October 6, 2019
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
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
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?
September 22, 2019
September 22, 2019 • Pastor Phil Burggraff
Theme: Issues—Abuse Passage: Luke 4:16–20 Abuse: a person, typically in a position of power or authority, gaining selfish benefit or fulfilling their own desire at the expense of another. Biblical Examples of Abuse: • Cain—Abel • Ham—Noah and mother • Abraham—Sarah • Sarah—Hagar • Joseph’s brothers—Joseph • David—Bathsheba and Uriah • Amnon—Tamar—Absalom—Amnon Biblical Truths to Understand: 1. God is angered by abuse and will judge those who commit it (cf. Jesus’s analogy using an innocent child in Matthew 18:1–10). 2. God sent his Son to be the light in the darkness of abuse and shame (Luke 4:14ff.) a. Hope b. Freedom c. Compassion Main Idea: The good news of Jesus shines light into the darkness of abuse to release us from our shame and guilt and to heal our wounded lives. Application Questions: • In the provocative title to her book on abuse, Sandra Wilson states, Hurt People Hurt People. Explain what she means by this title. Do you agree with this statement? What caveats would you place on this statement? • From the biblical examples listed in the sermon, what stands at the source of abusive choices? What were some of these motivations? • The tendency of abuse victims is to self-protect from and internalize what has happened to them. What are some of the long-term consequences of such choices? • How do the words that Jesus spoke in Luke 4:16–20 bring encouragement to those who have been affected by the sin of others? • What does a right response to abuse look like in a church that seeks to glorify God (both to the victim and the perpetrator)?
September 15, 2019
September 15, 2019 • Pastor Phil Burggraff
Passage: Matthew 19:3–12 Issues: Divorce and Remarriage Context (3): Difficulties and frustrations in marriages cause husbands and wives to look for reasons to divorce. Reality for Christ followers (4–6): Marriage establishes a covenant relationship of oneness with our spouse to which we are to remain faithful. Sin and Exceptions (7–9): Because of our sinfulness and wrong choices, God has allowed for divorce to take place. For a Christ follower, the “exceptions” are extremely limited: sexual sin that terminates the marriage bond and desertion by an unbelieving spouse (1 Cor. 7:12–16). Main Thrust: Followers of Christ must pursue faithfulness in their covenant relationship to their spouse because their marriage is a work of God. Takeaways: 1. Divorce always contradicts God’s stated will for marriages. 2. Because of our sinfulness, Jesus did allow for very limited exceptions for his followers. 3. These exceptions seem to allow for the possibility of remarriage. Current Realities: • Is divorce or remarriage permissible for other reasons? • What if I was divorced before becoming a follower of Christ? • If I have chosen to get divorced and/or remarried for other reasons, have I sinned? • If I was the guilty party or have gotten divorced for reasons other than what Jesus states here, can I get remarried? Application Questions: • What is the current view of marriage, divorce, and remarriage within our society today? Do you believe that Christians view it any differently? In what ways? • What characterizes covenantal love that should be seen in the way that husbands and wives relate to each other? • What exception does Jesus allow for divorce in this text? Does this, in turn, allow for remarriage? What occurs if divorce and remarriage happen for reasons other than this exception? What other exception does Paul allow for in 1 Cor. 7:12–16? Are there any other exceptions possible that may be a reason for divorce? • What are some points that we should stress today in how we live this out in our church and culture in which real people, including Christians, go beyond what Jesus states here and divorce and remarry for unbiblical reasons? How do mercy and forgiveness fit into this discussion? Recommended books are in a link above. An article mentioned in the sermon can be found here: https://wisereaction.org/ebooks/heth_mind_changed.pdf
September 8, 2019
September 8, 2019 • Pastor Josh Kee
Mental Illness // Psalm 77 Causes of mental illness: • Physical • Spiritual o Unrepentant Sin - Psalm 38, 51; Lamentations o Past Sin - accusation/ condemnation o Spiritual Warfare • Circumstantial Our response to mental illness reveals: • Our theology of the fall/ sin • Our theology of suffering • Our theology of weakness • Our theology of hope PSALM 77 I. Cry of despair :: Psalm 77:1-3 o Take your distress to God; do not turn from him o Articulate your angst o Make despair the doorway to intimacy with God II. Complaint: Fear of abandonment :: Psalm 77:4-9 o Take your questions to God o "'But if we believe God has left us in our miseries and hardships, there is a torment within the breast which I can only liken to the prelude of hell.' . . .we can magnify every weakness, limit, sin and imperfection within us. We terribly doubt whether we 'are Christians at all,' and become 'tormented with the fear' that we are frauds living sham lives." (Zack Eswine, quoting Charles Spurgeon, 45) III. Anchored in remembrance :: Psalm 77:10-15 • Looking back to the works of God • Looking back to the character of God • Looking back to the grace of God • The importance of teaching the biblical narrative is paramount IV. Hope for Deliverance (Redemption) :: Psalm 77:16-20 • Looking back to the Exodus • Looking back to the cross • The way is through, God is faithful to keep his promises Discussion Questions: 1. Why is there such a stigma around mental illness, especially in the church? 2. How should we understand mental illness in light of the Fall (Genesis 3)? Is sickness of the mind categorically different than sickness of the rest of the body? 3. Do you sense that our church is a safe place for those struggling with mental illness to belong? Why or why not? 4. Read Matthew 9:36. What was Jesus’s attitude toward to crowd? Read Mark 2:17. Who did Jesus come for? How should these two verses shape how we view those struggling with mental illness? 5. How can mental illness be a doorway to intimacy with God and genuine worship? 6. What is your understanding of lament? Why does it take faith to lament? Why is the language of lament such a grace to those suffering with mental illness?
August 25, 2019
August 25, 2019 • Pastor Phil Burggraff
Dear church family, This week we will look at another important, yet sensitive issue - pornography. As with last week, we want you to be aware that the nature of this week's sermon may not be appropriate for younger children. Depending on the discussions you have had with your children, we want you to be able to make arrangements that are best for your children and your family. Again, we want to encourage everyone, but particularly older students, young adults, and parents/ grandparents of young children, to attend and engage in this important issue. We will have a discussion led by Pastor Josh during second hour in the Living Room for anyone interested. This is for anyone from high school through adults. Hope to see you Sunday. Theme: Sexual Sin—Pornography Passage: Matthew 5:27–30 and Proverbs 5 1. Sexual sin goes beyond having intercourse to include sexual lust after another person (Matt. 5:27–28). a. Alluring: Sexual sin tempts us at one of our most basic desires (Prov. 5:3). b. Deceptive: Sexual sin masks the reality behind giving into the temptation (Prov. 5:4–6). 2. Victory over sexual sin comes by submitting to Christ’s radical call (Matt. 5:29a and 30a). a. Trust and obey God at what he says (Prov. 5:1–2, 7). b. Stay as far away from the temptation as possible (5:8). c. Cultivate an active sex life with your spouse (5:15–20). 3. Your choice is a matter of life or death (Matt. 5:29b and 30b; Prov. 5:21–23). We demonstrate our desire to glorify God and submit to the gospel of Jesus Christ by fighting for sexual purity in deed and thought. Application Questions: • What biblical examples can you name that have failed in the area of sexuality? Who is the supreme example of disdaining sexual purity from the OT, and what is so ironic about his failure in the area of sexuality? • Why and how have Christians become desensitized to the radical demand that Christ places on sex and lust in Matthew 5:27–28? • What outcomes and results in this life does Prov. 5:3–14 provide for the person who fails to heed his warning about sexual sin? • What practical measures can we institute from these passages that help combat the temptation of sexual sin in the life of the believer? • How does the gospel provide hope and motivation in the midst of the battle with sexual sin?
August 18, 2019
August 18, 2019 • Pastor Josh Kee
Dear church family, This week we will look at the important, yet sensitive, issue of sexuality. We want you to be aware that the nature of this week's sermon may not be appropriate for younger children. Depending on the discussions you have had with your children, we want you to be able to make arrangements that are best for your children and your family. Some of the specific issues that will be addressed in the message are: God's design for sex, thinking biblically about homosexuality and gender identity, relating with the LGBTQ community, and how the church and parents can help the next generation(s) embrace the joy and freedom of God-glorifying sexuality. We want to strongly encourage everyone, but particularly older students, young adults, and parents/ grandparents of young children, to attend and engage in this important issue. We will have a discussion led by Pastor Phil during second hour in the Living Room for anyone interested in going a little further. Hope to see you Sunday. Josh Kee Pastor of Worship and Discipleship Clearwater Community Church ISSUES Sermon Series // “Sexuality” Passages: Genesis 1-2; Ephesians 5:22-33; 1 Corinthians 6:9-20 Summary: I. God's design for human sexuality (Genesis 1-2) II. Distortions of sexuality III. A Christian Response
August 11, 2019
August 11, 2019 • Pastor Phil Burggraff
Theme: Biblical Clarity: Gender Roles Creation in Genesis 1 and 2: God created humans male and female in his own image with distinct and complementary roles to carry out in their mandate to rule over the earth. Fall and Sin in Genesis 3: The fall epitomized creation’s reversal of God’s established roles for humanity and led to severe consequences. Salvation: The work of Christ uniquely enables believers to fulfill their roles in submission to him. Practical Matters within the church: What about singleness? (1 Cor. 7) Gender Roles in the Church? Application Questions: • From the creation story, what roles did God assign to humans in general (Gen. 1:26–28) and what roles did he specify uniquely for men and women (Gen. 2:15–25)? • How has humanity, including us as sinners, rejected God’s established roles for men and women? In what ways today do we see abuses in this area? • What challenges do you and I as followers of Christ face in living out the biblical roles that God established for men and women? • Do gender roles apply to the church? How do we bring together the teachings of Gal. 3:26–29 and passages like 1 Cor. 14:34–35 and 1 Tim. 2:11–15?
August 4, 2019
August 4, 2019 • Pastor Phil Burggraff
Theme: Racism: A Biblical Perspective Passages: Genesis 1 and 3; Ephesians 2:11–22; Revelation 5 In order to see racism for what it is, we must understand God’s plan for humanity as revealed from beginning to end in scripture: Genesis 1:26–27: God created every human being and every ethnic group within humanity in his own image. All humans, regardless of racial distinctions, are in the image of God. Genesis 3 and Romans 1:18–32: Humans have chosen to rebel against God’s design for them to glorify him in their worship and actions and serve their own desires. Human beings as a result of the fall commit all kinds of evil against one another. Racism epitomizes many of these sins (Romans 1:28–32) when an ethnic majority group exerts its power over ethnic minority groups. Ephesians 2:11–22: Jesus Christ through his work on the cross is our peace. He has ended any racial distinction that the fall has brought into being by incorporating all believers into one new person and body, those who are in him and are now reconciled to God. Revelations 5:9 (also chapter 7): At the consummation of the ages, our glorification, individuals from every nation, tribe, people, and language will be gathered as the one family of God. Application Questions: • How do you define racism? In what ways does racism manifest itself today? • In what ways have you done things that are racially insensitive, maybe without even knowing that you were doing them? • How does our desire for power and being someone who is in the majority (a position of power) fuel racial insensitivity and tension? When you have found yourself in a position of being in the minority, how did you feel and what were you thinking? • What does it mean to be created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26–27; 9:5–6) and how does this inform a discussion on race? • According to Romans 1:18–32, where do sins such as racism and the ways that it is manifests itself come from? • How does the gospel of Jesus Christ confront racism (Eph. 2:11–22)? In relation to ethnic diversity, how should we live out our new identity in Christ within the church
July 28, 2019
July 28, 2019 • Pastor Phil Burggraff
Passage: Romans 8:17–30 Theme: Suffering and a Good and All-Powerful God: Can They Co-exist? God’s Plan for our salvation includes bringing believers in Jesus Christ to glorification through their suffering (17). How do we maintain hope in the midst of suffering? 1. Realize our present sufferings cannot possibly compare with our future glory (18–25). a. All creation groans for the day we are glorified (19–22). b. We groan as we wait for our future adoption (23–25). 2. Rely on the Spirit who helps us in our weakness (26–27). a. The Spirit intercedes when we don’t even know how to pray (26). b. The Spirit intercedes in perfect alignment with God’s plan for us (27). 3. Trust enduringly in God who will complete his plan to make us like our brother and Lord, Jesus Christ (28–30). a. The Promise: For those that love God, all things work toward accomplishing his good goal for our lives (28). b. The Reason we can trust: God is working out this good goal to bring us who love him to our glorification—Christlikeness (29–30). Application Questions: • Can you recall times when you or someone close to you has questioned God on why he has allowed suffering to affect you or them? Explain. Do you still wrestle with these questions? • Why does it seem wrong to us for God allow suffering to come into the lives of his children (8:14–17)? • What two evidences does Paul provide for us that demonstrate that our future glory greatly outweighs our present situation in vv. 18–25? Explain his rationale here. • In what ways does the Spirit help in our suffering? How is this an encouragement? Is this something that we will be able to sense? • Explain in your own words the promise of 8:28. What is meant by the following terms in this verse: the ones who love God; all things; work together; good. • What encouragement do you take from vv. 29–30?
