Eugene Cho

opposition to the church

I am very much enjoying the process of studying and teaching through the Book of Acts.  It’s taken us several months to get to Chapter 7 which means we’ll be in the Book of Acts for a long time.  Others have asked me for my list of “must teach” books in the Bible since I have a joy for expository narrative style of teaching.  Sometimes, it’s easy for pastors to get too fancy with topics rather than allowing the Scriptures – and the wrestling with Scriptures – to speak for itself.  At least, that/is the case for me if I’m not careful.  

My Top 5:  Genesis, Exodus, Acts, Romans, and one of the Gospels.  Teaching through Genesis revived my personal spiritual journey  and impacted – in a way that I can’t articulate – my leadership as a pastor.

Question: Whether you’re a pastor, educator, or layperson, is there a book in the Bible you’d love to teach through?  Why?

For those that are interested, here’s the sermon from last Sunday on Acts 6:8-15 entitled, “The Rise of the Opposition to the Church.”

 The Church is growing and flourishing but nevertheless experiencing growing pains.  But even while the church is growing by thousands, we see the wisdom and compassion of the early apostles when they pause to listen, survey, and address the concerns of the Hellenist-Jewish community and widows in the early church.

Stephen is amongst the first group of leaders that are selected, equipped, and ordained as deacons to support and care for the widows.  He, like others, are selected because they are full of Spirit and wisdom, and exemplify God’s power in their lives.

Acts 6:8-15 shows the emergence of Stephen’s leadership but also the beginning of the opposition against the Christian church. The church, previously, had “gained the favor of people around them.”  Why the sudden change?  Why did the opposition begin at this point in church history? 

The opposition begins in my interpretation because of two main aspects in this context:  1] the church becomes a viable Threat to the Empire and to the Institution.  People now begin to pay attention.  2] The opposition of the Evil One. 

What I find so interesting and provocative is the people that choose to oppose Stephen and the early church [and in part, continues to be the case].  The opposition comes from religious folks and what’s the disinction between these religious folks that stone Stephen and let’s say…us.

The answer obviously is Jesus.  But it’s not just the truth, theology or orthodoxy of Jesus.  It’s also the life, way, and expression of Jesus which is why I think words and concepts like Grace, Mercy, Compassion, Kindness – shouldn’t just be words.  They must always accompany our Belief in Jesus.

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Filed under: , religion

6 Responses

  1. Eric says:

    Pastor Eugene,

    Really enjoyed the sermon last Sunday. Fairly new and getting used to the style at Quest but appreciates its high view of the Scriptures.

  2. I think we must be on the same preaching schedule… we just finished ch 7 in Acts.

  3. Randall says:

    When is a pastor going to go verse by verse through Song of Solomon?

  4. Saifuddin says:

    BismillaharRahmanirRahim

    as-salaamu ‘alaikum. eugenecho, how are you? I pray you and your loved one are healthy, strong in faith and love for the Messenger of God, Jesus (‘Isa bin Maryam). This was an interesting sermon, good message, who is your teacher or mentor (not sure what you might call it)?

    -Saifuddin

  5. danielktaylor says:

    I just finished Revelation, which was a lot more fun than I thought it would be, and we’re stepping into malechi. Song of Songs is up for exploration next year.

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Window seat. For the win. As leaders, we must not see ministry and family as competing commitments.  We must not sacrifice our marriage and kids for the sake of "ministry." How can we? Loving our families IS ministry & good leadership.

And on a side note, we took this goofy photo for Mother's Day last Sunday at @seattlequest. I was shocked! What in the world happened to our kids? Our 13 year old son blocked four of my shots on the basketball court yesterday. He's since been grounded... I fear that we ask God to move mountains, forgetting that God also wants to move us.

In fact, it's possible that we are that mountain. Time flies. The eldest is wrapping up her 1st year in college and the college tours have begun for the 2nd child. The youngest enters high school in the Fall. Can't say enough about how proud Minhee and I are of the kids - not just of their accomplishments but the people they are and are becoming.

But...man...we can't wait to party it up when we're emptynesters. Party at our house. It's going to be epic. Humbled. Grateful. Mindful of God's grace and faithfulness in my life. It's all grace... It's an unexpected honor to be invited back - even with some mini-drama - to @princetonseminary to receive the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award - exactly 25 years after starting my journey there as a student in 1992. Wow.

Princeton isn't necessarily for everyone. And to say that I loved everything about my experience would be misleading but it was very formative. Ir challenged me to examine why I believed in what I believed. It reminded me that God could handle my questions. It prepared me for a post-Christian context where I am not entitled to be heard but I had to earn the right to be heard, and of course, it taught me that all is good with a Philly cheese steak at Hoagie Haven.

No one is an island to themselves and I am certainly an example of that. Many people - women and men, young and old, and of many backgrounds - prayed, encouraged, mentored, and loved me along the way. Grateful for my professors at seminary, my many classmates, and the numerous fellow staff and co-laborers I've had the privilege of serving Christ with past and present. And of course, I'm forever inspired by my parents, my children, and my wife, Minhee. Thank you for your faith, hope, and love...and oh, for your patience. Only your family will know and see both the best and worst of you. They've seen my worst...and keep on believing in me.

Thank you again, PTS and President Barnes, for this honor. Then, today, and tomorrow...by God's grace, just striving to be faithful to my Lord and Savior...to preach and live out the convictions of the whole Gospel. Amen. So humbled and grateful to be with @catalystleader in Cincinnati to encourage leaders from all around the country about the invitation to Uncommon Fellowship.

Preached from John 4. We can talk, preach, sing, philsophize, liturgize, and spit rhymes about Samaria...but we still have to talk through Samaria.

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