5/28/2023 0 Comments
Beloved, our passage this morning presents a tale of two cities – Paul’s missionary outreach to Thessalonica and to Berea. As always, he meets with a variety of responses to the presentation of the gospel message – some positive, but the majority negative. It is instructive to see the contrast in the way Luke records what took place in these two cities.
This tale of two cities is a tale of truth versus tradition. The big idea here is that our response to the gospel reflects our value system. Do we have a passion for the truth of God’s Word or are we jealous for the security of man’s traditions?
Beloved, we live in a world turned upside down by sin and as a Christian it is our responsibility to help turn it right side up. This will take courage so that the content of the Gospel will bring converts, which always brings conflict.
As believers, we don’t run from conflict but hit it head on with God’s grace. 2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” Beloved, the world is lost and needs desperately your help. Will you help turn it right side up?
5/21/2023 0 Comments
Beloved, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ still living in bondage to sin, you need to open your eyes and see that the chains have fallen off. God delights to use simple object lessons and we have one of those clear pictures in our passage today. This passage is about the divine deliverance of Paul and Silas from the chains of prison in Philippi. But it is also about much more than that. For you see that the cry of the Philippian jailor is “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
As you recall your own salvation, what type of chains fell off your life? Maybe there were chains of anger or fear. Certainly, there were chains of selfishness and pride that prevented you from relating to God and to others around you in the type of love Christ came to demonstrate to us. But even though we have been delivered once for all in a positional sense from sin and from Satan and from the value system of the world around us we still struggle with fully experiencing that deliverance. This passage reminds us of the power of God and should encourage us to go out from the prison of sin rejoicing in the sufficiency of our salvation. That should be the testimony of all who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.
The all-powerful God delivers believers from the shackles of Satan and sin. Chains be broken!
5/14/2023 0 Comments
Beloved, are you as appalled as I am at the amount of profiteering surrounding false religion in our day? Just look at the false teachers who tickle the ears of their vast followers on TV, radio, or the WEB. Follow the money stream; examine their extravagant lifestyles and you will see that they have nothing in common with those who offer the unadulterated gospel message from pure motives of serving the Lord.
But today’s spiritual trafficking is nothing new. Go back in history and look at Martin Luther's complaints against the Roman Catholic Church. Look at how he exposed the church, which took advantage of its people's faith for monetary gain – through the practice of the selling of indulgences.
Yet, as we know there is nothing new under the sun. In today’s study we look at some spiritual trafficking, which occurred on Paul’s second missionary journey while in Philippi. In this instance, a young slave girl was used by her owners (pimps) for, not the sex trade, but the religious trade.
Beloved, there can be no peaceful co-existing with false religions and their greedy exploitation, no tolerance of demonic religious superstitions with their false promises and false hopes. Jesus Christ and Gospel must stand alone!
5/7/2023 0 Comments
Beloved, Lydia represents a beautiful example of a heart responding to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She sold a luxurious product of the color purple only to come into contact with the King of Kings, the only one rightfully bestowed to wear the royal color.
When it comes to salvation, we must remember that hearts are closed to the
gospel, incapable of responding on their own. We must remember that minds are blinded to the gospel; hence human reason cannot rescue anyone. Also we must remember that the will is enslaved to sin; in bondage; therefore self-help programs are doomed to failure.
In general, people are spiritually dead, separated from God, and enemies of God. But the Gospel of Jesus Christ is able to open the heart of the lost. Because God loved Lydia and desired her to be saved, He closed doors for Paul in Galatia and brought him to Philippi. Paul was then able to preach the Gospel down by the river and Lydia responded. I love how the Lord works all things
together for good to bring us to Himself!
4/30/2023 0 Comments
Beloved, the portion of scripture we will study this morning is about God’s guidance. So often we wonder what God’s will for our life is. We are often asking the Lord, “Where do I go? Or what do I do?” We just don’t want answers, but we want specific answers.
Beloved, if you find yourself unsure about God’s specific will for your life, then please do not worry. You are in good company. The Apostle Paul, one of the giants of Christianity himself was uncertain about which direction God was leading him. Beloved, you may not know where God is leading you but know this truth: God’s will for you will never lead you where the Grace of God cannot keep you!
Beloved, God is more anxious to guide you than you are to be guided. He has given us His guidance through His Word, through His presence and through His peace.
Beloved, as we study this portion of scripture remember the truth of Scripture as found in Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
4/23/2023 0 Comments
The Book of Acts is the study of a movement, the Church; but it also the study of people and their lives. This week we begin a three-week series as we look at the lives of three people in Acts Chapter 16.
Today we’ll look at Timothy. The week after we’ll look at the man from Macedonia and the week after that we’ll look at the life of Lydia, a dealer of purple cloth.
But back to this week; the name Timothy means “honoring God” or “honored by God.” Timothy was called to take on a task that he did not feel qualified to do. He was often in way over his head, yet that is where God is able to receive the glory, because we know that it was not we, but he in us!
Beloved, you also may be called to take on a task you are totally unqualified for. Do not fret, because God is in control. If you are a Timothy, take heart, because it is God working in you and through you for His glory!
4/16/2023 0 Comments
Beloved, the Book of Acts is the story of a movement. The movement began when Jesus Christ left earth and the church began. The movement continues today through the lives of God’s people. In a sense then the Book of Acts is still being written. A chapter is added every time a person comes to the Lord.
The Book of Acts is also the story of people, people that God uses. And guess what, God uses imperfect people. This is evidentiary through the passage of scripture we are studying. While some people prefer to look at the early church through stain glass windows, the Word of God reveals the early church warts and all.
Ministry takes various forms. It can build up, it can grow up but it can also tear up. In essence, the reality is that ministry hurts. The success in ministry comes in faithfulness and perseverance. It would be too easy to quit when it tears up but the mature believer keeps going in the midst of pain and separation. As Peter told Jesus in John 6:66-68, “After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
4/9/2023 0 Comments
Beloved, there are many who deny the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Even some so called Priests, Pastors and Spiritual leaders deny that Christ has risen from the dead. On a Resurrection Sunday a few years ago one of those pastors even proposed that Jesus had not died but had merely passed out and was later revived. It is called the swoon theory.
A humorous letter to the editor to a Christian magazine accurately evaluated the "Swoon Theory":
Dear Eutychus: Our preacher said, on Easter, that Jesus just swooned on the cross and that the disciples nursed Him back to health. What do you think? Sincerely, Bewildered.
Dear Bewildered: Beat your preacher with a cat-of-nine-tails with 39 heavy strokes, nail him to a cross; hang him in the sun for 6 hours; run a spear through his heart; embalm him; put him in an airless tomb for 36 hours and see what happens. Sincerely, Eutychus.
Beloved, today we celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is Risen! Jesus is Alive!
4/1/2023 0 Comments
Beloved, the stage is set. The curtain rises. The last act of the drama begins. Here comes Jesus into the city of Jerusalem.
Perhaps 2.5 million people crowded the narrow streets converging on this holy city at Passover time. Garments were spread on the road. Branches torn from palm trees fanned the same air, which carried shouts of "Hosanna."
All this was no accident; Jesus knew what He was doing. In advance, He had arranged for a donkey; and two disciples brought it to Him. It was no accident that marked His mode of transportation. Matthew reveals that Jesus set the stage for what we now call Holy Week so as to fulfill the prophecy spoken centuries before in Zechariah 9:9 and Isaiah 62:11. "Say to the Daughter of Zion, 'See your king comes to you gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey"' (Matthew 21:5).
Call it the first century or the 21st century, the picture remains: Your King comes to you!
3/26/2023 0 Comments
Beloved, one thing that I have learned as Senior Pastor of this fellowship is that leaders lead. They make decisions and sometimes those decisions are popular ones and sometimes they are not. But the truth is this; a godly leader will make strong decisions for the betterment of the fellowship.
In today’s study we learn of a wise decision given by the leader of the church in Jerusalem. Coincidently, the
leader was not Peter but James, the brother of Jesus. James makes a decision, which ultimately determines the
fate of the church for the better. It was unpopular for some but benefited the church as a whole.
Beloved, whenever I have disagreed with a decision from a higher authority, I learned to submit to their leadership. Humility requires a heavy dose of submission and if I am going to lead, I also need to submit out of respect and honor for those serving in leadership over me.