Sermon Transcript



Well, when we travel to Israel, one of the places that we go is in the northern part of the country in the northern Galilee region.  It’s called Caesarea Philippi.  We go there for a number of reasons, but primarily because that’s the place in Mark 16 that Jesus took His disciples to and made the first mention of this thing called the church.  The first time the church is ever mentioned in the Bible is in Matthew 16.  And Jesus and His disciples were there in Caesarea Philippi.  Now, Caesarea Philippi was known as a pagan worship site.  And the place where we go and the rock formations there, we walk around and we just imagine the darkness of the place, spiritually speaking.  Pagan worship back then often devolved into gross immorality and even child sacrifice.  It was a very spiritually dark place.  And it makes you kind of wonder why did Jesus take His disciples there to introduce to them the ecclesia, the called-out ones or the church.  It was there that Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do men say that I am?”  And they said, “Well, some people think You’re Elijah the prophet or Jeremiah or just a good guy and a great prophet.”  And then He turned the question on them, and He says, “Well, who do you say that I am?”  And this is where Peter gets an A+.  He said the right thing that day.  Mr. “Open Mouth and Insert Foot” Peter, he had the right answer.  He says, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  And Jesus affirms Peter.  And He says, “Peter, you're exactly right.  And upon this rock, the rock of your confession,” He says, “I will build my church, my ecclesia.”  First time they had ever heard that word.  “I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”



Many people believed that Caesarea Philippi and this pagan worship site and the gross immorality and the child sacrifice and all that went on there, they thought they were standing before the gates of hell itself.  And I believe Jesus brought the disciples there to cast the vision for this thing called the church that began in Acts 2 to remind them that you’re going against the powers of darkness.  That the church would be a shining light in the midst of a spiritually dark world where the powers of darkness will come against you.  Later in the New Testament the apostle Paul in Ephesians 6 says, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world.”  And it’s the 5th or 6th time in the book of Ephesians that he mentions the heavenly realms, that invisible world.  Invisible to the naked eye, but it is as real as the person sitting next to you.  We don’t wrestle against flesh and blood but against the powers of darkness in the heavenly realms.  And Jesus takes them to this place…it was known for being a spiritually dark place…I believe to remind them that when this thing called the church happens and when you guys leave this thing called the church, just remember, this isn’t a Carnival cruise ship you're on.  It’s a battle ship.  You’re on the front lines of spiritual warfare as the powers of darkness come against us.



Well, that’s the backdrop in my mind as we come to Acts 8, where the powers of darkness raise up against the church.  You may remember last time we were in Acts 6 and 7.  And that’s the story of Stephen, the first martyr.  The first sign of persecution that comes to the early church.  The first drop of blood that falls aside from the blood that shed from Calvary and from the Lord Jesus Christ.  The first drop of a martyr’s blood was from a guy named Stephen.  And we’re inspired by the stand that Stephen took in Acts 7 as he made his defense and took those leaders on a journey through the sins of the nation.  And they picked up their stones and executed him.



And Acts 8 the gospel begins spreading beyond Jerusalem.  And the powers of darkness emerge there.  In Acts 8, the persecution instensifies.  And we said last time that this was part of God’s plan altogether.  In Acts 1:8 He says, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts.”  But up until this time, they just were kind of hanging out comfortably in Jerusalem.  And things were going great, and the church was exploding in growth.  And who wouldn’t want to just hang out in Jerusalem, the holy city of Jerusalem, that beautiful city.  But they had grown comfortable.  And the execution of Stephen turned up the heat, such that everybody scattered, all except the apostles.  Everybody scattered in fear, and they went out into the regions of Judea and Samaria, and even to the uttermost parts of the earth.  So a shift takes place in Acts 8.  And the mission expands to the next concentric circles that Jesus gave to His disciples in Acts 1:8.



And I say the gospel spreads beyond Jerusalem as the powers of darkness emerge in three ways.  Number one, a guy named Saul ravages the church.  Let’s pick it up in chapter 8 and verse 1.  “And Saul approved of his execution.”  Whose execution?  Well, Stephen.  There was a guy named Saul.  I call him Saul the terrorist because that’s exactly what he was in the 1st century- a 1st century terrorist who invoked terror and brought terror to the hearts of Christians, pulling them out of their homes and taking them off to prison.  Saul was the one who heartily approved of Stephen’s execution and stood there on the side and said, “Hey, I’ll hold your coats over here while you take off your cloak so you can get a better throw of the stone toward Stephen.”  That was Saul.  A Pharisee of Pharisees.  Educated at the feet of Gamaliel.  He was well on his way to becoming one of the great Pharisaical leaders in Judaism.



It goes on to say, “And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.  Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him.  But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.”  Can you imagine?  Saul was ravaging the church.  The word “ravaging” there in the original language pictures a wild beast tearing apart his prey.  This was later the apostle Paul.  But before he became the apostle Paul, he was Saul the terrorist, heck bent on destroying the church of Jesus Christ.  And I’m getting ahead in the story here, but in Acts 9 this Saul, while he’s on his way to Damascus, meets the risen Christ.  “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”  And he is gloriously transformed, and we know him as the apostle Paul.  The apostle of grace, we call him.



Turn with me to 1 Timothy 1:12-13.  And this little confession by Paul or testimony by Paul, the apostle now, reminds me that he never forgot the man that he once was, this violent terrorist.  He says to Timothy, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has strengthened me because he considered me faithful, putting me into service.  Even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a violent aggressor, yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief.”  We know Paul the apostle as the apostle of grace I think, in part, because sometimes our appreciation of grace of God is in direction proportion to what we know to be true about ourselves before we met Christ.  And Saul the terrorist was a dark, dark figure.  So much so that a lot of people in the early church just didn’t buy into the fact that, you know…this is Saul.  I mean, he had come to Christ?  Imagine if I said, “Hey, next week Osama Bin Laden will be here as our guest speaker.  He became a Christian last month.”  You’d go, “I ain’t coming there.  There is no way we’re going to take that kind of risk.”  And that’s the way they responded.  It took years for some of them to accept that Saul the terrorist had really been transformed by Jesus Christ.  And Saul never forgot who he was.  Oh, he rested in the grace of God and in the mercy of God, but he says, “I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a violent aggressor.”



How would you fill in the blanks there?  How has God gloriously transformed you by His grace?  What would you say “I formerly was…”?  Have you seen the darkness in your own heart?  I don’t believe you can ever really truly be born again and receive the good news of Jesus Christ until you’ve received the bad news about yourself.  That all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  That the human heart is sick and desperately wicked, the Bible says.  Who can understand that?  Saul lived with that every day.  It was so stark, the contrast between the light of Jesus Christ and the gospel that came into his heart and the dark, dark person he was before.  But it’s true of all of us, the stain of sin and the darkness of sin on the human heart.



So darkness emerged in that way with Saul.  Darkness emerged in a second way as a guy named Philip travels to Samaria.  Now, you remember Philip?  Philip was one of the seven deacons in Acts 6.  We call them the first deacons that are nominated and put into service there.  And Stephen was one of them.  Philip is one of them.  And, by the way, I literally laughed out loud when I was reading some of this at home.  My wife was sitting there.  And it just tickled me that here we are.  Acts 6 we have seven deacons.  By Acts 8 two of them are gone and one of them is dead.  Oh my goodness, right?  It just happens that quickly.  Philip is gone.  Philip is scattered now.  He has left Jerusalem.  And he has ended up in a place called Samaria.  And now he is preaching the gospel.  I give Philip credit.  He didn’t go into hiding.  He didn’t go into self-preservation mode.  “Oh, I’m scared.  I’ve got to be silent over here.”  He goes into hiding…no.  He just goes to Samaria, of all places.  We’ll talk about that in a moment.  But he is still preaching the Word of God.  And as he preaches the Word of God, the darkness of hell just cries out.



