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Mike Anderson

Congregational Pastor (Center City)

Content

As we wrap up our series on the fruit of the Spirit, we come to one that is commonly desired but rarely attained: self-control.

Resources:

Galatians 5:13-26

Galatians (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), Tom Schreiner

Galatians (Geneva Commentaries), John Brown

Galatians (Crossway Classic Commentaries), Martin Luther

Galatians For You, Timothy Keller

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If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of someone else’s harshness, you know it doesn’t feel good. Yet we find ourselves feeling harsh toward others. As we continue our study of the fruit of the Spirit, though, we find that gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit.

Resources:

Galatians 5:16-23

Galatians (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), Tom Schreiner

Galatians (Geneva Commentaries), John Brown

Galatians (Crossway Classic Commentaries), Martin Luther

Galatians For You, Timothy Keller

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As we continue our study of the fruit of the Spirit, we come to what is likely the least popular today: faithfulness, the quality of being trustworthy and reliable, making and following through on commitments.

Resources:

Galatians 5:13-23

Galatians (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), Tom Schreiner

Galatians (Geneva Commentaries), John Brown

Galatians (Crossway Classic Commentaries), Martin Luther

Galatians For You, Timothy Keller

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Today is the day many observe as Christmas, and we’re happy for the excuse to focus on the birth of Christ, because his birth is good news of great joy.

Resources:

Luke 2:1-14

Luke 1:1-9:50 (Baker Exegetical Commentary), Darrell Bock

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke, J.C. Ryle

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In the Christmas season, we’re often excited to give gifts, but we’re also excited to receive gifts. We know generosity is good, but we often consume not only gifts, but other people. It is good news, then, that Spirit works in us kindness and goodness.

Resources:

Galatians 5:13-23

Galatians (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), Tom Schreiner

Galatians (Geneva Commentaries), John Brown

Galatians (Crossway Classic Commentaries), Martin Luther

Galatians For You, Timothy Keller

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The fourth fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22 is patience. It is what enables the first three fruits of the Spirit (and really all of them) to continue, and even sometimes grow, during hardship.

Citylight Church Center City | December 11, 2022 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Galatians 5:16-23

Galatians (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), Tom Schreiner

Galatians (Geneva Commentaries), John Brown

Galatians (Crossway Classic Commentaries), Martin Luther

Galatians For You, Timothy Keller

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When is it ok to take a deep breath and have peace? The Holy Spirit produces a peace that enables us to do that in any situation.

Resources:

Galatians 5:13-26

Galatians (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), Tom Schreiner

Galatians (Geneva Commentaries), John Brown

Galatians (Crossway Classic Commentaries), Martin Luther

Galatians For You, Timothy Keller

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Is it ok to be happy? What’s an appropriate source of happiness? Is happiness different from joy? These are some of the questions we consider in this sermon as we look at the second fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22: joy.

Citylight Church Center City | November 27, 2022 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Galatians 5:16-23

Galatians (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), Tom Schreiner

Galatians (Geneva Commentaries), John Brown

Galatians (Crossway Classic Commentaries), Martin Luther

Galatians For You, Timothy Keller

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As we go through Galatians, we are zooming in on Galatians 5:22-23, a list called the fruit of the Spirit. This sermon looks at the first item on the list, the fruit of the Spirit: Love.

Resources:

Galatians 5:13-22

Galatians (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), Tom Schreiner

Galatians (Geneva Commentaries), John Brown

Galatians (Crossway Classic Commentaries), Martin Luther

Galatians For You, Timothy Keller

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Throughout the book of Galatians, we hear the good news that Christ has set us free, and the exhortation to not return again to a yoke of slavery (Gal 5:1). But what should we then do with our freedom? That’s the question this text answers.

Resources:

Galatians 5:13-26

Galatians (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), Tom Schreiner

Galatians (Geneva Commentaries), John Brown

Galatians (Crossway Classic Commentaries), Martin Luther

Galatians For You, Timothy Keller

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Christ has set us free, but not every impulse we have, if we act on it, leads us into greater freedom. Some enslave us again! So we must stand firm in the freedom we have in Christ.

 

Citylight Church Center City | November 6, 2022 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Galatians 5:1-12

Galatians (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), Tom Schreiner

Galatians (Geneva Commentaries), John Brown

Galatians (Crossway Classic Commentaries), Martin Luther

Galatians For You, Timothy Keller

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Though we may believe we are justified by faith, sometimes we still want to live by the law. In this passage, Paul helps us see why if we really understand the law, we won’t want to live under it.

Resources:

Galatians 4:21-31

Galatians (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), Tom Schreiner

Galatians (Geneva Commentaries), John Brown

Galatians (Crossway Classic Commentaries), Martin Luther

Galatians For You, Timothy Keller

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We are often prone to be too defensive, but there is an appropriate, and even necessary place for self-defense. Paul engages in it here for the sake of preserving the gospel.

Resources:

Galatians 1:10-2:10

Galatians (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), Tom Schreiner

Galatians (Geneva Commentaries), John Brown

Galatians (Crossway Classic Commentaries), Martin Luther

Galatians For You, Timothy Keller

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In America free speech is a high value, but we all recognize on some level that not all speech is helpful for us to listen to. How do we know what speech we shouldn’t listen to? In this passage, we see that we shouldn’t listen to speech that is contrary to the gospel.

Resources:

Galatians 1:1-9

Galatians (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), Tom Schreiner

Galatians (Geneva Commentaries), John Brown

Galatians (Crossway Classic Commentaries), Martin Luther

Galatians For You, Timothy Keller

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We all have things in our life of which we are ashamed. In this story, we see how Jesus restores those who have fallen through his restoration of Peter, who denied him three times.

Resources:

John 21

The Gospel According to John (Pillar New Testament Commentary), D.A. Carson

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel According to John, J.C. Ryle

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Nobody likes when someone is fake, but how do you know who people really are? Actions speak louder than words, and the action of Jesus that most clearly reveals who he is is his death.

Resources:

John 19:16b-42

The Gospel According to John (Pillar New Testament Commentary), D.A. Carson

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel According to John, J.C. Ryle

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We’re all prone to see our own little worlds as a really big deal, but Jesus calls us into not only a bigger and better world, but a kingdom that is not of this world at all.

Resources:

John 18:28-19:16a

The Gospel According to John (Pillar New Testament Commentary), D.A. Carson

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel According to John, J.C. Ryle

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The Gospel records of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection spend an inordinate amount of time on his death. Why? So that we might not only know that he died, but know why he died, and what it means for us.

Resources:

John 18:1-27

The Gospel According to John (Pillar New Testament Commentary), D.A. Carson

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel According to John, J.C. Ryle

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There are few things less desirable than being hated by someone else. Yet Jesus tells us in this passage that the world will hate us if we follow him. How can we under that hatred? The Holy Spirit will help us.

Resources:

John 15:18-16:15

The Gospel According to John (Pillar New Testament Commentary), D.A. Carson

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel According to John, J.C. Ryle

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We all want our lives to matter, but we often feel discouraged and stressed by the apparent lack of fruit from our best efforts. How can we bear fruit that matters and lasts? Jesus is the true vine, and it’s only as we abide in him that we bear fruit.

Resources:

John 15:1-17

The Gospel According to John (Pillar New Testament Commentary), D.A. Carson

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel According to John, J.C. Ryle

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Our hearts seem good at finding trouble. In the first half of John 14, Jesus gave us three reasons to not let our hearts be troubled. Here in the second half, he gives three more.

Resources:

John 14:15-31

The Gospel According to John (Pillar New Testament Commentary), D.A. Carson

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel According to John, J.C. Ryle

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As Jesus begins his farewell discourse, what does he want his disciples to know before he departs? What does he want to be foundational to their life together? Loving one another as he loved them.

Resources:

John 13:21-38

The Gospel According to John (Pillar New Testament Commentary), D.A. Carson

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel According to John, J.C. Ryle

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This week begins our missions conference, where we focus on our global mission. In this text we see that Jesus is actually the one who accomplishes this global mission.

Resources:

John 10:16

The Gospel According to John (Pillar New Testament Commentary), D.A. Carson

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel According to John, J.C. Ryle

Unreached Language Groups

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We’re all influenced by someone; none of us are as independent as we’d like to think. But Jesus is the best possible person to follow, because He is the good shepherd.

Resources:

John 10:1-21

The Gospel According to John (Pillar New Testament Commentary), D.A. Carson

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel According to John, J.C. Ryle

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On Easter we celebrate that Jesus rose from the dead. But why does it matter that He’s still alive? Because He’s still alive, He can save you completely.

Citylight Center City | April 17, 2022 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Hebrews 7:23-25

Hebrews 1-8 (Word Biblical Commentary), William Lane

Hebrews, John Owen

Gentle and Lowly, Dane Ortlund

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In this story, Jesus displays the mighty work of God by working a new creation in a man blind from birth. Through it, we learn that we are all born blind, but that Jesus is the one who gives sight to the blind.

Citylight Center City | April 10, 2022 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

John 9:1-41

The Gospel According to John (Pillar New Testament Commentary), D.A. Carson

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel According to John, J.C. Ryle

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As we wrap up our series on authority, we see that the end to which our world is heading is not a world without authority, but a world in which God reigns. And that is good news.

Citylight Center City | March 13, 2022 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Revelation 22:1-5

The Book of Revelation (New International Greek Testament Commentary), G.K. Beale

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Last week we saw that Jesus’ model for local churches is congregational. This week we’ll see those congregations are led by elders, whom He has given the authority to lead.

Citylight Center City | March 6, 2022 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Hebrews 13:17

Understanding the Congregation’s AuthorityJonathan Leeman

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We were created with authority over the things God made, but in our fallenness, we abdicate that authority and those things begin to exercise authority over us.

Citylight Center City | February 13, 2022 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Romans 1:18-32

Romans (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), Thomas Schreiner

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God has absolute authority, has given humanity authority, and it was very good. Then why is it that the use of authority among us if often so bad? Because we are fallen people, and one of the ways we fail to exercise the authority God has given us is when we abuse it.

“Citylight Center City | February 6, 2022 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Exodus 6:2-9

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We all know authority is often abused, but was it always this way? There is actually a proper claim and use of authority, and it begins with God.

Citylight Center City | January 30, 2022 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Genesis 1:26-31

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Everyone thinks of Christmas as as season of hope, but on what do we set our hopes? This passage directs our hopes to the greatest possible king with the greatest possible kingdom.

Citylight Center City | December 19, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Isaiah 11:1-10

The Prophecy of Isaiah: An Introduction and Commentary, Alec Motyer

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Love is a popular word not just at Christmas time, but year-round. That said, it’s actually difficult if you try to live it out. John shows us why it’s worthwhile to do so.

 

Citylight Center City | December 12, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

1 John 4:7-11

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We kick off our series on Christmas words with peace, but we also see that peace comes as part of a bigger package–good news of the birth of a Savior who brings glory to God in the highest and peace to His people on earth.

Citylight Center City | December 5, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Luke 2:1-14

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke (Vol 1)J.C. Ryle

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We all have visible, sensible problems in our lives to varying degrees, and Jesus cares about them. But how do we also get beyond them to Jesus Himself? We must follow the signs to Jesus, and this passage shows us how.

Citylight Center City | November 21, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

John 4:43-54

The Gospel According to John (Pillar New Testament Commentary), D.A. Carson

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel According to John, J.C. Ryle

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With even the best things this world has to offer, they only satisfy us for a time, and ultimately leave us thirsty again. But Jesus offers living water, which if one drinks, will make it so they are never thirsty again.

Citylight Center City | November 8, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

John 4:1-30

The Gospel According to John (Pillar New Testament Commentary), D.A. Carson

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel According to John, J.C. Ryle

We’d all probably agree that the world isn’t ultimately about us, but we still resist it in practice. However, we see in this passage that our greatest joy will come as Christ increases, and all others (including ourselves) decrease.

Citylight Center City | October 31, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

John 3:22-36

The Gospel According to John (Pillar New Testament Commentary), D.A. Carson

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel According to John, J.C. Ryle

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John 3:16 is probably the most famous verse in the entire Bible, and with good reason. It gives us good news in a world so full of bad news: God has provided eternal life for whoever believes in His Son.

Citylight Center City | October 24, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

John 3:16-21

The Gospel According to John (Pillar New Testament Commentary), D.A. Carson

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel According to John, J.C. Ryle

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Jesus makes all things new, and will one day bring the kingdom of God to earth in its fullness. The most important question any of us can ask, then, is how can I enter the kingdom of God? Jesus’ answer: “You must be born again.”

Citylight Center City | October 17, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

John 3:1-15

The Gospel According to John (Pillar New Testament Commentary), D.A. Carson

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel According to John, J.C. Ryle

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We can sew on patches to the problems of our lives and world, but can it all be made new? It can, because this passage shows us that Jesus makes all things new.

Resources:

John 2:1-12

The Gospel According to John (Pillar New Testament Commentary), D.A. Carson

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel According to John, J.C. Ryle

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Given the lofty claims Christians make about Jesus, it’s important to get to know the real Jesus. This passage shows us how.

Citylight Center City | September 26, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

John 1:35-51

The Gospel According to John (Pillar New Testament Commentary), D.A. Carson

Expository Thoughts on the Gospel According to John, J.C. Ryle

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It’s easy for any community to lose a sense of why it’s here. What have we been sent into the world to do as a church? Our mission is to go and make disciples of Jesus.

 

Citylight Center City | August 29, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Matthew 28:16-20

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Positively, we speak the truth in love to another in the church so that the whole church grows to maturity. But what happens when something isn’t right? This text shows us that it’s every Christian’s responsibility to move toward one another when something isn’t right, and it shows us how.

 

Citylight Center City | August 22, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

1 Thessalonians 5:14

Caring for One Another: Eight Ways to Cultivate Meaningful Relationships, Ed Welch

Is it Loving to Practice Church Discipline?, Jonathan Leeman

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Everything the church does can be summarized as ministry–service to God and service to others. But who does it? What is it? And what is the goal of it? That’s what this passage addresses.

Citylight Center City | August 15, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Ephesians 4:11-16

Caring for One Another: 8 Ways to Cultivate Meaningful Relationships, Ed Welch

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We talk a lot about identity today, and Christians talk about finding their identity in Christ. But often we’re talking about an individual’s identity in Christ. Do we as a church find our identity in Christ?

Citylight Center City | August 8, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

1 Peter 2:9-10

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With so many conflicting messages and so much fake news around us, it’s easy to feel pessimistic about ever knowing the truth. This Psalm shares that pessimism in a sense, but it also holds out great hope to us: God saves us from this generation.

Citylight Center City | July 18, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Psalm 12

Psalms 1-72 (Kidner Classic Commentaries), Derek Kidner

The Treasury of David, Charles Spurgeon

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While the sources may be diverse, we all hear the voices of panic in various ways. Sometimes they’re helpful, but how can we not be controlled by them? Take refuge in the LORD and you won’t have to panic.

Citylight Center City | July 11, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo

Resources:

Psalm 11

Psalms 1-72 (Kidner Classic Commentaries), Derek Kidner

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Why does God hide Himself in times of trouble? Why do we see so much evil, but not see Him? It’s a common question we ask, and it’s the question on which this Psalm focuses.

Citylight Center City | July 4, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo

Resources:

Psalm 10

Psalms 1-72 (Kidner Classic Commentaries), Derek Kidner

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It’s easy for us to get narrow-minded and focused on our own little worlds, but God is not like us. He has a wider, more inclusive call to the whole earth, to worship Him among the nations.

Citylight Center City | June 27, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo

Resources:

Psalm 96

Psalms 73-150 (Kidner Classic Commentaries), Derek Kidner

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The Psalms show us how to walk with God through the various things we experience as humans. In Psalm 8, we see the weakness of babies, the glories of the sky, and the great abilities of humans are all reasons to ascribe glory to God.

Citylight Center City | June 13, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Psalm 8

Psalms 1-72 (Kidner Classic Commentaries), Derek Kidner

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How do we live with the fact that we aren’t God? We’re prone to resist it, and the Devil wants us to do just that. He tries to get us to resist it by saying God is not good, but because God is good, we should trust and obey God’s Word, not the Devil’s.

Citylight Center City | June 6, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Genesis 2:8-9, 15-17; 3:1-15

Genesis (Kidner Classic Commentaries)Derek Kidner

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There are some things we should oppose, but our lives need to be guided by what we are for. For Christians, our ongoing devotion is to good works.

Citylight Center City | May 23, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Titus 3:9-15

The Letters to Timothy and Titus, Philip Towner

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We do a lot in life, but what should we really devote ourselves to? The answer for Christians is good works, because of what God has done for us.

Citylight Center City | May 16, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Titus 2:15-3:8

The Letters to Timothy and Titus, Philip Towner

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The book of Titus emphasized the virtue of self-control, and it’s easy to feel guilty about our lack of self-control. How do we actually become self-controlled, though? Just as we are saved by grace, we are trained by grace.

Citylight Center City | May 9, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Titus 2:11-14

The Letters to Timothy and Titus, Philip Towner

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Just as there is clothing that fits an occasion, there is conduct that fits the gospel. This passage describes that conduct for older men, older women, younger women, younger men, ministers of God’s Word, and employees.

Citylight Center City | May 2, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Titus 2:1-10

The Letters to Timothy and Titus, Philip Towner

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For any living thing to survive, it needs to be fed and protected from predators. For a church to really last, God directs that elders be appointed in it to feed it and protect it from predators.

Citylight Center City | April 18, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Titus 1:5-9

The Letters to Timothy and Titus, Philip Towner

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Titus is a book about how the church can really last. So little in our life truly does last, but in the opening to the letter, we find one of the ways the church can last is because it is built on a solid foundation of truth.

CityLight Center City | April 11, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Titus 1:1-4

The Letters to Timothy and Titus, Philip Towner

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Is Easter a fairy tale or a remembrance of something that actually happened in the world in which you and I live? In Jesus’ day, there were many who thought His claims to rise from the dead were phony. But in this passage, we see God’s answer to the question.

Citylight Center City | April 4, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Matthew 28:1-10

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Typically when confronted with wrongdoing in our lives, we minimized our fault while exacerbating others’. In this passage, we see true repentance is the opposite: Honesty about God’s goodness and our fault, but with ultimate hope in God’s goodness.

Citylight Center City | March 7, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Nehemiah 9

The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah (The New International Commentary on the Old Testament), Charles Fensham

Ezra and Nehemiah (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries), Derek Kidner

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Any time you talk about rebuilding a community, you have traditionalists who want to keep everything the same and revolutionaries who want to rip up everything. When rebuilding the church however, we’re not after traditionalism or revolution: We’re after reformation.

Citylight Center City | February 28, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Nehemiah 8:13-18

The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah (The New International Commentary on the Old Testament), Charles Fensham

Ezra and Nehemiah (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries), Derek Kidner

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Don’t you sometimes just not feel like coming to church or rejoicing in the Lord? In this passage, God’s people didn’t either, but they were still called to, and given good reasons to. This shows us that rebuilding requires rejoicing.

Citylight Center City | February 21, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Nehemiah 8:9-12

The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah (The New International Commentary on the Old Testament), Charles Fensham

Ezra and Nehemiah (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries), Derek Kidner

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The focus of the book of Nehemiah thus far has been on rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. In this passage the wall rebuilding project is finished, but there is still more work to do. How do we finish well when it always seems like there is more to do?

Citylight Center City | February 7 , 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Nehemiah 6-7

Precious Remedies Against Satan’s DevicesThomas Brooks

The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah (The New International Commentary on the Old Testament), Charles Fensham

Ezra and Nehemiah (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries), Derek Kidner

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The most visible rebuilding project in Nehemiah is the wall, but what good is a strong wall if the relationships of the people meant to live in it are in shambles? This passage in Nehemiah shows us why rebuilding means rebuilding our relationships.

Citylight Center City | January 31, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Nehemiah 5

The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah (The New International Commentary on the Old Testament), Charles Fensham

Ezra and Nehemiah (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries), Derek Kidner

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We’ve all probably heard the saying, “Haters gon’ hate.” Anything you do, there will be someone who doesn’t like it. Building up Jesus’ church is no different. In this passage, we learn how to keep going even when the haters hate.

Citylight Center City | January 24, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Nehemiah 4

The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah (The New International Commentary on the Old Testament), Charles Fensham

Ezra and Nehemiah (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries), Derek Kidner

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When we sense there is something God wants us to do, getting started can be the hardest part. This is especially the case when we’re rebuilding something that’s broken. In this passage, we see the actual work of rebuilding get started; so let’s rise and build together.

Citylight Center City | January 17, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Nehemiah 2-3

The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah (The New International Commentary on the Old Testament), Charles Fensham

Ezra and Nehemiah (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries), Derek Kidner

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2020 was a hard year in many ways, and 2021 thus far has brought its own difficulties. Even our church has not been unaffected. How do we begin rebuilding? Nehemiah shows us that rebuilding begins with prayer.

Citylight Center City | January 10, 2021 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Nehemiah 1

The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah (The New International Commentary on the Old Testament), Charles Fensham

Ezra and Nehemiah (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries), Derek Kidner

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Dear downhearted,

In writing to you about discontentment, I am writing about a familiar foe of my own, and it usually shows itself in the form of envy or covetousness. I see good things someone else has, especially if they have more of it than I, and my heart sinks. However discontentment shows itself in your life, I thought for this final letter on it I’d focus on one passage on contentment that has not yet been directly referenced.

In 1 Timothy 6:6-8, Paul writes, “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” Discontentment obviously reveals what we consider “great gain.” To desire great gain is to be human. We all want to be happy, and there is nothing wrong with that. What Paul does here, however, is he shows us what truly is great gain: Godliness with contentment.

Why? Earlier in 1 Timothy 4:7-8, Paul explained the great value of godliness: “Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” Godliness is of great value because it is the one thing you can train yourself for now that will actually still benefit you in the life to come. What about contentment? Again, Paul broadens our horizons: “for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.” It is simple, isn’t it? Yet how often do we lose sight of the relative impermanence of the things we wish we had?

The best way to live in this world is with contentment with the things genuinely necessary in this world, which Paul mentions next in our passage: food and clothing (which many take to include shelter). When you really think about it, what else do you need in this life? Maybe you say, “Ok fine; I don’t need the things I’m discontent about, but it sure would be nice to have them.” Maybe, but for how long? Will you take them out of this world with you? Do they hold hope for the life to come? How great then is the gain that comes with them?

It is small in comparison to the gain that comes from godliness, which holds promise for the life to come, and contentment, which enables us to live happily in the present life with only the things necessary for the present life. We have a Savior in Jesus Christ who contented Himself with the loss of even His food and clothing for us, and He has gained for us eternal life in the world to come. Fix your eyes there, and it will reorient what you call “gain.”

Mike

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Dear downhearted,

Did you know that in the beginning of the Bible, after God created light and darkness, sun and moon, water, sky, land, plants, animals, and the first human being, there was still something about His creation that was not good? Genesis 2:18 begins by saying, “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone.’” Think about that for a moment. At that point in the story, one man existed and that man knew God. Yet it was not good for that man to be alone.

God’s design for humans is that we live in relationship not only with Him but with other human beings. Nonetheless, the COVID-19 pandemic and the concomitant stay-at-home orders have made this much more difficult. If you feel lonely then and you don’t like that feeling, it’s not necessarily because there is anything wrong with you. You simply weren’t made to live in these conditions. 

Nonetheless, here we are. That’s the sad truth. But it’s not the whole truth. In Isaiah 43:2, God says to His people: 

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;

when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,

and the flame shall not consume you.”

Humans were not created to pass through stormy waters and flames anymore than they were created to be alone, and yet even as we now go through such things, God says: “I will be with you.” And indeed, in Christ Jesus He is with us. One of Jesus’ names is Immanuel, God with us (Matt 1:23), and on the cross, He was truly with us in our loneliness. Not only did His friends and family leave Him all alone, but He even cried out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46)

Because He did this, you need not ever ultimately be alone. Repent and believe in Him, and He will be with you always. Not only that, if you are a Christian, you are also part of a new human family called the church, which, though presently scattered, remains and will prevail against all the forces arrayed against it (Matt 16:19). Do you know you still have a church family like that right now if you are a member at Citylight? And if you aren’t a member, why not join us? 

God will sustain you through this season of loneliness. It almost definitely will get better when we can actually be around each other again. It will certainly get better when Jesus comes again. In that day He will not come alone but “with all his saints” (1 Thess 3:13), and we (not you or I alone) will always be with the Lord (1 Thess 4:17).

May he bless you and keep you,

Mike

COVID-19 has exposed our need for community, or what the Bible calls “fellowship.” In this passage, the Apostle John calls us into fellowship with the church, ultimately so we will have fellowship with God

Citylight Center City | December 20, 2020 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

1 John 1:1-4

Why Should I Join a Local Church?, Mark Dever

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When we’re united to someone, we begin to think “in” them; we see their future as our future, their pains as our pains, their victories as our victories. if Christians are united to Christ, how do we think in Him? that’s what this passage is about.

Citylight Center City | December 13, 2020 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Philippians 2:5-11

Philippians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), Moises Silva

Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 3: Christology, Geerhadus Vos

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Resources:

I’ve lived in the United States of America my entire life. As a result, every year of my life, on the last Thursday of November, I’ve gathered with at least some family or friends and celebrated the holiday we call Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving isn’t a holiday in the Bible; you’re free to do nothing at all for it if you’d like. I’ve generally liked to do something for it, but, as we’ve now gotten used to saying, 2020 is different.

Due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Philadelphia, I assume many of you have significantly modified Thanksgiving plans, if not totally cancelled them. That is cause for lamentation, as many things this year have been. Nonetheless, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” To refuse to give thanks in every circumstance is to live under the lie that we have nothing for which to be genuinely thankful, and that’s simply never true for a Christian (see Eph 1:3-14 or Hebrews 12:28, for examples). Though the holiday may be different this year, and whether you choose to celebrate it at all or not, don’t miss the opportunity for thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving as we know it today was instituted by President Abraham Lincoln, and every year around this time I like to share his words about it, not because there’s anything magical about him, but because there seems to be some wisdom in them, and every year, they seem to still apply to the situation we are in:

“I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

That’s the “what” of the holiday, and here is President Lincoln’s recommendation on how we should observe it:

“And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil [war] in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.”

There’s a lot there, but just a few things I want to commend to you whether you observe the holiday or not:

1. Offer up “ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings” – Take time to tell God how great He is and to recount what He’s done for you and for those around you. Maybe meditate on a passage like Ephesians 1:3-14 and offer to God thanks for such singular deliverances and blessings.

2. Do so “with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience” – Thanksgiving is not a time to whitewash America’s past or present so we can all enjoy a meal and some football. It is a time to give thanks to God precisely because He’s been so good to us in spite of us, in spite of our national perverseness and disobedience, still alive today, which we all contribute to in some way. Let us not give thanks without an accompanying humble repentance. Consider using 1 Corinthians 13, which we’ve just finished preaching on, to confess the ways you fall short of the love it describes.

3. Commend widows, orphans, mourners, and sufferers to “his tender care” – Lincoln, of course, in his words, referred to “those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil [war] in which we are unavoidably engaged…” We aren’t in a Civil War today, but there are people who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable COVID-19 pandemic in which we are unavoidably engaged. Commend them to God’s tender care in prayer. Ask Him to heal, comfort, and sustain. “Fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation…” – The nation had its wounds and divisions in Lincoln’s time. We saw ample evidence this year that the racial wounds of Lincoln’s day have still not been healed in 2020. And we’ve gotten some new wounds this year. But God is a God who heals. Let’s pray for Him to do so.

In closing, in the time we are in, the final words of Lincoln’s prayer still fit so well:

“Father, heal the wounds of this nation and restore it as soon as may be consistent with your purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and Union.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

Humans were made with a longing not just for good things, but for the greatest things. What is the greatest thing? In this verse, Paul concludes his treatment of love by holding it up as the greatest thing.

Citylight Center City | November 22, 2020 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

1 Corinthians 13:13

The First Epistle to the Corinthians (The New International Greek New Testament Commentary), Anthony Thistleton

1 Corinthians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), David Garland

Loving the Way Jesus Loves, Phil Ryken

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It is wise to live for what lasts, but when you really think about it, what really does last? The answer of 1 Corinthians 13 is that love is the one thing that never ends, so give your life to it.

Citylight Center City | November 15, 2020 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

1 Corinthians 13:8-12

The First Epistle to the Corinthians (The New International Greek New Testament Commentary), Anthony Thistleton

1 Corinthians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), David Garland

Loving the Way Jesus Loves, Phil Ryken

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Love feels great, but how do you know when it’s genuine? Paul has given us many marks of true love in this passage, but this week we come to one many of us recognize: We know love is real when it actually lasts, especially through difficulty.

Citylight Center City | November 8, 2020 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

1 Corinthians 13:7

The First Epistle to the Corinthians (The New International Greek New Testament Commentary), Anthony Thistleton

1 Corinthians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), David Garland

Loving the Way Jesus Loves, Phil Ryken

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We talked last week about what love things, but what does love feel, especially when it’s no longer assuming wrongdoing of others, but faced with real wrongdoing? Love is not a general positive feeling; there is something in which love does not rejoice: Love does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

Citylight Center City | November 1, 2020 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

1 Corinthians 13:6

The First Epistle to the Corinthians (The New International Greek New Testament Commentary), Anthony Thistleton

1 Corinthians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), David Garland

Loving the Way Jesus Loves, Phil Ryken

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When we talk about love, we often talk about feelings and actions, but what about thoughts? The mind is powerful; what we think matters, and love thinks no evil.

Resources:

1 Corinthians 13:5d

The First Epistle to the Corinthians (The New International Greek New Testament Commentary), Anthony Thistleton

1 Corinthians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), David Garland

Loving the Way Jesus Loves, Phil Ryken

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1 Corinthians 13 is a beautiful picture of love, but there’s also some ugly in it: A description of what love is not, and in this section of the passage we focus on how love is not irritable.

Citylight Center City | October 18, 2020 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

1 Corinthians 13:5c

The First Epistle to the Corinthians (The New International Greek New Testament Commentary), Anthony Thistleton

1 Corinthians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), David Garland

Loving the Way Jesus Loves, Phil Ryken

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A question everyone has to face in life is, “What are you seeking?” What is your aim in life? In this sermon we’ll look at what 1 Corinthians 13 says love does not seek: Love seeks not its own. Love is not selfish.

Citylight Center City | October 11, 2020 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

1 Corinthians 13:5b

The First Epistle to the Corinthians (The New International Greek New Testament Commentary), Anthony Thistleton

1 Corinthians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), David Garland

Loving the Way Jesus Loves, Phil Ryken

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C.S. Lewis once said that pride is the sin we are quickest to despise in others but slowest to see in ourselves. Nonetheless, we must be honest about where it is present in our lives, because love is not proud.

Center City Service – October 4, 2020 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

1 Corinthians 13:4c-5a

Mere Christianity, Book 3, Chapter 8, C.S. Lewis

Respectable Sins, Chapter 11, Jerry Bridges

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After the starting with what love is, Paul now moves to what it is not. Love does not envy.

Resources:

1 Corinthians 13:4b

The First Epistle to the Corinthians (The New International Greek New Testament Commentary), Anthony Thistleton

1 Corinthians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), David Garland

Loving the Way Jesus Loves, Phil Ryken

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Having established the necessity of love, Paul moves to a description of it. While love is not an action, love is active in patience and kindness.

Citylight Center City Sunday Services – Sept. 20th, 2020.mp4 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

1 Corinthians 13:4a

The First Epistle to the Corinthians (The New International Greek New Testament Commentary), Anthony Thistleton

1 Corinthians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), David Garland

Loving the Way Jesus Loves, Phil Ryken

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It is a good thing to have great gifts and make great sacrifices, but it’s possible to have those things, and something essential still be missing. The thing we need even if we have great gifts and make great sacrifices is love.

Citylight Center City | September 13, 2020 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

1 Corinthians 13:1-3

The First Epistle to the Corinthians (The New International Greek New Testament Commentary), Anthony Thistleton

1 Corinthians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), David Garland

Loving the Way Jesus Loves, Phil Ryken

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Throughout Acts, the church has both grown and been opposed. Today we experience the same dynamic, but how does the story end? In the end, Jesus wins. The gospel of the kingdom will prevail among all nations.

Citylight Center City | September 6, 2020 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Acts 28:17-31

Acts (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), Darrell Bock

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In life we face trials of various kinds, or “storms” to speak metaphorically. In this passage the apostle Paul faces a literal storm and shows us how not to be afraid, even while we are in it.

Citylight Center City | August 30, 2020 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Acts 27

Acts: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Darrell Bock

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As we near the end of Acts, a lot of false accusations have been brought against Paul, but there is one charge he’s never denied: He does preach the gospel with the aim to persuade, what we call “evangelism”. Evangelism is often viewed negatively today, but in this passage we will see Paul’s defense for his practice of evangelism.

Citylight Center City – August 23, 2020 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Acts 25:13-26:32

Acts: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Darrell Bock

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We’ve seen Paul defend the gospel, but now we see him defending himself (Acts 25:8), because in order to defend the gospel, sometimes we need to defend ourselves against false accusations. Paul shows us how: Proclaim the truth, keep the accusations false, and proclaim the Truth.

Resources:

Acts 24:1-25:12

Acts: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Darrel Bock

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When you know something is true, how do you respond to accusations against it, and you? You can get mad or get fearful, but Paul shows us in this passage how to defend the gospel by removing other offenses to it, sharing your experience, and using the law.

Citylight | Center City – August 2, 2020 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Acts 21:18-22:29

Acts: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Darrel Bock

Acts: The NIV Application Commentary, Ajith Fernando

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Recently deceased U.S. Congressman John Lewis often talked about getting into “good trouble”, doing things you actually should do, but that bring you into dangerous situations. How can we follow Jesus into such good trouble? We have to do it with other Christians, and we have to be controlled by the will of the Lord.

Citylight Center City | Online – July 26, 2020 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Acts 21:1-17

Acts: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Darrel Bock

Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will, Kevin DeYoung

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As Paul continues his mission, we see once again that his plan for the ongoing care of churches he’s started is a council of elders in those churches who care for the church. Through his address to the elders at Ephesus, we can all learn how to care for the church of God.

Resources:

Acts 20:17-38

Acts: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Darrel Bock

Church Elders: How to Shepherd God’s People like Jesus, Jeramie Rinne

 

Citylight Center City | Online – July 19, 2020 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

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In order to persevere in anything, we have to have hope of possible success. Jesus’ mission is even better: There is a guarantee of success, because the gospel will prevail through our strengths and weaknesses, by the Holy Spirit, and over who we once were.

Citylight Center City | Online – July 5, 2020 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Acts 18:24-19:20

Acts: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Darrel Bock

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What do you see when you look out at the city? When Paul looked out at the city of Athens, he saw a city full of idols, and it compelled him to take the gospel to that city. From him we learn in this passage how to take the gospel to the city full of idols.

Citylight Center City | Online – June 28, 2020 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Acts 17:16-34

Acts: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Darrel Bock

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What types of people is Christianity really for? In this passage we see there really is no “Christian type”. The gospel is good news for 3 people in particular in this passage who could hardly be more different from one another.

Citylight Center City | Online – June 21, 2020 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Acts 16:11-40 Acts: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Darrel Bock

Acts (The NIV Application Commentary)Ajith Fernando

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We come today to a few situations that threaten the main mission Jesus has given us as Christians: To take the good news of His life, death, and resurrection to the end of the earth, so that a people for His name would be formed from all the peoples of the earth. There is a sharp disagreement, a question of cultural norms, and directions given from God that were contrary to what the people involved were trying to do. In all these things, the example of the early Christians teaches us to Keep Jesus’ mission the main thing. Here’s how it shows us to do so: Don’t get bogged down in disagreements, consider your context, and follow God’s leading.

 

Citylight Center City | Online – June 14, 2020 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Acts 15:36-16:10

 

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This past week in Philadelphia has been what Mayor Kenney called one of the greatest crises in the city’s history. But it all springs out of peaceful protests of the ongoing racial injustice in America. How does tell us to interact with such an issue? He tells us to speak out against the city of man.

Citylight Center City | Online – June 7, 2020 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Jonah 3

 

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We often start new habits with the best of intentions only to hit a day when we no longer want to do them. For some things that’s no big deal, but what about the mission Jesus has given us His Church? God empowers us to fulfill that mission through continued speaking, strengthening, and celebrating.

Citylight Center City | Online – May 24, 2020 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Acts 14 Acts: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Darrel Bock

Acts (The NIV Application Commentary)Ajith Fernando

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As we jump back into the story of what Jesus is doing in our time by looking at the books of Acts, we see that His salvation goes forward from the religious to the irreligious because He is the Savior of both.

Citylight Center City | Online – May 17, 2020 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

Acts 13:13-52 Acts: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Darrel Bock

Acts (The NIV Application Commentary)Ajith Fernando

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We all want to fix suffering, but what happens when you face a suffering for which there is no known solution? You can get bitter, or you can patiently endure suffering. In this passage, Paul shows us how to patiently endure suffering.

Citylight Church | Online – April 26, 2020 from Citylight Church on Vimeo.

Resources:

2 Corinthians 1:3-11

2 Corinthians: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy ScriptureDavid Garland

 

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In a world where over 30 million people die every year, in which we too will eventually die, and in which today more people around us than usual are dying, on Good Friday we consider why did Christ’s death matter? Mark answers that question for us primarily through three images:

  • The darkness
  • The cry
  • The curtain

Resources:

Mark 15:33-41

What does God say to sufferers? He doesn’t avoid suffering; He speaks right into it, but with hope: Your present sufferings are nothing compared to your future glory.

Resources:

Romans 8:18-25

Romans (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), 2nd ed., Tom Schreiner

Romans 8-16 For You, Timothy Keller

 

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While Jesus sends the entire church on mission, it doesn’t take long to realize that not everyone has the exact same role. Here we’ll see the Spirit of Jesus specifically sends some to devote themselves to the work of gospel proclamation.

Resources:

Acts 13:1-12 Acts: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Darrel Bock

Acts (The NIV Application Commentary)Ajith Fernando

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The world is constantly changing; sometimes a certain fashion is in, then it’s out. So also there are certain ways of looking at the world, certain objections to the gospel, that likewise come and go. The gospel itself, however, prevails over any opposition.

Resources:

Acts 12 Acts: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Darrel Bock

Acts (The NIV Application Commentary)Ajith Fernando

Acts 1-12 For You: Charting the Birth of the Church, Al Mohler

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As we continue looking at how God brings different people groups together, we’ll see He gathers them into a community called the church, created by the gospel, matured by the gospel, and marked by love.

Resources:

Acts 11:19-30 Acts: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Darrel Bock

Acts (The NIV Application Commentary)Ajith Fernando

Acts 1-12 For You: Charting the Birth of the Church, Al Mohler

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As we continue looking at how God brings together people groups, we see that His gospel is good news not just for Israel, but for all the peoples of the earth. It is an inclusive truth claim.

Resources:

Acts 10:34-11:18 Acts: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Darrel Bock

Acts (The NIV Application Commentary)Ajith Fernando

Acts 1-12 For You: Charting the Birth of the Church, Al Mohler

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Many of us see the need for a truly inclusive community, but we’re so prone to divide ourselves into the “clean” and “unclean” peoples. Here we see that God sends us to all peoples, providing a new way to be clean that includes all the peoples of the earth.

Resources:

Acts 9:32-10:33 Acts: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Darrel Bock

Acts (The NIV Application Commentary)Ajith Fernando

Acts 1-12 For You: Charting the Birth of the Church, Al Mohler

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God’s purpose from the beginning of the Bible has been to multiply His image until it fills the earth for His glory. In this passage, we’ll see the way He does that is by multiplying His church.

Resources:

Acts 9:19b-31 Acts: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Darrel Bock Acts (The NIV Application Commentary)Ajith Fernando Acts 1-12 For You: Charting the Birth of the Church, Al Mohler

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The mission Jesus has given His church is daunting, but He’s not left us alone to figure it out. His Holy Spirit guides the mission through individuals, conversations, Scripture, and baptism.

Resources:

Acts 8:26-40

Acts: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Darrel Bock

Acts (The NIV Application Commentary)Ajith Fernando

Acts 1-12 For You: Charting the Birth of the Church, Al Mohler

From Every People and Nation: A Biblical Theology of Race, J. Daniel Hays

Picking back up in Acts, opposition has reached a climax with the stoning of Stephen, and a persecution breaking out in Jerusalem. But where opposition increases, so does the advance of the gospel.

Resources:

Acts 8:1b-25

Acts: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Darrel Bock

Acts (The NIV Application Commentary)Ajith Fernando

Acts 1-12 For You: Charting the Birth of the Church, Al Mohler

As we begin 2020, we may have resolutions, but we struggle to endure. In the Christian life endurance is needed, and this passage shows us how to get it.

Resources:

Hebrews 12:1-2

ESV Study Bible

An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, John Owen

We wait for the coming of Christ during advent, but how do we wait? Our waiting is a courageous waiting, because God’s king is coming, He will defeat our enemies, and He will defeat our idols.

Resources:

Micah 5

The Books of Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, and Micah (NICOT), Leslie Allen

The Minor Prophets: An Exegetical and Expository CommentaryThomas McComiskey

 

 

We’re all waiting for something in advent, but for what are we waiting? We wait not so much for a what, but a who: The Root of Jesse, who will rule righteously and bring rest.

Resources:

Isaiah 11:1-10

The Prophecy of Isaiah: An Introduction Commentary, Alec Motyer

As the church continues to grow, there are growing pains. When we face such problems, we’re prone to leave, ignore them, or wait for someone else to fix them. Jesus empowers a better way: Working together so disciples continue to multiply.

Resources:

Acts 6

Acts: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Darrel Bock

Acts (The NIV Application Commentary)Ajith Fernando

Acts 1-12 For You: Charting the Birth of the Church, Al Mohler

Exalting Jesus in Acts, Tony Merida

People can hurt us, and when they oppose the preaching of the gospel, fear of the pain they can cause tempts us to “obey” them rather than preach the gospel. But we must obey God rather than men.

Resources:

Acts 5:17-42

Acts: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Darrel Bock

Acts (The NIV Application Commentary)Ajith Fernando

Acts 1-12 For You: Charting the Birth of the Church, Al Mohler

Exalting Jesus in Acts, Tony Merida

Fear is an uncomfortable emotion, but it can be used to alert us to forces more powerful than we, that we might respond appropriately. One of the helpful sorts of fear is the fear of God…and His church.

Resources:

Acts 4:36-5:16

Acts: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Darrel Bock

Acts (The NIV Application Commentary)Ajith Fernando

Acts 1-12 For You: Charting the Birth of the Church, Al Mohler

Exalting Jesus in Acts, Tony Merida

When the gospel is preached, both conversion and opposition come. How can we face opposition with boldness? By continuing to speak, frontline prayer, and a unified church.

Resources:

Acts 4:1-35

Acts: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Darrel Bock

Acts (The NIV Application Commentary)Ajith Fernando

Acts 1-12 For You: Charting the Birth of the Church, Al Mohler

Exalting Jesus in Acts, Tony Merida

The gospel spread at the beginning in part because of miracles. But these miracles were signs, pointing to something else: The identity of Jesus, and what He will do for those who repent.

Resources:

Acts 3

Acts: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Darrel Bock

Acts (The NIV Application Commentary)Ajith Fernando

Acts 1-12 For You: Charting the Birth of the Church, Al Mohler

Exalting Jesus in Acts, Tony Merida

After promising the Holy Spirit, Jesus now sends Him to fill His church, enabling them to tell of his mighty works, calling all to repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Resources:

Acts 2:1-41

Acts: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Darrel Bock

Acts (The NIV Application Commentary)Ajith Fernando

Acts 1-12 For You: Charting the Birth of the Church, Al Mohler

Exalting Jesus in Acts, Tony Merida

The book of Acts is not only the story of the early church; it’s the story of all the risen Lord Jesus continued to do. And today, He’s still working.

Resources:

Acts 1

Acts: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Darrel Bock

Acts 1-12 For You: Charting the Birth of the Church, Al Mohler

Exalting Jesus in Acts, Tony Merida

Jonah preached, Nineveh repented, and God relented. Great, right? Jonah was angry. It’s possible to preach to the city without loving the city. May we instead love the city, because God does.

Resources:

Jonah 4

Obadiah, Jonah, and Micah (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries), Desmond Alexander

The Books of Joel, Jonah, and Micah (NICOT), Leslie Allen

The Prodigal Prophet, Timothy Keller

Though we’ve all failed to go where God is sending us in various ways, God is still sending us, and by His grace, we can go with great hope.

Resources:

Jonah 3

Obadiah, Jonah, and Micah (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries), Desmond Alexander

The Books of Joel, Jonah, and Micah (NICOT), Leslie Allen

The Prodigal Prophet, Timothy Keller

Just as God sent Jonah to the great city of Nineveh, God has sent us, His church, to the great cities of the nations, to make disciples. Don’t flee from the call!

Resources:

Jonah 1:1-16

Obadiah, Jonah, and Micah (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries), Desmond Alexander

The Books of Joel, Jonah, and Micah (NICOT), Leslie Allen

The Prodigal Prophet, Timothy Keller

“God Won’t Take No for an Answer”, sermon by H.B. Charles, Jr.

The doing of social justice is required by God in His law, and yet, if anyone relies on the works of the law, they’ll find themselves under a curse. The gospel isn’t taking up the cause of justice; in fact, the true gospel empowers justice.

Resources:

Galatians 3:10-14

Word Biblical Commentary, Vol. 41, GalatiansRichard Longenecker

Center Church, Chapter 20: Centering the Missional Church, Timothy Keller

The gospel is the good news concerning what God has done, not a message telling us what we should do. Therefore, it cannot be simply getting serious about your faith or resolving to do better.

Resources:

Ephesians 2:1-10

Conversion: How God Creates a People, Michael Lawrence

We often see human authorities and our inability to understand what God is doing as impediments to living a good life, but the preacher shows us how to live our lives with joy in light of these realities.

Resources:

Ecclesiastes 8:2-9:10

Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (NIV Application Commentary)Iain Provan

We’re naturally so set on beating our neighbor that we’re discontent with what we have, leading to oppression, loneliness, and hypocrisy. The Preacher shows us a better way.

Resources:

Ecclesiastes 3:16-5:6

Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (NIV Application Commentary)Iain Provan

Part of our reality on earth is everything around us changes. Life is seasonal; how can we respond with wisdom? Being joyful, doing good, and fearing God.

Resources:

Ecclesiastes 3:1-15

Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (NIV Application Commentary)Iain Provan

Ecclesiastes: Why Everything Matters, Phil Ryken

Life is hard, and the way to deal with the hardship is not to try not to think about it. In fact, great wisdom can be gained by focusing on it and figuring out how to live accordingly. Ecclesiastes is written to do that.

Resources:

Ecclesiastes 1

Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (NIV Application Commentary)Iain Provan

Making Sense of God, Chapter 3: A Meaning that Suffering Can’t Take From You, Timothy Keller

Depression ranges from a clinical diagnosis to an unexpected malaise, but all of us living in a fallen world experience it in some way. How can we experience the love of God during it? This Psalm shows us.

Resources:

Psalm 6

Psalms 1-72 (Kidner Classic Commentaries)Derek Kidner

Psalms: An Introduction and Commentary (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries), Tremper Longman

The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms, Timothy and Kathy Keller

In the face of injustice, we are often passive or consumed with rage. But through prayer, we can experience the righteousness of God, empowering us to seek justice from God while loving even our enemies.

Resources:

Psalm 5

Psalms 1-72 (Kidner Classic Commentaries)Derek Kidner

Psalms: An Introduction and Commentary (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries), Tremper Longman

The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms, Timothy and Kathy Keller

We’ve all probably experienced a restoration of peace once adversity is over, but how do you experience peace during adversity? This Psalm shows us how.

Resources:

Psalm 4

Psalms 1-72 (Kidner Classic Commentaries)Derek Kidner

Psalms: An Introduction and Commentary (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries), Tremper Longman

The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms, Timothy and Kathy Keller

The Psalms don’t just state the truth; they give us a window into the Psalmist’s experience of the truth and teach us how we might experience it to. Psalm 2 is a gateway to the rest, teaching us that in order to experience the truth, we must joyfully and fearfully submit to the Lord.

Resources:

Psalm 2

Psalms 1-72 (Kidner Classic Commentaries)Derek Kidner

Psalms: An Introduction and Commentary (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries), Tremper Longman

The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms, Timothy and Kathy Keller

 

Christ identified with us, and now we see that it was so we might be identified with Him in His death and resurrection, that we might die and walk in newness of life.

Resources:

Romans 6:1-14

Romans (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), Thomas Schreiner

As we close out our series on the Apostles’ Creed, we look ahead to our future. Is there a true and trustworthy hope for humanity and our world? There is in the life everlasting.

Resources:

Revelation 21:1-8

Revelation (The New International Greek Testament Commentary), G.K. Beale

Revelation (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament)Grant Osborne

Affirming the Apostles’ Creed, J.I. Packer

Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 4: Holy Spirit, Church, and New CreationHerman Bavinck

 

Where’s all the work we do in this world ultimately going? Because we believe in the resurrection of the body, none of it that is done unto the Lord will be in vain.

Resources:

1 Corinthians 15:35-58

1 Corinthians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament)David Garland

Affirming the Apostles’ Creed, J.I. Packer

Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 4: Holy Spirit, Church, and New CreationHerman Bavinck

All our sins are forgiven the moment we believe–but what happens when we sin after that time? We walk in the light not by hiding our sin, but by confessing it, sinning no more, and receiving ongoing forgiveness.

Resources:

1 John 1:5-2:2

Affirming the Apostles’ Creed, J.I. Packer

Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 4: Holy Spirit, Church, and New CreationHerman Bavinck

Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God: Chapter 13, Timothy Keller

Life Together: Confession and the Lord’s Supper, Dietrich Bonhoeffer

In the Creed, we’ve confessed faith in what Christ did in history. But as long as He remains outside of us, we aren’t changed by it. Now we come to the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus sends to be in us forever.

Resources:

John 14:15-27

Affirming the Apostles’ Creed, J.I. Packer

Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 2: God and Creation, Herman Bavinck

Reformed Dogmatics: Theology Proper, Geerhardus Vos

It’s been said, “You’re entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.” Christian faith is based on facts, and here we look at its central fact: Jesus rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and is seated at God’s right hand.

Resources:

Acts 2:22-39

Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 3: Sin and Salvation in ChristHerman Bavinck

Affirming the Apostles’ Creed, J.I. Packer

Sacred Dissertations on the Apostles’ Creed, Herman Witsius

Who is Jesus? It’s a question any who’s heard His names and claims has to answer. Here we see He is God’s only Son, the Lord of all, and perhaps most significantly…our Lord.

Resources:

Colossians 1:15-20

Affirming the Apostles’ Creed, J.I. Packer

Sacred Dissertations on the Apostles’ Creed, Herman Witsius

Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 2: God and Creation, Herman Bavinck

In the Apostles’ Creed, we begin with “I believe,” but what is it we believe? Or better yet, in whom do we believe? In this passage we answer that question with “our God,” and we behold Him for our comfort.

Resources:

Isaiah 40:9-31

The Prophecy of Isaiah: An Introduction & Commentary, Alec Motyer

Affirming the Apostles’ Creed, J.I. Packer

Sacred Dissertations on the Apostles’ Creed, Herman Witsius

What does it mean to begin the Apostles’ Creed with “I Believe”? It’s very different from the Creed by which we all naturally live: “I’ve done.”

Resources:

Romans 10:5-13

The Epistle the Romans (NICNT), Douglas Moo

Romans (BECNT), Thomas Schreiner

“Opinion: Am I a Christian, Pastor Timothy Keller?”

In order for the church to speak prophetically to our world about racial justice, we must be a racially just community. How are commanded to do so? It begins with welcoming one another as Christ as welcomed us, to the glory of God.

Resources:

Romans 15:1-13

The Epistle the Romans (NICNT), Douglas Moo

Romans (BECNT), Thomas Schreiner

“The Gospel and our Prejudice”, Timothy Keller

Last week we looked at the freedom that comes from the truth, but is there a danger to falsehood as well? There is, and here we see if really love people and godliness, we must rebuke false teachers with sound doctrine.

Resources:

Titus 1:9-16

Pastoral Epistles (Word Biblical Commentary)William Mounce

What You Should Know About the Prosperity Gospel

 

Before jumping into the Apostles’ Creed, we have to ask why we should even spend our time studying theology or doctrine. This passage gives us a few basic reasons: That Jesus’ true disciples will hold fast His Word, know the truth, and that truth will set them free.

Resources:

John 8:31-36

The Gospel According to John (The Pillar New Testament Commentary), D.A. Carson

“Can We Be Sure of our Interpretation?” – Podcast by D.A. Carson

Whether past mistakes or present sins, we often feel stuck. With the coming of Christ however, a true redemption has come, that releases us from bondage and delivers us into true freedom.

Resources:

Luke 1:57-80

Luke 1:1-9:50 (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), Darrell Bock

Luke (Reformed Expository Commentary), Phil Ryken

Impatience is to blame for much of our stress and anger, but we can be patient to the degree we get our hopes up about the future. How can we do it? Get your hopes up for God’s promise.

Resources:

Luke 1:5-25

Luke (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries), Leon Morris

As the book of Genesis comes to a close, we see the book that began with life ending in death. Yet with death comes a hope beyond death that enables us to finish well.

Resources:

Genesis 49:29-50:26

Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 2, Genesis 16-50, Gordon Wenham

Genesis: Tyndale Old Testament CommentariesDerek Kidner

The Complete Spurgeon Sermons on Genesis, Charles Spurgeon

As we come near the close of Genesis, our eyes are drawn to the future, where God’s kingdom will come under the reign of His chosen King.

Resources:

Genesis 47:27-49:28

Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 2, Genesis 16-50, Gordon Wenham

Genesis: Tyndale Old Testament CommentariesDerek Kidner

Jacob is now getting ready to head to Egypt, but is afraid to leave the promised land. God assures him and us that He is with us and will use us wherever He sends us to bless the nations through us.

Resources:

Genesis 46-47:26

Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 2, Genesis 16-50, Gordon Wenham

Genesis: Tyndale Old Testament CommentariesDerek Kidner

After much brokenness and trauma in Joseph’s life, in these chapters we read of the incredible story of reconciliation between Joseph and his brothers, one that calls all of us to be reconciled to one another.

Resources:

Genesis 42-45

Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 2, Genesis 16-50, Gordon Wenham

Genesis: Tyndale Old Testament CommentariesDerek Kidner

God has told Joseph that one day he will be exalted, but in order for his exaltation (and ours) to serve the glory of God and others rather than self, he (and we) must be humbled first.

Resources:

Genesis 39-41

Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 2, Genesis 16-50, Gordon Wenham

Genesis: Tyndale Old Testament CommentariesDerek Kidner

Though Jacob was on his way home, he stopped along the way. Our reality is we aren’t at our final home, and therefore we experience the ruinous effects of sin in heinous ways. But, there is hope.

Resources:

Genesis 34-36

Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 2, Genesis 16-50, Gordon Wenham

Genesis: Tyndale Old Testament CommentariesDerek Kidner

Sexual Assault: Healing Steps for Victims, David Powlison

Every human longs to go to their true home, the place they should have been born, but how do you get there? You have to leave the house of idols, deal with God, and deal with others.

Resources:

Genesis 31-33

Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 2, Genesis 16-50, Gordon Wenham

Genesis: Tyndale Old Testament CommentariesDerek Kidner

Counterfeit Gods, Chapter 7: The End of Counterfeit GodsTimothy Keller

Gifts are great as gifts, but can never replace the Giver. Throughout Genesis, God shows Himself to be the Giver of every good gift, but in this passage, we see the chaos that ensues when those gifts are used to replace Him.

Resources:

Genesis 29-30

Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 2, Genesis 16-50, Gordon Wenham

Genesis: Tyndale Old Testament CommentariesDerek Kidner

Counterfeit Gods, Chapter 2: Love is Not All You NeedTimothy Keller

 

With Abraham now dead, God is still with the next generation, though as the story progress we find his favor cannot be bought. It is administered by sovereign grace, a doctrine simultaneously offensive and comforting.

Resources:

Genesis 25:19-26:35

Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 2, Genesis 16-50, Gordon Wenham

Genesis: Tyndale Old Testament CommentariesDerek Kidner

As we conclude our series on community, we see that the church is led by elders who exercise oversight over the flock. While the idea of having an overseer in my walk with God feels strange and even offensive to most Americans, here we see why it is so necessary.

Resources:

Titus 1:4-9

Biblical Eldership: An Urgent Call to Restore Biblical Church Leadership, Alexander Strauch

Jesus, Justice, and Gender Roles: A Case for Gender Roles in MinistryKathy Keller

“The Church as Family: Why Male Leadership in the Family Requires Male Leadership in the Church As Well” – Vern Poythress

 

As we conclude the section of Genesis focusing on Abraham and read of his death, we see he had a hope for the future beyond even his death that we too share with him.

Resources:

Genesis 24-25:18

Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 2, Genesis 16-50, Gordon Wenham

Genesis: Tyndale Old Testament CommentariesDerek Kidner

The Complete Spurgeon Sermons on GenesisCharles Spurgeon

As we inch closer to the end of Abraham’s story, we find the promise is progressively fulfilled, but sin and its effects are not yet eradicated. Yet through trust in God’s promise of land in the future, we can have hope alongside mourning in the present.

Resources:

Genesis 23

Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 2, Genesis 16-50, Gordon Wenham

Genesis: Tyndale Old Testament CommentariesDerek Kidner