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Sermon in a Sentence

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This morning I had the privilege of hearing Pastor Rick Elzinga preach on John 19:16-30. Here is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: The death of Jesus, as John describes it, proclaims Jesus as king, shows that what happened was part of God’s plan, that Jesus perfectly obeyed His Father, and that He fulfilled the task given to Him by His Father.

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Sermon in a Sentence

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I had the privilege this morning of hearing Pastor Rick Elzinga preach on John 19:1-16. Here is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: Jesus Christ was, and will be, recognized as King even by those who don’t believe in Him or submit to Him – what should be the response of those who believe and submit?

Try This On For Size

In my daily Bible reading in the last couple of days, I read Ephesians 4. It’s a great chapter, but when I was finished I went back and read verses 25 through 32 again. I thought to myself, “I could work on everything in this passage for the rest of my life and never master it.”

Here it is – try it on for size:

Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.  Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

I’m convinced there is enough in this passage to keep us busy for a long, long time. By the power of God’s Spirit, let’s get started (or keep going) – for His glory and our good!

The Direction of Grumbling

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It didn’t take long for the Israelites to start complaining after God had delivered them from Egypt.

About two and half months after the Exodus, “The whole congregation of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The sons of Israel said to them, ‘Would that we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out of this wilderness to kill this whole company with hunger'” (Exodus 16:2-3). That was pretty harsh, wasn’t it?

The Lord spoke to Moses and said that He would provide for His people in verses 4 through 7. Moses then spoke to the complaining crowd, and when he did, he put his finger on the deeper issue – the issue behind the grumbling.

He said, “This will happen when the LORD gives you meat to eat in the evening and bread to the full in morning; for the LORD hears your grumblings which you grumble against Him. And what are we? Your grumblings are not against us but against the LORD” (Exodus 16:8).

Who was the grumbling and complaining of the Israelites directed toward? On the outside, it was Moses and Aaron. That’s what they said, at least. In truth, they complained and grumbled against the LORD Himself, not their leaders. The heart of the matter was that, in their heart, they weren’t content or satisfied with what God had given them. Of course, Moses and Aaron didn’t lead the people from Egypt to the wilderness of Sin (an interesting name given the circumstances) in order to have them all die, but the people were so angry at God that they lashed out at the ones who were called by God to lead them.

Grumbling and complaining are the fruit of a heart that is discontent and ungrateful for the good gifts God has given. That didn’t end, by the way, in 1450 B.C. It rears its ugly head in our own lives, too. When we complain and grumble, we’re not satisfied with God. That’s a dangerous place to be. May we recognize it, repent of it, and pray that the Lord would develop our sense of gratitude and satisfaction in Him for His glory and our good!

Sermon in a Sentence

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I had the privilege this morning of hearing Doug Lundin, one of the elders, preach on “Covenanting Together” from 2 Kings 23:1-3, which included the elder’s and pastor’s commitment to us. Here is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: The covenant was a renewal of the heart, the Word, leadership, holiness, and communion with one another.

 

Sermon in a Sentence

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I had the privilege this morning of hearing Pastor Rick Elzinga preach on the Elder Position Paper on Eldership (“What Are Elders and Why Do We Have Them?”). Here is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: Elders are a team of men in a local church who shepherd, teach, and pray for the congregation with a servant’s heart and attitude.

Questions and Answers

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And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20).

“Make disciples” is the one and only command in Jesus’ Great Commission to His church (“go,” by the way is not a command – it’s assumed). How we make disciples can be summed up in three letters – E. B. and C. – taken from the Great Commission itself.

The letter E stands for evangelism. Making disciples, as we go, has to begin with proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world. The letter B stands for baptism. When people respond positively to the gospel and believe in Jesus Christ alone for their salvation, they’re to be baptized. So what about the letter C?

The letter C stands for catechism. I know, I know! Many evangelical Christians (especially those in non-denominational Bible churches, charismatic churches, and other non-Confessional Protestants) don’t know much about catechisms. If they do, they sometimes have an almost allergic reaction. But what Jesus says near the end of the Great Commission speaks directly to the purpose of a catechism.

A catechism teaches the basic doctrines of the faith in a question and answer format. That’s a tremendous way to teach a believer “to observe all that” Jesus commanded them.

In 2017, Crossway published The New City Catechism which is designed to accomplish just that – the discipling of believers in Christ. It contains 52 questions and answers that are meant to be memorized, recited, and learned by heart. The questions and answers are simple and understandable in an easy to read format. There are illustrations, Scripture proofs, and even answers that can be shortened in order to be more easily memorized by younger children. Importantly, helpful instructions are also provided.

Here’s the first question and answer: “What is our only hope in life and death?” “That we are not our own but belong, body and soul, both in life and in death, to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ.”

I highly recommend The New City Catechism as a tool in the making of disciples – not just others, but yourself. Get it, read through it, and begin to memorize the questions and answers. You’ll be glad you did and you’ll grow as a result of it.