Lord of the Church (part 3) Sermon Questions, Audio & Video

On Sunday, January 16, 2022 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Revelation 2:1-7.  This message was part 3 in the “Lord of the Church” sermon series.  Below you will find questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find the audio and video of the message to listen to/watch, download or share.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Revelation 2:1-7
  3. Have you ever considered that Jesus REALLY CARES about what happens in His churches?  In general, what do you think Jesus would most care about regarding His churches?  Throughout our study of Revelation 2-3, we will get a much clearer picture of how Jesus evaluates His churches.  This will be both encouraging and challenging!
  4. The Ephesian church was maintaining a lifestyle and doing “works” that were consistent with the call of Christ, even in the midst of a world that was pressuring them to do and think otherwise.  What are some examples from your world today where the culture wants you to behave in certain ways, even if the Scripture tells us otherwise?
  5. The Ephesian church also was doing well at evaluating teachers and teachings to see if they were accurate.  What are some common “false teachings” that threaten the church today from your perspective?
  6. Even though they had much they were doing well, the Ephesian church still had a significant problem … they had floated to a religion instead of a relationship with Christ; to duty and dogma instead of devotion.  How are your affections for Christ currently?  Have you maintained your first love, or is it waning?
  7. The solution to a lack of love (Jesus says in Revelation 2:5) is to REMEMBER, REPENT, and REPEAT.  What would it look like for you to apply these principles in your life today?
  8. How does remembering our reward in eternity stir your affections for our Savior?
  9. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen offline, click the link to download:

Lord of the Church #3 1.16.22

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the stream, use YouTube online:

 

Lord of the Church (part 3) Preview

Did you know that Jesus wrote letters? Letters that we actually still have? Letters that were written in interaction with 7 different real world churches that detailed what was going well and what they were doing wrong; that reminded the churches of who Jesus was, and what He was promising to them; and laid out specific prescriptions for action or response tailored to their particular situation?
 
Jesus actually wrote letters like this … and we have them, in Revelation 2-3. After John sees Jesus in all of His glory in Revelation 1, Jesus immediately has John pick up a pen and write down specific dictation about 7 churches that John either pastored personally, or knew something about.
 
So, when we look at Revelation 2-3, we find out a LOT about what Jesus loves AND hates about what is happening in His churches. In our day and age, millions of people tune into podcasts to hear of the failures of different churches, while others find sport in watching YouTube explanations of all the churches who are getting it wrong. Therefore, I am guessing that our curiosity is certainly peaked to find out what JESUS HIMSELF thinks about HIS church! After all, Jesus both knows EXACTLY what IS going on and EXACTLY what SHOULD BE going on inside His church. And He thought enough about His church to send them a letter to let them know what was up.
 
AND (and here is the real kicker) … these messages were not just for those 7 churches, but are for you and I as well! Jesus concluded each of the letters with the statement, “He who has ears let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” So, if you are curious what Jesus thinks about the church, then your spiritual ears are raised … and you should read Revelation 2-3!
 
Over the next seven weeks at Wildwood Community Church, we will be looking at these letters Jesus sends to the seven churches in parts 3-8 of our “Lord of the Church” series. This Sunday (in part 3), we will be looking at Revelation 2:1-7, and the letter Jesus wrote to the church in Ephesus. There is SO MUCH IMPORTANT STUFF for us to see in this letter. Read it before you come, and make plans to join us on Sunday … at 8:30, 9:45, or 11:00 in person, or at 9:45 on the livestream. See you there … all who have ears to hear.

