One of the aspects of Ecclesiastes that makes it timeless is that it provides a realistic view of human nature and the human condition. This, in turn, makes the wisdom presented in the book as valuable to us today as it was when it was first composed.
sermons | study
These are sermons preached during our Sunday worship services. (Recordings were not always successful, so there are gaps in the postings.)
This sermon was preached at the Sunday worship service of the New Ipswich Congregational Church. Their pastor, Ken Whitson is a good friend and asked me to preach in his absence. I love this particular text, which has been a great encouragement to me for many years.
It seems highly likely that this letter was written by James the Just, brother of Jesus and leader of the Jerusalem Church. Abel points out that the teaching of James shows important connections with the teaching of Jesus that is recorded in the Gospels.
I found this passage to be the most difficult to interpret thus far in the book of Ecclesiastes. When we find a text that is hard, we need to exercise care not to avoid the difficulties it presents, for there may lay the heart of its message. At the same time, we want to be careful to interpret the passage within the context of the Scriptures as a whole, and to look for its connection to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Ecclesiastes 7 uses proverbs to provide unusual contrasts that emphasize the distinctive world view that Scripture affirms.
Scripture never presents an unrealistic view of human life, and that is clearly evident in this chapter. Here we find the human condition starkly described in unequivocal language.
Paul's prayer for the Ephesian church (or churches) is perfectly relevant for us today. (The prayer following the sermon is usually included on these recordings, but the battery on the recorder ran out before the prayer was finished, so it has been omitted on this posting.)
This message completes our consideration of this text. It focuses on the Apostle's admonition to husband, but it has applications relevant to all followers of Christ.
The Church has the opportunity to speak a clear word concerning marriage at a time when many in our culture are confused and conflicted.
Building upon last Sunday's text, our consideration of Ephesians 5:1-21 will help us to discern important aspects of how we are to live as relational beings in a manner that both brings glory to God and good to others and ourselves.
The Scriptures answer the deepest questions of human beings, and the three passages that we are considering here provide a fine example of that. My recording this morning during worship was unsuccessful, so I re-recorded the message at home.
One of the themes of Luke's writings–the Gospel of Luke and Acts–is joy. In the first chapter of Luke, Zachariah is given the promise of "joy and gladness," and in the closing verses of the book, we read of the "great joy" of the disciples after Jesus' ascension. What is the joy promised in the gospel, and how does one experience it?
Luke's account of the first Easter Sunday provides us with an emphasis that is unique among the Gospels. That emphasis will be reflected in the New Testament's use of the Hebrew Scriptures.
The contrast between Jesus understanding of what is commonly called "the Triumphal Entry" and the perceptions of others is striking. While others rejoice, Jesus weeps, for he perceives a reality that they cannot see.
This psalm is traditionally identified as one of seven penitential psalms and is also one of five psalms that are explicitly given the title a prayer. Some portions are clearly petitions to God, but there are also prophetic elements. Likewise, portions of Psalm 102 are a personal lament, but it also has in view the people of God as a whole.
The Letter of James has many echoes of the teaching of Jesus, making this passage from chapter five an appropriate text for consideration prior to the observance of the Lord's Supper.
James 1:22–25: "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing." (ESV) An application of this principle is seen later in the epistle, in James 2:1-13.
We hear in John's First Epistle echoes of the passage from his Gospel that we considered in the two sermons previous to this one. The love of God, the second birth, and the theme of knowledge are some of the themes found in both texts. These form the backdrop in today's text for the call to us as Christians to live in Christ and to purify ourselves.
This sermon continues a consideration of the remarkable presentation of the gospel to Nicodemus.
Sometimes it is helpful to begin a consideration of the truth by contrasting it with a common misunderstanding.