Have you ever met someone who claimed to be a Christian and lived a life contrary to the way a Christian should live? If I had a nickel for whenever I met someone who claimed to be a believer but talked, acted and lived life that was in complete disregard for God I would have a lot of nickels. I have found over the years that saying you are a Christian and being a Christian are often two different things. Now, I don’t say this to be or sound self-righteous, judgmental or condemning, because on one hand I am frustrated with people like this because of their hypocrisy. They clearly are not living the life a true believer in Jesus Christ should. Yet, on the other hand I am saddened for them because they have chosen to live this way in darkness, and they are blind to their ways and fail to see the true blessing of what it means live a life that is fully alive in Jesus Christ. Now, I cannot say with any authority or confidence that people living this way are not Christians, but I can say with confidence that they completely miss the true value of walking in the newness of life in Jesus Christ.
For the past couple of weeks, I have been going through our series called On Fire which focuses on the Spirit-filled life in Christ. My hope and desire is to describe, talk, and lead us in the process of becoming a fully on fire believer who is walking in and experiencing the Spirit-filled life in Christ. So far, I have shown how the process begins through the resurrection process of going from death to life and now from old self to new.
Today we will spend our time Ephesians 4:17– 32 as we will look at how the spirit-filled life in Christ becomes a reality to those who believe. In this passage the Apostle Paul writes to the Ephesians reminding them that they who were once dead in their sins are now fully alive in Christ. He reminds them of the necessity of transformation process, and he begins by showing them what transformation does and does not look like.
Ephesians 4:17 - 32
Verse 17, 18 – Paul writes, “You must no longer walk as the Gentiles (unbelievers) do…” He speaks of the former ways of life. One author suggests that if we could change the word “Gentiles” to “Americans or some other relevant label we would have little difficulty bringing verses 17 – 19 into our contemporary situation, for they are like a mirror.” Paul reminds us that believers should not continue to walk in their former depraved state. Humanity at the core is desperately wicked, we walk in rebellion to God, and we are in desperate need of a savior.
In our depraved state we are alienated or separated from God. We do not and cannot acknowledge him as Lord and Savior nor do we have any regard for him in our minds, hearts, attitudes, and actions. We are hardened to him.
Verse 19 – The sinful and depraved person is hard and callous towards God and is not submitted to him. This person lives according to his sensualities and impurities. Unbelievers live according to the pleasures of flesh and the pleasures of the world. Sensuality has become their god. They are enslaved to their own lusts and pleasures.
This is the way of life for many. Their mantra is, “if it feels good…do it.” They do not want boundaries, they justify their sins, and they believe that they are free to live as they choose, and nobody can tell them otherwise. They will pursue this misconstrued idea of happiness at any cost without regard of who they hurt in the process. The depraved unrepentant sinner is void of God and full of self.
Verse 20, 21 – Paul now declares a glaringly truthful statement, “But that is not how you learned Christ…” He says, “Since you are now a follower of Jesus you are not supposed to live the way you used to live.” He says you once walked in meaningless self-indulgence, but now you are called to walk in the truth and obedience of Jesus Christ.
The unfortunate truth is that there are hundreds of thousands of people who profess Jesus as their Lord and yet continue to walk in their lustful, depraved and futile ways.
Verse 22 – Paul exclaims, “Put off (or throw off) the old self (sinful nature) …” Think of the old life like an old dirty, wet, smelly shirt and cast it off and throw it away. Don’t bother washing it, just throw it away and burn it. The way you used to live is no longer the way you live your life today. Shed yourself of the former ways of life.
Why? Because Paul tells the Ephesians that their old ways are not the ways of God; they are the ways of a godless, self-centered world that they all were once subject to and loved so dearly. The old life does not belong to God it belongs to world, which is vain, deceiving and corrupt.
Verse 23, 24 – He exhorts, “be renewed by the Spirit (let the Spirit renew) … and put on the new self.” This is the transformation process. We are called to shed or throw off the old self and be renewed by the Spirit and put on the new self. This new life is crafted after the likeness of God in righteousness and holiness. This transformation process is described in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
Verse 25 – “Therefore” (What is it there for?) Since you are now fully alive in Christ, brought near to God by the blood of Jesus, renewed in your mind by the Spirit and you have shed the old nature (no longer walking in the former ways) and put on the new self we are now called to put aside falsehood and speak and live in the truth to and with one another. We are now (in Christ) people of the truth so we must speak truth to one another and live according to the truth. This includes refraining from speaking lies and living in lies because we are one body, and we should not deceive one another. We must be upright, have integrity, be open and honest with one another and not hide behind the mask of deceit, corruption and falsehood. Living in the truth can be hard for many because on one hand it requires us to be transparent and vulnerable with one another (and this does not come easy for many) and on the other hand we should have genuine concern and care for each other regardless of our life situations (this can be tiresome).
Verse 26, 27 – Not only are we to be truthful and transparent with one another, but we are also told not to be controlled by our anger. We should be angry, but sin not. That statement seems like a paradox. Can one be angry and still not sin? Or better yet what is Paul implying we do here? Some have suggested that this statement is more of a warning from Paul than it is a command. D.A. Carson writes, “It is not an encouragement to righteous anger (indeed all anger is condemned in 5:31); it is a warning, ‘If you become angry, beware! You are at sin’s door!’
As followers of Jesus, we must hate sin; it should in fact, anger us because it is the one thing that separates us from God. Sin is the wedge that has been driven between God and man and when we see others enslaved to sin it should anger us.
If indeed we are to be angry and sin not what does this look like? I think the best example would be found in John 2:14 – 16 when Jesus cleanses the Temple of God. This was not an uncontrolled tirade; it was a disciplined anger aimed at leaders who were profaning the name of God in the house of God. We should be angry at the sin that corrupts, divides, and separates us from a righteous and Holy God.
Being angry and not sinning is definitely a fine line to walk. Anger can be and usually is unhealthy and unrighteous because it is directly related to the old self and should not rule the true believer’s life. I like how John Walvoord writes, “The way to prevent such sin is to “keep short accounts,” dealing with the anger before the sun goes down. The reason is that the devil would like to intensify a Christian’s righteous anger against sin, causing it to become sin itself. This then gives the devil a foothold (lit., “a place”), an opportunity for leading that Christian into further sin. Then anger begins to control the believer rather than the believer controlling his anger.” We all know that unchecked or unresolved anger is dangerous and can lead to full blown bitterness and eventual hatred. We must not be controlled by anger and this is done through the power of the Holy Spirit in us.
THE 180 LIFE
Verse 28 - 30 – Since you are a new creation you now walk contrary to the way you used to walk. Paul uses the example of a thief who once stole for a living is now to work hard for his wages in order to make a living for himself. This kind of person would have made a 180 degree turn in his life.
The new life affects all aspects of our lives. We no longer do what we did before. As Paul points out the new life affects the way we speak. He says that we no longer use corrupt talk but words that are edifying and build others up. The NET bible translates the word corrupt as “unwholesome”. The original word means “to cause decay”. Thus, these are words that destroy or tear down others. This includes negative or harsh criticism, words spoken in anger, bullying, lying, and verbal regurgitation. We need to be careful, and we must allow the power of the Spirit in our lives as we use our words because they can be more dangerous and harmful than physical weapons or beatings. A person who is a new creation in Christ bridles his tongue (as James talks about). The old nature uses words as a weapon to tear down and harm others. Since you are a new creation your words are meant to build up and edify; not tear down and destroy.
The new life also does not grieve the Holy Spirit. Grieving the Holy Spirit means that we hinder the work of the Spirit by living contrary to the Spirit-filled life. The person I described in the introduction of this message is the kind of person who grieves the Holy Spirit. When one proclaims Jesus as Lord and instead lives a life contrary to his claims will cause division in the church, he will dishonor Christ, he will use his words to hurt others and he will live a sin flaunting life, and this grieves the Spirit.
Verse 31 - We are to put aside or put away or take off the following…
All of these cause division and hurt the body of Christ thus grieving the Holy Spirit. They are not supposed to be part of the new life in Christ. These are all part of the old life.
Verse 32 – Instead the person who has the new life in Christ is kind. He/she treats people with kindness, dignity and serves other’s needs. He is tenderhearted, gentle, patient and sympathetic with others. He is quick to forgive which means he doesn’t hold on to wrongdoings that have been done to him and he is willing to show forgiveness to those who seek it from him. God has forgiven you (even when you didn’t deserve to be forgiven) so you and I must learn from his example and forgive those who don’t necessarily “deserve” our forgiveness.
As a way to conclude I want to give five actions (which really are just a review) to help us become fully alive in Jesus Christ and to live the Spirit-filled life. There is nothing earth shaking here, just some practical steps to help us become the people God calls us to be.
When we become new creations in Christ, we become fully alive in Jesus Christ. I want to challenge you today to evaluate your life as a new creation in Christ. Are you living as a new creation? Are you allowing the Spirit of God to work through you and being intentional by showing kindness to people around you; by being tenderhearted to your coworkers and family; and by showing forgiveness to those who seek your forgiveness? The last part may be difficult because there may be people God is calling you to forgive that you may not want to or think you can forgive (this is why it is important to allow the Spirit to give you the strength to do it). It may not come right away but continue to ask God to help you become the person who is new in Christ who is intentionally living a fully alive life for Jesus Christ.
Two visions close out chapter 14. The first vision in verses 14 – 16 picture the coming of divine judgment using the symbolism of a grain harvest. The second vision highlights the ferocious description of the wrath of God using the symbolism of a wine press. These visions are meant to remind those who were suffering for their refusal to worship or pay homage to the emperor by taking part in the imperial cult of Rome and that their faith in God and their dependence upon the saving grace through the sacrificial death of the Lamb will most certainly be justified.
Vs 14: “one like a son of man” is none other than the risen Lord Jesus Christ returning in judgment. On his head he has a “golden crown”, and this crown assigns the risen Lord as the conqueror and in thereby has the right to act in judgment. He has a “sharp sickle in his hand” and this is a tool of harvest and would signify the Messiah is prepared to reap the harvest of the earth in righteous reckoning.
Vs 15 - 16: another angel comes from the temple and gives the divine command to the one sitting on the cloud to begin the harvest. This harvest, however, is not limited to the gathering of the elect. Because we see in the parable of the Wheat and Tares, it involves the gathering of the wicked for burning as well (Matt 13:30, 40–42). In the OT the harvest was a regular symbol of divine judgment. Thus, the harvest of vv. 14–16 is likely a general picture of the coming judgment.
This time to reap is the has been determined by God and the time for judgment and remuneration has come. The harvest of the earth is fully ripe.
Vs 17: Another angel comes from the temple as well and is carrying a sickle in his hand. This angel who is to reap those of the earth comes out from the temple and this indicates that he is God’s mediator for this tremendous event. Like the son of man, he also has a sharp sickle in his hand.
Vs 18: Another angel (the 6th one in Ch. 14) comes out from the altar. If you recall the altar contained the prayers of the righteous (6:8) and we can conclude that the prayers of the righteous saints play a significant part in bringing God’s judgment upon the wicked. This angel has authority over fire and fire in the NT is often connected to judgment. Just as the grain is ready for reaping the grapes are ripe and the time for judgment has come.
Vs 19: The angel is God’s instrument for executing the judgment upon the unrighteous. The angel swings the sickle and gathers the vintage and throws it into the winepress of the wrath of God. The grapes of the earth is a collection of all who refuse to embrace the righteousness of God and have instead become His enemies.
Vs 20: The city outside is probably Jerusalem. John now graphically describes the judgment of God as he states the judgment is a bloodbath and flows as deep as a horse’s bridle for 1600 stadia which equals 184 miles. This most-likely translates as the judgment of God is extended to all men everywhere who are not under divine protection.
Chapter 15 is the shortest chapter in Revelation. It opens by introducing the seven angels who eventually receive the seven bowls of wrath. These bowls are the third series of seven (1. Seals, 2. Trumpets, 3. Bowls). The set of bowls unfold from the seventh trumpet, just as the trumpets unfolded from the seals. These seven bowls may very well be the third woe that was announced in Ch. 11:14).
Vs 1: The seven angels and the seven bowls speak of the certainty and completeness of God’s divine wrath upon the unrighteous. These are the last of the plagues and they complete the warnings God has given to an unrepentant world. These plagues are the final outpouring of divine retribution by people whose hearts, like Pharaoh, are hardened against God.
V 2: The sea of glass is mentioned previously in 4:6 but it is also mingled with fire. It is uncertain if the fire represent judgment or is just a descriptive word to help heighten the magnificence of the scene.
The people standing beside the sea of glass are those who have emerged victorious over the beast. They never abandoned their faith and never submitted to the Antichrist. They are playing harps that are appropriate instruments for praising God.
Vs 3 – 4: they sing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb of God. This is a song of celebrating and praising God for his righteous acts and redemptive history beginning with Moses and concluding with the victorious Lamb. These are not two songs, but one.
Vs 5 - 6: After the song has been sung John sees the heavenly temple “sanctuary of the tent” open and the even angels of destruction emerge. the sanctuary of the tent references the tabernacle of God in the wilderness, and it emphasizes that the final plagues come from the presence of God. The seven angels emerge from the tabernacle and they are robed in pure bright linen which denotes their noble and sacred office and golden sashes which signifies their royal and priestly functions.
Vs 7: The seven angels receive golden bowls full of God’s wrath. When we go back to 5:8 we see the golden bowls are filled with incense. which are the prayers of God’s people. Thus, we see that the prayers of God’s people result in divine retribution. As we see these bowls are filled with God’s wrath.
Vs 8: The smoke that fills the heavenly tabernacle represents the presence of God in all his power and glory. God is present and He will actively carry out his judgment on the iniquity of the world. Until the seven bowls of wrath are finished, no one can enter the temple.
Last Sunday we I began our new series “On Fire” and in the first message I started with and will continue talking about what the Spirit-filled or the “on fire” Christian life looks like. I mentioned that we have hope in Jesus Christ because of His life, death, and resurrection. This hope is what gets us through life. But this hope does not entail an easy life, nor does it mean that there is no work for us to do here on earth. The fact remains, Jesus’ work is both finished and unfinished. It is finished because of sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary, his resurrection, and ascension. It remains unfinished because there are still people who need to hear the Gospel and be saved and this is what we are commissioned to do.
The Spirit-filled life and the Spirit-filled Church is what we are called to be. There is excitement in knowing that Spirit empowered Christians, and churches can do powerful things for the Kingdom of God. One of the most beautiful things about empowered believers is that we are only so because of God’s grace. His Spirit is a gift, and undeserved at that. Why? Because you and I have done nothing to receive it, and we do not need to possess specific qualities or characteristics for God to fill us with His Spirit and use us for the ministry of His kingdom. God uses average and ordinary people like us all the time. We see this in Jesus’ calling of His disciples. These twelve men known as disciples (followers of Jesus) would later become known as the Apostles (sent ones), were a rag tag group of individuals who had little to nothing in common AND uninfluential or noteworthy in any way in society at the time, yet God used them to change the world.
The word Apostle in Greek is Apóstolos which means “one who is sent off”. In today’s text, Luke 9:1 – 6 we are going to look at who a few of the Apostles (sent ones) were and how God used them for the ministry of the Kingdom of God. We will see how God does choose the ordinary to accomplish the extraordinary.
Luke 9:1 - 6
Vs 1 - 2: Jesus calls his disciples together for a purpose, He gives them power AND authority over all demons and the ability to cure diseases. He sends them out (in this power and authority) to preach the Gospel and to heal sickness. Let’s pause for a moment and look at a few of these sent ones and who they were before they encountered Jesus Christ.
These men were chosen individuals who walked with Jesus for three years. They experienced and witnessed things that forever changed who they were. Each disciple had an encounter with Jesus (whether He was calling them to ministry immediately or sometime later in life) and all were deeply impacted. I realize I could do a whole series just on the twelve disciples, but I just want to point out some ways that some of the disciples were impacted and what this can mean for us.
Matthew – The Tax Collector (Matthew 9:9). Tax collectors were not well-liked individuals. They were despised by the Jewish society. They were essentially looked at as scum of the earth. They extorted money for personal gain AND they worked for the Roman government. This was a double whammy. They used bullying tactics to collect money and were thuggish tactics to get their money. One day Jesus passes Matthew and calls him to follow him. Jesus was criticized for this because he associated with tax collectors and sinners. Not only did Jesus associate with Matthew but he called him to be a disciple (follower/learner) and eventually sent him out to be an Apostle. Matthew’s life was never the same from this day forward. We read that Matthew rose and followed him leaving his life behind to follow the savior. Matthew went on to make an impact on the world as a believer and the author the Gospel of Matthew.
James & John – (Matthew 4:21 – 22) These two were brothers and they were called the Sons of Thunder. They were fishermen by trade. Jesus calls them to ministry they and immediately they leave their father in the boat to follow him. This was a bold move. These brothers left their father and their livelihood to follow Jesus. Some would call this reckless abandonment, but we know it as faith. John would eventually author the Gospel of John, 1, 2, 3, John and Revelation.
Peter & Andrew – (John 1:35 - 42) These brothers were also fishermen who left everything to follow Jesus. We know Peter as being the overzealous follower of Jesus. Little is known about his brother Andrew. The one thing we do know is that when he meets Jesus, he goes and finds his brother Simon A.K.A. Peter and tells him that he has found the Messiah. We see, immediately, Andrew gives us an example of true Christian expansion… Notice Andrew doesn’t say, “Jesus, will you come with me and talk to my brother about maybe becoming your disciple?” No, the very first act he does is share his encounter with his brother. Andrew brings Peter to Jesus and introduces him to the Lamb of God.
When Peter is brought to Jesus, He looks at him and says, “You will no longer be called Simon, you are now Cephas (Peter – Rock). This is significant because from the moment Jesus meets Peter, he has a plan for this man’s life. We know later down the road before Jesus is crucified, he tells Peter that he will become the foundation (The Church) that Jesus will establish through him and the gates of hell cannot and will not prevail against this foundation (Matthew 16:18).
Philip – (John 1:43 – 45) He was a disciple of John the Baptist and John instructed him to go and find Jesus and inquire about him. When Jesus finds him, He tells him to follow him. Philip then goes and introduces Nathanael to Jesus (continuing the principle of Christian expansion – introducing others to Jesus).
Nathanael (Bartholomew) – (John 1:46 – 51) He was the skeptic who couldn’t believe the Savior of the universe would come from Nazareth of all places. He says, “Can anything good come from Nazareth; let alone the savior of the universe?” What kind of comeback can you offer to Nathanael’s remarks other than what Philip says, “Come and see for yourself”? Philip didn’t spend time trying to talk Jesus up or prove that he was right; his response is exactly the same as ours should be when someone responds to Jesus in a negative way… Come and see for yourself. This is not only an invitation to meet Jesus but a challenge to put aside his prejudices and look beyond his origin of birth and grasp God’s bigger plan.
What is fascinating about the disciples is how Jesus called these ordinary and sinful men for his master plan of ushering in the Kingdom of God. I am encouraged as I see how these ordinary lives were forever impacted and changed so God could use them for his Kingdom and for his glory. Their lives are truly evidenced in the truth that when Jesus becomes the Lord and Savior of your life things will never ever be the same again. John MacArthur writes in his book, Twelve Ordinary Men: How the Master Shaped His Disciples for Greatness and What He Wants to Do with You, “The twelve were personally selected and called by Christ… He knew all their faults long before he chose them.”
In reading these accounts of each of the disciples mentioned you will see one common denominator… Jesus calls them to follow, and they drop everything and follow him. The tax collector gives up his life of luxury and leaves his career behind to follow the savior. The blue-collar fishermen drop everything (this would have been their livelihood) to walk with the savior to see his grand scheme to save the world. The skeptic encounters Jesus and is challenged to “come and see for himself” this savior who does not fit the conventional description of what everyone thought the Messiah should look like. We see Philip and Andrew who are so struck with the Savior they have to go out and introduce their friends to the Lamb of God who is going to take away the sins of the world.
Vs 3: Once again these men are sent out in the power and authority of Jesus and he instructs them to take nothing with them, no money, no food, no staff, or no extra clothes. Jesus calls them to go with nothing except his power and authority. This shows that Jesus is calling them to trust Him exclusively. They are to abandon their trust in in the material world and put complete faith in Him.
Vs 5: This is the important aspect of being sent. Jesus tells them that wherever they go they are to go in His name and authority. If people reject them, which they will, then shake the dust off your feet and move on. This is powerful because it shows that the reaction of the people they speak with and their response to the Gospel is not up to them, it is up to the Holy Spirit. When the disciples/Apostles are sent out they are to be obedient only to the command of “go in faith”. If/when the people respond negatively to you, then shake the dust off your feet and move to the next place.
As sent individuals we also have one command and that is “go to the world in faith”. It is not up to us to determine how people act, respond, or react to the message we proclaim. We are to shake the dust off of our feet because the symbolism in this statement is the truth that you have done all that can be done in a situation and no you no longer carry the responsibility for the actions of the individuals. It is in many ways telling us not to take it personally. We are responsible for our part and those who reject or react negatively are responsible for theirs.
Vs 6: The disciples obeyed and went out and did what they were commanded to do.
In this short account we have seen how the lives of these men were deeply impacted when they encountered with Jesus and obeyed his commands to go. So, what does this mean for us today? What can we learn and what can we take home with us? What does being sent out by God look like for us today?
Chapter 14 takes a turn from the gloom of the Antichrist and the False Prophet and refocuses on the reward for the readers and their endurance by giving them glimpse of the final blessings during the judgment. Chapter 13 was a somber reminder of the impending doom of what lays ahead for the immediate future, thus a little encouragement is in order for the recipients of this letter. John now sees the vision of of the triumph of the followers of the Lamb, Jesus Christ.
Vs 1: This scene is intended to be an evident difference of the vision of the two beasts in the previous chapter. The followers in chapter 13 are stamped or marked with the mark of the Beast (666) on the right hand or forehead. It is in this new vision John sees the Lamb standing on Mt. Zion. This is appropriate because Mt. Zion had long been associated with divine deliverance. The mountain, however, in this vision is not the physical earthly mountain, it is the heavenly Zion because as we will see this is a scene that of praise that happens before the throne of God in heaven.
The 144,000 has been interpreted many ways, but some suggest that if we look forward to verse 4 it seems as though they are a select group of super saints that are consecrated to God. But others interpret the 144,000 as the entire body of the redeemed. When we compare the 144,000 of chapter 7 with the 144,000 in chapter 14, we see the saints in Ch. 7 as sealed against the woes that lay ahead, and the group in Ch. 14 are those who stand secure beyond the final torment. Once again, the number is not necessarily exactly or literally 144,000 and both most likely represent the full set of the redeemed throughout history.
The mark or the names on the forehead is a symbol of loyalty and allegiance to the lamb. Those who are sealed or marked have committed themselves to the Lamb. They are the overcomers whom Jesus has written his own name on them.
Vs 2 – 3: John hears a great voice that sounds like the roar of rushing waters, thunder, and a harp that is singing a new song. One would think this is a singular voice, but we find that it is the choir of the 144,000 singing the anthem of redemption. The voice is actually many voices because John writes that “they were singing”. This song is the new song of Revelation 5:9 and it is sung by those who have been purchased by the Lamb. This is a song reserved only for those who have experienced deliverance; thus they are the ones who are able to sing it.
These 144,000 had been redeemed from the world. This does not necessarily mean that they were taken physically out of the world but instead they were detached from the evil ways of the world and its false beliefs.
Vs 4 – 5: The 144,000 are now described as three characters
Vs 6 - 11: The Lamb and his followers are standing victorious on the heavenly Mt. Zion is then followed by three angelic decrees.
Vs 12: Here John encourages the believer to endure and keep their faith in Jesus
Vs 13: Another voice from heaven proclaims a blessing to those who are going to be martyred from this point on. The command to write emphasizes the importance of the message that follows. A blessing is upon those who faithfully give their lives for God will enter victorious into their rest.
Last week we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In our time together I talked about the importance of Jesus’ death and resurrection. We discovered because of his death and resurrection there is hope and life in Jesus. So, after the events of the cross and the sepulcher what happened? If you recall, before Jesus went to the cross of Calvary, He made a declaration about his death and a promise to His disciples. He said in John 16:7 - 11, “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” Jesus declares and promises to his disciples that after His death and resurrection the Holy Spirit would come and dwell in them. He was promising to fill them with the Spirit, resulting in the both the secular and religious world being turned upside down (or right side up) for the glory of God and through the Spirit dwelling in His people. He promised a Spirit-filled life which, in turn, would begin the Spirit-filled Church.
What does the Spirit-filled life and Spirit -filled church look like? How do we live a Spirit empowered life? What is the difference between a Spirit filled life and a flesh driven life? This week is the beginning of our four-week series entitled “On Fire”. In these weeks I will talk about what it means to be on fire with the Holy Spirit. The hope is that we will determine and understand that the Holy Spirit is most active in the churches where the people are most desperate for Him.
Let us dive in and see what happens when the Spirit begins to move in His people. The author writes in Acts 1:3 “He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.” The author, Luke, establishes early on the legitimacy and the significance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He writes that Jesus appeared to the Disciples on numerous occasions thus giving proof or evidence that He was and is alive. A few of these accounts are recorded Matt. 28, Luke 24, and John 20. These all give accounts of Jesus’ encounters with the disciples and also with the Mary’s. I Cor. 15:3 – 8 is in my opinion one of the most exciting statements about Jesus’ resurrection as it says, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.” The Apostle Paul tells us Jesus appeared to over 500 people at one time, to ALL of the disciples, and He appeared to the Apostle Paul. Paul established the centrality of the resurrection in the Gospel message. 1 Cor. 15:14 continues, “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”
In His final visitation with his disciples Jesus made a mandate for His disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit to come and empower them and when He does, they are to go to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the utter most parts of the world teaching them about the Kingdom of God.
Today we are going to look specifically at the fulfillment of this mandate of Jesus concerning the Holy Spirit. In chapter one of Acts, Jesus speaks of the promise of the Holy Spirit and chapter two details fulfillment of the coming of the Holy Spirit and everything that happens after.
Acts 2:1 – 13
Vs 1: It is Ten days after the ascension of Jesus Christ; we know this because this verse tells us the celebration of Pentecost was happening in Jerusalem. Pentecost is also known as the Feast of Weeks. It is held at the beginning of June precisely fifty days after the Passover, hence the name Pentecost, which basically means fiftieth. This feast was the second of three major Jewish feasts which took place annually in Jerusalem. It was believed to be one of the most well-attended feasts since the traveling conditions were prime this time of year.
The ESV says that disciples were all together in one place which not only means they were in the same physical place, but they are also of the same mind and sharing the same passion.
Vs 2: Suddenly a sound comes from heaven like that of a great and rushing wind and it fills the house in which they were staying. There are three occurrences in this passage that are important for us to understand because there is great symbolic meaning behind this unique incidence, and it gives us insight as to what is going on.
So, what does this all mean? On this day of Pentecost nearly 2000 years ago God had pre-ordained this day to be the day when he would breathe his Spirit into the believer and fill him with himself (God’s presence is in the believer) thus empowering and enabling the believer to live the Spirit-filled life for his glory. It was on this day that God Himself takes up residence in the believer to be empowered by Him to do a task that brings glory to his name. This applies to us as believers today. Pentecost was not a unique one-time occurrence that will never happen again. Being filled by the Spirit is ongoing that all of us may or have experience. We are empowered by the Holy Spirit. When a person comes to faith in Jesus Christ he is regenerated or born again by the Spirit of God. This is the point where we are identified with Jesus Christ and we publicly acknowledge our union with Him. It is the point where Rom 8:11 says, “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.”
Vs 5: When the Jewish believers were empowered the onlookers marveled at what was happening. Those looking on were devout Jewish men, religious men, pious men and educated men from all parts of the known world at this time. They spoke various languages because they were from different parts of the world at this time. When they saw these uneducated Galilean men speaking in different languages, they could hardly believe what they were hearing.
Vs 7: They asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans?” Galileans were not educated men, in fact, they were despicable men from whom nothing learned or polite was to be expected. Jesus was thought to be a Galilean, and his disciples were as well. They were considered unlearned and ignorant men. This was truly an astonishing sight for these onlookers to witness.
Vs 8: These men were not uttering unknown words but instead were speaking the language of Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians. What the onlookers heard were the Galileans praising God and His wonderful works in their own native tongue.
Vs 12: The only reasonable explanation these onlookers could come up with was that these men were drunk and didn’t really know what they were doing. Peter answers their ludicrous claims in his sermon to follow which resulted in 3,000, yes 3,000 people coming to faith in Jesus Christ.
This truly was a strange Pentecostal day, but it is important for us to recognize and to pray for in our own lives. It is important for us to understand what happened on this day. These individuals were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they were not just given the help to do something; they were empowered by the Holy Spirit to do something they couldn’t possibly do in their own strength. Author and Pastor Jim Cymbala writes that this day was, “a typhoonlike visitation of the Spirit of God.” How many of us could benefit from this kind of visit by the Spirit of God? How much would our church benefit from a downpour of the Spirit of God? Pastor and author John Stott writes, “As a body without the Holy Spirit is a corpse, so the church without the Holy Spirit is dead.” Could this be the one thing that is missing in the church today? Are we depending and putting our efforts into human strength, wisdom and programs instead of the Holy Spirit? When was the last time you said, “God I am dropping my agenda and I ask that I can empty myself of me so there can be room for you in my life, my family, my work, and my church.”? It is human nature to want to be in control and when we do we often get in God’s way when He wants to do something that will completely blow our minds. Here are three keys to living a Spirit-filled life and having a Spirit-filled church…
If you are a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, you have the Spirit of God in you? Now I don’t want you all getting weirded out and think this means you all must speak in tongues and do odd things that make you look strange. No, it is more of knowing the truth of when the Spirit dwells In you and you are emptying yourself of yourself and allowing God to empower you? May we, like the Apostles, allow God’s life-giving Spirit to empower us in a more intimate and powerful way than we have ever known? The Holy Spirit brings new life to those who believe in Jesus, and with that life comes a continuing power to those who are filled with the Spirit
In chapter 13 we are introduced to two more revolting creatures to whom Satan uses to continue his war against believers. They are beasts and they emerge from the waters and the earth respectively. The first beast is a dreadful seven headed beast and the second a little less gruesome in appearance, but still powerful and having the ability to deceive humanity with his miracle working power. The dragon from chapter 12, and the two beasts of chapter 13 make up an unholy trinity of Satanic wickedness.
As the dragon from chapter 12 becomes furious with the escape of the offspring of the woman (the Church/believers) he stands on the sands of the shore he calls upon his dreadful legions to help destroy her offspring.
Revelation 13: 1 – 10
Vs 1 - 2: The creature who emerges from the waters has ten horns, seven heads, ten crowns on the horns, and blasphemous names on its head. This beast had similarities to the four beasts of Daniel 7:3 - 8 that emerge from the sea. Now, the ancient world would commonly associate the sea with evil, and the final enemy of God’s people to emerge from this evil is entirely appropriate.
Ten horns: These represent 10 kings who wear crowns. The crowns being placed on their horns instead of their heads so, this would suggest that his claims to authority rests on brutal force.
Seven heads: The seven heads shows that there is a relationship between the dragon of chapter 12 and the beast of ch. 13. In fact, it would suggest that the beast gets his power from the dragon (Satan). We know the number seven represents completeness; thus a seven headed beast would be symbolic of for the ultimate or complete enemy of the church.
So, who is the beast? Since he gets his power from Satan, blasphemes the name of God, makes war against the saints, and is worshiped by the pagan world, it would suggest that the beast is the Roman Empire who persecutes the church. Yet, it is also believed to be more than the Roman Empire… it is suggested that the beast could and does also represent the deification of secular authority or government.
Vs 2: The beast had the appearance of a leopard, feet like a bear, mouth like a lion, and this most likely symbolizes a final empire (since the beasts of Daniel represent four kingdoms) that will be more dreadful than any other. Yet, it is not an empire that is powered on its own, it is an empire that is powered by Satan.
Verse 3: One of the heads of the beast was wounded, we are not told how the wound was received, but that is not important… what is important is that it appeared to be mortal, and it was healed. Many writers who attribute the beast as the Roman Empire say that the beast represents Nero. Nero was so evil that when he did die, people refused to believe his death was final. Many expected him to rise again and appear in a resurrected form. Others believe that this goes to show the buoyance of the beast. The secular authority seems to be wounded but returns with increased strength.
Vs 4: The inhabitants worship the beast and the dragon. Deification of secular power is in fact worship of Satan. The people worship the beast because of the authority he wields and that authority is Satan himself. The motivation behind the worship is the mere power of his influence.
Vs 5 - 6: In verses 5 to 7 the statements “was given” or “was allowed” is mentioned four times. This shows that not only the beast subservient to the dragon (Satan) but to John’s readers, they would know that he speaks of God as the ultimate source of power. The reign of the beast is only because God allows it to happen. He operates within the limits that are set by God. He is allowed to have authority for forty-two months. This is the traditional period for religious persecution. It is during this forty-two month that the beast aggressively carries out the will of the dragon.
Vs 7 - 8: The beast exercises his authority by waging war on the saints and by demanding universal worship, it extends to every tribe, people, language, and nation. Everyone on the earth with worship the beast with the exception of those whose names are written in the book of Life. The saints will be persecuted and killed (overcome) by the beast, but the real victory belongs to them.
Vs 11, 12: The second creature comes out of the earth. This beasts job and purpose is to promote and glorify the Antichrist. He is a deceiver. His two horns like a lamb represents or gives the appearance of being harmless and gentle. He accomplishes his purpose by using his power to work miracles. In John’s time a reference to this beast would probably suggest a local priest of the imperial cult or the provincial council of Asia Minor who enforced emperor worship. In the final days of Antichrist, the false prophet stands for the role of false religion and forcing the people to yield to the worship of this secular power.
Vs 13: We are warned throughout the Bible about false prophets who will attempt to (and succeed) lead people astray and worship other gods through signs and wonders. This second beast deceives people into worshiping the Antichrist by imitating the miracles of true prophets of old.
Vs 14 – 15: This beast is only able to deceive unbelievers. Why? Because if one is truly a believer in Jesus and serves God with all his heart, He will not be tricked by the miracles of the one who deceives.
The second beast then instructs his followers to “make an image of the beast” or Antichrist. He was given the power to give life to this image so that it could speak. The grammar of the verse insinuates that the statue not only speaks but it also approved the death sentence upon everyone who would not worship it or it could mean that the second beast was the one who instituted the death penalty on the all who refused to worship.
Vs 16 - 17: In order to identify all who worship the first beast all are required to get a mark on their right hand or forehead. There are no exceptions. Religious tattooing was common in the ancient world, and followers of a particular god were often marked to show their steadfast loyalty. This is a mockery of the sealing of God’s elect in chapter 7. The elect are sealed to escape God’s judgment, and now the followers of Antichrist are sealed to escape his wrath against the church. This loyalty to Antichrist will certainly clearly determine the line between God’s people and Satan’s.
The mark not only shows loyalty to the Beast, but it also enables the recipient of the mark to buy and sell on a daily basis. Those without the mark cannot get the necessities for daily living.
Vs 18: The Apostle John now provides a way for the intelligent reader to determine or compute
the beast’s number. He does not give much indication other that the fact that is the number of man and that number is 666, and interestingly some texts translate it as 616. It is believed that the number is specific to one certain historical person. Throughout history there have been multiple guesses as to who this person is or will be. Some take the number to be more as a symbol than a code. 666 is the number that falls short of perfection in each of its digits. I agree with theologian Robert Mounce who writes,” it seems best to conclude that John intended only his intimate associates to be able to decipher the number. So successful were his precautions that even Irenaeus some one hundred years later was unable to identify the person intended. An additional 1,800 years of conjecture have not brought us any closer to a definitive answer.”
Thus, we see the stage is set for the final encounter. This is a place of tension because for the believer we are living in the already, but not yet. This simply means that Jesus was victorious on the cross, thus giving us victory, but the end has not come so evil will persist until that final battle between God and Satan.
When we were together this past Friday night, we concluded our time together, commemorating the Savior crucified, dead and buried. I established that the events of this dark night were indeed violent and horrific, but absolutely necessary. Necessary because this was God’s plan for the redemption of humanity. The Lamb of God, Jesus, was slain on the cross of Calvary for the iniquities of the world. However, however, the slain Lamb of God would not remain in the grave.
We are told in all four Gospel accounts that on the third day after the crucifixion Jesus rose from the dead. You see Easter is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. Many Christians (especially Pastors) spend much time talking about Jesus’ death and we should. Yet, we often ONLY talk about the death of Jesus. The Gospel is incomplete without the resurrection. According to Romans 4:25, “He (Jesus) was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.” (NLT)
The reality for us today is that we put all our confidence in the fact that Jesus Christ died on a cross, and He rose from the dead. Today, I am not going to have the traditional Easter message where I recount the events of that Easter morning, instead I have chosen a passage in Romans that will help us see who Jesus is and why He is significant to the Christian faith. We will look at four aspects of Jesus (Jesus the man, Jesus the divine, Jesus the God man and Jesus our Lord) to help us better understand who is risen indeed!
Romans 1:3 – 7
Jesus the Man
The O.T. prophets lived in hope and in anticipation for the day when the appointed Messiah (Christos – Christ) would come. There were prophesies about the Messiah and the prophets of old lived-in expectation for the coming Messiah.
In verse Romans 1:3 the Apostle Paul establishes first, that the Messiah (who was promised beforehand and later find out is Jesus Christ) was descended from the seed of David according to the flesh. What does this mean? It simply means, the Messiah would be a human being. Through the lineage of King David, the Messiah would come as promised by God throughout the O.T
What Moo is saying is that it is important for us to know that the Messiah (Jesus) was a human, but his human(ness) did not merely qualify him to be Messiah it is only a part of the equation. The Messiah was to be a human, but he was also to be of divine origin. So “According to the flesh” establishes first that Jesus was a descendant of David, He was a human being, and He was born of a woman (Isaiah 7:14) all of these are attributes of Messiah.
Jesus the Divine
Romans 1:4 tells us that Jesus is also the Son of God. He was “declared” the Son of God in the “power of the Holy Spirit”. The word “declared” means appointed, ordained, a decree – a divine oracle. Jesus was appointed the Son of God according to the Spirit and according to his resurrection. This does not mean the resurrection is what made him the Son of God. He wasn’t suddenly transformed at the moment the Spirit raised him from the dead. According to theologian Charles Hodge, “Christ was not predestined to be the Son of God. He was such from eternity.”  In other words, Christ did not become the Son of God after he rose from the dead (or even when he was born, baptized and betrayed) he always has been the Son of God from eternity past, present and future.
In verse 4 the text implies that Jesus was publicly declared the Son of God through the resurrection. The resurrection was his declaration of who he is. We now can accept, acknowledge and draw near to God because of the resurrection of Christ. We must also note it is not Paul (or any other disciple for that matter) who declares him the Son of God. God is the one who declares him. The Spirit/God publicly declares Jesus divine but scripture tells us that he has always been divine.
Thus, Jesus is also divine in nature or more specifically He is an equal to God according to scripture. In John 5:17 – 31 Jesus calls God his Father and also claims equality to God. It also says that Jesus…
Jesus the God Man
So far, we have seen that Jesus is fully human and fully God. His humanity is important for us to grasp because as Hebrews 4:15 states, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” We should take comfort in this because we know that the one we serve and worship has been in our shoes. He has experienced what we have experienced. He can truly say, “I know what you are going through.”
We read in the Bible about Jesus’ humanity in that he got angry, hungry, and tired. He experienced sadness, pain, suffering, poverty, anxiety and temptation as a human and yet, was still without sin. We also take comfort in knowing that Jesus will never leave us ill equipped to face the difficulties in life. Whatever difficulties you may have faced in life Jesus has been through it as well. This makes him an approachable Savior who can empathize with our earthly struggles.
On the other hand, he is also fully eternal God. Colossians 1:15,16 says, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For BY HIM all things were created… ALL things were created through him and for him. Only God creates and this shows that Jesus is also Creator making him equal to God.”
Jesus Christ Our Lord
Romans 1:5 says that through Jesus or because of Jesus we have received (seized, taken upon ourselves) grace (God’s loving kindness) and apostleship (people commissioned and sent as messengers) to bring about obedience of faith for God’s name’s sake to all nations…
Through Jesus we have received God’s grace, we have obtained the right to become apostles of Jesus (this is not something we deserve but through God’s loving kindness we have) and thus we are required to walk in obedience of faith. Obedience and faith go hand in hand. The idea behind this is that our faith produces obedience. We obey because of our faith and not because we feel we “have to.” The word faith in the Greek is pistis and it means the conviction of the truth of anything. In the NT it is a conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things. Obedience should always accompany faith. Why? For God’s name’s sake. When we walk in obedience of faith, we are glorifying God and bringing honor to the name of Christ. The opposite to walking in obedience of faith (especially to the believer) is walking in the flesh thus disgracing the name of God. When Christians act and walk according to obedience we are bringing glory to God to all humanity. Again, Douglas Moo writes, “Paul saw his task as calling men and women to submission to the lordship of Christ, a submission that began with conversion, but which was to continue in a deepening, lifelong commitment… Paul called men and women to a faith that was always inseparable from obedience.” This, my friends, is what the Christian life should look like. The key is not obedience because we cannot truly be obedient to Christ without faith; the key is obedience OF faith. Submitting to God’s way and proclaiming the lordship of Jesus in your life is what Paul is talking about here. Obedient faith is only obtainable because of who Christ is and what he has done. Jesus, who is without beginning or end, took on the form of a man and experienced life on earth as a human. He willingly gave his life as an offering to God, He rose from the dead and then ascended to the Father so that all who believe in Jesus in faith can also share in the resurrected life. Truly this is a Savior who is worthy to follow in obedience in faith and to proclaim to all the nations.
