The Ray C. Stedman 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.

A favorite Scriptural verse of Ray's was:

"This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy." (1 Corinthians 4:1-2)

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."

Ray strongly emphasized the New Covenant in all his teaching. In his very popular book Authentic Christianity (online) he shows clearly that most nominal churchgoers today have defaulted into some form of Old Covenant living and have failed to discover real life in Christ as God intended it to be under the terms of the New Covenant which our Lord instituted at the Last Supper..

Ray's teaching on church life and government represents a return to New Testament principles of non-hierarchical leadership in the church and the ministry of all the saints rather than the tradition clergy/laity division of effort common in most churches. See our collected Leadership files.

Early in Ray's work at Peninsula Bible Church the Board of Elders decided that Ray should spend most of his time teaching out of town. This means that we have fewer books and sermons by Ray on our web site than would otherwise exist. Ray's greater calling was to teach young pastors around the world about Expository Preaching. He led a vigorous movement called the Congress on Bible Exposition (COBE) for some years. He was featured speaker at countless Bible conferences and seminars around the world. This web site therefore preserves only one corner of Ray Stedman's enormous influence on the Christian community in his generation--much of it behind the scenes and featuring the low profile of a faithful servant of the Lord.

On this page we have attempted to very briefly summarize the overall content of Ray's available messages. Our web site search engine can be of some help.

For more on the life of Ray C. Stedman see his Biography page. Elaine Stedman's 1998 message, Body Language is an excellent survey of Ray's ministry and life during the foundational years of Peninsula Bible Church.

This web site preserves all of Ray's sermons and also his books--whether books now in print or out of print. (Books are currently being added to the site one by one).

A further goal of this project is foreign language versions of Ray's messages. We have made a good start in the Spanish Library and welcome contribution to pay for the cost of translations services.

The following section is a brief description of each sermon.

Surveys of the Entire Bible

Panorama of the Scriptures, 13 messages. (DP# 188-200) The entire Bible is surveyed in 13 messages from Genesis through Revelation.

Adventuring Through the Bible, 67 messages, (201-267) Each book of the Bible is covered by a single message, plus one message on the 400 Silent years between the Testaments. Ray captures the theme of each book so clearly and concisely that these sermons and the tapes they were taken from have been very popular for more than 20 years.

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 theme."

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 ourselves."

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 thing twice.

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 and 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 crisis."

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 employees.

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."




Single Messages

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.

Doctrinal Topics

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, " 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." " 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 for aid."

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 him."

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."


Christmas Messages

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 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."


Easter Messages

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 to."

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 it harmless."

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."

Other: The Rogue River Fellowship papers


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?"

Prophecy Themes

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 ' 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 can avoid.'"

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.

See also: The Olivet Discourse, Letters to the Thessalonians and God's Final Word: The Book of Revelation.

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

Audio: All of Ray Stedman's messages are available in MP3 audio format and/or in RealAudio as well as in HTML and PDF text formats.

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Ray Stedman Library Home Page

Updated May 2, 2005.