Second Reformed Church

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

August Sermons

D.V., I plan to preach in August:

8/1/10 Communion
 Acts 16:25-40  “God and Country”

 Acts 17:1-9  “Faith Is Not Blind”

 Guest preacher: Bill Galloway

 Acts 17:10-15  “Have You Checked?”

 Acts 17:16-34  “The Unknown God’s Name”

Sunday, July 25, 2010

"Where Your Heart Is" Sermon: Acts 16:16-24

“Where Your Heart Is”
[Acts 16:16-24]
July 25, 2010 Second Reformed Church

Where is your heart? Not where is it physically, but where is your heart centered? Where is your love and passion focused?

Let us notice something I neglected to point out last week as we looked at the arrival of Paul, Silas, and Timothy in Macedonia – which was north of Greece. At this point, we see Luke saying “we” did this and “we” did that, because it was it this point that Dr. Luke, the Greek physician, the author of Acts, joined Paul’s missionary work. We will notice as we go through the rest of the book of Acts, times when Luke speaks of “we.” On those occasions, Luke is part of the missionary work.

So, it was Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Luke, and others, who went to Macedonia, preached by the river, and saw the conversion of Lydia – the seller of purple goods – and of her family. And they stayed with her for some days.

One of those days, they went down to the river again – to the place of prayer – and they were met by a slave girl who was demon-possessed. This girl was possessed by a demon who told fortunes, and the girl’s owners made money off of her by charging people to have the demon tell them their fortunes. This was not a trick – this was a real demon who had real insight. We know that because the text tells us that they made a great deal of money off of her fortune-telling. The people found what she said credible, and they came back for more.

Now, when Paul and his friends came to the place of prayer, she was there, and she began to follow them, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation. These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation. These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” Over and over again she cried out. And day after day she followed them, crying out over and over.

After many days of this, Paul was greatly annoyed, and he performed an exorcism: “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out of her. And she was silent.

Why did the demon keep crying out the Truth – that Paul and his friends were servants of the Most High God and that they were preaching the Only Way to Salvation – through Jesus Christ Alone? Why didn’t the demon say nothing – or try to mislead people?

Because, although demons despise Jesus, they are compelled to confess the Truth about Him. They can’t help but confess the Truth of Jesus when they are confronted by Him.

When Jesus, Himself, came upon demons, this is what happened: “And immediately there was in the synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, ‘What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God’” (Mark 1:23-24, ESV).

So, we might wonder, why did Paul cast the demon out, since it was telling the Truth about them and the Gospel? And the answer is this: the demon spoke out of fear, not faith. The demon was crying out the Truth, but in fear of what would happen to him, and it cried out over and over again, being a distraction from the very truth it was speaking. So Paul cast the demon out in the Name of Jesus.

That was the same reaction Jesus had: “But Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be silent, and come out of him ’ And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him” (Mark 1:26, ESV).

We aren’t told if the slave girl came to faith, but she was freed from the possession of the demon, and she also lost the ability to tell fortunes, so her owners lost the large income she was making for them. It is quite obvious that the slave owners didn’t care about the girl, much less the fact that she was demon-possessed – they only cared about the money they could make off of her “ability.”

The heart of the slave owners was on money. They showed no interest or concern for what Paul and his friends were saying until they lost their meal ticket. Then they flew into a rage and grabbed Paul and Silas and brought them before the magistrates to accuse them. And did you notice what they accused them of? Did they accuse them of ruining their slave? Did they accuse them of ruining their business? No, the magistrates might not have been concerned about one slave – the slave owners needed something that would stick.

Macedonia was under Roman rule. And one of the laws of Rome said that you could worship any of the gods accepted by the state, but it was illegal to attempt to convert a Roman citizen to the worship of a god who had not been publically acknowledged by the state.

So the slave owners accused Paul and Silas saying that “these Jews” – because Jews were second class citizens and most people considered Christianity one form of Judaism at the time – “these Jews were trying to get Roman citizens to accept unlawful customs.”

When the crowd heard that Paul and Silas were breaking Roman law – trying to get Romans to go against the customs of faith that they subscribed to – the flew into a frenzy and started attacking Paul and Silas, and the magistrates, who had lost their composure and went with the passion of the crowd, tore their clothes and ordered that they be beaten with metal rods. Their hearts were on keeping their jobs and appeasing the crowds, so they threw the law aside. According to Roman law, Paul and Silas were entitled to give a defense before they were punished, but the magistrates broke the law, bending to the will of the crowd, instead.

When the crowd and the tormentors of the state had all but beaten Paul and Silas to death, the magistrate ordered that Paul and Silas be thrown in prison, and they were taken to the inner chamber, and their feet were fasten in the stocks, so they couldn’t move, much less escape

Why were they put in the most secure part of the jail? They were preachers, not political extremists or murders. They were put in the deepest confinement and made immobile because the people were afraid of the Power of God that worked through them. So, they were tightly bound in the innermost part of the jail.

What do we learn from our text?

First, demons know Who Jesus is and can confess Who He is. For that reason we ought to be careful who we listen to. Non-Christians can become demon-possessed, and there are plenty of non-Christians in pulpits around the country and around the world. We must be careful who we listen to and always check what is said against the Word of God – checking both people’s words and actions.

I don’t know if Adolf Hitler was demon-possessed, but in reading a biography of another man, I have been reading quotes by Hitler where he claimed belief in Christ and faithfulness to the Roman Catholic Church. Yet, behind closed doors, he verbally despised Christ and Christianity. He was trying to use people’s beliefs and sympathies to get them to support him.

Second, stating Who Jesus is is not the same as confessing faith in Who Jesus is. This is another reason to be careful who we listen to: the demons could state Who Jesus is – there are plenty of people in the world who can correctly state who Jesus is and still deny Him. They state Who He is out of fear or out of knowledge with lack of belief.

I have known many people, including relatives, who have told me that they believe in Jesus, the Son of God – that they were Christians. Yet, upon probing their belief, I have found them to believe He was just a man, just a good moral teacher, that they don’t believe the Bible, that they don’t believe that Jesus rose from the dead, and so forth.

Third, demons are afraid of Jesus and those who truly believe in Him.

Fourth, those who serve demons are afraid of Jesus and those who truly believe in Him.

Paul explains how we are to stand in Jesus by the Power of the Holy Spirit: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication” (Ephesians 6:10-18a, ESV).

Fifth, those who serve demons will punish us for preaching against and stopping their sin. And this is a warning to us: as we see in the Scripture and throughout Creation – sometimes the response for correction and fear is violence. That shouldn’t surprise us: they killed Jesus. And Jesus said, “So have no fear [of the servants of the devil], for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both body and soul in hell” (Matthew 10:26-28, ESV).

And sixth, “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21, ESV).

Where is your heart? Where is your treasure?

Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Matthew 13:44, ESV).

The slave owners’ treasure and heart was in the profits they could make off of the demon-possessed slave girl.

The magistrates treasure and heart was in their jobs and in the approval of the crowd.

Paul and Silas’ treasure and heart was in Jesus Christ and His Gospel.

The Gospel of Salvation in Jesus Alone is like a treasure that was hidden in a field, and if we find God has set our hearts on it, it is such a treasure to us that we will be willing to give up anything and everything, to consider everything else in all of Creation as nothing, compared with the joy of receiving Jesus. Jesus is the joy and the everything of the Christian. Is He your treasure? Is your heart set on Him? Do you want Him and all that is His above everything else?

Then, let us preach salvation in Jesus Christ Alone no matter how people react to us.

When we get a new car, a new house, a new diamond engagement ring, a new companion pet – whatever is a treasure to us – we want to show it off – to show others the blessing we have received and the joy we have over it. If our hearts are set on the Treasure of Jesus, we can’t help but tell others – tell them.

Let us denounce all sin no matter how it effects us.

All sin is ultimately against God. Whether it is slavery, racism, genocide, corporate greed, lying, or littering, we ought to say these things ought not to be. If a brother or sister sins and continues in sin, we have a way to address that, as Jesus has proscribed. If the world sins, let us be examples against such sins. Let us explain to our leaders why such things ought not to be tolerated. Let us do everything we are able, without sin, to promote holiness and obedience to our God and Savior.

Let us know Jesus as the One Great Treasure He is and have our hearts be set on Him.

Let us pray:
God of Salvation, rouse us from our pews. Help us to see that we are the richest people with the Greatest Treasure in Jesus. Help us live in the face of the world to spread Your Glory and the Good News of Salvation in Jesus Alone. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Review: "The Vegan Monologues"

Ben Shaberman’s collected essays, The Vegan Monologues, is both humorous and enlightening.

For example, in the first essay, “The Cat was a Breath of Fresh Air. Achoo!” Shaberman explains how his relationship with his girlfriend’s cat, Samson, encouraged him to go from being a vegetarian to being a vegan, despite not liking the cat at first.

He writes about the joys of used cars and having his bumper fall off in traffic, an experiment of just living on take-out food, running and being watched by a dog named, “Killer,” etc. He even has an essay on how to deal with someone who is a vegetarian – or even a Jewish vegetarian, like him.

This collection is very enjoyable and hopefully sheds light on why some people make the food choices they do.

Review: "The Surprising Work of God"

The Surprising Work of God by Jonathan Edwards is Edwards' account of what happened during the First Great Awakening. We used the Whitaker House edition (with modernized language) for our evening Bible Study.

Edwards begins by explaining his reluctance to write this work and why it took him so long to put down the events of those days for publication. He then goes on to describe the Work of the Holy Spirit, showing that what happened in those days was wholly a Work of God among the people.

Edwards, like a good scientist, records generally what he saw occur, and then he includes several specific case studies. He ends his work with the sad withdrawal of the Holy Spirit.

One cannot help but be impressed with the truth that salvation and revival are wholly the Work of God. Knowing that has a profound impact on what we do and what we expect as we seek to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

"When Everything Goes Wrong" Sermon: Acts 16:6-15

"When Everything Goes Wrong”
[Acts 16:6-15]
July 18, 2010 Second Reformed Church

Paul and Silas began what we call Paul’s second missionary journey and headed back to the churches where Paul and Barnabas had preached – to disciple the young believers and to bring the decision of the Council of Jerusalem. And while they were in Lystra, Timothy joined up with Paul and continued with them on their journey.

Since Barnabas and John Mark were going to the churches in the south central area of Turkey, Paul decided it would be good to go to the western edge of Turkey and preach the Gospel there. They began by moving towards Phrygia – in the west – which would have included Colosse, Hierapolis, and Laodicea – and also Galatia – but the Holy Spirit forbid them from going to those cities – at that time. So they went northwest to Mysia and attempted to go to Bithynia, but Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to keep them from going to Bithynia. So they went to Troas, which was a port city of Troy.

Have you ever tried to do something good and have it fail? Have you ever been trying to do what you believe to be the right thing to do and no matter what you did, you weren’t able to accomplish what you set out to do? Have you ever had everything go wrong?

That’s what was happening to Paul: he wanted to bring the Gospel to these areas of Asia – in Turkey – where the Gospel had not been preached. Certainly that was a good thing for him to do. All Christians are called to preach the Gospel to the whole Creation. And place after place, Paul was not able to go.

It becomes more confusing, when we read in our text that the Holy Spirit and Jesus were blocking Paul and forbidding Paul from entering these cities. God Himself was not allowing Paul to carry out what God had commanded. What was going on? Why didn’t God want Paul to go to those cities?

The only answer we can give to that question is – we’re not told. Paul does go to some of those cities in the future. But some of them, God does not ever allow him to go to. Instead, God sends Paul to Macedonia:

While they were in Troas, Paul had a vision of a man from Macedonia – which was north of Greece, “urging him [to come to Macedonia] and saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’” When Paul saw this vision, and related it to his companions, and they immediately left for Macedonia.

They got on a boat in Troas and sailed to the island of Samothrace, and once they had refueled, they sailed on to the city of Neapolis – the port of Thrace. And from there they went to Philippi, which was a main city in Macedonia. And in crossing to Macedonia, we find the Gospel coming to Europe for the first time.

When the Sabbath came, Paul and his companions went to a place by a river where people came to pray. And there they met a group of women. Paul preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them. He told them that God’s Savior had come and that all who believe in Jesus Alone for their salvation will be saved. And one woman, Lydia, a seller of purple goods – cloths, clothing, etc. – a worshiper of God, believed.

God opened Lydia’s heart and she received Jesus as Savior, and then she was baptized in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit – and not only her, but her entire household came to faith and they were all baptized as well. And Lydia urged them to come to her house to stay. They must have hesitated, because she challenged them, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And they did.

And that’s wonderful that Lydia and her family believed in Jesus. We don’t know anything more about her and her family, save that Paul visited her before he left Philippi. And we may wonder, why didn’t God just lead Paul go to Macedonia after he visited the cities in western Turkey? Why did God cause everything to go wrong in western Turkey – keeping the Gospel from them at that time – while Paul went to Macedonia?

We don’t know.

Why were millions of people slaughtered during the Holocaust?

Why were thousands of people murdered in 9/11?

Why is the government of Darfor slaughtering her own people?

Why did the BP oil rig fail and cause untold damage?

Why are millions of unborn children murdered every year?

Why did the Romans and the Jews conspire to murder God’s Savior?

Why do most people reject the Gospel?

When everything goes wrong – as we understand it – there are at least three reasons why everything might have gone wrong:

First, if everything goes wrong, it might be our own fault. It might be that everything goes wrong because of our sin or incompetence or laziness. We may have done something or not done something or been something or not been something that caused everything to go wrong.

For example, if you hired me to perform open heart surgery on you, it is very likely that everything would go wrong. I don’t have the training to do open heart surgery, so I would more than likely do something that would cause you to lose your life.

Or, if you put your faith in yourself and how good you are to be good enough and acceptable enough to stand before God on the Day of Judgment, everything will certainly go wrong, because you and I – and every mere human being – is a sinner, so no one can make himself or herself right before God.

Second, if everything goes wrong, it may just be that that’s life: we are sinners in a fallen and imperfect world, and it is always possible that no mater how skilled, capable, knowledgeable, and so forth, we are, things just go wrong because that’s the way the world is.

Until Jesus returns and restores the Creation, the Creation, including every mere human being, is cursed, fallen, broken, and we are sinners. So, sometimes, when we put our hands to something, everything will go wrong. Everything has been effected by the sin of Adam and Eve and our successive sins.

And third, when everything goes wrong, it may be that everything hasn’t gone wrong. We can read our text and see Paul trying to bring the Gospel to all those cities and not being able to because the Holy Spirit prevented him, and we can say that everything went wrong – he didn’t accomplish any of what he set out to do. But it may be that our perspective is wrong. Paul writes, “Oh, the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways ” (Romans 11:33, ESV). And Moses writes, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever that we may do all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29, ESV).

What then may we learn from our text?

First, God’s Plan is always accomplished. No matter how things look or seem or feel to us, God’s Plan is accomplished in the world without fail. Paul writes that “the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things...[is] according to the eternal purpose [plan] that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:9b, 11, ESV).

It was God’s Plan that Paul go – at that time – to Macedonia to preach the Gospel there that – among other things – Lydia and her family would believe. God prevented Paul from going where he thought he should go, and God brought him to where He wanted him at that time.

Second, God may be moving us to something better in preventing us from accomplishing what we want to do. We know that God has promised, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, ESV). That is the long-term promise – in the end, all things will work for the good of those who love God. But it may also be that individual things – now – also work out better for us – more for our good – than what we had intended.

Paul wanted to go to western Turkey to preach the Gospel, but God wanted him in Macedonia. Was Paul prevented from some harm that he would have encountered in the cities he intended to go to? We don’t know. We do know that a church is formed in the city of Philippi, which might not have existed if God hadn’t sent Paul to Philippi to preach in Lydia’s presence at that time.

Third, no matter what happens or how things look to us, God is still trustworthy. Why? Because He is Sovereign, and He loves us.

Nebuchadnezzar confessed, “[The dominion of the Most High] is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What have you done?’” (Daniel 4:34b-35, ESV). Our God is the Sovereign God Who does as it pleases Him and absolutely accomplishes everything exactly according to His Plan.

Now, that could be terrifying, because we don’t always understand what God’s Plan is or how God will work it out at any given moment. But for we who believe in Jesus, there is nothing to fear, and the sovereignty of God is a comfort, because we know He also loves us.

Paul writes, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32, ESV).

And Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, ESV).

There are many things we will not understand in this life. There will be times when we are trying to do everything that is right, and everything ends up going wrong. As we struggle through this life, facing mystery and hardship, let us place our hope and faith and trust in our God and Savior. Because His Plan will not fail, He is Sovereign over all, and He loves us.

