Archive for the ‘Rob’s Sermons’ Category

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Easter 2010 preached by Rob Sturdy on Easter Sunday 2010

The Resurrection and other religions (John 20.19-28) preached by Rob Sturdy on April 11th, 2010

Can the Resurrection heal my guilt and shame? (1 Pet 5.6-11) preached by Iain Boyd on April 18th, 2010

Can the Resurrection help me know God?  (Acts 9.1-9) preached by Rob Sturdy on April 25th, 2010

Can the Resurrection help me understand human suffering? (Luke 24.13-35) preached by Rob Sturdy on May 2nd 2010

Sex and the Resurrection (1 Cor 6.12-20) preached by Rob Sturdy on May 9th, 2010

The Resurrection and Politics (Acts 1.6-8)  preached by Iain Boyd on May 16th, 2010

Click on the title of the sermon you want to hear

“The Discipline of Remembering” (Deut 26.1-11) preached by Iain Boyd on Feb 21st, 2010

“The Discipline of Waiting” (Gen 15.1-18) preached by Rob Sturdy on Feb 28th, 2010

“Leaving Egypt” (Exodus 3) preached by Iain Boyd on March 7th, 2010

The Discipline of Faith” (Josh 4.19-24) preached by Rob Sturdy on March 14th, 2010

“The Discipline of Hope” (Isa 43.16-21) preached by Iain Boyd on March 21st, 2010

Partnership in the Gospel (Phil 1.1-11) preached by Rob Sturdy on 9-13-09

A Joy that can’t be stolen (Phil 1.12-18) preached by Iain Boyd on 9-20-09

Jesus Christ on Trial (Phil 1.18-21) Preached by Rob Sturdy on 9-27-09

Prepare to Die (Phil 1.21-26) Preached by Iain Boyd on 10-04-09

Christ and Conflict (Phil 1.27-30): Preached by Rob Sturdy on 10-11-09

Lifting High the Cross (Phil 2.1-11): Preached by Peter Moore on 10-18-09

The Mind of Christ (Phil 2.5-11):  Preached by Iain Boyd on 10-25-09

“No one like him” (Phil 2.19-24): Preached by Iain Boyd on 11-08-09

“Dying for the sake of the Gospel” (Phil 2.25-30): preached by Iain Boyd on 11-15-09

“To believe and to suffer for his sake” (Phil 1.6-7, 29-30): preached by Rob Sturdy on Nov 22, 2009

“Lose your religion” (Phil 3.1-10) preached by Iain Boyd on Jan 10th, 2010

“Enemies of the Cross” (Phil 3.14-4.1) preached by Iain Boyd on Jan 24th, 2010

“The Excellency of Christ” (Phil 4.1-9) preached by Rob Sturdy on Jan 31, 2010

“The Generous Heart” (Phil 4.10-20) preached by Iain Boyd on Feb 7th, 2010

“The Grace of the Lord Jesus” (Phil 4.21-23) preached by Rob Sturdy on Feb 14, 2010

An Introduction to Malachi (Mal 1.1-5) preached by Thad Butcher on 8-2-09

“If I am a Father, where is my honor?” (Mal 1.6-14) preached by Rob Sturdy on 8-9-09

Why we preach hard sermons (Mal 2.1-9) preached by Iain Boyd on 8-16-09

Dead Religion and the Power of the Gospel (Mal 2.10-17) preached by Rob Sturdy on 8-23-09

Jesus is a Refiner’s Fire (Mal 3.1-15) preached by Iain Boyd on 8-30-09

The Fear of the Lord (Mal 4.1-6) preached by Iain Boyd on 9-6-09

“You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode.” (Ex 15.13)

The Bible, like life, is a messy piece of business. Anyone expecting to come to the Scriptures to find a nice, tidy, “religious” piece of literature is in for disappointment and more likely a good bit of shock. In the pages of the Bible you will find murders, adulteries, betrayals, wars, famines, horrific storms, oppression, blasphemies, and faithlessness. Even amongst the “heroes” of the Scriptures, very few of them actually are able to act heroically. Noah, though faithful, was in the end a drunk. Moses was a murderer. David was an adulterer. The list goes on and on.

What are we to make of this? First, we must praise the Scriptures for being honest about life. The heroes of the Bible are real men and women made with real flesh and blood who are without exception deeply flawed individuals. The people of the Bible are not removed from the world, but very much engaged in it. They experience profound joy and profound pain. They have moments of inspiring faithfulness and moments of devastating faithlessness. As Martin Luther once wrote “The first value of this is that the godly have the comfort they need in their weaknesses, because they see that at times even the saintliest men fell disgracefully as the result of similar weakness” (LW vol 2. pg 169). The Bible is not a piece of escapist literature. It unflinchingly presents a world with problems, filled with sinful and broken people.

But is that all there is to it? Thankfully not! For working through the chaos, pain, and sinfulness recorded in the Bible we also notice the constant and ever present “steadfast love” of the Lord. Sometimes, as in the redemption of Israel from slavery in Egypt, the steadfast love of the Lord is obvious, clear and powerful. At other times, such as the darkest hours of Good Friday, the steadfast love of the Lord is hidden though just as strongly present. Either way, it becomes obvious as we read through the Bible that while it reflects the broken world we all know and experience, the main theme of the Bible is nevertheless the steadfast love of the Lord. His steadfast love works in sovereign power to redeem us from sin, release us from bondage, and restore us to our intended humanity often in spite of our failings and brokenness.

I bring this up so that we might use the Bible to help us reflect on our life together here at Trinity. As you know, our Bishop has called all the congregations in the Diocese of South Carolina to engage the chaos and brokenness that has come to typify our life together in the Episcopal Church. Taking the Holy Scriptures as our guide in this matter, we will not draw back or make light of the very bad situation our denomination now finds itself in but we will deal with it honestly and head on. But while we engage the sin and brokenness of our denominational life, we must remember the central theme of the Bible and make it our central theme as well. God’s steadfast love, ultimately revealed in the giving of His Son to save sinners, will and must remain our main priority. Take this letter as my pledge to you to engage our denominational brokenness, but not get sidetracked by it. We are now as always, committed to the Gospel. That will never change.

much love,

Rob

Preached by Rob Sturdy on July 12, 2009. Click here for full audio and video.

Preached by Rob Sturdy at the 2009 Kanuga Renewal Conference
For audio simply click the play button on the player below:

This session is entitled “The Glory of Christ and the Destruction of Sin.”  I think it would be good for me to do a little explanation on the front end for why I have chosen these two themes, “the glory of Christ” and the “destruction of sin.” I think it would also be wise for me to explain why I have chosen such a hard sounding session for a “renewal” conference.  So let me begin with the two themes, and I trust that it will become clear in time how the two relate.  First the glory of Christ:

The Glory of Christ

Let me begin by saying that the glory of Jesus Christ is an all consuming passion of mine, and I believe it is a passion well ingrained in the language of Scripture.  First of all let me say from Scripture that I gain the sense that God the Father’s consuming passion is the glorification of his Son:

“If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ (John 8.54)

“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus ever knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2.9-11)

Furthermore, the glorification of the Son is one of the if not the principle work of the Holy Spirit:

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” (John 16.12-14)

I want to take a second and unpack that last verse for a moment.  Jesus says “I still have many things to say to you, but I won’t say them now.  I will say them later.”  But how will Jesus say them later if he leaves?  “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”  So the work of the Spirit is to come and complete the words of Jesus.  That is the action of the Spirit, and the fruit of that action is the New Testament.  Now I believe the next verse is crucial for how we read the new testament.  “He will glorify me,” that is when God the Holy Spirit inspires the New Testament into being he is inspiring words of Jesus’ glory into being.  The whole of this book is to be read as a praise song to the Lord Jesus.  If you read it in any other way you have wandered far off the rails of reading this book rightly. (more…)

Preached by Rob Sturdy on 4-06-09.  Watch this sermon with full audio and video by clicking here

Preached by Rob Sturdy on 3-29-09. Watch this sermon in full audio and video. Cleck here

My second sermon at Beth Israel Messianic Synagogue. Listen to it by clicking hereIf you only have time to listen to one of my sermons from my time at Beth Israel, listen to this one.  I think it is a better preparation for Holy Week and will deepen your understanding of what is taking place on Good Friday.  Enjoy!

I preached this sermon at Rabbi David Levine’s Messianic Synagogue in Jacksonville Fl.  I had a wonderful time.  The worship was vibrant the people were great.  I also coveted my time with David and his wife Sandy. They are both filled with grace and wisdom.  Anyway, below is the link to my sermon.  I left my notes in Myrtle Beach by accident so that is why my Scripture references were vague (and sometimes misplaced!) and some of my facts were off (like Origen!).  Nevertheless, I thought you might want to see what I was up to.  If they post the other sermon I’ll be sure to post it as well. Enjoy!  To hear the sermon simply click here.

 As many of you know I continue my studies for a Masters in Theology.  This essay was for a course called “Calvin and Accommodation.”  It principally deals wiht the Christological implications of Calvin’s doctrine of accommodation.  Don’t worry, I’m told it is far easier to understand than the last paper I posted.  Enjoy! 

Dowey writes “Calvin’s theology exalts the category of knowledge.”[1] Dowey’s assertion is easily defensible considering Calvin’s opening statement of his famous Institutes on the Christian Religion concerns the nature of true wisdom as resting upon the double knowledge of God and ourselves (Inst 1.1.1).  And though Calvin’s theology placed enormous emphasis on the category of knowledge, this category nevertheless faced profound difficulties.  Calvin was an inheritor of a medieval epistemology that having departed from the more present epistemology of the early medieval period[2] refused a natural, unmediated knowledge of God.[3]  It was crucial therefore, for the knowledge of God to be mediated to humans through the material creation as well as through the special revelation of God’s spoken word.  The later Reformed maxim finitum no capax infiniti (“the finite is not capable of the infinite) came to articulate this important principle of late medieval and Reformed epistemology.[4] Because the finite is not capable of the infinite, it was necessary for God to reduce himself in order that he might in some small way be grasped by his creation.  For Calvin, as for many of the church’s theologians before him this process of reduction was known as accommodation.[5] 

