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 our continuing Deuteronomy sermon series at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, this past Sunday, January 31 brought an “embarrassing” section in chapter 25, verses 11-12. Though our society may look down on propriety, decorum, and modesty, we see from God’s law that modesty is important.
Modesty is not a sign of repression but of redemption and renewal.
Then our senior pastor moved on to Deuteronomy 25:13-16 and talked about living with integrity, which is doing what’s right when no one is looking. He showed us how Jesus lived a life of integrity even though it caused him pain and suffering. We too much be people of integrity–ever in need of the work of the Spirit. He challenged us: How are we living toward the goal of living with integrity? Listen to the whole sermon here.
Until I came to Redeemer, Deuteronomy had been one of those books that I often skipped over in my Scripture reading. It was difficult on my own to understand what all of the archaic rules and family lineages meant. However, every Deuteronomy sermon for the past two years (has it really been two years?!) has revealed the heart of God in the most obscure of laws. This past Sunday, Craig preached about Deuteronomy 25:4-10, a passage that requires the Israelites to avoid muzzling an ox and the men to marry their brother’s widows (if they have no sons) to carry on the brother’s family name. What is a modern American Christian in Charleston—who owns no oxen and who probably wouldn’t marry his sister-in-law—to do with these commands? Each law present in Deuteronomy grants an overarching idea about how Christians should behave and a revelation of God’s character. Craig demonstrates how Deuteronomy 25 reflects God’s love for his creation as well as his intention to remember, restore, and preserve His people. Listen to the whole sermon here.
As we returned to our Deuteronomy sermon series this past Sunday, January 17, our senior pastor led us through the first three verses of Deuteronomy 25, where we see how justice is to be carried out among God’s people. God is just and desires for his people to be just. God has entrusted his world, his name, his gospel, and his message to us: How well are we keeping this trust? How accurately are we portraying our just God?
Where there is injustice in the world, it cannot be laid at the feet of God.
We see God call the accused in verse 3 “brother,” meaning his punishment should lead to his restoration in the covenant community. The purpose of God’s justice is repentance, redemption, restoration. We are all guilty, and the guilty must be punished–that’s the beauty of the cross! Jesus took our punishment to satisfy God’s justice. Listen to the whole sermon here.
In Psalm 8, David writes about God’s majesty and glory and about His way of creating and sustaining which only He is able to do. Even the work of God’s fingers–His fingers which set the moon and the stars in their places–speaks to His all encompassing power and His perfect plan. Our task as believers is to relish in the love of our great God. We are charged with serving Him as laborers on this place called Earth, yet we are held within His never-ending watch care. We are a small part of this world, yet we are of eternal significance in God’s kingdom. Listen to the whole sermon here.
Our senior pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, wrapped up his Advent sermon series preaching through John 1:19-28 this past Sunday, January 3. He began by talking about the “spotlight effect”–our naturally being conscious of ourselves, what we are thinking, how we look, and what we are doing–as described in this December 2015 article in The Atlantic.
While being self-conscious generally afflicts our culture, John the Baptist in our passage answers questions to let us know he clearly knew who he was not and who he was. John was a celebrity, yet he was determined not to steal the glory or the spotlight that did not belong to him. John was “the voice in the desert” preparing the way for Jesus and pointing the people to Christ; then people followed Jesus through John’s words and actions!
As we think through questions like: Who are you? What do you say about yourself?, we need to go to Scripture for our identity, and we must always point people to Christ. We’ll never go wrong when we let the Word of God give us our identity; these verses are a great starting point:
I Corinthians 6:9-11 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified,you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Romans 8:30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Ephesians 1:5 …he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,…
I John 3:1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
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.
We continued our Advent sermon series this past Sunday, December 13 at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, with Matthew 11:2-12. Since our culture has shaped us into people who doubt what we see (e.g., Photoshopped pictures), our senior pastor challenged us by asking: How big of a doubter are you?
We looked at the passage in Matthew where John the Baptist reveals his doubts concerning Jesus’ actions–from preaching the Beatitudes and teaching people how to pray, to telling people to do unto others and healing the sick. When Jesus doesn’t fit our picture of him in our minds, like John we can begin to doubt. Yet what did John do with his doubt? He went straight to Jesus! And we can talk just as honestly to Jesus as John did. Jesus pointed John to Scripture and extended grace to him, reassuring John and us from a place of doubt. Listen to the whole sermon here.
I can’t even count the number of times I’ve said “I’m sorry” to God, to others, or to myself only to commit the same sin I apologized for mere moments later. Craig’s sermon this Sunday focused on repentance—true repentance consisting of not just saying that we are sorry, but actually making a radical, dramatic change in our behavior. This transformation, of course, cannot happen without God’s mercy. Craig taught that change in our lives is possible (hallelujah!), but only when we are repentant. Because God is gracious, He does for humanity what it cannot do on its own. He provides a way for me and you to move from “naughty” to “nice” (to reference Santa Claus Is Coming to Town) through his unlimited mercy and forgiveness. Listen to the whole sermon here.
As we began Advent this past Sunday, November 29 at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, our senior pastor began a short sermon series to inspire us to not waste the wait. Read his latest post from the Pastor’s Corner.
He challenged us to think about how we spend our time: What are we doing while we wait for the return of the King? How does the certainty of Advent shape our time while we wait? He encouraged us to be salt and light and ambassadors for Christ while we wait. And what do waiting people do? We watch. We prepare ourselves. We serve faithfully. The really exciting stuff is coming: The King will return! We must make the most of the time given to us by the Lord. Listen to the whole sermon here.