Sermons Listed From Newest to Oldest
Building Blocks for Life
May 20, 2018 – “Judges – Down We Go” When people read the Bible, they may be surprised to find shocking stories of wickedness mixed with stories of great faith, sometimes in the very same people. In other words, it contains stories of people like us. Judges reports on the chaotic situation in Israel after the death of Joshua during which a series of deliverers rescued God’s people time and time again from self-inflicted problems. At the end of the book, things spiraled out of control, but this failure reveals the main point of the book. In the end, the judges could not have lasting success but were signposts pointing forward to the answer to their failures and ours.
May 13, 2018 – “Joshua – Promise Fulfilled” In Exodus, the focus was on coming out of Egypt. Numbers recorded the wandering in the desert between Egypt and the Promised Land. Deuteronomy was preparation for entering the Promised Land. In Joshua, we read of the fulfillment of God’s long-standing promise to give the land to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The corresponding call of the book is for God’s people to be faithful to keep his commandments. Although the book ends on a pessimistic note about their ability to obey, it also points forward to another Joshua who would finish the work.
May 6, 2018 – “Deuteronomy – Famous Last Words” In Deuteronomy, the fifth and final book of what is called the Pentateuch or the Five Books of Moses, we have three sermons that Moses gave to the people before his death and before the people were finally to enter the Promised Land: one focused on the past, one on the future, and one on the present. A summary of his message is: God loves you, so trust and obey him. Along the way, Moses touched on important themes that run through the whole Bible and find their fulfillment in Christ.
April 29, 2018 – “Numbers – Keep Going!” Who would have thought that a book called Numbers would contain interesting stories that are applicable to our lives today? Actually, the Jews call the book In the Desert, which is not only a more engaging title but also more descriptive of the history the book records about the wanderings of the people of God in the desert between Egypt and the Promised Land. The New Testament refers several times Numbers in order to point us to Christ and to call us to persevere in faith until we reach our Promised Land. If you need some encouragement for the journey, it’s Numbers to the rescue!
April 22, 2018 – “Leviticus – The Way to Approach God” While Leviticus makes for difficult reading for people today, it contains a simple message that everyone needs to learn: God is holy, so we may approach him only in the manner he determines. In the context of Leviticus, God determined that his people approach him through a holy priest offering a perfect sacrifice. However, the fact that the people had to offer many sacrifices through many priests over many centuries indicated that none of the sacrifices finally took away their sins. It turns out that the whole system was pointing forward to Jesus, the only truly holy priest who offered himself as the only perfect sacrifice.
April 15, 2018 – “Exodus – Mighty to Rescue” We left off the story at the end of Genesis with Joseph’s coffin in Egypt and his words about God visiting his people in the future to bring them up from Egypt. In Exodus, we pick up the story some generations later when the Hebrews found themselves enslaved and calling out to God for rescue. God heard them and did indeed rescue them through the agency of a man named Moses. However, things did not go smoothly in the aftermath, which points to the fact that this visitation was not the ultimate one. Exodus points us forward to a greater visitation and a greater rescue.
April 8, 2018 – “Genesis – The Beginning of Almost Everything” In our new series, “Building Blocks for Life,” we began at the beginning, with Genesis, the book of beginnings. This first book of the Bible records the beginnings of the universe, humanity, marriage, the family, the 7-day week, work, rest, sin, and redemption. It also introduces the patriarchs whose lives shaped ancient biblical history. In its story form, Genesis answers the big questions of life: “Who is God? Who am I? What is my purpose? What’s wrong with the world? What’s wrong with me? Why do we all have to die? Is there any hope for me?
April 1, 2018 – “Good Advice or Good News?” For Easter Sunday, we reviewed Acts 2:22-36, part of the first Christian sermon ever preached, in order to discover what are the essential points of the Christian message. We found that it is the announcement of events that happened, not instruction about commandments to keep. In other words, it is good news, not good advice.
March 25, 2018 – “The Triumphal Provocation” In Matthew 21:1-10, we read about what is traditionally called the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, which set the stage for the events that rapidly developed over the final week of Jesus’ life on earth, because this event holds a key to understanding the events that unfolded after it. In fact, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem was the event that set the other ones in motion.
March 18, 2018 – “Thinking Pastorally About Your Pastor” From Colossians 1:24-2:7, Dr. Jim Garretson explained the nature of the gospel ministry, applying lessons from Paul’s ministry to our situation at Florida Coast Church, reminding us to give thanks for faithful pastors, and calling us all to remain true to God’s purpose for the church in taking the gospel to others and building each other up in our faith.
Living Together as Christ’s Church – I Peter
March 11, 2018 – “A Cared-for People” We conclude our series with I Peter 5:1-14, in which Peter described the three ways in which God cares for his people: through the elders of the church, through the other members of the church, and directly. The letter also ends where is began, with concepts that sum up the Christian faith and life: grace, love, peace.
March 4, 2018 – “A Loving People” In I Peter 4:1-19, Peter continued the call for us to follow Christ by living exemplary lives according to God’s will. Above all, we are to love each other earnestly, knowing that love functions in the church to cover a multitude of sins.
February 25, 2018 – “A Long-suffering People” Although the original readers of Peter’s letter were experiencing relatively mild opposition from their neighbors, in I Peter 3:8-22, he wanted to prepare them for worse persecution to come and the unfair suffering they would have to endure. As in all the letter, God calls on us both to preach and to practice what we preach, no matter how others might be treating us. In fact, when we endure unfair suffering as Christians, we receive special blessings and opportunities to demonstrate our faith.
February 18, 2018 – “A Free People – Part 2” Continuing the call to live outstanding lives among unbelievers, Peter focused his attention on wives and husbands in I Peter 3:1-7. Although the specific instructions to wives and husbands sounded at first glance to be similar to traditional cultural norms, they were in fact radically Christian in their placing both wives and husbands under God’s authority and motivating both by the love of Christ.
February 11, 2018 – “A Free People – Part 1” Because the early Christians were accused falsely of all sorts of outrageous behavior, Peter urged his readers in I Peter 2:11-25 to be especially careful to live such honorable lives that even their enemies would end up glorifying God. This calling was especially difficult, because they often found themselves in unfair situations that they were powerless to change, in which they suffered unjustly. Amazingly, God called them and calls us to endure unjust suffering and gave us the highest motivation for doing so: Christ already endured unjust suffering for us.
February 4, 2018 – First Anniversary! “Why We Are Here and Where We Are Going” In Romans 15:14-26, Paul explained his ministry as a presentation of the nations to God though presenting the Gospel of God to the nations. He also expressed his pioneering desire always to push out into new territory. Although our church is not in completely new territory, we share something of the pioneering spirit of Paul as we go out to take the gospel to those who have not heard. Today we celebrated God’s work among us during our first year and reminded ourselves of the great mission he has for us.
Living Together as Christ’s Church – I Peter
January 28; 2018 – “A Chosen People” Human beings love using metaphors, comparisons between two things that are unlike to bring out some special way in which they are alike. In I Peter 2:4-12, the author piled on a series of metaphors and quotations from the Old Testament to explain, first, who Christ is and, second, who Christians are. The first metaphor he used was that Christ is a living stone, the cornerstone in fact. Christians in turn are built upon him as living stones and are also a chosen race, a holy and royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, and God’s people. All of these privileges are the result of God’s mercy not of Christian’s merit.
January 21, 2018 – “A Holy People” Although we may not long to be holy as much as we long to be hopeful (see last week’s sermon), the way Peter describes holiness in I Peter 1:13-2:3 shows how very beautiful and attractive it is, not only for us but also for everyone around us.
January 14, 2018 – “A Hopeful People” Recognizing the key role that hope plays in our lives, we encourage each other by saying, “Keep your hopes up!” We also realize that a situation is lost if someone gives up hope. With so many difficulties in our lives, we need hope to keep going. In I Peter 1:3-12, God calls his people to be a hopeful people, but not based on wishful thinking but on his own work for us.
January 7, 2018 – “An Exiled People” To start the year, we are studying Peter’s first letter by beginning with I Peter 1:1-2. In each section, we will see how he describes the people of God. In his greeting, Peter calls Christians “elect exiles,” which is a curious expression that mixes something positive (elect, chosen, selected) with something negative (exiles, driven out, rejected). As it turns out, God’s election makes his people exiles in this world, and Peter reminds us that it is our call to live our lives as those who are in the world but not of the world.
