God’s gracious work of salvation flows from His character and work – not ours – and so our proper response is praise.

Photo. Nelson family farm 2011. Photo by Richard Blick. Fall 2011

IX. The Sermon: Plenty to Be Thankful For – Rev. Kyle McClellan, Senior Minister, Grace Presbyterian Church

The Sermon Passage: 1 Peter 1:3-5

The Big Idea: God’s gracious work of salvation flows from His character and work – not ours – and so our proper response is praise.

I. Be thankful for the certain and complete basis of our salvation (v. 3). A. Divine character
B. Divine action

II. Be thankful for God’s maintainace of our inheritance (v. 4). III. Be thankful for God’s garrisoning of us (v. 5).


The splinter.

Timothy Keller Podcast

Looking for a good “splinter in your brain”? Check out the free iTunes download called “The upside down kingdom”. A great ride!

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It is only by the work of the Holy Spirit that the desire of our idolatrous hearts is changed!

Photo. Go Huskers!

VII. The Sermon: The Impossible Made Possible – Reverend Kyle McClellan, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church

Intro. When a child is born we change how we talk about the baby from an IT to a HIM OR HER. For instance, the announcement of a birth is IT’S A GIRL! The Holy Spirit is not an it. He is the third person of the trinity. The primary work of the Holy Spirit is miraculous and foundational, not window dressing or just for emotional whims.

The Big Idea: It is only by the work of the Holy Spirit that the desire of our idolatrous hearts is changed.

I. An impossible “then” (v. 15b).

The IF is implicit and the THEN is implied. IF you love me, THEN you wil keep his commandments.

The purpose of this chapter is to bring the disciples comfort and peace as they are more than stressed out about what might happen next.

If you know the Old Testament or have read it at all, it is filled one long story of Gods people NOT obeying what God has commanded. So how are we to obey? It is an impossible THEN statement.

II. Know how the Paraklete makes the impossible possible (vv. 16-20).

A Paraclete is like a lawyer – he argues successfully on behalf of another. That is the Greek word he in this text that Christ uses to describe the Holy Spirit’s role.

However, what do dead people understand? Nothing. It is like giving a dead person tickets to the Husker game. They are unable to respond and come over and get the tickets. So what needs to be done so we can get it, understand, or take the Husker tickets? We must be made alive. This is what the Hily Spirit does.

1. The Holy Spirit is marked by truth, gives truth and defends truth. He came to give life.

2. The Paraklete goes both ways! (cf.: 1 John 2:1).
The word “advocate” in 1John is the same as Paraclete. When we sin we have a loving lawyer who is our own, pleading our case before the father.

So what is he pleading? He is not pleading that we are descent enough folks. That we try hard. That we normally don’t mess up quite so badly. No. Jesus is our advocate. He is pleading his own blood, his own righteousness, and his life counting for us!

III. We are desiring agents – not merely the sum of what we think or believe (vv. 15a, 21).

IF YOU LOVE ME AND KEEP ON LOVING ME – this is the great IF clause.

Obedience to Jesus is the mark of someone who loves him not the condition for belonging to him. This is the contrast between religion and being a follower of Christ. Religion seeks to pursue God BY DOING a list of things or not doing certain things. Rather, Christianity is about the object of what or who we love.

What the mind thinks about most, the heart loves best. So in the course of our day, what do we think about most? If we have free time, what are we naturally drawn to? What do we daydream about? We have too little ambitions. Christ wants these for himself and to transform how we dream. He wants these deep affections of our heart for himself. That is what it means to be saved, not merely to know a list of right things about who Jesus is. He wants our enjoyment of the things of his world to further flame our desires for him not truncate on these things of the world.

The gospel does not come merely to get us out of hell, but rather to fundamentally reorder what it is we love. The pain in sanctification is in the Holy Spirit reordering these loves of my heart. We are fundamentally passionate agents. That is how we worship, a trait in the godhead. So what do we worship?

What is the difference between the Old and New Testament? We are given a heart to obey joyfully.

Photo. Bratsava. Chase family 2011

There is much continuity between the Old and New Testaments. It is ONE story of redemption cover to cover. It is the story of God redeeming sinful people to himself.

Listen to the foreshadowing from this dialogue with Moses before entry to the promised land that one day we will get what we need, namely a heart that WANTS TO OBEY JOYFULLY all that God commands.

Deuteronomy 5

22 “These words the LORD spoke to all your assembly at the mountain out of the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, with a loud voice; and he added no more. And he wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me.
23 And as soon as you heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, while the mountain was burning with fire, you came near to me, all the heads of your tribes, and your elders.
24 And you said, ‘Behold, the LORD our God has shown us his glory and greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire. This day we have seen God speak with man, and man still live.
25 Now therefore why should we die? For this great fire will consume us. If we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, we shall die.
26 For who is there of all flesh, that has heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of fire as we have, and has still lived?
27 Go near and hear all that the LORD our God will say and speak to us all that the LORD our God will speak to you, and we will hear and do it.’
28 “And the LORD heard your words, when you spoke to me. And the LORD said to me, ‘I have heard the words of this people, which they have spoken to you. They are right in all that they have spoken.
29 Oh that they had such a mind as this always, to fear me and to keep all my commandments, that it might go well with them and with their descendants forever!

Jesus Christ perfectly fulfilled this obedience. That now counts for us. What we nor a thousand year history of Israel in disobedience to God could not do, God did for us in Christ! Christ perfectly and joyfully obeyed the father, even to death! The followers of Christ are now married to him – that is GOOD NEWS!

When our first parents decided that God could not be trusted, and therefore did not need to be obeyed, their rebellion brought shame, fear and guilt into the world – a condition only God’s promised Son Jesus can remedy.

Photo. Blick sr. Santa Cruz, CA. 2011

IX. The Sermon: Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve – Genesis 2-3 – Rev. Kyle McClellan, Senior Minister, Grace Presbyterian Church

Intro. Where does fear come from? That is a key question they have been wrestling with as a Midland University football team as Kyle has led the Chaplin services.

Genesis 3 is filled with tough yet good truths.

The Big Idea: When our first parents decided that God could not be trusted, and therefore did not need to be obeyed, their rebellion brought shame, fear and guilt into the world – a condition only God’s promised Son Jesus can remedy.

I. A lack of trust leads to a lack of obedience (3:1-6).

In Genesis 2, we see all things as good and going along very well! Chapter 3 Satan is introduced and misquotes God. God only had limits on one tree not all trees. Then Eve also misquotes God saying that they can’t even touch the fruit.

The sin is in believing that God is not trustworthy. He is not to be trusted. The sin is believing that God is a kill-joy and is holding the best of the garden away from Adam and Eve for himself. They are acting as though somehow God is holding out on them. Because they don’t trust him, they do not obey him.

II. Know the consequences of a failed coup.

A. Shame (2:28; 3:7). They sew loin clothes because they are ashamed of their nakedness, even though they we naked the day before.

B. Fear (3:10). We have not seen fear anywhere in scripture yet until this point in the quote by Adam.

C. Guilt (3:14-19). They are pronounce guilty and punished.

The guilt and shame and fear are in my life and each of our lives as it was in the garden. We are broken people. It is not just coach Sanduski that is broken – we all are. The shame and guilt of our first parents belong to us.

Is it a sin to be afraid? Fear is here because of sin. We know we will be afraid, but are we afraid of the right things? Are our fears ordered rightly?

So is that it? Our first parents sin and we have to be ruined with no hope?

III. Seek God’s remedy (3:15; cf.: 1 Corinthians 15:54-58).

In Gensis 3:15, it says that there is coming a human being who will reverse the effects and ruiness of the fall. All through the Bible we read and sit anxiously wondering if the new leader on the scene, like David the shepherd boy turned king for example, is the one to reverse what Satan has done. David was not nor anyone in the Old Testament , but they all pointed and foreshadowed Christ.

All that is broken is going to be fixed. Jesus is this guy. Not only is he the son of Adam but he is the son of God. The life he lived and the death he dies show us how to rightly order our fears.

In our New Testament reading of Jesus casting the demon out of the Gereseane demoniac, the people move from being afraid of this man to being afraid of Christ as they realize they are in the presence of God.

Paul in 1 Cor asks the question, where, o death, is your sting? Through Jesus we have this victory over shame, fear, and guilt.

What does it mean to experience victory? What does it mean to know first-hand to be on the winning side? It is good to cheer when the Huskers win and say that WE won, but we are not on that team and did not help them. However, how do we experience actually being on God’s team and experience this victory personally?

The books of our own life are filled with shame and fear and guilt. There are numerous pages in that book that show I did not trust God and instead believed he could not be trusted like Adam and Eve. I am separated from God, no longer able to be in his presence like Adam. But in Christ, my book is laid on Christ.

So where is your book? If its in your hand then, though you will have some good in your life thanks to common grace, you will never know the Father. Come and know personally the One who conquers your shame, and fear and guilt by his death for sinners!

The Sermon Passage: Genesis 2:25-3:24
25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But theLord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

14 The Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”
16 To the woman he said,
“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you.”
17 And to Adam he said,
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”

20 The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.
22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the LordGod sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

1 Corinthians 54When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Parenting reveals our need for the gospel!

Jodi found this great quote in reading the book Give Them Grace.

…God loves his enemies, and he can infuse us with grace that will make us lay down our lives for them too. [When our children disobey, though they are certainly NOT our enemies, it…] is a verification of the gospel: we produce sinful children because we are sinners, but God loves sinners.”

“Do we see our children’s struggles as our Savior approaching us in love to make his grace strong in our lives? Do we believe that we must have this kind of failure and humiliation so that Christ’s grace will flow through us to our family? Do we want his grace that much? Do we really want to glorify him, whatever the cost?”

Quote from the book Give Them Grace. The chapter was called “Weak parents & their strong Savior”.

Parenting is messy. Thanks to God we have a savior in Christ not only a great example!

John 14 – Jesus’ oneness with the Father has implications for our lives and ministry

Photo. Main street KC, Blick, 2011

IX. The Sermon: A Stunning Truth – Rev. Kyle McClellan, Senior Minister, Grace Presbyterian Church – John 14:7-14

Intro. Jesus has said some troubling things to his desciples in this discourse through a few chapters of John. For instance, he has said that one of them will betray him. He has said to Peter that he will deny or desert him. But this passage starts with the command, let not your hearts be troubled.

The Big Idea: Jesus’ oneness with the Father has implications for our lives and ministry.

I. What if the request had been granted? (v. 8; cf.: Exodus 33:23).
What if Jesus had granted Philip’s request to see the Father? Philip wants to see and be assured that God is indeed in this new kingdom that Christ has begun. Moses got to see God’s glory. He wanted to as well. What if Jesus would have granted this request?

Exodus 33 is a story about what happens when people see God’s glory. Moses is hidden by God in the cleft of the rock while God passes by because if anyone sees God’s glory they die.

They had seen Jesus raising people miraculously from the dead, healing people, turning water to wine, etc. but had missed that Jesus IS God. To see Jesus is to see the Father. This was hard for the disciples to see and comprehend because Jesus said he was going to die. How does God die for sinful people?

II. Hearing and believing is seeing (vv. 9-11).
There is a surprise in verse 10. The surprise is when Jesus says he is speaking the father is working. How does this come about? Normally we are told that “seeing is believing.” In this economy of Christ, however, hearing and believing IS SEEING. Hearing and believing what the Word of God says is how we see God the Father at work.

III. What greater works? (v. 12).
What are these greater works that Jesus references that we will do? It is true, his disciples did raise the dead and cast out demons. But none of them calmed the sea. None of them were resurrected three days after they were martyred. So what does he mean we will do greater works than Jesus?

Greater in terms of quantity and scope. Jesus had 120 followers as the book of Acts starts. But as the Holy Spirit comes on Peter at Pentecost, thousands of people come to know and become followers of Christ. The good news also spreads throughout all the Roman empire and beyond – a greater scope than mainly Jerusalem and surrounding areas.

Greater in terms of proclaiming the source. All that we accomplish is a testimony to God’s faithfulness and God’s power, not ours. We have this treasure is jars of clay, is what Paul says. Literally jars of clay refers to bed pans kept in rooms overnight.

IV. Easy on the “name it and claim it” nonsense (vv. 13-14).
There are those who teach that these verses teach us to bring our list of consumer items and needs that we want and Jesus as the genie will give them to us if we have enough faith.

The qualifications that Jesus puts on this command to ask him to grant us anything is that we pray according to Jesus’ mission and according to the Father being glorified in his Son.

We are being called to pray backwards as Bryan Chappell has said, praying with God’s end and purposes in mind. We are petitioning God to grant us requests that are in accord with the ministry and mission of Jesus. Is it a fundamental part of the Christian faith that we have a nice car and a house of 17 rooms? Happy all the time? No. We confuse our wants with our needs.

We are like the kids who pray that God will grant them chocolate cake for breakfast.

May we pray like the lady prayed whose husband was sick and dying. She asked for God’s will to be done first, and then to spare and heal her husband. Secondly, she prayed that God will give her strength for whatever He decides – that she would see God and his mission ans purposes as more than enough and satisfying.

The passage.
8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.

12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.