Category: Sermons

A Stranger in a Strange Land (Acts 28:1-16)

Our world and culture have changed dramatically. It used to be normal to go to church. Then, it was something people didn’t care about. Now, if you say you follow Jesus, you’re likely to be thought strange. Or people will think you are a bigot.

It’s not unusual for us as Christians to find ourselves the odd ones out, at work, at school, or among our family and friends. This experience of cultural exile is familiar to believers in all ages.

In Acts 28, Paul finds himself in the minority, a stranger in a strange land. What does God want us to be and do when we are the odd ones out?

  1. Expect Suspicion and Wonder (v1-6)
  2. Seek the Welfare of the City (v7-10)
  3. Find Fellowship with Believers (v11-14)
  4. Thank God for Promises Kept (v15-16)

Sunday 16th February 2020

Review questions:

  • Why might people be suspicious of Christians?
  • Followers of Jesus are ___________________________ in this world (Hebrews 11:13)
  • When do I feel outnumbered or in the minority?
  • How can I do good to those around me?
  • The best good I can do I to tell about _______________________ (Matthew 28:18-20)
  • Had Paul preached in Rome before his arrest (Romans 1:7-15)? Yes/No
  • The commission to witness to Jesus was for apostles only (Acts 1:8): True/False
  • I can fellowship with believers by _________________________________________ (v14)
  • What promises does God keep to me (v15)?
  • A question I have: 
  • A truth to share: 
  • Something to pray about: 
  • How I will change:  

Exactly As We Have Been Told (Acts 27:1-44)

We ask “Why? Why do we have accidents? Why do we have time off work? Why do we get cancer? Why do relationships break down? Why do children die before their parents?”

And we ask “When? When will things be how they should be?”

Acts 27 is a situation that should not have been. But it was. And it helps us to know why God allows Christians to suffer.

It teaches us that:

  1. We Face Big Problems (v1-20)
  2. God Always Keeps His Promises (v21-44)
  3. God Gives Better Promises Than a Trial and a Shipwreck (v23)

Sermon Questions:

  • God doesn’t always take away trouble but He uses it to give ________ (Romans 5:1-5)
  • We can stand alone if we ____________ to God and are His ____________ (v23, Galatians 1:10)
  • I can find ______________ in God doing what He plans (v20, James 4:13-15)
  • Paul encouraged the crew by telling them about God’s ____________________ (v21-26)
  • God’s Word never lacks ________________________________ or ___________________ (v25)
  • Is it godly to ‘Let go and let God’ (v34)? Yes/No. Why?  
  • How can I show my faith (v35)?
  • All of the prisoners were saved because ______________________ was on the ship (v43)
  • God kept all His promises by Jesus suffering the _______________ (2 Corinthians 1:20)
  • A question I have:
  • A truth to share:
  • Something to pray about:
  • How I will change:  

When Going to Church Makes Everything Worse (1 Corinthians 11:17-34)

‘I’m not a very good Christian. There are days when I don’t stop to pray. There are days when I’m too busy to read the Bible.’ Do you ever feel like that?

‘I’m not a very good Christian, but at least I got to church this week.’ But would it surprise you to hear that there are ways of coming to church that are totally useless? We can get together, sing, pray, and hear God’s Word, or even celebrate the Lord’s Supper, and it can be a total waste of time.

Here in 1 Corinthians 11 as Paul recounts the directions for how we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, he tells the church at Corinth that what they were doing was not the Lord’s Supper (v20). No, they weren’t using coke and skittles (!) like one church I’ve heard of. The problem was much deeper.

We can do what God commands us to do, but our attitudes completely undermine God’s purpose. That’s why God warns us here that these attitudes are deadly!

So, how can we recognise these deadly attitudes in the church and in ourselves?

Here are three questions to ask ourselves:

  • Do You Dishonour the Lord’s Body? (v17-22, 33-34)
  • Do You Proclaim the Lord’s Death? (v23-26)
  • Do You Discipline Yourself? (v27-32)

If we honestly answer these questions, God can reveal to us the deadly attitudes that make things worse by going to church.

Sunday 2nd February 2020

Review questions:

  • We may do what God commands, but our ___________________ can undermine it (v20)
  • We despise the church of God by putting ________________________________ first (v22)
  • I can honour the church by planning to _________________ and __________ others (v21)
  • Why do we need physical signs of the good news (v24-25)?   __________________________________________________________________________
  • The Lord’s Supper remembers the past (v24-25):
  • The Lord’s Supper remembers the future (v26):
  • Examining and discipling requires taking practical steps to ________________ (v27-29)
  • What will I stop and what will I do instead (v32)?  
  • A question I have:
  • A truth to share:
  • Something to pray about:
  • How I will change:  

Sleep is a Gift from God (Psalm 127:1-5)

As you look back on 2019, how do you assess it?
And what do you expect in 2020?
There’s a lot of talk about being blessed today, even from people who don’t believe in a God who can bless them.
How would you know if you were blessed?
How do you know that God loves you? If the Lord of all the universe loves you, what proof would there be in your life?
So, what does is look like to live knowing that God loves you? Two truths should be obvious to anyone who sees you:

1. You Can’t Achieve True Blessing (v1-2)
2. The LORD Gives True Blessings (v2-5)

Sunday 29th December 2019

Review questions:

  • We love to think that we can make ourselves ______________________ (v1)
  • God ____________ and ___________ (v1)
  • True blessing cannot come from working ____________________ or from ______________________ ourselves (v2)
  • Does doing more make me more productive or satisfied (v2)? Yes/No
  • Sleep shows God ___________ me (v2)
  • I can work _____________fully because God is at work (v1-2)
  • When I run after blessings, __________ and ______________ often suffer (v2-3)
  • Does God sleep (Psalm 121:4)? Yes/No
  • I’m responsible to get enough _______
  • What do you do just because you are family?
  • ________ share burdens, joys, & goals
  • Make your children ___________ (v4-5)
  • A question I have:
  • A truth to share:
  • Something to pray about:
  • How I will change:

‘My Eyes Have Seen Your Salvation’ (Luke 2:22-35)

What do you think when you see a new baby?

I usually notice whether they have much hair or not. Maybe you’re trying to see whether they look more like their Mum or their Dad.

How do you react to a baby?

Do you wonder what they’ll grow up to be?

We’ve just read what people thought of Jesus when he was born. Mary and Joseph took Him to the Temple to dedicate Him to the Lord. And they met Simeon, a man who was waiting for God to save His people.

The Holy Spirit made sure he went to the Temple that day. There was so much going on: people praying, others talking, priests making sacrifices. And there among them were Mary & Joseph. And there was Jesus, the most important person of all. What do you think about Him?

What did Simeon think about Him? Simeon looked at this 8-day-old child and praised God, “My eyes have seen your salvation!” (v30).

So, what do you see when you look at Jesus? Do you see a good man? A wise teacher? A myth? What do you think of Jesus?

The message today has only one point: Seeing Jesus is seeing salvation! That’s what Simeon was looking for. And that’s what we all need.

Sunday 22nd December 2019

  • Simeon was waiting for God to _________________________________ (v25, 30)
  • I think Jesus is Jesus always ___________ (John 5:19)
  • What did God promise (v29, Genesis 3:15)?
  • I find peace in ______________________
  • Jesus never _______________________ His peace (John 14:27)
  • Simeon could die in peace because God’s _______________ is secure (v29)
  • Jesus reveals my _____________ (v35)
  • We need a __________________________ to take away our sin (Hebrews 9:22)
  • Sin earns ____________ (Romans 6:23)
  • Because Jesus died, I can ___________ to God (Luke 23:45, Hebrews 10:20)
  • A question I have:
  • A truth to share:
  • Something to pray about:
  • How I will change:

Is It Incredible that God Raises the Dead? (Acts 26:1-32)

Christmas is a time of repetition: the favourite carols and the familiar Christmas story. By December, the TV channels have pulled their original content and put on repeats. We repeat the stress, the busyness.

And Acts 26 could seem like another repeat. This is Paul’s fifth trial. And it’s the third time Luke records Paul’s conversion. Was he being paid by the word?

No, Paul turns to his conversion for two reasons: to defend his ministry and to persuade his judges to believe. The repeat underlines what it means to be a Christian. The repeat tells us why we should be Christians. The repeat shows us how to be a Christian:

  1. Hope in God’s Promise (v1-8)
  2. Receive God’s Forgiveness (v9-18)
  3. Demonstrate Your Repentance (v19-23)
  4. Are You Persuaded to Believe? (v24-32)

Sunday 15th December 2019

Review questions:

  • Paul was _____________________ (v4-5)
  • What is God’s promise (v6-8, Daniel 12:2)?
  • Where will Christians be before the resurrection (Philippians 1:23 & 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)?
  • Who sins (Romans 3:23)?
  • What is sin (v14)?
  • We receive forgiveness when we ________________________ (v20, 17:30)
  • “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found __________________________; and left _____________.” (G.K. Chesterton).
  • Who is Jesus?
  • Shame, regret, embarrassment, and apologies are not _____________ (v18)
  • Forgiveness is a ______________ (v18)
  • A question I have:
  • A truth to share:
  • Something to pray about:
  • How I will change:

When to Die, When to Try (Acts 25:1-27)

It is sometimes said that if we really have faith, then troubles of life won’t trouble us. That if we believe hard enough, then God will deliver us, God will give us whatever we ask help for, whether it is trouble with our health, trouble with our family or our businesses. That what we really need is to have more faith, and then God will give us the things that we really desire.

And people go so far as to say that there is really no need for Christians to suffer or to be sick. If they have enough faith, that won’t happen. Just declare that they will be well, and they will be well.

But that doesn’t stack up against what the New Testament teaches, does it?

Think of what Paul writes to the church in 2 Corinthians 11:24-27:

24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; for a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.”

A man of great faith, like Paul, can still write of the sufferings that he goes through in the name of the Lord Jesus.

We realise that that’s not the way that things should be, but it is very often the way that things are.

That’s not reflection on Paul’s faith or on the measure of our faith either, if we suffer, even sickness, even trouble.

As we come to Acts 25, we find a situation that should not be. Things are not fair. Life has not turned out the way that Paul would have expected it to.

We do the same. We expect the best of people. We don’t expect disaster around every corner. Yet, life doesn’t turn out the way we imagine that it would.

At the end of Acts 24, we left Paul in Caesarea. He has been declared innocent, yet he rots in jail for two years. How’s that fair? Yet, that’s what happens.

What should we think of that? Should we think that maybe his faith wasn’t as strong as it seemed?

No, it’s actually an opportunity to deepen our faith!

What should we learn as we come to this passage? What must we believe when life seems totally unfair?

  1. Thank God for Good Procedure (v1-5)
  2. Don’t Fear the Truth (v6-12)
  3. What’s Your Issue? (v13-27)

Sunday 8th December 2019

  • Paul was in prison ____________ years (24:27)
  • Why did the Jews want Paul sent to Jerusalem (v2-3)?
  • “God is not a God of _______________________ but of ______________________” (1 Corinthians 14:33)
  • What evidence and witnesses were there against Paul (v7)?
  • What should have happened?
  • What did Festus want (v9)?
  • Why did Paul appeal to Caesar (v11-12, 9:15, 23:11)?
  • Festus knew Paul was ________________________ (v25)
  • What did Paul and the Jews disagree about (v19)?
  • The issue I keep coming back to is _____________________
  • A question I have:
  • A truth to share:
  • Something to pray about:
  • How I will change: