Text: 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10

Introduction/ Background:

Written by Paul for the church at Thessalonica (modern-day Greece) in 50-51 AD. Paul with Timothy and Silas planted a church in Philippi. They were imprisoned because of some conflicts with other Jewish leaders and Gentile hearers. After their escape, they arrived in Thessalonica and started another Christian community at Jason’s household. However, the persecutors of Paul followed them there with some mob. This caused Paul to move out to Berea, Athens, and Corinth.

Paul’s aim is to give thanks and encourage the church at Thessalonica for standing firm in the gospel of Christ. Moreover, he emphasized the second coming of Christ in a later chapter of this epistle. In verse 2, the evidence is that he was continuously praying for them (Eph 1:16; Phil 1:3).

Main Idea: 

The supremacy of the gospel of Christ in the lives of the Christians in Thessalonica is known to almost entire Macedonia and other regions of Galatia. The term supremacy means a condition of being superior to all others in authority, power, or status; “the supremacy of the king”, in short, preeminence. What are the supremacy principles of Christian living? Five Principles of Gospel Supremacy in our passage:

Gospel Efficacy (verse 3)

  • 1 Corinthians 13:13, “And now these three remain faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
  • Efficacy means power, benefit, value

Gospel Assurance (verses 4-5)

  • The “chosenness” does not just pertain to individual salvation but speaks about God choosing his people beyond Israelites, which means, including Gentile converts.
  • The power of the gospel of Christ to convert and transform people’s hearts is not dependent on the preacher’s ability to persuade his audience but grounded in the assurance of the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit who seals and illuminates the Word of God in our hearts.
    • Eph 1, “13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”

Gospel Endurance (verse 6)

  • “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.” Philippians 1:29-30 (cf. Acts 16)
  • “… These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.” Acts 17:6-7.

Gospel Expression (verses 7-8)

  • “and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year, they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch, the disciples were first called Christians.” Acts 11:26

Gospel Transformation (verses 9-10)

  • “turned from the idols”
  • “to serve the living and true God.”
  • While waiting for the return of Christ—the first among us and the One who has redeemed us from our iniquities, sin, afflictions, and the impending judgment of God. (Chapters 4-5)

Challenge:

Let us live out the supremacy of the gospel of Christ in our lives. There is an assurance that God would sustain us through the Holy Spirit, our Helper, and Sanctifier.

 

Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
July 24, 2022

 

 

Text: 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Renewed Day by Day (Full Sermon Manuscript)

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Introduction:

The goal of being renewed day by day is to be more like Christ. The Greek term (anakainoo) in this passage same in Colossians 3:10 is in present participle (“is being renewed”) which implies continuation. In theological terms, this is sanctification, being made holy each passing day.

Background:

“Renewal” pertains to the process of change. Meaning, there is a development each time we experience change. Indeed, we become different people each day. Your experience yesterday adds up to your former self. But what makes the principle of change in biblical terms—or the term being renewed—is that it leads to a certain goal. A person is not only being changed each day for no purpose. The biblical reality is that a Christian is being renewed each day towards Christlikeness.

Main Idea:

Discern (Holy Spirit) – “and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (Colossians 3:10). It appeals to our minds that to change is to become more like Christ. That then should be the mindset of a Christian person. Is this renewal that I am experiencing, or a change in life that I am expecting will lead me to more like Christ? If yes, then embrace it. If not, then pray to God that He will sustain you through that struggle and this will come to pass. If unsure, read God’s Word and be enlightened to what really is God’s will (the idea of God’s Will).

Desire (Kingdom Renewal) – our desire each not limited to material things—objects that are seen and tangible. A Christian’s desire for renewal is closely related to the Kingdom renewal. This is the same principle when Jesus taught the disciples how to pray, “We pray that your kingdom will come—that what you want will be done here on earth, the same as in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

Display (Eternal Life) – “If we say we live in God, we must live the way Jesus lived” (1 John 2:6). The chapter before our passage, in 2 Cor 3:2-3, states that we are the living witnesses of Christ in this world. Sometimes, we fall short to see other people as a person; we see them as objects to proselyte. Our aim in this renewal is to display the eternal life that we have as witnesses of Christ to be a living testimony of how great our Lord is in our lives.

Conclusion:

While everything in this world changes, our confidence (which was repeated many times in the book of 2 Corinthians) is in Christ. Why Jesus? Because we would rather put our faith in someone who does not change. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb 13:8). “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17).

 

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

 

This section is an excerpt only; download the full manuscript here.

 

 

Text: Titus 2:1-8

A Sound Christian Living (Full Sermon Manuscript)

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Background:

One of Paul’s main concerns was the false teachers teaching a different gospel. Either they are teaching a false doctrine or mixing their doctrine with their former mystical or traditional superstitions. Titus was assigned to Crete to oversee the churches in different towns. He was told to assign elders to advance and support the expansion of the kingdom of God.

Main Idea:

Many say doctrine is sooooo important—yet they do not live in accordance with what they believe. Others say doctrine is not important as long as we show our love to one another. But according to our passage: (Main point) Right Doctrine leads to Right Behavior.

Right doctrine and right behavior correlate with one another. Each is important. Each one is vital to Christianity. The next question is how to achieve these goals?

Reading the verses from 2 focuses on men. Verses 3-5, focuses on women. Lastly, verses 6-8, points to the younger generation. Here, we see that churches during that time were already a mixed-age congregation. There are adult men, adult women, young adults, and young people.

Fathers, as stated, you are to model self-control, love, steadfastness, and sound faith. Can we see these in your life? If yes, praise God. If not, strive harder. We need you to model these qualities so we can learn and conform to these teachings.

Mothers, older women, as stated, you are called to model Christian living. Not just in actions, but also with your words. Not slanderers, but the truths about Christ. Teach them to love as well. Love your family so they will also love their family in the future.

Also, young people, youth listen. Respect the adults. Honor your parents. As stated, learn from these people. They may be a well-spring of wisdom coming to the fount of Christ. There are many things that you can learn from them. Practical life lessons. Do not just spend time playing and doing social media. Start scheduling sessions with the adults. You can talk to them personally. Learn from their mistakes and failures.

Amidst this fallen world, let us exemplify integrity, dignity, sound speech, and model good works. Why? Because if we cannot see any difference from people who live outside Christianity with us, then nothing is attractive with our relationship with the Lord.

Application:

Live a sound Christian life. Meaning, do not say that you believe this, then you live your life in a different way. If you are kind here in our church, you should also be kind outside. If you are generous with your friends, then you should also be generous when it comes to your tithes and offerings.

Do not live a double life. Who or what you are in your home should also be who or what you are with your friends, workplace, or even here at the church. Again, you are not a secret agent who needs to hide your identity. You do not have multiple identities. If you are a Christian, your identity is in Christ.

Do not hide your weaknesses, vices, and hidden sins. It will and will later manifest. We are all wretched and corrupted. Indeed, the church is a hospital for sick people. Yet likewise, you go to hospitals to get well. Christ does not want us to stay sick, let us be well in the Spirit. Live a sound life.

 

Ptr John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
September 19, 2021

*This section is an excerpt only; download the full manuscript here.