Here's the wrap-up on yesterday's services at FBC Almyra. I regret not taping J.E. Hughes' message in the morning, but I didn't get his permission beforehand and did not want to make him uncomfortable.
We took a few minutes this morning as parent-child dedication. Here is the run-down on what that means:
I. This does not do anything related to the eternal state of children
II. This is about parents stating their intentions in the raising of their children
III. In some ways, it echoes other public declarations like marriage or baptism: it is both a statement and a plea for help
IV. As this not an explicit Biblical command, it is entirely voluntary and is something we do for those who want it--
V. We as a church will stand behind those who strive to follow and honor Christ in their parenting
VI. Parents, if you wish to commit to this, then you do so of your own free will
VII. Committing to this must be reflected in your actions after today
Here was the commitment we challenged the parents to make:
1. Pursue our personal discipleship as followers of Jesus Christ as Lord;
2. Maintain our marriage relationship as a testimony of the faithfulness of Christ to love and forgive His church;
3. Demonstrate honor in our relationships with our parents and family members;
4. Diligently teach our children the Word of God;
5. Be active vessels of God's Grace to protect our children while they are in our care;
6. Pray daily for our children to grow in wisdom;
7. Joyfully sacrifice our desires to ensure our children's true needs are met;
We commit as a church to pray for and provide gracious support and wisdom to these parents. We further commit to be a place of assistance and accountability for them as they raise their children to follow Christ.
Morning Service Outline:
Disciples, Traitors, and Deniers
I. In reference back to the Great Commission, that we are to make disciples: Matthew 28:19-20
II. What is a disciple? ->One who follows closely, learns, and becomes very much like the one they are following
III. Jesus selects twelve to focus on, though others are with Him throughout the time
IV. What about us?
1. The first call on our lives is to be a disciple of Christ
2. The first response to that is worship of Him in Spirit and in Truth
3. The second call is to love our neighbors as ourselves
4. The response to that is to strive to help our neighbors become disciples of Christ--
There is no love found in neglecting the eternal needs of those around you
There is no love found in ignoring sin
5. This ought to be heartbeat of our:
BUT NOT: what we expect from the world around us. The world at large is fractured and discipled by many things and is woefully incompetent to teach others to follow Jesus. We should not expect that--we are His instruments to accomplish that.
V. ACT NOW
Evening Service Outline:
What became of the apostles?
We actually do not really know---and that's important. It's not about following them, it is about following Jesus. The Apostles are done. It's our turn.
Likewise, we have a legacy handed down to us, but if we do not do, then we will be the end.
The Twelve Apostles:
Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,
11 Cretans and Arabs
Simon Peter: Fisherman, denier, leader. Executed at Rome, tradition holds on an upside-down cross. One of the "Inner Circle" (ROMANS)
Andrew: Originally a disciple of John the Baptist, brother of Simon Peter. Executed at Patras in Achaia, (or perhaps in Scythia) on an X-shaped cross (traditional). Left John the Baptist---asked Jesus "where dwellest thou?" in John 1:38-40 and brought Peter to Jesus (SCYTHIANS) (GREEK)
James Zebedee: First of the Apostles to die for his faith--executed by Herod Agrippa I in about 44 AD via sword. One of the earliest followers of Christ and one of the "Inner Circle." Rumor that he went to Spain is likely a bit too much (JEWS)
John Zebedee: Only Apostle given in tradition to die of natural causes. Appears to be the youngest of the disciples, is always mentioned in concert with James in the Synoptics. Led the congregation at Ephesus, was exiled to Patmos, and died an old man. Wrote John, 1-3 John, and Revelation (most likely). Rumor has him plunged into boiling oil but surviving.
Philip: Brought Nathaniel to Jesus. Potentially was a Greek proselyte and was apparently acquainted with the costs of feeding lots of people. Legends send him to France or Russia.
Bartholomew/Nathaniel: John's lists of Apostles gives no Bartholomew but has a Nathaniel. Bartholomew is a patronymic--means "Son of Tholomew (prob Thalmai)." He was the one with the snippy "can anything good come from Nazareth" quip in John 1:45-47. Later sources give him as of noble birth, the only Apostle with it. Tradition sends him to India and beheaded by King Astriagis (maybe.)
Matthew: collected taxes near the Sea of Galilee--would have also included responsibility/right to tax fishermen on the Sea of Galilee. Fill that in with your imagination for a moment. Not heard from Scripturally after Pentecost--legends go to both Parthia and Ethiopia, but that's two different directions
Thomas: called Didymus, meaning "the twin." Probably missionary to India post-Pentecost, the church in southern India counts him as their founder
James of Alphaeus: Goes into history with the second least-distinctive name of the New Testament, right behind "Mary." Possibly identified with "James the Less" but possibly not. Could have been Matthew's brother--both are listed as sons of Alphaeus
Simon the Zealot: part of the movement to remove the Romans from Israel--probably born in Cana (related to the wedding, perhaps?). On to: Egypt, Africa or Great Britain
Judas of James: Also known as "Judas (Not Iscariot)" or the man who wished his parents had called him Bob. Probably also known as Thaddeus. Probably killed in Mesopotamia (Babylon) or Persia.
Judas Iscariot: Always mentioned last in the lists of the Apostles. Evidence for the writing of the Gospels after the whole story is known: Judas is clearly identified as the traitor, something that would not have been known.