False Teachers

As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work which is by faith. – 1 Timothy 1: 3-4

Paul in these verses is writing to Timothy, one of his disciples that traveled with him during his missionary journeys in the Book of Acts. Timothy was working with the church in the city of Ephesus at this time and Paul wanted to encourage Timothy to stand strong against false teachers in the city. It’s not completely clear what the false teaching was but many believe they were making myths out of the Old Testament stories or even about the life of Jesus Christ. Whatever it was Paul saw it as a danger to the church and wanted to stay and teach against those false teachers.

Today false teachings are still a constant threat against the teachings of the Bible. The get-rich gospel teaches that by coming to Christ you will get more riches than you can even handle. Is that found anywhere in Scripture? Or what about the Jehovah’s Witnesses who teach that Jesus was not really God? Or what about the teachings that one has to earn salvation by working hard and doing the things of God? This is only a small example of some of the teachings and beliefs that Christians can come across in their daily lives.

Faith Fellowship Church strives to be a church that presents God’s Word in a truthful and also relevant way to help facilitate a deeper understanding of the Word. Let’s face it: the Bible is a huge Book and it can take a very long time to read and understand. Part of my desire for this small preaching series on “The Stories You Know” is to open up God’s Word and think about the stories that don’t often get preached on and to see how all of God’s Word is relevant to today’s lifestyle. If we as believers don’t stand on the solid foundation of God’s Word then we will easily fall for the false teachings that can be found in today’s world. I’ve done a few devotions related to understanding God’s Word already; I returned to the topic often because of the value and need there is to understand it more and more. But the church can only do so much. There also needs to be a personal commitment to get into God’s Word, to learn from it and understand it. It is my hope that this desire to learn and read God’s Word continues to grow here at Faith – Seth

The Great Commission

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28: 18-20

After His resurrection, Jesus continued His early ministry for forty days. As His early ministry is coming to an end, Jesus has one last discussion with His disciples on the Mount of Olives. Here Jesus gives His very last instructions before He ascends back into heaven. These verses are commonly known as The Great Commission. Jesus lays out some specific tasks that they are to complete: (1) make disciples, (2) baptize, and (3) teach. Some people say it’s only two tasks because they connect making disciples with teaching, either way, it does not make that much of a difference.

Everybody likes to have a plan. It doesn’t matter if you are working on a project at work, or a project around your house, you like to have a plan. The clearer the instructions, the better the task can be completed. Jesus is laying out a very simple plan for the disciples and believers to carry out. Jesus wants the Gospel everywhere; all people need to hear of the message of Christ. When reading Acts you see this plan begin, starting in Jerusalem, then to Samaria, and then to the Gentile (non-Jewish) world. The faith that we have is because of the spreading of that message. Discipleship does not stop at salvation, which is why Jesus also says “Teach them to obey my teachings.” Believers are to grow in their understanding of Christ and God’s Word.

The final task is baptism, and sometimes this can be a forgotten task in the lives of believers. But the fact that Christ mentions it gives it high importance. Baptism is something that happens after somebody puts their faith in Christ. It is an outward expression of the faith they have put in Christ. In some cases when a Muslim, Hindu, or someone from any other faith turns to Christ it is not their faith that gets them in trouble, but their baptism. The fact that they went public for all to see. They stood up in front of people and took the stand for Christ, and publicly confessed faith in Christ. Some of our best services at Faith have been times when people took that public stance and, in front of the church, expressed their faith in Christ. If you believe that Christ died for your sins and have not been baptized, I would encourage you to talk with church leadership and think about taking a public stand for Christ. – Seth

Further Reading – Acts 8:26-40

The Resurrection

“But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” – 1 Corinthians 15:12-17

In 1st Corinthians 15 Paul writes about the truth of Easter Sunday. People in the city were denying the resurrection of the dead and Paul writes to encourage the believers to the truth of this event. Paul even connects the resurrection of Christ to the hope we have of our own resurrection when He returns. If the resurrection is not true then Paul’s preaching is useless, and there is no need to even preach at all. Paul mentions earlier in the chapter that there are people still alive who saw Christ after He rose from the dead, one could go and talk to them and hear about the truth of this event. Christ really was raised from the dead.

This weekend is the most important week for Christians. As a church family we gather twice this week. We gather on Friday to remember the sacrifice of Christ, a death that covers our sins through the blood of Christ that was spilled out for us. Then on Sunday, in a glorious celebration we look at the resurrection of Christ. The resurrection gives us the hope that we have of eternal life. Without these events our faith, as Paul says, is “… futile; you are still in your sins.” Without Easter we would still be dead in our sins and have no hope of eternal life with Christ. This is the Gospel that people need to hear! Who can we invite to church so they can hear the truth about the death and resurrection of Christ? If ever there is a day that people are open to coming to church it is Easter! But another question, is how has this event changed our lives? How are we living with the understanding of all that Christ has done for us? I encourage you to read through the Easter story, and maybe even watch The Passion of the Christ. These events are something we should think about more than just once a year; these events changed everything! — Seth

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true:

“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1st Corinthians 15:54-57

Further Reading – 1 Corinthians 15; John 20; Luke 24; Mark 16; Matthew 28

The Passion Week

“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” – John 12:23

This Sunday is Palm Sunday, Christ’s Triumphal Entry into the city of Jerusalem. This event marks the beginning of the Passion Week. Jesus has spent three years teaching, healing, and traveling city to city. It is now time to face the cross.

What I want to do is give a quick picture of the events of the Passion Week. My hope is that you will use this email to guide you through this upcoming week and that it helps get our hearts in the right place during this Easter Season. Remember the things we remember: the death, burial, and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ!

Sunday (Palm Sunday) – Triumphal Entry; Matthew 21:1-11

Monday – Fig Tree Cursed (Mt 21:18-19) and Cleansing of the Temple (Mt 21:12-17)

Tuesday – Fig Tree Withered (Mt 20-22), Christ’s Authority Questioned (Mt 21:23-27), 3 Parables (Mt 21:28-22:14), 3 Questions (Mt 22:15-40), Christ Questions Back (Mt 22:41-46), Woe to Pharisees (Mt 23:1-39), Widow’s Gift (Mk 12:41-44), Jews Reject (John 12:20-50), Olivet Discourse (Mt 24:1-25:46)

Wednesday – Plot to Kill Jesus (Mt 26:1-5) and Judas Agrees (Mt 26:14-16)

Thursday – Prep for Passover (Mt 26:17-19), Passover & Lord’s Supper (Mt 26:20-20), Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial (Mt:26:31-35), Foot Washing (John 13:1-20), Garden (Mt 26:36-46), Jesus Arrested (Mt 26:47-56), and 1st Jewish Trial (John 18:13-23)

Friday (Good Friday) – 2nd Jewish Trial (Mt 26:57-68), Peter’s Denial (Mt 26:69-75), 3rd Jewish Trial (Mt 27:1-2), 1st Roman Trial (Mt 27:2, 11-14), 2nd Roman Trial (Luke 23:6-12), 3rd Roman Trial (Mt 27:15-31), Crucifixion (Mt 27:32), Death (27:45-56), and Burial (Mt 27:57-61)

Saturday – Guard is set (Mt 27:62-66)

Sunday (Easter Sunday) – Resurrection (Mt 28:1-8), Jesus Appears to Mary (Mk 16:9-11), Jesus Appears to other women (Mt 28:9-10), Guard Report (Mt 28:11-15), Emmaus Road (Luke 24:13-32), and Jesus Appears to Disciples (Not Thomas) Luke 24:36-49

I encourage everyone to read over these Scripture and rejoice in all that Christ has done for us!