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Saul and Paul

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Embody the New Name
One year ago we changed our name to Reach Church.
I remember when we changed the name, we thought it would take time for the new name to “grow on us.” For us to be comfortable with it. But one of the things we have been saying for the past year is that we don’t really want the name to grow on us, but to grow inside us. We want to become Reach Church. We want to embody our new name. We want to embody the mission of living to reach all people with Nothing But Jesus.
God Changes Names
In the Scriptures, when God was doing a new thing, many times he would change the name of groups of people or individuals.
All the way back in the book of Genesis, when Abram was called, he became Abraham.
Jacob was given the new name Israel.
Jesus changed the name of one of his closest disciples, Simon by giving him the name Peter.
Even the people of God, all through the ages, have been given different names depending on the era of redemptive history.
All the way back in Exodus when they were in bondage to Egypt they were known primarily as the Hebrews, then when they were wandering in the dessert and complaining and saying they wanted to go back to Egypt, they were the Israelites, then during the time of the Kings, they were known as the children of Israel and then the Children of Israel and Judah, when Israel, the Northern Kingdom, was defeated by the Assyrians and Judah, the Southern Kingdom, was eventually defeated by the Babylonians they became known as the Exiles, then they primarily became known as the Jews, after Jesus rose again, those who believed Jesus was the Messiah, were called the way, and finally they became Christians.
Saul Defeated by Jesus
But perhaps the most famous name change in the Scriptures was when a young brilliant Jewish Pharisee named Saul was given the new name Paul. This Jewish Pharisee, Saul, felt he was called to persecute Jews who believed that Jesus was the Messiah, these were Jews part of a growing sect called The Way. So Saul would travel to different locations and would find Jewish people who believed Jesus was the Messiah, who were part of the Way, and he would round them up and kill them. So Saul was on one of these conquests, headed to Damascus, and it was on the road to Damascus, that Jesus appeared to him, the hound of heaven tracked him down, salvation is initiated by God, every time, and asked why Saul had been persecuting him, can you imagine that moment, and it is thought, it is taught it is assumed that it was here at Saul’s conversion that he was given the new name of Paul. Because for the rest of the NT we don’t know Saul as Saul but as Paul.
Only that last part is not accurate at all.
Only that last part is not accurate at all.
Acts 9:1–6 ESV
But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”
But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. 4 And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.6 But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”
Luke Continues to Refer to Him as Saul
Luke Continues to Refer to Him as Saul
Do you see what is missing?
Nowhere does Jesus change Saul’s name to Paul…in fact, Jesus calls him by Saul, and then Luke, the writer of Acts continues to refer to Saul as Saul. And after Saul was converted, he is referred to as Saul for the next three chapters of Acts when he preaches in the Jewish synagogue. Without explanation. It isn’t until , that Luke, who had been brought to Jesus by Saul, begins to refer to Saul as Paul…so is THIS when his name was changed? Let’s look:
Acts 13:9 ESV
But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him
9 But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him
That’s all Luke says. And for the rest of Acts and in all of Paul’s letters, and for all of church history, Paul is referred to AS Paul. It’s very curious. What is going on here?
That’s all Luke says. And for the rest of Acts and in all of Paul’s letters, and for all of church history, Paul is referred to AS Paul. It’s very curious. What is going on here?
Two Names from Birth: Saul (Jewish) and Paulus (Greek/Gentile)
Saul had two names from birth.
His Jewish name was Saul, named after the first King.
And his Greek Name was Paulus, or Paul.
He always had two names.
But in the context of being a Jewish Rabbi, of rounding up Jews who were followers of the way, he was known as Saul. And in fact, up until this point in his life, there would be no reason for him to use the name Paul. He was mired in the Jewish religious sub culture. Insulated.
Saul Embodies Paul
What happened in and for the rest of Paul’s pastoral ministry?
What changed?
He began living to reach ALL people—not just Jews—with Nothing But Jesus.
He started with a missionary journey with Barnabas and of course he would become known as Paul because he left what was comfortable and began sharing Jesus with the Gentiles.
But Paul emerged from Saul…because God was doing a new thing…and left Saul behind. In the same way, Reach Church has emerged from Glasgow Church and has left Glasgow Church behind.
When we talk about the past of Reach Church, how do we refer to it? We are 32 years old as a church. Just one year as Reach Church. When we talk about the past, do we talk about the church being Glasgow Church? Or Reach Church? Functionally, it’s best to just talk about it as Reach Church, but the fact is that we, like Paul, have two names in our history. And just like Paul was Paul and Saul from birth, we have always been Glasgow Church and Reach Church from birth. Reach Church was always there. We have always reached people.
And it isn’t that Reach Church is good and Glasgow Church is bad. Just as Saul isn’t bad and Paul good. They are both good names.
But Paul emerged from Saul…because God was doing a new thing…and left Saul behind. In the same way, Reach Church has emerged from Glasgow Church and has left Glasgow Church behind.
Reach Church has always been with us
And that isn’t a slam on the past…
My Dad, who is our pastor emeritus and was the first senior pastor of Reach Church, ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS had wanted to change the name. I know now that God in his providence caused us to wait until last year because of what God wanted to do. But he always wanted to change it because the old name just told people where the church was and what denomination we are. That is important information, but that is insider stuff. That is churchy stuff. And Reach Church has never been a churchy place.
Reach Church has always been with us
We have always been Reach Church in a bunch of different ways.
Just like Saul had always been Paul.
The question is, will we, like Paul, fully become and embody Reach Church?
Paul embodied Paul in so many ways…but one way was his radical concern for the next generation.
What did it look like for Paul to embody the name Paul?
Saul meant royalty.
Paul meant small.
Reach Church Will Be Safe Place for Vulnerable Relationships
Paul meant little one.
Paul embraced being the little one, being the chief of sinners.
Saul meant royalty. Paul meant little one. Paul embraced being the chief of sinners.
Reach Church will embody Reach Church more and more as we embrace our weaknesses, when we are vulnerable with one another in relationships.
2 Corinthians 9:7–10 ESV
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.
Amazing that God needs our weakness for his power to be made complete.
Amazing that God needs our weakness for his power to be made complete.
Focused on What Was Happening IN him, not TO Him
How? Paul embodied his name because he was focused on what was happening IN him, not TO him.
In other words, Paul wasn’t focused on the circumstances, he wasn’t focused on his rights, on being entitled, what other people had and what he didn’t have, but on what God was doing inside of him. Something that will shape us for all eternity.
Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount,
Matthew 5:3–5 ESV
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Poor in Spirit
The spirit zeroes. Those who know their need for a Savior and for others.
The spirit zeroes. Those who know their need for a Savior and for others.
Paul embraced weakness, he called himself the chief of sinners, if you aren’t the worst sinner you know you don’t know yourself very well.
Martin Luther said, I am just one beggar showing another beggar where I found bread.
Blessed are those that mourn for they will be comforted.
Reach Church has always been a safe place for those who are mourning.
MARK INC and over 60 resources.
Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the Earth.
Meek is not a good translation. What it really means is this: those who have swords and know how to use them but keep them sheathed will inherit the Earth. Huge difference between that kind of meekness and what we typically think of when it comes to meekness.
Paul could bring it…we need to be able to bring it…but we need to know when to hold it back.
Being honest about our struggles.
We will embody Reach Church when we embrace our smallness. When we embrace our weakness. When we are super vulnerable.
And that happens best in the context of small groups. Of relationship.
We have a vision to get every person sitting here into a Reach Group. You need people in your life. Paul had people in his life. But you have to know your need first. Because it is in small groups where mentoring happens. Where the older mentor the younger.
Reach Church will have Radical Concern for Next Generation
Even though our name wasn’t Reach Church, we were indeed Reach Church when God called us to be part of him rescuing Red Lion Christian Academy, we were Reach Church when we started GCA. MARK INC ministries had our annual event this past Friday…do you know we have over 60 resources for the different kinds of pain and trials that people face? I remember when we did our first few—we did the death of a loved one, so we had someone who lost a loved one come in and be interviewed and just talk about help and hope for those who have lost a loved one, and then we did one on cancer, then one on PTSD, and now we have over 60 resources that are sent all over the country. We weren’t called Reach Church when that started, but that ministry was and is radically reaching deep into people’s lives.
Makes a difference in people’s lives.
A lot. But I want to focus on just one this morning.
Reach Church will have Radical Concern for Next Generation
Paul was radically concerned about the next generation. Paul mentored young people. Even when Paul was older he wanted to be with the youth.
2 Timothy 1:1–5 ESV
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, in keeping with the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my dear son:
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 Timothy 4:12 ESV
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
3 I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. 4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
Reach Church will most embody Reach Church when we become radically concerned about reaching the next generation with nothing but Jesus.
12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
Reach Church will most embody Reach Church when we become radically concerned about reaching the next generation with nothing but Jesus.
Think about the day and age in which they are growing up.
Plugged in 24/7.
Travel Ball: Mollie
Travel ball Mom. Looks like it. Ragged. Kids not in church.
Mollie and gymnastics. I think she has come to the end of the line.
They all come to the end of the line.
Covenant Camp—Bringing Back
Call up young adults who grew up in church.
I remember every summer, we did something called covenant camp. How many of you remember that? We would take a bunch of little kids to Sandy Cove, big pool and campground. I was the room leader for five little boys…one was my son Markie…he was only 6 or 7 years old. You stay there for a couple of days…and I remember that for those three days and two nights, NONE of the boys I was overseeing showered, brushed their teeth, when their moms came to pick them up, they were in the same clothes they were in when they had dropped them off a few days before, we ate no healthy food---but they heard the good news of the Gospel in a very serious way…because we were Reach Church then, we were reaching the next generation.
Call up little kids.
We are actually bringing that back this summer…because it is still relevant…I want to highly encourage those of you with little kids to jump on this opportunity. Our children NEED these spiritual high moments to point back to in life when their faith isn’t as strong. Your children, our children, need to go to Covenant Camp.
We will embody our mission of living to reach all people with nothing but Jesus when like Paul we have a radical concern for reaching the next generation.
When I am older I want to enjoy being with the younger kids.
I promised today that if you applied what I am teaching your life will be changed. Parents, if you apply what I am teaching your life will be changed because your children will have a chance of following Jesus.
Reach UD
Always had a Vision for UDE
Reach Church has been in existence for 33 years. During this time, it has always been part of our vision to reach the University of Delaware Campus. The Campus is only ten minutes from the Summit Bridge Road Campus of Reach Church and we have had many alumni as members of Reach Church. I personally benefited from campus ministry through Intervarsity Christian Fellowship when I attended University of Delaware as an undergraduate.
Me Living with Grandparents and About Them
When I attended University of Delaware, I lived with my Grandparents. They owned a large three-story house right on campus, so it was a wonderful opportunity for me to live rent-free. Not only that, but by living with my Grandparents, I stayed connected to the Christian community. My Grandparents were members at Evangelical Presbyterian Church and were also big supporters of Reach Church. More than that, they supported ministries such as Door of Hope and MARK INC and the local Christian Schools. My Grandparents were connected with many local ministries since their construction company had built many of the local churches. My Grandfather was usually the last stop churches would make after they would get frustrated with other architects who would design buildings either too expensive to ever build or unbuildable according to local ordinances.
In other words, by living with my Grandparents, I was not only living rent-free, but I was surrounded with Christian community.
My Grandparents always were helping people. When I was a child, It wasn’t uncommon for them to have a single mom or a troubled teen living with them.
My Grandmother, who was one of the best friends I have ever had, died in 1998. My Grandfather continued to live in the big three-story house, and continued to work with all of his heart until he died in 2012.
Grandfather Work Ethic and Hospital
I remember walking through their house a year or two after my Grandfather died. His office was still a mess...he still had items on his desk dated for the week he died. The man certainly loved his work and served the Lord through it until the day he died. I remember visiting my Grandfather a year or so before he died. He had been taken to the hospital because of shortness of breath.
When I arrived, he was sitting on the edge of the bed, fully clothed, waiting to be released. He had just arrived! He told me this was only the third time he had ever been in the hospital for himself. The first time was when he was taken out of school as an eight year old to have his tonsils removed. That’s the way they did it in the thirties. He went to school, was whisked away by the nurse, in the hospital for several days, no parents anywhere in sight, and then taken back to school, minus his tonsils. The second time was a time that he fell on a glass table and could have died. This was the third time. And he was ready to get out of there. So many lessons to be learned from the Greatest Generation.
The family didn’t want to part with their house because something was telling them that the house was supposed to be used for ministry.
They began renovating it a year ago. They were the first in the city of Newark to receive permission to renovate and use an existing house for the purposes of apartments.
In December of 2017, I heard that the project was nearing completion. I decided to text my Uncle and ask if the house had been rented and what the plan was for it. He said everything would be brand new, the construction of the house was a labor of love, and that he had to put in a parking lot, exterior stair cases, and so much more in order to bring it to code. Just that week, they had begun to market the house as being available for the 2018 school year. I asked him what he thought of the idea of Reach Church renting it and using it as a ministry house. He loved the idea and graciously agreed not to rent the house until our Session had the opportunity to discuss the idea. He also said he felt called to heavily support the effort. Our Session met in January 2018, and unanimously and joyfully approved for Reach Church to rent the house for the next school year for the purpose of providing rent free housing to up to 14 University of Delaware students. So that was in January. We knew we were behind the 8 ball because many of the students already had housing. And it was slow at first. I remember my Uncle asking me if we had buyer’s remorse and I said not at all, I really believed the Lord was in this. But still…we could end up with two kids. But God is in this. I want to invite the Reach UD students on to the stage. God gave us not two, not three, but a full house. We will have 14 students living there this coming school year and being folded into our community here at Reach Church.
Bring Reach UD onstage.
25,000 students, a few hundred if that in campus ministry. Katie and dorm.
More campus ministries are needed.
What if we started a ministry at UDE that could be duplicated at other college campuses?
We will embody Reach Church when we continue to have a radical concern for the next generation and reaching them with Jesus.
But we won’t have anything worth giving them if our faith isn’t deeply personal.
Reach Church is Deeply Personal
Paul’s faith became deeply personal for him.
I think Reach Church is sometime hard to say to others, because Reach Church is deeply personal. It forces an explanation. Reach Church? What is that?
Our first name, as I said earlier, just said where the church was, what tribe we belong to…that is easy to say. That doesn’t require any vulnerability. That doesn’t tell your friends much about your church except where it is and what tribe it belongs to.
But Reach Church? That is a bit more personal.
And that is missing in Christianity today. Many times it seems that Christianity is anything but personal. That it is anything and everything BUT Jesus.
Christless Trinity
God the Vague God
God the Vague Lord
And God the Christian sub-culture.
Living to reach all people with Nothing But Jesus. That is deeply personal.
NBJ Approach to Trinity
God the Son is Jesus
God the HS is the HS of…Jesus. I will send you MY HS. Remind us of what Jesus did for us.
God the Father becomes approachable because of Jesus. Because Jesus isn’t the jealous older brother and judgmental brother of the Prodigal Son story, but Jesus is the true, gracious, unconditionally loving older brother who brings us to his Father. No man comes to the Father except through me.
Paul was about NBJ.
1 Corinthians 2:2 ESV
For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
We will truly embody Reach Church and become reach Church when we become deeply personal about Jesus. When it becomes real.
We will truly embody Reach Church and become reach Church when we become deeply personal about Jesus. When it becomes real.
It was deeply personal for Paul…
Lord=Jesus
Acts 9:3–5 ESV
Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
I love that Paul was defeated not by a vague God, a vague voice from Heaven. But by Jesus. Who are you Lord? I am Jesus.
3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. 4 And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
I love that Paul was defeated not by a vague God, a vague voice from Heaven. But by Jesus. Who are you Lord? I am Jesus.
And Paul would be all about Jesus for the rest of his life. And why wouldn’t he be? He had seen Jesus. He had been called by Jesus.
Paul was radically committed not to a vague God, not to a vague Lord, but to a deeply personal Jesus. I said earlier that the earliest Christians were most concerned with Jesus being the Messiah, but Paul took it much deeper.
Paul was radically committed not to a vague God, not to a vague Lord, but to a deeply personal Jesus. I said earlier that the earliest Christians were most concerned with Jesus being the Messiah, but Paul took it much deeper.
Son of God
Acts 9:20 ESV
And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”
Woa. Son of God? Deity.
20 At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.
Woa. Son of God? Deity.
We will embody Reach Church when our faith becomes deeply personal.
Melanie and Quiet Time
How?
I have shared this with you before. My wife gets up every morning and spends an hour, sometimes more, in the word. She doesn’t tell anybody. I do, but she doesn’t. She is bathing herself in Nothing But Jesus. She has gone through several Bibles that are worn out. She has one worn out Bible for each of our four children. She has told me that she can’t imagine going through a day without that time with Jesus. She said it would be like not eating actual food to not spend that time.
Imagine if our entire congregation was spending that time with Jesus. What would our marriages be? Our children? Our witness to others? Our love for others? Our ability to reach the next generation with NBJ?
SKIP TO HERE
Reach Church Going Out to the World
I said earlier that this message could change your life.
We need to take Reach Church to different areas of our region, and eventually the country and the world. We need Nothing But Jesus churches.
China missionary and reaching entire south.
The message of NBJ needs to go out from here.
HAPPY LIFE
Some of you young people, that next generation, may be called to the ministry, but if you aren’t going to be a NBJ person, don’t bother. Please don’t bother. We don’t need anymore Law and Vague God pastors. We need those who will say with Paul, I want to know NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING among you but Jesus Christ and him crucified. And that leads me to a big announcement.
Huge Announcement
I shared over email and social media this morning that we have a huge and exciting announcement about a brand-new ministry. And before I share what this is…I want you to know that this is happening. It will sound crazy…it will sound way out there…but I really believe it is going to happen and I believe it is going to eventually reach thousands to teach them about NBJ.
As you know, we currently have five preK-12 schools with over 1300 students. I am pleased to announce that we will be launching our sixth educational center in 2019…only this will not be a preK-12 school…instead we are well on our way to launching Reach College.
Reach College
Bring Tim on stage.
1. What is the vision?
2. What about the seminary?
3. Faculty.
4. Our property.
God is doing a new thing here at Reach Church. Older people—your role is to be Paul. To mentor. To pour into them.
Just as he has always done here at Reach Church for 33 years.
Isaiah 43:18–19 ESV
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Philippians 3:13–14 ESV
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

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