The Advent of Hope

Pastor Jonathan kicks off this year’s Advent sermon series, Come and Behold Him! with “The Advent of Hope,” from Romans 15:8-13.

Romans 15:8-13 (ESV)

For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,

“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.”

And again it is said,
“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”

And again,
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.”

And again Isaiah says,
“The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.”

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Two views of the Christmas season:

  • Christmas is to be tolerated.
  • Christmas is to be worshiped.

Instead…
Christmas is an invitation to worship.

This Christmas season, come and behold Jesus with hope.

  • An ancient hope.
  • new hope.
  • An abounding hope.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • What are some things that you get excited about when you think about Christmas coming?
  • Have you ever had to wait a long time for a gift that was promised?
  • How can you be excited about the gift of Jesus this Christmas?

Immovable Faith

Pastor Jay continues the sermon series, Be Encouraged, Brothers. This week’s message is “Immovable Faith,” from 1 Thessalonians 3:3-5.

1 Thessalonians 3:3-5 (ESV)

that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.

Don’t let trouble upset your faith.

  • Because we are destined for this.
  • Because forewarned is forearmed.
  • Because you know who is tempting you.
  • Because we do not give up without a fight.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • Can you remember when you were scared the most? When was it?
  • Did you ever doubt things would work out?
  • The Bible says life is going to be difficult at times, even for Christians. How does that make you feel?
  • If you know there might be some scary times ahead, how can you prepare for them?

The Heart of a Churchman

Pastor Jay continues the sermon series, Be Encouraged, Brothers. This week’s message is “A Churchman’s Heart,” from 1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:2.

1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:2 (ESV)

But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us. For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.

Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith,

A true churchman is committed to the church.

  • A churchman has a heart for the church.
  • A churchman knows who the church’s enemy is.
  • A churchman sees his highest prize in the good of the church.
  • A churchman is willing to suffer for the sake of the church.
  • A churchman cares more about the church being served than who does the serving or who gets the credit.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • Have you ever been a part of a team?
  • Did you feel like it was an important part? Why or why not?
  • What would it look like if people in the church didn’t do their part each week?
  • How can you be a part of the church team?

If all scripture is God-breathed, how do you explain 1 Corinthians 7?

Tami writes (as posed to her by a friend), “In 1 Corinthians 7, …Paul says that the statements he is making are his. If it’s all God breathed, how do you explain that?”

To answer this, let’s look at the passages closely.  First, you have Paul saying this:

1 Cor. 7:10 – To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband.
1 Cor. 7:11 – (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.

When Paul says, “not I, but the Lord”, he is saying that these are words that Jesus spoke during his earthly ministry. He’s summarizing Christ’s teachings in Mark 10:1-12. They were not Paul’s words in the absence of a clear teaching laid down by Christ. We could paraphrase Paul to say, “and these aren’t my words, I’m quoting Christ here.”

Then in vs 12, Paul is speaking to a question that has arisen regarding what a believing spouse can do if they are deserted by an unbelieving spouse. This was not a question that Jesus had spoken to in his earthly ministry. So, Paul says this in introducing his teaching on this.  1 Cor. 7:12  – To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife… It’s as if Paul is saying, “I’m not able to quote Christ here, but this is how I would put it.”

Paul is not denying that his words are inspired in the second case, nor was he denying that he agreed with the Lord in the first. He’s merely saying that in the first case he can quote Christ’s teaching on the subject but cannot do so in the second. We believe that Paul is teaching under the influence of the Holy Spirit in both cases and that both are valid.

Tami mentioned 2 Peter 1:19-21 in her extended question, and I think this a good conclusion to the matter.

“And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:19–21 ESV)

What is your take on 1 Corinthians 5:5?

Here is what it says in 1 Corinthians 5:5

“you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.”

The background of this passage is one of church discipline. The individual is a man who has remained in an unrepentant state of sexual sin. The specific sin appears to be that of sleeping with his stepmother. (Cf. 1 Cor. 5:1) Paul urges the church to remove him from the church. He is to be swept out of the congregation as leaven would be swept out during the feast of Passover.

When Paul says deliver him to Satan, he means that outside the church the man will be utterly exposed to the full assault of the evil one. Reaping what he has sown, he may, in fact, fall sick and die, but the intent is that his soul might be saved.

It does appear from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, that the man did repent and was to be received back into fellowship of the church.

There are key lessons to learn from this passage:

  1. Church discipline is a biblical imperative.
  2. The intention of church discipline is for the person’s good.
  3. Our souls are worth far more than our short earthly lives.
  4. We must take sin seriously and call men to holiness.
  5. We need the church to hold us accountable.
  6. Permissive attitudes toward sin are not loving expressions toward the person or the church.
  7. Our enemy Satan may do in rebellion what will ultimately serve God’s sovereign purposes.

Encouraged by Persecution

Pastor Jay continues the sermon series, Be Encouraged, Brothers. This week’s message is “Encouraged by Persecution,” from 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16.

1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 (ESV)

For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them at last!

Receiving the word of the gospel brings persecution.

  • Persecution unites us with our brothers.
  • Persecution proves that your faith is real.
  • Persecution is normal.
  • Persecution is often severe.
  • Persecution is meant to stop the gospel.
  • Persecution is temporary.
  • Persecution does not escape the justice of God.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • You know the “sticks and stones” rhyme? Is that always true?
  • What are some names or words that have hurt? Why do they hurt so much?
  • Have you ever been made fun of because you’re friends with Jesus?
  • What can you do when you’re made fun of because of your faith in God?

Living it Out

Pastor Jay continues the sermon series, Be Encouraged, Brothers. This week’s message is “Living it Out,” from 1 Thessalonians 2:11-13.

1 Thessalonians 2:11-13 (ESV)

For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.

Live up to God’s calling.

  • You’ve been called.
  • You’ve been called to greatness.
    • Called to greatness for His kingdom.
    • Called to greatness for His glory.
  • You’ve been called to the scripture.
    • Because it is the true word of God.
    • Because that true word works.

Parent Connection Questions:

  • What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve done in public?
  • What makes something embarrassing?
  • God calls us to live like Jesus. Is there anything you do that would embarrass him?
  • What’s one thing you can change this week to make God “proud” of how you live before others?