Category: Sermon Notes

Eyes of Discernment

2021 THEME: Life on the Edge

Series: Eyes Wide Open

TITLE: Eyes of Discernment

Scripture:   John 4


According to a survey, what one quality are non-Christians and lapsed Christians looking for in a person with whom they talk about faith? 62% say (listens without judgment).




Standing between Judea to the south (which included Jerusalem) and Galilee to the north (which included Nazareth and Capernaum) was (Samaria).  To the Jews, Samaria was considered (no man’s land).  Why?

1.     The division of the kingdom after Solomon’s death.

2.     The northern kingdom set its capital city as Samaria.

3.     The Assyrian army overtook the northern kingdom and intermarried and the people became known as Samaritans.




Jesus bypassed her belligerence because He had this uncanny ability to see beyond (the surface) and discern what was really (on that person’s mind).  Jesus saw the hurting woman and knew what she needed. All she (wanted) was something to save the endless, hot trip to the well. All she (needed) was the water of life Jesus was offering.

To put it simply: this woman needed (love).  Let’s track their conversation.

How are we as Christ-followers to act? Remember two words: (discernment and judgment).  They are different. Discernment is the ability to (distinguish what is good and what is not). Judgment is more of an (attitude issue).  Discernment requires correct perspective, while judgment requires an attitude of me vs you.

Discernment is required. I John 4:1 and Acts 20 show us that.

How does a person listen without judgment?

1.     It means you (really listen).

2.     It means you (empathize) with what they have to say.

3.     It means you see through (God’s eyes).


Next Week: Eyes of Endearment- Mk 10: 13-16; Mt. 18:1-6


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Eyes of Amazement

2021 THEME: Life on the Edge

Series: Eyes Wide Open

TITLE: Eyes of Amazement

Scripture:   Mt. 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10


“A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.” Nietzsche

“Faith is nothing but spiritualized imagination.” Beecher

“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” Thomas Aquinas


Follows the Sermon on the Mount. Gives rise to the question every pastor asks: (How are my words being applied?)

The heart of the story: the centurion’s concern (for his slave).  This was far from the norm. Scholars estimate that (50%) of the Roman population consisted of slaves.  They were seen as (property).



Both Matthew and Luke tell us Jesus’ reaction: (He marveled). The NLT uses the words, (He was amazed).

The word marveled in Greek means “to be in awe and wonder; to be amazed.”

True faith had infiltrated the centurion’s life. How it works:

1.     Faith transforms into values of (love and concern) for others.

2.     He had a (humbled heart) despite his position.

3.     Submission to (Christ’s authority) in time of need.

Theme: Life on the Edge / Series: Eyes Wide Open

Title: Eyes of Discernment- John 4

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Eyes of Steadfast Love

2021 THEME: Life on the Edge

Series: Eyes Wide Open

TITLE: Eyes of Steadfast Love


Mt. 27:55-56;

Mark 15:40-41;

John 19: 25-27



Jewish culture did not look kindly on women.  Marriage and family law favored (men over women).

In Roman culture they were seen as (property) to be owned.

The NT gives a different picture of them.  Peter even references “the holy women in the old time.”  [See I Peter 3:5 for Peter’s other thoughts).



1.     (Joanna) in Luke 8:3.

·       Picture of one who had it all but one thing: (peace of mind and soul).

2.      (Mary Magdalene) in Mark 16:9.

·       Picture of one whose life was (afflicted) and (out of control).

3.      (Mary) in Mt.27:56. Mark adds that she is the mother of James and Joseph.

·       Picture of one not swayed by others, not even family.

4.      (Salome) in Mark 15:40 (by name) and by inference in Mt. 27:61.

·       Picture of one who releases her child to follow Jesus and the hard path.

What can we learn from these magnificent women?

1)     Joanna- true peace and contentment can only be found in Christ.

2)     Mary Magdalene- Jesus takes messes and makes them treasure.

3)     Mary- the strength of a family’s love.

4)     Salome- Willingness to give up children to follow Jesus.

Theme: Life on the Edge / Series: Eyes Wide Open

Title: Eyes of Amazement- Luke 7:1-10; Mt. 8:5-13


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Eyes of Compassion

2021 THEME: Life on the Edge

Series: Eyes Wide Open

TITLE: Eyes of Compassion

Scripture:   Mark 1: 40-45; Luke 5: 12-16




The story of Naaman in 2 Kings 5

What exactly was leprosy?

