Redeemer Presbyterian Church Sermons
In Romans 12, Paul looks at the Gospel and then exhorts us as to how we should live in the light of what Christ has done. He urges us to give up control over our lives and become “living sacrifices” for God. Unfortunately, the problem with a living sacrifice is that it keeps moving off the altar. Unless we stare deeply at Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf, we will never trust God enough to become the living sacrifices that he calls us to be.
Babylon was not content to conquer the Israelites. They wanted to assimilate them. Babylon didn’t mind if the Israelites worshiped their own god in private, but in public they had to be no different than the prevailing culture. Christians today face a similar challenge when their faith is not welcomed in the public square. At one point Nebuchadnezzar sentenced Daniel's friends to being thrown into a furnace for their unwillingness to assimilate, but the faithful young men found Jesus in the midst of the flames.
We are irreducibly hope-based creatures. If we believe that this world is an accident and that when we die we rot, then that lack of hope will cast a shadow on way we live and see all of life. But if we believe the Christian Gospel, then no matter what happens in our lives, we possess a hope that will always strengthen us. Christians find their hope in the certainty of God’s love for them through Jesus Christ. Christians live in the hope of knowing that the entire physical creation will be renewed into a perfect world without pain and death.
Money is not inherently evil, but it is often dangerous because it has a power to blind us to spiritual reality. When a person becomes financially successful, they start to feel that they are a success in all areas, and they can easily become blinded to their own sin. Also, the love of money is a unique sin because few people can see greed in themselves. Instead, we falsely believe that luxuries are necessities. Finally, money deceives us by telling us that it can bring us security, and this makes us unwilling to part with our money.
The Bible teaches that every Christian has been “born again.” Yet, this term is commonly misunderstood. Being born again is not about improving one’s morality or having a powerful spiritual experience. It is a completely new way of seeing the world. It is the eyes of the new birth that allow a Christian to see the truth of the Gospel. The new birth is also the engine of Christian growth. It is the new heart God gives that helps us put our hope in God rather than the idols of this world.
Additional scriptural references made in this sermon are: John 3:1-21; John 16:19-21.
The Bible teaches an extremely nuanced vision of the human spirit. We are physical beings whose spirits can be brought low by physical ailments. We are relational beings who need the love and support of friends. We are moral beings who can be crushed by the weight of our sin. We are existential beings who seek to find meaning in our lives. Lastly, we are faith-based being who will always put our hope in something. Unless we put our faith and hope in God, we will never satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts.
A common misunderstanding of being ‘born again’ is that it’s an experience for broken people, a way for outcasts and moral failures to ‘turn their life around.’ Yet, when Jesus teaches on being born again, He does so by challenging a man who is the very opposite of the ‘born again’ stereotype. Nicodemus was an upright moral man and a leader in his society—and yet Jesus said that all of his accomplishments meant nothing unless he was born again.
Money is not a peripheral subject for Jesus. Jesus is always concerned about the hearts of His followers, and He constantly teaches about money because our attitude towards money is a window into our hearts. We put our trust in money instead of trusting in God. We look to money for the security that only God can provide. Yet, when we see how Jesus gave up his heavenly riches in order to draw near to us, we can forsake our earthly riches in order to draw near to Him.
Romans 8:28 is one of the most famous verses in the Bible. People love the thought that God works out all things for good for those who love Him. Yet, Romans 8:28 is intimately connected with Romans 8:29-30 where God promises to bodily resurrect those He has called. In other words, the Bible does not promise that Christians will have more pleasant circumstances in this life than non-Christians. The Bible promises a better life to come—not better life circumstances in this world.
Everyone has a war within themselves. We all want to live according to a high moral code, but none of us can meet the demands of our moral code. The reason for this is that inside of ourselves there is a desire for evil as well as a desire for good. Therefore, none of us can win the battle. But the battle changes when we become a Christian. The deepest parts of ourselves change so that for the first time our most inner being delights in the law of God. We move from a battle we cannot win to a battle we cannot lose.