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Sermons from Tucker Presbyterian Church, Tucker, GA

Tucker Presbyterian Church Sermons Tucker Presbyterian Church

    • Religion & Spirituality
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Sermons from Tucker Presbyterian Church, Tucker, GA

    1 John 2:7-11 Knowing that You Know Him: the Love Test (Rev. Erik Veerman)

    1 John 2:7-11 Knowing that You Know Him: the Love Test (Rev. Erik Veerman)

    1 John 2:7-11
    Rev. Erik Veerman
    Knowing that You Know Him: the Love Test

    Our sermon text this morning is 1 John 2:7-11. You can find that on page 1210 in the pew Bibles.
    If you are visiting for the holiday weekend, we are in the middle of a series in the book of 1 John. This book is the first of three letters that apostle John wrote. And he wrote them very late in the first century. John was likely the only disciple of Jesus alive at the time, in his late 80s or early 90s.
    John’s purpose in writing was to correct some false beliefs that had arisen in the church. This included not just the content of what they believed about faith, but also their practice – how they were living. At this time, the church did not yet have the New Testament cannon. They may have only had a small handful of letters and likely they had John’s Gospel account. So, overall they had a limited set of the apostles’ writings upon which to evaluate truth versus lies and right versus wrong.
    So, this letter was very much needed for the church. And John gave them clear criteria in order to evaluate their faith… not just the content of true faith, but whether their lives demonstrated true faith in Christ.
    Last week, we began to look at a series of life tests. Each test is given to help you evaluate whether or not your faith is authentic. The first test was the test of obedience. True faith in Christ is marked by a life that seeks to obey God’s commands. To be sure, these tests are not telling you how to know God in Christ, but rather whether you do know God in Christ.
    This morning the life test is the test of love. Does your life display love? Not the world’s definition of love, but God’s definition.
    Let’s turn our attention to God’s Word. 1 John 2:7-11.
    Reading of 1 John 2:7-11
    The day started without much fanfare. The life of a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee included the mundane task of mending nets. James, his brother John, and their father Zebedee were each involved in the task. 
    But what started out as a normal day quickly turned to an extraordinary day.
    We’re not told directly whether James and John had any sense of what was about to happen. The fact that they were busy repairing their nets suggests they didn’t. But as soon as Jesus called out, the Holy Spirit so compelled them that they immediately dropped their nets to follow him.
    We can only imagine the questions swirling around in their minds. Who is this Rabi? What will following him involve? How can we be fishers of men?
    And imagine what the next three years of their lives would be like. In the presence of the promised messiah…. Conversing with him, sitting under his teaching, seeing and experiencing many miracles. 
    John saw Jesus multiply the bread and loaves. He witnessed Jesus calm he sea; heal the paralyzed man, raise Lazarus from the dead. Miracle after miracle. 
    John was with Jesus when he taught the crowds. John heard him explain the Scriptures, witnessed him confronting the pharisees and loving the outcasts.
    Over those three years, the crowds grew and the tension with the religious elite escalated. And over those three years, the disciples slowly realized Jesus‘ identity - the Son of God.
    A few weeks before his death, Jesus set his sights on Jerusalem. He and the disciples slowly made their way to the holy city. When they arrived, it was this mixture of love and hate. The crowds initial shouts of joy quickly turned to shouts of murder. The Jewish establishment seethed - Jesus’ claimed an authority that only God possessed. They wanted him killed.
    But then, the calm before the storm.
    Jesus gathered his disciples in the upper room. They retreated from the fray. The disciples didn’t know what the next 24 hours would hold, but in the meantime, they were with the Lord.
    And something amazing happened. Jesus wrapped a towel around his waist. He knelt down and then he began to wash his disciples’ feet. John, James, Peter, and the others.

