Tag Archives: Jesus

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The Prodigal Sons – Pastor Tim Keller Sermon

The Prodigal Sons – Pastor Tim Keller Sermon

Be sure to check out this sermon (click on link above on post title) on the famous parable. The story (see text below) in itself is very compelling just from reading it. Yet, taking into account elements of the culture of Biblical times, this parable becomes an even more powerful tale of the human condition and the majestic love of God. Also, we often focus on the younger son but here in this sermon, Tim Keller also points out the lostness of the older son as well. As we enter into the Christmas season, perhaps, this story could be one point of reflection on the amazing love of God for humanity as revealed through the birth of Jesus and His mission on Earth.

Luke 15:1-2, 11-32 (NIV)

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your propertywith prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

image source at the top of post: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/93/Rembrandt_Harmensz_van_Rijn_-_Return_of_the_Prodigal_Son_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg/184px-Rembrandt_Harmensz_van_Rijn_-_Return_of_the_Prodigal_Son_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

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Melchizedek Who?

Did you know that Psalm 110 is the most quoted portion of the Hebrew Bible in the Christian Scriptures?

Melchizedek shows up in verse 4 of that Psalm. Where else does Melchizedek appear?

His story is tersely described in Genesis 14:18-20.

Not much data!

Yet, this somewhat obscure character of the Old Testament forms one of the key points in the letter to the Hebrews that emphasizes the continuity, significance and fulfillment of our Lord Jesus Christ with God’s work begun in the Old Testament.

The 1 hour video is of a lecture given by Prof. Don Carson at a Gospel Coalition conference.

As we continue to grow this website, we will, in addition to highlighting our own materials, be linking to items we find around the internet that we think maybe helpful for your study and understanding of the Scriptures.

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Kirsten Powers, reluctant follower of Jesus

Kirsten Powers, reluctant follower of Jesus

Here is a story that might encourage all you small group Bible study leaders out there.

Every one has a unique story about how they come to trust in Jesus. In the case of Ms. Powers,  a former political operative turned political pundit, it started with hearing some thoughtful preaching and eventually joining a Bible study. She concluded her article: The Hound of Heaven had pursued me and caught me—whether I liked it or not.

Excerpt:

I remember walking into the Bible study. I had a knot in my stomach. In my mind, only weirdoes and zealots went to Bible studies. I don’t remember what was said that day. All I know is that when I left, everything had changed. I’ll never forget standing outside that apartment on the Upper East Side and saying to myself, “It’s true. It’s completely true.” The world looked entirely different, like a veil had been lifted off it. I had not an iota of doubt. I was filled with indescribable joy.

Creeds and Confessions – Nicene Creed

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In the family of Christian churches, some types are not so comfortable referring to “old stuff” because they are concerned with relying on traditional things held onto by rote without understand. And there are some that are much more comfortable referring back to “old stuff” like creeds and confessions. In either case, we probably could all agree the key is to understand these things and not merely to recite them without reflection.

One of the oldest statements about what we believe is the Nicene Creed.

The short story of the Nicene Creed is that in 325 AD, the church gathered in a council in the city of Nicaea to clarify confusion regarding the divinity of Jesus. A longer version of its history can be found at Wikipedia and Theopedia and certainly one can consult church history textbooks for much more comprehensive discussions. Below is an English translation of the creed

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary and became truly human. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Image at the top is of Uppsala Cathedral in Sweden.