Based on: 2 Peter 1:16-21
Dear Christians, in this world we are surrounded by spiritual darkness. It is like being in a strange place in the middle of the night. The sky is overcast – no moon, no stars. Other people try to tell us which way to go. They think they know. One says, “Come with me I’ll show you where to go.” Another says, “No, come this way.” None of them have a light to help guide them and we wonder how they know where they’re going? But Look! There is a light. Pay attention to the light! This world is spiritually dark and God’s word is the only sure light able to guide us out of the darkness to our eternal home.
Based on: Matthew 5:21-37
What are you thinking? You know, with all the internet technology we have today, you can share whatever you are thinking with people all over the world. You can create a blog, use Twitter, or share your life on Facebook! It’s all pretty amazing!
Based on: 2 Corinthians 1:18-22
Unity. What is it? Here is some human wisdom on the topic: “All for one and one for all!”- Alexandre Dumas (The Three Musketeers). “United we stand, divided we fall” – Aesop. “When spiders’ webs unite, they can tie up a lion.” – Ethiopian Proverb. “We cannot be separated in interest or divided in purpose. We stand together until the end” – Woodrow T. Wilson.
Based on: Acts 13:38-49
What is your favorite color combination? Is it purple and gold or is it green and gold? If the mention of those color combinations don’t immediately bring to mind a couple of professional football teams, don’t worry, that is not necessarily a bad thing. Even if you don’t follow a particular sports team, I’m sure that you understand and perhaps have seen how being a fan of one particular team can cause some rivalry between people. It often involves a friendly teasing that says, “You and I are different. You are for that team and I am for this one, and my team is better.”
Allegiance to a particular team can create division, and usually, when we talk about sports, it is just for fun. As we look at Acts 13 today, we, unfortunately, see a division that is not just for fun, but is a very serious division. The division is based on Jesus Christ, the Light of the World. Jesus Christ still divides people today. Is he your Savior or not? It is a matter of eternal life and death and you must be on one side or the other. You cannot be in the middle or simply choose not to answer the question.
Based on: Matthew 3:13-17
Do you remember Naaman? He was the foreigner who came to Elisha the prophet to be healed of his leprosy. Elisha told Naaman he would be healed if he went to the Jordan river and washed himself seven times. Do you remember what Naaman said? He became angry and said, “I know of rivers far better than the Jordan, why couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed.” Eventually, he did wash himself in the Jordan and was cured, but at first he couldn’t believe that the Jordan river would do him any good.
Actually, he was right. The Jordan river really wasn’t going to do him any good. The Jordan river could never cure him of leprosy except that God’s promise was attached to it. God told him through the prophet Elisha to wash in the Jordan. The power in the waters of the Jordan to wash away his leprosy came from the Word of God.
Based on: Isaiah 60:1-6
As I read these verses from Isaiah I picture a woman all alone in a desert, nothing but sand for miles. She doesn’t know there is nothing but sand because it is absolutely dark, no sun, no moon, no stars, no light at all. She is sitting there in her misery with nothing look forward to, no joy, no hope, nothing.
Very quickly, the sun comes up. The glory of the Lord rises upon her. She stands up and looks out over the now bright desert. People are coming to her from all around. No matter what direction she turns her eyes, people are walking, running, and riding toward her. Sons and daughters she never knew she had are coming to her. Not only are they coming to her, but they bring gifts: gold, incense, camels – the wealth of nations come to her. What joy and happiness is hers now!
Based on: Ephesians 1:3-14
When I was deciding which portion of God’s Word to base the sermon on for today, I didn’t realize it would end up this way, but today’s sermon text from Ephesians 1 is really an excellent continuation of the topic from the New Year’s Eve sermon. On New Year’s Eve we talked about how God has put his name on us and that he will bless us in this new year. That is his promise according to his gracious wisdom.
Now in Ephesians 1, Paul expands on that wonderful thought – God blesses us. With magnificent and rich spiritual blessings, God blesses us! All of these blessings come to us through the one whose birth we just celebrated, Jesus Christ. We can not help but respond to our God with praise.
Based on: John 1:1-14
Did you ever wake up in during the night thinking about something you did that hurt someone or thinking about something you should have done, but didn’t? I have. The nagging reminder that I have sinned keeps me awake until I can push those thoughts far enough from consciousness to allow my mind to be at ease again.
Based on: Luke 23:35-43
Today is Christ the King Sunday. “Christ the King” – just the words conjure up images out of the book of Revelation – a rider on a white horse, many crowns on his head as proof of his many victories, robes stained with the blood of fallen enemies, an iron scepter in his hand as the symbol of his authority. That is the king in all his glory and certainly a good picture for us to keep in mind.
One day everyone will see him as the victorious king, but as Christians we want to look at another picture of Christ the King. Christ the King on a white horse would be a terrifying sight for us as sinful human beings if it were not for Christ the King on the cross. We need to see him on the cross where the world makes fun of him and considers him anything but a king. Yet through the eyes of faith we see him as he truly is, a king through whom we have paradise. There on the cross the signs of his kingship are not a golden crown, fine clothes, and a scepter, but a crown of thorns, his own blood flowing down his body, and the cross upon which he paid for our sins. This is Christ our King. Now let’s consider what it means to have Christ as a our King and why it is a good thing to have Christ as our King.
Based on: John 1:1-14
Multiplying minas. That’s what Jesus is talking about, isn’t it? It’s about multiplying minas and a mina is a sum of money – about $15,000. So, someone gives you a sum of money and you work with it and turn it into more money! But Jesus isn’t talking just about money, as we will see later. Just like the more familiar parable of the talents that Jesus told at another time, Jesus uses money to represent greater treasures.