The Power of Christ in Ephesus
By Mike Burchfield - June 18, 2017
When Paul came to Ephesus, he was enabled to teach there for two years and three months, first in the synagogue and then in a rented hall; and the reception given to the gospel was great. In this text and message, the impact of the gospel is the theme, as Jesus worked with power in three ways. First, the power of Jesus through preaching is explained. Next, Jesus’s power was manifested through Paul in an extraordinary way. And finally, Christ’s power was exerted through providence. The result was that many believed, after deep repentance that came at great cost to those who trusted Christ. This sermon develops each of these aspects of the work of Jesus with power in Ephesus by showing the prominence of preaching in the spread of the gospel, by giving clarity to questions about extraordinary miracle and apostolic gifts, and by showing how following Jesus always comes with a price. Finally, application is made to the church of the 21st century and to individual christians living today.
Incomplete Faith and the Fulness of Christ
By Mike Burchfield - June 11, 2017
In Acts 19:1-7 Paul has arrived at Ephesus and found some disciples there. But as he talks to them he discerns there is a problem with their faith. As a result he asks them two questions which enables him to diagnose the problem. He then explains the remedy to their incomplete faith and they trust Christ, are baptized in Jesus’s name and receive the Holy Spirit. This story shows the four initiatory steps into the christian faith and challenge people to examine themselves to make sure they have true faith, through the evidence of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
Our Part in the Mission of God
By David Frederick - June 4, 2017
We see that there are no small players in the mission of God. Luke takes a short break from focusing on God’s work through Paul to show us that he has been at work in unusual places through unusual people; people like Apollos and Priscilla and Aquila. This message focuses on the story of how Priscilla and Aquila correct and teach Apollos and how we learn through it that God is not just out to use the smartest, fearless and most eloquent among us. Instead we see that God delights to use people who are faithful to Jesus and that every one of his followers is important to the mission of God.
For the Strength of the Churches
By Mike Burchfield - May 28, 2017
In our text for this sermon we have Paul traveling from the city of Corinth back to Antioch and then though Asia Minor. And though this was a journey of about 1,500 miles, there doesn’t seem to be any practical lessons for 21st century christians. We glean lessons from the broader context, however. From the broader context of the story of the gospel coming to Corinth we see there is a regular experience of suffering by the apostles and early christians. There is also an expression of thanksgiving to God by Paul despite these trials. And there is an extension of support by Paul to the churches which were under pressure from the unbelieving world. From these points we gain insight into how we can respond rot sufferings and trials, and how to help others as they face suffering and trials, in Christ.
The Secret to Faithful Witness
By Mike Burchfield - May 21, 2017
Have you ever had an opportunity to either say you were a Christian, or an opportunity to speak up about the gospel but instead of doing so you kept silent and didn’t say anything? This is a common experience for many Christians today, due to fear of rejection or fear of being ridiculed or embarrassment over being a Christian. Paul, on the other hand, faced opposition which was much more severe than most Christians in America face, and yet he faithfully proclaimed Christ in season and out. And he did so even when he was weak, fearful and trembling. How was Paul able to faithfully witness to Christ during good tines and bad? How was he able to remain faithful to spread the Word of Christ, despite that fact that the opposition to the gospel sometimes brought injury to him? This sermon examines these questions by showing Paul’s secret to faithful witness.
Strange and Different
By David Frederick - May 14, 2017
We find the apostle Paul alone in Athens, the cultural center of the world. As he waits for his companions, Paul notices the city is swamped with idols and finds himself provoked by the spiritual state of the city. This was not the first time he encountered this sort of thing, but it was the first time he saw it on this scale. What we’ve noticed about Paul throughout the book of Acts is his boldness to stay in uncomfortable places with the message of hope in Christ. Paul’s response to the city filled with idols was to go to the places where people were, everyday, with the gospel. Paul stuck out and his message was so new and different it caught the attention of the people and gave Paul a hearing at the highest level. Followers of Christ will always be strangers in a strange land with a unique and life changing message of faith in Jesus. The message will challenges us in how we respond to the city filled with idols and it will call us to examine where God placed has placed each of us, everyday, as a messenger of the good news in Jesus?