The Birth of the Church: Dinner Companions – May 21, 2017 – Galatians 1 & 2

I’m going to read and preach this morning so I’ll skip reading the Scripture and read as I go along. I’ll tell you the story with some added details.

The Apostle Paul writes this letter to the churches of Galatia about the argument I preached about last week. As I said, Acts 15 was about how the church resolved the issue; Galatians is a letter from Paul to the churches in Galatia about the theology of the issue and his stance on the matter.

Paul had been a staunch Pharisee defending the Jewish Law to the point of persecuting Christians. He was advancing in the ranks of the Pharisees by his knowledge and zeal for the traditions of Judaism through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob until he had a “come to Jesus” moment where God revealed Jesus to Paul. Paul had been blinded by the revelation of Jesus on his way to Damascus where he was going in search of Christians to arrest. Continue reading

The Birth of the Church: Dissension and Debate – May 14, 2017 – Acts 15: 1 – 11

This is an important story in the birth of the early church. The Apostles have to resolve a major theological issue concerning who’s in and who’s out of the church and what one has to do to be included. It is a defining moment in the theological evolution of the church. Much of the drama and conflict in churches can seem petty, small, silly. This theological debate was worth having and a debate that needed resolved.

The problem is many in the Jerusalem church want Gentiles to become Jewish before they can become Christian and want Gentile Christians to be circumcised and follow the Mosaic Law or the Law of Moses as part of the disciplines of Christianity. There is a whole book dedicated to this concern. The book of Galatians is Paul’s manifesto on the matter. I’m going to preach about Paul’s letter to the Galatians in a couple weeks. Galatians is more about the theological argument for Gentiles not needing to become Jewish. This reading in Acts is more about how the church resolved the conflict. Continue reading

Expectations – May 7, 2017 – Acts 6: 1 – 7

I enjoy laughing and I’ve been told one of my best characteristics is my laugh. I hope to bring laughter to the church so I want to begin my preaching ministry with you with a joke.

A minister dies and dressed in his clerical collar and colorful robe and stole, waits in line at the Pearly Gates. Just ahead of him is a guy dressed in sunglasses, a loud shirt, leather jacket and jeans.

Saint Peter addresses the guy, “Who are you, so that I may know whether or not to admit you to the Kingdom of Heaven?” The guy replies, “I’m Joe Green, taxi-driver from New York City.” Saint Peter consults his list, smiles, and says to the taxi driver, “Take this silken robe and golden staff, and enter into the Kingdom.” So, the taxi driver enters Heaven with his robe and staff. Continue reading