Posts in "Sermons"
Life on Loan
This Sunday we are beginning a new sermon series: Life on Loan. We will focus on the grace of God that has given us life and our accountability to live that life in a way that pleases the one who gave it to us.

Our goal in this series is simple we want everyone who is part of New Life Church to hear the words of the master, in the great stewardship parable, "Well Done! Good and Faithful Servant!" (Matthew 25:14-29).

Calling All Artists for Help with Sermon Artwork
Want to help the church and work on something worthwhile? We are looking forward to a great fall. We'll begin a new series of messages on Sunday mornings from the book of Galatians called, Rooted in the Gospel. We're inviting anyone who wants to create graphic artwork for this series to submit it by September 1 to the church office. We'll publish all entrants on the blog and want to use one for a PowerPoint background and handouts. We may let blog readers pick their favorite.
Preaching the Gospel to Christians (Week 5)
A New Sermon Series on the Reality of Grace in a Save-Yourself World

Tim Chester, You Can Change
[We] grow towards maturity by “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).
We build one another up through the words we say. . . . We need to be communities in which we encourage, challenge, console, rebuke, counsel, exhort and comfort one another with the truth. We need to be communities in which everyone is speaking truth to everyone. In verses 17-24 Paul reminds us why “speaking the truth in love” is central to change. He reminds us firstly in verses 17-19 that the underlying causes of sinful behavior and negative emotions are futile thinking, darkened understanding, ignorant minds, hardened hearts, indulged desires and continual lust. In other words, we think or believe lies instead of trusting God’s word (chapter 5) and we desire or worship idols instead of worshiping God (chapter 6) (170).
Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, Total Church
We need to take responsibility for eachother’s godliness – not only at the level of behavior but of attitudes and underlying idolotries. Paul encourages the Christians in Ephesus to “speak the truth in love” to one another (Ephesians 4:15.). This means recognizing that apparently insignificant moments are actually full of significance (170).
Here are the Life Group study guides to accompany last Sunday’s sermon from The Gospel Lived:
Preaching the Gospel to Christians
Preaching the Gospel to Christians (Leader’s Guide)
Also, don’t forget: you can still pick-up a copy of Milton Vincent’s excellent book, A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God's Love, at the church office or on Sunday morning for just $5.

Preaching the Gospel to Yourself (Week 4)
A New Sermon Series on the Reality of Grace in a Save-Yourself World

Tim Keller, The Gospel in Life
What makes you a sexually faithful spouse, a generous—not avaricious—person, a good parent and/or child is not just redoubled effort to follow the
example of Christ. Rather, it is deepening your understanding of the salvation of Christ and living out the changes that understanding makes in your heart–the seat of your mind, will, and emotions. Faith in the gospel restructures our motivations, our self-understanding and identity, and our view of the world. It changes our hearts. Behavioral compliance to rules without heart-change will be superficial and fleeting (26).
Milton Vincent, A Gospel Primer
The gospel is so foolish (according to my natural wisdom), so scandalous (according to my conscience), and so incredible (according to my timid heart), that it is a daily battle to believe the full scope of it as I should. There is simply no other way to compete with the forebodings of my conscience, the condemnings of my heart, and the lies of the world and the Devil than to overwhelm such things with daily rehearsings of the gospel (14).
Here are the Life Group study guides to accompany yesterday’s sermon from The Gospel Lived:
Preaching the Gospel to Yourself
Preaching the Gospel to Yourself (Leader’s Guide)
Also, don’t forget: you can pick-up a copy of Milton Vincent’s excellent book, A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God's Love, at the church office or on Sunday morning for just $5. As a staff, we simply can’t recommend a better, more straight-forward, more practical, or more powerful book that focuses on actually living in light of the gospel.

