Sermons on Means of Grace
In Matthew 15:1-20, Christ not only affirms the supremacy of the Word of God over tradition, but also highlights the danger of traditions that nullify the Word of God. The tradition of the Pharisees focused on externals, whereas the Word of God focuses on the heart. Very often traditions that contradict the Bible give people a false hope on the basis of external conformity to manmade laws rather than the purification of the heart in the gospel.
The session of New Covenant OPC has called for a quarterly fast to beseech God to pour out the Spirit that the Church might be built. In fasting Joel tells us to “rend our hearts” not our garments. Fasting ought to be done to humble oneself before God that we might cry out to him for help in our need. Given the state of the church and the proliferation of great sins in our country, it is not going to…
In Matthew 15:1-20 Christ gets into a dispute with the Pharisees over tradition. Christ responds to the accusation about not keeping the tradition of the elders by arguing that the traditions of the Pharisees were contrary to the Word of God. As was taught in the Reformation, Christ affirms that the Word of God is above every tradition of man.
In 1 Samuel 4:1-11 the people of God are defeated at Aphek. After the defeat, they bring the ark of God to the battle and believe they will win merely because the ark is with them. This, however, does not help them and they are once again defeated. What are we to learn from this? God’s people ought to trust in the God of the ark rather than the ark of God.
In Hebrews 13:7-16 the author explains that christians ought to obey their leaders rather than be led away after the false teachings of others who emphasize an earthly altar. The passage is a reminder that our faith focuses on the world to come rather than this one.
Jeremiah 31:31-34 is a very important text for understanding the relationship between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. Pastor Grasso explains the similarities and differences between the two as given in Hebrews 8 and other parts of the New Testament, showing that the New Covenant is the fulfillment of the Old, that the way of salvation was fundamentally the same between the two, and that the New is superior in terms of efficacy.
In Hebrews 8:2 the author speaks of Christ as the priest of the true tabernacle, pitched by God, not man. The tabernacle and the temple were instituted by God but constructed by man. The Old Testament speaks of a time when God himself would construct a house for his name and bring His people to dwell with Him there. Christ is the priest of this new tabernacle, serving in heaven itself.
In Hebrews 4:14-16 the author, summarizing his exhortations to this point, calls up on Christians to hold fast to their confession of faith and to approach the throne of grace with confidence. All of this in light of the glory of our great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus Christ, who is able to sympathize with us in our weaknesses.
In Hebrews 4:12-13, the author concludes the great exhortation begun in 3:7. Do not harden yourself when you hear the Word of God because the Word of God is living and active, it pierces to the deepest part of you, and is able to judge everything about you. This is true because God is the one who speaks this Word. He is the judge of all the earth, whom you cannot escape, and the one to whom you must give…
In Matthew 11:16-19 Jesus describes the generation that is rejecting him. He describes them as children sitting in a marketplace and demanding that others dance and mourn according to their whims. It is a picture of a generation that seeks to demand God conform to them rather than be conformed to the image of Christ. This caused the people to complain about John being overly strict with what he eats and drinks and to complain about Jesus that he was…
In Matthew 11:1-6, Matthew begins recording responses to Christ’s ministry (chs. 11-12). Here, surprisingly, John the Baptist sends messengers from prison to ask Jesus if he really is “the coming one”. Jesus responds to John’s doubts by pointing John to Scripture, while showing him that he is the fulfillment of it, and by pronouncing a blessing on all those who remain true to him. God has provided these means to help doubting saints in every age.
In today’s world masculine virtues and male leadership is derided and rejected. What was required for transitioning from Moses’s leadership to Joshua’s? Moses gives the answer in Deuteronomy 31:1-13: Strength and courage. Masculine strength and courage that the world has forgotten. Courage rooted in faith, upheld by the Word of God.