Ancient city in Anatolia
Do we honor the gifts God has given us? This week we continue our series through the book of Ephesian by examining chapter 4, verses 8-16. God has gifted each believer with gifts, and with these gifts comes responsibility, as they are utilized for building up the body of Christ. Listen as Pastor Westley breaks down the scripture and teaches on how to honor the gifts God has given us. If you would like to partner with BLVD Church and what we are doing in the community, you can make an investment of support at https://blvd.church/give
Acts 19–21 Acts 19–21 (Listen) Paul in Ephesus 19 And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland1 country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. 2 And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John's baptism.” 4 And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in2 the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. 7 There were about twelve men in all. 8 And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. 9 But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus.3 10 This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks. The Sons of Sceva 11 And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. 13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” 14 Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. 15 But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” 16 And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all4 of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. 18 Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. 19 And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily. A Riot at Ephesus 21 Now after these events Paul resolved in the Spirit to pass through Macedonia and Achaia and go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.” 22 And having sent into Macedonia two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while. 23 About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way. 24 For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen. 25 These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. 26 And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. 27 And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship.” 28 When they heard this they were enraged and were crying out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 So the city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed together into the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul's companions in travel. 30 But when Paul wished to go in among the crowd, the disciples would not let him. 31 And even some of the Asiarchs,5 who were friends of his, sent to him and were urging him not to venture into the theater. 32 Now some cried out one thing, some another, for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together. 33 Some of the crowd prompted Alexander, whom the Jews had put forward. And Alexander, motioning with his hand, wanted to make a defense to the crowd. 34 But when they recognized that he was a Jew, for about two hours they all cried out with one voice, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 35 And when the town clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, “Men of Ephesus, who is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great Artemis, and of the sacred stone that fell from the sky?6 36 Seeing then that these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash. 37 For you have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor blasphemers of our goddess. 38 If therefore Demetrius and the craftsmen with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls. Let them bring charges against one another. 39 But if you seek anything further,7 it shall be settled in the regular assembly. 40 For we really are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion.” 41 And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly. Paul in Macedonia and Greece 20 After the uproar ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them, he said farewell and departed for Macedonia. 2 When he had gone through those regions and had given them much encouragement, he came to Greece. 3 There he spent three months, and when a plot was made against him by the Jews8 as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. 4 Sopater the Berean, son of Pyrrhus, accompanied him; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy; and the Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus. 5 These went on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas, 6 but we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days. Eutychus Raised from the Dead 7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered. 9 And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. 10 But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” 11 And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed. 12 And they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted. 13 But going ahead to the ship, we set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul aboard there, for so he had arranged, intending himself to go by land. 14 And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and went to Mitylene. 15 And sailing from there we came the following day opposite Chios; the next day we touched at Samos; and9 the day after that we went to Miletus. 16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia, for he was hastening to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost. Paul Speaks to the Ephesian Elders 17 Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him. 18 And when they came to him, he said to them: “You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, 19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; 20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, 21 testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.10 22 And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by11 the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. 24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. 25 And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. 26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, 27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. 28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God,12 which he obtained with his own blood.13 29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. 32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel. 34 You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. 35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” 36 And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, 38 being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship. Paul Goes to Jerusalem 21 And when we had parted from them and set sail, we came by a straight course to Cos, and the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara.14 2 And having found a ship crossing to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail. 3 When we had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left we sailed to Syria and landed at Tyre, for there the ship was to unload its cargo. 4 And having sought out the disciples, we stayed there for seven days. And through the Spirit they were telling Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 5 When our days there were ended, we departed and went on our journey, and they all, with wives and children, accompanied us until we were outside the city. And kneeling down on the beach, we prayed 6 and said farewell to one another. Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home. 7 When we had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais, and we greeted the brothers15 and stayed with them for one day. 8 On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea, and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. 9 He had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied. 10 While we were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 And coming to us, he took Paul's belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is how the Jews16 at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'” 12 When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, “Let the will of the Lord be done.” 15 After these days we got ready and went up to Jerusalem. 16 And some of the disciples from Caesarea went with us, bringing us to the house of Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we should lodge. Paul Visits James 17 When we had come to Jerusalem, the brothers received us gladly. 18 On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. 19 After greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 And when they heard it, they glorified God. And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed. They are all zealous for the law, 21 and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or walk according to our customs. 22 What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. 23 Do therefore what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; 24 take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself also live in observance of the law. 25 But as for the Gentiles who have believed, we have sent a letter with our judgment that they should abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled,17 and from sexual immorality.” 26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day he purified himself along with them and went into the temple, giving notice when the days of purification would be fulfilled and the offering presented for each one of them. Paul Arrested in the Temple 27 When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, 28 crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who is teaching everyone everywhere against the people and the law and this place. Moreover, he even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” 29 For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple. 30 Then all the city was stirred up, and the people ran together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and at once the gates were shut. 31 And as they were seeking to kill him, word came to the tribune of the cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion. 32 He at once took soldiers and centurions and ran down to them. And when they saw the tribune and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33 Then the tribune came up and arrested him and ordered him to be bound with two chains. He inquired who he was and what he had done. 34 Some in the crowd were shouting one thing, some another. And as he could not learn the facts because of the uproar, he ordered him to be brought into the barracks. 35 And when he came to the steps, he was actually carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the crowd, 36 for the mob of the people followed, crying out, “Away with him!” Paul Speaks to the People 37 As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the tribune, “May I say something to you?” And he said, “Do you know Greek? 38 Are you not the Egyptian, then, who recently stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand men of the Assassins out into the wilderness?” 39 Paul replied, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no obscure city. I beg you, permit me to speak to the people.” 40 And when he had given him permission, Paul, standing on the steps, motioned with his hand to the people. And when there was a great hush, he addressed them in the Hebrew language,18 saying: Footnotes  19:1 Greek upper (that is, highland)  19:5 Or into  19:9 Some manuscripts add from the fifth hour to the tenth (that is, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.)  19:16 Or both  19:31 That is, high-ranking officers of the province of Asia  19:35 The meaning of the Greek is uncertain  19:39 Some manuscripts seek about other matters  20:3 Greek Ioudaioi probably refers here to Jewish religious leaders, and others under their influence, in that time; also verse 19  20:15 Some manuscripts add after remaining at Trogyllium  20:21 Some manuscripts omit Christ  20:22 Or bound in  20:28 Some manuscripts of the Lord  20:28 Or with the blood of his Own  21:1 Some manuscripts add and Myra  21:7 Or brothers and sisters; also verse 17  21:11 Greek Ioudaioi probably refers here to Jewish religious leaders, and others under their influence, in that time  21:25 Some manuscripts omit and from what has been strangled  21:40 Or the Hebrew dialect (probably Aramaic) (ESV)
Jesus Christ is Lord of His Blood-Bought Church Today we will see that the Founder and Owner of the Big ‘C' Church is Jesus Christ. We will also see that all little ‘c' churches like the one in Colossae are called to continue to be what our Founder expects us to be! Read Colossians 1:18-23 Jesus Christ is Lord of His blood-bought Church! Let's Pray! In the New Testament letters, which covers the Book of Romans through the letter to Jude, often the passages interlink with each other like a links in a chain. Jesus Christ is Lord of His Church V. 18 For a human body to be functional every member must respond to instructions from its brain, its head. For the church body to be functional we must remember who our leader is – Jesus! The Big ‘C' Church will never stop existing, and the members of it will one day live on the new earth with new bodies forever. But little ‘c' churches can and do cease to exist. That's why when Jesus spoke to another church from Asia Minor, the Ephesian church that Jesus spoke to in Rev. Ch. 2, He told them if they didn't repent He would remove their lampstand. Jesus always needs to have first place in His Church and churches. Jesus Christ is the Reconciler of All and the Redeemer of His Church V. 19-22 It is finished! -John 19:30 Tetelestai! For there is One God, and there is One Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all… 1 Timothy 2:5-6a Here Paul in verse 22 says the consequence of being in Christ and possessing His righteousness is that in God's eyes Christians are as holy, blameless, and above reproach as Jesus Christ Himself is! Jesus Christ has a specific purpose for His Big ‘C' Church and little ‘c' churches V. 23 He is telling us here what is true of every member of the Big C church and is expected of every member of the little ‘c' churches like the one in Colossae. It is understood that true Christians will “continue in the faith” and preach Jesus. Perseverance in believing is one of the fruits of the new birth experience (initiated by God) we obtain when “by grace we are saved through faith.” Progress in Christian behavior is also fruit – not perfection yet, but progress. We continue to make progress now, however imperfect, toward the positional perfection we already have in Christ and can never lose.
In Dr. Hixson's series through the book of Acts, he discusses the Paul's message to the Ephesian elders and the doctrine of repentance (Acts 20:17-38). Books: Spirit of the Antichrist Volumes One and Two Book: What Lies Ahead-A Biblical Overview of the End Times Book: Getting the Gospel Wrong Not By Works Ministries Get the new NBW Ministries mobile app! Sign up for the NBW Newsletter Spirit of the Antichrist Full Series on DVD or Streaming What In the World Is Going On? Video Series Not By Works Online Store Bible Study Methods Course What Lies Ahead Video Series Support Not By Works Not By Works Rumble Channel Book: Top Ten Reasons Some People Go to Hell Book: Weekly Words of Life
When I was ten, I brought home a tape from a friend at youth group that contained the music of a contemporary Christian band. My dad, who had been raised in a Hindu home but had received salvation in Jesus, didn’t approve. He only wanted worship music played in our home. I explained it was a Christian band, but that didn’t change his mind. After a while, he suggested that I listen to the songs for a week and then decide if they brought me closer to God or pushed me further away from Him. There was some helpful wisdom in that advice. There are things in life that are clearly right and wrong, but many times we wrestle with disputable matters (Romans 14:1–19). In deciding what to do, we can seek the wisdom found in Scripture. Paul encouraged the Ephesian believers to “be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but wise” (Ephesians 5:15). Like a good parent, Paul knew that he couldn’t possibly be there or give instructions for every situation. If they were going to “[make] the most of every opportunity because the days are evil,” they were going to have to discern for themselves and “understand what the Lord’s will is” (vv. 16–17). A life of wisdom is an invitation to pursue discernment and good decisions as God guides us even when we wrestle with what might be disputable.
There is definitely alot going on at FBC! I am thankful for our church's faithfulness to follow God's calling wherever He is leading. That is exemplified in our text for Sunday. In Acts 20:1-16 Paul is on his final journey back to Jerusalem as a free man. As he spoke passionately to the Ephesian elders in ch. 20, he told them that in every city the Spirit was revealing to him that imprisonment and afflictions awaited him in Jerusalem. Yet, Paul did not sway from his calling. As we follow him on his return journey, Paul will stop in several places and minister to believers in the churches of different cities. The love and hospitality between all the believers is striking as Paul and his ministry team lodge with different believers. But everywhere Paul stays, everyone around him warns him not to go to Jerusalem. Indeed, even his own ministry team will join the chorus to keep him from heading into danger and tribulation. They love him dearly and want him to avoid suffering. This has a profound effect upon Paul's heart, but he does not deviate from what he knows Jesus has called him to do. He is quite literally following in the footsteps of his Lord. Paul is devoted to the will of Christ despite what everyone around him thinks and despite the consequences that he knows will result. He is living out Jesus' call for the one who would follow Him to "deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Him."
Pastor Andy Davis preached on Mark 7:1-13 exploring the genuine purpose of worship and its three enemies: legalism, traditionalism, and hypocrisy. - SERMON TRANSCRIPT - Turn in your Bibles this morning as we continue our study in the gospel of Mark. We're in chapter 7 now looking at verses 1-13, exposing vain worship and espousing heart worship. One of the greatest issues of the human soul stands in front of us this morning in this text, and that is of genuine worship. Worship from a pure heart, worship that engulfs your soul, worship that is a fragrant offering to your Creator, your God, the lover of your soul—true heartfelt worship. That's what's in front of us here. It's not difficult to make the case that establishing that worship in human hearts is the entire purpose of scripture, of the gospel, of the work of God, and in the original creation and the work of Christ in redemption, the work of the Holy Spirit and regeneration that we human beings created in the image of God, would genuinely worship God from our hearts for all eternity. That's it. And against this precious thing, are three of its greatest enemies, legalism, traditionalism and hypocrisy. Legalism, the belief that God accepts our worship based on how well we keep a set of rules and regulations. In that case, our focus is on ourself and our own performance. Traditionalism, the belief that true worship of God consists in manmade patterns, crafted by human beings generations ago and handed down unchanged from generation to generation. Keeping that tradition, that's the essence of worship. Then there's hypocrisy, putting on a show, a show for God and others when our hearts are actually far from God. The whole thing is false. It's a lie. Hypocrisy. These are the issues in front of us in Mark 7:1-13. "It's not difficult to make the case that establishing that worship in human hearts is the entire purpose of scripture, of the gospel, of the work of God, … And against this precious thing, are three of its greatest enemies, legalism, traditionalism and hypocrisy." Now the setting in Mark's gospel - Jesus has just fed the 5,000 plus women in children. He's walked on water, and then we get a quick summary at the end of chapter 6 of a healing ministry that's comprehensive and mind boggling. But it's just a summary of perhaps as many as thousands of miracles that were done. Miracles mostly of healings, even of people that just touched the hem of his garment who were instantly healed by his power. Jesus, at this moment, it could be argued is at the pinnacle of his temporary popularity. The crowds are swelling with anticipation. In John 6, after the feeding of the 5,000 some of them want to take Him by force and make Him king. They don't really understand who He is or what His kingdom is, but they want to do that. Jesus is a threat to the religious establishment, and a delegation of religious police is sent. Self-appointed investigators, scribes and Pharisees come to observe Jesus and not friendly at all, but to try to find fault with him and shut him down if they can. We see right away in this outline, the legalist charge against Jesus, ceremonial defilement. Look at verses 1-5. The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, gathered around Jesus and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were unclean, that is "unwashed!" Mark gives his Gentile audience, probably Romans who didn't understand these things, this explanation. The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders.When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash and they observe many other traditions such as the washing of "cups, pitchers, kettles”. So the Pharisees and Scribes ask Jesus, "Why don't your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with unclean hands"? They're making a charge against Jesus by means of his disciples breaking tradition through this ceremonial defilement. Who are these Scribes and Pharisees? These were professional legalists. This is a great escalation of conflict with the Jewish authorities. As I said, a delegation is sent from Jerusalem to check Jesus's rising influence and find fault with him if they can to try and find a way to put a stop to Jesus. The Pharisees were a religious party, a group of religious leaders, who had maneuvered their way in Jewish society to the top pinnacle of esteem in terms of their spirituality in their religion. They made the meticulous study of the Law of Moses their top priority and then dispensing rulings and judgements based on that. The Scribes were priests from the temple area whose day-to-day work was that of copying the Law of Moses letter by letter. There weren't printing presses back then, it was all done by hand, and these Scribes were entrusted with the task. But beyond that, they were teachers of the laws that they read and they taught their interpretation of scripture to the people. So Scribes and Pharisees are the religious leaders of the Jewish nation. Both of them are legalists who think that their right standing with God is based on how well they keep the laws of God. They generally thought they kept them just fine. “All these commands I have kept from my youth.” They would say something like that. Furthermore, they accepted the trappings of honor in Jewish society, whether at banquets or in the marketplace or other places. They love that kind of thing. They love to be honored and to have the most important seats of the banquets. That's who they were. What is the origin of their religious legalism? Where did all that come from? We could start with the exile to Babylon. In the exile, the remnant that was exiled was made aware, very plainly, by the ministry of Ezekiel and Jeremiah that it is because they have violated the laws of God for generations that this exile has come. They have broken God's laws and have gone over into idolatry and wickedness. And for this reason, most of them were killed by sword, famine, and plague. A small remnant was exiled to Babylon. Daniel, a godly man, is very aware of this and prays in Daniel 9:11, this prayer, "All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away refusing to obey you. Therefore, the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you". Well, they got it. They got the message. At least Daniel did. And godly exiled Jews like him, understood. When in the course of time under the rule of Cyrus the Great of Persia, a small remnant, 42,000 was allowed to come back and repopulate the Promised Land, Jerusalem. They were committed to the law of God. Even if within a short amount of time there were some of them that intermarried. Ezra and Nehemiah pulled out their hair and were zealous that they would not fall into the same patterns of wickedness that their ancestors had fallen into. Ezra 7:10, it says, "Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord and to teaching its decrees in laws in Israel". That all sounds good, right? Ezra was a godly man studying God's Word. But in the course of time, patterns of legalism and traditionalism emerged that were very corrupt based on this initial zeal. Schools of religious lawyers developed who spent their full time debating this or that law, trying to nail down exactly what they're supposed to do in every case in life. Scribes and Pharisees were in that heritage. They arose and studied the law more carefully than anyone else and appointed themselves ethical police over to the daily life actions of others. That's a simple answer to the origin of their legalism. Let's go broader and deeper. There's a deeper answer to the origin of legalism. It's just in the wicked, sinful heart of man. We, sinners, want to fix our problems ourselves. We want to save ourselves. Most of us aren't denying there's a problem. Vertically with God, horizontally with others, but we want to solve it. We want to make up our own religion that'll solve it. We want to follow our own rules. We want to be the master of our own fate and the captain of our own souls. Spiritually, we want to save ourselves, and this is true all over the world. Every religion except Christianity is codified self -salvation. Self -salvation, that's what we want to do. Look at Mark 7:7, "They worship me in vain. Their teachings are but rules taught by men". It's a manmade religion. That's the origin of legalism. That's where it's coming from. For Scribes and Pharisees, their highest value is conformity to legal tradition. By the time of Jesus there are well developed schools of rabbis who spent their full time discussing and teaching minutia of the law. A key issue here is that the law of God itself was deemed too complicated for average ordinary people to understand. There's clear evidence of this that these elitists considered the common group of people to be an untrained rebel who could not just read and hear God's law, and get it right. So they needed the Scribes and Pharisees to interpret it. They began to give additional insights, rules and regulations that were beyond the scripture. And so it went, rabbi so and so commenting on rabbi such and such who made observations saying this and that and therefore the other. And it was all written down, this heritage of rabbi this and rabbi that and all this kind of thing. These verbal traditions were erected like a safety fence around the law of God, keeping a safe zone around God's law with the idea being if you keep the tradition of the elders, you're certain to be acceptable to God because we're going beyond what God requires and therefore He must accept you if you just follow our traditions. In the second century AD, the second century after Christ, a Rabbi Yehuda organized the rabbinic teachings that have been passed on into a book called the Mishnah. In time there arose more and more traditions and disputations and statements based on the Mishnah itself, course. Those additional disputations and wranglings over the Mishnah were organized into another book called the Gemara. The Mishnah plus the Gemara together is called the Talmud. Twelve centuries of Jewish rabbis wrangling over originally the Word of God, but mostly over their own traditions. That's the Talmud and it's the authority for most Jews in the world that are religious. They are Talmudic scholars. Now, do you not see behind all of this an astonishingly disparaging attitude toward the Word of God? I. Legalists’ Charge Against Jesus: Ceremonial Defilement What we see in Mark 7 in Jesus' accusation against them came true concerning the Talmud. The Talmud came to be put above the Word of God, far above it. The traditions of men totally supplanted the laws of God. Listen to these statements from the Talmud itself. "The sacred scriptures is like water. The Mishnah is like wine, but the Gemara is aromatic wine". That's a clear hierarchy. The lowest level is the Word of God. What you want to get up is to that beautiful level of the Gemara, or again, "My son give heed to the words of the Scribes rather than to the words of the law". And again, this one, "He who transgresses the words of the Scribes sins more gravely than the transgressors of the words of the law". That's from the Talmud. It's astonishing that the opinions of human beings can take the place of the perfect Word of God. The accusation by the Pharisees and Scribes of Christ is ceremonial defilement. They stood around Jesus and watched him and his disciples eating their meal and they accused him. That’s creepy. They're just standing watching them eat. Verse 5, "Why don't your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with unclean hands"? Mark, as we said, gives us this detailed backstory about these comprehensive traditions. Let's read again, verse 3-4, “The Pharisees and all the Jews. . .”, see that? Everybody's doing this stuff. The Pharisees have won the day. Everybody's following this. The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash, and they observe many other traditions such as the wash and cups, pitchers, kettles, et cetera. This is an elaborate, carefully developed system of ritual washings that covered almost every area of life mandated by the elders in their traditions. Notice clearly their accusation is not that Jesus and his disciples are violating the law of God. They're not even thinking about that because it's not stated anywhere in the Law of Moses. You're not going to find it. There are not these washings laid out in the Law of Moses. This is all human tradition. Now don't misunderstand. This has nothing to do with germs. It's not like if only they had that hand cleanser stuff that kills 99.99% of all the germs. If they had that, we wouldn't have this problem. It has nothing to do with germ theory, which didn't come until Louis Pasteur and all that. That's not what we're dealing with here. Not at all. This is about religion. If you don't wash like this, you're not acceptable vertically to God. That's their charge. II. Jesus’ Charge Against Legalists: Arrogance over God’s Word What's Jesus' charge against the legalists? Now it goes back. Arrogance over God's Word. Let's reverse the order that Jesus takes. Let's not walk through it in the order in the text. Let's go later and then work back. Let's address their arrogance over God's Word and then get to the deeper issue of worship. First, their arrogance concerning God's Word. Verse 7, "Their teachings are but rules taught by men, manmade rules concocted from the imaginations and morals and thoughts of men without the Holy Spirit”. Verse 9, "And he said to them, you have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions". In other words, you make a regular habit of doing this. You are continually doing this. You're setting aside God's Word to observe your own manmade traditions. This is a habit you have. I believe Jesus is being sarcastic here. The Greek word kalos is, "Well, you're really good at this. You're fine at this. You have developed this skill to a high level. There's a level of sarcasm here you're really good at. You do this well. You're experts at this evil thing of setting aside God's Word to favor your traditions.” Then Jesus gives a case study, a clear example. Look at verses 10-13, "For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother and anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death’. But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is corban,’ that is a gift devoted to God, then you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. Thus, you nullify the Word of God by your tradition that you have handed down.” Then He expands it in verse 13, the very end of the phrase of today's reading, "And you do many things like that". In other words, this is just one case. You do this all the time. This is a serious attack on the Word of God. Notice how Jesus clearly contrasts tradition with God's Word. Matthew's account makes it even sharper. Matthew 15:5, "For God said, honor your father and mother and anyone who curses his father and mother must be put to death". But you say . . ..” I mean, that's about as clear as it gets, “ for God said, but you say.”That's the whole system that we're dealing with here. The whole system of legalism and traditionalism was a serious attack in the Word of God. Legalism is fundamentally adding to and subtracting from the Word of God because you think there's something wrong with it. They added requirements that God did not give and thereby they overturned the requirements that God did give. What is this case study about the practice of corban? It has to do with the habit or the practice of corban, a gift devoted to God. Sometime before Jesus, generation before, the rabbis decided that if any Jewish man, let's say had a sum of money or a possession or even all of his money or all of his possessions, and he put somewhat of a fence around it and called it corban, he still owns it, it’s still his, but he designates it a gift devoted to God. Then it's off limits for anything else, including using it to help aging parents in their old age, caring for them financially. This concept became a nasty loophole through which people drove huge ox carts.It is nowhere found in scripture, but just something they made up. The fundamental issue here when it comes to the Word of God is the sufficiency and the clarity of scripture. The legalist is adding new laws because he feels God's laws are insufficient to get the job done for a good life on earth. “We need some additional help here. God missed some things and furthermore , it’s not clear. So you need us, the expert teachers, to explain stuff to you. You'll never get it because you're an unwashed rebel. You need us.” It's impugning the clarity of God's Word. Either way, do you not see the breathtaking arrogance towards scripture, toward the Word of God? This is exactly why God condemned this very practice before it ever came. Many times in Deuteronomy 4:2, "Do not add to what I command to you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God, that I give you". That couldn't be clearer. Don't do this thing. Don't add to, don't subtract from. By the way, what does that imply God saying about his Word? It's perfect. You can't make it better by adding or subtracting. Again, Proverbs 35 and 36, it says, "Every word of God is flawless. Do not add to his words or he will rebuke you as a liar". That couldn't be clearer. The whole Bible ends with a warning to not add to or take away from anything in the Book of Revelation, and by extension the whole 66 books of the Bible. Don't add to it. Don't take away from it. Christ in this case study perfectly upholds the law of God as it is written. The example Christ cites is the fifth command of the 10 commandments. 10 commandments came down from on high, came down from the mouth of God, written by the finger of God when God descended in fire on Mount Sinai, and he gave the 10 commandments to the Jewish nation. They come in two tables, a vertical table, the first four commandments, love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength sums it up vertically. Then you got horizontally. Love your neighbors as yourself. The first of the horizontal table, other people, is honor your father and mother. The concept here is a child born into a family must learn to submit gladly to parental authority. Honoring is something you do in your heart. And out of that heart flow is a pattern of obedience, a pattern of delighted obedience from child to parent that is foundational to all the other horizontal relationships they'll live in the rest of their lives. They've got to learn this from the start. The two commandments specifically to children are honor and obey. Honor your father and mother, treat them with respect in your heart, and then obey [Ephesian 6:4]. That's it. Now honoring, it goes far beyond lip service and all that. It's just a state of heart. It's giving esteem a high place in your mind and heart to your parents. Christ upholds the authority of parents over their children, and He even goes so far as to cite the death penalty concerning parents. He said, "Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death”[ Exodus 21:17]. When new parents bring home a little child, an infant from the hospital, being instruments of God that they will at the right time, understand this commandment and live it out, that's central to parenting. It's not because you're so great, I'm a parent, you're not so great. But it's because they need to understand God is behind this and saying it to them and they must. There's so much disrespect from child to parent and God doesn't coddle it at all. Jesus says it's worthy of death. Thanks be to God that Jesus died on the cross to take away the death penalty for us sinners.This is a serious matter. So Christ is extremely distressed with the Scribes and Pharisees, their arrogant handling of the perfect Word of God. III. Jesus’ Deeper Charge: Hypocrisy in Worship But let's get to the deeper charge. The deeper charge is hypocrisy in worship. You have to go back in the text for that. Look at verse 6-7, "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites, as it is written, these people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain. Their teachings are but rules taught by men” [ Isaiah 29:13]. These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Isaiah in his day, exposed a problem among his own countrymen that's still with us today, hypocrisy in worship. Seven centuries before Jesus was born, Isaiah begins his prophecy with an expose on the Jewish hypocrisy and formalism in their religious machinery. It was running like a machine, talking about the animal sacrificial system and the temple and the cycle of three festivals and daily animal sacrifice. It was a big machine going on in Isaiah's day and in Isaiah 1:11-14, this is what God says about it, "The multitude of your sacrifices, what are they me, says the Lord. I have more than enough of burn offerings of rams and of the fat of fated animals. I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to appear before me who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts. Stop bringing meaningless offerings. Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations, I cannot bear your evil assemblies. Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feast my soul hates. They become a burden to me. I'm weary of bearing them”. And yet they're all commanded in the Law of Moses to be done. What's the problem? Hypocrisy. They don't feel it in their hearts. It's just a machine that's running week after week, year after year, as in Isaiah's day, so in Christ's day with the Scribes and Pharisees and may I say, as in Christ's day, so in our day. We're a very religious country. We drive by so many churches to get to this church. Many of them are filled with people, very religious. But here's the question, is it possible that the scathing critique Jesus gave, "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain" is true of us today. So what is this issue of hypocrisy? What is hypocrisy? A hypocrite is a person who acts righteous when they're not, let's say, or a person who says one thing and does another. They don't practice what they preach. Claiming to have moral standards to which they don't actually conform. The word “hypocrite” is literally a Greek word brought straight over pretty much letter for letter into the English. It means “an actor”. The Greek word meant an actor. You remember the symbol of dramatic arts? You have the two masks, the smiley mask and the sad mask. That symbol, those masks were things that those Greek actors would hold in front of their faces, happy or sad, that kind of thing. They're actors in a drama. They play this role, but they don't feel any of it. It's just a show which they do for the audience. Now in our culture, we give a very high place to actors and actresses. We ask their opinions on the economy. It's incredible, these people, we can well applaud their talents and skills at acting. It's really quite remarkable. You can watch the same individual in multiple movies and the same person is playing a, I don't know, a homeless street person in one movie and a Nobel Prize winning physicist in another and a president in another, and then a captain of a sailing vessel in another. You may say,”Wow, how do they do it"? Their range as actors is incredible. I've often wondered what it would be like to be married to a really skillful actor. I mean, in real life. You see all their movies and all the same faces that they're giving you when they're expressing love or whatever they've given to other people in a movie. Would you ever be secure in that relationship? I mean, do you really love me or is this just like that scene in that movie back then? I don't know what you're doing. Maybe that's why so many of those marriages don't last very long. Is any of it real? The Scribes and Pharisees played at being righteous. They played at it, but their hearts were far from God. God was never their audience. Jesus said it plainly. Matthew 23, "Everything they do is done for others to see". He said in Matthew 23, "You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside, but inside they're full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous, but inside you're full of hypocrisy and wickedness”. What is hypocrisy in worship? It's acting reverent when you're not. So what is it? What is true worship? What are we talking about? Is it not a heart aflame with the glory of God? A mind captivated by God's nature, captivated by God's great actions and history? God's nature, his power, his compassion, his tenderness, his mercies, his holiness, his righteousness? And all of his great achievements in creation and in the Exodus and the history of Israel and then especially in Jesus, his life, his death, his resurrection? Is this not true worship? But a hypocrite doesn't feel any of this. It's not genuine. None of that moves the needle really. "What is true worship? … Is it not a heart aflame with the glory of God? A mind captivated by God's nature, captivated by God's great actions and history?" Now along with this issue of hypocrisy comes the problem of traditionalism. Look at verse 3, "The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands the ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders". Again, verse 5, "The Pharisees and teachers of the law ask Jesus, ‘Why don't your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with unclean hands?’” And then again, verse 7, "They worship me in vain, their teaching are but rules taught by men". Three different times it's tradition, tradition, tradition. Traditionalism. What is traditionalism? How is it different than traditions? Are they related? Traditionalism I believe, is elevating a past pattern to a level of religious permanence equal to or even superior to the Word of God. That's traditionalism. It's belief in the traditions, and that they can never be changed. I think somewhat, it's like trying to recapture a beautiful spiritual moment for all time by the outward trappings that were around it at the time, like some things happened and that was awesome. And from then on, we'll do those some things like it's a scientific experiment and then you'll get the spiritual moment that way. I remember hearing a story of a one local church that decades and decades ago had an amazing Sunday. The word of God was preached powerfully.The spirit of God is poured out in power and a revival broke out in that church. Many people were weeping, falling down, crying out and genuine work happened in their lives. The closing hymn that day was “Spirit of God Descend upon my Heart.” It’s a great hymn. So for the next 50 years, they played that song at the end of every worship service in that church. One day a courageous worship leader changed it and played a different song. It took incredible courage. That's traditionalism. It's like there's this beautiful butterfly and then you capture it in acrylic like a paperweight and just put it down there heavily and it's not going to move. It's not alive. That's traditionalism, imposing that moment as a rule for future generations to follow. Now, there is an essential place for tradition. Tradition means just that which is handed on. We need a respect for church history. We need a respect for the past. We need to know we are not the first generation of Christians. Lots of stuff was worked out before us and has been passed on and we're not reinventing the wheel every time. We Americans, we love what's hot and cutting edge and trending and all that sort of stuff. Often that's poured over into our worship over the last 25 years. What's hot and trendy is what we’re looking for, and there isn't a respect for a tradition. IV. True Worship versus Traditionalism But there's a difference between tradition and traditionalism. Doctrines have been handed down to us from the apostolic era. Paul says very plainly in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, "What I received, I passed onto you as a first importance that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day, according to the scriptures". The word “I passed on” in the Latin is “traditio”. That's where we get the English for “tradition.” It's handed down. There’s nothing wrong with that. There's nothing wrong with a lot of things being handed down, but there are manmade rituals and patterns that get encrusted and then are given equal if not greater authority to the Word of God. Now that's traditionalism and that's what's going on here. What then is true worship? Three key observations. Number one, it's not manmade, but it's initiated by God. It's revelation and response. God reveals, we respond. Remember Peter's confession of Jesus. "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God". And Jesus said, "Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my father in heaven". Do you hear that? Revealed by God, Peter responds. That's all. Worship is that way. It starts with God, He reveals and then we respond. Secondly, it's not based on human rules and regulations, but based on the Word of God. Where is the record of God's revelation? Only one place, here in the Bible. Our job is to study the scriptures and then worship flows from our understanding of God is revealed in the scripture. That's where it comes from. So it's based on the Word of God. Thirdly, it's not hypocritical, but it's a reflection of a heart that's truly drawn after God. Drawn close to God. Verse 6, "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me". True worship is a heart drawn close to God based on the Word of God, and it involves awe, reverence, fear, wonder, amazement, tears, shouts of joy, exaltation, surprise, astonishment. It's a rich array of feelings. But before any of them is truth. Truth first, then the feelings and then the outward actions. That's what true worship is. That's not hypocrisy. IV. Application Now, as we close today, I want to just focus on this one statement, this one key issue. Look at verse 6, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me". I want to ask you, is that true of you today or not? "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me". Let me turn it around and let's say I hope for a large percentage of you it's not true today. If it’s not true as you sat here, as you stood here for worship, then you ought to thank God for your salvation. You ought to thank God for the work done in you by the Holy Spirit of God. He worked in you to take out your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh that is sensitive and responsive to God. No, not perfectly, but you do love him and you do yearn to please him. You can't wait to go to heaven and you're hungry to know more about him. That's who you are. If that's all true of you, praise God. God has saved you through the work of Christ and the cross and by the Holy Spirit. But let's turn it back. What if it is true? What if it's true that you're honoring God with your lips, with your outward behavior, but your heart is actually far from God? One of two things is true. One is that you may not be a Christian, you’re not born again. Could be that you could say to me, "I'm actually not claiming to be a Christian. I came here today because a friend invited me". The point is your heart, is far from God. That's why Jesus came. He came to seek and to save lost people like you and like I was. He came to go get us and bring us to God. To bring us to God. He came to shed his blood on the cross for all of the many transgressions you've committed while your heart was far from God, to pay for it all in his own blood. And God raised him from the dead to show that that payment was accepted. I'm just crying out to you, and I'm saying don't let it be the case even later today or next week, that your heart is far from God. Suppose that this is a true statement of you, but you actually are a Christian. It happens to all of us. What's gone on is you become distracted by earthly circumstances. Could be physical pain on your part or a loved one. It could be a financial difficulty. It could be that the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things is alluring and distracting you and your heart are from God, and maybe even you've been in a habit of playing at your Christianity. The text is standing over you today to plead with you to repent, to acknowledge that you're not loving Jesus with the same love you used to have, that your heart's been drifting from him, and the Lord is standing in front of you now, pleading with you to repent and to come back to God and to live openly and honestly and passionately for him. Close with me in prayer. Father, we thank you for the time we've had to listen to these words. Thank you for Jesus courage and boldness in telling the truth. Lord, as the psalmist said very plainly in Psalm 1:39, "Search me oh God, and know my heart. Try me and show me if there's any offensive way in me, show it to me and lead me in the way of everlasting". God, we don't want to be hypocrites. We want to be genuine followers of Christ. So please work in us by your redeeming grace. We love you. We praise you. We thank you. In Jesus' name. Amen.
In Dr. Hixson's series through the book of Acts, he discusses the famous Ephesian riot and the nature of a mob mentality. (Acts 19:21-41) Books: Spirit of the Antichrist Volumes One and Two Book: What Lies Ahead-A Biblical Overview of the End Times Book: Getting the Gospel Wrong Not By Works Ministries Get the new NBW Ministries mobile app! Sign up for the NBW Newsletter Spirit of the Antichrist Full Series on DVD or Streaming What In the World Is Going On? Video Series Not By Works Online Store Bible Study Methods Course What Lies Ahead Video Series Support Not By Works Not By Works Rumble Channel Book: Top Ten Reasons Some People Go to Hell Book: Weekly Words of Life
Sunday we continue examining Paul's final words to the elders of the Ephesian church in Acts 20:28-38. As we saw last week in verses 17-27, Paul began by reminding them of his example among them. He lived and served among them for three years with humility and tears, despite the trials he faced. He taught the whole counsel of God unapologetically and therefore was innocent of anyone's blood. Paul gave this reminder as an example of what the pastors of the church must do now that he is leaving them for good. As we examine the rest of his speech (v. 28-38) Paul moves to the direct exhortation of what pastors and church leaders are called to do. Without ambiguity, he lays out their responsibility before God as well as the ways and means they are to fulfill their calling. This passage has been particularly convicting and formative for me over these last two weeks. Here we find God's infallible testimony of what elders / pastors are called to be and to do. Here we find Paul's pastoral theology and practice laid out in the Holy Scriptures, and it is here that the church is informed as to what God expects of those who are called to teach and lead as overseers of Christ's church. Sunday we will look at what it must look like for the God called pastors to "shepherd the church of God, which He obtained with His own blood." We will also examine the under-shepherd's call regarding "keeping watch" for the "fierce wolves" that arise from outside and inside the church.
The Gospel is controversial, impacting even culture and business. The early church at Ephesus stood against worshiping the goddess Artemis, which affected the city's silversmith business. In this message from Acts 19, we assess how the Ephesian church was founded. What happens when the Gospel impacts commerce and culture? This month's special offer is available for a donation of any amount. Get yours at offerrtw.com or call us at 1-800-215-5001.
Ephesians 2:17 — What some describe as loneliness is actually a lack of peace with God. It is a worldwide problem that often goes undiagnosed and is the most pervasive disease on the planet. In this sermon on Ephesians 2:17 titled “Peace With God,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains Paul's words to the Ephesian church, primarily focusing on the necessity of peace with God. An important emphasis Dr. Lloyd-Jones makes is that Christ now preaches through the apostles what he was preaching in His own ministry: Jews and Gentiles alike are sinners and need peace with God. Jews in the New Testament made the fatal moralistic mistake of equating knowledge with obedience. Likewise, Gentiles fell short in that they chose to disobey the Lord with their sinful lifestyles. Dr. Lloyd-Jones uses vivid imagery to help listeners understand the reality of humanity's natural state of turmoil with God. He illustrates that the ocean is being pulled upon both by magnetic forces from the moon and the gravitational pull from the earth. This in turn causes massive turmoil and unrest in the ocean. This is similar to humanity's natural state. Humanity is not at rest; it is at war with God. Dr. Lloyd-Jones ends his sermon on an encouraging note: humans bear many burdens they need not bear simply because they have not brought them before the Lord. Listen in as Dr. Lloyd-Jones helps understand peace with God.
The apostle Paul has some pretty harsh words for the women in the Ephesian church (words that are at odds with the other descriptions he uses for women in the New Testament). What was going on in this particular congregation, and why were women at the heart of it? We find the answers in week 8 of our Connect Group, "Half the Church."
With all the incredible things happening at FBC, I though about taking a break from Acts for a few weeks. I assumed I would focus on what the church would need to do - who we needed to be during this time. But, as we have seen so many times, God has placed us in the exact text we need, at exactly the right time. Sunday we will continue in Acts 20, examining the final instructions that Paul gives to the elders (the pastors) of the church in Ephesus. He is on his way back to Jerusalem and instead of stopping in Ephesus, he stops nearby and calls the leaders of the church out to meet with him. Because of the depth of Paul's speech to the Ephesian elders, we will break it up into two parts. This Sunday we will look at the example of Paul's life and ministry (v.17-27) and next Sunday we will look at his exhortation for the elders to shepherd and oversee the church of God in v.28-35. But it would do well for you to prepare by reading the entire passage. In our text Sunday (v.17-27), Paul reminds the elders of the example that he set for them in the three years he served the Lord among them. He reminds them how he lived, how he taught, and how with humility and tears he invested into them. He reminds them of how he preached the gospel to all people, leaving nothing out from the whole counsel of God. Paul isn't just telling them these things to jog their memory. He is putting forth his ministry as an example of how they are to shepherd the church as he leaves them for the last time. Paul's speech to the Ephesian elders shows the body of Christ the calling, responsibility, and demands of those whom God calls to shepherd His church. Yet the application of this passage does not end there. As Paul gives the example of his ministry we see an example of the heart and practices for all those who make disciples.
This is our final episode on leadership. Dan and I wrap up the definition of leader with Paul's example in Acts 20 as he speaks to the the Ephesian elders. Paul hits on all of the elements of a spiritual leader: capacity, responsibility, influence, a group of God's people, and purpose. We begin the episode discussing Dan's recent leadership role as the national director of Ambassadors for Christ International. To support our ministry visit: afci.us
Micah Klutinoty in the series, Riches In Christ! Ephesians 2:1-3—Before our positional perfection in Christ, we are dead in trespasses and sin! Christ's death and resurrection created a new position! Outside of Christ I'm as bad off as I could possibly be but God makes me alive. Paul painted an incomprehensible picture—a waterfall of wealth—that we have through the RICHES IN CHRIST! We are blessed + chosen + adopted + redeemed and forgiven + given an inheritance + sealed and guaranteed eternity. Then, Paul prays that the eyes of these Ephesian believers' hearts would be opened.
The Gospel is controversial, impacting even culture and business. The early church at Ephesus stood against worshiping the goddess Artemis, which affected the city's silversmith business. In this message, we assess how the Ephesian church was founded and developed. What happens if idolatry destroys a church's first love? This month's special offer is available for a donation of any amount. Get yours at rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-217-9337.
The Gospel is controversial, impacting even culture and business. The early church at Ephesus stood against worshiping the goddess Artemis, which affected the city's silversmith business. In this message, we assess how the Ephesian church was founded and developed. What happens if idolatry destroys a church's first love? To support this ministry financially, visit: https://www.oneplace.com/donate/172/29
One of the commands of disciple-making and the Christian life is for believers to encourage one another. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." Many more commands to encourage one another are found throughout the New Testament. As we examine Acts 20:1-12 this Sunday, we will see the importance of Paul's ministry of encouragement among the churches. Acts 20 begins the last phase of the book. Paul begins heading back to Jerusalem where he will be arrested and taken to Rome. Acts 20 is Paul's farewell tour of the churches among his missionary journeys. He will never return to them again. Therefore, he spends significant time and energy visiting them again to encourage them in verses 1-12. The rest of the chapter chronicles Paul's farewell speech to the Ephesian elders. Paul understands the importance of encouraging one another as we see the day approaching. When the Bible speaks of encouragement (also translated exhort or comfort), it isn't just patting each other on the back and saying kind words. Encouragement is not just telling people they are good enough, strong enough, smart enough, or more able than they think. It is to come alongside another believer bringing Christ-centered truth and help to their greatest need. It is reminding other disciples of God's promise and the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is to help other disciples stand in truth regardless of the circumstances. That is what Paul is doing in these verses. But what does that have to do with a young man falling asleep, tumbling to his death, and being raised miraculously by Paul? We will discover that together Sunday.
Message for 10/16/2022 "But Now…" by Fred Goodwin. *All verses are ESV unless otherwise noted* Acts 26:18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.' Acts 17:16-17 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. Acts 17:18-21 Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. 19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” 21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new. Acts 18:22-28 MSG From Ephesus he sailed to Caesarea. He greeted the church there, and then went on to Antioch, completing the journey. 23 After spending a considerable time with the Antioch Christians, Paul set off again for Galatia and Phrygia, retracing his old tracks, one town after another, putting fresh heart into the disciples. 24-26 A man named Apollos came to Ephesus. He was a Jew, born in Alexandria, Egypt, and a terrific speaker, eloquent and powerful in his preaching of the Scriptures. He was well-educated in the way of the Master and fiery in his enthusiasm. Apollos was accurate in everything he taught about Jesus up to a point, but he only went as far as the baptism of John. He preached with power in the meeting place. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and told him the rest of the story. 27-28 When Apollos decided to go on to Achaia province, his Ephesian friends gave their blessing and wrote a letter of recommendation for him, urging the disciples there to welcome him with open arms. The welcome paid off: Apollos turned out to be a great help to those who had become believers through God's immense generosity. He was particularly effective in public debate with the Jews as he brought out proof after convincing proof from the Scriptures that Jesus was in fact God's Messiah.
Old Testament: Isaiah 46–48 Isaiah 46–48 (Listen) The Idols of Babylon and the One True God 46 Bel bows down; Nebo stoops; their idols are on beasts and livestock; these things you carry are borne as burdens on weary beasts.2 They stoop; they bow down together; they cannot save the burden, but themselves go into captivity. 3 “Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb;4 even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save. 5 “To whom will you liken me and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be alike?6 Those who lavish gold from the purse, and weigh out silver in the scales, hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god; then they fall down and worship!7 They lift it to their shoulders, they carry it, they set it in its place, and it stands there; it cannot move from its place. If one cries to it, it does not answer or save him from his trouble. 8 “Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors,9 remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me,10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,'11 calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it. 12 “Listen to me, you stubborn of heart, you who are far from righteousness:13 I bring near my righteousness; it is not far off, and my salvation will not delay; I will put salvation in Zion, for Israel my glory.” The Humiliation of Babylon 47 Come down and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon; sit on the ground without a throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans! For you shall no more be called tender and delicate.2 Take the millstones and grind flour, put off your veil, strip off your robe, uncover your legs, pass through the rivers.3 Your nakedness shall be uncovered, and your disgrace shall be seen. I will take vengeance, and I will spare no one.4 Our Redeemer—the LORD of hosts is his name— is the Holy One of Israel. 5 Sit in silence, and go into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans; for you shall no more be called the mistress of kingdoms.6 I was angry with my people; I profaned my heritage; I gave them into your hand; you showed them no mercy; on the aged you made your yoke exceedingly heavy.7 You said, “I shall be mistress forever,” so that you did not lay these things to heart or remember their end. 8 Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures, who sit securely, who say in your heart, “I am, and there is no one besides me; I shall not sit as a widow or know the loss of children”:9 These two things shall come to you in a moment, in one day; the loss of children and widowhood shall come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and the great power of your enchantments. 10 You felt secure in your wickedness; you said, “No one sees me”; your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray, and you said in your heart, “I am, and there is no one besides me.”11 But evil shall come upon you, which you will not know how to charm away; disaster shall fall upon you, for which you will not be able to atone; and ruin shall come upon you suddenly, of which you know nothing. 12 Stand fast in your enchantments and your many sorceries, with which you have labored from your youth; perhaps you may be able to succeed; perhaps you may inspire terror.13 You are wearied with your many counsels; let them stand forth and save you, those who divide the heavens, who gaze at the stars, who at the new moons make known what shall come upon you. 14 Behold, they are like stubble; the fire consumes them; they cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame. No coal for warming oneself is this, no fire to sit before!15 Such to you are those with whom you have labored, who have done business with you from your youth; they wander about, each in his own direction; there is no one to save you. Israel Refined for God's Glory 48 Hear this, O house of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel, and who came from the waters of Judah, who swear by the name of the LORD and confess the God of Israel, but not in truth or right.2 For they call themselves after the holy city, and stay themselves on the God of Israel; the LORD of hosts is his name. 3 “The former things I declared of old; they went out from my mouth, and I announced them; then suddenly I did them, and they came to pass.4 Because I know that you are obstinate, and your neck is an iron sinew and your forehead brass,5 I declared them to you from of old, before they came to pass I announced them to you, lest you should say, ‘My idol did them, my carved image and my metal image commanded them.' 6 “You have heard; now see all this; and will you not declare it? From this time forth I announce to you new things, hidden things that you have not known.7 They are created now, not long ago; before today you have never heard of them, lest you should say, ‘Behold, I knew them.'8 You have never heard, you have never known, from of old your ear has not been opened. For I knew that you would surely deal treacherously, and that from before birth you were called a rebel. 9 “For my name's sake I defer my anger; for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off.10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried1 you in the furnace of affliction.11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name2 be profaned? My glory I will not give to another. The Lord's Call to Israel 12 “Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called! I am he; I am the first, and I am the last.13 My hand laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I call to them, they stand forth together. 14 “Assemble, all of you, and listen! Who among them has declared these things? The LORD loves him; he shall perform his purpose on Babylon, and his arm shall be against the Chaldeans.15 I, even I, have spoken and called him; I have brought him, and he will prosper in his way.16 Draw near to me, hear this: from the beginning I have not spoken in secret, from the time it came to be I have been there.” And now the Lord GOD has sent me, and his Spirit. 17 Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go.18 Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea;19 your offspring would have been like the sand, and your descendants like its grains; their name would never be cut off or destroyed from before me.” 20 Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea, declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it, send it out to the end of the earth; say, “The LORD has redeemed his servant Jacob!”21 They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he split the rock and the water gushed out. 22 “There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked.” Footnotes  48:10 Or I have chosen  48:11 Hebrew lacks my name (ESV) Psalm: Psalm 97 Psalm 97 (Listen) The Lord Reigns 97 The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!2 Clouds and thick darkness are all around him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.3 Fire goes before him and burns up his adversaries all around.4 His lightnings light up the world; the earth sees and trembles.5 The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth. 6 The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the peoples see his glory.7 All worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols; worship him, all you gods! 8 Zion hears and is glad, and the daughters of Judah rejoice, because of your judgments, O LORD.9 For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods. 10 O you who love the LORD, hate evil! He preserves the lives of his saints; he delivers them from the hand of the wicked.11 Light is sown1 for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart.12 Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name! Footnotes  97:11 Most Hebrew manuscripts; one Hebrew manuscript, Septuagint, Syriac, Jerome Light dawns (ESV) New Testament: Acts 21 Acts 21 (Listen) Paul Goes to Jerusalem 21 And when we had parted from them and set sail, we came by a straight course to Cos, and the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara.1 2 And having found a ship crossing to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail. 3 When we had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left we sailed to Syria and landed at Tyre, for there the ship was to unload its cargo. 4 And having sought out the disciples, we stayed there for seven days. And through the Spirit they were telling Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 5 When our days there were ended, we departed and went on our journey, and they all, with wives and children, accompanied us until we were outside the city. And kneeling down on the beach, we prayed 6 and said farewell to one another. Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home. 7 When we had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais, and we greeted the brothers2 and stayed with them for one day. 8 On the next day we departed and came to Caesarea, and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. 9 He had four unmarried daughters, who prophesied. 10 While we were staying for many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 And coming to us, he took Paul's belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is how the Jews3 at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'” 12 When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, “Let the will of the Lord be done.” 15 After these days we got ready and went up to Jerusalem. 16 And some of the disciples from Caesarea went with us, bringing us to the house of Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we should lodge. Paul Visits James 17 When we had come to Jerusalem, the brothers received us gladly. 18 On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. 19 After greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 And when they heard it, they glorified God. And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed. They are all zealous for the law, 21 and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or walk according to our customs. 22 What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. 23 Do therefore what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; 24 take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself also live in observance of the law. 25 But as for the Gentiles who have believed, we have sent a letter with our judgment that they should abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled,4 and from sexual immorality.” 26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day he purified himself along with them and went into the temple, giving notice when the days of purification would be fulfilled and the offering presented for each one of them. Paul Arrested in the Temple 27 When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, 28 crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who is teaching everyone everywhere against the people and the law and this place. Moreover, he even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” 29 For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple. 30 Then all the city was stirred up, and the people ran together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and at once the gates were shut. 31 &l
1 (3s): Good morning, 2 (6s): Let's all stand together in worship. 1 (37s): He has to see what a savior has. See how his love overcomes. He you conquer the be every and break every, Oh God, you have to great. We, you in. 1 (1m 18s): Oh, you have done, you'll, you, you conquer the A. 0 (3m 8s): You've 1 (3m 9s): Great 0 (3m 12s): Hero. 1 (3m 13s): Heaven. You conquer the you every captive, and oh, the faith can. 1 (4m 27s): The s lets we with expectations. Waiting here for you, waiting the Lord. And still, everything you promised, your faithfulness is 3 (9m 13s): You just to come into the presence of a creative God and know that you love us, that you busy yourself without every step. You care about the ups and downs of our lives, and you carry us through. Father, we just honor you this morning. Jesus name. 5 (9m 41s): The Lord looks upon you and he is pleased. He loves you with an everlasting love before the foundations of the world. He sings over you. Lord, you are a pleasing sound to his ears. He is near you, near than you think. And he delights in being near you. Call out to you and peace and grace and truth to yours 4 (10m 18s): And the Spirit. Spirit and the bride. Say, Come and let him who hears say, come and let him who first come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life free. Or I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of his book. If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the flags that are written in this book. If anyone takes away the words of the book of this prophe, God shall take away his part from the of life, from the holy city. And the testifies to things says surely. Amen. 1 (11m 17s): Praise God from praise him creatures. Praise Father. Son. 1 (11m 59s): Praise the praise. Praise the spirit. Every mom praise 0 (13m 17s): Us. 1 (13m 19s): Praise the Spirit every moment. Praise God. Praise, praise. 0 (13m 37s): Praise us. Praise 1 (13m 41s): Us Spirit. Praise God who died, Who? 0 (14m 38s): Praise. 1 (14m 39s): Now, praise the spirit. 0 (14m 55s): Now, 1 (14m 58s): Every moment, all our praise, praise, praise. We praise you, 0 (15m 12s): Son. 1 (15m 13s): We praise you spirit. 0 (15m 16s): Now, 1 (15m 19s): Moment, all our God, praying, God praise, God, praise God. Praise, praise. 1 (17m 44s): Every dark is your name. Is the, your name is shouts. 1 (20m 2s): Jesus, the holy name Jesus. Shout Jesus. Darkness is healing. 1 (21m 46s): The Jesus I, 6 (22m 9s): Yeah. Look, we praise your name, Lord. We come here today in, in response to what you've done, Jesus, what you've sacrificed for us. You paid the ultimate price so that we can walk in freedom and joy and peace, and so that we can approach your throne without hesitation. Jesus, you give yourself to us over and over and over again, Lord. And so I just pray that each heart would be encouraged this morning, that each heart would be challenged this morning where we need to be challenged. And Lord, I just pray that we would as a church, glorify your name this morning, God, because that's the greatest act that we can do in response to what you've done, Lord. 6 (22m 51s): So we bring our hearts, we bring our minds, we bring our attention to you this morning, and we're so grateful for you. In Jesus' name. Amen. Amen. All right, You can take your seats if you'd like The beautiful time of worship. My name is Curtis. I just wanna welcome you all here today. If you have not been here before, if this is your first time, we've got coffee and tea out on the patio and restrooms down these hallways here, so you can find your way there if you need it. And also, if you're new here, we have communication cards in the seat backs in front of you. So they, they're double-sided. There's notes and communication cards. So if you'll take that communication card and fill it out with your information, we'd love to reach out to you, get to know you and connect with you in that way. 6 (23m 37s): So please do that. If you're new or if we have outdated information, you can do that as well. Also, we had a Bonko for Babies event this last week, and it was incredible. It was an awesome time. The ladies showed up and they were super generous. We have a gift, or we have a photo of all the gifts. They brought all these to donate to Lifeline Pregnancy Center. And so hopefully that'll be a huge blessing to the community and those who have unplanned pregnancies. And then also, we have a child dedication Sunday coming up. So if you're a parent and you want to dedicate yourself to raising your child in the faith, then you can do that October 23rd. But let us know. 6 (24m 18s): Go sign up at the info center, and we'd love to get you signed up for that. The last thing is that we've got Halloween outreach happening here at the church. If you haven't heard about it, basically thousands of kids are gonna be coming down this, this street right in front of our building, and we wanna be able to bless them and load them up with candy and just love on them. So we're gonna be opening our doors. We're gonna have a carnival in here, free carnival for the kids. It's gonna be really sweet. So if you'd like, you can get involved in two ways. You can bring candy, donate candy for us to give out, and then you can also sign up to serve at this event. It's gonna be really great. So we encourage you to do that. 6 (24m 59s): And then after, so after this, right at the minute, mingle, the youth are gonna be dismissed. But first we're gonna bring up Jeremy, Pastor Jeremy, Pastor Steve, and the elders, and we're gonna, we got a little something for you. So, Yeah. 8 (25m 32s): Yeah. Good morning. So as you know, this is Pastor Appreciation Sunday, and so we're here to pray for our pastors. But first I want to give a little bit of introduction, little bit of, not introduction, but their background, background background. So I'm Steve, probably already know Steve and Jeremy, so I don't need to introduce them. But Steve started serving in church when he was a teenager. And then by 17, God told him that he wanted him to be a pastor. So after he finished high school, he went to numerous bible colleges and, and has a master's in Pastor Pastoral leadership. 8 (26m 17s): And so that was his beginning into ministering. He's served as a youth pastor. He served as in street ministry in homeless ministry. He was a chaplain for the county jail. He's Sunday school teacher worship on the worship team and all that. And, and youth, youth pastor. I know worship, that's probably life was 9 (26m 46s): Off, I'm sure 8 (26m 48s): Youth pastor and then associate pastor. Oh yeah. And then God spoke to him again and said, You know, you need to go plant a church. Steven know how to plant a church. But he was following God's direction. And so out to Lopez, we went, this is when I got involved with Pastor Steve about 20 years ago. And what we've been doing as a church following Steve's leadership is we first moved from Lopez, then to the West campus, the sanctuary, which is now the chapel. And then we started acquiring more and more buildings. We were renting them all. And then finally it came up for purchase. 8 (27m 30s): And so we decided to purchase. Now the thing is, following Steve's leadership, it's, it's always do, can we do this? And, and the answer's no by ourselves. Yeah, yeah. But with God, we can do these things. And so our budget increased every year. Every year when we do the budget, do we wanna put this much extra in? And we go, Well, God's always been faithful to meet our budget, so maybe we oughta set it like, No. But Steve also is the pastor of the area. 8 (28m 11s): Pastors meet once a month for a, a praying and leadership and lunch. And, and Steve's involved in that. He actually runs that, heads that up. And so I just wanna say that it's been a blessing for Becky and me to serve along with Pastor Save. He's my friend. He's, I look up to him. He's my pastor, and I'm just so grateful, so thoughtful. And so we're looking for another 20 years. Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. Or more or more. As long as, until Jesus comes back. 10 (28m 53s): Until Jesus, every, 8 (28m 55s): So Pastor Jeremy, Pastor Jeremy, a little known fact. He was born in China. I lived there for all of one year. One year. One year. So he is not fluent in Mandarin? Nope. So after Jeremy and his family, he, he was born in China because his parents were missionaries. They were serving there. And after a year, they came back to the States and Jeremy did the high school thing, and he, and he went to U csb straight to high school. Yeah. Graduated U C S B. He's a brilliant man. He didn't have to mess around with grade school. 8 (29m 37s): And yeah, he was straight, just high school. But then about four years ago, Jeremy was working in construction, and him and his family started attending Harvest. And a little bit later than that, we were in the need for a youth pastor. And so Jeremy came to mind. So we, we interviewed Jeremy and I got to know his heart and his passion for, for the youth. And I thought, Okay, we need to hire this guy. There was no doubt in my mind that, that we needed him. So we offered him a job and, and accepted, thankfully. 8 (30m 18s): And so now Jeremy's, he's doing the youth Wednesday night meetings and teaching youth on Sunday mornings high junior high and high school. And that's why there's so many not empty seats now because of the, Jeremy hasn't taken all the youth away. And so those of you that are sitting, are sitting and waiting for a seat, you'll, you'll find a seat pretty soon. So he's, he's been thank serving graciously, humbly, thankfully, and is such a tremendous influence on our youth. And it's, it's good for me. 8 (31m 4s): And I, and I love seeing this. I'm also, many of, you know, I'm a teacher. I teach at high school level. And so we kind of have the same goal in mind because the youth is our, it's the next generation that we're raising up. And if, if we don't raise up the, the youth, then things are going to go downhill. And we don't want that. So we're, we're grateful for Jeremy. I'm glad that he came on board. He's a team player and of asset to harvest, and we love you so much. 8 (31m 45s): Right? 13 (31m 49s): Why do you have a sticker on? Why do you have a stick? Neil and Jim, if you could go grab your whatever it is a way of honoring our pastors, throwing our appreciation from the children's ministry, the kids' ministry grades first, second, third, and fourth have created something that I would like to narrate, which will be their way of honoring this one over here is, is honoring Pastor Steve. That's why I have the stick, if anyone gets out of line, I have a stick. And this will be honoring Jeremy. And so I'm gonna start right over here. All right. I'm just gonna read it to you. 13 (32m 29s): Hopefully you can see what we got going on here. So again, Pastor Steve, this is for you. Heartfelt from the children. Our pastor is a rock star and a sweet tart for everything he does. We wanted to take five to thank you. He is always there to pick up the pieces. He makes us snicker and chuckle at his jokes, which he happens to buy from the children. By the way, he deserves a hundred grand every payday. 13 (33m 15s): Jim, we gotta raise a budget. You are m and ms, which means mighty manager of our church. The higher please. Neil, thank you. You have made mounds of difference in our lives as we journey down the rocky road of life and a lifesaver for many. You will be in our hearts now and now and later. Now and later. Thank you, Neil. All right. Tell you what, let me stand right over here for this one. 13 (33m 56s): Okay. Pastor Jeremy, Heartfelt from the children. You ready? Yeah. Ready. Okay. You are truly Mr. Goodbar. You are such a, a sweet tart and go the extra mile for our youth. You bring so much. It says Almond joy, Joy to so many. You are m and ms, which means mega mellow man. You give us airheads, you give us airheads advice and guidance and a lifesaver when it comes to helping our youth over the rocky road of life. 13 (34m 38s): You always make sure we have donuts. You are a rockstar with youth. Little higher dare Jim. Thank you. You are a rockstar youth minister and a, a outrageous baptizer, Okay? No big kisses to you for all you do for our church. We love you two pieces. 13 (35m 22s): So what we'd like to do now for, for Steve and Jeremy, is we just like to pray for them. And so we would ask you to, you know, pray along with us, agree with us, Neil, we're gonna start with you, 10 (35m 34s): Right? Good morning. 13 (35m 36s): Just so, 14 (35m 37s): So glad I said at first service, and I'll say it again, that these men said yes to serving and also just wanna share a little story. Got to church early this morning to prepare for this, and Jeremy was out in the parking lot with a little broom sweeping up cigarette butts that were out in the parking lot. So I just, I just, it just illustrates the preparation that goes into this morning. You know, that last song we sang, you know, I just wanna speak the name of Jesus. You just, you just need to know that, that that happened in prayer before we all met this morning that happened with the worship team back in the green room this morning before we all gathered that you really are prayed in every day. 14 (36m 24s): You really are looked after in a special way. And these two men lead the way. And it's just an honor to serve with you guys. Father God, we ask your blessing, Lord, on their sacrifice of service, Lord, on their family sacrifices. Service Father would pray Your wisdom and grace and your Holy Spirit would fall in a powerful way, Lord God, all the days of their lives, Lord, instructing and motivating for them to reach and teach all of us, Lord God, to bring the word, Father God, to bring their wisdom and their insight, Lord God, and their willingness, Lord, just to say yes to you. I thank you and praise you, Father. And we ask in Jesus' name. 15 (37m 6s): You know, the Bible says, Jesus says that the greatest in the kingdom of heaven is the servant of all. He was a servant. He came to die. He came to lay down his life. And he said, And I will give you shepherds after my own heart. And truly, these men are shepherds after God's own heart. They care about you, they pray for you. They're there when you need them. If you want to some counseling or prayer. And they study. They give hours in studying the word of God so that they don't miss giving you the whole council of God from cover to cover. 15 (37m 49s): These are mighty men in God's kingdom. He looks at them as his soldiers, as his servants, as his fellow heirs. And we honor them today. We bless them in Jesus name. And we're so thankful that we don't have to worry when they open the word of God, cuz we know they're gonna teach it and not just talk about it. So let's just pray and, and again, give thanks for them. Father, we thank you for these men of God and Ron too, Lord, even though he's retired. And Lord, we thank you for all that they've done in this fellowship, all that they continue to do. 15 (38m 33s): We pray, God, that you would continue to feed your flock through them. Raise up others who will be able to go out and do likewise. We commit this church into your hands, and we thank you for their faithfulness. In Jesus' name. Amen. 7 (38m 53s): Okay, 8 (38m 59s): So, Lord, thank you so much for these, Ben. I know I've said a lot about 'em and talked about their background, but what's most important is they follow you. They desire to be your servant, Lord. And we, we thank you that they have a servant attitude, and it's easy for us to follow them the way they follow you. It's easy for us to follow Jesus just the same, because they set a good example for us to follow. Thank you Lord for these two men. And Ron, who just recently retired, was our pastor here for a number of years. 8 (39m 40s): And we just honor honor them today. We, we, we just thank you and praise you and give you, give you all our love and devotion, Lord. And for these men, it's in your precious name. Amen. 7 (39m 57s): Amen. Amen. 13 (39m 59s): And Lord, we trust that you're gonna fill both Steve and Jeremy fresh with the power of your spirit. Lord, without you, they can do, they can't do anything, but it's through you. They can do all things through Christ who strengthens them. Lord, we know we're all in a battle, but especially our leaders are in a battle, a spiritual battle. And we, we know we have an adversary. We'd love to take them down and take them out. Lord, we pray for them. We lift them up to you to lift up their arms in the battle, to give them strength in the battle, encouragement, confidence, knowing Lord, that all they are able to do really comes directly from you. So let bless these two guys, bless these men. I pray for their families, for their marriage, that their, their marriages would continue to grow stronger and stronger, and their children would be blessed. 13 (40m 44s): Pour out your spirit upon their families. We pray we commit these to godly men, to you, and we thank you for your faithfulness. In Jesus name we pray, and all God's people said, amen. Amen. All right, Yeah, there's one more thing we wanna do before we let Steve preach. And what it is, is actually one of the most wonderful things that we get to do as a church body. And that is we're going to set apart, pray for and orain another pastor for Harvest Church. And so Curtis, I'd like to invite you to go ahead and come on up here. 13 (41m 30s): Hi, Clark. Yeah, go ahead and stand right in the middle there. So we're, we're gonna talk about, about you just a little bit. So personally, I've known Curtis since, I think he was about five years old. He went to school with one, one of our kids as well. And, and most everybody on the stage here has known Curtis for a long, long time. This is Clark Curtis's wife. We haven't known you quite as long, but she, she hails from Alabama. Got that right. Go tide. Go Crimson Tide. Yeah. Yeah. So we've been meeting with Curtis for, for a number of years and we've been trying to determine a few things. 13 (42m 10s): But one is, a pastor's role is not like any other courier pursuit. It's a calling. And so what we did in our meetings with Curtis is we wanna affirm the calling that's upon his life. And part of that come, comes with, you know, really difficult questions and really giving him, you know, a run through to make sure that you know that he's prepared and equipped. There's no perfect pastor, you guys know that, right? But God calls a man and equips the man to do the work of a shepherd. And we have multiple pastors because we, we want to shepherd the body of Christchurch Harvest Church really well. So wanna read a scripture to you, Curtis, that you know very well. 13 (42m 52s): It's from Ephesian chapter four, verse 11 and 12. Now, these are the gifts Christ gave to the church, Apostles, prophets, evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. So again, by definition, the role of a pastor, the job of a pastor is to be a shepherd. You know, the Bible talks about us being sheep, right? And, and that's not really a compliment. I don't think that we're called sheep by God, but sheep need shepherds. Now, Jesus is the chief shepherd. We, we know that, we understand that, but he's appointed shepherds that we can relate to. 13 (43m 37s): And again, as I said, you know, none of these men up here, perfect men, we all deal with the same things that, that hu humans deal with. But God has still chosen to, to use men to, to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. So being a pastor is, as I said earlier, it's not a career path that you would choose. It is simply a calling that is upon your life. And as, as we've seen Curtis on this journey, again, we, we wanna affirm you, Curtis, that God's call is upon your life. And by him being up here, for all of us that know Curtis, this shouldn't be a surprise. This should be like, Well, of course Curtis is being set apart for the work in the ministry because he is been doing it all along and we see God's hand upon your life. 13 (44m 20s): And so we're just in agreement with what he's doing. Curtis simply said, yes. He said yes to God's calling upon his life. And so with that, some of Curtis's qualifications, in addition to, if you want to read through first Timothy chapter three, there's kind of a list of qualifications there for church leaders. But in addition to that, Curtis' qualifications are as follows. He attended Bible college in New Zealand for a year to study ministry. He completed a master's degree in pastoral leadership. He has served on the Harvest staff team in various areas for the past seven years. And he started out doing, these were his original jobs. 13 (44m 60s): He did landscaping, cleaning, and facility maintenance. So one of the ways that we determine if somebody actually has a shepherd's heart, a servant's heart, and they'll say, Hey, I wanna do ministry at Harvest Church. We say, Well, you know, we've got some bathrooms that need to get cleaned and we've got some, you know, stuff to do on the property. And it, and it shows a lot about a person in your heart in particular, Curtis, because you've been eager to do anything and everything that you've been asked to do unto the Lord. And so we wanna affirm that again. And also, Curtis is currently serving Harvest Church in these following areas. He leads our young professionals group, He's in charge of our facility maintenance team. So apparently you're never gonna get away from that one. 13 (45m 41s): Curtis. Yeah, Yeah. He also leads our welcome team, which is greeters and the info center here at church. Maybe most importantly, he leads our coffee team. Okay. Pretty, yes, he o he oversees our missions. And so these would be, he, he's our primary contact for our missions effort locally and throughout the world. He's over our marketing and branding. What does that mean? Well, he's over the website, the app, and all the kind of digital media stuff that goes out there every week. So in the future, Curtis will be taking on more responsibilities in the area, mainly of pastoral leadership. 13 (46m 21s): We're talking about teaching, counseling, shepherding, and basically, you know, caring for God's people. And so we're gonna lay hands on Curtis right now in, in the scripture. That's what we see is the model is as for example, the Apostle Paul, when he would plan a church in a new community and it would get established, he would raise up leaders for that local church and they would lay hands on the leaders and basically set 'em apart for the work that got us calling them to do. So we ask that you would agree with us as we pray for Curtis, and we ask that you would encourage him, that you would support him in the work that God is calling him to do. So we're gonna pray for Curtis right now, and Neil, I'm gonna have you go, go ahead and start 14 (47m 8s): Heavenly Father, lift Curtis and Clark up to you or God, and thank you Father, that they've said yes Lord God. Father, we thank you for the sacrifice, Lord, that they know they're gonna make along the way, Father God. And your word says, Your grace is always sufficient, Father God, it underpins everything, Lord. Father, I'm just, I'm blessed to lead with this man and to be led by this man, Lord God. And we thank you and praise you, Father, and just pray your Holy Spirit would empower every day, Lord God, there would be grace every day, Lord abundantly applied Lord in his marriage with his kids, Lord God in his ministry here. Father, we thank you and praise you. 14 (47m 48s): We asking Jesus name. 15 (47m 55s): Father, I just thank you also that I have had the privilege of seeing Curtis grow up from a little boy to a man of God. He's following in his father's footsteps, Lord. And you've called him, you told him, I want you to be my servant. I want you to be a pastor. And Lord, we thank you for giving him Clark a godly woman Lord, as I've seen so far, and I know God, that she loves him dearly and she wants to walk beside him every step of the way. Whatever you call him to we pray, Father, that you would just continue to add to his ministry, enlarge his borders, just use him and both of them, Lord, in a mighty way, reaching the generation that they're from, as well as younger, younger kids, Lord. 15 (48m 47s): And we pray God, that you would continue to give them a hunger and a thirst for your word and power in their lives, Lord, as they watch you make them the man and woman you want them to be and use in your kingdom. We commit them into your hands, Lord, in Jesus name. Thank 8 (49m 4s): You Lord. Amen. 16 (49m 7s): Lord, thank you for the character that you've developed and built up in, in Curtis through the good times, through the struggles and the hard times, Lord, that character is, is how you laid upon your calling upon his life, Lord, that he responded and said yes to the colon of, of, of stepping into church ministry, Lord. And he said yes in a number of different ways. He said yes, by mowing lawns, by, by cleaning toilets, by doing all those things just under and and out of sight of everyone else. Lord, He did that because he was doing it unto you Lord. So thank you for the, for him saying yes, the calling Lord. And, and thank you Lord for the com, the chemistry that harvest Church staff has Lord, and how we work together as a team to, to, to carry forth your mission and your vision for harvest Church and our community as well as in around the world, Lord. 16 (49m 54s): So thank you. That's that. All those, those three things, there Lord are, are there in Curtis. Lord, thank you Jesus. Thank 8 (50m 1s): You Lord. Lord, what a blessing it is to lift up Curtis and Clark today. This is a special day for him. Lord witnessed Curtis grow physically, academically, and spiritually over this last 20 years or so. But what's most important is, is his maturity in act in spiritually where we see his desire to honor and follow you. We thank you for the, the servant's heart that he's given, Curtis, thank you for the His being ready and willing and able to do what you want him to do, Lord, because he's following your call. 8 (50m 46s): Lord, we see a humble spirit in Curtis pray that we continue to see that as they grow and mature in their marriage, in raising kids and everything that this life has to offer Curtis, but mostly keep his eyes focused on you. Lord, that's the most important and Jesus name we pray, 13 (51m 13s): Lord, we know that every passer feels inadequate in one way or another, but Lord thank you that you have said that whom you call you also equip. So Lord, in the areas where Curtis might feel inadequate or unqualified, Lord, I pray that you would build him up, that you would speak to him, that you would work through him, Holy Spirit, that you would not only enable him, but empower him to do things that are way beyond what he thinks his normal scope of ability is. And so, Lord, we, we just pray for the two of them in particular, they're one flesh. They're walking this journey together. So Lord, as these other men of God have prayed, I agree, Lord, that you would use these two specifically to strengthen the body of Christ here at Harvest Church. 13 (51m 57s): Encourage us, use him as your instrument to take us, you know, to the next level and that he would have certainly a key influence on the young people of our church. 17 (52m 11s): Thank 13 (52m 11s): You so Lord, we just, again, we just affirm and agree with the calling that is upon Curtis's life. Bless him and use Him for your glory. Glory we pray in Jesus' name. 17 (52m 20s): Thank you Lord, thank you for this amazing couple and so blessed to have, watch Curtis grow up as his dad and so grateful for the blessing of Clarky and his life and his sweet son, Emerson. Lord, we just bless them, his family, His calling, their calling upon their lives. Lord God, they would just trust you all the days of their lives, Lord God. God, they would just, they would just be a humility that marks their life, an integrity, godliness, faithfulness. So Lord, bless him, we pray, Lord we love him. In Jesus name. Amen. Amen. Amen. 17 (52m 60s): Thank you guys. Alrighty. Over here. Yeah. Oops, sorry. Ah, thanks guys. Thank you very much. Thanks Gary. As these guys make their way off the platform, thank you so, so much for honoring us today. Oh, thank you so much. Thank you so much. It takes so many people to do what we do. And so I just wanted to talk about our elders just for a moment here. 17 (53m 41s): So Jim, as he said, he's been with us, Well, he came, he didn't come the very first day of the church plant. He said he wanted to see if it would make it. And so he made, he came the second week and he is been with us ever since, ever since. And so he is just been a faithful, faithful man, just a brother, a friend, just an incredible encourager and faith man, faith filled man. Gary Tucker was my youth pastor in junior high school. I talk about him a lot. He's just was in my life during my formative years. And he came to the church in the early, early, I think first year. And it's just been such a huge blessing. Neil, Neil has been an incredible addition to our team. 17 (54m 24s): I think it's been 5, 6, 7 years, it's been a while now. And he's just been incredible. Just a man of integrity, a man of great wisdom and wit and, and just, he's just been a great, great friend over the years as well. And then of course, Pastor Ron d who just retired this year, we honor him. He's, he came on the team and joined our staff team about 15 years ago in a time when I really, really needed an associate and someone to just partner with me and with us. And so Ron's been on and off the elder team over the years currently serving on. And so I just wanna say thank you to these guys. And apart from that, we've just got an incredible staff. So again, Jeremy, so Jeremy been here three years and has been a rock star. 17 (55m 9s): He, not just because he does what he does so well, but he's just a godly, humble, hardworking, faithful guy. Whatever you ask him to do, he's on it. You don't have to even think about whether it's the job is gonna get done, It just gets done. And so it's just an amazing, he's talked about just the, the, the synergy and just the closeness of our team. He's a big part of that. Who else do we have up there? We've got Curtis Henry again. So yeah, Curtis, Curtis asked me a number of years ago, he said, I feel called to the ministry, should I go to another church to walk out my call? He, he didn't want to presume or assume anything, he just wanted to do what was right. 17 (55m 56s): And I told him, absolutely not. You gotta stay here. And it's such an honor. A lot of the staff members are family members and it's just such an honor that I was thinking about the folk Rods up here leading worship, Jim Folk, Rod, I've known Jim since we were young and yeah, Violet and Levi and Jack all up here playing music. Those are all his kids that he taught how to do the, the work of the ministry. And so we're so grateful for that type of a heritage and dynamic that we get to experience within the church. And so we're getting to experience that here as well. Leslie, my youngest, she's 27 years old, she joined the kids ministry team 10 years ago as an assistant. 17 (56m 37s): She actually has been teaching since we planted the church for 20 years. She's been a teacher or a teacher's helper, and then she was the children's ministry assistant, the director's assistant for five, six years. And then she went off to college, finished a, a psychology degree up in northern California, came back and at that point Christie Swo, who was the director, said, Hey, I want to change positions within the team. And I said, Well, who do you think would be a good fit for your job? And she said, without hesitation, she said, Leslie. And you know, I just said, Hey, don't, don't just name Leslie because she's my daughter, but make sure she's the right person. And, and she's definitely the right person. 17 (57m 17s): She's amazing. Amanda Henry, my daughter-in-law, she wasn't my daughter in-law, she started coming to the church. But my son was wise, Steven was super wise in snatching her up. And so they've been married now for the last eight months or so. And so she's the creative director. She spent five years in Australia learning training to be a worship leader, a songwriter. And then she came back a number of years ago, continued the work of ministry just as a volunteer. She finished her psychology degree about year or two ago, and she's been on the team now for the last year and a half as our creative director. 17 (57m 58s): So, so thankful for Amanda. Who else do we have here? We have Tim Mo. Tim, I like that Stash. Dude, what happened? You shaved off the stash. Anyway, so Tim Modern feels like he's part of the family. He's been with us for a few years now, and Tim did training in New Zealand in the audio video world there at a large church and then came back and joined Harvest and began to volunteer and be a part of what we're doing and then finished his degree just in this last year or two. And so he'd been an amazing part of the team and we're so, so grateful. Abby's sitting next to him. I'll talk about Abby. Abby's actually an intern right now working on her degree in film. 17 (58m 41s): And so she's working behind the scenes and putting stuff together and making us look really, really good. So thanks Abby. Appreciate that very much. All right, who else we have up there? Carson, what can we say about Carson? Where is she? Is she in here? Yeah. Carson, what? Raise your hand, Carson. Is she hiding? Carson's amazing. So this is the story behind Carson. Carson was here during her high school years. Her family moved out from Nebraska and they were attending church here and, and she was super impacted by the youth ministry here at Harvest Church. And then she went off to Grand Canyon University and finished a degree in entrepreneurship. And then she came back and she's here at church serving everywhere. 17 (59m 23s): And the team came to me and said, Hey, we need to hire Carson. I said, Well, what is Carson gonna, Why do we need to hire Carson? What, what is he gonna do? And they just, everybody was like trying to convince me to hire Carson. So I said, do this, draw up her job description, draw up the number of hours that she'll work and what we'll pay her and submit that to me. And then if it looks like we've got a position for her, then we'll interview her and go, you know, go through the whole process. Well, Carson's been a rockstar. She's just amazing. She works with kids and youth as an assistant. She is the, the administrative genius behind all kids and youth stuff. And so we just love her. She's been a great part of the team. 17 (1h 0m 4s): Who else? Who is that beautiful lady? Jolene. So let's all sing that song to Jolene. No, you guys know what song I'm talking about? Okay, nevermind. We gonna do that. So Jolene's really does not like that. Her pictures up there, she really does not like to be up front at all. She'd rather serve behind the scenes. And so for 32 years we've been married and been doing ministry together. And when we planted this church, she said, Listen, I'll, I'll go along with this little plant here, but I don't want to do the typical pastor wife thing. You know, I play piano and lead women's ministry and that sort of thing. 17 (1h 0m 45s): And I said, You don't have to do anything that you don't want to do, just do what you're called to do. And so she's been doing that. She loves being behind the scenes, she's in the office administrating everything that happens there, working just hand in hand with us every day and just doing an amazing job. So thank, thank you, Jolene. It's such a sweet thing to see what God will do in bringing the right team members to the church. And you guys are all a part of that. It literally takes like hundreds of volunteers to minister to the people that come to Harvest Church. And so you guys are a part of that. And I want to just say thank you for all that you do to volunteer to make everything happen that happens every week. 17 (1h 1m 27s): There's a lot, a lot, a lot that happens. And if you'd like to be involved, we've got this flyer called Get Plugged in with Great Service Opportunities. So that's the front of the flyer, it's back on the info center and on the back there's just lots of opportunities listed. So if you'd like to be a part of what we do, there's entry level things all the way up to not so entry level things that, And so we encourage you to check out the list, figure out what you want to do, sign up and be a part of it, and we'll be happy that you did. All right with that, we're gonna take about a 32nd break and then I've got about 15 minutes, 15 minutes to do a sermon. So this will be my shortest sermon ever. So go ahead and stand up, greet somebody and then we'll reset for the sermon 18 (1h 2m 24s): And 0 (1h 3m 18s): It will be 17 (1h 3m 42s): All righty. Come on back, come on back. We're going over our core values, those core values that the Ministry of Harvest Church kind of rolls forward on. So the first one is committed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The second one is confident in the Word of God. The third one is created to serve God and others. And the fourth one is called to love all people. So we're jumping right into number three. And so really we've kind of demonstrated what it means to be created to serve God and others. We just talked about all of the amazing ways in which people here are serving and just giving of their lives. 17 (1h 4m 26s): And really it's what we are created to do, We're created to serve God another's. Another, another, another way to say it is we are created for good works. My microphone sound sounds really hot right now. Is it hot? Thanks Steve. We are created for good works. The Bible in the old in the New Testament declared this to be true. Abraham declared his faith, demonstrated his faith in the good works that he accomplished. Rayhab the prostitute demonstrated her faith by her works. Noah, we can go through and list all of the patriarchs, the, the leaders in the Old Testament who demonstrated their faith with their works. 17 (1h 5m 13s): They proved that their faith was real by the things that they did. And the New Testament is true. Mary, Martha, Peter, Paul, John, Ringo, all of these guys, not Ringo, sorry, take that out. All of these people demonstrated their fa, Ringo. Is anybody missed that joke? Beatles? Think the Beatles. Okay, nevermind. We'll just let that one go. People, The old people got it. Thanks Mike. All of these people demonstrated their faith by their good works. Good place to start. Your good works is at home. 17 (1h 5m 54s): You thought I was gonna say church, didn't you? It's actually better to get it figured out at home. And then out of that overflow of that ex, that joyful experience of serving you get a chance to do it with others. So this guy, this story about this guy who he just, he was fed up with his marriage, wanted to divorce his wife and wanted to cause her as much pain as possible on his way out. And so he talked to a psychologist and this, he told the psychologist what he wanted to do. And so the psychologist said, Okay, do this. Go home and listen really, really well to your wife. Take her on romantic getaways, feed her breakfast in bed, write her love notes, read books with her, spend just a lot of time just in quality, quality time with your wife. 17 (1h 6m 47s): Do that for about two months, the psychologist said. And then at the end of two months, just pack up and go. She'll be devastated because of the change. And so the guy's like, ah, this is, I'm gonna do it. It's exactly what I'm gonna do. So he, he did all of the things the psychologist told him to do. She treated, he treated his wife like a goddess and fed her breakfast in bed and brought her flowers and sent flowers for no particular reason. Took her on romantic weekends, read books with her, spent time with her, and just did all of these amazing things. Well, at the end of two months, the psychologist calls the guy and says, Hey, have you done it? Are you happily unmarried? 17 (1h 7m 28s): Are you a bachelor again? Did you break it off with your wife? And he said, What? Are you crazy? She's a goddess. She's the best thing that's ever happened to me. I can't imagine this is the happiest I've ever been in my whole life. This is a great story, right? Like if we're struggling at home, we need to, instead of doing the opposite, the thing that we kind of feel like doing and kind of pulling away, shrinking back, getting quiet, what would happen if we just started serving each other? Like looking for ways we're created in Christ Jesus for good works? Why, why shouldn't that start at home where we have the best opportunity to love on our spouse, to love on our, our families, to love on our kids. 17 (1h 8m 17s): And then through all of that experience, get to see the beauty and the blessing of it, and to begin to do that with others that we come into contact with it. It's a great recipe for just an amazing home life if we will decide, I'm going to serve, start with your spouse, serve them, love them, treat them like royalty and watch what God will do to turn things all around. Some of you are doubting, just try it, right? And you can even tell your spouse, Listen, we're gonna try this out. It's gonna seem a little pushed or unnatural, but let's just try it out. And so maybe you say, Hey, let's just find one way, one way to serve each other. 17 (1h 8m 59s): And then, and they just surprise each other with that service. I, I promise you, I I promise you it'd be, it's gonna be so good for your marriage. Everything's gonna get better. You were, your communication will get better. Are there kids in the room? Your sex life is gonna get better. I'm serious. Like everything is gonna get better if you just humble yourself and begin to serve the people in your life beginning with your spouse if you have one. Ephesians two 10 says this, For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in then. 17 (1h 9m 41s): So God has given us purpose in the earth that we would be people who demonstrate the good works that God has created us for. So if you're a married person, those good works need to start at home. So don't be nice to everybody else but not your spouse. Start there and out of the abundance of that experience, you'll be able to love others and serve others. Hebrews 10 24 and 25 says this, And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together as the habit of some, but encouraging one another all the more. As you see the day drawing near, what is that day that the writer is talking about there? It's, he's talking about the day of the Lord, the day of the Lord's return. 17 (1h 10m 26s): It's the last day of this present church age. It's the beginning of the newness that will enjoy all throughout eternity. It's the, it's the return of Christ from heaven where he will raise the dead, where he will hold the final judgment and perfect his kingdom. So we know that we're all, if you're in Christ and well if you're, even if you're not in Christ, we're all headed to that day. And so if we keep that in mind and realize that we're actually created for purpose to do good works, and if we keep that end part in mind, we'll actually be more encouraged and motivated to do what God has called us to do because at one point we will give an account for our lives and an answer for the way that we've spent our time. 17 (1h 11m 11s): James two 14 through 17 says this, What, what good is it my brothers? If someone says he has faith but does not have works, can, can that faith save him? Can that kind of faith save him? In other words, the question is, is faith without works saving faith at all? Is faith apart from works? Is that saving faith at all? If, if a person states that he or she believes all of the right doctrines, but their life does not show obedience to Christ, what good is this type of faith? 17 (1h 11m 54s): The the answer which is implied? The question is, well, it's not good faith at all. It's not real genuine faith at all. Just like love without external work works is meaningless. It's like rain clouds that that give no rain. There's a proverb says Proverbs 25 14, like clouds and wind without rain is a, a man who boasts of a gift he does not give. It's like a promise without follow through. So, so his faith apart from works, it's actually worthless. So what a good works look like. 17 (1h 12m 34s): We can look in the old, in the New Testament and decide and figure out what good works look like. This is kind of what it looks like. It's what we are created to do. But back to James two 15, it says, If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food and one of you says to them, go in peace, be warmed and filled without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. So it's a one point message today. Point number one, our faith is meant to be evident in our daily lives. 17 (1h 13m 15s): It it's meant to be obvious to onlookers people within our sphere of influence. Our faith is to be obvious to those who know us. Why? Because we are known for our good works. We're demonstrating our faith by our good works. I love Matthews chapter 25 because it helps us understand how everything's going to wrap up at the end of time. In my Bible, this is titled The Final Judgment. Let me just read it. It says this, But when the son of man Jesus, when he comes in his glory and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 17 (1h 14m 2s): He will place the sheep on his right and the goats at his left. Then the king Jesus will say to those on his right, Come, come you who are blessed by my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you, you invited me into your home. I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you cared for me. I was in prison and you visited me. Then these righteous ones will reply, Lord, when? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and give you something to drink or a stranger and show you hospitality or naked and give you clothing? 17 (1h 14m 52s): When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you in the king Jesus? This will be his response. And the king will say, I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you are doing it to me. And so we've got this amazing opportunity and responsibility to serve others. And in our serving others, we're actually serving God. We're doing what God has created us to do. We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works. This is what you are here for. You are here for good works, to build up the kingdom, to let people know about Jesus and to serve in the kingdom work that God has called you to serve in. 17 (1h 15m 37s): This is exactly why you're here in the earth. When God is done using you in this way in the earth, he will take you home. So if you're warming a seat and have a pulse, you've got purpose. So what is your purpose? What is your purpose? What has God called you to do? The verse goes on, the chapter goes on verse 41, then the king will turn to those on the left and say, away with you, you cursed ones into the eternal fire prepared for the devil. And as demons, for I was hungry and you didn't feed me, I was thirsty, and you didn't give me a drink, I was a stranger, and you didn't invite me into your home. 17 (1h 16m 23s): I was naked and you, you didn't give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn't visit me. Then they will reply, Lord, when in when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or stranger or naked or sick or in prison and not help you? And he will answer. I tell you the truth, when you refused, when you refused to help the least of these, my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me. And they will go away into eternal punishment. But the righteous will go into eternal life. 17 (1h 17m 6s): And the only difference between the sheep and the goats is what they did and didn't do. So we're saved by grace through faith. We prove that we've actually been saved by grace through faith in the way that we live our lives. We've got three orange trees on our property and they're all three planted. And they're all three these, There's amazing three different types of oranges, one's like little cuties and a couple different types of oranges. And they're just so good. 17 (1h 17m 46s): So you go around and pick 'em up and eat 'em and just eating all kinds of beautiful stuff in the garden. You know, I've never actually seen those trees stressed out. Like I've never seen 'em like doing this, trying to push out the fruit. It's like they're never like, we've planted a tree recently. What's it called? Acher Moya. I'll never get that. I'll never remember what that tree is called. It's acher Moya tree. And we're, we've planted it in another part of the garden and we've got it on drip system in good soil, it's planted where it needs to be with a little bit of shade, little bit of sun. And that tree, because of where it's been planted, we'll just naturally produce fruit in, in time. 17 (1h 18m 32s): It will naturally produce fruit. So when you and I are abiding in Christ, when we're planted in Christ, when we're connected to the vine, we will naturally produce fruit. And so the, the natural part of it is that a part of abi abiding in Christ is just listening to him throughout the day, opening up the word of God and allowing it to speak to you. Just being filled with the Holy Spirit. And then the natural overflow of that kind of life will be fruitful. Fruit, The spirit of his love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. And then in the scripture, we see all kinds of ways that we've been gifted to use our talents within the kingdom so that we can be fruitful, so that we can demonstrate what we believe by the way that we live. 17 (1h 19m 23s): If we don't demonstrate what we believe by the way that we live, chances are we actually aren't saved in the kingdom. If there's been no transformation, no sanctification, no real life change and fruitfulness, then we just need to ask ourselves what has happened. A good tree can't actually produce bad fruit in a bad tree can actually produce good fruit. So a good tree will produce good fruit. A bad tree will produce bad fruit or no fruit. So where are we today as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ? 17 (1h 20m 5s): Some of us been like brand new in the faith. Others have been doing this for decades and decades and decades. And we're always called to be fruitful as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Your your life will change and your fruit will look different. But you are always called to be fruitful. I was talking with this gal, Granny Frida Moroni Fria, when we planted the church, we'd do these potlucks and she would make spam cobbler. Bear had spam cobbler. No, you haven't missed anything. So Fria grew up and was super poor during the depression and she, she loved her spam cobbler. 17 (1h 20m 45s): So if for every potluck she'd bring spam cobbler, and so poor Fria got, she just kept getting older and older and older. And she's like, Why isn't the Lord taking me home? And so she got put into a home and I'd go visit Fria. And she would ask me that question, Why is the Lord not letting me go home? And I say, It's because you still have work to do. God has given you life so that you can pray for people so that you can love people in this home that you are in. But so don't waste. Don't miss out on what you are here to do, but pray for your family. Pray for your loved ones, and pray for the nursing staff here at this hospital. 17 (1h 21m 29s): And when the Lord's ready, he will come take you home. And then after years, I, I can't remember how old she was, but she was like in her nineties and just she was. And then finally she passed and we were able to celebrate her life. So part of the beauty of being a believer in Christ is that we die and then we get to celebrate what God has done in that person's life. And we Bible says we don't grieve like those without hope, but we have a sense of appreciation for this life and for what is waiting for us. On the other side, you are created in Christ Jesus for good works. 17 (1h 22m 10s): You're created to serve God and others. What does that mean to you guys? I just kinda open it up a little bit here. What does it mean that you're created to serve God and others? And then with the refreshing of this information, maybe the first time you're hearing it, what is it gonna do to change your life? Who wants to go first? I can't call you. I can. Who should I call on? You guys are scared to death right now. Aren't you all in the back? Speak loud so we can hear you. You. 17 (1h 22m 52s): That's amazing. Yeah. Yeah. Someone said in first service that if you can get through your day and not only think about yourself, but think about others and how you might serve and bless others, that that's just an amazing way to be fruitful. Just be mindful of others' needs and be thoughtful of others' needs and be prayerful about others' needs and watch what God will do. Mikey, 20 (1h 23m 18s): I think serving is another way to die to 17 (1h 23m 20s): Yourself. Ah. Serving is another way of dying to yourself. 20 (1h 23m 24s): So the more we do that, the more we build with this joy. Especially if you're not feeling joyful. 17 (1h 23m 29s): Yeah. 20 (1h 23m 30s): And it's just a good way to just serve, but also that prayer is not an undervalued way to serve people 17 (1h 23m 37s): As well. Yeah. Prayer is not an undervalued way to serve people. Yeah. So I 20 (1h 23m 42s): Think a lot harder on, it's harder for me to serve people and loving people face to face right now, but it's a lot easier for me to do. So I think that I was feeling adequate in that part. That you confirm that it's not 17 (1h 23m 54s): Inadequate. Yeah, it's not. It's not. It's powerful when we can pray for people. I'm driving down the road sometimes and I'll feel like the Lord put it on my heart to pray for someone. And I just pray. I pray for their whole clan. I pray for everybody they touch. We get saying, I just, I just believe for great things because I feel like if Lord called me to pray for them, and then I'm gonna pray for big stuff. Richard Harrison, what do you think? You wanna talk or should I talk to Kathy? You can talk to, All right. Kathy, what do you think? What does that message mean to you 21 (1h 24m 22s): About serving others? 17 (1h 24m 24s): Yeah. 21 (1h 24m 25s): Well, I think that you have to be close with the Lord to know which direction he's gonna 17 (1h 24m 29s): Take you. Okay. So you have to be close to the Lord to know what direction he's gonna take you. I love, I love it. True. 21 (1h 24m 34s): And I think that once he leads you, that he opens the door, like with us in counseling, you know, we, we've been doing this for over 20 years. Yeah. He just said, Lord, you could stop us at any time. We don't advertise. God just keeps bringing, hurting people to us. So it's being available, it's caring, and it's giving them the Lord when you counsel them. Just not advice. 17 (1h 24m 59s): Ah, good, good, good, good. So these guys did pastoral ministry for years and then God moved them into marriage ministry. And so now they're ministering to couples who are in trouble and, and others, but they're just doing a wonderful job giving people hope through Jesus Christ. So it can look in a thousand different ways. What is God calling you to do with that? Let's go ahead and stand up, and we're gonna invite the worship team forward, and the next week we'll get to our last core value. Thank you Lord for who you are. Thank you Lord, for the opportunity to worship you and to honor you with our words, our thoughts, and our deeds. And so, Lord, awaken us to areas that we're maybe not even thinking of, ways that we might be able to serve you, encourage, and serve and love people. 17 (1h 25m 45s): So, Lord, you've called us to good work. Show us what that looks like in our personal lives. We love you. In Jesus name. Amen. Amen. Let's worship 0 (1h 26m 4s): The So Made, made, made the, and there is 1 (1h 29m 22s): So, Make me a vessel, Make me an offering. Make me whatever you want me with all you. New wine, 22 (1h 30m 2s): Lord. Daughters, our prayer this morning that you'd fill us and then you'd use us even in a new way. Thank you for your word this morning. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for leading us, being here with us. We praise you in Jesus name. Amen.
