Two areas that Christians often find difficult are giving and receiving forgiveness, and figuring out how we actually grow in Christian maturity. The two are actually closely related. In this sermon based on Luke 17:1-10, Pastor Eric explores the mystery of how Jesus gives us new life in the community of the church. It is a challenging call, but truly, there is “nothing better!”
Our sermon series on discipleship, “Nothing Better,” continues with the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin from Luke 15:1-10. Pastor Paige invites listeners to reflect on what or who they reach for when they feel lost. The good news of both of these parables is that whenever we go astray, God is relentless in searching for us, in finding us, and in bringing us home as his beloved children.
In Luke 14:25-33, Jesus makes the disturbing claim that if we do not hate our families, carry the instruments of our own execution (the cross), and give up all our possessions, we cannot be his disciples. What is going on here? Well, “family” or “possessions” aren’t the enemy. A too-easy faith, a faith that never makes sacrifices (which isn’t really faith after all), is the enemy. It holds you back from the adventure of real faith. This sermon begins our series called “Nothing Better,” where we look at just why the call to follow Jesus is so challenging: because there is nothing better.
In Luke 14:1, 7-14, Jesus calls us to a kind of humility that allows us to focus on others. In Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16, the author focuses us on generosity and hospitality. In this sermon, Pastor Eric looks at how these passages apply to current social questions and, ultimately, to the changes that God’s mercy makes in our hearts.
Far too often, we settle for the avoidance of conflict instead of real peace. True peace can be a struggle, even a battle. But the good news is that the “war of peace” isn’t yours to fight. God will fight it for you, and in you. In this sermon, drawing on Jeremiah 8:6-12, Romans 16:17-20, 25-27, and Luke 12:49-53, Pastor Eric challenges us to stop settling for the appearance of peace and to let Jesus fight for peace in us.