Sermons

The Gospel on the Move

The Gospel on the Move
Apr 2016 - Apr 2017
Have you ever had post-holiday let down? The holiday arrives in a flurry of activity and excitement. Then it’s gone. And the next day comes. We get back into our day-to-day routines and life continues to plod on. From a Christian standpoint, it would be easy for us to feel that way about Easter. We are reminded of the horror of Good Friday and the power of Resurrection Sunday, but then Monday comes. It would be easy to abandon the joy of the Resurrection as it fades into just another holiday. But the truth is the resurrection changed everything on that day and for everyday afterwards. So, in one sense, we come together every Sunday to be pointed back to that truth. Even for the disciples, in those days following the resurrection, this truth changed everything.

Sermons in this series

Destination Rome
Sun, Apr 09, 2017
The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome.” -- Acts 23:11(ESV) 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. -- Acts 28:15-16 (ESV) I’ve heard people say that they were looking for God’s will. When they say it, I think of Indiana Jones. If they look hard enough, decipher the clues, and avoid the booby traps then, just maybe, they will find it. Just make sure you use the right amount of sand to offset the weight of that idol. This kind of quest comes with the assumption that if we could discover God's specific and exact hidden plan, then life would be easy peasy. But I have a feeling that if God laid it all out in vivid detail to us, our response would not be joyful embrace, but screaming and running in terror. God has a purpose and plan for each of us. It’s not as mysterious as many think, yet discovering it won’t make life simple. Just ask Paul. He knew he was going to Rome, but the twists in the road to get there were numerous. This week, we close out the book of Acts in our series: Gospel on the Move. In a way, these chapters are the climax of the adventure. Paul will finally see the culmination of a 3+ year old promise from God. But this becomes also an open ended story. I want to encourage you to take some time and read through these chapters as you prepare for Sunday. Also ask yourself the question "what might be God’s plans and purposes for me"? Most of the time we are silent and imprisoned in a maze of self-consciousness. But when we do muster up the courage to speak about our faith, often we are unsure about what to say. We are afraid of an argument or idea that we have never heard of. We think we need every answer. And we fear that they may really look at us. One peek behind the curtain of our life will reveal the mess. Is that you? The book of Acts has displayed for us the story of the early church and it's mission. While we live in a different time, with different challenges, and different questions, the gospel remains the same. This week we will unfold the story of Paul's time before Agrippa the King. His family had been a brutal enemy of Christ and his followers. What would Paul say? I encourage you to take a few minutes to read through Acts 25-26 and get yourself familiar with the account before Sunday.
Paul On Trial: Agrippa
Sun, Apr 02, 2017
And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am—except for these chains.” -- Acts 26:28-29 (ESV) Most of the time we are silent and imprisoned in a maze of self-consciousness. But when we do muster up the courage to speak about our faith, often we are unsure about what to say. We are afraid of an argument or idea that we have never heard of. We think we need every answer. And we fear that they may really look at us. One peek behind the curtain of our life will reveal the mess. Is that you? The book of Acts has displayed for us the story of the early church and it's mission. While we live in a different time, with different challenges, and different questions, the gospel remains the same. This week we will unfold the story of Paul's time before Agrippa the King. His family had been a brutal enemy of Christ and his followers. What would Paul say? I encourage you to take a few minutes to read through Acts 25-26 and get yourself familiar with the account before Sunday.
Paul On Trial: Felix
Sun, Mar 26, 2017
For we have found this man a plague, one who stirs up riots among all the Jews throughout the world and is a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. He even tried to profane the temple, but we seized him. By examining him yourself you will be able to find out from him about everything of which we accuse him.” -- Acts 24:5-8 (ESV) Revolutionary! Cult Leader! Blasphemer! These were charges leveled at Paul by the Jewish establishment lawyers. These weren’t new allegations. The crowd at Thessalonica had called Paul and his companions, ‘men who had turned the world upside down’ (Acts 17:6). Riots and revolution did seem to follow them everywhere. How would Paul respond? Would he come out with guns blazing and scripture flying? Would he respond like Christ at his trial by being silent? How would you respond? What if your life hung in the balance? This week we will look at Acts 24 and Paul’s trial before Felix. This passage gives a view into how Paul saw himself and his relationship to the secular government, to the religious establishment, and to God. I encourage you to take a few minutes before Sunday morning and read it through.
God's Plan & Our Struggle
Sun, Mar 05, 2017
. . . and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. Ephesians 6:19-20 (ESV) We see their mug shots on the news. We quickly drive by them when see the ‘chain gang’ picking up trash on the side of the road. We fear what they have done and what they might do. In our minds, criminals are there because of their bad choices and sins. We think they need help. We doubt they could ever help us. And we would look with suspicion at any of them that would seek to lead or teach or preach to us. After all, they're criminals. But this week, we encounter a criminal. He would be locked up for the rest of Acts and be in that state for most of the rest of his life. While Paul has had freedom to travel and blast the gospel into the corners of the known world, now his freedom will be restricted. How would you respond if your pastor, friend, or missionary was locked up? Would you have fears? Would you go silent or would you protest? Or would you see it as an opportunity? Take some time to read through Acts 21-22 as we look into this next phase of Paul’s ministry. And why not invite a friend to join you.
Gospel Freedom
Sun, Feb 26, 2017
When we had come to Jerusalem, the brothers received us gladly. On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. After greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. Acts 21:17-19 (ESV) Missionaries are those people that cross oceans, speak different languages, enter into different cultures, and endanger themselves and their families for the gospel. That's how we often think of them. This allows us to both support them and distance ourselves from them. They are adventurers. We are the home bodies. They are risk takers, we are the constants. They are the missionaries, we are just church folk. Part of our mission statement at Hope is that we would be people that are 'fearlessly on mission'. This is something that I dream for us to realize both corporately and individually. In a real sense it's a desire to eliminate the gap in our thinking between the 'missionaries' and us. This is a desire and a dream that we have yet to realize. This week we enter into the final section of Acts. Paul is focused on two places - Jerusalem and Rome. His face was set to reach both. The first was to encourage and give to those who had been the epicenter of the church. The second, Rome, was to plunge the gospel into the heart of the Empire. What Paul knew is that this mission involved danger, but he didn't care. Take a few minutes to read through Acts 21 to prepare your heart and mind for this Sunday. We will also be worshiping through some special music and communion. So plan to be there! Program note: we have been trying out FB Live. So in addition to the podcast of the weekly services. You can now watch live at about 10:55 on Sundays by going to the Hope FB page or you can go watch the video afterward. Pass the word!
The Ephesus Church - Part 4
Sun, Feb 19, 2017
And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship. - Acts 20:36-38 (ESV) Working alongside people in ministry develops friendships and bonds. We are meant to weave our lives together. And when we do this in the body of Christ, embracing our messiness, giving each other grace, and pointing each other toward truth, we then become more than friends. I’ve experienced this. And when that is lost through distance or death or disagreement, it’s jarring. Sometimes we can struggle with a fear of reengaging because of a feeling of loss. Paul had spent almost three years working in and around Ephesus. It had become his second home in many ways. They had seen the gospel powerfully advanced. They had struggled against social and economic forces that viewed Christianity as a threat. But now he was leaving. In a world without phones or emails and with uncertain travel, the prospect of his return was questionable, if not impossible. So what would he say to the friends and leaders he was leaving? How would he want them to remember him? This week, we wrap up our look at the story of his stay in Ephesus that was developed in Acts. In this final scene, we see Paul address these leaders of Ephesus. In it, we will see Paul’s heart and concern for the church. Take a few minutes and read through Acts 20 as we prepare for Sunday. I look forward to seeing you then!
The Ephesus Church - Part3
Sun, Feb 12, 2017
But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” - Acts 19:15 (ESV) With the 500 year anniversary of the start of the reformation approaching in October, I was recently listening to the opening lecture of a series on Martin Luther. He was the medieval monk with a mallet that kicked off the movement that later became the reformation. The discussion turned to how different his thoughts, ideas, and fears were than modern people, including evangelicals. The presenter spoke about his world that like Luther's song (A Mighty Fortress), would have been filled with literal devils. He would have feared journeying through the woods at night for fear of supernatural creatures attacking him. It is easy for us to look at him or even at the Biblical text, like here in Acts, and shrug. The thought of supernatural powers or spirits or demons are the stuff of legend, myth, and horror movies. But if we believe the Bible, is it? How do we understand it? Is there a world we can’t see? How do we approach this? This week we finish out Acts 19. I
The Ephesus Church - Part2
Sun, Feb 05, 2017
He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. - Acts 18:25 (ESV) When Jesus said he would build His church, I’m not sure we believed him. We have all kinds of ideas and schemes to build the church. But God often does it in unexpected ways and he does it with an interesting collection of characters - like us. That’s true of the church at Ephesus. While Paul at first preaches there, others are instrumental in helping it grow numerically as well as growing their faith along the way. Take some time to read through Acts 18-19, as you prepare to join us this Sunday to worship together. We will continue our Gospel on the Move series.
The Ephesus Church - Part1
Sun, Jan 29, 2017
After this, Paul stayed many days longer and then took leave of the brothers and set sail for Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had cut his hair, for he was under a vow. And they came to Ephesus, and he left them there, but he himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. -Acts 18:18-19 (ESV) We think of Christianity and the gospel in calm and orderly terms. Those that believe it become exemplary parents, employees, and citizens, it’s claimed. It sets their life right and they pull it all together. But does it? I know the times and culture were different, but as I read Acts, it seems that as the gospel was preached throughout the ancient world it was a disruptive force. For the next couple weeks we will look at what happened when it broke into the town of Ephesus. Take some time to read through Acts 18-19 to prepare yourself for Sunday, and I challenge you to consider how disruptive the gospel is.
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