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Weekly teaching audio sermons brought to you from Calvary

Calvary Evangelical Free Church Calvary Evangelical Free Church

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Weekly teaching audio sermons brought to you from Calvary

    A People and a Purpose

    A People and a Purpose

    You belong to a people, and you were designed for purpose.
    Well, hello and good morning. The greatest sports organization in American history, the Green Bay Packers. Hey, hey, I'm preaching up here. How rude. How rude of you. The greatest franchise in American sports. The Green Bay Packers have had success at the highest levels. They have won more NFL championship titles, 13, than any other team. That is nine NFL championships and four Super Bowls. That's right. It's very good. They're the only NFL team to also in the AFL NFL championship. If you didn't know their second all time in pro bowlers. And they've even had some recent success with two trips to the NFC championship game. For a photo comparison, here's a slide of all the Vikings championships. Hey, I might get fired for that. It's fun. Thankfully, the board president's a Bears fan. OK, so this past year, though, they had a motto and the motto was one 11th. And when I heard that for the first time, it really struck me as very poetic. There's an economy of language in this little phrase, this idea of one 11th, you know, you're only one of 11. So stay humble. You're one of 11. So stay connected. You're responsible for this part of the play. If you do your job, it's probably going to be successful. You have a role that's specific to you. You need to do that role. People are counting on you. We need each other. All of that is wrapped up in this this very tight little phrase, this idea of 1 11th.

    There's responsibility, there's connection, there's team, there's oneness. Have you ever been a part of a great team? You know, maybe it was a team at work that just really crushed it on a project or, you know, maybe it was a sports team that you were a part of, that you feel this real strong connection or maybe it was a choir or a band or a group of sorority sisters or whatever it was. If you've been a part of a team, you know the thrill of that, you know, the feeling of accomplishing something that you couldn't do on your own, that you needed others to help you accomplish that was beyond you. And so today, what I want to examine is this idea that, you know, you are already if you are a follower of Jesus, you are a part of a people, you're a part of a team, a family, a nation. And there's something supernatural that happens among the people of God. And maybe it doesn't always feel like that. Maybe we need to increase our sensitivity and understanding to what this really means in reality. But I think, I think we should feel the weight of that one 11th mentality that we are a part of a whole as the people of God. And if we do, we'll begin to understand as well our purpose. And so you are if you are a follower of Jesus, you are a people and you were built for a purpose.

    And that is exactly our bottom line today. You belong to people and you were designed for a purpose. And that is a beautiful and a wonderful thing. So let's explore that together. We heard this passage read, but I'm going to review it in a little bit shorter format. 1 Peter 2, first Peter Chapter two, and I'll be reading from the ESV here. You can follow along on the screen. So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander like newborn infants long for the pure spiritual milk that by it you may grow up into salvation. If indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good and then skipping to verse eight - others stumble because they disobey the word as they were destined to do. But you are chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light once you were not a people, but now you are God's people. Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. What a passage there's so much to dig into here. It's so exciting to see God speak to us in this way. So l

    • 33 min
    Worship and Our Hearts

    Worship and Our Hearts

    In II Samuel 6 we find David dancing as he worships the LORD, while his wife watches with scorn. What can this text teach about our own worship?
    Thank you, worship team. If you have your Bible, I invite you to turn to 2 Samuel in your Old Testament, 2 Samuel 6. This is the fourth and last Sunday and this month's emphasis on the Christian practice of worship. And this morning, we go back into the Old Testament to a story. It's not one of your more well-known stories in the Old Testament. If you've done an Old Testament read through, you may have come across it, but you may not have been sure of what was going on in the story. And we're going to unpack that story this morning as part of looking at what does it mean for us to be more and more engaged in worship? I'm going to pick up the story at verse 12 of Second Samuel, Chapter six. There is some content before it, of course, that is relevant, but we'll try and fill that in as we go. So let's hear God's word. So David went down to Gath and he brought the Ark of God from the house of Obed Edom to the city of David, that's Jerusalem, with a great celebration. After the men who were carrying the Ark of the Lord had gone six steps, David sacrificed a ball and a fattened calf, and David danced before the Lord with all of his might wearing a linen ephod.

    So David and all the people of Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord with shouts of joy and with the blowing of Ram's horns. But as the Ark of the Lord entered the city of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she was filled with contempt for him. They brought the Ark of the Lord and set it in the place inside the special tent that David had prepared for it. And David sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings to the Lord. When he had finished his sacrifices, David blessed the people in the name of the Lord of Hosts. Then he gave to every Israelite man and woman in the crowd a loaf of bread and a cake of dates and a cake of raisins. Then all the people returned to their homes. When David returned to home to bless his own family, Michal, the daughter of Saul, came out to meet him. She said in disgust, "How distinguished the King of Israel looked today, shamelessly uncovering himself in the sight of the servant girls like any vulgar person might do". David retorted to Michael, "I was dancing before the Lord. I was dancing before the Lord who chose me above your father and all his family. He appointed me as the leader of Israel, the people of the Lord.

    So I celebrate before the Lord. Yes. And I'm willing to look even more foolish than this, even to be humiliated in my own eyes. I will be honored by those servant girls you spoke about." So Michal, the daughter of Saul, remained childless throughout her entire life. What is the context of this story, the people of Israel, at least the people who lived in the city of Jerusalem, the city of David, were celebrating the bringing of the ark of the Covenant, the ark of God into the city of Jerusalem, really for its first time. And the ark of the Covenant is described in Exodus 25. You can go there a little later if you want, and you can look and you can see how God describes how it's to be made and its purpose and what it's for. And then if you flip ahead a few chapters to Exodus 37, you can see the how it was actually accomplished and how it was built. Now, this ark, as you may know, if you've studied the Old Testament, at all it contained the tablets that had the Ten Commandments on it. It contained Aaron's rod. It contained a jar of manna. And 70 years earlier, 70 years before we pick up this story here in second Samuel six, the ark was captured by the Philistines. And for a short time, the Philistines kept it with them in their nation, their territory with disastrous results.

    God brought pla

    • 36 min
    Acceptable Worship

    Acceptable Worship

    How do we "worship God acceptably" (Hebrews 12:28)? What are the dangers of indifference, and how do they affect our worship?
    What a blessing to have our youth worship team leading us and worship this morning. Don't you agree? And I am so glad to be back with you. I have a son who is a missionary in Alaska and he was home for a brief couple of days at our home in New York. So I flew back there to get a little time with him before he spends the next six months up there in Alaska. We are in the subject all this month of worship. And let me just frame that for you again so you you have a feel, especially if you are new, what we're doing. We as church leadership, we have worked through how do we even begin to measure and therefore encourage someone in their growth as a follower of Jesus Christ? And we've come up with some definition of a maturing follower of Jesus is growing in certain core beliefs - that's head - and certain core virtues - that's hearts - and certain core practices - that's hands. Two months ago we we took one of the beliefs and we worked through it all that month. Last month we worked through one of the virtues. This month, April, we are working through one of the practices and that particular practice is worship. We began that on Easter Sunday with that glorious scene in Revelation 5, the worship around the throne. Last week Josh picked that up, speaking about what it means to worship in spirit and in truth. And today we're going to look at another text of worship that comes near the end of Hebrews: Hebrews 12:28. Let us offer to God acceptable worship with reverence and awe. What does it mean to offer to God acceptable worship? Now, if you look at that verse in isolation all by itself, what is acceptable worship? You probably naturally, like I do, start to answer the question, what is acceptable worship? You answer it from the framework of your upbringing, what kind of church experience, if any, that you've had in your past. You answer it from your culture because culture here in the United States and how that affects worship is very different than other places in the world. You answer it even to a certain extent by your personal preferences, the kinds of music you like and don't like, the kinds of of service elements that you like and don't like. We all do that. We all bring our own definitions to what makes worship acceptable. The issue is if we look at this verse in isolation and we begin to do that, we really miss; it's a swing and a miss because you may be aware of the old maxim, a text without the context is a pretext. To take this text without understanding the bigger context of the letter to the Hebrews. And why this verse appears where it does is to make a pretext out of acceptable worship. And I've seen too many people do that. I've been guilty of it, of myself Using this verse to justify certain kinds of dress, certain kinds of musical styles, certain elements and practices and worship service. So in order not to make that mistake of making a text without a context into a pretext, we want to look at the bigger context of the letter to the Hebrews. Why does this verse appear as it does near the very end of the letter to the Hebrews? To understand this, we need to understand. first of all, this verse appears in the final warning of five warnings that are given throughout the letter to the Hebrews. Hebrews, if you're not familiar with that book, Hebrews was written to those who came from Hebraic Judaism. They were genuine believers. These are first century men and women who'd embraced Jesus Christ as savior and Lord. But they were Jewish. They came out of Judaism into following Jesus. And in that time, in those those situations, that was not an easy thing to do. There was a lot of pressure to go back into Judaism. There was a lot of pressure on these early believers to resume temple worship. And so it

    • 35 min
    Spiritual and Religious

    Spiritual and Religious

    What does it mean to worship in spirit and in truth? How do we practice that sort of worship in our daily lives?
    Good morning and welcome to all of you who are gathered here together with us in person and to those who are gathering with us online. Last week we had the joy to celebrate both the death and then the resurrection of our lord and savior. And what an appropriate time, I believe, for us to begin this new series, a new part of our series that we're going to be looking at: the hands of worship. And if you've been with us for a time, you notice that we've we've begun to do this longer term series, looking at three aspects

    Of discipleship, our head, what we know about God, our heart, how that changes us or how we feel about God and our hands, what we do about that. And so I'm excited to see where God takes us in the next couple of weeks as we look at what it means to be active worshipers of our God. Today, we're going to begin this series by looking at this story that was just read for us, the woman at the well.

    And, you know, it's a popular passage, one many of you probably already know pretty well. And as you think of that story, what is it that comes to mind?

    You know, do you do you think of Samaritans mixing with Jews or racial issues?

    Do you think about water coming from wells?

    Do you think about the humanity displayed by Jesus? Do you think about marriage?

    I think about my own marriage and I think about the place of worth that I've put my marriage in in my life. And my wife Kate is so important to me. And I've spent time reading books like The Five Love Languages and time talking to her and asking her, How can I help you to feel more loved? How can I show you the value that you have in my life?

    And as we look at this particular story, we're going to see that that Jesus is drawing this woman to an idea of something of more importance that she's not placing on in her life. And so we're going to look at this conversation where Jesus shows this woman ultimately her need for him and the worship that must follow.

    So to me, true worship that God seeks is about more than time. It's about more than a place or a worship service or a song, but rather, it's about a total devotion of our lives to our God.

    And on the story, Jesus leaves Judea and he goes back to Galilee and it says that he had to go through Samaria. For those of you that don't know the story, this is actually historically and geographically untrue. In fact, most of the Jews of the day would take this long route around adding days to their journey so they could avoid going through Samaria.

    And yet here we see John saying Jesus had to go through. And so here is our God who knows he has this important appointment to meet this woman where she is and to show her how her life can change.

    So he arrives at Sychar is tired, so he sits down by the well and his disciples go into town to buy food.

    And the Samaritan woman comes out in the middle of the heat of the day to draw her water. A time when no one else would come out to draw water; it was hot. They would usually draw it at a much cooler time of day and they would they would go together. And here she is all by herself.

    And Jesus is sitting here and he says to her and he asks her for help. He says, Can you draw me some water? Can you give me something to drink? And immediately, this woman is shocked. She said, How can you ask me for a drink? Don't you know that you're a Jew and I'm a Samaritan woman? We don't mix. And in fact, if Jesus had drinking water that was drawn by her and had been touched by her, he would have been considered unclean by his own people. So she thinks this is shocking. And then Jesus goes on to tell her something even more shocking. He says, if you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water. So these

    • 27 min
    Worship the Lamb

    Worship the Lamb

    Worship the Lamb
    Thank you worship team. You may not have thought of that last song as an Easter song, but actually that's one of my favorite Easter songs. And I wonder if you caught the image, the dominant image at the center of that song Worthy is the Lamb. Worthy is the lamb who is slain holy, holy, is he. The dominant image of that song, an Easter song, the dominant image, as I think today of the risen Lord Jesus Christ is a lamb, even though that may not be intuitively what we think about. We worship today the risen Lord Jesus Christ as a lamb. Now, where do we draw this from? This is not drawn from our culture, this is, of course, drawn from how we see him revealed in scripture. And Dan, just read some of this, but we are introduced to this picture, first of all, in Revelation chapter four John the Apostle is given a vision of heaven. He says, I was in the spirit on the Lord's day. And that means that God is revealing to him something that human beings cannot normally see. And he says there before me in this vision is a throne in heaven with one seated on the throne. It goes on in verse three to say the one who is sitting on the throne has an appearance like jasper stone, like sardius in appearance. And there's around this throne a rainbow like an emerald type of appearance.

    What John is trying to do here is he's trying to put in human language something that no human being has seen. He's trying to describe the indescribable. He is describing how he how he attempts to see with human eyes the glory and the majesty and the splendor of God. But then the vision continues on into Chapter five and here John's attention now in this vision is narrowed down. His focus is drawn to a center point in this vision. We see it in chapter five verse six. Then I saw a lamb, a lamb looking like it had been slain standing in the center of the throne. This is the very focal point of this vision. In the center of the throne is one who bears the appearance of a lamb. And the next few verses describe how all the heavenly beings around the throne, they they prostate straight themselves, they throw themselves down on their faces before the lamb and worship. And then the scene widens out over the next few verses and we read in verse 11, then I looked and I heard the voice of many angels numbering thousands upon thousands and ten thousands upon ten thousands. And what is it that all these heavenly beings and all these angels are saying? In a loud voice they sang Worthy is the Lamb. Worthy is the lamb who was slain to receive power and wisdom and wealth and strength and honor and glory and praise.

