Speaker: Pastor Brown
Sermon Recording: Click here to listen or download.
- We are called to live in unity.
“There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:4-6, ESV).
Notice how many times the word one is used. We cannot claim to be in a right relationship with God if we have a broken relationship with our brothers or sisters in Christ.
- God’s goal for us is maturity.
“He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-15, ESV).
God wants us to mature and not remain immature in our faith. How does God mature us? By giving us a gift of a pastor, teacher, apostles, evangelists and prophets. God brings men and women into our lives to teach us, correct us and encourage us.
- God desires us to be filled with His Spirit.
“Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:30-32, ESV).
Did you know we have the ability to cause God pain? In this passage, the word grieve means to cause someone to experience deep pain. How do we cause God pain? By mistreating one of His children. We grieve God when we let bitterness divide us, when we gossip, speak evil or when we sin in our anger at someone. You can insult my wife and me, but leave our children alone! God feels the same way. How are you treating His children?
Jesus protects those who obey Him.
“When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, ‘No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.’ He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god’” (Acts 28:4-6, ESV).
Dick Brogden says that God always delivers his people but in different ways:
- Such as Joseph, Peter and the Hebrew children.
- We praise God for the times God miraculously removes us from harm.
- Sometimes God does not take us out of difficult circumstances but bring us through them.
- Paul was whipped with 39 stripes, experienced ship wreck, periled at sea and land and endured robbers, weakness, nakedness, hunger, thirst and cold. God did not take Paul out of these circumstances but gave him the strength to make it through.
- In Acts, we see Stephen and James made into martyrs. In modern times, we know of Jim Eliot and Keith Green. These people were not a failure on God’s part. God was the supreme rescuer. Going to Heaven is not defeat; it is the reward. We should rejoice when God finds someone who is willing to die for Him. We do not shy away or back down from such things. I live in a part of the world where people die for their faith. We do not grieve this. We rejoice! When one flower is taken away, we plant another in its place. When one Christian worker in the Arab World is killed or forced to leave, we send another. Heaven is what we long for. Jesus is our prize!
For whose glory do you live?
- Read and discuss Rachel Jones’ article titled Heavenly Citizenship [on Engage Handout].
- Read Philippians 3:19-21. How might awareness of our eternal citizenship impact our temporal choices in the world?
- According to John 3:3, how can one see the Kingdom of God? What does Matthew 7:21‑23 teach us about heavenly citizenship?
- In this world, how are we to respond to our temporal authorities [Romans 13:1‑6]?
- What do Daniel 7:27 and Isaiah 9:7 tell us about the kingdoms of this world and Christ’s kingdom?
- What does the Bible teach us about welcoming people we don’t know [Hebrews 13:2; 3 John 1:1-8]?
- Read Galatians 5:22-26 and discuss as a group how the Fruit of the Spirit affects our action toward those with whom we do not agree? Toward those we do not know or understand?
Paul’s Third Missionary Journey (Acts 20:1-38)
In Paul’s third missionary journey, there are many amazing stories and teaching moments where we can glean biblical truth. However, reading through this passage, I can’t help but get stuck on the story of this young man Eutychus. I can’t help but chuckle as I read the story of this young man sitting in a window who falls asleep, falls out the window, and dies all while Paul preaches an extensive sermon. What, you may be asking yourself, is my point? In Acts 20:12, after Paul has brought this boy back from the dead, it states simply, “They took away the boy alive and were greatly comforted.” This event was a divine encounter. Of all the people Paul ministered to during his third missionary journey, we read about this town and this boy who was brought back to life after an unusual circumstance and everyone was comforted. Although Paul was not expecting someone listening to his preaching would get bored, fall asleep, fall out a window and die, God uses Paul that day to radically impact the life of Eutychus. Through healing him, Paul impacts the town for eternity. As God used Paul, he wants to use us in unexpected divine encounters to see people’s lives impacted for eternity.
All People Are Sinners (Acts 20:1-38)
This passage leaves no room to misunderstand the reality that there is no one on this earth that is without sin. No matter how well we attempt to live our lives, there is no way on this earth that we can accomplish righteousness on our own. Although this is a sad reality on this earth, it makes the power of Christ’s death on the cross much more beautiful. There is a song called Not Guilty, written by Mandisa. In this song, she expresses this truth in a powerful way by stating, “How can it be? I can’t begin to comprehend, what kind of grace would take the place of all my sin? I stand in awe now that I have been set free, and the tears well up as I look at that cross because it should have been me.” There is nothing more to say than praise the Lord for His grace to die on that cross and to pay a debt from sin that I could never pay back! He is so good!
God gives us genuine spiritual gifts that demonstrate His power. Speaking in tongues (in a language one has never learned) is just one of the amazing gifts of the Spirit that are very real and still functioning today for the benefit of God’s people. Those gifts have purposes that reach far beyond the recipient. However, remember that they are not the mark of spirituality for an individual. They demonstrate God’s power through individuals. The real characteristic of spirituality is love.
1 Corinthians 12 calls for followers of Christ to live in unity. Unity is not uniformity. You are unique and not designed to be like everyone else. Unity is all the different parts of the body working with concern for each other for the purpose of Christ. He gives various gifts designed to function for the benefit of all the parts of his body. The church is designed to be the body of Christ. What ties all the parts together? Love. In fact, 1 Corinthians 13:1-2 says, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love … I am nothing.” The gift is still valid, but the person without love is nothing.
Love shows maturity and it is how we are known. The writer of Corinthians says that when he became a man, “he put away childhood behind him.” In other words, to grow up spiritually, we must be known by our love, not by our gifts. Someday, the supernatural gifts to individuals will no longer be needed, but love will remain. 1 Corinthians 13:13 lists three important and enduring attributes of the Christian life—faith, hope and love—of which love is the greatest. Every follower of Christ needs to reflect more on how much they love they have given rather than on how many gifts they have received. It is time to grow up and practice God-given gifts with LOVE.
Trinity Chapel Assembly of God
8617 Whipps Mill Rd br>
Louisville, KY 40222 br>
(502) 425-1636 br>
Sunday Service: 10:30 AM
Family Night Activities: Wednesdays at 7pm