Standalone 2022Multiple Speakers - August 7, 2022
Community Group Study Notes
Have someone in your group give a brief recap of Sunday’s message, highlighting the primary Scripture passages and main idea of the message.
Read 1 Peter 5:1-5. What are some key characteristics of a leader within the Church? Why are these characteristics important for shepherding a flock of believers?
Consider the verse in Luke 12:48: “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required” What do you have in abundance? How can you bless others for the glory of God?
Define humility. What are some examples of Jesus’ humility? In what area(s) of your life does pride dominate?
Interact with this statement: “Because God can be trusted, He deserves my loyalty.” How do you demonstrate loyalty to God? In what areas are you not fully trusting God? How do this impact your loyalty?
In what ways can you apply today’s message to your life?
As a group, spend time in prayer for our church leadership. Pray for protection, wisdom, discernment, and continued obedience and faithfulness to God.
This week, set aside an extended time for reflection. Read 1 Peter 5:1-5 and reflect on the leadership in your life. What examples have been set for you? Are you walking in these examples? In what ways do you need to continue to be shaped into the image of God? Seek accountability in this and wisdom from a church leader in your life if needed.
Give out of abundance this week. Consider something “extra” you have: a side job that paid a bit extra, extra time, extra food, etc. Consider giving away this “extra” to a person in your sphere of influence. Example: Share the extra cake from a gathering with a neighbor or friend.
- To whom much is given, much is required. So the first example I see of that, that's been lived out repeatedly over the past two decades, is that of Luke 12:48. Luke 12:48, Jesus is around thousands of people, including His disciples, and here's what we read. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded. And from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. You see, this passage here clearly speaks to stewardship. Stewardship of one's life, stewardship of one's life toward the Kingdom of God, stewardship of your time, stewardship of one's talent, and stewardship of one's treasure, all towards the Kingdom of God. And the ultimate example we see in that certainly is in Jesus Christ, that the stewardship of His life, the stewardship of time and talent and treasure, like never before. That He was the one who sacrificed everything, all for the Kingdom. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who left the heavenly realms to come to Earth in the form of a baby, to grow in wisdom and stature, as scripture says, to begin a ministry, to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God. Which is actually why Jesus said He came, to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God. He healed the sick, He fed the hungry, He gave sight to the blind, He gave hearing to the deaf, He gave a voice to the mute, He also had released people from all kinds of bondage. And, oh yeah, by the way, He raised people from the dead. And I could probably go on. You see, Jesus was entrusted by much from the Father Himself. And here's what we read also in Hebrews first. That the Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful Word. And then further in Colossians 1, we read this: In Him, that would be in Jesus. In Him, the fullness of God dwelled. So what we're saying here is that all of God was placed into all of Jesus. So to say that Jesus was entrusted with much is really an underestimate, right? Jesus was entrusted with absolutely everything. Much was entrusted to Jesus and much was asked of Jesus. His life was asked for. That the shedding of Jesus's blood would reconcile man towards God, that when we place our faith and hope and trust in Jesus Christ, we're forgiven of our sins, we're redeemed, we're restored, we're reconciled. That Jesus's stewardship of His time, of His talent, of His treasure was put on full display from the nanosecond that He left Heaven to the nanosecond that He returned to His rightful place in Heaven right next to the Father of God. And for those, for those who place their faith, their hope and their trust in Jesus Christ, how are they to live their lives? We read about that in 2 Corinthians. That those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and was raised again. So Jesus, He was our perfect heavenly example of what that looks like to steward every bit of our lives toward the Kingdom of God. And yes, you and I could never live that out, but we were given the power of the Holy Spirit and the power of the Holy Spirit allows us to live Kingdom lives, Kingdom-minded men, Kingdom-minded women. And God has given us that heavenly example of Jesus Christ. But I think also God has given us here at The Chapel, an earthly example of what stewardship looks like of one's time, of one's talent, and one's treasure, right here in the leadership of The Chapel here. And it's been a privilege and an honor to see what faithful stewardship looks like for a church that's been entrusted with much to then, in turn, use its assets in order to be a benefit to those around us in our communities. I mean, leadership that, quite frankly, has led us as we have expanded to four campuses, Cheektowaga, Getzville, Lockport, Niagara Falls. Leadership also that has led us as we have partnered. Partnered with over 75 different Kingdom-minded ministries around the world. But then also this. To have launched 40, over 40, different gospel expressions. Not 40 little chapels, but help to launch 40 different churches around the area. And then also how about this? Being led as we release. As we release the assets of The Chapel as a whole into the communities in which we live, so that the communities around us, so that they would also have an opportunity to see Jesus Christ. And it's through that leadership there, that leadership there that has mobilized and also encouraged me, Leroy, and our family, the Wiggins family, to stewardship of those things that God has entrusted to us. And it's my hope and it's my prayer also that you have seen that same stewardship, faithful stewardship of time, talent, and treasure. And that that would lead you, because remember to who much is given, much is required.
- God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. This is a point that we could actually clearly see in 1 Peter 5. In fact, why don't we take a look at what Peter said here? He said this: "In the same way, you who are younger, "submit yourselves to your elders. "All of you clothe yourselves with humility "toward one another, "because God opposes the proud "but shows favor or grace "to the humble." As Peter gives instruction to the elders here in this text, he also calls for a submission to those who are in this office, to the elders. And Peter specifically right here in verse five of chapter five, he says, "All of you who are younger, submit yourselves to those "who are in the leadership of the church." Now, by the way, this doesn't mean that those who are older have a free pass on this. Peter likely calls out this demographic because they may have just needed that reminder. And so that's what Peter does. He gives some instruction there, but then he also says, "All of you "clothe yourselves with humility toward one another." And so throughout chapter five here of 1 Peter 5, what we see as we journey through this is that church leaders, they're called to lead with humility. And then those who are being led by that kind of leadership are called to submit to that authority. So we see this idea of leading with humility and the idea of submitting out of a humble heart to this kind of leadership. And then Peter really emphasized his point in this by telling everyone to demonstrate humility toward one another, because this is how a congregation will function effectively. And to really drive this point even further, Peter quotes from the Proverbs, specifically Proverbs 3:34, as the text says, "God opposes the proud, but He gives grace to the humble." What wisdom there for us to be reminded of. This is because pride, it can affect all of us in so many ways, in so many different forms, and it can show up in multiple different ways. And, in fact, I've heard our lead pastor talk about this. I love an analogy that he used one time as he talked about how pride can be like the game Whac-A-Mole. If you've ever played that arcade game before, it can somewhat be like that, where the mole that pops up and you have to whack it and then maybe it pops up again somewhere else and you have to whack it, and so on and so forth. And I love that illustration because even when we think about that, that's similar to how pride can function, right? That as soon as we think that we've dealt with it in one area of our lives, it'll pop up again in another area of our lives and we have to whack it and continue to whack it. Welcome to the human condition. And when we think about that idea, we have to be vigilant to humble ourselves. To realize that when the gospel of Jesus floods our hearts, floods our thoughts, floods our minds, where can we be boastful? Where can we be prideful? This is because, "It is by grace that we have been saved, "not by works, so that no one can boast, "no one can be prideful," as Paul said in Ephesians 2. And when we think about the idea of pride, being boastful, that heart attitude, it's the anti-God state of mind as C.S. Lewis talked about. I love how C.S. Lewis wrote the following. He said this, listen to it. "According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, "the utmost evil is pride. "Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, "and all of that are mere flea bites in comparison. "It was through pride that the Devil became the Devil. "Pride leads to every other vice. "It is the complete anti-God "state of mind." You see, this is why we have to be vigilant in fighting off pride and being humble, humbling ourselves. This is because pride, as C.S. Lewis talked about, which I fully agree with, it is the anti-God state of mind, right? Even as we think about the scripture, pride will lead to destruction. And when we think about God opposing the proud, He stands in opposition to it. It is as if He gives a Herschel Walker stiff arm to this kind of heart posture. That God opposes that heart attitude, that God opposes the proud. Why? It's because it is the antithesis of who God is. It's the opposite of His nature. You know, when we think about grace and favor and how they're shown to the humble, why do we maybe think that is? Well, here's what I would say. It's because it beautifully puts Jesus on display. That's what humility does. Humility beautifully puts Jesus on display. This is because as we think about what Paul said about Jesus in Philippians 2, think about it, right? "And being found in appearance as a man, "He humbled Himself "by becoming obedient to death, "even death on a cross." This is what our King is like. This is what our Savior is like. He's humble. Jesus, He demonstrated humility and He calls us to do the same because, ladies and gentlemen, we were all lost, we were all without hope, we were all in need of a Savior, and thanks be to God that God has saved us, that God has shown us grace through His Son, Jesus. And I have to say that I am personally grateful, personally grateful, so grateful, because Pastor Jerry, I believe, has really modeled to me personally as a younger pastor what it looks like to lead with humility, to serve with humility, to preach with humility, to love with humility, to demonstrate influence with humility. And I've been personally impacted by that. It's been such a grace to me and I'm sure many others can also testify to that, to that reality. And so, as we think about the idea of pride, may we not take that posture. See, this is because pride is the way of our culture. Pride is the way of the world that we live in. It's the antithesis of the nature of God. He stiff arms it. God opposes it. But humility, being humble, it's the way of the gospel. Humility, it's the way of the cross. Humility is the way of Jesus. And so I pray that we would take that posture, that we would be like our humble Savior, our humble King, the one who died in our place, who was obedient even to death on a cross, and may we emulate that because it beautifully puts Jesus on display. So may we be reminded together, Church, that God opposes the proud, but He gives grace to the humble.
To whom much is given, much is required. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. And a third final theme for us today to consider: Because God can be trusted, He deserves my loyalty. Because God can be trusted, He deserves my loyalty. I'm pulling the statement right out of a message that I heard Pastor Jerry preach as a 19 year old college student. I was 19, not married, no kids, worked on staff at The Chapel, but didn't have any pastoral responsibilities. I was kind of behind the scenes ministry admin. I heard this message, "The Power of a Single Choice," and it was from a series called, "The Butterfly Effect." And in this message, Pastor Jerry said that, "This one defining choice "can have a butterfly effect on your entire life. "The choice to believe that because God can be trusted, "He deserves my loyalty." And in this message, which is 15ish years ago, I remember Pastor Jerry preached kind of through the life of Joseph. Joseph, following Jacob, following Isaac, following Abraham, that Joseph. And Joseph, his life started out really well but then a lot of things went wrong for him. Joseph was beloved by his father, Jacob, also known as Israel, but he was also despised by his 11 brothers. That he was given this coat of many colors, a richly ornamented robe, and treated favorably. But his brothers were working out in the fields and they were kind of in just grimy work clothes, right? So they despised Joseph. And though things started out really good for him, they ended up really poorly. And so Joseph, you remember at first, his brothers planned to kill him, to get rid of him when he's a teenager, 17 years old. But they instead decide to sell him into slavery. At least then they could line their pockets with a little money. So they sell him to some traders who take him off to Egypt. He's eventually sold into the home of an Egyptian official, Potiphar. He's trapped. He's in forced labor. He's in bondage. Though he does well in that assignment, he's still a slave. And even though he was honoring God in his decisions, he was accused falsely by Potiphar's wife of some impropriety and Potiphar gets really angry and throws Joseph in prison. While in prison, spending years there, he's wasting away and feeling forgotten. And ultimately, he has the opportunity to interpret two dreams for two of Pharaoh's officials. One that worked out really well and one that didn't go so well. And what he said to the one who went really well, he said, "Just remember me when you get to Pharaoh," and, of course, that never happened. So Joseph is just wasting away in this prison cell. And throughout all of this, it would be no surprise to us if we read in the story that Joseph became bitter and angry with God. We would not be surprised in the least, given what he endured, that Joseph turned his back on God and just started to do his own thing and even ignored the fact that God had any decrees or laws and that just kind of lived for himself. We wouldn't be surprised in the least, if that's what we found in the story from Genesis 37 to Genesis 50. But that's exactly what we don't find. And I'll remember never forgetting that this theme of, because God can be trusted, He deserves my loyalty. And Joseph made the decision, perhaps influenced by the stories that his dad, Jacob, would tell him about his own life, about his father Isaac's life, about his granddad Abraham's life, about how God could be trusted and He deserves our loyalty. And so consequently, because Joseph continued to make this defining choice, it had a butterfly effect in his life. One day, Pharaoh finds out about Joseph as a dream interpreter and he's brought into Pharaoh's presence. And Pharaoh says, "I hear you can interpret dreams." And the easy choice for Joseph after what he just endured in prison would be, "Yep, I got you. What do you need?" But instead he says, "No, I can't, "but there is a God who can interpret your dream, Pharaoh." Ultimately, God, through Joseph, devises, He's got this plan He lays out for Pharaoh of how they're gonna weather the storm of a seven-year drought. And ultimately, Joseph is promoted to second in command in all of Egypt. Second only to Pharaoh. Why? Because all throughout his life, he made this one defining choice that because God can be trusted, He deserves my loyalty. No matter what the circumstances may be saying to the contrary, God deserves my loyalty. And then after Jacob passes away, Joseph's brothers believe that now's the time that Joseph is really gonna just really let them have it. Now that the dad's gone, he's finally gonna have his vendetta and be vindictive. But he doesn't do that. Instead we read in Genesis 50 what Joseph's conclusion was. It's this: "But as for you, you meant evil against me, "but God meant it for good." Joseph believed that although there may be forces of evil at work and even that would come through people, even his own family at times, that even though those forces were at work, there was a greater purpose at work, superintending the whole process, and that was the sovereign purposes of God. You meant it for evil, God meant it for good. How could he come to that conclusion after all that he had to deal with? After all that he had gone through? The only conclusion is that he had reached this decision point in his life early on: Because God can be trusted, He deserves my loyalty. Church, as a 19 year old college student hearing that message in 2007, so much of my life ahead of me, and even still, I can't say for certain exactly all of the effects that that kind of statement has had on my life. But with 15 years of perspective, I can tell you, and walking through some of the valleys that I've had to walk through, I can tell you that this defining choice has changed everything. It has had a butterfly effect in my life that even when I'm walking through difficulty, even when I've had to go through the loss of my brother, tragically and suddenly, that the statement rung out in my ears over and over, "Because God can be trusted, He deserves my loyalty." Church, I don't know what you're going through today, I don't what this season has been like for you, I don't know the valley you may find yourself in, or maybe how long that valley has lasted, but I wanna encourage you with this. God can be trusted and He, He deserves our loyalty. That God's track record of faithfulness testifies to this fact that no matter what you're walking through, you're not walking through it alone. So Church, we're just scratching the surface. But these three things, I think these themes, kinda rise to the top for me when I reflect on these last 20 years at our church. And so I wanna ask you and I wanna ask me, as fellow church members, as bodies of, as members of this Body of Believers, part of the Body of Christ, this is our example. How are we doing? This is the diet of truth that we've been living on for 20 years. How are we doing? Listen to these words from the writer of Hebrews. It's not gonna be on the screen, so you're just gonna have to listen very carefully. Listen to this. In Hebrews 13:7, it says: Remember your leaders who spoke the Word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. As we reflect on 20 years of one Lead Pastor in one location, this is a tremendous testimony to God's faithfulness. As we reflect on that example, the example to the flock of God among us here, have we considered the outcome of our leader's way of life? Have we considered this and have we imitated it as well? This is what we've been living on. This is the truth we've been growing on. How are we doing with it? Are we obeying this sound teaching that we receive week in and week out? Are we doing that as the writer of Hebrew says later on in chapter 13? Are we doing that so that our leader's work is not a burden, but instead a joy? Are we doing that so that their labor is a joy? Are we doing that just by being really good hearers of the Word and showing up on Sunday and amening at all the right spots? Or are we honoring that example by doing the Word Monday through Saturday as well? This is our example, Church. This is a good one. And we would do well to honor this example, as the writer of Hebrew says, by imitating it. I pray that we would. But as we prepare to wrap up our service today and celebrate, and we've got more to do, I just have one thing that I wanna say to Pastor Jerry directly. On behalf of all of us, as brothers and sisters in Christ, in the Family of Faith here at The Chapel, all four of our campuses and watching online, here's my encouragement to you, Pastor Jerry. Keep going. Stand firm. Because, as scripture says: Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground and after you have done everything, to stand. And I know that expresses our