Jesus rose and a small group was crowded into a room when He showed up. Not much was said. He gave them peace and showed the scarred hands. A movement began. (John 20:19; Philippians 3:10; Zechariah 4:10; Hebrews 13:17)
Speaker(s): Thomas Schaller, Peter Westera
6:30 PM on 1/15/2023
P. Schaller –
Okay. Wow. Alright. A little exercise for us in the beginning of the service. Turn to Zechariah 4. Get ready cause
you’re going to do the message. Okay. Chapter 4. Get your preaching shoes on! Okay. Zechariah
4:10, Who has despised the day of small things? There are the regular days that we live and
many of them are days of small things. What is the context here but the building of the second
temple. You had Solomon’s temple was destroyed by the Babylonians and then the rebuilding
by Zachariach, Haggai the prophet, Zerubbabel, the governor and the high priest also.
So, when they were building, it looked small. When people saw it compared to the first temple,
some of them wept because it just wasn’t what they thought it would be. But the day of small
things can be a big day. The day of small things can mean a lot. The day of a small beginning
can mean a very big thing. We don’t know where it goes. You cannot tell a thing by how it
begins. You see it by how it ends.
Alright. So, there are many times in your life when you might just say well, this wasn’t much of a
day. I made a decision. It wasn’t a big deal. There weren’t fireworks going off. Nobody noticed it.
The cameras were not rolling. It wasn’t even recorded in the diary, but it was a small beginning.
Look at vs. 10. So, your message right now at your seat and I’m going to help you for a minute.
We had a woman here, Naila, this morning. Hey, pastor!
We had Naila here this morning from Baku who is going back to Baku, and she’s lived here I
don’t know ten years or more. She tells a story. She was on the street. Her son went to Bible
Speaks meeting in Baku and said mom, you need to come. No, I don’t care. I’m not going. Then
somebody on the street handed her a tract. Anyway, to make a long story short, she heard the
gospel. Life changed. Brought relatives to the church. Ended up coming here to be with us
really. Live here in Baltimore and be with us in the main church and it’s a beautiful story.
Zsombor. Is Zsombor here tonight? You want to stand for just a second? His mother at that time
– thank you – she was a single woman, young lady. Literally, a half of an 8X11 paper typed out
meeting in Budapest address on the wall at the metro station. She comes up the escalator. She
doesn’t know to this day why she walked right to that poster. Read it. Wrote down the address.
Came to a meeting. Her son is here in Bible school. Yeah.
One time I was traveling to Uzbekistan on a regular basis. I said to P. Pete Westera who felt like
coming. Please come. We were going there for a couple years. We would go on a real mission
trip to Uzbekistan, meet people and everything. I said to him, who knows? Maybe some day I
cannot make it. Maybe I have a heart attack or something and you need to come here. Literally,
is that right, pastor? Well, guess what? I was booked to go. I think it was in October, maybe
September. I had a heart attack. I’m literally in the bed at Johns Hopkins on the phone and
saying to him he has to go. Okay. And he can tell the story. He felt very insecure about it, very
unqualified. Sweating bullets on the airplane. Almost making an excuse I missed the plane. He
tells a great story about it, but he went. God used him.
He came back saying God did it. I’m so thankful and so happy about how God is behind our
lives. We have a life of faith. “Despise not the day of small beginnings.” You get it?
How about going to Bible college? Oh, I don’t think it will make any difference in my life. I talked.
I got a phone call today from Oklahoma. Zsolt. You know Zsolt and Brenda? They moved down
to Oklahoma. But he said to me on the phone, he goes I feel that the church I’m going to here, a
little Baptist church, we need a Bible school.
And he said sometimes when I’m with the folks they say, how did you learn that? He said, I went
to Bible school. And he said we need a Bible school and so on. We had a little talk. What I’m trying to say is I don’t know how life goes, but I know that God honors our faith. And
many times by sight, it doesn’t look like anything will happen in Richmond. But where did Jesse
Feyers come from? He was down in Florida getting a sun tan! You know the story behind it?
He’s ten years old. His mom and dad come from Miami to a Convention. He’s ten years old and
he’s listening. He sees the missions march. Years later, I think he was 27, 28 years old. He
comes up for a Convention cause God is speaking to him. Like life my way isn’t working. Life my
way, what I want, my way – is that Luis? Good to see you. Life my way. I did it. I’ve done it my
way and he was here at the Convention missions night. He is very touched. And we talk.
I said come to my house tonight. We did a sauna together with a couple guys. We talked about
it. He’s sitting in there very broken. Very broken. He said I think God – he didn’t talk much but
God was working on him.
