The first will be last. That sounds like it could be a confusing truth. As we look at our text from the gospel of Luke we see the hard truth.
Hard Truth – Division
Hard truth doesn’t sound very fun, does it? But just like straight talk from the dentist who wants you to keep your teeth, hard truth from your God comes from a loving heart that wants to save souls. Yet we tend to think of God as… nice.
Focused on Heaven
Jesus wants focused followers. However, one of the things that can most easily get in the way of our focus is our earthly possessions. It is no surprise, therefore, that Jesus’ words so frequently focus his followers on wealth. Jesus’ followers don’t reject earthly wealth or despise it. They can be grateful for every good gift that comes from the hand of God. This Sunday we’ll cover worry, doubt, and our solution to those challenges – Jesús.
Focused on Living
Jesus wants focused followers. However, one of the things that can most easily get in the way of our focus is our earthly possessions. It is no surprise, therefore, that Jesus’ words so frequently focus his followers on wealth. Jesus’ followers don’t reject earthly wealth or despise it. They can be grateful for every good gift that comes from the hand of God.
Focused on Prayer
In a sense, prayer comes naturally to us. We want so we ask. We hurt so we cry out. We are frustrated so we vent. We are blessed so we give thanks. So we sometimes define prayer as “speaking to God from the heart.” Seems so easy. What does not come naturally, however, is the focused prayer God wants for us.
Focused on Service
We are focused on service this week. If you listen to the first part of this week’s message, you’ll hear in detail all that Abraham did for God – that’s all good. God allowed Abraham to do it after all. God didn’t need Abraham’s hospitality. This was something that Abraham needed to do for God. It’s a thankful heart.
Focused on Freedom
This past week our nation was focused on freedom. The celebration of the 4th of July is filled with fun traditions! Parades showcasing our society, the rockets red glare from a firework display, and a BBQ cookout. We love freedom. Why would anyone throw that away. This is what the Apostle Paul was faced with in the early Christian church of Galatia.
Christ Sends Ministers
Christ has not only given us his powerful Word. In his grace, he gives us ministers who proclaim that Word to us in whatever ways we need at the time: words of comfort, words of instruction, or even words of rebuke. Those who are entrusted with the care of Jesus’ flock are expected to shepherd that flock just as Jesus would.
Committed to Christ
How committed are you? Half-hearted or all-in, none of us how what we need deep down to follow Jesus. BUT Jesus’ words have power. The Spirit create the faith and commitment Jesus needs from his followers. Jesus went all in to rescue us from sin. Are you ready to follow him?
Evil Is Crushed
Evil is crushed by our God. That’s a true statement, but how you ask? First we should consider what evil truly is.
God Bless You
God bless you! Gesuntite! As you hand the person the hanky, the word you say is a custom because at one time people thought that you could sneeze out your soul. The blessing of God is not just a meaningless polite phrase. God’s blessing was given to his people.
Should I Stay or Go
Should we stay or go? That is the question the people of the world wrestled with shortly after the flood. They settled on staying, against God’s wishes for the purpose of making a name for themselves. Our love God confused their languages and they scattered across the world. This language barrier was undone on that first Pentecost that started the New Testament church. That harvest festival continues today as we share God’s word with anyone who will listen.
We close out the Easter season with a plea. We’re back in St John’s Revelation to hear the two-fold cry of the saints in glory! First they direct the church to her Victorious Lord. Finally they call on Jesus to return and end the world. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Jesus is our VICTORIOUS King, but he doesn’t always look that way. Ascension is a unique holiday because as one of the three great historical festivals of the ancient church it was a highlight of year. Ascension is the coronation of our VICTORIOUS King!
VICTORIOUS Love might sound a little over-the-top, right? I mean, it fits the Easter sermon series theme of VICTORIOUS, doesn’t it? I think that this phrase is a good start, but doesn’t quite touch the meaning.
Our Good Shepherd is the VICTORIOUS Shepherd. And on this Good Shepherd Sunday as we consider all that our God provides for us.
VICTORIOUS Over Blindness
Navigating life blind poses a plethora of challenges that the sighted do not face. This is why Scripture often uses the concept of blindness as a metaphor for how hard it is to navigate life without a correct understanding of Christ. Spiritual sight gives us the ability to see who holds our future in his hands and who is worth our eternal worship.
VICTORIOUS Over Doubt
Sunday we looked once more at the victorious march of the church through the centuries. The difference this time is that we see Jesus stop and wait for Thomas to catch up. How great is the mercy of our God!
VICTORIOUS Over Death
Life is VICTORIOUS over death on this Easter Sunday. That’s a big statement. Easter is the day we celebrate Jesus breaking the grave. It doesn’t work anymore. All the dead will rise from the grave one day.
A Day of Praise
It is a day of praise! Hosanna to the Son of David! On Palm Sunday the crowds of people lined the road to lay down their palm branches that Jesus might ride in like the King he truly is.