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   Evangelical Feminism and the Interpretation of Scripture
   1 Timothy 2:8–15
Sunday Morning Service,  July 24, 2016
First Timothy 2:8–15 is one of the most controversial passages in the New Testament. We will walk this text using a normal interpretation, then look at how the evangelical feminists falsely interpret the same text. This message is intended to encourage our resolve to rightly divide the Word of Truth, despite the cultural pressure to abandon the clear teaching of the Bible.

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   Biblical Gender Roles and the Rise of Feminism
   Genesis 2:18–24; 1 Corinthians 11:3; 8:6
Sunday School,  July 24, 2016
In this session, we review what the Bible says about the uniqueness of men’s and women’s roles, and how feminism has eroded gender distinctions as a direct assault on God’s created order.

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   The Holy Spirit and the Last Days – Part 2
   Acts 2:1–21; various texts
Wednesday Evening Service,  June 1, 2016
The doctrine of the Holy Spirit is one of the most fascinating and mysterious studies in the Word of God. But while many theologies describe the Holy Spirit and his ministries, few address the Holy Spirit’s ministry in the Last Days in particular. In this study, we will examine the Holy Spirit’s coming upon the church, signifying the Last Days, and explore what the Spirit’s ministry means for us today.

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   The Holy Spirit and the Last Days – Part 1
   Acts 2:1–21; various texts
Wednesday Evening Service,  May 25, 2016
The doctrine of the Holy Spirit is one of the most fascinating and mysterious studies in the Word of God. But while many theologies describe the Holy Spirit and his ministries, few address the Holy Spirit’s ministry in the Last Days in particular. In this study, we will examine the Holy Spirit’s coming upon the church, signifying the Last Days, and explore what the Spirit’s ministry means for us today.

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   The Hyperbolic Virtue of the Church
   1 Corinthians 13
Sunday Morning Service,  May 22, 2016
 
Prior to 1 Corinthians 13, Paul patiently teaches the Corinthians to stop being envious of one another’s spiritual gifts. Clearly and rationally he silences the church’s unrest by laying out arguments so thorough that no church member can deny that the apostle is absolutely correct. And yet, Paul adds, there is an even better way to solve this problem. Going beyond all of his rational arguments, he urges the church to practice one virtue which transcends all others, love. As Paul elaborates, we learn three essential aspects of this necessary ingredient among the Lord’s people.

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   Stirring Up Spiritual Memory – Part 3
   2 Peter 1:12-15, Ephesians 6
Sunday Morning Service,  January 31, 2016
As Peter neared the end of his ministry to the church, he was intent not to give the Lord’s people something new, but to stir their spiritual memory, or make them recall what they already had. Likewise, as my pastoral ministry at Bethany draws to a close, I would like to remind you of several essential blessings that are yours as believers in Christ.

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   What God Wants from You
   Micah 6:6-8
Sunday Morning Service,  January 24, 2016
 
Our lives are full of cycles, and often this includes the way we walk with God. Notoriously, we begin with great effort to follow the Lord and to please him in all that we do. But our fervor cools and we procrastinate and give in to indifference. We can even begin ignoring God, until the Word of God and the Spirit of God quicken our heats to repent. We then confess our sin and turn back to God with renewed promises of how much we will do for him. And the cycle begins again. In Micah 6, the speaker, representing the nation of Judah, is also in a cycle. But coming to the point when he begins to make grandiose promises to God, he receives a gentle rebuke, reminding him—and us—of the simple, uncomplicated things God requires of his children.

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   Stirring Up Spiritual Memory – Part 2b
   2 Peter 1:12-15; Romans 8:1-11
Sunday Morning Service,  January 17, 2016
As Peter neared the end of his ministry to the church, he was intent not to give the Lord’s people something new, but to stir their spiritual memory, or make them recall what they already had. Likewise, as my pastoral ministry at Bethany draws to a close, I would like to remind you of several essential blessings that are yours as believers in Christ.

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   Stirring Up Spiritual Memory – Part 2a
   2 Peter 1:12-15; Acts
Sunday Morning Service,  January 10, 2016
As Peter neared the end of his ministry to the church, he was intent not to give the Lord’s people something new, but to stir their spiritual memory, or make them recall what they already had. Likewise, as my pastoral ministry at Bethany draws to a close, I would like to remind you of several essential blessings that are yours as believers in Christ.

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   Stirring Up Spiritual Memory – Part 1
   2 Peter 1:12-15; Ephesians 2:1-10
Sunday Morning Service,  January 3, 2016
As Peter neared the end of his ministry to the church, he was intent not to give the Lord’s people something new, but to stir their spiritual memory, or make them recall what they already had. Likewise, as my pastoral ministry at Bethany draws to a close, I would like to remind you of several essential blessings that are yours as believers in Christ.

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   The Royal Titles of Christ – Part 4
   Isaiah 9:6
Sunday Morning Service,  December 27, 2015
 
Centuries before the birth of Christ, Isaiah prophesied that a Child would be given to Israel who would reign as King. In Isaiah 9:6, the prophet proclaims the royal titles of this Child, titles which convey his character and the nature of his reign. When we understand the significance of these royal titles, they call us to worship our great Savior as we stand in awe of his majesty as well as his love and grace toward us.

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   The Royal Titles of Christ – Part 3
   Isaiah 9:6
Sunday Morning Service,  December 20, 2015
 
Centuries before the birth of Christ, Isaiah prophesied that a Child would be given to Israel who would reign as King. In Isaiah 9:6, the prophet proclaims the royal titles of this Child, titles which convey his character and the nature of his reign. When we understand the significance of these royal titles, they call us to worship our great Savior as we stand in awe of his majesty as well as his love and grace toward us.

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   The Royal Titles of Christ – Part 2
   Isaiah 9:6
Sunday Morning Service,  December 13, 2015
 
Centuries before the birth of Christ, Isaiah prophesied that a Child would be given to Israel who would reign as King. In Isaiah 9:6, the prophet proclaims the royal titles of this Child, titles which convey his character and the nature of his reign. When we understand the significance of these royal titles, they call us to worship our great Savior as we stand in awe of his majesty as well as his love and grace toward us.

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   The Royal Titles of Christ – Part 1
   Isaiah 9:6
Sunday Morning Service,  December 6, 2015
 
Centuries before the birth of Christ, Isaiah prophesied that a Child would be given to Israel who would reign as King. In Isaiah 9:6, the prophet proclaims the royal titles of this Child, titles which convey his character and the nature of his reign. When we understand the significance of these royal titles, they call us to worship our great Savior as we stand in awe of his majesty as well as his love and grace toward us.

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   The Harmony of Praise
   Daniel 4
Sunday Morning Service,  November 29, 2015
 
The underlying question of Daniel 4 is, “Who rules the world?” Nebuchadnezzar, king of the mighty empire of Babylon, is confronted dramatically with the answer to this question. Ultimately, this amazing account teaches us how to live in harmony with the true King, our lives playing in tune with His melody.

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   Agreeing to Agree: Unity in the Body of Christ
   1 Corinthians 1:10
Sunday Morning Service,  November 22, 2015
 
“Tolerance,” traditionally defined, is when we “agree to disagree.” But biblical “unity” in the church, is “agreeing to agree.” Unity is not created by hiding our true motivation and understanding so that we don’t offend people. Unity takes place when we together bring our motivations and understanding under the authority of the Word of God. This understanding of the kind of oneness that we share in Christ comes home to us as we look at the message of unity in Paul’s letters, beginning with Ephesians and 1 Corinthians.

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   I Will Build My Church
   Matthew 16:18
Sunday Morning Service,  November 8, 2015
 
We are often reminded that the “church” isn’t a building. The church is made of people. However, in the words of Jesus himself, the church is a building. For he said, “I will build my church.” If it is true that we are the church, then we must endeavor to understand the nature of the church and our place in it by appreciating the metaphor of the building that Jesus left for us.

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   The Glory of Christ
   John 1:14
Sunday Morning Service,  November 1, 2015
 
In the Jewish Scriptures (our Old Testament), “glory” referred to something heavy, or weighty in significance; something that would cause a person to stand back in awe and wonder. In his Gospel, the apostle John directs our attention to the glory of Christ. What is it about Jesus Christ which caused John to declare, “We beheld his glory”?

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   When Things Get Worse
   Habakkuk 1 - 3
Sunday Morning Service,  October 25, 2015
 
We’re a culture reared on Fairy Tales. We love happy endings. And we rejoice as believers in Christ that our own, eternal story has the happiest ending of all! But before the ending, all of those characters in all of those stories did not know how their situations would turn out. In fact, oftentimes things got worse before they got better. In the real story of God’s salvation, Habakkuk finds himself in such a time. And he shows us how to live as God’s people when things get worse, by committing ourselves by faith to three decisions.

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   Mission Accomplished?
   Luke 9:23–24; 24:46–48; Acts 20:17–27; 28:17–31; 2 Timothy 4:6–8
Sunday Morning Service,  October 11, 2015
We are Jesus’ witnesses, called to carry forth his mission which he left for his followers (Luke 24:48). But how do we know when this mission is accomplished? We find an answer to this question when we look closely at Paul’s own reflection upon his ministry and service for Christ.

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   A Magnificent Gratitude
   1 Timothy 1:12–17
Sunday Morning Service,  October 4, 2015
As the apostle Paul journeyed throughout the ancient world preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, he never stopped thinking about that day when the Lord, in his abundant grace, rescued him from blind unbelief and put him into the ministry. As we come to the Table this morning, Paul’s outburst of gratitude should be ours as well, for at least three wonderful reasons.

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   Conflict in the Gentile Mission - Part 2c
   Acts 18:1 – 20:6
Sunday Morning Service,  September 27, 2015
As the Lord led Paul into new Gentile territory, there were always fresh conflicts which tempted to make the apostle fearful. But the Lord gave Paul full assurance of his divine presence with the words, “I am with you,” strongly reminiscent of God’s promise to Moses as he also took the Word of God before the Gentiles. The Lord’s presence in Paul’s ministry took the form of several wonderful provisions.

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   Conflict in the Gentile Mission - Part 2b
   Acts 18:1 – 20:6
Sunday Morning Service,  September 20, 2015
As the Lord led Paul into new Gentile territory, there were always fresh conflicts which tempted to make the apostle fearful. But the Lord gave Paul full assurance of his divine presence with the words, “I am with you,” strongly reminiscent of God’s promise to Moses as he also took the Word of God before the Gentiles. The Lord’s presence in Paul’s ministry took the form of several wonderful provisions.

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   Conflict in the Gentile Mission - Part 2a
   Acts 18:1 – 20:6
Sunday Morning Service,  September 13, 2015
As the Lord led Paul into new Gentile territory, there were always fresh conflicts which tempted to make the apostle fearful. But the Lord gave Paul full assurance of his divine presence with the words, “I am with you,” strongly reminiscent of God’s promise to Moses as he also took the Word of God before the Gentiles. The Lord’s presence in Paul’s ministry took the form of several wonderful provisions.

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   The Witness’s Discourse – Part 3
   Acts 17
Sunday Morning Service,  September 6, 2015
As Jesus’ witnesses, our task is not merely to announce the gospel, hoping that the seeds will land on good soil and bear fruit. We will be called upon to explain the gospel so that the listeners are persuaded by it (compare Luke 24:47 and Matt 28:19–20). This means that we must become better at reasoning with people about the truth of the gospel, so that they are moved by the truth. And for that lesson we will sit at the feet of the apostle Paul, observing his discourse with both Jews and Gentiles.

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   The Witness’s Discourse – Part 2
   Acts 17
Sunday Morning Service,  August 23, 2015
As Jesus’ witnesses, our task is not merely to announce the gospel, hoping that the seeds will land on good soil and bear fruit. We will be called upon to explain the gospel so that the listeners are persuaded by it (compare Luke 24:47 and Matt 28:19–20). This means that we must become better at reasoning with people about the truth of the gospel, so that they are moved by the truth. And for that lesson we will sit at the feet of the apostle Paul, observing his discourse with both Jews and Gentiles.

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   The Witness’s Discourse – Part 1
   Acts 17
Sunday Morning Service,  August 16, 2015
As Jesus’ witnesses, our task is not merely to announce the gospel, hoping that the seeds will land on good soil and bear fruit. We will be called upon to explain the gospel so that the listeners are persuaded by it (compare Luke 24:47 and Matt 28:19–20). This means that we must become better at reasoning with people about the truth of the gospel, so that they are moved by the truth. And for that lesson we will sit at the feet of the apostle Paul, observing his discourse with both Jews and Gentiles.

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   Conflict in the Gentile Mission - Part 1
   Acts 16
Sunday Morning Service,  August 9, 2015
Before his second missionary journey, Paul’s conflicts are mainly with the Jews who fight back against his preaching. But on his second and third journeys, Paul finds himself the subject of attacks within the Gentile world. When we read Acts 16 , we are encouraged by what the Lord does for his witnesses in the midst of severe persecution, as they rest with confidence in his care for them.

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   Refining the Mission – Part 3
   Acts 15:1–35
Sunday Morning Service,  August 2, 2015
After the Lord began to bring multiple Gentile believers into the church, a question arose among the Jewish Christians: Isn’t the call to embrace Christ for salvation also a call to submit to the traditions of the Mosaic Law? This major issue allowed the first-century church to refine their mission, articulating for themselves as well as for us today not only the believer’s relationship to the Law, but also the pristine message of the true gospel.

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   Refining the Mission – Part 2
   Acts 15:1–35
Sunday Morning Service,  July 26, 2015
After the Lord began to bring multiple Gentile believers into the church, a question arose among the Jewish Christians: Isn’t the call to embrace Christ for salvation also a call to submit to the traditions of the Mosaic Law? This major issue allowed the first-century church to refine their mission, articulating for themselves as well as for us today not only the believer’s relationship to the Law, but also the pristine message of the true gospel.

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   Refining the Mission – Part 1
   Acts 15:1–35
Sunday Morning Service,  July 12, 2015
After the Lord began to bring multiple Gentile believers into the church, a question arose among the Jewish Christians: Isn’t the call to embrace Christ for salvation also a call to submit to the traditions of the Mosaic Law? This major issue allowed the first-century church to refine their mission, articulating for themselves as well as for us today not only the believer’s relationship to the Law, but also the pristine message of the true gospel.

