Showing posts from April, 2024

The Blessings of Life in the Spirit (preaching resource for Trinity Sunday: 5/26/24, Pentecost 1)

This post exegetes Romans 8:1-17, providing context for the 5/26/24 (Trinity Sunday) RCL Epistle reading. This exegesis draws on commentary from John Stott's and "The Expositor’s Bible Commentary." "Pouring of the Holy Spirit" by van Dyk (public domain va Wikimedia Commons) Having discussed in Romans 7 the frustrations of seeking to live for God under the law, Paul now turns in Romans 8 to the blessings that come through living for God in the Spirit.  Contrasting the law and the Spirit, Paul shows that the law has no power to save or to deliver from indwelling sin, whereas the Spirit does both. Thus the apostle points Christians away from living under the law to a life animated, sustained, directed, transformed and enriched by the Holy Spirit.  In Romans 8:1-17 he describes several  glorious blessings of life in the Spirit. No condemnation  Romans 8:1 The first blessing of life in the Spirit is related to what Paul wrote in chapter 5: 'Therefore, since we ha

The Spirit’s Ministry to Us in Suffering (preaching resource for Pentecost Sunday: 5/19/24)

This post exegetes Romans 8:17-27, providing context for the 5/19/24 (Pentecost) RCL Epistle reading. This exegesis draws on commentary from John Stott's and "The Expositor’s Bible Commentary."  "The Descent of the Holy Ghost" (public domain via Wikimedia Commons) Romans 8 addresses the ministry of the Spirit in our sanctification (which, as noted in Romans 7, is something the law is incapable of doing).  This transforming ministry of the Spirit has multiple aspects and brings us multiple blessings—several of which are enumerated in 8:1-17.  But at the end of verse 17, Paul introduces a part of our sanctification that we often find troubling—the suffering we experience as Christians. Why do we suffer in this life?  Paul now turns to this important question and points out that for a Christian, suffering is not meaningless, nor an indication that God has abandoned us—rather, through the indwelling Spirit, our suffering is redemptive—it leads to our progressive tra

Forward in Christ (preaching resource for Ascension Sunday: 5/12/24)

This post exegetes Ephesians 1:15-23, providing context for the 5/12/24 (Ascension Sunday) RCL Epistle reading. This exegesis draws on commentary from Karl Barth.  "Without Purse or Script" by Liz Lemon Swindle (used with artist's permission) Introduction So far in Ephesians, Paul has been explaining the gospel truth that, through the grace of adoption , all humanity has, “in Christ,” been included in the life and love of our triune God. Now in Ephesians 1:15-23, Paul presents his prayerful hopes for those who know and believe this truth. Note Karl Barth’s translation of this passage:  Therefore, since I learned about the faith which exists among you in the Lord Jesus and about your love for all the saints, I have not ceased to give thanks for you and to remember you in my prayers, that the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of God, the illumination of the eyes of your heart, that you

The Four-Fold Fruit of Christian Maturity (preaching resource for Easter 6: 5/5/24)

This post exegetes 1 John 4:17-5:5, providing context for the 5/5/24 (Easter 6) RCL Epistle reading. This exegesis draws on commentary from Warren Wiersbe ("Bible Expository Commentary"), Stephen Smalley ("Word Biblical Commentary") and Leon Morris ("New Bible Commentary").  "Last Supper" by Liz Lemon Swindle (used with artist's permission) Introduction  In 1 John 4:16, the apostle makes this astounding statement: “ God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him .” God is the loving communion of the Father, Son and Spirit. Through the incarnation of the Son, this communion includes all humanity. To abide (live) in God, is thus to participate as God’s dear children in a divine-human communion of love. And now in verse 17, John urges us to grow in this participation whereby God’s love “is made complete” (mature; given full expression) in and through us. John thus defines Christian maturity not as adherence to external rules or