35 Burst results for "Pentecost"
A highlight from Acts 030 - Power Through Purity
"All right, well good evening everyone. Let's open our Bibles to the book of Acts chapter 5 and verse 12. I want to invite the men in the room to our men's fellowship breakfast 8 a .m. Saturday. Paul Scharf is going to be presenting. And then we have a family fun day I think in the afternoon, right? So we're trying to put the word fun back into fundamentalism. That's our new motto here. So big day Saturday. But for this evening, let's open our Bibles to Acts chapter 5 verse 12. And verses 1 through 11, Ananias and Sapphira have been slain in the Holy Spirit as we saw last time. Don't mean to make light of that. So there was sort of an issue of purity within the church. As you had these two people that were kind of bringing in sin into the church and the Lord dealt with them through maximum divine discipline. And then what typically happens is when the issue of purity is handled correctly, then the church sort of takes on new power. So you have, beginning with the rest of the chapter, the power of the church. There's a tremendous description of its power in verses 12 through 16. But as typically happens when God starts to bless or use somebody, it invokes jealousy. And so you'll see jealousy there in verse 17 amongst the Sadducees leading to persecution. So the rest of chapter 5, you can kind of divide it up as the apostles' power, verses 12 through 16. And then how they were consequently persecuted, verses 17 through 42. So let's go ahead and start off here with the apostles' power. Here's a little outline of the apostles' power, verses 12 through 16. And we start off with apostolic authority, verse 12. It says, At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people, and they were all with one accord in Solomon's portico. So the first thing you see here, verse 12, is apostolic signs. And again, the apostolic signs are following how the Lord dealt with purity. So the church is now practically purified with Ananias and Sapphira, who were bringing Satan's agenda into the church, now out of the scene. And then the church takes on new authority or new power. So I guess one point of application for us is if we want to see the Lord's power in our lives, we need to maybe, I don't know, spend less time seeking power and more time seeking purity, because God uses pure vessels. And the more we give ourselves to the issue of practical sanctification, the more we give room for the Lord to work through us via his power. And the power here in the first century was manifested through the apostles. Signs and wonders were taking place. This is a sign gift. You have to understand a lot of these things in the book of Acts in the context of it's the apostles on the earth. They are sort of foundational to the outworking of the church. And so what you see in the book of Acts is miracles, signs and wonders will cluster around the apostles. Paul in Ephesians 2 verse 20 says of the apostles, having built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone. So the first, in this metaphorical temple, the first stone that goes in is the cornerstone. And then the cornerstone, and that's Jesus. The cornerstone is very important because through the cornerstone, you arrange all the other stones in the whole structure of the temple. And after the cornerstone is put in, then you put in the foundation stones. And so the Lord built the church, first putting in the cornerstone, Jesus, the most important stone. The stone by which all other stones are gauged and measured. And then after he was put in, in this metaphor that Paul is using, as he analogizes the church to a temple, in came the foundational stones of the apostles. And so that's what you see happening here. 2 Corinthians 12 and verse 12 talks about the signs of a true apostle. It says, the signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance by signs, wonders, and miracles. So that's what's taking place here. And one of the things to understand as we go through the book of Acts is every single miracle that happens in the book of Acts was performed either by an apostle, or it was performed by someone operating under the delegated authority of an apostle. So Arnold Fruchtenbaum writes of verse 12. He says verse 12 provides evidence of apostolic authority. The account of the second persecution of the church begins with apostolic signs. Again, it is important to note that in the book of Acts, only the apostles and the apostolic delegates who were appointed by the apostles by the laying on of hands were able to perform miracles, signs, and wonders. This fact has come out four times before in the book of Acts, and he's got the verses there in parenthesis. Acts 2, 43, Acts 3, 6, and 7. Acts 4, 22, and 33. And then he says, and now it's once again repeated in this verse. So you see these apostolic signs taking place, and then you see the oneness that the believers here had with each other. You get a glimpse of their spirit of unity, because the rest of verse 12 says, and they were all with one accord in Solomon's portico, Solomon's porch. Now when the church was just getting ready to start, because it was birthed on the day of Pentecost, just prior to that, in Acts 1, verse 13, they were meeting in the upper room. It says, when they had entered the city, they went to the upper room, where they were staying, and then it lists the 12 apostles. Well, by the time you get to Acts chapter 3, you can't cram everybody into the upper room. Peter preached that opening sermon on the day of Pentecost, where about 3 ,000 were saved. And according to our last numerical count, Acts 4, 4, now at least 5 ,000 are saved. And now we're in Acts chapter 5, some estimate that there could be as many as 10 ,000. So the church, just like was predicted, once the spirit fell, would start to grow exponentially. And so they couldn't fit in the upper room anymore. So they had to move to the portico, or the porch of Solomon, within the temple. You see them doing that in Acts 3, verse 11. It says, while he was clinging to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them at the so -called portico of Solomon, full of amazement. So part of the temple was named the porch of Solomon, because Solomon was the builder of the first temple, all the way back in 966 BC. And one of the things that's interesting is the early church had no problem meeting in the temple. They weren't saying, you know, we've got to get out of here, you know, we need to become Methodists as fast as we can, we need to become Presbyterians as fast as we can, we need to become Episcopalians as fast as we can, we're going to need some stained glass windows. Let's get rid of all this Jewish stuff. They had no intention to separate themselves from Judaism. All the believers at this point are Jewish. And you don't even have a Gentile converted in the book of Acts until in Cornelius Acts chapter 10. And as Jews, they had no problem celebrating Yeshua. Jim, in his opening prayer, used the word Yeshua, which is just the Hebrew name for Jesus. Jesus is the Greek name. But they had no problem celebrating their newfound life in Yeshua, in the temple, because they saw Jesus as the fulfillment of Judaism. Judaism points to Jesus. The whole purpose of the nation of Israel, one of its major purposes, is to bring Jesus into the world. So, you know, we sort of have drawn this, as Gentiles, this sort of line between us and the Jews, but the early church never did that. They didn't see the need to because they saw Christianity. In fact, this movement isn't even called Christianity yet. The word Christian is not even going to be used until Acts 11. They're just believers in Yeshua, or Jesus. And they saw that as being connected to Judaism. Judaism pointed to that, and they had no ambition to, you know, disconnect themselves from the temple in Israel. And then this expression, one accord, is very interesting to me, because that's what Jesus said would happen in the upper room. He said in John 17, verses 20 through 23, just a few days before his death, when he prayed, and he prayed there the Lord's Prayer. John 17 is the Lord's Prayer, right? Because that's the Lord praying. Matthew 6 is not the Lord's Prayer, although we errantly call it the Lord's Prayer, because Jesus never prayed that prayer in Matthew 6. That's the disciples' prayer. He was teaching the disciples how to pray. And I hope he didn't pray that prayer, because one of the lines in it is, Forgive us our debts. Jesus was sinless. So if you really want the true Lord's Prayer, read John 17, where he prays first for himself, verses 1 through 5, and then he prays for the 12, really the 11, because Judas left the room, verses 6 through 19, and then from there, I think to verse 26, the end of the chapter, he prays for the church, or those that would believe through the ministry of the apostles. And as he's praying for the future church, he mentions the unity that the Holy Spirit would bring to the church. He says in John 17, verse 20, he says, I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those who believe in me through their word, that they all may be one, even as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they may also be in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me. The glory which you have given me, I have given to them that they may be one, just as we are one. I in them, and you in me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that you sent me, and love them even as you love me. So there's a prayer there in his true Lord's Prayer, where he says, everyone that's going to be affected by the ministry of the 11, I pray that they would be just as unified as we members of the Trinity.
A highlight from Peter's Message
"We're so thankful, once again, to have the opportunity to come to God's Word and study for a little while this evening, and it's good to see each of you on this cold night that reminds us that there are four seasons in the south, and winter is right upon us. But I'm glad that you braved the cold of the night and would, that you would continue to pray for us in the time that we have together in God's Word. I'd like to title our study tonight, Peter's Message on the Day of Pentecost, Peter's Message. And I'd like to begin with a quotation that I wrote down from John MacArthur. He said, The power of the church for her external work is proportionate with the internal power of God within her. We cannot distribute loaves and fishes out of empty baskets. I thought that was a great quote and I wanted to share it with you because it really introduces of the concept why the Acts of the Apostles is so significant and important for the church in our day, because as we said last time we were together, the Acts of the Apostles or the Acts of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles is like a bridge between the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and the rest of the Bible, because it explains how that in a period less than 30 years the church would expand to the farthest regions of the Roman Empire. I mean this is before TV, this is before radio, this is before cell phones and mass communication, computers, and all of the means by which we today have to impact the whole world. And yet God used them in a mighty way, but we need to remember something. A lot of times we think about the early church being super heroes and super human beings different in so many ways than us, but I want you to realize that they were ordinary men and women that God used in an extraordinary way. We today depend upon the same power of the Holy Spirit as the early church did, the first century church, the primitive church, the first of the kind. We know through the scripture that Jesus established the church in His own personal ministry in Matthew 16, 18, He said, I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. He built the ship of Zion, He facilitated everything that she would need to sail through time and in Acts chapter 2 you're finding the wind of the Holy Spirit coming into the sails of Zion and today we still are under that same influence. We're also going to be mindful tonight that in Acts chapter 10 the same phenomenon is it's called the Gentile Pentecost and I think it's important for us to keep those two in mind because there's similarities and yet distinctions. The feast of Pentecost was so named because it occurred 50 days after the Passover, 50 days after the Passover. Now what happened on the last Passover? In our context, Jesus was crucified, He was condemned by the Sanhedrin court, by the temple guards, by the generation that witnessed the Day of Pentecost events that we're going to study tonight. We need to keep that in mind. In fact, we can't detach the phenomenon of Acts chapter 2 from the crucifixion that occurred 50 days before. It was interesting to my mind as we talked about last time how the Jews out of all these various tribes and countries came back to Jerusalem to observe this particular feast. And when they heard their mother tongue, the tongue or the language that they were born in being spoken by these uneducated, unlearned Galileans, they knew something powerful was going on. How can this be that we hear the gospel in our own language in the country that we came from? How is that possible? It's impossible with men, but it's possible with God. All things are possible with God. And of course, it's natural for them to ask in verse 12, What meaneth these things? What does it mean? What is happening in our very midst? What is God saying to us? But there were in verse 13 others that mocked saying, These men are full of new wine. Now there's always going to be those two groups, aren't there? There's always going to be those groups that are seeking the true purpose and meaning of the movement of God and those that stand on the outside and just mock it, make fun of it. Now, we want to pick up our study tonight in verse 14, but there's something that keeps coming back to me. There was something unique that happened during this feast that I think has more of a significance than we think. As we study Leviticus chapter 23 verses 15 through 21, we find that the high priest was to take two leavened loaves of bread. Now remember, during the Passover time and the Passover feast, it was the feast of unleavened bread. Unleavened bread was what they were partaking of for seven days. But at this particular time, God commanded his high priest to take two bread loaves with leaven and present them before the Lord. And I believe that there's more in that than we can even begin to describe or understand. Because I believe that it's pertaining to the believers among the Jews and the Gentiles being brought together. I find in 1 Corinthians chapter 10 verse 17, Paul said, For we, being many, are one bread, and one body. For we are all partakers of that one bread. To me, Acts chapter 2 and Acts chapter 10 is an appropriate picture of these two loaves being held by our high priest, Jesus Christ, molded into one body. And that's the mystery of the church. The mystery of the church is that it would be open not only to the Jew, but also to the Gentile. And that access to the Father would be given to those that were not natural descendants of Abraham, but were spiritual descendants by virtue of the new birth. So I think that that has an implication in what actually occurred and why the Holy Spirit came at this particular feast. In verse 14, we read, But Peter standing up with the eleven lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judah... Now this is, he's speaking to Jews. These are the Jewish people, a Jewish message, if you will. And all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken unto my words. Now I want to underscore something, if you don't mind. I want to understand that this is the same Peter that denied the Lord Jesus three times just a few days ago. This is the same Peter that when the Lord looked upon him in that court of Caiaphas and saw Peter denying that he wept bitterly. He went out and wept bitterly. He was repentant. That same Peter that says, I'll tell you what, you know, I've blown it and I'm no good and there's no way God could ever use me again and I'm just going back to fishing. This is the same Peter, but it's the same Peter that Jesus spoke to and restored him. Lovelest thou me more than these? Remember, Peter was the one that bragged about loving Christ more than anybody else. I love you more than these guys do. I mean, Jesus, these guys are wimps. I'm going to stand strong and I'm going to stand firm and I'm going to defend you with all my might because I'm Peter, because of what I can do, what I know, and my own ability. Jesus says, Simon, before the cock crows this night, you're going to deny me three times. Peter said, no way, to put it in my terminology, no way, Jose, that ain't going to happen. Now these other wimps are going to let you down, but I'm not going to let you down. I'll go to prison with you. I'll even go to death. Ah, Peter, you don't know. You're leaning on your own strength. You just don't understand, son. You're going to deny me. In that very night, he denied him three times. But oh, wasn't it wonderful when Jesus would restore him with this one question, do you love me? That's what he looks for. He's not looking for great skill. He's not looking for outward success. He's not looking for the things that most people look for in a leader, but he's looking for somebody that learned from his failure. That's who he'll call to be a leader. It's no accident that it's Peter that stands up. Peter's not hiding out. Peter's no longer denying. He's going to stand up in front of the crowd that condemned Jesus to death. Remember, these events are taking place very close to the Temple Mount, very in the city of Jerusalem itself. These events are being witnessed by the Sanhedrin, the very Jews that cried out, crucify him, crucify him. But Peter's not afraid, is he? He's lost his fear. He's not afraid of men or demons. Peter stands up and he's going to speak out loud and boldly because he's been empowered by the Holy Spirit. Don't you see that's the difference? He's been empowered by a power that's greater than himself. And he's beckoning the people to hear his words. In verse 15, for these are not drunken as ye suppose. Now who are the these? These are the church members. These are the 120 that were gathered in one place with one purpose, with one accord, waiting for the promise of the Holy Spirit that Jesus said in Luke chapter 24 verse 49, tarry ye in Jerusalem till ye be endued with power from on high. They're waiting for that promise. That promise comes and now they're filled with this Holy Spirit and now they're bold witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ and Peter is among them and he's a leader among them. And he says these church members are not drunken as ye suppose seeing it is but the third hour of the day, nine o 'clock in the morning. They're not drinking in the morning time. They wouldn't do that normally, especially at the time of a feast. They wouldn't be doing that. Verse 16, he's going to draw their attention to what they are acquainted with, the Old Testament promises, the Old Testament prophecies concerning the time of the Messiah. He says he's going to go to joy. Well he could have gone to any of the prophets, did you know that? He could have gone to any of the prophets in the Old Testament but he chose Joel. And he says this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel and this is what he quotes from the book of Joel, and it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God. Now underscore that last days there. Somebody says do you think we're in the last days? Well we've been in the last days for 2 ,000 years, did you know that? The last days began actually at the time of the crucifixion from that time up until the end of the church age, those are the last days. But particularly I think he's referring to the last days of the Jewish economy or the time the before temple itself was destroyed in Jerusalem, these last days as it were.
A highlight from Does Christianity Uniquely Lead to God?
"Music Broadcasting the west side of Big Brothers City in the heart of Gridlock County, where preaching with impact is like plowing pavement, people continue to place their hope in unsatisfying things. This is the Frederick Faith Debate. It's brought to us by Cruz Holidays, BMC Insurance, and Putman www .ufmd .com keyword faith. There you find links to podcasts of this show. Well, if you go right now, you won't find a podcast of this show, but if you wait about two days, you'll find a podcast of this show. If you go there right now, you'll find podcasts of shows very much like it. You'll also find the Faith Debate blog. My blog is your blog. Email me, troyskinner at clearchannel .com. Whatever you send me, it could be your favorite pie recipe, whatever. I will post it up there. You can rail against the Democrats, rail against Republicans. I will post it up there. I don't really care as long as it's, you know, if a four -year -old accidentally stumbles upon it that they wouldn't be mortified by a word they'd never seen before. That I, that I will take out. Whenever I hear the phrase podcast, it makes me think of Star Wars and, you know, the, uh, the droids trying to escape in a pod. I just, I can't get it out of my head. So whenever you say it, I think podcasts, and I have this picture in my mind of people plugging in to this pod that is sending these droids away. And the funny thing is, every time I think of the name Jonathan Switzer, I think of a droid. I don't know what. Anyway, he's the senior pastor of Crossroads Valley Chapel. I was going to try to whistle like RTD. You can follow, follow him online, uh, at Switzer, not on Twitter, at Switzer, Jonathan. And let's see, it's the latter part of October. It's not trending yet. I just got to tell you. I think he, based on his current schedule, he will send out one more tweet between now and the end of the year. That's right. So hold your breath. It's coming. And joining us this week again, back for round four of her abuse at the hands of Jonathan Switzer. He's been really nice. It's more like abuse at the hands of me. Our Happy Lutheran, blogging at HappyLutheran .blogspot .com. Dr. Kristen Largan, who is an associate professor of systematic theology, also teaches comparative theology classes at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. And it's been a pleasure having her on the show. And now we're really going to get to the nitty -gritty. Jonathan ended with such a great question, right, about, um, what do we do with the scriptural witness that seems to clearly state that some people are going to be damned? And, um, you, and then, then you asked, I think, what was a broader question about do we not have sort of guidelines in scripture? Guidelines for communicating to people and encouraging them to examine their hearts to see whether or not they're in the truth and in the kingdom. Well, you know, it's so, it's, it's interesting. I mean, again, we, we've talked now multiple times over the course of these weeks about our, um, how our backgrounds come to play a role. And again, because I'm Lutheran, um, and the thing that Lutherans are known, known for most is this really, really high doctrine of sinfulness. And so I, I'm, I'm so, um, I, I always get so uneasy when people start talking about telling others to examine themselves, because I always think, oh, I could, I could spend all my time examining before myself I even try to examine anyone else, because I, I, I know the depth of my own sinfulness and, and my own inability to do right before God or, or come to God and, and, and my sort of desperate need for, for, um, the Spirit to be at work in me. But how would you know to do that if no one had ever told you that you needed to examine yourself or your sinfulness? Nobody ever told me to examine myself. The, the idea didn't tell you to do that? Well, that's later. I, to me, I think, I think that, um, the, what, I mean, I think, right, Paul says, if you, if you don't know the law, how can you, how can you know the gospel? But I think in some ways, if you don't know a gracious God, how can you even understand what you've, what you've done wrong? I mean, so there's a, there's a sense for me that, yeah, right, yeah, right. Clearly his grace came first because he created us. He gave us life. And then we fell and then he gave the law, but, you know. Right. And I think, I think God's grace still comes first. And so, you know, when we talk about this kind of, to me, what always feels like the kind of threatening language of, oh, you better examine yourself. I, I want to say the, the first thing that I want to talk about is the great work of this loving God who, who is, um, because because simply I like to think that the fact that God has shown mercy on me, a sinner undeserving of God's grace. So also will God show mercy on others, sinners unworthy of God's grace. So this is the distinction that I feel like Troy has been making between how he views what you're saying and what I've been trying to do viewing it is that, um, as long as what you're describing has to do with an attitudinal approach to, to presenting the truth in the gospel, I'm with you. But Troy's going the other way and saying, okay, attitude aside, bottom line, do you feel like it's important for us to, you know, in the parable of the talents to recognize that he who has is going to be given more, but he who doesn't have even what he does have is going to be taken away from him, that we hit the negative and in hitting the negative that, that, that we're willing to not just attitudinally encourage people in a positive way towards what's right, but, but to substantially recognize that a big part of the message of the gospel is repent. Yeah. And no, I, I don't, I, that's, I, would you agree that that was Peter's message on Pentecost Sunday? I mean, it's hard to get away from, I feel like, I feel like I'm leading you, you know, it's a loaded question. Clearly that's what he said. One word you would say, you would sum up the Pentecostal, the, the, the message of Pentecost, the birth of the church, you would sum up that in one word with repent.
A highlight from He Will Glorify Me
"Welcome to Gospel in Life. Throughout the Bible, there are signs that point us to the gospel. Today Tim Keller is looking at how we can discover them and what they teach us. Tonight's scripture reading is from John chapter 16, verses 5 through 15. But now I am going to him who sent me. None of you ask me, Where are you going? Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment. About sin, because people do not believe in me. About righteousness, because I am going to the Father where you can see me no longer. And about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own. He will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me, because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said, The Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you. The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God. Now, when you're about to die, you don't make small talk. You don't talk about the weather or what your favorite sports teams will do next year. You talk about the most crucial, important things in your thinking, at least. Now, Jesus is, this is the night before he's about to die, and we've been studying the chapters, chapter 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. Jesus' training, as it were, of his disciples just before he's about to die. And one of the things that Jesus is talking about constantly, and therefore, it must be extremely important, is the Holy Spirit. Have you noticed how often it comes up? This is another sermon on the Holy Spirit, because it's another passage on the Holy Spirit. Why is Jesus constantly talking about the Holy Spirit? I think we learn at least two things here. There's two reasons. One is a kind of, I want to call it negative. One is a hard reason, at least it's hard to hear. One is a wonderful reason. I think the two reasons that Jesus thinks the Holy Spirit is so important to talk about, so crucial to understand, so important to have, is one, because without him, there's no remedy for the spiritual blindness and cluelessness of the human race. But with him, we can be taken into realms of experience and transformation that we can't imagine. You see why I say one is sort of negative, one is positive? Without him, we have no hope of having our spiritual blindness cured. With him, we can go to the stars. So let's take a look at these two. The first one is in the first paragraph of our passage. The second one is in the second paragraph, the one that actually isn't printed in your bulletin, because of my cluelessness, I sent the wrong numbers in to the people who do the bulletin. You just heard it read. But there's two paragraphs. One has more to do with the Holy Spirit's mission to the world, as it is, and the second is more to the mission to us as disciples. Now, the first is this. In verses 7 to 11, Jesus is saying something. It's so startling that I'm going to try to find the best way possible to put it. I think it's so startling when he says in verse 7, you desperately need me to leave. He doesn't quite say it that way. But he says, very truly, I tell you. I mean, that's Jesus being very, very emphatic there. Very truly, I tell you, it is for your good I'm going away. Unless I go, the advocate will not come. And then later, he tells us why without the advocate, they just will not grasp the things he's trying to tell them. Now, I've had people during my years come to me and say, believing this Jesus stuff is really hard. Trusting this Christian stuff is hard. But if I could have been there, if I could have actually seen him raise Lazarus from the dead, if I could actually heard him preach, then I would know, then I'd be able to believe. And this is telling you, telling that person and you, if you believe that, you're wrong. Because these disciples had been there. They had seen Lazarus raised from the dead. They'd seen all this stuff. And they're still clueless. Look at the apostles before Pentecost, before they get the Holy Spirit. They're constantly misunderstanding. They're constantly fighting.
HH4 The Suffering of Love The Heart of Hope w/ Deacon James Keating Ph.D. Discerning Hearts Podcast - burst 1
"So Jesus is trying to teach us that I have undergone this love first, I have offered myself for the bride, and now through my Holy Spirit, which came at Pentecost, I infuse this spirit of loving you too so that you can choose to love even though it will bring you suffering. First, the death of your own ego, and then second, other types of suffering that will befall you, that I will be there for you. You cannot see them yet, you cannot see them now, but they may come. And when they come as a result of your commitment to love, I will be there for you. And I will empower you to stay faithful to love, even though it involves suffering.
A highlight from HH4 The Suffering of Love The Heart of Hope w/ Deacon James Keating Ph.D. Discerning Hearts Podcast
"Discerninghearts .com presents The Heart of Hope, Suffering, and the Cross of Christ with Deacon James Keating. Deacon Keating is a professor of spiritual theology and serves as a spiritual director at Kenrick Lenon Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. Deacon Keating has led more than 400 workshops in areas of morality and spirituality and has authored numerous books including The Way of Mystery, Listening for Truth, and Spiritual Fatherhood, The Heart of Hope, Suffering, and the Cross of Christ with Deacon James Keating. I'm your host, Kris McGregor. We've been discussing a subject that for many people, though they may not want to admit it, but deep down inside seems very repulsive, and that's suffering. And we are in a culture that just does not want to look at the face of suffering. No, and our own church says that unnecessary suffering should be taken away or dealt with. Certainly we're not a church that wills suffering and pain. But there's always this remainder factor because of our humanity and our limit and our finitude and our brokenness that the complete eradication of pain will probably be impossible, whether it's physical pain through medicine, the recovery that happens after some type of medical treatments, emotional pain, despite our pharmacology, probably we'll never be able to escape totally suffering and pain. And even though the church teaches that pain is an evil, you're not morally evil for undergoing pain, but it's a physical evil, what the church traditionally calls a physical evil, like when a hurricane comes and knocks someone's house down. That's a physical evil. That's a suffering that is just not to be tolerated. It is something that should not be, and yet in fact we know we have to endure these things because of the condition of our world. And so that being said, there are these realities in life which will carry suffering and pain, and the church has always struggled with teaching its members how to approach this type of suffering that cannot be eradicated, pain that cannot be stopped. And it has always looked to the Lord to do its teaching, and the Lord has always taught from the cross, and he has always taught from his healing hand. And so there are two places that the church looks. The first is the healing hand of Christ, as he went around through the New Testament and healed the lepers, or healed people who were physically afflicted with medical conditions. We see the will of God very clear there. God's will is our well -being. God's will is our happiness. And yet we also see him mounting the cross, and what does that mean? What is the will of God there? And it appears to be that God's will is that we suffer love. And we have to use the word we suffer love, because as we noted in a previous conversation, love is not natural to us. What's natural to us is to be preoccupied with the self. And so to offer ourselves for another, which is what the cross is symbolizing, to live a self -donative life, like the bridegroom Christ did toward his bride, involves pain and suffering. And so here we have the great mystery of Jesus in a, what the theologians would call, in an eschatological way, in a way that anticipates heaven, in other words. We see Jesus going around healing and eradicating pain, but a very deeply incarnational way. We see him calling out to us from the cross that I am here with you, I am one with you, and I'm trying to teach you and trying to empower you to become fully human in grace and to choose to love even if it kills you, to choose to love even if it is painful. For in this world, love will be painful. In this world, love will kill. First it kills the ego, and in the martyr, it will kill even the body. But in this world, love is not welcomed. And so Jesus is trying to teach us that I have undergone this love first, I have offered myself for the bride, and now through my Holy Spirit, which came at Pentecost, I infuse this spirit of loving you too so that you can choose to love even though it will bring you suffering. First, the death of your own ego, and then second, other types of suffering that will befall you, that I will be there for you. You cannot see them yet, you cannot see them now, but they may come. And when they come as a result of your commitment to love, I will be there for you. And I will empower you to stay faithful to love, even though it involves suffering. And in fact, your commitment to stay faithful to love, even though it involves pain and happiness, which is the great paradox of Christian holiness. Throughout the Gospels, you've pointed out that we have all the images of Jesus healing, of the emotional and also the physical sufferings of those he encounters. But there comes a point in the Gospels, probably one of the most poignant moments, where he is on the cross and encounters two individuals who were in a great deal of suffering next to him on their individual crosses. From the Gospel of Luke, one of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us. But the other rebuked him, saying, Do you not fear God? Since you are under the same sentence of condemnation, and we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong. And he said, Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingly power. And he said to him, Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise. And we see here the great drama of the human situation. You have God, who is taken on the human situation in love, in the center of the scene. And he is basically saying, This act of my love on the cross demands a response. Okay, so what will be your response? And the first criminal out of his pain speaks a type of blasphemy. The temptation that is so common or so familiar to all of us who are in pain to pass through this blasphemous stage. I hate you, God. Where are you, God? You call yourself God. Seeing Christ absorbs these words. He suffers these words. Where are you, God? And of course, Jesus is saying, You're talking to me. I'm right here with you. And, you know, the pain sometimes is so great that it blinds our mind and turns our will from the very reality of God. God has deigned to share any pain and any suffering that we are in. The criminal on the cross is speaking to a man who is equally crucified. And he's saying to him, Why don't you save yourself? You know, why don't you prove to me your God? Why don't you prove, prove? And Jesus says, I am proving. I'm proving that I am the one you are looking for by staying here with you, by not coming down from the cross. And for some reason, the very presence of Jesus, at least in this scenario, was unable to soften and make vulnerable the heart of this first criminal. And yet on the other side, there was this other human being in pain, suffering. He, too, looking for God. But for whatever reason, he had a clarity of thought about his own human state. I am guilty, he said. I've done something really evil. And he thought to himself, I deserve this pain. He knew that Jesus was innocent. And he adored the Lord in the Lord's innocence. It was a befuddlement to this man, a paradox. Why are you staying a puzzle? You are God, you are innocent, and yet you stay with us in our pain, in our suffering. And he began to sing the praises of Jesus. I am a sinner. You are innocent. You have done nothing wrong. I deserve this. And living in the fullness of this truth, the response of God himself was, You have made yourself so vulnerable to the mystery of my love for you, that I promise you, your suffering, your pain will end in and by the mystery of my eternal love for you. And this day, you will be with me in heaven. And so this second criminal related all of his human truth. He confessed his weakness. He confessed his sins. He related his pain upon the cross to the truth of his own guilt. And further, he related it to the innocence of the one who was suffering lovingly right next to him. And the response of God was that both of us will transcend this suffering in the mystery of time and death. And when this time and death is finished, both of us will know the freedom and the happiness of pain -free love, and we will be together. And the drama here, of course, is, well, what about the other criminal? Did Jesus not take him? And once again, as we look at the other criminal, we do not see the same vulnerability. We do not see the same existence in reality as the second criminal. In order for us to be saved, to have our suffering and our pain taken up into the love of God, we've got to live in reality. And the reality is, we are sinners. We are limited. We are broken. If we relate all of that to the love of God, then we will be living in reality, and then God will be able to reach us. We'll return in just a moment to The Heart of Hope, Suffering and the Cross of Christ with Deacon James Keating. Did you know that Discerning Hearts has a free app where you can find all your favorite Discerning Hearts programming? Father Timothy Gallagher, Dr. Anthony Lillis, Monsignor John S. of Deacon James Keating, Father Donald Haggerty, Mike Aquilina, Dr. Matthew Bunsen, and so many more. They're all available on the free Discerning Hearts app. Over 3 ,000 spiritual formation programs and prayers, all available to you with no hidden fees or subscriptions. Did you also know that you can listen to Discerning Hearts programming wherever you download your favorite podcasts, like Apple Podcasts, Google Play, iHeartRadio, Spotify, even on Audible, as well as numerous other worldwide podcast streaming platforms? And did you know that Discerning Hearts also has a YouTube channel? Be sure to check out all these different places where you can find Discerning Hearts Catholic podcasts, dedicated to those on the spiritual journey. From the desire of being honored. From the desire of being praised. From the desire of being preferred to others. From the desire of being consulted. From the desire of being approved. From the fear of being humiliated. 10. Deliver me, Jesus, from the fear of being despised, deliver me Jesus, from the fear of suffering rebukes, deliver me Jesus, from the fear of being colluminated. 11. Deliver me, Jesus, from the fear of being forgotten deliver me Jesus from the fear of being ridiculed, deliver me Jesus from the fear of being wrong. 12. that others may become holier than I, provided that I become as holy as I should. Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. Amen. Streaming DH broadcast encounters and updates about our latest offerings. On our YouTube channel, you'll find a treasure trove of video podcasts, interviews, guided meditations and prayers, and reflections from renowned spiritual leaders. These resources are carefully curated to provide guidance, wisdom, and insights that can help you discern life's challenges with a sense of purpose and peace. By subscribing, following, and engaging with Discerning Hearts on these platforms, you're not only enriching your own spiritual journey, but also helping to spread awareness of our mission. Every like, share, and comment helps us reach more people who are seeking meaningful growth and connection. So, please take a moment to follow us on Instagram and Facebook, and make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel as well, and then share with a friend. Join the Discerning Hearts community and embark on a transformative spiritual journey alongside fellow seekers. Your engagement not only benefits you, but also contributes to the growth and impact of Discerning Hearts. We now return to The Heart of Hope, Suffering and the Cross of Christ, with Deacon James Cady. God did not place the criminals on those crosses. And yet, he didn't cause their suffering. But it's as though he entered into it with them. God, in terms of revelation, God does not cause the pain and the suffering that we are in. When we are talking about moral suffering, we cause that pain and that suffering. When we are talking about physical evil, sickness, natural disasters, these are the signs of the truth, that this is not heaven, that we still labor, we still journey to holiness. Earth does not exhaust holiness. Earth still has signs of decrepitude and sin and mortality and death. These are all banished in heaven. But we still journey through time, which itself is a sign of limitation. And so no God does not want us to suffer. And for us to continue in relationship with this God, we have to continue in relationship with him like the second thief, almost in sublime adoration, that innocence itself would choose to suffer what we suffer in time. The beauty and the majesty of the second thief is that he was in a stance of adoration before the innocence of God. Notice how he wasn't consumed by himself. He noted that he was a sinner and then he turned every ounce of his energy toward the one who was suffering next to him. And he began to adore the mystery he could not understand. But you, you are innocent. Who are you? What would lead you to do this, to share my death, to share my hospital room? To share my brokenness in my loneliness? What would lead you to do this, you who are innocence itself? And of course, Jesus' only answer is, I am love. I am love. It's love that leads me to be with you in your pain and suffering. Now, will you let me this close? See, the first criminal, for whatever reason, would not let the mystery of this love close. And so his pain remained. The second criminal, for whatever reason, allowed the deepest of intimacy between his pain and the pain of Jesus. And it was in that vulnerability that Christ could reach in and save him and bring him to the Father. Do not be afraid in your pain and in your suffering to let Jesus closer than you imagine. This is salvation. Let him closer than you can imagine. Invite him into your very wounds. Invite him into your very anger. Invite him into your very disappointment, your sadness, your grief. Do not be afraid to let him close. Then we all then will hear, this day you will be with me in paradise. Isn't that what's at the heart of hope? Exactly. You cannot see. You cannot feel. You cannot touch. And yet you trust the promises of Jesus. To hope is to trust the promises of Jesus in the face of little evidence that these promises will ever come true. It is a supernatural gift that we need to pray for. Very few of us ever pray for the virtue of hope to take up residence in us. More and more we have to say, Jesus, give me hope. Particularly as we grow older or our life progresses, more and more we are going to need the supernatural virtue of hope, the infused gift of hope that even though I cannot see it or feel it, or experience it, I know that God is faithful to his promises. And in some mysterious way, he's working out my salvation through this suffering and pain. And one day I too will be in heaven. He didn't take away the suffering from the thief next to him on the cross. He had to endure it, didn't he? And this is such a scandalous reality to Christianity. It's that this God that's supposed to love us leaves us in pain. And yet analogously, parents can understand this type of limit to love in our own childbearing, where many times we have to stand by and endure the suffering of our own children. For either we cannot step in or we dare not step in. And in a faint way, in a way that bears a deeper mystery than that which I just spoke about parenting, God dares not step in because in some mysterious way, in ways that are known only to him and his sacred heart, he knows that if we find him in this suffering, our happiness will be rich, beyond measure, flowing over. And the great tragedy is that so many of us will not accept his invitation to dwell in our wounds, to dwell in our pain. And so our suffering becomes an occasion of meaninglessness and anger. But notice the second thief, where his suffering and Christ's suffering became linked in an ecstasy of worship and adoration and wonder. Notice that his suffering made him think of God's generosity. Not that I am alone here suffering and in pain, but oh, I remember that you chose to come and suffer with me. And to share my pain, you chose it while it befell me. This is what makes Jesus so fascinating because he beguiles us with this love. And this of course is not simply historical for this man, since the spirit and since God is timeless, he is continually loving us in the pain and calling us to share it with him. Thank you, Deacon Keating. Thank you. You've been listening to The Heart of Hope, Suffering and the Cross of Christ with Deacon James Keating. To hear and or to download this conversation, along with hundreds of other spiritual formation programs, visit .com, discerninghearts or you can find it within the free Discerning Hearts app or wherever you download your favorite podcast. This has been a production of Discerning Hearts. I'm your host, Chris McGregor. We hope that if this has been helpful for you, that you will first pray for our mission, which is to offer authentic and rock solid spiritual formation freely to souls around the world. And if you feel us worthy, please consider a charitable donation, which is fully tax deductible to help support our efforts. But most of all, we hope that you will tell a friend about discerninghearts .com and join us next time for The Heart of Hope, Suffering and the Cross of Christ with Deacon James Keating.
