Category Archives: Sermons

Off the Map! – The Character of God and the Cosmic Scope of the Church

The following are my notes of Jorge Mendoza’s breakout session at Legacy 2013 Conference.

Today we are going to look in the book of Ephesians at the big picture view of the church. We could look at Acts and see the church really banging. We could look at 1 & 2 Corinthians and see a church struggling. But today we want to look at God’s view of the church.

1. God Wants to Display His Wisdom

What is wisdom? It is knowledge skillfully applied. God is the only wise God. He is in a category of his very own. No one can light a candle to his wisdom. It is manifold. It is multicolored. It has great variety.

You ever watch a movie and then watch a second time you catch something new you missed the first time. God’s wisdom is like watching a movie again and every time you watch it you see something new every single time.

Who is the audience to whom God is displaying his wisdom? God needs an audience that can appreciate it fully. Who does Paul say this audience is?

It is the heavenly beings. The angels and rulers of heaven. The angelic hosts that did not fall.

We see angels all through scripture. From Genesis, through the Old Testament, all through the life of Christ, and all over the place in Revelation. Usually they are called messengers, but in Ephesians 3 we see that these messengers are being recipients of God’s message of wisdom through the church. Continue reading

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Legacy 2013 General Session # 2 – Trip Lee

The following are my notes of Trip Lee’s general session message at the Legacy 2013 Conference.

The theme of the conference is Soli Deo Gloria and we want to think about the glory of God in all areas of our lives and tonight I want to talk about the glory of God in evangelism.

This is hard topic because we often all feel guilty that we are not sharing the gospel enough. I was even feeling guilty this week about a neighbor that I did not follow through with on sharing the gospel.

Why do we preach the gospel? We preach the gospel so that people can see glory. In fact, if you do not get any other point in my message this is the main point:

We preach Christ so that people can see the glory of God.

The brokenness in our world is because people have not seen the glory of God. Ultimately, people go to hell because they do not know the glory of God. The glory of God matters!

Tonight we will look at 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 and hear from Paul who was not some guy sipping coffee at Starbucks when he wrote this letter. He was a guy who lived in this world and really struggled in it. Continue reading

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Sharing Our Faith With Catholics

The following post is my notes of Chris Castaldo’s talk at an event sponsored by Acts 29, Chicago Partnership for Church Planting, and Converge Mid-America. The event was held at Edgewater Baptist Church on February 20, 2013.

Let me read to you a passage from Isaiah 55:10-11:

Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God. Behold, all you who kindle a fire, who equip yourselves with burning torches! Walk by the light of your fire, and by the torches that you have kindled! This you have from my hand: you shall lie down in torment.

I think this passage would remind us that this is precisely where God puts his servant. God puts us in the darkness. God will use you brothers to be lights for his glory.

Introduction – The Sixty Day Challenge

I was a new convert living in Florida and was at a church that had just begun a 60 day challenge. Everyone in the church was encouraged to share their faith once a day for 60 days. On day one I was so busy helping with a fundraiser that the day was almost over and was driving in the car with a Catholic Bishop. Then I realized that I had to share the gospel with this bishop or I would have begun the challenge as a failure. I was really nervous and did not know what to do. My knuckles holding the steering wheel were not turning white. So I started to share my testimony and after I was done all I heard was silence. I had thought I was really going to hear it from the Bishop, but as I looked over and heard his loud breathing I realized that I had put the Bishop to sleep.

These white knuckles are a description of how many of us feel when we share the gospel and especially with Catholics who think they are already saved. Which brings us to the topic we have come to think through together today.

How Can We Share Our Faith WIth Catholic Friends

A few assumptions that I have about this issue that would be good to say from the beginning:

Continue reading

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Filed under Chicago, Church Planting, Evangelism, Pastoral Ministry, Sermons

Heaven Is Gain

The following is my notes of Kevin Deyoung’s sermon on heaven. Click HERE for the audio of this sermon.

 Where we go when we die is such a fundamental question in our lives. There may not be a more fundamental question then this. Also as a church we will be facing death and all the more as we grow older together.

When you think about heaven we need to get into our mind two different stages. The first stage is heaven the new heavens and new earth when Christ returns. This is the primary thing that the bible talks about when it speaks of heaven.

The second stage is sometimes called the intermediate state. It is not the final goal of our life, but it is the place we go when we die immediately after we die and before the new heavens and new earth are established.

Philippians 1:18-26

What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.

Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again. Continue reading

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Filed under Doctrine, Heaven, Philippians, Sermons, Theology

Heaven Is A Place On Earth

The following is my notes of Kevin Deyoung’s sermon on heaven. Click HERE for the audio of this sermon.

1 Corinthians 15:50-55

I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

So we see in verse 50 that we are currently not yet fit for the kingdom in our present state. There is something in our existence that does not make us fit and so we need a new body. In verses 51 and following we see that we will have a new body.  Continue reading

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Filed under 1 Corinthians, 2 Peter, Doctrine, Heaven, Revelation, Romans, Sermons, Theology

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