Sermons by Thomas Becker
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.
Colossians 4:5-6 reminds us to be wise in our lifestyle before a watching world, truly caring for others and honoring the Lord in all things. This type of admirable, attractive conduct should lead to opportunities for outreach. Pray for such opportunities and for wisdom to share our convictions graciously and with respect.
Prayer should be like a constantly flowing river— a natural undercurrent in our lives. We are to be devoted (standing at the ready), watchful (vigilant), and thankful (recognizing all things come from God). Prayer and outreach are connected so remember that “prayer is the primary work of God’s people.” and pray for open doors and clarity of speech.
Self-made, counterfeit religion is powerless to produce change in our lives. Lists of regulations, mystical experiences, asceticism-all these should be neither a foundation for salvation, nor a way to measure the progress of ourselves and others, nor a remedy for besetting sin. Instead, it’s essential to cling to Christ and draw near to Him everyday. It is also important to find and give encouragement to others in the body of Christ, the church.
“Christ in you, the hope of glory.” This is the message to which Paul had a single-minded devotion, the Good News that we can all be reconciled to God. Paul was convinced that this message worth dying for and worth living for with all his energy. We too, are to be Christ’s ambassadors, sharing in the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Saving faith has three essential components, all described in Colossians 1:21-23. We must recognize our condition apart from Christ, alienated from God and falling short of His holiness. The next step is reconciliation, in genuine repentance accepting the forgiveness that we could not earn for ourselves. Once we have found peace with God, we must continue to move foward in confident hope, steadfastly walking with Christ.
Our world, filled with war and injustice, awaits the reconciliation of all things to God mentioned in Colossians 1:19-20. Sin brought personal separation from God and disruption to the universe (Romans 8:20-23). But God initiated reconciliation through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. The final restoration will occur when the enemies of Christ will one day be destroyed (1Corinthians 15:24).
Colossians 1:15-20 provides a glimpse into the majesty and glory of Jesus. He is preeminent in His very being – the image and manifestation of the invisible God. He is preeminent over all all of creation – the source and force that holds the universe together. He is preeminent over the church, its head, ruler, and guide. Let us pursue Christ over all else.
Paul in Colossians 1:9-12 encourages the Colossians to “Live a life worthy of the Lord.” We are to conduct ourselves in balance with all that Jesus is by bearing fruit in every good work and growing in a personal, experiential knowledge of God. We can be strengthened by His glorious might, filled with thankfulness and in tune with God’s will.