Sermon Audio – Philippians

The presidential election is almost upon us. And regardless of what your political views may be, I think we are all looking forward to the end of the campaign. That way our social media feeds that are filled with links to articles and fierce debates over which candidate is better or worse can go back to what God intended Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for in the first place: pet and recipe videos.

But regardless of your political views, my sense is that the most common reaction to our current election season is a profound sense of disappointment and frustration. In a country of nearly 300 million people surely these cannot be the best candidates, right? Beyond disappointment and frustration, I have seen a good number of people, including believers, express despair at the future of our country. Some have gone so far as to claim that if a certain candidate is or is not elected, it could mean the end of Christianity here in the United States.

So at a time like this, when it seems like the broader culture around us and the political sphere in particular is so broken, how should we as followers of Jesus Christ live?

I believe the book of Philippians can help us answer that question. It does so by reminding us as believers that we are called to live joyfully as citizens of God’s kingdom. We do so by understanding our calling, seeing our King, accepting our commission, and embracing our confidence.

Want to learn more? You can listen to the sermon udio here:

And of course, for even more n Philippians, see my commentary: Philippians: A Mentor Commentary.

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Sermon Audio – Zechariah

Sometimes things do not work out like we hope. Whether it is something we buy, an experience, or even a relationship, sometimes our hopes are disappointed. Here’s one we can probably all identify with: the movie you go to see is a total dud. Or maybe the new piece of technology you have had your heart set on doesn’t do what you wanted it to do. But those are small examples. Let’s think bigger.

Maybe it is a vacation you have been anticipating and saving for that ends up a flop. Or even more significantly, maybe it is a job that you thought would be a perfect fit that turned out very different than you were told. Or maybe it is a relationship that you expected to bring you joy and fulfillment but has instead resulted in frustration and disappointment. Part of living in this fallen world is dealing with disappointment when promises don’t deliver what we were expecting.

The Jews who returned to the Promised Land after 70 years of exile knew that all too well. Last week Pastor Larry explained how this remnant of 50,000 Jews had returned to the land and began rebuilding the temple. But opposition soon brought the building to a halt. About a decade later Haggai came onto the scene in the Fall of 520 BC, where for four months he called the Jews to resume working on the temple.

Zechariah’s ministry began during Haggai’s ministry, but then extended beyond it into at least the next year and probably beyond. Both leading up to and during the exile God had promised that one day his people would return to the land and live under a king from David’s line. The temple would be rebuilt even more glorious than before, and the people would be empowered to obey. But their reality fell way short of those promises. So through Zechariah, God lifts the eyes of the people to the promised king and his kingdom.

Want to hear more? You can listen here to the audio of this overview sermon of Zechariah.

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Mondays with Marty

In this July 4th installment from Off the Record with Martin Luther, Luther reminds us of God’s sovereignty over rulers and nations:

1810. God treats kings the way children do a card game. While they are playing, they hold the cards in their hands; afterwards, they throw them in the corner, or under a bench, or on the rubbish pile. That is exactly how God handles those in power. As long as they are in power, He thinks of them as useful, but as soon as they go too far, He knocks them off their throne and lets them lie there, like the King of Denmark, and so on.  (p. 187).

DISCLAIMER: The views reflected in this quote do not necessarily reflect those of the author of this blog. This quote is shared in the interest of edification, education, and/or humor.
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Mondays with Marty

In this week’s installment from Off the Record with Martin Luther, Luther reminds us what a blessing it is to love God’s Word:

115. When the topic turned to the disrespect for the Word of God prevalent among the peasants, nobles and townspeople, he said: This disrespect should be a comfort to us and an admonition that we should give God thanks for these blessings: that we are those who love His Word, diligently listen to and study the Word of God, and that we desire Holy Scripture. For it is a great punishment and a severe judgment of God, that one would hold God and His Word in such contempt, that one would not hear it and will neither honor nor respect His ministers.  (p. 309).

