The Ray C. Stedman Memorial Library
Expanded Index with Summaries
Ray C. Stedman was this century's great champion of expository preaching.
Rather than topical preaching, which is common in many churches today, Ray
believed the "whole counsel of God" was best communicated to God's
people by systematically teaching through the entire Bible, usually an entire
book at time. This included giving the sense of the passage (Nehemiah 8:8)
and its application to contemporary living. In this way the Christian could
build up a broad base of Biblical knowledge---since the Bible teaches truth
on various topics, "here a little there a little, line upon line, precept
upon precept." Ray's sermons were delivered with minimal notes and
when transcribed into printed form rarely needed any editing. Ray was always
prepared for questions afterwards. It is said that he recommended to young
pastors that they spend 20 hours of preparation for a one hour message.
Occasionally Ray would preach on an issue of critical current concern
to his audience, or on an issue of basic foundational truth. These topical
messages are usually to be found under the category of "Single Messages."
On this page we have attempted to very briefly summarize the overall
content of Ray's available messages. A topical index is planned for the
near future. A list of email contacts is included at the bottom of this
Surveys of the Entire Bible
Studies of Complete Books of the Bible
- Genesis 1-11, 32 messages (301-332)
This series on the first 11 chapters of the Bible cover the creation of
the universe, the origin and fall of man, the great flood of Noah and the
Table of Nations outlining the repopulation the world after the flood.
The realities of the human condition today and how we got where we are
are beautifully brought out.
- Studies in Leviticus, 24 messages (501-524)
An excellent study of the holiness of God. "If you want to get at
the meaning of this word you must go back to its original root. This word
is derived from the same root from which a very attractive English word
comes. This is the word 'wholeness.' So that holiness means wholeness,
being complete. And if you read 'wholeness' in place of 'holiness' everywhere
you find it in the Bible you will be much closer to what the writers of
that book meant. We all know what wholeness is. It is to have together
all the parts which were intended to be there, and to have them functioning
as they were intended to function. That is what God is talking about. He
says to this people, 'you shall be whole, because I am whole.' God is complete;
he is perfect. There is no blemish in God; he lives in harmony with himself.
He is a beautiful person. He is absolutely what a person ought to be. He
is filled with joy and love and peace. He lives in wholeness. And he looks
at us in our brokenness and says to us, 'You, too, shall be whole.' That
word, wholeness, has power to awaken desire within us. We long to be whole
people. Don't you? Don't you want to be what God made you to be, with all
the ingredients of your personality able to be expressed in balance. That
is to be a beautiful person, and that is what God is after. That is what
the book of Leviticus is all about. In fact, the whole Bible is on that
- Esther, 9 messages, (Book in print) (32-40)
One of Ray's earliest, and best, studies covering the Old Testament book
of Esther. Ray shows how the conflict between the spirit, (typified in
Mordecai) and the flesh (as typified by Haman) is to be found among us
in every generation. How does the Christian learn to successfully rule
the kingdom of his life in Christ?
- Job, 14 messages, (Book in print) (3540-3553)
"This book mentions a time when 'the sons of God shouted with joy'
at the creation of the world. But other scriptures tell us about a time
that is coming when the sons of God will be revealed. Paul calls it 'the
manifestation of the sons of God,' when all creation will shout in a greater
glory than was ever hailed at creation, in the new creation, the new thing
that God has brought into being by means of the sufferings, the trials,
and the tribulations of this present scene. That is why scripture speaks
in numerous passages about 'this slight momentary affliction preparing
for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,' and of how the
sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the
glory that will be revealed in us. When that day breaks, the one thing
for which we will be infinitely thankful, the one thing above all others
that will thrill us and cheer us and cause us to glory, is the fact that
out of all the created universe we were chosen to be the ones who bore
the name of God in the hour of danger and affliction, problem and trial.
There is no higher honor than that. That is what Jesus means when he says,
'Blessed are you when men persecute you and say all manner of evil against
you falsely for my name's sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great
is your honor before the Father. For so persecuted they the prophets who
were before you.'"
- Psalms, 24 messages, (Book in print) (383-401,
169-173) Ray's great familiarity with the Psalms shines forth in this
series. Never superficial or shallow, Ray's teaching style was always straightforward
and easy to understand, but his insights were often profound. 19 Psalms
are studied in detail in this series.
- Ecclesiastes, 11 messages, (Book in print)
(3806-3816) Now available in a small paperback form, this study cuts
right to the heart of the lessons Solomon learned about life from vast
experience: true happiness in life is a gift from God and is imparted by
the Lord only to those who learn to please Him. A popular subtitle for
this series is "The Things that Don't Work." Ray says, "The
book is not merely a collection of ancient philosophy, for what it talks
about is very much up-to-date and extremely relevant. Here is what you
will hear propounded in soap operas, in political speeches, in the radical
or conservative movements of our day. Here is what you will hear in the
halls of academia, or on the streets of any city. In this book the philosophies
by which people attempt to live life are brought into consideration and
examined. That is why Ecclesiastes is so practical and up-to-date."
- Isaiah, 13 messages, (576-588) Ray
began his ministerial career in 1950 by completing Harry Ironside's classic
commentary on Isaiah after Ironside went home to be with the Lord. Isaiah
was one of Ray's favorite books. This short series of 13 messages leaves
the reader longing to read what Ray might have said in a full-length study
of all of Isaiah.
- Jeremiah, 16 messages (Book in print)
(3201-3214) Jeremiah the "suffering prophet" remained in
Jerusalem during the final devastating judgments of God culminating in
the destruction of the Temple of Solomon. His forty-year ministry was devoid
of visible fruit. Ray's series, "Death of a Nation" shows how
spiritual decline and compromise among God's people leads inexorably to
the end of a nation. Very relevant for our nation today. "I have chosen
this series of studies because it is set in a time of crisis and of the
moral decline of a nation. It reveals what is behind the death of a nation.
In two years the United States of America will celebrate its two hundredth
birthday. And it may be that in these very days, as we celebrate our Bicentennial
as a nation, we also may be witnesses to the beginning of the end of the
United States of America. There are some who feel this is so. I hope it
is not true. But the forces which are destroying our nation are the same
forces which destroyed the nation Jeremiah witnessed to. We can learn a
great deal about what is going on in our nation's life by studying this
great prophecy of Jeremiah. We can learn here how to behave in a time of
national and personal crisis. What should a believer do when things are
falling apart around him in his home, his community, his nation, and the
world in which he lives? The answers are here. And from this prophecy we
will also learn what is the word of hope in an hour of despair and darkness,
and how God plants the seeds of new life in the midst of death and destruction
all around. It is a great book..."
- Nehemiah, 12 messages (4157-4168)
Ezra, Nehemiah and Zechariah were written after the return of the Jews
from the Babylonian captivity. Nehemiah tells us about the rebuilding of
the walls of Jerusalem in the midst of variegated and ongoing opposition.
"But Nehemiah did more than rebuild a wall, as we will learn. This
book is also the story of the restoring of a people from ruin and despair
to a new walk with God. Jerusalem is not only an historic city which has
for centuries been the center of the life of the nation of Israel (and,
in fact, the center of the biblical record), it is also a symbolic city.
Jerusalem is also used in a pictorial sense throughout the Scriptures.
What it pictures is the place where God desires to dwell. When the city
was first designated to King David as the place where God wanted him to
build the temple, he was told that this was the place where God would dwell
among his people. Jerusalem therefore, throughout the Old and New Testament,
has pictured the place where God seeks to dwell. However, it is only a
picture---it is not the actual place where God dwells for according to
the New Testament man is to be the dwelling place of God. God seeks to
dwell in the human spirit. That is the great secret that humanity has largely
lost today but which New Testament Christianity seeks to restore. The apostle
Paul's great statement in the letter to the Colossians is, 'Christ in you,
the hope of glory.' This is God's provision and desire for man. Jerusalem
in ruins, therefore, is a picture of a life that has lost its defenses
against attack and lies open to repeated hurt and misery. If you are at
all acquainted with the world in which we live today, you will know that
every time you turn your television on you are exposed to the hurt and
misery of people whose walls have been broken down. Jerusalem in ruins
is a vivid picture of their danger and despair. The book of Nehemiah depicts
the way of recovery from breakdown and ruin to a condition of peace, security,
restored order, and usefulness."
- Daniel, 9 messages (361-369) Ray's
knowledge of Bible prophecy and current events was profound. A frequent
visitor to Israel and a keen observer of the world scene, Ray was careful
not to major only in Bible prophecy. When he addressed great themes of
prophecy such as those found in Daniel his insights seem decades ahead
of his time. "I wonder if there are any of us who have any real idea
of how despairing many are today. Do we have any concept at all of how
hopeless life appears to many young people in our day? They are thwarted
on every side and do not know where to turn. They find no sense or meaning
to life. These are not merely passing fancies, they are conditions under
which some live all the time, without a ray of hope. I feel strongly that
we need to lift up our voices on prophetic matters because they are designed
to be light to shine in a dark place."