December 31, 2017 – “Are you listening?” In order to prepare for the happiest 2018 possible, we ended 2017 focusing on God’s word and how we hear it, looking at Jesus’ Parable of the Sower in Mark 4:1-20. Nothing will be more beneficial to our lives, our family, and our happiness than careful attention to God’s word. As a church, we are joining together to read the New Testament during 2018 following this plan.
December 24, 2017 – “His Two Names” At first glance, it looked like Matthew made a big mistake in his genealogy of Jesus by placing him in the line of David, since he admitted that Jesus was born of Mary, not of Joseph. In Matthew 1:18-25, he went on to explain how Jesus was conceived and what role Joseph played in his life, which in turn explains how Jesus entered the line of David. He also revealed the meanings of the two names of Jesus, which tell us who he is and why he came.
December 17, 2017 – “The Son Of” If genealogies are not the most engaging reading, why would Matthew begin his history of Jesus with one in Matthew 1:1-17? Actually, genealogies can be very engaging if we find in them connections with our story. Because Matthew wanted to connect Jesus with Jewish people, he emphasized Jesus’ descent from the patriarch Abraham and from King David. At the same time, he included some fascinating details that connect Jesus not only with Jewish people but with all of us.
Man Overboard! – Jonah
December 10, 2017 – “A Question of Compassion” In Jonah 4, we find the most successful preacher of his day angry enough to die after his greatest triumph, because God had done in Nineveh exactly what Jonah had suspected he would do. In this final chapter, God presented two arguments to teach Jonah about compassion, the same two arguments that still hold for us who have received God’s compassion in Christ.
December 3, 2017 – “Second Chance” In Jonah 3, we find that God did not give up on Jonah or on the people of Nineveh, which encourages us to believe that he has not given up on us either. Upon hearing Jonah’s preaching of impending destruction, the Ninevites surprised everyone by believing God and turning from their sins to him. According to Jesus, they became an example for later generations of what it means to repent. God’s response to them is also an example of how he treats all who turn from sin to him with faith.
November 26 – “One Way Out” In Jonah 2, we take a break from the narrative to read a poem of thanksgiving that Jonah prayed when he was detained for three days and three nights. It turns out that the fish that swallowed Jonah was God’s appointed means not for Jonah’s destruction but for his rescue. By surviving his brush with death, Jonah learned an important lesson that we all must learn.
November 19 – “I Won’t Go” In Jonah 1, we meet the Israelite prophet who preferred to flee rather than obey the Lord’s call to do something new, surprising, and unpleasant, namely, go preach to the Ninevites, the mortal enemies of the Israelites. However, God did not give up on Jonah, or, as we shall see, on the Ninevites, or on us.
Parents and Children
November 12 – “Priorities for Parents” from Ephesians 6:4 and Deuteronomy 6. All families develop customs that reflect their priorities. Today we look at three biblical priorities for parents to establish and maintain in their family customs so that it may go well for our children throughout their lives.
November 5, 2017 – “Three Stages of Parenting” from Ephesians 6:1-3, Proverbs 1:1-9, and Genesis 2:24, we put together an overall structure for parenting: the first stage of teaching first-time obedience, the second stage of teaching wisdom, and the third stage of independence. In every stage, both our children and we need to rely on God’s grace as the process exposes the bent of our hearts.
Reformation Anniversary – Essential Truths Rediscovered
October 29, 2017 – “Only God’s Glory” from Ephesians 2:1-14. In the conclusion to our Reformation Anniversary series, we ask a practical question: What is the purpose of our existence? It turns out that we must first understand the purpose of God’s existence to find our own, and when we do, it filters down into every aspect of our lives.
October 22, 2017 – “Only Christ” from I Timothy 2:1-7. Last week we saw that we access God’s rescuing grace by faith alone, but faith in whom or what? The fourth essential truth coming out of the Reformation is summarized in the motto, “Christ Alone.”
October 15, 2017 – “Only Faith” from Romans 4:1-8. If God by his sheer grace intervened in history to rescue us from all that threatens us, how do we respond in order to receive his grace and enter into a right relationship with him? The third essential truth that came out of the Reformation is “Sola Fide” or “Only Faith.”
October 8, 2017 – “Only Grace” from Ephesians 2:1-10. The second essential truth that came to the fore in the Reformation 500 years ago is “Sola Gracia” or “Only Grace.” While “Only Scripture” answers the question of what is the infallible word of God for us, “Only Grace” answers the question of why God intervened on humanity’s behalf by sending his Son. Ephesians 2.1-10 Family Sheet
October 1, 2017 – “God Has Spoken” from II Timothy 3:16-17 and II Peter 1:19-21. In recognition of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, during October, we are doing a five-part series that covers the “solas” or the “onlys” that summarize five truths that came to the fore in the life of the church, thanks to the work of ministers who were studying the Bible anew. We start with sola Scriptura or Scripture Alone to see what the Bible teaches about itself and how it functions in our lives. Family Sheet – God Has Spoken
Relationships and Family
(Because of Hurricane Irma, this four-part series became a two-part series on Singleness and Marriage. We’ll get back to the topic of family later.)
September 24, 2017 – “Getting and Staying Married” from Genesis 2:18-25 and Ephesians 5:22-22. Together these texts teach us why to get married, how to get married, and how to stay married. Family Sheet Genesis 2.18
September 3, 2017 – “Singleness and Single-mindedness” from I Corinthians 7:25-35. With an increasing number of adults living alone and only about half of American adults being married, it is important to understand God’s purposes for singleness, which Paul said had distinct advantages over being married if we use it as God intended. Family Sheet I Cor 7.25-35
The Greatest Songs of All Time – Studies in the Psalms
September 17, 2017 – “Making Our Lives Count” from Psalm 90. Because of Hurricane Irma, we did not meet last Sunday. Today we reflected on what is important in life and how to make our lives count. Family Sheet Psalm 90
August 27, 2017 – “Good and Pleasant” from Psalm 133. This short song describes the goodness and pleasantness of brothers and sisters living together. Although modern life places obstacles in the path of spending time together, the development of Christian community is essential to our growth as Christians and our mission of making disciples by praising, learning, and loving. The Jews probably sang this song as they went up to Jerusalem for the annual feasts, but the images of the psalm emphasize that the blessings of unity and eternal life flow down from God. Family Sheet Psalm 133
August 20, 2017 – “Praising, Learning, Loving” from Psalm 95. Our church’s motto is “Praising, Learning, Loving,” Psalm 95 focuses on the first two of these: praising and learning. First we hear a threefold invitation to come before God in order to recognize his character and his works. Although God does not need our praise, we need to praise him in order to have our lives in line with his purposes for us. Then the psalm turns to the importance of hearing his voice and not hardening our hearts as the Israelites did in the desert. The writer to the Hebrews picked up on this image, encouraging us to gather to hear God’s voice and encourage one another constantly in order to keep our hearts from growing hard. Sermon Sheet Psalm 95
August 13, 2017 – “Let the Nations be Glad” from Psalm 67. What is God’s purpose for the nations and for your life? You might be surprised to find that it is that they and you be glad or joyful. We all want to experience joy but find in elusive, often because we are looking for it in the wrong places. This psalm points us to the source of our joy and tells us the purpose of all the good things that we experience in life. Please have before you Psalm 67 as Chiasm as you listen to the sermon to appreciate its amazing structure. Also, you may follow along with the Family Sheet Psalm 67.
August 6, 2017 – “We Will Not Fear” from Psalm 46. We couldn’t survive long in our dangerous world without some fear. However, fear can take control of our lives and govern us. The author of Psalm 46 takes us through three terrifying scenarios but declares that we will not fear! Rather than denying the dangers, he affirms a truth that is greater than the dangers – that God is with us. Family Sheet Psalm 46
July 30, 2017 – “Getting Our Heads Above the Water” from Psalms 42 & 43. While sadness is the proper response to loss, when it take over our lives, it can grow into depression, hopelessness, despair. The author of these psalms takes us along on his three attempts to lift his head above the waters, two unsuccessful and one successful. Unfortunately, this sermon did not get recorded, but you can read the sermon notes and follow along with the Family Sermon Sheet Psalms 42&43
Also, you can listen to Larry preaching on this text in 2011 with a bad case of laryngitis:
July 23, 2017 – “What a Relief!” from Psalm 32. Psalm 1 told us how to be happy by following God’s ways, but is there a possibility of happiness after we have strayed from his ways? According to Psalm 32, YES! There is a happiness not only for the perfectly obedient but also for the disobedient whom God forgives. Sermon Sheet Psalm 32
July 16, 2017 – “Two Witnesses” from Psalm 19. If God exists, you would expect him to let us know, wouldn’t you? According to Psalm 19, he has done so and does so constantly. In this Psalm, we meet the two witnesses that tell us about God. If we listen to both of them, we can know what God is like. Moreover, God did something even better than send these two witnesses to tell us about himself – he came in person. Sermon Sheet Psalm 19
July 9, 2017 – “How Long?” from Psalm 13. The most common type of psalm is the complaint or the lament, which says much about the human condition, full of lamentable things. When those lamentable things keep going, we may ask the question that the psalmist asked four times: “How long?” While he never received an answer to his question, he received something even better, which enabled him to rejoice and sing. Family Sheet Psalm 13
July 2, 2017 – “What are we?” from Psalm 8. If you have ever seen the sky on a cloudless night without any ambient light to interfere, you have had the experience that the psalmist had every night. As he contemplated the greatness of God evidenced in creation, he wondered who in the world are we humans, and why would God care about us? His answer leads us toward the amazing fact that God became one of us and shared in our lowly condition in order to salvage us from the wreckage we have made of our lives. Family Sheet Psalm 8
June 25, 2017 – “Get Some Rest” from Psalm 4. Have trouble sleeping? Maybe the events of the day are troubling you, or maybe what you have to face tomorrow. Perhaps you have a relationship that is not right, or maybe some people are making life difficult for you, while others set out to discourage you. You are in good company, because the author of this psalm had plenty of problems in his life, but he figured out how to get some sleep even in the midst of them. Family sheet Psalm 4
June 18, 2017 – “Our God Reigns” from Psalm 2. When this Psalm was written, the nations were in turmoil, just like today. People’s lives were in turmoil too, just like today. Far from being alarmed at the turmoil of the world, God took definitive action to deal with it by establishing his king, who also turns out to be his son. This psalm goes in one direction but has a surprise conclusion that reveals the true way to happiness for the nations and for us. Family Sheet Psalm 2
June 11, 2017 – “Two Ways to Live” from Psalm 1. Set at the beginning of the Psalms, the first one has elements from the Law, the Wisdom Literature, and the Prophets, summarizing the message of the Old Testament and laying out two distinct ways to live and their happy or miserable outcome. Although the New Testament reaffirms this message, Jesus also enacted a dramatic reversal of it by following one way of living and receiving the outcome of the other. Family Sheet Psalm 1
The Well-Dressed Christian – Ephesians 4:17 to 5:2
June 4, 2017 – Ephesians 5:1-2. Summing up the entire section, Paul gave us two parallel instructions and the reason for each of those instructions: imitate God, because you are beloved children; walk in love, because Christ loved you. Family Sermon Sheet Ephesians 5.1
May 28, 2017 – Ephesians 4:31-32. Cycling back through the process of thinking, speaking, feeling, and doing for a second time in this section of Ephesians, Paul instructed us to put off all nastiness and to put on characteristics of God in their place, culminating in one of the the most God-like things we can do – forgive. Family Sermon Sheet Ephesians 4.31
Unfortunately, the sermon did not get recorded, but you may read Larry’s sermon notes: 04-31Eng
May 21, 2017 – Ephesians 4:29-30. One study estimated that we speak about 16,000 words each day. What do we do with those words, and what do those words do to others? In verse 25, Paul told us to put off lying and put on telling the truth. In today’s verses, he expanded his focus to cover our speech in general, which tends to do one of two things: tear down or build up. As those who have received grace, now we can give grace to others, especially through our speech. Family Sermon Sheet Ephesians 4.29
May 14, 2017 – Ephesians 4:28. What is the opposite of stealing? It it not merely not stealing, although that’s a good start. It includes working to provide for our needs, but that is not all. The real opposite of stealing is working in order to give away to others who cannot provide for themselves. When we put on generosity, we are reflecting our God, who gave his own Son, and the Son, who gave his own life for us. Family Sermon Sheet – Ephesians 4.28
May 7, 2017 2017 – Ephesians 4:26-27. We all get angry, right? Well, yes, but there are two kinds of anger, one that we do not experience enough and another that we express all too frequently, damaging ourselves and damaging others in the process. Self-centered anger was a part of the old life, but as we live the new life in Christ, we can put it off and put on something more powerful in its place, self-control. Also, we have a way to keep anger from destroying us and others, by dealing with it today. Family Sermon Sheet – Ephesians 4.26
April 30, 2017 – Ephesians 4:25. Some studies have shown that virtually everyone lies, in conversation and especially on social media. Even though lying is so common, it belongs to the old self, not to the new self that has been recreated in Christ. Therefore, the first piece of old clothing we need to discard is lying, and the new article that befits our new identity in Christ is speaking the truth in love. Family Sermon Sheet – Eph 4.25
April 23, 2017 – Ephesians 4:17-24. Even in casual South Florida, we all want to be appropriately dressed for our age, our station in life, and the occasion. In Ephesians 4:17-32, Paul presents a portrait of the well-dressed Christian. This first section lays down the general principle that a change in identity requires a change in clothing. Since Christians have put off the old self and put on the new self, we need to learn to dress in accordance with our new identity. This first sermon is foundation for the rest of the sermons in this brief series, the rest of which will cover specific areas of the new life. Family Sermon Sheet Ephesians 4.17
Easter and Palm Sunday
April 16, 2017 – I Corinthians 15. What difference does the resurrection of Jesus make? In order to answer this question, Paul explained what implications it would have if he didn’t rise from the dead. Then he spelled out the benefits for us of his resurrection. It turns out that his resurrection makes all this difference in the world for our lives now and forever. Family Sermon Sheet I Cor 15
April 9, 2017 – John 12:12-24. All of the sudden, Jesus changed course, from avoiding crowds to stirring up the Passover crowd that was hailing him as king. This change provoked the religious leaders to take drastic action, which led to Jesus being glorified as king, but not in the way anyone expected. Family Sermon Sheet – John 12.12
Portrait of a Healthy Church – I Thessalonians
April 2, 2017 – I Thessalonians 5:16-28. “The Christian Heart and Mind” This concluding section contains habits of the heart, disciplines of the mind, and hope for the future. The first habit is perhaps the most striking – to rejoice always – and all the other commands contribute to our constant joy. Family Sermon Sheet – I Thessalonians 5.16
March 26, 2017 – I Thessalonians 5:12-15. “How to Treat Each Other” In this exceedingly practical section, the authors lay out how to treat others in the church and outside the church. They not only tell us to live in peace with everyone but also give the key to doing so, which in turn points us back to what Christ did for us. Family Sermon Sheet – I Thessalonians 5.12pdf
March 19, 2017 – I Thessalonians 4:13-5:11. “Either Way It Will Be Ok” To clear up some misconceptions, the missionaries explained to the Thessalonians what would happen to those who were already dead and to those who were still alive when Christ returned. Rather than fueling speculation, they offered great comfort for us in life and in death. Family Sermon Sheet – I Thessalonians 4.13
March 12, 2017 – I Thessalonians 4:1-12 “Living to Please God” Have you ever wondered what God’s will for your life is? Wonder no longer! In this part of their letter, the authors tell us clearly what God’s will for us is. Family Sermon Sheet – I Thessalonians 4.1
March 5, 2017 – I Thessalonians 3:1-13 “Stand Firm” After receiving good news from Timothy’s visit to Thessalonica, the missionaries revealed what they had feared and how they had been comforted. It turns out that their fear is everyone’s, and that their comfort can also be ours. Family Sermon Sheet – I Thessalonians 3.1
February 26, 2017 – I Thessalonians 2:13-20 “Thanksgiving and Longing” In all of Paul’s letters except Galatians, there is a thanksgiving for the church. In I Thessalonians, there are two thanksgivings. This second one helps us understand how we can know that our faith is real. Family Sermon Sheet – I Thessalonians 2.13
February 19, 2017 – I Thessalonians 2:1-12 “Marks of a Faithful Ministry” Because they had to leave town so abruptly, Paul and his companions may have been concerned that their ministry would be maligned by some, so they wrote this section to explain what faithful ministers do and how they do it. Family Sermon Sheet – I Thessalonians 2.1