July 21, 2019
July 21, 2019 • Pastor Josh Kee
Passages: selections from the Gospel of John Title: Confronting Doubt Summary: Doubt is an unwelcome, and oftentimes unsettling, reality for Christians. Our faith, at some point and to some degree, will be tested if we are truly following Jesus. The problem is that doubt tends to cast its sinister shadow over everything we think we know. How is the genuine Christian supposed to think about and deal with their doubt? How is the skeptic, who is unsure about matters of faith and salvation, supposed to deal with their doubt? Does the presence of doubt indicate that we don't have enough faith, or that we are not truly saved? This week we will look at the Gospel of John to see how we can think biblically and respond faithfully when doubts assail us. Outline: /// When Jesus seems unconcerned (Luke 8:22-25) Q: "Where is your faith?" /// The danger of unbelief (John 3:16-21, 36) /// Two kinds of doubt: - Doubt that is condemned (John 5) - Doubt that is rebuked (John 20:24-29) /// Encouragement for doubters (John 6:35-59) /// Two responses to doubt: John 6:66-69 - Turn away from Christ (v. 66) - Turn to Christ (vv. 68-69) /// Factors that nurture doubt: - Satan - the Deceiver and Accuser always seeks to call God's goodness and faithfulness into question - Ignorance of God's word - "Ignorance is the soil in which doubt flourishes." - Isolation - not being connected to the body of Christ - Sin - cherishing some sin(s) robs your of assurance /// Practical helps to fight doubt: - Worship - Gather with the church to worship - Teaching - Let your mind and heart be shaped by sound teaching - Fellowship - Share your life with other Christians so you can bear each other's burdens - Spiritual growth - Read the Bible, Pray, Confess sin, Meditate on the promises of God, Obey what he has said Discussion Q's: 1. What causes you to question God's faithfulness and goodness? 2. Where is your faith? Where are you placing it, now? 3. Why is it so important to battle unbelief? What does it lead to ultimately? 4. Where do you need to confess unbelief and take hold of God's promise(s) to you? (Philippians 3:12-14) 5. How do you respond to others who struggle with doubt? Are you merciful, or merciless? (1 Thessalonians 5:14; Jude 22)
July 14, 2019
July 14, 2019 • Pastor Phil Burggraff
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 7, 2019
July 7, 2019 • Pastor Phil Burggraff
Theme: Issues: Biblical Clarity in the midst of Cultural Confusion Passage: 1 Corinthians 1:18–25 We must approach life according to God’s wisdom—the Gospel of the cross of Jesus Christ. Why? God has used the foolishness of the cross to confound the wisdom of this world and save those who believe its message (1:18–25). Evidence: • The Testimony of the Church: Salvation of the weak and lowly (1:26–31) • The Preaching of the Church: Speaking with weakness and fear but dependence on the Spirit (2:1–5) • The Wisdom of God: The Gospel presented and lived through the power of the Spirit (2:6–16) Application Questions: 1. As you approach life and how to make decisions that you face, which tendency do most naturally gravitate towards (v. 22), looking for signs to guide your way or resting on wisdom, either your own or that of others? 2. How do we make decisions and view life from the perspective of the crucified Christ (v.23–25)? What does this look like in everyday life and decision-making? How does this message give us power and wisdom? 3. How does your own testimony of salvation evidence the wisdom of God (1:26–31)? 4. According to 2:1–5, what should characterize preaching? 5. From 2:6–16, how do we know that the Spirit is guiding our decision-making process? Is there anything that we can do to ensure that we have the Spirit working in our lives and in the church?