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David Bisgrove Sermon Notes — Series: “Practicing the Christian Life: Walking” — Sermon #4: The Bridge to Prayer

Sermon preached on April 27, 2008.

Teaching is based on Psalm 1:1-6

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: Intellectual belief in itself doesn’t contain change in character.

  • I know these things, and yet I struggle with behavior in all of these things. Ex: I know I’m not supposed to lust, and yet my eyes grope women.
  • Thinking that intellectual belief itself will change our character is like saying we belong to the gym and expecting to get in shape without going there and working out.

Outline

I. The promise of meditation

II. The practice of meditation
III. The passion of meditation

I. The promise of meditation

  • “Blessed”=happiness, but much deeper than our common usage. It’s interesting that this word “blessed” starts off Psalm 1:1; the beginning of the book of Psalms–a book of prayers–is this deep happiness.
    • Many people out of a deep yearning in their hearts come to New York City
      • Yet nothing will satisfy the fundamental restlessness of our hearts
        • Jobs and careers are wonderful, but they just won’t do it.
      • We’re all meditating (walking, standing, sitting as the Psalmist writes) on something, and that something (whatever it is) is shaping who we are.
        • If we walk, stand, and sit (meditate) on success, success will shape who we are, and we’ll do anything for it. It will shape our character.
    • Unless we put our roots deeply into the God who made us, we’ll never find that answer to this deep yearning.
      • If we’re cold to God, we need to acknowledge that we’re not so good at meditation.
  • The tree, the Christian with roots deeply into God, walking, standing, and sitting, meditating on God
    • Stability (by streams of water)
      • Ability to thrive not dependent on circumstances
      • “Joy is not the absence of conflict but the presence of God.” Elizabeth Elliott?
    • Productive (bearing fruit)
      • Stick your roots into His story, connect it with your story, and you’ll be reaching your full human potential. You were made for this story.
    • Wise (bearing fruit in season though leave doesn’t wither)
      • In times like winter when no fruit is forthcoming but you’re growing
      • A wise person understands the purpose of suffering and God saying no

II. The practice of meditation (vs. 2)

  • To love being told what to do by God
      • We value freedom, this idea of loving being told what to do is alien to us (we came to NYC to get away from that!)
    • The degree to which we do this…
      • Ex: His three year old daughter who wants to pull away from Dad and do things her own way would have a life expectancy of thirty minutes in downtown Manhattan.
      • The gap in loving authority between child and father is infinitely smaller than that between us and God
  • The essence of meditation is listening to God
    • Meditation is sort of the opposite of prayer. Prayer is us talking to God (which isn’t bad!). Meditation is us listening to God.
      • The dominant communication paradigm should be: He talks, we listen.
      • Ex: in Psalm 103, David is talking to his heart
      • Ex2: J. I. Packer (theologian): Meditation is arguing with oneself until information becomes sensation in our lives.
  • Do it day and night: don’t stop doing it
    • Wife didn’t train for NY marathon by watching inspirational videos and reading books about it; she practiced.
    • Meditation takes time–it’s not magic. Practical advice: as a minimum, do 30 minutes.

III. The passion of meditation

  • Here’s the problem with all this on meditation: who really does it like this?
  • The sermon on the mount is basically Jesus’ meditation on the law (He listens to God’s command about adultery, and hears that lust actually is the same concept, etc.)
  • Vs. 5 and 6 of this Psalm describe a standard of righteousness that is terrifying; they will fill you with guilt.
  • Jesus is the stream of living water in this psalm
    • On the cross, He knew that He was being poured out like water; He quoted Psalm 22; at the well, He knew
    • Eternal life is knowing Him and knowing He knows us.
  • Jesus filled verses 5 and 6; He gave us the fulfillment of this

Close: One way to approach meditation

  • First, ask: what does this passage teach?
  • Then, use ACTS naturally, as they come, in whatever order:
    • Adoration
    • Confession
    • Thanksgiving
    • Supplication (asking for things)
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Tim Keller Sermon Notes — Series: Arguing with Jesus — Sermon #1: Arguing about the Afterlife

Teaching is based on Matthew 22:23-33 Sadducees questioning Jesus about the afterlife

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.

Jesus responds to the Sadducees (educated, liberal, upper class) with
I. A rebuke
The gospel is not a derivative or form of conservatism or liberalism, nor is it the perfect middle.

  • Conservatives like the idea of a God of justice and morality
    • Yet the God of the gospel isn’t satisfied with anyone but Jesus’ moral life and the sacrifice of Jesus alone satisfies this God’s justice
      • God is more conservative than the conservatives
  • Liberals like the idea of a God of love, compassion, and social justice
    • Yet the God of the gospel is more loving than that, offering His Son’s life as a sacrifice
      • God is more liberal than the liberals
  • In sum, Jesus rebukes everyone with this: the gospel is not like anything else.

Practical implications of this:

  • For Christians: Get used to people misunderstanding you and thinking you’re an idiot, because the Gospel is unlike anything else. People will have no grid for understanding what you’re marinating in.
  • For Seekers: Take your time. If you hear something about the gospel and really like it, it’s probably because of something you like, not the gospel. And if you hear something about the gospel and really hate it, it’s probably because of something you hate, not the gospel. It’s unlike anything else.
  • For Christians trying to show friends Christianity: Be patient. This takes time.

II. An argument
The Sadducees don’t understand the love of God or the Scriptures.

  • The scriptures: Jesus uses Scripture that the Sadducees will accept (okay, you want to talk about Moses? Let’s talk about Moses). He speaks on their terms to contend for the gospel. He points out that God speaks of Abraham and Isaac to Moses in the present tense, though they’ve been dead for centuries. This means that the relationship cannot stop.
  • The love of God: When God enters into a loving relationship with us it cannot stop. God won’t lose anything that’s precious to Him.
    • Hellfire preaching: There is an afterlife, it’s heaven or hell, so you better know God.
    • Jesus’ preaching: Know God and then you’ll know there’s an afterlife.
      • Once you start tasting the love of God, you’ll start to realize instinctually and logically that it can’t end.

III. A Promise

  • This lack of marriage in heaven doesn’t sound fun to us. We envision a bunch of platonic relationship. We envision us not being us anymore, no longer remembering our spouses.
    • We will be us. Remember, God is the God of Abraham, a person, an individual.
    • The afterlife will make the most intoxicating, intensely pleasurable moment of the best marriage in the history of the Earth look like a dew drop next to an atomic bomb.
    • St Teresa of Avila: “The first moment in the arms of Jesus is gonna make a thousand years of misery on Earth look like one night in a bad hotel.”

Matt Chandler – “Core Values” series – “What is Christian spirituality?” sermon #2, 2008

Matt Chandler – “Core Values” series – “What is Christian spirituality?” sermon #2, 4/19/08
Teaching is based on 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

1. Movement comes out of the gospel penetrating people’s hearts.

  • The gospel is better than life.
  • Matt lists many people in his congregation that are doing an amazing variety of activities for the world.

2. What if there’s no movement in your heart?

      • That’s a whole other series of sermons.
      • You could be confused about what the gospel is, trying to do this yourself.
      • There might be bitterness and unforgiveness in your heart.
      • There could be anger.
      • There could be hurt. You’ve been punched in the soul.
      • There could be a sin issue that’s blatant and you’re keeping it a secret.
    • Recovery: discipleship on steroids; open, honest, getting to heart issues.
    • The more you know Jesus the less power these things will have, any problem will become less when you know Him more.
  • Worshiping petty things.
    • The gospel and the guy that’s out there in his armchair worshiping petty things. That’s why we do what we do when the gospel penetrates our hearts.

Tim Keller Sermon Notes — Series: “The Real Jesus” — Sermon #12: “With the Powerless” 1996-1997

The teaching is based on Luke 7:36-50, Story of woman washing Jesus’ feet with tears in Simon the Pharisee’s house.

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.

In this excellent series of sermons, Keller seeks to give his congregation a biography of the life of Jesus. Prior to Christmas, the sermons focus on the incarnational stories. Following Christmas and leading up to spring, it focuses on the encounters and events of His life. Leading up to Easter, it focuses on the final week of Jesus’… well, I can’t say His life, because He’s still alive… but you know what I mean.

Tim Keller tends to relax and humble me in Christ, whereas Mark Driscoll tells to get me excited and bold in Him. Both preach the gospel and tend to teach through books of the Bible.

For me, a guy who tends to gravitate toward extremes, it is very good for me to listen to both of these men to combat my generally religious, I’ve-got-to-earn-Jesus tendencies.

I generally listen to sermons while running or driving, so these notes are far from complete–but since I try to jot down notes afterwards anyway, I might as well share. I heartily recommend purchasing Tim Keller’s sermons from his website, and heartily encourage you not to rationalize stealing them!

This sermon hit my religious bones good, hopefully crushing them a little more.

With the Powerless

(Luke 7:36-50, Story of woman washing Jesus’ feet with tears in Simon the Pharisee’s house)

  • The story is about two people–the woman and Simon
  • The story is about two seekers–Simon invited Jesus over (invitation to relationship) and the woman came to him
  • Simon had conditions: he wanted a discussion, a high-minded conversation; he didn’t want touching and weeping and letting down of hair!
  • The woman had no conditions–she came and gave her fear (letting her hair down in front of these men could have been dangerous), her money (the alabaster jar of perfume was expensive), her very livelihood and career (wearing an alabaster jar of perfume around your neck increased your sexual appeal; she was a prostitute; to pour out these jars required breaking them due to the narrow neck). Shecame to Jesus unconditionally; if He was who He said He was, she implied, He could have what little she had.
  • Aspects of Simon religion:
    • Jesus says, You don’t get it! You don’t see that you can’t make it!
    • Simon thinks he can pay the cost for the forgiveness of debt.
      • Whether a spider bite kills you are a lion rips you to shreds, you’re still dead–one person is pretty-looking dead, the other is ugly-looking dead, but both are dead. The same with our debt.
      • Forgiveness never happens without someone getting hurt–someone gets wronged, and either the person who owes it pays it or the person who deserves to get it has to absorb it. We can’t pay it, so God has to get hurt.
      • Some ppl bristle when Keller says, “If you don’t come to God through Jesus, you have an impersonal religion”
        • What did it cost your god to have that personal relationship with you. Where is the agony? Where are the thorns? Where are the nails?
          • Don’t believe all that is necessary? Well that’s exactly why you’re not weeping and letting your hair down and laying all you at the feet of Jesus! That’s the reason it’s impersonal! It cost nothing.
          • Your religion is more like Simon’s, not hers. You don’t see or know the cost.
          • If you get rid of the messenger and just have the message, there’s no weeping, no tears, no joy, no power.
    • Simon’s religion is academic.
  • Because of the two understandings:
    • Simon gets exactly what He wants–a seminar. An academic experience. And an insult, and a cold shoulder.
    • The woman gets an ability to love she didn’t have before. The reason she’s able to love now is because she sees that she’s forgiven.
      • Your ability to love people and life is completely due to how deeply you see your sin and your ability to be forgiven.
      • If you have too high a view of yourself, you’ll see yourself as undeserving of the hurt you receive, and if you have to low a view of yourself, you’ll see yourself as undeserving of forgiveness–and either way you won’t be able to forgive.
    • She didn’t just get the ability, she got a love that could fill her up.
    • She doesn’t care what anybody thinks. When everyone turns around, she lets her hair down (an outrageous action). In doing this, she showed courage. She didn’t run. By surrendering to Jesus, she got power. She found that she would never have to surrender to anyone else.
      • Your faith has saved you–past tense! In Simon religion, you never have a past tense! You’re always hoping you’re saved.
      • Jesus says, literally, “Go into peace.” The power you give to me, the more you’ll get back.
  • Do you have Simon religion?
    • Look at this woman. This is the gospel–it’s not the powerful, it’s the marginal who show you how to become a Christian.
  • Are you a believer?
    • Do you love like this woman? Do you have this kind of satisfaction in Jesus Christ? Are you having trouble loving life?
      • It’s in your power! You have forgotten your debt. You have forgotten His life.
      • Hymn: Take my love, my Lord, I pour / At Thy feet its treasure store; / Take myself, and I will be, / Ever, only, all for Thee. / Ever, only, all for Thee.

Control

I get itchy with fear thinking about my classroom getting out of control, and even moreso having someone else–especially a colleague–see the chaos. And that’s one reason why Mr. Scriven moving to Woodlawn High next year and Mrs. Maul moving to a different middle school (and all of the other staff changes that seem set to take place next year) may be the best things that’ve happened to me. Mr. Scriven has been like a protector for me, someone I could go to when I knew I needed backing up in a challenging situation. In politics, you collect mutually beneficial relationships; in the gospel, Jesus made Himself bereft of the ultimate relationship so that we might never lack it.

It’s easy as a public school teacher to begin living politically rather than in, for, and through the gospel. As I walk through feelings of bitterness and despair towards what once seemed like a solid and clear future, I’m drawn to reflect on Christ’s victory over my greatest enemies of fear and evil and death. If next year I don’t have a “supportive administration,” let me recall Christ who was not just unsupported by administration, but mocked, beaten, and killed by them. My fear of having a classroom that appears out of control is conquered by Christ’s final day, where it appeared He had no control at all. He could have done an infinite array of things to regain control that day, but He did nothing–in fact, He didn’t even defend Himself from mockery.

If these administrative changes for next year take my friends, my administrative support, my effectiveness at my job, or whatever else, but they give me a greater depth of relationship and intimacy with God, I have lost nothing and gained everything.

Sermon notes — Rick McKinley, Worship through Mission

Worship through Mission – 9/5/04 – Rick McKinley (Imago Dei, Portland, Oregon)

1. Every Christ follower is a missionary. Matthew 28:18-20. If we heard about a missionary to Papa New Guinea who went about each day just taking care of his own stuff—man, it’s cold here, I gotta get wood; man, I hate eating worms, I need to get some cattle; man, look at that bag, if I got that I wouldn’t have to carry stuff in my arms all the time—we’d say he was crazy. But that’s exactly what we who are not overseas missionaries or missionaries by trade do!

2. Every life is a Gospel story. Ex: Jesus and the woman by the well. First they believed because of her story, then they believed because they met her. Ex2: Rick going and witnessing while hammered when He was in college. God’s not waiting for you to get all put together; He can use you now (not to say that he didn’t need to stop getting drunk). Why do we get more silent as we get, supposedly, more mature? Is that really maturity? Or worldliness?

3. Every relationship has redemptive hope. Do I believe that Christ can change that guy’s life (my friend, my co-worker, my dad), or are they bigger than the redemptive power of Christ? No one is beyond redemption. Who in your life have you decided for, that they’re not going to come to faith so you’re not going to tell them about Jesus? Who have you written off as hard-hearted? My dad is tougher than Jesus—that’s a lie. Ex: Story of the apostle Paul, a guy who killed believers.

What has his love done in your life? What has his grace done in your life? What is the truth about Jesus?

The assumption that everyone is ready—it is not the case. Some people you’ll need to help explore faith. You need to listen to them. Christians aren’t often good at that, but you need to do it. Find where they’re at. What books have they read? The Bible? The Koran? Something else? Offer to read through a gospel with them, find out what they think about Christ.