Text: James 4:7-10

Introduction: One of my favorite movie genres is with ancient or medieval kingdom narratives. Kingdom symbolism in historical period drama, fiction, and some mystical movie series and narrative permeates the portrayal of an omnipotent King, a prince or princess, to receive royal status and the subject, his people, to follow his royal command. Likewise, how to read the Bible is through this kingdom lens, from Adam in the Garden of Eden to Abraham’s call to have a nation, mosaic commandments like a king giving his covenant and benefits of those who will be in covenant with him to the promise of eternal King in the lineage of David and fulfilled in the incarnation of the second person of the Trinity, Christ.

            A primary virtue that is very important to be a faithful follower of the King is SUBMISSION.

Background: Warning against worldliness and reminding Christians to submit to God fully.  The author of this book is James. He was the half-brother of Jesus. Still, he did not use his bloodline to overpower or demand authority from others. In chapter 1, verse 1, he introduced himself as a “servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Main Idea:

  1. Submission as Surrender – What is submission? It is a surrender (e.g., war, wrestling match, or UFC MMA fight). Surrender is to yield your power to the most powerful. Sun Tzu said in his iconic war strategy, “Only enter battles you know you can win. Avoid battles you cannot win.” To surrender is to recognize that God is powerful and you are not.
    1. Those who yielded ought to pledge their allegiance to their new ruler, the new King. The former ruler in our lives was the devil; the present king sitting on the throne of our hearts is King Jesus. My question is, “Who rules over you?” Is it Jesus, yourself or the devil?
  2. Saying No to the Devil – Submission to God begins with resisting the devil, its temptations, and all the impurities of our hearts. Romans 8:13, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
    1. John Owen’s famous words, “Be killing sin or [sin] will be killing you.” How do we kill sin? (Eph. 6:17, “…Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”)
    2. Satan will flee just as he had fled from Christ before when he was rejected three times during the temptation in the desert in Matthew 4 (Luke 4:13).
  3. Seeking God’s Proximity – God draws us near to him. It is a mutual proximity. God is near us, but we need to respond to his invitation to be near him. He does not force anyone to draw closer to him or to love him. God in Christ expects each of us to be closer to him.
    1. I find it interesting how James urges us to draw ourselves after resisting the devil. It only implies that when we are far away from God’s presence, the next thing we realize is that the devil is now our best friend. How is your time with God? Or did you just enjoy your bonding with the devil last Friday?
  4. Shaping and Sifting – Cleansing is a purification ritual in Ancient Jewish times. Romans 9:20-21 supports the thought that God shapes our lives. However, Christians have calloused hearts that they do not care about their sins, pride, lies, and other subtle sins. They just laugh about it. That’s why James is telling us that the proper reaction in the impending judgment of God in Christ is to mourn, weep, and be broken—this is a sign of repentance. More than shaping, God is sifting us. He strains our impurities until we are filtered to our most righteous hearts. To be a Christian is to be tested, sifted, and sanctified.
  5. Soaring High through Submission – there are more things to reach when you are bowing down and kneeling to pray than raising your forehead with pride and self-reliance. Humility is the Way to Success. We are more Christlike when we are humble.


Conclusion: Give Up and Let Go! The world tells us not to give up on ourselves. That is indeed true, but if it is just about yourself, then you are living in a self-reliant, delusional, and self-made reality. We need to give up everything to God, and let go of pride, unforgiveness, anger, envy, fleshly desires, smoking, drinking, and unholiness.

Illustration: The only person who can go to the room of the president at 3 am is his child. Likewise, the persons who can approach the king are his children.


Pastor John Paul Arceno

UCBC New Jersey
November 19, 2023



Text: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Introduction: Last Friday night, during our Nexus session, we delved into the topic of Christ being capable of sympathizing with us because he had experienced all forms of suffering. What amazes me is that these young people reflected that it is soooo much better to have someone who can relate with your pain and suffering. It brings joy, relief, and assurance. Indeed, our lives are not designed to be isolated alone. We need one another.

Background: The previous verses talk about how Everything in Life is Vanity! Life is something fleeting and elusive. All the endeavors and pleasures of earthly life are only temporary. When one sees the consequences of sin in this fallen world, one is left in utter frustration, anger, and sorrow. Vanity, indeed!

Main Idea: When God promised that He would be with us; that he would never leave us nor forsake us in any situation in life. And bearing the name of Immanuel meaning God With Us. All of these are genuine promises and embraced through the presence of one another. The presence of God becomes tangible when we are together. In all things, the Spirit indwells in us and makes God’s presence visible. (Mathew 18:19)

The Qohelet, the writer of Ecclesiastes, values the community. Togetherness is not something to be achieved. It is a gift that needs to be received. Jesus had his disciples and inner circle (Peter, James, and John); David and Jonathan; Ruth and Naomi; Jesus, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus; Elijah and Elisha; Job and his friends; Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; Paul, Timothy, and Titus… and so on… God desires you to invest your life in your inner circle like Christ did.

Threefold Community:

  1. Celebrating the reward of togetherness. (v9)
    1. Illustration: Celebrating Alone video
    2. It is crucial to acknowledge that the rewards of togetherness extend far beyond the individual. We find strength and fulfillment in coming together to celebrate not only our own successes but also those of our brothers and sisters in faith.
  2. Suffering and supporting one another. (v10)
    1. Jurgen Moltmann calls suffering suffering if you do not have someone to suffer with.
    2. We learn from Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” When we suffer, it is in the togetherness of our faith community that we find solace and strength. Our faith teaches us that, together, we can find comfort and resilience even in the face of life’s most challenging moments.
  3. Sharing warmth and care—love. (v11) – read Romans 13, the summary of the commandments is Love.
    1. In a world that often feels cold and indifferent, our togetherness provides a source of warmth, comfort, and care. In 1 Peter 4:8, we are reminded, “Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins.” Our love for one another, expressed through acts of kindness, encouragement, and support, creates a haven of care and compassion.

Illustration: Threefold Cord is not quickly broken. I like the fact that the author did not say that the cord will not be broken. It can still be broken, but not easily. Brokenness in this world is inevitable. That’s why the author was shouting that All is Vanity! However, in God’s community, there is the blessing of togetherness and the power to withhold any trials and sufferings that will come through.

The Danger of Isolation, according to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, is the more destructive the power of sin over that person and the more deeply the person becomes involved in it (pornography, lying, vices, and other subtle sins). The devil wants a person to be isolated; it withdraws the person from the community (Life Together 112). You need someone to be accountable to your Christian walk; do not despise correction and rebuke. It is a gift from the community.


  1. Invest in your “inner circles” your small group or prayer groups. Why does being part of a small group discipleship matter? (pics of small groups)
  2. Celebrate small successes and blessings in life.
    1. Beautiful baby of Sis Mariecel last week.
    2. Mark’s new laptop story.
  3. Suffer and sacrifice.
    1. Do not think that your task is more important than your presence when comforting someone, or when listening to someone.
    2. Besides, our suffering reflects Christ’s suffering for us, and through this, we share with him.
    3. Bottle ministry goal. (picture)


Our togetherness is only made possible by the cross of Christ. Only those who truly have the faith in Christ share the communion with him.


Rev. John Paul Arceno

UCBC New Jersey
October 29, 2023



Text: Acts 17:22-28

Introduction: Only 8% use the Bible every day (USA); 7% of Protestants read their Bible regularly (Germany). What about UCBC? When was the last time you read your Bible? If I’ll ask you right now, what was the last passage that you studied? Reading a verse and sharing it is not enough. Studying the Word of God is what we need. This reality saddens me because of two things: (1) Baptists are known to be the People of the Book, but now we are more like People of the Facebook, and (2) It is in our days that the Bible has become more accessible and available to everyone, simply download the app and you have it in your hand. But the problem is you do not read the Bible unless someone tells you to do so.

Why study the Word of God together?

  • Acts 17:11, “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.”
    • When Paul arrived, they were already studying the Word of God.
    • They were studying the Word of God together.
  • We are limited and finite creatures. Our own interpretation cannot suffice our understanding of the Word of God. You need people around you to be accountable for one another’s understanding of the Word of God. The Holy Spirit can work through those people with you so can cultivate a deeper connection with God’s Word.

Main Idea:

In God’s Word, we live…

  • Matthew 4:4 (Deuteronomy 8:3), “Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Originally, this instruction was from Moses when he reminded the Israelites about how God had sustained their living during the forty-year period in the wilderness.
  • How is your bible reading? Youth, you were too busy studying your course subjects, playing games, and socializing with your friends and already forgotten to study the Word of God.
    • Too busy cooking, working, gardening, and yet no schedule to spend time with God.
  • God’s Word is our spiritual diet. The Bible is central to our lives, family, and marriage. It is the oxygen that lets you breathe and live.

In God’s Word, we move…

  • Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” In an age where many of us are lost in the wilderness and darkness, we need a lamp that will guide us to reach our maximum potential as Christians.
    • The Word of God is your “True North Star”. The Star that will guide your way in order to live and get back home safely.
  • What happened to Job when he relied on the advice of his friends? He felt miserable. It is not from your friends that you seek guidance, they can help you, yes, but they cannot offer what you really need in your life. It can only be found in the Word of God.

In God’s Word, we find our being…

  • When God was giving a piece of advice to Joshua on how he would be successful in his leadership since Moses already died, God didn’t give him success tips, or any financial trivia, what he told him was to keep his word. Joshua 1:8, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
  • The Word of God answers all our deepest questions in life. How are we created? Is evolution real? How can I be saved? What is the best way to live our lives? Why do I exist? Why do I suffer? Where am I going after I die? Can I be in a relationship with a non-believer?

The Bible is not only for reading. It is for studying and applying in our lives. How do we study the Word of God? Listening to Sunday sermons is not enough. It is not even the end of your personal study. Treat Sunday sermons as the culmination of your weekly reading of God’s Word.

  • You need to be involved in your small groups (Acts 17:11). Small groups are our avenue to dig deeper into understanding the Word of God. Everyone should have a discipleship group. Adults, youth, YA, and everyone should have a Bible study group.
    • Pastor I know that already, can I be exempted? Well, your children do not want to attend Bible study groups and fellowship because you are not modeling it. For youth, if your parents are not excited to join their group, then be the one to encourage them.
    • If only we can fully understand what’s at stake in this battle against secularism and the Word of God. Many churches are closing because they no longer value the significance of personal and Bible study groups.
  • Illustration: Monkey driving.

Conclusion: The Word of God is vital in your whole life. Read and study the word of God like how the Bereans did it in the passage we have studied today. In Him we live and move and have our being means our entire existence depends wholly on God.


Pastor John Paul Arceno

UCBC New Jersey | October 1, 2023



Text: Luke 14:25-33

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Objective: To encourage the congregation to consider what it’s going to cost them to follow Christ; to implore those who are on the fence to go all-in for Christ; and to remind them that they are not alone in their walk of faith- they are surrounded by other believers and Christ himself will give them strength to be his disciples.

4 Headings:

  1. It will cost you everything
  2. You are either in Christ or you are out of Christ
  3. You are not alone in your walk
  4. Today is the day to follow him


Luke 14:25

  • Jesus gaining popularity
  • Crowds attracted for the wrong reasons:
    • To see miracles, to hear wisdom, to go where everyone else is going to
  • Jesus concerned with quality of faith not quantity of followers

Luke 14:26 

  • First term and condition of discipleship
  • Sounds like discouragement (CF Luke 9:57-62)
  • Jesus wants followers to consider the cost
  • Setting terms and conditions
  • Physical v. Spiritual following
  • “Hate”
    • Semitic hyperbole
    • Jesus not telling us to break love commandments
    • Means to love less (CF Gen 29:30-31 and Matthew 10:37)
    • Love for Jesus greater than dearest things
    • Love for others considered “hate”
  • Emphasize “cannot”

Luke 14:27

  • Second term and condition of discipleship
  •  “cross” slightly different meaning
  • Today it has a positive connotation, Christ, Christianity, means by which we are saved
  • To 1st-century people “cross” was the most brutal form of execution (Eg. Matthew 16:21-22)
  • Equivalent of “take up your electric chair, gas chamber, lethal injection, firing squad”
  • What did it mean for the 1st-century person?
    • Philip Ryken quote: “Even before Jesus was crucified, they would have recognized the cross as a symbol of rejection, humiliation, and excruciating pain. Crucifixion was the most gruesome form of execution in the Roman world, a death penalty reserved for traitors and criminals, and slaves. To see a man carrying his cross was to see a man going to die the worst of all possible deaths.
    • Taking up your cross is a form of self-denial (CF Luke 9:23)
      • Emphasize “daily”
    • Discipleship and sanctification (CF Romans 8:12 and Ephesians 4:22)

Luke 14:28-30 

  • Illustration to show what it will cost to follow Jesus
    • Vacation illustration
    • Illustration of our inadequacy to reach heaven on our own
    • Not enough good works to gain salvation
    • We must look to Christ (CF Matthew 11:28-30)

Luke 14: 31-32

  • Illustration to show what it will cost NOT to follow Jesus
  • Alexander the Great example
  • The weaker king is the believer prior to coming to Christ
    • Our sins placed us at enmity with God (CF Ephesians 2:1-3)
  • The stronger king is God
    • He demands justice
  • “A great way off” is time we have until judgment day
  • Do you have what it takes to stand against God?
    • If not we must surrender and ask for terms of peace: the gospel

Luke 14:33

  • Third term and condition of discipleship
  • Jesus requires us to give up all that we have
    • Does not mean we cannot have anything
    • It means that if Christ calls us to give up the things in our possession, we must willingly do so for his sake


  • Terms of discipleship:
  1. Love Christ more than anything else in the world
  2. Carry our cross daily
  3. Renounce all that we have for Christ
  • Jesus savior AND lord
  • Exhortation:
  • Be all-in for Christ 
    • Matthew 6:24
  • Follow Christ today 
    • Calling of Peter, Andrew, James and John (Matthew 4:19-22, Luke 5:11)
    • Calling of Matthew (Matthew 9:9, Luke 5:27-28)
  • What do we gain from denying self and following Jesus with all our love for Him?
    • Freedom, joy, life, closer more intimate relationship with Jesus (Jeremiah 33:3)


Bro. Joe Recto
UCBC New Jersey
September 10, 2023

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Text: 1 Corinthians 4:14-21

Introduction: Parents are their children’s teachers, guides, and life-long sojourners.

Context: Discipleship is about caring for and guiding the flock of sheep. Paul was instructing the church of Corinth about their Christian living. It was through his disciple, Timothy, that the Corinthian church learned more about the Gospel of Christ. There are three elements of discipleship: the discipler, the disciple, and the didactic.

  • The Discipler (Apostle Paul) – verse 15-16

Paul, as a spiritual parent (father), is different from the common “guardian” or tutor during ancient times. “Guardians” are the ones who were either educated servants or a freedman guiding the children of their masters, or showing them how to go to school, the marketplace, etc.

Paul was a caring parent to the church at Corinth. Someone who provides, secures, guides, disciplines if necessary, and teaches them the Word of God.

Both faithfulness in Jesus Christ and loves the church are requirements for a disciple. If you love Jesus, you love whom He loves–the church.

  • The Disciple (Timothy) – verse 17

A Biblical Definition of a Disciple

A disciple is one who follows Christ, trusting in him alone for salvation, worshiping his person, loving him with whole heart, imitating his life, and obeying his teaching, living dependently by abiding in Christ, walking in the Holy Spirit, meditating on the word of God, engaging in communion (prayer), and partnering with the body of Christ (local church) resulting in the transformation of the mind, the heart, and the life and leads others to do the same.” by Dr. David Talley

  • The Didactic (the Lesson/ the Gospel of Christ/ Word of God) – verse 17b

UCBC Disciples Path – from Lifeway

    1. The Beginning: First Steps for New Disciples
    2. The Way: Discovering Christ’s Path of Discipleship
    3. The Call: Counting the Cost of Following Christ
    4. The Truth: Engaging the Foundations of the Faith
    5. The Life: Living the Spiritual Disciplines
    6. The Mission: Joining God in His Work


Pastor John Paul Arceno

UCBC New Jersey | August 13, 2023



Text: 1 John 2:4-6

Text: 1 John 2:4-6 – To know that we are in Christ

4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

Introduction: Each person here in this church has a future destiny, either heaven or hell. The evidence that you’ll be in heaven is if you are a child of God, or in another term, a Sheep of the Good Shepherd Jesus Christ. My question for you today is, “Are you a sheep or a goat?” We will go back to this later.

God’s Will is for us to be like Christ (1 John 2:4-6):

Many think that it is okay to remain a “baby Christian” for their whole lifetime. Spiritual growth by conforming to the likeness of Christ is not an optional extra for Christians. Growth is the evidence of life. If a tree is alive, it grows. If an animal is alive, it grows. If a Christian is spiritually, he or she must grow. If there is an absence of growth, then you are dead. “Being alive means growing, and growing means increasing and advancing.” 2 Corinthians 10:15; Eph 4:15; Col 1:10; 1 Thess 1:3; 1 Peter 2:2.

The way that led to the cross. Believers need not and cannot repeat Christ’s unique saving death, but they can mirror his faith, love, piety, obedience, and self-sacrifice, and this pattern of life will give greater assurance “that we are in him”

God’s Plan is for us to belong in Church Discipleship (Matthew 28:19-20):

The problem today is that churches are busier with church activities and fellowship without any emphasis on disciple-making. Dietrich Bonhoeffer—a Christian martyr during the Nazi period—said that a church without discipleship is problematic; it expresses cheap grace.

Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession.

Discipleship means adherence to Christ and imitating Christ (Ephesians 5:1). Discipleship is not just another department in the church. Everyone is called to disciple someone.  “We treat the church as a welcoming TV show instead of a family that you are a part of.” – JD Greear

Meaning of “Disciple,” Greek translation μαθητεύω (mathéteuó) – 250 times, means to be the student or follower of someone (Christ); to follow his precepts and instruction; to be like the teacher. (Luke 6:40)

What is discipleship? The goal is to lead others to be like Christ. Why? Christ commanded us to go and make disciples. However, our mistake is that we make it “coming” instead of “going” (Matt. 28:19-20). We need to meet where people are. Another mistake is that we professionalize it. We only let church leaders or gifted people do discipleship. How did Paul discipled Timothy (2 Timothy 3:10-11)? How did Jesus disciple the Twelve Apostles? The answer is holistic—heart, mind, physical, and spiritual. In today’s terms, it is called mentoring.

God’s Desire is for us to be part of His Flock, His sheep: John 10:25-27, Sheep illustration:

25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

By doing so, God separates us from the goats (Matthew 25:31-33). Explain why they are being separated.

  • Full of pride
  • Unforgiving and Unrighteous
  • Zero Evangelism
  • Despises Discipleship

Conclusion: Show the Video about Sheep being called by the Shepherd. Go back to the Introduction.


Pastor John Paul Arceno

UCBC New Jersey
August 6, 2023



Text: Philippians 1:19-26

Understand the Need: Being ashamed of the gospel (Romans 1:16; Romans 10:11).

Connect the Background: There are people who do not find pleasure or joy in advancing the gospel. The shackles of the past still bind them. Paul simply says there should be rejoicing every time the church gathers around for gospel proclamation (Phil 1:19).

Build Up the Word:

The Sovereignty of Christ over Suffering (19-20)– Joseph’s case (God intended it for good; Genesis 50:19-21, “But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.”) and Job 13:16.

Paul suggests that two deliverances await him—release from imprisonment or death. Paul maintains his faithful witness to Christ both in his life and death.

The Sovereignty of Christ over Death (21-23, “far better”) – death is seen as the ultimate evil, but at the same time, can be used by God for his purpose. Here, Paul perceives that it will be the most excellent favor for him since he will be with God already. Illustration: Timothy Keller and Basil the Great

The Sovereignty of Christ over Life (24-26) – the motivation of Paul is not his personal legacy but discipleship—to disciple more Christians for Christ. Paul perceives that the advancement of the kingdom of Christ is tantamount to his life. It is life = serving Christ.

Verse 25 presents that discipleship brings joy to the children of God and the one that does discipleship. Here, Paul shows that despite his longing to just be with Christ (selfish in a sense), his determination is to make more disciples of Christ (which is better for others).

Commission to Go:

“When there are no battles, there are no victories.” – Pastor Jebo Banzuelo

Maybe that is where we are right now. We are on the verge of our Christian life, whether we are just saved, seated, satisfied, or comfortable with our lives versus the call to disciple someone.


Rev. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
May 21, 2023


Photo by Gu Bra: https://www.pexels.com/photo/throne-in-an-ornate-interior-of-a-church-7224522/



Text: Philippians 1:1-11; also, 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Main Idea:

First mark: a pray-er disciple (3-4). Here, Paul prays for the church at Philipp. He gives thanks to God during his regular prayer time. And whenever he prays for them, he has this joy when thinking of or hearing about them.

Second mark: participation, partakers of grace, partnership entails they are connected with one another. How are they connected with Paul? The church at Philippi supports Paul financially. Hence, Paul giving thanks for their connection with one another.

Third mark: equipped with the gospel; “the defense and confirmation of the gospel” (v. 7b); “with knowledge and all discernment” (v. 9).

Fourth mark: worship in excellence (v 10); “pure and blameless,” “to the glory and praise of God” (v 11).

Last mark: encourager; “I hold you in my heart” (v. 7), “I yearn” (v. 8); “love may abound more and more” (v. 9); there is joy in their gospel partnership (v. 4-5).

How about if we are struggling or going through a lot? Can we still encourage them? Paul was writing this letter thanking and encouraging those Christians outside the prison. While for us, just a minor inconvenience, and we started complaining about how others ignored us.

1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”

Be an encourager. Encourage one another. This mark had been true to the Philippian church. Paul was saying, “Just as you are doing.” This is not new to them; this has been present in their church. Likewise, let us also do the same. Each UCBC member is to be an encourager, a source of encouragement.

What happens if we do not have these marks? We quench (or grieve) the Holy Spirit. ** When the Spirit is grieved, the believer’s soul is restless, being punished—as it is just to do so—and losing the sense of joy and comfort in one’s life. Christians experience dullness in life, are easily tempted, feeling of brokenness, a feeling of being left behind, ingratitude, indwelling sin becomes more active, contempt, and bitterness. More results are being poor in spirit, easy to stumble, dead faith, dissatisfied, does not see Christ in his life, insensitive, living without peace, and lazy pursuing holiness. Richard Sibbes said, “Discouragements are not from the Spirit,” but rather caused by our fleshly sinful nature.”


This is my encouragement to all of you. Spiritual progress is “rooted in what God has done (cross), is doing (through the Holy Spirit), and will do (“new things” last days)—read verse 6; righteousness comes through Jesus Christ, not on our own (verse 11).


Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
May 7, 2023


Photo by Tara Winstead: https://www.pexels.com/photo/red-check-mark-over-black-box-8850706/



Text: Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Introduction: It is not how long you live but how well you live. Age should not only be a number that represents how long we have lived but, more significantly, how well we have lived according to the purpose of our Creator.

“Come to me” – “Come to me is an invitation to trust Jesus personally, not merely to believe historical facts about him.”

  • “All who labor and are heavy laden” – You do not need to unburden or collect yourself and then come to Jesus. Your very burden is what qualifies you to come.

“I will give you rest”… “you will find rest for your souls” –  1 Peter 2:25 For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”

“Take my yoke upon you” – “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)

  • Two oxen are chosen to share a yoke. The first is an older seasoned ox. He is trained and hardy from years of routine. The second is a new young ox. He has potential but is inexperienced. The elder trains the young by sharing the same yoke with a veteran workhorse.
  • Also, the experienced one draws harder to bear most of the load. Since the older one leads, the younger ox does not have to wonder what to do. He learns from his mentor and gains the knowledge and skill to teach others. (Christianity.com)

“My yoke is easy, and my burden is light” – 1 John 5:3 “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.”

“Gentle and Lowly” – the only time in the four Gospels that Christ said something about his heart. Biblically, the heart does not only pertain to a part of who we are but is the very center of our being. Thus, Christ is telling us the deepest truth of his heart. This is who he is.

  • Gentle, tender, open, welcoming. That is the heart of Christ. That should be our hearts too. Accommodating, understanding, and willing.

Illustration: I got a failing grade, and my mom knew about it. I was scared to go home because for sure I knew I would receive a mouthful of lectures and “palo.” But then, when I arrived, everything seemed calm; there was food on the table, and she was just in a good mood. I did not ask for any reason, but every time I hear about gentleness, that is the picture in my mind.

  • Lowly means accessible. No prerequisites. Even to children, he said, “Let them come to me and do no hinder them (Matt 19:14).” The thief on the cross was able to come to Christ. No payment.


“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.” Hebrews 4:16


Rev. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
April 16, 2023




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


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