The Gospel and Your Idolatry (Week 3)
A New Sermon Series on the Reality of Grace in a Save-Yourself World

Tim Keller, “Talking About Idolatry in a Postmodern Age”
Sin isn’t only doing bad things; it is more fundamentally making good things into ultimate things. Sin is building your life and meaning on anything, even a very good thing, more than on God. Whatever we build our life on will drive us and enslave us. Sin is primarily idolatry.
Here are the Life Group study guides to accompany yesterday’s sermon from The Gospel Lived:
The Gospel and Your Idolatry: The Doctrine of Sin
The Gospel and Your Idolatry: The Doctrine of Sin (Leader’s Guide)
The gospel is not just the ABCs . . .
A New Sermon Series on the Reality of Grace in a Save-Yourself World

Tim Keller, The Prodigal God
The gospel is . . . not just the ABCs of the Christian life, but the A to Z of the Christian life. Our problems arise largely because we don’t continually return to the gospel to work it in and live it out. That is why Martin Luther wrote, “The truth of the Gospel is the principle article of all Christian doctrine. . . . Most necessary is it that we know this article well, teach it to others, and beat it into their heads continually.”
The Gospel Lived
A New Sermon Series on the Reality of Grace in a Save-Yourself World

Week 1 | The Gospel and Your Identity
Week 2 | The Gospel and Your Righteousness
Week 3 | The Gospel and Your Idolatry
Week 4 | Proclaiming the Gospel to Yourself
Week 5 | Proclaiming the Gospel to Christians
Week 6 | Proclaiming the Gospel to Non-Christians

Most people live their lives believing the seemingly inescapable truth: you are what you do. If you do good, you are good and you deserve to have a good life. If you do bad, you are bad and you deserve to have bad life.

Whether you’re religious or irreligious, conservative or liberal, rich or poor makes little difference to this foundational way of thinking, because even though we may go about trying to “save” ourselves in lots of different ways, all of us basically believe that it’s up to us to get the job done: that love, happiness and fulfillment only come to those who earn it.

The gospel, on the other hand, is radically different. The gospel begins not with us, but with God; not with who we are and what we’ve done, but with who God is and what He’s done for us in Christ.

Join us this Spring Sunday mornings and follow along in your Life Group as we explore how the reality of grace transforms our lives from the inside out.
Strategies against Sexual Sin
The seventh commandment says, "You shall not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14). When Jesus applied this command He told us that "anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). For all of us, adultery is a matter not merely of our bodies but about our hearts.

Here are some practical suggestions I made in my message last week that I hope will help you combat sexual temptation and avoid sexual sin:
  • Consider your future self.
What will you wish you had done in a year? In ten years? What will your family wish you had done? Almost no one looks ahead and consciously says, "Hey, I think I'll blow up my life." Consider what you wish you would have done. . . then do it.
  • Capture every thought.
One key to spiritual warfare is to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). Be Ruthless with your thoughts. It is very easy to be lazy with your thoughts, to linger on questionable ideas, to doubt what you know to be true. If you stick to Philippians 4:8, you'll be on safe ground.
  • Cultivate the presence of God.
Act as though you believe in God's omniscience and God's omnipresence. He is everywhere and He does see everything (Psalm 33:13-15). Don't kid yourself that he doesn't. David understood that his horrific sin with Bathsheba, and all the collateral damage, was against God (Psalm 51:4). Joseph fled from Potiphar's wife because he understood the same thing (Genesis 39:9).
  • Contemplate the Practical and Eternal Consequences of Adultery.
If your thoughts were to play out, or you were to get caught in your sin, what would happened in both the short term and the long term. Spend time imagining the shame you and your family would experience. Consider the devastation it would cause for those who think of you as an example of a Christian person. Consider how it will destroy trust with your spouse and family, if they even chose to stay with you. And, of course, there is more. Consider explaining your actions to God on judgment day. Jesus tells us to consider hell (Matthew 5:27-29).
  • Conquer your body.
Thomas Watson, a puritan pastor wrote, "The flesh pampered is apt to rebel." He reminds us of Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 9:27 warning us that our body can disqualify us if we don't make it our slave. We can't fall of the other side, though. It is possible to workout and get in shape for the admiration of the opposite sex, gaining mastery over your body for the wrong reasons.
  • Cut off opportunities.
Jesus took very seriously the need to be ruthless with the things that cause us to fall. He said, "Cut off out your eye... cut off your hand" (Matthew 5:29). This is hyperbole to remind us not to go places where we will be tempted. Get rid of the TV. Don’t be around people who tempt you. Get accountability for your computer.
  • Cultivate Faith.
Fight fire with fire. The power of lust is its promise of pleasure. We fight it with the promise of God. Linger long on the joy-producing, sin-dulling promises of the scripture!
2 Peter 1:3-4 tells us we escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires by the "great and precious promises" of God!

