Chicago Fire

A Good and Gracious Father

good and gracious father

He wants you home

The Situation

Tax collectors and sinners are gathering around to hear Jesus.  The Pharisees and scribes of the law are grumbling that Jesus welcomes and eats with sinners.  Jesus tells them three parables back to back (showing God’s patience through the ministry of repetition and reminders) dealing with lost things being found: a sheep, then a coin, and lastly a son.  The third parable of the father and two sons is only found in Luke. This last parable depending on different translations is titled “The parable of the lost son” or “The prodigal son”.

The Word of God

Luke 15:11-31
“And he said, "There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.' And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. "But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants."' And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, 'Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.' And they began to celebrate. "Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, 'Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.' But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, 'Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!' And he said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'"”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭15:11-32‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The Point

Our Heavenly Father ALWAYS has desired restored relationship with sinners since the first sin in the Garden of Eden where He then also sought and found the lost Adam and Eve hiding, naked and ashamed. Once He finds us and we submit to Him he then clothes us, feeds us, and empowers us.  He goes to great lengths to restore that relationship, even being misunderstood, humiliated, hated, despised, and blasphemed.

  1. There is one Father, one home, and one way home

  2. We are ALL prodigals: dead, lost, blind, and naked (God hands all over to that He may have mercy on them all)

    1. The question is whether we are aware of being dead and lost?

      1. 2 Corinthians 4:3-6

        1. “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

      2. How loud do you have to scream to wake up a dead man? It’s a miracle!

      3. Has your current lifestyle become sickening to you yet?  Have you come to such a place of need that your eyes have been opened that you need to go back to your heavenly Father’s house?  Until you are desperate, repentance won’t be yours.

        1. 1 John 2:15-17 ESV

          1. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

          2. The world is passing away, in a famine, so come home now.  Today is the day of salvation.

    2. Father God desires us all to come home

      1. The parable is left open ended with no response from the bitter older son on purpose to display the Father’s desire for the self righteous son to repent and come back home to the celebration from the village.

    3. You are not too far away from home (he went to a far country)

      1. It doesn’t matter how far you think you’ve gone.  Home with your Heavenly Father is only as far away as repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

    4. Your sin, your reckless living, your abandonment of God and His ways  and His people is not unforgivable

      1. Unless you say it is.  The only unforgivable sin is to reject the savior!

  3. The Father and all of heaven CELEBRATES when one sinner repents, trusts in Jesus, and comes home.

    1. Heaven is now among us and is still coming.

      1. Matthew 6:10 ESV

        1. “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

      2. Matthew 4:17 ESV

        1. “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

      3. Luke 17:20-21 ESV

        1. “Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, "The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There!' for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you."”

The Father draws us by His Spirit to Jesus so we may find our way home.

Jesus is the Father in the flesh sent to us to reveal the Father’s will, the Father’s heart, and provide the way back to the Father.  Jesus is the Father’s ‘Good Shepherd’ sent to find and bring home is lost.

  • John 6:44-45 ESV

    • “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, 'And they will all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—”

Our Response

Come home by repenting of our sin, and believing the good news of the Father’s provision for us to come through the life, death, burial and resurrection of his one perfect son Jesus Christ.

More scriptures to meditate on

Matthew 6:1-8 (The Father sees us in secret and rewards us openly)

1 John 3:1
See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God.

John 14:1-11 (Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father)

John 16:2-27 ESV (The Father loves me and listens to me because of Jesus)
"I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.”

John 3:16 ESV
For God so loved the world, He gave His only Son so that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.

Luke 19:1-10 ESV
“He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today." So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, "He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner." And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold." And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."”


What does it say?

Jesus is telling the third parable in a row dealing with lost things being found and the ensuing celebration that follows. All three parables were being told to the Pharisees who were grumbling because Jesus was ‘receiving sinners and eating with them’.  The tax collectors and ‘sinners’ were also listening in.

The parable says one man, a wealthy landowner, had two sons.  The younger son told his father to give him his share third of his inheritance now instead of waiting until his father died.  The son was most likely a teenager as he was not married. The father did not insist on his own way but gave his son a free will and allowed him to go his own way.  The father divided the inheritance and gave it to his son. The inheritance most likely consisted of land, cattle, sheep, and other items that the son had to convert to cash to be able to travel.  The son hung around for not many days before he left on a journey to a far country. In this far country he squandered his inheritance on reckless living which included prostitutes. The son spent everything he had.  At the same time he went broke a severe famine struck the country and he was in dire need. He started looking for a job and found one feeding pigs for a Gentile citizen of that country. While working this job he was starving so much he wanted to eat the pigs food.  No one showed him any charity. The despair of the situation brought clarity and he realized that even the servants in his fathers house had plenty of food to eat. He decided to leave the far country and return back to his fathers house where it would be better to be a servant that’s well fed than a free man starving in that far country.  He rehearsed his speech to his Father how he realized he had sinned against heaven and his father and realized also that he was no longer worthy to be called a son, but would still like to be in the house as a servant. When he went back to his father’s house his father must have been waiting and looking for him because when the son was a long way off the father saw him.  Moved with compassion the father ran to him, embraced and kissed him. The son tried to recite his speech confessing sin and not being worthy to be called a son but the father cut him off and immediately had the servants bring the best robe, a ring, and shoes for him. He also had them bring the fattened calf to kill and start a celebration of the sons return. The father didn’t label the son as rebellious, but as dead and alive and found.

The older brother was working in the field when he heard the party raging.  He asked the servants what was happening who told him that his brother had returned and the father had killed the fattened calf and started a celeration.  The older son was angry and refused to go to the party. The father came out to the older son to entreat him to come in but the older son angrily in self righteousness rebuked his father for injustice, not every rewarding him for his hard work and dedication. The older son spoke poorly of his brother reminding his father of the younger son sins, all the while not even acknowledging him as a ‘brother’ but only as his father’s son. The father kindly reminded his older son that he has him (the father) and that all he owns is his, and that celebrating and being glad is the proper thing to do because his son was dead and lost, and now is alive and found.

What does it say about God?

God is wealthy.

God is a father who has more than one child.

God is kind and patient. (Did not ‘flip out’ at the sons ultimately disrespectful request)

God gives us free will and allows us to make our own choices and suffer our own consequences.  He did not chase after the son.

God is not easily angered or offended.

God has a pleasant and prosperous household andHe takes very good care of his servants as they had more than enough bread.

God is ALWAYS  watching over us, looking for us to return home.

God FEELS COMPASSION for his dead and lost children. (The embrace is closeness and the kiss signifies forgiveness)

God QUICKLY restores a child returning home with high quality gifts to meet their needs for body and soul (the best robe which was probably the father’s robe and shoes) and that display their restoration to sonship (the family signet ring which would allow the son to approve family transactions)

God SHOWS his compassion with displays of affection and love. (Embraces and kisses)

God has been PREPARING for my return (the intentionally fattened calf)

God raises the dead and finds the lost.

God and his heavenly hosts party when sinners repent. (The calf could feed a whole village, so this is a public affair)

God now goes after the rebellious and the religious.  Both sons

What does it say about me?

I am spoiled

I am rude.

I am disrespectful.

I am self absorbed.

I am reckless.

I am a victim of my bad decisions.

I am stupid.

I am prideful.

I am forgetful.

I have needs that drive me.

I am a refugee on earth, I am not home yet.

I have the capacity for repentance and returning.

I don’t have to stay in my situation.

I am loved by my father.

I am pitied by my father.

I am served by my father.

I am provided for by my father.

I am celebrated by my father.

I am defended by my father.

What does it say about the world around me?

The world is not my home.

The world is not trying to help me.

The world is using me.

The world is full of ways to be reckless.

The world can not control me.

The world doesn't take care of it’s servants (contrast the father’s servants)

The world is ruled by Satan who came to only kill, steal, and destroy.

What do I do?

Believe the good news that God WANTS to be my Father and desires me.

Change my mind about my life’s direction, stop serving myself and the world, accept Jesus sacrifice for my sin, and go home to my Father.

Receive the Father’s blessing of restored relationship, status as a son, and heavenly authority to serve him as an empowered servant son.

CELEBRATE praising our good, gracious, Heavenly Father!

Second City Church - A Good and Gracious Father - Pastor Cole Parleir 2019

Chicago Fire - Jesus and a Church Bringing Life to the Dead

Chicago Fire Sermon Series

Chicago Fire: Jesus and a Church Bringing Life to the Dead

  1. The Challenge of Modern Stoicism

  2. Christ’s Power to Resurrect the Dead

The Challenge of Modern Stoicism

We repeat instruction because it is repeated in Scripture.

It is a safeguard (Philippaians 3:1; II Peter 1:12-15; I John 2:21)

Those who start strong but fizzle in the end do so because they do not employ the ways of the Lord

Acts 20:1-6
After the uproar ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them, he said farewell and departed for Macedonia. When he had gone through those regions and had given them much encouragement, he came to Greece. There he spent three months, and when a plot was made against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. Sopater the Berean, son of Pyrrhus, accompanied him; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy; and the Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus. These went on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas, but we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days.

"By flooding the consciousness with gnawing unpleasantness, pain provides a temporary relief from the burdens of self-awareness," researchers who investigated the phenomenon are quoted as saying. "Pain helps consumers create the story of a fulfilled life." -Inc. Magazine article Jack Dorsey Just Said He Sometimes Doesn't Eat for Days. Why Do So Many Founders Like to Torture Themselves?

There's one more possible explanation for the extreme behavior of a strikingly high percentage of successful founders, which comes from the New York Times' Nellie Bowles. Many of these fans of extreme self-deprivation, she points out, are equally enthusiastic followers of the ancient philosophical school of stoicism (though not Dorsey, at least not publicly), which "argued that the only real treasures in life were inner virtues, like self-mastery and courage."

If you're rich and bored and have it all, the only thing left to strive for may be the discipline to not eat or walk barefoot in the snow.

But from Roman times on up to today stoicism has also always been a favorite philosophy of the elite. At least in part that may be because of its relentlessly inward focus. It calls on the individual to shape him or herself to be better, not to shape the world to be better.

"Stoics believed that everything in the universe is already perfect and that things that seem bad or unjust are secretly good underneath. The philosophy is handy if you already believe that the rich are meant to be rich and the poor meant to be poor," Bowles writes.

Christ’s Power to Resurrect the Dead

Acts 20:7-16
On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered. And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed. And they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted. But going ahead to the ship, we set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul aboard there, for so he had arranged, intending himself to go by land. And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and went to Mitylene. And sailing from there we came the following day opposite Chios; the next day we touched at Samos; and the day after that we went to Miletus. For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia, for he was hastening to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost.

Second City Church - Chicago Fire - Pastor Rollan Fisher 2019

Chicago Fire - Jesus and a Church for All Seasons

Chicago Fire Sermon Series

Chicago Fire: Jesus and a Church for All Seasons 

Life is a journey traveled out in seasons. The ups and downs of life will come. Times of celebratory victories and fiery trials will come. God is an ever present leader, help and guide during each of these seasons. His church is a ship he has designed to sail through all seasons.

Acts 19:21-41
Now after these events Paul resolved in the Spirit to pass through Macedonia and Achaia and go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.” And having sent into Macedonia two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while. About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way. For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen. These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship.” When they heard this they were enraged and were crying out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” So the city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed together into the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul's companions in travel. But when Paul wished to go in among the crowd, the disciples would not let him. And even some of the Asiarchs, who were friends of his, sent to him and were urging him not to venture into the theater. Now some cried out one thing, some another, for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together. Some of the crowd prompted Alexander, whom the Jews had put forward. And Alexander, motioning with his hand, wanted to make a defense to the crowd. But when they recognized that he was a Jew, for about two hours they all cried out with one voice, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” And when the town clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, “Men of Ephesus, who is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great Artemis, and of the sacred stone that fell from the sky? Seeing then that these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash. For you have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor blasphemers of our goddess. If therefore Demetrius and the craftsmen with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls. Let them bring charges against one another. But if you seek anything further, it shall be settled in the regular assembly. For we really are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion.” And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly.

Who was Artemis and what did she represent that was worshiped?

The economic and social impact of the gospel.

The church allows you to avoid the trappings of “group think”.

Understanding the things and principalities worshiped in our culture will help you navigate and stand for the unchanging truth of the gospel in the midst of shifting tides.

From people who are believing for children to new parents to empty nesters; from those starting careers to being in the middle of life-altering job transitions, to retirement, God has his church to remind you of his person, his purpose and his provision for you.

In every season, God gives you his church to be strengthened in the:

Person of God (i.e. - his comfort and faithfulness as you wait on children; his protection as you look to overcome sin)

Purpose of God (i.e. - when you’re sorting through life direction)

Provision of God (i.e. - when you’re looking for a spouse)

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” – Martin Luther King Jr

How do we live with such a mentality?

Romans 12:9-21
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Jesus went to the cross to take the punishment for our sin. It shows us that he is familiar with suffering. He rose from the dead victoriously to give us the hope of forgiveness as we turn from our sin to the joy of new/eternal life in him. In whatever season you find yourself, he has given you his church with which to walk out this gift.

Second City Church - Chicago Fire - Pastor Rollan Fisher 2019

Chicago Fire - Jesus and a Church Known By the Lord

Chicago Fire Sermon Series

Chicago Fire: Jesus and a Church Known By the Lord 

We need Holy Spirit power and the authority of Jesus to drive out evil because we are facing down demonic powers on a daily basis.  You may see the enemy binding people in your city, your home, your workplace or even your own soul.  God wants to deliver.  Christ came to destroy the works of the devil to set you, people, cities and nations free by the power of the cross and God’s resurrection gospel.  He has called his people to usher in this freedom. 

It’s Not About What You Know, It’s Who You Know

Acts 19:11-20
And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.

Desire to grow in the authority of Christ. 

People say, “But I feel so weak, so I’ll-equipped, so unworthy...”

“The biblical model is that God deliberately chooses imperfect vessels - those who have been wounded, those with physical or emotional limitations.  Then he prepares them to serve and sends them out with their weaknesses still evident, so that his strength can be made perfect in that weakness.”  

- Christine Caine

Our culture suffers today because of the idolatry of self and independent calling.  Many are whipped by the devil like the sons of Sceva because they are both formulaic in their ministry rather than relational, and disconnected from the body of Christ from which we are to derive the Lord’s strength.  

The only way to walk in the power of God exemplified in Acts is to first have an intimate walk with Jesus and be full of the Holy Spirit.  The believers were baptized in the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. They were then filled repeatedly with joy, boldness to be witnesses, skill to reap a harvest of souls and authority to push back the Kingdom of darkness in their everyday lives (Acts 4:8, 31; 7:55; 13:45, 52...). 

What does it look like to be this in tune with Jesus?

deer longing for water

Devote yourself to being close to Jesus. 

Mark 3:13-15
And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons.

It is not a matter of time so much as a matter of heart; if you have the heart to pray, you will find the time.

- Charles Spurgeon

*Don’t get used to footholds of the enemy in your life from which God wants to deliver you.  

You will never know the fullness of Christ until you know the emptiness of everything but Christ.

- Charles Spurgeon

It’s Not About Who You Think You Know, It’s Who Knows You

Determine to be known by God. 

1 Corinthians 8:1-3 
Now concerning  food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.

Knowledge has its limits (Deuteronomy 29:29; I Corinthians 13:8-13).  Faith, hope, love and obedience can be ever increasing. 

Satan can fill your heart as surely as God the Holy Spirit can (John 13:27; Acts 5:3).  You must be on guard.  Walk in the ways of God with and through your local church body.

Matthew 7:15-23 
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

You are known by God when you repent of your sin, walk with Jesus, love him and obey his commands.  This is proven when you are knit together and serve Christ faithfully in and through his church.  This is when you come into alignment with God’s will, increase in his authority and become known to the enemy because you join Christ and his people in his Kingdom advance.  In Christ, we are always led in triumphal procession (II Corinthians 2:12-16) and have the eternal victory by his resurrection from the dead.  

Second City Church - Chicago Fire - Pastor Rollan Fisher 2019

Chicago Fire - Jesus and a Church With More To Learn

Chicago Fire Sermon Series

Chicago Fire: Jesus and a Church With More To Learn

  • A Matter of Perspective 

  • A Matter of Exposure

A Matter of Perspective

Acts 18:24-28 
Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.

How big things can seem in our youth 

Psalm 37:23-26 
The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand. I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing.

The immensity of the trial is felt in proportion to your present capacity (think weight lifting).  God uses it to grow and strengthen you (Romans 5:5-8)

Experience Brings a Weight of the Glory of God

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, and Other 

A Matter of Exposure

Acts 19:1-10 
And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John's baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. There were about twelve men in all. And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus. This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.

The person of the Holy Spirit 

Summer Reading List:

  1. The God I Never Knew by Robert Morris

  2. Surprised by the Power of the Spirit by Jack Deere 

  3. Holy Fire by RT Kendall

Amongst other things, we see here that the Holy Spirit has a role in testifying to the crucified, risen Christ, filling people with boldness to preach, convicting men and women of their sin, opening their eyes to the truth of the gospel through signs, wonders and miracles and conforming people to the image of Jesus.

John 16:4-15 
4 But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you. “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Second City Church - Chicago Fire - Pastor Rollan Fisher 2019

Chicago Fire - A heritage of faith in Jesus Christ

Chicago Fire Sermon Series

Chicago Fire: A heritage of faith in Jesus Christ

Main Scripture

Acts 16:1-5 ESV

Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. 2 He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. 3 Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.

2 Timothy 1:1-7

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus,

2 To Timothy, my beloved child:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

3 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. 4 As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. 5 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. 6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

The Point

God uses family relationships and dynamics to bless the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ while filling our relational needs.

  1. We receive the blessing God wants us to have through honoring the parents He has sovereignly given to us.    

    1. Exodus 20:12 ESV

      1. “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”

    2. A natural honor leads to supernatural heritage of faith, and God’s manifest presence and favor..

  2. We receive the blessing God wants us to have through honoring the leaders He sovereignly given us

    1. Hebrews 13:17-18 ESV

      1. “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.18 Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things.”

  3. We walk in blessing by the support of family members

    1. Acts 18:9-11 ESV

      1. “And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” 11 And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.”

We interpret this in natural and we also interpret this in the spiritual.  Timothy received the faith of Christ we believe either through his grandmother Lois or mother Eunice.  What was a natural relationship led to a supernatural salvation of Timothy and all that would believe the message of Christ through Timothy.

Who are some people God uses to get a supernatural heritage of faith in God and trust in Jesus Christ to us?

  1. Parents

  2. Step-parents

  3. Adopted parents

  4. Foster parents

  5. Guardians

  6. “God” parents

  7. Grandparents

  8. Teacher

  9. Preacher

  10. Prophet

Exodus 20:12 ESV

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”

What does it mean to “honor your father and your mother”?

  1. The word honor in Hebrew means to ‘treat someone with proper respect due to the person and their role”

  2. How we treat our earthly and spiritual parents reveals our heart toward our Heavenly Father and Jesus as Lord

What does the promise “that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you” mean?

  1. Peace with God as He is rooting you more and more in Christ and His kingdom

  2. Favor from God as He gives you more spiritual fruit (He who is faithful with little will be faithful with much)

  3. Treasure in Heaven as you prepare for His kingdom coming

How do we show this God commanded, Holy Spirit led proper respect to our biological and spiritual parents?

    1. Treat parents with deference, be submissive

      1. Ex 21:15

        1. “Whoever strikes his father or his mother shall be put to death.”

          1. don’t fight with them

      2. Ex 21:17

        1. “Whoever curses his father or his mother shall be put to death.”

          1. don’t curse them.

      3. Luke 2:49-51 ESV (Jesus as a child deferred to the parents God gave him)

        1. And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?” 50 And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. 51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.

      4. Eph 6:1-3 ESV (Paul commanded deference)

        1. Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”

      5. 1 Tim 5:1-2 ESV (treat older women as mothers and encourage them, not rebuking them)

        1. Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.

    2. Providing for them and looking after them in their old age

      1. Proverbs 3:9 ESV (it honors the Lord)

        1. Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.

        2. Honoring the Lord comes with a blessing as does honoring our parents

      2. Mark 7:9-16 ESV (Jesus equates honor with financial help)

        1. 9 And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 11 But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)[d]— 12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13 thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.” 14 And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.”

      3. 1 Tim 5:3-8 ESV (we should provide for our parents in their distress)

        1. Honor widows who are truly widows. 4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God. 5 She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, 6 but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives. 7 Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach. 8 But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

A Mom and Wife as the personification and capstone of wisdom

Proverbs 31

The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him:

2 What are you doing, my son? What are you doing, son of my womb?

   What are you doing, son of my vows?

3 Do not give your strength to women,

   your ways to those who destroy kings.

4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel,

   it is not for kings to drink wine,

   or for rulers to take strong drink,

5 lest they drink and forget what has been decreed

   and pervert the rights of all the afflicted.