Lord of the Church (part 2) Sermon Questions, Audio & Video

On Sunday, January 9, 2022 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Revelation 1:9-20.  This message was part 2 in the “Lord of the Church” series.  Below you will find questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.  You will also find audio and video from the message to listen to/watch, download, or share.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Revelation 1:9-20
  3. Has there ever been a time/circumstances in your life where you wondered where God was or if He had forgotten you?  Are you in one of those moments/experiencing some circumstances like this right now?
  4. How does remembering what the Apostle John had experienced and was going through help you to understand more the significance of the vision Jesus gives him in Revelation 1?
  5. While there are specific meanings to all the symbols in the appearance of Jesus in today’s passage, we should pause for a moment and allow the ART of His appearance to sweep over us (not just the science of breaking down the symbolism).  We should rest in our relationship with Him for a moment (instead of just finding the religious significance).  Jesus revealed Himself to us in this glorious vision to elicit certain emotions in us.  How does this vision of Jesus prompt you to respond?
  6. What are you going through right now that you can face when you remember that HE (the Jesus of Revelation 1) is with you?
  7. In what ways can you practically “fall” before Him this week?
  8. Are you trusting Jesus for your eternity?  Remember He has the keys to life beyond death!
  9. The church is pictured in this vision as a lamp stand.  Have you ever had any experience with a church that functioned in this fashion?  In what ways can the light of Jesus shine through you and our church in the year ahead?
  10. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen offline, click the link to download:

Lord of the Church #2 1.9.22

 

To listen online, use media player below:

 

To watch the stream, use YouTube online:

Lord of the Church (part 2) Sermon Preview

Most of us are familiar with the concept of a woven piece of art. Whether it is a rug, a tapestry, or even a Christmas sweater, the front side of a woven piece displays a beautiful picture, while the backside reveals a messier version. If all we ever saw was the “backside” of the sweater/tapestry/rug, we might think that the art was more worthy of the refrigerator than the Louvre. Oh, but when we turn the woven piece over … WOW! The art becomes crisp and beautiful.
 
We live in a world that has two sides. One side is messy and awkward, while the other side is bright and glorious. Our problem is … we forget which side of the “quilt” we are on.
 
We are tempted to think that this world is the “front side.” When we think that way, we expect things to be more obvious and evident. We hear that God is sovereign … but then we look around and it can FEEL like this world is spinning out of control without anyone at the wheel. We understand that God is a God of justice … but then we see so much injustice in the world around us. We say that God is present with His people … but we sometimes feel alone. We look at this world expecting to see everything in HD clarity, and yet it looks a bit fuzzy. If we assume we are looking at the “front side” we will be tempted to doubt core beliefs.
 
Rather than assuming that Biblical truth is a lie, might I suggest another possibility? Could it be that this world in which we live is somewhat like the “back side” of the woven work? We see signs that point to God’s sovereignty, justice, and presence … but it is a bit of a patchwork of yarn, scarred by the fall. However, the stitches we see in this world, remind us that there is a beautiful work of art that is being prepared on the other side … if we could only see it!
 
In Revelation 1:9-20, the Apostle John is toiling away in a prison camp on a lonely island called Patmos. Talk about the back side of the quilt. Jesus had promised John and His friends that He would return to this earth … but 60+ years had gone by and Jesus had not yet returned. Jesus had promised that He would be with them always … but John felt alone. Jesus had said that they would reign with Him … but John’s friends (the other Apostles) were killed because of their connection with Jesus, and John was in prison. It is at this moment that Jesus invites John to see “the other side.” And WHOA! What a vision! What a work of art!
 
The world in which John lived … the world in which we live … is the back side of the tapestry. We need to remember what is really going on, and who is really in charge. We need to flip the sweater over and see the work of art. We need to be reminded of who Jesus truly is.
 
This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church in our 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00 worship services, we will be in week 2 of “The Lord of the Church” (part of our year long study of Revelation), as we look at Revelation 1:9-20 and allow these verses to flip the rug over and show us a contemporary portrait of Jesus Christ.
 
SPOILER ALERT: He does not look like the picture hanging on the wall of your Sunday School classroom from the 1970s. In the words of C.S. Lewis, what we see is a Jesus who is not “safe” but who is “GOOD” and who invites us to know Him and be with Him forever. See you Sunday … and bring friends!

Lord of the Church (part 1) Sermon Preview

 

As I write this, we are less than 48 hours from 2022.  Like many, I am taking some time before the turn of the new year writing out some resolutions for a new era.  You probably are too.

My goals fit into different categories: health, personal development, work, family & friends, spiritual growth, and fun.  I have mapped out a target number of minutes to exercise each week, how many books I want to read, a writing project I want to pursue, specific things to do as a family, a book I want to use in my prayer life, how many rounds of golf I want to play, and several more.  Are you working through similar targets for yourself?

While all these goals can be helpful, I also find myself reflecting on some BIGGER THINGS.  I was walking out to my car a minute ago and found myself praying out loud, “Lord, I really want to KNOW YOU MORE this year.”  As I pray that prayer, I find myself reflecting on a few things:

  1. By God’s grace, I already know the Lord.  I don’t mean I know all of Him, but I mean I know much of Him.  He has given us His Word, history, nature, the inner testimony of the Holy Spirit, the communion of the Body of Christ, and more to help us know Him … and I am so thankful for that gift.  However, I want to continue to get to know Him better and better.  “And this is eternal life, that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom God has sent (John 17:3).”
  2. Knowing more of God most likely means walking with God through difficult things.  We get to know much of God through worship and Bible Study … but there is a FELLOWSHIP with God that comes as we suffer in His name (Philippians 3:9) or walk with Him through dark valleys (Psalm 23).
  3. Knowing more of God probably also means exploring areas of God’s character we may have neglected investigating in the past for a variety of reasons.  

My strong guess is that many of you probably have on your list for 2022 that you want to know God better.  To say it another way, I would highly doubt that many of you have a New Year’s Resolution to be further away from God in December 2022 than you are today.  So how will this happen?

Well, as it relates to walking with God through difficult things, we don’t have to go looking for trouble.  My guess is that enough hard moments will find you on their own in 2022.  Our task will be to simply trust God when these hard times surface.  And, the best way I know to trust God is to get to know MORE of His character by investigating previously neglected sections of God’s Word to see how trustworthy He really is.

So, at Wildwood in 2022, I want to take our Sunday sermons and have a stated goal.  I want us to get to know Jesus better this year.  Collectively.  As a church family.  Get to know Christ more, and get to know Him in a way that will impact the way we trust Him, the way we live our lives, and the way our community is impacted in a positive way as a result.  I want us to stare at the awesome greatness of our God together, until the glow of His redeeming Light reflects off of us into a dark and dying world.  

The tool we will use to this end will be looking at the oft-avoided, yet awesome book “The Revelation.”  This last book of the New Testament is a book written with a promised benefit, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. (Revelation 1:3)”  But it is also a book that unveils Jesus for us, reminding us of who Jesus truly is.  Too many look at Revelation as a veiled, symbolic confusion … but that is not fair or accurate.  In fact, the Greek Word that gives this book its title, actually means to “make something appear” not to bury it.  And what appears when we read its pages?  Jesus Christ.  After all, Revelation 1:1a begins and tells us that this is – “The revelation of Jesus Christ…”  It is a book about Him, not just charts, graphs, and end-of-world events.  Jesus is the star of the show.  If we want to get to know Him, we need to look at this revelation.

This Sunday, January 2, 2022, it is going to be cold outside.  And you may even be a little bleary-eyed from New Year’s Eve festivities.  But don’t let those reasons keep you from joining with us at Wildwood in one of our 3 Sunday morning services:  8:30, 9:45, and 11:00.  We will be looking at Revelation 1:1-8 in the first message of our series on Revelation, as we continue to get to know Jesus better as individuals and as a church family.  Hope to see you Sunday … and bring friends!!

5 Follows (part 3) Sermon Audio, Video & Questions

On Sunday, August 16, 2020 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Revelation 4-5.  This message was part 3 in the “5 Follows” sermon series.  Below you will find questions related to the sermon for further reflection or group discussion.  Also, below you will find the sermon audio and video to listen to, watch, download, or share.

 

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Revelation 4-5
  3. When you think of “worship,” what do you think of?  Is it something you think is important for you?  Why or why not?
  4. In the world in which we live, there are many things that tempt us to think that God is not in control.  How does the vision of heaven from Revelation 4-5 encourage you?
  5. The posture of those worshipping in heaven is “falling down.”  In what ways do you mimic this sentiment as you worship today?  (HINT:  it does not HAVE to be simply falling on your knees)
  6. The focus of worship is God (Father, Spirit … and an emphasis on the SON!)  Is the focus of your worship Jesus or something else?
  7. 4 Specifics were mentioned regarding ways to worship:  giving, praying, singing, and obeying.  Which of these actions of worship are most missing in your life today?  What is one thing you can do this week to change that?
  8. Have you trusted in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins?  If not, why not?  What is keeping you from doing so?
  9. What stands out to you most from this passage?  Any particular takeaway?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

 

To listen to the sermon offline, click the link:

5 Follows #3 8.16.20

 

To listen to the sermon online, use the media player:

 

To watch the video of the stream, use YouTube online:

 

5 Follows (part 3) Preview

Isn’t it amazing how we treat famous people in our country?  Because someone is on television, in our newspapers, or talked about on our radios, we feel like we know him/her . . . and we feel like we can criticize.  People who cannot decide what to have for dinner blast politicians for “flip flopping” their positions over a period of several years.  People who played right field on their little league baseball teams yell obscenities at major leaguers for not turning a tough double play.  People who only broke even on their charity bake sale want to give fiscal advice to the CEO of a major corporation.  In a sense, I think the distance between “us” and “them” allows us to depersonalize the situation and shift our perspective of our “American Idols” to the point that we take on the persona of Simon Cowell.

I have participated in this kind of action in my life as well.  I have been a major OU Football fan for many years.  As such, on many Monday mornings I have gathered with friends and shared my advice on what OU could have done better the previous weekend.  Even though I have not played a competitive football game since 1989 and even though I have never coached anything in my life, somehow there are times I think I know better than Hall of Fame Coaches.  Of course this perspective is preposterous, but the distance that normally exists between me and the team allows me to relate to the coaches in this critical fashion.

However, that dynamic changed several yeas ago when I was asked to present a devotional to the OU football team at a chapel service before one of their games.  Most all of the team and their coaches would be there . . . including (the amazing) Coach Bob Stoops.  I arrived about 20 minutes early and was waiting in the conference room for the team to arrive when Coach Stoops came into the room.  He looked just like I had seen on television, only more impressive.  He graciously strode over and shook my hand, introducing himself to me.  We had a moment of small talk before the chapel service began.  All that day, I had the privilege of standing on the sidelines and hearing the coaching staff interact with their team.  At the end of the day, the distance that had once existed between “me” and “them” was removed, and I no longer felt the desire to criticize . . . just to appreciate all they are.

Now, I want to transition from that story to an amazing set of chapters in the Bible – Revelation 4-5.  In these great chapters, the Apostle John is invited by Jesus to journey up to heaven with Him and record for us what he saw.  John’s journey to heaven reveals a throne encircled by a rainbow, a sea of glass, 24 elders dressed in white laying their crowns at the feet of the King, and majestic angelic creatures shouting out in loud voices praise to their God.  This vision of heaven was awe-inspiring to John and should be to us also as we read it today.

It is important to remember, however, that before John was invited to tour heaven, he was working in a hard prison camp on the island of Patmos.  That island had to feel a great distance away from heaven for John.  From that distant place, John might have been tempted to question God.  He might have wondered why God had allowed Him to be placed in prison.  He might have wondered why Jesus had waited so long to return.  It is possible that his perspective on God had shifted from “the God of wonders” to “God: I wonder where He is at?”

In light of that, and in light of my experience with Coach Stoops, I wonder if part of the reason for Jesus inviting John into heaven and showing him the awesomeness of it all was to remind him (and us) of the greatness of our God and how He is worthy of our praise.  At the end of this trip to heaven, the distance between “us” and “Him” is removed and we can just appreciate Him for who He really is.

This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church in our Sunday morning services, we will be in part 3 of our “5 Follows” series, looking at what it means to Follow Jesus into Worship.  Our text for the day will be Revelation 4-5.  Hope you will make plans to join us as we journey into the throne room of heaven (in this Scripture passage) to remind us of WHO we worship, and why.  Make plans to join us in our 9:00, 10:15, or 11:30 worship service (indoors with full children’s ministry and adult classes running all 3 hours, and student ministry meeting at 9:00 and 10:15) … at the 8AM outdoor chapel service … or on the livestream at 10:15 (or anytime thereafter) – wildwoodchurch.org/live .  Hope to see you Sunday!

