Redeemer Presbyterian Church Sermons
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.
People often speak as if faith and reason are implacable enemies. In this sermon, Tim Keller argues the contrary--that the more we think, the deeper our faith grows. He contrasts the explanatory power of Christianity and atheism, and argues that it is only through Christianity that we can truly make sense of the world we experience.
Additional scriptural references made in this sermon are: 2 Corinthians 5:7; Matthew 6:25-34; Matthew 8:26; Mark 1:11.
A Christian is someone whose primary citizenship is in the Kingdom of God, not the kingdom of this world. Being a Christian is a legal status. One is either a Christian or one is not a Christian; there is no in between. Yet, this does not mean that Christians are so heavenly minded that they are of no earthly good. The very fact that Christians’ greatest love is for the world to come means that they are not enslaved to the ordinary things in this world. This freedom from worldly goods is the very thing that allows Christians to sacrificially serve others.
In our contemporary culture, the word “righteousness” has come to mean “self-righteousness.” In the Bible, however, being “righteous” has a relational quality. It means being presentable; it means being good enough to please. We spend so much of our time working to be presentable, accentuating our best qualities and covering our flaws. Being a Christian means resting in Jesus’ righteousness rather that working harder to improve our own.
What does it mean to say God is with us? The meaning of Christmas is that the Creator of the universe has become a human being. It means that the terrifying God who appeared in the Old Testament as a whirlwind and a fire has become a vulnerable baby in order to be close to us. What, in turn, will we do in order to be close to Him?
Additional scriptural references made in this sermon are: John 1:1, 14, 17; Acts 20:28; Acts 14:11-13; Job 38:1; Genesis 15:17; 2 Chronicles 7:1-3; Exodus 33:18-23; 2 Corinthians 4:6; 2 Corinthians 3:13; Romans 1:17; 1 Corinthians 13:7.
What is the connection between faith and work? The Bible affirms the goodness of creation and therefore the goodness of work. In this sermon, we see how even 1st century slaves found dignity in their work through the Gospel. Yet, the Gospel provides us not only with the motivation to work but with the ability to rest—because the ultimate work is not dependent upon us, but has already been performed by Jesus.
Additional scriptural references made in this sermon are: Luke 5:10-11; Psalm 130:4.
What did the fall do to humanity? By tracing the descendants of Cain and by studying the city they created, we see the violence and oppression that resulted from turning away from God—including the Bible’s first instance of polygamy. However, we also see that God has not given up on humanity. God has a vision for a different kind of city—a city built on worship and grace instead of self-aggrandizement and power.
Additional scriptural references made in this sermon are: Jeremiah 29:7; Jonah 4:11; Revelation 21:2; Matthew 5:14-16; 1 Peter 2:12; Matthew 18:21-22; Luke 9:58; Mark 15:34.
Being made in the image of God means, among other things, that we were not created to be in isolation. There is nothing more humanizing and life-engendering than friendship. In Christ, we have the true archetype of the friend we need, and the kind of friendship others need us to provide.
Additional scriptural references made in this sermon are: Genesis 2:18; Psalm 25:14; Ephesians 1:18; Deuteronomy 7:7-8; Matthew 26:36-46; Psalm 55:12-14.
Christians commonly think we can change the culture around us through evangelism or through great individuals. However, culture is primarily changed through communities. Dualism, the separation of the personal and public spheres — the way we often separate our faith from other areas of our lives — prevents us from having a stronger impact upon culture. This talk was given during a leadership training session at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City.
As Christians in the 21st century, we are called to obey God’s laws, because they are tools for understanding and expose the workings of our heart. Once we realize that we are saved by grace alone and accepted by God, we can respond to God in genuine obedience with transformed hearts. As members of a local Christian community, we become an alternate city within a city, a holy nation, representing Christ and serving the community in which we worship and live.