Jesus tells us that to become a Christian, there has to be a smashing. Christianity is new wine: it ferments, it swells, it’s organically and chemically active, and it will smash the old, inflexible wineskins.
Jesus teaches that there’s an old way that everybody, religious or not, operates under. You will not be a Christian until all your old foundations, your whole approach to yourself and God, are utterly smashed. You must be called away from mere religion.
What’s the difference between...
Here’s my thesis: The reason most people who profess belief in Christianity still don’t live big lives is because they don’t actually understand Christianity.
Most people think Christianity is basically like other religions. But Jesus says his message is absolutely different. Everyone who really becomes a Christian has a sense of being awakened. Something radical has to happen. A real Christian is someone who has been called. A real Christian is someone who has had an experience like...
At the end of Jesus’ life, the religious leaders want him executed. But the Romans have all the political power. So they bring Jesus to the Roman politicians, saying he’s a threat, and the question is put directly to Jesus by Pilate: What are your politics, Jesus?
I always found Jesus’ answer maddeningly ambiguous, but today I can say it is beautifully, profoundly, deliberately ambiguous. Jesus is not just playing hard to get; he is trying to bring us to the truth.
So let’s look at 1) what...
Jesus debated. Jesus fought. Jesus argued with the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Herodians, the teachers of the law, people we would call religious and civil elites today. But Jesus never picked a fight unnecessarily.
In Mark 7 Jesus argues about the clean and unclean laws, the ceremonial washings, the ablutions the Jews observed. We might think it’s an antiquated point, but Jesus never debated something that wasn’t a universal, profound principle.
We see three basic things here: 1) that we...
It’s not the whale events in your life that make you who you are. It’s all the guppies. Every morning you wake up and millions of them come at you. You have to eat. You have to sleep. You have appointments. The mundane, the hum-drum, the hustle and bustle.
The difference between Martha and Mary is that Martha is swept along by the mundane, but Mary has put her feet at the bottom of the stream. The stream is going one way, but Mary walks the direction she wants to walk. Mary sits at Jesus’...
The real Jesus believed in demons. The real Jesus believed in the devil. Most of us say, “They didn’t understand then what we understand now about diseases and mental illnesses. They attributed them to demons.” But in Matthew 4:24, you see something that explodes that whole idea.
In Matthew 4:24, it says they brought all manner of sick people to him, and then they have a list: they say there were demon-possessed people, paralyzed people, and people with madness. Both the gospel writers and...
The gospel changes the way we look at our money and possessions. If we understand the gospel, we should have a radically different relationship with money than what our culture says is normal.
To look at what the Bible says about this, let’s look at this very famous passage: Jesus’ encounter with the rich young ruler.
From the rich young ruler, we can learn 1) that money has great spiritual danger attached to it, 2) how money is spiritually dangerous, 3) why money is spiritually dangerous,...
In Luke 7, we see a personal encounter Jesus has with two people. They’re both seeking him, but he responds very differently to each of them.
We first see Simon, a member of the religious and cultural elite. He invites Jesus to dinner, which meant inviting someone into relationship. Then we see the women, who’s a sinner and prostitute. She approaches Jesus and anoints his feet with perfume and tears. They’re both serious seekers. But Jesus Christ rejects him and welcomes her. Why is there a...
If you want to get the gist of who Jesus is, you have to look at encounters Jesus had with individuals. The gospels are filled with encounters Jesus has with all sorts of people.
In Luke 19, we get to a guy named Zacchaeus, and we’re told two things about him: that he’s a chief tax collector and that he’s wealthy.
This teaches us two different and important things: 1) anyone can approach Jesus, but 2) money is always an issue when coming to Jesus.
This sermon was preached by Dr. Timothy...
Some people dwell on Christ’s power and authority and majesty, and other people dwell on Christ’s vulnerability and tenderness and grace. But it’s critical not to screen out one side of Jesus as if it’s incompatible.
The power of Christ is caring power, and the care of Christ is powerful caring. Jesus Christ, the little, tender, meek and mild baby, is the Lord of the storm.
Mark 4 tells us four things about the power of Christ: 1) the reality of Christ’s power, 2) the magnitude of Christ’s...
Because Jesus claims that he’s the final word, that salvation is completely by grace through him, the Pharisees and the Herodians band together to kill him.
This teaches us not only how radical Jesus’ way of salvation is, but that if you really hear it, it will create all sorts of division in your own heart. Whenever the real Jesus is revealed, there’s a juxtaposition of both attraction and revulsion. They both happen together.
This passage shows us 1) that Christ is offensive, 2) to whom he...
Of all the passages that are read at Christmas, Luke 2 is perhaps the most famous. And in this most famous passage, the most famous word is peace. What is Christmas all about? Peace on earth.
When Jesus Christ was born as a baby, he was born to bring this peace.
But what is this peace on earth? We’ll look at 1) what it is not, 2) what it is, and 3) how you receive it and live it out.
This sermon was preached by Dr. Timothy Keller at Redeemer Presbyterian Church on December 22, 1996. Series:...