6 Give strong drink to the one who is perishing,

   and wine to those in bitter distress;

7 let them drink and forget their poverty

   and remember their misery no more.

8 Open your mouth for the mute,

   for the rights of all who are destitute.

9 Open your mouth, judge righteously,

   defend the rights of the poor and needy.

The Woman Who Fears the Lord

10 An excellent wife who can find?

   She is far more precious than jewels.

11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,

   and he will have no lack of gain.

12 She does him good, and not harm,

   all the days of her life.

13 She seeks wool and flax,

   and works with willing hands.

14 She is like the ships of the merchant;

   she brings her food from afar.

15 She rises while it is yet night

   and provides food for her household

   and portions for her maidens.

16 She considers a field and buys it;

   with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.

17 She dresses herself with strength

   and makes her arms strong.

18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.

   Her lamp does not go out at night.

19 She puts her hands to the distaff,

   and her hands hold the spindle.

20 She opens her hand to the poor

   and reaches out her hands to the needy.

21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,

   for all her household are clothed in scarlet.

22 She makes bed coverings for herself;

   her clothing is fine linen and purple.

23 Her husband is known in the gates

   when he sits among the elders of the land.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them;

   she delivers sashes to the merchant.

25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,

   and she laughs at the time to come.

26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,

   and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

27 She looks well to the ways of her household

   and does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;

   her husband also, and he praises her:

29 “Many women have done excellently,

   but you surpass them all.”

30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,

   but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,

   and let her works praise her in the gates.

The Prayer

Heavenly Father help us receive the heritage of faith from Abraham, to David, to Jesus, to Barnabus, to Paul, to Timothy, and eventually to us.  Let this faith in the risen Christ dwell in us and work in us to love and honor you our Heavenly Father as well as the mothers and fathers you have given us.  In Jesus name amen.

Invitation to follow Jesus

The Rich Young Ruler

18 And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” 21 And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27 But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” 28 And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.” 29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers[b] or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.

Second City Church - Chicago Fire - Pastor Cole Parleir 2019

Chicago Fire - Jesus and a Church Submitted to His Will

Chicago Fire Sermon Series

Chicago Fire: Jesus and a Church Submitted to His Will

In our own minds, we all have hopes and dreams - plans for your family, children, career, ministry, and life. 

But somewhere along the road, we’re all thrown curveballs, diversions to the roadmap we were laying out for ourselves.

Do these feelings sound familiar?: 

Frustration, dissatisfaction, anger, lack of contentment.  

Moving forward in faith with holy ambition 


Being disgruntled and discontent

Why do we so often end up in the latter?

*Knowing God’s will and submitting to his will are two different things.  Knowing God’s will involves being aware of HIS objectives and goals (whose are you following today, HIS or your own?). 

Submitting to God’s will involves process, timing and circumstances we would not have chosen for ourselves, but in the wisdom and sovereignty of God, are necessary for our development and his glory.  

Knowing God’s Will 

Submitting to God’s Will

Knowing God’s Will

Acts 18:18-23 
After this, Paul stayed many days longer and then took leave of the brothers and set sail for Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had cut his hair, for he was under a vow. And they came to Ephesus, and he left them there, but he himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. When they asked him to stay for a longer period, he declined. But on taking leave of them he said, “I will return to you if God wills,” and he set sail from Ephesus. When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church, and then went down to Antioch. After spending some time there, he departed and went from one place to the next through the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.

Paul knew the will of the Lord by (Acts 13):

  1. The Word of God

“Your call will become clear as as your mind is transformed by the reading of Scripture and the internal work of God's Spirit. The Lord never hides His will from us. In time, as you obey the call first to follow, your destiny will unfold before you. The difficulty will lie in keeping other concerns from diverting your attention.”

Swindoll Charles R.

2. The Holy Spirit directing through times of worship, fasting and prayer 

3. Christ-ordained confirmation through God-given and vetted counsel. 

It’s an issue of Control vs. Confidence (Trust) in the Lord

Proverbs 16:1,3,9 
The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. 
Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

Submitting to God’s Will

“If you aren't vigilant, if you aren't daily humbling yourself before Him, seeking His face, discerning His timing, operating under the Spirit's control, you may push and shove and force your way prematurely into that place where God wanted you, but you will not have arrived in His own time.”

