Sermon Archive

Sermon Archive

The Fullness of Time

Scriptures:  Luke 2:25-32; Galatians 4:4-7 Sunday, December 31, 2023 at The First Congregational Church of Marshalltown, Iowa As recorded in Luke 2, Joseph and Mary came to the temple in Jerusalem, and two people met them.  One was Anna, a prophetess who lived near the Temple.  The other was Simeon, a godly man who learned from the Holy Spirit that he would see the Messiah before he died.  He recognized that the time had come, and that this baby was…

The Beginning of the Gospel

Mark 1:1-8; (Isaiah 40:1-11) Sunday, December 10, 2023 at The First Congregational Church of Marshalltown, Iowa Mark is the Gospel that “gets right to the point.”  Believed to be heavily influenced by the preaching of Peter, Mark spends no time on the birth of Jesus and gets to action right away.  The words “baptize” or “baptism” show up more than once in the passage, so baptism, for Peter, is right at the beginning of the Gospel, the story of redemption…

The Mind of Christ

The Mind of Christ Sunday, December 3, 2023 at The First Congregational Church of Marshalltown, Iowa Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,.. I read recently that the ancients believed that a person could get the “mind of God,” that they learn, or somehow gain, the ability to think like God, to look at life from God’s perspective, which, according to the Old Testament, is very different from the way we view the…

Building a Life

Matthew 25:21  His lord said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things.  I will make you ruler over many things.  Enter into the joy of your lord. Sunday, November 19, 2023 at The First Congregational Church of Marshalltown, Iowa I think that we build a life over the course of years that we have on this earth.  All that we say and do on a daily basis contributes to that life, which,…

Watch

Sunday, November 12, 2017 at The First Congregational Church of Marshalltown, Iowa Matthew 25:13 Used again November 12, 2023 Gardening is a war of attrition.  Weeds have developed means of surviving almost anything, and if there is even one small tip of a root left in the ground, it will grow back.  It is said that people who are retired make the best gardeners because they can go out there every day.  It doesn’t matter how often the weeds come…

Just as He is Pure

1 John 3:1-3; Revelation 7:9-17 Sunday, November 5, 2023 at The First Congregational Church of Marshalltown, Iowa I recently read an article about purity, and that the many ceremonial works in the Old Testament had powerful symbolic meaning.  The author wrote this:  “Israel had an elaborate purification and cleansing system in the Old Testament. Under the Mosaic Law the holiness of Israel was from the first recognized as moral separation from sin, but it was expressed outwardly by separation from…

What Was Denied Moses…

Deuteronomy 34:1-12; Hebrews 12:18-24 Sunday, October 29, 2023 at The First Congregational Church of Marshalltown, Iowa I wept when I saw Jerusalem for the first time.  What are some things that you have yearned to see for your whole life? It takes roughly one hour to drive from Jericho to Jerusalem, and the drive is mostly uphill the whole way.  As we came close to the crest of the mountain, the tour guide, per instructions, played “Jerusalem” on the sound…

The Presence and the Purpose

Romans 8:28; Genesis 29:31-32  Sunday, October 22, 2023 at The First Congregational Church of Marshalltown, Iowa  For some time there was a movement among Christian men in the United States called “Promise Keepers”.  Some of their books are still in our church library.  Founded by a former college football coach, Promise Keepers was devoted to encouraging the Christian faith among men in our nation and to develop integrity among them.  Conferences across the country were held, attracting thousands upon thousands. …

The End of Death

The End of Death Revelation 21:3-4 Sunday, October 15, 2023 at The First Congregational Church of Marshalltown, Iowa   Introduction I remember visiting a woman who was in hospice and knew that she did not have long to live.  Well into her 90’s, her heart had become weak and all medical science could do was keep her comfortable as she lived her last days.  Strong in Christ, she referred to her impending death as her home-going and looked forward to…

The Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments (Sabbath variation) Exodus 20:11; Deuteronomy 5:15 Sunday, October 8, 2023 at The First Congregational Church of Marshalltown, Iowa   Intoduction Friedrich Nietzsche I remember being in a meeting about spiritual care in a hospital setting and the presenter spoke of “making meaning,” which I took to mean that reflection on life, or a life situation, can bring meaning to a difficult situation and thus making it easier to manage.  Reflecting on life, its joys and its challenges,…

Authority To Judge

Authority to Judge Ezekiel 19:29-30 Sunday, October 1, 2023, at The First Congregational Church of Marshalltown, Iowa One of the most unpopular theological topics is that of judgement; the idea that we must stand before God as God judges our lives.  The Book of Revelation depicts an awesome and grim scene in which the people of the ages stand before God and books are opened and those whose name is found in the book are admitted into heaven and those…

The Mercy Seat

Leviticus 16:1-2; Romans 3:21-25 Yom Kippur, Sunday, September 24, 2023 at The First Congregational Church of Marshalltown, Iowa This is the week of Yom Kippur in the Jewish Calendar.  It is the religious New Year and a day of great significance.  Still celebrated by fasting and spiritual worship to this day, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement was the day when the High Priest would sprinkle the blood of sacrifice upon the cover of the Ark of the Covenant and…