Let’s read on beginning in verse 4.  “Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.  Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ.  And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs that he did.  For unclean spirits,”—in other words, the demonic forces of darkness—“crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed.  So there was much joy in that city.”  The demonic forces did not like what Philip was doing.  They never do when you're faithful to the preaching and the teaching God’s Word.  It stirs up the powers of darkness in a  way that…just get ready.  It’s going to come against you.  And it did to Philip.



It’s interesting that Philip went to Samaria.  Why is that so significant?  Well, first of all, Jesus said, “You’ll be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and then Judea, and then Samaria, and then the uttermost parts of the earth.”  You may have heard it sometime in your experience in the church that the Jews didn’t like the Samaritans.  That’s kind of an understatement.  They hated them.  They despised them because Samaritans were kind of a mixture of ethnicities- half Jews and half Gentiles.



And it goes way back in Jewish history, back to the time of just after the reign of Solomon.  And it was around that time that the kingdom of Israel split into two kingdoms- a northern kingdom and a southern kingdom.  The northern kingdom was made up of 10 of the 12 tribes.  And the southern kingdom was made up of two of the 12 tribes, Judah and Benjamin.  And the northern kingdom assumed the name Israel, and the southern kingdom took on the name Judah.  And they existed as a divided nation for about 200 years.  And in time the northern kingdom, oppressed by the Assyrians and kind of beat up by the Assyrians and others, began to intermarry with the Gentiles.  And they formed this group known as the Samaritans.  The Jews called them half breeds- half Jews, half Gentiles.  And the racial tension and the racial animosity was enormous.  And it was building up for more than two centuries.



On top of that, Solomon built the temple.  It was destroyed in 586 B.C. when the Babylonians came in.  After the 70 years of Babylonian rule, Zerubbabel comes in, and he rebuilds the walls and the temple.  And a second temple is built.  But the Samaritans never accepted the second temple of the first temple that was built in Jerusalem.  And they built their own temple in a place called Mount Gerizim.  And there was this racial tension and this tension over who had the real worship site.  Was it the temple in Jerusalem?  “No, no, no,” said the northern kingdom, “we have our temple on Mount Gerizim.”  And this has been going on for years.  Such that, at the time of Jesus, the racial tension and the racial divide was so stark that if a Jew wanted to go from here to here, they could go straight on through Samaria.  But they wouldn’t do that.  They would travel way, way around the nation and go way out of their way not to set foot into Samaria.  So you can imagine when Jesus said to His disciples, “You will be my witnesses with the gospel in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria.”  Are You kidding me?  You want us to take this to the Samaritans?  They called the Samaritans dogs.  The racial tension was that big.



Persecution comes to the church, the comfortable church in Acts 8, and everything changes.  And Philip, one of the deacons, goes to Samaria.  Three cheers for Philip.  And he preaches the gospel there.  And all of the powers of darkness, the unclean spirits and the demonic forces wail and moan and cry out against him.  People are freed from the bondage of demonism and all of that.  And good things are happening.  By the way, I wrote this down this week.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is the antidote to racism.  It was back then, and it still it today, friends.  And in every generation racism rears its ugly head.  Just remember, it’s the gospel of Jesus Christ that is antidote to that.  It’s the answer to it.  And we’ll never be free of that darkness in the human heart that compares and contrasts on the basis of ethnicity or skin color or something like that until the light of Jesus Christ chases that darkness away.



So Philip preaches in Samaria, and the demonic forces come out crying.  Here is a third way that darkness emerged.  We pick this up in verse 9.  Simon the magician comes on the scene.  This is a great story.  This is the quirkiest story in the world, but a fun one to get after here.  Let’s pick it up beginning in verse 9, “But there was a man named Simon,”—this is in Samaria—“who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great.  They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, ‘This man is the power of God that is called Great.’  And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic.  But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.  Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip.  And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.”



So Philip shows up in Samaria, and there is a guy there named Simon the magician.  And Simon the magician was more than David Copperfield who had some tricks in his pockets and some illusions.  In biblical times the magicians were a mix of tricksters and demonic forces at the same time.  Think back in the Old Testament when Moses showed up in Pharaoh’s court and used his staff to perform certain signs and wonders before Pharaoh to convince him to let the Hebrew people go.  Well, Pharaoh over here had his own set of magicians, and they weren’t just tricksters.  (0:19:00.0) They were deeply embedded in the occult and in the demonic.  Beware of a person like that, friends.  Beware dabbling in the Ouija boards and the horoscopes and the psychics and the psychic hotlines and the tarot cards and all of that, and even in the magical arts that often times gets mixed in with the demonic.



I love a good magic trick and the sleight of hand and all of that, but Simon the magician was more than that.  And Simon the magician had developed this following, almost this ministry in Samaria where everybody called him Simon the Great.  There was no giving of glory to God in Simon’s ministry.  There was no pointing of people to Jesus.  He was Simon the magician, the trickster, and behind a lot of his tricks were the powers of darkness.  Listen, this stuff is real.  C.S. Lewis was the one who said, “We make two (0:20:00.1) mistakes with the devil and his demons.  We give them too much attention, or we don’t give them enough attention.”  Too much attention says there’s a demon behind every bush.  Be careful with that.  But for you to completely ignore the powers of darkness, oh, we do that to our peril.  And Simon the magician was…he was the guy.  He was the Great.



And Philip comes along, and he’s not developing a following of himself.  He’s preaching the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ and Him crucified and risen from the dead.  And people were getting saved in Samaria.  Getting saved out of the darkness of demonic forces and all of that, and the unclean spirits were crying bloody murder “that you would come here and preach this Jesus.”  And the gospel was winning.  Heaven was winning, and hell was losing.  And Simon watches this, and he says, “Wow, I want some of that.”  And Luke tells us in Acts, “Even Simon himself believed and was baptized.”  And I think Luke meant every bit of that.  But as you read the story on you wonder whether it was a genuine profession of faith.  We’ll get to that in a moment.  But Simon, before he believed…whatever that means…was a trickster.  He was a phony.



I wrote this down this week.  Phony ministers elevate themselves above the ministry.  Always be careful of that, friends.  That’s not to put down any leader that is out front or in the spotlight.  That’s just part of leadership.  But leaders in the church need always be pointing you…and I hope I always do a good job of that…pointing you to Jesus Christ.  Don’t look at me.  I’m as flawed as flawed can be, all right.  I’m a sinner saved by grace just like you are.  But phony ministers…and there are a lot of them even today.  You don’t have to go back 2000 years ago.  You just look around.  Phony ministers always elevate themselves above the ministry, and that was Simon.  Simon the Great, you know.  And it’s just a little word of warning there.



So three aspects of the powers of darkness emerge.  What do we learn from all of this even as we unpack the story even further?  Let me share some what I call lessons from the dark side here.  Number one, keep speaking the truth in the power of the Holy Spirit.  How do you overcome the powers of darkness?  Well, you speak the truth.  You speak the truth in love.  You speak the truth in the power of the Holy Spirit.  This is exactly what Philip did and what the apostle did.



Look at Acts 8:4.  “Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.”  Never underestimate the power of the Word of God and the power of truth.  We speak the truth in love.  We don’t want to become a stumbling block to other people and the way we deliver the truth.  But we speak the truth.  And we’re not afraid to speak the truth to power, right?  We learn that from the apostles in so many ways in the book of Acts.  Again, I applaud Philip and others who, out of fear, yes, were scattered from Jerusalem by the persecution.  But they didn’t go into hiding.  They didn’t go into self-preservation mode.  They kept preaching the Word of God.  And the powers of darkness can’t stand against that.  Elsewhere in the New Testament it says, “Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.”  And we move into ministry, even as a battleship going into the front lines of spiritual warfare, with the confidence that greater is He that is in us—that is the Holy Spirit; that is Jesus Christ—than he that is in the world, the devil.  Heaven always wins and hell loses as long as we stick to the truth and the preaching of God’s Word.  That’s why Paul said to Timothy, “Preach the word.”  Preach it in season and out of season.  Preach it when their ticking ears want to hear something else.  Preach the Word.  You have nothing else to do but to preach the Word of God.  And that’s important for us to remember.  Whether you’re a preacher, or you're just a follower of Jesus Christ, speak the truth.  And speak it in love, but speak and stand for the truth.



Number two, remain open to what God is doing.  Let’s pick it up in verse 14.  It says, “Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.”  Interesting what’s going on here.  Now, all that was happening in Samaria under Philip’s ministry, word gets back to Jerusalem.  It gets back to the apostles, to Peter and to John.  And they come to check it out for themselves, because they’ve got to be scratching their heads a little bit, thinking, Samaria?  The Samaritans?  They’ve received the gospel?  Maybe they flash back to the time of the ascension when Jesus said Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts.  But they went to check it out for themselves.  And I give Peter and John and the others credit that they kept an open mind and an open heart to what God was doing here.  That the gospel would even expand beyond the racial boundaries and the racial and ethnic animosities that had grown up over the centuries.



And God was doing something new here.  He was doing something out of the box.  Out of the confines and the comforts of Jerusalem and what they had come to expect there.  God was doing something new here.  And I just say one of the ways to overcome the powers of darkness is to just be open to what God is doing.  Open to the something new that He might be doing in your life and in my life and in our ministry together.  And let’s not get locked into a box that might have been built because of our own prejudices and all of that kind of stuff.  Remain open to what the Lord is doing.



And when they came there, what they discovered was that they had accepted the gospel but the Holy Spirit hadn’t shown up.  Isn’t that interesting?  And when the Lord is doing something new in the book of Acts, what He does is He delays the coming of the Holy Spirit until Peter and John and some of the other apostles could get there to see for themselves that the Holy Spirit fell upon the Samaritans.  And later in Acts 10 even the Gentiles received the Holy Spirit.  And the Lord seems to delay for His own purposes 2000 years ago…to delay the coming of the Holy Spirit.  It’s almost like a second Pentecost in Acts 8 and again in Acts 10 so that the Lord could make the undeniable point that the gospel is not just for Jews in Jerusalem.  All the way back to Genesis 1, “Abraham, you will be a blessing to the world.”  And this Jesus, who was a Jew, who died on the cross for our sins, the Son of God and the Savior of the world, came to bring the gospel to everybody.  For God so loved the world.  And back then, that meant the world in Jerusalem, Judean, and even that ethnically tainted and a world that was full of animosity, in Samaria.



And so don’t understand this to mean that there is…you know, some people say there is a second blessing in the coming of the Holy Spirit.  You know, you get your salvation here, and later comes the Holy Spirit.  No, these were unique times that required the unique movement of God to make a point to the early apostles.  This is for the Samaritans.  Later, this is for the Gentiles, for the entire world.  And He waits until Peter and John make their way there.  And they see that they received the gospel.  They were baptized.  Wow, they see and experience with their own eyes, even the Holy Spirit falls upon them.  So be open to what God is doing.



Number three and finally, take the risk to expose false professions of faith.  Let’s read on in verse 18.  It says, “Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money, saying, ‘Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’  But Peter said to him, ‘May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!  You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.  Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.  For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.’  And Simon answered, ‘Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.’”



Now, here is Simon the magician.  Luke said earlier he believed and was baptized, but this little exchange gives some Bible teachers a moment of pause to wonder.  Was his profession a false profession of faith?  You know, just based maybe on intellect.  You know, “I’ve checked the box on the theology of Jesus here.  Yeah, I believe He was risen from the dead.”  But there was no true born again experience in Simon, because Peter kind of gets in his face and pretty much tells him, “Dude, you ain’t right with God.”  And it took a lot of courage from Peter to do that, but there was so much at stake here.  Simon the magician couldn’t creep in here and try to buy the gift of God with money and just advance his own greatness as he had done with the magical arts.



And it’s a reason for all of us to do what the New Testament tells us to do, and that is to examine ourselves to make sure we’re in the faith.  Some of the most haunting words you’ll read in the New Testament are found at the end of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount where He says, “And in that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we do great and mighty works in your name and even perform miracles in your name?’”  And He says, “I will say to them, ‘Depart from me.  I never knew you.’”  Is Simon the magician maybe an example of that, who made a profession of faith?  But it wasn’t real.  It wasn’t saving faith.  It wasn’t the kind of faith that God recognized that led to a born again experience that transformed him from the inside out.  That’s possible.  I don’t want to be too hard on Simon.  I don’t know his heart and only God is His judge.  But that little exchange gives us reason to pause and reason for us to examine ourselves and to make sure we’ve done more than just give intellectual assent to the gospel.



It reminds me of James 2:19.  James says, “You believe God is one.  Good for you.  Even the demons do that, and they shudder.”  James says even the demons have right theology.  They believe God is one.  But don’t applaud yourself for just checking the box on the right theology, because the demons know as much, if not more, than we do.  They’ve read this book.  The devil knows this book well enough to twist it and to manipulate it like he did with Eve in the Garden of Eden.  “Did God really say…?”  He’s a deceiver.  He’s a liar.  He’s a murderer from the beginning, the Bible says.  And we as believers in Jesus Christ need to remember we’re operating in a world that is very dark.  We’re on the front lines of spiritual warfare.  Can easily be deceived by a Simon the magician or somebody else unless we know the Word of God.  And let’s not be deceived in our own hearts.  Simon might have thought he was right with God but really wasn’t.  And, again, I don’t want to put too much fear in our hearts, but the Bible does say examine yourselves to make sure you are in the faith, because how easily the human heart is deceived.  It is desperately wicked.  Who can understand it except that the light of the gospel comes?



And verse 25 tells us that at the end of the day heaven wins.  The gospel advanced even on the front lines of spiritual warfare.  “Now when they had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans.”  Well, hip, hip, hooray!  Three cheers for this.  Now we’re getting back to the mission- Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth.  This gospel was for everybody, including you and me 2000 years later.  Here we are.  Had it gotten locked down in Jerusalem, had the persecution not come, had the apostles not opened up their heart to the new thing that God was doing and the very expansive thing that He was doing, you and I wouldn’t be sitting here today as followers of Jesus Christ.  The good news, friends, is that greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.  Heaven always wins.  Hell loses.  But we’re in a battle zone.  We’re in a dark, dark world.  And the powers of darkness will fight, fight, fight against every advancement of the gospel.  And that’s why we put our hands to the plow and we don’t look back.  And we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ.  And we walk by grace and through faith, periodically remembering who we were, just like the apostle Paul did- a blasphemer, a persecutor, a violent aggressor.  But, oh, by the grace of God and His great mercy I am who I am today.  And I have set my face forward.  And I’m traveling toward the celestial city, to that city whose builder and maker is God.  And I’m not turning back.  No, I’m not turning back at all.  And I’m ready for the battle.  I’ve got my spiritual armor on.  I realize this is a spiritual battle, but greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.  This is the way we live the Christian life.  And I pray that all of us today would just come with that mindset to who we are as a church and to glory in how the church of Jesus Christ advanced.  “I will build my church,” Jesus said, “and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”  Isn’t that good news, friends?



“Every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”

Romans 8:28 MSG