Passion Road #6 Sermon Audio/Video

Passion 6 insta.001

 

This past Sunday, March 22, 2015, I preached a sermon at Wildwood Community Church based out of Revelation 1:9-20.  This message was part 6 in the series “Passion Road.”  In case you missed the message, or you want to listen to it again, I have included the audio and video below here on my blog:

 

If you want to listen to the message to the message online, use the online media player below:

 

If you want to download the message to listen to later, click on the following link to download:

Passion Road #6

 

If you want to watch the sermon video, watch the Vimeo video below:

 

M+ (part 2) Sermon Audio & Questions

M+ week 1.001

As many of you are aware, I concluded a short two part sermon series this past week at Wildwood entitled, “M+”.  In this series, we were looking more in depth at the events that will occur in the first 1,000 years after the return of Jesus Christ to the earth, as described in Revelation 20-21.  I have had a lot of dialogue with many of you about this short series, so I have decided to post the audio from the sermons here on my blog, as well as write a few questions for further reflection in case you or your small group are interested in exploring the idea further.  May God bless your study of His Word!

Here is the link to the audio from the sermon:  M+ Part 2

or, you can listen to the audio online via the player below:

Discussion Questions:

  1. Read Revelation 20:4-21:4
  2. Our lives are very short compared to eternity.  In other words, we will spend much more “time” on the other side of the grave than in this life.  As a result, I make the comment that we should spend some time planning for our life after death.  Do you spend much time thinking about life after death?  If you do, what are your thoughts?  Scared?  Uncertain?  Excited?  Indifferent?
  3. In 20:11-15, the Great White Throne Judgment is described.  All humanity stands before the throne and are judged on the basis of “what they have done.”  Many times people push back toward the concept of God’s judgment because they think it is unfair.  Do you feel it is fair or unfair for God to judge humanity on the basis of our works?  Why or why not?
  4. Though judgment comes on the basis of works, salvation comes only through one’s name being written in the book of life.  I mention in the message that my understanding of the book of life is that it contains the names of those who have placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.  Only those with their names written in this book are saved . . . the rest are cast into the lake of fire.  If judgment is on the basis of works (what we have done), then we need better works.  Being identified with Jesus allows His righteous works to be credited to our account, while our sin is fully paid for in His death on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Whose works are you counting on for your salvation?  Your works or His work?  How does this picture of judgment in the end times help you understand more about the salvation offered in Christ?
  5. Revelation 20:4-6 describes the saints reigning with Jesus for 1,000 years in His Kingdom.  Have you ever stopped to think that if we trust Christ now, we get to reign with Jesus in His Kingdom?  This would involve real work on the earth in our “life after death.”  How does understanding that we will get to reign with Christ effect your view of life after death?
  6. Revelation 21:1-4 describes the New Heaven and the New Earth as a return to a “Garden of Eden” like experience . . . living in relationship with God, without sin, or pain, or loss.  This is more of our traditional understanding of heaven.  What about our current world makes you most long for this New Heaven and New Earth that Jesus promises?
  7. What do you most take away from this message, passage for your life today?  In other words, how will you apply the truth talked about in part 2 of this series?

M+ (part 2) Sermon Preview

M+ week 1.001

“Are we there yet?”

“No.  Not yet.”

“How much longer?”

“A while.”

“Ah, man!”

So go many conversations from front seat to back in the Robinson family Truckster on any trip longer than 10 minutes.  I am really getting tired of Kimberly asking that question!

JUST KIDDING!  Of course, these are conversations between parent and child.  The child wants to get to the destination and has little patience for the journey.  The parent, meanwhile, understands that to get from here to there requires planning, provision, and execution.  We don’t live in a Star Trek “beam me up” world, so transit time is our reality.

In the book of Revelation, there is an ongoing conversation between the human population of heaven and our heavenly Father:

“Is the pain, injustice, and suffering of this world over yet?” humanity cries out.

“No.  Not yet,” our Father responds.

“How much longer?” humanity queries.  (Revelation 6:10)

“A while,” our Father responds . . . “I do not wish that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”  (2 Peter 3:9)

“Ah man!  Life is hard here.  Come Lord Jesus!” we reply.

“I will certainly send My Son back to the earth,” Father replies.  “But when I do a swift and permanent judgment will come upon humanity.  The reward for those in Christ is great, but the penalty for those who reject Him is extremely severe.  I have people called from every tribe, every nation, every era (including future ones) . . . so we will wait, until it is time.”

What will that time look like?  How do we make sure we are safe on judgment day?  These questions and others will be examined this Sunday as we conclude our 2 part series “M+” by looking at Revelation 20:1-21:4.  Please join us at Wildwood as we contemplate the future of humanity.  Join us in either our 9:30 or 10:50 worship services.