- Gospel of Mark, 31 messages, (Book in print)
(3301-3331) Servant authority and servant leadership was a strong theme
of Ray's lifestyle, ministry, and service to the Lord, and to people. Ray's
study of the Gospel of Mark shows clearly how Jesus came not to be served,
but to serve. In so doing, the Lord turned upside down the authority structures
of the world. And, "Jesus came with the good news that all the power
of God is now available to break the helpless deadlock into which man has
fallen. Scripture tells us that man in his natural condition is helpless.
No matter how much we like to think we are able to do something to correct
our condition, we would be absolutely helpless and hopeless without the
aid of God. In fact, human life would be impossible. Without God's mercy,
without his restraining hand on forces that affect us, we could not even
sit in the same room together---we would be at one another's throats, gouging
out each other's eyes, hateful, and hating one another---animals, destroying
- Gospel of John, 48 messages, (Book in print)
(3831-3878) Somehow Ray stripped away layers of varnish and the encrustation
of centuries of tradition surrounding the Person of our Lord Jesus in this
fresh, bright, powerful study of the Fourth Gospel. Editor James Denney
has further enchanted these messages in the book form. "Everywhere
in Scripture we are invited to pursue knowledge and discover what is around
us in all the exciting mysteries God has hidden in life. We can pursue
science, medicine, art, literature and politics, and all that is right.
But there is something more. If that is all we have, life at that level
is narrow, crabbed and limited, and we can never understand what is really
happening. It is only as we come to the level of divine light, understanding
as it is in the Scriptures, coming from the lips of Jesus, that we begin
to put all the pieces together. Only then can we see who we are, why we
are here, and get the answers to all the puzzles and conundrums of life.
So when John introduces his gospel he wants us to understand this: that
the One he is going to talk about, this amazing man from Nazareth is God
himself somehow become a Man. He is the Creator become part of his creation,
the Originator of life and of wisdom who somehow limited himself to learning
as a little child, growing and partaking with us in the search for truth,
and, at last, manifesting the fullness of it in his resurrected power.
This is the One who is at the center of our faith. That is why we cannot
forget Jesus. Every human being sooner or later must deal with Jesus of
Nazareth. He is the ultimate crisis in every human life."
- Book of Acts, 41 messages, (Book in print)
(411-451) An unusually comprehensive series of 41 messages on the history
of the early Christian church as recorded by Luke. Reading through this
series is like being taken vividly back to the First Century, but in such
a way that the reader gains a sense of continuity with events in the church
taking place today. "this is the book of action, revealing how God
is at work through Christians. There is intense conflict throughout the
book but a conflict met by a ringing confidence that is wonderful to see.
It is a record of power exercised in the midst of persecution; an account
of life and health pouring from a living Christ into a sick society through
the channel of obscure men and women, very much like you and me. We could
never understand the New Testament if we did not have the book of Acts,
for it fills the gap that would exist between the gospels and the book
of Romans, which follows. At the end of the gospels we find a handful of
Jews gathered in Jerusalem talking about a kingdom to come to Israel. In
the book of Romans we find an apostle who is not even mentioned in the
gospels and who was not one of the twelve, writing to a band of Christians
in the capital city of Rome, talking about going to the ends of the earth.
The book of Acts tells us how this happened and why this change occurred."
- Romans, Series I, 27 messages, (3-37).
Available until recently only in printed form, this sermon series is
now available on this web site through the help of Ben Whitney. This early
series is of historical importance to us at PBC and it shows how Ray Stedman
could preach more than once on a book of the Bible and never say the same
- Romans, Series II, 39 messages, (Book
in print) (3501-3539) During his 40-year ministry at PBC Ray preached
through this monumental epistle three times with great thoroughness. "I
don't know any letter that is more fundamental and foundational than Paul's
letter to the Romans. It is unquestionably the greatest of all of Paul's
letters and the widest in its scope. It is most intent and penetrating
in its insight into the understanding of truth; therefore, it is one of
the books of the New Testament that every Christian ought to be thoroughly
familiar with. If you haven't mastered the book of Romans and aren't able
to think through this book without a Bible before you, then I urge you
to set that as your goal. Master the book of Romans---be so acquainted
with it that you can outline it and think of its great themes without a
Bible open before you. That requires reading it and studying it and thinking
it through in careful detail. I think it is safe to say that Romans probably
is the most powerful human document that has ever been penned."
- First Corinthians, 39 messages (3571-3609)
Ray called Paul's letters to the Church at Corinth in Greece, "the
Letters to the Californians," because life in ancient Corinth was
so much like that experienced in the twentieth century in California's
Silicon Valley. Ray deals systematically with division in the church, with
sexual immorality, marriage and divorce, tongues, the nature of spiritual
gifts, the resurrection. This is a foundation series for the Christian
life. "In some ways, most remarkably, this letter is different from
all the other letters the apostle wrote. Most of them began with a rather
lengthy doctrinal section in which he is teaching great truth, and close
with a practical section in which he applies what he is teaching. But here,
right from the very beginning, he plunges into the problems of the church,
and intersperses a kind of practicality of doctrine with revelations of
truth throughout the letter."
- Second Corinthians, 23 messages,
(3676-3698) The Second Letter reveals the secrets of the ministry.
Ray frequently taught other pastors and his own staff great principles
of ministry using this great letter from the pen of Paul. "A Christian,
of course, is not simply one who joins a Christian church. Many people
feel that that is the criterion, but it is not. There are millions of church
members in this country today who are not Christians. Nor does adhering
to a certain moral standard in your life, or the fact that you consistently
read the Bible make you a Christian. The thing that really marks it is
if Jesus Christ is living in you. A true Christian is someone in whom Christ
dwells. And the person in whom Christ dwells will have certain inescapable
evidence of that fact given to him or her. That is what Paul is suggesting
we ask ourselves. Do we have the evidence that Jesus Christ lives in us?
Has a fundamental change occurred at the very depths of our being? It is
actually the question, of course, 'Are you really born again?' That is
a term that has fallen into wrong use these days. Many people who merely
change their actions for a little while are said to be 'born again.' People
are using that term about everything today. But this is the question that
Paul is asking, 'Are you truly and permanently different because Jesus
Christ has come to live within you?'"
- Colossians, 12 messages (4019-4030)
As Ephesians addresses the Christian's life "in Christ," the
theme of Colossians is "Christ in you, the hope of glory." Paul
opens the letter with a magnificent description of Christ as the Creator
of the universe, the Head of the Church and the Heir of all things. "At
first glance it is hard to tell who are the Christians in this world. They
are ordinary looking men and women, boys and girls. But according to the
Scriptures, and in actual experience, confirmed again and again in many
of our lives, being a Christian means we have an extra dimension to life.
There is a hidden resource, an invisible reality, which the world does
not have and cannot see. This is not referring to Christ being 'up in heaven,'
lost in space somewhere! Rather, this refers to what Paul has talked about
earlier in this letter, "Christ in you, the hope of glory." This
extra dimension is not far removed in the reaches of space; it is right
within the heart, an untouchable, invisible dimension within us. This is
the glory of the Christian life and the secret of its power, joy and courage.
If you have not discovered this yet as a Christian you have not yet begun
to live as you can and should. This is what puts a smile on a Christian's
face, even though he or she is in trouble."
- Ephesians, 31 messages, parts in books,
(98-133, 3001-3017) Over the years Ray preached several series of messages
which are all collected together in this file. Some of Ray's richest teaching
on the ministry of all God's people, spiritual gifts and spiritual warfare
are found in these messages. The overall theme concerns the riches of the
Christian's heritage in Christ. "This is a revolutionary age. The
hurricane winds of change are everywhere blowing in our world. The race
seethes with unrest and lawless rebellion. What are Christians to do in
this hour? Should we surrender the greatest revolutionary message the world
has ever heard, which can come to it from no other source, and content
ourselves with doing what any worldling can do? Shall we become nothing
more than another political action group, or succumb to the fallacy that
change, any kind of change, represents progress? God forbid! What the apostle
desires is that we heed our calling, that we renew our commitment to the
Lord who is behind all things to become individually responsible to tell
this radical, revolutionary, life-transforming, life-changing good news
throughout society; that we should invade commercial and industrial life,
education and learning, the arts and family life, morals and government
with this tremendous, unequaled message. Ask any Christian what is the
greatest thing that ever happened to him in his life. Without hesitation
he will reply, when he came to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Then
the second question naturally follows, what is the greatest thing he can
tell anybody? How to come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour! Christians
are not to witness in arrogance and rudeness, not in holier-than-thou smugness,
not in sanctimonious presumption, and certainly not against the continual
background of ugly church fights and harshness and sharpness between Christian
- First and Second Thessalonians,
12 messages, (Book in print) (4089-4100) The main theme of these two
letters of the Apostle Paul concerns the second coming of Jesus Christ.
The rapture of the church, the revealing of the Man of Sin, and how Christians
are to live in the light of the approaching end of the age comprise the
subject matter of this series, "Waiting for the Second Coming."
"Many years ago, Dr. E.M. Blaiklock, who was then Professor of Classics
at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, visited our fellowship and
said something which I have never forgotten. This renowned Biblical scholar
declared: 'Of all the centuries, the twentieth is most like the first.'
We can, therefore, feel very close to this young church in Thessalonica.
Many today sense an approaching world crisis. A nervous, jittery stock
market; a growing sense of cynicism and distrust of the political process;
an increase in drug and alcohol dependency, with the resultant physical
and mental toll in human lives; scientists tinkering with our genetic make-up
and actually developing a business of selling fetal tissues; all portend
a frightening crisis looming on the horizon of our times. Add to this the
now familiar threat of AIDS, the spread of famine in many countries, and,
of course, the ever-present threat of nuclear warfare, and it is clear
that something terrible is about to happen. We are living in a world in
- First and Second Timothy, 31 messages
(3764-3794) Never yet published in book form, these studies are packed
full of help for young pastors and all those being discipled and trained
by the Lord Jesus Christ. "the apostle is obviously seeking to open
Timothy's eyes to the importance of what he is called to do. Paul flings
back the boundaries of time and space to reveal to Timothy the unseen realities
before whom every Christian lives and labors, reminding him of the great
personages who are involved in his witness in Ephesus: 'I charge you in
the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and
the dead,' Paul says. There is nothing more helpful to us in the midst
of pressure than to realize that what we are doing is a very important
thing; yet there is nothing harder for us to understand about our own Christian
ministry than that fact. Like Timothy, we see ourselves as a tiny minority
amidst an overwhelming, mounting majority committed to evil and unbelief.
Our voice seems to be a mere whisper in the tumult of chaos and the clamor
of voices that speak and echo other things today. Most of us think of ourselves
and of our day to day commitment to walk with Christ as being almost insignificant,
that we are contributing nothing to arrest the downhill slide of our day,
that we cannot speak with any impact at all against the voices of unbelief
we hear on every side...What the apostle does here is roll back the separation
between the visible and invisible worlds and show us in whose presence
we are laboring, who are the powerful forces observing us and working with
us in everything we do and say as Christians. Paul reminds Timothy that
he is laboring in the presence of God the Father, the Creator, the One
who holds in his hands the life breath of every human being, the One who
is Sovereign over all human events. Timothy is also reminded that he carries
on his ministry in the sight of Christ Jesus, the One who is to be the
Judge of all men, before whom every human heart is exposed, the One before
whom everyone, believer and unbeliever, must ultimately stand and give
an account, although not at the same judgment. Jesus himself said that
the Father had committed all judgment into his hands. So Timothy carries
on his ministry before the One who thoroughly understands all of human
history. This is what I hope we capture here in this passage---a consciousness
of who is watching and before whom we labor."
- Hebrews, Series I, 14 messages (84-97)
(Book in print) (84-97) This earlier series on Hebrews by Ray Stedman
contained startling and new insights when preached in 1965 were later put
into paperback book form. His later series, below is an entirely different
series---both are outstanding. "Hebrews is all about Christ. The introduction
declares that Christ is God's final word to man. There is nothing more
to be said, there is nothing that can be added after what Jesus Christ
has said and done. And it is utterly foolish to ignore it, the writer says,
because we cannot exist without Christ. It is basic dishonesty to pretend
we can. We are not independent of God, as we sometimes foolishly imagine.
We are not even independent of each other. We need one another and we need
God, desperately, every moment of life. Therefore, if Christ be God, as
this letter so dearly claims, he is the inevitable One, and it is foolish
to ignore him."
- Hebrews, IVP Commentary (Book in print)
Intervarsity Press commissioned Ray Stedman to write The IVP New Testament
Commentary Series on Hebrews, Grant R. Osborne, series editor. This book---published
in 1992---is now online, with kind thanks to the publisher. Intrducting
this book Ray wrote, "The epistle to the Hebrews begins as dramatically
as a rocket shot to the moon. In one paragraph, the writer breathtakingly
transports his readers from the familiar ground of Old Testament prophetic
writings, through the incarnation of the Son (who is at once creator, heir
and sustainer of all things and the fullest possible manifestation of deity),
past the purifying sacrifice of the cross to the exaltation of Jesus on
the ultimate seat of power in the universe. It is a paragraph daring in
its claims and clearly designed to arrest the reader's attention and compel
a further hearing."
- First John, 34 messages (134-168) Ray
mined the deep truths of the Apostle John's First Epistle in a series of
34 sermons. "Peter...was called as a fisherman, and we are told in
the Gospels that the moment of his call occurred when the Lord found him
casting a net into the sea. That work of fishing for men is characteristic
of the Apostle Peter. He is always beginning things, initiating new programs.
To him was committed the keys of the kingdom by which he could open the
door to the new things God was introducing. On the day of Pentecost he
used one of those keys and as a result caught 3,000 fish in his gospel
net. You find that characteristic of this man all through his written ministry.
To the Apostle Paul, however, was committed a different task. When Paul
was called he was a tentmaker. He made things. He built things. This, then,
was the ministry committed to the Apostle Paul. He is a builder. He not
only lays the foundation but he builds upon it. He calls himself "a
wise master-builder" and to this man, this mighty Apostle, was committed
the task of building the great doctrinal foundation upon which the Christian
faith rests. But John is different than both of these. When John was called
he was found mending his nets. John is a mender. His written ministry comes
in after the church has been in existence for several decades and at a
time when apostasy had begun to creep in. There was need of a voice to
call people back to the original foundations and that is the ministry of
the Apostle John. He calls men back to truth. When we begin to drift, when
some false concept creeps into our thinking or into our actions, it is
John who is ordained of the Lord to call us back, to mend the nets and
to set things straight."
- Revelation, 23 messages, (Book in print)
(4189-4211) Since the Ray Stedman library went online in May 1995,
more people have accessed Ray's series of sermons from the book of Revelation
than any other set of messages. Preached in 1989-90, these sermons were
subsequently edited by James Denney and are available in book form. Ray
begins his study with these words, "The author is not John, the apostle,
as many suppose, though John is certainly involved in giving us this book.
The author is God himself! Notice the words, 'The revelation of Jesus Christ,
which God gave him.' This book began among the Godhead, and God, the Father,
is its author. He revealed the book to his Son. It all began in the mind
of the Father and then was revealed to Jesus, his Son. Remember that in
Matthew 24: 36 Jesus said that though he understood many of the events
of the last days, he did not know the time when it would all happen. He
said that knowledge belonged only to the Father. Now, of course, risen
and glorified, he knows all these things, but at that time he did not know.
It had not yet been revealed to him when these events would occur. But
now Jesus is given this revelation and he passes it on to an angel who
in turn makes known by symbols to John the apostle what is in the mind
of God, and eventually it comes to us. This means this book is unique in
the Bible. No other book was given in quite this way. It comes from the
mind of God the Father, through the agency of the Son of God, to an angel
of God, and thus to the apostle of God, John the writer of this book."
Topical Expository Studies
- Prayers of the Old Testament, 11 messages
(DP# 3735-3745) Studies of eleven great prayers found in the Old Testament.
An excellent introduction to the eternal verities of the believer's access
to an unchanging God through prayer, in any age. "Prayer, basically,
is simplyconversation with God. There are always only two people represented
in true prayer, you and God, and no one else. Others may be present...There
can be two hundred people, or, as here this morning, many hundreds of people
present, but real prayer is always a conversation directly between a single
human being and God himself. There are many kinds of prayer we could talk
about and will be talking about in the course of these studies. We will
look at intercession, thanksgiving, supplication and various forms of petition,
etc., but fundamental to them all is simply a conversation, a dialogue
between an individual and God."
- The Christian and Moral Conditions, 6
messages (78-83) Central issues of the family, insights into sex in
marriage, the differences between the sexes, single life as a Christian,
and common issues faced by young people. Ray says, "This message begins
a series on the general theme 'The Christian and Moral Conditions' in which
we shall take a square and forthright look at the moral conditions of our
day, the powerful forces behind them, and what the Bible has to say on
this theme. I hope this will prove to be practical, enlightening and helpful.
I shall begin with what I consider to be the heart of the whole matter:
the home. Never before in all history has there been such a concerted,
world-wide, all-out assault upon the home. As an amateur student of history,
I know there have been many times in the past where conditions as we see
them today have combined to destroy the home life of a nation, but never
before on such a world-wide compass has this taken place. The family is
the oldest institution known to man. It is coexistent with the human race,
and predates by considerable time the other great institutions of humanity---human
government, the school, and the church."
- The Tongues Question, 4 messages (41-43,
43S) Ray thoroughly analyses the Biblical gift of speaking in tongues,
the Biblical guidelines for exercising this gift, and how to distinguish
the true gift from false tongues-speaking.
- The Christian and his Possessions,
5 messages (68-72) The proper use of money and resources. Principles
of Christian giving. "Some of you here feel unloved. I know you do,
you have said so. You feel that your life is lacking in this essential
ingredient to make it worthwhile, rich, warm. Your lives are barren and
cold and a burden to you and a burden to others because of the missing
element of love. Now I suggest you try, then, this simple formula that
the Apostle gives. Sow love and you will reap love. You who feel that love
is lacking, find someone around you and begin to help. An overworked mother,
perhaps, who never gets a chance to get away from the continual demands
of a brood of children. Take those children and baby sit them for an hour
or two and let her have a free moment. Find an underprivileged child and
send him to camp this summer, pay his way. Think of some exhausted Sunday
School teacher who has been laboring for years without relief in taking
care of your children and relieve her for the summer. Take a lonely missionary
who is hungering for word from someone, write to him and supply his need,
both emotional and material. And when you have finished that deed, turn
and find another. This is the simple formula for blessing. Sow! You cannot
reap unless you sow. And he who shows sparingly will reap sparingly. He
who sows abundantly will reap abundantly. Jesus said it, 'Give and it shall
be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and
running over, shall men give into your bosom.' This is the law of life."
- Christian Relationships,
4 messages (130-133) From the book of Ephesians, studies concerned
with authority: husbands and wives, parents and children, employers and
- Treasures of the Parables, 12 messages
(371-382) Studies in the Parables of Jesus, from Matthew and John.
"The parables are very exciting and challenging portions of scripture.
They are like mystery novels; there is always something secret about them,
something hidden; thus they are enticing, challenging. There are clues
given in each of the parables to lead us to the meaning of it. This is
God's way of stimulating us to investigate and discover a hidden truth
which will be a real treasure to us, enriching our lives in fantastic ways
when we act upon it. The study of the parables can be as exciting as reading
a mystery novel---even more so---because you are always involved in the
parable and there is a treasure to be found at the end."
- Guidelines for the Home, 6 messages,
(3021-3026) Sermons primarily from the Law of Moses (Deuteronomy) concerning
principles of family and community life for Christians. In Ray's words,
"As you know, ignorance and confusion abounds on every side in the
whole matter of what homes ought to be like, what parents ought to do,
and how they ought to handle the raising of children. We are torn between
conflicting schools of thought in the world of psychology and psychiatry.
Authorities in this area do not speak with one voice at all. Some advocate
strong discipline and directive control of the growing experiences of children.
Others say no, we ought to remove all restrictions and let them express
themselves fully, and this will produce what we're after; parental limitations
only hinder and abort the whole process. Most of us don't know which to
believe, and so we do perhaps the worst thing of all---we drift uneasily
and uncertainly between these extremes. But today many are asking for guidelines
from the Scriptures, and I am so glad that is true. We are recognizing
once again that we must come back to the wisdom and authority of the word
of God... Once again we are driven back to face what the Scriptures have
been saying all along---that there is no substitute for a home, that the
home is the place where all this needs to be done, and that it is not in
a school or an institution of any sort."
- Behind the Scenes of History (Matthew 13),
9 messages, Book in print, (452-460) Secrets of God's workings in history
as found in the Parables of Jesus, Matthew 13. "We might call it the
'Sermon on the Sea.' Jesus gave three great messages which are recorded
in Matthew: the Sermon on the Mount...the Sermon on the Sea...and the Olivet
Discourse...The passage in Matthew 13 is less well-known than the Olivet
Discourse. It consists of seven parables which our Lord told all in one
day. In them he traces not the events of history but the principles which
affect all of human life during what we call the present age, the age between
his comings. I propose that we study these great parables very carefully,
relating them to their corresponding fulfillments in history. So we are
not finished with history in the Bible yet. We are going to look at history
in the light of what Jesus has revealed will be the governing factors of
human life during this period. We will see history then as God sees it.
All of us are familiar with history as man sees it---the rather meaningless
jumble of kings and empires, presidents and wars, discoveries, betrayals
and exploitations, etc., which constitute what we call the record of history.
That is at best a very twisted and distorted view of history. But in these
seven parables we want to look at God's view of history, at the great,
meaningful, effective forces which are at work in human lives to bring
about the events that we see recorded in our newspapers and history books."
- Secrets of the Spirit (John's Gospel),
12 messages, Book in print, (3121-3132) Great lessons Jesus taught
his disciples in the Upper Room Discourse on the night He was betrayed
and sent to the cross. "This passage takes us into the intimate thoughts
of Jesus just before the crucifixion. Some have called this the holy of
holies of Scripture. That is, if you think of Scripture as a temple, then
this is the sanctuary, in which you come into the very presence of God
himself. By means of his words to his disciples, we are permitted here
to enter into the thinking and emotions of Jesus just before his own crucifixion.
Within hours of this event the Lord was hanging upon a cross. In less than
twenty-four hours he was dead and buried. These therefore constitute the
last words of Jesus before his own death."
- Bread from Heaven, with David Roper, 4 messages,
(3297-3300) Four messages on Jesus as the Bread of Life. "Then
what is the work of God? The work of God is to change people. That is what
God is here for. That is what he sent the Lord for---to change people.
God's work is to take an impatient aggressive businessman who is out only
to make money for his own purposes and to advance his own style of living,
and change him into a compassionate, patient man who learns how to think
of others and to work for their good as well as his own. Now that takes
power. The work of God is to take a shrewish, mean-tempered woman who yells
at her kids and screams at her husband, and turn her into a patient, loving
wife who learns how to handle her husband and family in love. That is the
work of God. Do you know that the nations of this earth have been laboring
for centuries to find a power that can do those simple things? No power
has been found that can do these things. All our vast, expensive educational
systems cannot do them. We have ample testimony to that, haven't we? But
God, at work in a human being, can change him, make him new and fresh and
different, and help him to act in ways that ordinarily he would not act.
That is the work of God."
- Jesus Teaches on Prayer, 12 messages,
(56-67) A wonderful series on New Testament prayers drawn from the
Gospels." Beyond the things which science can measure and weigh and
analyze, beyond this cold, impersonal universe which appears about us,
Jesus says, is a Father's heart. Around us are a Father's arms and we are
to cry out to him, for in Christ his voice has already called to us. We
are to answer like a child crying out to his father. For, like a child,
we do not always know what is wrong with us. Helmut Thielicke suggests
that sometimes a child can only look at his mother with great, appealing
eyes and cannot say what is wrong but his mother usually knows, for she
takes hold at the right place. Like a father pitieth his children, the
Scripture says, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him and cry out to him
when they are in trouble, even though they may cry out about the wrong
thing. Nevertheless, when we cry out a Father hears and a Father's strength
moves to act on our behalf."
- Man of Faith: The Life of Abraham, 19
messages, (3656-3674) "Abraham's life beautifully portrays the
truth of justification by faith; Isaac is the man who teaches us what it
means to be a son, a child of God; Jacob's life is designed to show us
how God works in sanctification to deliver us from the reigning power of
sin; and Joseph is a most beautiful picture of what it means to be glorified
by resurrection and thus enter into the challenging and exciting task that
awaits the day of the manifestation of the sons of God. Perhaps the clearest
and most helpful of all these Old Testament portraits is the record of
Abraham's life, beginning in distant Ur of the Chaldees, and ending at
last in the cave of Machpelah near Hebron, in Canaan. Abraham is clearly
the pattern man of faith. Again and again, in the New Testament, he is
held up in our view as the example of how God works in the life of a man
to fulfill his promises of grace. He is obviously chief of all the heroes
of faith recorded in Hebrews 11, and in addition to the Christian faith,
two of the great religions of the earth hold him in high esteem."
- Spiritual Warfare: The Battle of Life,
9 messages (0286-0291, 0528-0529) A comprehensive series of spiritual
warfare studies from 2 Corinthians 10 and from Colossians.
- "What's This World Coming to?"---The
Olivet Discourse "How would you like to know the future? Who does
not want to lift, if possible, the curtain that hides the things to come,
and read the future as well as he can the past? Many are trying it today
with varying degrees of success, but the only book with a batting average
of 1.000 is the Bible. That's one of the things that makes it such a fascinating
book. It is always up-to-date and filled with the most pertinent, often
exciting information. In fact, it is more than up-to-date-it is ahead of
the times. There are many predictive passages in both Old and New Testaments,
but none is clearer or more detailed than the messaged delivered by Jesus
himself as he sat on the Mount of Olives overlooking the city of Jerusalem
during the turbulent events of his last week before the cross. These words
have immense significance for us for they are a revelation of the ultimate
fate of earth. From his point in time (about A.D. 32) he looks ahead to
foretell the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the disturbances
connected with that singular event. He looks on across the centuries and
outlines the perils that lie between his first and second coming, thus
describing the very age in which we live. He looks past the present day
to that time which he calls "the end of the age" and sets its
events before us in searing and vivid detail, culminating in his own return
to earth and the ushering in of a new day."
Gems of Theology
- Who is God? What is Time? Two concise short
statements on the nature of God and the nature of time. This file includes
a late, popular photo of Ray Stedman.
- Authentic Christianity Ray's most popular
book, "Authentic Christianity" builds on the theme of this sermon
differentiating between true and false Christianity. "Everyone is
born into this world operating on the Old Covenant, as contrasted with
the New, which we can learn when we become a Christian. Now being a Christian
does not mean that you automatically operate in the New Covenant. That
is why you find Christians who are just as mixed up, just as torn up inside,
just as unable to handle life as non-Christians are. Though they are Christians
they have not learned the value of being a Christian. They have not learned
how to operate on the New Covenant, which they have available to them in
the Lord Jesus. They are still operating, for the most part, on the Old
Covenant. That is what is fouling up their lives...The New Covenant Paul
describes consists of this: nothing coming from us, everything from God...It
is God at work in us that makes us act and produce this kind of living,
if we are going to do it at all. If that is the New Covenant, what do you
think the Old Covenant is?'Everything coming from us; nothing coming from
God.' At any given moment you are operating as a Christian on one or the
other of those two. You never can draw from both at once. Jesus said so:
'No man can serve two masters. Either he will love the one and hate the
other or cling to one and despise the other.' You cannot cling to both;
you cannot draw from both. The only time you have to live is right now.
The present is all there is; the future is not yet come; the past is gone.
You only can live in the present, and therefore the present moment is either
being lived in the Old Covenant or the New, but not both."
- A Pastor's Authority (DP #3500)
Pastors are God's servants, not mini-popes or overlords according to Ray
in this article originally written for Moody Monthly. '"Those who
are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great
men exercise authority over them,' Jesus said to his disciples, 'but it
shall not be so among you!' Rather than being lords, he went on to say,
disciples are to be servants of one another and the greatest is the one
who is servant of all (Mark 10:42-43). By these words Jesus indicates that
an entirely different system of government than that employed by the world
should prevail among Christians. Authority among Christians is not derived
from the same source as worldly authority, nor is it to be exercised in
the same manner. The world's view of authority places men over one another,
as in a military command structure, a business executive hierarchy, or
a governmental system...But as Jesus carefully stated, "...it shall
not be so among you." Disciples are always in a different relationship
to one another than worldlings are. Christians are brothers and sisters,
children of one Father, and members one of another. Jesus put it clearly
in Matthew 23:8, 'One is your Master, and all you are brethren.' Throughout
twenty centuries the church has virtually ignored these words..."
- Legalism (525) A foundational study for
Christians on the issue of liberty versus license. Ray shows that legalism
tends to take different forms from one generation to the next, but is an
issue every Christian needs to understand to maintain a healthy walk with
our Lord Jesus. "The flesh is the old life, the natural life inherited
from Adam, with its apparent resources of personality, of ancestry, of
commitment, of dedication, and so forth. You can do all kinds of religious
things in the flesh. The flesh can preach a sermon. The flesh can sing
in the choir. The flesh can act as an usher. The flesh can lead people
to Christ. Did you know that? The flesh can go out and be very zealous
in its witnessing and amass a terribly impressive list of people won to
Christ, scalps to hang on a belt. The flesh can do these things but it
is absolutely nauseating in the eyes of God. It is merely religious activity.
There is nothing wrong with what is being done, but what is terribly wrong
is the power being relied upon to do it. That is legality."
- The Christian and Worldliness (2) The
Christian must live "in the world but not of the world." Ray
draws distinctions between a faith than is diluted, compromised and weakened
by adoption of the value of the prevailing cultural versus Christian isolationism
in which believers are so separated from the world they are unable to be
used effectively by the Lord as salt and light in society. "Then let's
be done with nursery stuff. Let's be done with kindergarten, with playing
children's games. We've a man's job to do in this world. We're co-laborers
with God. Do you know what that means? We're to supply the hands and feet
and the voices that He needs today. Every day should see us at the task
of binding up the broken-hearted; of bringing sight to the poor, sightless,
blinded creatures that live next door to us; of leading thirsty men and
women to the waters of Life; of bringing beauty for ashes and the oil of
joy for mourning and bringing happiness and harmony into the desolate homes
that are all about us today."
- How God Uses Government "Nations
live by pursuing truth and love; they die by self deceit, by bigotry and
injustice, and especially by ungodliness, pride, and self-sufficiency.
It would be a serious mistake to blame governmental agents as having ultimate
responsibility for a nation's destiny. It has been said that every nation
gets the government it deserves. Final responsibility, therefore, rests
with the individuals that make up a nation. 'No man is an island,' and
every one of us is responsible for the influence we exert upon our neighbors,
our community, our city, county, state, and national governments. The ultimate
issue is our own personal godliness. Do we 'Fear God, and honor the king?'
Do we, in the great words of Micah, 'Do justice . . . love kindness, and.
. . walk humbly with [our] God?' (Micah. 6:8, RSV). The hand of doom rests
upon any people who deliberately refuse to hear and heed the Word of God.
Ultimately, judgment will come. No political manipulation can avert it.
No partial compromise will delay it, no defiance will evade it. There will
come at last, as to ancient Judah, some eleventh year, ninth month, and
fourth day, when a breach shall be made in the walls of the city, and the
inhabitants shall be led forth into captivity and death."
- The Scars of Sin (279) All sin can be
forgiven giving the follower of Jesus Christ a fresh, new start in life.
In this important message Ray shows that all sin has serious and ongoing
consequences that can not be avoided.
- Ten Propositions Concerning War This study
is one of Ray's finest and most thorough Bible studies on the causes of
war, God's purposes in allowing war, and the proper Christian attitude
and responsibility to government and to military service in time of war.
Includes a discussion of nuclear warfare.
- On Dispensationalism (526) This foundational
paper discusses Ray's theological position as a "modified dispensationalist."
"...you can't study the Bible without realizing that undoubtedly there
are time distinctions which must be recognized. God hasn't always done
everything with man in the same way. There has been a progressive unfolding
of truth across the course of history, and we must recognize the various
steps God took in that process. All Bible students recognize this. Therefore,
in some sense, all Bible students who take the Bible seriously are dispensationalists.
You are, for instance. You don't bring a goat or a sheep to church to offer
as a sacrifice, which indicates that you are a dispensationalist, because
you understand that those requirements have now passed away and God isn't
demanding this of men any longer. I doubt if you have a tree in your back
yard which you feel forbidden to eat the fruit of. Yet Adam and Eve had
such a tree. This marks a difference, a change of 'dispensations' since
that time. And we gather for church services on Sunday morning, instead
of on Friday evening as the Old Testament saints did. This marks a recognition
of God's differing dealings with men---a change of 'dispensations.'"
- Should a Woman Teach in Church? (3260)
A clear and thoughtful position which defends the right of women to teach
in church, subject to certain scriptural guidelines. Affirms the basic
equality of women in the priesthood of all believers, in their possession
of the principal spiritual gifts, and the calling of women to teach.
- The Authority of the Word (73) "...scripture
does not need to be defended, but simply declared. Charles Spurgeon's classic
maxim puts it very forcefully. He said, 'The Bible is like a lion. Who
ever heard of defending a lion? Just turn it loose, it will defend itself.'
And so will Scripture! I must confess that I have totally changed my view
on the place of apologetics in the defense of faith. I once thought that
apologetics, the science of the defense of scripture, was especially needed
to answer the skeptic and the agnostic. I remember how I would turn to
archaeology, to logic, or to some of the scientific confirmations of scripture
to try and convince a skeptic that the Word was true. But I have learned
to do differently...I know now that it was a mistake to ask the question
in the first place. Why should I ask whether they believe the Bible is
the word of God? How could I expect them to believe it? It is only the
Christian who can have the necessary proof that this is the word of God
for he has believed it enough to put it to the test. Therefore, to make
this whole matter of the inspiration of the Scriptures a fundamental of
the faith that someone must agree to before he can become a Christian is
absolutely wrong. It is putting the cart before the horse. No, all that
is necessary is to use the Scriptures. If it is the word of God it will
confirm itself. It will have in itself inherent authority."
- Finding the Will of God (76) A foundational
study from I Thessalonians Chapter 4 showing that the will of God for the
Christian's life is not a road map concerning education, career, marriage,
activities and the like, but rather a program designed to produce wholeness
and well-roundedness in preparation for the kingdom of God. "I tell
you, it takes power to live today. You know that, do you not? Out in the
business world, with its sharp practices and its easy morality, in the
social world, with its constant emphasis upon the gratification of the
flesh, in all the areas of our life it takes power to live today. But it
is not your power, it takes God's power. His is the only adequate power.
And let me add this, the times in which we are living are rapidly weeding
out the phonies! If we have not learned what the will of God is in terms
of our experience, all the facades that we have erected for others to see
will come crashing in utter ruins at our feet as the pressure of the times
mounts and exposes the rotten fabric of our lives."
- The Lord and His Church (3) A foundational
study on the church as the Body of Christ with Christ as living Head. The
role of Elders. Forms of church government are compared and critiqued.
- Man in Three Worlds (74) "The issue
is: What is the relationship between learning-the knowledge of man-and
the revelation of scripture? Are there contradictions between modern science
and the word of God? Can the Bible compete with modern knowledge today?"
A study from I Corinthians Chapter 1.
- Christian's Unabridged (75) "...
it is the yoke of Jesus Christ that makes life worth living. It is as we
submit to his control that we discover we can step out into a world of
adventure and glory, a world where every day is a new experience, a new
adventure of faith, an exciting time when every contact is filled with
utmost possibilities, where you never know what is going to happen next,
and life is filled with meaning and richness."
- The Point of No Return (77) Moving forward
in Christian experience. "May the wonderful truth that God is deeply
concerned about your life...lay hold of your heart and move you to possess
your possessions, to move in and lay hold of what God has for you."
- Tell it to the Church (Church Discipline)
(3952) The weighty matters of church discipline as outlined in Matthew
18 are considered---and sensitively applied to a specific situation---in
this great classic message.
- The Meaning of Baptism (278) A foundational
teaching message on what it means to be placed into the Body of Christ
by the work of the Holy Spirit at the time of our conversion. Discusses
water baptism, infant baptism, and includes questions and answers.
- Doing What Comes Unnaturally (4) This
is a foundational sermon comparing and contrasting Law and Grace. "There
is still one final misunderstanding. This is the idea that it is quite
optional whether a Christian lives by law or grace. That is, if grace is
found too difficult or demanding, the Lord will accept sincere legalism.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Legalism is sin! If you discover
it in your heart, you ought to be down on your face before God repenting
and confessing the thing. It is corrupting; it is vile; it is disturbing;
it destroys the unity of the Spirit and produces the works of the flesh
in your life. Paul calls it leaven, and he treats it as evil in the extreme.
Ignorance of grace is called weakness in the Scripture. Such a one is expected
to grow, to develop and learn something better; but a deliberate failure
to live under grace when you know better, is called falling from grace.
It is called deceit; it is called vain jangling; it is called empty talk.
You are considered unruly and disobedient as Christians. We could sum it
all up by simply saying it is impossible to please God by legality. He
can be pleased only by grace."
- The Supreme Need for Fruitbearing (1)
First of Ray's published sermon discusses the controversial passage which
opens Hebrews 6. Ray shows that the test of genuine, saving faith will
be a life that produces the fruit of the spirit.
- A Proper Patriotism (3215) A sermon on
prayer and fasting based on God's words to Solomon concerning righteousness
in national life and government, "...if my people who are called by
my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their
wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and
heal their land." Ray says, "I believe God answers prayers. I
believe there are many, many instances today, in the past, and in the scriptures
that encourage us to pray that God will move behind the scenes of a nation's
history. By praying, we exercise a true patriotism by upholding the leaders
of government, that we may lead quiet and peaceable lives, that the gospel
may have access to the land in which we live. Linked with prayer, throughout
the scriptures, is the subject of fasting in hours of special crisis in
a nation's history. I know many people feel uneasy about fasting...The
purpose of fasting is to afflict our souls. Fasting is something that prepares
us. It does not do anything for God; it is not something that he requires
in order to act. It is something that helps us... Fasting is not a way
of winning Brownie points with God... Neither is fasting an ascetic practice.
It is a way of bringing yourself to the place of bankruptcy. It makes you
feel your helplessness before God more thoroughly, and it enables you,
therefore, in all honesty, openness, and sincerity, to call upon his omnipotence
- When Stones Cry Out (3135) "The greatest
truth which God has to impart to man, I am convinced from my study of the
Scriptures, is what the Bible calls 'the New Covenant', the new arrangement
for living which God has made possible to his people. We are not merely
to try to do our best to serve Christ, to mobilize all our human resources
and put them at his disposal...This great truth is able to transform people,
to transform congregations, and to turn the church into a powerful army,
'...bright as the sun, terrible as an army with banners,' able to accomplish
tremendous things. But the New Covenant has been relegated to silence in
so many parts of the church."
- How to Kill a Lion on a Snowy Day (3136)
In a sermon drawn from on incident in the life of King David, Ray discusses
severe trials that come to all believers at times. "Those who go through
heartaches, pressure, problems, tribulation, always emerge, when they are
in God's hand, softened, chastened, mellowed, more loving, warmer, more
compassionate. God is building---that is the whole point. This is the secret
of survival: God knows, God builds."
- What Price Abortion? (3460S) "The
humanist viewpoint, which views man as fundamentally an animal, gives us
no reason to even confront the question, for if man is only another animal
he can be treated like one, therefore there is no moral or spiritual question
involved. But if, as the Bible declares, man is uniquely singled out to
bear the stamp of God's image and to be the object of Christ's redemptive
love, then destroying human life assumes moral and spiritual implications
because it brings God into the picture and we face our responsibility to
him and his unchanging laws."
- The Whole Story (0280) "To make the
invisible Christ visible, that is God's grace. The life of Jesus Christ
in us, supplied to us, living through us, ministering to our every need,
that is grace, the glory of Christianity. If your Christianity does not
have that note in it, it is a false Christianity. That is what Christian
faith is all about. 'Christ in you, the hope of glory,' says the apostle
Paul to the Colossians. Jesus Christ proposes to clothe his life with your
body and live it again in this twentieth century as he lived it in the
first century. He will, in terms of your circumstances, be what he was
1900 years ago on the hills of Galilee, but he will be it where you are.
That is Christianity, that is God's grace."
- The Man God Uses (281) "Here is
the man God uses consistently, continuously: the man who is confident in
the power of God, confident that God is at work, confident that he will
be at work in his life. Because this is not just for apostles, it is for
everyone. Paul said that he was a pattern for everyone of how this Christian
life works. The first note of it is that to become confident God is at
work, that he can work, does work, and will work, and that he is quite
able to do what nothing else can do. Second, here is a man who is constrained,
moved, and is motivated, not by the need around him but by the face before
him---by the love of the Lord Jesus and the expectation of that day when
he will stand at last in his presence and all of his life will be in review.
I think it is a salutary thing to think often of that moment. I do. What
is the Lord going to say about my life when I stand before him? What is
he going to say about yours? How much of it has been self-centered, and
how much has been risked, ventured, hazarded for his dear sake?"
- Daring to be Different (0282) "I
would like to speak to you about daughters. I am regarded as somewhat of
an expert in this field, having four daughters of my own. But I want to
speak about daring daughters. This is not a revelation of family secrets,
nor have I been pressured for equal time by my family. I simply wish to
comment on a passage that deals with five daughters of a man named Zelophehad,
and thus to learn lessons from the heroines of faith of the Bible...I am
stirred by these five girls. Their names have come down to us because they
were women of faith. There were many daughters in Israel that day, among
those thousands of people, but these are the only five whose names we know,
because they were women of faith, who believed in God and claimed the inheritance
that was theirs. I trust God will lead you the same way. God calls you
to the life of faith. Do not wait for the big and daring things for it
is the little things that change the world."
