Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:27-37

by Ryan Haskins and Jeremy Litts

Download April 5, 2020 PDF Study Guide

Children’s Ministry video, lesson guide, and activity sheets


Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:21-26

by Ryan Haskins and Jeremy Litts

Download March 29, 2020 PDF Study Guide

Children’s Ministry video, lesson guide, and activity sheets


Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:13-20

by Ryan Haskins and Jeremy Litts

Download March 22, 2020 PDF Study Guide

Children’s Ministry video, lesson guide, and activity sheets


Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:1-12

by Ryan Haskins and Jeremy Litts

Download March 15, 2020 PDF Study Guide

Children’s Ministry video, lesson guide, and activity sheets

Sin and Forgiveness

April 1, 2020

The problem with viewing sin on a sliding scale of relativity is that we’re tricked into thinking there are some sins we can work off and others we cannot. For instance, when I break the law and receive a speeding ticket, the cost of that “mistake” is probably around $200. Being the prideful man that I am, I don’t have to ask the officer or public to forgive me. I just pay the ticket and move on. “I worked off my debt so you can’t hold it against me.” But let’s say I somehow caused 100 million dollars’ worth of property damage (use your imagination!). There is no way on earth I can pay back what I owe. I would be forced to ask, to plead, for mercy. I would need grace!

This relative scale of offenses and punishments is commonplace in our culture. It’s how society and our judicial system functions. But sin doesn’t work like that. There are no $200 mistakes or $100,000,000 mistakes. Sin, any little sin, creates an insurmountable separation between God and man. We must cry out for mercy whether it’s a little white lie or a gross moral failure. In the eyes of God, everyone owes the same amount of debt. The standard is perfection and as James 2:10 declares, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.”

Now, considering this truth, why do we struggle to forgive our neighbor when they sin against us? If we’ve been forgiven an insurmountable debt by God, why do we struggle to turn to our neighbors and forgive them of their very surmountable offenses? And don’t misunderstand me, I’m asking this question to myself just as much as I am to you. You see, I love to hold grudges. I mean LOVE to hold grudges. It feels so good to keep reliving how a person sinned against me and how I deserve to condemn them for their sins. It makes me feel better knowing that I get to be their judge, jury, and executioner.

The problem is, this grudge-holding is so incredibly hypocritical in light of God forgiving me. I can’t stand that I do it. I pray for Him to soften my heart. I keep reminding myself that if God can forgive a worthless sinner like myself, I should be willing to forgive the other worthless sinners around me. Don’t take my word for it. Christ said it best in Matthew 18:21-34.

– Ryan Haskins

Be Still

March 27, 2020

I think we all needed this time. No, I’m not saying we needed to live through the fear and anxiety we’re facing, or that we’re better off for living under the threat of a frightening virus, but I do think all of our lives needed to come to a screeching halt. We all constantly live in a rat-race of epic proportions. We pride ourselves on how much we can cram into a 24-hour day. Our self-worth as individuals, and even collectively as a nation, is determined by completing outrageous task lists. Even our participation at church fits into this same metric. We go as long as we can and do as much as we can until we’re completely burned out. And for so many of us, taking a break is simply unthinkable.

Our value in life and in church is determined by what we do each and every day. But then this pandemic hits and we’re told to stay home, stay away, slow down and stop. I think “jolting” best describes the feeling of this time. It’s so unlike our normal pace that we don’t know what to do with ourselves. It’s causing us to reconsider what we do and why we’re doing it. If we can change our perspective on the situation, this sudden change of pace may turn out to be a gift.

A few weeks ago in our series on Exodus we looked at the commandment to “remember the Sabbath day.” We saw how God places the Sabbath in our way each week to pull our minds away from earthly pursuits and reorient us on God. If we didn’t have this law to “remember the Sabbath day” we might easily just keep our heads down and never stop to acknowledge the One who actually gives us life.

The break that the Sabbath offers is a gift from God. As He says in the Psalms, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Stillness and rest are a gift. Without them we’d go about our lives never acknowledging, or worse, denying, that we are God’s creatures, created with a need to rest in Him. The Sabbath stops us in our tracks, halting our personal pursuits, so we come face-to-face with our need for God. We probably all needed this extended Sabbath rest.

So take this time to rest. Don’t worry, life will once again return to the busyness to which we were all accustomed. But during this time we can stop and remember that it’s God who is our ultimate satisfaction in life. Don’t waste the gift of rest that this period of life offers to so many of us.

Fear Not

March 18, 2020

The admonition to “not fear” is seen all over Scripture. From Psalm 118:6 to Hebrews 13:6, Scripture is flush with declarations to trust and rest in God. It seems that regardless of personality, regardless of generation, and regardless of the situation, the admonition to “fear not” is something we constantly need to hear.

Well, once again we are in a profound moment of fear—the fear of getting sick, fear of losing our jobs, fear of how long the quarantine might last, fear of what this will do to the stock market, and the fear of what this will do to the bright future we have so painstakingly planned out. We are all in fear of something right now.

But if you’ll notice, this fear is all potential fear. The fear of what could happen. The fear of the unknown. The fear that stems from the knowledge that we’re not in control. But what if this is the best position for us to be in for a while?

You see, during times like these we come face to face with the frailty of life. We can’t hide behind our well-crafted plans of security and foresight. We can’t ignore the elephant in the room any longer—we’re not in control. But were we ever in control? Are we any more vulnerable to the frailty of life today than before we heard the word “Coronavirus”? As His creatures, nothing has changed. We need to look to Christ for our peace and well-being today just as much as we do every day – regardless of the situation.

I don’t want to seem insensitive or downplay the fear and anxiety that is currently permeating our culture and minds. But these recent and upcoming days and weeks can be a gift. We’re able to stare fear in the face and give it a name. Call it for what it is. Is it real – yes. But it’s not stronger or more powerful than God. It’s not outside of His divine plan. It has not taken God’s place on the throne of heaven. Rather, coronavirus is just one more thing that reminds us we can run to God for health, peace, and security. And thanks be to God, we do not have to fear.

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