A highlight from Why Evangelize?
"Listen to God in prayer. Our Father tonight, we thank you for Christ, the one who loved us, who gave himself for us, whose love ought to constrain us, his love for us, and the one whom we profess to love, his love should constrain us for him. O God, are we about to speak on a subject that many, if not everyone here, have heard time and again, time and time again. For some it makes them feel guilty, others have heard it so many times that they no longer are perturbed or moved. Yet, O God, what is important to you should be important to us. What moves your heart should move our hearts, and we thank you that what you have called us to do, you enable us to do. We thank you for the promise which we have heard a thousand times that you will build your church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against us. We are weak, we are sinful, we are unbelieving, we are unfaithful. We are merely instruments left to ourselves who are destined to fail. But by your grace and spirit, that which is impossible with men is possible with you. Whatever hours, days, weeks, months, or years you may have here on earth, it is our prayer that you will revive your work in us. That, O God, our hearts being filled with love of Christ would be stirred to share him with those who are yet on the brinks of eternity. May you forgive me of my sins and my many failures in this area of my life, my lack of passion, my lack of zeal, my indifference. May you forgive me of my sins, and as each one cries out, may you forgive us of our sins. And may we know a taste of what it is concerning what was said concerning the disciples of old, they went everywhere preaching the word. O Lord, fill us with a knowledge of you that would overflow in our speech. And may you please, may it please you, Lord, to bring many to Christ. Have mercy upon us, draw near to us in your grace, show us your glory, that we may know you and glorify you. In Christ's name we pray. Amen. Well, let's open our Bibles to Matthew 28. Matthew 28, and again I'm using the New American Standard Bible. And what do I say? I have so much to say to you and I have so much to say tonight. And I will begin by saying, but I don't know if I ever finish a sermon. I think I've built something of a reputation of being the preacher who does not finish his sermons. But I tell you what, what I say is what God wanted me to say and that's important. I may not be homiletically given an A or an A plus, but I trust that what I say. Imagine Peter say, I have three points for you tonight on a day of Pentecost, but I want to give the cover two. And everybody says, well, you're going to lose a point for that. Well, I trust the Spirit of God will guide me. And I know you know this passage, some of you may know it almost from memory, but let us read it in regards to our hearts. From verse one. Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. Can I pause here? Thank God for women in the church. Thank God for faithful women in the church. Luke 8 says there were a group of women who followed the Lord and who served him. I don't know where the churches of the Lord would have been without women. Or your place is not in the pulpit. But believe me, you have a place. We thank God for you. And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred. For an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning and his clothing as white as snow. The gods shook for fear and became like dead men. Now shook there is from the same word for earthquake. So as I told our church recently, I said to the men, earthquake. That's how profound the appearance of the angel was. And may God give us a taste when we come. It doesn't matter who preaches. When we come to church, may we be earthquakes in the presence of God. May God shake us, revive us. And then it goes on, the gods shook for fear. Verse 5, the angel said to the women, Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for he has risen. Just as he said, Come, see the place where he was lying. Go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead. And behold, he is going ahead of you into Galilee, where there you will see him. Behold, I have told you. Comment here. I don't need no archaeologist to tell me the tomb. God told me the tomb is empty. Do not let science be raised above this. Science must not judge the truthfulness of this, but this must judge the truthfulness of science in every field of study. Once you are saved and you read this book of the Lord, more and more the Spirit impresses on you its invincibility, its authority, its inerrancy, because by reading it, faith is increased. Now we go to verse 8. And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to report it to his disciples. And every morning when we awake and remember the Lord has risen, we too shall be filled with great joy. And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them, and they came up, took hold of his feet and worshipped him. That's how evangelism begins. Not with a training class, as important as that may be. Evangelism begins with knowing that Christ is risen and responding appropriately to him who conquered sin, death, the devil, and hell. It doesn't begin in somebody guilting you into witnessing or training you to witness. It begins with your heart being awakened to the reality of who he is. We read on. And behold, Jesus met them. Verse 10. And Jesus said to them, Do not be afraid, and go and take word to my brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see me. Now while they were on their way, some of the guards came into the city and reported to the chief priest all that had happened. When they had assembled with the rulers and consulted together, they gave them a large sum of money to the soldiers and said, You are to say, his disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep. And if this should come to the governor's air, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble. They were ignoring the one who came and did what was necessary to keep us out of trouble. Now they were spending money to keep those who were going to tell a lie out of trouble. And they were actually getting themselves and these guards in more trouble, at least in the sight of God. And if this should come to the governor's air, we will write verse 15, And they took the money and did as they had been instructed. And this story was widely spread among the Jews as is today, as is to this day. May I encourage you, there will always be lies about, always be false preachers about. You know, Cecil B. Mills, some of you may know that name. The Great Ten Commandments, you know that old movie that people like to see with Charlton Heston? Well, in case you didn't know, Charlton Heston is not Moses. But Cecil B. Mills said, you can't break the Ten Commandments. You can only break yourself against the Ten Commandments. You can't change God's truth. And no matter how many lies there are about there, you can't change one unit of God's truth. So we read on. But eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had designated, which means this was preplanned. His death, burial, and resurrection was not something he did not expect. He said it many times, Mark 9, Mark 10, Mark 8, 9, and 10 each time. He said, I will die. I will rise again. The disciples never got it. That's just in Mark alone. You could probably do a Bible study of the four gospels, then act and see how many times it's repeated. And Jesus came up and spoke, sorry, when they saw him, now notice verse 17, when they saw him, they what? They worshipped. You see again, the Great Commission is given in the context of worship. We can't train people to witness and think that's going to work. We teach them who Jesus is, and when they're led by the Spirit of God, informed by the Word of God, to acknowledge his, let me use a fancy word, ineffable gloriousness, his majesty. They would say we cannot but speak the things which we are seen heard. and Was Isaiah would say, here am I, send me? The question was not directly announced to Isaiah, but he heard a voice that whom shall we send, who shall go? And so overwhelmed by the glory of the God he had seen, he said, here am I. Here am I, send me. We must never teach evangelism or call people to evangelism without first calling them to the glorious one. And then we would not need to tell them to go. They will go. Jesus came and spoke to them saying all authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you always even to the end of the age. I rattled through that. You should know it from memory. And some of you who know a little bit of the original would know that really the main verb here is make disciples. And they will tell you, those who will perhaps pick up a commentary or know Greek will know the rest of the participles. So really Jesus is saying the great commissioners make disciples. And the participle as you go, and then it says baptizing, and then it says teaching. So there are those who would argue that the participles and excuses carry what we call imperatival force, meaning though they are participles hanging on the main verb, they are not the main command, they carry the force. I have no argument with that. But there is a reason why, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, such language like this is used, because God is saying while you are to go and while you are to teach and while you are to preach, that those things are not ends in themselves, you must make followers of me. Men and women who deny themselves take up their cross and follow me. Now as I tell you, I have a million things to say to you tonight. But I think that is a problem with so many churches. We bring people in and we expect them to grow up and mature. If anything is lacking in many of our churches, it is this ongoing discipleship. Christ took them for three and a half years and discipled them. Paul had men with him that he trained. And if you want to know how to disciple people, you have got to look at the cults. I do not even want to call their names from the pulpit. But these cults, they train their people. Have you ever noticed that? They take the more mature ones, take the younger ones and work with them until they themselves are so well trained that they begin to take others with them and train them. I do not know what is wrong with us or why we do not get what the Lord says here. But that to me is one of the greatest needs in the Lord's churches. And that is why people can be in our church for five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten years and behave as if they just joined last week. Because they do not know God's word. And God's word is how you get to know God. Well, what I wanted to do here tonight is to let you know, and I know I am not going to get through everything all right, so do not worry about me keeping you until Sunday morning. It would be interesting if you were to try that. We believe God chose his people before the foundation of the world. If he did not, nobody would be saved. Isn't that true? So according as he has chosen us and him before the foundation of the world, Ephesians 1 .4, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. Verse five, having predestinated us unto the adoption of sons by Jesus Christ unto himself to the praise of the glory of his grace. So God chose us to be holy and he chose us for himself and he chose us in Christ and he chose us to the praise of the glory of his grace. Does that mean now, since God has chosen that you and I hold our Bibles and take it easy because those whom he has chosen, they will be saved, irrespective. We may not verbalize that, but that's how we think. We may not say we agree with that, but the truth is that's how we behave. Well, here's what God's word says, 2 Peter 3 .9, The Lord is not slow about his promises, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, now listen to this, this is in the Bible, not wishing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance. You could take whatever language you want and you could know whatever Greek you want. It says here, not wishing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance. Ezekiel 33, Now as for you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Thus you have spoken, saying, Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we are rotting away in them. How then can we survive? And here's what God says to the prophet, Say to them, say to them, As I live, declares the Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live, turn back, turn back from your evil ways, why then will you die, O house of Israel? God is saying, I take no delight, no joy, there is nothing in me that brings happiness over the death of the wicked.
A highlight from LST4
"Discerninghearts .com in cooperation with the Oblates of the Virgin Mary presents the letters of Saint Therese of Lisieux with Father Timothy Gallagher. Father Gallagher is a member of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary a religious community dedicated to retreats and spiritual direction according to the spiritual exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. He is featured on several series found on the eternal word television network. He is also author of numerous books on the spiritual teachings of Saint Ignatius of Loyola and the venerable Bruno Lanteri founder of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary as well as other works focused on aspects of the spiritual life. The letters of Saint Therese of Lisieux with Father Timothy Gallagher. I'm your host, Chris McGregor. Welcome Father Gallagher. Thank you, Chris. We are exploring the beautiful life of Saint Therese through her letters and where do we find ourselves now? Well, we'll start at the very beginning, the first of Therese letters. This is taken from the first of two volumes in which her complete correspondence is given to us and we have the letters to Therese. We have Therese's own letters and we also have other letters from family members or people close to Therese where they write about Therese. So it's a treasure trove really of access to Therese in some wonderful ways as her life unfolds through the years of her life. This is 65 pages, extremely well done as I said earlier. This is an English translation of volumes that were put together as Therese, the centenary of her birth approached. She was born in 1873. As 1973 approached, the Carmelites together with various scholars put together a team to do a complete and critical publication of all of her writings and absolutely magnificent work was done. And the more recent publications that we have of the story of a soul and of course these letters and others of her writings depend on that exhaustive French edition that was done at the time. So that's the origin of what we have. Just to remind everyone that the letters were placed and brought forward what, 20 some years before her being elevated a Doctor of the Church. That's right. As I said earlier in these conversations, I think anyone who has loved the story of a soul read the other primary sources and wishes there was more and has a little bit of courage to go through this many pages that the letters would be the next step if you really want to pursue it. Well, just for kind of fun in a way, we'll start with the very first of Therese's letters. And she is four years old at this time and her older sister Pauline has Therese in her lap. Pauline is writing a letter to a school friend of hers, a woman, a young girl named Louise. And Pauline finishes her letter and then takes Therese, holds Therese and guides her as she writes so that Therese can add this little letter to the letter that Pauline has already written to Louise. And so this is the letter. Dear little Louise, I don't know you, but I love you very much just the same. Pauline told me to write you. She is holding me on her knees because I don't know how to hold a pen. She wants me to tell you that I'm a lazy little girl, but this isn't true because I work all day long playing tricks on my poor little sisters. So I'm a little rascal who is always laughing. Adieu little Louise, I'm sending you a big kiss. Kiss the visitation for me, that is sister Marie Aloysia, who was the superior, and sister Louise, the bonzag, so she gets the name wrong, who was the director of the school, for I don't know anyone else signed Therese. So that's just a young girl's letter held by her sister. All right, we're going to cross then a large margin of time for the next letter. We are now 11 years later and an awful lot has happened in Therese's life in the April 9th of 1888. At 15 years she has entered the Carmel and it is now July 31st when she writes this letter. So she's been in the Carmel about three and a half months and what she's going to do in this letter, this is a letter to her father, Louis. This will be our first illustration of, again, this remarkable sensitivity in Therese to others and what's in their hearts and what their needs are and reaching out with such sensitivity and delicacy and tenderness to meet the needs of others. So she is the 16 year old writing to her father but she's really writing for his sake because she knows how painful this separation is for him. We'll read just a little line from a letter that her father wrote. This is one of the few letters of her father that we have. She writes, a day later, her father writes to a friend down in Alençon and included in the letter is this. Therese, my little queen, which was his... He had a nickname for each of the girls. Marie, for example, was the diamond because she was strong and Pauline was the pearl because she was such a... He was a jeweler. You know, you get jewelers' names and so on. And Therese, he called his queen. Therese, my god alone could demand such a sacrifice. She's often called the Benjamin in the correspondence, the one that's so dear to her father's heart in a way that everyone knew was special. And already two of his daughters have left. Leonie very much is trying. She fails three times but she's trying to enter religious life. And now the one who is dearest to his heart has just left him, gone to the Carmel. God alone could demand such a sacrifice and we really need to hear those words. But he's helping me so powerfully that through my tears my heart abounds with joy. This gives us just a window into the measure of the man. You have that powerful scene where Therese asks his permission to enter the Carmel. It's the preceding Pentecost and, you know, if you go to visit her home in Lisieux, there in the garden behind the house there's a statue that commemorates this. You see her and her father seated on a bench and she is leaning her head against him and she has just told him about entering the Carmel. Maybe we could read this from the story of a soul, just as a background to this letter. So it's very clear to Therese now that she wants to enter the Carmel. She hopes to enter the Carmel at age 15 and she has to ask her father about this. She needs his permission and it's not going to be easy because she knows the bond of love that's there. I chose the Feast of Pentecost as the day to break the news all day long begging the apostles to pray for me, to inspire me with the right words. Shouldn't they help the timid child who was chosen by God to be the apostle of apostles through her prayers and sacrifices in Carmel? I found the opportunity to speak to my dear little father. Often you'll see this little used in the correspondence. It's an endearing diminutive like Johnny, you know, instead of John and so on. So that's the significance of it. It's an endearment. I found the opportunity to speak to my dear little father only in the afternoon after Vespers. He was seated by the well contemplating marvels of nature with his hands joined. The son whose rays had lost their ardor gilded the high tree tops where little birds were joyfully chanting their evening song. You know, when I read this, I'm a writer. This is pretty good writing just as writing to describe a scene. And Therese wrote this in odd moments, seated, sort of half seated on this little kneeling, half kneeling, half seating bench that she would have in her cell just as she got odd moments to do this. And actually there are no erasures, no corrections. She simply wrote. This just was flowing from her as she wrote. But I was struck just by the caliber of her writing, even as writing, you know. Papa's handsome face had a heavenly expression about it, giving me the feeling that peace flooded his heart. Without saying a word, I sat down by his side, my eyes already wet with tears. He gazed at me tenderly and taking my head, he placed it on his heart saying, what's the matter, my little queen, tell me. Then rising as though to hide his own emotion, he walked while still holding my head on his heart. Through my tears, I confided my desire to enter Carmel and soon his tears mingled with mine. He didn't say one word to turn me from my vocation, simply contenting himself with the statement that I was still very young to make such a serious decision. I defended myself so well that with Papa's simple and direct character, he was soon convinced that my desire was God's will. And in his deep faith, he cried out that God was giving him a great honor and asking his children from him. As I say, you can't go very far in this whole story without touching heroism. We continued our walk for a long time and encouraged by the kindness with which my incomparable father received my confidences, my heart poured itself out to him. Papa seemed to be rejoicing with that joy that comes from a sacrifice already made. He spoke just like a saint and I'd love to recall his words and write them down, but all I preserved of them is a memory too sacred to be expressed. What I do recall, however, is a symbolic action my dear king performed, not realizing its full meaning. Going up to a low wall, he pointed to some little white flowers, like lilies in miniature, and plucking one of them, he gave it to me, explaining the care with which God brought it into being and preserved it just to that very day. While I listened, I believed I was hearing my own story. So the little flower, you can you can see it there. So great was the resemblance between what Jesus had done for the little flower and little Therese. I accepted it as a relic and noticed that in gathering it, Papa had pulled all its roots out without breaking them. It seemed destined to live on in another soil more fertile than the tender moss where it had spent its first days. And in fact she kept that flower for the rest of her life. Now that gives us a background to this letter. Her father, with great faith but with deep deep deep human sorrow, has accepted his daughter's vocation to the Carmel and three and a half months earlier saw her essentially for the last time because from then on they could meet in the speak room of the Carmel, but there was a grill between the sisters and the people in the outer parlor so that they at best would see them very faintly. And of course chances simply to be with her in the way that was so dear to both of them were gone at this point. So Therese, knowing her father's suffering, she writes this letter, My dear king, so these are the names they call each other, she is his queen and he is her king. If you knew the pleasure your carp, your monster, which is underlined, gave us. Now as I mentioned earlier, Louis was a great fisherman. He loved to fish and already he at Alençon and later when they went to Lisieux and the his daughter sent to the Carmel, he would bring his catch to these sisters. Part of their life was that they could not eat meat, so they never eat meat, but they could eat fish. So this was a real treat for the sisters in the various convents when he would bring these fish to them. To us it sounds kind of like a simple thing. He caught some fish, he brought them, but it was really quite a treat and something special for the sisters and he would do this routinely. So what pleasure your fish gave us, the dinner was held back for half an hour. Marie of the Sacred Heart, so that's his oldest daughter, made the sauce and it was delicious. It tasted like, and she quotes the French here, La cuisine du monde. It was even better than the sumptuous cuisine d 'italie. And that is not saying little, for what banquets and what company do you remember, little father? So she's referring to the pilgrimage that they made to Rome where they experienced in the various hotels where they stayed, you know, the marvelous cuisine and, you know, the very well -prepared food. And so she is reminding her father of that trip and saying this tasted even better than all of that. But it isn't always that that gives appetite, at least to me, for I haven't eaten so much since I've been in Carmel. I feel that I am entirely in my element, so three and a half months into the Carmel. If Mademoiselle Pauline, friend of the family from Alençon, were here she would say that, quote, I have found my way. Your diamond can't write you. Diamond is their father's nickname for Marie, the oldest, for she is doing the washing. But this doesn't stop her from thinking of you, dear little father. Now you can already see that this letter isn't, as said before, it's entirely other -centered. Very little said about her and what she says about herself is only to put her father at ease to know that things are well with her. And not everything was easy from her. As she says in the story of a soul, when the doors to Carmel opened to her, she opened her arms to receive suffering. And so things were never easy for her, but her whole focus and intention in this letter is to lift up her father's heart. Now she's obviously saying the truth when she says I'm in my element here, profoundly so, but there's no word of any struggles or sufferings that may have been there. She kisses you with her whole heart, and this is Marie, and you know that the heart of your biggest daughter is not little. I think of all you used to say to us frequently, vanity of vanities, all is vanity, vanity of life which passes, etc., probably quoting from the imitation of Christ, which of course quoting from Koheleth, you know, vanity of vanities. Louis knew the imitation well. Therese actually had it basically memorized. It got to be kind of, even before she entered, when they were in the speak room visiting with her older sisters, the others of the nuns would ask her to quote a given passage, and she could do it by memory. She really, really assimilated that book deeply. The more I live, this is a 16 year old, the more I live, the more I find this is true, that all is vanity on this earth. When I think of you, dear little father, I naturally think of God, for it seems to me that it is impossible to see anyone more holy than you on the earth, and that was very sincere. She and all of her sisters really felt that kind of veneration for both parents, actually. When I think that in a week it will be four months since I am in Carmel, I can't get over it. It seems to me that I have always been here, and on the other hand, it seems that my entrance was yesterday, how everything passes. The more I live, dear little father, the more I love you, and that's what she wants above all to convey to. The heart of this father, who she knows, loves her so deeply, and misses her, willingly gave her to God, but not without great sacrifice. I don't know how this can be, but it is the truth, and I wonder what this will be at the end of my life, if I just keep loving you more and more like this. I am very proud of my title of Queen of France and Navarre. I hope to merit it always. Jesus, the King of Heaven, when taking me for himself, has not taken me away from my holy king on earth. Oh no. Always, if my dear little father wills it, and does not find me too unworthy, I shall remain Papa's queen. The bright pearl, which is Louis' nickname for Pauline, the bright pearl hugs you very tightly, underlined. Adieu, and see you soon, dear king. See you soon, because they were allowed weekly visits for a half hour, and he would come. Those would be the occasions in which her father would also make these various gifts to the Carmel. See you, relatively so, because there was the grill in between. And Therese always effaced herself during these visits, as she spoke little, kind of stood, kept to the back, but there was at least that much contact on a weekly basis.
A highlight from Prelude to Prayer
"Well, the first one, the G, obviously, would be gospel -focused, right? So this is a series about the gospel. What about the O? Anybody remember the O? Jan's about to help us out here. When they pop up on the screen, you'll have all the answers. Hopefully our projector works for us tonight. The O was others -focused. So they were focused on reaching others. That doesn't help us very much. S was spirit -filled. And then P was prayerful. Early Church was a praying church. E was environment of growth. There was a stimulating environment in the early church. The L was leader examples, unified. And the P, the last P, was passionate. There we go. All right, thank you, Jan. I do want to say, before we go much further tonight, the L, leader examples, I do have to just confess, I think I've fallen short in this area for you as a church in setting the example as a witness. I've been here since January. And to be honest, I haven't set the standard, the example that I should have as the assistant to the pastor. And so I apologize for that. And I ask that you would pray for me, that I would be a stronger witness, and that you pray for each other that we'd all be a stronger witness here at Calvary Baptist Church. Tonight, we want to focus on the list here is not in order of importance or priority. And we want to focus on the P, actually, because if I was going to prioritize one of those letters in the acronym, it would probably be prayerful. So open your Bible to Acts chapter 1, please. Acts chapter 1 and looking at verse 14. The immediate context here, Jesus has just returned to heaven. He has given the promise that, verse 8, you shall receive power. After that, the Holy Ghost has come upon you. And you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And so he's given the great commission to go into the world to make disciples of all nations. What do the disciples do? They return to Jerusalem. And then verse 14, what do they do when they get back to Jerusalem? These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication with the women and married the mother of Jesus and with his brethren. The church movement, the Church of Christ, was birthed out of prayer. Pentecost came after, really, a week of prayer, intense prayer, I believe, as the disciples waited for the Holy Spirit. And I believe every, you can look throughout history. And I believe history verifies the fact that the great works of God, the great movings of God, have been preceded by prayer. I don't know if you find a great working moving of God where prayer wasn't the precedent. And so if we're going to see God do a great work here at Calvary Baptist Church, we're going to have to pray. And in that line of thinking, I could stand up here for another 30 minutes, 45 minutes, and talk to you about prayer. But I think it would actually be much more productive, much more powerful if we actually spend the time in prayer. And so what I've done, I would ask in a few minutes if we could have the ladies come to this side and the men come to this side. And I have put together a little list here of Bible verses. And if we can just go through, as a church family, and read the verses, and then there's also, under the verse is a little prayer prompt. And we'll read that out, and then we'll have a quick word of prayer. So this is how it will work. If you will gather into a circle, ladies and men, the first person will read from the page here, the scripture, the passage, and the prayer bullet, the prayer prompt. And then if you would, from the bottom of your heart, just pray a short two to four sentence prayer. We have quite a few verses to go through, so if you would limit it to that, just a short, simple prayer. And God doesn't need a long oratory. God be merciful to me, a sinner was the prayer, the simple prayer of the publican. So we want to let the word of God speak to us tonight, and we want to pray to God his word, because that's the key to effective prayer, is praying the scriptures. And so we'll go around in the circle, and we'll just pass the sheet along to the next person, and they'll simply read the verse and the prayer prompt, and then they'll pray. If you don't feel comfortable doing that out loud, I just simply tap the person next to you on the knee and hand the paper to them, and we'll just continue to go around until we're finished, and then when we're finished, we'll come back and I'll close things up. So if we could just have the ladies come over to this side, and then the men over here, and just create a little bit of a prayer circle, and we will conduct our prayer meeting. Thank you.
A highlight from With All Confidence
"Let's turn together to the triumphal ending of the book of Acts this morning chapter 28 verse number 11 to begin with Not feeling so triumphant so the Lord's wants us to learn today that despite our feelings this this stuff is true. Amen so acts chapter 28 verse number 11 After three months we set sail in a ship that had wintered in the islands remember they were on the island of Malta a ship of Alexandria with the twin gods Castor and Pollux. These are the gods the patron gods of sailors with the twin gods as a figurehead putting in at Syracuse we stayed there for three days and From there. We made a circuits and arrived at Regium and after one day a south wind Sprang up and on the second day. We came to Puteoli there. We found brothers believers and were invited to stay with them for seven days and so we came to Rome and the brothers there when they Heard about us came as far as the forum of Appius and three taverns to meet us on seeing them Paul thanked God and took courage and When we came into Rome? Paul was allowed to stay by himself with the soldier who guarded him After three days he called together the local leaders of the Jews and when they had gathered he said to them brothers Though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers Yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans When they had examined me they wished to set me at liberty Because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case But because the Jews objected I was compelled to appeal to Caesar though. I had no charge to bring against my nation For this reason therefore I have asked to see you and speak with you since it is because of the hope of Israel That I am we're that I'm wearing this chain and They said to him we have received no letters from Judea about you And none of the brothers coming here has reported or spoken any evil about you But we desire to hear from you what your views are For with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against When they had appointed a day for him they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers From morning till evening he expounded to them Testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus from both the law of Moses and from the prophets and some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved and Disagreeing among themselves. They departed after Paul had made one statement The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet Go to this people and say you will indeed hear but never understand and you will indeed see but never perceive for this people's heart has grown dull and with their eyes they can barely With their ears, they can barely hear and their eyes their eye and their eyes they have closed lest they should see with their eyes and hear their ears and Understand with their hearts and turn and I would heal them Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles They will listen He lived there two whole years at his own expense and welcomed all who came to him Proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without Hindrance and to all these words God's people say Well Here at the end of acts we have moved from a huddled mass in Jerusalem back in chapter number one To the masses of Rome the capital city of the Roman Empire the center of the world as they saw it so from a little huddled group of 120 in that upper room in Jerusalem the day of Pentecost all the way to Rome where millions upon millions of people lived Let alone pilgrimage every single year and this is all just as Jesus promised Remember back in chapter 23 if you will when Jesus was Testifying before the Sanhedrin before the Jewish Council sometimes called the Jewish Supreme Court chapter 23 verse 11 The Apostles said the following night the Lord stood by here our looks at the following night The Lord stood by him Paul and said quote take courage for you for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem So you must testify also? where in Rome So Jesus has promised To Paul that he was going to go to Rome to testify of the gospel so he's Moved from the center of the Israelite religion in Jerusalem The temple was and now he's moved to the center of as the Romans described it the center of the world And in fact, this is this is in fulfillment of what we saw the very very beginning Of the book of Acts in chapter number one if you go back there all week the beginning verse number eight Remember Jesus promise and his call and his commission To the earliest church and he told them that they would receive power the power of the Holy Spirit who would come upon them to be my witnesses in Jerusalem and Judea that's the larger region Samaria.
A highlight from Guided Into Truth
"Well, as you heard announced this morning, today is a special day for our church. The air is getting a little bit cooler, a little more crisp. The rain is starting to come and fall kickoff is happening. This means many of our ministries and programs are getting kicked off, ending their summer hiatus and getting rolling for the coming year. Now in conversations I was having with the guys on our pastoral staff earlier in the summer about the different ideas for fall kickoff, themes to go with, emphases to put out there. We had a bunch of different ideas and I won't share with you the ideas that ended up on the cutting room floor, but I will restate our theme for fall kickoff this year is guided into truth, which I think is a theme that really encapsulates what we are to be all about as followers of Jesus Christ, right? I mean, when you think about it, for those of us who are followers of Jesus Christ in the room this morning, we have been guided into truth in the ultimate sense in that someone somewhere at some point in time shared the gospel with us. They shared the good news message of Jesus Christ dying and Jesus Christ rising and Jesus Christ saving sinners like you and me so that our sins could be forgiven and our hope of eternal life secured. And then we responded to that gospel with repentance and faith turning from the sin that once had its claws in us to put our trust now in Christ finished work on the cross. So we we have been guided into truth in that sense. Now. We're also called to guide others into truth. And if we're faithful to Christ and obedient to his Great Commission for his followers, we guide others into truth. That's what we do. That's what we're marked by we do so around our dinner tables as we teach our children about Christ and we do so at our family gatherings as we openly recognize that all that we have the roofs over our heads the air in our lungs the food in our tables the experiences that we get to share together. They are all because of Christ we do so at church whether we hold a formal teaching post or not. We give instruction and encouragement and exhortation from God's Word pointing other people people around us to Christ and then for a select few we guide others into truth by sharing the gospel message with the lost for some that means doing so through door -to -door evangelism for some that means at the Holmes Lake prayer tower for others. This happens more organically and the day -to -day evangelism that you've heard spoken of more recently where people are more adept at moving their conversations from more of mundane topics, you know, the weather and Husker football and the like to the gospel and getting to the hope that's found in Jesus Christ. Well today's message is going to have one aim and the bull's eye that I've been praying that this message would hit is to press in on this notion that evangelism is the territory or the realm of only that select few in the church. I'm going to throw the flag on the thought process that goes John Kerry is the deacon of evangelism and therefore John Kerry and his team. Those are the evangelists of the church. I'm going to challenge those of you who whether through fear or or laziness let's just get real here a lack of concern and love for those who are truly lost or abandoning your responsibility to do what Christ has commanded you and I both to do which is to share the gospel with the lost. I'm going to exhort you this morning to stop warming the bench and to get in the game. So last week we looked at prayer you might recall from Colossians this morning. We're looking at evangelism. I figured I could complete the trio of all topics that people like to hear about giving maybe next Sunday. No, but I'm going to say what needs to be said about being more evangelistically minded individually and as members of this body of believers to be more faithful in sharing the gospel not from a place of personal preference or desire because that really doesn't matter here. I'm going to speak to you through a text of scripture one that is very familiar to many of us and a text that is so rich in terms of the description it provides and the picture it paints of what it means to be guided into truth and what it looks like to guide another into truth turn with me if you would in your Bibles to Acts chapter 8 Acts chapter 8 Matthew Mark Luke John Acts book number five of the New Testament. We're going to hit pause on our series and Colossians this week so that we as a church body in keeping with our fall kickoff theme this week can zero in on this text where we encounter someone who was guided into truth and also see someone who is guiding another into truth. We're going to look at Acts 8 25 through 40 this morning. I'm going to try to take the whole bite. We'll see how I do this morning sermon has five points. They're all alliterated. We're going to see the context first in verse 25 in leading up to verse 25. We're going to see the command in verse 26. We'll see the contact in verses 27 through 30 the conversion in verses 31 through 35 and then the consequences in verses 36 through 40 now since today's passage or today's sermon is one of these one -off sermons before we just drop ourselves into this passage. It would be important and good if we establish some of the context. So as we look at the context here first point number one, let's look at some of the background here. The Book of Acts was humanly speaking written by Luke the same Luke who gave us the Gospel of Luke and what both the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts revealed to us very clearly is that Luke was a very detailed and meticulous historian. We see that over in the Gospel of Luke the very beginning verses of Luke Luke 1 3 where he says this to Theophilus who is the immediate recipient of the gospel. He says it seemed fitting for me as well having investigated everything carefully from the beginning to write it out for you in consecutive order. So we see how meticulous already Luke was and then here in the Book of Acts, which is really part 2 of Luke's writing the sequel as it were to the Gospel of Luke. He continues on and giving this very precise and detailed historical account of the early church. In fact, let's go ahead and take a few moments to do a real high -level flyover of the first seven chapters of Acts leading up to our text for today. In fact, go with me over to Acts 1 and you can do the flyover with me. In Acts 1 we see that the resurrected Christ appeared to his apostles and according to Acts 1 3 he did this over a period of 40 days and spoke of the things concerning the kingdom of God and then over the course of those 40 days and at the conclusion of those 40 days the Lord said to his apostles over in Acts 1 8 that they will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all of Judea and Samaria and even to the remotest part of the earth file that statement away in your minds, by the way, we're going to come back to it a couple of times this morning then in Acts 1 9 we see Luke recording the Ascension of our Lord to the right hand of the Father where he is seated today says after he had said these things he was lifted up while they were looking on and a cloud received him out of their sight then in Acts 2 Luke gives an account of the day of Pentecost one of the traditional Jewish feast days what was Pentecost and this is the day on which the Holy Spirit as Christ had earlier promised would happen descended and fell on that assembly there in Jerusalem. This is the day on which the Apostle Peter gave one of the most powerful sermons ever preached and according to Acts 241 about 3 ,000 souls came to Christ were converted through that preaching of Peter Acts 3 were told more about the ministry now of both Peter and John still in Jerusalem. We see that Peter heals a lame beggar in this chapter and then Peter also delivers a second sermon from the portico of Solomon and in this sermon the second sermon Peter gives in Acts 3 15 he calls out the Jews of the day as it says here in verse 3 15 for having put to death the Prince of life the one whom God raised from the dead a fact to which we are witnesses that in Acts 4 we see the arrest of Peter and John recorded and then we see their interactions with Annas and Caiaphas and other Jewish high priests and it's in front of those high priests that Peter filled with the Holy Spirit Acts 4 12 says this and there is salvation and no one else for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved then over in Acts 5 Luke gives the account of the second arrest of Peter and John and the other apostles we see that they were flawed and eventually released and after they were flawed and after they were released Acts 5 41 says they went on their way from the presence of the council rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for his name in the very next verse Acts 5 42 says while they were still there in Jerusalem every day in the temple they go from house to house and they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ in Acts 6 Luke tells us verse 7 that the Word of God kept on spreading in the number of disciples continue to increase greatly in Jerusalem and then the very next verse Acts 6 8 we are introduced to Stephen who full of grace and power was performing great wonders and signs among the people and then the remainder of Acts 6 we see that Stephen was then brought up for trial essentially before the Jewish leaders on charges of blasphemy then in Acts 7 Luke gives us this very detailed account of the the bold testimony and defense that Stephen gave which included him turning the tables and indicting the very people who were trying to indict him for having murdered their Messiah the Lord Jesus Christ and that doesn't go very well for Stephen because we see in Acts 7 54 says when they had heard this meaning Stevens testimony and indictment of them they were cut to the quick and they began gnashing their teeth at him and then the rest of Acts 7 records Stevens ultimate death by stoning Acts 8 now begins with these words in verse 1 Saul the one who would later become known as Paul was in hardy agreements with putting him meaning Stephen to death and then look at the very next words and on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria and what does that remind you of what we saw back in Acts 1 8 where Christ himself said to his followers that you shall be my witnesses from Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria and then to the remotest part of the earth now take a look at Acts 8 4 we're going to work our way closer and closer to our text because Acts 8 4 here really sets up the immediate context where we'll be today says therefore those who had been scattered out of Jerusalem it means went about preaching the word Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them the crowds with one Accord were giving attention to what was said by Philip as they heard and saw the signs which he was performing from the case of many who had unclean spirits they were coming out of them shouting with a loud voice and many who had been paralyzed and lame were healed.
A highlight from Acts 025 - The Spirit's Power
"Okay, well come on in. The water's fine. Good to see you all this evening. And welcome back to our Wednesday night Bible study. We took a summer break. And in the last quarter, we started a study on the book of Acts. Made it all the way through chapter 3. And this morning, not this morning, this evening, if you could locate Acts chapter 4 and verse 1. Sort of to get the cobwebs out. The book of Acts is about the birth and the growth of the church. So in Acts chapter 1, Jesus ascended. In Acts chapter 2, the church is born. Day of Pentecost. In Acts chapter 3, Peter and John heal a lame man. I think he was born lame. He was about 38 years old. And his legs were miraculously restored in Acts 3. Which gave Peter a chance to preach to a crowd. And Peter there condemns 1st century Israel for their rejection of the Messiah. And chapter 3, as you surely could imagine, flows right into chapter 4. Where Peter and John get arrested. So here's an outline of Acts 4. Even going into Acts 5, the Ananias and Sapphira incident. But you have the apostles arrested, verses 1 through 4. The apostles examined by the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin is the existing Jewish legal authority, religious authority in 1st century Israel. That's in verses 5 through 12. Then the Sanhedrin makes a decision, verses 13 through 22. And then the apostles go to prayer. And this is a very powerful prayer that they pray in verses 23 through 31. And then the chapter kind of ends with them, the church that is living in their communal arrangement. Which we saw develop in Acts at the end of Acts 2. And that sets the stage very nicely for the first 11 chapters in chapter 5. Because in that communal arrangement, it involved selling your property and giving the proceeds to the church. And there was a couple there, Ananias and Sapphira, who publicly misrepresented their generosity. And they were slain in the Holy Spirit. And when I say slain in the Holy Spirit, that's not a good thing. Okay. And God brought upon them maximum divine discipline. And that had, as we're going to see, a purifying effect on the early church. So anyway, that's kind of the lay of the land that we're moving into this evening. I don't think we'll be able to cover all of this this evening, but we can make a healthy start. First of all, the apostles are arrested. We have an interruption. The reasons for the arrest. The arrest and the results of the arrest. So notice, if you will, Acts chapter 4, verse 1. It says, as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them. So when it says they were speaking to the people, this is in reference to the sermon that Peter primarily was giving in Acts 3. Where they healed a man who was lame, born lame. He knew nothing but the lack of use of his legs for, I think it says, 38 years. And he's miraculously healed, not by Peter and John, but by Jesus through Peter and John. It's just Jesus is exercising his ministry now from the Father's right hand. Through the church, through the apostles. And a big crowd gathers and Peter uses the opportunity to condemn first century Israel. Their decision nationally to reject their own Messiah. So that's what it means there when it says as they were speaking to the people. So as they were speaking to the people, they're now interrupted by the religious authorities. Who are the religious authorities? It says it right there in verse 1 of chapter 4. The priests, the captain of the temple guard, and the Sadducees. So these are religious officials or workers. We have priests, the captain of the temple guard, and another group here called the Sadducees. And easy to remember the Sadducees is the Sadducees were always sad, you see. Sadducees. Basically, the Sadducees were people that if we were to try to parallel them today with somebody, we would call them theological liberals. A theological liberal denies what the Bible says. You know, it denies prophecy, denies miracles, and that kind of thing. And that's who these Sadducees were. The Sadducees only believed in the first five books of Moses. That's all they believed in. They didn't accept the rest of the Old Testament. So that's why when Jesus is talking to them about resurrection, the Sadducees, and the Gospels, he does not quote from Daniel chapter 12, verse 2 to prove resurrection to them. I mean, why didn't he quote Daniel 12, verse 2? Daniel 12, verse 2 is a great verse on future resurrection. It says, many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but others to everlasting disgrace, to disgrace and everlasting contempt. So why didn't Jesus, when he is arguing with the Sadducees and the Gospels about resurrection, why doesn't he quote that passage? That's a beautiful passage to quote from. Well, the answer is the Sadducees did not accept Daniel as authoritatively coming from God. They only accepted the first five books of the Bible. So it wouldn't do any good to prove resurrection from the Book of Daniel to the Sadducees. So instead, Jesus quotes the Book of Exodus. And I'm getting this from Matthew 22, 32 and 31. Here he's speaking to the Sadducees and it says, but regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God? And now he's quoting Exodus. the I am God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. He is not the God of the dead, but the living. In other words, he points out that based on the Book of Exodus, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are alive right now. And he uses that to prove future resurrection. So why would he quote that passage? Because that's one of the books they would accept. He doesn't quote the more obvious passage because the Sadducees did not accept anything other than the Pentateuch, the Torah, the first five books of Hebrew Bible. The Sadducees were also sad, you see, not only because they denied all other scripture outside of Moses, but they denied resurrection. That's why Jesus is debating them about resurrection. They did not believe in angels. Acts 23 and verse 8 says, for the Sadducees say there is no resurrection, nor an angel. Matthew 22 and verse 30 indicates that the Sadducees didn't believe in resurrection. So you're dealing with people that only believed in the first five books of Moses. They didn't believe in angels. They didn't believe in resurrection. So Sadducee is a pretty good name for these people, right? I mean, I would be sad too if I had a limited acceptance of the authority of the totality of what God has revealed. The Sadducees are a little bit different than the Pharisees. In fact, they're a lot different. In the Sadducees, we can analogize them to modern day theological liberals. Pharisees were conservatives, but they were hyper legalists. They brought in, and this goes back to the Babylonian captivity, the Jewish rejection of the Sabbath sent the nation of Israel into the Babylonian captivity for 70 years. And when the nation of Israel came out of that captivity and came back into their homeland, they said to themselves, we're never going to let that happen again. And so they built what we call a fence around the law. Meaning we're going to pass so many laws against breaking the Sabbath that no one will ever think about breaking the Sabbath. So they had all these rules about how you couldn't eat on the Sabbath. You know, you couldn't rescue a man on the Sabbath. All of these things come into the life of Israel through something called Mishnah, and then Talmud, and there were two Talmuds. There was one in the land of Israel. There was a later one developed in what's called the Babylonian Talmud. And this is why Jesus said of the Pharisees, you make null the word of God through your traditions. Because what happened is the tale started to wag the dog. They started to read the law superimposed over the law were a bunch of man -made regulations and restrictions. So when Jesus is dealing with the Pharisees, he's always dealing with this issue. You know, he's feeding his disciples on the Sabbath. Pharisees are upset about that. He's healing people on the Sabbath. Pharisees are upset about that. And what are they upset about? They're upset about the fact that he's not respecting their rules. Where Jesus' point is the tale's wagging the dog. Your rules are being superimposed over God's actual law to the point where you're burying the original intent of the law under layer after layer after layer of man -made regulation. So Jesus, as the Lord of the Sabbath, was always trying to get back to what the Sabbath meant. It was supposed to be a blessing for man. Pharisees are saying, nope, you can't do anything on the Sabbath. You can't heal someone on the Sabbath, even though that's a blessing for man. You can't feed your disciples on the Sabbath, you know, pick crops and that kind of thing on the Sabbath. Even though that's a blessing for man, you're ruining our rules. So that's a little bit of who the Pharisees were. Pharisees are conservative, but they're beyond conservative. They're hyper legalists. Sadducees are just deniers of what the totality of God's word says. The Pharisees are going to be dominant in the synagogue. They had a higher sphere of influence in the synagogue. What was the synagogue? The synagogue were these places that Jews would gather, you know, all over the Greco -Roman world. And they gathered there during a time when there was no temple to go to. Remember the temple, the first temple that Solomon built was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and wasn't rebuilt until the days of Ezra, Haggai, Zechariah. So what did the Jews do? They would gather in the Greco -Roman world in these places called the synagogue. And the Pharisees were dominant in the synagogue. The Sadducees, as I'm trying to describe it, were dominant in the temple area. So that's why the people that are harassing the apostles in early Acts, really all the way up through Acts chapter 12, are the Sadducees and not the Pharisees. Because the Sadducees had ascendancy in the temple area. In Acts 1 through 12, the early church hadn't spread out yet. And it had a very strong sphere of influence in Jerusalem. So that's why the early church is dealing with the Sadducees, the Sadducees, the Sadducees, the Sadducees, until the Apostle Paul in Acts 13 and 14 goes out on missionary journey number one into southern Galatia. And then you'll start seeing him going to the various synagogues outside the land of Israel. And now the people coming against Paul are not the Sadducees, but now they're the Pharisees. So Sadducees, liberals, Pharisees, legalists. Sadducees dominant in the temple area, Pharisees dominant in the synagogue. Sadducees will be dominant as long as the church has a place of influence in Jerusalem. But the Pharisees as opponents of the church will become dominant as the church spreads out and moves outside the land of Israel. So verse one says, as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them. That's a little bit about who the Sadducees are and why they are the primary detractors of the church at this particular point. So Peter and John, Peter's conversation that he was having in Acts three, a very effective conversation is interrupted. The reasons for the interruption are given in verse two. It says being, now notice this, not just disturbed, but greatly disturbed. Being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and in proclaiming Jesus the resurrection from the dead. So here are these apostles and if you drop over to verse 13 for a minute, you see the way that the religious authorities looked at the apostles. It says, now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. So what is upsetting to the Sadducees is number one, these apostles are teaching the people and they never went to our Sadducee school. I mean, they don't have a Sadducee degree. In other words, they don't think like we do. I mean, if these apostles thought the way we thought, then they would only accept Moses. They would reject angels. They would reject resurrection. And here are these men who are untrained fishermen teaching the masses there in Acts chapter three. In other words, they don't have the authority to be teaching anybody is how the Sadducees were thinking about the apostles. And what really upset them is they kept talking about Christ's, but starts it with an R, resurrection, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. Now that was really upsetting to the Sadducees because the Sadducees didn't believe in resurrection. And here they're claiming that the man that the nation of Israel just turned over to Rome for execution has risen from the dead and his tomb is empty. That doesn't fit our doctrine. The Sadducees would say to themselves. And this puts the apostles on a collision course with the Sadducees. The moment Peter in Acts 2 24, which is a wonderful sermon, said these words, he became, I think at that point, a marked man by the Sadducees. Peter said, but God, speaking of Jesus, raised him up again, putting an end to the agony of defeat, since it was impossible for him to be held by its power. Peter continues the subject matter in Acts chapter three and that sermon there in verse 15. And it says, but put to death, speaking of Israel, the prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead. And he says a fact to which we are witnesses. Remember what Paul would say to the Corinthians. Now there's 500 eyewitnesses, 1 Corinthians 15. Check it out for yourself. They've all seen the resurrected Christ. So what they were saying is Israel rejected her own Messiah. That made the Sadducees angry enough. So then they said this Messiah rose from the dead and the Sadducees were upset even more because they didn't believe in future resurrection or any kind of resurrection. That's why when you look at verse two, it says they were being greatly disturbed, not just disturbed, but greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people. Here are these unqualified fishermen teaching doctrines that we, the religious authorities, oppose. Now you put all of this in motion and you can see why they're arrested. And their arrest is described in verse three. So they laid hands on them, that would be Peter and John, put them in jail until the next day for it was already evening. Now, why didn't they put them on trial right then and there? It's part of Jewish law. Jewish law says no trial in the evening hours. The only one that they violated that rule for was who? Jesus, because they couldn't wait to rush him through the judicial system to get him dead as quickly as they could. So they violated everything in their rule book. But here at least they're respecting the rule book and they're not having a trial in the evening hours because that is forbidden by the Mosaic law. And what is the results of all of this thing, all of this? Because we're kind of in the mindset that, oh no, if the mandates come back, which they could, they're talking about it, you know. And Sugar Land Bible Church stays open, which is at least my intention. I mean, I would like to stay open. I don't think a pastor or an elder board has a right to shut down a church because whose church is it? It's God's church. If God wants to shut down a church, it's his church, he's more than capable of doing it. A pastor doesn't have an authority to close down a church. So if all these mandates come back and hypothetically, let's say we stay open, my goodness, what if they come in here and they fine us? What if they come in here and they arrest us? What if they do like they did to that pastor of that Baptist church in Northern California where they actually chained the doors and keep assessing fine after fine after fine against him with an attempt to completely drive the church that he was pastoring, you know, under? You know, what do we do then? Well, this is where Acts chapter four is so instructive.
A highlight from Session 16 Evangelism
"It has a blank there for the lecture number, and you can write in 11, I think it's written in, and the importance of the local church. Now you're getting the whole lecture, the balance of these today, we don't have questions, except for one, we do have the slides to show you. The importance of the local church. Now I don't think I need to spend much time on that. The local church is the important organism in the world today, not organization, but an organism, and it is the important ministry today. I personally believe the local church is the very basis for everything we do. We ought to do it in and through the local church, and we ought to honor the local church. Now a lot of people say, well, don't you believe in the church, the body of Christ? Yes. I believe there's a sense, the general assembly of the first born, the church in prospect, I believe there's a sense in which we can read about the body of Christ in the New Testament. Not too many references, the ones I mentioned in Hebrews, some in Ephesians. Of the 114 times, now the figure varies, but I'll stick with this, 114 times we find the New Testament, of the 114 times translated into the word church, at least 90, and I think we could say probably 95 times of those times, it refers specifically to a local church. The overwhelming burden about the church in the New Testament, to the church at Corinth, to the churches of Galatia, to the church at Philippi, to the seven churches in Revelation, the overwhelming number of references translating ekklesia refer to a local church. Now the word ekklesia you know means a called out assembly, and the church of the first born, the body of Christ, has never assembled. Well, Schofield I think probably mistakenly called it the invisible church, certainly it's never assembled, it's a called out group, but it's never had the privilege of an assembly. Well not until we get into the presence of the Lord, and so the assembled church is that with which God deals in the New Testament, and that's our local churches, and there's work in the world than the ministry of a local church, and we ought to thank God for the privilege of it, and we ought not despair because maybe our church seems a bit small, in God's sight He honors the local church regardless of the numerical size, it's the honored work of God. And so we need to recognize that, and I've got down here capital letter B, the local church important in the economy of God, and we come back to the Great Commission. The Great Commission was given to the eleven disciples, and those disciples or apostles became the very foundation of the local church, of the church the Bible says the church is built, Ephesians 2 .20, on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. By the way, there are no apostles today, no apostles on the scene at all, they were the foundation of the local church, or of the church in Ephesians, according to Ephesians chapter 2. And so the commission was given to the eleven disciples, that means as those apostles it was given to the church, and in each case you'll note in Matthew 28 verse 16 says eleven disciples, Mark 16 verse 14 he appeared unto the eleven, Luke 24 verse 33 talks about it was the eleven that he appeared in verse 36, and John 20 and 21 it was to the disciples Jesus appeared and stood in their midst, and Acts chapter 1 verse 2 he came unto the apostles, and it was they with whom he was assembled in verse 4, therefore it was to those that he gave the commission in verse 8. So the commission was given to those eleven and therefore automatically transferred to the local church, to the church, and we are the recipients of that. Yes sir? I personally believe it was at Pentecost.
A highlight from Special Encore The Canonization of St. Teresa of Calcutta Building a Kingdom of Love w/ Msgr. John Esseff
"Discerninghearts .com presents Building a Kingdom of Love, Reflections with Monsignor John Essif. Monsignor Essif is a priest of the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania. He has served as a retreat director and confessor to Saint Teresa of Calcutta. He continues to offer direction and retreats for the Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity. Monsignor Essif encountered Saint Padre Pio, who would become a spiritual father to him. He has lived in areas around the world, serving in the Pontifical Missions, a Catholic organization established by Pope Saint John Paul II, to bring the good news to the world, especially to the poor. He continues to serve as a retreat leader and director to bishops, priests and sisters, seminarians and other religious leaders. Building a Kingdom of Love, Reflections with Monsignor John Essif. I'm your host, Chris McGregor. What was this glorious pilgrimage like? I would say what brought us there, there were 16 of us who left to go there, and the ones who you would meet along the way, that each of them were loved by Mother Teresa. That's the way I would describe, each one of them had a personal experience of the enduring love that touched them. I certainly had to be there. It was like something that, as a pilgrim, I felt called to be at this celebration. And I felt God wanted me to be there, therefore he would provide. And he provided for me to get there to the vehicle of these 16 people that I went with. And it was just a very caring young priest who, Father Mike was our leader of the group, and I was kind of the senior citizen, I was the oldest member of the group. The streets of Rome, as you know, are really architectural hazards. Someone who doesn't see, I could easily fall anyplace and break a hip or whatever, but I was really cared for. And there was a young girl, a woman that I met, and she was in a wheelchair, and she kind of summed it up for me when she said, Mother Teresa touched me when I was 16. And she said she just came in the crowd and touched me, and she touched me on my head. And it was like an unforgettable touch from this woman who was such an instrument, just reminded me of Jesus going through the world, and everyone that he touched remembered that touch. And so it was with me. I experienced the love and being loved by her so that she was this instrument of love in the world. There were millions and millions who saw that by television or heard it by radio in so many parts of the world. So really, wouldn't you say that maybe a billion people were touched through this instrument of God's love, because she followed what God asked her to do, and in some way experienced being loved by God as the poorest of the poor, because that's what she considered herself, that he loved her and touched her with that love. And then she began to touch one by one by one. That was her way of looking at it. We arrived together as a group on September the 1st, and we went by van to Newark, New Jersey, where we all got on a plane, and we got to know each other's names, because not everybody, there were married people, there were priests, there were single people who were on that, just getting to know each other. And then we all had different parts on the plane going over, arrived and gathered together in a group, and there was a van to meet us, to take us to our hotel. We still stayed in a little hotel called Hotel De Petrus, which was about a 20 -minute subway ride from the Vatican. That evening, I went by subway to St. John Lateran, where I heard confessions, and it was so beautiful. I heard, because of my languages, I heard confessions in English, Spanish, Italian. And who comes along but walking right in front of me is Marty McDermott that I had met in Beirut. And he and I just kind of hooked together. He was there. And again, the love, it was there in Beirut that I met the sisters, it was there that I met Mother Teresa, so we just kind of laughed as two old men. He was an aging Jesuit that they kind of wanted to get out of Beirut to bring him home to their northeastern province in New York, but he stayed there, he remained there. I think he's from Hartford, Connecticut. And we just chatted while all of the sisters that we had known through the years come pouring out at the end of the celebration there, and I just saw Sister Joy and all the sisters that I had known through the years, Missionaries of Charity. And then we hopped on a subway and came home, and I got home maybe around midnight. That was our first day. And so it was a beautiful time. On the third day, we were there September the 3rd, and more confessions, and St. Mary Major was again a beautiful church, and confessions. And then the fourth day was a canonization. And Mother has always just loved Our Lady. On the cover of the celebrated Mass was Our Blessed Mother. And if you notice her hand always pointing, Mary is such a direct link to Jesus. Her whole life pointing, you say Mary, she says Jesus. And Mother then is on September the 5th. She was beatified by John Paul II, 2002. And I was there, and when her picture went up as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and John Paul, that's the day I consecrated myself to Our Lady. All her life Mother Teresa had said, you should consecrate yourself to Mary. Oh, Mother, I have the Sacred Heart. That's where she was pointing. She wanted me to be with the Sacred Heart. No, but the best way to do it is through her. Oh, no, thank you very much. But the Pope, he told us to us, no, no. So I resisted. But when I saw those two up there, the aging, elder John Paul II, such a powerful, powerful instrument of God. And this little less than five foot woman, such a powerful instrument. I thought, what do you need to follow that? So that's the day I consecrated myself to Mary. And here she is. They really captured her look. And it was on the second missalette that we had on the following day on September the 5th, which is her feast day. So on the 4th, we had the canonization mass. The incident that was most, I sat with a couple of sisters on the way home in the airport. And one of them said it was such a powerful experience, but I have to say I couldn't get by the heat. I just couldn't get by the heat. It was 98 degrees. It was hot and a beating, beating heat down on the whole place. All I could recall during the mass with that intense heat was the time when I was at the chapter meeting in Calcutta, where it was 100 degrees heat and 100 percent humidity. And it was so stifling. And Mother would not allow a fan. They were begging her, let us get a fan. No, we have to live like the poor. What is the authenticity of our sacrifice? If we could have a fan? No. And we need a microphone. We can't hear. No. But get one for Monseigneur. So I had a microphone for the presentations and I had a fan when I was giving my presentations. She turned it off for the whole community. And I'll never forget this nun who was at that celebration. With this intense heat, every time there was the slightest breeze, she just thanked God for the breeze. She was an American nun and she was communicating to me how we are not used to that Indian heat nor the humidity. And I noticed that at the mass, her massive canonization. But everyone had to wait for that slight breeze. And that I was so aware of that every once in a while, when you thought you were going to pass out, there was a breeze. Everyone was reminded, though, of just how poor we are and how lacking in control of the events of life. And that total dependence. So she gave us all a marvelous lesson. And anyone who had been there, if they were there, including the Pope, that intense heat was down on a million people who were there. And everyone came through that and endured it. So Mother Teresa was very active during that canonization. It streamlined it, so it made it very simple, which is really what I think she wanted. Don't have the focus on me. But as the mass itself, the focus was all on God. It was the glory and the praise and the honor of God. Thank you, Lord, for the slightest breeze. Thank you, Lord, for just being here. And I found myself thanking God. And I was there. The other thing I noticed in her gathering us, there was a multiracial, the whites were far outnumbered at this mass. Not only because of the Indian priests, the African priests, the Asian priests, the Koreans, the Chinese, the Vietnamese, South Africa, and all of the world was really... ...that we are just one family. And the main, I think, lesson that I learned is dependence on God and that we are all very, very poor and the poorest of the poor. The opening day, the day before we got there, the Missionaries of Charity had in the Olympic Stadium, which they were able to get, a thousand of the poorest of the poor from their houses in Rome that they served the poor. They invited them all to come and have a feast. And they actually had this huge feast and banquet for the poorest of the poor because this was what it was all about. If Mother was going to have the celebration, the first ones to have the feast was the poorest of the poor, and she invited them to the table. And all of them were invited to come to the celebration, so they all had tickets to the event. You could see different ones as they were coming were obviously the poorest of the poor, meeting all of us, the poorest of the poor who were coming. So the universality and multiracial was what I felt was very outstanding for me on the day. Sounds a lot like Pentecost. Yeah, and the language just didn't seem to, it was like both hearing confessions and the celebration itself. And of course we had the Latin and all of us joined in were able to participate with the Latin and the singing. And again that language, that unity of our worshipping and glorifying God in that mass. Some lady was wheeling us onto the plane when we were at the Newark Airport, and she was a young girl, a young black girl, and I said we were going to be going to Mother Teresa's canonization. Well she had never heard of Mother Teresa, she was 20 years old. Oh, she said, what are you going to have, a party? I said yeah, and what is the mass but a party that God wanted? So he gets this heavenly banquet together, and that's why I was so happy when you see all these priests going out and bringing the Eucharist to every single one that was there. That was the day celebration, and I think there was a big difference then with the celebration on the 5th. And again, we can't celebrate it, but it was much more intimate. Maybe there must have been, maybe 300 ,000 there. How do you get just intimate? So there was this smaller crowd, and the priests and the participation was still so joyous and so beautiful. The day there was a cloud coverage, so that the heat wasn't as intense, so it was cooler, it was more refreshing, it was more relaxed. And at the end, one of the priests stood up, the sisters came in. The greatest gift I always felt that Mother has given us is her community. And these sisters coming in from all over the world were certainly well represented there, and lines and lines of missionaries of charity coming in. There were also the brothers, and there were also the missionaries of charity fathers. And one of the fathers got up at the end and he said, Today is a day of thanksgiving, and we are just so filled with thankfulness that God has recognized our foundress as a saint, and that we are able to participate in this canonization. And we rejoice, and you can just see St. Teresa of Calcutta in heaven with all the poorest of the poor, and us, poorest of the poor, having experienced being touched by her. And we are now celebrating, because she has touched our lives. And she always said, Unless you have experienced the thirst God has for you as the poorest of the poor, you'll never be able to know the thirst he has for the poorest of the poor. So that having had that experience of that love that God has for me through her, that that tasting of that is an enduring bond that you experience, and it just endures in it, it lasts. The love of God is enduring. The love that Mother Teresa gave, that touch that tapped that girl on the head when she was 16, that love lasts. It's an everlasting love. It's tasting the divine love. And it's the thirst that God has for us as people, so that when we pass that on, and if we were a million there, and the millions and millions that saw it on television are able to receive it and to pass it on, it was a great joy in heaven, and a great celebration on earth, and it was time for a party. The possibility of someone coming into a crowd like that and throwing some bombs, it was like the furthest thought, I believe, that peace and love is contagious. It has a power that's overcoming hatred and violence, and the way to bring this about is through that divine love. This is the force and the power that I believe is really necessary in the world today. So it was a great experience. You know, it's really striking, Monsignor, that the endurance of those who came, those who had to endure suffering during the celebration, because I watched it all cozy on my couch at 3 in the morning, back here in Omaha with my puppy and my coffee, and that was really nice, but you could see how hot it was. You could just see how people were just baking under the sun, and yet that enduring that suffering is essentially a message of her life. For all weekend, the build -up was not just on EWTN and other Catholic outlets, but it was on secular news broadcasts, CNN, Fox, all of these different news outlets were covering this great gathering. And so as you're watching these people, literally suffering with joy through the mass, it was almost like a major witness. And there's something really unique when that happens, isn't there, Monsignor, that if you can endure it, if you can enter into it like she did, there's grace somehow, even for the participants. I know you're just a couple days out of this, but for you, I mean, can you describe that now? It intensifies your interior self. You become very aware that I don't know how much longer I'm going to be able, and that's the word, endure this, whatever that be, this stress, this heat, this cross, however you want to call it. Each one has to go in there because that's where you're drawn to, and that is the center of the inner self. And that's where your dependency comes, and that's where you experience the God on whom you have to depend. So what gives you the endurance is the dependence. It stays, and it remains, and it burns, and whatever it is, you cannot last through it, and it just keeps coming on in a way, just when you think, it's going to let up. No. And then it comes just at the right time, a kind of a breeze, where it comes from, and the refreshment. And then you're drawing something in from this power, and I would call it the spirit. The spirit is now bringing you into the inner rest that's going on, is only had by those who are willing to endure. I don't know how others would describe that, but that's how I was experiencing it. As you were speaking about that, that endurance, I think that's the suffering of love, isn't it? I mean, at its very, very heart. And I know that's one of the, you had spoken so poignantly that for many who heard your reflection prior to leaving, and you were seeking a particular grace, that entering into the Immaculate Heart of Mary, even more deeply into the Sacred Heart, and I don't want to put more words on it than what you were hoping for, because sometimes even the grace we think we're going for is smaller than the one that God wants to give us. So how would you describe your experience for those who have been eagerly waiting? Well, did it happen for them? Did you receive what you were hoping for? More, more than I ever had anticipated. That which I wanted, I received, but much more abundantly. There was more. It's so difficult to describe, because you have to use the same words. But the words don't carry the meaning that the inner self has that you want to convey. That life in the inner self, that enduring bond of love. Like, excuse me, you're supposed to look ragged and tired and beleaguered for an 88 -year -old man who, you know, has traveled around the world, and I have not seen you look so buoyant and glowing and energized. I mean, this is just, it's a joy to behold you. Yeah, yeah. And I feel that way. I feel my cup runneth over. You know, they use that expression, but it's just like brimming over, full and I. I just don't know how else to express it. So if you see it, that's wonderful. And if you hear it, that's wonderful. But I'm experiencing it. And so whatever I wanted out of this, I received with a hundredfold. You're like a beautiful monstrance right now that's sitting on top of an altar with a whole bunch of light shining. And I know you're just a vessel. You're just a monstrance. But what's making everybody, it's just breathtaking is how Christ is radiating out of you right now. What I was experiencing was that inner heart of Mary. And what's the inner heart of Mary? Completely empty. Completely empty. So that every single moment you can receive whatever that is that's coming. I think that's really what I'm experiencing. The emptiness of Mary's heart. So that she has none of her own cares, but those of everyone around her. You know, everyone was caring. I felt being cared for. But it was like the kind of being cared for so that I too could experience how to care for others. Well now you got me crying. Oh my gosh. Now I'm a big weepy mess. Well Monsignor, you know, I usually ask you if you have a final thought, but I just can't even believe that there could be a finality to this experience. What are you feeling right now in this moment? The thing that I'm really kind of filled with is Mary's spirit. It's always crying out. Magnificat. Magnificat. Have a beautiful, beautiful day. Along with hundreds of other spiritual formation programs, visit discerning hearts .com. Or you can find it within the free discerning hearts app. This has been a production of discerning hearts. I'm your host, Chris McGregor. We hope that if this has been helpful for you that you will first pray for our mission, which is to offer rock solid and authentic spiritual formation freely to souls around the world. And if you feel us worthy, consider a charitable donation, which is fully tax deductible to help support our efforts. But most of all, we hope that you will tell a friend about discerning hearts .com and join us next time for building a kingdom of love reflections with Monsignor John.
A highlight from Spirit-Empowered Evangelism (Part 2)
"I haven't finished the message or done it in two parts. This is one I'm just like, all of these parts feel essential to this and we need to be able to deal with this. Acts 1 and verse 8, because this really is the rest of the book of Acts is expressing this, we'll read this verse, we'll have a brief word of prayer, then we'll dive back into where we left off this morning. This is Jesus speaking to the apostles before he ascended to heaven, and they've asked about when's the, you know, when's the kingdom be restored? He's going to say, that's not for you to know, the Father's put those times in his hand. But verse 8, in contrast to that, you shall receive power, this ability, this divine power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you. So that happens at Pentecost, that the Holy Spirit comes upon them, empowers them, and ye shall be witnesses unto me. Okay, you're going to go tell everyone what you have seen and heard, particularly the resurrection. Witnesses tell what they have seen, both in Jerusalem, that's where it starts with Peter's sermon on Pentecost we looked at a few weeks ago, and in all Judea, their witness spills over from that city into the surrounding countryside. And in Samaria, we looked at that a little bit briefly this morning in Acts chapter 8, and under the uttermost part of the earth, and that is still going on today. One of the things we touched on when we looked at this text a few weeks ago is that the task is unfinished. Jesus is very much implying that I'm ascending to heaven and this task begins and it continues until I return. In fact, the angel says, you know, they're standing there gazing up into heaven, the same Jesus who you've seen ascend is going to come back that same way. He's going to return visibly and physically. And the implication is, until that happens, you've got a job to do, which is to be a witness to Christ, it is to evangelize. Now, so this morning, we talked about the fact that God has defined the task for us. What is evangelism? It's very simply telling people the good news of Jesus and calling them to accept it. It's not just information, but it's information and persuasion. It's not just here's the facts, but it's facts that demand a response. It's both of those two things together. We also noted that God has defined the message and we spent a significant amount of time today just carefully laying out what is the gospel, what is the evangel, what is the message that we as Christians are to declare. If we get the message wrong, we might be very, very passionate. We might be very bold, but we're not giving the message of life. Both boldness and accuracy are essential when it comes to giving the gospel. And so you might have a beautiful scene, but no light. You might be very accurate, but it's not visible. That's a message that's correct, but not declared. Or you might have a message that is declared, but not accurate. We want to have a message that's both accurate and made known to the world around us. So where I want to go this evening is how do we go about doing that? And we're going to look at the book of Acts and just look at some examples of the different ways to do that. But before we do, let's just go to the Lord in a word of prayer before we dive in. Father, you have called us to make disciples of the nations. You have called us to preach the gospel to every creature. And Father, we recognize that we are not capable of doing this on our own. We desperately need your spirit. And Father, we also confess this evening that we are often silent when we should speak. We are often fearful when we ought to be bold. We are often hesitant when we need to be direct. So God, I pray that you would fill us with courage. You would fill us with confidence that comes from your spirit's indwelling presence. Would you help us as a church to be a church that is marked by personal passionate evangelism? And Father, not just speaking to the issues of the day, but pointing people to Christ. We ask these things for your glory in Jesus' name. Amen. According to various studies that have been done, there are approximately 7 ,500 news anchors in the United States. That number was actually surprisingly low to me. I thought that like every town had a bunch of them. But 7 ,500. And the job of a news anchor is to simply get the news out. These are the people on the evening news that are like, this evening there was another traffic jam in the bank head tunnel, or the weather tomorrow is going to be insanely hot once again. They're the familiar faces on local TV who give us these updates. They might be the less familiar faces on sort of the national stage. And frankly, as much as many people dislike and distrust the media, and sometimes for good reason, I think we would all admit that people who give us the news are filling a vital and important role to let us know what is going on in the world. They're supposed to get the news out. And sure, sometimes they get the news wrong, and sometimes they leave out important aspects, but the basic description is to get the news out. That in a sense is our job as Christians is to get the news out without changing the facts, without tweaking things. Our job is to get the good news of the gospel out to a needy world, and we've got to get the message right. We saw that this morning. We've also got to embrace that calling. Our job is not to editorialize, but to announce. We're not to be opinion journalists, but more news anchors of here's the message and we're going to declare it and call people to respond to it. That is what it means to be an evangelist, is to declare the good news, to declare the gospel to the world around us. So I want to just pick up with these final two building blocks for a biblical vision of evangelism. Not only the fact that God has defined the task, not only the fact that God has determined the message, but I want to pick up thirdly this evening with the fact that God uses Christians to evangelize. I know this is a really obvious point, but God doesn't send angels to come and proclaim the gospel to the world around us. He doesn't strike people with lightning while they're walking down the street and all of a sudden they're saved. But as Romans 10 tells us that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ and that it is absolutely necessary for preachers to be sent out to make the gospel known. The book of Acts, it's called at the title at the top of my page the Acts of the Apostles. And we've noted the fact it could be the Acts of the Risen Christ through the spirit empowered apostles. It's really Jesus who's working. But we get example after example in this book of the first generation of Christians doing precisely that, telling people about Christ. And here's what is striking is the variety of ways, the variety of methods that God uses. There is not just here's the one approved method for giving the gospel. You know, God calls all Christians everywhere to only knock on doors and use the Romans road or only to have conversations at work. There's kind of an above all, all of the above kind of strategy when it comes to getting the gospel out. So one of the first ways we see the gospel going out is in Acts chapter two. So just turn over there with me. We looked at this in some detail a few weeks back. So we're not going to rehash this, but it's the day of Pentecost and the spirit comes upon the Christians and they begin to speak in other languages and a big crowd gathers. And Peter verse 14, Acts two verse 14, Peter standing up with the 11 lifted up his voice and said unto them, ye men of Judea and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you and hearken to my words. And from there, he begins to give them a recounting of the fact, hey, what you're seeing is not drunkenness, but the spirit of God has fallen in fulfillment of prophecy. He then adds to that, that Jesus is the promised Messiah who's risen from the dead and David predicted him. And this can't be about David because David is dead, but Jesus has risen from the dead. So verse 36, therefore, here's sort of the summary, the call to action, let all the house of Israel know assuredly, and by the way, this is imperative in the Greek. It's not just, hey, allow this to be, but that all the house of Israel must know this, must know assuredly, must accept this by faith, that God hath made the same Jesus whom ye crucified both Lord and Christ. So he declares the gospel to them through preaching. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission or the forgiveness of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. So he preaches and we find out in verse 41, 3 ,000 people respond in faith and signify that by stepping into the waters of baptism. We could give example after example, we have a number of examples in the book of Acts of public preaching. God uses Christians to evangelize and one of the ways he does that is through public preaching, maybe in a church gathering or out on a street or you think of through church history, men like George Whitfield and John Wesley who did open air preaching and thousands came to hear them. Preaching, this authoritative heralding to large groups of people. It might be a specially organized crusade like what Billy Graham did back in the day. It might be preaching that goes out over the airwaves or over the internet to bring sinners to faith in Christ. And Peter is preaching, he is expounding scripture. He is keeping scripture central. Now, what is interesting when you look at the apostles proclamation of the gospel, we do not see elaborate schemes. We don't see slick methods being cooked up to try to pad their numbers or to manipulate people. We don't see high pressure sales techniques to guilt people into making a decision. Rather, we see the simple and powerful declaration of the word of God laid onto the consciences of their hearers. It's the honest declaration of the good news of Jesus. Turn over with me to 2 Corinthians 4 to hear what Paul has to say about gospel ministry. 2 Corinthians 4, verses one and two. So seeing therefore, we have this ministry, the gospel ministry, this responsibility to make the gospel of Jesus known. As we have received mercy, we faint not. Okay, we've got such an awesome ministry. We don't give up, we don't quit. But we have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. I love this. He's saying, we're not resorting to trickery. We're not taking the scriptures and twisting them to make them say what we want, but we are plainly exposing to view what the Bible says and what Christ has done and making an appeal to people's consciences to respond. He's likely describing the individuals in his day who would go around from town to town and would sort of do philosophical lectures for money and some would do the same thing, would basically try to monetize the gospel. One way we could render this is we don't peddle the word of God. We don't go around sort of preaching the word of God in order to get rich for ourselves. But rather just the plain declaration of the truth. Now, to be sure, we do see the early church loving and serving their neighbors. We do see Peter performing miracles and that becoming an avenue for the gospel going out. There is biblical precedent for saying we're gonna perform mercy ministries. We're gonna do good to our community in order to gain a hearing. We have to be careful less we slip into crass manipulation where you're trying to play on people's emotions and arms twist when the spirit of God has not touched their conscience. So how do we go about, how does God use Christians to proclaim the gospel one way is by preaching. Here's another way that's totally different. So if Peter's preaching in Acts two and Acts three to crowns of thousands, we go to the other end of the spectrum, which is simply a one -on -one conversation. Go over to Acts chapter eight with me. Here we have a guy who's by the name of Philip. In Acts chapter six, there had been some division in the early church between the Greek speakers and the Hebrew speakers and the apostles called the church together. They appoint the first deacons and there's seven of them. One of them is Stephen. He preaches a powerful sermon before the Sanhedrin in Acts chapter seven and they kill him because they loved his sermon so much. He faces stoning because of the reaction to it. Same message, completely different response. Then we get in Acts chapter eight, Philip, we noted him briefly this morning. He goes to Samaria and he preaches. Later on in the book of Acts, this guy is so passionate for the gospel, he gets the name Philip, the evangelist. An evangelist is not some guy who has a fifth -wheel trailer who goes from church to church and does special meetings. An evangelist is somebody who preaches the gospel. By the way, nothing wrong with people going from church to church doing special meetings. I've got friends who do that. But the term evangelist refers to those who evangelize. And so Philip gets that label. But look in verse 26, Acts chapter eight. So he's preached the gospel to all the villages of the Samaritans and the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip. This is one of the rare instances in Acts where we see special divine guidance regarding ministry. Arise and go toward the south under the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. So down to the Gaza Strip, going down towards Egypt. And he arose and went and behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, was returning and sitting in his chariot and read Isaiah the prophet. Then the spirit said unto Philip, go near and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him and heard him read the prophet Isaiah and said, understandest thou what thou readest? He said, how can I accept some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he should come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture, which he read was this. He was led as a sheep to the slaughter and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth. In his humiliation, his judgment was taken away and who shall declare his generation for his life is taken from the earth. It's from Isaiah 53, which Brian read this morning. And the eunuch answered Philip and said, I pray thee of whom speaketh the prophet this, of himself or some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth and began at the same scripture and preached unto him, Jesus. Here we get this other end of the spectrum. This is not preaching to a crowd of thousands, but this is a one -on -one conversation. You see, you may say I'm not comfortable doing public speaking. I'll never stand up before a crowd of people and declare the gospel. Great, well, we have this example of a one -on -one conversation, a divine appointment. God orchestrates this encounter as you read the text. It's very obvious that God is making sure that Philip crosses the path of the eunuch so that he can get the gospel and he meets him just when he happens to be reading Isaiah 53. And occasionally at various points in your life, God will bring those kinds of situations across your path where you bump into a complete stranger. The spirit of God's been working on them. Other people have been witnessing to them. They've been under conviction and you get to witness to them. I remember a time when I was a kid, my dad was cleaning the church where we were at and a Sri Lankan guy just came and knocked on the door. He'd kind of grown up in Sri Lanka. I think he had grown up as a Hindu and was like, I'm looking for a priest. I want to figure out how to become a Christian. Like never met the guy before, never had encountered the guy before and dad brought him home, sat down with him, explained the gospel, the guy got saved. Like, praise God. I'll be honest, those situations are pretty rare that you get someone and you just cross their paths and boom, there they are, they're ready to be converted. Philip is in the right place at the right time with the right message. And notice what his message is, it's Jesus. He starts at the same scripture and gets to Jesus. Beloved, we need to be so fluent with the gospel that we can sort of jump into any place in the storyline of the Bible and be able to get to Jesus. I was talking to Clay this morning on the way out. He was letting me know he was going to preach about David at Ahepa and I just gave him the encouragement. I said, as you preach about David, don't forget to talk about the son of David, right? Anywhere in the Bible we want to get to Christ because he is the heart of the gospel. So the Ethiopian is ripe for the picking. The soil is ready for the planting. And these encounters are not encounters that you and I can manufacture. We can't sort of, you know, we try to strategize and make sure I'm at the right place at the right time. This is the working of God. Indeed, I would say that trying to plant the seed when God has not yet plowed the soil can actually be unhelpful because it's going to push people away when they're not ready. But think about the things that God could use to awaken someone's heart to where they're in a place like this guy who's just ready for this. Maybe someone has gotten to the end of their rope and realized, man, this religion I've grown up in does not give me answers. Or some personal tragedy has happened where all of a sudden they didn't think about eternity yesterday, but now they are thinking about eternity. A loved one passes away, and all of a sudden they're realizing, one day I'm going to die. And they're beginning to think about these things. Sometimes tragedy will be the megaphone that God will use to awaken a lost world to their need for him. Sometimes a divorce has thrown someone back on a faith they long ago rejected. You see, in every tragedy in the midst of all brokenness, when questions arise, that is where the Gospel can slip in. So God uses Christians. Sometimes it's the preaching to the huge crowds, Peter on Pentecost. Other times it's the divine appointment, Philip in the Ethiopian eunuch. Another way we see God using Christians are just individuals who are scattered. We looked at Acts 8 this morning how the church is scattered and everybody went everywhere giving the Gospel. Let me give you another example of this happening in Acts because it seems to suggest this is a way that God works. Acts 11, picking up in verse 19. Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen. All right, so same persecution. We would look at persecution and be like it's a real negative, it's a real downer. People are getting killed, hauled into prison. God's using it to scatter Christians. Those who were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen traveled as far as Phoenice and Cyprus and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only. That's all they knew is this is for Israel. And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene. Cyrene is in North Africa, Cyprus is an island out in the Mediterranean, which when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. Same message, right? That Jesus and he's the Lord, he's the resurrected king. And the hand of the Lord was with them and a great number believed and turned unto the Lord. So here's these people who are scattered. They weren't planning to go to Cyprus or to Cyrene. They were planning to stay in Jerusalem and hang out with the Christians there. But circumstances have happened and all of a sudden they're in a place where there's a bunch of people who don't know about Jesus. And so what do they do? They open their mouths and give the gospel. Now here's the interesting thing. It says, you know, preaching the words, none of the Jews, but the Jews only, but notice the verb that's used in verse 20. Some of them, they come, they were come to Antioch, they spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. The word preaching here is not the word keruso standing up and heralding, but simply the word for speaking. One -on -one conversations. I think you can envision them moving into town and having one -on -one conversations over meals, having in -home discussions with their new neighbors, robust back and forth with their coworkers. You see, every week we scatter dozens of different ways, interacting with hundreds of people every week. Other times through circumstances there is a, you know, a downsizing at work and you lose your job and all of a sudden you have to move to take a job out in Seattle. You're like, I didn't want to go live in Seattle. I liked living in Alabama. We got better football down here. Well, the weather's probably better up there. But then all of a sudden you're off moving to Seattle. You can look at that as, man, what a rotten circumstance or it could be God has moved me here. What is the strategic gospel purpose that he might have in making me change jobs or move houses or go to a new location? I often think this when I taught at PCC, have these students who are in the classroom who are nursing and engineering and all of these other majors. Man, what if people deployed their careers in a way that is strategic for the cause of the gospel? You say, okay, I can go be a nurse anywhere, right? Everywhere needs nurses. How about I go be a nurse where there's a church plant that's happening so I can come in and be part of that on the front lines as opposed to just going wherever and not thinking strategically. What if we thought strategically about our moves, about our job changes? What if we thought that all these changes that come our way that we don't expect could be the providential hand of God, putting us into contact with people that we would not have been in contact with otherwise? Now, one of the things that I think is really beautiful in the book of Acts is that we don't get the sense that there are these organized structured programs for evangelism. Rather, we get the sense that Christians just went around telling people about Jesus. It wasn't like, hey, this is on Saturday at 10 o 'clock, we're meeting at the church, but this was just a, I'm going around and of course I would tell people about what is important to me. You see, my goal, my desire, my prayer for our church is not that we have a bunch of evangelistic programs, but rather that we have a culture of evangelism. Like, think about how awesome this would be if we had a church full of people who in the normal course of their daily lives were just telling people about Jesus. We're just like, hey, I'm going to start a Bible study in my apartment complex. Hey, I'm just going to figure out a way to reach my neighbors with the gospel.
A highlight from Qualities for Serving Gods People ~ Part 2
"Well, let's have word of prayer. Lord, we thank you for the privilege of studying your word and we just really pray, Father, we would listen carefully to what you have for us. We thank you for this unchangeable word. We know that it applies differently in our lives from different times, but it just never changes, and we're grateful for that when we live in a world that continually changes. So, thank you for that stability, and pray, Father, you would just really direct as we study together in Christ's name. Amen. Well, we're going to be in Acts 20 tonight. As a follow -up, we were in Acts 19 last week, and it's kind of as a refresher. Now, wherever Paul goes, he's on his third missionary journey, they want to kill him, and, you know, the killer, you know, because that's what he was when he was blinded by the light, you know, is now being hunted, and he had some difficulty in Ephesus, and we looked at that last week, and we looked at the guys that were making money off of the false idols, and that was really, that was a big deal to them, and we talked about the fact that it wasn't like people didn't really worship these idols, they did, and it wasn't that there wasn't, you know, demonic activity going on, there certainly was, but the Lord was greater than that. One of the things I want to grab tonight is to see the difference between how Paul ministers and how these money -making guys minister. There's a real contrast, I think, and oftentimes, like if you're doing a read through the Bible, sometimes you miss a bit of the context of what's going on, unless you have a really good memory and you're young, which, you know, the older you get, the harder it is, right? But I think the context is important. Obviously, this was continuous, and 19 leads into this, and I think, in some ways, the Holy Spirit of God is intending to make a contrast, and we could make those contrasts with the false religious people of the day, too. They're in for power, they're in for money, they love to have people live in fear, and the gospel is just like the opposite. And any time the so -called gospel preachers, teachers, start wanting the money, my dad always said, just don't let them put your name on it, just, you know, just always stay away from that. So we're moving in and we're going to see a contrast, and Paul has gone on this missionary journey, so we're going to pick up our way into chapter 20, we're going to be at verse 16. Paul's continued his missionary journey, he's gone through the territory of Macedonia, Achaia, Greece, and now because of threats on his life, big surprise, he decides to go back through Macedonia. He was going to take a different route, and he changes his route and goes back there, and so he finds himself in Asia Minor, he's not far from Ephesus, but is intentionally not going there, and that's verse 16, for Paul decided to sell past Ephesus so that he would not have to spend time in Asia, for he was hurried to be in Jerusalem if possible on the day of Pentecost, and you know, I read that and I think, I have friends like that, I have family like that, you can't just go for like a short visit. If you stop by their house, you know, the photograph books are going to be brought out, it's going to be a long, it's going to be a long process, and for us, like in different ministries over the years, there are some places where we just, like coming back from Colorado not too long ago, we asked a couple just to, could you just meet us for breakfast on the way, because we knew we didn't have that time, so this is kind of the picture that you get with Paul. Some would say Paul was afraid for his life, maybe, I think actually Paul was doing what the Lord told him to do, which that will come out. So verse 17, from Miletus he came to Ephesus, and he called the elders of the church, and when they had come to him, he said, You yourselves know from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time, serving the Lord with all humility and tears, and with tears, and with trials which came upon me through the plot of the Jews, how I did not shrink back from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly from house to house, solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold, bound by the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and affliction await me. Verse 24, But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course in the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to solemnly testify the And now, behold, I know that all of you among whom I went about preaching the kingdom will no longer see my face. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men, for I did not shrink back, declaring to you the whole purposes of God. We're going to skip verses 28 to 32, we may or may not get to that, it sounds like there's goes into Paul's quality or pattern for ministry.
Charlie Exposes Shocking Injustice Against Christian Values
"Vision is we believe firmly that Western civilization is special and unique, rooted in biblical values and ideas, and that we are called through our own obligation to do our part to try to save Western civilization against people that want to destroy it. And this is something that not every Christian agrees with me on. Some people say, Charlie, Western society doesn't matter. It doesn't matter the government that you have. I think that's important the most thing. The most important thing is spreading the gospel. But the second most important thing is to make sure you can do the first thing. And when we lived during COVID, and they deemed the church not essential and strip clubs, liquor stores, marijuana dispensaries were essential, and the church was not. And Easter and Pentecost, you weren't even allowed to go to church and you had to wear masks and be socially distanced. I said, no, something here is really, really terribly wrong.
Pope Francis resumes regular appointments after canceling schedule with a fever
"Pope Francis returned to work Saturday meeting with a famous American director after a fever interrupted his regular schedule. The pontiff met with Martin Scorsese and a number of other artists, while addressing a conference on the global ethics of the Catholic imagination, according to Vatican news, he also met with visitors from Georgetown university, the Vatican's confirmation of the 86 year old Pope's fever sparked concerns about Francis's health in March he was rushed to the hospital, diagnosed with acute bronchitis, the Vatican says the Pope will preside over Pentecost mass Sunday and meet with Italy's president Monday. I'm Julie Walker
"pentecost" Discussed on Little Falls Christian Centre
"Of identity sexual you think that is godly it goes against God's word the church they're coming for the church you cannot be silent about this and think it is fine they're coming for you it may not even impact you directly but satan is coming for you because we are going to accept and tolerate a norm that is against what God's word says my identity in terms of my sexuality lies in Christ I am a man I am made as a male and that is the only thing that I accept that God's word says nobody will define how different I am and when God talks about what marriage is I don't care what the world wants to try and define God's word says marriage is between male and female and only that only that third point when you know that revival is brooding there is a longing in the hearts of the people for a move of God raise your hands in all honesty who are you hungering and desiring for a move of God to come come on we know it we've seen it the last couple of Sundays you've seen the prayer meetings how full it becomes on a Saturday morning you've been here at the prayer on Friday through to Saturday you know there is something different that is something that is brooding we know we are close to a revival the fourth point there are pockets of the movement of God's Holy Spirit that you hear of and see in different churches here and there that is proof that God is busy preparing the church that he's busy he's busy getting his Holy Spirit ready for a great revival again and who knows it may be the last revival who knows this may be the last Pentecost and you should not miss out because God's baptism of his Holy Spirit was exactly that for us to encounter and experience that power of God so that we can be the light unto the world out there and impact the world out there listen to what it says here in Acts 2 verses 1 and when the day of Pentecost was fully come they were all with one accord in one place we are now here in one accord in one place and if we do not expect miracles and a move of God's Spirit to happen if we don't expect that we are not going to be disappointed but if we expect it God will not disappoint us I close over this there was a great last great revival was in the 1906 in the Azusa Street and revival you can go and read it and even watch the YouTube videos phenomenal things that happened there to think of this for three years three services per day three years that happened and in one of those services William Seymour one of the men who led this revival had the gentleman that coming to him and his leg was amputated and he asked the man what did he want and he said I want I want a new leg I want my leg to grow and God didn't go and heal this man at his home in the front of the eyes of those people that leg started to grow and everybody witnessed it that's why people could give accounts of that witnessing that leg grew of that man that he walked out of there on his two legs and because of that miracle a thousand other people got saved because of the power of
"pentecost" Discussed on Little Falls Christian Centre
"The foundation of how every Christian will walk in this life knowing that you will walk in victory because he says this listen to the words he says when the Holy Spirit came it says a sound from heaven was heard firstly they heard this they heard this faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God and then he says and they saw that cloven tongues of fire appeared unto each and every single one of them in other words they saw it we shall see the works and the power of salvation so now we hear and we see and lastly says and they were filled with the Holy Spirit and they started speaking in different tongues not their own tongues the power of the Holy Spirit comes and he gives you and me the ability and the privilege to speak in a heavenly language if you've ever been fearful of praying and speaking in the Spirit I'm telling you it is a fear from the devil and not for the fear from God because whom of us do not want to receive that heavenly language that we cannot we cannot copy or we cannot fake it it is God's Spirit who speaks to us a language that is divine that is holy that we speak the perfect will of God and it is proved that the baptism of the Holy Spirit had come upon the church by being able to speak in the Spirit not by our own understanding because why does God do this because he confirms then also we will speak and appear before men and women and those in authority and we would not know what to say but the Holy Spirit will speak through us the oracles of God God lays the foundation for every Christian even there at Pentecost William Bradham had it right when he said Pentecost is not a denomination Pentecost is an experience whom everyone can have if they so desire and wish because Pentecost is an experience experiencing God's Holy Spirit you cannot teach this you cannot buy it you cannot purchase it you receive it because you believe it because 2 000 years ago the Holy Spirit was poured out where do you think he still is today he's still here on the earth waiting to come into the hearts of men so that he can also come upon us to empower us with power so that we can resist the devil and do the works of God just as Jesus Christ had promised us that we must walk in his ways and he said we will do more than he had done because of the same power that was on Jesus Christ is now upon us as the church that is the power of what God had made available to us but now God also comes and he establishes his church of Pentecost because when that power of the Holy Spirit comes then the body of Christ was empowered to do that which we are called to do all of us have had the privilege because of that day of Pentecost we have got that privilege that God wants to use us to reveal to the world who Jesus Christ is that is the power that is working in each and every single one of us only if we move beyond salvation and we say come Lord I want to be baptized in the Holy Spirit come and fill me come and let me speak in the heavenly language come Lord let signs and wonders and miracles operate through the gifts that operates through me that comes from your