- Pots, Pressures, and Power (0283) On the
nature of Christian life and ministry from 2 Corinthians, "The cross
puts to death the proud ego, that factor within us which, when we do good,
wants to blow a trumpet so everyone can hear. Or when there is an opportunity
to show off, it makes us eager to get in line. It is that faculty within
which wants no one else to be as educated or as popular or as skillful
or as beautiful as I, that faculty which resents it when another is chosen
for what I want...It is the thing which struggles to be the center of my
life, and expresses itself in self-excuse, self-pity, self-indulgence,
and self-assertion, the ego which seeks constantly to be ministered to.
This is what the cross puts to death. And the secret of experiencing the
life of Jesus is an attitude which welcomes the cross and gladly consents
to having the ego crucified within us, put to death, allowed no expression,
allowed no place of indulgence in our life. When we do that, then the life
of Jesus becomes manifest immediately, and shines out."
- On Living Together (0284) A message on
living together as Christians in community, from Luke 17. "When we
get home he will be waiting for us. He will gird himself and say, 'Sit
down at my table,' and the Lord himself will come and serve us. That is
what God is saying to us. What a wonderfully balanced approach to life
we have in these words of Jesus! How awesome is the sense of our responsibility
for others! It is better to be hanged with a millstone and be drowned in
the sea than to be a source of error to somebody else. How demanding is
this need for understanding, acceptance, and forgiveness of each other
when we do things that are wrong, even forgiving seven times in a day!
But God has given us all that it takes. He has planted in our hearts a
faith which looks to him for the answer, which asks of him and he will
give us all it takes to do this, if we are ready to begin where we are,
to move in that direction, trusting him to come through with what is needed.
Then he cancels out the spiritual pride that threatens to derail us. Thus
he balances our life and keeps us useful, worthy, profitable servants,
doing that which he commands."
- Secret Growth (0285) Principles of church
ministry from experience in the early years at PBC. "How encouraging
it ought to be to us that this seed grows secretly both in our lives and
in the entire world. God has not failed, and the church has not failed.
It cannot fail. Oh, there is a lot of scaffolding and physical structure,
a lot of human organization and trappings all around the church, which
we have falsely identified as the church, that is rotting and crumbling
and falling to pieces. But this is not the building God is building in
this age, nor the seed that he sowed and is producing. That seed is growing
unto harvest, exactly as the Lord Jesus said. It will increase as you allow
that seed to be planted in your own heart, and God will give the increase."
- Life's Greatest Choice (0276) "What
do you say to that King? l don't know what he is saying to you first. I
don't know the immediate thing he is saying. He may be saying to some of
you, "First, go and sell what you have." I don't know. Only you
know what he is saying about the preliminary. You must ask yourself, "What
stands between me and Christ? Whatever it is, get rid of it. Sweep it away.
Cut it off. Is it your right hand? Cut it off. Is it your right eye? Pluck
it out. Get rid of it. It is too costly. It will keep you from the most
important thing in your life. Get rid of it. But above all, come and follow
- The Secrets of God (3000) "Now, let
me say something out of the depths of my pastoral heart... You will never
be a faithful steward of the mysteries of God...You will never be able
to help another. You will never be able to demonstrate these secrets in
your own life until you personally begin to dig deeper into the Scriptures
yourself, and find them out for yourself. It is only as you take these
guidelines and begin to translate them into your own terms, into your situation,
in your home, where you live, that these truths begin to come alive, and
the community starts sitting up and taking notice that here indeed are
people who have learned to live in a wholly different way. Only thus can
we become faithful stewards of the mysteries of God. The ultimate demonstration
is what takes place down in the hurly burly of life, right in the blood
and the sweat and the tears of the marketplace and the home and the school
and wherever we are. This is what makes me know the Scriptures are the
word of God. They solve the problems of life, explain its puzzles."
- The Power You Already Have (4308) (Ray's Last
sermon at PBC) "...I will point out some of the wonderful things
this power can do. First of all, the Scripture tells us that it is power
to face our inner hurts and fears. I find so many people locked up by dwelling
on their past. It helps to know your past and to look back on it; I am
not disparaging that. But once you know the things that set you on a wrong
path, you also have to remember that the Scripture says that we are to
forget the things that are past and press on because we are new creatures
in Christ Jesus. We are no longer what we once were, and therefore we can
set aside that past, having once faced it and seen its impact upon us.
We can set it aside and day by day begin to walk with God. We will discover
that this power will enable us to overcome all the dysfunctions of a bad
past. I have seen it happen many times, and it means that no dysfunctional
background can keep us from fulfilling what God wants.
Second, it is power to abandon evil habits. I know Christians who are
still in bondage to habits that have held them in an iron grasp--alcoholism,
drug use, an evil temper, a lustful practice and attitude. Here is a power
that can enable you to say no to these things and to go on saying no. It
can break the influence of these things. One of Charles Wesley's great
hymns includes the words, 'He breaks the power of cancelled sin, he sets
the prisoner free; his blood can make the foulest clean; his blood availed
for me.' That's the power of God."
- What Child is This? (3652) "...the
thing that is most amazing of all is to remember that all that vast universe
with its teeming millions of galaxies---it takes hundreds of thousands
of light years to cross even one of them---was brought into being by the
hand of the One who lies as a Babe at Mary's breast in Bethlehem! That
is the universal testimony of scripture, by prediction in the Old Testament,
by the statement of the gospels, and by the declaration of the apostles
afterward. The whole of the Christian society came to recognize that great
truth that the One who lay there in Bethlehem was the Creator of the world.
He brackets all of time; Jesus stands at the end of every path upon which
every creature and every human being who ever lived travels."
- Boils at Christmas (3137) "Job...sees
two remarkable things. He sees that the ultimate answer of God to the agony
of men is to be the coming to earth of a goel...one who has the capacity,
the ability, and the willingness to heal...hurt, change...circumstances,
and deliver...from...troubles. This is what Job saw the coming of a goel,
a kinsman-Redeemer, who would have the strength and the ability and capacity
to deliver. And linked with this was Job's realization that this would
work its way out through a death and a resurrection. He says, 'After my
skin has been destroyed [i.e., after his body has died], then out of [or
'apart from'] my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and
my eyes shall behold, and not another.'"
- The Coming of Joy (3018) "No matter
what the trial may be...we have a Savior, a Deliverer, especially designed
to handle that problem, a Savior who is with us always. If we remember
that, and look to him, he will take us through it. He does not promise
to take the problem away, but he says he will take us through it. He will
strengthen us to face it and will give us courage and peace and joy in
the midst of it. Therefore the promise of the angel was "Do not be
afraid, for I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the
people [not to everyone, automatically handed out, but to anyone]. Today
in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord."
- Life Beyond Death (295) "Let me see
if I can make clear what I am getting at. I believe this suggests that
when a believer in Jesus Christ dies he at once experiences the coming
of Christ for his Church. He steps out of time into eternity, and since,
as far as his spiritual readiness is concerned, the next event for him
is the coming of the Lord, that is what he experiences. The moment he dies
he must awaken with the consciousness, "I've made it! I thought there
might still be some time between my death and the coming of the Lord. But
isn't it an amazing coincidence? He came just as I died!" And, what
is more amazing, in the experience of that believer he does not leave anyone
behind. All his loved ones, who know Christ, are there, too. Even those
who, in time, stand beside his grave and weep and go home to empty homes
are, in his experience, with him in glory. Furthermore, since there is
no time in eternity, he discovers that, to his amazement, just as he reaches
heaven, so does Adam. He is raised all at once---because they together
experience this great event of the coming of the Lord for his own...Does
that stimulate your thinking a bit? Does it turn the gears a bit? It ought
- A Note of Certainty "In the days of hatred
and persecution, remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead. When violence
stalks the streets of our cities, or should nuclear missiles roar overhead,
or when despair grips your own heart, remember that there is One who arose
from the dead and who will one day, at the time of his choosing, cause
wars to cease and sorrow to nee away (Isaiah 51:11). Men shall melt their
swords into plowshares and beat their spears into pruning hooks, and never
learn war any more (Micah 4:1-4). Then neither shall there be mourning
nor crying nor pain any more (Revelation 21:3, 4). Meanwhile, remember
that this One offers to be in you a well of living water, from which you
can drink at any moment of need. You do not have to go back again and again
to some place or person. Rather, he is in you, as he promised to be within
the woman at the well, a well of living water springing up into abundant,
eternal life (John 4:7-30)."
- Who's Minding the Store? (3712) "World
events today seem to crowd in upon us. Tragedy, catastrophe and crisis
follow hard on the heels of one another. Just when we had got the hostages
back from Iran, the Russians threatened to invade Poland; and while that
was still a possibility, the President was attacked. Crises seem to descend
upon us without any let-up. Crime is turning our cities into ghettos of
fear and anger. Pornography and obscenity are flung at us by the media.
We are shocked by the stories of the murder and the sexual abuse of children.
Here in the Bay Area, divorces now outnumber marriages. Inflation robs
us all. Life seems to be growing increasingly complex and frightening.
No wonder many people are asking, Is anyone in charge? Who's minding the
store? Is there any power beyond our own feeble efforts that can control
the events of today?"
- The Death of Death (0275) An Easter message
based on Hebrews 2 which shows how it is that Jesus Christ has conquered
death on our behalf. "...Paul does not mean by this that Jesus Christ
eliminated death, because it is still true that despite the great advancements
of medical science during the last generation or so, the death rate remains
what it has been for centuries: a flat 100%. And that includes Christians
along with everyone else. We all die. But Paul did mean something by the
words 'he abolished death.' It is probably explained best in a passage
in the second chapter of the letter to Hebrews. There the writer speaks
of Jesus, who came, he says, to partake of the same nature that we have,
'that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that
is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject
to lifelong bondage.' It is in this way that Jesus abolishes death. He
abolishes the fear of death, removing the sting from it and thus making
- Follow the Leader (3701) "...surely
one of the greatest truths of all to gather around the resurrection is
this great word, 'Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead.' When you
are confronted with a problem, with a struggle, with a difficulty you do
not know how to solve, one you can do nothing about, "remember Jesus
Christ, risen from the dead." That is what he is there for. Remember
that God has provided a Divine Companion, a wise Leader who has been down
the path ahead of you so he knows the way; a faithful Friend who understands
how you feel and what you are going through; a divine, omnipotent Companion
who can take you through the trial and the testing and work it out to your
ultimate benefit and good."
- The Fact of Facts (117) "...if the
resurrection is untrue, then Christianity is no better than any pagan philosophy.
In fact, Christians are to be pitied for wasting their time in a foolish
dream. Why spend time like this, in worship and prayer? Why not be out
on the golf course these Sunday mornings, enjoying the beauty of the day?
Why invest fortunes in spreading the gospel to the uttermost parts of the
earth, even denying ourselves luxuries and pleasures in order that it might
be spread? Why not lie and cheat and indulge ourselves, like the rest of
the world? Let's wheel and deal and bargain and steal; let's go on with
life and get ahead at all costs. If Christ did not physically rise, why
not forget the whole Christian business and get on with life, throw the
Book away and forget it all? After all, Paul says, if this is not true
there is nothing to be trusted about the whole thing. If it is a pack of
lies, then we are pitiable fools if we follow it."
- A Living Hope "There is no explanation
of this strange behavior on the part of the disciples other than the fact
that Jesus was risen and he was with them. Nobody could see him but he
was there, and he was strengthening them, helping them, and ministering
to them. You could take all these three promises that have to do with our
death---the promise of his companionship, the promise of an absence of
fear, and the promise of a greater ability to function---and you can apply
them to every single hour of life if you know Jesus Christ. Now that is
the great good news of Easter to me, that I am not left alone to face the
problems of life without help."
- The Answer to Death (3138) "I have
always regretted that the world at large oftentimes seems to see and hear
the gospel as though it is a message of hope only in the hour of death.
But of course it is far more than that. Jesus died in order that he might
live in us now, govern and control our life, and release to us that remarkable
manifestation of power to live and act and do and be which in the Scriptures
is called "resurrection power". Nevertheless, I do not want to
minimize the great truth that when you come to death, as all of us must---the
inevitable occurrence which awaits us, every one without exception, when,
alone, you have to face that hour---then the only place of hope is in these
marvelous words of Jesus: 'I am the resurrection and the life.' There is
no hope apart from that."
- What Difference Does it Make? (3030) "That
is what we would like to say to you today. We don't live perfectly. The
church is always a kind of clinic where people are being healed. We are
in all stages of the process of healing. There is a deep and deadly sickness
loose in humanity which tears people up, eats out their hearts, destroys
them from the inside---even though everything looks great on the outside.
But that sickness is what Jesus came to heal. And here we are, being healed.
But we are in all stages. Some are just barely beginning, and the evidence
of disease is all over among us...But we have found the One who has the
answer, and he is working it out. It isn't an instantaneous process---one
touch and it's done. It is something which is happening day after day,
week after week, hour by hour."
- Why Worship "It is startling to realize
that everyone worships! Everybody! Everywhere! Worship is the fundamental
drive of life. Atheists worship. Infidels worship. Skeptics worship. Even
Republicans and Democrats worship. Lawyers, insurance agents and even Internal
Revenue Service agents worship! All people worship for worship is the fundamental
difference between humans and animals. Animals do not worship. They have
no sense of the beyond or of the numinous. But God has placed eternity
in man's heart, as the book of Ecclesiastes tells us. This urge causes
men everywhere to worship. If they are not worshipping the true God, they
are worshipping a god of their own composition. Worship, therefore, is
a universal phenomenon."
- What Did We Come Here For? "The test
of true worship is threefold...First, does worship help me experience God's
presence in beauty and power in a manner true to his word? Am I in touch
with the real God? You can have worship experiences that do not reflect
the reality of God...Second, does worship foster a sense of unity in the
Body or does it damage it? Do I go out feeling closer to my brothers and
sisters, more understanding of them, or do I go out angry and upset at
them, ready to cut them off and have nothing to do with them? The purpose
of worship is to increase the love and unity of the body. Third, does worship
motivate me to take practical steps to help others?"
- The Near East in Prophecy (270) A summary
of developing world events and Bible prophecy preached during the six-day
war in 1967. "The poet James Russell Lowell once spoke of '..one far-off,
divine event toward which the whole creation moves.' He meant by that the
second coming of Jesus Christ to earth, the reappearance of the historic
person of Jesus of Nazareth, not as he came the first time, in humiliation
and weakness, as a man among men, but coming, as he himself declared, as
the Son of God in power and great glory to establish a kingdom that will
include the whole earth, and to rule over the nations. This event once
was far off. It seems increasingly to be closer. There are many who feel
we are perhaps drawing very near to the time, which our Lord revealed in
Scripture, when he would return to earth again. Certain clues which he
gave indicate this might be true...From time to time it happens in human
history that the events which are recorded moment by moment on television
and radio, and day by day in our newspapers, are most sharply and clearly
commented upon in the pages of the Bible. When this happens interest in
the biblical account always revives, and we are grateful for this."
- Are These the Last Days? (3699) Addresses
the issue that the entire time period between the First and Second Advents
of Jesus constitutes the time period known as the "Last Days"
in the Bible. "Now I urge you to read your Bible with care and caution
in these areas. If the last days mean, as we have already seen, the full
period of time between the coming of our Lord the first time and his second
appearing on earth, then what Paul is referring to is not just one single
period when these kind of conditions will prevail on earth, but a repeating
cycle of periods that will come again and again and again in history. There
will be cycles of revolutionary conditions ('times of stress,' the apostle
calls them), they will come again and again, and every time these occur
it will look like we are approaching the days of the return of Christ."
- The Shaking of the Earth (3134) A study
of Hebrews 12. "The Scriptures speak of a time, as we draw near to
the end, when there will be a physical shaking of the earth. In the book
of Revelation a key event, described repeatedly throughout that book of
images and visions, is a great earthquake, so tremendous that the very
foundations of the earth are shaken and every mountain and hill is removed
from its place. That is a guide to the understanding of the book, for as
you read through those visions, you find them returning again and again
to the great earthquake which will wind up the course of human events in
this age. But when the writer of this passage [in Hebrews 12] speaks of
God's shaking of the heavens and the earth, it is a different kind of shaking
to which he is referring. He reminds the readers that once God shook the
earth when he spoke from Mount Sinai in the giving of the Law. This was
the time when the Law, coming to man, shook the nations of the world, shook
their very foundations...And now the writer is quoting from the prophet
Haggai, reminding them that there would come another shaking. 'Yet once
more,' God says, 'I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven.'
If you look back to the prophecy from which that was taken, you will find
that Haggai was looking forward to the coming of Messiah, the coming of
Christ. This will be the time, he says, when God will shake not only the
earth but the heavens as well. And this will be a shaking which no one
- God's Faithfulness (Israel and the New
Covenant) (7101) One of Ray's last sermons. Describes the institution
of the New Covenant by Jesus at the last supper. The disciples were representatives
of true, believing Israel and also of the church that was to come. Ray
emphasizes the eternal, enduring faithfulness of God with respect to the
nation of Israel.
Series of Four Special Seminar Messages on Bible Prophecy
- The Coming Time of Trouble
- The Coming Man of Sin
- The Coming King of Kings
- The Coming New Earth
Questions and Feedback
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