Preaching Connection: Evangelism

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Our Knowledge of God

Baillie disputes Barth–whom Baillie takes to think that regeneration miraculously recreates an image of God in people who had wholly lacked it. But here Barth confuses “the creative and the gracious activity of God.” Baillie: when God regenerates someone it is a miracle all right. But it’s a miracle of grace working on existent creation—existent...
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Additional content related to Evangelism

Matthew 9:35-10:8 (9-23)

Packed into this passage is a description of not only the calling we have as Jesus’s disciples to be people who proclaim the good news through our actions, it also gives us a real-time picture of how Jesus feels for us. We don’t have nearly as many live-action emotive moments from the Christ in the…

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Acts 2:1-21

It was an annual holiday and so people knew what to expect.  That’s how it goes with regularly occurring events.  Yes, there can be minor variations but when it’s Christmastime, we all have our typical ways of celebrating the occasion and the same goes for Easter or Thanksgiving or even the Fourth of July.  We…

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John 4:5-42

Last week, we listened in on a philosophical conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus, and here, we see its message lived out in practice. In fact, over the next few weeks of the lectionary, we are going to watch as Jesus reveals himself to people on the margins, experiencing some sort of separation. Against the backdrop…

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John 1:29-42

Our text this week is yet another transition story between John and Jesus. This time, John “pushes his disciples out of the nest” by urging them to follow Jesus, the Lamb of God. We are to understand that John has already baptized Jesus, since he’s seen the sign God told him about: the Holy Spirit…

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Acts 11:1-18

Luke is hands-down one of the best writers ever used by the Holy Spirit to compose a portion of Scripture.  His narratives in the first two chapters of his Gospel alone prove as much.  Other examples of narrative wizardry abound in Luke and Acts.  So it is a bit odd in Acts 11 to encounter…

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Luke 24:1-12

Comments, Questions and Observations When we begin reading this account it might seem like it is an anonymous group headed to the tomb at dawn—the members of the group aren’t named until all the way in verse 10. But, we know from the close of the previous chapter, as they followed Jesus’ body to his…

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Luke 4:14-21

Throughout the Gospel of Luke, the Holy Spirit’s presence with Jesus is described in various ways. In verse 14, Jesus has just returned from his post-baptism time of temptation in the desert. Upon his return, Jesus takes up the mantle of teacher, filled with the Spirit for the work of sharing God’s truth in synagogues….

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Matthew 15:(10-20), 21-28

Years ago F. F. Bruce published a book titled The Hard Sayings of Jesus.  That title prompted a friend of mine to comment, “Hard sayings?  I didn’t know there were any easy ones!” But, of course, it is true that some of what Jesus had to say was easier to puzzle out than some other…

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Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

In between Jesus’ telling of this famous parable and his own point-by-point explanation of the parable’s meaning and symbolism there comes an eight-verse section that the Lectionary would have us skip but that contains some of the most intriguing material in this part of Matthew 13.  Mainly what Jesus says there is that the seemingly…

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Acts 8:26-40

If the Holy Spirit is a bit like a stone dropped into the middle of a pond, then Acts 8:26-40’s story is like one of the concentric rings that ripples out from it and across God’s world.  But it’s only one of the first of a series of rings that continues to spread to this…

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Matthew 15:(10-20) 21-28

Years ago F.F. Bruce published a book titled The Hard Sayings of Jesus.   That title prompted a friend of mine to comment, “Hard sayings?  I didn’t know there were any easy ones!” But, of course, it is true that some of what Jesus had to say was easier to puzzle out than some other things. …

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Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

In between Jesus’ telling of this famous parable and his own point-by-point explanation of the parable’s meaning and symbolism there comes an eight-verse section that the Lectionary would have us skip but that contains some of the most intriguing material in this part of Matthew 13.  Mainly what Jesus says there is that the seemingly…

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Acts 2:1-21

Just before he ascended to the heavenly realm Jesus promised his disciples they’d his “witnesses … to the ends of the earth.”  Yet nothing any of them had done or said up to that point had even hinted that they were up to that task. In fact, the gospels consistently portray Jesus’ disciples as a…

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Luke 10:1-11, 16-20

All things being equal, would you consider it a good idea to interrupt Jesus? Does our Savior need cutting, a bit of shushing now and then, or perhaps some retrospective editing? The Lectionary seems to think so and with all due respect to the good folks who compile the Revised Common Lectionary, I can’t see…

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Galatians 2:1-14

To be differentiated as an individual is to be defined and connected at the same time.  The principle of self-differentiation comes to us from the family systems theory.  Aside from Christ, no human being is completely differentiated.  We all, the apostle Paul included, could be plotted somewhere on the scale of differentiation of self.  Sometimes…

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Mark 4:26-34

Like the message they convey, the two parables in this part of Mark 4 are mighty small.  This is no Parable of the Prodigal Son that takes up the better part of a whole chapter.  Jesus manages to convey something about the smallness of the kingdom via two stories that are themselves pretty tiny.  And…

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Acts 10:44-48

It sure was a lot easier to get baptized back then.   Last week we saw Philip spend a relatively brief period of time explaining to some Ethiopian a passage in Isaiah and next thing you know—at the stranger’s request no less—Philip is baptizing him and the man went “on his way rejoicing.”   Now in this…

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Acts 4:5-12

Comments and Observations If only the Common Lectionary had gone on just one more verse! Stopping shy of verse 13 deprives us from seeing one of the great passages of the Bible. Because it is there that the ruling authorities—who are seeking to hush up the apostles—find themselves powerfully impressed that the people doing all…

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Philippians 2:5-11

Comments, Observations, and Questions For this sermon commentary, I am going to zero in on the question asked by the Palm Sunday crowd in Matthew 21:10.  As Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, surrounded by the acclamation of the crowd, “the whole city was stirred and asked, ‘Who is this?’”  The crowds around Jesus…

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