31Jan

S9E22: The Greatest of These (Love Never Ends: Being the Body of Christ pt. 3)

Sermon #481

*Note* This sermon was recorded in the Hudson UMC Parsonage during a Facebook Live broadcast of the Ebenezer UMC Sunday service, January 30, 2022.  The Friday and Saturday before, South Jersey experienced a winter Nor'Easter and the in-person service was cancelled. Consequently the audio will sound a little off.

In the English language we have only one word for "love," though it has many different shades.  Conversely, in Koine Greek there are four words that denote different types of love - Storge, Eros, Philia, and Agape.  It is this last type that is our focus today, from the so-called Love Chapter (1 Corinthians 13), where we find the most comprehensive and complete definition and description of Agape love.  Though this passage is often read at weddings, the type of love it describes is a Godly love, a transcendent love, a love that is sacrificial - in other words, the love that God showed to us in the cross of Jesus Christ.  

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

S.D.G.

30Jan

Lectionary Readings for Fourth Sunday after Epiphany, Year C

January 30, 2022

Old Testament: Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalter: 71:1-6

Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Gospel Lesson: Luke 4:21-30

Scripture quotations from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

S.D.G.

29Jan

S9E21: Awake, Thou That Sleepest (Wesley’s Standard Sermons #3)

Considering this is the third installment of Wesley's Standard Sermons that I have posted, I decided to create a new Podcast wrapper for the Standard Sermons, and also set Saturdays as the day when I would post them.

Today's Standard Sermon is not by John Wesley, but instead by his younger brother Charles.  Charles Wesley is primarily known as a prolific hymn writer, having written over 4,000 hymns in his lifetime.  But he was also an ordained priest of the Anglican Church and a fellow of Oxford's Christ-Church, and so he was called upon to deliver the odd oratory.  Here he takes on the text from Ephesians and turns it into a clarion call for the Church.  We often forget that the Methodist movement was never intended by the Wesleys to be a new denomination, but rather a reformation, a revival within the Church of England.  And so Charles Wesley calls out those sleeping souls in the church to awaken from their spiritual slumber, and invites them into a new revitalized passion for Christ, in loving God and neighbor not as merely the form of religion only, but also the substance of the Holy Spirit living in them.  We in the church today would do well to heed this call in our own spiritual lives.

Ephesians 5:14

Recorded on January 25, 2022

Awake, Thou That Sleepest Full Sermon Text

S.D.G.

28Jan

S6E43: Great News! (First Things First pt. 3)

Sermon #151

When Jesus preached his first sermon in his hometoown synagogue, he providentially opened the scroll to Isaiah chapter 61 and read what was in essence his mission statement.  It is important for us to have a mission statement so that we can maintain a clear vision of what our purpose is.  If we fail to do this, we are setting ourselves up to fail, because we can easily get distracted and pulled away from our true purpose with other things.  So what can Jesus' mission statement tell us about what the church's mission is today?

Text: Luke 4:14-21

Recorded at Hudson UMC on January 31, 2016 (Originally published February 6, 2019)

S.D.G.

26Jan

S6E41: Baptized into One Body (Epiphany 2019)

Sermon #319

When we are baptized, it is not a private affair.  Instead, it is a public declaration of the grace we recive from God through Jesus Christ.  And when we are baptized, we are not baptized to be in isolation.  Rather, we are baptized into the body of Christ, which is a universal organism, ordained by God for one purpose, with each of its individual parts made for its own purpose.  And when one of those parts fails to perform, the entire body suffers.  Today we challenge ourselves to live up to the life that God has called us to in Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:12-31

Recorded at Ebenezer UMC on January 27, 2019 (Originally published January 28, 2019)

S.D.G.

24Jan

S9E20: You Are the Body (Love Never Ends: Being the Body of Christ pt. 3)

Sermon #480

There are many who look at the disparity of theology in the church as evidence that God is a fabrication.  Why would so many different denominations be necessary?  Why can't followers of God agree on who God is and how to worship him?  But rather than demonstrate inconsistency in God's character, it only serves to show that those of us who believe in God and proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord can still be united in God's Spirit despite differences of what John Wesley called "opinions."  It is God's singular and concise Spirit that draws all of us together into the one body of Christ, and as members of the one body we each have a role to play in the building of God's kingdom on earth.

1 Corinthians 12:12-31

Recorded at Hudson UMC on January 23, 2022

S.D.G.

23Jan

Lectionary Readings for Third Sunday after Epiphany, Year C

January 23, 2022

Old Testament: Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10

Psalter: Psalm 19

Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a

Gospel Lesson: Luke 4:14-21

Scripture quotations from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

S.D.G.

22Jan

S9E19: The Almost Christian (Wesley’s Standard Sermons #2)

In this message from Acts 26:28, Wesley brings to light the state of the almost Christian, and contrasts it with what it means to be altogether Christian.  Wesley is not timid in his words, nor is he speaking from a point of moral high ground, but rather he is warning his listeners from the depths of his own depraved experience.  He recognized in himself the very faults he was illuminating in the former while also giving testimony to the path laid out to arrive at the latter state.  Wesley's words are at once convicting and encouraging.  While we draw breath we are not yet hopeless before God, and thus he (Wesley) hopes to awaken those who slumber in the mere form of religion into the love of God shed abroad in their hearts.  

Acts 26:28

Preached at St. Mary’s, Oxford, before the University, on July 25, 1741.

Recorded on January 18, 2022

The Almost Christian - Wednesdays with Wesley Podcast

The Almost Christian - Full Sermon Text

S.D.G.

21Jan

S6E40: The First Sign (First Things First pt. 2)

Sermon #150

None of Jesus' miracles occurred prior to his baptism in the river Jordan, and today we are looking at the very first of the miracles that he performed - turning water into wine.  Temperance arguments aside, ultimately there were two primary reasons for this being Jesus' first miracle.  First, he was showing the people who he was, his "credentials" if you will, by performing an impossible task - changing the chemical composition of water into wine, displaying his mastery over the elements of nature.  Second, he was turning the enslavement to ritual legalism into a celebration of joy.  And of course, John himself tells us that these miracles are recorded so that we may believe today.

Recorded at Ebenezer UMC on January 17, 2016 (Originally published January 25, 2019)

S.D.G.

19Jan

S6E38: The Gifts of the Spirit (Epiphany 2019)

Sermon #318

In Paul's first letter to the Corinthian church, he gives us perhaps the best and most comprehensive list of spiritual gifts that God gives to believers for the building of His kingdom here on earth.  Today as we look at these gifts, we see how each gift is uniquely gifted and used for different purposes, and we also ask the question: what spiritual gifts has God given to you, and are you using them to glorify God?  

Recorded at Hudson UMC on January 20, 2019 (Originally published January 21, 2019)

S.D.G.

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