    • 29 min
    1 John 2:1-6 Knowing that We Know Him: The Obedience Test (Rev. Erik Veerman)

    1 John 2:1-6 Knowing that We Know Him: The Obedience Test (Rev. Erik Veerman)

    1 John 2:1-6
    Rev. Erik Veerman
    Knowing that You Know Him: the Obedience Test

    Our sermon text this morning is from 1 John chapter 2, the first 6 verses. Page 1210 in the pew Bible.
    This is our third sermon in 1 John. The book opens with the apostle John establishing his credibility and emphasizing Jesus. Jesus is the eternal Son of God who has been made manifest. He is, in fact, the foundation to this whole letter. John then turns his attention to the matter at hand: authentic faith. He makes a clear delineation that there is true belief and false belief. True living and false living. He calls his readers and us to be on the right side of the line – walking in the light of true faith in Christ.
    And that brings us to chapter 2. John goes a level deeper. He begins a series of tests to determine whether your faith is genuine.
    So, let’s come now to God’s Word.
    Reading of 1 John 2:1-6
    In a 2017 article about religion, an author wrote these stinging words: “Ahhh, Christianity in America. Or should I say, the single greatest cause of atheism today. You know who I’m talking about, right? The type of people who acknowledge Jesus with their words, and deny him through their lifestyle.”
    Or take these thoughts written earlier last week. “Dear American Church… you are slowly dying. If you are paying attention, you probably realize that. Your buildings are slowly clearing, your pews gradually emptying, your congregations visibly aging away, your voice carrying less resonance than it used to. There are many complicated and interconnected reasons for this,” he wrote. This author then went on to identify what he believed was the number one reason. He wrote, “You are dying because of your hypocrisy.”
    By the way, while it’s true that church attendance in the United States has been slowly declining, it’s not actually true for Gospel-centered churches. The opposite is happening.
    But nonetheless, it’s generally true. And many outside the church see the church as full of hypocrites - people who believe one thing, but their words and actions betray their belief. According to a recent study, 55% of people outside the church see people inside the church as hypocrites.
    Now, some of that is a perceived hypocrisy. That’s because sometimes the ethical standards used to evaluate the church and Christians are different than the ethical standards that the Scriptures teach. We’ll get into that later.
    But some of the hypocrisy is real. You know this. Many high-profile pastors and Christian leaders have been “disgraced” so to speak. The reasons include infidelity, bullying, or extravagant lifestyles. And that’s just some well-known leaders. Real hypocrisy is seen and experienced at all levels. Some of you have been deeply hurt by similar hypocrisy.
    We need to be honest, each of us has areas in our lives that don’t line up with what we believe. Sometimes we’re blind to it, but sometimes we know it yet stubbornly persist in our hypocrisy.
    And what the apostle John is teaching us here is that our lives need to reflect our beliefs. Our words and actions cannot be disconnected from our relationship with God. Part of knowing God is pursuing his commands. 
    If you look at verse 3, that idea is right there. “…we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.” It’s talking about knowing Christ - knowing him and his commandments. And do you see that layered use of the word “know?” “We know that we…. know him” It does not say, “we know him if we keep his commandments.” In other words, keeping his commandments is not how you come to know God in Christ. It’s not the basis for your knowledge of God. Rather, keeping his commandments demonstrates that you have indeed come to know God. It’s a confirmation.
    The end of verse 5 and into 6 is very similar “By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in w

    • 29 min
    1 John 1:5-10 Walk in the Light of God (Rev. Erik Veerman)

