We can think of many reasons and excuses for why we shouldn’t have to love certain people. But if God’s defining characteristic is hesed love, then God’s people will also be known by their love and compassion for those who don’t deserve to be loved.
You are loved. Period. That fact cannot change. As you are filled with the love of God, you show that love to one another, returning again and again to be refilled with God’s faithful, hesed love.
God’s defining characteristic is His hesed mercy and love. Now, through the death and resurrection of Jesus, we have been raised with Jesus to share in His life. In Jesus, our defining characteristic becomes God’s hesed love for one another.
God’s defining characteristic is His hesed mercy and love. Now, through the death and resurrection of Jesus, we have been raised with Jesus to share in His life. In Jesus, our defining characteristic becomes God’s hesed love for one another.
How does Easter change our walk in the world? How can Easter continue to renew us every week? The Emmaus Road story helps us on our walk.
We deserve to be punished for our sins. We deserve to be hanging on that cross instead of Jesus. We deserve an eternity in hell. And yet, though we deserve nothing, God gives us everything through the death of His Son. We see God’s hesed love as we watch Jesus suffer and die.
We sin. We know we sin. We know God hates some of the things we do and say. Yet God’s response is not anger and punishment, but unfailing hesed mercy. Though the earth trembles and mountains fall, God’s unfailing love will not be shaken.
You know Jesus died for our sins. Do you know just how extravagant God’s love is in His gift of saving grace?
God’s love may never end, but sometimes that’s hard to remember. Our sin, or the sin of others, may cause us to doubt, until we are reminded that God’s unfailing hesed never fails. His mercy is renewed every morning. Great is His faithfulness!
If the defining characteristic of God is His unfailing love, then the people of God will live in constant gratitude for that faithful love. Our motto, the truth that we live by, is that God’s love endures forever.
We need to praise God for His enduring love and faithfulness.
God is all-powerful, all-knowing, holy, and just. But when He introduces Himself, He describes Himself with one word, hesed. God is defined by His compassion, His abounding, unfailing love.
Loving our neighbor began as a command, a duty that needs to be carried out no matter how we feel. But as we depend more completely on the faithful love of God, we find it easier to naturally love one another, to love each other as God loves us.
Having surrendered everything else that has failed to give us peace, we find in the end that God’s love is enough. We find permanent, lasting peace only in God’s faithful, unfailing, hesed love.
We protect the treasures of our lives, the people and things that we love so deeply. But that protection and love can sometimes lead to fear and anxiety, unless we are willing to cast all of our anxieties on God, surrendering our control into the hand of the God who cares for us.
The normal, human response to times of pain and suffering is to complain and grumble. But as followers of Jesus, we can rejoice in our pain as our suffering becomes part of the suffering of Jesus. We know that, just like Jesus, our suffering leads to resurrection power.
While physical bodies may have parts that don’t appear to have a purpose, the Church, the Body of Christ, has no extra parts. Every part, every person, has a role to play and a gift to share to make the body of believers strong and healthy.
We were never meant to go it alone. God has given us teachers and leaders who encourage and guide and sometimes correct us as we grow in our faith. We do ourselves a favor when we submit in humility and learn from the teachers that God has provided.
Have you responded to God's invitation to surrender your life to Him? If so, do you remember those early days when your life with God was fresh and new? Either way, submit to God, come near to Him, and He will come near to you.
Our parties have been cancelled or postponed because of the brokenness of our world. Jesus brings an abundant celebration that transforms our religious practices into an experience of God’s epiphany.
Jesus was born vulnerable and dependent, and yet worthy to be praised. Come and worship the Christ-child and share in His glory as children of God.
God gave us a gift in the birth of His Son—the privilege of becoming children of God with rights to the same inheritance that belongs to Jesus.
The Child born at Christmas came to enlarge the family, to make it possible for us to be adopted as children of God through the only begotten Son of God. Because of the Son, we too are "sons," children of the Most High God.
By faith, through the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus, we, too, are born, a second time. As babies in the kingdom, we crave the nourishment of God's pure truth, revealed through the Word of God.
Gerhard Tersteegen, an 18th century hymn writer, wrote, “The Son of God became one with mankind as a child, and mankind can only be united to God in the state of spiritual childhood.” This Christmas we return to spiritual childhood, entering the wonder of the season through the Child that was born.
God is speaking today. We can hear Him if we don't harden our hearts. Pay attention, listen, use your muscle of faith, and hear the Lord speak to you today.
The people of Israel had the privilege and comfort of being led by God through a cloud and a pillar of fire. Today, our comfort and confidence is even stronger as God leads through His Word, Jesus, anchored in God's word revealed in the Bible.
Humans were created to exist in communion and communication with God, but sin has made it difficult and confusing to hear God's voice. Through Jesus, the Word who is God, we are once more able to hear God speak to us today.
10 Signposts to Holiness
This sermon series will explore the Ten Commandments using scripture as explained by the Heidelberg Catechism (HC).
Coveting is more than just wanting something badly. Coveting is a mistrust of God’s sovereignty and goodness.
Speaking and living the truth can be painful and difficult, but there is no possible way to live in peace without loving and encouraging truth.
In the beginning, there was enough for everyone. But with sin, some take more than they need while others struggle to get by. In Christ, we accept what God provides for us and do what we can to make sure others have enough.
In healthy marriages, we should be able to see a safe place of deep love, a picture of God's relationship with His people, a place where people live in peace and shalom. Whether we are married or single, we all benefit by guarding the commitment and integrity of marriage relationships.
As people created in the image of God, nothing is more precious than our own lives and the lives of those around us. With a gift this precious, we do whatever we can to guard the safety and quality of our lives and the lives of our neighbors.
We are taught to honor community by honoring our parents. We will explore what it means to honor and how to relate to our family traditions to be progressive reformed conservatives.
One day out of seven sets the pace for the rest of the week. Our Sabbath rest reinforces the truth that every day can be lived restfully because of the sacrifice of Jesus.
God, in His mercy, has allowed us to interact with Him on a first-name basis. We are encouraged to use His name, but in a way that reflects God's honor and holiness.
Understanding who God is and why He does what He does can appear to be comforting. In reality, we find our deepest comfort in worship a God who is beyond comprehension.
Note: No audio available for this sermon due to power failure.
Having no other gods besides the one true God seems obvious until we are asked to let go of that part of our life that seems absolutely indispensable. God lovingly draws us to the true safety of having no other gods besides Him.
It's a big scary world out there, but we are safe at home, sheltering under the roof of wisdom, living in the life of Christ.
Our God is able to care for His children. Our God is motivated by unfailing love to protect those He loves, and on this rock, we rest.
How do we say who God is? What is His name? What is His story? How do we respond?
We are very aware of PPE these days. Are we also using our spiritual PPE?
We feel the effects of being separated and alone, but alone and separate is the ideal place for time spent with God in prayer. Quarantine yourself from the distractions around you and spent time with your Father in heaven!
We love to worship together, to join our voices with others as we lift our praise to God. But there's a different kind of joy, a special kind of awe, when we spend time in worship as individuals, when we lift our voices alone in praise to our God.
We can't hear God, we can't sense His presence when there are so many distractions and so much noise filling our senses. But in quiet meditation, in times of solitude, we draw apart and we become aware of the glorious presence of God.
To know and to be known—this the essence of the love that binds us to God. Wherever we are, whatever we are experiencing, whether we are up or whether we are down, God is there.
Where is God? Why doesn't He act? Our hearts can grieve, our faith can be shaken, and yet we know that our hope is in God and we will, at some time, praise the Lord!
When we've tried everything else, and everything else has failed, then we're ready to admit that nothing compares to the value of knowing Jesus.
Psalm 46 assures us that God is with us, but we forget and grow afraid. So God repeats Himself, as often as it takes, so that eventually we will know the peace and comfort of the presence of God.
God has been working in us over the past several months, teaching and shaping us to become the people He wants us to be. Today, we go back over the truths He has taught, including:
- The Purpose for Our Existence
- Election and Free Will
- The Life of Christ
- Our Vision
Each piece of the puzzle is different, each follower of Jesus is unique. And yet together, united in the Holy Spirit, we are one body, the body of Christ.
Jesus’ ascension is a great blessing, but what is a blessing? What does a blessing do? What does the Ascension do? How should we experience the Biblical story between the Ascension and Pentecost?
The forgiveness purchased on Good Friday and the power of the resurrection on Easter are given to us through Jesus, our King, reigning from heaven. In His ascension, we experience the fullness of God in us.
God's promises are permanent and dependable, cut deep into our hearts, not through circumcision but through the gift of our baptism. Believe that as sure as water is wet, God is our God, and we are His people.
Living under God's covenant promises is the safest place in the world, under the umbrella of God as our God and we as God's people. We live there, in that safety, through the blood of Jesus, sealed and revealed in our baptisms.
We face questions that don't have answers, fears that seem to overwhelm, danger that we can't avoid. And yet, we live under the shelter of God's covenant promise, sealed and confirmed in our baptisms.
God is our God. We are His people. This covenant relationship cannot be broken, the bond is deep and permanent, sealed and revealed in the gift of our baptisms.
Jesus has risen, and so are we! More and more, we live the whole and glorious life we've been given through the resurrection of Jesus.
We were healed as Jesus was wounded. We were given strength as Jesus grew weaker. We are made whole through the broken and bloody body of Christ.
God washes away our sins and heals our wounds, but sometimes we don't act forgiven or healed. “Stand up!” God says. “Live the whole and healthy life that you've received from Jesus!”
The wounds of our sin go so deep that healing and wholeness sometimes seem impossible. But God assures us and comforts us as He explains the process of making us whole.
God has seen our brokenness and provides a Healer for our broken relationship with Him.
Sin has caused a deep, gaping, bloody wound by driving a wedge between us and God. But God comforts His people with the promise that their wounds will be healed and their sin forgiven.
Our sins seem small and innocent, until we see ourselves in the light of the glory of God.
We are tempted to sin by the promise of pleasure, but in the end, sin leaves gaping, bleeding wounds as it drives a wedge between us and our God.
We look to explanations and causes for relief from our suffering, but true comfort is found when we become aware of the glorious power of God.
God makes the wicked suffer, so if you're suffering, you must have been wicked. This may be logical, but it's not always true. When we suffer, we can distinguish truth from lies by truly knowing the character of God.
God never told us that we had to suffer in silence. God actually teaches us how to question Him. Though He might not always answer, we can find comfort in directly expressing our doubt to God.
We feel helpless when our bodies hurt, when our minds are filled with darkness, when our relationships are filled with pain. But we find comfort, even as we suffer, when we recognize God's power and sovereignty expressed in the love He has for His people.
Human nature causes us to drift away from grace, to think of ourselves as somewhat responsible for earning our salvation. But the true gospel pushes back against that thought, reminding us that we are saved only through the grace of God.
One of the greatest fears Christians have when sharing their faith is that it will all be for nothing. But Jesus promises that people will listen, if we are obedient and introduce our friends to Him.
In the last few hours before His death, as Jesus prepared to give His life for us, He left us one command: to love one another like He loved us.
We want to grow and develop in our faith, but we're not always sure how that works. God has blessed us with elders and deacons, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, to help us become more and more like Jesus.
We live between Christmas and Easter. We celebrate what we have seen and look to see more. What have we seen and celebrated? For what are we looking and waiting?
All the fullness of God lives in Jesus, and Jesus lives in you. You have been given all the fullness of God, all the hope, the peace, the joy, and the love that comes from God Himself.
Does God love us as much as we might wish? Can we depend on His love when we ourselves are so undependable? In the incarnation of Christ, God speaks and confirms His infinite, unfailing, faithful love.
Apart from God, separated by sin, life was dark and empty, a joyless existence. But with the arrival of Jesus, in the incarnate Christ, our lives are filled and our hearts rejoice.
Separated from God, we were never at peace, not with God, not with ourselves, and not with each other. Now, in the incarnation of Christ, we can experience peace at all times and in every way.
Once, we lived in despair, separated from God by our sin. And then Jesus was born, bringing humans and God together forever. Now, in Christ, we overflow with hope.
If there's nothing we can do to earn our salvation, if salvation is completely dependent on God's saving work, then nothing can happen to make us lose our salvation. We are saved, eternally!
God WILL change our hearts. We might resist for a while, which only makes the process take longer, but in the end God will have His way. We will be made holy!
If we have any ability to save ourselves, even just a little, then the responsibility of our salvation rests on us, at least just a little. But we are not capable, we are totally unable, and we are completely reliant on the grace of God.
God does not wish that anyone should perish, but the sad fact is that not everyone will give their life to Jesus and find salvation.
Election is a difficult and controversial doctrine. We will wrestle to understand election to find comfort and calling.
Look at our God! Look at what He does! And now look at Him share His glory with us, inviting us to join Him on His throne. We fulfill our existence when we glorify God by sharing the glory of Christ.
Look at our God! Look at what He does! He gives life to His people, life that will not end. We fulfill our existence in our awe at eternity, as we give glory to our eternal God.
Look at our God! Look at what He does! His strength is most evident, His grace is sufficient, when we are at our weakest. We fulfill the purpose for our existence when we glory in our weakness and give glory to our God.
Look at our God! Look at who He is! He is holy and we are sinful. He is perfect and we are flawed. But we fulfill our existence, giving glory to God, for His perfect, holy grace.
Look at our God! Look at what He does in this world! Now we fulfill our existence, giving glory to God, as we join Him in His mission to restore His creation.
Look at our God! Look at what He does! He protects and saves His people in awesome and powerful ways, and we fulfill our existence when we glorify God.
Favorites About Jesus
This summer during the Sunday worship services, we will be spending time with Jesus, hearing Him teach and watching Him heal through your favorite passages from the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Not all suffering is a result of our sin. But, Jesus warns, a refusal to repent will lead to suffering. Admit your sin, Jesus says, and let Me change your life.
There seem to be a lot of Christians out there, far more than would fit through the narrow gate described by Jesus. We will recognize our true brothers and sisters in Christ when we see them acting and talking and living like Jesus.
Can you see that you are blind? Or are you blind to the fact that you cannot see? When it comes to Jesus, it's the blind who see clearly that we are in desperate need for our Savior, Jesus.
Why do we worry? What do we worry about most? What is the problem with worry? What could we change? How can we change? Jesus gives us a new perspective on life to lead us to new practices.
Prayer is vital for good spiritual health. Do you know how to pray? Jesus provides a great model and gives us guidelines on how to pray.
Our natural instinct tells us to act toward others as they have acted toward us. But God, through Jesus, changes our instinct, giving us the desire and ability to love our enemies as God has loved us.
Only a mean and cruel parent would expect their child to do something beyond their capability, and our Father in heaven is not mean and cruel. Our Father knows we are children, and through His Son offers to exchange our heavy burdens for the light and easy yoke of Jesus.
In the storms of life, Jesus seems far away, but He is Immanuel, God with us. Jesus still comes to us, calms us, calls us, and hears our call to Him.
Believers in Jesus are the light of the world, reflecting the stronger, unquenchable light into a world of darkness. Shine, believers, shine!
Following Jesus can have its problems, such as being insulted and persecuted for our faith. But living the life of Jesus also has its blessings, like comfort, mercy, and inheriting the world! You are blessed when you live the life of Jesus!
Our actions reveal our hearts; we live out of our internal desires and values. If our minds and hearts are tainted by evil, people will see it in our actions. But with Jesus living in us, His purity will be seen in our words and in our actions.
Throughout history, man has tried to find many different ways to heaven and eternal life. Jesus clearly explains which way is the only way.
Before Pentecost, God's people were notorious for their weakness and vulnerability. After Pentecost, God's people are renowned for courage and strength, moving out into this world in the power of the Spirit of Christ!
When Jesus ascended to heaven and sat down at the right hand of God, He went to work, and His works are a sight to see. Look, watch, notice what Jesus is doing, and praise our Lord!
God created a day for rest, and He called that day, "Today." Today—any day—on whichever day we find ourselves—is a day of rest.
For those who are tired, drained, and weary from the work week, Jesus offers healing in the rest of Sabbath. Come to Jesus, the Lord of Sabbath rest.
For people controlled by time constraints and schedules, the idea of Sabbath can feel threatening. But God offers a beautiful gift, the gift of abundant joy, if we will obey His command to rest.
God provided a model for rest, not just one day a week, but for each day of the week. Today we will see how God provided the freedom to rest for His children in the Old Testament and in today’s world.
