Sermons by Thomas Becker
God’s pattern of redemption — God reconciling the world to Himself — is not a pattern of might and power. Just as Christ suffered shame and reproach on the cross, we are to identify with Him in suffering as we are sent as ambassadors of reconciliation. We should fix our eyes on what is unseen and eternal, view others as having intrinsic value, and give our resources sacrificially, so that God’s glory may increase and that others may find the hope of eternal life.
Christ the Word, the eternal second person of the Trinity, took upon Himself mortality and all human emotions and experiences. The God of creation revealed in Genesis 1:1, John 1:1, and Revelation 1:8 bridged the gap between God and humanity that we might know Him and find forgiveness through Him.
The living hope that Peter proclaims in 1 Peter 1:3 is the hope of a certain future that is based on the finished work of Christ and is established by His resurrection. Hope flows out of personal transformation and fixes our gaze on future certainties. We are to be alert, ready for action, conforming our lives to the pattern of Christ.
The book of 1 Peter was written to believers whose identity, values, and mindset set them apart from those around them. Peter instructed those believers to not fear what the world fears, but to have a reverent fear of the Lord that is rooted in love, results in holiness, and empowers for witness.
The early church persistently proclaimed the Gospel in the power of the the Holy Spirit, depending on God to open minds and transform hearts. A witnessing church is a Spirit-filled authentic community, faithfully praying and living a witnessing lifestyle despite persecution.
The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the keystone of our faith. We can be certain of the resurrection based on the fulfilment of prophecy, the testimony of many eye witnesses, and the transformation of believers’ lives. The resurrection proves the veracity and unity of the Scriptures. It authenticates the deity of Christ, makes our salvation possible, and promises future hope.
Peter’s message in Acts 2 focuses on “Jesus Christ and him crucified.” Jesus, a man of humble beginnings, made like us yet without sin. Jesus, whose mighty works and miracles established His divine identity and authority. Jesus, crucified according to the plan of God, taking the penalty for our sin. Jesus, raised up from the dead and ready to bring salvation to all who repent and call upon Him.
Let us be a church on mission together for the glory of God, present together in spirit while physically separated. A church on mission prays and provides care and encouragement. It edifies and exhorts one another to practice integrity even while alone.
Jesus heals a deaf and mute man in Mark 7:31-37. Jesus moves the man out of the crowd and interacts with him, demonstrating His compassion and healing power and affirming the man’s worth and individuality. In a similar way, Christ entered into the world of humanity to reveal Himself to us and save us from our sin so that we might have a personal relationship with Him.
In Mark 7:24-30 Jesus speaks with a Gentile woman who sought healing for her daughter. At first glance, the response of Jesus may be surprising and confusing, but in reality Jesus is not rejecting or deriding her. Jesus affirms her faith and promises healing for her child. God’s blessings promised to Abraham were given first to the Jews but included all people on Earth. We, too, are the recipients of God’s generous grace, mercy, and blessing.
The healing ministry of Jesus in Gennesaret demonstrates His authority, power, and compassion. The people run to all the surrounding areas to find those who need Jesus. Let us also expend our time and efforts so that others may see the Savior. Our compassion and prayers should help the world recognize Christ in and through us.
How can we overcome fear that tries to take root in our hearts and lives? We are reminded in Hebrews 13:5-8 of the promise of Jesus to never leave or forsake us. No one can do anything of consequence to us in light of eternity, and Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. So fear not! Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you…
The disciples had many inaccurate expectations about the Kingdom of God. They wanted Jesus to powerfully crush His enemies and set up a physical kingdom on Earth. In His parables, however, Jesus revealed a very different vision for His kingdom.
The Parable of the Sower in Mark 4:1-20 could also titled the Parable of the Soils. Seeds are sown whenever people are told about Jesus and the Gospel, but not all of those seeds bear fruit.
What is justification? God, motivated by grace, declares guilty people to be righteous. God is both just and the justifier, sending His son to be the atonement for our sin.
In Hebrews 13:7-8, we are encouraged to remember those who have influenced us and established us in the faith. We are to consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus is the source of the grace that is manifested in the outcomes of their lives. We should lean on Christ, never giving up, devoting ourselves to teaching and sharing the Word of God.
The Gospel is an announcement of good news. Salvation is our rescue from guilt, separation from God, slavery to sin, and eternal death. Salvation is also rescue for life, adoption as children of God, and blessedness. The Gospel message is filled with the inherent power of God for the salvation of all who believe.
In Psalm 32 King David expresses the blessedness of forgiveness. David had committed sins of which the consequences of those sins still occurred, but he received forgiveness and a restored relationship with the Father when he cried out to God. Righteousness comes through faith to us as well. It is credited to us as a gift, apart from works.
Mark 1:14-15 marks a turning point in history when Jesus proclaims, “The time has come.” Israel had been waiting for the Messiah for thousands of years, the Promised One who would suffer and die for our sins and bring deliverance from sin. Our response to the sacrificial death of Christ on our behalf should be one of repentance and faith, awe and worship.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15 (ESV) We are reminded often to be thankful in Colossians. Although God does not need our thanks, we benefit from being thankful. It is important to remember our own helplessness and dependence on God for everything that we have, especially the salvation which we have received as an unearned gift.