140615 2 Corinthians 13:14

Sermon Text: 2 Corinthians 13:14

Sermon Theme: Who is the One True God?

There are certain Biblical teachings and concepts that are difficult for you and me to understand fully. For example, in our First Lesson for this morning we read how the almighty God created all things. While you and I know it is true because our God tells us it is true, are you and able to understand in our minds how the Lord God simply spoke and made all things in just six days? What about the events of Judgment Day as they are reported in the Bible? God's Word tells you and me that all people who ever lived or are living will appear before the Lord Jesus and be judged. How about eternal life? Can you fully understand what it means that you will live forever? This morning, we can add to this list of teachings which are difficult for us to understand, the teaching of the Trinity. The "classic" definition for the word "Trinity" or "Triune" is "three-in-one". The Bible clearly teaches us that there are three separate persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, yet only one God. Diagrams, pictures and other descriptions all fall short of clearly expressing what the Bible teaches about the Triune God. So, rather than looking to any human resource to help us, we will turn to the Word of God before us to answer the question: "Who is the One True God?" I invite you to hear again one verse from the Second Lesson that was just read a few moments ago. From Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians we receive this blessing in verse 14:

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

This is the Word of the Lord.

Read more: 140615 2 Corinthians 13:14

140608 Acts 2:1-21

Text: Acts 2:1-21
Theme: We Believe In The Holy Spirit

Have you ever swallowed a pill and wondered ten minutes later if you had already taken your medication? Have you ever daydreamed as you drove along a country road and had to ask yourself if you sailed through the stop sign barely visible in the rearview mirror? Have you ever wanted to ask someone a question and later were not sure if you ever verbalized the thoughts in your head?

Sometimes our bodies work amazingly well on auto-pilot. Sometimes our minds are so conditioned that we are able to perform certain tasks without thinking. But this is not necessarily a good thing. Unasked questions can lead to miscommunication. Ignored stop signs can lead to tragic accidents.

This is also a real danger when it comes to worship. There are some parts of a service that change little from Sunday to Sunday. The songs may be different, but we still sing hymns. The wording may change, but we still confess our sins.

On Communion Sundays (like today) we confess our faith using the words of the Nicene Creed. Depending on your age, depending on your background, you may have recited these words hundreds of times. Because the Creed is a fixture in the liturgy, because it is such a regular part of our worship, is it possible that your thoughts sometimes wander? Is it perhaps possible that you did not give the Nicene Creed your full attention this morning?

The purpose of this introduction is not just to scold you if you weren't paying attention (although we all need this admonition/encouragement). I want you to make the creeds your own, to cherish the Bible truths we confess in them, to appreciate these ancient truths that define the true Christian faith. This will happen when we draw deeply and often from the well of God's inspired Word.

On this Pentecost Sunday, it is fitting to focus our thoughts on the third article of the Nicene Creed. In fact, the opening words of this article will serve us well as the theme for today's sermon. And as we ponder the amazing events that took place in Jerusalem fifty days after Jesus rose from the dead, we confess with Christians around the world...

WE BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT

I. He is the Lord
II. He is the Giver of Life

Read more: 140608 Acts 2:1-21

140601 John 17:6-11

Sermon Text: John 17:6-11a

Theme: Join the Ascended Lord in Prayer for Your Fellow Believers

Communication. Communication is important in many different areas in our world today. Today's technology has helped to improve our communication with one another. When talking with a couple who is married or about to be married, we talk about the important role positive communication plays in a strong marriage. For a business to run successfully there needs to be good communication between management and the workers. In the classroom, it is necessary that there is clear communication between the students and their teacher. Communication is also important to you and me as children of our Father in heaven. You and I have the privilege of being able to talk to our Almighty God through prayer. We are able to share with him our hopes, our fears, and our joys. Before his suffering and death, before his triumphant resurrection from the dead, before his glorious ascension into heaven, the Savior spent time in prayer. Part of Jesus' "High Priestly Prayer" in the Garden of Gethsemane on Maundy Thursday was for his disciples. He knew that he would not be with them much longer, and so God's Son prayed to his Father in heaven on their behalf. This morning, as we look at that part of our Savior "High Priestly Prayer", you and I hear the encouragement to join the ascended Lord in prayer for your fellow believers.

Read more: 140601 John 17:6-11

140525 Acts 17:22-31

Text: Acts 17:22-31
Theme: Apologetics With No Apologies

Has this ever happened to you? You were planning a trip to a place you had never been before, maybe a vacation destination that brings in visitors from all around the world. In this place you hoped to see things you had never seen before and do things you had never done before. You were excited. You couldn't wait. Your anticipation grew and grew and grew...

But when you finally arrived it was nothing like what you expected. You had built up in your mind this idea of what you thought would be an almost magical place, but what was supposed to be so great didn't turn out to be so great. And when reality set in you weren't just mildly disappointed. You were crushed.

Something like that happened to me on my second missionary journey. It was my first trip to Greece. In Philippi I was thrown into prison. In Thessalonica I was accused of starting a rebellion. In Berea things started out a little better. The Bereans listened to what I had to say. They studied the Scriptures every day to see if what I was saying was true.

I would have stayed in Berea longer, but some men came from Thessalonica looking for me. They tried to stop me from preaching the Word of God. They stirred up the Berean people against me, and I was forced to leave the city in the middle of the night.

From Berea it was a short trip to the great city of Athens, the birthplace of democracy, the home of Socrates and Plato and Aristotle. In the first century AD Athens was no longer the center of Western civilization, but it was still a center of wisdom and culture.

Even today the Acropolis remains a must-see destination in Athens, and it was no different in my day. Standing high above the city, its stone structures glistened as they reflected the light of the sun. The centerpiece of the Acropolis was the Parthenon, the temple dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, with its classic lines and massive columns.

The sights of Athens are impressive, but when I surveyed the city for the first time I wasn't impressed. I was actually distressed because everywhere I looked there were idols. It has been said that there were more gods than men in Athens, and I was deeply troubled because none of those men knew the true God.

I could have booked a ticket on the next ship out of town, but I decided to stay and do something about what I saw instead. First I went to the local synagogue and explained to my fellow Jews that Jesus was the promised Messiah, but I didn't forget about the Gentiles. When I wasn't in the synagogue I was in the market place preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. And the response to my message was mixed.

Some skeptics called me a babbler, but others were intrigued. What I was saying sounded unlike anything they had ever heard before, and if Athenians loved anything it was anything new. Before I knew it I was invited to speak before the Areopagus (a group of men who gathered together to discuss the latest ideas).

It was an amazing opportunity, but it was also daunting. I was not a skilled orator. I don't consider myself to be a very persuasive speaker (I Corinthians 2:1-4). And the gospel doesn't make sense either, at least not logically. If you were inventing a new religion would you choose a crucified criminal to be your leader? You don't have to be a scholar to know that dead men don't come back to life either, and yet that was the message the Lord had given me to proclaim.

My name is Paul, and as we revisit my two thousand year old sermon this morning, I hope my words encourage you to speak with boldness and confidence when the Lord calls upon you to defend what you believe. There is a technical name for that. Explaining and defending the Christian faith is called apologetics, and my sermon today is an example of...

APOLOGETICS WITH NO APOLOGIES

Read more: 140525 Acts 17:22-31

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