He Appointed Twelve

Today we return to our series in Mark and see something amazing.  As we have been studying this gospel, we have already been seeing plenty of amazing things.  We’ve seen Jesus perform a number of miracles, which he does more of today in our passage.  In verses 7-12 Jesus heals more people and casts out more demons.  And yet what I think is even more amazing is what follows in verses 13-20.  In those verses Jesus appoints twelve men to be in his inner circle, to be discipled by Christ, with the ultimate goal of evangelism – to use these men in bringing the good news of the kingdom to the world.  Jesus hand picks twelve men, a diverse group full of unlikely candidates, eleven of whom will ultimately become his apostles.  And it will be through these apostles that Jesus builds his church, and brings his gospel to the ends of the earth.

Passage: Mark 3:7-20
Author: Rev. W. Reid Hankins, M.Div.
Sermon originally preached during the Morning Service at Trinity Presbyterian Church (OPC) on 03/30/2008 in Novato, CA.
Other Scripture Readings: Isaiah 55:1-7; Genesis 12:1-4; Revelation 7

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If Christ Is Not Risen – A Defense of the Resurrection

In the words of verse 1 from 1 Corinthians 15, I “declare to you the gospel;” this very gospel which has been preached from the apostles, recorded in the Scriptures, and handed down through the centuries.  The gospel that was foretold in the Old Testament; the very gospel which declares that Christ died for our sins on the cross, was buried, and then raised from the dead on the third day!  And yet as we look at this passage in 1 Corinthians 15, we are reminded that the fact of the resurrection has not always been well received, even in the church.  Paul in this letter is confronting an issue in the Corinthian church.  Evidently some in the church had been teaching that there is no resurrection of the dead.  In other words, people who claimed to be Christians, were saying that there is no resurrection of the dead!  And so Paul instantly responds by showing that such a view is not consistent with the Christian faith.  Paul hypothetically considers what it would mean for Christians, if Christ had not been raised.  His ultimate conclusion comes in verse 19.  He concludes by saying that if Christ had not been raised, then we of all people, as Christians, would be most to be pitied.

Passage: 1 Corinthians 15:1-19
Author: Rev. W. Reid Hankins, M.Div.
Sermon originally preached during the Morning Service at Trinity Presbyterian Church (OPC) on 03/23/2008 in Novato, CA.
Other Scripture Readings: Psalm 16; Matthew 28:1-15; 1 Peter 1:3-9

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My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?   What words of anguish we hear in our Lord Jesus’ cry on the cross! My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?  Surely our mind is filled with questions when we consider this cry of our Lord. For this very word forsaken is a word full of woe.  The word forsaken is defined as “To leave altogether; to desert; to abandon; to depart or withdraw from”.  Why would God forsake his loving, faithful, and righteous son?  Why would God abandon the one who has been most faithful to Him?  Surely, we could understand if God forsook the wicked, but why the Christ? What is the answer to Jesus’ question?  Why is God forsaking him?

Passage: Psalm 22; Matthew 27:27-54
Author: Rev. W. Reid Hankins, M.Div.
Sermon originally preached during the Good Friday Service at Trinity Presbyterian Church (OPC) on 03/21/2008 in Novato, CA.

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O Lord, Save Us! – A Palm Sunday Sermon

Our sermon for today is on Psalm 118, which was the psalm that was taken up on the lips of the Jews and applied to Jesus during the Triumphal Entry on Palm Sunday.  In our reading from Matthew we saw that the crowd of Jews exclaimed, “Hosanna,” meaning, “save” or “save now”.  They exclaimed “Hosanna to the Son of David!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!  Hosanna in the highest!”  And so as we celebrate Palm Sunday today, and remember the start of what is often called the Passion Week or the Holy Week, it is quite fitting that we consider this psalm today.  This psalm was in the back of the minds of those who cried out to Jesus on that Palm Sunday some 2000 years ago.  And so as we look at this psalm, we’ll learn a little bit more about what may have been in the mind of those Jews who welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday.  But more importantly, as we analyze this psalm and understand its meaning, we’ll see how it ultimately finds its fulfillment in Christ and the cross.

Passage: Psalm 118
Author: Rev. W. Reid Hankins, M.Div.
Sermon originally preached during the Morning Service at Trinity Presbyterian Church (OPC) on 03/16/2008 in Novato, CA.
Other Scripture Readings: Matthew 21:1-17; 1 Peter 2:1-10

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