Summary: This was my first sermon at First Baptist Church, it was a follow up of the Farewell sermon preached at Michigan Heights Baptist where I had served for ten years.
Today is a day of new beginnings for First Baptist Church, and for Lenea and I. For the past 10 years we were given the privilege to serve Michigan Heights Baptist Church in Stockton and now God has brought us here to serve Him through serving you. Last Sunday as I said “farewll” to my church family, and my friends. I shared with them from Paul’s “farewell” message to Ephesus in Acts 20 and today I would like for us to “turn the page” so-to-speak, to Acts 21 and I’d like to share with you Paul’s “greeting” to the church in Jerusalem.
Last week it was “farewell” to Michigan Heights, and today it is “greetings” First Baptist.
Text: Acts 21:17-20
17When we reached Jerusalem, the brothers welcomed us gladly. 18The following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. 19After greeting them, he related one by one what God did among the Gentiles through his ministry.
20When they heard it, they glorified God and said, “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law.
The Apostle Paul was heading for Jerusalem, and all along the way he was warned about the challenges ahead. He was even warned not to go. I remember 10 years ago as we were preparing to move to Stockton how people “warned” us about how bad a place it was, how terrible the gangs were, how we would be better off going just about anywhere other than Stockton. Well…that was 10 years ago and God blessed us with not only safety but an awareness of His divine purpose in leading us there.
We have faced some similar “warning” over the past couple of months, and we are approaching this new leg of our journey with the same steadfastness and reliance on the Lord as we did 10 years ago. As we begin this new journey I want to focus on 3 words today:
And in through these 3 words I want to help us establish a new mindset for the days ahead for us all.
17When we reached Jerusalem, the brothers welcomed us gladly. 18The following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present.
1. You’ve received me as your new Pastor.
God has called me to lead you to fulfilling His plan for First Baptist Church. Paul’s instructions to the Ephesians reminds us of God’s call for His leaders:
11And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness.
2. I’ve received you as a new congregation.
You are a group of people that God has entrusted me to guide and to help grow into the image of His Son Jesus Christ. How I am supposed to accomplish that task?
1Before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom, I solemnly charge you: 2proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching.