BridgeWay Church TX
By BridgeWay Church TX
BridgeWay Church TXNov 27, 2023
Gratitude & Evangelism
Kyle begins by sharing how he gets excited hearing about people sharing the gospel, which leads into the conclusion of his sermon series on gratitude and how gratitude for the gospel should compel us to share the good news.
He then tells the story of Niles Bolen, an engineer at Volvo in the 1950s who invented the three-point seatbelt. Despite having this life-saving invention, Volvo freely shared it and within years nearly every car maker was using seatbelts, saving hundreds of thousands of lives in the US alone. Kyle makes the point that when we have something good, we naturally want to share it.
In the same way, the gospel is like a “seatbelt for the soul” that saves us for eternity, connecting us to God. Yet strangely, Christians are increasingly not sharing the gospel even though they say it’s the greatest good news. Studies show the vast majority of Christians don’t regularly share their faith or do evangelism. There even may be shifts in thinking that it’s wrong to share your faith and convert others. This should concern us.
Mark 1 lays out what the good news about Jesus is. It tells the story of Jesus as the gospel itself. The gospel promises that in Jesus, the time promised by God has finally come & the kingdom of God is here. But there are false gospels like that of politicians, new age spirituality, self-help that promise wholeness but demand loyalty. The good news of Jesus stands above these false gospels if we cling to the guy who rose from dead.
The gospel promises that in Jesus, the kingdom of God has come historically, can be experienced today, and will come fully in future. But to enter God’s kingdom requires repentance from self-centered living and wholehearted belief in Jesus, like clinging to a bungee cord. This is what’s too good not to share. For 2000 years Christians have shared this news even unto death because the kingdom of God is worth it. We likely wouldn’t be Christians today if ancestors didn’t share the gospel.
So at this cultural crossroads, we must rediscover the goodness of the gospel. Kyle prays God would give us boldness to share the gospel even amidst legitimate fears and roadblocks. The time is ripe this Christmas season to share this beautiful good news with our hurting world.
Gratitude and Generosity
The sermon focuses on 2 Corinthians 9:6-15, a passage about financial generosity. Kyle acknowledges this can be a divisive topic, as some churches have misused biblical passages to compel giving through fear. This sermon aims to provide the proper motivations for cheerful giving as a response of gratitude to God.
The context is that Paul was gathering a financial offering from churches to support persecuted Christians in Jerusalem. He challenged the Corinthians to give generously like the poor Macedonians. Now in chapter 9, having given practical advice on setting aside money, he motivates them to follow through so they won't be embarrassed when he arrives.
Paul says whoever sows sparingly reaps sparingly, and vice versa. The point is not that generous giving earns greater material rewards. Rather, God blesses us so we can bless others. The motivation should be cheerfulness, not reluctance or compulsion.
Paul then gives reasons for cheerful giving. First, God provides what we need, so we need not fear lacking basic provisions if we give generously. Second, God provides resources for giving by blessing us financially and instilling the desire to give. Third, our generosity results in others giving thanks to God. Fourth, it brings glory to God as others see His grace.
To embody cheerful giving, we should pray for God to provide needed resources and the right heart attitude. We can also realize Scripture endorses giving to several causes like the local church, the poor, missions, and ministers. When our gifts meet real needs, it demonstrates our gratitude for God's indescribable gift in Christ.
The preacher concludes by acknowledging money can be a sensitive issue due to past church wounds or materialism. But he encourages listening to what God says about generosity with an open heart. The aim is not compulsion but willing, cheerful giving that flows from thankfulness for the gospel.
Gratitude and Worship
Minister Kyle Cunningham begins by acknowledging that Christians around the world gather on Sundays to worship through singing, even though this is not a typical practice in other areas of life. Kyle then poses two basic questions to be answered: Why do we worship corporately, and how should we worship corporately?
To address why we worship, Kyle points to Psalm 100, which presents God as king and reminds us of His character. The psalm refers to gates and courts, representing a city or temple where God reigns. It calls us to "enter his gates with thanksgiving" because God is our king. The passage describes God as a benevolent king who is our creator, shepherd, is good, loving, and faithful. This elicits gratitude, unlike pagan gods who were brutal and demanded worship out of fear. We gather to worship on Sundays because we need the weekly reminder of who God is, which leads us to thank Him.
In terms of how we should worship, Kyle examines the imperative verbs in Psalm 100. We are called to shout joyfully, serve God, enter His presence, know Him intimately, confess His character, and bless His name. Our corporate worship should be: intentional, coming with purpose; bold and declarative in response to God's greatness; intimate, engaging our emotions; theologically rich, singing sound doctrine; and offered from grateful hearts because He is a good king.
The sermon concludes with a call to worship God through singing, and to profess faith in Christ publicly through baptism if one has not already done so. As we remember who God is, we can worship Him out of gratitude.
Gratitude & Grumbling
The sermon begins with pastor emeritus Art McNeese sharing a story about a 14 year old girl named Nancy who had her leg amputated below the knee after a dirt bike accident. Despite this major life change, Nancy exhibited gratitude and excitement that she still had most of her leg left. Art notes that this story inspires him to have more gratitude, but also challenges him because he doesn't know if he would have the same attitude in that situation.
Art then transitions to the main scripture text, Exodus 16, which describes the Israelites' lack of gratitude after being freed from slavery in Egypt. After only 30 days in the wilderness, the Israelites were already complaining about their food, romanticizing their time in Egypt and forgetting about their suffering. Art points out 3 key mistakes the Israelites made regarding gratitude:
Under-appreciating God's blessings: The Israelites quickly forgot how God rescued them from Egypt and provided for their needs, instead complaining about God bringing them to the wilderness to starve.
Over-reaching for more: God provided manna each day and instructed the Israelites to only gather enough food for that day. But some disobeyed and hoarded extra manna, which rotted and stank.
Going around the true source of life: When the Israelites later demanded meat, God sent so much quail that they gorged themselves until they got sick. They went around God as the true source of sustenance.
Art encourages the congregation not to under-appreciate, over-reach or go around God like the Israelites did. He gives some practical tips for cultivating gratitude:
Recognize that God is the source of everything we have
Remember the benefits of gratitude
Give up a spirit of entitlement
Thank those who deserve gratitude
Most importantly, Art emphasizes that our salvation is not based on our own qualifications or righteousness. Through Christ's sacrifice on the cross, God has qualified those who put their faith in Jesus to receive the inheritance of eternal life. This free gift of salvation should be the ultimate source of our gratitude.
In summary, the sermon uses the Israelites' lack of gratitude in the wilderness to illustrate common mistakes that hinder gratitude, and practical ways to cultivate it. But it grounds gratitude in the gospel - Christ securing salvation for us when we had no righteousness of our own. Our gratitude should flow from awe at this free gift of grace.
What Is Gratitude and How Can We Become More Grateful?
Kyle begins by introducing a new 5-week series on cultivating gratitude in our lives. Kyle observes that there seems to be a deficit of gratitude in our culture, yet studies show gratitude improves lives. Today will provide a high-level overview of gratitude, with subsequent weeks diving into practical ways to foster it.
Starting in Luke 17, Jesus heals 10 lepers but only one returns to thank him. This story raises three key questions: What is gratitude? Why do we lack it? And how can we cultivate it?
First, gratitude is fundamentally a feeling, a visceral response to blessings in our lives. We see this in the grateful leper's reaction to his healing. Feelings can mislead us, but they are inevitable. Studies show people often think others around them lack gratitude, not themselves. But true gratitude shows in our actions and overflowing emotions.
Second, we lack gratitude because we get distracted by life and forget the gifts we've been given. The 9 lepers were focused on resuming their lives and overlooked Jesus' gift. Staying aware of the gospel keeps gratitude forefront. Paul repeatedly tells us to be thankful in response to Christ's work, knowing we easily forget.
Third, cultivating gratitude starts with correcting our thinking about God. The one grateful leper had to overcome his view of Jesus as an enemy and see him as healer and savior. Gratitude flows from accurately seeing God's kindness and grace, not distortions of him being cruel or distant. Jesus embodies God's true nature.
In closing, three practices that build gratitude: 1) Writing down thankfulness daily; 2) Thinking of myself less, realizing everything is a gift; 3) Regularly taking Communion to remember Christ's sacrifice. Communion reminds us of God's greatest gift and prompts us to give thanks.
The sermon calls us to prepare our hearts in gratitude as we enter this season focused on thankfulness. Though lacking gratitude is widespread, as God's people we can exemplify lives overflowing with thanksgiving.
Joseph: Providence ("God Meant It For Good")
The story of Joseph in Genesis provides a case study in God's providence at work behind the scenes. Despite facing injustices like being sold into slavery and thrown into prison, the Bible emphasizes "the Lord was with Joseph." This illustrates God guiding events through people's sins to fulfill His purposes.
Though dramatic miracles are absent, Joseph's life shows God's hidden hand of providence. When Joseph was in dire circumstances with no escape, absolute trust and dependence on God was essential.
The doctrine of providence offers hope in God's faithfulness, encourages trust in His provision, and makes forgiveness possible. Though humans persistently fail, God is bringing His covenant promises to fulfillment. His providence extends beyond just Israel - Jesus Christ is the solution for all nations. We can have hope because God's faithfulness never fails. He works through every circumstance to accomplish His good and redeeming purposes.
This Sermon by Minister Kyle Cunningham focuses on the dreams of Joseph in Genesis and what we can learn from them. Kyle starts by noting that dreams are mentioned over 65 times in the Old Testament, especially Genesis, showing they are an important means of God communicating with people in the Bible. He cautions against taking a purely scientific or mystical view of dreams, pointing out that Scripture shows they can be divinely inspired and often come true, as Joseph's dreams did. The first key point is that God does use dreams, despite what some modern Western perspectives may suggest. There are biblical reasons to believe God can still speak through dreams today, based on verses like Joel 2 and accounts from missionaries. However, dreams should not supersede Scripture, which is our ultimate authority. Most dreams come from our subconscious, not God. Secondly, just because a dream is from God does not remove the need for wisdom and discernment. Joseph arrogantly shared his dreams without sensitivity to his family dynamics, leading his brothers to hate him more. Gaining wisdom is emphasized throughout the Bible. Joseph's dreams led to disaster initially because he lived like they were about exalting himself rather than considering God's purposes. Later, Joseph grew into a discerning, wise leader, unrecognizable from the youth he was. Divine dreams without wisdom can be destructive. Finally, and most importantly, biblical dreams are about God's purposes, not ourselves. Joseph thought his dream was about ruling his brothers, but it was really part of God's plan to form the nation of Israel and send the Messiah to bless the whole world. Unfortunately, some preachers misapply this by saying we should just "dream bigger for ourselves." But the gospel realigns our dreams around joining God's mission, not inflating our egos. In closing, Kyle encourages cultivating wisdom by humbly seeking it from God and those wiser than us, especially elders. We must remember the dream is not about us, but about contributing to God's purposes which He graciously invites us into. Overall, the sermon highlights how God uses fallible people like Joseph, despite their mistakes, to accomplish His sovereign plans and how we are called to discern God's dreams rather than selfishly pursuing our own. Date: 10.15.23