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Tim Keller Sermon Notes — Series: The Gospel, Hope, and the World — Sermon #5: Hope for your Work

Sermon preached on October 25, 2009.

The teaching is based on Titus 2:11-3:9.

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 God, Prodigal God, Counterfeit Gods, Gospel 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.

Outline:

I. The passion of hope

II. The case study of hope

III. The reason we can have this hope

I. The passion (or force) of this hope (v. 13)

  • We are people who are eager to do good.
  • In the Scriptures, the Second Coming is never brought up to get us to speculate on the end–it’s to get you passionate about living now.
  • The Second Coming is to fill bad lives with good news
    • Passionate and compassionate Christians want the second coming
    • the second coming accomplishes two things: everyone knows him, and everyone is treated justly
  • “righteous” means to live justly in the world
    • the righteous are those willing to disadvantage themselves to advantage the community
  • the just person sees their resources as belonging to those around them; the unjust see them as MINE (vv. 3:1-2)
  • righteousness/uprightness is not just about ethical goodness; it’s about the common good as well.

II. The Case Study of Hope

  • At Redeemer, we believe it’s important to teach how to incorporate faith and work
  • If you’re a moralist, you’ll want to know exactly what it looks like to be a Christian artist or teacher
    • But not all things have exacts; some things have trajectories; in this case, being a Christian in your job will have a trajectory along the lines of A) Motivation, B) Proportion, and C) Consolation
  • A) Motivation: Why do you work and take the job that you have?
    • some people take jobs to make money, some to get emotional fulfillment
    • Yet, this passage (Titus 2:11-3:9) asks, “Is my work helping human beings to flourish in some way?”
    • Adam and Eve: a gardener isn’t someone who does or doesn’t touch; it’s someone who gets in the soil and takes raw material to give us something we need, physically or emotionally
    • Writers and actors take the raw material of human experience and create stories that teach or help people in some way
  • B) Proportion: “inordinate desires” v. 3:3
    • Most people don’t come to NYC to have a life; they come wanting to get a self (out of their work, most often)
    • It’s overwork when we don’t feel good about ourselves unless we’re accomplishing something
    • If it’s true that he saves us not because of what we’ve done, then we aren’t justified by work (what we do), but by grace (what he’s done)
      • this means that we don’t need to come to our jobs in search of a self
  • C) Consolation: Not idealism, not cynicism
    • Jesus Christ has given us a blessed hope
      • First, we know it’s not going to get perfect now
      • Yet, we work towards it, because we know it exists
    • E.g., “A Leaf by Niggle,” by J. R. R. Tolkein

III. Why do we have a right to see the Second Coming as a hope?

  • It sounds great to think of the end of death, genocide, rape, graft, etc.
    • If there’s no judgment day, what hope does the world have?
    • If there is a judgment day, what hope do we have?
  • What if all of your thoughts were broadcast around the world for a day–just a day?
      • You would die of shame
  • This is exactly how we are before God

2,000 years ago, a man who would have had no shame from such a broadcast–the God-man–took upon himself the judgment day that we deserve. Jesus entered the city not looking for a self, but to lose himself; in so doing, he purchased us an identity that cannot be shaken, so we no longer have to look to our jobs to give us who we are.

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Romans 9: Why John Piper Became a Pastor and What Thinkers Can Glean from It

“Romans 9,” John Piper once wrote on a blue book exam in seminary, “is like a tiger going about devouring free-willers like me” (“The Absolute Sovereignty…”).

A friend pointed me towards this John Piper sermon recently when I shared with him how my wife and I had recently read and discussed Romans 9 together in our ongoing study of Romans. The chapter had left us both with the sole application that our Father’s ways are beyond us, and that there is an infinite intelligence gap between us, his creatures, and Him, our creator.

