Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Kingdom of God: A Sermon

My pastor was taken to the hospital Saturday evening a week ago. I was asked to give the sermon Sunday morning. Fortunately, I keep a supply of old sermons handy in such cases. My subject was the kingdom of God. It was similar to this 2007 blog post from my main blog, redemptivethoughts.com :

http://www.redemptivethoughts.com/2007/11/100th-postthe-gospel-of-kingdom-sermon.html

Continue to pray for my pastor; she is out of the hospital, but the doctors are not sure what is wrong with her. Pray for her husband as well. He and she are co-pastors of the church where I worship.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

I Killed A Bear!

No, not me. David. King David that is. He killed a lion and a bear while guarding his father's sheep. David recounted the story to King Saul in 1Sam. 17:34-37. He told Saul this to explain his confidence that God would give David victory over Goliath the Philistine. In doing so, David demonstrated that faith in God develops as one develops a history with God. Faith is not merely belief. Faith is defined as belief, trust, and loyalty to someone or something. David believed God would deliver him from the lion and the bear. He lived his life in those moments in the confidence that God would do so. When such confidence is rewarded, it develops into trust. Because God delivered David from the lion and the bear, he trusted God to triumph over Goliath. This trust caused David to place his loyalty in God alone. It was God's name David wanted to see vindicated when Goliath blasphemed God and insulted God's people. It was from David's words that I came up with the title of my 8/31/14 Sunday morning sermon, "I Killed a Bear!"

I began with a short introduction giving the historical context to 1Sam. 17. Then the chapter was examined in detail from verses 1 through 37. Here are the notes for that portion of the sermon, which came from the Wednesday morning class I teach at church:

1Sam. 17:1- Socoh, 15 miles west of Bethlehem, in Judah, and belonging to tribe of Judah.
v4- champion- middle man, one army chooses warrior to do battle with chosen warrior from opposing army, prevent great loss of life. The army of the losing warrior serves the victorious army. Greek practice. Contest among the gods.
9ft., 9 inches.
v.5- clothed with scaled body armor, 126 lbs.
v. 7- 15-16 lbs.
Who was Goliath? An Anakite. These were the people Joshua and the spies saw in the promised land when they reported that the Israelites were like grasshoppers compared to them. Joshua mostly destroyed them, Josh. 11:21-22. Survivors settled in Gath, where Goliath was from.
v.11- Tall Saul afraid. Israel’s trust in human king had failed. Lack of faith in covenant promises.
v. 15-20- David still subject to parents, even though plays for the king, like Christ being subject to his parents.
v. 25- Israelites focused on reward.
v. 26- David focused on insult to God’s honor, sets him apart from Saul, every one else.
v.28- When a righteous person defies the enemy, fearful people turn on them. Like Jonathan before the Philistines. Also, Eliab, brothers, mad that they were not chosen,
v. 31- so they reported him to Saul. (To see him punished?)
v. 32- No arrogance, but assures Saul not to lose heart.
v. 36- No insult to fearful soldiers, called them the armies of the living God, whom Goliath defies.

v. 37- A HISTORY WITH GOD- David depends on God, not his own abilities.

I then quickly looked at Ps. 23, showing that only one who had such a history with God could write it. Then non-faith was illustrated through quickly looking at some biblical passages: relying on own righteousness (Ezk. 33:13), on own strength (Hos. 10:13), on leaders (Ps.118: 8-9), on riches (Jer. 49:4), Prov. 3:5-6.
Then a quick look was given at what faith produces in us: confession (Acts 19:18), forgiveness (Acts 10:43), grace (Acts 15:11), healing (Acts 14:9), the receiving of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13), justification (Acts 13:38-39), purification (Acts 15:9), sanctification (Acts 26:18), hope (Ps. 33:20-22). While awaiting the return of Jesus Christ, faith causes us to live lives of holiness now, as if Christ has already returned. This last point was made by reading Heb.11: 24-26 and 2Pet. 3:10-13.