HomeSunday Sermon SeriesSunday Sermon Series November 26, 2023

Sunday Sermon Series November 26, 2023

Whether you call them homilies, sermons, or talks, there’s a lot you can learn from the spiritual leaders in our community. While in a perfect world, you’d have time to listen to everyone, that simply isn’t possible for most with limited time to spare. To help, we’ve surfaced and summarized the teachings from the audio sermons of some of the most influential priests and pastors from around town and in the Christian sphere.

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Fr. Mike Schmitz

Based On A True Story

In Father Mike Schmitz’s homily, he reflects on a four-week series titled “Based on a True Story,” where the Gospel narrative is explored in three acts. Act one emphasizes that God is good and created a good world, making humanity in His image for labor, leisure, and love. Act two introduces the bad news that humanity misused its freedom, leading to a broken world. Act three presents the good news of Jesus Christ, who, as both fully God and fully human, bridges the unbridgeable gap between God and humanity, offering rescue.

Fr. Mike delves into the importance of responding to this rescue, making it the fourth act of the story. He emphasizes that merely believing in the Gospel is not enough; there must be an active response. Drawing parallels to receiving a gift like a guitar but not becoming a guitarist without practice, he stresses that a real response is required to avoid wasting the rescue mission.

The homily touches on the reasons behind the unwritten fourth act. Fr. Mike suggests that God, by granting humanity freedom, desires more than mere robots or pets. He wants people capable of choosing to love, resulting in a genuine response. Using the analogy of living in a broken home before being rescued, he illustrates how we need to learn to live as free people in God’s family.

Fr. Mike challenges the congregation to consider their response to the rescue mission. He likens the relationship between God and humanity to that of a family, with real rights and responsibilities. Using a personal anecdote about his sister’s husband, Tanner, becoming his father’s best friend, he illustrates how real relationships evolve through genuine responses. In conclusion, he encourages listeners to reflect on their lives, recognizing the centrality of Jesus and choosing the desired image that reflects their response to the unwritten fourth act of the Gospel story.

Listen to the full version here.

Buckhead Church

Check Your Heart

Joel Thomas delves into the parable of the Good Samaritan, highlighting the Samaritan’s compassionate response to a wounded man along the road. Thomas suggests that the Samaritan, in seeing the injured man, identified with the situation, fostering a sense of empathy and compassion. He emphasizes the transformative power of compassion, asserting that it compels individuals to take action. Despite cultural and ethnic differences, the Samaritan recognizes the common humanity in the injured man, contemplating what he would want done for himself in a similar situation. The Samaritan tends to the man’s wounds with olive oil and wine, provides transportation on his own donkey, and ensures further care at an inn, challenging societal norms.

Thomas contends that Jesus, through this parable, redefines the concept of neighbor, expanding it beyond physical and ethical boundaries. He challenges listeners to think about neighbors in a broader sense, emphasizing that anyone in need around them is a neighbor. The sermon underscores the link between one’s love for God and their love for neighbors in need. Thomas introduces a thought-provoking question posed by Jesus to an expert: “Which of these three love the Lord his God with all of his heart, soul, mind, and strength, loving him like he would want someone to love himself?” The answer, according to Thomas, lies not with the religious figures who knew the law but with the one who showed mercy, revealing that true love for God is reflected in compassionate action toward others.

Thomas shares a personal anecdote about a mentor named Gary, who expressed a deep fear of neglecting to share the love of Christ with others. Gary’s concern centered on the possibility of encountering someone in the afterlife whom he failed to help find salvation. This story serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of compassionate action and sharing God’s love with those in need. Thomas concludes by urging listeners to reflect on their own responses to people in need, encouraging them to overcome excuses and embrace true compassion, which aligns with God’s heart. The sermon emphasizes the potential for heart renewal and restoration through acts of love and compassion, aligning one’s heart with God’s love for humanity.

Listen to the full version here.

Passion City Church

Wide Awake

The central theme of Grant Partrick’s sermon revolves around the transformative power of gratitude in the context of Paul’s teachings in the last chapter. The analogy of standing before a mirror while deciding what to wear serves as a metaphor for the Christian’s choice between the old self and the new self. Gratitude becomes the mirror that helps individuals discern whether their actions and attitudes align with the new self or the old self. Partrick emphasizes that cultivating gratitude is crucial for maintaining a holy and righteous life, drawing parallels between various negative behaviors Paul warns against and the positive influence of gratitude. For instance, he points out that anger, bitterness, and gossip are incompatible with gratitude, and practicing gratitude serves as a key tool to stoke the fire of holy living.

Partrick delves into the societal prevalence of ingratitude, both inside and outside the church, highlighting its detrimental impact on individuals and the collective spirit. He underscores the biblical significance of gratitude, citing Paul’s warnings about the perils of ingratitude in Second Timothy. The sermon also explores practical ways to cultivate gratitude, such as avoiding comparison, refraining from tallying sacrifices, resisting entitlement, maintaining an active spiritual life, and focusing on what one has rather than what is lacking.

The latter part of the sermon shifts to Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians 5, urging believers to live as children of light. Partrick emphasizes the importance of exposing deeds of darkness within the context of a loving Christian community, with the ultimate goal of helping others walk in the light. The call to wake up, rise from the dead, and let Christ shine illuminates the urgency of living wisely, making the most of every opportunity in the face of life’s brevity. The practical steps outlined include spending time with the Lord, asking God for wisdom, surrounding oneself with wise individuals, and applying the wisdom test in decision-making. The sermon concludes with an emphasis on gratitude, highlighting its role as a continual practice in the believer’s life.

Listen to the full version here.

Trinity Anglican Church

In Kris McDaniel’s sermon, he explores the themes of Advent, Christ the King, and Jesus’s teachings on those who took care of him. Reflecting on Advent and Christ the King in the Anglican tradition, McDaniel emphasizes the rhythms of the church year, particularly the anticipation of Jesus’s two comings. He underscores the significance of Christ the King Sunday as a clear picture of who Jesus is before entering the season of Advent. McDaniel delves into Jesus’s teachings about his return, highlighting the belief in Jesus as the King who will complete what he began and sit down, signifying the fulfillment of his work.

The sermon then delves into the parable of the sheep and the goats, drawing attention to the separation between them based on acts of service. McDaniel stresses that the story is not about creating a new checklist but about becoming like Jesus. He argues that the actions mentioned in the parable pull individuals out of self-preservation and scarcity, moving them into other-based living. McDaniel contends that engaging in these acts is a reflection of being with Jesus and becoming like him. He urges the congregation to consider how actively Jesus influences their lives and decisions.

The sermon concludes with a reflection on the question posed in the passage about when these acts were done for Jesus. McDaniel highlights the mysterious and mystical nature of serving others as serving Jesus himself. He encourages listeners to actively be influenced by Jesus, emphasizing that Christianity is about becoming like Christ. The sermon closes with a call to examine the trajectory of one’s life and to consider where Jesus is inviting individuals to follow him and be near him.

Listen to the full version here.

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