Tim Keller Sermon Notes — Series: The Gospel, Hope, and the World — Sermon #6: Hope for the Church

Sermon preached on November 1, 2009.

The teaching is based on Hebrews 10:19-25.

Tim Keller preached this message. Dr. Keller is the Senior Pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. He is also an author of the books Ministries of MercyThe Reason for GodProdigal GodCounterfeit GodsGospel in LifeGenerous Justice, and King’s Cross.

Please note that these sermon notes are provided only to encourage, and that any or all parts of the notes may contain errors or omissions, due entirely to the note-taker. Full audio of the sermon may be found at the Redeemer Sermon Store.

Introduction: The purpose of the 10-year plan that we are embarking on is to train, equip, and send–this hasn’t been Redeemer so much.



I. The Irreplacability of Christian Community

II. The Character of Christian Community

III. The Secret of Christian Community


I. Irreplacability

  • an aggregation is like a bag of marbles; a congregation is like a cluster of grapes, organically connected
    • church is not a place to come and get taught and counseled
    • v. 25 Pastors have used this to say, “Come to church!”–but the spurring on of one another doesn’t happen during worship services
    • v. 21-22–the presence of God is what changes us–so then how do we draw near?
      • We spur one another on! We access the presence of God through each other
  • C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity: “Christ works on us… above all else through each other. We are carriers of Him…”
  • Wesley: the Bible knows nothing of solitary religion

II. The Character of Christian Community–what does it mean to be in community?

1. Considering 2. Spurring 3. Encouraging 4. Working

1) Considering: As a counselor, you take notes because you’re being careful, deliberate; your purpose is to see them grow.

2) Spurring: This is the Greek word “irritate.” It means to sharply contend for someone to make them better.

  • Illustration from Homer: As Odysseus approaches the Sirens, he tells his men to ignore him and row. “Give me what I need, not what I want.” So the question is, have you given this kind of permission to some people in your life? People who you’ve told your sins and who you’ve told to check on you? A covenant is a promise to live in community and make yourself accountable to others.

3) Encouraging: This is the opposite of spurring. You’ve got to have both together. In Greek, encourage means to give assurance, to get in their shoes.

4) Good deeds: In Greek, “beautiful works.” These are practical; as a Christian, you’re not above little things, like making a casserole. Also do these toward the marginal; love those who the world has taught you not to like. No matter where you’re from, the world has taught you to despise some group.

III. What’s the secret of this community?

  • Our mouth waters to think of a church like the one I’ve been describing.
  • The secret, by this text (Hebrews 10:19-25), is the assurance of your salvation
    • v. 19: Confidence is not how you feel at a job interview; look at a little 8 year old coming to tell you something. He doesn’t think of how to do it.
    • In v. 19, we have confidence: we can speak freely to God, like 8 year olds; we can open up.
    • Objectively, you know you’re accepted, you know you’re in
    • Subjectively, draw near, actually experience it
  • J. C. Ryle: “Now assurance goes far to set a child of God free from this painful kind of bondage, and thus ministers mightily to his comfort. It enables him to feel that the great business of life is a settled business, the great debt a paid debt, the great disease a healed disease, and the great work a finished work; and all other business, diseases, debts, and works, are then by comparison small…” (this quote at greater length)
  • C. S. Lewis, “The Inner Ring,” from The Weight of Glory: People don’t realize to what degree they are motivated to be on the inside.
    • You want to hang out with people that make you feel good about yourself. It’s why you disdain some people.
      • It means, finally, that you’ll be serving people for their sake! You won’t be creating cliques any more.
  • Tony Campolo once threw a birthday party for a Honolulu prostitute at 3:30 in the morning–in response, the owner of the dive that hosted the party said, “If there was a church that did this kind of thing, I’d join that church.” (fully story here).

The secret of the secret: Jesus Christ was the high priest who opened the way. The immediate wages of sin is utter aloneness. Jesus on the Cross was getting cosmic aloneness, so that we never have to be alone. We can belong to the church.


About davestuartjr
Dave Stuart Jr. is a full-time teacher who writes about becoming better, saner teachers at He is a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband to Crystal, and a father to Hadassah, Laura, and Marlena.

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