Posts Tagged ‘Saving Grace (TV Series)’

Sermon 04-02-17: “The Unpardonable Sin”

April 13, 2017

We need to hear Jesus’ warning in today’s scripture: We can commit a sin that will permanently, eternally exclude us from God’s kingdom and send us to hell. What is it? How can we be sure we haven’t committed it? How can we be sure we won’t commit it? This sermon will answer these questions.

Sermon Text: Matthew 12:22-32

I worked at Kroger when I was in high school. I worked alongside a young man named Elbert who was the first Pentecostal Christian I ever knew. More than any other Christian tradition, Pentecostals tend to place a greater emphasis on the work of the Holy Spirit, on miracles, on spiritual gifts—especially the gift of speaking in tongues. Many Pentecostals will even say that other Christians haven’t received the gift of the Holy Spirit unless or until they give evidence of having received the Spirit—which, to them, means speaking in tongues.

As much as I respect Pentecostals—and trust me, if I’m ever in some life-threatening situation, I want a Pentecostal praying for me, because they pray as if they mean business; they pray expecting results. But as much as I respect Pentecostals, this widespread Pentecostal doctrine that says we’ve only received the Holy Spirit if we speak in tongues is deeply unbiblical. After all, the main issue that Paul speaks against in 1 Corinthians is the moral superiority that some of the Corinthian Christians feel toward other Christians in the church who, unlike them, don’t possess more extravagant spiritual gifts like speaking in tongues. Paul says that all true believers have spiritual gifts—and they’re all important in the body of Christ. This controversy inspired him to write the most beautiful love poem in the ancient world: 1 Corinthians 13: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”

Anyway, it was through Elbert that I first became aware of the fact that there are Christians who worry about whether or not they’ve committed the so-called unpardonable sin that Jesus mentions in today’s scripture: what Jesus refers to as “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.” Elbert explained to me that he didn’t grow up Pentecostal, and he used to make fun of Pentecostals. He made fun of the idea that they spoke in tongues—that there was anything more to it than just incoherent babble. And he said to me, “I just hope that before my conversion I never blasphemed the Holy Spirit.” I said, “What are you talking about?” And he referred me to today’s scripture. He was afraid that by making fun of the gift of speaking in tongues he might have inadvertently “spoke a word against the Holy Spirit,” and thus committed the unpardonable sin. Read the rest of this entry »

Sermon 02-28-16: “The Fields Are White for Harvest”

March 10, 2016

John Sermon Series Graphic

I say the following in this sermon: “The message of the gospel, in a nutshell, is this: we human beings are in much worse shape than we would dare to imagine; yet God loves us more than we could ever dare to hope or dream!” Because of that love, God solves our problem through his atoning death on the cross. People need to hear and receive this message. If we ourselves have received it, are we willing to do all we can so that others may as well? If not, why not?

Sermon Text: John 4:31-42

[To listen on the go, right-click here to download an MP3.]

Wheaton College, an evangelical Christian college near Chicago, made unwelcome national headlines recently for suspending a history professor. The professor, Dr. Larycia Hawkins, said that for Lent, even though she’s a Christian, she is going to wear the the hijab, the traditional Muslim head and shoulder covering for women, in solidarity with Muslims who feel persecuted by Western countries like ours. “After all,” she said, “we all worship the same God.”

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And that was the statement that got her in trouble. We all worship the same God. Since this idea violated the college’s statement of faith, which Dr. Hawkins signed, the administration suspended her. And based on the overwhelming criticism that Wheaton’s administration received, it must be the case that many people in the U.S. and around the world agree with Dr. Hawkins that we Christians and Muslims do worship the same God.

And why should that surprise us? Read the rest of this entry »