Sermons by Rev. Michael Grasso
In 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 Paul emphasizes that the death and resurrection of Christ happened historically according to the Scriptures. This resurrection is absolutely foundational to salvation such that without the resurrection of Christ no one can be saved. Pastor Grasso here explains the historical witness to the resurrection and the way in which it was attested in Scripture before the coming of Christ.
How is Christ’s resurrection related to your salvation? In Ephesians 2:1-10 Paul explains that you are dead in your sins but God made you alive together with Christ. Salvation is resurrection and not just any resurrection but it is union with Christ such that His resurrection becomes yours. For the believer the spiritual life you have is the life of the resurrected life of Christ. “He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.” – Matthew 28:6
In Deuteronomy 16:1-17 Moses gives instructions about the three annual feasts in Israel’s calendar: the Feast of Unleavened Bread (associated with the Passover), the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), and the Feast of Tabernacles/Booths. All three of these feasts show that worship is communion with God, that it is based on past redemption, and that it rejoices in the blessings of salvation while looking forward to the consummation of all things in the New Heavens and New Earth. All of this…
In Matthew 6:19-24 Christ gives three sayings that all describe what it looks like to be truly devoted to God. It means seeking treasure in heaven, having a good eye that looks to the glory of God, and that serves God rather than Mammon. Ultimately, everyone must choose whom they are going to serve: God or something else. Christ warns against the kind of self-deception that believes you can do both. Be warned! You cannot serve two masters.
In Deuteronomy 15:19-23 Moses gives the law concerning offering the firstborn of an Israelite’s clean animals to God, emphasizing that the animals used in sacrifice must also be without blemish. This law builds on the theology of the Passover and Exodus where God redeemed His people so as to spare the firstborn of Israel through the blood of a lamb. This law was meant to be a reminder of what it takes to make an atonement whereby the people of…
Fasting is something that is typically not practiced much today, but Christ assumes that Christians will be fasting in Matthew 6:16-18; however, this does not mean that all fasting is acceptable to God. Christ explains that those who fast so as to gain a reputation for godliness before men will receive nothing from God, but those who fast for the sake of God’s glory will be honored by Him.
Moses continues to expound the 4th commandment in Deuteronomy 15:1-18 by explaining the year of debt cancellation that was to happen every seven years. The seventh year points to an organic connection with Sabbath law, showing the significance of the Sabbath: it is a celebration of having our debt before God cancelled and being released from slavery. All of this is fulfilled in Christ through his great redemption.
Having looked at the first three petitions of the Lord’s Prayer last week, which all deal with praying for the good of God (his name, kingdom, and will), we look this week at the last three petitions, which deal with the way in which we bring our needs before God. Here both physical and spiritual needs are addressed by Christ, that is, the needs of both body and soul.
In Deuteronomy 14:22-29 Moses gives instruction for the annual and triennial tithe laws for the people of God once they enter the land. These laws show that tithing ought to be done first for the maintenance of the worship of God and second to provide for the needs of the poor, especially among the people of God.
In Matthew 6:9-15 Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray with the famous “Lord’s Prayer”. Often when Christians come to God there is a tendency to pray first and exclusively for pressing things in our own lives. Christ, however, without neglecting the need to bring our requests for personal needs to him, emphasizes that we ought to pray first for God’s name, kingdom and will to be done.
The food laws in Leviticus and Deuteronomy have always been challenging to Christians. What is the significance of these laws from Deuteronomy 14:1-21? Ultimately these laws were meant to make a distinction between Israel, who was chosen by God and therefore holy, and the world, which is enslaved to death. Not only that, but the doing away of the food laws shows that the nations are no longer in exile but brought near through the blood of Christ.
In Matthew 6:5-15 Jesus addresses prayer and specifically what kind of prayer is pleasing to God. As with his discussion on giving, he assumes people pray, but he also points out that some people pray and receive nothing from God. It is not those who pray to be seen by others but rather those who pray out of love for God who are heard by him. It is not those who repeat themselves but those who seek the sanctification of…