We have someone that is working in the darkness that is causing trouble for us. A stranger at night that causes many trouble for many churches. That person is Satan. Today sermon is going to answer the question, how do we defeat Satan?
Injustice is everywhere. It seems to have seeped itself into the fabric of our world. When we think of “injustice”, we automatically imagine the big issues like world hunger, trafficking, or corrupt multi-billion dollar corporations, and we often throw up our hands and say, “It’s too big of a problem for us to handle. Why even try?”
And the answer to that is, because God calls us to stand up against such evils.
For some, family is a source of great joy, and for others, it’s a source of great grief. Some of us are no longer close to our biological family, but most of us have people close to us who act like family, and we need to make the most out of those relationships.
So, my big question today is: How do we achieve a great family life? Our passage today gives us guidance on how to achieve this.
I think one of the biggest reasons why I was so bad at chemistry was because I didn’t care enough. I didn’t see the point. To this day I don’t know why we had to balance chemical equations and study the periodic table. It had no bearing on my day-to-day life. I think that’s normal for students- maybe we just wanted to pass. We didn’t ask why we must learn so many details.
I mention this because we do this with the Bible too. The Bible is like the “text book” and it’s hard to understand. It has weird stories and weird sayings and some Christians just aren’t convinced enough that it’s worth the work and effort to understand it. Stats are showing an increase in biblical illiteracy in the West. Sure, most Christians believe the Bible is God’s word. But it’s becoming less and less normal to study it and know it in detail. And I think it’s affecting us more than we think.
So, my big question today is: Why must we know our Bible really well? Our passage today shows us it’s worth the effort to understand. I want to show you today that:
I bring up this irrational fear of being a burden because I think this is how we sometimes approach God. Think about it, God literally owns everything. The trillions and trillions of dollars in money and assets in the world, that’s his. And he can give all that without any sacrifice. But he went beyond, he gave Jesus for us which was the most costly sacrifice he could make. We know that God is for us, and able to give us all things, and yet when we come to him in prayer, what do we ask for? We ask for the tiniest requests ever.
“God, good and loving creator of the universe, please give me good grades”. No think bigger. “God, give me a house and a new car”. No, ask for more. “God, give me a partner that loves me and a good family.” No no, we’re thinking too small here! These things are good but they amount to nothing by themselves and so they cannot be the main thing we ask for. We can go much much bigger because we know that God is able to give exceedingly more than what we can ask for and what we can imagine.
Our question for today is “What is the most you can ask God for?”
The answer to our question comes from our passage today, which focuses on a prayer. It’s a prayer that apostle Paul makes as he’s in prison, and it’s one of the most powerful prayers ever prayed. What would you imagine his prayer to look like? Mine would be, “God, get me out of prison, it’s depressing”. But Paul’s prayer is 100 times more extreme.
We are all different and we all come with our own baggage. But if we can overcome our differences and unite in a deep way, we can do amazing things for God and make great friends along the way.
But there are two kinds of sin that prevent us from experiencing that deep unity and friendship. The first kind of sin is religious sin. The kinds of sins demonstrated by the Pharisees in the Bible. The Pharisees were the religious snobs in the Bible- they were condescending and thought they were better than everyone. They represent the kind of religion that everyone loves to hate.
Then, there is unreligious sin, demonstrated by the pagans of that day. These were people that didn’t follow God and they rejected his ways. Some pagans would do awful things, like abusing other human beings and destroying families.
Most of us can identify at least a bit with both the Pharisees and the pagans. But the good news is that Jesus can transform us into something new and better.
So, my big question today is: How does God transform our relationships. I want to make the case today that:
We have a God that saves people- the Bible tells us that God wants to save everyone, not just from accidents, but he wants to save everyone from sin and death so that we can live with him forever.
And as Christians, we believe we’ve been saved, but some of us may not understand WHY he saved us. And it’s important to understand why, so we can appreciate what he’s done, and so we can work with his good plan for us.
So, my big question today is, why did God save us? Our passage teaches us that God saves us because of his grace. My main points today are:
1. We are saved BY grace.
2. We are saved FOR grace.
By that I mean, we are saved because he is good to us, and he wants us to share his goodness to others.