We live in an age that is skeptical of heroism, an age that prefers the “authenticity” of a person’s flaws to the hagiography of their achievements. Yet, the Bible presents us with a view of heroes that refuses to be contained by our modern categories. Samson was a flawed and sinful man that God used for tremendous purposes. But more than that, Samson points us to the ultimate hero, Jesus Christ, who unlike Samson did not slay his enemies, but through sacrificial love turned his persecutors into his friends.
Too often people see the church as a hindrance to their spirituality rather than the necessary fuel for its growth. The Biblical church is called to be a community unlike any other, a place where people welcome the outsider, spur one another to good works, encourage one another in difficult times, and work to help all members grow in Christ.
Additional scriptural references made in this sermon are: Hebrews 10:1-2; Mark 15:34.
What was it about early Christianity that made it spread like wildfire through the Mediterranean world? There was something astonishingly attractive in the inclusiveness of a religion that drew people from across all racial, cultural, economic, intellectual and philosophical divides.
Genesis tells the why of creation, not the how. It’s a poem, a song about a historical event. The Christian doctrine of creation is that this world is good and the purpose of nature is to be a community. We can take joy in cultivating and enjoying the physical world.
Additional scriptural references made in this sermon are: Exodus 14, 15; Judges 4, 5; Revelation 21:2; Isaiah 40:14; John 1:1-3; Psalm 19:1-4.
Exile is a persistent feeling within the human condition because our sin has destroyed the intimacy with God that we once experienced in the Garden of Eden. God sent Jesus, our true elder brother, all the way to earth to rescue us from the exile of our sin and restore us to full communion with God. When we take the Lord's Supper, we get a taste of the future homecoming feast for all believers when we will celebrate the return of full intimacy between God and us.