2020 Sermons

March 15, 2020

Curtis Baker

A Response to the Corona Virus

“Jesus is with Us at the Table”

John 13:1-17

March 8, 2020

Curtis Baker

The Exodus of Israel, Part 9

“A Kingdom of Priests”

Exodus 19:1-9

One of the things about the Bible that is most convincing of its truths is that even though it is was written over a period of 1500 years, and had many different authors, it has an amazing consistency in its themes.  One of those themes is that God created human beings to fulfill two different roles in creation—that or ruling in cooperation with God and of being priests who would mediate between God and creation.  This was the mandate given to Adam and Eve.  We know that in the Biblical story those original missions were damaged due to human sin.  But the beautiful thing about the Bible is the story it tells where God never abandons that mission.  As Israel comes to finally meet God at Mt. Sinai, God renews this human mission specifically through their nation—they are to be “a kingdom of priests” (Ex 19:6).  Join me as we explore this great human vocation, and see how it is continued through the royal priesthood of the church today.

March 1, 2020

Curtis Baker

The Exodus of Israel, Part 8

“God…What Have You Done for Me Lately?”

Exodus 15:22-27

As we continue with our story of the Exodus, we have now come to a very joyful moment the story.  The Israelites are now free from Egypt and the Pharaoh’s army is laying dead at the bottom of the sea. God has shown himself to be powerful on their behalf!  But the euphoria doesn’t last for long.  As they journey on out into the desert, more hardships develop.  First, they don’t have access to fresh water.  Then they run out of food.  Each time a crisis happens, the people of Israel cry out against Moses and God and wonder why he brought them out into the desert to die.  It is as if they are saying, “Hey God, what have you done for us lately?”  Have you ever treated God that way?  Despite the way he has been good to you, have you sometimes thought that God was only as good as his last deliverance for you?  Join me as we notice a pattern that God uses to help us grow in our trust in him.

February 23, 2020

Curtis Baker

The Exodus of Israel, Part 7

“The God Who Delivers”

Exodus 14:10-21

Have you ever been backed into a corner by life with seemingly no way out?  The Israelites were as they marched out of Egypt.  Finally, after ten plagues, the Pharaoh let God’s people go.  But God takes them to an interesting place.  Rather than leading them out into a wide open space, instead he leads them to the edge of the sea.  Meanwhile, Pharaoh has once again changed his mind and has the Israelites trapped between his army and the sea.  It appears as if the Israelites have no where to go and they cry out against Moses for having them brought to the desert to die.  However, when all options seems off the table, God opens a way through the sea.  Perhaps God led them to this very place so that they could see his power displayed on their behalf.  Join me as we contemplate “the God who delivers.”  

February 23, 2020 (Bible Class)

Curtis Baker

Three Views on Hell, Part 8

“Some Summary Thoughts”

In this final class on the three views on hell, having now looked at each of the options, I give my own opinion on which view I think is mostly likely to be correct. However, as with all things having to do with the end, one must always have humility about our opinions. There is much that we simply do not know.

February 16, 2020

Curtis Baker

The Exodus of Israel, Part 6

“Covered by the Blood of the Lamb”

Exodus 12:21-30

This week we come to the tenth and final plague against the Egyptians.  All the other plagues were a preparation for this, and God had already told Moses it would come to this before Pharaoh finally relented and let the Israelites go.  What was the tenth plague?  It is the death of all the first born.  However, unlike the previous plagues on Egypt, Israel is not automatically exempt from this plague.  In order to be spared from the death that would fall upon all of the land, the Israelites must celebrate the Passover, which included sacrificing a lamb or goat and smearing its blood over their door frame.  In this lesson we will explore the implications of this command by God, and see how it is a foreshadow of the greater Passover that was yet to come.

February 16, 2020 (Bible Class)

Curtis Baker

Three Views on Hell, Part 7

“Scriptural Evidence for a Conservative Universalism”

In last week’s class we looked at ways that Universalists handle scriptures that deal with the idea of “eternal punishment.” Having examined their argument, we now look at a more positive case from scripture for the Universalist view.

February 9, 2020

Curtis Baker

The Exodus of Israel, Part 5

“Celebrating the Wrath of God”

Exodus 4:18-23

As we continue our journey with the people of Israel during their Exodus, this week bring us to the event commonly known as “The Ten Plagues.”  Obviously in 25 minutes, we cannot cover each of these plagues in detail, but the overall event does bring a general subject before us that we must consider.  That subject is the Wrath of God.  I have titled this sermon, “Celebrating the Wrath of God.”  That title is not my own, but comes from a book written nearly 20 years ago by Jim McGuiggan.  While his book focused a lot on how God shapes his own people through discipline and suffering, it is also true that we celebrate God’s wrath because one day God is going to punish the enemies of his people.  In this story we get a glimpse of what God’s wrath can look like on the enemies of God, and by doing so, we learn to anticipate the wrath of God that is yet to come on the enemies of God’s people.  Join me as we consider how to celebrate God’s wrath.

February 9, 2020 (Bible Class)

Curtis Baker

Three Views on Hell, Part 6

“Is Universalism Even a Scriptural Option?”

Having looked at the first two views about hell from Christian history, this class begins to move into the third view, known as “Conservative Universalism.” Before moving very far into this option, we first have to ask, “Is Universalism even a Biblical option given all the texts about ‘eternal punishment'”? This class will examine the different ways Universalists handle those passages.

February 2, 2020

Curtis Baker

The Exodus of Israel, Part 4

“The Dark Side of Providence”

Exodus 1:8-14

For the last several weeks we have seen the providence of God at work in the life of the Israelites and of Moses.  While the Israelites cried out in oppression, God prepared a deliverer for them by bringing a baby to the shores of Pharaoh’s palace.  We have watched how carefully God has guided Moses, even through his mistakes.  But while all this providential action has been going on to the positive, another story has also quietly been told that is much darker.  While Moses is delivered, and so also are the Israelites, many Hebrew baby boys are killed and generations of Israelites suffer without an answer.  We must admit that this too is a part of God’s providence.  Perhaps you feel in your own life that you have experienced more of the dark side of God’s providence than the other.  This week we will explore what it means to trust God even in the darkness.

February 2, 2020 (Bible Class)

Curtis Baker

Three Views on Hell, Part 5

“Scriptural Evidence for Annihilationism”

This week we move to the second view of hell from Christian history known as annihilationism. This view presents the idea that God will destroy both body and spirit in hell and that the reprobate will not be tortured forever, but eventually will simply cease to exist. Some this this is what scripture refers to as “the second death.” This class will look at the potential Biblical case for annihilationism.

January 26, 2020

Curtis Baker

The Exodus of Israel, Part 3

“The Desert of Preperation”

Exodus 3:1-12

Last week we considered what it is to go our own way—to take the will of God and try to accomplish it in our own power and strength. We are all prone to make such mistakes, whether they be in out right rebellion to God, or if like Moses, we try to accomplish God’s will in our own power.  How does God deal with this pride in us?  He often sends us into the “desert.”  That is what happens next in our story.  Moses is sent into the desert.  The desert is a time of great trial and questioning, but it is also the place where we can become still enough to hear from God and renew our efforts in a new humility. Join me as we talk about “The Desert of Preparation.”  

January 26, 2020 (Bible Class)

Curtis Baker

Three Views on Hell, Part 4

“Philosophical Considerations of the Eternal Conscious Torment View”

Having looked at the scriptural evidence for Eternal Conscious Torment we now turn to the philosophical implications of the traditional view of hell. In this class we discuss why there has been pressure to develop a different view from the traditional view because of the philosophical implications that come from the Eternal Conscious Torment.

January 19, 2020

Curtis Baker

The Exodus of Israel, Part 2

“God’s Will, Our Way”

Exodus 2:11-25

As we move further into our study of Exodus, this week we get our first glimpses of the man who will eventually lead the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery.  However, he is not yet the man he eventually will be. Apparently, from an early age, Moses had some sense that he was to be a liberator for his people.  But what happens when we do God’s will, but not in God’s timing?  Sometimes we mess up things more than we help. That’s what Moses does, and it takes him 40 years in the wilderness for that to get sorted out.  Join me as we consider how God forms us through our greatest mistakes.  

January 19, 2020 (Bible Class)

Curtis Baker

Three Views on Hell, Part 3

“Scriptural Evidence for Eternal Conscious Torment Continued”

In this week’s class we continue our look at the scriptural case for Eternal Conscious Torment. Having already looked at evidence from the Old Testament and the Gospels, now we look at the rest of the New Testament, including the letters of Paul, Jude, and finally the book of Revelation.

January 12, 2020

Curtis Baker

The Exodus of Israel, Part 1

“A Peculiar Providence”

Exodus 1:6-14; 1:22-2:10

In this lesson we begin a new sermon series to start the new year.  As the congregation prays over the next year for God to grant us some gift to give us hope for our future, we turn our attention to another congregation of people that God once led into a glorious inheritance.  That people is the nation of Israel, whom God led on a journey from slavery to a promised land.  To begin this series, we ask the question of why God allowed Israel to fall into Egyptian slavery in the first place.  What we will discover is, God sometimes has a peculiar form of providence.  How might that be relevant to this church?  Join me to find out.  

January 12, 2020 (Bible Class)

Curtis Baker

Three Views on Hell, Part 2

“Scriptural Evidence for Eternal Conscious Torment”

Last week we introduced all three views that have been present throughout Christian history on the subject of Hell. This week we begin a closer look into all each view, beginning with the view known as “Eternal Conscious Torment.” In this class we will examine some of the scriptures that support this view, and discuss how the idea developed in the history of scriptural revelation.

January 5, 2020

Curtis Baker

“Telling the Story to Our Children”

Deuteronomy 4:1-9

As we look toward the future and begin both a new year and a new decade, it only seems appropirate to start with a focus on those who are our future—our children.  Scripture is very clear about the importance of passing on the story of our faith to our children.  As we begin this new year together, I want to look at some instructions that Moses gave his people as they were about to begin a new phase of their life in the promise land of Canaan.  Moses considered it very important that they pass on to their children all the stories of what God had done for them in saving them and bringing them into a new land.  Moses instructions are not only relevant for the Israelites, but also for us.  We must pass on the great stories of the faith to our children.   

January 5, 2020 (Bible Class)

Curtis Baker

Three Views on Hell, Part 1

“An Introduction to the Class”

Throughout Christian history there have been three different views on the subject of hell. While the primary view has always been “eternal conscious torment,” there have also been minority views that go by the names of “Annihilationism” and “Universalism.” Why have their been three views throughout the church’s history? In this class, we introduce all three views and talk about why these views have developed in the history of hell’s interpretation.