Posts Tagged ‘North Korea’

Sermon 08-13-17: “Living at the End of the Age”

September 7, 2017

This sermon is about Second Coming of Jesus Christ. I chose to preach this doctrine because of Peter’s words in 1 Peter 4:7a: “The end of all things is at hand.” Does this mean that Peter expected that the Second Coming would happen at any moment? Probably not. He knew, based on the teaching of Jesus, that there were signs in history that must occur before that happened. I explore these signs and talk about the most important thing we Christians should do while we wait.

Sermon Text: 1 Peter 4:7-11

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Last Christmas, in the New York Times, op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristoff interviewed one of my favorite contemporary preachers, Tim Keller, who, until his retirement a couple of months ago, pastored a large, multi-campus church in Manhattan. Kristoff said, “I deeply admire Jesus and his message, but am also skeptical of themes that have been integral to Christianity — the virgin birth, the Resurrection, the miracles and so on.”

So Kristoff wanted to know if he could still be a Christian if he didn’t believe “the miracles and so on.” And Keller told him, politely, no—it’s not possible. And of course that’s right. In many ways, Kristoff wanted to do what Thomas Jefferson did: remove all the supernatural stuff from the gospels and focus on Jesus’ teaching. His teaching is great, after all. Or as Kristoff said, “I deeply admire Jesus and his message.”

But I wonder if Kristoff really understands what Jesus’ message is. Now, he likely has in mind Jesus’ great moral teaching, as in the Sermon on the Mount and in many of his parables. You don’t have to be a Christian, after all, to appreciate that Jesus is the greatest moral teacher who ever lived. But what about the rest of Jesus’ teaching? One scholar I read estimates that fully 20 percent of Jesus’ teaching has to do with events associated with his Second Coming.

If Kristoff and many others think Jesus was onto something when he taught about morality, maybe they should hear what he has to say about this other important doctrine.

So that’s what I want to do in today’s sermon: talk about the Second Coming. The reason it comes up is because of what Peter says in verse 7: “The end of all things is at hand”—and this fact ought to dictate how we live. Read the rest of this entry »

Sermon 07-30-17: “The Rest of Your Time on Earth”

August 10, 2017

The first question-and-answer of the Westminster Shorter Catechism tells us that the chief end of man is “to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” The apostle Peter would surely agree. As he puts it in today’s scripture, we are to “live for the will of God.” Yet don’t we often push God to the periphery of our lives? I pray that this sermon inspires us to put God back at the center.

Sermon Text: 1 Peter 4:1-6

My sermons are now being podcast! My podcast is available in iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.

My family and I returned late Wednesday night from our vacation in Washington, D.C., and New York City. We rented basement apartments through Airbnb in both cities. Our place in Washington had private parking in an alley driveway. So we parked the car once, and took the subway or “Ubered” wherever we needed to go.

But New York City was different. We rented a place in Brooklyn, and, like everyone else there, we had to park on the street. Can I tell you that the only thing I dreaded about the trip—the thing that filled me with the most fear about going to New York—was driving in the city and parking. Lisa read that 40 percent of traffic in Brooklyn is people driving around looking for parking. Having now experienced it firsthand, I believe it! And you know, I just wanted to blend in with everybody else, but you can’t blend in with a Georgia license plate on back of your car! They see that and think you’re an idiot who doesn’t know how to drive!

But you know what? We did O.K. And we learned how the system worked.

Because here’s the thing: Even if you’re not going anywhere by car in New York City—even if you’re going to take the subway everywhere—you can’t leave your car parked for very long in any one place. Why? Because at least once—usually twice—a week, a street sweeper cleans alternate sides of each street, and you can’t be parked on one side of the street when that side is scheduled to be cleaned. The times are posted on signs. So for example, on Monday morning, “our” side of the street was being cleaned from 8:30 to 10:00 and then again on Thursday morning. Well, we were leaving on Wednesday, so we knew if we could only find a new space on Monday morning, we’d be golden.

So early Monday morning we had to move our car. So Lisa and I got up early—Lisa accompanied me for moral support—to move our car and try to find an empty space somewhere else.

And guess what? We failed. We found no empty spaces anywhere near home—except on the side of the street that was being cleaned, of course, which didn’t help. Read the rest of this entry »