The Widow of Zarephath

This is how the good news comes in the Bible. It comes with a summons to surrender everything to God, and to trust that he will keep his word to give all that is necessary in return. The good news that Elijah brought to this Gentile woman included a demand to offer all that she had to God and to trust that God would be true to his promise to provide all that she needed. And then we are told, “And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the LORD that he spoke by Elijah.”
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Seventh Commandment (6) Flee Sexual Immorality

Again it is important to remember that self-control does not come easily. It is not that the gift of self-control makes it possible for us to exercise self-control with ease. It can be a long battle. For some people it is harder than others. People struggle for self-control in different areas. And yet here again, there is hope for progress because of the good news that Jesus died and rose again so that we might be enabled to live self-controlled lives.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Resurrection, the Gospel and the Christian Life

Read: 2 Timothy 1:1-14
Text: Verses 8-14

The Christian message is surprising and counter-intuitive in many ways. There are many things about it that are difficult to take. On the one hand, it is the most glorious message possible – a message of the forgiveness of sins, of acceptance with God, of eternal life, of the satisfaction of our deepest longings. But on the other hand, it is a call to suffering and death. Jesus himself tells us to count the cost. Jesus himself tells us that following involves self-denial and taking up our cross.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Seventh Commandment (5) Homosexuality

We are not defined by our desires. We are made by God and for God. The way to life and blessedness is the way of salvation in Jesus Christ, and the way of being, renewed in the image of Christ. That involves dying to self. It involves that for all of us, no matter what our particular struggles and inclinations are. Just giving into our desires is the way of death. One of the great themes of the New Testament is that in Christ it is possible to live a life that is pleasing to God – not perfectly in this life, but nevertheless really. The Bible does not hide the fact that this is sometimes very hard. But it insists that the Christian life is the life of blessedness and true well-being. There is no better way to live than the life that is the result of salvation in Christ – the life of submission to God – the life of love and service – the life of putting God’s will before our own.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Seventh Commandment (3) Singleness (2)

The deep joy and satisfaction that is possible for us as human beings does not come from seeking joy and happiness directly but by seeking God and his kingdom. It is when our focus is not on ourselves, but outside of ourselves on enjoying our relationship with God and giving ourselves in his service that the result of that is the profound joy and happiness that we are designed to enjoy. This is why the Bible focuses on obedience rather than the idea of satisfying our desires with the things of this life.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Birth of Jesus

Jesus is more than the reason for the season. Jesus is the reason for everything. As the risen and ascended Jesus himself says to John in Revelation 1:17, “I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Believing, Confessing, Preaching and Hearing

In the formality of setting aside preachers and in the formality of preaching by those officially set apart, the greatness and the power of the king are emphasized as well as the submissive attitude of the hearers. Behind the official preaching of the word is God himself and the message comes with his authority. The congregation is gathered before the king to receive his word. And that is the context in which faith is normally born and grows. Faith is not something that we discover. It is a response to a message from the King of kings and the Lord of lords. And it is a message of good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Christ the End of the Law

Read: Romans 10

But what Paul is emphasizing here is the fact that one of the key purposes of God’s law is to lead us to Christ and Paul expresses that here by saying that Christ is the end of the law. God’s law shows us how sinful we are so that we will see that we need Christ’s righteousness in order to be saved. And if we understand that clearly and we are trusting in Christ, we can sing, “It is well with my soul.” That is a wonderful practical result of understanding the different ways the law is intended to function in the lives of believers.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Celebration and Theology (go together)

Read: Romans 5

Now given the fact that Christ gave his life for us while we were his enemies, we can be all the more confident that he will save us in the end now that we have been reconciled to God. Given the fact that Christ gave his life for us while we were fighting against him, we can be sure that we will be saved by his life. It is wonderfully true that Christ’s life saves us as well as his death. But the point the Paul is emphasizing at this point is since Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for us while we were his enemies, we can be absolutely sure that we will be saved in the future.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra