Follow (part 6) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, September 17, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message based on Matthew 10:5-25.  This message was part 6 in the “Follow” series.  Below you will find the sermon audio to listen to or share online.

 

To listen offline, click the link below to download:

Follow #6 9.17.17

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

Follow (part 6) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, September 17, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 10:5-25.  This message was part 6 in the “Follow” sermon series.  Below you will find a set of questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 10:5-25
  3. What are some examples of persecution of Christians that you are aware of in the world today?
  4. Have you ever reached out to someone in the name of Christ, and had them reject you in a way that still leaves you “dusty”?
  5. Christians are to be as “wise as serpents and as innocent as doves.”  What do you think this means for your life today?
  6. Have you ever experienced any opposition from others as you lived out your Christian life?
  7. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

Follow (part 6) Sermon Preview

150 years after His crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus Christ was still building His Church.  Jesus had not retired to heaven, He had ascended – and as He did, He sent His disciples into all the world to make more followers of Him.  This Gospel expansion had taken the Truth to modern day Tunisia, and had seen a young woman named Perpetua place her faith and trust in Jesus by the end of the second century.  This conversion brought eternal security to Perpetua, but it also brought temporal trouble.  The Romans began a new round of persecution in her city and she was arrested for her failure to worship Caesar.  Perpetua’s father (a non-Christian) begged her to renounce her faith in Jesus and save her life.  Perpetua refused to do so, telling her father that just as a vase cannot be anything other than what it is, she could not deny Jesus because a Christ follower was who she was.  Ultimately, Perpetua (still nursing a young child at the time) handed her father her child and was thrown into the arena to be attacked by animals and killed by gladiators.  Though her earthly life was rough, her testimony still echoes in eternity, where Perpetua now lives eternal at the side of her Savior.

Fast forward 1200 more years to the early 1400’s.  The city of Prague was being greatly blessed by a priest by the name of John Huss.  Huss taught the Scriptures faithfully and passionately to his people – pointing them to salvation in Christ alone.  Sadly, Huss’s message was at odds with the leadership of the Catholic Church at the time – particularly the Pope.  Huss cried out against the expoitative practices of the selling of indulgences to fund personal pet projects.  Like John Wycliffe before him, Huss became a voice crying out against the twisted doctrine of the church about 100 years before the Protestant Reformation would take full bloom.  Ultimately Huss was arrested and brought to trial for preaching “heresy.”  The church leaders who were presiding over the trial of Huss mocked him, stripped him of his clothing and dignity, and sent him to be burned at the stake . . . using copies of Wycliffe’s writings as kindling for the fire.  Though they lashed out against him, Huss simply prayed “Lord Jesus, it is for Thee that I patiently endure this cruel death. I pray Thee to have mercy on my enemies.”  As Huss (whose name meant “goose” in Bohemian) went to the stake, he said, “You may cook this goose, but a century from now, you will have a swan that you can neither roast nor boil.”  100 years later, Martin Luther (known as the swan) would read Huss’s writings, and find in them the kindling for a Gospel Reformation movement that Jesus has used to change the world and continue to build His church.

During His earthly ministry, Jesus commissioned His disciples to share the Gospel with others.  The “training run” for this mission was conducted inside the (relatively friendly) confines of Galilee in Matthew 10.  But as Jesus sent the disciples out, He knew that though their first trip would be easy, subsequent trips (most likely) would not be.  Jesus wanted to prepare His disciples for the rejection that awaited them down the road.  I believe not only was Jesus thinking of the rejection the 12 Apostles would experience (imprisonments, martyrdom, etc.) but also He was thinking of people like Perpetua and Huss who would die for their faith down the road.  Not wanting His followers to be surprised by the opposition they might face, Jesus preached a sermon to His disciples in Matthew 10:5-42 to prepare them for what lay ahead. 


This Sunday morning at Wildwood Community Church, we will be continuing our “Follow” sermon series by looking at the first half of this sermon (from Matthew 10:5-25).  Like Perpetua and Huss before us (and countless contemporaries who are persecuted because of their faith in Christ around the world today) we need to hear the words of Jesus who not only tells us of trouble that we may encounter, but also encouragement for how to deal with it.  Make plans to join us at Wildwood this Sunday morning in our 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 worship service.  We will even hear from some missionary partners who are serving in an environment where persecution is “normal” today.  Let’s make plans to Follow Jesus into worship, community, and mission this weekend!

Follow (Part 5) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, September 10, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 9:35-10:4.  This message was part 5 of the “Follow” sermon series.  Below is the sermon audio to listen to or share.

 

To listen offline, click the link to download the file:

Follow (Part 5)

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

Follow (part 5) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, September 10, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 9:35-10:4. This message was part 5 in the “Follow” sermon series.  Below are a set of questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 9:35-10:4
  3. How do you see the compassion of Jesus demonstrated in today’s passage?  How do you see the compassion of Jesus demonstrated in the lives of those you know today?
  4. To what degree does the compassion Jesus has for the lost motivate and drive you to share about Jesus with others?
  5. Think of an area of the world that seems particularly “lost” to you.  Could be a place in your own city, in the nation, or a foreign country.  Take a few moments and pray that God would send laborers to that area to help connect people to Christ.
  6. Have you ever considered yourself a person who is “sent” by Jesus into a particular Harvest Field?  How would understanding this change the way you look at your life?
  7. Do you know anyone currently who is serving Jesus in a foreign field?  Take a moment to pray for those folks.
  8. Do you feel the Lord calling you to take the Gospel to a new “field”?  If so, where?
  9. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

Follow (Part 5) Sermon Preview

In 1940, Great Britain was faced with a terrible dilemma. British troops (together with the remnants of the French and Belgian armies) had been forced to retreat to the beaches of Dunkirk, France after suffering defeat to the Nazi war machine.  Evacuation across the English Channel was the only viable option remaining . . . but even that seemed like a longshot.

Nearly 400,000 British, French, and Belgian forces gathered at Dunkirk while the German armored infantry surrounded the perimeter, and the German Air Force bombed the beaches.  British Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered a full evacuation of Dunkirk in late May, 1940, but after one day, only 7,000 troops had made it safely onto evacuation boats.  The need was great . . . and the capacity on the boats were limited.  In his best case estimate, using only military options, Churchill believed they could get 45,000 (a little more than 10%) of the troops home — but this simply was not good enough.  So Great Britain put out a general call to all who owned a sea worthy boat in England.  The need was simple – “Bring our troops home.”  800 non-military boat captains answered this call and headed toward the fight.  Risking their own lives, these civilians took off for France, and amazingly helped bring back over 330,000 troops in just over one week!  This event became known as the “miracle of Dunkirk” and was the subject of one of 2017’s most critically acclaimed movies.

I was thinking of Dunkirk today as I read Matthew 9:35 – 10:4.  In these verses Jesus looked out on the masses and saw their great need.  Jesus knew that His death would be sufficient to pay the penalty for mankind’s sin, but He also knew that (by God’s design) it would take many “boats” to get people to the safety of saving faith.  “The Harvest is plentiful,” Jesus said, “ but the workers are few.  Beseech the Lord of the Harvest to send out workers into the Harvest.” 

So Jesus called to Himself 12 disciples that He would send out on a mission – “Bring God’s children home.”  2,000 years later, the same call goes out to all the followers of Jesus . . . “Go into all the world and make disciples . . .”

Like the 800 civilian captains in 1940, will you heed the call and head to the fight?  Will you take the life boat of saving faith in Jesus and offer salvation to those who don’t yet know Him?

This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church, we will continue our “Follow” series by looking at Jesus’ call of the 12 . . . and His reason for doing so.  Make plans to join us in our 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 worship service.

Follow (Part 4) Sermon Audio

This morning, September 3, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 9:18-26.  This message was part 4 in the “Follow” series.  Below you will find the sermon audio to listen to or share with a friend.

 

To listen offline, click the link to download the audio:

Follow (Part 4)

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

 

Follow (Part 4) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, September 3, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message based on Matthew 9:18-26.  This message was part 4 of the “Follow” series.  Below are a series of questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 9:18-26
  3. In what way do you see people trying to fight off “death”?  How successful are their efforts?
  4. In what way can you relate to the desperation of Jairus or the woman?  Have you ever “fallen in faith” at Jesus’ feet when faced with an incurable situation?
  5. What is your plan for overcoming death?  How does Jesus factor into that plan?
  6. In what ways have you seen God “authoring” the story in your life?
  7. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

Follow (Part 4) Preview

We have a common enemy . . . and this enemy appears to be winning.

  • People spend billions of dollars each year trying to avoid this enemy.
  • People devote countless hours each year to escape its icy grip.
  • People concoct stories and develop philosophies to make sense of it.

Who is this enemy?  Death.  Death is our common enemy.  In our lives, all of us will feel the sting of losing a loved one, and most of us have at least some fear about the process of death and what lies beyond the grave.  Though the Grim Reaper is coming for all of us, we are doing what we can to avoid it.

  • Three common causes of death are disease, accidents, and old age.  We spend billions each year treating our illnesses, making our lives safer, and having procedures to disguise the effects of old age.
  • Health clubs are full of people investing hours of their lives exercising to avoid death’s decay. 
  • World religions all try to answer the questions death asks.

Canadian Physician G.B. Hardy once said, “When I looked at religion I said, I have two questions. One, has anybody ever conquered death, and two, if they have, did they make a way for me to conquer death? I checked the tomb of Buddha, and it was occupied, and I checked the tomb of Confucius and it was occupied, and I checked the tomb of Mohammed and it was occupied, and I came to the tomb of Jesus and it was empty. And I said, there is one who conquered death. And I asked the second question, Did He make a way for me to do it? And I opened the Bible and discovered that He said, ‘Because I live ye shall live also.’”

Jesus is the only one who provides a solution to the problem of death.  We certainly see this in His personal resurrection from the grave on that first Easter morning, but we also see Him triumph over death throughout His earthly ministry.  In Matthew 9:18-26, Jesus performs two miracles which demonstrate His absolute victory over death.  One miracle was performed on a young girl, just 12 years old (a sudden death). The second miracle was performed on an older woman who had suffered from an affliction for 12 years (a slow death). One miracle happens to the daughter of a prominent leader who everyone knew.  The second miracle happens to a woman who society wanted to forget.  Death comes for all of us . . . but Jesus provides hope for all, if we will trust Him.

This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church, in our 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 worship services, we will continue our “Follow” series by looking at these two miracles and finding hope to overcome our common enemy of death.  It appears that death is winning, but take heart . . . He has overcome the grave! 

Because He lives, ye shall we also live!  Join us Sunday at Wildwood as we reflect on this awesome truth.

Follow (part 3) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, August 27, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 9:9-17.  This message was part 3 in the “Follow” series.  Below you will find the audio from this message to listen to or share.

 

To listen offline, click the link to download:

Follow #3 8.27.17

 

To listen online, use the media player below: