Sermons

ACTS: Dealing with Discouragement

While some days are worse than others, we all go through times when we’re feeling down. Discouragement in life and in ministry is a part of our human experience. It isn’t just a spiritual problem, it’s a human condition.

In Acts 18:1-17, Luke tells us that Paul departed from Athens alone, never to return, bound for Corinth after many weeks of travel, ministry and troubles. His back was probably not yet completely healed from the beating he and Silas received in Philippi (Acts 16:22-24). Paul would have had plenty of reasons to wonder, while walking the 53 miles from Athens, “Why am I doing this?” Like us, even the apostle Paul might have wondered, “Am I even making a difference?”

Corinth was a low point in Paul’s life physically, emotionally, and even financially. But God knew Paul’s needs just as He knows our needs - He provides encouragement as we walk with Him by faith.

sermon by: Larry Murray
date: 10.29.2017

ACTS: The Reason for God

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,
It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,
It was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,
It was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness,
It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.
– Charles Dickens, “A Tale of Two Cities”

Those famous words about life in late 18th Century cities of London and Paris during the French Revolution could very easily describe the emotions of political turmoil and social injustice of our days as well.

In Acts 17:1-15, we discover a Tale of Two OTHER Cities, Thessalonica and Berea, and examine how the people of these two communities responded to the Gospel Message about Jesus the Messiah. In one city, Paul was accused of starting a revolution, in the other, a revival. The question for us, today, is how will we respond to the Message of the Gospel and, more importantly, the Messiah of the Gospel?

sermon by: Larry Murray
date: 10.15.2017

ACTS: A Tale of Two Cities

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,
It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,
It was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,
It was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness,
It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.
– Charles Dickens, “A Tale of Two Cities”

Those famous words about life in late 18th Century cities of London and Paris during the French Revolution could very easily describe the emotions of political turmoil and social injustice of our days as well.

In Acts 17:1-15, we discover a Tale of Two OTHER Cities, Thessalonica and Berea, and examine how the people of these two communities responded to the Gospel Message about Jesus the Messiah. In one city, Paul was accused of starting a revolution, in the other, a revival. The question for us, today, is how will we respond to the Message of the Gospel and, more importantly, the Messiah of the Gospel?

sermon by: Larry Murray
date: 10.15.2017

ACTS: The JOY of the Gospel

As Americans, we have a thing about standing up for our rights. We’re so easily offended that if our rights are somehow violated, we don’t take it sitting down. From flags to flowers, we will boycott, protest, tweet, re-post something on Facebook, we’ll write our congressman, or whatever it takes to protect our rights.

As Roman citizens, Paul and Silas had a right to a trial before any punishment. Romans were exempt from public beatings. And yet the two missionaries were falsely accused, beaten, and thrown into prison, with their feet locked into the stocks, without any semblance of a trial. Their rights had been violated. If anyone had a right to be angry, they did. In Acts 16:10-40, we discover that real joy comes from being reconciled to God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and sharing that Good News with others.

sermon by: Larry Murray
date: 10.01.2017

ACTS: Jesus’ Ministry thru the Church

When we look at the early church in the book of ACTS, it’s like roaring rapids at its source - they had few of the material and technological advances that we have, yet they made rapid strides in fulfilling the Great Commission. Centuries later, we look at the church of Jesus Christ and can’t immediately recognize its strength because the current of His Spirit runs deep. The book of ACTS records Jesus’ continued ministry on earth through the church - the body of Christ filled with His Spirit.

It’s helpful for us to review the source of the church’s power for effective ministry in the early days that we continue Jesus’ work on earth today. Acts 15-16 reveals three keys to effective ministry by the Church today. We see the power, focus, breadth, and depth of Christ’s love.

sermon by: Larry Murray
date: 09.24.2017

ACTS: Personal Conflict in the Church

It has been said that “church fights are the worst fights,” perhaps because they break out among people who profess to believe in unity and love. You name it, Christians fight over it. Sometimes the disagreements are over trivial matters, but often they are serious conflicts from different viewpoints.

In Acts 15:36-41, we have a real example of a personal conflict between Paul and Barnabas regarding John Mark. From their sharp disagreement, we can learn how to preserve unity and resolve conflicts when they come up. We need God’s Spirit to HEAL our relationships.

We can talk about God’s grace, sing about His love, preach the Gospel, and share its message, but it’s in resolving conflict that we prove its worth and work.

sermon by: Larry Murray
date: 09.17.2017

ACTS: Church Leadership Meeting

Have you ever disagreed with someone? Of course! All of us have. Throughout the history of people there have been major disagreements. Friendships lost. Marriages ended. Wars have been fought.

When it comes to disagreements, the church is not exempt. Over the years, there have been some huge fights over doctrine, creation, music and worship, sanctification, and the list goes on and on and on. When the early church had its first major disagreement (ACTS 15:1-5), by the grace of God, agreement was reached quickly, providing unity and a basis on which to take the Good News of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

How was this dispute and disagreement about such a significant issue as salvation and grace settled? Through a discussion of leaders and a decision by the Holy Spirit (Acts 15:28). The Holy Spirit works in the (corporate) church through the good intentions of godly, but imperfect men to determine God’s will and deliver His word.

sermon by: Larry Murray
date: 09.10.2017

ACTS: The Gospel that Divides

We see this in ACTS 13-14. Everywhere that Paul and Barnabas went they were surrounded by opposition to the Gospel. In just two chapters, in three different locations we see the same reaction to the Gospel, many believe it and some oppose it. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is Good News that divides.

As believers in Christ, there are times when we’re going to feel surrounded on all sides. Opposed by family, friends, neighbors, teachers, politicians, media. As Christ’s ambassadors, we have been dropped in the middle of a lost world like paratroopers. We’re supposed to be surrounded. So, like the early church in the book of ACTS, let’s keep sharing the Gospel (Acts 14:7).

sermon by: Larry Murray
date: 09.03.2017

Lord, Teach Us to Pray
Winter Sermon Series

If God is sovereign, all-knowing, powerful, and good, why should He listen to our prayers? Why pray if God already knows what is best? Why pray if He’s already decided? What is prayer? Why do we pray? Why should we pray? How? For what?

The twelve disciples whom Jesus chose to follow Him were no doubt men who prayed. They had been raised in a culture that valued and practiced prayer, and their hearts must have been prayerfully tender toward God for each man to leave everything to follow after Jesus when He called them to follow. And yet, as the disciples closely observed Jesus, they consistently noticed a stark difference between their way of praying and the prayer life of the Lord Jesus. In the presence of these Twelve men, Jesus both taught and modeled a radical life of prayer, and it caught their attention. They said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” (Luke 11:1)

As we  learn how to really pray with faith that moves mountains and a dependency that moves us closer to the One who made them, it seems our first prayer to Jesus should also be, “Lord, teach us to pray.”

 

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