March 25, 2012
INTRODUCTION – My purpose today is to do my best to help you better understand and appreciate God’s sovereign, aggressive, merciful role in our salvation, and how that fits with our human responsibility. My purpose is not to present both sides of the controversy between Calvinism and Arminianism. There is tons of material on the internet on this controversy. But I must warn you – some of it, if not much of it is in the wrong spirit, and seems to be tainted by the accuser of the brethren.

Last week we sought to understand and respond to the parable of the King’s Banquet or the Marriage Feast in Matthew 22:1-14. Jesus Christ says in the last verse of that passage, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” Referring to the King who issued a legitimate invitation to all through His servants; but who then chose who truly belonged at His banquet, or the terms by which one can come and enjoy His banquet.

When we get to ch. 24 of Matthew -twice Jesus is going to refer to His disciples as “the elect”. Continue reading God’s sovereignty vs. Human responsibility in Salvation – Matt. 22:14f

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March 18, 2012
INTRODUCTION – There was not a contentious bone in Jesus Christ’s body. He did not enjoy conflict any more than anyone else in their right mind. But He never came to just teach nice moral lessons so we can all just get along.

The reality of two kingdoms. One we are born in and stuck in unless God Himself delivers us from it.
One He rules and He decides who enters it and who doesn’t. Continue reading Populating the Kingdom of God – Matthew 22:1-14

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February 26, 2012
INTRODUCTION – One of the great dangers in Jesus’s day and in ours is that it is possible to be playing the religious game, and even being looked up to by some, but our hearts are miles away from where they ought to be with the Living God on a day by day basis.

In today’s passage, we’re going to hopefully learn some valuable lessons from the sad example of the chief priests, elders and Pharisees – on how to avoid falling into this trap; and/or how to get out of it – if that is where we find ourselves. Continue reading Godly Sorrow – Matthew 21:23-46

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February 19, 2012
INTRODUCTION – Our theme – “Patient Expectation”
This morning – Jesus’s expectations of us. Only when we clearly see and embrace those expectations, will our expectations be what they ought to be.

First expectation
I. The Triumphal Entry vs. 1- 11 Jesus expects us to know and receive Him as He is, not as we wish Him to be.
All four gospels give an account of this story, which is often referred to as the “Triumphal Entry”. Not that many stories are found in all four gospels; so this unusual entry by Jesus into Jerusalem is clearly important to God. Continue reading Jesus’s Expectations – Matthew 21:1- 22

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Nov. 27, 2011
INTRODUCTION – Review the Disciples’ reward in 19:27f
Mark 10:30 “but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mother and children and farms, along with persecutions, and in the age to come, eternal life.”

If you have known the Lord for a while, and are familiar with this promise, you might have a few questions rattling around in your brain.
1. Why if this is true, am I finding it so difficult to find adequate housing and income in this region?

2. Why if this is true, have I worked for so long at so and so business, and not really made my mark ,and achieved the success and prosperity that once or several times was prophesied over me? Continue reading Entitlement and the Kingdom of God – Matthew 20:1-28

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Nov. 20, 11
INTRODUCTION – Our Theme this year = “Your Kingdom Come”

The theme of the King and His kingdom through Matthew as contrasted with the other three gospels.

The kingdom of God is not a democracy nor a republic. It is a kingdom unlike any mankind has ever known – – primarily because the King is unlike any earthly king that has ever ruled on this earth. For many Americans the kingdom of God and knowing Jesus as King is difficult because there is little in our heritage and experience along those lines. Folks who grew up in England have an advantage over us in this regard I suppose – – and yet because their kings and the kingdoms they ruled were so corrupt – they have the problem of seeing the kingdom of God through those lens. Continue reading Kingdom Realities and Rewards – Matthew 19:16-30

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October 23, 2011

INTRODUCTION – Leith Anderson said in his book “Dying for Change” “Without a vision of God as He is, there is no vision of the church as it could be; without a vision of the church as it could be, the reality of our vision of God comes into question.”

One of the reasons this book is so thick; and one of the reasons why we encourage you every year to read it from cover to cover is because God has revealed Himself – His attributes, His works, the things He loves and hates, His will and ways – in the pages of this book.

One of those attributes of God that theologians have struggled to adequately explain – that the Bible oft speaks of when describing the living God – is that of God’s holiness. Continue reading Oneness – God’s Way and Wonder – Matt. 19:1-14

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Oct. 23, 2011

INTRODUCTION – Leith Anderson said in his book “Dying for Change” “Without a vision of God as He is, there is no vision of the church as it could be; without a vision of the church as it could be, the reality of our vision of God comes into question.”

One of the reasons this book is so thick; and one of the reasons why we encourage you every year to read it from cover to cover is because God has revealed Himself – His attributes, His works, the things He loves and hates, His will and ways – in the pages of this book.