John Piper says it this way:
"It is this superior satisfaction in future grace that breaks the power of lust. With all eternity hanging in the balance, we fight the fight of faith. Our chief enemy is the lie that says sin will make our future happier. Our chief weapon is the Truth that says God will make our future happier. . . We must fight with a massive promise of superior happiness."
I hope this helps. I would love a world where lust and sexual sin didn't ruin marriages.
Sabbath and the “Lord’s Day”
By far the most helpful thing I’ve read this week in connection with the Fourth Commandment—“Remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy.”—was A. T. Lincoln’s essay, “From Sabbath to Lord’s Day: A Biblical and Theological Perspective,” from D. A. Caron’s edited volume From Sabbath to Lord’s Day: A Biblical Historical and Theological Investigation.

You can read a great review of the book here at BeginningWithMoses.org or take a look at the book itself here at Amazon.

In the text’s introduction, Carson summaries the basic conclusions worked out by the various authors in the rest of the book:
First, we are not persuaded that the New Testament unambiguously develops a “transfer theology,” according to which the Sabbath moves from the seventh day to the first day of the week. We are not persuaded that Sabbath keeping is presented in the Old Testament as the norm from the time of creation onward. Nor are we persuaded that the New Testament develops patterns of continuity and discontinuity on the basis of moral/civil/ceremonial distinctions. However useful and accurate such categories may be, it is anachronistic to think that any New Testament writer adopted them as the basis for his distinctions between the Old Testament and the gospel of Christ. We are also not persuaded that Sunday observance arose only in the second century A.D. We think, however, that although Sunday worship arose in New Testament times, it was not perceived as a Christian Sabbath. We disagree profoundly with historical reconstructions of the patristic period that read out from isolated and ambiguous expressions massive theological schemes that in reality developed only much later.

Yet to say so many negative things is to run the risk of giving a false impression. We have not written in order to demolish the theories of others. Indeed, as a matter of policy we have focused attention on primary sources; we refute opposing positions only when it is necessary to do so in order to establish our own position. Our final chapter takes considerable pains to be as positive and synthetic as possible. We want to provide a comprehensive guide to the interpretation of the sources for Christian readers (16).
Somewhat heady stuff, but profoundly insightful and helpful. Definitely worth the work.

Preliminary Thoughts on the Sabbath

Earlier this afternoon, I began working on this week’s sermon from Exodus 20:8—“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”—by rereading a small part of Eugene Peterson’s wonderful book Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places. There’s too much here to quote in a single sermon (although I’m sure some of it will show up on Sunday); but it’s also too good to just leave it on the shelf. I hope you enjoy:

The most striking thing about keeping the Sabbath is that it begins by not doing anything (109). [We’re so used to “religion” being a matter of action that to have God command inaction, to have him say, “Stop! Quit! Silence!” is arresting to say the least.]

Sabbath is a deliberate act of interference, an interruption of our work each week, a decree of no-works so that we are able to notice, to attend, to listen, to assimilate this comprehensive and majestic work of God, to orient our work in the work of God (110).

Sabbath and work are not in opposition; Sabbath and work are integrated parts of an organic whole. Either apart from the other is crippled (115).

[W]ithout Sabbath . . . the workplace is soon emptied of any sense of the presence of God and the work becomes an end in itself. It is this “end in itself” that makes an un-sabbathed workplace a breeding ground for idols. We make idols of our workplaces when we reduce all relationships to functions that we can manage. We make idols in our workplaces when we reduce work to the dimensions of our egos and control (116).

If there is no Sabbath—no regular and commanded not-working, not-talking—we soon become totally absorbed in what we are doing and saying, and God’s work is either forgotten or marginalized. When we work we are most god-like, which means that it is in our work that it is easiest to develop god-pretensions. Un-sabbathed, our work becomes the entire context in which we define our lives. We lose God-consciousness, God-awareness, sightings of resurrection. We lose the capacity to sing “This is my Father’s world” and end up chirping little self-centered ditties about what we are doing and feeling (117).