Do you ever have sudden moments of panic or disorientation? Or you just feel plain scared? You just wonder who you are and what is going on. At these moments, by God’s grace, I often just remember in the beginning God. God is. As he told Moses, “I AM THAT I AM” (Exodus 3:14a CSB). He is the foundation of reality. He is. Why is there something rather than nothing? In the beginning God. Why am I here? In the beginning God. How can I know anything? In the beginning God. Where am I going and what am I to do? It all starts with in the beginning God. There is more to the story, as we find out in Genesis through Revelation. But sometimes we just need to remember that no matter what is going on or how stressful life can be when I look at the sky, blue or cloudy or dark and starry, I remember: in the beginning God. Then I can breathe again and find that peace that passes all understanding right there within me guarding my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus. (See Isaiah 41:10 and Philippians 4:4-7 for more comfort.)
We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Romans 8 is one of the profound chapters in the New Testament. It is a chapter that describes the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life. Among the many memorable verses in this chapter is verse 28. Usually one has to look back to see how a particular circumstance works out for good, especially when we are dealing with suffering or unplanned events. The key to this verse is to remember that we must define good according to God’s terms. And our greatest good is to know God, to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. Douglas Moo notes that the “final good” we are discussing here may include difficulties such as poverty, suffering, and the challenges of illness or poor physical health. I have recently changed employers. I moved from one hospital to another in my calling as a chaplain. I left behind many dear colleagues and now I am meeting new ones. I am experiencing joy and sorrow simultaneously. I miss those with whom I have spent these past months, and in some cases years. I am trusting that God has completed the portion of the good work he has called me to there (see Phil. 1:6) and will continue to work on, in, and through me here. Closing a chapter in our lives and opening a new one is hard. For those I recently left behind to continue to serve God’s kingdom without me and for myself in missing them, I know that God will use our past experiences together and new experiences apart to continue his commitment to each of us “to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom 8:29b). God’s call is his appeal to each of us to believe and embrace the gospel and it is an effective summoning to draw us into relationship with him (and one another). And, praise God, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:39). God’s goal for you and for me will prevail.
Sermon outline: 1. The Sowing of the Kingdom, 26. 2. The Growing of the Kingdom, 27, 28. 3. The Mowing of the Kingdom, 29
“Although the exact situation for which he writes is uncertain, the parables assure his readers that God is in full control of history. The future consummation they await and long for is certain. When the time is ripe (4:29), the final harvest will come, bringing blessing and bliss for them, but judgment for those ‘outside’.” Robert H. Stein
Sermon outline: (1.) The Event of Jesus’ Baptism
(2.) The Trinitarian Nature of Jesus’ Baptism
(3.) The Hope we find in the Story of Jesus’ Baptism: Identification, Substitution, Victory
“In Jesus’ baptism, as later in Christian baptism, all three persons
of the Trinity are involved. The initiative of the Father, the
vicarious work of the Son, and the glorifying, enabling power of the
Spirit are all revealed in this act.” The Reformation Study Bible
Sermon outline: (1.) WHAT IS THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY? A REVIEW & EXPANSION. (2.) WHAT DOES MT 28:18-20 CONTRIBUTE TO OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE TRINITY? (3.) DOES THIS DOCTRINE AS TAUGHT HERE MATTER IN MY LIFE TODAY? Evangelism (19a), Spiritual Identity (19b), Discipleship (20a)
“This truth is a great mystery. Let it be enough to receive and
believe it, and let us ever abstain from all attempts at explanation.
It is childish folly to refuse assent to things that we do not
understand. We are poor crawling worms of day, and know little at our
best about God and eternity. Suffice it for us to receive the doctrine
of the Trinity in Unity, with humility and reverence, and to ask no
vain questions. Let us believe that no sinful soul could be saved
without the work of all three Persons in the blessed Trinity, and let
us rejoice that Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, who co-operated to make
man, do always co-operate to save him. Here let us pause. We may
receive practically what we cannot explain theoretically.” Bishop J.
C. Ryle (1856)
Sermon outline: An Introduction to the Doctrine of the Trinity (1.) What is the doctrine of the Trinity? (2.) What does 2 Cor. 13:14 contribute to our understanding of the Trinity? (See also Numbers 6:24-26.) (3.) Does this doctrine matter in my life today?Quote
“The doctrine itself is of vital importance to Christians. It is the one belief held in common by the people of God everywhere. It is crucial to our understanding of both God and man. And it is the model for the way we should live, particularly in our relations with one another. Only a proper understanding of it can produce a sense of mystery, the devotion of God and the true humanism which are the essence of religion.” Donald Macleod
Sermon outline: “What a God! Bless the LORD for His Steadfast Love”
1. THE BREVITY OF HUMAN LIFE, 15, 16.
2. THE BENEFIT OF DIVINE REDEMPTION, 17, 18
3. THE BASIS FOR THE BENEFIT, 19
4. THE BENEDICTION OF BLESSINGS, 20-22.
“How vast the contrast between the fading flower and the everlasting God! How wonderful that his mercy should link our frailty with his eternity, and make us everlasting too! From old eternity the Lord viewed his people as objects of mercy, and as such chose them to become partakers of his grace;… Jehovah changes not, he has mercy without end as well as without beginning. Never will those who fear him find that either their sins or their needs have exhausted the great deep of his grace.” C. H. Spurgeon