The Campus House Podcast is our collection of Sunday teachings, meant to encourage and equip you in your relationship with Jesus. Campus House invites you to listen, dive deeper into the Word, and catch a glimpse of God’s ongoing work in your life and in our ministry.
Chapter 4 of Matthew’s gospel not only sets the context for our upcoming series on the Sermon on the Mount, but paints a portrait of the earthly ministry of Jesus and the essence of his invitation, his calling, on all would receive it. Verse 23 states, “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.” The Good News being proclaimed was that the Kingdom of Heaven had arrived and the healing of sickness and disease was a “foretaste,” a preview of the Kingdom promise - the restoration of all things. Jesus first calls people to repentance (to turn from sin and self-made “kingdoms”) and then to follow him(to receive His salvation and be his apprentice). The call to repentance, discipleship, and Kingdom restoration encapsulates the “calling” Jesus is still extending to the world, to us. John adds in his gospel that for all who receive (Jesus), who call on his name, he gives the right to become children of God.
Psalm 46 uses powerful imagery to depict why Christians can have great confidence and great courage even in times of great chaos and crisis and insecurity. When we face the insecurities of this life, we have a source of security that will not fail. The Psalm depicts God as both a powerful defender and powerful protector. He is with his people, defending and protecting, even in the worst of times. He is “God with us,” Immanuel. We especially talk about Immanuel at Christmas time as we celebrate the incarnation of Jesus. Psalm 46 applies Immanuel, God with us, to our greatest insecurities. And it therefore shows us how the incarnation of Christ is our protection against the insecurities of this life.
Psalm 46 Exodus 14:13 2 Chronicles 20:15-17 Matthew 27:51, 54 Mark 15:30-32, 34 2 Corinthians 5:20 Romans 8:28
As Jesus followers, we are in process with Him; constantly being changed (transformed, set apart, sanctified) through His grace and as He fills more and more of our periphery, everything (motivation, purpose, work, relationships) gets reoriented to the stunning reality of His love. This ongoing “reframing” happens in each of us, but also in all of us collectively: “Like living stones, you are being built into a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5).
For the last 3 months, Acts has been our case study. As we wrap up the series, some verses from chapters 11 and 13 offer a portrait of a Jesus follower (via a snapshot of Barnabas), and adds to the picture of the early church. In the life of Barnabas we see grace in its various forms: generosity, advocacy, encouragement, exhortation, teaching, shepherding, and faith. And in the church in Antioch we see the church as an “outpost of the Kingdom”: empowered by the Spirit, extending the boundaries lines of the Kingdom, proclaiming the good news of Jesus to all people, teaching, nurturing, discipling, sharing life and possessions to meet felt needs in the larger church body.
In Antioch, as the church was praying and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” In a very real sense, we, too, have been “set apart’. We have been called by Jesus to trust and follow. We, too, have each been commissioned and “sent” by the Spirit for the work of the Kingdom. As a church, we, too, are called to be an outpost of the Kingdom.
This is our calling, each of us and all of us:
“A life built on Jesus, in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, for the glory of Christ and His Kingdom as we move in mission with one another.”
In Acts 9, we find Peter moving from city to city up the Mediterranean coast proclaiming the Gospel and performing miraculous signs and wonders. He does not have his own agenda, but is going with God’s agenda; listening to the Spirit, following His leading. He is in step with the Spirit. The question for him (and us) is this: What happens when you are in step with the Spirit and the Spirit takes a major detour? That’s exactly what happens in chapters 10 and 11.
The Book of Acts records the movement of the Gospel, the expanse of the Kingdom of Jesus into the unlikeliest of places; moving out from the epicenter of Jerusalem to the outsiders of Samaria, to the African continent, and throughout Palestine. Up to this point, every new Christian has been from a Jewish background, but that changes dramatically as Luke retells the extension of God’s grace and call to the Gentiles. The story of Peter and Cornelius, which includes angelic visits, disturbing dreams, perfectly synchronized knocks at the door, Peter’s confusion, yet obedience, the Holy Spirit interrupting Peter’s sermon, and Cornelius and his friends and family getting baptized… is an awesome story of the Big Plan of God, the grace of Jesus, and the presence and power of the Holy Spirit as the Gospel comes to the Gentiles.
It is a story about conversion, not just Cornelius’s household, but for Peter, also, as he is coming to grips in real time with the ground shaking realization that the box of his assumptions and traditions was breaking under the weight of God’s grace. No one is beyond the outstretched arm of Jesus. Conversion stories are stories about beginnings (new life and new paradigms) but also about ongoings. God, meets us where we are, but (in His grace) doesn’t leave us as we are. To keep in step with the Spirit is to continue to work out the implications of salvation. We are converted to Christ but also converted from self-sufficiency, from ongoing cycles of sin and apathy, from prejudice and ego, from creating wall to isolate ourselves from others.
Ongoing trust in the love and grace of Jesus.
Ongoing listening to His voice and responding to His invitation.
In Acts 8, the church was scattered due to persecution, thus launching the next phase of Acts 1:8. Philip went to Samaria where crowds heard him preach the Gospel and saw signs and wonders and there was great joy in the city as people believed the Good News and were baptized. Among them was Simon who had ‘astounded’ the crowds with his magic for years. He and everyone else thought he was a big deal until Philip came to town proclaiming Jesus.
As Peter and John heard about what was happening in Samaria and came to see for themselves, they realized that the people had not yet received the Holy Spirit. So they prayed for people to receive the Holy Spirit which led to Simon offering to buy the apostolic power to give people the Holy Spirit. Simon wanted power without discipleship and Peter rebuked him and called him to repentance.
An angel then told Philip to go to the Desert Road that runs south of Jerusalem and to come alongside an Ethiopian eunuch who was in his chariot reading Isaiah 53. Beginning with that Scripture, Philip connected the dots of the passage to Jesus, baptized the Ethiopian, was “carried away by the Spirit,” and showed up on the Mediterranean coast where he continued his evangelism tour. Filled with joy and the Spirit, the Ethiopian most likely spread the Gospel in Northern Africa.
This chapter highlights the tandem of both the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. Ministry among the Samaritans was a demonstration of Power as Philip preached the Gospel, cast out evil spirits, healed the lame and paralyzed, and performed miraculous signs and wonders. Ministry to the Ethiopian was an embodiment of Presence as Philip listened to the Holy Spirit, came alongside the Ethiopian, asked a question, paid attention, connected the dots of the text of Scripture to Jesus, and baptized the guy.
The passage invites us to explore the ways and means of the Holy Spirit and the evidence of His power and presence in and through our lives. “The Church is sent into the world to continue that which he came to do, in the power of the same Spirit, reconciling people to God.” - Lesslie Newbigin
In the first part of chapter 6, Luke describes the choosing of seven men to be servant leaders in the church; men who were full of wisdom and filled with the Holy Spirit. Stephen, one of those seven, was also described as full of God’s grace and power. Beyond waiting tables, he performed signs and wonders and, when his opponents brought false testimony and accusations, he replied with a 50-verse panorama of the Old Testament; not simply to retell the history of Israel, but to let his accusers know that they were the ones guilty of blasphemy. They had disobeyed the law, distorted the temple, and rejected God Himself through chronic infidelity. They killed the prophets and Jesus the Messiah. This was too much for the crowds to hear and, in their fury, they took Stephen outside the city and stoned him. Stephen became the first martyr, but the bigger story is that (except for the apostles) the church was then forced out of Jerusalem because of the persecution and thus, the concentric circles of God’s Kingdom mission (Acts 1:8) were set in motion (to Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth). This was the unstoppable force Gamaliel predicted. This was and is the ripple effect of the Gospel via persecution.
The application is an invitation to look at another set of concentric circles, beginning with our own lives. Would we be willing to die for Jesus? Or the more pertinent question: are we be willing to live for Jesus? The essence of Stephen’s speech was that unless Jesus is the center of the story, the story is incomplete. What story are we living? If we are living for Christ, inevitably that will bring conflict and possible loss of reputation or work or friends and family. Paul’s words are encouraging:
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” - Romans 1:16
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” - 2 Timothy 1:7
This sermon coincided with the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church and we took some time in the service to pray for the persecuted Christians in nine specific countries. Please continue those prayers.
Find out more at opendoorusa.com.
As the early church is multiplying rapidly, some folks are getting lost in the shuffle. The cultural and ethnic divisions that existed in Judaism had carried over into the church and, as the apostles were dispersing food to the needy, the Hellenistic or Greek-speaking widows were being overlooked. The apostles listened to the complaints and appointed seven men to serve, freeing up space for their primary calling to the ministry of the Word and prayer. This passage addresses our need to ask, “Who is falling through the cracks (both inside and outside the church), the integration of Word, prayer, and social justice and the Spirit-directed value of structure and organization.
Who is being neglected / overlooked?
What are the needs that exists on this campus? In our community?
What is your calling / gift / niche in the Kingdom?
How is that integrated into the life of the Body?
In what ways has your presence flavored Purdue with the truth of Christ?
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” [1 Peter 4:10]