When we think that the world will stop spinning unless we stay busy, we are suggesting that God is not in control and that He's failing at his job. When we recognize that Jesus' death and resurrection are restoring this world to God's original creation, we can breathe a sigh of relief and rest.
THE NIGHT BEFORE (Lenten Series)
Preparing to remember Jesus Christ's sacrifice during the season of Lent
Sorrow is comforted and grief is healed in the presence of the risen Lord Jesus. Look at Him! Do you see Him? Jesus is Alive!
We love Jesus, so how could we ever deny Him? Yet, like Peter, we, too, are capable of turning our backs on Jesus.
Jesus was arrested, placed on trial, and sentenced to death—and the whole time He was the one in control of circumstances. Our suffering Servant King is sovereign over all!
When Jesus prays for something, you know that He will receive His request. In John 17, Jesus asks His Father to make us one with each other like Jesus and the Father are one. We will be one, we are one, as close to each other as the members of the Trinity.
We miss Jesus, we want Him to return. But while we eagerly wait for Him to come back, we are filled with His power, His wisdom, and His character, because of His gift, God the Holy Spirit.
What is the issue of being "lukewarm"? How can it be overcome?
An eternally fruitful life is possible through our connection to Jesus, if we can remember that connection. Remain, abide, be fruitful in the life you receive from Jesus.
Heaven seems so far away and Jesus seems so distant. But look again, see the Way home. Look at Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth, the Life.
Our sins have created a chasm between us and God, a divide that we cannot cross. But Jesus has removed this chasm through His death and resurrection, washing away our sins with His own blood.
SORROW & JOY ~ THE BOOK OF JEREMIAH
Jeremiah (627-585 BC), a prophet, spoke to the nation of Judah. The theme of Jeremiah is "God promises His people a new covenant beyond the necessary exile."
This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put My law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people. Jeremiah 31:33
The book of Jeremiah is a constant reminder of God's promise in Deuteronomy, that His chosen people will be cursed for their unfaithfulness to Yahweh (Jehovah) but that God will also restore them, establishing a new covenant which will be fulfilled through Jesus, David's "righteous Branch" (Jeremiah 23:5). Jeremiah is best understood in the context with the political intrigue of the kings of Judah, which you can read more about in 2 Kings 22-25 and 2 Chronicles 34-36. Wrangling over how to respond to national threats, what alliances should be made with other countries and God's covenantal responsibility to His people create a tense setting for Jeremiah's ministry. He is called to speak in opposition to the dynasty of King David and the flatters and minions of these unfaithful kings. His job is to speak truth to power, as unpopular as it was.
The heart of Jeremiah's prophetic words are found in Chapters 1-25, which probably make up most of the scroll that was burned by Jehoiakim, as recorded in Chapter 36. Interwoven through these warnings are moments where Jeremiah and God interact, with Jeremiah expressing his fear of how the people will respond and God reassuring him of His sovereignty.
The structure of Jeremiah:
Chapters 1-25 - Prophecies of judgment against Jerusalem
Chapters 26-36 - Narratives of hope for the future
Chapters 37-45 - Narratives regarding the fall of Jerusalem
Chapters 46-51 - Prophecies of judgment against the nation
We love our enemies, we pray for those who persecute us. But we refuse to join our enemies, knowing that some day they will be destroyed because of their rebellion against God.
Home. We want to go home to our native country, to be with our Father. Soon, our exile will be over and we'll be able to go home.
God is our God. We are God people. This relationship, under the new covenant cannot be broken.
Sin has consequence but so does obedience. Sometimes, living righteously results in great suffering for believers. But obedience is worth the suffering as we remain in the comfort of the presence of the Lord
Our instinct tells us to run and hide when we're caught doing what God told us not to do, but that reaction is deadly. God urges us to return to Him in repentance and find forgiveness.
Jesus died and rose again to forgive us of our sins. And yet, when we sin, there are consequences. God in His mercy warns us that we only hurt ourselves when we choose to sin.
Our treatment of God is grounds for divorce. He had every right to end our relationship. And yet, His love never fails. He wants us back!
We are introduced to Jeremiah who called and prepared by God to bring a very unpleasant message from God to Judah.