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

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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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