I go to a Convention. It’s a small thing. Despise not the day of small beginnings. When you think
about your life, do not despise the decisions that you make in life when you are saying I don’t
know if this means anything, but I’m doing it before God. How about repenting from sin? By
faith, I say I’m not doing it anymore, Lord. I’m going to trust in you and you help me. It’s a day of
small beginnings but they end up becoming very big in terms of what it means and God
honoring your life. So, that’s a message for you in your chair.
Turn to your neighbor and just say my whole life is filled with small beginnings. Do not despise
them. God’s hand is on them. Okay. Go ahead. Don’t talk too long. Don’t develop the message
too much! Okay. Turn with me to Hebrews 13 as we finish this up. A couple more stories and
Now, we have a new brother in our fellowship tonight. His name is Tony. Tony, do you want to
raise your hand for a minute? Okay, there’s Tony. Alright. Here he is down here. You don’t mind.
I’m having fun tonight. Okay. Keep going. Amen. I don’t know how many years ago you knew
about our church here. You live in Severna Park, Maryland. South of here. How many years
ago? Ten years ago or whenever.
Alright, so he knew about our church here and listened to the messages online. Enjoyed the
messages a lot. He said all the time, I got to get up there. I got to go to the church. I got to get
up there. Works for Southwest Airlines. Family man. Good guy. Real believer. Awesome. His
name is Tony! Yeah, say “Hi Tony!” Hey, hi Tony! Okay. Now, he decided to come up here last
Wednesday night. And he also works out at a gym. Guess who his trainer is? Jesse Feyers!
Guess who was running the service last Wednesday night? Jesse Feyers. After the service,
Tony comes up and say, are you? You’re a believer?!! No. Yeah, so good story.
Read the verse with me. Hebrews 13:7, I’ll tell you this is maybe underestimated in its value. But
when we have a fellowship in the Word and we are learning the Word, we just really appreciate
it. Don’t underestimate what it can do for you and where it will bring you. vs. 7. We are following
– Abel offered the blood. Noah built the ark. Abraham left home. Sarah had a child. Joseph lead
his people in saving them in a practical way with the food and supplies. Moses brought them out
There is a faith in our life that we follow. We are not perfect people. We don’t always understand
what is really going on but our God has asked us to live by faith and this is what’s happening. It
says here we consider the end of their lifestyle or their conversation. I cannot tell you how many
times when I was up in Maine in Bible school I would think do I belong here? Should I continue
in this? Where does it go? What does it mean? I would watch Pastor and listen to him and he
always had a ministry somehow of life and love and faith and vision. We’re always somehow
going somewhere and edifying people and talking in faith.
vs. 17. So, during the Bible school years and by the way, Zsolt said Bible school is fantasitc.
And we start tomorrow night. It’s free for the week for newcomers. Please feel free to come and sit in on some classes. There are morning classes, too. I just wanted to say tonight to introduce
the theme that I don’t always even in my present life I don’t always may see the whole meaning
of my faith. It does say we mark the perfect man, Psalm 37:37 and know the end of that man. The
end result is peace and that’s what we can always be comforted by the fact that God will honor
our faith and give us peace. We will glorify him by what he does with our simple life of faith. And
sometimes, it is like a day of small things. But it has an immeasurable amount of value in the
eyes of God and the angels. The unseen world that we are living in. In the presence of great
value of your life of faith. Amen.
P. Pete Westera –
That was an amazing song. I love that song. I love the people that sang it. I’m
a little sick. I was sitting over there and realized I couldn’t hear out of my right ear. A little dizzy
but I’m sure I’m fine! A little tired. Not sleeping so well. Yeah, so, I got back from Uzbekistan a
couple days ago and just had an amazing time. Everything in life starts – in our life, in our
Christian walk in God’s kingdom starts with small beginnings. I saw Pasha sitting over there. Is
Emma with you? Somewhere. I saw her running around. And his parents – a missionary went,
P. Mati went to Uzbekistan and probably very small beginnings. Very simple beginnings. And
here he is. Their son is sitting here and their granddaughter is here. This whole room is probably
like a thousand stories we can tell about small beginnings. Uzbekistan is definitely one of those
I just had an amazing time over there. It was like my favorite place in the world to visit. Some
people go to Disney World. Some people like to go to Hawaii. Some people like to go to
Caribbean. Samarkand is where it’s at. I’m going to go back in November. Anyone can come
with me. It’s – for free, I will be your tour guide. I’ll show you the way. The attraction, the
attraction are the people, the people there. Amazing, beautiful, wonderful people. We were in a
room with them and the room is packed full of people but it’s just packed full of love. You could
not get more love in a room. Many, many years people were faithful following Jesus, hungry for
the Word. And God is honoring them and blessing that church.
We bought a church. This church here, you guys basically donated money to buy a building
there. A building is a strong word. Large room. Large is a strong word. A room! But, you know,
it’s more than what they have. Right now they meet – every day, there is a meeting in a different
come so they don’t risk getting caught. They move around. Meetings are illegal. Foreigners
cannot speak at meetings. We went to – I don’t know how many houses I went to. Maybe eight
or nine homes and had meetings. Just a beautiful time. I would love to share it with you, so just
tag along. I promise it’s cheaper than Disney World. It is. It really is.
We preached a message there. Something I’ve been meditating on for about a month. If you
turn with me to John 20. This chapter I’ve read it so many times now and love it. Really moved
by some of the words on this page. (Prayer). John 20, Jesus has just risen. Mary has seen him.
Not much has happened since Mary has seen him. Then we have the story of the room. The
room that the disciples locked themselves in in vs. 19. John 20:19, so, I like to use my imagination
and put it, use it for a good thing for once. Imagine this room. Actually, probably a very small
room. Probably very similar to the room in Samarkand. Fourteen foot by eighteen foot and they
can fit 50 people in it. No problem. With joy. I imagine that these disciples were in a very small
I’m wondering what was going on in their minds. I’m wondering what they were thinking. Most
likely many of them were in a state of shock, panicking. Many of them were angry. Many of them
were confused. For sure, their fear was very evident. No idea what just happened. They saw
whom they regarded at the Messiah, the one who would save them, crucified, tortured, walking
through the streets of Jerusalem. And here they are in this room. I don’t know if there is much
talking going on. We don’t know anything. But we know that it probably was not a good scene. A
very serious scene. And there’s anxieties and crazy thoughts. The door is locked because they
And then as we know so well, just like that supernaturally Jesus Christ appears in the middle of
their little room, their little meeting, their little audience, and they’re freaked out. I mean, they
don’t even know what they are seeing. They don’t know if it’s really him or a spirit. They are in
panic mode maybe. They don’t know what to say, what to do. And here he is standing there.
And I read this story in the Chronological Bible just to get all the Gospel’s viewpoint on it and the
timing of it. Not much. Jesus does not say much. There’s just not a lot of sentences there. I
mean, there’s so much to say. There’s so much to tell. He could talk about the pain, the
suffering, and the torture. He could talk about what he went through. The spitting.
The scene in front of Pilate. The scene in the streets of Jerusalem. Probably, he could have talked for hours
about the details. Never mind supernaturally what happened to him, where he went, the
suffering, the losing of his Father. The bearing of sin in his life. But none of that is really
discussed. He doesn’t seem to be interested in the details. Instead, he just stands in the middle
of the room and he just opens his hands. He says, peace unto you to calm them down and he
just opens his hands. Really, he does very little else. It’s all that they needed.
I’ve been reading these verses in Philippians 3:10-12. Just an incredible – I think of it as the
excellency of knowledge in vs. 8. Paul talks about counting nothing and everything is lost for the
excellency of the knowledge of Christ. Paul obsessed with knowing Christ. Some kind of
knowing that is higher, superior, above everything else. Prominent. Beyond me and my little
mind and my little world. Paul wants excellency of knowledge of Christ. He wants to know who
We are here today for the same reason. It’s the only thing we need. The only reason we
traveled to Uzbekistan is in the hopes that God would use us. That they would hear excellencies
of knowledge. And I don’t know what you wanted for Christmas, but you should have asked for
this. And we do. All I need in life is excellency in knowledge on this particular subject. I need to
know Jesus more. What’s so beautiful and what’s so amazing in these words and so many other
words is that Christ makes himself available to us and says I have given you everything you
need to know me. You can have excellency in knowledge of me.
How does it happen? I don’t know but it is happening. It’s difficult to describe. The thing about
knowledge that is beyond us is that we can’t often put it to words. We know it’s true. God is
revealing himself to us. On a Sunday morning in Samarkan and we’re preaching this message
and we’re talking to people. Everybody is interested in this subject. Every teenager, every young
person, every adult wants to know Jesus more. Our one mission in life, all I want is to know
He continues and talks about winning Christ towards the end. Philippians 3:8, the other day I was
walking around my factory and I said, you know what this is? This is a dung factory. This is a
dung factory. Do you know what I mean? If this is your life, if this is all you are able to produce; if
all you can produce in life is money, then it’s a dung factory. This entire world is a dung factory.
There is nothing in it unless we find excellency of knowledge in it. We find Christ in it. Then it
changes. Then something gets added to me that raises me up. An abundance of transcendent
information about our Lord available to me. God waiting for me to drink from this knowledge.
Winning him. Gaining him is like the beginning, the beautiful beginning that we all had. We win
victory when we become saved.
He continues and be found in him. And this verse is just so beautiful because it talks about
grace. Grace directed towards us. Positional truth. The position we find ourselves in because of
what Christ has done. The righteousness that is available to us and that we stand in that comes
straight from him.
vs. 9. Could we say that excellency of knowledge starts with winning him. The beginning is
winning him and continues with figuring out what he thinks about me, how he views me. Do I
gain knowledge? Do I get to know him more when I understand my position in Christ? The
answer is yes.
P. Benjamin wrote that little booklet. It’s really good. “Gems from Jerusalem” and it’s good. He
talks about Song of Solomon right away. How the woman is progressing in her knowledge of
positional truth really. Progressing throughout Song of Solomon, starting with I am you and you
are mine and ending with I am yours. As she becomes more aware that she is in Christ, in him,
and as she understands who she is in Christ; she becomes closer to him. She is growing.
I think we can all say that. As we learned about grace, as we learned the kind of grace God has
for us, as we read the words that were directed towards us and found out who we were; we got
closer to him and we grew.
Then we get to vs. 10. This is really the sentence that I was trying to get to. The fellowship of his
suffering. I honestly have been reading this verse for two months non-stop over and over again.
I think I read every commentary on my shelf. I’ve read everything I could find on it. I keep
thinking about what does it mean to have fellowship with Christ’s suffering. And most people,
most commentaries will talk to you about our suffering. That we will share his suffering. That
word “fellowship” is partaking. There’s no doubt that this is a good meaning.
We will partake. Our suffering is like partaking with his suffering. When we suffer, we can grow closer to Christ.
In Uzbekistan, I met with a young man who two months ago lost his ten year old daughter and
his father at the same time from some crazy explosion while he was in Budapest. Some
unbelievable story. He had been back in Samarkand but you know, obviously, very distraught.
We met with him. I have no words for him. I don’t know what to say to him. I’m just sitting there.
I’ve known him since he was a teenager. And all I could think about was this verse. I got a
chance to say it to him later. He ended up stickin with us the entire day and coming to church
the next day and even laughing with us. In the end, I did say to him fellowship, fellowship with
You, we, are suffering. There is suffering in our lives and we are not avoiding it. We find Christ.
We find excellency of knowledge in our suffering. There’s a purpose for it. It’s not just chin up,
fight through it. It is, wait a minute. There’s a secret there. There’s a wisdom there. And anytime
anyone ever tells me some kind of story about suffering, this is what I think about. Lord Jesus,
use this to bring this person closer to you. Give them the kind of excellency of knowledge that
you can only get when you suffer. And this is definitely one of the meanings of this verse.
But also, we can make reference to our cross. That this is a reference to our cross, our personal
cross. It’s interesting. The order is reversed. Jesus suffered then died and then was resurrected.
In this verse, it talks about resurrection, suffering, and then dying because that’s how it is for us.
We gain life first. When he was risen, we were risen and we experience a resurrection power
first and we gain Christ and we are found in him and we know him and we have this life in us.
And then God teaches us about suffering and death and a cross life.
But I did have a question about those translations in that it says it’s about his resurrection and
his suffering and his death. And really maybe a third meaning is that we as Christians meditate
on his suffering. It’s about him not about me, what I’m going through and my pain and my cross.
It’s about him.
And I have found this to be true. I have found this to be true when we study, when we read,
when we learn, when we in detail in a hungry way disect every single moment of Christ as he
suffered, I’m telling ya it changes us. It changes us. We weep with him. I don’t pretend to have
any clue. These sufferings were his and his alone. And I don’t even want to pretend that I have
any idea I know what he was talking about or what he was going through. But there is
something that happens to us when Christ stands in the room and shows us his wounds. It’s all
we need in life. It’s all we need. Jesus Christ, show me your wounds. I want to know, I want to
know what happened 2,000 years ago. I want to know what you did that transferred me to you
and brings me closer to you.
There’s no long – I thought about his wounds. And you know, it says my name is graven upon
the palms of his hands. And how is it graven. With what? Ink? Is it – how is my name graven on
the palm of his hand? It is graven with scar tissue. His wounds and my name right there. And I
am so happy to even know a little bit about it and so hungry to know more about it. Our Lord.
Our Jesus Christ and his suffering. Every detail. Every moment becoming a reality to me and
making me closer to him. And dare I say it that we are gaining excellency of knowledge in Jesus
Christ. Wow! What an incredible gift available to me. What an incredible future we have with that
And when will it end? When will we stop gaining knowledge. Never. Will we always be growing
with him and knowing him? I’ve said this a couple times. When I was 30, I didn’t know Jesus at
all. When I was 40, I knew Jesus. I could tell. There’s a difference between 30 and 40. Okay.
This is good. I’m going in the right direction. I turned 50 and I was like holy cow! I know Jesus. I
know this Bible. I know what he said. I know what he did. I know nothing but I know Jesus. I
can’t wait to be 60. Lord, please let me live till 70. Eighty, please. If I gain as much as I did the
first decade and the second decade and the next decade, I don’t care about getting old. I don’t
care about any of the things we lose when we get old. What I will gain is excellency of
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.
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