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St. Andrew United Methodist Church - Sermon Study Guides

Author: St. Andrew United Methodist Church

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Listen weekly to sermon study guides from St. Andrew United Methodist Church
109 Episodes
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One of the most paradoxical of all of Jesus’ teachings is this: “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” How can we lose life by finding it, or find life by losing it? Consider: we spend our lives trying to find the “good life,” yet never achieve the fulfillment we seek. Jesus invites Nicodemus to be born again, but in order to be born again, we must die to the old self first.
Is God all-powerful or all-loving? The presence of evil in the world would seem to nullify one or the other: either God is all-powerful but allows sin, and therefore doesn’t fully love us, or God is all-loving but lacks power to remove sin. Since it is hard to reconcile the two, we tend to minimize one at the expense of the other. How are we to resolve the tension between a God who can do anything and a God who is pure love?
Somehow, we Christians have come to believe the idea that when we follow Jesus, our life should be free from trouble. Yet Jesus, nor the Scriptures, ever make such a promise. In fact, the Bible tells us that to everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven, including both mourning and laughing. What if the full Christian life includes both sorrow and joy - sometimes at the same time?
Salvation comes through faith alone. This is a basic concept of Christian faith and was the cornerstone of the Protestant reformation 500 years ago. Yet, as German theologian and Nazi resister Dietrich Bonhoeffer reminded us, grace without response is cheap. God’s mercy compels us to act. How are we to resolve the tension between the call to simply believe and the call to do something about it?
Easter - Study Guide

Easter - Study Guide

2019-04-2011:48

Entrance - Study Guide

Entrance - Study Guide

2019-04-1416:54

The Christian belief that Jesus came to save the world and establish the kingdom of God is a given. But what does “kingdom” mean? For first century Jews, a kingdom didn’t mean a state of truth, spirit and relationship, but a physical ruling government. His followers expected Jesus to begin a revolution: attack the Romans and seize political control of the region. But that wasn’t Jesus’ plan at all. When Jesus entered Jerusalem, he had a different plan in mind.
Downward - Study Guide

Downward - Study Guide

2019-04-0716:21

It’s typical to think of true Christianity as a pure transfiguration experience. But the truest experience of Jesus isn’t found on the mountaintop, but down in the valley and in the grime of the city, at the foot of the cross. We love the shiny moments, but Christianity isn’t shiny and smooth, but dingy and gritty, among the people of the world, whom God loves.
Release - Study Guide

Release - Study Guide

2019-03-3015:38

The Jewish people were waiting for a Messiah to release them from Roman oppression. But Jesus had a different image of what it meant to be released. When he travels to the east side of the Sea of Galilee and heals a man chained in a graveyard, he shows us what it really looks like to be a part of God’s kingdom. As Jesus sends out the man released from his demons, so he sends us - healed, released, and unqualified, yet ready. 
Healing - Study Guide

Healing - Study Guide

2019-03-2413:26

Some assume the story of Jesus is only about his death. The story of Jesus is also about serving, which is about life. Ministry is not only for the select few. Even when you have every excuse to say no, Jesus is still calling you to serve others.
Jesus entered into human flesh without our modern technologies but with the same temptations. Temptation is as much a part of his first-century world as it is our 21st century world, because temptation is part of the Christian life. It is not that we are tempted, but how we respond that matters.
The story of Christ begins with the shadow of the cross falling across the manger. God knew his death was going to happen the day he entered into human flesh. While we may assume being a good Christian brings health and wealth, suffering and crucifixion are part of life, for Jesus and for us. But there is no suffering we experience that Jesus hasn’t known.
Talking about money makes us nervous because while we want it to be permanent, it is not. Money is a sign of faith. Rather than something to idolize or something to reject, Jesus teaches us that money comes from God, and how we tackle our money says a lot about how much we trust in God and how well we treat other people.
The gap between Jesus and the lifestyles of those who claim to follow Jesus can be so wide that it becomes the reason an unbelieving world does not believe. Our basic nature is not to love God and our neighbor—this is why the Christian life is hard. When Jesus redeems us, he also calls us to a new way of living. This means something very different than simply avoiding immoral actions; it means changing our hearts and lives.
We know we need God's grace—so what do we do? Jesus tells us to "Seek first." We do this with God by engaging in the practices that allow God to have the biggest impact on our lives. Through the routine habits of daily faith, God is trying to reach us and give us transforming grace, care and love, to do something profound and life-changing.
The world wants to hand out participation trophies for life. But acknowledging our brokenness and limitations isn’t a downer; it is the starting place of wisdom. Sin is a reality—as is the grace that God offers to heal us.
Even as God offers us unlimited grace and love, God calls us to a life of perfection. This is not an unattainable goal, either but something we can achieve when we follow God’s moral laws and allow the Holy Spirit to guide and shape our lives.
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