Pastor Gordon Hugenberger says of Ecclesiastes: “It’s not that the conclusions don’t harmonize with what is taught everywhere else in the Bible. It’s rather that we’re just not used to this much honesty. We much prefer religious platitudes, the kind of feel-good aphorisms that you can stick on your refrigerator and get inspired for the day. But Ecclesiastes won’t have it–his is high octane Christianity, soul searching insights, and convicting observations.” (His excellent sermons on Ecclesiastes can be found on the Park Street Church web site, parkstreet.org.)
sermons | study
These are sermons preached during our Sunday worship services. (Recordings were not always successful, so there are gaps in the postings.)
The identity of the main speaker in the opening of Ecclesiastes is not explicitly stated, but there are clear clues given to us that invite us to identify him with a specific historical figure. An overview of his life will be a helpful background to our study of the book.
Ecclesiastes reads as if it were written for our own time, which may account for the widespread appeal of its imagery and language. Its message is timeless, of course, but it seems especially relevant to our experiences today.
It will be helpful to begin a study of Ecclesiastes with a passage that introduces us to the author, his method, and his message. Even more important will be for us to think about how we are to receive this book of wisdom as both hearers and doers of the Word.
God's relationship with his people is founded on his covenant with them. Unlike human religions that are dependent upon human intentions and efforts, the covenant of redemption is based upon the promises of God to himself and his people. This transforms the way we approach God in prayer, a fact that is reflected in Psalm 25.
The fourth-century Christian Eusebius of Caesarea wrote of Christ as Prophet, Priest, and King, and Reformed leaders made frequent use of this structure. The previous two sermons focused on Jesus as Prophet and Priest; his text focuses upon Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords.
Many passages from the Old Testament narratives of the nation Israel seem so foreign to us that they are hard to interpret. Two helpful interpretive tools are to discover the historical and literary setting and to look for images and ideas that point to Christ.
Because God's word of promise is central to the covenants he cuts, it is no surprise that the role of prophet is important in the covenant God makes with Israel. The prophets serve God and his people in history, while also pointing to Jesus Christ, the ultimate prophet
God's eternal purpose to bring into being creatures in his image to share his glory is made a reality in time and space through the promises made and kept by the Trinity. These promises were not casual comments easily carried out, but were carefully thought out commitments kept at immense personal cost. They are covenants made in blood.
In the account of Jesus' temptation, we can discern him as the Second Adam, the One who will conquer temptation as the First Adam did not. Not only does this episode reveal Jesus as righteous redeemer, but it also provides us with a pattern for resisting temptation ourselves.
All the historical covenants instituted by God are progressive manifestations of the eternal covenant of redemption. These historical, or earthly covenants, begin at creation with a covenant made with the human race as a whole, but they narrow in scope as we approach God’s revelation of himself and his redemptive work in Jesus Christ, which is the fullest and final revelation of God’s covenant of redemption. Isaiah 42 provides us with a prophetic view of Christ as the fulfillment of God's covenant promises
In his words to Pilate, Jesus provides us with clear teaching on the nature of his kingdom and the place of human government under the sovereign rule of God. It is important that we understand what it means for Jesus to be king and the implications of his kingship for our thinking about the earthly governments under which we live.
On this Lord's Day, our church began using a tracker organ newly installed in our meetinghouse, so it seemed appropriate to consider Psalm 98 for its teaching on worship. (Our former organ, an electronic instrument, was in need of such extensive repairs that we decided to replace it with an older tracker (mechanical action) organ that we purchased used.)
This is the fourth in a series of sermons on the biblical concept of covenant. The first three sermons aimed at learning what the Bible teaches concerning God's sovereignty in the covenants he makes, the agreement of the Trinity in the covenant of redemption, and God's purpose of calling into being a covenant people for himself. This sermon considers a passage that helps us to understand what God's covenant of redemption means for his covenant people.
In the two preceding sermons, we considered the sovereignty of God in his making of covenants and the covenant of redemption that he made as the Triune God in eternity. This sermon focuses on the fruit of that covenant of redemption: the creation of a covenant people for himself.
The covenant of redemption, while not specifically named in Scripture, is clearly evident throughout the Bible by implication. This covenant, entered into by the Triune God in eternity is, in fact, foundational to all the covenants God makes with his creation.
This Genesis text serves as an excellent introduction to the biblical concept of covenant that is central to an understanding of God's redemptive plan that unfolds in human history.
Peter opens this letter with a wonderful declaration of praise which at the same time provides us with a marvelous statement of God's mercy toward his people that has moved him to accomplish our salvation.
The Epistle to the Romans closes with a magnificent doxology. It is most appropriate that this wonderful exposition of the gospel ends with praise!
Paul, usually thought of as a theologian par excellence, had a pastor's heart, and we see in his letters his concern for the Church, and specifically for the local churches to which he writes. That certainly applies to this heartfelt passage from Romans.