Defeating Death (part 3) Sermon Preview

OK.  Right now, I want you to tell me the phone number of a friend you talk with often on the phone.  What is the number?  Do you know it?  I don’t know the numbers of my friends either.  Isn’t that weird?

To this day, I can tell you the phone number of my friend who grew up across the street from me.  I could type it on the phone right now without making a mistake.  How can it possibly be that I CAN tell you a phone number I have not called in nearly 30 years (360 months for crying out loud!!!!) and yet I CAN’T tell you the phone number of a good friend I talked to just about every other day last week?  That seems nuts to me . . . yet it has a simple explanation.

When I was a kid, there were no “contacts” on the phone bolted to the wall of my family’s dining room.  When I wanted to call my friend, I had to pick up the phone and dial his number.  When you make that phone call 300+ times in a year, every year for a decade, you tend to remember it for the rest of your life!  

In today’s day and age, technology has allowed us a shortcut . . . where I can simply tap a picture or a name, and my phone makes the connection for me.  With machines removing the numbers from my regular routine, I no longer know the phone numbers of my friends (after all, what would be the use?)

I tell you this today because in Matthew 26:17-29 Jesus reminds us of how we might be connected to God . . . through His blood “poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins (Matthew 26:28).”  Jesus wants to make sure we have GOD in our “contacts” . . . but instead of just giving us His name and a picture, Jesus actually gave us a symbol for us to repeatedly do throughout our lives to remind us not just THAT we might be connected to God, but HOW that connection is possible.  Like the powerful teaching moment of repeatedly typing in a phone number, Jesus takes bread and wine and tells us that we should eat and drink these elements often to remember the NUMBER (or better) the way that we are connected to God.  It is through Jesus’ death on the cross for us that we have life . . . and the cup and plate of communion are instituted as repeated reminders to help us never forget.

This Sunday at Wildwood, we will be looking at the night Jesus first instituted the “Lord’s Supper” so we might never forget what Jesus has done for you and for me.  This message will be part 3 of our “Defeating Death” sermon series.  Of course, we will also be having the Lord’s Supper as a part of our worship this weekend as well.  Make plans to join us in our 9:45 or 11:00 service.  After all, there is GREAT USE in remembering how our connection with God is made.

Defeating Death (part 2) Sermon Questions & Audio

On Sunday, February 23, 2020 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 26:6-13.  This message was part 2 in the “Defeating Death” sermon series.  Below are a set of questions related to that message for personal reflection or group discussion.  Also below is the audio & video from this message to listen to/watch, download, or share.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 26:6-13
  3. Imagine you got an invitation to a dinner party with Jesus, another man who died and was resurrected the day before, his sisters, and a former leper (who was hosting the party!)  What questions would you want to ask during this meal?
  4. Those who are in fellowship with Jesus have seen Him bless us (and others around the “table” with us) in amazing ways.  What are some things you have seen Jesus do in your life or in the lives of those you know?
  5. Jesus was “worth” the extravagant gift Mary poured out upon Him.  Why do you think Mary had become convinced that Jesus was “worth it”?  
  6. What would it look like for you to value Jesus MOST in your life?
  7. The disciples assumed that the gift could have been used to provide gifts to the poor.  They were not incorrect in their assessment, but there is a priority order here that is identified.  Jesus is more valuable than ALL ELSE . . . in other passages (including the end of Matthew 25), followers of Jesus are called to care for the “least of these.”  What balance do you see between THIS situation in 26:6-13 and the call to care for the “least of these”?  Any applications stand out for your life today? 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:

Defeating Death #2 2.23.20

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the stream of the service, watch this YouTube video:

 

To listen to an Easter playlist connected to this series:

 

 

Defeating Death (part 2) Sermon Preview

A few years ago, through a unique set of circumstances, my wife and I found ourselves having dinner with a famous politician and his wife.  Away from the crowds, the four of us just got to sit and talk.  Based on their unique set of experiences, I made a conscious attempt to listen way more than I talked (for those of you who know me well, you know what a challenge this must have been 🙂 ).  It was a joy to hear of their life story, how they came to faith in Christ, how they ended up running for office, and what their favorite accomplishment was during their public service.  I was so encouraged to hear their account of their life, and its effect.

Have you ever had an opportunity like this?  It was unique for me . . . and may never happen again.  I really enjoyed that private access to this public person, though, and it allowed me to thank them personally for the impact they have had in our world.

I was thinking about that experience this week as I prepare for Sunday’s sermon.  This week (week 2 in the “Defeating Death” sermon series) we will be looking at Matthew 26:6-13.  In these verses, there is a private dinner party happening including 17 people.  These 17 people were:

  • Jesus of Nazareth (the featured guest)
  • The Twelve disciples
  • Mary
  • Martha
  • Lazarus (the former dead man)
  • Simon (the former leper)

Just imagine that group.  Jesus, eating dinner with a man He cured from leprosy, a man He resurrected from the dead, the dead man’s sisters (Mary and Martha), and twelve witnesses to ALL of the public ministry of Jesus.  WHAT. A. SCENE.  I so long to have been there for this meal.  Seriously.  How cool what that be?

What did they talk about?  What did they do?  Who did the talking?  

Far more than just a famous politician, Jesus was the Son of God.  Far greater than just being someone who had passed a few laws, He was the One who had fulfilled ALL THE LAW!  Far beyond having just served society, Jesus had worked dramatic miracles in the lives of ALL PRESENT!  Amazing.

Out of that dinner party, what do we learn for our lives today?  This Sunday we will “listen” in on the transcript from that dinner, and watch the “video footage” of what happened as we think about how we might respond to the One who Defeated Death to provide a victory for you and me.  Join us this Sunday (February 23) at Wildwood Community Church at 9:45 or 11:00 as we look at these verses together.  Come . . . and bring friends!  This is a passage of Scripture none of us can miss.

 

To listen to an Easter playlist connected to this series:

Defeating Death (part 1) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, February 16, 2020 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 26:1-5, 14-16.  This message was part 1 in the “Defeating Death” sermon series.  Below you will find the sermon audio to listen to, download, or share.

 

To listen offline, click the link below to download:

Defeating Death #1 2.16.20

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

Watch the video of the worship service, at YouTube online:

To listen to an Easter playlist connected to this series:

Defeating Death (part 1) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, February 16, 2020 at Wildwood Community Church in Norman, Oklahoma, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 26:1-5, 14-16.  This message was part 1 in the “Defeating Death” 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 26:1-5, 14-16
  3. Why do you think the Bible is so focused on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ?  What is so important about these events that 25-50% of the chapters in each Gospel focuses attention on the last week of Jesus’ earthly life?
  4. Based on the passages discussed this morning, and your understanding of the Bible in general, why did Jesus have to die?
  5. Jesus KNEW the cross was coming (26:2), and yet He willingly kept the course.  What does this tell you about how Jesus feels about you and me?
  6. Judas Iscariot made a terrible trade . . . exchanging relationship with Jesus and eternal life for 30 pieces of silver.  We can clearly see his folly, but we often miss similar “bad trades” in our own lives.  As Charles Spurgeon says, “The amount agreed upon, thirty pieces of silver, was the price of a slave; and showed how little value the chief priests set upon Jesus, and also revealed the greed of Judas in selling his master for so small a sum.  Yet many have sold Jesus for a less price than Judas received; a smile or a sneer has been sufficient to induce them to betray their Lord.”  Where are you tempted to make “bad trades” for your relationship with Jesus for something far less?  What can you do to continue to value Him most 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.

 

To listen to an Easter playlist connected to this series:

Defeating Death Series Preview

“Hey Jesus, would you please tell us when Your kingdom will come?”  

This was the honest question Jesus’ disciples asked in Matthew 24:3.  Their hope was that the King of Kings would soon be crowned, and that they would be able to reign with Him in glory.  

Jesus responded with clarity – describing the season of His return and establishment of His Kingdom.  It was not in doubt.  He would one day sit on His glorious throne ON THE EARTH, IN JERUSALEM (Matthew 25:31)  . . . but before He would rule, there was a foe He needed to defeat; a ransom He wanted to pay.  Indeed, Jesus would soon be crowned . . . with a crown of thorns.  The victory Jesus would win would come at a great price.

The disciples question would come on a Tuesday.  On Wednesday, the chief priests would scheme to kill Jesus.  On Thursday, Jesus would have a “Last Supper” with His disciples.  On Friday, He would be arrested and crucified.  On Saturday He would lay in the grave.  But on Sunday morning, Jesus rose!  The tomb was empty.  The foe Jesus defeated was death . . . and He paid the ransom so that sinners like you and me might be redeemed.  

This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church, we will be kicking off a new sermon series that will take us through Easter Sunday, as we explore Matthew 26-28 together in a series we have called “Defeating Death:  Victory Crowned at Great Cost.”  Death is a foe we all are impacted by.  Jesus has made a way for us to “defeat death” for you and for me.  We would love to have you join us this Sunday for part 1 in this series as we look at Matthew 26:1-5, 14-16.