One of those attributes of God that theologians have struggled to adequately explain – that the Bible oft speaks of when describing the living God – is that of God’s holiness. Continue reading Oneness – God’s Way & Wonder – Matt. 19:1-14

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August 14th, 2011

INTRODUCTION – Our theme – Your Kingdom Come – –
Jesus came to set the captives free – – in case that is nebulous or vague to you – – Jesus Christ came to not only save people from their sins initially so that they could be born again and gain eternal life; He came to set us free from every sin, every destructive passion and thought and attitude – – anything and everything not in keeping with His life and character and righteousness – – until He returns and fully and completely and forever sets us free!

Clash of kingdoms. the kingdom of darkness does not give up its captives without a fight. Our enemy is cruel, and his power is very real.

This passage is going to teach us how to fight better and more effectively for those that have never once tasted of His power and saving grace. Continue reading Deliverance and the Cross – Matthew 17:14-27

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August 28, 2011

INTRODUCTION – For whatever reasons – in the last couple of months or so – I’ve noticed when my wife and I pray together – that she will often pray for the stumbling blocks in our region to be removed – – so the kingdom of God can advance. I’ve found this a little curious – until I began to prepare for this week’s sermon. If you would turn in your Bibles to Matthew 17 starting with vs. 24 – – we’re going to learn a few things about stumbling blocks. And if you have been paying attention in our series through the gospel of Matthew – you may have noticed this term or concept has come up a couple of times before.

Earlier references: Matt. 13:41 “The Son of man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness,” (Speaking of the end of time or the return of the Lord) Continue reading Stumbling blocks and the Kingdom Matthew 17:24-18:14

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July 17, 2011

INTRODUCTION – If you were with us last week you may remember that we talked about the victorious church built and led by Jesus Christ Himself. We looked at His commendation or affirmation of Peter for his accurate and courageous confession of who Jesus Christ was and is. And we talked about the authority He has given to His servants to advance His kingdom to the ends of the earth.

My guess is when Jesus Christ said to His disciples, “I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” there was fire in His eyes – – and the disciples knew at that point – that Satan and his demons were no match for this amazing man, whom Peter had just pegged as the Messiah….. But my how fast things can change! Let’s pick up the story in vs. 20-23 Continue reading The Way of The Cross – Matthew 16:20-28

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July 10, 2011

INTRODUCTION – Everyone has an opinion about Jesus. For instance John Lennon said, ““I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It’s just that the translations have gone wrong.”

Jesus Christ is not the only thing folks seem to have an opinion about. They also have an opinion about the church. For instance the comedian George Carlin once said, “I’m completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. My idea is that these two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death.” Continue reading The Victorious Church – Matthew 16:13-20

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July 3, 2011
INTRODUCTION – Last week we recognized that if we are to see the answer to our prayer and our theme for this year, “Your Kingdom Come” – – we’ve got to know our King better, and we must understand His kingdom better. We must learn to feel the way He feels about things, and respond the way He responds to needs and situations.

Last week from Matt. 15:29-31 we discussed the truth that Jesus Christ wants to heal the sick today as much as He did 2,000 + years ago.

The second truth we see about Jesus Christ in the last paragraph of ch. 15 starting with vs. 32 is this: Continue reading Compassion in Action – Matt. 15:32-16:12

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June 30, 2011

INTRODUCTION – Review of concept of “kingdom” in gospel of Matthew
John the Baptist – 3:2 – Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand
Jesus – 4:17 same

Sermon on the Mount – chps. 5-7 – How to enter in and experience it:
1. brokenness “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”

2. enduring persecution, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” 5:10

3. Greatness in the kingdom of God can be attained by obeying and teaching others to obey Christ’s commandments 5:19 Continue reading Healing and Feeding the Multitudes – Matthew 15:29-39

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June 12, 2011
INTRODUCTION – Our theme = Your Kingdom Come – – a prayer Jesus Christ the King expects His disciples to pray as a way of life; and a prayer that He expects us to expect Him to answer – first in our Jerusalem, and then to the ends of the earth.

A huge difference in the kingdom of darkness – that many of our friends and neighbors and co-workers are stuck in; and the kingdom of God – – is the king of the kingdom of darkness – otherwise known as Satan – could care less if you ever care about anyone but yourself – – in fact he will encourage you to be obsessed with yourself, and to live a self absorbed life. Continue reading Knowing Jesus the King – Matthew 15:21-28

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May 15, 2011

INTRODUCTION – Our theme this year – “Your Kingdom Come”

The reality of two kingdoms

One aspect of the kingdom of darkness is obvious – that being – those who out and out reject Christ and Christianity.
But another is not so obvious = those who claim to know God/be Christians, but whose worship is empty and man focused and thus not acceptable to God, and who seek to win other adherents to their hypocrisy. Continue reading Avoiding Empty Religion – Matt.15:1-20

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April 24, 2011

INTRODUCTION – Weeks ago when I began to anticipate preparing for Easter Sunday, I sensed the Lord directing me to focus on the power of God. Since then I have been meditating on the New Testament scriptures that speak to this subject, of which there are many. 101 references in fact – found in 96 different passages, though a handful of those are parallel passages in the gospels, like Jesus’s rebuke to the religious leaders, which is found in both Matthew 22:29 & Mark 12:24 – where He said, “You are mistaken, not understanding the scriptures or the power of God”

One of the many things that sets Jesus Christ apart from all of the other religious leaders known to man is He established a kingdom – that He and the other New Testament writers proclaimed would be characterized by supernatural, not military power. And the reason it is indeed characterized by supernatural power, unlike the empty platitudes that characterize all the other religions – is because the King of this kingdom rose from the dead, and was given all authority over heaven and earth by His father in heaven, with whom He reigns in heaven. Continue reading Easter and the Power of God

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March 27, 2011

INTRODUCTION – One reason the Holy Spirit led four different men (namely, Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) to write an account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ is because – those of us who are seeking to know and follow Him today need all the help we can get. And there’s nothing more helpful and more memorable – than being able to learn from the real life mistakes and experiences those first disciples of Jesus Christ had.

I trust you are here this morning – to become a better, more devoted disciple of Jesus Christ – because – that is exactly what He is after in His pursuit of you. He didn’t die on the cross for you to pay Him lip service every Christmas and Easter. He died on the cross for you – so you could first – get out from under the crushing weight of your sins, and all of the guilt and condemnation that comes with that; and second, so you could be His hands and feet and eyes and mouth, …. and a conduit of His life to a desperately needy society around you – – as you learn to live life – His way. Continue reading Faith vs. Fear – Matthew 14:22-36

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February 26, 2011

INTRODUCTION – Jesus’ two-fold deep disappointment – Rejection in his home town; senseless murder of his cousin, forerunner, and only co-worker – John the Baptist (as contrasted to His disciples who were all a project)

Today’s passage begins with how Jesus responded to the news of John’s murder. Continue reading Meeting Overwhelming Needs – Jesus Style – Matt. 14:13-21

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Feb. 20, 2011

INTRODUCTION – Well we are jumping back into our Matthew series this week. And I want to quickly review for you where we have been, and then proceed on from there.

Most of chapter 13 of Matthew is devoted to 7 parables about the kingdom of God. Jesus spoke in parables to hide these truths from the hard hearted skeptics, and to reveal these truths to those who had ears to hear. These parables talked both about the joys and delights of entering this kingdom, and the horrors of not entering it. In our passage for today, starting with Matthew 13:53 – Jesus had just finished giving all these parables. Let’s pick up the story there and read through 14:12. Continue reading Kingdom Obedience – Matt. 13:53 – 14:12

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Nov. 28, 2010
INTRODUCTION – As we have been working our way through the gospel of Matthew – we keep running into this thing called “the kingdom of God.”
One of the privileges sons and daughters of the King have – is He chooses to reveal the mysteries of His kingdom to us. Jesus said to His disciples in Matt. 13:11 “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven…”

To reveal His kingdom to His disciples and at the same time hide it from the skeptical hard hearted crowds, Jesus used seven parables to communicate crucial truths for learning to see and seek His kingdom until He returns. Continue reading The Kingdom of God – Matthew 13: 31-58

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Nov. 14, 2010

INTRODUCTION – wrap up of last week – – Two distinctives about this chapter:
1. all about the kingdom of God – more than any other chapter.

2. Introduction of parables – seven in all – all having to do with the kingdom of God; all spoken to the crowds; probably brought confusion and perplexion to the them, which is what Jesus at this point determined they deserved since they were increasingly hard hearted, and did not have ears to hear; but to the disciples – especially as they were able to ask Jesus in private to explain – revelation came of their meaning.
One of the major themes in the book of Matthew is the kingdom of God – referenced 55 x’s – more than other gospels. Continue reading Parable of Tares – – Matthew 13:24-30 & 36-43

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Nov. 7, 2010

INTRODUCTION – As we have been walking through the gospel of Matthew together, we have noticed that Jesus’s disciples are slowly but surely upping their commitment and devotion to Him. But at the same time, the Pharisees and Scribes and many Jews are growing in their hostility, hatred and envy of Him, and in their passion to kill Him.
Not unlike today in many ways.

The good news is – I see in our congregation and in the body of Christ in general – a growing passion to know Jesus Christ more intimately and to follow Him more fully. And yet in our society at large, there is a growing disdain for Christ and His followers, primarily because Jesus Christ does not whitewash our sin, nor our need for a spiritual overhaul. Continue reading Parable of the Soils – Matthew 13:1-23

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Oct. 17, 2010
INTRODUCTION – What we are seeing increasingly as we travel through the pages of the gospel of Matthew is a clash between the kingdom of darkness ruled by Satan and the kingdom of God ruled by the risen and very active King Jesus.

What all of us experience every day as well – is the ongoing clash of these two kingdoms. Even if God has reached down and rescued you and delivered you from the kingdom of darkness by His amazing grace; the world, the flesh, and Satan and his demons will continue to seek to deceive and distract and divert and even to destroy you until the day you are with the Lord. Continue reading Signs, Spirits, & Spirituality Matthew 12:38-50

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