hope” now because we are born again, through the “resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”. What is the nature of this hope, and how does it help us deal with “manifold temptations” and “firey trials” of our faith? Continue reading “Sermon Outline – Providence Reformed Church (Greenville, NC)”