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   Jesus’ Mission through Adversity
   Acts 11:19–15:41
Sunday Morning Service,  June 28, 2015
When difficult or traumatic things happen to us in ministry, we are tempted to think that they are a hindrance to the advancement of the gospel. But what we learn from Paul’s ministry in Acts is that the Lord continually uses adversity to advance his mission. In fact, we would not see Jesus’ mission through Paul unfolding in the same way apart from the hardships and challenges Paul faced. This understanding of how the Lord works through adversity is essential for us as his witnesses.

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   My Hope Is in the Lord
   Psalm 46
Sunday Morning Service,  June 21, 2015
 
Genuine, unshaken confidence occurs not when we place our hope in God and something else or someone else, but when we hope in God alone. That’s the message of Psalm 46, encouraging us to cling to God alone as our refuge and strength.

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   Jesus Advances His Mission
   Acts 12:1–24
Sunday Morning Service,  June 14, 2015
Throughout the book of Acts, Luke posts brief updates on the progress of Jesus’ mission, as his witnesses take the gospel from Jerusalem, to Judea and Samaria, and unto the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8; see 2:47; 5:14; 6:7; 8:4; 9:31; 11:24; 19:20). Remarkably, this advancement goes forward despite vicious attacks against the believers; for the Lord himself is building his church. Acts 12 is a perfect example of Jesus’ advancing his mission, unthwarted by the opposition of the enemy, giving us, his witnesses today, exceptional confidence in the face of mounting resistance.

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   The Real Actors in Acts
   Acts 1:1–14
Sunday Morning Service,  June 7, 2015
The traditional title for Luke’s second volume is, “The Acts of the Apostles.” But a closer look at the book reveals the identities of the real Actors. Who are they, and how does their ministry impact our understanding of the New Testament church?

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   Facing Persecution as Jesus’ Witnesses – Part 2
   Acts 4:23–31
Sunday Morning Service,  May 31, 2015
As the mission of Jesus advances in the book of Acts we note the growing persecution of Jesus’ witnesses. Today we have all contemplated the growing threat of persecution for believers and wondered how we would respond if our lives or our families were threatened on account of our testimony for Christ. This text directly answers this question by assuring us of the divine resources we can rely on when we must suffer on behalf of Christ.

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   Facing Persecution as Jesus’ Witnesses – Part 1
   Acts 4:23–31
Sunday Morning Service,  May 24, 2015
As the mission of Jesus advances in the book of Acts we note the growing persecution of Jesus’ witnesses. Today we have all contemplated the growing threat of persecution for believers and wondered how we would respond if our lives or our families were threatened on account of our testimony for Christ. This text directly answers this question by assuring us of the divine resources we can rely on when we must suffer on behalf of Christ.

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   The Quieted Soul
   Psalm 131
Sunday Morning Service,  May 10, 2015
 
When the psalmist desires to paint a picture of the child of God at peace, he likens the soul to a weaned child, resting in complete contentment with his mother. In this psalm, God is calling us to lay aside our arrogant spirit and restless ambitions, and to repose with absolute confidence in him.

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   The Witness’s Central Subject
   Acts 3
Sunday Morning Service,  May 3, 2015
Most of us have favorite subjects of conversation we can go on and on about. But in order to carry on the mission of Jesus as his witnesses, our central subject must be the name of the one who called us. As we read through this remarkable account in Acts 3, we are encouraged by two of Jesus’ earliest witnesses as they continually point their listeners to him.

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   Introducing John's Epistles
   1 John 1:1-4; 5:13
Sunday School,  May 3, 2015
John says that he writes his first epistle to those who believe in Jesus, "that you may know that you have eternal life" (1 John 5:13). But John's epistle is far more than a test for genuine salvation. In this introduction to John's first epistle, we observe John's concern for the transmission of apostolic doctrine to subsequent generations of believers in the church. We also note that, because of the attacks of false teachers, John's purpose that we may "know" we have eternal life is also that we may discern whether others have it as well. We will note the date, author, provenance, and general backdrop of the letter, with special attention given to the first four verses.

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   Spirit-Empowered Witnesses – Part 2
   Acts 2:37-7
Sunday Morning Service,  April 26, 2015
What transformed the disciples of Jesus from timid and unsure followers into confident and powerful witnesses to his death and resurrection? The same thing that empowered Jesus at the beginning of his own ministry (Luke 4): the coming of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus pours out the Holy Spirit upon his witnesses, a Spirit-empowered, dynamic community of—his church!—is born. Luke’s description of this first church in Jerusalem challenges us to examine our own congregation for these marks of the Holy Spirit in our midst.

