Our pandemic has shown us our need to live in doctrine, fellowship, communion, and prayers. We are in a gymnasium of life to get us in shape. Let us learn love and put on Jesus. Discipline with time is necessary. We learn prayer and vision. Like Philip, we can be led by Spirit to meet and guide people with questions. We preach Jesus and people believe. May this time prepare us for the after to extend His grace Gospel. (Acts 8:26-40; 2:42; Romans 13:1-3)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller, Pastor Eugene Davis
9:00 AM on 3/29/2020
P. Schaller – P. Eugene –
Good morning. Good to see everyone online. That’s not an oxymoron. I was thinking about this today
and early this morning. This is a unique time where we find ourselves in situations beyond our
control, but it doesn’t mean God is limited to our situations. 2 Corinthians 6:4, approving ourselves as
ministers in affliction. There is a pressure. It means pressing in, distress, straits. The affliction
causes us to become a minister. We have a ministry in afflictions. Acts 20:23, The Holy Spirit
says to Paul bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me. Neither do I
count my life dear unto myself, to testify of the gospel of grace.
Acts 7:10 says this “and God delivered him out of all his afflictions.” Psalm 132:1 Lord, remember David in all his afflictions. I was thinking of David’s life. Before he was king, he was a shepherd. David fought Goliath but before
Goliath, there was a lion and a bear. David is on the run from Saul and finds himself in the cave
Adullam, the place of God’s delight. It was a cave. It was dark. It was difficult. He didn’t want to
be there. He’d rather be in the palace. In that cave there were people there in debt, in distress,
and discontented. David became a captain over them. He became a minister to those in debt,
distress, and discontented.
On outreach, a lot of people find themselves in maybe no finances, constraints. You’re constricted but in that place God wants to minister to you. He wants to minister to you and through you. People were like thank you, thank you. Thank you for letting me know God is in my situation. He’s not removed from my situation. He’s in my situation. 1
Samuel 30, David and his men come back to Ziglag and it’s burned with fire and their wives and
sons and daughters have been taken by the enemy. They are in a place of distress. The city was
burned with fire and wives and sons taken captive and vs. 4 says they wept until they had no
more power to weep. No more strength.
The outward stress has gone on the inside. And I have no more power to weep. David was greatly distressed because those around him thought of stoning him. The same people he ministered to in the cave now because of a situation so out of their control. They are so weak and not able to deal with the action that they are thinking about
stoning him. Vs. 6 David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. The situations we find
ourselves in is an opportunity to delight in God. It is a place where God is delighting in. We have
our Bibles. You know why? We have a place where we can tune in online and be strengthened
in our soul, receive a word in season for our situation.
Not only was David encouraged but God strengthened him, and he found himself asking God shall I pursue. 1 Samuel 30:8. That’s a great word this morning. Without fail, God will be faithful. Without fail, God will strengthen. Without fail, in my affliction God will be the one that deals with my affliction. Israel 40:30-31, he gives
power to the faint and he increases strength. Maybe you are in a situation where you are alone
or with others. Maybe you say I have no strength. I don’t know what is going to happen this
morning. It means to bind yourself together with God.
Bind yourself together with God. Why? He will renew your strength. You will mount up with wings as eagles. You shall run and not be weary, you shall walk and not faint. I love this time because our Bibles are open. Heaven is
open. The pulpit is on fire. Our pastor is going to give us a word so we can be strengthened. We
find ourselves in a place with others and we become a minister to them. We can strengthen
them with the very same strength God is strengthening us.
P. Schaller –
That was beautiful P. Eugene. You hit home runs. That was awesome. Very good
word. P. Steve, thanks for the organization of our service and the band and singers. P. Jim
thanks for the offering. P. Scibelli and Pirjo are in the rap today. We’ll have a rap right after with
P. Eugene and P. Steve. We are just loving what God is doing in the world. P. Eugene gave a very
good word today about that. I feel just as a worshiper in this large room in the presence of
God knowing that we have a large audience that is online listening and I feel honored and
sensitive to God by faith.
We live by faith. I think many of you are learning things and there are
lessons that God is teaching us regarding this time with the coronavirus pandemic. Just as a
preface to the message, we have before corona, during corona, and after corona. What lessons
are our children learning from us. Mom, dad, what’s going on? I have no idea. Before corona,
Acts 2, we had a few messages on this portion. Acts 2 and this is for life always, always as
believers. This happened to many of us, all of us. It is for all believers but it’s in our memories
what happened in Finland in 1975-1978 in those years.
What happened in Ghana, Africa when P. Scibelli was there in ’86,’87, 88 and so on. What happened with Dr. Stevens in Maine in ’72.’73,’74, ‘75. It’s always the same. Before corona, there is the plan of God for us to be rooted
and established. This is Acts 2:42. They continued steadfastly, very determined focused
continuation in the apostle’s doctrine and fellowship and breaking bread and prayers. Apostle’s
doctrine. They continued and they were rooted and grounded in the doctrine, the doctrine of
grace. The doctrine of God, the doctrine of forgiveness. The society of the blood. No shedding
of blood, no remission of sin.
The doctrine of faith, the doctrine of the Bible, the inspired Word of God, the Scriptures. The doctrine of truth, the importance of absolute truth. God is the God of truth. God cannot lie, Titus 1:2. Being grounded in our mind and heart and in our spirit. It was more than intellectual. It was and is worship. There is worship with apostolic doctrine and teaching. The Spirit teaches you. It goes in. We drink it. We feed on it. Now we are prepared or
being prepared. This is point number 1. Before the corona, before the tragedy, before the
collapse, before the oppression, before the persecution, before the trouble there is the
gymnasium. Before the job, there is the training.
Before the Olympics, there is the training, the preparation and believers must be prepared. They must be fed. They must be led. They must learn love. Learn to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. They must learn to relate to God. They must learn to walk in the Spirit. They must learn that God ordered their footsteps according to his
Word. They must learn that the life is the life of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit. You shall receive
power after the H.S. is come upon you. You shall be witness unto me in Jerusalem, Judea,
Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth.
There is a definite important element in our life before corona. Before the Second Coming, there is preparation. Before the trials of life, there is the preparation. There is my Bible that gets into me by the preaching, by the ministry of the Word of God. What are your children learning at home. This is a very important thing. I want to
show you one subpoint on my mind. Why are we not meeting? The authorities have asked us
not to. Romans 13:1-3, These are the governmental powers, the secular powers of the world we
are submitted to. Because we are submitted to the highest power, God and the Spirit fills us.
It’s easy to be obedient to the authorities.
It’s easy to honor them and respect them. It’s in our spirit and our heart. The government in their decisions and in the science and everything involved have asked us not to gather. We being obedient to them have submitted ourselves to them. There is always the argument and I have had it in my own heart what about the
Communist powers, the Nazi powers, the evil powers. The apostles faced the same thing. That’s
Acts 5:29. They were submitted but they must obey God rather than men. Maybe some
countries where the government is absolutely evil, you have to obey God instead of man. As
much as possible we honor the civil authorities.
This is a beautiful opportunity to teach my children. It’s a great opportunity to teach the people around me, to teach my family, to teach concentration. Another point I want to bring out just to talk about it, is how easy it is for my
time to disappear if I don’t have a disciplined schedule. How easy for hours to slip away but I
can make a schedule like Jonathan Wesley used to do. Alexander Hamilton, one of our
forefathers in our country, Richard Baxter the Puritan pastor…I don’t decide at noon tomorrow
what I’m going to do that day in the afternoon. I decide the night before in prayer or early that
I can bring my life before God and ask him to give me my schedule for the day. Now
we have more time and it’s God who will help me in my schedule. It’s God who will lead me in
prayer and help me to study the Bible. church. This is your online church and you are able to
listen and focus and hear what the Spirit is saying to you. Before corona and getting grounded
and now during corona. I’d like you to turn to Acts 8 please. I don’t think I ever loved my
brothers and sisters more than I do now. I miss seeing them. I wonder how they are doing. I
thought of Pastor [?] up in Finland.
I wonder how he is doing, and I love him in my heart. I’m sure you have people here, too. Janet Bell and Talley and Matt and different ones. P. Jason Moore and the great job he does. P. Hadley and the wisdom and love he has and on and on it goes. Many people. It’s beautiful. Acts 8:26 Philip was one of the seven filled with the Spirit and
had wisdom in Acts 6 in Jerusalem. But after corona – no – after persecution, Philip left and he
came up north. This is Samaria. He went to Samaria. Jesus prophesied you shall receive power
after the Holy Spirit is come upon you, and you shall witness unto me in Jerusalem, Judea and
Samaria. Now we have the story where Philip is in Samaria.
During the persecution happening in Jerusalem, he is now being led. Vs. 26. The angel spoke to him. Beautiful. We could park there for a little bit. That’s beautiful. There is nothing more said about it. Did he see the angel?
The angel spoke to him. What did the angel look like? Was the angel like a human being? God
helps you and speaks to you. God can send an angel to you. God can comfort you in your home.
God is present. God is in your house. Maybe you want to get a map one of these weeks when
you are home. It’s a different thing for us. We need to learn to walk and be sensitive.
I left my house the other day and had a little bit of an attitude, a thing and I corrected myself. I went
back in the house and spoke kind words to my wife and encouraged her. What lessons are we
learning during this time? Before corona and during corona we have a map of the world
perhaps, a prayer closest, a little library and one of the books stirs my heart. I have those books.
They stir my heart very much. One of them never fails me. I read and reread. Learn to be kind
and visionary. Learn to walk in the Spirit.
Learn to be with your family. Learn how to be very kind. Lead them in love and joy and release and go for walks. Be outside. Springtime is coming. It’s beautiful. Soon I’ll be able to go out windsurfing, this week maybe. Out in the fresh air. Coronavirus doesn’t mean much to you when you are doing that. You’re not burdened with these things. You are like Phillip. Vs. 26. There was a road from Jerusalem to Gaza down that
way. Gaza Strip. We know where that is. It cut through the desert. I don’t want to go to a
desert. I don’t care about deserts. I’m in the green pastures. I’m in a good place. I’ m safe and
secure and that’s important.
This is saying something else. I want you to be led and I want to
lead you. I’m going to lead you. I’m going to bring you to a place you would not go. I’m not
suggesting any of us go to a place of danger or do something because of corona. I’m not talking
about that. I’m talking about an attitude that we have during this thing. There is a spirituality
that Philip had because God had a plan. God wanted to touch somebody. God had somebody
being prepared. God was in the whole thing.
Someone said what is God doing with the coronavirus in the whole world? We could say I think he is speaking to people. I think he is speaking loudly. I think people can get serious when death is at the door. I think they can listen
to us like never before. This is a message to the world that there are forces bigger than you and
I. One day we will meet God. Are you prepared? Luke 2:13 Jesus said suppose you that those
Galileans that were slaughtered by Pilate and their blood that was mingled with the animal
sacrifices…it must have happened in a temple. Do you think they were more evil or sinful than
other Galileans? He said, no.
Unless you repent, you will perish also. Do you think that tower that was being built in Siloam and it fell, and 18 people were killed, where they more sinful than other people? He said, no. Do you think someone that gets coronavirus is more evil than other people? In that context he would say, no. But I tell you, you will perish unless you repent. I believe he is talking about perishing in hell. Unless you repent, you will perish in hell. You may
die from the coronavirus and it may not be because of your personal sin, but unless you repent,
you will perish in hell. Luke 13:1-3.
What is happening in this period of time? There is the work of God. God is speaking to people. He is preparing them. Let’s go back to the story, vs 27. He arose and he went. Candace is a title like Pharaoh is a title. Candace is the queen of the Ethiopians. This man was like the treasurer of the country. He was wealthy. He was powerful.
He oversaw the wealth of the country. He was an important person. He was returning from
worshiping in Jerusalem in vs. 28. What a divine appointment that this man in his chariot on
his way down to Gaza through the desert is reading a scroll of Isaiah the prophet. Vs. 29. The
Spirit said. The Spirit said. I believe that in our lives the Spirit will talk always to us when we
walk in the light.
When the Apostle Paul was in jail we could say that was his corona. When Paul
was in jail he could have given up, cashed in, checked out. He could say I’m in jail. There’s
nothing to do but complain about it. He wrote the epistles. He was a man of God. He witnessed
to the soldiers. He was quarantined in a way. People were coming to talk to him one by one
about Jesus Christ. Again, I’m not asking anyone to violate wisdom in this pandemic. During this time,
people are being prepared and during this time even before I’m doing anything I’m wanting to
be like Philip who has a personal relationship and grounded in apostolic teaching and available
to go in the wisdom of God and the mind of God to love my children at home.
A map of Greater Grace missions. A National Geographic reading about people in other parts of the world. In
some parts of the world, people are shut down and permanently but it doesn’t stop the
angel…the Ethiopian opening the book of Isaiah and Philip to be joined to the chariot and
talking to him. Vs. 30. He ran up to catch the chariot and he ran up to him and heard he was reading Isaiah. A divine appointment. What are you reading? Isaiah. Maybe that has happened
to you. You met someone and it was something God put together. I’m worried about it people
could say. I’m worried about my future.
I’m worried about meeting God one day. I was thinking of all the dear people in New York city that they are facing this and never thought a month ago this would be happening. The culture of our day and the way ungodliness works and how it grows and festers and increases and now God is saying time out. A divine time out. Do you
want me? I’m talking to you. Come to me. Do you think the tower fell on those because they
are more sinful, but I tell you unless you repent, you will perish. I tell you this is serious. You will
one day meet your Creator. You will one day meet the Savior. Philip is on the move and in a
spiritual way and physically he is there and spiritually he is prepared. Vs. 30.
Do you understand what you read? Maybe our children at home need to understand us better during this time
when we are home. Maybe we will have simple talks. Do you understand why your mom and
dad are believers? Let’s read a little bit of the Bible and I’m going to ask you, do you understand
what you are reading? Do you understand what is going on? It’s a great time to teach children
lessons about life. You go for a walk. Do you understand? This is a good question. Do you
understand what you are reading? Do you understand why your dad loves your mom?
Do you understand why our house is based on the nature of God and the Spirit of God? Maybe this is a
time to be at home more and caring about the people you love very much. Phillip was able to
do this this way with a man he didn’t know. Vs. 31. We need a teacher. We need a guide. We
need someone. I know you are reading your Bible at home. I know you have an online church. I
know you are hearing the devotionals every day. It’s in your heart. You are servants. We are
servants of God. It’s in our nature.
This is who we are. You need someone’s face. You need someone’s voice. Don’t be alone absolutely. Have someone in your life. Give them a phone call and encourage them in the faith. Say I’m calling you because I need someone to encourage me. I’m calling you because I want to encourage you. I’m calling you because I need the
encouragement. I need to get loved up. I’m going to listen to you for 15 seconds and just pour it
on. We need a voice. We need a face. The deep calling to the deep. Even silence on the phone
is a precious thing also. Vs. 31. Beautiful invitation. Come up and sit with me. Come up and be
with me. Come up and sit with me and that’s what happened.
Philip didn’t have to be overwhelming; he didn’t have to be forceful. It was all coming together. There was a question
and something beautiful God was doing. God was in it. Wow. Beautiful. Vs. 32. This is Easter
season coming up and we’re doing Easter messages. Easter time is our favorite time. He was led
as a sheep, as a lamb dumb to the slaughter. He opened not his mouth. Vs. 33-34. If you never
had that happen to you, you got to have that happen to you. You have to have that happen to
you. He opened his mouth and there it was. I’m not talking about preachers or pastors. I’m
talking about everyday believers, us.
I’m talking about Christians. We get beyond the foolishness of life and the fashion of the day and the popular talk of the hour and we get beyond the everyday chatter of life. There is a moment when that man is prepared of God. This
man is there and there is something that is going to happen in the Ethiopian eunuch’s heart
that is unexplainable. God is in it. God is going to save that man. That man is prepared. There is
a moving of the Spirit. This is what we are looking for and this is what happens. I don’t know how many times it happens or to who it happens to. It happens in my l life and your life. I hope
so. It is extremely precious and very motivating. Vs. 35-36. I don’t know.
This man came alive, this Ethiopian man. He has this idea where did it come from? Where did it come from? Philip is
preaching Jesus from Isaiah 53 and for sure this man has come alive. How did he have it in his
mind? Did he hear about it regarding John the Baptist or Jesus? Did Philip mention something
to him about it? We don’t know. Maybe it just came to his mind. I want to be committed to
Christ. I want Jesus in my life. This is in my heart, that God is visiting me. I believe in Jesus.
There is water. What would stop me from being baptized in Jesus’ name? Makes you weep.
This man is going to go home, and he is born again. This man met Philip and Philip had it and so do
you. You have apostolic doctrine. You have a training of faith. You have a walk with God. God is
with you. God is leading us and moving in our hearts. The world is in trouble. We haven’t seen
the end of the trouble. We don’t know if it’s just the beginning of something. Will there ever be
an after? The day after may never be what was before. We don’t know. We know we are
prepared and being prepared. We are able. We’re some kind of solution.
We have a message. People walk around guilty. They are afraid of meeting God. Last point. People are guilty. They
feel religious people will condemn them or they are afraid. We must make it very sure that it
isn’t a God of judgment. He’s a God of mercy. It’s a grace gospel. It’s not a gospel that is hard.
It’s an easy yoke. We must make great effort to say that God cares about you and it’s not just a
slogan. It’s a reality. That God gave his Son so you would not perish. Why did you get in the car
accident? Is God against you? Jesus says, no, but unless you repent you will perish.
Why did you get cancer? Because God is against you? No, but unless you repent you will perish. So there it is.
The last verses there, vs. 37-38. That’s what we want people to do. Stop. Stand still. Stop.
Believe. Stop. Change your direction. Stop. Repent of the wickedness and the foolishness.
Before this happened, the news was always transgender this and homosexual that and LGBTQ
and all this kind of thing. I’m so glad I don’t hear it now. We hear life and death. I’d rather go to
the house of mourning than the house of feasting.
I’d rather people be serious about meeting God and find the God of all grace and the God of mercy, the God of forgiveness, the God who is Christ, the holiness of God, the nature of God, the power of God the Spirit of God, the Bible, the living God, the God that has me stand still and go down into the water and come out. When he
got into his chariot, he went home, and it says there he went his way rejoicing and the Lord
caught Philip away. Philip was taken away. It says snatched away. Philip was one and the
eunuch could say this day God has met me, saved me. This day and he got on his chariot and
went on his way rejoicing.
After corona, who knows how things will be, but I do not know and
I’m not a prophet. I don’t know how it will go, but I believe if we do good now in this
gymnasium of life, I believe if we can be corrected in our homes and be civil and kind and Spirit
filled, I believe we can nurture our children and our family at home. I believe if I have a message
that is prepared in my heart for the unbeliever, maybe my neighbor or someone I meet on a
park bench. By the way, you can be outside all the time.
Go outside and be in the nature, the park, the forest. Go outside and meet people and be six feet away from them and so on. It has nothing to do with the fact that you and I are prepared with something in our heart. There will
be a day when we say I lifted weights in the gym of life and now I can be in the Olympics and be a winner. You are a winner. You have God, his Spirit and his grace. One day we will meet
together again in this assembly hall and we will meet with a lot of joy and vitality and ready to
hear from God in a personal way and see each other face to face. Until then, this is fine. We are
walking with our living God in these circumstances and learning who he is.
Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.