In this text, Paul calls the Galatian churches–and us as Christians today–back to the gospel, and in doing so provides us with a clear and decisive description of the gospel. Luther called the teaching of justification by faith that is set out by Paul here the doctrine on which the Church stands or falls.
sermons | study
These are sermons preached during our Sunday worship services. (Recordings were not always successful, so there are gaps in the postings.)
I hope that this sermon doesn’t sound as disjointed as it seemed to me when preaching it. I also felt that I was rushing through the last section. Thankfully, God’s Word does not depend upon preachers like me for its effectiveness!
This passage begins what is the main part, or body, of Paul’s public letter to the Galatian churches. Here he states his first main idea and begins to provide support for it. The apostle does not expect the believers simply to accept what he says because he says it, but provides reasons. Our faith is not a blind faith, but one that is reasonable. God expects us to use our minds as we search for truth.
Galatians is unique among Paul’s letters, and its distinctives begin to appear in these verses. Although Paul is addressing specific churches about specific circumstances they face, there are important lessons for us today.
The benediction that opens the epistle to the Galatian churches includes important teaching for us today.
This sermon begins a series on what is probably the earliest epistle written. Galatians provides an intimate glimpse into both the person and message of the great Apostle Paul.
It seemed to me that it would be helpful to consider further the idea of fearing God that we considered in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, so this sermon looks at various Bible passages on this theme. This subject is one that I thought I needed to learn more about myself and apply to my own life.
I admit to sadness at coming to the end of our consideration of Ecclesiastes. I have found the book challenging to study, but deeply rewarding. Even more important, the book has proven to have great relevance for our lives at Christians in the midst of postmodern culture.
This is a beautiful passage for summing up the Preacher's teaching concerning wisdom, which has application to all of God's Word.
This sermon focuses on the Preacher's command to remember, an imperative that frequently appears in Scripture.
The Preacher crowds six imperative verbs into verses nine and ten. Clearly he is emphasizing an important point of application as he moves towards the conclusion of his book.
In this last main section of the body of Ecclesiastes, the Preacher is reviewing important themes and bringing his teaching to its climax. Of primary importance are two commands that he repeats twice in these verses. This sermon considers the first of these imperatives: rejoice!
In the poetic books of the Bible, structure and repetition are significant. In this passage, the double commands at the beginning and end (verses 1-2 and 6) and the repetition of the phrase "do not know" calls our attention to the key teaching of the Preacher here.
Wisdom has been an important theme in Ecclesiastes thus far, and now foolishness–wisdom's antithesis–comes to the forefront. The Preacher continues to consider human life "under the sun," that is, from the perspective of this earthly life, even as he leads us to seek for eternal truth.
The careful reader will notice the repetition of the word wisdom in this passage, as the Preacher considers typical human attitudes and reactions to wisdom. As is often the case in the book of Ecclesiastes, the intent is to show us the reality of life under the sun–that reality is sometimes to be accepted and sometimes to be resisted.
The Preacher continues to reinforce the key themes that he has presented in Ecclesiastes. In this text, he confronts human self-confidence head on.
In chapter nine, the Preacher brings his thoughts to a climax with a series of commands. Although he is not ready to bring the book to a conclusion, he is progressively unfolding for us the book's overall theme.
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.
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.