Let us pray:
Sovereign God, we have little annoyances and great tragedies in our lives, and we find as we look around our neighborhood and the world, we often don’t understand what is happening or why things turn out the way they do. Help us to trust You and seek our hope and future in You through faith, remembering the Gift of Your Son and that You have promised to work all things out for the good of those who love You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Puritan Wisdom

“It is a notable speech of Bernard, ‘I never go from Thee without Thee.’” – Jeremiah Burroughs, A Heavenly Conversation bound with A Treatise of Earthly-Mindedness, 207.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Puritan Wisdom

“I shall mention two or three more things. The walk that they walk is above. The way of the saints is on high, it’s a walk above the world. They keep themselves on high, aloft in a spiritual way. It’s true, their hearts are humble before God, and yet they are on high, too. Though they do not look at themselves as worthy of the least crumb of bread, yet they look upon themselves as too good to be servants to the world or to their lusts .– Jeremiah Burroughs, A Heavenly Conversation bound with A Treatise of Earthly-Mindedness, 199.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Puritan Wisdom

“There is evidence that you are risen with Christ: when you are dead to the world, and have an interest in His ascension, and are partakers of His resurrection, and have part in His intercession.” – Jeremiah Burroughs, A Heavenly Conversation bound with A Treatise of Earthly-Mindedness, 135.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

"When You Should Be Circumcised" Sermon: Acts 16:1-5

“When You Should Be Circumcised”
[Acts 16:1-5]
July 11, 2010 Second Reformed Church

We just heard what we now call the beginning of Paul’s second missionary journey. Last week, we looked at the disagreement between Paul and Barnabas which led Barnabas to go off on a missionary journey with John Mark, and Paul to take his second journey with Silas.

Paul and Silas went to Derbe and then Lystra – towns where Paul and Barnabas had preached the Gospel and many had believed – also towns where they were persecuted – and also worshiped, as we remember they were mistaken for Zeus and Hermes in Lystra. They went to disciple the young Christians – to continue to teach them and help them to mature and be the Church in that part of the world.

They also went, as we will remember, to bring the decision of the Jerusalem Council that it was not necessary for the Greek – pagan – converts to Christian to be circumcised – they did not have to keep the Ceremonial and Judicial Law. The Council said that they were only to not eat meat offered to idols, animals that had been strangled, blood, or to engage in immorality – things that would have occurred in pagan worship. (They were, of course, to keep the Moral Law of God.)

When they arrived in Lystra, they found a young man, by the name of Timothy, who had come to faith – perhaps during the former missionary journey. He was the son of a Jewish Christian woman and a Greek – pagan – non-believing father. (We find out in Paul’s letters to Timothy, that Timothy’s grandmother, Lois, and mother, Eunice, were both Christians and had brought Timothy up learning the Scriptures.)

Timothy had become well-known as a devout and well-spoken believer – the believers in Iconium and Lystra all spoke well of him. And we would imagine that the Greek – pagan – community also spoke well of him, since nothing is said to the contrary. However, it was known that his father was a Greek – which is a euphemistic way of saying that, although Timothy’s mother was Jewish, Timothy had not been circumcised, as had been required of all Jewish males. And everyone knew it.

After Paul met Timothy, he decided it would be helpful to the missionary work if Timothy joined them, so he told him to come with them. And we read, “And [Paul] took [Timothy] and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew his father was a Greek.”

Did Paul just go back on the Jerusalem Decree? Part of what Paul was doing on this second missionary journey was telling the Greek converts that they didn’t have to be circumcised. Now, we see Paul insisting that Timothy be circumcised. What is going on here?

The first thing we ought to notice, even though Luke mentions that Paul circumcised Timothy because of the Jews, Luke does not say that the Jews demanded – or even asked – that Timothy be circumcised. (Lord willing, we will see another case where the Jews did demand that someone be circumcised, and Paul reacted quite differently.)

Second, Paul did not circumcise Timothy for the sake of Timothy’s salvation – his justification – his being legally right with God. Paul had just fought and won in the Jerusalem Council that understanding that the Ceremonial and Judicial Law cannot save. No one was ever made right with God through circumcision. Salvation is by faith alone, by grace alone, through Christ Alone, to the Glory of God Alone. We can do nothing to save ourselves. God saves us as He is pleased to save. That is what Paul believed – that is what the whole Scripture teaches – so that cannot be why Paul circumcised Timothy.

The answer comes in considering how the Jews would have reacted to Timothy preaching the Word of God among them. They would never have listened to him, because God’s Law says that the uncircumcised is cut off from God and His Salvation. The Jews would have been wrong – Jesus fulfilled the Law. But that is how they would have looked at him. They would not have been able to get past the fact that he was uncircumcised to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So Paul circumcised Timothy, though it was unnecessary before God, so the Jews in the area would not look on him as unclean and refuse to listen to him as he explained that Jesus is the Savior God sent.

Paul circumcised Timothy – not to keep the Ceremonial Law – but to make Timothy more useful – to make him someone who the Jews would listen to and not automatically reject because of his outward appearance.

Paul did similar things for the sake of the ability to have people hear him preach the Gospel. He wrote the Corinthians: “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I might share with them in its blessings” (I Corinthians 9:19-23, ESV).

Paul did whatever was necessary to remove hindrances from people hearing the Gospel. He was willing to put aside his freedom and his choice to be able to preach the Gospel. In those things that don’t matter, Paul was willing – not to be a hypocrite – but to abide by the conscience and rules of those he wanted to preach the Gospel to – so they would listen to him and not be distracted by the things he did or didn’t do that they thought were important.

Why? Paul wrote, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believers, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16, ESV).

Jeremiah Burroughs writes, “The soul of the lowest galley-slave is more precious than heaven and earth, sun, moon, stars, and all the host of them, and, let me add, than all the silver and golden mines under ground, and all unsearchable riches of the great and wide sea. Yea, put all together, and the soul of the most contemptible beggar that cries for a crust of bread at your door is unexpressedly worthy more than all these. Now, if man’s soul is of such a high-born nature, if God has put such a spirit, which is a spark of heaven, into the bosom of man for him to employ in no other use and service but to merely be an earthworm to creep upon the ground, this is a great evil” (A Treatise of Earthly-Mindedness, 63).

In other words, the souls of the lost are worth more than our freedom to do all we are allowed to do. If someone says, “I’ll listen to you about Jesus if you join me in such-and-such first” – and it is not a sin – do it in the hopes that God will change that person’s heart and cause them to receive Jesus. If someone says, “I’ll listen to you about Jesus if you don’t do such-and-such while we’re together” – and it is not a sin – do it in the hopes that God will change that person’s heart and cause them to receive Jesus.

For example, if the leader of an AA group told me I was welcome to come and tell the members about Jesus, I would not tell them about how I enjoy drinking vodka, because that could be a stumbling block to them.

Again, most of you know that I am a t-shirt and jeans kind of guy, but in the circles that I am invited to preach the Gospel, most people would be distracted if I weren’t dressed – so I dress up – and I wear the robe – to keep people from being distracted by what I look like or am wearing – and listen to the Gospel instead.

If someone were to say, “I’ll listen to you about this Jesus if you come to my house for dinner. But none of this vegetarian nonsense, I want you to try my famous” – whatever kind of animal it might be. I would be willing to eat an animal – though I don’t usually – for the sake of being able to tell someone about Jesus.

Growing up, our family used to play miniature golf at the beach; I came to hate miniature golf. But I would be willing to play miniature golf for the sake of being able to tell someone about Jesus.

The same goes for all of us – for all Christians – we ought to be willing, for the sake of the Gospel, to not exercise our freedom. We ought to be willing to do or not do something – so long as it is not a sin – in order to have the opportunity to tell others about Jesus. Why? Because Jesus is the Only Hope and Only Salvation – and the souls of our neighbors are worth it – worth more than our freedom to do whatever we want.

Would you be willing to go to a concert you won’t care for, if it will give you the opportunity to tell someone about Christ? Would you be willing to eat a dinner that would not be your type of food, if it will give you the opportunity to tell someone about Christ? Would you be willing to forego your after dinner drink, if it will give you the opportunity to tell someone about Christ? Would you be willing to listen to someone’s family history – in great detail, if it will give you the opportunity to tell someone about Christ?

Think about what you like to do. Would you be willing to not do whatever that is for the sake of being able to tell someone about Jesus? Think about the things you don’t care to do. Would you be willing to do whatever that is for the sake of being able to tell someone about Jesus?

We are called to love our neighbor, and the greatest love we can show them is telling them the Gospel and living it out by not putting stumbling blocks in their way. The greatest love we can show our neighbors is to make them comfortable enough with us that we can tell them that there is Only Salvation in Jesus Alone.

Again, understand this is not a call to be hypocrites. We are not being told to lie to our neighbors – to those who do not believe. What we are doing is abstaining or taking part in things that don’t matter as far as salvation is concerned, so we will be able to have them listen to us about Jesus.

So, if a non-Christian who had not been willing to listen to me about Jesus invited me for hamburgers, I might say that I would be glad to have hamburgers with so-and-so, if he would let me tell him about Jesus.

There are many things which we can choose to do or not do – we are free in Christ to prefer one thing over another. But there are times, for the sake of telling someone about Salvation in Jesus, that we ought to be willing to put aside our preferences for the opportunity to tell them that Jesus is the Savior.

Timothy had not been circumcised. It no longer mattered whether a person was circumcised or not. But to be able to preach to the Jews – for them to be comfortable with him preaching the Gospel among them – Timothy submitting to circumcision – as an adult. Being circumcised did nothing for Timothy before God, but it made him able to be heard by the Jews who would have otherwise rejected him without hearing the Gospel, since they believed that he was unclean.

Do we love our neighbors? Do we believe that Jesus is the Only Way to Salvation? Are we willing to do anything – short of sinning – to make sure our neighbors hear the Gospel?

Luke tells us that Timothy was circumcised and joined Paul and Silas preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ. “So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.”

Refraining from exercising our freedom is not a guarantee that God will cause the Church to grow in numbers and in faith, but we can surely say, if we put up stumbling blocks, if we hinder people from coming to Christ, if we are not willing to do what is necessary to preach the Gospel to all people, we will be sinning, and God will certainly not bless our sin.

Let us “go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15b, ESV). And out of love for Christ and our neighbor, let us be willing to forego our preferences so that some might be won.

Let us pray:
Almighty God, we thank You that we do not have to submit to the Ceremonial and Judicial Law, which were fulfilled in Jesus. Thank You for the freedom You have given us in enjoying all that You have created. Help us to humble ourselves, even to the point of foregoing our preferences that we might have the opportunity to tell others about Jesus and His Salvation. Bless our tongues as we speak and bring all those You have appointed to eternal life to belief. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Puritan Wisdom

“What’s done in heaven but keeping a perpetual Sabbath?” – Jeremiah Burroughs, A Heavenly Conversation bound with A Treatise of Earthly-Mindedness, 100.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Puritan Wisdom

“I remember it was written of Queen Mary, that she said if they ripped her open they would find tea in her heart. And so it may be said of the saints whose conversation is in heaven, who walk with God and live their lives of heaven upon earth, if they were ripped open, you would find heaven in their hearts.” – Jeremiah Burroughs, A Heavenly Conversation bound with A Treatise of Earthly-Mindedness, 98.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Puritan Wisdom

“There is some controversy among some as to where the saints shall be after the resurrection. Some think it shall be here still, with all the glory that the Scripture speaks of. It is no great matter where it is, just so it is where God is.”– Jeremiah Burroughs, A Heavenly Conversation bound with A Treatise of Earthly-Mindedness, 95.

"Expectations" Sermon: John 1:35-51

[John 1:35-51]
July 8, 2010 Old First Presbyterian Church

What are you seeking? We all have hopes and dreams and expectations for what we will find with any given person, event, and so forth. What do you expect from this worship service? What do you expect from God?

After John the Baptist baptized Jesus, John continued to announce that Jesus is the Lamb of God; He is the Son of God. John continued to point to Jesus as the Answer – the Savior – of Israel.

In our Scripture, we find four vignettes with five people coming to Jesus with their expectations of Him:

First, John mentions that John the Baptist was declaring Who Jesus is with two of his disciples: John, the author of the Gospel, and Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. And when they saw Jesus, they believed in Him and the preaching of John the Baptist, and spent the day with Him learning of Him and from Him.

Second, Andrew went to get his brother, Simon, and he told him that they had found the Messiah, the Savior, the Christ – and Peter believed. Andrew brought him to Jesus, and Jesus renamed the impetuous Simon, Peter, the Rock.

Third, Jesus traveled through Galilee and told Philip to follow, and Philip believed.

Philip went and found Nathanael, fourth, and told him that they had found the One of Whom the prophets wrote – the Savior – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. But Nathanael wasn’t going to believe so quickly. Nathanael knew that Nazareth was a backwater, hick town. How could the Great Savior of Israel come from such a dump? That didn’t make sense to Nathanael. But Philip pressed him and asked him to come and meet Jesus. So he did.

When Jesus saw him, He revealed Nathanael’s character to them: “Behold, an Israel indeed, in whom there is no deceit ” Nathanael might have been a sceptic, but he was an honest man. So, Nathanael was curious, “How do you know me?” And Jesus told Him that He is all-knowing; He is omniscient, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” That was the truth, even more than that, there was something in the way that Jesus told him that He had seen him that convinced him down to his soul, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God You are the King of Israel ”

And Jesus told him, “You believe because I told you I saw you sitting under the fig tree? You haven’t seen anything yet. ‘You will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.’”

John, Andrew, Peter, and Philip heard that the Messiah – the Savior – had come, and they heard Jesus speak, and they believed. Their expectations had been met in what they heard preached. Nathanael need more – being a Nazarene conflicted with his expectations for the Savior.

Truthfully, as we saw earlier in this chapter, these men were the exception, most people did not believe in Jesus – He was not Who they expected the Savior to be. So, when “He came to his own, ... his own people did not receive Him” (John 1:11, ESV).

Has Jesus fulfilled your expectations as the Savior? Does He look like the person you would think from the Scripture? God has given us the Savior we need.

If you’ve believed in Jesus Alone for salvation, then you have met the Savior Who was expected. I hope we know that receiving Jesus as Savior is not the end of the story – there is more we ought to expect: we ought to expect that, since He is the Savior God sent for us, Jesus will keep every promise He made to us and for us.

If you’ve received Jesus Alone as Savior, you ought to have great expectations. Understand, we are not told that Jesus wants us to be healthy, wealthy, and wise. That’s not in the Bible. What we’re told is to pray and Jesus will answer our prayer.

Now, you may be thinking, “Jesus has never given me what I really wanted.”

And that may be true. There are two reasons why that might be true:

First, you may not have asked: “You do not have, because you do not ask” (James 4:2b, ESV). We are to be in fellowship – in communion – with God. So we ought to pray to Him asking for what we need. We cannot expect God to answer a prayer that has never been prayed.

Many of us, today, have decreasing congregations and decreasing giving. Have we asked God to do something about it? Have we prayed that Jesus would cause our church to grow in faith and numbers? To continue to use us as a light of the Gospel in our neighborhood? Have we prayed that God would make us useful and use us for His Glory?

There is a second reason we might not receive what we want: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions” (James 4:3, ESV) God has promised to provide for all of our needs, but He has not promised to give us everything we want.

It is extremely unlikely, should we pray that the sanctuary would be gold-plated and diamond-studded, that God will grant that prayer. It is hard to see how that would be necessary – instead, it is worldly, based on our passions. We may “ooh and aah” over gold and diamonds or new cars – or books, in my case – but God gives us what we need to be His people on earth – to accomplish His Plan.

Jesus said, “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14:13-14, ESV). Let us understand that Jesus is not telling us that His Name is a magic phrase to get us whatever we want. What He is telling us is if we ask anything that is according to His Sovereign Will, He will do it, or give it to us.

So, if we pray to become stronger in the faith, He will help us. If we pray to be better witnesses to our community, He will help us. If we pray to stop sinning, He will provide the way of escape from the temptations we face. The problem is that we don’t always know what God would have for us. So, we are to pray, “if God is willing, let such and so be.”

“Lord, if You are willing, let our numbers grow. Lord, if You are willing, let our finances be better. Lord, if You are willing, give us a new pastor who is biblical.” And so forth.

That’s not to say we should be timid in our prayers. On the contrary, we are to be bold, praying according to everything we know Jesus has promised. Because if Jesus has promised something, He will most surely bring it to pass, if we pray for it.

One of the great things that Jesus has promised is found in the book of Revelation: John records, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall their be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:1-4, ESV).

That is a great and sure promise that we should be praying will come to pass. Jesus will return. There will be a great restoration. And the people of God will enter into the Peace of God in His Kingdom.

If you have not received Jesus Alone as your Savior, look at what the Bible has to say about Him. See if it doesn’t make sense. Ask the Christians here to help you see Who Jesus is. See that Jesus is the Savior that we should expect to find.

If you have received Jesus Alone as your Savior, pray. Expect great and awesome things of our God and Savior. Pray for those things that God has promised with confident hope. And humbly pray for those things we believe are in His Will and ask that His Will would be done.

Let us pray:
Almighty God, You have come among us today, and we thank You for ministering to us with Your Grace. Make us a people who glorify You – both as Old First Presbyterian and as individuals. Cause our expectations to rise to the Greatness and the Glory of our Triune God. May we expect what You have promised and glorify You for Your Faithfulness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Puritan Wisdom

“Indeed, it should be a great grief to any godly man that he should differ from other godly men. Although, we cannot help being different from other godly men because we are imperfect here, and sometimes a weak Christian knows that of which a strong Christian may be ignorant. It turns out sometimes that God, in some things, reveals Himself to those that are weak and hides Himself from those that are strong, so that here in the world it cannot be expected to be otherwise for the present, until that time when the New Jerusalem shall be let down from God out of heaven, and then the saints will be all of one mind and walk all in one way. But until then, it should be expected that saints will have different ways. But yet I say, it should be a very great heart-trouble to godly men to see that they are forced to go in different ways form other godly men, and on the other side, it should be a great encouragement and strengthening when the saints go on in one way together with their faces towards heaven.” – Jeremiah Burroughs, A Heavenly Conversation bound with A Treatise of Earthly-Mindedness, 81-82.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Puritan Wisdom

“In the eighth place, consider that a little will carry us through this world. We are here but as on a pilgrimage or a voyage. A little will serve to carry us through this world. Men will not take more on a journey than may help them.” – Jeremiah Burroughs, A Treatise of Earthly-Mindedness, 66.

"Discipleship and Disagreement" Sermon: Acts 15:36-41

“Discipleship and Disagreement”
[Acts 15:36-41]
July 4, 2010 Second Reformed Church

Have you ever disagreed with a church member? A fellow Christian? Your pastor? Is it wrong to do so? Is it sin? Or are there times when a parting of the ways between Christians can be good for the Gospel?

After spending some time in Antioch in Syria preaching and teaching, Paul and Barnabas decided to return to the churches they had been to, in what we now call Paul’s first missionary journey, and disciple them some more.

Remember, we have looked at this idea before: Christians need to be discipled. In order to be healthy and maturing Christians, we must continue to learn through being involved in Bible study, listening to preaching, reading the Bible, personal study of God’s Word and good Christian books. We must exercise our minds and souls and spirits – interacting with God’s Word – if we are to grow and mature as the Holy Spirit Who lives in us helps us to understand. If we neglect what God has said, we will continue to become weaker – it will be harder to understand – our maturity will wane.

Do we want to know our Triune God? God has given us enough to learn to keep us busy for a lifetime. Are we excited to know God better, to grow in the faith, and to receive His Grace? Did we come this morning to meet with our God and Savior? He is here, and He is ministering to we who believe through His Word and through the Sacrament.

Also, to be a healthy and maturing Christian, we must fellowship with – work and struggle with – our fellow Christians. We are here in worship this morning, and that is a good thing. We cannot be Christians alone. We need each other. God has called us as a people to work together. We are the Body of Christ. We may not like every part of our physical body, but we don’t normally lop parts off. So, we are the Body of Christ, we are called to work with each other and be the Body of Christ together – even with those people who are not exactly the way we would have them be.

So Paul and Barnabas were getting ready to go back to the churches where they had ministered and continue their work among them. And Barnabas says that he wants to bring John Mark, and Paul says, “no way.” And they have an argument. Why?

We may remember back in chapter thirteen, John Mark accompanied Paul and Barnabas on the first leg of their missionary journey, but when the Gentiles were being received as the people of God, just as the Jews, John Mark went home to Jerusalem – apparently not convinced that the Gospel was for the Gentiles as well as the Jews.

Barnabas was ready to give John Mark another chance. Paul was not. Who was right? Or were both of them wrong? We don’t like to see this sort of thing. Barnabas had been the one to stick up for Saul when he received salvation in Jesus Alone. Barnabas was the one who befriended him and got the apostles to believe that he was now one of the people of the Way – Christians. Barnabas and Saul had just spent over a year traveling together preaching the Gospel together. And now, over whether or not to bring the young man, John Mark, on this journey, Luke tells us, “there arose a sharp disagreement.”

Where was God to step in and tell them what the right thing to do was? Where was Judge Judy to silence everyone and get them to listen to her wise and authoritative verdict? Paul and Barnabas had a sharp disagreement. What was the result? “They separated from each other.” The imagery is of a butcher taking a cleaver to a piece of meat and suddenly, sharply, dividing it into two parts. Whereas Paul and Barnabas had been “one man” up until that point, whether or not to bring John Mark along that time, split Paul and Barnabas apart.

Our natural reaction would be to think one of them sinned. Perhaps our natural reaction would be to ask Paul how he could not give John Mark a second chance – and thus lay the blame on Paul. But we are not given the type of neat resolution that we might like. Barnabas and John Mark went to one group of churches and Paul and Silas went to another. Barnabas and John Mark are not mentioned again in the book of Acts.

One thing that we can say for certain is that sometimes a sharp parting is to the benefit of the Gospel and, ultimately, to us. Whatever else we might say about this disagreement, it is certain that because of their disagreement, the number of missionary teams sent to disciple the churches doubled. Rather than just Paul and Barnabas going to minister to the churches, there was now two teams – Barnabas and John Mark and Paul and Silas – going to spread the Gospel and disciple their fellow Christians. And that is a good thing. Whatever else we may say – it was to the benefit of the Gospel and the Church that two sets of missionaries be sent out rather than one.

Now, I noted that John Mark and Barnabas are not mentioned in Acts after this incident, but they are mentioned elsewhere:

Paul wrote to the church in Colossea and told them that he hoped John Mark would be coming to minister among them, “Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions – if he comes to you, welcome him)” (Colossians 4:10, ESV).

Paul wrote to Timothy and praised John Mark, even sending for him, “Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry” (II Timothy 4:11, ESV).

