Sermon Texts and Topics for January 2019 


January 6:

John 15:18-19

“You Are No Longer Part of the World”

Much of what Jesus says here about discipleship and our place in the world has to do with belonging. Today Jesus teaches us that belonging to the world and to him at the same time is not acceptable. Having one foot in both realms was inconceivable to Jesus. Those who try are deceiving themselves and actually already belong to the world. So with that in mind, here are some questions to ponder and pray over: How is God calling us to forsake the values of the world in order to belong fully to Him? What does it mean to live “counter” to the culture we inhabit?   Do our decisions and actions disclose that we are merely part of the world, or do they truly point to Jesus? 


January 13:

John 15:20-25

“The Reality of the World’s Rejection and What that Means for True Disciples”

Those of us who live in the Bible belt, comfortably living out our days in the shelter of “church culture” may be in for a rude awakening today. What Jesus teaches his disciples here about the world’s rejection and even hatred of the Christian message is much more relevant to us in the 21st century than we might imagine. We live in a culture that is increasingly at odds with the teaching of Scripture. Christians no longer represent the mainstream. This has been the case for a long time already, and I am of the opinion this should have never been our goal in the first place. Dr. David Watson shared these wise words recently in one of his blogs: “The church must function as a righteous counter-culture in the midst of a world that has been overtaken by radicalized individualism. “   Like Dorothy waking up in the Land of Oz, we all need to realize, “We’re not in Kansas anymore.”   How is God calling us to live and love in ways that are true to His teaching, regardless of how it squares with cultural norms? Why do we need the Scriptures to guide us?  

January 20:

John 15:26-27

“The Advocate—the Spirit of Truth”

Where does the “Spirit of Truth” Jesus promises his disciples here come from? What is its role in life, faith and witness?   What, in turn, is the sacred task Jesus consecrates us to carry out here? Our testimony about Jesus doesn’t have its origins in us. It comes from the Holy Spirit who has unlimited knowledge and resources to empower us. This brings me great comfort as I seek to bear witness in word and in deed about the love of the Savior.   Questions to ponder:   What does it mean for me to be a witness for Christ? How do I make the vital connection with the Spirit and receive the strength and confidence and power to be the witness Christ commands?  

January 27:

John 16:1-7

“The Spirit is With Us”

The pitfalls and struggles of the new landscape are now coming home to roost for those first disciples. Jesus is going away, and hard times are ahead. But Jesus wants them to know he’s NOT abandoning them! This is not a time to grieve! All is not lost! The Holy Spirit will offer them power to proclaim and live God’s Message before the world. And here’s something we cannot miss: the Spirit will ALSO be ACTIVE IN the world! “When he comes he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of coming judgment...Righteousness is available because I go to the Father.”   Jesus has a job for his disciples to do...a sacred assignment to bear witness to his holiness and transforming power. This is both a privilege and a sacrifice. But take heart, the Spirit is with us! And he has overcome the world.    




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