The last book of the Bible, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, is meant to motivate and equip us to be mature disciples of Jesus. Last week, we learned about the first of the proclamations to the seven churches: If the great Ephesian church was to let its light shine in the world, its sound teaching must also be manifested in works of love. This week, we learn about the proclamation to the church in Smyrna. Unlike Ephesus, the church in Smyrna receives no rebuke from the risen Jesus. Instead, it is called to maintain its witness in the face of suffering. It is called to face persecution with faithfulness and without fear. Through the church in Smyrna, we learn that true Christianity does conquer—even to the point of death. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
This week, Pastor Wesley introduces our new sermon series on the book of Ephesians, "Who is the Church?" Our first episode in this series sets the scene with an overview of Paul's journey to Ephesus and relation with the Ephesian church, emphasizing how God transforms the Church from broken people to the image of Christ on earth. A full video of this service is available on our https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnWOxypdU3Ngped5xTlz2VA/videos (Youtube Page). For more information on King's Church, please https://www.kingschurchdc.com/ (visit our website) or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Scriptural Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians%201%3A1-2&version=ESV (Ephesians 1:1-2); https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+19&version=ESV (Acts 19)
In our sermon series, The Son of Man at the Center, we have been walking through the last book of the Bible: The Revelation of Jesus Christ. Revelation is meant to motivate and equip us to be mature disciples of Jesus. Last week, we learned that the One described in John's vision is the One who walks with His people. This week, this One who walks with His people has a jarring message for them. The great Ephesian church, planted and nurtured by Paul, Timothy, Apollos, Priscilla, and Aquila (Acts 18: 24-28; Acts 19), is in danger of losing its place among the lampstands. If they are to let their light shine in the world, their sound teaching must also be manifested in works of love. His message for the Ephesian church is also a message for us. Do we as individuals and as a church prioritize both sound teaching and works of love the way that Jesus does? Do we have ears to hear?
While living under house arrest (probably in Rome), the apostle Paul writes a brief letter to the Ephesian and surrounding churches. His point is to remind them how to live as a marginalized minority in the midst of a pagan and pluralistic society: they must recognize that they're a new humanity in Christ. By the free grace of God they've been set apart for salvation. They must rejoice in that hope and live in a manner that's consistent with that calling.
Christians are called to abandon their old sinful way of life and to live a life that is distinctly holy. While this may seem like a daunting task, Paul reminds the Ephesian church that not only is it possible, but also necessary. Why? Because when a person becomes a Christian, God Himself gives them a new nature, one that desires and is able to please God. The post Ephesians 4:17-32: Old & New first appeared on Grace Church International.
Proper 21 First Psalm: Psalm 105:1–22 Psalm 105:1–22 (Listen) Tell of All His Wondrous Works 105 Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!2 Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!3 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!4 Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!5 Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered,6 O offspring of Abraham, his servant, children of Jacob, his chosen ones! 7 He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth.8 He remembers his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,9 the covenant that he made with Abraham, his sworn promise to Isaac,10 which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant,11 saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan as your portion for an inheritance.” 12 When they were few in number, of little account, and sojourners in it,13 wandering from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people,14 he allowed no one to oppress them; he rebuked kings on their account,15 saying, “Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm!” 16 When he summoned a famine on the land and broke all supply1 of bread,17 he had sent a man ahead of them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave.18 His feet were hurt with fetters; his neck was put in a collar of iron;19 until what he had said came to pass, the word of the LORD tested him.20 The king sent and released him; the ruler of the peoples set him free;21 he made him lord of his house and ruler of all his possessions,22 to bind2 his princes at his pleasure and to teach his elders wisdom. Footnotes  105:16 Hebrew staff  105:22 Septuagint, Syriac, Jerome instruct (ESV) Second Psalm: Psalm 105:23–45 Psalm 105:23–45 (Listen) 23 Then Israel came to Egypt; Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.24 And the LORD made his people very fruitful and made them stronger than their foes.25 He turned their hearts to hate his people, to deal craftily with his servants. 26 He sent Moses, his servant, and Aaron, whom he had chosen.27 They performed his signs among them and miracles in the land of Ham.28 He sent darkness, and made the land dark; they did not rebel1 against his words.29 He turned their waters into blood and caused their fish to die.30 Their land swarmed with frogs, even in the chambers of their kings.31 He spoke, and there came swarms of flies, and gnats throughout their country.32 He gave them hail for rain, and fiery lightning bolts through their land.33 He struck down their vines and fig trees, and shattered the trees of their country.34 He spoke, and the locusts came, young locusts without number,35 which devoured all the vegetation in their land and ate up the fruit of their ground.36 He struck down all the firstborn in their land, the firstfruits of all their strength. 37 Then he brought out Israel with silver and gold, and there was none among his tribes who stumbled.38 Egypt was glad when they departed, for dread of them had fallen upon it. 39 He spread a cloud for a covering, and fire to give light by night.40 They asked, and he brought quail, and gave them bread from heaven in abundance.41 He opened the rock, and water gushed out; it flowed through the desert like a river.42 For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham, his servant. 43 So he brought his people out with joy, his chosen ones with singing.44 And he gave them the lands of the nations, and they took possession of the fruit of the peoples' toil,45 that they might keep his statutes and observe his laws. Praise the LORD! Footnotes  105:28 Septuagint, Syriac omit not (ESV) Old Testament: Hosea 5:8–6:6 Hosea 5:8–6:6 (Listen) 8 Blow the horn in Gibeah, the trumpet in Ramah. Sound the alarm at Beth-aven; we follow you,1 O Benjamin!9 Ephraim shall become a desolation in the day of punishment; among the tribes of Israel I make known what is sure.10 The princes of Judah have become like those who move the landmark; upon them I will pour out my wrath like water.11 Ephraim is oppressed, crushed in judgment, because he was determined to go after filth.212 But I am like a moth to Ephraim, and like dry rot to the house of Judah. 13 When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah his wound, then Ephraim went to Assyria, and sent to the great king.3 But he is not able to cure you or heal your wound.14 For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear and go away; I will carry off, and no one shall rescue. 15 I will return again to my place, until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face, and in their distress earnestly seek me. Israel and Judah Are Unrepentant 6 “Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.2 After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him.3 Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.” 4 What shall I do with you, O Ephraim? What shall I do with you, O Judah? Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes early away.5 Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth, and my judgment goes forth as the light.6 For I desire steadfast love4 and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. Footnotes  5:8 Or after you  5:11 Or to follow human precepts  5:13 Or to King Jareb  6:6 Septuagint mercy (ESV) New Testament: Acts 21:27–36 Acts 21:27–36 (Listen) Paul Arrested in the Temple 27 When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, 28 crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who is teaching everyone everywhere against the people and the law and this place. Moreover, he even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” 29 For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple. 30 Then all the city was stirred up, and the people ran together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and at once the gates were shut. 31 And as they were seeking to kill him, word came to the tribune of the cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion. 32 He at once took soldiers and centurions and ran down to them. And when they saw the tribune and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33 Then the tribune came up and arrested him and ordered him to be bound with two chains. He inquired who he was and what he had done. 34 Some in the crowd were shouting one thing, some another. And as he could not learn the facts because of the uproar, he ordered him to be brought into the barracks. 35 And when he came to the steps, he was actually carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the crowd, 36 for the mob of the people followed, crying out, “Away with him!” (ESV) Gospel: Luke 6:1–11 Luke 6:1–11 (Listen) Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath 6 On a Sabbath,1 while he was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked and ate some heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands. 2 But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?” 3 And Jesus answered them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: 4 how he entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those with him?” 5 And he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” A Man with a Withered Hand 6 On another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was withered. 7 And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find a reason to accuse him. 8 But he knew their thoughts, and he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” And he rose and stood there. 9 And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” 10 And after looking around at them all he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored. 11 But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus. Footnotes  6:1 Some manuscripts On the second first Sabbath (that is, on the second Sabbath after the first) (ESV)
In Acts 20:26 Paul the Apostle tells the leaders of the Ephesian church that he innocent of their blood because, during his time in Ephesus, he taught them “the whole counsel of God's Word.” What does it mean to teach the whole counsel of God's word, and how can we be sure we are doing this in our churches? One of the core values of CGN is biblical literacy. In this episode, Nick Cady speaks with Kellen Criswell to discuss what CGN is doing to promote biblical literacy and to encourage the teaching of “the whole counsel of God's Word.” As part of this discussion, they talk about biblical theology and Christ-centered hermeneutics, as they discuss the importance of teaching every part of the Bible in relation to the big story that all of the Bible together tells. We'd love to hear feedback from you on these episodes. You can email us at CGN@calvarychapel.com
After the Apostle's well-wishing in verse 23, he finally closes his epistle by pronouncing a rich and yet simple benediction upon the Ephesian believers--1. What a Benediction Is-2. The Grace to be had in this Benediction -3. The Condition for Receiving this Grace
Sunday Service "Finishing Well" To contact, tithe, or inquire...please go to www.ToddCoconato.com Finishing well: Notes for this Sunday's service. (2 Timothy 4 6-8 verses for this teaching) Let's face it: starting well is relatively easy. Finishing well is a different matter! Starting that new diet or exercise program is kind of fun, but hanging in over the long haul is the real test. Getting married is exciting and relatively easy. Staying married through struggles, adjustments, and trials is not always an easy matter. The same is true of the Christian life. Becoming a Christian is relatively easy: acknowledge to God that you are a sinner and receive by faith the free gift of eternal life that Christ provided by His shed blood. You cannot work for salvation nor do anything to qualify for it. God gives it freely to all that recognize their need and trust in Christ alone. But then comes the hard part—hanging in there as a Christian in a world that is hostile towards God and His people. The world constantly dangles in front of you all that it has to offer in opposition to the things of God. From within, the flesh entices you to forsake Christ and gratify your sinful desires. The enemy hits you with temptation after temptation. The real test of your faith is, will you endure? Genuine faith in Christ perseveres to the finish line. The Christian life is a marathon, not a 100-yard dash. Since finishing a marathon well is not easy, when you see a man who sprints across the finish line, you ought to try to find out his secret. The apostle Paul was such a man. It's as if he has crossed the finish line with energy to spare. He jogs back to where Timothy seems to be losing steam and exhorts him to keep running well. In the Bible, it is clear that Paul is looking death in the face. His words must have caused Timothy to burst into tears when he first read them. And, these words must have sobered Timothy with the reality that Paul had handed off the baton to him. Now, he had to finish well. Paul's words are not those of a discouraged, broken old man. There is no despair, no defeat, no cynicism, and no fear as he faces imminent execution. His calm assurance is all the more startling when you consider his circumstances. He was in the Mamertine Prison in Rome. Even the worst of our prisons today would be like the Hilton in comparison to the Mamertine. Paul's cell was a dark, damp dungeon, reached only by a rope or ladder from a hole in the floor above. He had no windows, no lights, no toilet, no furniture, and no running water. As Paul sat on the hard floor in the cold darkness, enduring the stench of his own urine and excrement, the circumstances outside were not encouraging. Many seemed to be turning away from the aged apostle, and even from the faith, following false teachers. Paul had labored for the past thirty years or more to preach the gospel around the Roman Empire, but at this point, it was at best a tiny sect, scattered here and there. Paul was not the world-famous apostle, appearing on TV talk shows, and autographing books, with invitations pouring in from around the world for him to speak. And yet, the man was clearly at rest, confident in the way he has spent his life, and calmly assured as he faces death by decapitation. What does the apostle have to teach us about finishing well? Note that verse 6 speaks about Paul's present: “I am.” Verse 7 refers to his past: “I have.” Verse 8 begins, “In the future…” To finish well, keep in focus Paul's view of the present, the past, and the future. 1. To finish well, keep in focus Paul's view of the present (4:6). Three key words here will help us finish well: reproduction, sacrifice, and departure. A. REPRODUCTION: PAUL COULD FINISH WELL BECAUSE HE HAD REPRODUCED HIMSELF IN OTHERS. In the Greek text, verse 6 begins with the emphatic pronoun “I,” which contrasts with the “you” of verse 5, along with the connective “for.” The flow of thought is this: “Timothy, you preach the Word even in the face of opposition because I am about to die. I'm handing you the torch to carry!” Dying is easier when you know that you're leaving behind a number of people who can carry on with Christ because of your influence. Each of us needs to ask ourselves, “Am I working on that task?” I am talking about obeying Jesus' Great Commission, to make disciples of others. That Commission applies to every Christian at some level. If you know Christ as Savior and are walking with Him, then He calls you to make disciples of others. You can begin at home. Every Christian parent ought to be waging an all-out campaign to train up his or her children to know Christ and walk with Him. It doesn't happen by accident. It begins by setting the example: you must walk in reality with Jesus Christ if you want to impart that to your kids. Beyond that, dads, are you taking the time to read the Bible and pray with your family? Are you making sure that your family gathers with the Lord's people on the Lord's day for worship and teaching? Do you talk openly at home about spiritual things? Do you apply God's Word when there are tensions or trials on the home front? Beyond your immediate family, you ought to have a vision for reproducing yourself in the lives of others. Godly men should be handing off the faith to younger men in the faith (2 Tim. 2:2). Godly women should be training younger women in the things of God (Titus 2:3-5). When you're gone, there should be others who will carry on with Christ because of your influence. B. SACRIFICE: PAUL COULD FINISH WELL BECAUSE HE VIEWED HIS LIFE AS AN OFFERING TO GOD. Paul did not view his execution as a cruel tragedy or as unfair treatment in view of his many years of dedicated service. Rather, he saw it as the culminating offering of a sacrificial life. After the sacrificial lamb had been placed on the altar, and just before it was lit on fire, the priest poured out on it about a quart of wine (Num. 28:7). It was the final sacrifice poured out on the existing sacrifice. That was how Paul viewed his own death. His whole life had been a living sacrifice presented unto God. Now, his death would be the drink offering poured on top of that (Phil. 2:17). This means that to finish well, you need to view all of your life as an act of sacrificial worship to God. As Paul put it (Rom. 12:1), “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” You don't serve Christ in order to get praise and acclaim from others. You serve Christ as an act of worship towards Him. If others turn away from you or badmouth you (as they were doing toward Paul), or if your earthly reward for a lifetime of dedicated service is to get your head cut off, it's okay, because all of your life has been an offering to God. This also means that to finish well, you view yourself as expendable in God's service. Here is the great apostle to the Gentiles, the man who did more for the spread of the gospel than any other man in church history. His influence was incalculable. Yet he could finish well because he saw himself as expendable, a drink offering. In language similar to our text, Paul told the Ephesian elders (Acts 20:24), “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.” If you have inflated notions of your own importance, you will not finish well. All of us should view ourselves and all of our service as a sacrificial offering to God. C. DEPARTURE: PAUL COULD FINISH WELL BECAUSE HE VIEWED HIS IMPENDING DEATH AS A DEPARTURE. “The time of my departure has come” (4:6). In the Bible, death is never cessation of existence, but rather, a separation of the soul from the body. It is departure. The Greek word that Paul used was a vivid one. It was used to describe the unyoking of an animal from a plow or cart. Death means the end of our labors and toils in this life. It was also used for loosening the bonds of a prisoner. Death is a release from the bonds of this corruptible body. It was also used for loosening the ropes of a soldier's tent. This suggests that at death, the battle is over, victory is won, and we are headed home. The word was also used for loosening the mooring ropes of a ship. At death our earthly ship leaves the shores of this stormy earth and puts in at the always-calm port of heaven. (These examples are in William Barclay, The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon [Westminster Press], revised edition, p. 209.) If you have Paul's view of death as departure, you will be able to finish without fear and even with anticipation, knowing that to depart and be with Christ is much better (Phil. 1:23). You will be able to say with him (Phil. 1:21), “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” So to finish well, keep in focus Paul's view of the present: present ministry is reproduction; present life is a sacrifice to God; and, impending death is a departure to be with Christ. 2. To finish well, keep in focus Paul's view of the past (4:7). Paul was able to look back on his past in Christ and say confidently that he had done well. He is not implying that there had not been mistakes or times of discouragement—of course there had been. But through all of the problems and trials, Paul had stayed in the race. He could say, “I've done what God called me to do!” To be able to join Paul in saying that at the end of our lives, we must be able to make his three statements in verse 7: A. “I HAVE FOUGHT THE GOOD FIGHT” (4:7A). When you come to the end of your life, will you be able to look back and say, “I have been involved in the struggle for the cause of Christ”? Paul is using an athletic metaphor, either of a wrestling match or a race. It conveys that the Christian life is not a Sunday School picnic, but rather, a struggle against the forces of evil. It is not just any fight, but the good fight, the fight of the gospel of Jesus Christ for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Can you say, “I am currently involved in the struggle for the cause of Christ?” Let me help you answer that question. You cannot say so if you are living primarily for your own comfort and affluence, spending your time and money on your pursuit of the American dream. You may attend church every week. You may profess to know Christ as your Savior. But if your purpose in life is to be as comfortable and affluent as you can be, then you are not seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. You're not involved in the struggle for the cause of Christ. If, on the other hand, you live for the purpose of building up the body of Christ and extending His kingdom through your labors, your time, and your money, in accordance with the gifts and opportunities that God has given you, then you are involved in that struggle. What a fulfilling thing when it comes time to die, to look back on your past and be able to say, “I've been involved in that great struggle for the cause of Christ!” B. “I HAVE FINISHED THE COURSE” (4:7B). “I have not dropped out of the race.” Paul is referring to a long race. The word “marathon” comes from a geographic place where a decisive battle took place between Greece and Persia in 490 B.C. If the Persians had won, world history would have been much different. The glories of ancient Greece would not have happened. The legend is that after the battle, a Greek soldier ran the distance from Marathon to Athens (21-25 miles, depending on his route) with the news of the victory, and then fell dead. Based on that legend, the modern marathon race began between Marathon and Athens in the 1896 Olympics, and was lengthened to the present 26.2 miles in the 1908 Olympics. We all know those who began the Christian life with a flourish of activity and enthusiasm. Maybe they even went into full-time ministry. But when trials and disappointments hit, they dropped out. Sometimes, we need to take a break from serving to be refreshed and renewed. But then we need to get back in the race. Of course, we never should take a break from walking with the Lord. I've never ran a marathon, but I know that there's no such thing as an easy marathon. We need to get out of our heads that the Christian life is all glory and effortless bliss. There is joy, but there also are many trials that require endurance (Acts 14:22). So make up your mind to hang in with the Lord through the tough times, so that you can look back at the end and say with Paul, “I have finished the course.” C. “I HAVE KEPT THE FAITH” (4:7C). “I have guarded the truth about Christ.” Several times in these letters to Timothy, Paul has talked about “the deposit” that Timothy is to guard (1 Tim. 6:20; 2 Tim. 1:12, 14). He was referring to the truth of the gospel, the core doctrines of the Christian faith. When Paul says that he has kept the faith, he means that he has carefully guarded the truth about Jesus Christ that God had entrusted to him. He had not bought into any of the many errors about Christ that were circulating in his day. His life and his teaching had held to sound doctrine. You can't keep a faith that you are unclear about. To be able to look back on your life and echo Paul's words, “I have kept the faith,” you need to be clear on the essentials of that faith. It is just as much under attack in our day as it was in Paul's day. So sink down some roots in sound doctrine. Know what you believe so that you are not tossed around by all of the winds of false doctrine. Thus Paul could finish well because he could look at his present: he saw his present ministry as reproduction, his present life as a sacrifice, and his impending death as departure. He could look at his past: he saw that he had been involved in the struggle for the cause of Christ, he had not dropped out of the race, and he had guarded the truth of the gospel. But he also looked to the future: 3. To finish well, keep in focus Paul's view of the future (4:8). Paul could finish well in spite of his dismal circumstances because he had secure hope for the future. There are two aspects of Paul's future hope: A. PAUL COULD FINISH WELL BECAUSE HE HOPED TO MEET THE LORD, THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGE. You may think that that sounds more like dread than hope! While there ought to be an element of awe and fear when we think of standing before the Lord, the prevailing emotion that we should have is expectant hope. The world, if they even think about standing before the righteous Judge, should be filled with dread. But Christians should love His appearing. Here's why: Paul wrote (Rom. 8:1), “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Jesus said (John 5:24) that the one who believes in Him “does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” Salvation is God's free gift given by His grace apart from any merit on our part. If your trust is in Jesus Christ as Savior, you do not need to fear the final judgment. The reason that you will not be condemned on judgment day is not because you have earned it by being a good person. Rather, it is that by His death on the cross, Jesus Christ satisfied God's perfect righteousness. When you trusted in Him, God imputed Christ's righteousness to your account (Rom. 3:21-26). That hope of meeting the Lord, the righteous Judge, who will welcome us into heaven on the basis of His perfect righteousness, should help us now to run the race with endurance. B. PAUL COULD FINISH WELL BECAUSE HE LIVED IN VIEW OF THAT DAY. It is difficult to interpret what Paul means by “the crown of righteousness.” Is this a special reward given only to some believers who have lived especially righteous lives, but not to all? Or, is it the reward of eternal righteousness, given to all believers, who have already been justified by faith? In favor of the view that it is a special reward is that the word “crown” refers to the wreath that was given to the victor in the games. Not all received this crown, but only those who won (1 Cor. 9:24-25; 2 Tim. 2:5). The Bible teaches that while salvation is a free gift, God will reward us on the basis of our service for Him (Rom. 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10), and these rewards will differ among believers. Some will have their works burned up, because they were not founded upon Christ, but they will be saved yet so as through fire. Others will receive a reward for their works (1 Cor.3: 10-15). In favor of the view that the crown of righteousness is given to all believers is that the phrase, “all who have loved His appearing,” seems to be a description of all believers. In this sense, it would be parallel to the crown of life that is given to all who love Christ (James 1:12). If Christ has saved you by shedding His blood for your sins, you long for the day when you will see Him. Perhaps Paul's meaning here is simply that even though his earthly judge (the evil Nero) had wrongly condemned him, he knew that the righteous Judge would vindicate him when he stood before Him. This is the third time that Paul has used “that day” in this letter (1:12, 18). Clearly, he lived in view of that day, when he would stand before Christ. So should we. The fact that we will stand before the Lord, the righteous Judge, on that day should motivate us to live righteously on this day. I read of a journalist who was in charge of the obituaries. One day when he didn't have any deaths to record, he put a sheet of blank paper in his typewriter and wrote his own name at the top. He then found himself writing his own obituary: “I have been a good husband and a fine father. I have contributed to a number of worthy causes. I have left a reputation of absolute integrity. My friends are many.” By the time he had finished the page, he had already committed himself to the task of living up to his own obituary (told by Robert Mounce, Pass it On [Regal Books], p. 153). Conclusion Perhaps your circumstances seem pretty dismal today. Maybe you're considering dropping out of the Christian race. From his dungeon, the aged apostle calls out to you: “Don't quit! Keep going! You can finish well! “Keep in focus my view of the present: You can reproduce yourself in others to carry the torch after you. View your life as a sacrifice to God. Your death will be a departure to be with Christ. “Keep in focus my view of the past, so that one day it will be your past. You will be able to look back and say that you engaged in the struggle for the cause of Christ. You didn't drop out of the race! You guarded the truth of the gospel. “Keep in focus my view of the future. Soon you will stand before the Lord, the righteous Judge, vindicated by His grace. Live in view of that day!” If you live with Paul's focus, you will finish well!
Paul describes the local church as a holy temple, a dwelling place for the Triune God by (in) the Spirit. If we are followers of Christ our very individual bodies and collectively as the body of Christ, are a people, a place where God's presence dwells. The Holy Spirit is the one who somehow brings that reality into time and space. God's divine presence and supernatural power of Trinitarian love is experienced in time and space, both individually and collectively. To in joyful submission, heartfelt obedience, and contagious hope allow our embodied lives to be increasingly empowered and controlled by the Holy Spirit. To be spirit-filled individual apprentices of Jesus, to be a spirit-filled local church where the fruits of the spirit are manifested in our relationships and experienced in our relationships. The fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The local church is not only a prayerful community, it is also a supernatural community, created, empowered, and sustained by the Holy Spirit.Sermon Notes: https://bible.com/events/4895580922.09.25
Paul wants to shape both the Ephesian church in their imaginations and their activities. He's telling them again the good news and inviting them into a deeper way of living as God's new creation community- a way of life that, because of Jesus, is already open to them, with blessings that are already theirs, and a power they already possessed. Lets' go.
* Paul shared with the Ephesian believers the greatness of their calling and then challenged them to "Walk worthy of the calling with which [they] were called." * We have seen Paul's challenge for them to "Walk worthy" in the body of Christ - seeking unity and synergy in the body of Christ. We are united having one hope which is founded in us having one Lord, one faith, one baptism ... knowing there is only one God! * Over the past two weeks, we have considered how we are to "Walk Worthy" in the world. We are to live transformed and sanctified lives. We are no longer to think like the Gentiles think; we are no longer to act like the Gentiles act. Rather, we are to have the mind of Christ and put on the new man which is created by God in true righteousness and holiness. We are, as children of God, to walk in love, light, and wisdom. We are to redeem the time, understand the will of God, and submit to one another in the fear of God. * Today, we begin to consider how we are to "Walk Worthy" within three specific relationships that we have in this world: marital, parental, and occupational relationships. * Today, we will consider how can "Walk Worthy" in our marriage relationships. * This message was presented on September 11, 2022 by Bob Corbin.
Does your work matter? Does God care about your work? Answer: Yes, yes, and yes! Listen now. Ephesian 6:5-9 -- Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. 9 Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.
The first-century Ephesian church withstood cultural pressure from numerous external sources and internal pressures toward theological and social compromise. And they managed to maintain biblical fidelity through the melee. Even so, in Revelation 2:1-7, John authors a message from Jesus to the church in Ephesus cautioning them that they had lost their “first love” and the “first works” that flowed out of that love. Hunter and Autumn discuss the letter to the Ephesian church and consider parallels to our modern context. How might we be tempted to abandon our “first love” and the “first works” to which we are called?
Does following Jesus mean following a list of dos and don’ts? The apostle Paul, writing to the Christians in Ephesus, urged them “to live a life worthy of the calling you have received” (Eph. 4:11). He then gives some clear instructions for Christian living. As Paul explained, it was much more than just checking off items on a spiritual “to-do list.” Today’s passage contrasts the Ephesian believers’ life before they knew Christ with how they now lived. “What is immediately worthy of note is the apostle’s emphasis on the intellectual factor in everybody’s way of life,” John Stott observes. “While describing pagans, he draws attention to the futility of their thinking, adds that they are darkened in their understanding and attributes their alienation from God to the ignorance that is in them.” As Christ followers, the Ephesians had to learn to think differently. The Christian way of life that Paul outlines in verses 22–24 flows out of three critical resolutions. First, a believer determines to put off the old self (v. 22). When we follow Christ, we resolve to change. Second, we learn to think differently (v. 23). We learn how Christ expects His followers to live, but it isn’t just up to us to do the work. This renewal is done in us by God’s Spirit. Third, a believer must take steps to put this new learning into practice. Verse 24 characterizes this as putting on “the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” We learn more about what this new self looks like in verses 25–32. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but it is a good starting point. >> Paul is not simply swapping out the old law for a new one. The believer becomes a “new self, created to be like God” (v. 24). The Christian life is not just a matter of dos and don’ts. When we are in Christ, we learn to think differently.
We are back for another sermon review. We are sorry we missed last week, but we doubled up this week! This week we talk about Pauls charge to the Ephesian elders, and Pauls resolve to go to Jerusalem. Are we trying to win the world or are we against the world? As always if you have any questions or comments, email us at John.email@example.com
09/04/2022 Paul Bang Acts 21:27-22:8 English Standard Version Paul Arrested in the Temple 27 When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, 28 crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who is teaching everyone everywhere against the people and the law and this place. Moreover, he even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” 29 For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple. 30 Then all the city was stirred up, and the people ran together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and at once the gates were shut. 31 And as they were seeking to kill him, word came to the tribune of the cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion. 32 He at once took soldiers and centurions and ran down to them. And when they saw the tribune and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33 Then the tribune came up and arrested him and ordered him to be bound with two chains. He inquired who he was and what he had done. 34 Some in the crowd were shouting one thing, some another. And as he could not learn the facts because of the uproar, he ordered him to be brought into the barracks. 35 And when he came to the steps, he was actually carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the crowd, 36 for the mob of the people followed, crying out, “Away with him!” Paul Speaks to the People 37 As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the tribune, “May I say something to you?” And he said, “Do you know Greek? 38 Are you not the Egyptian, then, who recently stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand men of the Assassins out into the wilderness?” 39 Paul replied, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no obscure city. I beg you, permit me to speak to the people.” 40 And when he had given him permission, Paul, standing on the steps, motioned with his hand to the people. And when there was a great hush, he addressed them in the Hebrew language,[a] saying: 22 “Brothers and fathers, hear the defense that I now make before you.” 2 And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew language,[b] they became even more quiet. And he said: 3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel[c] according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day. 4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, 5 as the high priest and the whole council of elders can bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brothers, and I journeyed toward Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished. 6 “As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me. 7 And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?' 8 And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?' And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.' 17 “When I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.' 19 And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. 20 And when the blood of Stephen your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him.' 21 And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.'” Paul and the Roman Tribune 22 Up to this word they listened to him. Then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live.”
Morning: Exodus 13:7; Psalm 66:18; Proverbs 8:13; Romans 12:9; 1 Corinthians 5:6–8; 1 Corinthians 11:28; 1 Thessalonians 5:22; 2 Timothy 2:19; Hebrews 7:26; Hebrews 12:15; 1 John 3:5 “No leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory.” The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil.—Abhor what is evil.—Abstain from every form of evil.—See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled. If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.—Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.—Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.—“Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”—It was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners.—In him there is no sin. Exodus 13:7 (Listen) 7 Unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days; no leavened bread shall be seen with you, and no leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory. (ESV) Psalm 66:18 (Listen) 18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. (ESV) Proverbs 8:13 (Listen) 13 The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. (ESV) Romans 12:9 (Listen) Marks of the True Christian 9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. (ESV) 1 Corinthians 5:6–8 (Listen) 6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (ESV) 1 Corinthians 11:28 (Listen) 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. (ESV) 1 Thessalonians 5:22 (Listen) 22 Abstain from every form of evil. (ESV) 2 Timothy 2:19 (Listen) 19 But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” (ESV) Hebrews 7:26 (Listen) 26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. (ESV) Hebrews 12:15 (Listen) 15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; (ESV) 1 John 3:5 (Listen) 5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. (ESV) Evening: Genesis 3:4–5; 2 Corinthians 2:11; 2 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 6:10–11; Ephesians 6:13–17 The serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die…. Your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil…. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.—So that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs. Genesis 3:4–5 (Listen) 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (ESV) 2 Corinthians 2:11 (Listen) 11 so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs. (ESV) 2 Corinthians 11:3 (Listen) 3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. (ESV) Ephesians 6:10–11 (Listen) The Whole Armor of God 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. (ESV) Ephesians 6:13–17 (Listen) 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, (ESV)