Since today is Easter it is imperative for us to know and believe that Jesus lived, died and rose again so that we can live; die and rise again. This should give you hope, strength, faith and a desire to live fully for Him. He died willingly for His children so we may have life and have it abundantly. This is a promise given to us by the Savior in John 10:10. Jesus is victorious over death and in his victory, we too may be victorious in death. Sure, we are all appointed to die at some point in our lives. As believers in Jesus Christ we have hope and we live in the hope of knowing that death is only temporary, and it has absolutely no dominion over us whatsoever.
For those of us who believe and are fully committed to Jesus Christ we put all of our stock in the truth that Jesus Christ died on a cross and rose from the dead. As believers we have placed all our cards on the table in hope and anticipation of the resurrection. We know a dead Jesus in a tomb is not good news. A risen Jesus who has ascended to the Father for our justification is Good News, it is GREAT NEWS, in fact it is the only news worth declaring!
 Moo, Douglas: The Epistle to the Romans. Grand Rapids, MI/Cambridge UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996, p. 47
 Hodge, Charles: Romans- The Geneva Series of Commentaries. Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust 1983, p.19
 Moo, Douglas: The Epistle to the Romans. Grand Rapids, MI/Cambridge UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996,
Tonight, is Good Friday. It is a somber night. It is a dark night. It is the night we reflect on the death of Jesus Christ and the cross of Calvary. This doesn’t sound so good, does it? So, why do we call it Good Friday? It is called good in that it is a holy night, because this is the night Jesus suffered and died on the cross for our sins as the sacrificial Lamb of God. It is the Good news that our savior willingly died so that we may have life. Good Friday is indeed a good Friday for us, but it was a gruesome Friday for our Savior.
Tonight, we will spend our time together recounting the events that led to the cross of Calvary. We begin at the governor’s headquarters where the Roman Governor Pilate meets Jesus Nazareth and hears the case of the religious leaders against Jesus Christ. He tells the Jews, “I find no guilt in him. But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” To which the Jews demanded NO! Crucify Him!
John 19:1 – 16
I find it interesting in this account that Pilate finds no fault in Jesus, yet he caves into the wishes of the mob. The flogging Jesus faced was probably done to try and appease the masses; however, they would not be satisfied with a token beating; they wanted death. Some had even thought that bringing Jesus out to the people in his robe and crown of thorns that the crowd would think he was punished sufficiently.
When he failed to convince the Jews, he tells them to take him and crucify him, but he knew they could not because Jews were forbidden to crucify. Instead, they brought up the law and one of Pilate’s jobs was to maintain the law and keep the peace among the people. Failure to do so could end badly for Pilate.
Pilate takes Jesus into the Praetorium and questions him. Pilate tells Jesus he has the power to set Him free, yet Jesus informs him that he has no power over him whatsoever. Pilate must sentence Jesus to death in order for Jesus to accomplish his purpose.
John 19:17 – 27
The death of Jesus is graphic and gruesome. Many of you have either seen movies, read books or imagined what this horrific night was like, but I do not think we can fathom what happened at all. The death Jesus suffered was painful, humiliating and violent, yet it was necessary in order to accomplish the will of the Father. Crucifixion was a method of capital punishment used by many nations including Greece and Persia. The Romans used it as a means to execute slaves and criminals.
The Death of Jesus
As Jesus hung on the cross for what seemed an eternity the dreadful event concludes with what the Gospel of John are the final two statements Jesus made. The first a personal need, “I thirst” and the second is a declaration of completion of the task, “It is finished!” What was finished? Jesus has accomplished what he came to do. The law has been fulfilled, redemption has been made, the cross of Calvary has been atoned for.
Through Jesus’ death humanity can have now have peace with God. He has bore the penalty of sin for humanity so that those who believe and obey would not face this penalty.
Piercing the Side
The Sabbath before Passover (which was a high celebration and certainly significant that Jesus was crucified at this time) was drawing near and the process of death needed to be sped up by breaking the legs of those being crucified. Basically, they wanted to get this over so they could go ahead and get to the Passover celebration. Of course, we know Jesus had already given up his spirit and was lifeless so there was no need to break his legs (to fulfill prophecy). In order to ensure he was in fact dead the Roman soldier pierced his side. Blood and water poured from his side. The blood and water were certainly significant to John and there are many theories on why he put it in this account, but in fact it was written to show that Jesus did in fact die a normal human death.
Once Jesus was dead Joseph and Nicodemus asked to take the body of Jesus so they could bury him. It is believed that both Joseph and Nicodemus were Sanhedrin and followers of Jesus. Joseph must have been a person of influence because typically a person who was crucified was just thrown in a common grave. The fact that Pilate allowed this shows he must have had influence. They placed him in a tomb and bound his body with linens and spices and left his lifeless body in the tomb.
We all know the story does not end here. This account is gruesome, brutal, and somewhat tragic but altogether necessary. The death of Jesus Christ ultimately establishes God’s new covenant of grace, atonement and redemption with humanity.
It is important that we understand, everything Jesus did on this earth was for a higher purpose and one the people of his time had difficulty understanding. He took the world by storm and exposed the religiously pious leaders of their errors and showed the public the true meaning of what it means to be a child of God. For us, we are truly the beneficiaries of the completed work Jesus has done on the cross. We know that by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus anyone who believes, trusts and obeys his commands have been given the true grace of life everlasting (This is the Good News, this is the Gospel). Eternal life is available to ALL who believe and obey Jesus and put their trust and faith in Him regardless of race, gender, or social status. God established a new way through Jesus Christ that does not depend on works and legalism but instead is evidenced through good works. Our relationship with God is not based on the sacrifice of animals but on the sacrifice of the Lamb. This new way promotes freedom through submission. It upholds living through dying. It endorses loving all. It demands faith in God instead of faith in humans or circumstances. This way is available to us because Jesus willingly gave himself up to die on the cross so we could be made right with God.
Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
Preview or purchase Jeff's Books