The overall outline for this series is:

  • February 16:  Matthew 26:1-5, 14-16  (The plot to kill Jesus)
  • February 23:  Matthew 26: 6-13 (Jesus anointed at Bethany)
  • March 1:  Matthew 26:17-29 (Last Supper)
  • March 15:  Matthew 26:30-35, 69-75  (Peter’s denials)
  • March 22:  Matthew 26:47-56, 27:3-10  (Jesus betrayed & arrested . . . Judas’ regret)
  • March 29:  Matthew 26:57-68, 27:1-2, 15-26 (Jesus before Caiaphas and Pilate)
  • April 5:  Matthew 27:27-44  (Crucifixion of Jesus)
  • Good Friday, April 10:  Matthew 27:45-66  (Death of Jesus)
  • Easter Sunday, April 12:  Matthew 28:1-15 (Resurrection!)
  • April 19:  Matthew 28:16-20 (Great Commission)

Additionally, we have put together a playlist of songs to listen to this Easter season.  These songs were assembled by taking requests from staff and elders at Wildwood.  You can listen to these songs by visiting the playlists at:

Tomorrow (part 6) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, February 9, 2020 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 25:31-46.  This message was part 6 of the “Tomorrow” sermon series.  Below you will find the audio from this sermon to download, listen to, or share.

 

To listen offline, click the link to download:

Tomorrow #6 2.9.20

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the video of the service, watch YouTube online:

 

Tomorrow (part 6) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, February 9, 2020 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 25:31-46.  This message was the sixth (and final) installment in the “Tomorrow” sermon series.  Below are a series of questions related to the message for personal reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Matthew 25:31-46
  3. What do you know about hell?  Is it real?  What about heaven?  Are these real places in your estimation?
  4. When Jesus comes back, judgment will happen on the earth that will seal the fate of each human for eternity.  At this moment, Jesus divides humanity into two groups.  What are these two groups, where are they “headed” and how are their lives described?
  5. “He who paints the miseries of hell as though they were but trifling is seeking to murder men’s souls under the pretense of friendship.” (C.H. Spurgeon)  What do you think Spurgeon means in this quote?  How does it motivate you with regards to sharing hard truths with those you love?
  6. Those inheriting eternal life have earthly lives marked by kind and unselfish behaviors.  Specifically, kind behaviors to their “brothers and sisters” in the faith.  In light of all that Jesus says about this topic in other places, we do not see this behavior as EARNING salvation, but merely as the NORMAL response from those who have been saved by grace.  Do these characteristics resemble your lives at all?  Where are you most challenged by Jesus’ words here?
  7. What do Jesus’ statements here let you know about the heart of God for us and His desire and will for our lives today?
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this passage/message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

Tomorrow (part 6) Sermon Preview

“Heaven is for Real” is the title of a 2010 book detailing the story of a young boy’s near death experience, where he went to heaven and back while undergoing emergency surgery.  Many have read the book, or seen the movie, and been greatly encouraged by the notion that heaven is a real place.

I do not know the particulars of this story, and have no reason to doubt the validity of this journey.  While I have not ever taken a similar trip, I believe with all of my being that heaven is (indeed) for real!  Our lives (whether we live 1 minute or 100 years) are all “short” compared to eternity . . . and I see plenty of evidence in the Scripture that Jesus has saved us and invited us into an “eternal life.”  That life will be spent somewhere, and heaven is certainly a part of that eternal geography.

While we are affirming the reality of heaven, however, the Bible also affirms the reality of another destination . . . though this one as awful as heaven is awe-inspiring.  This is the reality of a literal “hell.”  This hell is not just an expletive or a fake red hued house . . . it is an “eternal fire” where “eternal punishment” is experienced by people who once lived on the face of this earth.  

The Bible does indeed support the notion that “Heaven is for Real” . . . but it also asserts that “Hell is for Real” as well.

This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church, we will be wrapping up our sermon series “Tomorrow” by looking at part 6, focusing on Matthew 25:31-46.  In these verses Jesus talks about the judgment that comes at His second coming, and the fates that await two different groups of people:  groups He calls the “sheep” and the “goats.”  Join us this Sunday as we see what Jesus says about Heaven and Hell in the conclusion of our sermon series.  See you Sunday in our 9:45 or 11:00 services!

Tomorrow (part 5) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, February 2, 2020 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Matthew 25:14-30.  This message was part 5 of the “Tomorrow” sermon series.  Below you can find the sermon audio to listen to, download, or share.

 

To listen offline, click the link to download:

Tomorrow #5 2.2.20

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the service stream, visit YouTube online: