Paul is one his way to Rome. In his letter to the Roman church prior to his finally getting to Rome, he writes about his longing to be there with them - to teach them, to encourage them, to fellowship with them, to love them. The first few lines of this letter speak all the work that Paul has done for Jesus and how much more he hopes - LONGS - to accomplish for Jesus. What was true for Paul is true for us today. Let's listen and learn together.
Life was, in some respects so much simpler then. Yet, in other aspects it was much the same as today. That is, the gospel has never changed. People have changed, but the gospel has not changed. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul gives instructions to Timothy to "preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching." (2 Timothy 4:2 ESV)
We learn that the reason for being ready to reprove, rebuke, and exhort with patience and love is that, even in the early church, there were teachers who opposed the gospel of Jesus being preached and taught by Paul and the other apostles. Timothy was warned about one such individual. Listen in and see how we should treat such individuals today - spoiler alert, it comes down to how we are to treat our enemies and persecutors.
We will be looking at the early church over the next few weeks. This week with Philippians 2:25-30 as the textual basis, we look at the example of service, love, and honor demonstrated by Epaphroditus to Paul while he was imprisoned in Rome. While it is not a long passage, we get a clear picture of how much Epaphroditus loved his brothers and sisters in Philippi yet he also loved Paul and went to care and provide for him in prison.
Many of us tell family, friends, neighbors, and others that we are going to church or have a church event, etc. What does this mean really? Beginning with a look at Jesus' prayer in John 17 and an in-depth look at Paul's letter to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 7), we look at what really makes up a church -- the people, the bride of Jesus Christ.
Crucifixion - a pretty dismal and gory event in and of itself but when it is the Son of God and everyone is mocking Him, somehow it seems even worse. Now put Jesus to death hanging on a cross between two criminals that join in the mocking and somehow it seems worse. But from all of this comes an amazing, eloquently simple gospel message. We know the beginning of the story in Eden and now we see the supposed end at the cross. What is really happening is a story of repentance, grace, and redemption. Simple, right? Listen once, twice, often. Be blessed.
As Christians, we know that we will face obstacles, as well as pain and suffering for our beliefs. In today's western culture, it can be difficult to bear the suffering as our first reaction and instinct may be to cut our losses and run. After all, no one wants to be ostracized by family, friends, and coworkers. We follow Jesus and because we do, shouldn't life be pretty easy for us? Let's listen in and see what a solid, biblical response to suffering looks like.
After breakfast, Jesus talks with Peter, repeatedly asking him if he loves Him (Jesus). Peter repeatedly professes his love for Jesus. There are some differences - Jesus' love is agape, unconditional love from God; Peter's love is the love of a friend, remember Peter denied Jesus three times after professing his love and loyalty to Jesus. Peter is also commanded by Jesus to feed and tend His sheep. Pretty easy to do, right? Give a listen to see what can be involved in watching over Jesus' flock. We are all commanded to go and make disciples; these disciples are part of Jesus' flock and we are responsible for their growth.
Isaiah was a prophet who God sent to warn His people whenever they began to stray. While he lived and spoke for God over 2,000 years ago, his words still carry meaning today. With Isaiah 32 as out text, we look at the conspiracies being fed to us by various rulers and principalities. Everywhere we turn we are being told that the truth is not the truth. Gender identity is something we choose. Breastfeeding is not natural. The list goes on. We can sum up these and other conspiracies very simply: "Wake up! You are being lied to!"
When one comes to Jesus, one gains so so much. Much more than just forgiveness of sins and hope for eternal life. We are able to kill the sin in our life with the help of the Holy Spirit and find freedom from the slavery of sin and fear. Replacing the fear is a new spirit of adoption. Adoption by the Father through the Holy Spirit allowing us to cry out "Abba, Father".
God promised to pour out His Spirit on His people. When Isaiah spoke of this, noone knew when this would happen. When Jesus arrived on the scene, we began to see some of this promise yet no one, including His disciples, fully understood what the promise meant. Jesus instructed His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until the promise of the Father was manifested. When the Holy Spirit arrived on Pentecost, the disciples knew it and their eyes were opened to all that Jesus had taught them in the previous 3 1/2 years. This same power and Spirit is available to us all today if we but believe and ask.
We know that Jesus died for our sins but we often don't realize that he died for much more than that. Paul writes in Galatians (3:13-14) "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith." If Jesus had not died, resurrected, and ascended to His throne, then the Holy Spirit would not have been poured out as He has been. We begin to look at not what but who the Holy Spirit is and what He does. This week we dig deeper into 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 and examine what Paul has written about the Spirit of God.
We are still examining the Resurrection and its after effects on the follower of Jesus. This week using John 21 as the backdrop, we look at how many of the disciples appear to be lost without their teacher. We find several of them back in the region of Galilee with Peter and he announces he is going to go fishing - his old trade; they go with him. The fish all night but catch nothing. However as the sun rises, things take a turn. Deep, challenging, life-changing events take place as one of the fishermen turned disciple turned fisherman recognizes Jesus on the shore building a fire. Let's explore the lessons being offered here by the Holy Spirit.
Over the past few weeks, we examined the last week of Jesus' life, His crucifixion, and His resurrection. Sorrow, more sorrow, intense agony, and then uncontrollable, unspeakable joy! What can surpass the resurrection of Jesus? Well, we know something has to because He is not walking around in the flesh today and that something is the Ascension of Jesus to claim His throne at the right hand of God.
Jesus during His ministry referred to His leaving several times, however, his disciples never really understood. In spite of Jesus telling them that He came to fulfill the prophets, the disciples didn't get it. They didn't understand the He had to die and they didn't understand that He would rise on the third day until they saw it. Now, can you imagine the looks of Jesus' disciples as they witnessed "...and with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him." (Daniel 7:13 ESV)
This week we begin looking at just what the Ascension meant to the early church and to us, the present church. Sit, listen, be blessed.
In a Resurrection Sunday message we look at what many consider to be the end of Jesus' suffering. But is it really? Jesus, as a son of man, suffered physically before His death. Did this put an end to His suffering, His passion, His love for His people?
That passion continues today and is seen in the Bride of Christ, the Church living by the Spirit of God in the footsteps of selfless sacrifice for the glory of God!
As a man, Jesus died. He resurrected as the King of Heaven to take His rightful place at the right hand of His Father. He also resurrected as the bridegroom of His people, His church universal. As a man, we know Jesus experienced the full range of human emotions. Did His resurrection put an end to His ability to experience those emotions?
Before looking at how Jesus longs for His bride and what He did to wed her, we also take a look at what the grief, guilt, and shame Peter may have experienced while Jesus lay in the tomb not knowing that his friend, teacher, and Messiah would soon return.
With Psalm 22 as the scriptural basis for this Good Friday message, we look at not only the prophecy of Jesus' death but also our role in His death. The ultimate sacrifice that God made; why God was not silent during the final events of Jesus' life. This Good Friday message is a powerful message that will give you a lot to think about and meditate on.
This is the third in the series examing the last week in the life of Jesus in His human body. In this message, we examine the trial of Jesus before the high priest and the Sanhedrin. However before we get into the details of the trial, we take a look at Proverbs 20:28 - "Steadfast love and faithfulness preserve the king, and by steadfast love his throne is upheld." This proverb sets the tone for tonight's message. The trial of Jesus, as unjust as it was, demonstrates the hesed love that God and Jesus, our King, had and have for us. Keep this in mind as you listen to this message about the suffering of Jesus at the hands of His people and the Romans.
This week we continue to look at the final days of Jesus' life as a human being. After He celebrated the Passover meal with his disciples, Jesus was betrayed and handed over to the Pharisees. Jesus was fully aware that this was going to happen after all Jesus is God and was present in the beginning when God planned all of this. We examine the events starting with Genesis. Listen and be blessed.
As we approach Resurrection Sunday we begin a series of lessons to examine why the Resurrection of Jesus should be of central importance to our lives as Christians.
This week we begin the journey with Jesus' arrival to Jerusalem in the week culminating in the celebration of Passover (and, of course, His own crucifixion). It is not simply Jesus riding on a donkey; there is the history of a nation and mankind to consider -- from the fall in the garden to weeping over Jerusalem and a lot in between.
Pray, listen, and be blessed.
Paul's letter to the Romans has been called one of the most important books in the Holy Bible. In chapter 12, Paul exhorts us to "...not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Verse 2, ESV)
What does the renewal and transformation of your mind look like? How is it achieved? Can it happen overnight? If not, how long will it take? Well, the short answer is pretty simple - it can be complicated. Give a listen and learn about renewing and transforming your mind.
Paul writes in a letter to the Corinthians "But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us." (2 Corinthians 4:7 ESV) This after having been afflicted in so many ways to the point of being crushed but not driven to despair.
With this as the basis for his sermon, Pastor Andrew speaks of how Paul's message still resonates in the 21st century. He speaks of his own experiences, afflictions, shortcomings, doubts, and other attempts to cause him to despair and give up.
Listen carefully and attentively to discern if anything in this message applies to you. Was it recent? Or perhaps a lifelong pattern?
Remember, however, as with Paul, "For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:17-18) ESV