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Israel’s National Treasure (the Ark) Is Raided!

Text: I Samuel 4
Speaker: Jim Newheiser
Outline: PDF
Date: April 27, 2008

Are you superstitious? Is there any harm to carrying a rabbit’s foot? What about wearing a St. Christopher’s medal for safety? Have you ever observed a baseball player cross himself before coming up to bat? Did it help him?

When Israel faced defeat at the hands of the Philistines they tried to use the ark of the covenant as some kind of lucky charm by which they could channel the power of God to help them conquer their enemies. They have no more success than the evil Nazis in the movie, “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” As a result of their folly and faithlessness Israel is plunged into one of its darkest hours. It appears that the glory has departed.

Here are some questions to consider while listening to this week’s sermon. Do people today try to manipulate supernatural powers for their own benefit? Do professing Christians put God to the test as Israel did? How? Where is God’s glory displayed today? Are there cases in which the glory of the Lord has departed from a particular place?

Together for the Gospel

Text: Romans 1:14-17
Speaker: Jim Newheiser
Outline: PDF
Date: April 20, 2008

Romans 1:14-17 – I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”

Samuel’s Call

Text: I Samuel 3
Speaker: Jim Newheiser
Outline: PDF
Date: April 13, 2008

This Sunday we will look at Samuel’s call to prophetic ministry. In the context of I Samuel this event signifies the replacement of Eli and his household as leaders of Israel. It is a cause of rejoicing and hope after a long period of prophetic silence from the LORD.

How do we apply such a text in our situation? Is there a famine of the Word of God in the world today? How does God speak to us today? Should we expect a voice in the night? How does God call leaders today? Will our leaders experience a supernatural call?

The Failure of Eli’s Family

Text: I Samuel 2:11-36
Speaker: Jim Newheiser
Outline: PDF
Date: April 6, 2008

This Sunday we come to the most famous passage in the Bible about parental failure as Eli fails to restrain his wicked sons.

Our text is not, however, primarily about parenting. God is working to remove the corrupt failed leadership of Israel and to replace them with godly leaders who will lead the nation out of their spiritual barrenness. In the short term this will involve ending the dynasty of Eli (and his sons) as Samuel is raised up. God will then work to establish a true ruler (David) and Priesthood for His covenant people. Ultimately I Samuel 2 point us to Christ our great, perfect and eternal King and Priest (2:10,35).

The phrase upon which I am focusing as we expound this lengthy passage is 2:30b where the LORD says, “Those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed.” You will see that I Samuel 2:11-36 goes back and forth between Samuel who honors God and Eli’s family which dishonors Him. Finally, God declares judgment upon Eli’s house as He determines to establish new leadership for His people.

This passage also has profound application for us as we consider how we seek to honor God in the church and in our families. Spiritual leaders continue to act like Eli’s wicked sons as they dishonor God by ignoring His requirements for worship and abusing His sheep. Parents continue to fail as Eli failed as they dishonor God by pleasing their children instead of the Lord. Children who enjoy great spiritual privileges sometimes harden their hearts against God’s truth. How we need God’s mercy!

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