Sermons 2011

Sunday 18 December (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: Today we conclude our Advent series from John’s prologue, or introduction, verses 1-18 of the first chapter of his gospel. In the first verses (1-5) we noted that Jesus Christ, whose birth we are celebrating, is the eternal Word of God. In the second passage (6-9) we were challenged by John the Baptist as an example to us of an authentic witness to the Word. Last Sunday we marveled at the wonderful gift of Christ, the greatest gift of all (10-13). Today we come to the lofty climax of this introduction (14-18), and are encountered by one of the grandest passages in the entire Bible (Whitacre, 58). I suggest that our text for today will provide for every one of us the greatest reason to celebrate Christmas.

Sunday 11 December (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: Today and next Sunday we will look at Scripture passages that focus on the arrival of the Son of God into the world. Today we will consider what John the Evangelist wrote about the arrival of God’s Son in his incarnation, taking upon himself the likeness of our flesh, in order to give himself to us as the greatest gift of all.

Sunday 4 December (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: Last week we looked at the first five verses as we considered what John said about Christ as the eternal Word.  Today’s text seems something like a prosaic parenthesis, which John possibly inserted later into the poetic prologue, bringing us “back down to earth,” as it were (Burge, 56).  For a moment our thoughts are directed away from the lofty places of Christ’s preexistence, and before giving us the significance of Christ’s incarnation beginning with verse 9, John focuses on the crucially important ministry of John the Baptist.

27 November 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: Today I begin an Advent series of messages from John’s Gospel, considering the first 18 verses known as the Prologue, or introduction. These 18 verses have been called the most profound in the entire Bible. Doing justice to such lofty Scripture is quite a challenge, which can be achieved only as the Holy Spirit is our teacher. One professor noted that “an entire seminary semester’s course could be taught on these 18 verses” (Borchert, 100), but I’ll spare you that!

20 November 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: Last Sunday we looked at the Great Commandment of Jesus, that we love God with all our being and our neighbor as ourselves. Today we consider Jesus’ Great Commission of the church.  This passage contains what is no doubt the best known of the three Great Commission passages in the New Testament. The others are John 20:21 and Acts 1:8. Here in Matthew’s gospel, the setting is on a mountain or hilltop, which is a frequent setting in Matthew for close encounters with Christ and dramatic revelations of his glory. Included among the worshipers on the mountaintop are the eleven disciples (minus Judas). Most commentators say the eleven were probably joined by other followers of Jesus, perhaps the “more than 500” mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:6.

13 November 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: Today we will look at the Great Commandment and next Sunday at the Great Commission, the words of Jesus that form the heart of our church’s vision and mission. Following his answer to the Sadducees about the resurrection, Jesus is confronted by a teacher of the religious law of the Jews. This scribe, Matthew tells us, was representing a combined effort on the part of the Pharisees to test Jesus on an intricacy of the Law (Matthew 22:34-35). There were 613 laws they had designated. Of these, 365 were negative commandments and 248 were positive in nature. This morning I want us to note the answer Jesus gives to the religious lawyer who asked which is the most important of all these 613 commandments. The answer Jesus gives is a combination of the Shema, the passage every devout Jew recited daily, Deuteronomy 6:4-5, and Leviticus 19:18.

6 November 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: As the Lord continues to lead, next Sunday and the following, I will preach on the two Scripture texts that define our vision and mission as a church. At the top of the list of our core values that support our mission (at the top with Scripture based instruction)  is “the power of prayer.” In all that we believe God wants us to be and do, we realize and affirm that prayer must be a top priority. Prayer is our declaration of total dependence on God. Prayer is our way of connecting with God for his wisdom, direction and power, both as individuals and as a church, as we daily face spiritual warfare and the task of doing our mission in the Great Commission. Prayer is not limited to formally addressing God in a particular style or posture, nor is it always verbally and audibly articulated. Prayer is the attitude of reverent dependence on God, and is our awareness of his presence.

30 October 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: We looked last Sunday at how God gave instructions for the building of the tabernacle, which would represent his presence during the rest of the journey. Today we’ll look at a phenomenon that took place one year and fourteen days after the Exodus; the coming of his glorious presence into the tabernacle, the dwelling place of God. Chapter 33 onward is the climax of Exodus, because it shows the fulfillment of God’s purpose — to come to dwell with his people in a personal relationship. And the closing six verses of the book are “the climax of the climax,” not only to Exodus but to the first two books of the Bible. God had been seeking to re-establish his glorious presence and this personal relationship with his people since it was broken by the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Oswalt, 557).

23 October  (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: On the holy mountain, God gave to Moses the instructions for building a tabernacle, a portable version of the temple, which would be constructed much later under King Solomon’s rule. The tabernacle contained the most holy place with the ark of the covenant and the altar of incense and the lampstand in the holy place.  The entire structure, although ornate and elaborately constructed, was portable, and could be taken with them when they continued on their journey to the Promised Land of Canaan (Oswalt, NLTSB, 169-177). God gave the plans to Moses (26-27), and in our text for today we see how he and the people obeyed by carrying out the plans for the building of this important structure, God’s tabernacle.

16 October 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: In Chapter 33 we find a broken people and their leader, who are dismayed to hear that the Lord is unwilling to continue with them in their journey toward the Promised Land of Canaan. The Lord says that in their stubborn condition it would be perilous for them to be accompanied by the holy God, in the presence of his special Angel; and so he would send a surrogate, ordinary angel to guide them on their journey; but he himself would not go with them. I want us to note the response of the people of God and their realization of their absolute dependence on his presence.

9 October 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: This account of the worship of the golden calf is not about what happens when pagans sin, but rather what happened when God’s people fall into sin (Enns, 593).  It doesn’t depict God’s anger with unbelieving pagans when they engage in idol worship and immorality, but rather it shows the sinful and rebellious actions of God’s people, who were delivered through the Sea and given the covenant and the Ten Commandments, and who had recently reaffirmed their commitment to obey and follow the Lord God (24:3).

2 October 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: With this 10th Commandment we actually come full circle with one that in a sense summarizes all the previous commandments and is an application of the 1st Commandment to have no other gods before the Lord God (Oswalt, NLTSB, 159). Covetousness is greed, which Paul says is idolatry (Colossians 3:5), putting possessions before God; and our Lord Jesus told a parable about a rich fool, whose covetousness destroyed his soul (Luke 12:13-21); then he told us the way of contentment, which should replace covetousness in the heart of a believer (22-34).

25 September 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: Once again we will look at the commandment as the Lord gave to the Israelites and then consider the full implications and applications of the commandment through the teaching of Jesus.  In our text from John, Jesus is engaged in a debate with the Jewish legalists who rejected his claims to be the promised Son of God, the Messiah, and the Truth who alone makes us free.

18 September 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: I assume most of us will think we’ve escaped condemnation from the eighth commandment against stealing since we haven’t been charged with grand theft, burglary, shoplifting or even cheating with our tax reports.  But once again as followers of Christ we have to look at this commandment from his perspective and with his much broader and more demanding application.

11 September 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: We are departing just for today from our series from Exodus and the Ten Commandments in order to, at the beginning of this new church year, to refocus on the basics of the life and ministry of the church.

4 September 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: Today with the seventh commandment we’ll note the broader, more demanding interpretation of Jesus who tells us how we are to refrain from adultery by living a pure life that pleases God.  Adultery in the strictest sense is “voluntary sexual intercourse between a married man and someone other than his wife or between a married woman and someone other than her husband” (Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary). But as we’ll note, this term for adultery “represents all sexual sins” (Oswalt, NLT, 159).  More is represented in this seventh commandment than the “bare details” of overt adultery, and “any sexual activity outside of an exclusive, committed heterosexual marriage” is included in this prohibition (Oswalt, CBC, 446).

28 August (Guest Preacher: Don Tinder)

21 August 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: Last Sunday we looked at the commandment to honor our father and mother, who are our “closest neighbors.”  Today we come to the sixth commandment and will also see what Jesus says about this commandment in his Sermon on the Mount.

14 August 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: The first four commandments relate to how we are to love and worship the Lord God alone, and as we noted in the 4th commandment, to find our rest in him as we worship and work with him on his Day and every day.  Today, with the 5th commandment, we begin the commandments that show us how we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, thus fulfilling the second half of the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-31).

7 August 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: In review, the first commandment tells us whom to worship –  God alone, with Jesus as Lord.  The second tells us how to worship him, without images — in spirit and in truth.  The third tells us that in place of images we have all we need for worship in the name and word of God, to be kept holy and sacred.  And today, we’ll note when we are to worship, on the Sabbath, which is symbolic of all of life and time.

24 July 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: There seems to be a progression in these first three commandments. Commandment one says we are to have no other gods but the true God, and to worship him alone.  Now that we belong to him and are under his lordship, commandment two says we are to worship him in the right way, avoiding the tendency to make idols that pervert our worshiping God in spirit and in truth.  And today, in this third commandment, we see a strong connection with the second commandment.  Whereas the pagan nations had idols, Israel had the name of the Lord, which would be the “primary medium of revelation”. After making God our only God and eliminating corrupting idols, we must now with this third commandment make certain we understand and honor the name of the God we worship.  Honoring his name replaces and precludes all idols.

17 July 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: The first commandment tells us whom to worship and serve, and the second focuses on how we are to worship him.  The first commands us to worship the right God and the second tells us to worship him in the right way, (Ryken, 568).  When we worship the Lord God in the way that pleases him, we worship him in spirit and in truth, without idols.

10 July 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: The Decalogue is one of the best known sections of Scripture, and almost anyone you meet can recite at least one or two of these commandments. They are intended for God’s covenant people, those who have received grace for a faith relationship with him.  The Decalogue is not given to make “nice people” out of the general public, although these laws have served to give moral guidelines to societies, institutions and governments.  The 10 Commandments are a description of the kind of life that God intends for his special people of his covenant of salvation, and can be fully obeyed and fulfilled only by those in this faith relationship with him.  In the new covenant, Jesus gives a fuller, more complete interpretation of these commandments, particularly in his Sermon on the Mount; so, in our study we will seek to look at, from our Lord Jesus’ perspective, the kind of life that pleases God.  And the first one is the logical place to begin, the foundational commandment.

3 July 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: Today in Chapter 19 we will see that the Lord’s promise to Moses in Exodus 3:12, that he would lead the Children of Israel back to this same Mt Sinai, was fulfilled.  Sinai was an important destination for the Israelites, the place where they would receive the law of God by which he would bless them.   Sinai was also the location where they would receive instructions for building the tabernacle, preparing them to resume nearly a year later their pilgrimage through the wilderness and on to the Promised Land 40 years later.

26 June 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts, preaching at the Korean Church of Brussels)

  • Sermon title: I Believe in the Church Universal and United
  • Scripture: John 17:20-26
  • Read: 26 June 2011 PDF

Introduction: Our text for today is the third section of the High Priestly Prayer, the longest “recorded” prayer of Jesus.  This prayer is in three sections.  In verses 1-5 Jesus prays for himself.  In verses 6-19 Jesus prays for the original disciples.  Because we are part of the true Apostolic Succession, this prayer is also for us today as his disciples.  But I want us to look together at the final section, verses 20-26, which is specifically for those of us who have come to Christ since Jesus’ time on earth.  Jesus is praying for his church universal, but also for his people who would necessarily be in local churches such as this one.

19 June 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: Today we look at one of the “fulcrum” passages in Acts, which are milestones in the life of the first church. The Holy Spirit was no stranger to the disciples, upon whom Jesus had breathed the Spirit in the upper room on the evening of his resurrection (John 20:22). But on the Day of Pentecost, the fiftieth day after Passover, one of the pilgrimage harvest festivals in Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit came upon the church in great power, as Jesus had promised (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5).

12 June 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: Last Sunday we focused on verses 1-5 and today we will concentrate our attention on verses 6-11 of Acts 1.  We’ve considered the calling of the church to continue what Jesus began, the ongoing work of Jesus through the church.  Today on this Pentecost Sunday we look at “The Commission of the Church,” one of several Great Commission passages in the New Testament.  Other accounts of the Great Commission are found in Matthew 28:19-20 (perhaps the best known) and John 20:21.

5 June 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: The Gospel According to Luke is the account of Jesus’ ministry on earth, ending with his ascension.  Luke’s second volume, called Acts, is the account of Jesus’ ministry from heaven, beginning with his ascension.  Acts is called The Acts of the Apostles; John Piper offers that it should be named “The Acts of Jesus,” who continues his work through his “sent ones” in the church today.

29 May (Guest Preacher)

22 May (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: Chapter 18 seems almost an uneventful interlude between the excitement of the battle in Chapter 17 and then the appearance of God’s glory on the mountain and the giving of his covenant in Exodus 19.  The first verses in Exodus 18 narrate the visit of Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, pagan priest of Midian (2:16), who evidently had become a worshiper of the Lord, Yahweh (18:11f).  Whatever his background, Jethro is instrumental in giving to Moses some important advice, which, though not dramatic, was crucial to Moses and to the wellbeing of the people of God

15 May 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: This next experience, the first battle the Israelites faced after their departure from Egypt, would teach them to trust in his presence not only to provide but also to protect them and give them victory in battle with the enemy.

8 May 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: Last week we looked at God’s provision of manna, bread from heaven, in gracious response to the grumbling of his people (16:1-36).  Today we come to the third instance of the complaining of the Israelites, which was once again occasioned by their thirst (15:22-26).  This time we see a thirsty people and God’s provision of water from the rock.

1 May 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: Three Sundays ago we looked at the Israelites’ crossing the Sea (Chapter 14) as a picture of the power of our salvation, now displayed for us in the resurrection of Jesus. After God miraculously delivered the children of Israel through the sea, destroying the enemy Egyptian army, it didn’t take long for them to begin to complain against God and Moses, his servant.

24 April 2011, Easter Sunday (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: The four Gospels have different accounts of Jesus’ resurrection, which shows us that their reports of this stupendous event were not a collaborative effort to deceive (Wilkins, 934).  While not contradictory to each other, these accounts give us the unique perspective of each evangelist.  The number and exact identity of all of the women involved in various visits to tomb is indefinite, but it is clear that God used them in a unique way as witnesses of this most crucial event for the Christian faith.

17 April 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: This morning I’m reading our Scripture text somewhat out of the usual order.  In a moment we will continue with our worship music, including that led by our children’s choir, which will reenact the praise given to Jesus on that Sunday when he rode a donkey into Jerusalem.  What we see in this event is an enacted parable, full of symbolism that Jesus used to convey his unmistakable claim to be the Messiah.   Knowing that this was his last week of life on the earth in his mortal flesh, and that the purpose of his incarnation would be fulfilled through his looming cross and resurrection, Jesus intentionally set the wheels in motion for his arrest, trial and crucifixion.

10 April 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: Today we remain in the heart of Exodus but now will look at “the climax to which the first 14 chapters of Exodus have been leading” (Enns, 268), the Israelites’ crossing the Red Sea.  This is the “central miracle of the Old Testament,” where there are some 25 direct references to this event that defined the people of Israel as God’s chosen and delivered people.

3 April 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: In today’s text we come to the tenth and final plague, the one that finally broke, at least momentarily, the stubborn will of Pharaoh, forcing him to release the Israelites.  We consider the plague of the death of the firstborn of the Egyptians and also the institution of the Passover, which was to become the annual and most important observance of the Jews.

27 March 2011 (Guest Preacher, Wilfried Goossens)

20 March 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: During his 40-year exile in the land of Midian, Moses received the call of God, the great I Am, at the miraculously burning bush.  In the 3rd and 4th Chapters, we see Moses, “working down his shopping list” (Motyer, 79) of excuses and reasons why he’s not the one to accept such a task.  In today’s text we’ll read Moses’ 3rd, 4th and 5th objections to his being the chosen leader.  In response to his objections, Moses is confronted with the adequacy of God, who overrides his objections with an inexorable call.

13 March 2011 (Guest Preacher, David Floyd)

6 March 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: We last saw Moses in the first 12 verses of Exodus 3 when God called him from the miraculously burning bush and gave him an overwhelming assignment to return to Egypt, as an now unknown 80-year old fugitive from the law, to be the deliverer of God’s chosen people.  We noted how that Moses demurred and began excusing himself from this assignment, with his protests that continue into Chapter 4.  Today we’ll consider Moses’ question about the name of God, which he says the Israelites will want to know as evidence of Moses’ authority as their leader from bondage.

20 February 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: In our Scripture text for today we see Moses as a fugitive in this foreign land, as one who is reduced to serving his father-in-law as one of his shepherds.  He’s about 80 years of age by this time, when he meets God in a burning bush on the mountain that’s to figure prominently in Exodus, perhaps Mt Jebel Musa near the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula (Ryken, 80).

13 February 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: Today we begin a new series of sermons from the Book of Exodus, that will occupy us a great part of this year.  Exodus defines the very existence of the Jews, and is for Christians “the Gospel of the Old Testament” (Ryken, 17). This narrative of God’s miraculous deliverance of his people from bondage in Egypt to the Promised Land is to the Old Covenant what the resurrection of Jesus is to the New (Kelley, 5).  I pray that we’ll all be challenged and encouraged by this great account of God’s guidance, care and provision for the people of his covenant love.

6 February 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: As we noted last Sunday, Peter gives a special charge to the elders, including all the leaders of the church, to be faithful under-shepherds of God’s flock during these difficult times.  He also urges everyone else in the church to practice good, supportive followership, and all of the church to cast all their anxiety upon God, who cares for his people.  In the closes words of this letter, Peter gives one final admonition to these believers to stand together in difficult times.

30 January 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: In the first verses of this fifth chapter, Peter specifically addresses the leaders of the churches, and challenges them to provide faithful leadership, which is especially vital in times of difficulty and persecution.  Peter employs an image that was better known in his day than in ours, that of the role of shepherds, the elders, in taking care of the sheep, the flock, which is the people of God.

23 January 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: In these verses of the 4th chapter of 1 Peter, we’ll consider the words of the Apostle of Hope regarding the painful trial we face and the suffering that will inevitably result from our following Christ as Lord.  He addresses the issue of suffering that is unavoidable if we follow Christ faithfully.  Possibly Roman Emperor Nero has now begun his horrific assault upon the church (Wiersbe, 112).  He describes this pending and perhaps already present suffering as a painful, literally fiery, trial.

16 January 2011 (Pastor Roger Roberts)

Introduction: In Chapter 3 Peter has encouraged the church to faithfully follow Christ’s example in suffering for doing good, and in Chapter 4 he gives further instructions and says some important things about time; namely, that the time is now to leave the old life and begin earnestly living the new life we have in Christ.