DISCLAIMER: The views reflected in this quote do not necessarily reflect those of the author of this blog. This quote is shared in the interest of edification, education, and/or humor.
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Mondays with Marty

In this week’s installment from Off the Record with Martin Luther, Luther extols the hidden treasures of God:

5017. Holy Scripture demands a humble reader, who trembling shows reverence to God’s Word, who constantly pleads: “Teach me, teach me, teach me!” The arrogant oppose the spirit. And even though some may study diligently, and unerringly preach Christ for a time—as soon as they become proud, God closes the church to them. Wherefore, every proud person becomes a heretic, if not actually, then for all practical purposes. It is difficult for a person who has excellent gifts not to become arrogant. Those upon whom God bestows great gifts, He plagues with great torments, to teach them that they are nothing. Paul was given a thorn in his side, so that he would not become arrogant…Pride drove the angel [the devil] from Heaven; that is why we need humility in the study of Holy Scripture. (p. 362).

DISCLAIMER: The views reflected in this quote do not necessarily reflect those of the author of this blog. This quote is shared in the interest of edification, education, and/or humor.
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Mondays with Marty

In this week’s installment from Off the Record with Martin Luther, Luther extols the hidden treasures of God:

1854. The world is looked upon as a paradise; on the other hand, the Church is despised by the entire world, but nevertheless, highly esteemed by God. Aaron went about splendidly in his priestly vestments and was well received. But we should not concern ourselves with what the world says about us. Why should I care whether money lenders, the nobility, farmers and greedy citizens think I am a piece of filth? At one time, I would have done the same. Therefore, what the world thinks of us should not disturb us. It is important and enough that the devout think well of us. (p. 256-57).

DISCLAIMER: The views reflected in this quote do not necessarily reflect those of the author of this blog. This quote is shared in the interest of edification, education, and/or humor.
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Mondays with Marty

In this week’s installment from Off the Record with Martin Luther, Luther extols the hidden treasures of God:

5559. Riches are the least important thing in the world, the smallest gift, that God could give a person. What can compare to God’s Word? Yes, what can compare to the blessings and beauty around us, or compare to the blessings of feeling and sensing? Nevertheless, we strive diligently toward wealth! In no fashion are riches any good. That is why our Lord God gives riches to crude jack—es, and blesses them with nothing else   (p. 165).

DISCLAIMER: The views reflected in this quote do not necessarily reflect those of the author of this blog. This quote is shared in the interest of edification, education, and/or humor.
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Mondays with Marty

In this week’s installment from Off the Record with Martin Luther, Luther extols the hidden treasures of God:

2433. The world neither acknowledges nor believes in the hidden treasures of God; it cannot be disputed that an obedient maid, a true diligent servant, and a child-bearing wife are far above a praying monk, who does not see beyond his grub; each, however, under the command and control of God   (p. 111).

DISCLAIMER: The views reflected in this quote do not necessarily reflect those of the author of this blog. This quote is shared in the interest of edification, education, and/or humor.
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Mondays with Marty

In this week’s installment from Off the Record with Martin Luther, Luther explains why marriage is one of God’s sweetest blessings:

2506. The joy of a religious spouse. The greatest joy is to have a religious spouse, one to whom you can entrust everything and depend upon, with whom you can raise children, and so. God puts a lot into a marriage, without the parties giving much thought to it in advance. Katie, you have a religious husband, you are an empress! Thank God for it! But only good and God-fearing people reach such a level.   (p. 45-46).

DISCLAIMER: The views reflected in this quote do not necessarily reflect those of the author of this blog. This quote is shared in the interest of edification, education, and/or humor.
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Mondays with Marty

In this week’s installment from Off the Record with Martin Luther, Luther explains how believers should speak to Christ:

5598. In regard to how a faithful soul should talk with Christ, Martin Luther said: I am your sins, You are my salvation. Therefore I am joyful and without worry. For my sins have no power over Your redemption, now will Your salvation allow me to remain a sinner long. Praise be to God! Amen!   (p. 376).

DISCLAIMER: The views reflected in this quote do not necessarily reflect those of the author of this blog. This quote is shared in the interest of edification, education, and/or humor.
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