Michael’s Sermons

 

Before I Formed You, I Knew You (Jeremiah)

August 2, 2020 Jeremiah was a PK, a priest’s kid. He grew up watching his father Hilkiah perform all the priestly duties at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin.    As the son of a priest, Jeremiah was used to seeing people bring their sacrificial offerings out of a sense of duty and obligation only to return home with no apparent change in their hearts or lifestyle.   Because he was born into a priestly family, he was expected to become a priest. What Jeremiah did not expect was for God to call him to be a prophet, a much different role.  Jeremiah left the Benjamin territory and directed his message to those in Jerusalem, Judah, and the surrounding areas.   Typically, what Jeremiah had to say as a prophet wasn’t well received. Such is the life of a prophet. For Jeremiah, his words would eventually result in his exile and his death. Jeremiah’s call is unique and select: “The word of the Lord came to (Jeremiah) saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (1:5) Jeremiah understood that God had a purpose for his life even before he was conceived. He believed he had a calling from God to fulfill.   Much like the Apostle Paul 700 years later, Jeremiah believed that his life was not his own and that he must be obedient to God’s calling, even though he felt inadequate for the task. God assured him that he would give him the words to say. Jeremiah said that God...

The Coming of the Suffering Servant

Isaiah 40-66 July 26, 2020 The Coming of the Suffering Servant Last week I introduced you to the prophet Isaiah in our journey through the Bible. Even though Isaiah is only one book in our Protestant Bible, scholars divide Isaiah up into two sections: 1 Isaiah, chapters 1-39 and 2 Isaiah, chapters 40-66. An easy way to remember that is that there are 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. That’s how the book breaks apart. Today we look at 2 Isaiah, chapters 40-66. As a review, Isaiah was a prophet that lived during the reigns of Kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. All of these were kings of Judah, the Southern Kingdom of Israel, where the capital of Jerusalem was located. During the reign of Solomon’s son Rehoboam in 922 B.C., Israel split into two separate groups. Only the tribes of Benjamin and Judah stayed together to form the Southern Kingdom. The other ten tribes of Israel rebelled under Jeroboam’s leadership and became the Northern Kingdom of Israel. During the time that Isaiah was prophesying to the Southern Kingdom of Judah, the Assyrians destroyed the Northern Kingdom. They carried the best and brightest of their people away into exile. The people lost their culture and their identity. So, the Northern Kingdom’s exile serves as a backdrop and a wake-up call for Judah, which Isaiah used to his advantage. It was like, “O.K., you see what happens when you continue to refuse to follow God and obey His laws.” He told the people of Judah that something similar would happen to them if they...

Reasoning With God

Reasoning With God July 19, 2020 First Isaiah Chapters 1-39 As Christians, we read the Old Testament in light of the New Testament and the New Testament in light of the Old. To fully appreciate the coming of Jesus Christ as the Messiah, as God’s gift to humanity to save us from our sins, we need to know the story of God’s journey with us from the beginning. We need to see how that journey culminated with the announcement made by the angel Gabriel with Mary, that she was going to give birth to the Savior of the world. As we read the words of Isaiah, keep in mind that they are quoted by Jesus more than any other Old Testament writer. Clearly, Jesus saw Isaiah’s words as having a significant place in his ministry and some of them as being written about his life. We are faced with the same challenge, to read the words of Isaiah and understand what they meant when they were written and how they were interpreted during the days of Jesus. We also want to know, “What do these words mean for our current journey?” One of the beautiful things about scripture is that it is not time-bound. To use terminology from Hebrews 4:12, it is “alive and active.” That means that what was written thousands of years ago can have fresh meaning and application for us in our time and place. We have situations, problems, and scenarios that did not exist in the 6th century B.C. However, God’s ancient word can give direction to our modern-day situations. Because scripture is living and...

Grace in the Exile

July 12, 2020 I and 2 Kings Grace in the Exile In our journey through the Bible,  we have come to the books of 1 and 2 Kings.  These books are one scroll in the Hebrew Bible.  While the scroll is divided as 1 and 2 Kings in our Bible, I’m only going to preach one sermon on these two books. Americans don’t have much experience with kings.  But thanks to our Mother Country, England, we have some understanding of the monarchy. While we may look upon the Royal family in England with favor now, we still have a bad taste in our mouths from the beginning of our country’s history. Those that came to this land in search of freedom saw the monarchy as the rule of law that reached too far and sought too much of their freedom. The monarchy had left a boot imprint upon their chests.  Once those pilgrims tasted freedom, they were prepared to fight to keep it. That’s what they did when the Redcoats arrived from England and tried to force King George III’s will upon the settlers.  Eventually, the American Revolution was born, and freedom was won. When the nation of Israel was born through God’s miraculous acts, Moses won the freedom of the people from an oppressive Pharaoh who had enslaved them for 400 years. After Joshua led them into the Promised land, the nation of Israel understood and acknowledged that God was their leader. Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was their God.  He was their King.  Israel was to follow no one else. However, other nations had kings. ...

King of Kings and Lord of Lords

2 Samuel  July 5, 2020 In the Hebrew Bible, Samuel is just one scroll. In our Bible, we have the books broken up into 1 and 2 Samuel. Before I teach on 2 Samuel today, let’s do a review of 1 Samuel.   The three main characters are Samuel, Saul, and David.   Samuel is the last of the judges and the first in a long line of prophets.   The leaders of the tribes of Israel went to Samuel and asked him to appoint a king like other nations because he was getting old, and his sons didn’t follow in his ways.   Samuel was disappointed to hear this request because God was Israel’s king. They didn’t need a leader like everyone else. But when Samuel prayed about this, God told him to give them a king. They were rejecting God and not Samuel.    Samuel warned them that if he appointed a king for them, they could expect the king to abuse them. He painted a gloomy picture, but they still asked for a king.  Samuel gave them what they asked for, a king like the other nations. His name was Saul. He was impressive in stature, handsome, and the people were pleased with his choice.  Saul remained king for 40 years, but the people suffered under his leadership. Sometimes you get what you ask for, and experience the consequences for choosing show over substance. That turned out to be the case with Saul. Saul looked the part, but he didn’t know how to lead. Saul turned out to be a failure. His arrogant leadership disappointed God, too. Eventually, God rejected...

Build Your House on the Rock

June 28 Last year when we were tasked with finding a new children’s minister, our personnel committee did some interviews but could not find the right person for the job. Meanwhile, Alison Lambrechts and Brinna Gamblin were doing a great job and convinced us that they felt called to continue the work as a team. With their educational backgrounds and experience with children, they had ample qualifications, and they had life experience as parents. It’s been almost a year since they took over the job and what they are doing is remarkable.  They have just conducted the first-ever virtual Vacation Bible School at our church!  That wasn’t something anyone saw coming but they adapted and made it happen.  Because of their hard work over 100 children were able to learn about Jesus in their homes this week! I also want to thank Hugo Lambrechts and Stewart Gamblin for helping their spouses with some of the work. I also want to thank every parent that has taken the time to help your child with their crafts, Bible lessons, videos, and songs. Children, we thank you for taking the time this week to learn about Jesus. This year’s Vacation Bible School theme is Concrete and Cranes.  Obviously, t’s a builder’s theme. I think most people know that Jesus was a carpenter. We are told that in Mark’s gospel, chapter 6. The Greek word that is translated “carpenter” is the word “tekton.” A tekton is more like a construction worker, a builder, or a craftsman. (https://www.quora.com/What-kind-of-carpentry-tools-and-techniques-would-Jesus-have-access-to-would-they-be-similar-to-Japanese-tools-for-manual-woodworking) However, Jesus was not a carpenter in the way you might think. If you were to...

Be Careful What You Wish For

As we journey through the Bible, I want to give you a brief overview of where we have traveled so far. We began with the Torah or the Law. Another name for the first five books of the Hebrew Bible is the Pentateuch. Torah (Law) Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy The next section of the Hebrew Bible is called the Nevi’im, or Prophets. So far, I have preached on the books of Joshua and Judges. Today, I will preach on Samuel. Nevi’im (Prophets) (Former) Joshua Judges Samuel Kings (Later) Isaiah Jeremiah Ezekiel Notice a few things about the books listed above.  These are the books as listed in the Hebrew Bible.  In our Bible, Ruth comes after the Book of Judges, but not in the Hebrew Bible. Ruth is in a different section. Ruth is in the K’tuvim or writings section, along with books like Job, Psalms, and Proverbs. I’m going to preach the books the way they are ordered in the Hebrew Bible. The Old Testament will make better sense this way. For example, when we get to the end of the Hebrew Bible, you will discover that it makes more sense for Chronicles to be at the end of the Bible instead of where it is in our Bible, but you will have to wait several months to discover why that is true. Lastly, I want you to notice that Samuel is only one book or scroll in the Hebrew Bible.  It’s the same way with Kings. Samuel is divided into two books in our Protestant Bible, so I will preach two separate sermons on Samuel. To...

Are We Living in the Time of the Judges?

June 7, 2020 The Bible is the story of how God made us, lost us to sin, and worked to reclaim us throughout history, through priests, kings, and prophets, and ultimately through his son Jesus, who was a prophet, priest, and king. The first five books of the Bible tell the story of how a nation of Hebrew people came into being, existing first as slaves under Pharaoh until God heard their pleas for help. God then raised a leader named Moses to bring them out of slavery. These Hebrews or Jews became God’s chosen people. God chose them to be a kingdom of priests to the nations. God wanted these people to represent Him to other nations so that all people would know of His love. However, these people did not keep God’s commandments.   They spent 40 years in the wilderness for failing to obey God. Moses died there and never set foot in the promised land. He left Joshua in charge of finishing the job he was unable to complete. Joshua led them across the Jordan River into the promised land. It took twenty-seven years for them to conquer the land. Joshua was at the end of his life. He was concerned about the future of the Israelites. The best he could do was challenge them with a parting speech. “Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this...

As For Me and My House (Joshua)

May 31, 2020 Today in our walk through the Bible, we have come to the book of Joshua.   This is the first book in the Bible named after a person. Who was this man Joshua? Joshua was born a slave under Pharaoh in Egypt. His parents gave him the name Hoshea, which means “salvation.” After four hundred years of enslavement, this child’s parents had not given up hope that one day they would be free people. With the naming of their child, perhaps his parents were saying that they had not given up hope that God would save them or that their son might be used to save them. But in the beginning, Hoshea was just a slave like everyone else. He was almost 40-years-old when God’s power showed up in full display in a man named Moses, who came from the desert to win their freedom.   Moses was twice his age. Moses spent the first 40 years of his life as a Hebrew in the Egyptian courts of Pharaoh. Pharaoh’s daughter rescued him as a baby from the Nile. Then he spent the next 40 years as a shepherd in the desert. He went there after he killed an Egyptian who was abusing another Hebrew slave.   At age 80, God came to Moses in the wilderness in a burning bush and gave him instructions to go back to Egypt to win the Hebrew people’s release. The Hebrew slaves witnessed God do his work through natural disasters called plagues, which Moses predicted. The final plague was the death of every firstborn who did not trust God by applying blood...