In his sermon this past Sunday, January 22 at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, Pastor Craig emphasizes that there are some truths that are so pervasive in Scripture, some truths that are so important to us and our lives as Christians, that we must never take our eyes off of them. Deuteronomy 30:1-10 exemplifies one such truth—a truth that is not only vital to our lives and our church, but also to the lives of those around us and our community. We must. We cannot. But we shall, through Christ. With this truth, we see that God, knowing that His people will sin so radically and so pervasively, establishes a way for our redemption. That redemption is only found in Christ. In Deuteronomy 30:6, specifically, God promises to do for us what we must do, but cannot do for ourselves, and in that promise we can and must dwell always. Listen to the whole sermon.
Why do we need God’s Spirit? What does He want us to understand about Him? What are we to do with this tremendous gift? In celebration of Pentecost Sunday, Pastor Craig focuses on several aspects of the day The Holy Spirit was given to us. Pentecost was originally observed to honor God’s abundance to His children and to celebrate the giving of the Law. But as modern Christians, we often find ourselves wondering what truth we should focus on in our busy world. We must remember that Pentecost was on purpose. As Craig states, “God wants his children to have a mentality of abundance,” so they can then share that abundance with the world. Pentecost was on purpose because we, as sinful, forgetful humans, need to be reminded of God’s faithfulness on a constant basis. Pentecost was on purpose because God keeps His promise to fill us with His Spirit and give us new hearts when we confess and believe. Listen to the whole sermon here.
From this week’s passage in Deuteronomy 26:17-19, Pastor Craig expounds on the unchanging nature of our just and loving God. As His imperfect children, we often try to fit God into a box, or call Him to prove Himself over and over and over to us when we encounter parts of His nature we don’t understand. For example, how do we reconcile this passage that seems vengeful? By finding the heart of it—God’s judgments are for the good of His people. He knows our sinful selves better than we can even imagine, and because sin is a tireless, relentless enemy that attacks us when we are weak, vulnerable, and lagging behind, we must trust His fatherly judgments and love to see us through our daily lives. Listen to the whole sermon here.
In his sermon this week, Pastor Craig explains the reality behind the small phrase, “Joseph considered these things,” which are words that we often take for granted during the Christmas season. In Matthew’s account of the birth of Christ, the angel who visits Joseph tells him not to be afraid—but what was he afraid of? Craig postulates that, because Joseph was deemed to be a righteous man in God’s eyes, he was afraid of sinning against God by taking Mary as his wife. Just one of the many beautiful aspects of this story that we sometimes overlook is how God met Joseph in his fear, just as he does for each and every one of us. Listen to the whole sermon here.
Perception is reality and, therefore, it comprises so much of our lives—who we are, the friends we keep, the choices we make. This week, Pastor Craig poses the questions, “What is your perception of God? How can you rightly perceive who God is?” It is only through the lens of a correct perception of God that we can begin to perceive ourselves and our purpose. Such an understanding of the Lord leads us to live our lives in love and obedience to Him, whether we are those who have plenty or those who are needy. This passage in Deuteronomy also reminds us that no matter where we fall in the spectrum between needy and prosperous–God always provides. For what do we have that God hasn’t given us? He asked for no collateral from us before He sent his Son from heaven to save us from our sin. Our perception should be the reality of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice. Listen to the whole sermon here.
The purity of worshiping God is something that we, as sinners, often neglect in preference to a worship that entertains or makes us feel good. In this week’s sermon, Pastor Craig reads from Deuteronomy 23:1-14, which emphasizes what, at first, might sound like archaic practices and harsh rules about how to live our lives well and be worshipful people. But from this passage, we learn yet another truth of God’s endless and undying love for us. The Lord seeks to protect His people from corruption of sin that creeps in under the guise of something fresh or new. It is vital for us, as God’s children, to be mindful and prayerful about what those things are. The worshiping community, both then and now, is a holy and crucial part of our relationship with God, and, as Pastor Craig points out, if He has no standard of holiness for those who worship Him, then who needs Jesus? Listen to the whole sermon here.
Proverbs 11:10 says, “…through the blessing of the upright, a city is exalted.” This passage speaks volumes to the purpose of Deuteronomy 21, our focus for this week’s sermon. In it, God sets forth multiple scenarios in which His people are to act justly and seek His righteousness over their own desires or the “easy” paths of the world. Pastor Craig emphasizes three of those points: unsolved murder, people from defeated nations, and brokenness in the home. In each scenario, we as God’s people can and must learn how to deal with the brokenness of our communities, whether they be the places we live, the friends we make, or the families God has placed us in. As a family on mission together, it is vital that the world see us gladly pursuing God’s will and commandments. With these three specific examples, we have our starting points for how to treat people justly, protect others’ dignity, and respect those made in the image of God. Craig asks, “How can we, as the people who have the grace of God available to us, let such important things go?” Listen to the whole sermon here.
Last week Pastor Craig focused on the physical relief that comes from refuge in Christ. This week he returns to the example of the refugee in Deuteronomy 19:1-10 to emphasize the spiritual shelter we find in The Lord. Our souls cry out for protection and rescue from our sin (not just in times of pain, grief, or depression). Yet where can we go but to Christ to find true and lasting peace? God knows each and every fiber of our beings, which is why His Word speaks so often of the peace we find under His wings. We desperately need the Spirit of God to use the Truth of God to realign our lives. It is where we must turn when the world offers false hope in the form of a remedy to the wrong problem, so that rather than making excuses and choosing the world, we will mature in Christ. Imagine the desperation of the man who flees retribution day and night without rest, seeking the city of refuge—are we that desperate for refuge and maturity in Christ? Listen to the whole sermon here.
Pastor Craig Bailey returns to Deuteronomy 19, specifically focusing on verses 1-10, which expounds on the sixth commandment “You shall not kill.” Craig reminds us that there is not one single flaw in the perspective of God, and we must return to “the second law” to reorient ourselves around God’s Truth in the midst of a sinful world. Much like the cities of refuge that God commands to be built in central locations and far-reaching, easily accessible roads, we can find refuge in passages like this when the world wants to lead us astray. What does the existence of these cities tell us about God’s heart? What truth is it that He is trying to communicate about Himself? In answer, Craig points to the positive side of the sixth commandment as “You shall preserve life.” God seeks to preserve life because we are created in His image. As the salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13), we must continuously love our neighbors and enemies alike, as God loves us, often times by asking hard questions such as, “Where do I place myself in relation to others?” or “Am I, as an image-bearer of Christ, making it my mission to preserve life through every thought, word, and deed?” Listen to the whole sermon here.
In this week’s sermon, our insightful guest pastor David Wright expounds on Psalm 13:1-6, in which the Psalmist cries out to God, asking “How long, Lord…?” How long will he suffer? How often do we, as God’s beloved children, ask Him the same question? Much like the seasons come and go, there are times in everyone’s life when feeling depressed and isolated from God leads us to identify more with our unworthiness, and less with the unconditional love of the Lord’s promise. In such times, prayer is the simplest, and yet, often the most difficult step toward the restoration of our faith in the Lord. Midway through the passage, King David pleads with the Lord to look on him, give answer, and light his eyes with the Truth that only comes from God, rather than the hopelessness that Satan uses against us, to pull us into sin. Mr. Wright points us to verses 5-6, to remind us that God is, was, and always will be good to us, because God is faithful—even when we don’t notice. Listen to the whole sermon here.