"Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me" John 14:1
New Testament
MATTHEW 18:15-20 Print E-mail
Written by Kevin L. Howard   

SERMON OUTLINE, Operation Restoration: Jesus' Approach to Church Discipline


[All verses printed out at the end]



Many years ago, a great-aunt of mine died of cancer four years after a fall.  She wouldn't go to the doctor and it was costly.  She paid with her life.  Sometimes, what we fear most (e.g., doctor) is what we need the most. 


What is the visible means through which a church remains pure, or stays healthy?

ACTS 20:24 Print E-mail
Written by Kevin L. Howard   
SERMON OUTLINE, Spreading the Fame of Christ
  • Dog lovers story
  • Intro self

Acts 20:24

Paul is in Miletus and had passed by Ephesus but had the Eph elders brought to him.  He is in the midst of his third missionary journey (AD 53-57) and on his way back to Jerusalem.  Paul takes another missionary trip but will not see the Eph elders again and doesn't die until around AD 68.


1. Value your life through God's eyes (Paul considered his life expendable)

  • "1 Cor 6:20 bought with a price"
  • Mark 10:29-30, "So Jesus answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel's, 30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time--houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions--and in the age to come, eternal life.'" (NKJ)
  • Friend's funny word fumble story: opening the door


[Transition: See the value of your life through godly lenses so you can...]


2. Stay focused on your ultimate purpose (Paul wanted to live his days spreading the good news)

  • Finishing well [by]
  • Testifying: gospel
  • We can all do ministry (Ministry is serving)
    • Why do missions?  "Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church.  Worship is."  (Piper, Nations, 11)
    • Rev 5:8-10
    • American Dream: hinder
    • My failures
    • Friend in Asia
    • Ordinary people living obediently (practical: how they can do it)




Central Idea: Spreading the fame of Christ so all people may worship him should be one of our main pursuits.

Objective: They will take a short term trip overseas to share the gospel in the next year.


Spreading the Fame of Christ, [Excerpt] MP3

Spreading the Fame of Christ, [Excerpt] Windows Media Player


HEBREWS 12:1-2 Print E-mail
Written by Kevin L. Howard   
SERMON OUTLINE, Running the Race of Faith


Tony always felt like a looser.  [Explain Tony's story, or someone else who got saved and then wanted to quit.]  Tony grew discouraged and returned to Jacksonville with the intent of quitting the vocational ministry.


I'm sure we can all tell stories of people we know who are no longer following the Lord as they once were.  Maybe even you find yourself wanting to quit.  If you're not wanting to quit, perhaps you're wondering whether you can go on.  Well, there is encouragement for us today to keep pressing on for Jesus.


Hebrews 12:1-2 will help us with that.  Title.

The author of Hebrews is anonymous; nonetheless, he is exhorting Jewish Christians to remain true to their new faith.  They were tempted to turn back to their old religious beliefs.


The author's big idea in this passage is:  Believers are being encouraged to faithfully run the race of faith; don't give up-keep running; keep believing.  (For preacher: Subject: How do believers run their race of faith?  Compliment: By laying aside all hindrances, running with endurance, and looking to Jesus.  Purpose: People will set into place regular Bible reading or prayer to help them look to Jesus.  People will be able to write one good reason why they should keep running faithfully.  People will talk to some other maturing Christian for accountability to finish the race.)


I. Lay aside all hindrances (preparation).

The "great cloud of witnesses" probably refer to the believers mentioned in chapter 11.  They were faithful and their testimony stands as an example of encouragement to us.


A. everything that hinders us or slows us down (unnecessary weight)-may not be sinful.


The analogy is that of a runner and he is ref to anything that slows us down.

When a person runs in a race, he must have the right equipment and gear, getting rid of everything that would slow him down.

{if you're in a race and put on cowboy boots to run in, not only would you lose the race but you'd look funny too.  There's nothing wrong with cowboy boots; they're just not appropriate for racing; they'd only slow you down.}

{similarly is TV; maybe nothing wrong with it, but too much of it can slow you down.  Consider spending less time in front of it.}


B. the sin that entangles (these are the things that we know are wrong.)


The author may have in mind a specific sin like unbelief, or he may mean sin in general, but whatever he means, we know he's talking about things contrary to God's will.

These are things which cause us to lose our race or disqualify us.

{Like a runner who wins his race or beats the clock but yet is found out to be on


What are the habits, occasional sinful pleasures in your life that trip you up?  Seek out a fellow Christian to help you find freedom from your harmful habits.


[if you are going to keep running the race of faith, you lay aside...so that you can]


II. Run with endurance (mindset/task)-marathon not a sprint.


{Eating a pumpkin pie before race wouldn't be good.  Hanging with wrong people.}

What happens if you start running a race as though it's a sprint and it's a marathon?  You'll collapse.  So many people have run this Christian race and done well for a while but then they gave out, they quit.

Life is tough: don't give up (church, Bible, prayer)


[if you're going to keep running the race of faith not only must you lay aside all hindrance so that you can run with endurance-the only way you can run with endurance is if you]


III. Look to Jesus (focus)-look toward the finish line.


Why look to him?


A. He is the author and finisher of our faith-he's the reason we run.


B. He endured the cross-he knows our pain. His task was harder (resisting to the point of shedding blood).


C. He has sat down at the right hand of God's throne.

His work is done.  Unlike the high priest, Jesus finished-you can finish too.


Summarize sermon.



Do you feel tired and weary, wanting to quit, wondering if you can continue?  Taxes due soon, work pressures mounting, family life demanding, desires of the flesh ever increasing?  If your heart is still beating, then keep running.  Persevere!


Tony was doing so well, but then he focused on mere humans, and he grew discouraged.  He went back to Jacksonville to quit the vocational ministry.  Well I'm glad to say before too long, he returned to school and church.  He said that even though he had gone home to quit the voc. ministry, God would not let him quit.  Now, he's married, finished with his degree, has three children, and is an evangelist.  (Stats: Tours with bands-recently came off a 16-city tour-16,000 people made decisions [email: 2/19/07].)  His life has been an inspiration to me and many others.  I'm so glad he didn't quit.  Don't you quit either.  Keep running.

1 CORINTHIANS 1:18-25 Print E-mail
Written by Kevin L. Howard   



What's most important to you?  What are your hobbies?  What do you wish you had more time to do?  If you received $5 million grant, what would you spend your time doing?


What is it that Christians hold as precious and dear? 

What's at the very heart of our belief? 

What do we cling to with all of our faith?  (Countless died/song sung).


It's the old rugged cross


It's our greatest comfort and our greatest pain.

It's the symbol for every true Christian.


The cross is the

  • Gold medal-Olympic athlete
  • Old Glory-American citizen
  • Hippocratic oath-medical doctor
  • Purple heart-wounded soldier
  • PhD-scholar


Take away the cross of our Lord and every Christian becomes nothing but an unregenerate idiot.


Without the cross, the world is hopeless.

Without the cross repentance and faith become nothing more than empty words,

Conviction and salvation are useless terms that wane back into the pages of the dictionary.


Only the cross of Calvary has become

  • Love-hateful
  • Victory-loser
  • Peace-restless
  • Hope-defeated
  • Joy-miserable


Only at the cross of Calvary have the

  • Tired-rest
  • Hurting-comfort
  • Lonely-friend
  • Blind-sight
  • Lost-salvation
  • Dying-life


The Cross of Calvary is the

  • Steeple of the Church
  • Top of the mountain
  • Star of the sky


The Cross of Calvary is the

  • Track-train
  • Water-boat
  • Road-car


The Cross of Calvary is the

  • Moon in the night
  • Sun in the day
  • Calm in the storm



CIT: By refocusing on the cross, we learn what is most important to God.  (This will help us realign our interests.)


1 Cor 1:18-25


v 18-21 I. The message of the cross is a double-edged sword.

            1. Superiority of God's wisdom

            2. Inferiority of man's wisdom

                        a. Man's wisdom is nothing v19              [No cure for cancer or AIDS]

                        b. Man's wisdom is foolishness (gen. categories) v 20      [Atheists and morals]

                        c. Man's wisdom is inadequate v 21

                                    i. God makes himself known.

                                    ii. God's method through which men are saved is preaching.


                                                                        Foolish ( in whose eyes?)


                                    iii. God is pleased through this method of saving men.


vv 22-24 II. The central focus of the cross is Jesus. Rom 1:16

            1. Offensiveness of Christ v23

Jn 8:46 (no sin); Rom 3:23; 6:23; "How can man see his own faults...?"

            2. Sufficiency of Christ (emp.)  v24

2 Peter 1:3; Col 2:2-3


Jn 14:6

Jesus doesn't have an answer-he is the answer

Jesus isn't best way to God-he is the only way

1 Cor 1:29, 31;

I Cor 2:2; 2 Cor 4:3-5     [Dawkins]

Gal 6:14


v 25 III. The wisdom of the cross is a paradox.

(appears to be contradictory)


  • Vr concludes and sums
  • Meaning: "Basics" of God (in our eyes) are greater than the wisdom or strength of man.

                        Atom bomb (volcano, earthquake)

  • Computers/surgical accomplishments

                        human brain and mind (more complex than computer; capable of love and war)


Tell about the cross (vv 18, 23-24)


  • Jn 3:18-20
  • Those who think they see-blind
  • Those who think they live-dead
  • Live-die;
  • First-last;
  • Gain-lose



What is your response to Jesus?

Are you consumed with him and his interests?

Who's fool will you be?


At the Cross, MP3

At the Cross, Windows Media Player


MATTHEW 11:28-30 Print E-mail
Written by Kevin L. Howard   


Intro: Personal fishing/anchor story


1. Jesus invites the needy to himself.

a. But how do we come to him?  In the passages that precede, the people coming to Jesus came by faith.  That's how we come to him now.  (Perhaps also, silent waiting before the Lord and praising him, especially when things aren't going well.)


2. He offers what no one else can give.

a. He has your best interest in mind.

b. He demands everything but gives us peace in return (10:34-38).

c. What about the burdens of the Christian life?  [Use a recent news story.]

d. Not a promise that tragedy and difficulty won't come, but an assurance that when they come, they don't have the right to permanently steal our peace.

e. Note: yoke and burden Jesus mentions could refer to legalism Pharisees were laying on the people.



I can be real with him:

Sin: A few months ago, one particular day, I felt far from God.  A thought came to my mind that assured me of God's love for me, "Kevin, even if you run away from me, I will run after you."

Silence: God doesn't always give us the kind of clarity in our personal lives as we would like.  In fact, at times, he seems absent.


If he's really inviting us, we can come as we are.  We don't have to fake it.  Do you have doubts, fears, anxiety, temptations?  He says come.  And then he'll start changing us.



Unbeliever: don't try to work your way to God.

Christian with unconfessed sin: don't try to hide your sin.

Christian without clear answers: be encouraged, God hasn't abandoned you.

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