Preached by Evan Stewart and Cortney Kluver (00:37)
In uncertain times, do you sometimes feel like you’re on the fight? Fighting for your job, your family, your community, or country? It’s tiring, frustrating, and disheartening. You want to do something, but you don’t know what you can do to solve any of these problems. God says to praise Him to overcome fear and worry, but what good is it for anyone of us to hear that praise is the weapon of our fight?
King Jehoshaphat learned the purpose of praise when Jerusalem was surrounded by a vast army. Outnumbered, outflanked, and out of time, he turned to God and praised God before he took action. God told the army to get battle ready and head to the front line, but to wait and watch for Him to move first. They marched to the battle field, praising God as they went, and when they arrived the battle was already over and won. Through praise, the King and his people were reminded that God is on the throne and he is for them not against them.
Praise puts God back on the throne in our hearts and minds. The outcome of any problem may not be the one we envisioned, but through praise we set our minds back on the real prize; God. Through praise the peace of God fills us. Do you want peace in troubled times? Then turn up the praise.
The first community of Christians were known to their opponents as “followers of The Way”. Today, Christians are known by a lot of different group names, but we are still followers of “The Way”. If you are not following what Jesus described as “the way”, then you are not a Christian. There is great room for differences of opinion, culture, and choice within Christianity (contrary to popular opinion), but at it’s core Christianity is the proclamation of “the Way, the Truth, and the Life”, the way to God who is Jesus Christ.
There is a set of boundaries defining “the Way” that Jesus walked and calls his students to walk, and when we ignore what Jesus taught then we stop following the Way and start walking a way; and “a way” doesn’t lead to where Jesus is.
Scripture References: Acts 9:2, 20; Matt 7:13-14; John 14:6
The royal treasurer of Ethiopia heard about Jesus, he understood the way to salvation, and then he asked Philip, “Why can’t I be baptized?”
The Ethiopian was a religious man, he traveled across the continent from Northern Africa to Jerusalem to learn about the God of the Jews. Yet, he wasn’t a Christian just by studying the prophets and praying at the Temple. He wanted to honor and obey God, but he didn’t yet know the Son of God. He became a Christian when he trusted in Jesus as the Son of God. That day, the Ethiopian heard and responded to Jesus the person, not Jesus the religious system. The first fruit of the Ethiopian’s decision was his question, “Look, there’s some water! Why can’t I be baptized?”
Philip showed him that there was nothing stopping him from being baptized. He declared his faith that Jesus is the Son of God and he responded in the first step of obedience Jesus expects; baptism in water.