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   With Jesus by the Sea: Peter's Re-Commissioning - Part 2
   John 21:15-25
Sunday School,  April 26, 2015
Having introduced this text and its background in Part 1, this part focuses on three ideas which John uses to close his Gospel: (1) the conversation Jesus has with Peter after Peter has denied the Lord three times; (2) the resolution of the competition in the Gospel between Peter and John; and (3) the exaltation of Jesus. Jesus' challenge to Peter is reminiscent of his call for his disciples to "take up the cross" and follow him (cf. Matt 16:24). Looking back over the entire Gospel, John begins with the exaltation of the eternal divine Word, and ends by putting it in our minds that the Person and truth and actions of the Son of God can go on for eternity. The Gospel of John, with all of its profound observations about Jesus of Nazareth, is but a tiny snapshot of all that we could know about him.

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   Spirit-Empowered Witnesses – Part 1
   Acts 2:37-7
Sunday Morning Service,  April 19, 2015
What transformed the disciples of Jesus from timid and unsure followers into confident and powerful witnesses to his death and resurrection? The same thing that empowered Jesus at the beginning of his own ministry (Luke 4): the coming of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus pours out the Holy Spirit upon his witnesses, a Spirit-empowered, dynamic community of—his church!—is born. Luke’s description of this first church in Jerusalem challenges us to examine our own congregation for these marks of the Holy Spirit in our midst.

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   With Jesus by the Sea: Peter's Re-Commissioning - Part 1
   John 21:15-25
Sunday School,  April 19, 2015
In this last section of John's Gospel, John brings specific events to a climax and finishes the Gospel with an exaltation of the Person of Jesus. Part 1 of this lesson reviews the structure and message of the entire Gospel. The remainder of the time is spent on the structure and Greek text of John 21:15-25, with special attention given to the well-known observation that Jesus uses different Greek words for "love."

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   The Crux of Jesus’ Mission - Part 2
   Luke 13:31-35
Sunday Morning Service,  April 5, 2015
His death for sin and His resurrection were the crux of Jesus’ mission. These events were the fixed point in time that Jesus moved toward for His whole ministry, especially on His journey to Jerusalem where He would declare Himself to be king. As we follow Jesus on this journey to the cross and beyond, we realize that there are several reasons His mission was so urgent to Him.

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   The Crux of Jesus’ Mission - Part 1
   Luke 13:31-35
Sunday Morning Service,  March 29, 2015
His death for sin and His resurrection were the crux of Jesus’ mission. These events were the fixed point in time that Jesus moved toward for His whole ministry, especially on His journey to Jerusalem where He would declare Himself to be king. As we follow Jesus on this journey to the cross and beyond, we realize that there are several reasons His mission was so urgent to Him.

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   Believing in the Fourth Gospel
   John 3:16, 20:30-31
Sunday School,  March 22, 2015
One of the most important words in John’s Gospel is the word “believe.” Not only does the verb “believe” occur more frequently in John than any other New Testament book, but in fact the author’s very purpose for writing his Gospel is that his readers may “believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (John 20:31). In this lesson we will take a closer look at John’s use of this essential word, examining four aspects of the verb “believe” in John: (1) The Language of Belief in John’s Gospel, (2) Belief and John’s Seven Signs, (3) Belief and the Twelve Disciples, and (4) The Significance of Believing.

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   The New Testament Idea of Repentance - Part 2
   Luke 24:45-48; Acts 2:38; 3:17-21; 11:1-18; 17:22-31; 20:17-21; 2 Corinthians 12;21; 2 Peter 3:9; Revelation 2-3
Wednesday Evening Service,  March 18, 2015
 
In Part 1, we saw that “repentance” is expressed by three different words in the New Testament, and that those words carry the idea of turning or returning, regretting, and changing one’s mind. In Part 2 we continue our study of the word “repentance” by looking specifically at the use of metanoia—or, a change of mind—in the New Testament. Then we will draw some conclusions based on our observations of this word in its various contexts.

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   Gentiles at the Table
   Luke 13:22 - 14:24
Sunday Morning Service,  March 15, 2015
As Jesus makes his way to Jerusalem and his impending death, Luke notes the growing rejection of Jesus by the Jews, his own people whom he came to save. In response, Jesus speaks of a coming day that seemed unthinkable to them at the time—a day when Gentiles would enjoy table fellowship alongside the Jews in the kingdom—while warning that unbelieving Jews would be shut out. This lengthy section of Luke’s Gospel, centered around a Sabbath meal that Jesus shares with the Pharisees, proclaims three remarkable aspects of Jesus’ ultimate mission.

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   The New Testament Idea of Repentance – Part 1
   Acts 15:19; 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10; James 5:19-20; 2 Corinthians 7:5-11
Wednesday Evening Service,  March 11, 2015
 
“Repent!” is the first sermon ever preached in the New Testament, for John the Baptist and Jesus himself came preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (e.g., Mark 1:4, 15; Matt 3:2, 8; 4:17; Luke 3:3; 5:32). But there is sometimes confusion about this idea of repentance, especially regarding its place in the gospel and in the Christian's daily walk. Therefore, I hope to look at the meaning of this word, “repent,” how the word is used in the New Testament, and what it means for us today as we witness and walk with Christ.

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   Jesus Challenges His Witnesses – Part 2
   Luke 9:18-26, 57-62
Sunday Morning Service,  March 8, 2015
In our study of Jesus’ mission in Luke-Acts, we have seen Jesus prepare his witnesses (Luke 8) and commission his witnesses (Luke 9 and 10). But now Jesus challenges his witnesses by showing them the full meaning of what coming after him is all about. For being Jesus’ witness is not only about knowing Jesus’ power and blessing. Being his witness is also about a profound commitment. Jesus’ words in these two texts answer three questions that all his witnesses must ask.

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   Jesus Challenges His Witnesses – Part 1
   Luke 9:18-26, 57-62
Sunday Morning Service,  March 1, 2015
In our study of Jesus’ mission in Luke-Acts, we have seen Jesus prepare his witnesses (Luke 8) and commission his witnesses (Luke 9 and 10). But now Jesus challenges his witnesses by showing them the full meaning of what coming after him is all about. For being Jesus’ witness is not only about knowing Jesus’ power and blessing. Being his witness is also about a profound commitment. Jesus’ words in these two texts answer three questions that all his witnesses must ask.

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   Jesus Commissions His Witnesses, Phase 1 - Part 3
   Luke 9:1–6; 10:1–20
Sunday Morning Service,  February 8, 2015
Having chosen and prepared his apostles and disciples to be his witnesses (Luke 5–8), Jesus now commissions them for Phase 1 of their missionary journey. While much of Jesus’ instruction is specific to this occasion, there are several principles that Jesus begins to unveil in this commissioning which continue to guide us in our mission today.

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   Jesus Commissions His Witnesses, Phase 1 - Part 2
   Luke 9:1–6; 10:1–20
Sunday Morning Service,  February 1, 2015
Having chosen and prepared his apostles and disciples to be his witnesses (Luke 5–8), Jesus now commissions them for Phase 1 of their missionary journey. While much of Jesus’ instruction is specific to this occasion, there are several principles that Jesus begins to unveil in this commissioning which continue to guide us in our mission today.

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   Jesus Commissions His Witnesses, Phase 1 - Part 1
   Luke 9:1–6; 10:1–20
Sunday Morning Service,  January 25, 2015
Having chosen and prepared his apostles and disciples to be his witnesses (Luke 5–8), Jesus now commissions them for Phase 1 of their missionary journey. While much of Jesus’ instruction is specific to this occasion, there are several principles that Jesus begins to unveil in this commissioning which continue to guide us in our mission today.

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   Jesus Prepares His Witnesses – Part 2
   Luke 8:1–56
Sunday Morning Service,  January 11, 2015
Before sending forth his witnesses on their own (Luke 9:1–6; 10:1–12), Jesus takes them along on his own ministry journey, preparing their hearts and minds for mission. The lessons they learn about proclaiming and hearing and about the power of Jesus are still vital for us today as we also prepare to be his witnesses.

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   Jesus Prepares His Witnesses – Part 1
   Luke 8:1–56
Sunday Morning Service,  January 4, 2015
Before sending forth his witnesses on their own (Luke 9:1–6; 10:1–12), Jesus takes them along on his own ministry journey, preparing their hearts and minds for mission. The lessons they learn about proclaiming and hearing and about the power of Jesus are still vital for us today as we also prepare to be his witnesses.

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   The Glory of Christ in the Gospel of John
   John 1:14; 2:11; 7:39; 12:12-16
Sunday School,  January 4, 2015
The apostle Paul speaks of Jesus and his high exaltation (Phil 2:9), and we imagine Jesus in his glorified body at the Father's right hand. Yet in his Gospel, the apostle John declares, "We beheld his glory," and connects the glory of Jesus—the same same glorious manifestation we see in the OT—with his humiliating death on a Roman cross. The ironic glorification of Jesus is anticipated in the first half of John, The Book of Signs (Chs. 1-12) and is brought to reality in the second half of John, The Book of Exaltation (Chs. 13-20).

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   An Unprecedented Coming – Part 3
   Galatians 4:1–7
Sunday Morning Service,  December 28, 2014
 
The “fullness of the time” in Gal 4:4 is the fulcrum, or turning point in all of salvation history; for it brought to fulfillment to plan of God the Father to rescue lost humanity. And in the center of God’s plan stands Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is qualified by three unprecedented realities.

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   An Unprecedented Coming – Part 2
   Galatians 4:1–7
Sunday Morning Service,  December 21, 2014
 
The “fullness of the time” in Gal 4:4 is the fulcrum, or turning point in all of salvation history; for it brought to fulfillment to plan of God the Father to rescue lost humanity. And in the center of God’s plan stands Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is qualified by three unprecedented realities.

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   An Unimaginable Exchange
   2 Corinthians 8:9
Sunday Morning Service,  December 14, 2014
 
The gospel makes a stunning claim. The transcendent Creator of the universe made himself low in order to exalt those who place their faith in him to heights of glory. As Paul expresses it in 2 Cor 8:9, Jesus Christ impoverished himself in order that we might be made rich. This verse focuses our attention on at least three remarkable aspects of this unimaginable exchange.

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   An Unprecedented Coming
   Galatians 4:1–5
Sunday Morning Service,  December 7, 2014
 
The “fullness of the time” in Gal 4:4 is the fulcrum, or turning point in all of salvation history; for it brought to fulfillment to plan of God the Father to rescue lost humanity. And in the center of God’s plan stands Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is qualified by three unprecedented realities.

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   A Sacrifice of Praise
   Hebrews 13:15
Sunday Morning Service,  November 30, 2014
 
When we consider giving thanks to God, there are several words that may come to mind, such as praise, worship, and sing. We probably do not think of the word sacrifice. Yet this is precisely the word the writer of Hebrews uses when he calls upon us to “offer up a sacrifice of praise to God.” Why does he use the expression sacrifice of praise? And how do we obey this call as we walk with the Lord?

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   The Authentic Gospel – Part 2
   1 Corinthians 15:1-8
Sunday Morning Service,  November 9, 2014
 
Ideas tend to change the further they drift from their original source—like the ripples in a pond that grow fainter the farther they travel from where the stone was thrown. So when it comes to eternal truth we must continually revisit the source, lest our recollection of the truth fade or warp over time. For this reason, it is essential that we revisit the gospel of Christ.

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   The Authentic Gospel – Part 1
   1 Corinthians 15:1-8
Sunday Morning Service,  November 2, 2014
 
Ideas tend to change the further they drift from their original source—like the ripples in a pond that grow fainter the farther they travel from where the stone was thrown. So when it comes to eternal truth we must continually revisit the source, lest our recollection of the truth fade or warp over time. For this reason, it is essential that we revisit the gospel of Christ.

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   Fishing with Jesus
   Luke 5:1-11
Sunday Morning Service,  October 26, 2014
Peter, James, and John had already been called by Jesus to be “fishers of men” (Matt 5:19; Mark 1:17). But on this occasion Jesus opens their eyes to see what it actually means to “fish” with him. As Peter demonstrates, when we are called to fish with Jesus we must respond in at least three ways.

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   Jesus’ Mission Program – Part 4
   Luke 4:16-21
Sunday Morning Service,  October 19, 2014
In the synagogue of his hometown of Nazareth, Jesus launches his public ministry by declaring his mission: to rescue hopelessly defeated outsiders by offering them genuine release from their situation—for the ultimate Jubilee has come! Jesus was sent by the Father and anointed by the Holy Spirit to fulfill the mission detailed in Isaiah 61:1–2a, seeking to save four specific kinds of desperate people.

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   Jesus’ Mission Program – Part 3
   Luke 4:16-21
Sunday Morning Service,  October 12, 2014
In the synagogue of his hometown of Nazareth, Jesus launches his public ministry by declaring his mission: to rescue hopelessly defeated outsiders by offering them genuine release from their situation—for the ultimate Jubilee has come! Jesus was sent by the Father and anointed by the Holy Spirit to fulfill the mission detailed in Isaiah 61:1–2a, seeking to save four specific kinds of desperate people.

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   Jesus’ Mission Program – Part 2
   Luke 4:16-21
Sunday Morning Service,  October 5, 2014
In the synagogue of his hometown of Nazareth, Jesus launches his public ministry by declaring his mission: to rescue hopelessly defeated outsiders by offering them genuine release from their situation—for the ultimate Jubilee has come! Jesus was sent by the Father and anointed by the Holy Spirit to fulfill the mission detailed in Isaiah 61:1–2a, seeking to save four specific kinds of desperate people.

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   Jesus’ Mission Program – Part 1
   Luke 4:16-21
Sunday Morning Service,  September 28, 2014
In the synagogue of his hometown of Nazareth, Jesus launches his public ministry by declaring his mission: to rescue hopelessly defeated outsiders by offering them genuine release from their situation—for the ultimate Jubilee has come! Jesus was sent by the Father and anointed by the Holy Spirit to fulfill the mission detailed in Isaiah 61:1–2a, seeking to save four specific kinds of desperate people.

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   The Summons for Witnesses – Part 2
   Luke 24:48; Act 1:8
Sunday Morning Service,  September 21, 2014
The Lord Jesus, who came to earth with a mission to rescue lost humanity, calls upon his followers to be the vehicle through which he continues that mission today. This call is presented as a summons to be his witnesses. What does it mean to be a witness for Jesus?

