Heart Conditions

Matt Miller

Luke records the first major parable of Jesus. The Parable of the Sower is a parable about heart conditions. This sermon sets up the passage and seeks to show the true purpose of Jesus' parables. Implied in this parable is a call to be busy casting seed. Fruitfulness is commanded in the New Testament, but this parable reveals that true fruit is always a function of faithfulness. It is a freeing parable in many ways because there is zero focus on the sower or the seed. Rather, the central emphasis shows how true salvation and receptivity of the Gospel is an issue of the heart

The Nature of True Ministry

June 6, 2021 • Matt Miller

In this transition passage of Luke's Gospel we learn four simple principles that guided the life and ministry of Jesus. It provides a helpful model for any who desire to bear fruit for the cause of the Kingdom. We learn that God's ways for the Kingdom are utterly backwards to conventional wisdom. Jesus launched a global and eternal movement that continues today, yet He did it through seemingly backward ways. This is the way of the Kingdom, and the Church would do well to learn from His method.

When Sinners Transform

May 16, 2021 • Matt Miller

Jesus encounters a prostitute in a Pharisee's home. While Simon the Pharisee stands in judgment of Jesus, the woman serves Jesus from an overflow of gratitude. It is a wonderful account that Luke uses to illustrate the separation between the self-righteous and those who understand their sin. It is an emotive way to end this important section, but the take-away is clear-- the deeper you understand your forgiveness, the deeper your love for Christ. This is a helpful account for Christians who have grown cold in their walk. It is a call to go back and remember the significance of the debt you owed.

The Parable of the Brats

May 9, 2021 • Matt Miller

Jesus gives a parable to describe the difference between those who believe and those who reject Him in self-righteousness. It is a helpful illustration describing what is taking place in the heart of those who rejected Jesus in His generation. However, the parable is still applicable in our day. Those who reject Christ are like childish brats who refuse Jesus because He does not offer what they want on their own terms.

How To Be Great

May 2, 2021 • Matt Miller

Jesus turns His attention toward the crowd and confronts them with the questions of Who He is. He wants to induce a response within them. There is a mixed crowd and therefore mixed reaction. The passage reveals there are only two types of people in the world-- those who will be great because they accept Jesus as the Christ, and those who will not because they reject Jesus as the Christ. Luke pens this record to confront us with the same question-- Who is Jesus? Our answer will determine our greatness in the age to come.

Why We Doubt

April 18, 2021 • Matt Miller

Luke reintroduces us to John the Baptist who is now in prison. John hears the report of Jesus, but wonders if Jesus is the Messiah. This is a shockingly different attitude from the confident John we see in chapter 3. It is a section in which we see a genuine believer begin to doubt, but also what he does to remedy that doubt. There are important lessons for the Christian, but it's also another passage clearly revealing the truthfulness of Jesus' identity-- that He is God's true Messiah of salvation!

When Life Meets Death

March 28, 2021 • Matt Miller

Jesus travels to an obscure town to raise a widows only son from the dead. It is a story in which Jesus reveals that He is God by displaying His power over death. In this passage we see His providence, His power, and purpose for why He does what He does. We also see the humanity of Jesus, as His compassion moves Him to care for this women. The call of the passage is trust in the power of Jesus' saving Word. For in Jesus Christ, God has visited the dead sinner!

The Profile of a Disciple

March 14, 2021 • Matt Miller

Coming down from the Mountain after teaching that great Sermon on the Mount, Jesus now encounters a Roman Centurion. This man functions in the Gospel as the embodiment of all that Jesus just taught. In this centurion, we see that profile of a true disciple, and the very kind of person that Jesus will use to save sinners. He becomes a tremendous example to the church. His defining characteristic is one of incredible faith; an ongoing quality that must control the life of any true discipleship. For faith is the only reality that amazes Jesus and pleases the Father.

Fully Devoted

February 21, 2021 • Matt Miller

Jesus is unimpressed with words. He is unimpressed with those who merely come and listen. Rather, the mark of a fully devoted follower is one who comes, hears, but also does. Obedience is key. As Jesus finishes His famous Sermon on the Mount, He gives one final call for self-examination. He wants us to wrestle with the question of whether we are mere hearers, or also doers. For that is the distinguishing mark of a true disciple.

The Peril of Following the Wrong Spiritual Teacher

February 14, 2021 • Matt Miller

Jesus gives three external measurements to determine who we should follow in spiritual matters. Jesus is contrasting Himself with the self-deceived leadership of Israel, but there is much application in this passage for any in a position of spiritual leadership. There are devastating consequences to following the wrong teacher, and Jesus warns all true disciples to take heed as to whom they choose to follow.

Motivation to Love

February 7, 2021 • Matt Miller

Jesus continues on in His great teaching on love. In this passage we see the greatness, the gain, and the goal of kingdom love. Christ teaches on the nature of all true Christian love, which are tangible acts, characterized by grace. In order for true grace to be shown, it requires the Christian willingly put themselves into a position to be wronged, but so that they might display true grace. It is a radical passage. It is easy to understand, but difficult to practice. Yet, the hope of the passage is that Jesus reveals all true sons and daughters of the kingdom desire to do this. For it is through visible acts of gracious love that the Gospel becomes believable to a dying world.

Illustrations of Love

January 17, 2021 • Matt Miller

Jesus gives four illustrations of what true love looks like. In all four of them we see the characteristic of true love, which is grace. For love to be effective, it cannot demand justice. Rather, true love must give grace, and at great cost to self. For when we do this, the Christian displays love, making the Gospel believable.

Love Commanded

January 3, 2021 • Matt Miller

Jesus enters into the main substance of the Sermon on the Mount. He gives the first recorded command in the Gospel, and it's the command to love. This passage reveals the preeminent mark of any true disciple, namely, love. It is not enough to withhold vengeance from our enemies, rather, we must also seek their good in practical ways. Jesus begins His great teaching with four commands to love, summarizing the essence of all He is about to teach.

Four Signs You're Unredeemed

December 13, 2020 • Matt Miller

In the second half of Jesus' introduction to the Sermon on the Mount, He gives four "woes." These are four curses over those who will not repent. Attached to these declarations of judgment are four characteristics (or signs) of the unredeemed heart. These marks correspond to the four beatitudes He just gave. It's a helpful passage, causing us to reflect on what it truly means to be a converted sinner. It's a sobering message, declaring the realities of hell; yet a hopeful passage, for we still live in the time of grace.

The Blessing of Being Hated

December 6, 2020 • Matt Miller

Our Lord lays out a very important truth. His teaching reveals that all those who are true disciples will be hated by many. Suffering and persecution is a reality for the true Christian. Jesus gives two commands, instructing us in how we ought to respond. We are to be glad and rejoice in the day of our persecution. The motivation He gives to obey these commands is to remember our great reward in heaven. Persecution for the name of Christ should not be avoided, rather, it is something in which the Christian must rejoice. For it is the token and assurance of our kingdom inheritance.