A Messy Grace

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The book of Philippians, starting together a new journey in what the Lord has for us. Book of Philippians is a wonderful book on joy in the Lord. And so the the title of this message series is Joy in the broken. Will get specifically to that in just a moment, but the book of Philippians writing about a book of joy didn’t always start, um, uh, in its origins in the church of Philippi as a church that would have been necessarily described as one that was joyful. In fact, church built by had a messy beginning. And the title of this series, We Start Together, is A messy Grace. Play on words. You know the song, right? Uh, mercy. Grace us. Right? Yeah. That’s. No, that’s not a funny joke right there for one moment. But a messy grace is to say this to us. Where grace is found, there’s always a mess. In fact, that’s why grace exists. God’s grace has come to you because lives are a mess. The Bible tells us we fall short. Bible tells us that the world is in sin, life is broken, and grace exists because of a mess. In fact, if grace isn’t looking messy, it’s really not grace. When you read the stories about Christ and His coming to the earth, the places where Jesus, uh, lived and walked and the things that he did, he was always contrary to what the religious teachers thought that he should do. The drunkards and the sinners and the tax collectors.

The Bible says, you want to hang with the IRS. Jesus said, do. Because I’ve come with grace. Congress was a mess because it understands the middle of the mess. The power of God is far greater than anything. Best neighborhood. When Jesus has a hope that far outweighs any challenge we may present in the book of Philippians starts in the church of Philippi, and before it really begins, it starts in the life of the Apostle Paul. Paul, you know, was a man whose life was a mess, wrecked by God’s grace, transformed the power of Jesus, having met him on the road to Damascus. Previous to that, in acts chapter six and seven, it says, the Apostle Paul is at the first stoning, the first martyrdom of any Christian in the Bible with Stephen, and he approves of the death of Stephen, and he’s on his way to to Damascus to destroy the church and to and to to continue to pillage and kill and to arrest and and God transforms his life through grace, that rectum. Paul went on missionary journeys. Four of them, in fact, three of them were recorded in the book of acts. Paul established churches along Excuse me, cities in the room, in cities along the Roman road and the Empire of Rome, and he would travel along the Roman roads. As he encountered large cities, he would stop and and plant the church as the Lord led him to do.

Dozens of churches planted along the way. Paul’s method was to always reach the cities for the Lord, and in reaching the cities, he understood that the gospel would then be proclaimed from the city into the countryside. Jokingly, sometimes I say that the the word pagan literally means out of the country. And then I make fun of country people because I’m one. I grew up in West Virginia and we are weird, right? Yeah. We’re Democrats. You know, I have to do is just watch some reality TV show. Something about someone from there that’s crazy, making some kind of moonshine. But you reach the city, you reach the city, and the city has an effect on surrounding area. And the Apostle Paul traveled throughout Rome, establishing churches in cities. Philippi. On his second missionary journey, he plants a church in his city, being led to the Lord. Philippi really gets planted because of a fight that exists in the Christian circle. Paul, this wonderful missionary with with his teammate Barnabas, go on our first missionary journey with this man named John Mark and John Mark. On their first day out in the first city, they’re out. He just gives up and goes back home. Mama’s boy. Paul and Barnabas come back from their first missionary journey and. And on the second missionary journey, Barnabas wants to to take John Mark along again. Paul says, no way. We get in a bind. One one more time and he leaves us like that.

Who knows, it could cost us. Paul decides to leave with Barnabas, and Barnabas takes John, Mark and Barnabas says to as if he were to say to Paul, Paul, no one really trusted in you. When you became a Christian, you were killing people, no one to get near you. And my name means encourager. And I got near you, and I encouraged you. And and God does did miraculous things in your life. The same is true with Denmark and several states. Denmark. And they travel and Paul takes Silas and he travels on the second missionary journey. As he’s traveling, the book of acts in chapter 16 begins to record this journey. The arguments. The end of chapter 15 between Paul and Barnabas. The Greek text says it’s a strong tension that exists there between the two of them and their indecision and taking John Mark. And so in acts 16, Paul starts his journey with Silas, and Paul goes back from the land where he he had conducted his first missionary journey through the land of of Galatia. And now he’s looking beyond Galatia, having traveled west from Israel, and he’s looking into other lands that God might lead him. He’s looking north, south, east. God, where do you want me to go? And it says in acts 16 seven and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go to Bithynia. And the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them.

And passing by Mysia they came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him and saying, come over to Macedonia and help us. When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. Paul in this passage of Scripture becomes very human to me when I when I see what God is doing in this book, when when Paul is in, in the region of, of Galatia and, and he’s praying about where God wants him to go, he’s looking at every direction. He’s in the area of modern day Turkey and God, and he’s praying to the Lord and and God tells him to go to modern day Greece, literally from Asia. And this is going to be the first church planted in Europe. He goes over the Aegean Sea to to establish this church. But what makes Paul very human to me, very realistic in his living, is that Paul doesn’t have every step of his life planned out and lined out for him. Sometimes I look at the apostles and I think, yeah, they got special privileges, you know, they they know not only what they’re going to do, they what are they going to do 16 years from now. They got it all planned out. They’re they’re the apostles. And and what what the Bible says in this text is that Paul doesn’t know beyond today what God has for him.

In fact, he’s looking for it, and he’s just being faithful each step of the way. As God leads, he’s being faithful and not knowing the next step to take. One of the encouraging things we see from this passage is that when when the next step God has for you is unclear, that the beautiful thing that God does in those moments is that he draws you near to him, that he may direct your life. If you were to ask me, do I do I want to know what is entailed in my future? I would very simplistically say no, that’s a no brainer for me. It’s sufficient for today as the problems in hand, writing tells us. I don’t want to have to worry about it tomorrow. I want to leave it in God’s hands, and I want to know whatever he’s got for me. He’s also got the strength to carry through. I don’t need to know what Tamara has seen to be faithful today. And that’s how the church of Philippians planted the mess of grace come into Paul’s life. He’s just faithful and giving his life back to Christ and seeing God work through him when he comes traveling to to Macedonia or what is modern day Greece, both the church of Philippi and Thessalonica in this region. Both churches are planted on this journey in the area of Macedonia.

It tells us the first person that Paul meets is an aging leader. It says in verse 13 of acts 16, and on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside. If you want to know why it’s using pronouns of of we and us, it’s because Luke, who wrote the book of acts, is not traveling with Paul. And so he’s there on this journey. And so on the Sabbath day, we went outside the gate to a riverside where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer. We sat down and began speaking to the woman who had assembled a woman named Lydia from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics. A worshiper of God was was listening. And the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. Paul’s first conversion, or the first person who comes to know the Lord in this area, is a lady who was from the area of modern day Turkey, and they say Asia in the Bible and some some translations will record it as Asia. Uh, it’s it’s a smaller area today than what we know it, but she’s traditionally an Asian woman, a foreigner to the land that she’s in. And Paul, when he meets her, the Bible tells us that he goes outside of the city to meet this lady. And the reason that he does this is because the city of Philippi doesn’t have a synagogue.

And the reason the city of Philippi doesn’t have a synagogue is because it’s a largely gentile area. Tradition taught there had to be an X number of of men within a city who were Jewish in order for a synagogue to exist, and because they weren’t present, traditional also would encourage Jewish people to gather outside of the city, next to the water, where people would draw their drinks from, and in order to meet one another and worship on their Sabbath day. And so Paul, knowing this is the largest Gentile area, there’s not a synagogue there, that if he went down to the waterway, he could find someone who had, excuse me, some understanding of the Old Testament. He doesn’t even mean a Jewish lady. He meant a lady who’s a god. Fearer who wasn’t a complete convert to Judaism but practices what Judaism practice. They gave him a foundation for the gospel. But here he is. Paul. The first conversion he meets in Philippi is an Asian lady who is a foreigner to the land that she’s in. In acts chapter 16 and verse 16. It then goes on and continues to share a little more of Paul’s interaction in Philippi says, it happened that as we were going to the place of prayer and as they’re praying, that’s good. A slave girl having a spirit of divination met us. It was bringing her masters much profit by fortune telling. Long after Paul and us. She kept crying out, saying, these men are bondservants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.

She continued doing this for many days, but Paul was greatly annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, I command you in the name of Jesus to come out of her. And it came out of her at that very moment. First person Paul sees coming to the Lord, it’s Asian lady, the second person of Paul sees come to know the Lord, Lydia, the second person he sees coming to know the Lord is the slave young girl. If you stop for a moment and just ponder the young lady’s circumstances, you might question how. How does someone even get a position? Going to take the society to seize a young lady just serving people in the slave. Doesn’t tell us within this text, but knowing that she’s possessed by a demon. Maybe she’s had that for a while. You think about her parents in those moments, knowing that their daughter is out there as a slave. Maybe. Maybe they raised her up and they loved her, and they cared for her, and and they were didn’t have a lot of income. And she had all sorts of, of demonic influence that they couldn’t control. And we’re trying to figure out how to help her, and they just can’t do it. But they love her. And so and so they’re they’re thinking as a family, they can’t provide what she needs.