In his sermon “The Absolute Sovereignty of God: What is Romans Nine About?”, Piper explains his own path to understanding just how in control God is. Piper actually took a sabbatical from teaching at Bethel College to address questions his students often had about Romans 9; he intended to give eight months to the study of the chapter for the purpose of writing a book that would “stand the test of time.” However, by the end of this sabbatical, Piper had resigned from his college and entered pastoral ministry. His description of this sabbatical is below:

Then, about ten years later, came the fall of 1979. I was on sabbatical from teaching at Bethel College. My one aim on this leave was to study Romans 9 and write a book on it that would settle, in my own mind, the meaning of these verses. After six years of teaching and finding many students in every class ready to discount my interpretation of this chapter for one reason or another, I decided I had to give eight months to it. The upshot of that sabbatical was the book, The Justification of God. I tried to answer every important exegetical objection to God’s absolute sovereignty in Romans 9.

But the result of that sabbatical was utterly unexpected—at least by me. My aim was to analyze God’s words so closely and construe them so carefully that I could write a book that would be compelling and stand the test of time. What I did not expect was that six months into this analysis of Romans 9 God himself would speak to me so powerfully that I resigned my job at Bethel and made myself available to the Minnesota Baptist Conference if there were a church who would have me as a pastor.

In essence it happened like this: I was 34 years old. I had two children and a third on the way. As I studied Romans 9 day after day, I began to see a God so majestic and so free and so absolutely sovereign that my analysis merged into worship and the Lord said, in effect, “I will not simply be analyzed, I will be adored. I will not simply be pondered, I will be proclaimed. My sovereignty is not simply to be scrutinized, it is to be heralded. It is not grist for the mill of controversy, it is gospel for sinners who know that their only hope is the sovereign triumph of God’s grace over their rebellious will.” This is when Bethlehem contacted me near the end of 1979. And I do not hesitate to say that because of Romans 9 I left teaching and became a pastor. The God of Romans 9 has been the Rock-solid foundation of all I have said and all I have done in the last 22 years…

I love those lines, and, as a thinker, I need to remind myself of them often when I am losing sight of the purpose of all thinking that is done about God:

I will not simply be analyzed, I will be adored.

I will not simply be pondered, I will be proclaimed.

My sovereignty is not simply to be scrutinized, it is to be heralded.

It is not grist for the mill of controversy, it is gospel for sinners who know that their only hope is the sovereign triumph of God’s grace over their rebellious will.

May these words convict us and keep our minds pointed at the joy that is our adoption into the family of God.

Alex and Brett Harris Point to Keller’s “Meaning of the City” Sermon

Alex and Brett Harris (Do Hard Things; Start Here), whose www.therebelution.com inspires a lot of my approach to being a gospel-centered teacher, recently had this to say about Tim Keller’s hallmark city sermon:

“[The] concepts [in the sermon] are vital for rebelutionaries because they touch at the heart of why we do hard things, why we rebel against low expectations, and why we pursue character, competence, and collaboration. Is it for personal gain or glory? No. Is it to ensure “our team” wins the culture war? No. We do it so others might see our love and come to know the Source of that love. We do it so others might see our good works and give glory to our Father in Heaven (Matt. 5:16).” (See full post here.)

Here are some notes that I took on this sermon this past Sunday.

Scott Sauls Sermon Notes — Series: The Gospel, Hope, and the World — Sermon #4: Hope for the Family

Sermon preached on October 18, 2009.

The teaching is based on Ephesians 5:21-33.

Scott Sauls preached this message. Rev. Sauls is a Lead Pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City; his preaching style is very similar to that of his Senior Pastor, Tim Keller.

