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How the Gospel Works

We live in the era of text messages and Marco Polo. Back in the day, we used to write letters. My wife saved a box of letters we wrote to each other before we were married. If you read them, you’d know what we were doing, questions we were asking, things we were hoping for, you’d know what was happening in our lives.

Paul wrote to the Thessalonian Church for several reasons, but one was to affirm their faith, love, and hope during hard times. He let them know their lives made him grateful to God for the work of His grace in them and through them. And in the midst of affirming them and thanking God for them, he shows us how the gospel works.

It comes to you, it works in you, and it echos from you. The questions are: Have you repented? Do you believe the gospel? How is the gospel working in you now? Who are you pointing to Jesus?

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 1:4-10; Matthew 28:19-20; 1 Corinthians 1:21; Romans 10:14; Ephesians 1; Deuteronomy 7

Jesus Christ, the Wisdom of God

Life is filled with choices every day. We make most without much thought. But others make us stop, force us to think, consider and weigh the outcome. We need God’s wisdom to live in God’s world. But we have a choice, we can choose God’s wisdom, and take that path, or we can take the path of folly. One ends in life and the other in death. We should seek wisdom, and the good news is that the wisdom of God for life, in Jesus, is already seeking us!

Scripture: Proverbs 8, 1; Corinthians 1:24; Hebrews 1:1-2; Colossians 1:15-16; John 1:1-12

The Resurrection of Jesus

2020 could be the year remembered as “the year without Easter.” But even with social distancing, daily presidential briefings, death tolls, and tens of millions applying for unemployment, Easter has come. This may not be the Easter we had planned, but the resurrection power of Jesus cannot be stopped.

The Good News that Christ is risen from the dead is a challenging word for our minds. But if we try to say, “It’s just impossible,” we have to account for certain things that we know are true. Beyond that, the resurrection of Jesus is a gracious word for our hearts, showing us that salvation doesn’t depend on the strength of your morality, but the admission of our own weakness and need. Finally, the resurrection is a missional word for our lives, because the resurrection sets us free from this world, and for this world.

Scripture: Mark 16:1-8

Giving and Receiving the Scriptures

Once again in Acts we see the Apostles proclaiming the gospel. And we see people respond much the same way as we have, some are persuaded and some are jealous and create so much conflict that the Apostolic team has to pivot to another place.

But in the midst of these verses, we don’t just see Paul give out the Scriptures, we learn something of his method for proclaiming the gospel, and we don’t just see how people respond, we learn something about how and why we should engage with the Scriptures, and the gospel.

How do we read and engage with the Bible? Does this passage teach us anything about how we should read and engage with the Bible? There is a stark contrast in the way people engage with and receive the Scriptures in this text. Where do we fall? And why should we engage with the Bible? Why should we read it, study it, and seek by the power of the spirit to respond to it as it is – the authoritative word of God.

Scripture: Acts 17:1-15

The Disrupting Affects of the Gospel and the Power of Jesus

This text introduces us to a significant event in the history of the world. Today, people tour the great Cathedrals of Europe. But before there were Cathedrals, a small group of faithful followers of Jesus crossed the sea from Asia to Europe and shared the gospel on the banks of a river in Philippi.

When Paul and Barnabas introduce the gospel in Philippi a businesswoman is saved, a demon-possessed slave girl is delivered, and a jailer is also saved. At the same time, the gospel of Christ disrupts people’s lives, stirring up conflict and fights. But it also comforts hearts. Through it all, the Church of Christ is planted and God continues to unleash the gospel to the world.

Scripture: Acts 16:6-40

Grace Alone

The gospel can be threatened. The Good News of how a person can be saved can be threatened by persecution or obscured by false teaching. False teaching changes the good news, adding to or subtracting from God’s clear message of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus.

Acts 15 is the story of how the early church answered a threat to the clear message of the gospel and applied the truth of salvation by grace through faith to their lives together as believers in the church.

This passage answers some key questions for us:
What is the gospel?
What must a person do to be saved?
Who is included in the “people of God”?
How should we go about defending the truth of the gospel?
How does the gospel influence the way we show love for other believers?

Scripture: Acts 15:1-16:5; Amos 9:11-12; Leviticus 17-18; Galatians 2

Missions – The Work of the Spirit, Part 1

When a Christian shares the gospel with someone, we typically call that “evangelism.” People who are not Christians typically call that “proselytizing,” and it usually has a negative connotation. Christian missions is seen by many as a negative thing as well. “Why not do your clinics and water projects, but keep Jesus out of it? Why do you have to do a sports camp and disrupt the lives of people who already have a faith, by explaining Christianity to them, or sharing Jesus with them?” It’s a perceptive question, a common question, and sometimes a provocative one.

Acts 13-14 is the story of the first missionary journey of the early church. The Spirit initiates it, and sends representatives of the church in Antioch north into lands that were thoroughly Gentile. The majority of the people there had no knowledge of the Bible’s storyline, or of Jesus. As we study these two chapters we’ll answer three questions: what was the mission – particularly, how did they carry it out, and why was it necessary.

Scripture: Acts 13-14

Jesus Is Coming!

We live in a world where each day we experience hardship/heartbreak and we need to know that God comes through on His promises. History is culminating in the birth of Jesus and if we’re in Jesus, our life has meaning/purpose as He’s been orchestrating all of this together for our good and His glory.

Scripture: Luke 1:57-80

Keep Your Eyes On The Road

We continue in our series, The Power of Stories, as Pastor Nate Millican takes us through Luke 15:11-32. Listen to hear how, as believers, we are to not check out, but to be intrigued and in awe of the amazing, redemptive love God has for us and all lost souls, and to keep our eyes on Him.

Scripture: Luke 15:11-32

Love Your Enemies

Jesus’ kingdom ethics or family’s characteristics include even aggressive love for one’s enemies. It’s in this – love for one’s enemies – that our relationship with Jesus is clearly seen. Our response to this command revealed whom we belonged to. It didn’t get us into his family/kingdom, it made it known.

Scripture: Luke 6:27-36