"pentecost" Discussed on Little Falls Christian Centre
"You and then it says whom the world cannot receive the world cannot receive the spirit of truth because it neither sees him nor knows him but you know him you know the Holy Spirit if you are born again and then he qualifies why he says because he dwells with you and he dwells in you so we've got the Holy Spirit double portion God has given the body of Christ the church you the believer the Holy Spirit to be in you and the Holy Spirit to be upon you to very distinct different functions of the Holy Spirit why did God put it that way because it was fulfilling what Jesus our Lord was saying himself just before he ascended to heaven you must always remember these last words of our Lord Jesus Christ before he left the earth he said this in the book of Acts 1 verses 8 and you will be endued with power from on high why do we need power why why is salvation just not enough why do we need power because then it would put in motion what the Lord already said in the book of John 14 verses 12 he says most assuredly I say to you he who believes in me the works that I do he will do and greater works than he will do because I go to my father Jesus proved the only way that he did the miracles that he did was by the power of God's Holy Spirit that came upon him and the only way that we are going to do it was by that same Holy Spirit he tells us how it's going to happen because he knows he's got firsthand experience and now he says to the
"pentecost" Discussed on Little Falls Christian Centre
"Came. Grace came in the form of a person called Jesus Christ. So in celebrating Pentecost, we've got great, great excitement and expectation of a move of God and this year we started it for me the best possible way in praying a whole night through and those of you who are here will bear testimony to this. We are prayed up and we are ready for the feast of Pentecost and every night we must expect great things to happen just like in the time of the early church. Three times God speaks very specifically and uniquely to mankind through his Spirit. Three times. The first time at creation in Genesis two versus seven, God says this, and he will breathe his breath of life in the nostrils of man and man becomes a man. If you wondered what that breath of life is, the word always answers that question. We can go to Job. You don't have to. I'm just using it as a frame of reference. Job, in the book of Job 27, chapter 27 verse 3, he says this, all the while my breath is in me and the Spirit, the Ruach of God is in my nostrils. So that was the first time when the Spirit of God moved mightily amongst man. The second was time when we got saved because now we are born again. It is our spirits that were born again and that was the work of the Holy Spirit who resurrected our spirits who was dead because of sin and now we are born again. John 3 says this, except a man is born again, he will not see means he will not know, he will not see the kingdom of God. That was the second time. The third time God's Holy Spirit moves in a profound way amongst man is at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came and people were baptized in the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist himself says here in Mark 1 verse 80 I baptize you with water but he, Jesus, is coming and he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and this is the one part I believe that most churches are missing and are preaching and are teaching their people because it is only with the baptism of the Holy Spirit that power is given unto the salvation born again and the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the word of God in John 14 verses 17 and this is what it says all of us who are saved all of us it says that
"pentecost" Discussed on Little Falls Christian Centre
"Time of this feast of Pentecost that with a new and a fresh outpouring, your Holy Spirit will fill the temple which is your house. Because it is said by David and we concur with that. I was glad when they said we must go up to the house of God. Father, this is where your presence dwells. Thank you that we may worship you through these words, because you inhabit the praises of your people. May the name of our Lord Jesus Christ always be lifted up high and be glorified. And as we go into this week of this feast of Pentecost, may it be a feast of the powerful presence and the anointing of your Holy Spirit. And if you agree with me, let's say amen. Hallelujah, hallelujah. Thank you, band. Thank you. You may be seated. Good morning, everyone. It is always nice to see knowing that you're going to come to the house of God and there's not going to be just one person, more than one. So it's great to see, as Maude rightfully pointed out, we can see that the winter is now slowly but surely starting to settle in. And we can see by the attire that we wear and also by more people choosing to come to the second service. But all of you, you're most welcome. And to all of you, I want to say, expect a great, a marvelous and a wonderful feast of Pentecost, because this is what God has for his church. And something dawned on me in preparation. And maybe I was just a bit slow concerning this one. But we know that the Word of God says that for 10 days, for 10 days, they gathered together by the instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ, said for 10 days, wait. They didn't know it was going to be 10 days. They were just told by our Lord Jesus, tarry in Jerusalem and wait until you are endued with power on high. They didn't know it was 10 days. We know now that it was 10 days. And Friday night, when we started with a prayer meeting here in the church, it was exactly 10 days up until Pentecost day, which is the 28th next coming Sunday. And I do believe that there's something quite profound in this, because nothing in this church happens by coincidence. So when we started with this prayer on Friday, it is a build up to Pentecost and we've got great expectation of what the Lord is going to do. You know, what does it take for God to move from Pentecost when it was instituted on Mount Sinai three and a half thousand years ago, the first time Pentecost was instituted, we celebrated 50 days that Israel came out of Egypt and the law was given from that moment until a thousand five hundred years later, when the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost, Mount Sinai, three thousand people died because they sinned. Mount Zion, three thousand people got saved because of the Holy Spirit that was poured out. And that set in motion what God had planned for the church ever since then, because this is what God wants for us during Pentecost. It is a time that we must expect great and wonderful miracles because the law was given,
"pentecost" Discussed on Little Falls Christian Centre
"Month. And this is the day that we have communion and tonight we launch Pentecost build up. Father now your people have given. May be before heaven, you who test the hearts. You know the thoughts and the intents, you know the hidden men of art. That now in all of our lives, we will please you. And we know that your house is above every other house that exists. And lord, this day I pray. As David and Solomon prayed at that moment in time, this day I pray. That the people of this house, which represents your house, here in this place, for we have far from Jerusalem. The lord you will bless your people and cause them to have such favor and that they may thrive and flourish, be in health, even as their hearts and their souls would prosper in your presence. That you will look down from heaven above and have favor on your people. The lord that you would open up doors unexpectedly. Great and open doors of opportunities and moments that they can move forward that you would lead them by your spirit. The doors of righteousness into the blessings of our God. For today we know we can not trust you that I'm a flash. We can't even trust in ourselves. For the day we know we are pilgrims, we are on a journey we so generous through this life. But tomorrow, the lord will be with us tomorrow. We will enter the holy city. So lord, our days here on earth are short, but your hand is upon us, and that's all we want. We want you to bless us in this month. We want you to bless these people. For lord, they've been faithful. They've been loyal. I've watched them. They always in the house of the lord. They always care about you. They are here, loyal to you and loyal to one another. And we've experienced times of great, great unity here. Oh, lord that you've protected us, that every house would become blessed. Every house would become a blessing to other homes. Every mouth and tongue would be blessed to witness of your greatness. That we be bold to talk about Jesus the way the truth and the life. And that this day lord will go down as a day in which you will release the blessing. And there will be no worries and concerns for the lord is the strength of our lives. And he's our ability and he's given us the mind of Christ that we may prosper in his presence and be well pleased with us. Now the greater the lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, the father, and the fellowship of be with you now and forever more. The lord bless you and the lord face shined towards you, lord keeps you, love to be countenance over you, be gracious to you and grant you the eternal Salvation spoken of through faith in Jesus Christ the messiah in the name of God the father in the name of God the son and God the Holy Spirit. And all God's people say. For more teachings like this and other material, please visit our website at WWW dot little fool's online dot com.
"pentecost" Discussed on Evangelism on SermonAudio
"That's true. I've heard some say, well, you can have a change of mind without a change of life. And I completely reject that because if you really have changed your mind about Jesus Christ, you will change your life. So yes, literally it means a change of mind, but that change of mind will result in a change of life. And for these believers, it would mean a change about who they think Jesus is, a clean to him for Salvation, and they would show that they really are clinging to Jesus by being baptized in his name. In the name of the father, and of the son, and of the Holy Spirit, as a way of declaring I was wrong for participating in his crucifixion, I was wrong for mocking him and reject him and now I embrace him with my whole life. And here's a sign, I want the whole world to know that I'm bracing Jesus Christ. I am going to be baptized in his name. So we see very clearly the fruits of repentance, 41 says. So those who received his word were baptized. And there were added that day about three thousand. Now let me ask you a question. Have you repented of your sin? And notice how I said past tense repented. Was there ever a point in your life? Were you realized that you were sitting? You put your faith in Christ and you repented of how you were living. You asked God for forgiveness. And by his grace, you changed how you were living. Have you ever done it? That is the beginning of Christianity. There has to be a change in life. And again, it's not that you go from being a center to being a perfect person. But there's a change in your life and obvious change in your life. Let me also ask this question, is your life characterized by repentance? Because as believers, we are to be repenting. It is not just something we do once in a lifetime, but it's something we do on a regular basis.
"pentecost" Discussed on The Power of Prayer _Believer4Life.com
"<Music> <Music> <Music> <Music> you <Music> <Music> <Music> <Music> <Music> <Silence> <SpeakerChange> <Speech_Female> <Speech_Female> did. You know the best <Speech_Female> way to break a fastest <Silence> with prayer. <Speech_Female> Hit the subscribe <Speech_Female> button to receive <Speech_Female> my weekly bible <Speech_Female> teaching <Speech_Female> monday wednesday <Speech_Female> and friday morning <Speech_Female> as we <Speech_Female> intercede for <Speech_Female> our family friends <Silence> <Advertisement> and community <Silence> <Advertisement> <Speech_Female> we
"pentecost" Discussed on The Power of Prayer _Believer4Life.com
"And be strengthened by other believers. See i did over some thirty years ago. I confess my sin got baptized and receive the holy spirit. And i have been walking faithfully with my guy and i've been happy ever since i.
"pentecost" Discussed on Christ United Methodist Church - Plano, TX
"We'll tell you everything you need to know about. Farming young man excitedly explains this old timer. It tells you when to so win to reap it tells you about weather window. Expect it and what to expect gives you all the details of effective crop rotation this book tells you everything you need to know sir and on and on he went old-timer patiently listened to this ernest salesman. Make his pitch young men farmer said. That's not the problem. I know everything that's in that book. My problem is doing it so it is with the faithful life. It seems to me. The problem is not knowledge. You don't have to be a bible scholar. You don't have to speak greek or hebrew. You don't have to know the historical context of each of the sixty six books in the bible. Jesus said the entire thing boils down to loving god and loving others as we love ourselves if we get confused about what living the gospel looks like. That's what it boils down to those two great commandments. He said and by and large. I think we know what that looks like. I mean there are some exceptions but for the most part anyway we know what it looks like to love god and low our neighbors as ourselves. The problem is doing it. But here's the good news of pentecost. Here's why pentecost we shouldn't undersell pentecost as a holiday. It's right up there with with easter and christmas because the pentecost story in a nutshell is that the spirit has descended and gives each of us the power to live faithful lives. That's what jesus promised. That's what the early disciples learned. It's just as true for us today. As it was for the first disciples on that first pentecost i can choose to live the life of the spirit because the spirit is always with me the spirit is always near the spirit is imminent use the theological language. I just have to to receive it to accept it and to allow myself to be transformed by and what happens when we live. God's way is that. As paul tells us god brings gifts into our lives much the same way. That fruit appears in an orchard. Now eugene peterson. Expanded their descriptions but the traditional list is love and joy and peace patience kindness generosity faithfulness gentleness and self control. That's that's what we receive. Those are the fruit of the spirit that we receive and we accept the power of the holy spirit in our lives and our lives to be transformed by that power. Living lives marked by the fruit of the spirit. Just may be the most important way that we are christ's witnesses in the world like the wise old farmer. We recognize that. There's a big difference between knowing and doing but as wise christian of whatever age we know that at pentecost god's spirit descended to give each of us the power to live our lives bearing witness to the gospel of jesus christ that is the importance of numerology. Thank god for it i mean..
"pentecost" Discussed on National Prayer Chapel, Pilgrim's Progress
"pentecost" Discussed on National Prayer Chapel, Pilgrim's Progress
"These sheaves of grain were lifted up for the lord in a wave offering. They were the offering of the first fruits and the apostle paul called. Jesus the first fruits. When jesus died on calvary it was at the same time. The high priest wave.
"pentecost" Discussed on The Power of Prayer _Believer4Life.com
"For fair use purposes. Such as criticism comment news reporting teaching and scholarship research. Therefore feel free to leave a comment Then i was holding you. So there's nothing. I can do invade. It does intake trophy to make you be more than i am. But i won't go down. He can call me notion so you closer than you are. Uh show how home town can see so clearly so stay close. How long yard thank goodness. You're much more Smart own jeez early stage scissors Respect ma you think thinking team show are who owns in to Stay.
"pentecost" Discussed on The Power of Prayer _Believer4Life.com
"Words over in joel chapter two versus twenty eight he said it shall come to pass afterward. I will pour out my spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters will prophesy your old men will dream dreams and your young men will see visions. Now if y'all didn't know we were included in that process because from generation to generation the holy spirit remains and lives in the earth. See it is where we experienced the power in the presence of god. It's through our born again experience. It's when god breathes the breath of life into our hearts and we become a living soul again.
"pentecost" Discussed on The Power of Prayer _Believer4Life.com
"Let me begin my reflections. What the quote from saint augustine all holy spirit descend plentifully into my heart enlightened the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scattered thereby cheerful beams. I believe this quote is relevant to our tax as we seek to answer the question. What is pentecost to understand this text. Let's take a look at vikas. Twenty-three where. God is speaking to moses about his appointed feast god gives the children of israel seven fees which are to be a lasting ordinance from generation to generation. These appointed feast. Tell a marvelous story. About god's amazing love for his beloved creation beginning with the weekly sabbath where we are to work six days arrest on the seven the next three feast our passover feast of unleavened bread and feast of weeks known. Asha vote this past march. My jewish brothers and sisters began celebrating the spring feast with passover unleavened bread and at sunset on yesterday may sixteenth through may eighteen. We will celebrate. Chevelle should vote was originally a harvest feast but now it commemorates the giving of the torah it is celebrated fifty days from the feast of unleavened bread. Listen as i read leviticus twenty three verses fifteen and sixteen from this day after the sabbath day that you brought the sheaf of wave offering count off seven four weeks count off fifty days up to the day after the seven sabbath and then present present the offering of new grant to the lord. Let me explain if you count off seven saturdays. The next day is shoveled. I believe should vote is the foundational piece to usher in the promise of the holy spirit because it is a lasting ordinance from generation to generation seven days from now. Most christians will celebrate pentecost sunday fifty days after easter pentecost is when we commemorate the giving of the holy spirit descending upon the apostles and other followers of jesus christ while they were in jerusalem as described in the book of acts now. Let's fast forward to our texts and see how the spring feast connects to the death. Burial of christ the gospels matthew mark luke and john all given account of the life of cracks in the in chapter twenty two of the book of luke the writer reveals what time it was by describing the last supper it began with the feast of unleavened bread hassles now according to exodus twelve it would have taken place on the fourteenth day of nissan when jesus became the passover lamb. If you follow the timeline. God the father then raised jesus from the grave during the feast of unleavened bread according to luke. This leads us to our texts where we find jesus and his disciples after his resurrection from the grave in acts chapter. One versus three look verifies the time line by saying. After his suffering he presented himself and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive see. Jesus appeared to them for forty days. Which would have been during the feast of weeks. This is where i believe. Jesus closes the door of the old covenant and confirms the new covenant spoken in jeremiah. My goal is always to connect the dots to understand scripture clearly so flip on over to jeremiah thirty one versus thirty three and thirty four and hear what god spoke through the profit he said this is the covenant i will make with the people of israel after that time declares the lord i will put my law into their mind right it on their hearts i will be their god and they will be my people no longer. Will they teach their neighbor to say to the other. No the lord because they will know me from the least to the greatest declares the lord for i will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more seat while jesus was doing his earthly ministry. He consistently talked about the holy spirit. Matter of fact. John quotes the words of chapter. Sixteen verse seven. I tell you it is good. It is for your good. That i am going away and less i go away. The advocate will not come to you. But if i go i will send to whom to you. Wow what what what a promise. God is always revealing his plan to whom he is called out of darkness into his marvelous. Let let me close with my definition of pentecost and why it is an important pentecost was and is an event in which jesus gives us a gift so that he may write his words in our hearts and in our minds. I love it. Because god the father gave us his son and the son now gives us a gift of the spirit. Wow i reminded of the prophet joel. When he spoke those.
"pentecost" Discussed on The Power of Prayer _Believer4Life.com
"Most precious and the most powerful name of jesus christ amen..
"pentecost" Discussed on The Call with Nancy Sabato
"The holy spirit. Some people think it's like a loss of power. But no he's not he's not an it. The holy spirit is a cousin and he is actually gone hat of the triune trinity got hit got the father god and god the holy spirit so the holy spirit is actually the very presence of god and he lives in all believers as a seal that guarantees are eternal salvation and new forever life with jesus in heaven. That's what the bible calls harrison's in christ so today my friend and sister in christ patsy ho is with us. She's the former teaching leader from bible study fellowship and today we're gonna be talking about pentecost and what happened when jesus told the disciples to wait for the gift he had promised. I'm so we're gonna jump right in. We're gonna talk about pentecost say. So what is the history of pentecost. And how do we read it in the new testament book of acts about the gift that jesus promised well pentecost is the name of the day the holy spirit descended from heaven and he descended to live in everyone. Who believes in. Jesus as savior so. This event is recorded in the book of acts in chapter two. Now the what pentecost actually means fifty five zero now. This is because it happened. Full two days. After jesus was resurrected intendes after his ascension and this event is one of god's promises fulfilled now. You see god had prophecies in the old testament in joel that he would pour out his spirit on all these people in the last days. That's pentecost you know what it. But were the disciples doing before the gift of the holy spirit was given. The disciples will altogether one. You see just before. Jesus ascended into heaven acts chapter one this fall. He told his disciples to wait in jerusalem but the gift that got a promised so this gift was the baptism of the holy spirit. Jesus felt it all out clearly. You're not shogo. Take a look at it wall and so when it came down on an amazing sight and sound that must have been so scripture says it sounds that make a fine and wind blowing through that came from heaven filled the whole house now that the cyclists were all together in one room waiting. They had no idea what was going to happen. They've been waiting and pray and suddenly this violent win came and they were tons of fire and the came in it rested on each. Believe up. An an and what you could actually see was that as will filled with the holy spirit. They began to speak in different languages. Okay now because the cost coincided with the jewish festival of weeks Then spread the first fruits with sacrifice to god. It will law of people from different nations that will induce and what was amazing that they began to hear the wonders of god spoken and then needed language. Now we have to remember that jesus disciples which auditory men with little formal schooling. So it was a real miracle for them to southern me. Praise god in a foreign language and we see it was so great and such a an outpouring of god himself that a versus forty one told us. Three thousand people believed and trusted. Jesus as they save you so pepsi how can we as believers in christ received this free gift access to a bus that the tell us to repent and be bad tut's so salvation is basically a two step process repent means to realize who got it and what he has done for us you see jesus took the punishment of your sins and my sense when he really died on the cross and because jesus has absolved us a all our wrongdoings god is no longer angry at us when we realized this great truth and how much got really loves us repent when we decide to follow off and not do life on our terms so in other words repent needs to turn away from building your life on your own selfish desires. It's not looking to money or korea for reliance success. It's not looking for romance technology or science to give your life. Meaning you see these things never be enough when we put our hope in things and diety envy resentment. Depression possessiveness entitlement will play us. What we need to do is relieved to repent from denying that. Jesus we need to repent from making god unimportant and insignificant in our lives. Now it's not enough to know about god and in his clips. You have to believe by faith and trust in what jesus has done for you when you do so the holy spirit comes to live in you and then step two is fat design which is a public confession that you are a follower of jesus christ no secret agent.