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Last Sunday Morning Print E-mail

WILLING TO DIE AND SUBMIT
Acts 21:1-26


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None of us can escape the necessity of dealing with tension in our lives.  We face it at work.  We face it at home.  And we even face it in the Church.  Hopefully, we could all give examples of times when the tension was dealt with in such a way as to promote unity and peace among the parties involved.  Yet, I fear that all of us could also give examples of times when the tension escalated and resulted in anger and division.  The truth is that not every tension can be resolved peacefully.  We live in a fallen world.  Our relationships are plagued by sin and selfishness and pride (and not just from others!).  Sometimes we have to take a stand for truth or what’s right in the situation, even when we know that such a stand will be costly.  Yet, there are other times when we can and should fight for peace, doing all that we can to resolve the tension.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 07 October 2014 )
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Acts 20:17-38: Encouragement in Ministry Print E-mail

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I am preaching to myself this morning.  In one sense, that is always true, but especially this morning as we look at Paul’s speech to the Ephesian elders.  As a pastor, an elder, I need to hear what Paul says in this passage.  I need to pay attention to his encouragement and his charge to these men.  So the sermon is for me.  Yet, what about you, right?  I mean, should I just dismiss you guys and preach to myself this morning?  Before you start packing up your things and heading for the door, let me help you see why you should listen to this sermon as well.  There are many expectations for ministers today.  Unfortunately, not all of those expectations line up with Scripture.  And lest you think that I am arguing for an easier job, I fear that most of the expectations for a pastor are far too small, or at least too occupied with lesser things.  So what should we expect from our ministers?  What does the Bible say about this?  I think a good place to start in answering these questions is Paul’s speech to the Ephesian elders.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 07 October 2014 )
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Acts 20:1-16: The Mission to Encourage Print E-mail

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One of the greatest sources of encouragement for believers should be other believers.  Look around the room.  Look at the person sitting next to you, the one setting in front of you, behind you, across from you.  These are some the greatest sources of encouragement that God has placed in your life.  And guess what?  He has placed you in their lives to encourage them.  We noted a few weeks ago that God is the Great Encourager of His people.  We saw how he encouraged Paul in Corinth by giving him a people to minister to and a promise of protection.  We pointed out that another way that God encouraged Paul was through Aquila and Priscilla, who were tentmakers like Paul and provided him with a place to stay.  God used them to encourage the Apostle, who came to the city in weakness and in fear and much trembling (1 Corinthians 2:3).  Paul received much encouragement from his fellow believers.  And as we have noted in the repeated missionary journeys, Paul was intentional with his encouragement of the Churches that he planted.  He sought to evangelize the lost and encourage the saints.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 07 October 2014 )
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Acts 19:21-41: The Mission and the Authorities Print E-mail

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Opposition to the gospel is a repeated theme in the book of Acts.  Paul is constantly getting kicked out of the synagogues and kicked out of the cities.  In almost every story we read of those who did not like the message of a crucified and risen Savior.  The reasons for their opposition vary: sometimes it's theological, sometimes it's racial, sometimes it's economical (like in our passage this morning), and sometimes its just jealousy.  All of these could be summed up with one word: unbelief.  People do not believe that Jesus is the promised Messiah, or the Savior of all men, or worth more than their earthly treasures.  They simply do not believe.  And often their opposition is fierce.  Paul has been beaten, thrown in prison, and stoned.  People are angry about what he is teaching and they want him to stop.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 27 September 2014 )
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Acts 18:24-19:20: The Need for Training and Correction Print E-mail

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Our growth as a Christian is a lifelong journey.  We never ‘arrive’ while on the earth.  In fact, we will only ‘arrive’ when we arrive in glory.  Sometimes I wish I could tell you that your pastor has learned all that he needs to know about the Bible and Christianity, but that would be a lie (although sometimes I am tempted to act like it).  The truth is, we never need to stop growing as followers of Christ.  Such growth will involve correction and training from the Word, as Paul teaches us in 2 Timothy 4: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness (v. 16).  We do not just read Scripture to find support for what we already believe (although we do find that at times).  We read Scripture and go to Bible studies and listen to sermons and live life with other believers to be trained and corrected, to grow in our faith.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 16 September 2014 )
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Acts 18:1-23: Provision for Mission Print E-mail

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The Lord is the Great Encourager.  He delights in encouraging His people as they serve Him on mission.  As we have seen in the book of Acts, the mission is not always easy.  There are times of great difficulty and discouragement.  The people have mocked Paul and laughed at his arguments.  The authorities have imprisoned him and ran him out of multiple cities.  All of this can take a toll.  And apparently, it took a toll on Paul.  He tells the Corinthians that when he came to them he came in weakness and in fear and much trembling (1 Corinthians 2:3).  The suffering that he had faced so far on this second missionary journey coupled with the mockery that he endured in Athens left him weary and weak.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 16 September 2014 )
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