Sermons | Eldersville United Methodist Church


Reflections on Scripture for God's People

Witnesses of the Resurrection

Luke 24:36b–48 (NRSV) Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence. Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.” On Easter Sunday, we gathered to hear the good news of the empty tomb. Last week, we looked ahead to the impact Jesus’s resurrection had on the way the first Christians lived, as they shared everything they had. Today, we have an opportunity to... read more

What Difference Does the Resurrection Make?

Judges 21:25 NRSV (See also Judges 2:10–17) In those days there was no king in Israel; all the people did what was right in their own eyes. Acts 4:32–35 NRSV Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. When I talk to many Christians these days, one of the things everyone seems to agree on is that the world is getting worse every day. People have fond memories of the past—when the church was full, when the American dream seemed to be a possibility, and when everyone they knew and respected held to the same strict moral code. Nowadays, people seem to talk about the decline of the church, the intangibility of the American dream, and the rejection of morality. We frequently hear that the heart of American society needs to change so that we might see an end to violence and exploitation. In former times, people may have done what was right, but now people do what is right in their own eyes. (Or, so that story goes.) Then again, maybe that narrative of decline tells us more about who... read more

The Great Reversal

Read the following Scriptures before reading the sermon below: Mark 11:1–6 and Mark 15 Jerusalem was the place to be during the festival of Passover. For that one week a year, the holy city would swell to at least four times its normal population as faithful Jews made their pilgrimage. Residents and the political and religious elite pulled out all the stops to make sure everything went off without a hitch—and, of course, that they would be able to profit from their new guests. Passover had all the political showmanship of the Olympics, complete with demonstrations of power and prestige. The highlight of all this pomp and circumstance was the grand procession into the city of Jerusalem. On one spring day in the early 30s of the 1st century AD, onlookers lined thestreet as their divine representative, the locus of power and authority, rode horseback into the center of the city, all the way to the Jewish Temple. Some people watched the procession with zeal, waving their hands inthe airwhile others cowered in fear of the great power that was on display. I am speaking not of the procession described to us in Mark 11, but of a parade on the other side of town. This was the triumphal entry of Pontius Pilate, the prefect of the Roman province of Judea, serving under the Emperor Tiberius. Every year, he would enter to this crucial city center with soldiers and weapons in tow to remind the entire Jewish world that he was in control. To the crowds that gathered to watch Jesus’s grand entrance into Jerusalem, the distinction between these... read more

Take Up Your Cross!

This week’s sermon is by Mallory Peterson, one of our Lay Servants at Eldersville UMC.  John 12:20–33 Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor. “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said... read more

Inclusive Faithfulness

Acts 15 (selected, NRSV) Then certain individuals came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to discuss this question with the apostles and the elders. So they were sent on their way by the church, and as they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, they reported the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the believers. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them. But some believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees stood up and said, “It is necessary for them to be circumcised and ordered to keep the law of Moses.” The apostles and the elders met together to consider this matter. After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “My brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that I should be the one through whom the Gentiles would hear the message of the good news and become believers. And God, who knows the human heart, testified to them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us; and in cleansing their hearts by faith he has made no distinction between them and us. Now therefore why are you putting God to the test by placing... read more

Good News for the Poor

John 2:13–22 (NRSV) The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” They answered, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken. This past week, as I finally had some time to relax without the deadlines of final papers hanging over my head, I had a chance to read some of the books that have piled up on my desk. One of the topics that fascinates me in my personal reading is the history of Methodism, from an evangelistic movement to a formal, institutional church. In the early days, the Methodist movement grew by leaps and bounds because of the multiplication... read more

Doing What Is Right, Without Fear

Acts 17:22–34 (NRSV) While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was deeply distressed to see that the city was full of idols. So he argued in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and also in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. Also some Epicurean and Stoic philosophers debated with him. Some said, “What does this babbler want to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign divinities.” (This was because he was telling the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.) So they took him and brought him to the Areopagus and asked him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? It sounds rather strange to us, so we would like to know what it means.” Now all the Athenians and the foreigners living there would spend their time in nothing but telling or hearing something new. Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, “Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and... read more

United in Witness

John 17 (NRSV) After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed. “I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as... read more

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Joel Peterson

Joel Peterson


Joel has been serving Eldersville UMC, with his wife Mallory, since 2015. He graduated in 2014 from Houghton College with a degree in Music and Religion and is currently a student at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

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