hearts as a church today. Church, we've been given much, we've received much, and all of us understand Pastor Jerry would be the first person to point all of the credit, glory and honor to Jesus Christ. And so we will join in with him in directing our gratitude, all of the credit, all of the glory and honor to Jesus as well. I'm gonna ask you to bow your heads with me right where you are. In just a moment, we're gonna be celebrating the Lord's Supper together as a church at all of our campuses. And if you don't have elements, you should have received them on the way in. If you don't have the bread and the cup, our ushers will be in the aisles at all of our campuses in just a moment, to make sure that you can participate. But just hold onto those elements right now. Don't take them just yet. But just in the quietness of this moment, right where you are, maybe just express to God yourself, out of gratitude for how He has been faithfully leading and guiding our congregation. He is the Chief Shepherd of our souls. Maybe just expressing gratitude to Him, our Lord and Savior, the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, for how He has guided us and led us, no matter what we've gone through. We have much to celebrate, much to be thankful for. And I know in your life, you could point to specific times and exact opportunities that God has blessed you immensely, using His Word to teach you and guide you and draw Him closer to yourself. So just in this moment, before we come to the Lord's Supper, just in your heart of hearts, express gratitude to your Heavenly Father. Just tell Him, "Thank you."
- Father, we come into your presence, thanking you for the joy of who you are, because everything we have, everything we do, is because of your kindness to us, 'cause our life is tied up in you. Jesus, our salvation can only be found in you. So we magnify you and we bless you for who you are. And we pray as we pause now to reflect on the sacrifice of your life that has set us free, we just pause with grateful hearts 'cause of all that you are, all that you mean to us, all that you've done. I'm gonna ask if you would to take out the bread. If you would just hold it in your hand together. Lord Jesus, we're reminded as we hold in our hand the bread that is broken for us, that it is a picture of your body. And that your body was broken for us so that your body on Earth could be whole so that we could know you, live together as family, to be able to show the world your presence in our midst. And so we are so grateful for your body given on our behalf, to set us free. And as the Apostle Paul wrote to the Church at Corinth: For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you. The Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread. And when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you. "Do this in remembrance of me." Let's eat. If you'll open the cup as well. Lord Jesus, we thank you. And I'm reminded every time that we come to this portion, as we open a cup and drink the fruit of the vine that signifies your blood, we're reminded about a world that we live in that drinks to forget, but that your people drink to remember. We remember your sacrifice. We remember your kindness. We remember the grace that has been shown us in the Lord Jesus Christ. And for that, we are grateful because without the shedding of blood, there could be no forgiveness or remission of sins. But through your royal perfect blood shed for us, you have taken upon yourself the wrath of God, shed your own blood on our behalf, risen from the grave so that we could have reconciliation to the Father through faith in you, Lord Jesus. And in the same way after supper, Jesus took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. "Do this whenever you drink it in remembrance of me, "for whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, "you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes." Let's drink. I'm gonna ask if you'd stand with me as we pray. Father, how we thank you for the kindness of your mercy. Though it is undeserved, that's why it's called mercy and that's why it's called grace. Because we were alienated, we were foreigners to the promises, we were without hope in this world. But by the cross of Jesus, you have brought us near. And for that, we just can't thank you enough. A million lifetimes couldn't say, "Thank you" enough. But we thank you, God, that you have always and forever been faithful to your promises. That you've said what you would do and you've done it, and you always will. That we can count on your faithfulness. We can count on your faithfulness in our individual lives and in our families. We can count on your faithfulness in this local church, and you have demonstrated it time and time and time again. And for that we say, "Thank you," because we plant our feet firmly on the rock of our salvation, the faithful one, the Lord Jesus Christ. In whose name we pray. And all God's people said?
- [Congregation] Amen.