        • It was considered (living death).
        • It was not just physical. It also had (spiritual overtones).
        • It was referred to as (“the finger of God”) by the Jews.
        • The full treatment for leprosy is found in Lev.13:38-46.
        • It eventually led to (solitary confinement) and (isolation).



See this man’s desperation is a clear light:

        1. He comes among people-a clear violation of (Moses’ law)
        2. He comes with (nothing to lose)-he’s already doomed.
        3. He comes after years of (isolation and being alone).
        4. He comes directly (to Jesus) in the midst of the crowd.

What was Jesus’ reaction? (Moved with compassion).  Defined as “the act or capacity for sharing the painful feelings of another.”

Active compassion engages with the pain of another person. What did Jesus do? He (reached out and touched) the leper.

A great irony: the leper is told to tell no one and he tells everyone. We are told to tell everyone and too often tell no one.


Theme: Life on the Edge / Series: Eyes Wide Open

Title: Eyes of Steadfast Love- Mt. 27:55-56; Mark 15:40-41; John 19: 25-27


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Is That All There Is?

2021 THEME: Life on the Edge

Series: Life Matters

TITLE: Is That All There Is?

Scripture:   Eccl.12 9-14



What is our purpose? To put it simply: Our purpose is to (fear God).

“The chief end of man is to glorify God and to worship Him forever.” (Westminster Shorter Catechism)



Lessons we learned from Ecclesiastes:

#1- There is (nothing new under the sun).

#2- Chasing wisdom and pleasure is (empty).

#3- Being a workaholic and thinking that will fulfill you, or chasing debauchery and thinking that is the answer, will leave you (high and dry)

#4- Thinking we have all the time in the world or can turn back the hands of time is an (empty pursuit).

#5- Don’t get wrapped up in fighting injustice, tyranny, and rivalry so much that you lose sight of (contentment and companionship).

#6- Spend your life (pursuing God and honoring Him).

#7- There is a (God-shaped hole) in each one of us.

#8- How we expend our lives while on earth and the choices we make, determine what (death brings us).

#9- Planning is okay and good but plan with wisdom and (eternity) in mind.

#10- (Worry) can destroy us or (faith) can lead us.

#11- It is (never too late) to follow Jesus but it is better to do it when we are young.

#12- Learn from life.



Theme: Life on the Edge / Series: Eyes Wide Open

Title: Eyes of Compassion- Mark 1:40-45; Luke 5:12-16

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Don’t Waste It!

2021 THEME: Life on the Edge

Series: Life Matters

TITLE: Don’t Waste It!

Scripture:   Eccl.12 1-8


“Remember your Creator in the days of your youth…” (v.1)

  1. This verse is the (                                                     ) of the rest of verses 1-8
  2. For a NT equivalent of this theme look to Philippians 3:8-14


“I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I might gain  Christ and be found in him…I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and   the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow to attain to the resurrection…I forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead. I  press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in    Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:8-14 (my summarization)


Youthful Strength is Short (v.2-5)

1. These 4 verses are full of symbolism of (                                                                                                     )

i. v.2 – Sun is setting – life coming to an end

ii. v.3 – Strong man now stooping


2. Picture here is of…

i. No more (                                                                    ) in life                                                                      

ii. Life getting harder

iii. Abilities declining

iv. Bodies are (                                                                                         )

v. Youthful passions are waning


3. “The man goes to his eternal home and mourners go about the streets” – eventual death


Metaphors of Life’s Departure (v.6-7)

1. ¾ of these metaphors are (                                                                                                       ) that are now irreparably destroyed…

i.  Bowl broken, pitcher shattered, well wheel broken – water/life cannot remain in its vessel and departs

ii. v.7 – spirit returns to (                                                  ) who gave it; the body returns to the (                                                      )


Why does Solomon point this out to us?

Live with your mortality in mind. You only have ONE life. Don’t squander it. Use it wisely. Don’t waste it.

 A wasted life is…

… a life oriented around (                                                                .)

… a life oriented around (                                                                                 .)

… a life oriented around (                                                               .)



Theme: Life on the Edge / Series: Life Matters

Title: Pastor Bill Grandi preaching

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Putting Worry to Bed

2021 THEME: Life on the Edge

Series: Life Matters

TITLE:  Putting Worry to Bed

Scripture:   Eccl.11; Mt.6:25-34


I.    PUT WORRY ASIDE                    

What Jesus said about worry:

1.     Worry keeps you from enjoying (what you have). 9v.25)

2.     Worry makes us forget (our worth). (v.26)

3.     Worry is (completely useless). (v.27)

4.     Worry erases (the promises of God) from your mind. (Vv.30-31)

5.     Worry is characteristic of (unbelievers), not followers of Jesus. (v.32)


II.   ENJOY WHAT YOU HAVE                    

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can’t understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:6-7 (NLT)

What should we not worry about?