The message of Christmas is the message of the gospel. It’s the essential message of Christianity. And in Luke 1, we have one person’s response to that message. At Christmastime you’ll be hearing this message. The question is, “How should you respond to it?”
The message is that the Most High has become the most low. God has become human.
Let’s look at three things that this means: 1) God is far greater than we thought, 2) we are more sinful than we thought, and 3) God is more loving than we...
There is absolutely no better place anywhere in the Bible that depicts Jesus as Immanuel, as God with us, as God truly with us in our condition as this passage. We’re going to see who Jesus is and what he came to do.
This sermon was preached by Dr. Timothy Keller at Redeemer Presbyterian Church on December 8, 1996. Series: The Real Jesus Part 2; His Life. Scripture: John 11:32-44.
Today's podcast is brought to you by Gospel in Life, the site for all sermons, books, study guides and resources...
Though there may have been other occasions, the only time we know of that Jesus ever left his country, ever left the boundaries of Israel is here in Mark 7.
He did so for a purpose, and he did so to teach us something. There are two stories: the healing of the little daughter and the healing of the deaf-mute. Let’s look at them and see what they teach us.
This sermon was preached by Dr. Timothy Keller at Redeemer Presbyterian Church on December 1, 1996. Series: The Real Jesus Part 2; His...
In John 2, John puts the changing of water into wine at the wedding and the cleansing of the temple together. He sticks them together, even though on the surface, they look utterly different.
In the wedding feast, you have Jesus acting quietly, hidden, privately. Here in the cleansing of the temple, you have him public and dramatic. There, he was requested. He was asked in. Here, he goes where no one has asked him to go. He intrudes. He intervenes. At the wedding, he brings joy and laughter....
Jesus’ first miracle was not just a miracle, but a miraculous sign. It was an acted-out picture of who Jesus is and everything Christianity is. His inaugural event was not walking on water or raising somebody from the dead.
Instead, what you have here is not a very big deal. A party looks like it’s going to go two days instead of three days. Wow. What a shame.
Why did Jesus do this miracle? Why was this the first one? How does this reveal his glory? If you ask that question, there’s so much...
True Christianity is a fight. Anyone who offers you a Christianity without tears is not giving you good money; it’s counterfeit. Anybody who says, “If you receive the baptism of the Spirit, your problems are over; if you receive the voice of assurance down on your heart, if you receive the sense God is pleased with you, that’s the end of conflict, strife, temptation,” that person is not offering you the real thing.
There are three things we learn about the fight right here. Who’s the enemy?...
We’re looking at the life of Jesus. Not at his words and teachings, but at his deeds and his life—the things that happened to him and the things he did.
The birth of Christ has one wonderfully big word attached to it: the word “incarnation.” The birth of Jesus is the incarnation of God. Incarnate means God comes in. He comes in our flesh. He comes into our humanity, into our vulnerability, into our history, into our reality. God comes in.
We’ll look at the incarnation in this way: 1) what...
We all want peace, contentment, groundedness. And Jesus says, he will give us his peace. But he doesn’t just zap us with it. He says it comes through learning who he is.
John 16 is the end of the training course Jesus gives his disciples. It’s just before he dies, and verse 28 summarizes everything he’s been saying: he explains who he is, how he came, why he came, and what he accomplished. But the key to this whole thing is in verse 33 where he says, “I have told you these things so that in...
There’s a whole field now called happiness studies—whole departments in academia are dedicated to happiness studies. And of all the things I’ve read, none of them are as nuanced as what Jesus says.
Jesus says one of the main resources his disciples need in life is joy. And he says joy is something he gives. In John 15:11, he says, “I give you my joy that your joy may be complete,” but he doesn’t elaborate on it. In John 16, he gives us more information.
What does John 16 tell us about the...
When you’re about to die, you don’t make small talk. You talk about the most crucial, important things. And on the night before Jesus is about to die, he’s talking about the Holy Spirit.
Why is Jesus so constantly talking about the Holy Spirit? I think we see at least two reasons. One is a hard reason, at least it’s hard to hear. And one is a wonderful reason.
I think the two reasons that Jesus thinks the Holy Spirit is so important to talk about, so crucial to understand, so important to...
There’s no more important issue, spiritually, for people than the question of innocent suffering. We don’t struggle much with the suffering that comes to people who’ve brought it on themselves. The real problem is innocent suffering.
We’re looking at Old Testament narratives because in them, profound truths are depicted concretely. In the New Testament, authors explain these truths with rational propositions. But in the Old Testament, they’re depicted. And there’s probably no place anywhere,...
Exodus 33-34 remarkably depicts, in the most concrete way, how to find God. And not only how to find God, but how to find him when you’ve lost him.
The Bible often talks about our relationship with God as if it’s fire. It comes down into our lives. But the second you stop tending a fire, it burns down. See, if you’ve never found God, or if you have but it’s been a long time, for both, this passage tells you the path. Because basically the path of “new-al” and the path of renewal are the...