    The scene widens even even more broadly now in verse 13, then John hears the voice, he says, of every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea and all that is in them. And what is it that again now every voice is proclaiming to him who sits on the throne and to the lamb be praise and honor and glory and power forever and ever. And that is, of course, a picture not only of what is going on in heaven now, but what one day will be reality, that every living being, everyone who has ever lived, everyone who lives will proclaim the lamb to be the king, to be the Lord, will proclaim the risen Lord Jesus Christ, to be Lord and King. But I want to take you back to the center of that vision again that we see in verse six standing in the center of the throne. In other words, the focal point, the most prominent place of this vision, the center of this worship is the worship of a lamb. That is not something I would intuitively think about when I think about the glory, the worship that is going on in heaven. I would think more. Something like what Dan read earlier, Dan read from Revelation one, where Jesus, as he manifests himself among his churches, he appears in a white robe and a golden sash, and he has eyes like flames of fire and and ha

    • 26 min
    Joy in Hard Circumstances

    Joy in Hard Circumstances

    The final sermon in our series on Joy. Romans 5 tells us we can rejoice in the midst of suffering. How do we do that? What do we gain?
    Thank you, worship team, and thank you all for participating in that Palm Sunday reading, that's the Palm Sunday expression, how appropriate today, the Sunday before Easter and yet how appropriate it is this coming Friday where we commemorate that five days, just five days after that triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the same crowd or at least mixtures of that crowd that had claimed him were now calling for his his crucifixion. So Palm Sunday prepares us for Good Friday, which ultimately leads us to Easter Sunday. Well we are looking at - this is the last Sunday in this month's emphasis on joy. We've been looking at the the Christian virtue of joy all through this month. What does it mean that as we become aware that, from the first week in the month, that the father, as he looks at us through what Christ has done, taking our sin upon himself, covering us with his righteousness, that God, the father, delights over us with singing - the ultimate basis for our joy. And from there, the second week, we looked at joy in contentment, how Christian contentment, a totally different thing from worldly stoicism, but how there is great joy in Christian contentment. And last week we looked at the joy that we experienced following Christ as we heed his command to bear fruit by abiding in him. But this week - this is the last week of joy. But it is also the hardest. At least that is my experience with the topic for this week.

    But again, an appropriate topic as we look forward to Good Friday. And it is joy in tribulation, joy in tribulation. And our text is going to be Romans Chapter five, the first five verses. But I will tell you again, Joy is not something that is natural to me. I don't think it really comes natural to any of us. But some of us, some of us, our personalities. Maybe it's a bigger transformation in our lives. And that's me. And this is the hardest week. This is the hardest week for me personally. I'm imagining some of you will be able to identify that as we go into this topic. So I just want to pause at this moment and ask for the Holy Spirit's help. Would you would you pray with me? Lord, we come to you acknowledging that this work of transformation is totally of you, we can't will ourselves to be joyful. Our attempts to do so are artificial. We want this work, Lord of true joy, to be borne out in our lives. And again, as I've already said, Lord, this is the hardest week for me personally, facing joy in the midst of tribulation. So we ask for your Holy Spirit to do what you promise that he he will do that he will take this word, your word, and he will use it like a sword to pierce to the very center of us, pierce beyond our thoughts, pierced beyond our feelings.

    Pierce to our will, pierce to the very center of our soul. Do your transforming work through your word, by your spirit. We ask you in Jesus name. Amen. Joy and tribulation. When I think of that word tribulation, it's also sometimes translated as trouble, I think of the words spoken by Job's friend Eliphaz and Job Chapter five. Eliphaz says afflictions do not come from the dust. It's not just chants, in other words, that we encounter trouble in our life. Neither does trouble sprout from the ground. But mankind is born for trouble, as surely as sparks fly upward. I don't know what that image of sparks coming up conjures in your mind, it brings me back to raising three boys, being around campfires, either on a camping trip or in our backyard, having a campfire in the summer or the fall. And one of my sons who will remain nameless, but there's always one pyro and every family is there or not, they really enjoy taking sticks and stirring up the fire, which, of course, releases showers of sparks, or occasionally he'd bring a big log. And

    • 40 min

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