(Sermon starts about 22 minutes in).
Category : Preaching / Homiletics
Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–There is therefore now no Condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8)
I received an email last week that included a brief message that I’ve been ruminating on ever since. It was from an acquaintance of mine, Bishop James Wong, who is the Anglican Archbishop of the Indian Ocean. Let me share part of it with you.
“In three short months, just like He did with the plagues of Egypt, God has taken away everything we worship. God said, “You want to worship athletes, I will shut down the stadiums. You want to worship musicians, I will shut down Civic Centers. You want to worship actors, I will shut down theaters. You want to worship money, I will shut down the economy and collapse the stock market. You don’t want to go to church and worship Me, I will make it where you can’t go to church.”
I imagine he could have mentioned others: You want to worship health; I will empty your gyms and fill your hospitals. You want to worship recreation; I will close the Magic Kingdom and gate your parks. You want to worship travel and exotic places; I will dock your cruise liners and ground your planes. You want to indulge in the nightlife; I will close your restaurants and bars and shutter your cities.
Well that has the ring of truth to it—mostly! Yet not entirely. It could be understood to mean God sent this coronavirus as a judgement on the world. Yet I for one am not ready to say that. I am inclined to say it is a judgement upon our idols. It reveals to us how frail life can be and how vain at times our pursuits. You will remember the first two commandments of the Decalogue. “God spoke these words and said: I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods but me. You shall not make for yourself any idol.” The reformer John Calvin said, “The human heart is a factory for the making of idols.” When we give ourselves to idols, embracing God’s good gifts separate from Him they invariably turn empty and let us down—whether as individuals, communities, or even nations. “Claiming to be wise they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man….” (Romans 1:22-23)
— Kimberley Pfeiler (@CanonKimberley) June 27, 2017
The Church of England’s online weekly service will hear a call for action to build a fairer world ahead of a minute’s silence to lament the racism experienced by the Windrush generation and other black and UK minority ethnic people.
Father Andrew Moughtin-Mumby, Rector of St Peter’s Church in Walworth, south east London, will lead the service in which his sermon will describe racism as one of three pandemics faced by the world, alongside the climate crisis and COVID-19.
Our weekly service, led by @StPeterWalworth, will be available from 9am Sunday.
Recognising Windrush Day, the service includes a minute’s silence to lament the racism experienced by the Windrush generation and other black and UK minority ethnic people.https://t.co/K5efpEg49r
— The Church of England (@churchofengland) June 19, 2020
(Sermon starts at 20:26ish).
A Word of God for Thursday June 11th:
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.
Shout to the Lord all the earth,
ring out your joy
Psalm 97 pic.twitter.com/tDcTuXFvQW
— Johnny Doherty (@JohnnyDoherty3) June 10, 2020
Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon for Pentecost 2020–What does it mean to live as a believer in the Holy Spirit, the Lord the giver of life (Acts 2:1-11)?
The sermon starts at about 23:57.
Choirstall woodcarving of the Pentecost. Cathédrale d”Amiens, 1508-1519. pic.twitter.com/uAoe519pbW
— Ian St. (@IanStFrance) May 31, 2020
Pastor Dwight Nelson Preaches for an Ascension Sunday Joint Service with Wesley United Methodist Church+Christ Saint Paul’s
“And it happened that, while [Jesus] was with [the two disciples] at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight.” (Lk 24:30-31)
Supper at Emmaus by Rembrandt. pic.twitter.com/6wCmbcu64r
— Christian Culture (@Christian8Pics) April 24, 2019
Who would recognise someone known to be dead?
Yet within a very short period we find Mary announcing that she has seen the Lord. Not long after Peter is telling Cornelius that Jesus had risen and that this was the foundation of hope for all people.
There are three astonishing things in what Peter says.
First, that someone could rise from the dead. Peter’s change from frightened denier of Christ to bold advocate is one of the great evidences for the resurrection.
Second, that God would reach in love to the whole world.
Third, that Roman occupier and Jewish occupied could be drawn together in unity.
He is risen indeed. Alleluia! pic.twitter.com/qrlCpvAuar
— St Paul’s Cathedral (@StPaulsLondon) April 12, 2020
Morning worship including a sermon from Bishop Lawrence for Palm Sunday which starts at about 35:15ish….
But then the ‘ghost’ spoke. This was no trick of the light. They weren’t imagining things. There were words, real communication that all could hear: “Take courage. It is I. Do not be afraid.” This was no ghost: it was Jesus. The storm did not cease when Jesus spoke but what a difference his words made: “It is I.” Jesus was walking through the storm with them. And what a difference those same words can make to us as our current storm hits deeper each day: “Take courage. It is I. Do not be afraid.” The Lord is with us in the storm, just as he promised his disciples as he commissioned them to take the gospel to the world: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). In the final weeks before his death, the Lord repeatedly referred to the fact that he was going away, preparing his disciples for the time when he would no longer be physically present with them. “I will not leave you as orphans”, he said, “I will come to you”. They would no longer be able to see him, have a meal with him, go for a walk with him. But he would be present. The Lord is with us in every storm, whether we feel he is or not. In a storm our emotions are as unstable as the sea. We must expect that. In our house we have experienced anxiety, tears, fear and frustration and we are just in the early days of this crisis. But we can make the truth of Christ’s presence with us more real by doing what the disciples did that day on the Sea of Galilee: listening to his words and following what he says.
(9 Marks) Colton Corter–4 Reflections after Listening to 18 Hours of Sermons in America’s Biggest Churches
1. The gospel at best assumed; most of the time, it’s entirely absent.
Let me begin with the most important observation: in 36 sermons, the good news of Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection was unclear 36 times. Often, some or all of these facets of the Christian gospel were left out. “No gospel” became a common note. (Here’s an answer to the question you’re probably asking: What content is necessary in order to communicate the gospel?)
I don’t mean to say various elements of the gospel weren’t occasionally mentioned; they were. Todd Mullins (Christ Fellowship Church) mentions in his sermon series, “What Do You See Next?”, that faith is believing in what Jesus did for you—carrying the cross, rising from the dead, etc. But none of those elements are articulated or explained. It’s unclear exactly why we need Jesus to do anything for us. Furthermore, it’s unclear exactly what he did by doing the things Mullins mentions. Isolated phrases here and there without much reference to how the Bible puts them together was the norm.
In his sermon, “The Robe of Righteousness,” Robert Morris (Gateway Church) provides a happy exception. He mentions the doctrine of imputation, stating that we aren’t worthy of God and are in need of a “balancing (of our) . . . account.” Morris goes on to say that in the gospel we get Jesus’ assets while Jesus receives our debts. That’s as close to the gospel that any of these sermons gets—and even in this instance, the true things Morris mentions are isolated from the rest of the truths that make up the gospel message. (Neither God’s holy judgment, sin, nor repentance is mentioned.)
But here’s what’s even more disheartening: in his next sermon, Morris says the Jesus who accomplished all this for us “lays down all his divinity” (“The Ring of Authority”). Conspicuously missing from Morris’ explanation of what he calls “substitutionary, propitiatory, blood-bought salvation” is the response one must have to this message in order to be saved, which leads us to our next observation.
2. Repentance rarely comes across as something urgent and necessary; instead, it’s either optional or not worth mentioning at all.
Wow. 9 Biggest Churches in America. 4 sermons each. 36 sermons reviewed. 4 conclusions about preaching today. Grim. https://t.co/vvtPQmTTvf
— Mark Dever (@MarkDever) March 31, 2020
And so his question to all those who have the freedom to speak in the Church and for the Church is ‘who do you really speak for?’ But if we take seriously the underlying theme of his words and witness, that question is also, ‘who do you really feel with?’ Are you immersed in the real life of the Body, or is your life in Christ seen only as having the same sentiments as the powerful? Sentir con la Iglesia in the sense in which the mature Romero learned those words is what will teach you how to speak on behalf of the Body. And we must make no mistake about what this can entail: Romero knew that this kind of ‘feeling with the Church’ could only mean taking risks with and for the Body of Christ – so that, as he later put it, in words that are still shocking and sobering, it would be ‘sad’ if priests in such a context were not being killed alongside their flock. As of course they were in El Salvador, again and again in those nightmare years.
But he never suggests that speaking on behalf of the Body is the responsibility of a spiritual elite. He never dramatised the role of the priest so as to play down the responsibility of the people. If every priest and bishop were silenced, he said, ‘each of you will have to be God’s microphone. Each of you will have to be a messenger, a prophet. The Church will always exist as long as even one baptized person is alive.’ Each part of the Body, because it shares the sufferings of the whole – and the hope and radiance of the whole – has authority to speak out of that common life in the crucified and risen Jesus.
So Romero’s question and challenge is addressed to all of us, not only those who have the privilege of some sort of public megaphone for their voices. The Church is maintained in truth; and the whole Church has to be a community where truth is told about the abuses of power and the cries of the vulnerable. Once again, if we are serious about sentir con la Iglesia, we ask not only who we are speaking for but whose voice still needs to be heard, in the Church and in society at large. The questions here are as grave as they were thirty years ago. In Salvador itself, the methods of repression familiar in Romero’s day were still common until very recently. We can at least celebrate the fact that the present head of state there has not only apologized for government collusion in Romero’s murder but has also spoken boldly on behalf of those whose environment and livelihood are threatened by the rapacity of the mining companies, who are set on a new round of exploitation in Salvador and whose critics have been abducted and butchered just as so many were three decades back. The skies are not clear: our own Anglican bishop in Salvador was attacked ten days ago by unknown enemies; but the signs of hope are there, and the will to defend the poor and heal the wounds.
March 24th is the feast of Saint Óscar Romero: Catholic priest, defender of the poor, Rector of San José de la Montaña Central Seminary, Archbishop of San Salvador, and martyr for the Faith—assassinated by a paramilitary death squad on this day in 1980, while celebrating Mass. pic.twitter.com/RobZ1mjORO
— Tradical (@NoTrueScotist) March 23, 2020
Sir James Thornhill, 1675-1734, English painter, Ananias and Sapphira, 1729-31, (Copy after Raphael) pic.twitter.com/s4091Am0FC
— Gjeraqina Ukshini (@gjeni_u) October 28, 2015
Our subject this morning, then, will be, both in the condemnation and in the punishment of every sinner, God will be justified: and he will be made most openly clear, from the two facts of the sinner’s own confession, and God himself having been an eye-witness of the deed. And as for the severity of it, there shall be no doubt upon the mind of any man who shall receive it, for God shall prove to him in his own soul, that damnation is nothing more nor less than the legitimate reward of sin.
There are two kinds of condemnation: the one is the condemnation of the elect, which takes place in their hearts and consciences, when they have the sentence of death in themselves, that they should not trust in themselves—a condemnation which is invariably followed by peace with God, because after that there is no further condemnation, for they are then in Christ Jesus, and they walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. The second condemnation is that of the finally impenitent, who, when they die, are most righteously and justly condemned by God for the sins they have committed—a condemnation not followed by pardon, as in the present case, but followed by inevitable damnation from the presence of God. On both these condemnations we will discourse this morning. God is clear when he speaks, and he is just when he condemns, whether it be the condemnation which he passes on Christian hearts, or the condemnation which he pronounces from his throne, when the wicked are dragged before him to receive their final doom.
Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–Anger, Lust and the Call of the Holy Spirit to the Church (Matthew 5:21-30)
“The Sermon on the Mount” by Carl Bloch, Oil on copper, 1877. At the Museum of National History at Frederiksborg Castle, Denmark pic.twitter.com/HCCFGitdVf
— Pictures of Churches (@ChurchPictures8) June 2, 2017
(PRC) U.S. churchgoers are satisfied with the sermons they hear, though content varies by religious tradition
Sermons are a major part of many churchgoers’ religious experiences. But there are differences by religious tradition in how satisfied churchgoers are with what they hear from the pulpit – as well as in the length and content of those sermons, according to two recent Pew Research Center studies.
An opinion survey of 6,364 U.S. adults conducted in 2019 found that 90% of Christians who attend worship services at least a few times a year are satisfied with the sermons they hear, though Protestants are somewhat more satisfied than Catholics.
Six-in-ten evangelical Protestants (61%) say they are “very satisfied” with the sermons they hear, almost twice as many as those who say they’re “somewhat satisfied” (32%). Among Catholics, only about a third (32%) say they’re “very satisfied,” while roughly half (52%) say they are “somewhat satisfied.” Catholics also have a higher share of respondents who say they’re “not too” or “not at all” satisfied (15% vs. 7% for Protestants).
Sermons are a major part of many churchgoers’ religious experiences. But there are differences by religious tradition in how satisfied churchgoers are with what they hear from the pulpit – as well as in the length and content of those sermons. https://t.co/2gdSKb7ojI
— Pew Research Center (@pewresearch) January 28, 2020
Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–The Presentation and its Call upon us to see as God sees (Luke 2:22-40)
Presentation of the Lord
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence pic.twitter.com/QlKtLC4bqW
— Amigo de Frodo (@bpdflores) February 2, 2019
‘The blessed Mary offered her sacrifice to God with the child, as it was appointed in God’s law. It was so appointed in the old law, by God’s command, that those who could afford it should bring a lamb of one year old with their child, as an offering to God, and a pigeon or a turtle-dove. But if any woman were so poor that she could not obtain those things, then she should bring two young pigeons or two turtle-doves.
This smaller offering was offered for Christ, that is, the birds, which were the offerings of the poor. The Almighty Son of God was very mindful of our needs in all things; not only did he choose to become man for us, though he was God, but he also chose to become needy for us, though he was mighty, so that he might give us a portion in his kingdom and communion with his divinity. A lamb betokens innocence and the greater kind of goodness; but if we are so wretched that we cannot offer to God that greater goodness, then we should bring him two turtle-doves or two young pigeons; that is, a twofold burgeoning of awe and love. A person experiences this burgeoning in two ways: first, he dreads the torments of hell, and mourns for his sins; then afterwards he feels love to God, and he begins to murmur, and it seems to him too long a time until he shall be taken from the afflictions of this life, and brought to eternal rest.’
— Eleanor Parker (@ClerkofOxford) February 2, 2017
(Saint Philip’s, Charleston) Denise C. Pickford–Recipe for a Christian Life: Reflections on Canon J.John’s Sermon
I love to cook. Browsing through recipes and then preparing them for my family and friends is one of my favorite things to do. To me, I am showing my love for them by taking the time to follow each step and make the preparations for a wonderful meal as my gift to them––and, of course, when my children were younger, to ensure their proper physical growth and health.
Is preparing nourishment in the form of food for our bodies any different from being nourished spiritually? We are not just a physical body; we have a spiritual body that must be fed as well. Without food and water, we would die. Without feeding our spiritual bodies or souls, we would become empty and begin searching for, in many instances, the wrong things to feed our hunger, which could never be satisfied with just earthly things. God wants to nourish our souls so that we may have the proper spiritual growth and health.
As I sat listening to Canon J.John on Sunday, his sermon struck me as the perfect “recipe” for how to live a Christian life!
Courage…is the indispensable requisite of any true ministry…. If you are afraid of men and a slave to their opinion, go and do something else. Go make shoes to fit them. Go even and paint pictures you know are bad but will suit their bad taste. But do not keep on all of your life preaching sermons which shall not say what God sent you to declare, but what they hire you to say. Be courageous. Be independent.
—-Phillips Brooks, Lectures on Preaching, the 1877 Yale Lectures (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1969), p. 59
Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon for the Baptism of Jesus–What does it mean to seek and Pray for the Justice of God (Isaiah 42:1-4)?
— Jukka Isorinne (@jukkaisorinne) September 14, 2015
Let us now return to the exposition of the Gospel, where we previously left it. The astronomers went into the place where the child was staying, and found him with his mother. Then with prostrate bodies they worshipped Christ, and opened their coffers, and offered to him threefold gifts, gold, and incense, and myrrh. Gold is fitting for a king; incense belongs to God’s service; with myrrh the bodies of the dead are prepared that they may not soon rot. These three astronomers worshipped Christ, and offered to him symbolic gifts. The gold betokened that he is true King; the incense that he is true God; the myrrh that he was then mortal, though now he continues immortal in eternity…
My brothers, let us offer to our Lord gold, for we confess that he is true King, and rules everywhere. Let us offer to him incense, for we believe that he was always God, who at that time appeared as a man. Let us bring him myrrh, for we believe that he was mortal in our flesh, who is incapable of suffering in his divine nature. He was mortal in human nature before his Passion, but he is henceforth immortal, as we all shall be after the universal resurrection.
We have spoken of these threefold gifts, how they apply to Christ. We also wish to say how they apply to us in a figurative sense. Truly gold betokens wisdom; as Solomon said, “A goldhoard much to be desired lies in the mouth of a wise man.” Incense represents holy prayer, of which the psalmist sang, “Lord, let my prayer be sent forth like burning incense in thy sight.” By myrrh is shown the mortality of our flesh, of which Holy Church says, “My hands dropped myrrh.” To the born King we bring gold, if we are shining in his sight with the brightness of heavenly wisdom. Incense we bring him, if we set fire to our thoughts on the altar of our heart with the eagerness of holy prayers, so that through heavenly desire we may give forth something of a sweet smell. Myrrh we offer him if we quell the lusts of the flesh by self-restraint.
Read it all (and note the link to the full sermon text).
— Joan Stonham (@eynsham1) July 17, 2017
The adoration of the Magi
Abraham Bloemaert (1564–1651) pic.twitter.com/SCRNGhprt4
— Kalina Boulter (@KalinaBoulter) January 6, 2018
I can bring it so neare; but onely the worthy hearer, and the worthy receiver, can call this Lord this Jesus, this Christ, Immanuel God with us; onely that virgin soule, devirginated in the blood of Adam but restored in the blood of the Lambe hath this Ecce, this testimony, this assurance, that God is with him; they that have this Ecce, this testimony, in a rectified conscience, are Godfathers to this child Jesus and may call him Immanuel God with us for as no man can deceive God, so God can deceive no man; God cannot live in the darke himself neither can he leave those who are his in the darke: If he be with thee he will make thee see that he is with thee and never goe out of thy sight, till he have brought thee, where thou canst never goe out of his.
–John Donne (1572-1631), Preached at St. Pauls, upon Christmas Day, in the Evening, 1624
“The Adoration of the Magi”, 1460-1470, Attributed to Master of the Prado Adoration of the Magi, Prado Museum, Madrid pic.twitter.com/aJe2QsjarW
— Pictures of Churches (@ChurchPictures8) December 24, 2016
And even because this day He took not the angels’ nature upon Him, but took our nature in “the seed of Abraham,” therefore hold we this day as a high feast; therefore meet we thus every year in a holy assembly, upon us a dignity which upon the angels He bestowed not. That He, as in the chapter before the Apostle setteth Him forth, That is, “the brightness of His Father’s glory, the very character of His substance, the Heir of all things, by Whom He made the world;” He, when both needed it His taking upon Him their nature and both stood before Him, men and Angels, “the Angels He took not,” but men “He took;” was made Man, was not made an Angel; that is, did more for them than He did for the Angels of Heaven.
Elsewhere the Apostle doth deliver this very point positively, and that, not without some vehemency; “Without all question great is the mystery of godliness: God is manifested in the flesh.” Which is in effect the same that is here said, but that here it is delivered by way of comparison; for this speech is evidently a comparison. If he had thus set it down, “Our nature He took,” that had been positive; but setting it down thus, “Ours He took, the Angels He took not,” it is certainly comparative.
…Now the masters of speech tell us that there is power in the positive if it be given forth with an earnest asseveration, but nothing to that that is in the comparative. It is nothing so full to say, “I will never forget you,” as thus to say it; “Can a mother forget the child of her own womb? Well, if she can, yet will not I forget you.” Nothing so forcible to say thus, “I will hold my word with you,” as thus, “Heaven and earth shall pass, but My word shall not pass.” The comparative expressing is without all question more significant; and this here is such. Theirs, the Angels, nusquam, “at no hand He took, but ours He did.
–From a Christmas sermon in 1605.