1.     The results of (giving).

2.     The things you (cannot change).

3.     The conditions (aren’t ideal).

4.     That you don’t (and won’t) (understand everything).

5.     That you will (choose wrongly).

What should we be happy about?

1)     (Simple pleasures)

2)     (Joy) in every day.

3)     Responsibly enjoying (God’s provision).

4)     (Possibilities) presented to us.


Theme: Life on the Edge / Series: Life Matters

Title: Pastor Ryan East preaching- Eccl.12:1-8

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The Defeat of the Cross

2021 THEME: Life on the Edge

Series: The Agony and the Ecstasy

TITLE:  The Defeat of the Cross

Scripture:   John 11:25; Romans 5: 12-21; I Cor. 15:12-25

“If I were an enemy of Christianity, I would aim right at the Resurrection, because that is the heart of Christianity.” Billy Graham

“If Christ is risen, nothing else matters. And if Christ is not risen-nothing else matters.” Pelikan



Objections to the Resurrection:

1.     Christ (didn’t really die).

2.     Someone (stole the body)

3.     The disciples (made up the story).


“The fact of Jesus’ resurrection is the benchmark from which we measure everything else about JC: his birth, his life, his teachings, his miracles, and even his death.” Clayton Bell

“Christianity is rightly seen as a life-changing experience, but it will transform you only if you accept as facts that certain events occurred in history…Christianity opens not with ‘Here’s how you have to live,’ but ‘Here’s what Jesus did for you in history. First, he died for our sins and was buried, and second, he was raised to life on the third day and he appeared to many eyewitnesses.” Keller

We must grasp and believe Christianity is an (historical faith).

Two arguments for the resurrection:

1)     The tomb was (empty).

2)     A large number of people (testified to seeing the risen Christ).

“It is impossible to account for the early Christian belief in Jesus as Messiah without the resurrection.” N.T. Wright

Theme: Life on the Edge / Series: Life Matters

Title: Putting Worry to Bed- Ecclesiastes 11


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The Heart of the Cross

2021 THEME: Life on the Edge

Series: The Agony and the Ecstasy

TITLE:  The Heart of the Cross

Scripture:  Romans 3:9-31


The cross offends the sensibilities of moral people. Why?

1.     The cross says we are all (unrighteous).

2.     The cross says we are all (helpless).

3.     The cross also says we are all (hopeless).

Only one person who did not find the cross offensive: (Jesus). He was not disgraced by its disgrace. “He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” Heb. 12:2 (NLT)



“For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.” Romans 3:20 (NLT)

To be point blank: The gospel is good news for fallen humanity regarding how sins are atoned for, how sinners are forgiven, and how believers are made right with God.

The word reconciled means (to be made friends again).

Theme: Life on the Edge / Series: The Agony and the Ecstasy

Title: The Death of the Cross- John 11:25; I Cor.15:12-25;  Romans 5: 12-21


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The Necessity of the Cross

2021 THEME: Life on the Edge

Series: The Agony and the Ecstasy

TITLE:  The Necessity of the Cross

Scripture:  I Cor. 1:18-25



“A void has opened in the heart of Christianity. Where the cross once stood is now a vacuum.”

Remember these two words: Penal substitution.  Penal denotes (punishment). Substitution speaks of a (replacement).  Penal substitution atonement is where one person bears the penalty someone else deserves.

Plain teaching of Scripture: “Christ died for the ungodly.” (Rom.5:6) “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom.5:8)  “He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.” (Rom.4:25) (NLT)

“The cross is a powerful interruption to our ‘easy way out’ thinking. It catches us up short. It confronts our vain wishes. The horrible suffering and death of the perfect Messiah, Jesus, on a criminal’s cross, outside of the city on a hill of death, tells us in no uncertain terms that when it comes to humanity’s deepest and inescapable problem, there is no easy way out. None.” Tripp


II.   IT WAS NECESSARY TO PAY FOR SIN (and our salvation)                 

What is sin?

1)     Doing what (God forbids).

2)     Not doing what the (Word of God requires).

4 essential things about God’s forgiveness:

1.     It is (inclusive).

2.     It is (for now).

3.     It is for those (who want it).

4.     Leads to (godly living).

Theme: Life on the Edge / Series: The Agony and the Ecstasy

Title: The Heart of the Cross- Romans 3: 9-31



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