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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One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. Thanks for your prayers. 
I have numerous stories to share but for now, the following came up in every conversation with Iraqi/Syrian refugees:

1 Have tea with us. Or coffee. Or juice. Or something with lots of sugar in it. Or better yet, all of the above.
2 We want peace. We want security. 
3 We hate ISIS. 
4 We just want to go home.
5 Please don't forget us.

Please don't forget them... Father, please bless and protect these Iraqi and Syrian "refugee" children that have already endured so much. Protect their hearts and mind from unfathomable trauma. Plant seeds of hope and vision in their lives. And as we pray for them, teach us how to advocate for them. Amen. "We don't call them refugees. We call them relatives. We don't call them camps but centers. Dignity is so important." -  local Iraqi priest whose church has welcomed many "relatives" to their church's property

It's always a privilege to be invited into peoples' home for tea - even if it's a temporary tent. This is an extended Yezidi family that fled the Mosul, Iraq area because of ISIS. It's indeed true that Christians were targeted by ISIS and thatbstory muat be shared but other minority groups like the Yezidis were also targeted. Some of their heartbreaking stories included the kidnapping of their sister. They shared that their father passed away shortly of a "broken heart." The conversation was emotional but afterwards, we asked each other for permission to take photos. Once the selfies came out, the real smiles came out.

So friends: Pray for Iraq. Pray for the persecuted Church. Pray for Christians, minority groups like the Yezidis who fear they will e completely wiped out in the Middle East,, and Muslims alike who are all suffering under ISIS. Friends: I'm traveling in the Middle East this week - Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Make sure you follow my pics/stories on IG stories). Specifically, I'm here representing @onedayswages to meet, learn, and listen to pastors, local leaders, NGOs, and of course directly from refugees from within these countries - including many from Syria.

For security purposes, I haven't been able to share at all but I'm now able to start sharing some photos and stories. For now, I'll be sharing numerous photos through my IG stories and will be sharing some longer written pieces in couple months when ODW launches another wave of partnerships to come alongside refugees in these areas. Four of us are traveling together also for the purpose of creating a short documentary that we hope to release early next year.

While I'm on my church sabbatical, it's truly a privilege to be able to come to these countries and to meet local pastors and indigenous leaders that tirelessly pursue peace and justice, and to hear directly from refugees. I've read so many various articles and pieces over the years and I thought I was prepared but it has been jarring, heartbreaking,  and gut wrenching. In the midst of such chaos, there's hope but there's also a lot of questions, too.

I hope you follow along as I share photos, stories, and help release this mini-documentary. Please tag friends that might be interested.

Please pray for safety, for empathy, for humility and integrity, for divine meetings. Pray that we listen well; To be present and not just be a consumer of these vulnerable stories. That's my biggest prayer.

Special thanks to @worldvisionusa and @worldrelief for hosting us on this journey. 9/11
Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.

Today, I had some gut wrenching and heart breaking conversations about war, violence, and peacemaking. Mostly, I listened. Never in my wildest imagination did I envision having these conversations on 9/11 of all days. I wish I could share more now but I hope to later after I process them for a few days.

But indeed: Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.
May it be so. Amen. Mount Rainier is simply epic. There's nothing like flying in and out of Seattle.

#mountrainier
#seattle
#northwestisbest

my tweets

  • Boom. Final fishing trip. Grateful. A nice way to end my 3 month sabbatical. #catchandrelease twitter.com/i/web/status/9… || 1 day ago
  • Christians: May we be guided by the Scriptures that remind us, "Seek first the Kingdom of God" and not, "Seek first the kingdom of America." || 1 day ago
  • Every convo with Iraqi/Syrian refugees included: 1 Have tea with us 2 We want peace 3 We hate ISIS 4 We want to go home 5 Don't forget us || 4 days ago
  • Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan to assess @OneDaysWages' partnerships & to film mini-documentary on refugee crisis. So many emotions. || 4 days ago
  • Pray for Mexico. For those mourning loved ones. For those fighting for life - even under rubbles. For rescue workers. Lord, in your mercy. || 4 days ago
  • Don't underestimate what God can do through you. God has a very long history of using foolish and broken people for His purposes and glory. || 6 days ago