So maybe if they sold her as a slave, someone else might be able to have the opportunity to take better care of her other than they did. And so they they give her over most demons. Katino. Polymestor’s wealthy lady named Lydia. Paul meets a slave girl with a demon. Problem. Second story. That or the third story shares when this comes to acts chapter 16 and verse 25, the background of the story is this. When there is a slave lady who’s demon possessed that has these powers that these businessmen are using, and you command the demon to leave her rather than being happy, for her life has been restored. They get angry with you and throw you in jail. In fact, when you read the continuation of the story from the time that Paul kills the slave lady to the point he’s thrown in jail, the paraphrase translations of the Bible say that Paul and Silas are beaten until they’re black and blue because of what they did in the previous family. In acts chapter 16, verse 25, the thrown in jail, it says, but about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. And suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken. And immediately all the doors were open, and everyone’s chained when fastened. And when the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped.

But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, do not harm yourself, for we are all here. And he called for lights, and rushed in, and trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after he brought them out, he said, sirs, what must I do to be saved? A foreign lady, a slave girl, and now a man whose heart has been so hardened by life, might think it impossible for anything to penetrate and change it. A thing that we typically know in history about jailers, who in charge of overseeing Roman prisoners was that they were typically hired from serving in the military. So they go from a life of military to a life of leading jails. And the reason that those people tend to be the ones that were picked to lead the jails were they were the type of people who knew how to torture and take lives. They knew how to hold a prisoner, and they were willing to do whatever it took. And they live to please Rome by serving Rome. And so they would have no problem overseeing a prison, taking care of prisoners, even abusing prisoners, torturing prisoners to get information if they needed from those prisoners. And so this, this man that Paul comes to and shares the gospel with and is asked the question, what must I do to be saved? His heart had been so hardened from the lifestyle that he lived, and seeing death and destruction and harm brought on people.

Life was nothing, man. And he runs into this jail, tells us when the earthquake happens and he’s ready to take his own life. There’s a couple of thoughts. Why this jail? I’ve been ready to take his own life. One is because there’s a Roman law that says when. When a person in jail escapes, the person who’s responsible for holding them in jail must forfeit his life in their place. And the second because of what this man will have done to these prisoners. It would have been overseeing the torture, at least been there. Paul and Silas were beaten black and blue, and the other prisoners who were a part of the jail. And when you realize your prison doors are open and everyone that you’ve been holding in there is now free, he’s ready to take his own life before those guys before him. Paul comes in these moments and says God’s truth. The beginning of the church of Philippi is messy. But God’s grace has created for. This foreign lady in the land that’s not her home. This slave girl who’s had a past of brokenness, this jealousy, whose heart is so hardened. Good. So I want to point out, as Paul went throughout the land of Philippi, preaching God’s Word and sharing his message with people for redemption in Christ, that Paul was just faithful to do it as he encountered people along the way, and then just pray God get miraculously, miraculously, just make someone appear in front of me.

Now that I know that’s what I’m supposed to talk to him. I’ll just wait. And whoever came before Paul, that’s who Paul talked to about the Lord. Whether it be this wealthy lady or this slave girl or this jailer who’s holding him in prison, he’s just faithful to share what God’s given him. And the beauty of all this mess is that ten years after acts chapter 16 is recorded, the book of Philippians is written, and Paul writes a book to a church that’s now established. And the theme of his book is all about joy. And the interesting part of a book that is about joy is when the apostle Paul is writing about joy. He’s writing from a Roman jail, talking about the goodness of the Lord. 19 times throughout this book, Paul mentions joy. Rejoicing in gladness. He says, I always pray with joy, and one for I rejoice in wanting to continue to rejoice in one. 18 I’m glad and rejoice with me in 218 rejoice in the Lord in chapter three, verse one. Rejoice in the Lord always in chapter four. Grace is messy, but the joy that comes in proclaiming in that mess brings rejoicing in what Christ has done. Because when the gospel is given, there is always hope. And that all is not.

