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  • Writer's pictureFirst Pres Bakerstown

They Were Called Christians by Pastor Jeremy Collins

In his sermon, using Chapter 11 as his focal scripture, Pastor Jeremy Collins explored God’s activity to save sinners from all walks of life and unite them with other disciples of Jesus. Beginning with a personal anecdote about judging others, Pastor Jeremy transitioned to Peter's interaction with Cornelius and the revelations about God's work of salvation with Gentiles. He further investigated the criticism Peter faced from other believers for associating with the uncircumcised Gentiles. Peter effectively defended his actions by recounting his divine vision, ultimately acknowledging that God's grace is available to those outside God’s covenant with Abraham.

Pastor Collins further analyzed the origin of the term 'Christian' and stressed its original use as an identifying term provided by the unbelieving Greeks. The Greek word “christianos” means “those who are from Christ.” A good diagnostic question to ask about our church is this: On what basis would our unbelieving neighbors identify us as people who are from Christ? Continuing his sermon, Jeremy discussed the prevalent issue of divisions within the modern church over things like music preferences, politics, and differing interpretations of scripture. He also urged us to be mindful of our primary focus  - the gospel and the teachings of Jesus. He referred to Ephesians 2:13-16 to strengthen this point, highlighting how Jesus unites believers to himself and one another through faith in Christ.

Concluding the sermon, Jeremy emphasized the need for Christians to actively express their faith through kindness, love, and hospitality towards everyone, including non-believers. He encouraged us to live authentically according to the gospel, imitating Jesus' love and compassion to create a community of faith that makes room for those who seek Christ. Hence, the sermon revolves around overcoming division and promoting love, compassion, and inclusivity in living out the gospel according to our Lord’s terms, not ours.

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