Text: Colossians 2:6-7

Introduction: Hindrances of Not Evangelizing:

  • Disobedience
  • Lack of knowledge (clarity and definition)
  • Lack of prayer (faith and discernment)
  • Lack of confidence (fear of failure)
  • Lack of compassion (apathy and indifference)

Main Idea: Setting Up on the Gospel Foundation

  • Biblical Mindset:
    • > Agricultural Images: “Some sow the seed of the gospel, others water the seed others have sown, and even others reap where people have already sown and watered.” ~ Greg LaurieRead 1 Cor 3:5-9*
    • > Building Images: someone lays the foundation, and someone builds upon it. But Who already laid the foundation? Christ himself. Read 1 Cor 3:10-11*

Our Challenge: Many see serving others and obedience to God as a burden instead of joy. Others do it as virtue signalling than a model of faith. // The world’s religion (v. 8) vs the gospel (v 9; 13-15). We just need to point them to Christ. Lead them. And tell them about him.

  • Commit to “each one reach one” (write their names) next week we will give them books, gc, fellowship, more

Our Response:

  • Building Upon the Sufficiency of the Gospel of Christ (Col 2:13-15).

Our Takeaway:

  • Just do the first-step of obedience.
  • Let God show you the next steps after.
  • “Your job is to be faithful. Your job is to do your part and leave the results in the hands of God. // You cannot lead everyone to Christ, but by God’s grace you can lead someone to Him.” – Greg Laurie

Conclusion:

Don Whitney says, “Evangelism is a natural overflow of the Christian life. We should all be able to talk about what the Lord has done for us and what He means to us. But evangelism is also a Discipline in that we must discipline ourselves to get into the context of evangelism, that is, we must not just wait for witnessing opportunities to happen.” Later Whitney says, “Unless we discipline ourselves for evangelism, it is very easy to excuse ourselves from ever sharing the gospel with anyone.” Whitney believes that the point of disciplining ourselves for evangelism is to plan for it—for Christians to actually put it into their schedule.”

 

Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
November 20, 2022

 

 

 

Text: John 1:37-42

Introduction: 1 Chronicles 12:32” from Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do—200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command.” Dr. Chris Shirley makes an exegesis of this passage on how King David’s group ‘who understood the times’ against their rivalry, King Saul. Understanding the times is a necessary ingredient to succeed.

For many months now, and specifically in recent weeks, we are also trying to determine which is the best way for UCBC to proceed accordingly to achieve our vision. The Vision: we know our identity as a church, given that Christ our all in all, but at the same, we also know our goal and our vision to be global and reach out to the next generation. However, there is a missing link. How can we achieve our vision? We know it, we understand it, but we need the means to go to it. A vehicle to move forward and reach it. (Show car, airplane, boat method). We have an identity, but what are our means to duplicate and pass on ourselves to other places?

UCBC Way: Understand – Connect – Build Up – Commission

Background: as a Bible-believing church, we make sure that our ways, our methods, and our principles are grounded in biblical truths. Let us read and explore briefly John 1:37-51

37-38 – “what do you want?” Understand the Need

39-40 – salvation; “come and see” – Connect

41 – “find his brother” and “tell him” – Build Up

42 – “brought him to Jesus” – Commit

Naming is significant – commission

43 – “finding” Philip

44 – same context and need (understand)

45 – scriptural foundations (build-up)

46 – “come and see” same in verse 39

47-49 – the answer to our need

50-51 – Commitment and covenantal promise

This is not just a cycle but a spiral-up wherein we know that it started from Christ choosing the twelve apostles, Pentecost, and the whole world. This biblical way is the UCBC way. The things that we do our means to reach our vision for the following years. We will learn and familiarize ourselves more with this UCBC Way for this whole month. For now, our challenge for the entire month is for “each one, reach one.”

The Challenge: “Each One, Reach One”

  • Week 1: Understand (Discern and Pray)
  • Week 2: Connect (Communicate)
  • Week 3: Build-Up (Care)
  • Week 4: Commit (Share) – invite them on our last Sunday, a thanksgiving celebration.

 

Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
November 6, 2022

 

 

 

Text: Ephesians 4:1-16

Introduction:

Church as a Family [oikos]; Paul tells Timothy that the church is the household of God (1 Tim 3:15). We are God’s family— John 1:12-13. He adopts us into his family. Gal 4:4-5. Church as family (Children – John 1:12; Brothers – Heb 2:11; Bride – Eph 5:22-27).

Background of Ephesians 4:

Paul calls us to live a faithful Christian walk by being humble, at peace with one another and maintaining the unity of the church. Take note, it says, maintaining, not creating unity. We are to preserve such unity in the body of Christ (v. 3). This unity has been established in the expression of the Triune God (vv. 4-6). He furthers that Christ gifted the church with different people with distinct leadership roles (vv. 8-11). To equip the saints with unity and spiritual growth (v. 12).

Transition: Starting from verse 13 onwards, it tells us about the church experience. It is not a linear movement from point A to B but has ebbs and flows or ups and downs in the whole experience. It is like a heartbeat that goes up and down. If the line is constant, it means what? Death, right? Meaning that experiencing such ebbs and flows in church experience show that we are alive.

Main Idea:

The Heartbeat Rhythm and Musical Melody (Let us accept the reality that we experience challenges and struggle with them). Even in the early church, in NT, they are also dealing with issues, persecutions, conflicts, and partitions.

It is a never-ending process. Verse 13 states that “until” we reach this knowledge and maturity in Christ and “attaining” (present participle -ing) the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. The church is the body of Christ. While Christ is perfect, we are not perfect here on this side of eternity. Hence, it is an undergoing process. “Sorry for the inconvenience, under construction” WHEN? Until Christ returns.

Conflicts, disagreements, issues, and arguments will never end. But we will never arrive at our destination if we keep focusing on these things. So, while we deal with these matters, we also support and encourage one another to move forward, look to the future, cling to the promises of Christ, and reach our church vision.

Illustration: How many medical checkups do we need per year? (20s—every 2 to 3 years; 30s—every other year; 40s to 50s—every year; 60s—twice a year) Regular checkup and executive checkup. Eye checkups, physicals, dental, and so on. Likewise, as a church, we should have regular checkups. >>> Where are we now? Where are we going? Church Vision – summarized in two words – Global + NextGen. Moreover, let us locate where UCBC is now.

How are we doing? Who is the church? This vital question is one of the things that hinder our church movement. We are not sure who belongs to the family. Updating our church membership. “To be a Christian is synonymous with being the church. The two are inseparably and eternally linked. While it’s possible to be a member of a church and not be a true follower of Christ, it’s impossible to be a genuine believer and not be in the church. – Dustin Benge

Conclusion: Our Church + The Loveliest Place

No other people, not outside our church, not even our denomination, will help us to get better but ourselves. Our church is our family. We belong to one another. The moment you signed the covenant, you became part of this community. By God’s grace and the Spirit’s guidance, we work with one another, pray for one another, and love one another. Cause if we do not do these things, then who else?

Why the loveliest place? Your workplace can fire you; your friends can leave you; your crush can hurt you; nowhere in this world right now can be considered a perfectly secure place. But the church bears the promise of God’s love that he will never divorce the church. “He will never go searching for a more attractive family.”

“The church in the world is the beauty of Christ in the world. Because Christ is her beauty.” The loveliest place in this world is the church because of Christ. The church is the loveliest place. It portrays and reflects the beauty of Christ. Christ died for the church. For our redemption. Christ loves the church. We are loved by Christ.

 

Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
October 16, 2022

 

 

 

Text: James 1:22-25

Introduction:

What is your guidebook in life? Tiktok? A manual is essential for any newly purchased appliances. Even software applications have EULA: End-User License Agreement. Likewise, the life that we have as Christians has a guide. More to that, it is the transformative rule of our faith and practices.

Background of James’ writing:

There were various challenges and persecutions that were happening during the time of James’ writing. Such as the massacre of temple priests in Rome, the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in AD70, riots, wars, and even Nero’s gruesome tortures. The result of these dark events was called diaspora, or the Jews escaped and moved to other neighboring counties for safety and peace.
In this context, James is reminding all Christians to be guided in their life by one important book. The ultimate instruction of life. The Handbook of Life, the Word of God, the Bible. Guidebook? A mirror that reflects your life.

Main Idea:

  • Written Word (2 Timothy 3:16): The Bible

The Bible is the Word of God, and it points us to Jesus. We believe and trust the Bible because we have faith in Christ. The Bible, for Christians, is authoritative in all manners of faith and practices. Since this is God’s Word, we need to treat it as literally His and inspirationally true and binding. That is why believers must anchor their hearts and minds in the Scriptures. It is the only true–the absolute “TRUTH” amidst the “fake news” surrounding us today.

More than just a manual, it provides and sustains our life; Psalm 19:7-9 states, “The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.”

Greg Gilbert’s words, “As Christians, we believe that God has spoken to us in His Word, the Bible.” It is infallible and inerrant. “This God–his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true” (Ps. 18:30). Gilbert adds, “It is to God’s Word that we look in order to find what he has said to us about his Son Jesus.”

  • Living Word (John 1:1, 14; Hebrews 1:1-3) Jesus

Illustration: Before the Coffee gets cold (transition to 1 John 2:4-6): “Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”

Application:

Verses 22-24 read that knowing and memorizing Scriptures are not enough; we need the Word of God to put into action. You do not just read and meditate but apply it in your life.

Illustration: Which translation is the best? KJV? NKJV? NIV? ESV? NASB? CSB? The one that translates into actions. Transformation is necessary for us to experience the real application in our lives.

  • Personal – emotions/ fear/ work/ good news
  • Family – honor your parents/ husband and wife/ disciple your children
  • Church – regularly attend/ give your tithes and offerings/ do missions and evangelism.

 

Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
October 2, 2022

 

 

 

Text: Matthew 4:1-11

FINDING BALANCE IN VISION
Betwixt the Scylla of Counterfeit Revival and the Charybdis of Consumerism
UCBC Last Quarter of 2022

Introduction:

In ancient Greek mythology, Scylla and Charybdis were the names of two sea monsters situated on opposite sides of the Strait of Messina between Sicily and Italy. The fearful monsters were located close enough to each other that they posed an inescapable threat to sailors who sought to pass between them. Charybdis, in that area, is actually a whirlpool but is not big enough to be a monster. The rocky shoals nearby may have inspired the thought of the monster Scylla. Although these mythical beings are debunked, they have real-life explanations. (Leroy Seat via Leslie Hill’s email to PJP)

Many have been so intent on escaping Charybdis that they have sailed straight into the jaws of Scylla. But I repeatedly assert that we must always be careful not to flee one extreme only to fall into the opposite extreme. The Challenge: Avoiding Charybdis meant passing too closely to Scylla and vice versa. Accordingly, contemporary Christians are confronted with the challenge of having to pass between the Scylla of Counterfeit Revival and the Charybdis of Consumerism.

Background:

Matthew 4 narrates the event when Christ was tempted by the devil, Satan. However, though tempted three times, Christ victoriously defeated and overcame all these temptations. This event portrays the impeccability of Christ—his sinlessness. Christ is all-powerful, holy, and worthy of praise.

First temptation: verse 3, hunger (essentials). Second temptation: verse 5, to jump off the temple (protection and safety). Third temptation: verse 8, the devil offered him material possessions of the world and glory (the very definition of success today). It is in this story where we will see anchor ourselves.

Main Idea:

We need to find the balance to sail straight and steer away from Scylla and Charybdis. How? Illustration: Myanmar Motorcycle. We need to find focus on Christ, his vision for our church, and the present leading of the Holy Spirit.

Christ exemplified this balanced life. Luke 2:40 “And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.” And John 1:14, Christ has the fullness of grace and truth. Without balance, leaning too much on truth leads to legalism (just a set of rules); on the other, extreme grace leads to antinomianism or “a license to commit sin.” Christ saw We must find balance.

As a church, where are we right now? Show the three waves. Wave 2 is after church development, recalibration, and preparation. We now enter the program demonstration where we focus ourselves on implementations, collaboration, and spiritual renovation. Many big words in there.

Putting it in layman’s terms. Both in the concept of escaping Scylla and Charybdis and maintaining balance not to fall on a cliff, we need to realize our past (history), present (essence), and future (vision). (1) Past, looking behind keeps us from moving ahead and prone to danger. A balance of Present and Future, but the future must affect our present. James KA Smith wrote that (1) Understanding the Past, (2) Facing the Future, and (3) Living Faithfully in the Present are the things we need to realize as Christians.

Conclusion:

The North Star is the anchor of the northern sky. A landmark, or sky marker, helps those who follow it determine direction as it glows brightly to guide and lead toward a purposeful destination. It also has a symbolic meaning, for the North Star depicts a beacon of inspiration and hope to many. Fret not, our North Star is Christ. Our hope is in Christ. Let us apply our vision in this last quarter of the year.

 

Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
September 25, 2022

 

 

 

Text: Philippians 4:4-17

Introduction:

“A large majority of Americans are reporting high stress (or anxiety 73%) levels due to financial concerns, inflation, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to a new poll from the American Psychological Association… and may still increase according to Harvard.” (Carolyn Crist, WebMD, 2022)

Background:

Paul wrote this letter as a thanksgiving letter to the church at Philippi for providing care and concern, and supporting him financially. Moreover, though he wrote this while he was in prison, his goal was to encourage them and continue trusting our Lord Jesus Christ.

Defining the word “Trust” based on our passage. In verse 7, “peace” or “guarding your heart and your mind” is like a “Standing Guard” in a royal military sense. “Uniformed standing guards are there to provide a presence and ensure that your property is protected.” Having standing guards outside, people inside the palace can live peacefully. That is the same way of trusting God.

In a simpler way, think of your door lock; you can sleep well because you know you locked your door. Likewise, you can work and save money because you somehow trust your bank that it is safe and secure. That is what Paul also meant for us right now. He urges Christians to trust God.
The first verse assures us, “hey! Life is worth celebrating.” It is a gift from God, and we ought to celebrate it, be joyful, and not just try to survive it. I mean, being neglectful and too legalist with our lives seems to be different from pursuing joy in our lives.

Main Idea:

1. Trusting Jesus with your fear. (4:6)

  • Fear of uncertainty or unknown; Anxiety and concern

2. Trusting Jesus with your finances. (4:10-12)

  • God will supply all your needs (4:19; Matthew 6:33)

3. Trusting Jesus with your future. (Philippians 3:14, 20) – retiring, transitioning, new places

  • The Lord is near—forward-looking. (4:5)

How did Paul do it?

  • Surrendering your burdens to Him (Philippians 4:7); embrace peace. [Eiríni]
  • Praying everything (prayer and petition, with thanksgiving – verse 6)
  • Be content (Philippians 4:11-13)

How can we do it?

  • Tell everything to God. (Talk to Him)
  • Teach your heart (and mind) to Trust God.
  • Thank God always.

Conclusion:

The benefits of telling it to God because we trust Him are (1) grateful life, (2) joyful life, and (3) a content life. This last quarter of the year, I pray that we all trust Jesus in our family, finances, future, church, and workplaces.

 

Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
September 18, 2022

 

 

 

1 Corinthians 11:17-34

Background:

Covenantal acts permeate the entire Bible—both in OT and NT. Namely, Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Esther, Ruth and Boaz, David, and ultimately, Jesus. The Lord’s last supper in Luke 22:17-20 signifies Christ’s new covenantal fulfilling all the promises and prophecies about him as the redeemer of the world. However, this remembrance of Christ’s covenant had been reduced to an empty ritual.

Main Idea:

[The Problem] Reading from the previous chapter, in 1 Corinthians 10:14-22 (Idolatry), and in our passage, 1 Corinthians 11:17-22 (Factions/ Divisions), even early Christians had a lot of struggles understanding and practicing the whole essence of the ordinance.

Social Snobbery at the Lord’s Table. The Corinthians were using their gatherings around the Lord’s Table as occasions to make social distinctions between rich and poor. Paul is profoundly troubled by this development and argues strongly against it. (ESV Study Bible)

[Practical Definition] “The Lord’s Supper is an occasion when members of the church declare their unity with each other because of their common unity with Christ” (ESV Study Bible). Historically, it traces to the Passover event during the time of Egypt in Exodus. God delivered the Israelites from slavery by enacting the final plague, the Angel of Death. Only those with the blood of a pure lamb on their doorposts could skip this plague. Yet, this Passover was only about temporal deliverance. At the same time, the Lord’s Supper that we celebrate on this date points to eternal deliverance.

Communal or Fellowship (koinonia)

  • Communion with Christ
    • “When we pass the wine [grape juice] and bread during the Lord’s Supper, we are saying, “here’s the Gospel,” said Sinclair Ferguson.
    • The very elements point to Christ. The bread represents the sinless flesh of Christ, mocked, persecuted, and nailed to the cross, and the cup signifies the blood of Christ poured for the atonement of our sins. (Dustin Benge)
  • Communion with fellow church members
    • A demonstration of believers’ love for one another.
    • It cannot be celebrated alone, for it is a congregational meal to demonstrate and foster genuine love among the people of God. (DB)

Confessional

  • You publicly confess that you are in Christ, and you belong to this church
  • Another meaning, 1 Corinthians 11:28 states, “Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.”
    • An avenue for us to confess our sins, ask for forgiveness and repent.
      • It’s possible to come to the table like the hypocritical Corinthians, unloving, unforgiving, and for selfish indulgence and show.
      • However, one must realize and experience the transforming grace of God in Christ through the Lord’s Supper. Not something mystical but an ascent to holiness, a sanctification event.

Covenantal

  • Christ’s new covenant is an eternal promise. “For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” (Heb. 8:12).
    • God to the church (community of Christians)
  • Covenanted with one another in the local church
    • Covenant within the church (member to everyone, vice versa)

Conclusion:

It is a frequent reminder that the Lord’s Supper is for the church, through the church, and in the church. Let us celebrate this Gospel made visible today.

 

Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
September 4, 2022

 

 

 

Text: John 11:33-35

Introduction:

You have been suppressing such emotions and pressures for many of you working because of your boss and immediate heads. I know that Filipinos are resilient yet bad at handling emotions. For our Nexus, the youth will be starting their classes next month, and many emotions are happening inside them: excitement, anxiety, indifference, fear, joy, and even melancholy. What should we do about our feelings and emotions? I say the best model for us Christians is Christ. Today’s sermon is about the emotional life of Christ.

The full humanity of Christ. Luke 2:39–40 And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him. He even got hungry during his 40 days of fasting, wherein the devil tempted him to turn the rock into bread (Mt. 4:4). Also, he was thirsty during his journey to the cross, and when he was crucified; he said, “I thirst” (Jn 19:28).

Main Idea: The Emotions of Christ in John 11:33-35

Let us go back to our central passage in John 11:33-35. I have chosen this passage because it encapsulates three major emotions all human beings experience. These are 1) compassion or mercy, 2) anger, and 3) grief, including sorrow.

Background:

The term [embrimaomai] (33, 38) means deeply moved because of the death of his dear friend Lazarus. In verse 35, he joins his friends’ grief and sadness with heartfelt sorrow. More than sadness, it was mixed with anger because of the evil of death—the ultimate enemy of humanity. Adding to this righteous anger is a disappointment because of the loss of trust of his people, friends like Martha, and others there. Hovering all these emotions is love. Let us explore more of these three primary emotions found in our passage to understand more about Christ’s emotional life. For what purpose, you ask? To conform to his likeness (1 Jn 2:6).

Compassion and Mercy – Healing two blind men (Mt 20:30-34) leper cleansed (Mk 1:40-41) “moved with pity” [splanchnizo]; distressed widow (Lk 7:12-13) “he had compassion on her” – a literal translation of feeling something within you, somewhere in your stomach or guts. The peak of his compassionate heart is when he descended to the world and entered history from eternity for us to be redeemed from the bondage of our sins. Christ can forgive all kinds of sins.

Righteous Anger – He flipped the tables out of anger in the temple. Why? It was because of the nature of the temple. “This was the house of God, the one place where sinners could come and offer sacrifices and enjoy fellowship with God, reassurance of his favor and grace,” Dane Ortlund noted. (Angry in front of the Temple – John 2:13-22) He was angry with the Scribes and Pharisees – Matthew 23; Mark 3:5 – “hypocrites, serpents brood of vipers, blind fools.”

It is okay to get angry but do not sin. Psalm 4:4, “Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds and be silent. Selah.” Likewise, it is stated in Ephesians 4:26-27, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger and give no opportunity to the devil.” Be aware of your anger. Respond righteously.

Grief and Sorrow – Other than Christ crying out loud when Lazarus died in John 11:43, with all the realization that he is the Messiah, he is expected to bear such sorrow. Isaiah 53:4, “Surely, he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.”

Before his crucifixion and suffering, he had already expressed too much pain and sorrow when he prayed to the Father. He prayed three times repeatedly to the Father. Matthew 26:38 “Then he said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.’” Then he prayed. At the third time in Luke 22:44, “And being in agony, he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Christ experienced genuine emotions. He is truly a human being capable of having feelings and emotions.

Application:

  1. Trust Jesus with your emotions.
  2. Conform to his model in handling his emotions.
    1. Be honest. Do not ignore and suppress your emotions.
    2. Do not sin.
  3. Pray with him.

Conclusion:

Are you angry today? Take a break and trust God’s righteous anger. Are you anxious and feeling distressed? Jesus is sad and distressed alongside you. Trust Jesus: he knows our emotions well. He sympathizes (Heb 4:15, “15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

In that knowledge, release the burden of your offender and breathe again. They do not deserve the gift of your emotions. Rest in Christ. Again, trust Jesus. Dane Ortlund said, “Let Christ’s heart for you not only wash you in his compassion but also assure you of his solidarity in rage against all that distresses you.”

 

Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
August 28, 2022

 

 

Text: 1 Thessalonians 5:11-18

Main Idea:

Focusing on verse 11, specifically “just as in fact you are doing.” This means that their church during that time was already “encouraging and building each other up.” A good question may be, “Am I encouraging or building someone up?” “Am I being a source of encouragement?” An excellent way to encourage a dear brother and sister is to show up every Sunday.

In our Fresh Encounter series, we are being encouraged to share our testimonies, teaching us to confess our sins, repent, and embrace restoration. One of the good biblical practices they taught was public confession and repentance (in a small group context).

The Struggle: But there seems to be a struggle. First, we are shy or ashamed of what we have done. Second, unaware of feelings and mix up our intentions; third, we do not see feelings as a signal indicator in order to sustain a relationship (e.g., Feelings are like a fuse; it tells us that there is something wrong with the circuit). Fourth, we repress or suppress and ignore these feelings.

The Means: When the early church was experiencing persecutions, injustices, and oppression, they were not only struggling physically and spiritually but also emotionally, mentally, and holistically. I said “holistically” because our emotions have a physiological aspect. It is what psychologists and medical personnel call “psychosomatic” – a physical symptom caused by an emotional or psychological condition.

The method to control our feelings is to be aware of them and to experience them consciously. Then we can control the behavior flowing from the feelings.

  • Anger – we want to fight physically or verbally (Breathe faster; our heart beats faster; sensation of heat)
  • Fearful – have the desire to run away (The mouth becomes dry; feels cold; palms are sweating
  • Hurt – we withdraw or regress (Crying, expressing pain through tears)
  • Trust – comfortable with someone (Willing to be vulnerable; openness)
  • Love – warm glow in our body (Love is a fulfillment of all these other feelings.)

The Value: The passage encourages and sets a standard for communal accountability. There is a value in sharing our feelings, struggles, and emotions with one another. Read verses 12-18. Deep communication makes our ministry effective because it enables us to deal with our feelings before we attempt to minister to others’ feelings, as stated by G. Niklas.

Conclusion:

Apostle Paul today (sermon today) and Apostle Peter last week (sermon last week) show us that emotions, feelings, and mental well-being are essential aspects of a Christian community, both individual and church life. You may ask, “where is Jesus in here?” First, last week, we explored that there is hope in Christ. Christ redeemed these parts of our life as well. Lastly, Christ himself as fully God-Man has heart, soul, and mind (next week’s topic).

 

Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
August 21, 2022

 

 

Text: 1 Peter 5:6-11

Introduction:

When God said that the greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). The principle of this holistic significance of a person’s wholeness is grounded in the biblical meaning of “peace,” in Greek ειρήνη [שָׁלוֹם shalom]. “Peace be with you” also means that “I pray for the completion of your wholeness or achieving the optimal state of your personhood” (John 14:27; 20:21; 2 Peter 1:2).

Background:

During the second half of the first century (AD 54-68), the hideous Emperor Nero reigned throughout the Roman Empire including Israel. It was in those years that persecution of Christianity reached its zenith. They even call Nero a prototype of the Anti-Christ. He caused riots and blame it on the Christian community. Thus, punishing them either by feeding them to the lion (1 Peter 5:8) or burning them alive while Nero partakes in his dinner just because he needs light.

Main Idea:

The Problem (Romans 7:14-25)

Even though I appreciate most of the psychological theories like Erikson’s psychosocial development, Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis, or the cognitive, behavioral, and personality theories, I still believe that Christianity has a greater offer when it comes to our personal development. To elaborate on this point and the gap between psychology and Christianity, first, is on the essence of the soul or spiritual things. The second is on the transcendence or the significance of eternal matters.

First, psychology only caters to the mind (psyche) later understood as the holistic part of a person. This is limited to the material and various immaterial matters of one’s life. Yet, this trying to know oneself through psychoanalysis, behavioral patterns, and archetypal dreams are all limited. Psychology does not see the significance of the soul as coming from someone transcendent and has a goal to be eternal manifesting godliness, righteousness, and holiness. Furthermore, temporal awareness and somewhat solutions do not guarantee that a person will be secure about one’s flourishing life.

Second, transcendence is canceled from the perspective of existentialism and naturalism. This worldview is short-sighted. It only tries to make a person survive life, making them functional in society, without perceiving beyond life. While in Christianity, there is hope, of course, centered in the personhood and work of Christ, where both the assurance of flourishing life in the “here and now”, and the “yet to come” is secured in His promises.

In a word, despite the wisdom that we can gain from psychological facts, they are inadequate. Only a worldview, or faith, that has a transcendence or “seeing beyond” can be truly helpful in one’s life. This faith in Christ is the security that we have. We will know that our brokenness can be restored once again through the powerful work of Christ—his death and resurrection. And we are certain that we will soon embrace the heavenly place where there will be no pain, crying, anxiety, and sorrows.

The Pursuit (1 Peter 5:6-9)

Anxiety, anger, sadness, and depression are part of human feelings and emotions. According to Professor of Counseling Psychology at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology Dan Allender noted that emotions are the messengers of our body. He said, “Emotions are like messengers from the front lines of the battle zone. Our tendency is to kill the messenger. But if we listen carefully, we will learn how to fight the war successfully.” Similar to this statement, Dallas Willard said, “Feelings are good servants, but they are disastrous masters.” (Self-awareness is important)

To make a stronger point, even various bible characters experienced sorrowful moments, deep anxiety, and discouragement.

  • – Elijah (1 Kings 19:1-9)
  • David (Psalm 34:17-18; 42; 88); the weeping prophet (book of Lamentations)
  • Job (book of Job, [Job 1:20-21, 2:8], yet he did not sin (1:22, 2:10)
  • Jonah (Jonah 4); “It would be better for me to die than to live.”
  • The persecuted apostles (Paul: 2 Cor. 11:23-26; Romans 7:14-25)
  • Jesus [embrimaomai] “deeply moved” (John 11:35-38), agony (Luke 22:42), wept (Lk 19:41; Heb 5:7)
With that short biblical survey, we see that emotions are grounded in the creation story of God. In the Genesis account, the image of God has to have an emotional aspect grounded in God’s holy emotions too. All emotions are part of our created nature of us, however, we fall short and because of sin it was marred and corrupted. So what? Humble yourselves; cast all your anxieties on him; be sober-minded; be watchful; resist the devil; firm in your faith. Verse 9, local and universal church are essential in Christian life.

 

The Promise (1 Peter 5:10-11)

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
Conclusion:

Our goal is to become whole. To become whole, we must be in Christ and follow Him. Our emotions and thoughts are part of the created image of God in us, however, humanity fell into sin and corrupted these holy emotions. Now, our problem is we confuse ourselves with our reason and emotions. Instead of emotions serving us, they become our masters. Our hope is in Christ, the promise that in Christ, he will restore us, strengthen and establish us today and forever.

 

Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
August 14, 2022