“Solas” Sermon Audio

On Sunday, November 5, 2017 I preached a sermon at Wildwood Community Church based on Ephesians 2:8-9.  This message (titled “Solas”) was part of our celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.  Below you will find the audio from this message to listen to or share.

 

To listen offline, click the link to download:

“Solas” Sermon Audio

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

“Solas” Sermon Questions

On Sunday, November 5, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Ephesians 2:8-9.  This message was a part of our celebration of the 500 year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.  Below you will find a set of questions related to the message for further reflection or group discussion.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Ephesians 2:8-9
  3. This morning, it was mentioned that our presence in heaven is a reminder of God’s grace — a trophy of God’s grace.  In what ways is God glorified by saving sinful people like you and me?
  4. Even the faith we employ to receive the grace God gives us is a gift from God.  Take a few moments and list the “gifts” God has given us in Christ.  Then take a few more moments and thank God for His grace toward us.
  5. What are some ways that the brilliant truth of the Gospel have been obscured in your life or in the world around you? 
  6. What are some ways that people try to have their works be the means by which they receive God’s grace?
  7. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

“Solas” Preview

Silver tarnishes.  It is a beautiful and precious metal, but over time – as it is exposed to the elements of our world – it begins to discolor and its beauty is hidden under a thin layer of green and grime.  Anyone who has ever owned real silverware or jewelry has seen this phenomena at work. 

What happens when you find real silver that has tarnished?  Do you throw it away?  No!  It is too valuable to discard.  So, you polish it – cleaning away the impurities and returning it to its original brilliance. 

This process not only effects precious metals, it effects precious movements as well.  We see this in the nation of Israel in the days leading up to the time of Jesus.  Over time, the environment set by the Pharisees had led to their religious “add ons” discoloring the true teaching of God.  Jesus (in the Sermon on the Mount and other places) polishes the impurities in contemporary teaching off of the true teaching of the Old Testament to return it to its original brilliance.  Sadly, the polished and restored vision of God’s Truth that Jesus presented was unrecognizable to the first century Pharisees, leading to the launch of the Church . . . in one sense a “new”  movement of God (termed a “mystery” in Ephesians 3), but in another sense the continuation of the plan of God from the foundation of the world.  As Jesus purified the religious entities of the first century, he pointed people to the Truth.

Fast forward from the time of Jesus to the sixteenth century.  Once again, the religious environment had polluted the Truth of the Gospel with indulgences, works based salvation, and human tradition that had been elevated to equal status with God’s Word.  The Reformation, led by Luther, Calvin, Wycliffe, Huss, and others sought to once again polish the tarnish off the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  As they did so, a new movement (Protestantism) developed.  The movement (while imperfect as well), used the Scriptures to remove impurities they saw in Christian religious practice in 5 key areas:

  • Seeing spiritual authority in Scripture alone.
  • Seeing salvation by the Grace of God alone.
  • Seeing salvation received by Faith alone.
  • Seeing salvation found through Christ alone.
  • Seeing life as pointing to the Glory of God alone.

The Latin word for “alone” or “only” is “sola.”  These five ideas were described as the 5 “solas” by the Reformers and their followers.  This past week marked the 500 year anniversary of when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses, thus taking the Reformation to a new level.  Protestant churches around the world are remembering this anniversary this week, thankful for the “polishing” that took place five decades ago.  

This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church, our worship services (at 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00) will be focused on reflecting further on the five “solas” of the Reformation.  We will sing together, have communion together, and look into God’s Word together – looking to the Scriptures, as we gather in Christ alone, giving glory to Him alone as we receive His grace through faith.  Make plans to join us this Sunday, November 5!

Follow (part 7) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, September 24, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 10:26-42.  This message was part 7 of the “Follow” sermon series.  Below you will find the sermon audio from this message to listen to or share.

 

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

Follow (part 7)

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

Follow (part 7) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, September 24, 2017 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 10:26-42.  This message was part 7 in the “Follow” series.  Below are a set of questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 10:26-42
  3. What are some examples you can think of where being a Christian is not a popular thing to be?
  4. Have you ever spoken out as a Christian and experienced rejection or persecution as a result?  If so, how did you react?  Were you tempted to back down and be quiet about your faith?
  5. According to Jesus in Matthew 10:26-33, there are several reasons why we should continue to proclaim Jesus regardless of the opposition we face.  What are these reasons and how are you encouraged by what Jesus says here?
  6. What are some areas where you need to “pick up your cross and follow Jesus”?
  7. Think of someone you know who does not know Jesus as their Savior.  What are some of the blessings this person is missing because they do not know Christ?  How does remembering this help encourage you to reach out and share Christ with them?
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

Follow (Part 7) Sermon Preview

Are you familiar with the term “bandwagon fans”?  Bandwagon fans are people who become supporters of a team when that team is doing well, but show no interest the rest of the time.  Back in 2000, when the University of Oklahoma won its last national championship, suddenly the Sooner Schooner was crowded with people who claimed to be HUGE OU fans, but knew nothing about the team in the 90’s.  These are fans who bought season tickets after the 2002 Rose Bowl victory, but sold them after our quarterback separated his shoulder in 2009.  We might think of “Bandwagon Fans” as opportunists, people who want to share in the excitement but skip out at the first sign of loss.

Interestingly enough, Jesus talks about bandwagon fans in His sermon preached at the ordination of the 12 disciples before their first mission trip.  Jesus gathered His followers and told them that they were going to experience a few “losses” as they followed Him.  Because they follow Jesus, they may be rejected by their family, arrested by their government, or disciplined by their “church.”  Because of those losses, His followers might have been tempted to hop off the schooner at the next turn, and find the next exciting opportunity to leach onto.

As Jesus continues to preach, though, He clarifies to His disciples why they should still Proclaim Him in the light, and not cower in the dark; why they should Prioritize Him in their life above all else, and wait for His greater reward. 

How about you?  Are you a true follower of Jesus, or simply a “Bandwagon Fan”?  Will you follow Christ even in hard times, or only when it is easy or exciting?  As Charles Spurgeon said:

“Lord, let me never blush to own Thee in all companies!  Work in me a bold spirit by Thy Holy Spirit.  Let me confess Thy truth whatever the spirit of the age may be, uphold Thy church when she is most despised, obey Thy precepts when they cost most dear, and glory in Thy name when it is most reproached.”

This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church in our 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 worship services, we will be wrapping up our “Follow” series by looking at Matthew 10:26-42 and seeing how we can have no fear and put Jesus in a position without rival in our lives.  Join us for worship this week as we praise the Lord through song, celebrate the Lord’s Supper together, unite our hearts in prayer, and look deeply into God’s Word to see what He has for us.  Join us this Sunday!

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: