25 December 2017


As the traditional saying doesn't go: 'Tis the season to be … gloomyAre you feeling low this Christmas season? You’re not alone. During Christmas there are many lonely people who are truly crying or dying on the inside. Sadly a majority of us don’t see it because they hide it so well. Tim Tebow said "The holiday season can often go from a season of thanksgiving, to a season of being more aware than ever of the things we do not have. Before long, we begin to believe lies about ourselves, and the discontent becomes consuming," the article reads. " God has orchestrated your life, your family and your story to be perfectly individual. When we compare ourselves to others, we rob ourselves of the joy that exists in being exactly who God created us to be."
Many single people dread Christmas season! One person wrote this “My family live too far away to visit, and my friends disappear to spend time with their own families. For me, Christmas and new year are the loneliest times of the year…” For many single people, struggling with loneliness this is the toughest part of being single. Evenings alone on the sofa, Sunday lunch for one, no one with whom to share holidays and sometimes the festive season, too. The Christmas and New Year season whether your single or married this is a time of year when loneliness, depression and sadness can take root in the lives of Christians.

Several factors can produce Christmas blues.

Hectic activity can bring physical and emotional stress.
Overspending can produce financial pressure.
Year-end reflection and focus on loss can magnify sorrow.

We know by the word of God that we shouldn’t feel this way… But we are human and it can and will happen if we don’t take the necessary steps to guard our hearts and mind. God never intended for us to feel this way at this time of year, but unfortunately there were individuals that did feel this way. Not necessarily at Christmas time, but they were real feels and it affected their Christian walk none the less. Here are some helpful ways to battle the Christmas Blues…..


Meditating on the word of God will guard your mind from falling into depression and fill you with the joy of Christ so that you will be able to enjoy the Season. The word will strengthen you and give you hope as you meditate on it. Psalm 119:28 "My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word." Psalm 130:5 "I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope."


The believer knows that prayer works! Pray about your situation and leave the rest to the Lord. He will work everything out, no matter how difficult the case may be, for your own good. Remember who you are praying too! “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Rom 8:28. Phil 4:6-7 reminds us of this truth! “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

In Genesis we read that God originally created a perfect world. “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.” Gen 1:31. But it was soon marred by Adam and Eve’s sin and the consequence for sin was death. “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." Gen 2:17. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom 6:23. However, even during the darkest day in history, God offered a message of hope in the very first gospel message.

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” Genesis 3:15

God promised that He would send a Savior who would conquer Satan and deal with the problem of death and suffering. Even though some of us may feel lonely or isolated during the Christmas holidays, it’s important for us to remember the hope that Jesus brings. The Incarnation, God becoming a man, is the very reason why we have hope. Without Jesus, we have no hope and only death/judgement to look forward to. “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” 1 Thess 4:13-18

Here is my Christmas recommendation to you to overcome the Christmas blues!

Why not take time now to dedicate your Christmas to God?

Rest in Him
Find peace in Him
Rejoice in Him

As the shepherds did that night when they were sitting with their sheep in the field without any hope at all. “And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.” Luke 2:8-20

This is a season or a time to reflect the wonderful blessing that flow from Heaven through the Lord Jesus Christ. Who came to this earth to die a death we deserve and he did this through the Cross. But death could not hold Him for He rose again on the third day and we too can be raised with Him in the end through repentance and faith in Christ alone.

Not relying on getting better
Not relying on gaining favor with God
Not relying on my good works
Not relying on my circumstances.

But solely I Christ Jesus.

As Peter said “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12. There is no reason to have or go through the Christmas blues. And you might say “Mike you don’t know what I’ve gone through this year?” And you are right……but God does and He knew you were going to here today to hear His good news of grace and hope through His precious gospel. If you apply these simple truths to your life I guarantee you will be able to say “Tis the season to be jolly”

PLEASE remember! You are not alone and we have a holy God who loves you and gave Himself for you. All He asks of us is to repent and believe the gospel truth this evening. Surely that is the best reason to smile and have a merry Christmas filled with hope this year….God with Us! God bless and Merry Christmas on behalf of my family and the Calvary Baptist Church!

Here is that video I was trying to explain during the audio session of last night.....about the seriousness of lowliness at Christmas time for many people and sometimes the only way we respond is when its too late. Merry Christmas and to God be glory.

24 December 2017


Luke 2:6-7

It was November 28th 2000 around 8am, where a married couple were awaiting the birth of their first child. Soon to be new parents for the first time where emotions, fears and the unknown of what to do when the child arrives from tummy to World. I will say it was one of many beautiful days we have been blessed to be a part of and we would never give those moments up for anything this world has to offer. We had the comfort of a clean, warm, helpful hospital called Oshawa General. We had a car to transport my pregnant wife too. We had everything we need to make this a safe and wonderful experience for two young inexperience people. Since it was our first time and we had no clue what to do. All the excitement and the fear of the unknown and the not knowing what to do all went away that morning when we held our child in our arms for the first time. I remember holding our child (all our children) for the first time and how happy and proud I felt that I was blessed to be a dad. All the pain of child birth Julie went through seemed to be not so important when she held her babies for the first time.

Can you imagine how Mary and Joseph felt that evening in a dirty, smelly cattle stall?

A young girl who hasn’t even had relations with her husband yet because they were in the betrothal period of their relationship. A man who is a hard working carpenter who has a soon to be wife who is pregnant with child that isn’t his. The emotions fear and excitement they must of felt leading up to this very moment, knowing that their lives/ours would be changed forever. To think that Mary and Joseph held the Creator of the Universe in their hands, and to top it off knowing He was the one who would lay His life down so that we could have eternal life. This event in history is recorded for us to see and read because like them, our lives depend on the supernatural birth of His incarnation.

This is why we celebrate Christmas as a church and as families. Christmas reminds us of God’s goodness in our lives, because He sent His Son to save our wretched soul out of the blackness of sin. Christmas is a time to reflect and give thanks to a holy God who loved us and gave us the greatest gift ever given………HIMSELF! A gift that only God could give worthy of all acceptance and praise for sinners like us. Christmas is a time that reminds us and always points us to Christ ad His redeeming love. Christmas is all about Christ…..it’s all about the birth of Christ! It’s a time that we shouldn’t take light, because without this divine historical birth, we would still in our sins facing condemnation from a holy God. Though, we may not know the actual date of his birth and all the stories we read about paganism that surrounds Christmas! One thing for sure….. the birth of Christ is a vital doctrine to the Christian faith.
Sadly, the world doesn’t want to remember that day some 2000 plus years ago; but there is no escaping this truth of the supernatural work of God in the virgin birth.

It’s as one journalist said The ungodly have never been more terrified of that baby in the manger, the Christ child, than they are today. They are truly the children of Herod, who sought to destroy the child to prevent Him from being king in Israel. For today’s secularists, it’s very much about who shall be king in America: themselves or Jesus Christ.”

My question for you this morning is!

What does the virgin birth mean to you? This supernatural historical event is so vital, to our salvation, our lives hang in the balance of this truth. 

Moses penned these words “.....will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel." Gen 3:15 

Isaiah penned these words some 700 years before the incarnate Christ was born "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel."  Isa 7:14

Jeremiah said “How long will you waver, O faithless daughter? For the LORD has created a new thing on the earth: a woman encircles a man."  Jer 31:22
In the New Testament we continue to read passages like“and she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus..." Matt 1:21
The apostle Paul said "God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law” Gal 4:4

The virgin birth is very important doctrinal truth to the true Christian church. Why do I say that? Many people then and today try to convince this event never happened. And if that’s true and they are right! We are in a heap of trouble and the church is lost. Here are a few of the reasons for not believing in the virgin birth as some say.
There is no reliable evidence. We have no eyewitness accounts, no doctor confirmations, no DNA samples to see if this is true or not. But what do you say to the shepherds who went to see this child born in a cattle stall. (Luke 2:15-20)

Some say the earliest references are late and sparse. It seems likely the virgin birth was created to boost the authority of Christianity through prophecy and to compete with rival gods who were born of virgins. Then how do you explain when John penned these words “He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.” John 1:10-11

Another reason people use is that  they would never, ever, believe this today. Imagine if a teenage girl in your neighborhood claimed that her pregnancy was due to God impregnating her and that she was still a virgin. Would you believe her? Or would you think she was lying? If she insisted on it being true, we would put her in a mental hospital.

Sadly many continue to try and rationalize everything to fit their world view or how they see things!

But as the bible says “it is foolishness to those who perish” and “The fool says in his heart there is no God” But the other side to disbelief is wrong worship! Some even try to make the virgin birth as a means to worship Mary herself, above Jesus the God man.

John MacArthur wrote this “A long tradition of overzealous souls throughout history have wrongly exalted her to godlike status. Unfortunately, even in our era, Mary, not Christ, is the central focus of worship and religious affection for millions. They think of her as more approachable and more sympathetic than Christ. They revere her as the perfect Madonna, supposedly untouched by original sin, a perpetual virgin, and even co-redemptrix with Christ Himself.” John goes on to say “Catholic dogma teaches that she was taken bodily to heaven, where she was crowned “Queen of Heaven.” Her role today, according to Catholic legend, is mediatory and intercessory. Therefore, multitudes direct their prayers to her instead of to God alone—as if Mary were omnipresent and omniscient.”

There was an interview with a pastor of one of the largest churches in the States, and he was asked specifically what he believed about the virgin birth. Your thinking to yourself this should be easy! He replied “I could not in print or in public deny or affirm the virgin birth of Christ. Another church leader recently called the virgin birth a story on the level with an Andy Capp comic! He said “Because Andy Capp is true, he is true in our imagination and so is the virgin birth.” This is insanity if the virgin birth means nothing if it resides only in the collective imagination of humanity. One recent book claimed that Jesus was a the illegitimate child of a Roman soldier who had a love affair with Mary. He said this because Nazareth was located on the main highway to Jerusalem and Nazareth was notorious for corruption, immorality and prostitution. But this skepticism was nothing new! “Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see." John 1:46
So I ask you the question again! What does the virgin birth mean to you? Why is the doctrine of the virgin birth so important to the Christian church? “This doctrine, wrote James Orr, affects the whole supernatural estimate of Christ—his life, his claims, his sinlessness, his miracles, his resurrection from the dead. But the virgin birth is assailed with special intensity, because it is supposed that the evidence for this miracle is more easily got rid of than the evidence for public facts, such as the resurrection. The result is that in very many quarters the virgin birth of Christ is openly treated as a fable, and belief in it is scouted as unworthy of the twentieth century intelligence.” This has been His promise since the very beginning of time, when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden.

Ever since the beginning of creation this has been our….

Blessed hope to future things with Him in Heaven.
Peace and rest in a holy God.
Restoration and reconciliation with a wrathful and just God.
Joy of salvation found in Christ alone. (Sola Christus)

We need to see and realize how important the birth of Christ is, as we come together today and every day.

To Throw Out The Virgin Birth Is To Reject Christ’s Deity

And when we do this it causes us to question the accuracy and authority of the Scriptures and a host of other important doctrines to the Christian faith. “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.” 1 John 4:1-3. If we deny that Jesus is God we have denied the very essence of Christianity. Everything in the Scriptures hinges on this divine truth as we celebrate Christmas. The virgin birth is just as equally important as Jesus’ death and resurrection and ascension. Anyone who rejects Christ’s deity rejects Christ absolutely, even if he or she pretends otherwise.

To Not Listen To The Historical Account of His Birth Is Spiritual Suicide.

Mary recognized the importance of the virgin birth when she gave this prayer of worship before delivering Jesus into the world (Luke 1:48-54)

He is Love “regarded the lowly...”  ( me a maidservant) (v48)
He is Mighty  "has done great things for me"  (v49)
He is Holy "holy is His name" (v49)
He is Mercy "to those who fear Him" (v50)
He is Sovereign "strength with His arm" (v51)
He is Righteous Judge "He has scattered... He has put down... He has exalted the lowly" (v52)
He is Provider "filled the hungry with good things"  (v53)
He is the Finisher of our Salvation "He has helped His servant Israel... " (v54)

This virgin birth was so important not only to Mary, Zechariah prophesied about Him"Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people" (Luke 1:68) And Zechariah even goes on to say that his only son John would go before this great Lord and Savior! Paving the way for the Saviour of the World. In Luke 1:76-79 we read "And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace."  See, without this virgin birth, without Him coming in the form of man….the sin issue is not resolved and we are still damned to hell! As Oswald Chambers said “Jesus Christ became Incarnate for one purpose, to make a way back to God that man might stand before Him as He was created to do, the friend and lover of God Himself.”
If We Deny Or Ignore The Virgin Birth Then we Will Die In Our Sins.

2Cor 4:6 “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” He has put His knowledge and glory of Himself in our hearts through the gospel. He has given us His promise and assurance of His great salvation through His son, Jesus Christ. The Apostle Peter says this promise can be trusted through the Scriptures. “whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:8-9. The English Standard Version says "Though you have not seen him, you love him"The King James Version says "Whom having not seen, ye love" Our faith is a faith in a person who we cannot see, smell or touch, but He lives inside of us through the Holy Spirit. I must trust in the scriptures when it speaks about the supernatural work found in the virgin birth. For by faith [a faith that God gives us, as a gift] we are saved! Because we believe the scriptures.

The virgin birth is so much more than a miracle in Mary’s day ………………it about our [your] redemption! For without this virgin birth……………. I am doomed and so are you! If Jesus had not come, we would not know God’s complete faithfulness. We would not know the fulfillment of every last promise, including the very first one he made: that an offspring of Eve would crush the head of our great adversary, Satan (Genesis 3:15). Redemption is here to save sinners. Prophecy has been fulfilled as the prophets foretold. The Seed has finally come to crush Satan and his fallen angels once and for all. Immanuel (God is with Us) has finally come to deliver Us!

As Simeon “took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, "Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel." And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him.  And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed." Luke 2:28-35

As Simeon praises God for this selfless gift! Never forget this wonderful truth of the virgin birth and always be ready to give an account for the hope that is in your heart this Christmas season.

The virgin birth is essential to the Christian faith

If this revelation is rejected, then any other Biblical fact may be rejected. If the virgin birth is rejected, the deity or humanity (or both) of the Savior must also be rejected. If the virgin birth is not true there is no salvation. If the virgin birth is not valid, man is without hope in time and eternity. If the virgin birth is error, other doctrines lose their meaning and purposes. So rejoice in the truth of the virgin birth! For we know through the scriptures how important and how real the virgin birth was and is for the believer! Christmas is a time for the family of God to remember this truth. Christmas is a time to reaffirm what we always have known. Christmas is times were we ponder the fact that Mary held God in her hands. Christmas is a time to reflect on the perfect gift given, that has no price tag……..because it is a priceless gift. That gift is? Salvation in the one and only true King and “they shall call His name Immanuel” Matt 1:23
I love what John MacArthur says about the Christmas baby…. "If we could condense all the truths of Christmas into only three words, these would be the words: "God with us."

The greater truth of the holiday is His deity. More astonishing than a baby in the manger is the truth that this promised baby is the omnipotent Creator of the heavens and the earth!

Merry Christmas

22 December 2017


Eph 2:11-22

A Christian couple told their sons to be kind to the boys next door but not to become close companions with them. They explained that these boys could get them in trouble because of their dirty talk, their fighting, and their disrespectful attitude. When the father of those boys learned this, he was angry. "You think your kids are too good for mine," he said one day to the other father. "No," the believer quietly replied. "My kids have so many bad traits that they need all the encouragement they can get in the right direction. In fact, we too are sinners who need forgiveness. That's why we believe on Jesus Christ. We're not better than you or your boys." Even the best among us, young or old, think and act in sinful ways. We need the forgiveness that comes through faith in Jesus Christ, and we need Him to help us live a life that pleases God. Before Christ came and the gospel penetrated our hearts we were many things before Christ brought us near and made us part of the church.

Look what Paul says here in (v11-v12)

Who we once were…..Alienated 

Paul paints a picture of what life apart from Christ involves. We were spiritually alienated from God and the people of God. Although there is no moral difference between the Jews and Gentiles there was a difference in God dealing with them as men. In the eyes of the Jews anyone who was uncircumcised was to be separated from the Lord. That’s what made them different from all other people groups The Jews were the people of promise, but the Gentiles were cut off from God in multiple waysThey were Christ-less….meaning they had no Messianic hope of a Savior. Their history had no purpose, plan and no destiny, other than the exception of God’s judgement. They worshipped pagan false deities…the goddess Diana was a patron deity of Ephesus. Who depicted not as a beautiful and gracious creature but as an ugly beast. See, to be separated from God was the understanding to be separated from His salvation. Paul warns the Gentile believers about who they were again in chapter four “Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.” Eph 4:17-18

Think about that what Paul is saying here! Is there anything more terrible than this?

Being spiritually alienated from the grace of God. They were foreigners ….meaning they were excluded from the citizenship of Israel. They were strangers to covenants of promise.

“Covenants” implies a series of covenants.

The covenant with Abraham “On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates,” Gen 15:18

The covenant with Isaac “Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father.” Gen 26:3

The covenant with Jacob “And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, "I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." Gen 28:13-15

The covenant with David “When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” 2 Sam 7:12-13

To be separated from the covenants promise meant they were missing the covenants that promised the Messiah.

They were hopeless and godless….meaning while God planned to bless all nations through Israel, the Gentiles did not know this.

And because they did not know the promise, they did not know the God of promise.

So what does a person like that do?

They turn to idols instead of God.

Again Paul spoke of this in the Book of Romans “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” Rom 1:18-23

Think about it! Before we trusted in Christ for salvation we were in the same tragic condition and position. Remember that you were hopeless!" It is not something that Paul found people doing, and then said, "Stop doing that. It is bad for you." They had no eternal promise and wandered this earth without or care in the world for a Savior. This is the beauty of God’s grace and His invitations to come dine with Him, but in order to dine with Him we have to die to self.

Here is the good news!

What Christ Has Done…… Reconciliation

“But” the beautiful word that changes everything that has been said leading to (v13) There has been a dramatic change to our lives and the establishment of the church. The Cross and the Blood change everything for us, both Jew and Gentile alike. In Christ alone we experience the effects of the Cross through our union with Christ. The Cross is central and without it we are doomed to face the judgement of God. The blood reminds us of what God has done and it reminds us of the gravity of our sin and the cost that was paid through Christ on our behalf. The cross has to at the center of what God has done for us. This is the expression of His grace of our blood soaked and reigning Savior. It’s like the Hymn song we sing “It was my sin that held Him there until it was accomplished.” Stuart Townsend song “How Deep”. This is where our peace begins and ends! As C J Mahaney said in his book “Cross-Centered Life” to his son. C J said “This is what I hold out to my young son as the hope of his life: that Jesus, God’s perfect, righteous Son, died in his place for his sins. Jesus took all the punishment; Jesus received the entire wrath as He hung on the cross, so people like us could be completely forgiven.”

Christ has brought us peace, true peace that is only found in Jesus Christ. “For Jesus is our peace” (v14) this peace only comes when self-dies, and that only truly dies when it’s at the foot of Calvary. Jesus came as babe to this earth and His sacrifice on the Cross became our peace.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27

This peace is not temporary it is permanent and this has opened the door to Jew and Gentile alike. For we are saved by sovereign grace and as far as religion is concerned since A D 70 when the temple was destroyed, true religious Judaism ceased to exist. Not only was their place of sacrifice destroyed but so were all the genealogical records on which priestly descent was based. The barriers and the walls have been torn down by His grace through His shedding blood on the cross…that is good news. Act 2:38 tells us “And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself." Acts 2:38-39

Who We Have Now Become…..Identification 

We are no longer who we use to be and now we have a new name and identity and have the same access as believing Jews. Paul says we are “fellow citizens” don’t take this lightly. What Paul is saying is this “Emphasize that we have been synced not only to Christ but also to other Christians.”

To illustrate this identity, Paul uses three words pictures…..

We are citizens of God’s Kingdom (v19a) 

We are no longer strangers to or second class citizens in someone else’s territory. We are equal full members of the same Kingdom. See! Being or becoming a Canadian citizen is a wonderful experience and to be a part of a nation is something to be proud of. You even have a birth certificate or a passport that reaffirms this truth so that other people know who and where you come from. And we have to keep those papers on us at all times. Sometimes this can make a person feel vulnerable especially when you travel into a strange land that you’re unfamiliar with. What Paul is saying is to us this morning is that we are part of the Kingdom that has no end. “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” Phil 3:20. But to be a citizen of the Kingdom far exceeds our citizenship here in Canada.

We are members of God’s family (19b)

This is a game changer for these two people groups. One might imagine Jew and Gentile together in one kingdom, but to think of them as one family is stunning. This isn’t a one-time use of this phrase, Paul use these words in 1 Tim 3:15 “if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God,…...”  We are one family and we have the same Father. As if being members of His divine kingdom were not enough, God graciously works in Christ by drawing us closer and makes us members of God’s household. What is God’s household? The place where Christians reside and come together because we have a lot in common with one another. We have a loving Savior who died for us to reconcile us to Him. And He has adopted us into His family to worship and love Him and those whom He adds to the family of God. The church is a family that has a responsibility to one another to serve, love and share those responsibilities. It’s like coming home for Christmas where the whole family is there and there is going to be a mighty feast set for kings. And NO! You don’t sit there like a guest until dinner is served; you roll up your sleeves and ask “What do you want me to do to help?” You do this because you are a part of a household and this is your family. We are fellow citizens and fellow family members equal in every spiritual way before a holy God. And if God accepts each of us, how can we not accept each other?

We are stones in God’s temple (v20-22)

For over a thousand years the temple has been the focal point for the nation of Israel. From Solomon to Zerubbabel to Herod the King. Now there is a new temple and it’s not made of bricks and mortar, it’s made up of people who are saved by sovereign grace. And this foundation for this new temple is built on the Word of God. The church stands or falls based on its faithfulness to God’s Word. In the book of Acts we read this “And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Acts 2:42. All this laid on the only foundation in which we are able to stand and is Christ Jesus. “Christ being the Cornerstone” see in ancient times the cornerstone was a major structural part of their buildings. It had to be strong enough to support what was built on it, and it had to be precisely laid, because every other part of the structure was adapted to to it. The cornerstone was the support, and the unifier of the entire building. It’s all on Jesus alone to make the whole building possible. The whole community is built upon Him alone. While the apostles’ teaching emphasizes Christ they also teach us that this is how a church grows and is held together. There is and will be no unity or growth if Christ is not the cornerstone. The greatest example of this is in Jesus “Sermon On The Mount” Matthew 7:24-27 reminds us of this truth "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it." Through His blood, His suffering, the cross and the death of our Lord Jesus Christ and His resurrection we who were….

Aliens become citizens
Strangers become family
Idolaters become temple of the true God
Hopeless people inherit the promises of God.
Those who are without Christ become one in Christ.
Those who are afar off are brought near
The godless re reconciled back into the loving Saviors arms that overflow with grace.

People with a variety of backgrounds, abilities, interests, and needs make up Christ’s church, so uniting in a common purpose is not an easy process. Yet when we let the Lord do His work among us, shaping us and assigning our place in the structure, we become part of a strong, solid association…..that’s what makes the church the church!