Passage: Hebrews 11:1–7 Theme: Faith in an Age of Cultural Chaos Faith Defined (11:1–2): • Possession of assurance or the title deed to what we hope to attain in God’s kingdom • Proof or Decisive evidence of divine realities, especially the things to come Faith Exemplified (11:3–7): • The Creation of the Universe (3): God’s word remains the ultimate power in the universe • Abel’s Sacrifice: God renders the ultimate verdict • Enoch’s Walk: God rewards those who please him • Noah’s Ark: God saves those who renounce worldly opinion to obey his word. Thrust of this passage: God requires that we trust him at his word by ordering our lives according to his realities no matter what the world may say or do to us. Application Questions: 1. What are the elements of the definition of faith found in Hebrews 11:1? What elements are missing from the typical NT definition of faith? Is it adequate to use this definition as the definition of faith? 2. What seems backwards in this definition of faith (hint: think about the ideas of evidence and proof)? Although there may seem to be backward logical in this definition, why can it still be said that divine reality produces human faith? How have you seen this worked out in your own faith experience? 3. What does 11:6 teach us about faith? How does this challenge the wisdom of our age? What does the last clause of v. 6 add to our understanding of faith? 4. What lessons do we learn from examples of faith that the author provides in vv. 3, 4, 5, and 7? How can we apply these to our lives today?
July 14, 2019
July 14, 2019 • Pastor Phil Burggraff • Faith in an Age of Cultural Chaos
October 6, 2019
Genesis 2:25-3:13 • October 6, 2019 • Pastor Josh Kee
Theme: Issues—Shame Passage: Genesis 2:25-3:13 What is shame? • A general sense of unworthiness attached to one’s core identity • Failing to measure up to a standard of honor Where does shame come from? (Genesis 2:25-3:13) • The Fall • However, some of our shame, perhaps much of our shame, comes from faulty standards of honor that we fail to measure up to (Mary Willson) o Q: Before whose eyes are we failing to measure up? 2 Kinds of Shame (from John Piper, Future Grace) • “Well-placed shame” – guilt; gift of God to lead to repentance • “Misplaced shame” – guilt that lingers too long and denies the gospel of grace; tool of evil to rob believers of joy, hope, and peace 3 Sources of Shame (from Peter Krohl) • Sin we commit – should produce guilt that leads to repentance, forgiveness, rejoicing • Sin committed against us • God’s purposes (innate struggles, weaknesses, physical limitations, etc.) Shame’s effects (Genesis 3:7-13) • Fear and hiding/ isolation (from God, ourselves, and others) • Blaming others • Divided internally, relationally, societally, nationally God’s solution to our shame (Genesis 3:21; 2 Corinthians 5:21) • "Everything Scripture says about shame converges in Jesus. From his birth to his crucifixion, the shame of the world was distilled to its most concentrated form and washed over him. . . .Jesus identified with us in our shame so we would identify with him in his grace. Shame is overcome in the honor Christ obtained for us through his identification with our shame and sin on the cross." (Ed Welch, Shame Interrupted) • Hebrews 12:1-2 - "…looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame…" Main Idea: Shame can only be truly dealt with by the gospel because only in the gospel is our guilt put onto another, judged to the fullest extent, then forgiven in grace and justice so that the sinner can be justified (declared righteous before God) and thereby welcomed into intimate relationship with God, and others, never again to face rejection or condemnation. The church is the community in which this glory is to be embraced, embodied, and expressed relationally, to the glory of God. Application Questions: • What tends to cause shame in our society? What “faulty standards of honor” exist that create shame? • How do you see shame being cultivated in your life’s contexts? • How does shame cause isolation from each other? How do you see this affecting the church? • How does the gospel answer our problem with shame? Why is merely agreeing that the gospel is true insufficient to deal with shame? How do we re-enact the gospel to one another within the church community? • How is the church the means by which our community can be reached with the shame-breaking power of the gospel? What are the implications for Christians regarding how we relate with one another inside and outside the church?
September 29, 2019
Matthew 18 • September 29, 2019 • Pastor Phil Burggraff
Passage: Matthew 18 Theme: Issues—Forgiveness 1. Forgiveness from God for my sin (1 John 1:8–9) a. We are all guilty before God because we sin. b. God forgives and purifies those who confess their sin to him. 2. Forgiveness when I am at fault: I am to immediately pursue forgiveness from those whom I have wronged (Matthew 5:23–26). 3. Forgiveness when others have wronged me (Matthew 18:15–20): a. Humbly and privately confront the Christian who sins against you so that fellowship may be restored (15). b. If they refuse to repent, confront again with a couple of spiritual leaders and possibly bring it before the church through its leaders so that sin is removed (16–20). 4. Forgiveness when someone repeatedly sins against me (Matthew 18:21–35): a. As believers in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins, we must recognize the magnitude of God’s forgiveness of us. b. We must imitate this forgiveness in our treatment of those who sin against us, repent, and ask our forgiveness. Main Idea: Our (un)willingness to forgive those who wrong us demonstrates whether or not we have truly experienced God’s forgiveness. Application Questions: • What does 1 John 1:8–9 teach us about sin, confession, and forgiveness? Give your definition of forgiveness. • Why might a person struggle with “feeling” forgiven? If this has been you, what encouragement have you taken from the passages discussed here? • Is there a difference between confession and repentance? How do they overlap and what might distinguish the two? • In light of the sermon and these passages, how would you respond to the following statement: “Whether or not that person who sinned against me ever repents or confesses their sin to me, I have to forgive them in my heart?” Is it legitimate to personally and mentally forgive someone even if they don’t confess their sin? Why might this be of benefit to the person? • Wanting to show compassion for the situation and the hurt they may be experiencing, how would you respond to an individual that says, because of the magnitude of the sin that was committed, they will never forgive the person that has wronged them?
September 1, 2019
Psalm 139 • September 1, 2019 • Pastor Phil Burggraff
Theme: Issues—Abortion Passage: Psalm 139 Biblical basis for recognizing and protecting the life of an unborn person: 1. Exodus 20:13: God commands his people not to take the life of another person. 2. Exodus 21:22–25: God’s Law to Israel provided special protection for pregnant women and unborn personsa. 3. Psalm 139:13–16: God is at work in a person’s life from conception to accomplish his plans for them. What do we do now? • For those involved in an abortion: o Recognize that you cannot hide from God; he knows (Ps. 139:1–6), and he sees (Ps. 139:7–12). o Repent of your sin and fall on his mercy (Ps. 139:17–18; 23–24). • For those who seek to glorify God in their actions over this issue: o Oppose the abortion ideology that stands opposed to God (Ps. 139:19–22). o Demonstrate God’s love to those who have chosen abortion. o Act in ways that communicate well the gospel of Jesus Christ. Application Questions: • Discuss the rationale in our contemporary culture for distinguishing between being human and personhood. What do passages such as Exodus 21:22–25 and Psalm 139:13–18 contribute to this discussion? • Knowing some of the statistics of how common abortions are performed and the number of abortions that are being committed, how vocal and involved should we as Christians become over this issue within society and culture? • How can we, as Christians that stand against abortion, act wrongly toward those who oppose us on this important issue? • What can we do to communicate well the gospel of Jesus Christ in addressing this issue in the church and in society?