Sermon delivered at First Reformed Church on January 13, 2019 in Edgerton, MN.
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Dwell in the Text Ephesians Week 2
For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. â Eph 1:15-23
Sermon delivered on January 6, 2019 at First Reformed Church in Edgerton, MN.
Week One in our series on Ephesians.
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Listen to All of Ephesians
Dwell in the Word Video
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. â Eph 1:1-14
Sermon delivered on December 9, 2018 at First Reformed Church in Edgerton, MN.
Sermon from Lord's Day Worship at First Reformed Church in Edgerton, MN on December 2, 2018.
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." - Hebrews 13:8
As I contemplate what to write in this space, I often consult the calendar. It only makes sense to match my thoughts up with those who read this. What better way is there to establish commonality with an unknown group of people than to look at the season of the year? During this season it is easy to see what that commonality is. Holiday shopping commercials are what I see as I skip them in my DVR software. There is also an increasing number of trees draped in sparkling lights.
My instincts had my mind soaring to writing a lament of consumerism. We all bemoan the loss of a traditional understanding of Christmas. As some of you may know, I was a manager at Toys R Us for several years. I sometimes reminisce on holiday-related incidents observed during my time there. Working 14 hours days, six days a week gives you time to witness these things. This year I was incapable of conjuring up any of these memories. Instead, my mind realized no one will shop at Toys R Us this Christmas. After years of restructuring and trying new business plans, the company folded.
This brought me to thoughts of the changes I have seen in my 43 laps around the sun. Many businesses once known as solid investments and stalwarts of commerce have died. Who would have imagined driving down a mile of road in a city and seeing four Starbucks and seven Verizon stores but not one Kmart or Sears? Someday that which is new and fresh will be stale and perhaps even bankrupt. People will look back on these now thriving businesses with nostalgia.
For me, nothing brings this idea of change about more than the holiday season. Long gone are the crazes of Tickle Me Elmo, Furby, and Virtual Pets. At Christmas, we notice the changes in our families. The pictures we take in front of the Christmas tree differ from last year. Family dynamics change as we celebrate new life or we mourn the loss of a loved one. Change presents itself when children give us their Christmas lists. The presents requested change from dolls and action figures to technological items. Things they understand but we may not.
As we dwell on these things they draw us back to the one thing that remains the same. That is the true story of God the Son taking on human flesh to dwell among us. His mission was to live a perfect life for us and to bear the wrath of God for our sin. Trends come and go. Businesses flourish and declare bankruptcy. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
We have a natural tendency to follow the next big thing. To chase after change and fads. What we see as we look into God's Word is that he does not change. The Triune God has acted in history. The message of that redemption we have in Jesus Christ does not change with time. God's grace alone, through faith alone, on account of Christ alone is what saves us. This is good news for us because our chasing after trends does not end well. Dig into the depths of landfills and you will find plenty of Tickle Me Elmo dolls decomposing. Check the basement of a tech nerd like myself. What you will find there are computer components of years past going unused. Next to those plastic storage boxes are more boxes with old video game systems that are no longer played. Even the trendy fashions from your Christmas boxes in years past were out of style before the clothes wore out.
Jesus does not change and neither does his gospel. That message of the incarnation of God the Son does not get old and it does not wear out. Strengthened by Word and Spirit may we be faithful to proclaim that good news of God's saving work in Jesus Christ that does not change.
Sermon given Thanksgiving Day 2018 at First Reformed Church in Edgerton, MN.