When the disciples ask Jesus a worried question about the destruction of the Jerusalem temple, Jesus teaches much more than they asked for. He warns them that as bad as that event will be it is not yet the end of the world. Yet, it is almost the time for Jesus to return. In light of Jesus' comments, Christians should comfort one another that as times seem to get ever darker, take heart, it is almost the end of the world!
Some Sadducees present Jesus with a "gotcha" question about belief in the resurrection of the dead. If God's word to Moses is true, and if the resurrection is true, then there is a problem. The Sadducees present a scenario in which these two things seem to contradict each other.
That is the way of skepticism. Skeptics and those determined to doubt everything can never be convinced beyond any doubt that they should become faithful.
Jesus shows that these kinds of apparent contradictions disappear when looking at the question in faith and hope. That is, knowing the power of God and believing his word, we can rest assured that God's promises answer all question.
In response to religious leaders who challenged his authority, Jesus tells a story identifying them as rebellious vineyard workers. The vineyard is fruitful, but these managers refuse to offer the "owner" his rightful share. In other words, God's people want to worship him, but the established religious leaders garner the glory for themselves.
This also motivated their rejection of Jesus and his obvious divine authority. So, Jesus lets them know that he is the promised deliverer of God's people. He is the appointed leader of the Kingdom of God. Though the ones with positions of authority reject Jesus, he is God's choice, and God will soon make it clear that Jesus is the "cornerstone" for the entire Kingdom of God project that is underway.
When the cornerstone of a building is laid, the dimensions for the whole thing are determined. It is only a matter of the process of building. When the building is ready to be finished, the last thing is to set the capstone, locking everything else in place. As disciples in the Kingdom of God, we rejoice that the cornerstone is laid and the capstone is coming soon.
Mark gives us two, compelling case studies in faith that saves. In short, from Jesus himself we are told to - like the woman whose hemorrhage was healed, and like Jairus whose daughter was about to be raised back to life - just keep believing in the awesome power and infinite goodness of God, our savior.
Recent, violent riots combine with the recent pandemic to raise questions about just what kind of moment we are living in. There is a temptation to fear, because the times are unfamiliar to us, and many things that seemed secure are now in question. In this message, we consider how the once-and-for-all hope in Christ gives Christians hope for this time and for all others.
In this very short episode, Mark shows us what it means to "repent and believe the good news" that the Kingdom of God has come with Jesus Christ. When Jesus heals Peter's mother-in-law of a deadly fever, we learn that he has come to free us from the fear of death. In response, like this woman he healed, our part is to live within the will and the ways of God Jesus teaches his followers. In this way, we live in freedom and in the hope of being raised from the dead someday to live forever with Jesus in heaven.
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The Coronavirus pandemic has gotten everyone's attention. Numbers of cases of people infected with this new virus increase rapidly, and some people are dying. There is more that is unknown about this disease than is known. At such times, fear begins to distort the reality of the situation.
This sermon highlights current facts about the disease according to trusted experts. Several suggestions are made regarding how Christians can see these developments, finding hope rather than fear and panic.
Sunday morning sermon on James 1:1
James writes to the church as "the Diaspora"--God's people scattered among the non-Christian nations. As an allusion to God's promises to exiled Israel through his prophets, this identity as God's "scattered" people points to God's promise of regathering His people one day in the perfected Kingdom of God.