                Though accommodation was used before Calvin, many Calvin scholars note that for Calvin accommodation is less peripheral and more central to the theological development of the reformer.  For example, Battles writes “Calvin makes this principle (accommodation) a consistent basis for his handling not only of Scripture but of every avenue of relationship between God and man.”[6]  Similarly, Paul Helm regards accommodation as the “central idea” of Calvin’s religious epistemology.[7]  If accommodation is at the center of Calvin’s epistemological program, what then might be at the center of accommodation?  Battles writes that the incarnation of the eternal Word in the person of Jesus of Nazareth is for Calvin the “accommodating act par excellence of our divine father, teacher, physician, judge and king.”[8]  So too does Dowey write that the “final accommodation to human sinfulness” was in the person of Christ.[9]  Though Balserak comes to the conclusion cautiously, he nevertheless also writes “the incarnation still seems to be…the unquestioned highpoint of his (Calvin’s) sphere of accommodating activity.”[10] 

                Whether accommodation is the epistemological principle of Calvin’s theology or that Christology ought to find itself at the center of Calvin’s theology of accommodation is debatable and beyond the scope of this paper.  What is clearly evident within Calvin’s corpus is that both accommodation and Christology hold privileged positions within the theological agenda of the reformer.  The question is thus prompted, how do Calvin’s thoughts on accommodation and his Christology interact with one another?  The organizing argument of this paper is that the doctrine of accommodation as employed by Calvin has significant influence on his Christology.  Calvin’s employment of the doctrine of accommodation determines his precise and innovative articulation of the incarnation, the atonement, redemption and the offices and actions of the mediator.  It will further be shown that in the incarnation, Calvin has articulated an accommodation that threatens neither God’s essence nor man’s nature in the condescension of the Word.  A serious treatment of one of these theological categories and their relationship to accommodation could fill twenty pages (and more!) of research.  Therefore these will be treated after an introductory fashion only, hoping to relate the parts to the whole to give a bird’s eye view of the effect Calvin’s epistemological concerns in accommodation have on his Christology. (more…)

As many of you know I have been working on an Masters of Theology from Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando Fl.  Below is my most recent essay for any one who is interested.

“The central theological framework of radical orthodoxy is ‘participation’ as developed by Plato and reworked by Christianity because any alternative configuration perforce reserves a territory independent of God.”[1]  This excerpt from Radical Orthodoxy: A New Theology demonstrates both the breadth of the agenda of Radical Orthodoxy as well as the mechanism through which RO seeks to accomplish its goals.  Briefly put, RO reads the history of Western cultural movement since the Enlightenment as an ever increasing secularization.  Overtime, the abstract philosophy behind the secularization of the West worked itself out in a dangerous nihilism, systematically devaluing embodied life, self-expression, sexuality, aesthetic experience, human political community etc.[2]  A revaluing of such things, argues RO, will take a framework that both denies the secular as well as grounds the immanent upon a platform that can give it ultimate meaning and eternal stability.  This is done through RO’s theological framework of participation, which understands the material world as suspended from the transcendent in the same manner that a bridge is suspended above the nothingness beneath it. (more…)

Preached at the Ash Wednesday Service, Feb 24th 2009. 

Culture places high value on the notion that the human heart is not only good, but that it is essentially trustworthy.  For many people the heart is the spring from which all that is good within us flows out.  We believe that the heart, the seat of our emotions is essentially good.  We are in our innermost being good people, with good intentions.  And yet we don’t stop here.  Alongside this idea that the heart is fundamentally good in a moral sense, we also believe that the heart is unique in the sense that it is a trustworthy compass pointing us in the right direction.  If you were to type in the internet bookstore Amazon.com searching for titles that include the phrase “follow your heart,” you would find over six-thousand titles.  This shows us two things:  first there are people in the world who have thought about the heart, about its goodness and trustworthiness (6,000 people!), and second there are people who are interested in reading about how good and trustworthy their hearts are.

The Bible also has many things to say about the heart.  For example, the Book of Proverbs instructs us to “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (4.23).  The heart is the root of the tree, the gasoline to the car, the hinge on the door, the wood for the fire.  In other words, as “from it flow the springs of life!”  Which is why the writer instructs us to “keep it with vigilance.”  Something so important should be tended to most carefully.  Because our hearts are so important, it is no surprise that God himself is deeply concerned with the nature of our hearts.  “the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance,  but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Sam 16.7) and ““I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds” (Jer 17.10). 

Jesus also has much to say about the heart.  Today, in this passage, though he never specifically mentions the heart he nevertheless has much to say about the heart and what he says about the heart can be summed up in one word:  “Beware.”  Beware!  It is the last thing that you would suspect would come from the mouth of gentle Jesus meek and mild about the human heart.  We expect the Lamb of God to come gently bleeting compliments and high praise for the goodness of our individual hearts.  Rather he expresses a fearfulness, withdrawing in horror as if he had seen some type of dangerous predator or a horrific car crash, recoiling he says “Beware!” (more…)