Today as we baptize a number of our covenant children, we will look at baptism as a sign and what it signifies not just to children but to various candidates. The Scriptures provide us a range of images that convey what God has graciously done for us and are to be used by us to strengthen our faith.
When you take the cover off a floodlight, its glory is fully seen. Its brilliance was always there; it was merely veiled for a time. Jesus’ glory was veiled by His incarnation, but for one brief moment it was revealed to His closest disciples. After announcing His path to suffering and death, they needed to know that He remained the glorious Son of God. We face many challenges in the Christian life as well, but a glimpse of Jesus’ glory from the Scriptures provides everything we need to follow Him in confidence and hope.
There is nothing wrong with asking questions. In fact, in this week’s New Testament reading, Jesus explains that his kingdom disciples should be humble, like little children. As any parent knows, one thing little children do is ask lots of questions! But as we mature as God’s children, we need to learn to ask better questions. In our sermon passage, Peter asks Jesus how many times we should forgive a brother who sins against us. Jesus answers the question, but then he tells a parable that answers two more important questions concerning why and how we should forgive others. Only when we understand the answers to these two questions will we be able to make sense of and put into practice Jesus’ answer to the “how many times” question.
We all face turning points in life. Major decisions, relocations, trials, and even cultural moments can change our lives forever. In chapter 9, we reach a major turning point in the Gospel of Luke: Peter’s confession of Christ, followed by Christ’s confession of the cross, followed by our call to confess Him before the world. The cross is the great turning point of history, and it must be the turning point of our lives if we are to know the grace of the Savior and follow Him fearlessly.
We tend to think that only the very young and some very old need to be fed by someone else. While that may be true physically, it is not true spiritually. Through His miraculous feeding of the five thousand, Jesus demonstrated that He is the True Bread who came down from heaven, without whom we can have neither eternal life nor effective ministry. Jesus feeds us Himself, through His Word, so that we might live and help others find their life in Him.
As we move into the body of Paul’s letter to the Colossian church, we see that the apostle is thankful for their faith, love, and hope, all of which are grounded in the gospel. Paul takes pains at the outset of his letter to make sure his readers (then and now) have a clear understanding of the biblical gospel. We’ll explore Paul’s points about the centrality of the good news of God’s grace in Christ.
In Luke 9, Jesus initiated a burst of evangelistic witness that spread throughout northern Israel. The proclamation of Jesus, along with accompanying miracles, was so widespread that even King Herod took notice. Though the prevalence of miracles has changed since the foundational apostolic era, every believer in Jesus Christ is part of the same unstoppable movement to make our risen Savior known in word and deed.
Hard circumstances never seem like a blessing at first, but they can prove to be so when they lead us to the Lord Jesus Christ. At the end of Luke 8, two very different people come to Jesus in desperation and experience deliverance by His grace. Both were helpless but received mercy through faith in the One who would suffer on the cross so His people might be saved, proving that desperation is always good when it draws us to Jesus.
Paul includes a benediction in the salutation of his letter to the Colossians. In his modest little greeting, 'Grace and Peace to you through God our Father,' the apostle packs a number of rich redemptive truths that teach us about God’s work of atonement in Christ.
Jesus was barely out of the boat on foreign soil when He was confronted by a man possessed by a legion of violent, powerful, and merciless demons. The first thing the demons did was surrender, so great is the Son of the Most High God. Through His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus has liberated us from the forces of hell so that we might become ambassadors of heaven.