The Joy of Being Where You've Always Wanted to Be
Songs for the Journey (3): Sermons on the Psalms of Ascents
Reading: Psalm 122
Have you ever experienced the joy being somewhere you've always wanted to be & the surreal excitement of knowing you’re actually there? That will help you understand how Jewish pilgrims felt when they arrived in Jerusalem! What we essentially have in Psalm 122 is a song expressing the sheer joy of being in Jerusalem & the unity experienced there, as well as prayer for the peace & security of Jerusalem. From a whole Bible perspective such joy & unity will be fully realised, & this prayer fully answered, when as God’s people we stand within New Jerusalem with all the redeemed of every nation, tribe & tongue to worship under Christ our eternal King!
Songs for the Journey (2): Sermons on the Psalms of Ascents
Reading: Psalm 121
Psalm 121 is all about knowing God’s protection as his pilgrim people. Six times the author uses the Hebrew word ‘shámar’ to speak of God’s protection. The Psalm opens with a declaration of where the Psalmists help comes from (1-2). It comes from the maker of heaven & earth, pointing us to the truth of God’s infinite power! In context the specific help needed is protection. The God who created the hills is well able to protect pilgrims from any dangers lurking in the hills! The Psalm declares that as your all-powerful protector God will watch over all your steps (3-4), is right beside you in the challenges of the day & night (5-6) & will ultimately preserve you from all evil, in all of life, forevermore (7-8)!
Songs for the Journey (1): Sermons on the Psalms of Ascents
Reading: Psalm 120
Psalm 120 is the first of a collection of Psalms known as the Songs of Ascents (Psalm 120-134). This group of Psalms, written at different times by different artists, became the songs Jewish pilgrims sang on their way up to Jerusalem for major festivals. Psalm 120 was originally written by someone a long way from Jerusalem, likely in the time of the exile, so it's fitting this Psalm begins this collection. The author is clearly distressed with lies & deceit & has had his fill of residing among those opposed to God’s way of peace, he expresses all this very strongly. It’s okay for us to feel like this & express it to God in prayer. However, like the Psalmist we also need to trust in God's deliverance, leave justice with him & remain committed to peace! This Psalm helps us remember as Christians we do not fit comfortably in the present world because we are resident aliens, pilgrims on our way to the New Jerusalem!
This message talks of how the Gospel is of first importance to the Christian, a Gospel which calls us to have faith in Jesus' saving power. Central to the Gospel is the truth of Christ's resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus strengthens our faith through our struggles & as we live out our lives in his strength. It also brings much needed hope & shows us the goal of our faith! The Christian is born again to a living hope, has an inheritance kept in heaven, is shielded by God's power & can know inexpressible & glorious joy all because of the hope of the resurrection!
Resilient (10): Sermons on Paul's second letter to Timothy
Reading: 2 Timothy 4:9-22
If you were stuck on a desert Island & were only allowed three things with you what three things would you choose? Paul wasn’t stuck on a desert Island, but he was in prison for his faith & if you were to ask him what three things he would want he would say Timothy, his cloak & his books. This closing section of 2 Timothy shows us Paul was no superhuman, he had the same basic needs that we all have. He knows the time of his departure has come (4:6) & he is longing for human company even though he has known the profound reality of Jesus standing by him. In these verses we also see his commitment to his Christ-given mission right to the end, that “the message might be fully proclaimed & all the Gentiles might hear it.”
Reading: 1 Chronicles 4:9-10
Resilient (9): Sermons on Paul's second letter to Timothy
Reading: 2 Timothy 4:1-8
Timothy’s charge to “preach the word” comes just after Paul reminds him of the power & sufficiency of Scripture. The Scriptures are God’s central means for leading us to saving faith in Christ & discipling us towards maturity in Christ! So much so that Paul told Timothy the Scriptures ‘super-equip’ him for ministry! This is why Paul charged Timothy to preach the word in season & out of season & this is why preaching the word is such a vital aspect of Christian worship.
Resilient (8): Sermons on Paul's second letter to Timothy
Reading: 2 Timothy 3:10-17
In this section of 2 Timothy Paul is telling Timothy how he can be thoroughly equipped for every good work God has called him to! Paul points Timothy to the power & sufficiency of Scripture to not only make him wise for salvation but to completely equip him to be God's man in difficult times. Paul wants Timothy to see that Scripture ‘super-equips’ him for the work of the Gospel! This is why it is so vital ‘the man of God’ be a man of the Bible! For when combined with faith in Christ, the Bible is sufficient for leading people to both salvation & maturity in Christ.
Resilient (7): Sermons on Paul's second letter to Timothy
Reading: 2 Timothy 3:1-9
When the New Testament talks about “the last days” it’s talking about the whole period between the first & second comings of Christ. In other words, it is talking about the period every Christian lives in. At the beginning of the third chapter of 2 Timothy Paul writes “that in the last days there will be times of difficulty”! The phrase “times of difficulty” literally means times of darkness & distress. Paul then goes on to give a shocking portrait of such times. Church leaders like Timothy need to especially be prepared for such times, so they can lead church in & through them!
Resilient (6): Sermons on Paul's second letter to Timothy
Reading: 2 Timothy 2:20-26
Do you desire to be a useful Christian? Do you long to be used for God’s special purposes? If so then this message is for you. In 2 Timothy 2 Paul has provided six analogies which help define the who, what & how of Christian ministry – solider, athlete, farmer, worker, vessel & servant. Together these analogies help paint a picture of the perspective, priorities & character church leaders especially should exhibit. This sermon focuses on the last two analogies which underline the purity & people skills needed for useful gospel ministry, qualities that describe what a useful Christian looks like!
As Christian’s we find strength in unity…brothers & sisters dwelling in peace, & knowing the joy of the LORD (Psalm 133:1). Unity is important for those who believe in the God of the Bible: we are called to be united with each other and with the Lord. The Letter to the Ephesians was written to a newly established church. Paul shows that Christians worship a redemptive & trinitarian God. These are two important facets of what it means to worship One God together with our brothers & sisters in Christ. Unity in the Church is also important for the mission of the Gospel on the earth and for the expansion of God’s kingdom, and ultimately for His glory. These drives should outweigh hangs-up we might have about working with and being united with God’s people.
Reading: Ephesians 4:1-6
Resilient (5): Sermons on Paul's second letter to Timothy
Reading: 2 Timothy 2:14-19
In the second half of 2 Timothy 2 Paul uses another three analogies - worker, vessel & servant – to help highlight the qualities a Christian minister should exhibit as he endures for the Gospel. This message looks at the first of these analogies: Like a good worker a Christian minister should handle God’s truth with accuracy & clarity! He must not get sidetracked with theological disputes or discouraged by false-teachers. Instead he is to keep focused on rightly dividing God's truth while trusting God to keep his own people safe from error.
When we feel like we're surrounded or overwhelmed by life's circumstances, are we more like Elisha who could see the army of the Lord encamped around him or like his servant, overwhelmed & in need of someone to pray for us so we can see beyond our circumstances.
Reading: 2 Kings 6:15-17
Resilient (4): Sermons on Paul's second letter to Timothy
Reading: 2 Timothy 2:3-13
A Christian minister’s mindset for ministry plays a vital role in his endurance in ministry. A right view of himself & what he is called to is so vital. In these verses Paul seems to be giving Timothy a mindset for ministry – a way of viewing himself & what he does – that will help him endure for the gospel. So, he gives Timothy three analogies for ministry, three assurances in ministry & a song to help keep him strong. Things which can also help every Christian set their mind for endurance!
Resilient (3): Sermons on Paul's second letter to Timothy
Reading: 2 Timothy 1:13-2:2
The reading for this sermon begins with Paul telling Timothy the Gospel is now in his hand & ends with Timothy being exhorted to pass it on to other "faithful men" who will be able to teach "others also". One of the things Paul wants Timothy to understand in this letter is that the gospel 'baton' is now in his hand. Paul’s lap is run & it’s over to Timothy now, so he's writing to make sure Timothy takes a firm grip of the gospel, runs well with it & passes it on to other faithful people. . Paul is saying what he says to strengthen Timothy's grip on the gospel. In a very real sense he is saying; “Don’t drop the gospel.”
Listen to AGF audio sermons. If you have any questions or would like to chat to someone after listening to a sermon please get in contact.
Use the search box to seach for topics etc.