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:

  • Why are there so many singles in NYC? Lack of time, abundance of cynicism, and fear.
  • Ephesians 5 suggests a different purpose for marriage than the ones commonly thought of: two broken sinners enter into an other-centered covenant
  • Paul is suggesting that marriage is about personal transformation

Outline:

I. Exposure

II. Embrace

I. Exposure

  • Paul quotes Genesis, when man and woman were naked; it’s much more than physical to be naked; scripturally, it means to become vulnerable, to be seen beneath who you are, beneath your Facebook or resume.
    • The nature of the human heart is to hide our blemishes behind a persona; Adam and Eve do everything they can to control their persona after the fall–they dress up, they blame shift
  • We don’t want people to know that we probably wouldn’t want to be friends with ourselves
  • [Rev Sauls shares a funny story involving him and his wife studying the Bible together early in their marriage; she had married him partly because of how impressive he was as a speaker and small group leader, how deep his insight was; when the young couple studied the Bible together, however, Rev Sauls’ wife quickly discovered that “I married a pompous know-it-all.”]
  • Sartre: Hell is to be looked at, to be unable to stop or control what someone else sees when they look at us
  • two people deserve access to our private parts: our spouse and our doctor
  • With doctors, why do we allow probing, the invading of our bodies?
    • Because we want to live! to flourish, to survive
    • Why do we allow this probing into our bodies, but not into our character?
  • “Restore” in Galatians 6:1-2 is a Greek word that elsewhere is only used as a medical term for resetting a bone
  • We do whatever we can to turn a limp into a dance
  • At the end of New York Magazine, there are 3 pages of ads for rich men to find hot women; we walk into a gym and immediately eliminate 95% of the people there as potential spouses before we even meet them; we want perfection now–is this what Jesus did for us?
  • Jesus: “My vision is to heal, so I’m looking for a bride with spots, wrinkles, blemishes.”
  • In the film As Good as It Gets, Jack Nicholson’s  response to Helen Hunt: “You make me want to be a better man
    • That’s what you look for in a mate; that’s your selection criteria

II. Embrace

  • Both parties need to know that the marriage is sinner-safe
  • The goal is to be fully known (naked) and without shame (loved, respected, honored), just like in Genesis before the fall
  • The film Beautiful Mind is a great marriage movie
  • C. S. Lewis married a woman knowing she had terminal cancer
  • you know you love someone when you continue to serve them even though you’ve fallen out of love with them
  • “Workmanship” is the Greek word poema; you are the poem of God
  • If you throw random words in a hat and mix them up, you’ve got chaos, but those same words can become a Shakespearean sonnet
  • On one side of extremes is co-dependent enabling; on the other is bullying
    • Gospel love is in the middle of these two things, and far away from each
  • Trying to build a resume or a career or be cool as a reason for coming to New York City can’t be your main reason, because what happens when you walk outside and see your windshield bashed in? What happens when the City treats you like an enemy?
    • Will you love her?
    • When she’s acting pschizo, will you divorce her in your heart, or continue to serve her?
    • When she only takes, will you still give?

Conclusion:

Jesus never considers divorce. He sees us in bed with  our mistresses of money, love, power, and he determines to continue loving us.

David Bisgrove Sermon Notes — Series: The Life of David 2009 — Sermon #14: David Fails the Lord

Sermon preached on September 13, 2009.

The teaching is based on 2 Samuel 24:10-25.

David Bisgrove preached this message. Rev. Bisgrove is one of four Lead Pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City; his preaching style is very similar to that of his Senior Pastor, Tim Keller.

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 theRedeemer Sermon Store.

Introduction:

With any biblical text, you have to look not only at the story, but the story beneath the story. Otherwise:

1) We’re crushed–none of us will live up to a man whose poetry is sung 2,000 years later.

2) We’re confused–how can a man of God sin like this?

The last chapters of 2 Samuel have “intentional summation.” They are put here at the end to highlight major themes in David’s life:

I. Negatively, spiritual presumption

II. Positively, spiritual discernment

I. Spiritual presumption is at the heart of every sin

  • We forget this simple truth: there is a God and I’m not Him
    • This is the rhythm of the Old Testament: I will be your God and you will be my people
  • We presume that we know better than God, that we know what’s best for us.
  • Spiritual presumption comes from a perfect storm:
    1. Foolish: All sin comes from ignoring the wisdom gap between God and us
    2. Evil
    3. Personal

1. Foolish:

    • Wise people, even if they don’t understand it, embrace God’s law
    • the Bible is a blueprint for ultimate reality
    • the rules aren’t there to restrict us, but to liberate us and help us to live in fallen humanity. We follow them because we want more, not less.
      • For example,holding my daughter’s hand when crossing the street, I don’t do this to restrict her, I do this to keep her alive
    • sometimes you need to disparage yourself enough to ignore that God feels like a killjoy
      • For example, I had a high school teacher who offended me by saying that students can’t grow up and do whatever they want–it’s the only thing I remember from high school

2. Evil; perverted

  • using everything God has given us for our own ends
  • God’s plan for everything is repeated by the prophets: shalom
  • David was seeking to create a standing army instead of a militia; God isn’t having it, he won’t let them become the kind of people who look like the rest of the world, exploiting the weak
    • how do you find life? Give it away. You love and embrace aliens and strangers, you don’t enslave them
    • God so loves the world… “If God were not angry at how we were destroying ourselves, He wouldn’t be loving.”

3. Personal

  • We’re not just breaking God’s laws, we’re breaking His heart. He says, Love me because you trust me, obey me because you love me.
  • Sin is always characterized by adultery; it is barest betrayal
  • Money: We put money away because we want a “standing” cushion, just like David wanted a standing army
  • Power: You’ve got to make it up the ladder–the Bible says look down the ladder, and use what I’ve given you to help those below you
  • Do you really want to find your life? Give it away.
  • We’re getting in bed with the world right in front of God.

II. Spiritual Discernment: David has really grown

  • the more mature you are in God, the more you will repent
  • a spiritually mature person can’t imagine life w/o repentance
  • repentance breaks the ice off our birdbaths
  • ultimately the things we build our lives on leave us anxious, wondering if it’s enough
  • Proverbs 33: No king is saved by the size of his army
  • David models the gospel: He is the shepherd who abused his power, but now he’s going to lay his life down for the flock
    • God says, “No, I’ll take a substitute”
    • until finally, God takes out His full wrath and anger on the perfect substitute

Scott Sauls Sermon Notes — Series: The Life of David 2009 — Sermon #13: David and Absalom

Sermon preached on September 6, 2009.

The teaching is based on Psalm 63.

Scott Sauls preached this message. Rev. Sauls is a Lead Pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City; his preaching style is very similar to that of his Senior Pastor, Tim Keller.

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:

Psalm 63 shows us David at a time when his exterior life is in shambles and his interior life has never been better. What are the signs of spiritual health that we see here in David?

Outline: Signs of Spiritual Health

I. A Thirsty Soul

II. A Clinging Soul

III. A Joyful Soul

IV. A Tender Soul

I. A thirsty soul: an insatiable appetite for the things of God

  • Children are a better teacher for you than the best preacher in the world about what it is to be in the Kingdom
    • Kids cry out for nourishment; they demand it
    • Paul said crave the milk of the Word; Ezekiel even said the harsh words felt sweet; Jesus said His nourishment was to do God’s will
  • How do you respond when a worship service goes over or Bible study runs long?

II. A clinging soul (same word as cleaving in Genesis 2)

  • I’d rather die than live without your life, because your life is better than life.
  • David is saying, “If I lost my connection to God, I would die inside, I would lose the will to live.”
  • Everyone leans on a crutch that they use to move on out into the world with confidence
    • There are a million ways to self-medicate
  • David’s crutch for a season was the arms of women; God knew that the only way to knock that crutch out from under David was turning his son against him
    • The things we interpret as God’s judgment on us or the worst things that could ever happen to us could actually be the best things, because they will make us more God dependent.

III. A joyful heart

  • Rev. Sauls used to think reverent meant serious and grumpy
  • Luke 15 — the elder son has been good, reverent; the father says, “Come in and sing and dance and drink. This singing and dancing and welcoming in is a picture of the Kingdom: JOY.
  • How do you tell if you have real joy? It flourishes in hard times.
  • Think and and enumerate the glories of your beloved–it’s a discipline sometimes, something you start even if you don’t feel like it.
  • “the humblest, most well-balanced minds praise most” -C. S. Lewis
  • Praise: seeing what is truly valuable and treating it for the treasure that it is

IV. A tender soul

  • If you don’t want things set right, you’re not emotionally healthy
    • If your God is not just, He is an enabling co-dependent.
  • David, upon Absalom’s death: “Would that I have died instead of you.”
  • David, the recipient of this unchanging covenant love, was once a home-wrecker and a murderer.
    • God delights in forgiving even the most heinous sins to show us the roots, the jaded, twisted, misshapen parts of us, the leprosy
  • Personal Example: Rev. Sauls once came to his car in NYC and found that the window had been bashed out. He then had two options:
    • 1) Resent the city
    • 2) Love the city: this means that I must remember my own history; as I pay for someone else’s sins (by paying to get my car fixed), I must remember with joy that I don’t have to pay for my sins

Conclusion:

Jesus was the true king who went to the desert (as David went to the desert to flee from Absalom). He went willingly, because He clung to your heart. The thought of saving you was worth death to him.

Tim Keller Sermon Notes — Series: Living in Hope — Sermon # 7: Christian Hope and Money

Sermon preached on May 2, 2004.

The teaching is based on 2 Corinthians 8-9.

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:

We use money to hide from ourselves our fear that our life isn’t a story, that it’s just a series of incoherent sensations.

Paul says there’s a way to use your money to make your life an exciting story that you know it’s not just a series of sensations, but to do that you’ve got to see 3 things:

Outline:

I. The Problem with Money

II. The Key to the Problem

III. The Power to Use the Key

I. There’s a problem: Greed

The Bible warns against greed at least 20 times more than it warns against lust, and yet no one has ever come to me concerned about a problem with greed.

Greed versus generosity is a matter of your heart, says Paul.

–a small gift might be a might act of generosity, but a huge gift might just be an attempt to hide the condition of one’s heart

II. There’s a key to the problem: Community

Manna: If you hoarded it, it rotted

Paul: You’ve got to look at your money that you earn as the manna given to the Israelites; the money you earn is a gift—you may say you’ve earned it with hard work, but who made you in a place where such a thing as merit-based pay is possible?

If the money you spend on yourself is much beyond your spiritual needs, it will rot your heart like maggots.

One of the reason none of us thinks we’re greedy is because of who we hang out with. There’s no abstract way to find out whether you’re generous or greedy outside of community. To know people personally who don’t make as much or more than you is going to have an impact on the way you use your money. Who you hang out with has an enormous impact on the way you view your heart and your generosity.

III. There’s a power to use the key: our hope in the future

Paul’s saying we should think of our money as seed—the more we’re able to give, the more we’ll be able to “reap”… but what is the harvest?

–“your righteousness”; in English, this word is used negatively

–using your money to reweave creation; things fall apart, but using money to strengthen the bonds; using money to fill the hungry; the way he uses his money and his power to reweave creation, “and this righteousness endures forever”

–2 Peter 3:13—a new world filled with righteousness, a world in which everything broken has become whole, everything sad has become untrue, everything unwoven has been knit together, nation and nation knit together, no more war, no more poverty, psychologically, who you most long to be and who you actually are will be knit together; your molecules will stop falling apart, stop decaying, our molecules knit together; no unsightliness, you’ll finally be beautiful

—-this is what Jesus did with his power, his miracles—he was always showing us what he came to do—restore creation, toward the new heavens and new earth; his miracles point forward, they’re a sign of the coming kingdom and hope

-Just as Jesus used his power, so we should use ours; suddenly our money isn’t about fidgeting, it makes us part of Jesus’ story; the more we give it away, the more we put it into reweaving the fabric of creation, the more it’s a sign and our whole life is a sign of the new heavens and new earth where indwelleth righteousness

-Jesus is the ultimate treasure and this is why he’s ultimate: he’s the only treasure that you didn’t have to purchase, but that purchased you

-Your money will no longer be your hope, it will be a sign of your hope.