From our passage on Sunday, November 6 at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, we see Moses give the most inclusive list of the covenant community anywhere in the Bible. Deuteronomy 29:9-15 includes high officials, lowly servants, internationals, and others who are all standing together on the plains of Moab about to enter the Promised Land. God’s Family is a mosaic with lots of colors and shapes, but the Pharisees wanted and worked toward a homogeneous, monochromatic picture. When Jesus began his ministry, he worked to radically reform: in the disciples he chose, whom he invited to his table, and whom he allowed in the temple. The Pharisees excluded but Jesus included–the sick, lame, tax collectors, and sinners. The grace of God is for all kinds of people: That’s the message of Moab, and that’s the message of the cross. Listen to the whole sermon here.
On October 30, 2016, at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, guest preacher Shawn Maze led us through a Gospel message nearly 500 years after the Protestant Reformation. He reminded us we are called to celebrate not only the doctrine of grace, but also Jesus, the dispenser of grace. The passage of John 8:1-11 draws our focus to Jesus, the original reformer, and his interaction with a woman accused by the scribes and Pharisees of adultery. We turned several times to Deuteronomy to examine the law of Moses and draw insight to Jesus’ approach in His conversation recorded by John. Ultimately, we see that Jesus displays perfect righteousness and grace as He stands in His glory as the author of the law and of our lives. Listen to the whole sermon here.
On Sunday, October 23 at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, our senior pastor continued in Deuteronomy 29 with his latest sermon series. We looked specifically at why God’s People were sitting on the plains of Moab and not already enjoying the Promised Land. Though they had seen God overcome every obstacle–slavery in Egypt, impassable Red Sea, impending army, hunger and thirst in the desert, and so much more, the Israelites still needed true sight to be able to look beyond circumstances like giants in the Promised Land to trust God. Since they lacked faith, they’re not enjoying the Promised Land yet. There are consequences for our spiritual health including consequences for our city and our community: Because of the Israelites spiritual blindness, God used 40 years of wandering in the desert to teach them faith.
So we must ask ourselves: What blessings are we being denied because of our spiritual blindness? As verse 29 implies, we must focus on what God has given to us and revealed to us. We aren’t required to know the future or to manipulate it; we must live our lives according to what’s been revealed. This is our moment as we’re less than two weeks away from an election. Let not future generations look back on us and ask: Facing an unknown future, why were Christians so faithless in 2016? Listen to the whole sermon here.
At Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, we rejoiced to be back together this past Sunday, October 16 after Hurricane Matthew kept us from gathering the Sunday prior. Our senior pastor preached from Deuteronomy 29:1-15, and we see Moses renewing the covenant with the people–the same covenant and same material we’ve seen in various other chapters throughout Deuteronomy. Why is Moses repeating these truths again? Our pastor shared two reasons: God’s people are blessed to retell the story, and the covenant is always contemporary. Listen to the whole sermon here.
The phrase “that really offends me” begins many arguments and disagreements in our sensitive culture, yet we see God’s unfiltered truth in Deuteronomy 28 as he outlines the curses for disobedience to his commands. Our senior pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, on Sunday, October 2 showed us how God’s stark and visual message of the consequences of disobedience works for our good. God knows that when we his people experience blessing we’re likely to fall into entitlement thinking, taking His blessings for granted. He knows that when things are going our way, we often forget him or decide we don’t need him. It often takes trouble, suffering, and hardship to drive us to the Lord.
Though God’s truth can be offensive because truth always offends people, we see redemption from God’s curse in Galatians 3:10-14 since Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law. What good news for us! Listen to the whole sermon here.
On Sunday, September 25 at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, we continued our Deuteronomy sermon series as we focused on the altar that God told his people to build in Deuteronomy 27:1-8. Our senior pastor explained how God is for his people; he wants them to thrive and flourish. This truth is demonstrated in the presence and picture of the altar. The altar, made of stones that won’t wash away, burn up, rot, or ruin, reminds his people then and us today of his permanence. The altar is where the divine and human intersect; it’s a place of personal interaction between God and man. Holy transactions take place at the altar, which we see with Jesus’ sacrifice in the New Testament. In Jesus, the human and divine meet perfectly, so his was the ultimate sacrifice.
So how can God be anything but for us when he’s so readily available at the altar? God is for us. Drink that truth in, then pour it all over others. Listen to the whole sermon here.
Sunday, September 18, 2016, at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC, we opened our Bibles to Deuteronomy 27:1-8 to enter a story about stones and an altar, and we were led to ponder the nature of God. In this passage, Moses offers instruction to the people of Israel on how they should set up the law on large stones and build an altar to the Lord when they cross into the Promised Land. We are reminded from the imagery chosen of the permanence and strength of the unchanging God and are pointed to the dependability and safety found in Christ, our Rock. In a culture bent on updating and revamping, the steadfast nature of God and His Word may seem obsolete. In reality, the ancient words we hear from the Living God hold the same transformative power today. We find immutable truth in the One who became flesh and rolled the stone away, offering us eternal life through His redeeming blood. Listen to the whole story here.
After a few months’ hiatus, we returned to Deuteronomy this past Sunday, September 11 at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC. Just as God gave the Promised Land to the people of Israel, so he’s given us our space here in downtown. We are here so God can through us bless the city of Charleston. Deuteronomy 27 begins the fourth section of this book that confirms the covenant that God makes with his people. When thinking about God and His Covenant, we must remember it’s set in His love and grace. Our response to the grace of the Lord is sacrifice and joy. God is at work restoring and redeeming this world and his people through Christ, giving us a new narrative. Listen to the whole sermon here.
Jesus does much storytelling during his life in ministry as we’ve seen in Matthew 13 over the last few weeks at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC. In Matthew 13:10-17 we see Jesus tell his disciples that he’s given to them the secrets of the Kingdom when they ask him why he speaks to the people in parables. Like the disciples, the secrets to the Kingdom have been given to us, which is grace; and then we see later Jesus telling them to sell their possessions and give to the poor, which is action. Grace can still be grace and call for action from us.
Like Milan’s Sforzesco Castle that held a Leonardo Da Vinci masterpiece under layers of whitewash until it was discovered and uncovered in 2013, we’re called as Christians to act: to uncover the beauty of life in God’s Kingdom, to restore and reveal this masterpiece that is God’s Kingdom. Listen to the whole sermon here.
In this week’s sermon, Jesus the master storyteller, compares the Kingdom of Heaven to yeast that works its way through a batch of dough. Although hidden in the dough, the tiny yeast has a profound effect in transforming the nature of the entire batch. While last week’s sermon on the Parable of the Mustard Seed emphasized the growth of the Kingdom of Heaven, this week’s sermon focused on the fact that there is no area of our lives or aspect of our culture that is excluded from the reach of the transforming rule of the Kingdom. There is no sacred-secular dichotomy! God is ruler over all His creation (Col.1:16)!
Too often, however, the church has been cowed into accepting this dualistic mindset. In the past, Christians have withdrawn from the world because of a misunderstanding of what true holiness is. As a result, the culture has suffered. Instead, Christians are meant to be like the yeast that works its way through the entire batch and transforms its very nature. We are to seek to be involved in all aspects of culture and bring gospel values to bear as we reflect the mind and character of Christ (Col.3:12-17). In so doing we will be participating in Jesus’ work of rolling back the curse and restoring God’s world for God’s glory!