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Category Archives: New Testament

The fragile awe: A sermon seeking the life to come (Acts 2:42-47)

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to […]

Jesus brings himself: A sermon unto the kingdom

Matthew 5:21-37 & 1 Corinthians 3:1-9 Preached on 02/16/14 Jesus comes to us with an antithesis. His words, in this text specifically, and the whole of his message and life and calling speak of and call us to a break. This comes straight to the forefront in this section of the Sermon on the Mount. […]

Use Mammon: A sermon of freedom (Luke 16:1-17)

Preached at Church of the Servant King in Portland, Oregon. As with many of Jesus’s parables, this one sounds utterly strange to our twenty-first century ears. Here we have, seemingly, the story of an utterly corrupt middle management employee. He is embezzling from his employer, gets caught, and in a last-ditch effort to avoid becoming […]

We only know it will be love: A sermon on 1 John 3:1-7

Brothers and sisters, here is the amazing thing that we have to deal with, that is so hard for us to understand. That is even harder for the world to understand. The thing that trips us up, the thing we cannot catch up with, that we cannot ever grasp is how great, how singular, how […]

Freedom from innocence: A Sermon on 1 John 1:1-2:2

Brothers and sisters, let me tell you what I am doing in speaking to you today. Let me tell you what exactly I am trying to declare and proclaim to you. I’m here to tell you about that which is eternal, that which is ultimate, that which is greater than any and every created thing. […]

A really wordy paraphrase of Ephesians 2:1-10

A Sermonic Midrash on Ephesians 2:1-10 Preached on Sunday, March 18 at Church of the Servant King in Portland, Oregon. Hear, listen, understand, and know, brothers and sisters what state you used to be in. Do not forget the slavery you once labored under. Do not forget the bondage that once owned you, dominated you, […]

A midrash on 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

For though we live fully as human beings, living fully in this world, loving this world, and suffering with, in, and for this world, we do not wage our war according to the pattern of this age, the old age, the age of death, the age that assumes and asserts its sovereignty and normality. For […]

More on “place,” ideology, and incarnation

Some of this appears in the comment tread on yesterday’s post, but I thought it needed to be expanded into a post in its own right as well. As we consider what it means to think in terms of “place” and the church’s life, I want to be clear. My point is not that the […]

The martyrdom of Stephen and narrative theology

In the last few weeks I’ve spent a good bit of time in Acts, and more than a little of it on the story of the martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 6-7). The more I read it, the more I’m struck by its profoundly explosive nature, and especially how it stands as a witness against what […]

The problem of continuity

A proposition: Whenever the problem of continuity and discontinuity between the reality of Jesus Christ and the interpretive authority of the textual tradition(s) of Israel are negotiated in the New Testament, it is always those advocating for continuity that are judged by the apostolic witness to be unfaithful to the Gospel. For the apostolic witness, […]

Daily bread

In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus instructs his disciples to pray “Give us this day our daily bread.” From this one phrase a whole aura of sentimentality has been generated about “depending on God” for our food, a task that is ever so hard for middle class American Christians because, after all, we are so used […]

Unequally yoked

So this may just be a throwback to some of my conservative evangelical roots, but I’m sure many of us are familiar with the common pastoral injunction that Christians, biblically speaking, ought not to ever even consider marrying one who was not a Christian. After all, this is what Paul referred to in 2 Cor […]

Freedom toward humanity

If the prose is any gauge, it would have been quite enjoyable to listen to Ernst Käsemann preach: Entering upon discipleship, who knows what lies ahead? Each day keeps us in suspense, so that boredom does not emerge. Discipleship does not merely involve our own salvation. This too must be learned, since Christians, no less […]

Genuine love

Somehow I just today came across Ernst Käsemann’s recently-collected book of essays, On Being a Disciple of the Crucified Nazarene. It’s packed with provocative and profound reflections on the Gospel in the New Testament. Here’s a taste: Christian love as bodily surrender and daily worship confesses what it believes when it regards the earth as […]

Theological Commentary: 1 John 2:3-6

Now by this we may be sure that we know him, if we obey his commandments. As the Elder makes clear throughout his treatise, one of the main goals of his writing is to give true and reliable modes of discernment to the church as to where they stand in relation to the God of […]

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