Paul is not only just looking at this broken people of acts 16, but he’s looking at a way that God has transformed them from messy to missional, living in Christ, living out their lives for the Lord. And he’s beginning to answer questions throughout the book of Philippians in joy of how to continue to live that out. Throughout Philippians, he answers questions like, how do you live out in your life with integrity and faith before the Lord without being self-righteous? In chapter one, how do you deal with with persecution? How do you endure well in hardships? In chapter one, how do you let your light shine in the crooked world? In chapter two? How do you avoid becoming a religious and empty person in chapter three? How do you become a person who’s serious about living for Christ? In chapter three? How do you handle stress and worry in chapter four? How do you be content in the Lord? All about living in his grace. From messy lifestyles apart from Christ and hope, in which Jesus brings in missional living as he transforms us from the inside out. And so Philippians chapter one, I’m going to pick up in verse three past the introduction that Paul gives. He says this I think, my God, it’s easy to stop with a phrase like that after seeing how the church in Philippi starts in acts chapter 16, thinking about Lydia and thinking about the slave girl and thinking about this jailer and just saying, I think, my God, in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in every prayer for you all.

Maybe in those moments, Paul expresses his words, even thinking of his own life, God’s grace come to him, transformed him from a murderer to just loving people. And now, just to think of that same message, is that power in the lives of other people? And he’s always in just joy and offering prayer. And he says in verse five, where this joy is in view of your participation in the gospel, from this first day until now, I’m confident this very thing that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ, just as is only right for me to feel this way about him, because I have you in my heart since both of my imprisonment and the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you are all partakers of grace with me. God is my witness. How I long for you all with the affections of Christ Jesus. When it comes to rejoice in the first reason Paul shares about rejoicing, the reason we are able to rejoice as people is because of the gospel. The gospel is worthy of rejoicing. When you see people living in Christ knowing that God’s grace can transform them and those that are in Christ as grace has transformed. I don’t I don’t know about you, but when it comes to living life, I don’t want to be a part of something that’s dying.

I want to be part of something that’s life giving. Part of something that has purpose and a part of something that’s not ending but will continue. And the gospel is the source of those things. There’s nothing worth rejoicing over more than the gospel, because there is nothing that is more life giving than the gospel. And so part of Paul’s heart in this passage is inclined to rejoice in such things, because he knows the gospel is ultimately what sets free. To give you an example. When it comes to humanitarian work in the world, and humanitarian work is a wonderful thing. I want to take away from that. I think loving people is both both verbally through the gospel and practically through our living. When it comes to humanitarian work, humanitarian treats symptoms, never addresses the disease. And what I mean is this talking about a slave girl? I know in America today there are more slaves, living or not, in America, in the world today, there are more slaves living in the world today than ever before in human history. Most of those slaves are young women, and most of those women are sold into sex trafficking in their views. When I hear their stories, my heart is inclined to do something about that. I want to pray for them on some knees, men. I want to see that to end.

If if it’s ever in my face, I certainly don’t want it there. I want to do the humanitarian thing and help out. I think God puts that nature within us to to to be a blessing to creation and especially to humanity, which is the crowning jewel of God’s creation. That that is a wonderful thing. But do you know, ultimately, no matter how many girls you took to take off the street and sex trafficking. No matter how nice you try to be, those girls never ultimately ends the problem because the problem rests in individuals who captured them. I think it sets a heart free from such bondage as the gospel. Humanitarian work is good. Humanitarian work is it will last for eternity. This was. It’s not an either or thing, it’s a both end thing. That puts us in a position to do things for people, to help meet needs, so that the glory of Christ may be made known, so that we can proclaim what he ultimately offers a greater eternal hope which is in Christ. The gospel penetrates the heart to transform life. It changes a jailer. It changes a broken slave girl. It changes the sworn lady and the moments that she’s in. Acts chapter 16 and verse 41. Paul’s release from jail. He tells us that immediately they go to Lydia’s house because that’s where the church starts. The gospel transforms, saying to us as people, the gospel isn’t something that you take from, but rather something you participate in.

It’s a lifestyle that we live as Christ has set us free. So this morning you didn’t go to church because you are the church wherever you go, that is the church. This is just a building. And we assembled as the church. But this isn’t the church. You are. Because the gospel is something we participate in and proclaiming the truth of Christ. And so Paul comes to this point, and he rejoices over what God has done from acts 16 to the time. He’s right in the book of Philippians ten years later, to see such a joy of what God is working in the outward appearance of the people’s hearts that were transformed inwardly by what Jesus has done. The freedom of the gospel never has anything to do with them. It’s all about what Christ has done. Set us free. The curse of sin and death. Where death has reigned. Life has now given to participate in that life with him. He brings his life to you. And as you proclaim that life, it transforms others. The power of. Paul rejoices over this gospel, learning as it goes out, as if his victorious lives are changed and things like sex trafficking comes to an end. Some say the opposite of joy is sorrow. I’ve heard from this passage in talking about joy. One person saying, no, it’s not sorrow. The opposite of joy really is purposelessness. To not live life the way God’s called you.

It’s just boredom. We know as people it can’t be Sara, because we know as people we live life in this world that ultimately, no matter what we want to do, to try and protect ourselves, eventually Sara is going to come. But there’s a joy in Jesus that outlasts the sorrow because we know ultimately in Jesus, sorrow will end and his joy will endure. And so we have the opportunity in joy through his gospel to share with other people rather than living a purposeless life that has no identity like a slave girl or no true eternal purpose, like a jailer who needs converted in Christ. And there’s joy in that. So Paul says in verse nine, this is how I pray for you. 910, 11 he just shares the prayer. He he thinks about all that God’s done in this church. He he thinks about all that God is currently doing in this church and the reason to rejoice in the gospel. And he continues to think about all that he wants God to continue to do in this church. And so he prays for them. And this I pray that your love may abound, still warm, warm, and real knowledge and understanding, so that you may approve the things that are excellent in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ, having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Paul says in verse nine, this is why I’m praying for you. I’m praying that you be discerning with your love, meaning our tendency sometimes as people, as we realize things, but well, it’s just to live in the goodness of that. And that’s not always a bad thing. But let me just tell you how that can hinder us. We just settle. You settle for that? When you look at our church family here and the way that God has grown our church family. Man, that’s a good reason to stop and just be happy for that. But no, I don’t want to settle. I want someone because I look at what God’s already done and think about what God can continue to do. And sometimes the enemy of the best is good. God doesn’t just want good for you, he wants best. And so, Paul, would you be discerning in love? What what what God has for you? And and Paul has gone through acts. I’m sure he could’ve gone to my show or or or throw off some planted churches, but that’s not where God wanted him. That was good. But it wasn’t the best. And so Paul’s praying these moments, recognizing all the goodness that God has and now saying, you know, that could that could hinder you because there’s still great things ahead. And so I’m praying for you in that, that you have real discernment in the way that you’re able to love.

And so that you may improve the things that are excellent. When you recognize that when God’s called great things for you, I want you to come before Jesus. And just rejoicing over that, but not hunkering in shame over not serving, but really a heart of love and standing for him. Because the gospel. In verse 11, remembering all along where real strength comes. It’s never been about you and your strength and your accomplishments for the Lord, but rather Christ working through you. Religion will tell us that our own thinking will tell us. It’s depending upon you to do. But we don’t necessarily know where God is leading us in our lives at the opportunity we have in those moments to draw near to him, that we rest in his strength, to allow him to use us for his glory. Mr. Paul’s prayer to love the way that God has called them, to love for the best things that God has called them to. Looking to the coming of Jesus and they rejoice over his coming and continuing to trust in him for his strength, knowing that God supplies them the strength that they need to what God has called them to in this world. I love the way that Paul does this as he articulates throughout this passage, because along the way, as he’s rejoicing over what the gospel is, he’s also rejoicing with the fellowship the gospel has created. In fact, in verse three it says this I have you in my mind, or I’m thinking about you.

In verse seven, it says, I have you in my heart. In verse nine it says, I have you in my prayers. What the gospel has done is created a community in Jesus. And I’ll tell you something I don’t think is possible. I don’t think it’s possible to live your life the way that God has called you to live your life by yourself. As a matter of fact, I know it’s not possible because God has given you gifts and the Bible is very clear on that. The purpose of gifts is to give them away. And when God created his church, the reason he created a church is for community. And that community God has called to be on mission, not as an island unto themselves, but to live out purpose together corporately in Christ. And so Paul says, I have you as a group in my mind rejoicing, but I have you in my heart rejoicing. I have you in my prayers, rejoicing as the gospel does for them. Maybe an encouragement to the church would say, um, it is possible to be physically next to someone and be miles apart from them spiritually. Not according to the way Christ has called you. It is possible also to be apart from someone miles away physically but spiritually with him. That’s what Paul is saying in this passage. It’s where the gospel is.

Not only is this going forth, not only is it transforming life, but it’s bringing God’s community together. It’s worthy of rejoicing. When I share this first hour, I’ll share with you guys now. Um, there’s a church that has been a part of our ministry here in our church established and and recently that church planted a new church. And, uh, they were looking for Utah at one point to plant, but they end up planning a church in Virginia. And they got the plant. That was a really good friend of mine. He’s been out here a few times. I’ll talk to him about once a month. Their church is two years old. Ours is six years old. We call each other about once a month and brag about whose church is better. Always win that argument in case anyone comes here. That’s not an argument, it’s just hands down discussion. Let me just tell you. And it’s so true. But, um, but we just had an opportunity to go back and forth about the goodness of our church. And last year, around the one year anniversary, I was back east and I got to preach at their church and just share with them. That was a wonderful time for my wife and I. This is a useless tidbit, but nasty Ned from the WWF as their guitar player. That was cool. Um, but it just so happened on, um, on Monday. Uh, it’s pastor’s day off. You know, usually home, it’s a family hanging out.

That’s my day off. Don’t bother me. So he’s at home with his family, and, um. And the wife homeschools all the kids. It’s. The whole family’s there, and all the sudden she passes out, and before they get to the hospital, she’s gone. In her 40s. Look. And those hearts broken. Not a whole lot you can say in those moments to fix anything, but you just call Jesus Christ. God in the gospel, knowing life is messy and his grace gave us the opportunity to encourage each other. The miles apart. Still together. And it shouldn’t be that way in this church. We understand that whatever God has called us to as a community, it happens by force when we do it together and must for glory for his gospel never being created as individuals, but for his purpose and with joy. When we see that community coming together, serving in the midst of messiness, in the midst of brokenness for his goodness and glory, knowing that in the end sorrow will lose. But, but living a life of purposelessness is just far worse. But knowing we can rejoice in what God has done and the Lord has done is. Fact is any grace. We need God’s grace in a mess, and that mess grows us through that growth. He sends us on mission. Enjoy for us is found when when a real purpose not borrow is live and not boredom or emptiness.

Says to us this morning, I’m thinking about what God wants to do in our church, to look back at the beginning of the church of Philippi. And let’s be honest in saying, if you want to plant a church, if you’re going to handpick perfect people to a perfect positions. Philippi did not happen. Grace has created for mercy. God’s powers are better. And so it says to you, to me this morning, there may be someone who feels like a foreigner at this city of late. It just needs to be embraced and loved and feel welcome from Christ. There may be some some young ladies that feel like they’re just slaves to a stock, to some sort of addiction that’s just robbing them in their lives. Or maybe there’s a man whose hearts are hardened. Maybe they think nothing can penetrate it. The glory of what happened to Philpott. His hope. All spin off of The Transformers. Sum-share to be like this. I have said gospel, gospel, gospel bazillion times. What is that? Beginning from the Bible. Genesis three. God creates in Genesis 123. Man leaves God in Genesis three. Sin reigns and one sin reigns. Death comes and death comes. There is no escape by your power from Genesis three. It’s God’s story of redemption for mankind. Though Adam and Eve ran from God in the Garden of Eden and hid themselves under leaves. God pursues them, and Jesus has been pursuing you with his entire life, offering it for your sin that you may once again be restored and come back to relationship with him has nothing to do with what you do but everything with what Jesus has done.

Which is why when Jesus hung on the cross, he said to tell us, thy paid in full whatever that divide was between you and your relationship with God, Jesus reconciles and he says, trust in him by faith that he paid your debt, that you may know him and live for him with your life. God transformed you? That. Now as you embrace and try to work some of us and it doesn’t matter how much it is, it’s what his grace is for. So the encouragement may be to us this morning is don’t be a religiously pious talking down to anyone because God has called you to reach everyone. Reach them rather by serving them in the gospel. You may rejoice over what God is doing. Go live in the messiness of what you call this world, that the beauty of Christ may be made new and do it without fear. Joshua one nine says, don’t be afraid. God is with you wherever you go. John. First John 213 you have overcome the evil one. John four four greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. Matthew 1618 stormed down the gates of hell. Whatever God didn’t fill up on, he’s still doing. He’s still doing. We as people not know every step of the way. We just be faithful to him as we go on this journey.

Serve One Another

A Van by the River