Sermons by Thomas Becker (Page 3)
Say No to Bogus Religion
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.
Something Worth Living For
“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).
Before and After
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).
Christ is Preeminent
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.
What We Pray Matters
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.
Who Are You?
In Christ we are saints, not because of what we do, but because we are set apart for God, His treasured possession. We are faithful brothers in Christ, sharing a deep family bond with all who have put their faith in the Lord. Where are we? We are in Christ, part of a new kingdom, a new mindset. Yet we are also still “in Colossae,” part of a particular earthly community. We are called to engage with the world in order to win it for Christ.
Christ is Supreme
In Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae, he addresses false teachings by proclaiming the truth about Christ and challenges the Colossians to remain in the truth. Jesus is preeminent. In Him we can be redeemed and reconciled to God. Christ can live in us by faith — He is our life, our strength, and our hope.
Hearers and Doers
The person who only hears the Word of God soon forgets what he reads and its truths do not penetrate his life. The one who is both a hearer and a doer of the Word perseveres in the study of God’s word and acts upon it. The filling/control of the Holy Spirit enables the doer to live out the truths of the Word of God.
Asking in Jesus’ Name
How often do you pray and don’t receive the answer you desire? Pastor Becker explains how we can understand another great promise that Jesus gave the disciples during the Upper Room Discourse, “If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” He helps us understand what it means to pray in Jesus’ name and what it means that God is glorified.
Living in Babylon
The story of Daniel’s life is the story of how to survive and thrive in a hostile spiritual environment. Daniel and his three friends developed daily habits and attitudes that prepared them for intense challenges. Daniel relied on the sovereignty of God. He resolved not to defile himself and acted with humility, prudence, and discretion. Finally, he refused to worship and and serve false gods.
The Many are One
Love binds us together as believers and is a witness to the watching world. Paul reminds us that during the Communion, we mutually participate in the cross. We identify with Christ and proclaim that He died in our place to give us His righteousness. Unity must be guarded by excluding ungodly affiliations and divisions.
The First Sign
On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six…
Christmas Changes How We Look at Things
In chapter 10 of the Gospel of Mark, we see Jesus interacting with various groups of people and reminding them (and us) that our hearts are often hardened toward the things of God. It is necessary to receive Him like a child, to put away any idols in our heart which crowd out God, and to serve others. In Mark 10:45 Jesus explains the reason for His entry into our world: For even the Son of Man came not to…
The “Ninth” Beatitude
Romans 4:7-8 Quotes the psalmist, King David, after he cried out to God for forgiveness. These verses include three different Hebrew words for sin, including the idea of having a twisted, rebellious nature, crossing the line (transgressing), and falling short of God’s commands. Because of Christ’s substitutionary death on our behalf, we can be forgiven of these sins and credited with righteousness as a gift of grace. When this happens, we are truly and eternally blessed.
Ordinary People, Extraordinary Things
Acts 8 describes Philip’s encounter with an Ethiopian on a desert road. Philip was an “ordinary guy,” content to stay in the background, yet he was used by God to share the good news of Jesus to a man who later returned to his corner of the earth to impact others. We can be used in similar ways if we will obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit that is proactively entering the lives of others and speak the good news of Jesus.
These Things Must Happen
From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are…
Is Anyone Among You Sick?
How do we respond to suffering and sickness? James 5:13-18 gives instructions that center around expressing our faith in obedience. We are to follow the command of Scriptures to pray for forgiveness and healing, all the while, submitting ourselves to the sovereignty of God.
Giving is Worship
Psalm 96 was written for the day of celebration when the Ark of the Covenant was returned to Jerusalem. David expresses exuberant joy that is based on the knowledge of God and repudiates the idols of the surrounding nations. He worships in awe and longs for others to become worshippers in the same way. When we give to the Lord, we acknowledge that all we have is already God’s, honor Him with exuberant joy, and give back to God for the sake of the nations.
The Love of Christ Compels Me
Paul was a zealous man, first trying to destroy the spread of Christianity, later serving Christ with an equal amount of zeal. His life changed after a personal encounter withe the living Christ. In 2 Corinthians 5 Paul reminds the Corinthians that when we embrace the truth that Christ died to pay the penalty for our sins, our old life dies. We are to now zealously live not for ourselves, but for our Redeemer. The love of Christ compels us to serve him with all that we are.