Paul sends greetings on John Mark’s behalf (among others), counting him his equal, “Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Jesus Christ, sends greetings to you, and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers” (Philemon 23-24, ESV).

And, finally, we know that John Mark became the missionary companion and secretary to Peter – writing down Peter’s recollections in what we now call the Gospel of Mark, “She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings, and so does Mark, my son” (I Peter 5:13, ESV).

We know a little more about Barnabas, too. Barnabas rejoined Paul – or vice versa – in working together on the mission field. Paul complains to the Christians at Corinth, “Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living?” (I Corinthians 9:6, ESV).

We also know that Barnabas chose the wrong side and backed Peter in a disagreement with Paul – in this case it is clear in the Scripture that Paul was in the right, “And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically with [Peter], so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy” (Galatians 2:13, ESV). (If the Lord is willing, we will look at this disagreement in time.)

So, we find that – in time – Paul, Barnabas, and John Mark are all working together – also with Peter – for the sake of the Gospel.

The truth of the matter is that we, Christians, do not agree on everything. Now, don’t misunderstand. There are many things in the Scripture that are non-negotiables – they are things that we must all agree upon. We cannot have one person say that there is salvation in Jesus Alone and another person say that all religions lead to salvation, and be happy with the difference. No, in that kind of situation – one must be right and the other wrong – they cannot both be right – both views cannot be accepted or received.

Music is a popular example of disagreement – people who discuss music in the Church even talk about the “worship wars.” What style of music does God want in the Church? I have a colleague that believes it is wrong to have any type of instrument in the worship service – so all of their singing is done a capella. Interestingly, the phrase a capella means “without music,” but it literally means “in the style of the Church.” So, if the expression was coined to describe what was actually happening, what does that mean?

I have another colleague who had the organ and piano removed from his church, and they have a rock band to lead worship. There is the idea that in things that don’t relate to salvation, we are to do what we can to draw people to Christ.

John Calvin, the “founder” of this denomination had organs removed from the reformed churches because he said organs were too Roman Catholic.

We could envision people parting over what type of music to use in the worship service – and each party being convinced that the type of music they are backing is what is good and right and necessary to worship God and to draw people to Jesus.

Carol knows I like rock music – and, yes, Carol will be a regular example in the sermons from now on. I like rock music, but my convictions are such that you should not expect to hear rock music used in the worship service.

I don’t hate my colleague that doesn’t use instrumental music in worship; I don’t hate my colleague that uses rock music in worship. But I would at least be uncomfortable – for the wrong reasons – in their worship services.

There are reasons for disagreements among Christians. There are even times when a sharp parting is to the benefit of the Gospel and, thus, ultimately to us. But we must be careful: although a parting may be a good thing, we ought to do everything we can to avoid parting for sinful reasons and for sinning against others who disagree with us about things that don’t matter to our salvation.

So let us know what we believe and why, and work hard to act in love and mercy towards all those God has called to be His sons and daughters. For in doing that, God will draw many to Himself.

Let us pray:
Almighty God, we thank you for creating us as different people, with different preferences, understandings, gifts, and abilities. Help us to be Your people – Your Body. Let us work hard and diligently to know You and understand all that You have said in Your Word. Help us to love each other, even when we disagree, and let us understand that there may be a time to separate for the good of the Gospel and all of us. Make us one in You and join us together as You meet with us in and through the elements of the Lord’s Supper. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Puritan Wisdom

“You may find in your own experience that God has many times most crossed you in the things of the earth when your minds and hearts have been most glued to them. And it may be that He has done it in mercy. It’s a greater mercy to be crossed in these things at such a time than to prosper in the midst of them, for it may be a good argument that God intends good to a soul to cross him at the time he is most earthly.” – Jeremiah Burroughs, A Treatise of Earthly-Mindedness, 64.

Friday, July 02, 2010

From Today's Conversating

Him:  So, are you a Father or what?
Me:  I'm a pastor -- minister -- Protestant.
Him:  Oh, I'm a Protestant.  I had to convert to Catholicism to marry my wife, so I told her I would, but I tell her I'm still a Protestant -- I don't believe anything.

Puritan Wisdom

“The soul of the lowest galley-slave is more precious than heaven and earth, sun, moon, stars, and all the host of them, and, let me add, than all the silver and golden mines under ground, and all unsearchable riches of the great and wide sea. Yea, put all together, and the soul of the most contemptible beggar that cries for a crust of bread at your door is unexpressedly worthy more than all these. Now, if man’s soul is of such a high-born nature, if God has put such a spirit, which is a spark of heaven, into the bosom of man for him to employ in no other use and service but to merely be an earthworm to creep upon the ground, this is a great evil.” – Jeremiah Burroughs, A Treatise of Earthly-Mindedness, 63.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Puritan Wisdom

“Tell him of the privileges of the saints, the mysteries of the gospel. Anything that is spiritual is but a notion to him. As it is with men that are upon the earth, they look up to heaven and see the things of heaven only slightly. Why is it that the stars seem so small to us here? It is because we are on the earth. The earth seems a vast body to us, but the stars seem little to us, even though they are far bigger than the earth. Were we in heaven, the heavenly bodies would seem vast to us, and the earthly bodies would scarcely be discerned by us. Were men’s hearts heavenly, all the things of the earth would seem little to them, but because they are earthly, the things of heaven and spiritual mysteries are very small in their eyes.” – Jeremiah Burroughs, A Treatise of Earthly-Mindedness, 56.

July Sermons

D. V., I plan to preach:

7/4/10 Communion
 Acts 15:36-41  “Discipleship and Disagreement”

 Acts 16:1-5  “When You Should Be Circumcised”

 Acts 16:6-15  “When Everything Goes Wrong”

 Acts 16:16-24 “Where Your Heart Is”