Category Archives: Preaching

Is God Less Glorious Because of the Newtown Shooting?

The following is an excerpt from a sermon I preached on Sunday, December 16, 2012 two days after the school shooting in Newtown, CT.

I wonder if Jesus Christ looks glorious to you today. I wonder if recent tragedies in our country have caused you to doubt his goodness, to question whether he might be less glorious than he really is.

If that is you today I want you to know that this recent tragedy has personally hit me unlike another one that I can remember. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I have a 5 year old daughter who is in kindergarden and for the last two weeks I have been doing a lot of work in several of the elementary schools around Chicago.

So I by no means would EVER EVER want to minimize the terrible tragedy and pain that these families are going through by my comments, but yesterday as I was looking at this sermon I couldn’t help but ask:

Can I still go up on that stage and tell all those people that they should give praise to the superiority and the humility and the glory of Jesus Christ?

How can I come up here and tell you that this baby, this prince of peace, has come to bring peace on this earth when every day we see and hear about anything but peace on this earth?

Then as I was praying to God and asking him for wisdom on what to say and what to do I had this overwhelming feeling that God wanted me to remind you that the message of Christmas is a message that brings great hope to a lost and dying and hurting world.

You see there were some Fathers on Friday that sent their sons and daughters off to school not knowing what would happen to them on that day and we all know that if they would have had any idea what was going to happen they would have never let their kids go into that school building that day.

Yet, the message of Christmas tells us of another Father who sent his one and only son to this earth knowing full well what was going to happen….And he still did it!

He came into the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. We rejected him, we despised him, he was a man of many sorrows, and he was eventually brutally murdered.

Our God is not some distant monster who does not know how to sympathize with our sufferings. He became a man of suffering. He KNOWS!!! He knows what it is like to lose a son and we should know that because he lost his son, murders and tragedies do not have the final word.

Oh, how we should turn to a God like this and all the more so in the midst of such terrible tragedies!!!

Don’t you see that there is no other gathering of worshippers this morning who can tell you that their God knows what it is like to lose his son. What other religion? … What other god? … What other faith has a God like our God who knows our pains and sufferings? … There is NONE! For there is only one God, one faith and one Lord who comes down from his mighty throne and takes on the pain and suffering and evil in this world.

That is the amazing glory of Christ’s incarnation. That is the amazing glory of his humility that he would not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped but he humbled himself and took on the form of a servant. He became obedient to the point of death and even death on a cross.

He went through strife so that we could know peace!

He was crushed so that we could be lifted up!

He experienced the displeasure of God so that we could experience His pleasure!

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Filed under Chicago, Phill's Sermons, Preaching, Sermons, Suffering, The Gospel

The Angel’s Song

The following is my manuscript of a sermon I preached at Edgewater Baptist Church in Chicago on Sunday, December 16, 2012. Click HERE if you would like to listen to the audio recording of this message.

A Challenging Text

Before us this morning is a bit of a challenging text. It is not challenging because it is difficult to understand or because there is some great controversies that could divide the church.

No…the challenge before us with this text of Scripture is its familiarity. We have heard this story so many times and for many of us they have sentimental value. And when we approach familiar passages and familiar themes in the bible we have this awful tendency to tune them out and assume that we have seen all that there is to see. So let’s ask God to protect us from making this mistake and wasting our time.

I would encourage you all to turn with me to Luke chapter 2. Our scripture text for this morning’s sermon comes from Luke 2:14.

Luke 2:14 – “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.”

These words are pregnant with meaning and this morning I want to point out three reasons why we too should give praise to Jesus Christ. Continue reading

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Filed under Chicago, Luke, Phill's Sermons, Preaching, Sermons, Suffering

The Sufficiency of the Sign of Jonah

The following is my notes from a sermon I preached at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C on June 5, 2011.  Click HERE for the sermon audio.

What If Satan Took Control?

Have you ever thought about what it would look like if Satan really took control of an entire city? Maybe it would look like Sodom and Gomorrah? Or what about the city of Nineveh that we heard about in the sermon this morning? But are these heinous crimes really the only signs that Satan is at work?

 Over a half-century ago, Donald Grey Barnhouse speculated that if Satan took an entire city then…

“All the bars would be closed, pornography banished, and pristine streets would be filled with tidy and polite pedestrians who always smiled at each other. There would be no swearing. All the children would say “Yes, sir” and “No, ma’am,” and the churches…. Well they would be full every Sunday…and Christ would not be preached.”

What do you think about Barnhouse’s speculation?

Before you conclude that he was just trying to be provocative open your Bibles to Luke chapter 11:29-30 and we will see who Jesus called a wicked generation.

Luke 11:29-30

As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation.”

What do you think Jesus is teaching us in this passage? I have three questions I want to answer. Continue reading

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Filed under Jonah, Luke, Preaching, Sermons, The Gospel

Don Carson on Expositional Preaching

It is often objected that the New Testament writers and preachers rarely resorted to anything we would recognize as exposition when they treated Old Testament texts, so why should we be bound to do so when we treat texts of either Testament?

The question is important, and deserves a full essay, even a short book. But for the moment, we should note the following:

(1) In some ways the objection is hard to sort out because, on the one hand, there are relatively few sermons in the New Testament (and then only relatively brief reports of the entire addresses), and yet, on the other hand, we can only guess at how many of the pages of the New Testament began as sermons and were re-written into the books we now have. In other words, it is not easy to make direct comparisons between sermons in the first century and sermons today. For the former we must develop a series of inferential arguments-the stuff of an entire chapter or two. Continue reading

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Filed under 9 Marks, Pastoral Ministry, Preaching

Preaching Like Paul

I hope it is safe to assume that we would all aspire to preach like Paul. In other words, I think we would aspire to communicate the gospel with the clarity that Paul did. So how do you know if you are preaching the same gospel that Paul preached?

Here is a little test to see if you preach like Paul did:

Do you ever have people respond to your presentation of the gospel by asking you “that is it?…It’s that simple? What about my works?…Are you saying it does not matter what I do?”

I was recently sharing the gospel with a non-Christian and he said almost all those things. I apparently was making salvation sound TOO easy and grace was TOO free. It was shocking to him.

Apparently Paul got those questions and responses too. As he is writing the letter to the Romans he knows what objections they are going to bring up when he says things like “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:19-21)

Paul’s logic here is that if we are first and foremost guilty before God because of our union with Adam how much more are we righteous and perfect in God’s eyes because of our union with Christ.

Perfectly righteous? YES!!!!

But won’t that teaching just lead to more sinning?

Paul knows that is exactly what some people will be thinking which is why Paul wrote what he did in chapter 6.

“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?…What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!” (Romans 6:1, 2, 15)

So is that how you preach and communicate the gospel? Are you hearing the objections Paul heard? Do you have to talk about how grace leads to more holiness in your gospel conversations?

If not, then it may be because you are not preaching with the clarity that Paul did. It may be that your not preaching the gospel at all.

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Filed under Evangelism, Preaching, Romans, The Gospel

Kevin Deyoung’s T4G 2012 Message

Spirit-Powered, Gospel-Driven, Faith-Fueled Effort

We must strive for personal, progressive holiness because without which we will not see the Lord!

“If there is not at least a desire and fight for holiness then one should question if they are saved.” (Jerry Bridges)

This sermon is not about why, but about how we grow in holiness.

What will give our people? Legalism? Liscence? Platitudes?

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10)

Two things we must believe and understand about holiness: We must work hard. God must work in you.

What do these saying mean? We have so many Christian sayings about growing in holiness that we do not know what they really mean. So what does these sayings mean: Continue reading

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Filed under 1 Corinthians, 9 Marks, Pastoral Ministry, Preaching, Sanctification, Sermons, T4G 2012

Thabiti Anyabwile’s T4G2012 Message

Will Your Gospel Transform A Terrorist?

1 Timothy 1:12-17

At a evangelism workshop in Dubai a speaker asked “what is the greatest hindrance to the advance of the gospel?”

He said, “the Christians lack of confidence in the gospel.”

It exposed ME! I too lack confidence in the gospel. I believed it but lack confidence in it.

Is their any evident mark in your life and ministry that you have total confidence in the power of the gospel? Is it clear? Can others see a deep unshakable confidence in this gospel?

Do we have confidence in the power of the gospel to save even the worst people and hardest of hearts?

Who comes to mind when you think about someone who is hard to reach? A terrorist? A prostitute? A neighbor? A family member?

Am I confident that down in my bones the gospel has the power to transform even THAT person?

My goal is to exhort us today in one thing:

That we would rest all our weight and confidence in the power of the gospel. That it would be our only boast. Continue reading

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Filed under 1 Timothy, 9 Marks, Evangelism, Pastoral Ministry, Preaching, T4G 2012, The Gospel