The Church (part 3) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, May 19, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church, Student Pastor Jonathan Holmes preached a message based on Acts 2:42-47.  This message was part 3 in “The Church” series.  Below is the audio of the sermon to listen to, download, or share.

 

To download the sermon audio, click on this link:

The Church #3 5.19.19

 

To listen online, use the audio player below:

 

To watch the service, visit the Facebook stream by clicking here.

 

The Church (part 3) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, May 19, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church, Student Pastor Jonathan Holmes preached a sermon based on Acts 2:42-47. This message was part 3 of “The Church” series. Below are questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

1. Pray
2. This is the third week in the series called, The Church. How has your view of the church changed as we have looked at the creation of the church, the mystery of the church, and most recently the community of the church?
3. How does our culture and technology make it hard for us to connect in community with each other?
4. In Acts 2:42-43, what do we see the Community of the Church is devoted to? How do these priorities reveal the mission of God?
5. Compare Acts 2:44-45 and Acts 4:32-34, what similarities do you see? What will this church be remembered for? If Wildwood were to disappear tomorrow, what do you think people would remember?
6. How does viewing the church as a people, not a place change how we view our Sunday worship gathering?
7. Much of our life is simply lived “day by day,” in faithful obedience to what God has called us to do, but who is in control of the outcome (Acts 2:46-47)? How does that give the believer confidence?

 

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

The Church (Part 3) Preview

In Matthew 16:18, Jesus confidently declares that He will be building His church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.  In the ~2,000 years since Jesus gave this promise, He has been doing EXACTLY THAT!

But what has He been building?  A building?  A place?  Or a PEOPLE?

This Sunday morning, May 19, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church, Student Pastor Jonathan Holmes will be continuing our sermon series on “The Church” by looking at Acts 2:42-47 . . . as we see that the church is DEFINITELY a PEOPLE and not simply a place.

Make plans to be with us this Sunday at 9:45 or 11:00 as we continue this series (and celebrate our High School graduates!)  See you Sunday!

The Church (part 2) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, May 5, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Ephesians 3:1-13.  This message was part 2 of “The Church” series.  Below is the audio from the sermon to listen to, download or share.

 

To listen offline, click the line to download the audio:

The Church #2 5.5.19

 

To listen online, use the audio player below:

 

To view the livestream of the service, visit the Facebook livestream by clicking here.

 

 

The Church (part 2) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, May 5, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon based on Ephesians 3:1-13.  This message was part 2 in “The Church” series.  Below are a series of questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Ephesians 3:1-13
  3. Do you have a favorite “mystery” story?  What makes it your favorite?  
  4. Jesus sent Paul (and by application the church) on a mission . . . a ministry . . . to share with others the Gospel.  What is the Gospel message?  Have you ever had the privilege of sharing that message with someone else?  How did it go? 
  5. In what sense is the church a “mystery” according to Ephesians 3:1-13?  Does the fact that the Old Testament did not talk about this aspect of the church impact you in any way?
  6. What message does the unity of believing Jews and Gentiles in “one Body” communicate to Jewish people?  To Gentiles?  To the angelic realm?
  7. In what way are you currently (or recently) tempted to “lose heart” or think that God is distant and uncaring about our lives?  How does Ephesians 3:1-13 help give you a mindset of continuing to walk with God regardless of the circumstances in your life?
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

The Church (part 2) Sermon Preview

Do you like a good mystery?  Sherlock Holmes?  Agatha Christy?  Jessica Fletcher? CSI?  Matlock?  Surely in there somewhere you gave an AMEN!

We like a good mystery.  A mystery is a reality that has not yet been revealed.  In the context of the protagonists mentioned before, mysteries are crimes that have already been committed, but the details are obscured until the end of the episode.  Mysteries engage us at a very deep level.

Where did half of the Marvel Universe go when Thanos snapped his fingers (and will we ever see them again?!)?  Will Luke Skywalker be back in Episode 9?  These are pressing questions that we want to know the answers to, but we have to wait until the producers release the films to find out the conclusions . . . even though the author already knows what is going to happen.  

I share these points about “mysteries” today because in Ephesians 3:1-13, the word “mystery” is used by the Apostle Paul three times.  What is the mystery he is referring to?  The mystery he is referring to is “the church.”  That’s right . . . there is a mystery playing right now that is starring you and me (and all other followers of Jesus in this world!)  

In what way is the “church” a mystery?  What is God premiering through us?  How does this impact our lives and lead us to worship God?  Tune into Wildwood this Sunday morning at 9:45 or 11:00 in our worship services as we try to understand what God is doing in the “Mystery of the Church” – part 2 of “The Church” series.  See you Sunday!

The Church (part 1) Sermon Audio

On Sunday, April 28, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message based on Ephesians 2:11-22.  This message was part 1 of “The Church” sermon series and focused on how the presence of God is evident today among His people.  Below you will find the sermon audio to listen to online, download, or share.

To listen offline, click the link below to access the file:

The Church #1 4.28.19

 

To listen online, use the media player below:

 

To watch the entire service, check out the Facebook Livestream by clicking here.

 

The Church (part 1) Sermon Questions

On Sunday, April 28, 2019 at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a message on Ephesians 2:11-22.  This message was part 1 in “The Church” series.  Below are a set of questions related to this message for personal reflection or group discussion.

Sermon Questions:

  1. Pray
  2. Read Ephesians 2:11-22
  3. Have you ever considered going on a trip to Israel before?  If so, what motivates you to go?  If not, why are you not interested?
  4. What are some ways in which you see the work of God’s Holy Spirit when you are engaged and involved with a group of fellow followers of Jesus in a church?  
  5. Is anything changing in your church involvement right now?  Are you moving, new to church, involved in a new ministry, etc.?  How do Ephesians 2:19-22 help you in selecting a new church home/ministry?
  6. How do Ephesians 2:11-19 help you have “new eyes” for seeing those in your church family who are different than you?
  7. What are some of the ways we tend to divide people?  How does Jesus unite us? 
  8. What is one particular application you took away from this message?

To access these questions in pdf format, click here.

The Church (part 1) Preview

The Hatfields and the McCoys. The Sooners and the Longhorns. The Jets and the Sharks. The Montagues and the Capulets. Some things are simply not meant to go together.

No matter how hard you try, it is simply impossible to harmonize some rival groups. For certain numbers, there is just no common denominator.

In New Testament times, there were two rival “gangs”of people. For a resident of Israel, there were the Jews (aka good guys), and the Gentiles (everyone else). Conversely, for a Greek resident of a city like Ephesus, there were the Greeks (nobles) and then Barbarians (everyone else – including the Jews.) In this divided petri dish of a world, segregation, discrimination, and elitist pride grew like gangrene.

A Jewish family whose son or daughter married a Gentile would hold a symbolic funeral (not a wedding feast) on the day of their child’s cross- cultural wedding. Similarly, the Greeks felt like God only spoke “their language,” and summarily dismissed the Jews as uncouth and odd.

Some of this division was cemented in the minds of people by the Old Testament itself, which described the Jewish people as unique in their relationship to God. According to the Hebrew Scripture, if anyone was to have a relationship with God, they would need to become a Jew. While no one can change their ethnicity, a non-Jewish person would need to act as much like a Jew as they could — including adopting Jewish dietary codes, circumcision, and participation in the sacrificial system. Since most Gentiles would not adopt these strict customs, it was a totally foreign concept to Jewish people that non-Jews would ever have a seat at God’s table.

However, it was always God’s intention to not just relate to one family (the Jews) but all families (the Gentile nations.) It was God’s plan from the start to establish a relationship with the Jewish people in order to create a conduit through which to pour His blessing to the world (Genesis 12:1-ff.). This divine plan to bless the world was fully consummated in Jesus. When Jesus came to this earth and died on the cross, He did not die just for the Jewish people . . . He died for the sins of the entire world as well! Indeed, Jesus plan was for His disciples to go into the world and make followers of Him out of ALL nations (Matthew 28:18-20).

When Jesus died on the cross, He not only made it possible for people to reconciled to God, He made it possible for people to be reconciled to EACH OTHER (Ephesians 2:11-22). In Christ, different groups can have harmony. Our sinfulness and Jesus’ righteousness become the common denominator necessary to create unity in the church between Jews AND Gentiles, Montagues AND Capulets, Jets AND Sharks, Longhorns AND Sooners. Anyone who places their faith in Jesus Christ becomes a part of one new “person” – the Church.

Any survey of history shows that people have an incredible aptitude for discriminating against one another. Sometimes this discrimination is based on race or ethnicity. Sometimes it is based on economics or education. Sometimes it is based on religious affiliation or family background. Whatever the criteria, people always want to divide and conquer. However, in the church it is not supposed to be this way.

Jesus died on the cross to reconcile people to God, but He also makes it possible for various groups of disparate parts to find an unexpected peace.

As E.K. Simpson said of Ephesians 2:11-22, “What a fellowship rivets our gaze in the communion of saints! Where shall we find its like? Gathered from east and west, from patriarchs of the prior and laggards of the last times, from the courts of kings and the cabins of beggars, from babes- in- arms and centenarians, right honourables and ragamuffins, from the ranks of the learned and the ignorant, the pharisee and the publican, the sharp- witted and the feeble- minded, the respectable and the criminal classes – what a divine power must be put forth to mould all these incongruous elements into one consentient [united in opinion] whole, stamped with one regenerate likeness for evermore, the radiant image of the ‘Alpha and Omega,’ God’s Yokefellow and theirs, coequally David’s Son and David’s Lord!”

The Church is an amazing entity.  In Christ – we all have hope. Let us all lean into the unity Christ purchased for us in the Church He created.

Over the next month at Wildwood, we will be walking through a short 4 part series on the Church (beginning this Sunday, April 28).  In this series we will see:

  • April 28:  The Creation of the Church (Ephesians 2:11-22)
  • May 5:  The Mystery of the Church (Ephesians 3:1-13)
  • May 19:  The Community of the Church
  • May 26:  The Leadership of the Church

Hope you can make plans to join us on one of these four Sundays this spring in our 9:45 or 11:00 service!