Sermons by Rev Nathan Muse
How does Jesus respond to an absurd question that has an important point? He does so by pointing out the flaw in the question, pointing back to God’s Word, and pointing ahead to show how God’s Word helps us now. In such an instructive encounter with the religious leaders of His day, Jesus has much to teach us in this section on life, death, afterlife and God’s Word.
What happens when the religious leaders flatter Jesus and ask him a trick question? The answer: with one question and one statement of his own, Jesus shows the entire debate, as well as the religious leaders, to be ridiculous. In so doing, Jesus also clearly shows that God’s Kingdom takes priority over earthly kingdoms. Although short, such a passage has much to teach us today.
The religious leaders continue to harass Jesus during the last week of his life before going to the cross. How does he respond? He tells them three parables to confront and expose the religious leaders. This third parable concerns a wedding banquet and those who are invited. Yet all is not as it appears as the parable makes clear. It quickly becomes apparent what God demands of the world He made.
Christianity claims to be based on a historical fact – the bodily resurrection of Jesus. But how does His resurrection practically help Christians today? The Apostle Paul answers that question for us. He explains what it means to be “risen with Christ” and the results of such an experience. In his explanation, we see why the resurrection is so vital and necessary and how it can help us today.
What often happens after several successes in our lives? The Jewish people experienced God’s unique protection, His provision to help them rebuild Jerusalem and His guidance as they re-established proper worship. Yet they quickly forgot to follow their commitments. We often struggle to keep our promises to God and to follow His ways. Because of this, God brings individuals, like Nehemiah for the Jewish people, to call us to “Come Back to God!”
How can a person follow God? What does it mean to start again and try to follow God’s commands? This is what the Jewish people experienced after returning to their land. Yet, despite their best efforts and many good intentions, what they tried was ultimately not enough. As this part of their history is considered, it will become clear where they did well and where they fell short.
How can a person be made right with God? This is a vitally important question because the Bible teaches that all humans are naturally disconnected from God because of our sins and behaviour. But what can be done about such a situation? The Jewish people, in the book of Nehemiah, help us to see the answer to that question. In the process, they will experience both sorrow and joy, but the experience will allow them to be made right with…
What options does a follower of God have when faced with challenging circumstances? Nehemiah faced many such circumstances. These included attacks on his life, a kidnapping attempt, manipulation, character assassination and false accusations. Yet, he was able to remain strong through it all because of his God. By considering his example, we can learn how to do the same.
How does a group of people push forward with God’s work when they are exhausted, discouraged and under threat of violence? Nehemiah had just such a challenge to face as he sought to lead the people in continuing to build the wall around Jerusalem. Through observing how he led, we can learn many lessons about how to respond to the obstacles each of us faces individually as well as the opposition so many churches face today.
How does a person persevere under difficult circumstances? How can they face opposition while trying to undertake an enormous project? Nehemiah gives us insight into just such a situation as he seeks to lead the Jewish people in rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem despite opposition from within and without. Through this situation, we see teamwork, a common vision, determination and over it all, God’s clear direction and power displayed – sometimes in the unlikeliest of places.