RECAP: BELIEVING ALL CAN KNOW JESUS–based on Acts 28
Have you ever felt excluded? It is not a good feeling at all. But unfortunately, exclusion is commonplace in society today. We have barriers that we create to keep people out and separate from one another, and we have done that throughout all of human history. But what about with God? How does Christ view all people? Heaven might have a wall and a gate, and only a few may find it; but Christ provided a path that any human being can take to get there! For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son. God did not just love Israel, his chosen people, or just Christians. He loved all.
But what needs to change in us to make this true? What in us as the body of Christ needs to be in our blood to make this our reality? Paul demonstrated three areas, that if we truly were to put these in practice, show that we believe that ALL can know Jesus.
1) Even our adversaries can know Jesus. It was the Jews who put Paul in prison; they were responsible for his chains. Yet when he arrived, he sent for the Jewish leaders. He did not shy away from his adversaries; instead, he loved them. After all, they were his people. They needed to know Jesus, and so he tried to persuade them using the Scriptures. In Romans 9-11 we get more of a glimpse of Paul’s true attitude toward his own people: “I wish I could be cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers and sisters” (Rom 9:2-3). Instead of treating them with animosity or hatred, he viewed them like Christ, with deep love and compassion.
Can we truly love our adversary? How far are we willing to go to extend forgiveness? When people wrong us, do we write them off? Or do we harbor bitterness? Paul went to his own people first–even though they were responsible! Why? Because he truly believed that all can know Jesus!
2) The outsider can come to know Jesus too. Paul was clear even again in this chapter–the gospel would go to the Gentiles. Even though we may not realize it, the Jews in that day did have some racist tendencies. Anyone who was not part of the people of God received different treatment than their own. But if you were a Samaritan or a Gentile, you were definitely despised! They were viewed as dirty and uncircumcised. Paul was arrested because, in Acts 21, he was accused of bringing an uncircumcised Greek into the temple. When did the crowd stop listening to Paul’s defense? When he said that God sent him to the Gentiles! Jesus began his ministry with his hometown trying to throw him off a cliff because the widow of Zarephath and Naaman the Syrian were seen as recipients of the favor of God. Further, the point of no return was a result of the parable of the wicked tenants, which concluded with a warning that God would take away the blessing from Israel and give it to the Gentiles! Yet, even though they were the outsider, they were loved by God. Paul opened his heart and his door to them, leaving none behind.
Who are the outsiders in our day? Who are the undesirables–the one we feel do not deserve to hear the message of the gospel? Muslims? Russians? Immigrants? Who we as a society think is undesirable is still God’s precious creation!
3) Anyone can know Jesus; anytime, anywhere. Paul rented a house, even though he was in prison! His door was open for anyone who came. He preached the gospel to all, boldly and without hindrance. He was going to share the good news, no matter the consequence to himself. There would never be another closed door.
Instead of trying to hold tight and defend our faith in these days, what if we took Paul’s approach. What if we loved even our adversaries, reached out to the outsider and welcomed anyone through our doors? All, no matter who they are, what they have done, or where they have come from can come to know Jesus! The early church exploded, and we are still the fruit today because they were willing to believe anyone can know Jesus. Can we do the same today? Who knows–maybe a little belief can change this whole world!
Questions for reflection
1) Who do you know personally that could use the hope of the gospel?
2) Who would you consider an adversary? Do you need to extend forgiveness this day?
3) Which groups of people do you feel most uncomfortable being around?
4) What do you believe is the limit of grace?
Pastor Ryan will begin a new series, Faithfulness Under Fire, with the sermon titled, “A Fire Tested Faith,” based upon 1 Peter 1:3-9. What does fire do to our faith and character? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for October 6 – 12
October 6: Romans 11:11-31 Who can experience salvation?
October 7: Galatians 3:15-4:7 Who can experience salvation?
October 8: John 3:1-22 Who can experience salvation?
October 9: Isaiah 55 Who can experience salvation?
October 10: Romans 10:1-16 Who can experience salvation?
October 11: 2 Peter 3:8-15 Who can experience salvation?
October 12: Malachi 4:1-6 How can the fire benefit us as a believer?
This Week’s Events:
Wednesday, October 7–Women’s Fellowship, 6:30 pm
Wednesday, October 7–Worship Team Meeting, 7 pm
Sunday, October 11–Bible Study, 7 pm
Thursday, October 15–Leadership Team Meeting, 7 pm
Wednesday, October 21–Ministry Team Meeting, 6:30 pm
Wednesday, October 28 & Thursday, October 29–District Conference events via Zoom
Sunday, November 1–Congregational Business Meeting
Sunday, November 15–District Conference Worship service
Sunday, November 29–Advent Begins & Hanging of the Greens?
New Sermon Series!
For much of the months of October and November, we will study through the book of 1 Peter with the sermon series, “Faithful in Troubled Times.” When Peter wrote this epistle, it was to a church that was under the fire of Caesar Nero, one of the most ruthless and unstable emperors of the Roman Empire. As we face our current troubled waters, what can we learn from Peter’s counsel to the church as they navigated their own waters?
Call for Worship Leaders and Children’s Story
As we look at the ability to reopen in the coming weeks, we are in need of both worship leaders and children’s story. We are looking for one person each week, rather than a month at a time. If you would like to serve, contact Alice Over (worship leading) or Tammy Stine (children’s story).
Bible Study will continue on Sunday, October 11th at 7:00 pm. It will resume via Zoom for the time being. If you would like to participate but do not have Zoom ability, we can make alternative arrangements. Here is the Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87612237258
Call to Prayer
Even though the day of prayer event is over, let us continue to remember to pray. The seven areas we prayed for on Saturday were:
1) National return to God
2) Repentance of personal sin
3) Repentance of corporate sin
4) Healing for the brokenness of relationships
5) Our leaders
6) Restoration of the national church
Let us continue to pray for these seven things not just for the final 28 days before the election, but beyond as well!
There is a draft of the 2021 directory in the narthex of church. Please check it and update any information that needs to be corrected.
Misti Wheelbarger is looking for volunteers for the nursery during the Sunday School hour for next year. If you are willing to help, even if it is just for a Sunday, please reach out to her and let her know.
Please fill out those interest surveys and mail them back to the church office as soon as you are able. We want to target ministries for the youth in the months to come!
More details will be coming soon, but the Outreach Team has agreed to lead the creation of Sunshine Boxes for our members in long term care facilities.
Five Ways to Give! With the extended closure, this is greatly necessary.
1) Direct Deposit–form available on the website**NOTE** This avenue of giving will phase out on December 31. If you are currently using this format, the Finance Team encourages you to use the online giving tool.
2) Mail your tithe into the church office
3) Drop it by the church office on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
4) Our online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
5) Drop off in the offering plate at the main entrance as you enter for church
Continue to Keep in Prayer:
Mary Batterman (health)
Regina Harlow (health)
Eli Harlow–has really improved over the last few days. Thank you for the continued prayers!
Heath Kimmell (Reba and Garry’s son-in-law)–health
LaDawn Knicely (health)–at home recovering.
Alda Miller (health)
Shirley Miller–(health and wellbeing)
Tami Plaugher (health).
Evy Kaye Sandin (health)–at home
Chris Shirk (Reba’s brother, health)
Crystal Smith–received a good report from her doctor!
Carolyn Wine (health)–Carolyn has returned back to Accordius and is recovering.
Tom Wilfong (recovery)
Charles Wright (health)
Owen Wright (health–Charles Wright’s brother)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB