From an Enemy to a Servant

Stories From the Life of Paul
Romans 5:6-11
Matthew Raley (6-9-13)

Saul is in the council chamber of the Sanhedrin listening to the trial of a follower of Jesus. There is only one thing this young Pharisee wants: to overcome Jesus’ teachings and disciples.  Saul hasn’t studied so hard, hasn’t lived so strictly according to the law, hasn’t worshipped night and day earnestly praying for God’s promise of the resurrection of the dead, only to see Israel follow a man who blasphemed Moses. Israel’s ancient heritage will never win out over the Gentiles if the people follow the crucified Nazarene.

Stephen, the man on trial, says Saul’s elders resist the Holy Spirit, and he claims to see Jesus standing at the right hand of God. At this the whole council drags him out of the city. Saul follows them outside the walls. Saul’s elders lay their garments at his feet, and he watches as they hurl stones at Stephen. He hears Stephen’s last words. “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”  He looks at the dead man on the ground, his body smashed. He approves.  Jesus is the promise to Israel that Saul has been praying for. And Saul is Jesus’ enemy.

Today, as we continue examining our proposed belief statement, we will look at the life and words of the man who once was Saul and learn how it was possible for him to go from being the enemy of Christ to the his devoted servant:

Jesus Christ took our place when he died on the cross (Romans 5:6-21). His blood is the perfect, complete payment for our sins (Mark 10:45), and his bodily resurrection gives us eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:49-57). His death and resurrection are the only way for human beings to be saved from sin (Acts 4:8-12). Therefore, God calls everyone to turn and believe this good news during their earthly lives (Acts 17:30-31).”

Pastor Matt has changed the format of his sermons to include a question and answer period after he speaks. Because questions are unique to each service, all the questions Pastor Matt answered from both services have been edited together at the end of this sermon.

Published in: on June 17, 2013 at 4:52 am  Leave a Comment  

Jesus Ascended to the Father

The Awesome Nature of Christ
John 1:18
Matthew Raley (5-26-13)

The reason people lack assurance of their salvation in Christ is that their Gospel is too weak, and their Jesus is too small. Believers struggle emotionally because they don’t have a good reason to be confident.  They live the Christian life as if they are still searching for God, as if the door to the Father is not open to them, or as if there is something else they must do to be permitted to walk through it and finally see him.

Today, as we continue examining our proposed belief statement, we will see how we can finally reach a place where we no longer feel that we are searching for God, but can say with full assurance, “I know him!”

4. Jesus Christ is God incarnate—one person with two natures (John 1:1-5, 14-18). He is fully God and became fully man, completing all God’s promises to Israel (Romans 1:1-7). He was conceived by the Holy Spirit when his mother Mary was a virgin (Luke 2:7-21). Though Jesus Christ never sinned (Isaiah 53:7-9), he was crucified as a criminal under Pontius Pilate (John 19:17-42). But the Father raised Jesus from the dead bodily (John 20:19-31). Jesus then ascended to heaven (Luke 24:50-53) and sat on heaven’s throne where he mediates for us (Hebrews 1:1-4; 2.17-18).

Published in: on June 17, 2013 at 4:47 am  Leave a Comment