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   The Summons for Witnesses – Part 1
   Luke 24:48; Act 1:8
Sunday Morning Service,  September 14, 2014
The Lord Jesus, who came to earth with a mission to rescue lost humanity, calls upon his followers to be the vehicle through which he continues that mission today. This call is presented as a summons to be his witnesses. What does it mean to be a witness for Jesus?

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   The Fearful Presence of the Lord
   Psalm 114
Sunday Morning Service,  September 7, 2014
 
In Psalm 114 the author calls upon God’s people to stand in utter awe at God’s mighty power and control; not by calling his people themselves to amazement, but by calling upon the earth to tremble at his presence. True praise to God from his people happens when we acknowledge who he is and respond with a “glad fear” that is appropriate for the God of glory who loves us.

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   Who Is Like the Lord? - Part 2
   Psalm 113
Sunday Morning Service,  August 31, 2014
 
This first of the “Egyptian Hallel” or Praise Psalms confronts us with a profound question: “Who is like the Lord our God?” (v. 5). In other words, this psalm calls us to praise the Lord because there is no answer for that question. Our God is incomparable. This psalm celebrates why God is incomparable, and instructs us how we should approach him.

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   Who Is Like the Lord? - Part 1
   Psalm 113
Sunday Morning Service,  August 24, 2014
 
This first of the “Egyptian Hallel” or Praise Psalms confronts us with a profound question: “Who is like the Lord our God?” (v. 5). In other words, this psalm calls us to praise the Lord because there is no answer for that question. Our God is incomparable. This psalm celebrates why God is incomparable, and instructs us how we should approach him.

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   Thankfulness Worthy of God
   Psalm 116
Sunday Morning Service,  August 17, 2014
 
You may have once said, “Words cannot express my appreciation.” Or, “This gift is only a token of my thankfulness.” Sometimes what we are able to say or give cannot possibly match the sheer gratitude we feel. This is the author’s dilemma in Psalm 116: “What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me?” For how can our feeble gifts to God ever be worthy of his profound blessings to us? Yet, as the psalm unfolds we learn that our expressions of thanks to God are appropriate when they are marked by at least three qualities which come from the heart.

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   A Contrast of Shepherds – Part 3
   John 9 - 10; Ezekiel 34; Psalm 23
Sunday School,  August 10, 2014
A significant backdrop for John 9 and 10 is found in Ezekiel 34. There the prophet declares judgment against the wicked shepherds (leaders) of Israel who neglect and take advantage of the flock (God’s people). God promises that he himself will one day come to lead and care for his sheep. In John 9, Jesus, acting as the Good Shepherd, heals, seeks, and cares for one of his sheep, while the religious leaders abuse him and excommunicate him. In John 10, Jesus makes his identity as the Good Shepherd explicit, again in contrast with the wicked shepherds who would not receive him. These two chapters help us to understand the profound care our Good Shepherd offers us as his sheep, and challenge us to follow him as we should.

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   A Contrast of Shepherds – Part 2
   John 9 - 10; Ezekiel 34; Psalm 23
Sunday School,  August 3, 2014
A significant backdrop for John 9 and 10 is found in Ezekiel 34. There the prophet declares judgment against the wicked shepherds (leaders) of Israel who neglect and take advantage of the flock (God’s people). God promises that he himself will one day come to lead and care for his sheep. In John 9, Jesus, acting as the Good Shepherd, heals, seeks, and cares for one of his sheep, while the religious leaders abuse him and excommunicate him. In John 10, Jesus makes his identity as the Good Shepherd explicit, again in contrast with the wicked shepherds who would not receive him. These two chapters help us to understand the profound care our Good Shepherd offers us as his sheep, and challenge us to follow him as we should.

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   A Prayer for Perfection
   Hebrews 13:20–21
Sunday Morning Service,  July 27, 2014
The author of Hebrews punctuates this marvelous letter of exhortation with an earnest prayer that God would bless his people with all of the benefits provided for them through the Son. In short, the author prays: “May the God of peace who raised Jesus make you perfect through Jesus!” In this great benediction we recognize two essential components that are necessary for us to have the eternal, life-giving blessings that come through knowing the Lord Jesus.

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   A Contrast of Shepherds – Part 1
   John 9 - 10; Ezekiel 34; Psalm 23
Sunday School,  July 27, 2014
A significant backdrop for John 9 and 10 is found in Ezekiel 34. There the prophet declares judgment against the wicked shepherds (leaders) of Israel who neglect and take advantage of the flock (God’s people). God promises that he himself will one day come to lead and care for his sheep. In John 9, Jesus, acting as the Good Shepherd, heals, seeks, and cares for one of his sheep, while the religious leaders abuse him and excommunicate him. In John 10, Jesus makes his identity as the Good Shepherd explicit, again in contrast with the wicked shepherds who would not receive him. These two chapters help us to understand the profound care our Good Shepherd offers us as his sheep, and challenge us to follow him as we should.

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Bethany Bible Church • 207 Chadwick Ave • Hendersonville, NC