    1 John 1:5-10 Walk in the Light of God (Rev. Erik Veerman)

    John 1:5-10
    Rev. Erik Veerman
    Walk in the Light of God

    Please turn in your Bibles to 1 John chapter 1. In the pew Bible, you can find that on page 1210. Last week, we began our new series in 1 John and we looked at the first 4 verses.
    They introduced the author and his letter. The purpose of the first four verses was to establish the author’s credibility. He was a disciple of Jesus. Even though the author doesn’t mention his name, it’s fairly clear from the content and from when it was written that this is the apostle John.
    And he tells his reason for writing the letter. He wants them to believe in and have fellowship with God through Jesus, just as he does. And really, as we saw last week, all of it comes back to Christ. He is the source of their credibility. And he is the message that they are proclaiming. Why? Because Jesus Christ is God. He existed from the very beginning. He is eternal life. And he came to us, as a man, to bring us life.
    So, that’s the first half of chapter 1. The letter is a credible testimony from Jesus and about Jesus.
    And now, this morning, the second half of chapter 1: the letter’s message. These verses introduce the letter’s main idea. They are like the theological foundation of the letter. So, let’s turn to them. We’ll start with verse 5 and go to the end of the chapter.
    Reading of 1 John 1:5-10
    A few years ago, the President of the United States was asked a question: “Have you ever prayed to God for forgiveness?” The President responded, “I am not sure I have.” 
    This former President had talked about his Christian faith. He claimed to be a Christian. His answer set off a flurry of concern in Christian circles (to put it mildly!). And when follow up questions came, the President said this: “Why do I have to repent or ask for forgiveness, if I am not making mistakes?" He added, "…I'm an honorable person.”
    In those few words, we were given insight into his understanding of God, of sin, and forgiveness. Each of those categories is a central category of the Christian faith. God, sin, and forgiveness. The way we understand each of them and put into practice that understanding reveals our true hearts and our faith.
    To my knowledge, no one quoted 1 John 1:5-10 back to the President, but someone could have. It directly speaks to his beliefs. And it’s more than just a corrective. These words are penetrating and dividing words. Look at verse 8 “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” I wonder how this former President would have responded to that verse.
    Just to be clear, I’m not making a political statement here. His comments are very relevant to what John is addressing in this letter.
    And let me say, these are matters of life and death. It’s critical to understand who God is, the presence of sin in our lives, and what to do about it. If you misunderstand or misapply that understanding, John is saying that you may not be a Christian.
    How does that sit with you? 
    Last week, we talked about the main purpose of the book. It’s to help you know whether your faith is authentic faith. For the true Christian, part of John’s goal is to give you assurance of faith. You know, confidence that you are a believer. Well, it sure sounds like John’s trying to get us to question our faith. Doesn’t it? Verse 10 is similar to verse 8. “If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” Again, it’s a very strong statement on the negative side. If you say you have not sinned, you are not a Christian.
    Let me put it this way: in order to give us confidence in our faith, he needs to be clear about what is authentic faith and what it looks like, and what is inauthentic faith and what it looks like.
    It’s like John has pulled out his sidewalk chalk. And he’s draws a line across the parking lot. He’s saying, “here’s the line. This one side of the line is true faith. People

    • 28 min
    1 John 1:1-4 Credible Witnesses of Credible Faith (Rev. Erik Veerman)

    1 John 1:1-4 Credible Witnesses of Credible Faith (Rev. Erik Veerman)

    1 John 1:1-4
    Rev. Erik Veerman
    Credible Witnesses of Credible Faith

    We’re beginning a new series this morning in the book of 1 John. You can find 1 John on page 1210 in the pew Bibles.
    I’ve been looking forward to our study and would encourage you to read through the book this week. It’s 5 chapters. It will take us about 4 months to work through - four sermons this month and then after an advent break, we’ll pick back up in January.
    It’s highly likely that 1 John was written by the apostle John. John was one Jesus 12 disciples. His name is never mentioned in the book, but there’s very compelling Scriptural and historical evidence that he authored it. We’ll get into that today.
    We’ll begin with chapter 1 verses 1-4.
    Reading pg 1 John 1:1-4

    Fact or fiction? Genuine or in-authentic? Real or fake?
    We spend a lot of time these days trying to discern what is authentic and true.
    You would think, in our digital age where so many things are captured in images and videos, that it would be easy to determine what really happened versus what is made up.
    You would think that with all the information up there in the internet cloud, that we’d have all we need to know to figure out what is true and right versus what is false and wrong.
    But we don’t. It’s kind of the opposite, today. We’re overwhelmed with the amount of stuff out there to sift through. Plus, everyone claims to know what is true and what is right.
    •            You see a picture of an event… but then later, someone claims it’s just a deep fake - photoshopped by an expert graphic artist.
    •            Or you watch a video, but then someone claims it’s been doctored with CGI.
    •            You hear a testimony of something that happened. But then you hear the other side – lies, they say. Fake news.
    How do you know what is true? Who can you trust?
    It’s very unsettling. It’s like the ground we are standing on is unstable and unsure. It affects our confidence in what we believe and know. Our souls are unsettled.
    A recent Barna survey found that 2/3 of Christians experience or have experienced spiritual doubts of some kind. 1/4 of Christians have ongoing doubts about faith and belief. That number is higher for younger generations. I’ve experienced it… uncertainty in my life, and many of you have or do as well.
    Doubt is part of the Christian experience. You are not alone. And the unsettledness of the world around us, the increasing plurality of views and beliefs only heightens the struggle.
    And you know this, it’s more than just an intellectual exercise of figuring out what is right and wrong. It’s personal. We ask ourselves, am I dedicating my life to something that is true? Or we ask, am I genuinely a Christian? How do I know?
    When you and I have these questions, we need to address them. If we bottle them up, that unsettledness is going to increase. And we need to come alongside of one another to think through and pray through those questions.
    And that is where the book of 1 John comes in. It’s about discerning those things: what is true and right; what is authentic and credible; who to believe and what is faithful. 1 John is about you and me. It’s about knowing and having assurance of our own faith. In fact, that word “know” comes up 32 times in these 5 chapters. Some instances are about having confidence in what we believe. Other uses are about knowing what is true faith verses what is not. Flip over to chapter 5. If you look at verse 13, it captures the purpose of 1 John: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.” The author wants his readers to have confidence in their faith.
    My hope in this study is that we’ll each come out of it with a solid foundation for our faith. That 1 John will help us have confidence in our faith… knowing what is right versus what is wrong, truth from erro

    • 27 min
    Ephesians 2:1-10 By Grace Alone, Through Faith Alone, in Christ Alone (Rev. Erik Veerman)

    Ephesians 2:1-10 By Grace Alone, Through Faith Alone, in Christ Alone (Rev. Erik Veerman)

    Ephesians 2:1-10Rev. Erik Veerman10/30/2022By Grace Alone, Through Faith Alone, in Christ AloneIntroductionOur sermon text this morning is from the book of Ephesians, chapter 2, verses 1-10. Page 1159. This letter was written by the apostle Paul to the church in Ephesus. Ephesus is on the western shore of modern-day Turkey. Paul spent about 3 years in Ephesus and he wrote this letter a few years after that time. The apostle’s purpose was to encourage them in what they believed and how that belief should be worked out in their lives.The reason we’re studying these particular verses, is that out of the entire New Testament, I think these verses capture the very heart of Salvation in Christ. Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. That Biblical teaching was the center of the Protestant Reformation. So, since tomorrow is the anniversary of the Reformation, we’ll be focusing on Ephesians 2.READ Ephesians 2:1-10PRAYWhy does the Protestant Reformation matter? Why take one of our Sunday morning worship services to focus on it?That question is very legitimate. You should be asking it. Many of you have probably wondered why. Well, I hope to answer those questions this morning with a little history and an analysis of these verses.And by the way, I don’t intend this to be an annual thing. We just happened to be between sermon series, so I thought it would be a good day to focus on these reformation principles that Scripture teaches.And another important question is, what was the Protestant Reformation? I can’t really answer why it matters without answering the “what.” And to do that, we need to begin with the early church. 2000 years ago Jesus commissioned his apostles to establish his church. As the New Testament describes it, the church includes the people of God throughout all time from every tribe, tongue, and nation, who believed in Jesus, God’s son, as Savior. The book of Acts, which we studied last year, describes the explosion of growth of the church beginning in Jerusalem. It expanded throughout the Mediterranean region and began to go to the ends of the earth. That growth and expansion to every tribe, tongue, and nation, is continuing today.But even with the tremendous growth of the church over the centuries, the church has struggled in different ways. In the Roman Empire, Christianity spread all throughout. In the 4th century, civil leaders including the emperor became so sympathetic to Christianity, that it became the religion of the state. It was quite the turn of events, especially after the persecution of Christians in the first three centuries. Becoming the formal religion of the empire may sound good, but it caused a lot of problems. It mixed the civil authority and church leadership. When that happened, the church began to lose its focus and mission. The purposes of the state filtered into the church. The civil magistrates became leaders of the church because of the overlap. Wars were even fought in the name of Christianity. Besides the unholy mixture, it also led to many abuses involving power and money. That only increased over time. Men could buy their way into leadership in the church. That’s how corrupt the church had become. And over the centuries, a separation grew between the people and the church authority. By the 14th and 15th centuries, Christianity didn’t look anything like Biblical Christianity today. The people were not allowed to read the Bible for themselves. No, that was reserved for the clergy. The worship services were in Latin, not the language of the people. The church even taught and practiced that you could buy forgiveness of sins for yourself and even your deceased loved ones.You ask, how could all of that continue? Wasn’t there anyone who understood what the Scriptures taught and could stand up for the truth? Well, yes! Many tried to, but they were burned alive for their teaching.On the outside, the Gospel had been lost, the Scriptures were obsc

    • 29 min
    Romans 12:17-21 Revenge: the End Game (Rev. Erik Veerman)

    Romans 12:17-21 Revenge: the End Game (Rev. Erik Veerman)

    Romans 12:17-21Rev. Erik Veerman10/23/2022Revenge: the End GameOur sermon text this morning is Romans 12:17-21 and you can find that on page 1127 in the pew Bibles This is the conclusion to our brief Romans 12 series. Next Sunday is what we call Reformation Sunday, so we’ll have a special focus for that. If you are not sure what that means, come next week. And then in November, we’ll jump into the book of 1 John.Again, Romans 12:17-21.StandPrayerIntroductionIt started in 1878 (allegedly). Rand’l McCoy accused his neighbors, the Hatfields, of stealing his hog. The Hatfields contended, though, that the hog was theirs, not the McCoys. After all, it had their earmark. And so it began.You see, Rand’l McCoy, along with his wife and their 13 children, lived in Kentucky, right on the border of West Virginia. And just the other side of the Tug Fork river, in West Virginia, lived Anderson Hatfield, along with his wife and their 13 children. They called him Devil Anse Hatfield.It seemed like a small quibble, but in the summer of 1880, two of Rand’l McCoy’s sons killed the man who testified against their ownership of the hog. But it didn’t end there, in 1882, three younger McCoy sons killed Ellison Hatfield, Devil Anise’s brother. In retaliation, all three of those McCoy brothers were kidnapped, tied up, and executed in brutal fashion by members of the Hatfield clan. As a result, 20 Hatfields were indicted but they all eluded arrest given they lived in West Virginia and not Kentucky. Tensions escalated. The feud continued in 1886 and 87 when friends of both families were killed.Then in 1888, Cap and Vance Hatfield, sons of Devil Anse, along with other members of their family surrounded the McCoy house at night. They first opened fire with their guns. They then lit the house on fire. As the McCoy family fled, two McCoy children were shot and killed. Rand’l’s wife, Sara was captured, beaten, and let for dead. Two days later, Vance Hatfield was killed by the McCoys along with three Hatfield family supporters.That led to a lawsuit. Kentucky’s governor and West Virginia’s governor both entered the fray. They weren’t trying to quell the violence, rather, they opposed each other. The lawsuit escalated to the US Supreme Court. Eventually, seven men were convicted. One executed for his crimes and the others imprisoned for life.Over the 10-year period from 1878 to 1888, a dozen Hatfields and McCoys were killed. Young and old died, families were broken, anger reigned, and the skirmishes continued for the next 20 years. Vengeance ruled the day. And it likely started over the ownership of a hog.Revenge is a never-ending downward spiral. It often leads to escalated feelings of bitterness. It may not end in murder, but the offended party inflicts some sort of pay-back. Then the offended party becomes the offending, and the cycle continues.There’s something deep down in us, in our natural state, that justifies our revenge. The parents here can tell you, revenge is not something taught. You hurt my teddy bear! …we’ll I’m going to pull the eyeballs off of your stuffed alligator. Hmf. Well, along comes the Apostle Paul, and in a matter of a few verses, he rejects any and all vengeance. And did you notice? It’s a theme that he’s repeated multiple times. Go back up to verse 15. “Bless those who persecute you.” Not identical, but a very similar idea. Verse 17 and 19 are very similar. “Repay no one evil for evil.” And “never avenge yourselves.” Verse 21. “Overcome evil with good.” Do you see that repeated emphasis?Now, we’re not told about any particular situation in the church in Rome, but I think the repetition here lends itself toward some situation. Maybe a couple of church members in Rome were at odds and it began to escalate. Or maybe there were some unbelievers who were provoking the Christians, and people in the church wanted to get revenge. Or maybe Paul was addressing a cultural propensity for

    • 30 min

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