Tag Archives: gospel

Sermons

Here’s an embedded playlist of some sermons that I’ve preached at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Manurewa.

Most of the sermons are from either Mark or Titus.

Motivated by love for human beings in need

Motivated by love for human beings in need

Motivated by love for human beings in need, the early Christians went everywhere preaching the Word of God, because nothing has such a humanizing influence as the gospel. Later they founded schools, hospitals, and refuges for the outcast. Later still they abolished the slave trade and freed the slaves, and they improved the conditions of works in mills and mines, and of prisoners in jails. They protected children from commercial exploitation in the factories of the West and from ritual prostitution in the temples of the East.

Today they bring leprosy sufferers both the compassion of Jesus and modern methods of reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation. They care for the blind and the deaf, the orphaned and the widowed, the sick and the dying. They get alongside junkies, and stay alongside them during the traumatic period of withdrawal. They set themselves against racism and political oppression. They get involved in the inner city, the slums and the ghettoes, and raise their protest against the inhuman conditions in which many are doomed to live. They seek in whatever way they can to express their solidarity with the poor and the hungry, the deprived and the disadvantaged.

I am not claiming that all Christians at all times have given their lives in such service. But a sufficiently large number have done so to make their record noteworthy.

Why have they done this?

Because of the Christian doctrine of man, male and female, all made in the image of God, though all also fallen.

Because people matter.

Because every man, woman and child has intrinsic, inalienable value as a human being.

Once we see this, we shall both set ourselves to liberate people from everything dehumanizing and count it a privilege to serve them, to do everything in our power to make human life more human.

Stott, J. (1984, p. 24). New Issues Facing Christians Today. London: Marshall Pickering.

Fasting and Feasting

Fasting and Feasting

Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.  (Mark 2:18-20)

Previous sermon in Mark’s Gospel: Disciples and Dinner Guests

The Church as a Gospel Gathering

There are church gatherings with minimal gospel emphasis.

I know this because I have been part of such gatherings.

The pastors asked me to leave.

Reason?  Making known my dissatisfaction with the deemphasis.

What to Make of Church Gatherings with Minimal Gospel.

Sure, there are many gatherings where in this deemphasis palpable.  So what do we do?  We give thanks?  You see, even when it is deemphasized, we can be thankful that however marginal it is, one truth remains.  Namely, the gospel is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).

The norm for the church is that the gospel be at the all-encompassing centre of it’s life.  But situations where it is not?  So long as it is somewhere, there ought to be thanks to God.

This demonstrates how powerful the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God is.   This good news is the power of God unto salvation.  No matter how deemphasized it may be, the this remains.

Christianity has been tested intellectually and practically

Christianity has been tested intellectually and practically over the past twenty years and has been found wanting, at least in the Western world (think of the “New Atheism”).  Often, however, it is a mere caricature of Christianity that is being rejected, a caricature which misrepresents the truth and essence of the faith.  This caricature is propagated by well-meaning and not so well-meaning people claiming to represent the faith of all Christians while actually peddling their own misguided, misleading, and, at times, very harmful brand of “Christianity” (such as, for example, the “health-and-wealth” message). (pp. 2-3)

Bayer, H. F. (2012). A Theology of Mark: The Dynamic between Christology and Authentic Discipleship. Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing.

Christianity has been tested intellectually and practically

About Hans F. Bayer

Professor of New Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary.

Born and raised in Germany, Professor Bayer came to Covenant Seminary in 1994 after teaching for ten years at the German Theological Seminary at Giessen, where he also planted and co-pastored a church.

With his expertise in critical scholarship and commitment to the authority and unity of the Scriptures, Dr. Bayer seeks to exemplify our pastor-scholar model. He hopes that his personal interest in world mission might add a multicultural dimension to each student’s world vision for the Gospel.

Dr. Bayer lectures and preaches regularly in the U.S.A. and throughout Europe. He has published English and German monographs, essays, and dictionary articles, primarily on the Gospels and the book of Acts. He contributed to the ESV Study Bible, as well as video-taped lectures on Acts for Third Millennium Ministries, and has recently published A Theology of Mark: The Dynamic Between Christology and Authentic Discipleship, as well as a German commentary on the Gospel of Mark. He is currently working on a New Testament Introduction volume and The Watermarks of Christ: Contours of Peter’s Transformation in Mark, Acts, and His Epistles.

Dr. Bayer and his wife, Susan, have three children and two grandchildren.

John Mark’s presentation of Peter’s account

… John Mark’s presentation of Peter’s account [of Jesus]… is honest, self-critical, transparent, and unadorned… [In it] the Master is portrayed as incomprehensible and yet deeply personal, puzzling yet captivating, awesome yet the harbor of profound hope.  (p. 1)

Bayer, H. F. (2012). A Theology of Mark: The Dynamic between Christology and Authentic Discipleship. Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing.

John Mark’s presentation of Peter’s account

About Hans F. Bayer

Professor of New Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary.

Born and raised in Germany, Professor Bayer came to Covenant Seminary in 1994 after teaching for ten years at the German Theological Seminary at Giessen, where he also planted and co-pastored a church.

With his expertise in critical scholarship and commitment to the authority and unity of the Scriptures, Dr. Bayer seeks to exemplify our pastor-scholar model. He hopes that his personal interest in world mission might add a multicultural dimension to each student’s world vision for the Gospel.

Dr. Bayer lectures and preaches regularly in the U.S.A. and throughout Europe. He has published English and German monographs, essays, and dictionary articles, primarily on the Gospels and the book of Acts. He contributed to the ESV Study Bible, as well as video-taped lectures on Acts for Third Millennium Ministries, and has recently published A Theology of Mark: The Dynamic Between Christology and Authentic Discipleship, as well as a German commentary on the Gospel of Mark. He is currently working on a New Testament Introduction volume and The Watermarks of Christ: Contours of Peter’s Transformation in Mark, Acts, and His Epistles.

Dr. Bayer and his wife, Susan, have three children and two grandchildren.

Divergent Ideas about Discipleship

“Sincere Christians hold helpful yet divergent ideas about discipleship.  Some focus on steps that disciples must follow, some emphasize one-on-one mentoring based on the relationship of Paul and Timothy, others see the practice of spiritual disciplines as the key, while others hold to an intellectual approach that accentuates reading and studying good books… And although their proponents look to Jesus for salvation, they do not focus enough on his view of discipleship.”  (p. 1)

Bayer, H. F. (2012). A Theology of Mark: The Dynamic between Christology and Authentic Discipleship. Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing.

Divergent Ideas about Discipleship

About Hans F. Bayer

Professor of New Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary.

Born and raised in Germany, Professor Bayer came to Covenant Seminary in 1994 after teaching for ten years at the German Theological Seminary at Giessen, where he also planted and co-pastored a church.

With his expertise in critical scholarship and commitment to the authority and unity of the Scriptures, Dr. Bayer seeks to exemplify our pastor-scholar model. He hopes that his personal interest in world mission might add a multicultural dimension to each student’s world vision for the Gospel.

Dr. Bayer lectures and preaches regularly in the U.S.A. and throughout Europe. He has published English and German monographs, essays, and dictionary articles, primarily on the Gospels and the book of Acts. He contributed to the ESV Study Bible, as well as video-taped lectures on Acts for Third Millennium Ministries, and has recently published A Theology of Mark: The Dynamic Between Christology and Authentic Discipleship, as well as a German commentary on the Gospel of Mark. He is currently working on a New Testament Introduction volume and The Watermarks of Christ: Contours of Peter’s Transformation in Mark, Acts, and His Epistles.

Dr. Bayer and his wife, Susan, have three children and two grandchildren.

A Sermon Without Christ In It

The motto of all true servants of God must be, ‘We preach Christ; and him crucified.’ A sermon without Christ in it is like a loaf of bread without any flour in it. No Christ in your sermon, sir? Then go home, and never preach again until you have something worth preaching.  — Charles Spurgeon (Sermon # 2899)

With varying degrees of regularity, I have been preaching for most of my adult life.  Over that time I have grown in my conviction of what Mr. Spurgeon is alluding to here and in several other of his sermons.

Sermon Without Christ

As I consider my pursuit of formal theological instruction, I began with questions:

  • How do I see Jesus on every page?
  • How do I preach Jesus in every sermon?

While these questions remain, I would say studying at Grace Theological College has thus far given me basic tools to answer them.  It’s these basic tools that I suspect will form the foundation of all and any ministry.

While I would be a fool to suggest one particular hermeneutic is as infallible as the text it seeks to exegete.  However, I anticipate professional development taking the shape of mastering that hermeneutic.  But this doesn’t mean I’ll never explore or glean from a differing one.

A Sermon Without Christ In It Is Like A Loaf Of Bread Without Any Flour In It.

Since my conversion in 2002, I have been exposed to at least 700 sermons.  This exposure has represented a broad spectrum of Christian expressions.  My assessment of these expressions has stood or fell on one criterion:  Is Christ being preaching?

Sermon Without Christ

TaleSpin was a cartoon I watched regularly as a child.  While its sagas were many a few standout.  Most noteworthy was a saga that involved what could only be a caricature of the Soviets.   Much as those who experienced life in Soviet camps, the characters of TaleSpin, imprisoned in these camps were subject to a similar diet.

Especially relevant to this comparison was the regular serving of steam soup.  No meat.  And no vegetables.  And no broth.  Rather, just steam scooped from a larger reservoir of steam.

Compared to the hearty Sunday Roast of English tradition, Christ-less sermons don’t even begin to compare to a sandwich.  Rather, Christless sermons aren’t even sandwiches without filling.  Instead “a sermon without Christ is like a loaf of bread without any flour in it”.

I consider this a grave injustice.  Consequently, I have made enemies within the so-called Christian church on account of my unwillingness to concede group on this issue.  It has lead to much anger, and need for repentance and reconciliation because many times, though the cause was noble, I was not.

As a result of conflict and the assessment of my own reactionary conduct, I realise that I can do little to change the menu in a church in which I have little if any influence.

Rather, the best thing I can do is to resolve, like Paul, to know nothing amongst the church but Christ and Him crucified.  That is my ambition in ministry.

The single greatest need in the world today

“The greatest need in the world today, is for a revelation of the love of our heavenly Father and that love is revealed in Jesus Christ. The greatest tragedy in the world today, is that those who are called to reveal the gospel, reveal something other than the good news of Jesus.” – – Paul Ellis

WWSS? (What Would Spurgeon Say?)

The greatest need in the world todayThe greatest need in the world today

“The very idea of a “Christless sermon” appalled Charles Spurgeon. It was a plague he confronted repeatedly (and vividly) in his own sermons. Although sometimes overstated to make his point, his words are a healthy challenge today over 100 years after his death.”  – – Erik Raymond

What is the greatest need in the world today?

That we preach Christ and Him crucified.

“For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2

Incarnation — Grace Theological College

[Jesus] relinquished divine privileges, existing in the eternal love with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and poured himself out, taking on the confinement of human incarnation, living truly as God and man. (p. 49) Hans Bayer The Theology of Mark Amazon.com offers the following synopsis of Hans’ book: Sincere Christians hold divergent ideas about…

via Incarnation — Grace Theological College