Charles R. Swindoll, Moses: A Man of Selfless Dedication

Job 42:1-6 

Then Job answered the Lord and said: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”

“God doesn't work on our timetable. He has a plan that He will execute perfectly and for the highest, greatest good of all, and for His ultimate glory.”

Charles R. Swindoll

God’s plans vs. Our Own




We know in part and we prophesy in part 

(I Corinthians 13)

“To be a follower of the Crucified means, sooner or later, a personal encounter with the cross. And the cross always entails loss.”

-Elisabeth Elliot

Joseph (Genesis 37-50)

Disappointment, discouragement and disillusionment are the result when we project our plans onto God’s.  

“You and I can become so dedicated to the will of God, we can be so driven by a false sense of purpose, that we might inadvertently take matters into our own hands and leave God completely out of the loop.”

Charles R. Swindoll, Moses: A Man of Selfless Dedication

Fruitfulness, Joy and Longevity result when we make faith-filled plans, trusting God and submitting to his will

When the Lord makes it clear you're to follow Him in this new direction, focus fully on Him and refuse to be distracted by comparisons with others.

Swindoll Charles R.

Be fruitful while you wait (through your church)

snow white and dwarfs working

snow white and dwarfs working

Acts 18:22-23 

When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church, and then went down to Antioch. After spending some time there, he departed and went from one place to the next through the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.

How not to miss the will of God: 

***Counsel and the will of God!!

Who will you let into the decision-making part of your world?

Proverbs 24:5-6 
A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might, for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.

Paul eventually ended up back in Ephesus, where he would minister for almost three years (Acts 19:1-10) and through his ministry, the entire province of Asia would come to hear the gospel.  He had to submit to God’s process and timing for this to be done, while moving forward with faith-filled plans in the light of his then present revelation. 

Our Posture: We advance (with the gospel) by faith

The Result: Increasing fruit and fruitfulness wherever the Lord wills

“I am Thy servant to do Thy will, and that will is sweeter to me than position or riches or fame, and I choose it above all things on Earth or in Heaven.”

A.W. Tozer

Second City Church - Chicago Fire - Pastor Rollan Fisher 2019

Chicago Fire - Jesus and a Church of Eternal Friendships

Chicago Fire Sermon Series

Chicago Fire: Jesus and a Church of Eternal Friendships

We all want friendships that will last.  People with whom we will experience love, loss, devotion, care and mutual concerns are naturally one of our greatest desires.  We’ve all experienced these relationships to varying degrees, but eventually, you ask, “What’s the point of it all?”  Is the point of friendship just to have another barbecue or share another Pinterest post together?  Though these things are good, they are not the full extent of God’s plan. 

For the Faith

For the Trial

For the Purposes of God

Acts 18:1-17 
After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. And he went to see them, and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade. And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks. When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” And he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. His house was next door to the synagogue. Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized. And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal, saying, “This man is persuading people to worship God contrary to the law.” But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or vicious crime, O Jews, I would have reason to accept your complaint. But since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves. I refuse to be a judge of these things.” And he drove them from the tribunal. And they all seized Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal. But Gallio paid no attention to any of this.

For the Faith

We all need people who will stand with us as we look to grow in the knowledge, grace and life of God.  This is what gives friendship its foundation

Emerson said, Do you love me? means Do you see the same truth?-Or at least, "Do you care about the same truth?

C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

There is a difference between carnal companionship and God ordained friendship. We should yearn for the latter, the greater. 

Friendship arises out of mere Companionship when two or more of the companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which the others do not share and which, till that moment, each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden). The typical expression of opening Friendship would be something like, "What? You too? I thought I was the only one." 

... It is when two such persons discover one another, when, whether with immense difficulties and semi-articulate fumblings or with what would seem to us amazing and elliptical speed, they share their vision - it is then that Friendship is born. And instantly they stand together in an immense solitude.

C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

The very condition of having Friends is that we should want something else besides Friends. Where the truthful answer to the question "Do you see the same truth?" would be "I see nothing and I don't care about the truth; I only want a Friend," no Friendship can arise - though Affection of course may. There would be nothing for the Friendship to be about; and Friendship must be about something, even if it were only an enthusiasm for dominoes or white mice. Those who have nothing can share nothing; those who are going nowhere can have no fellow-travellers.

C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

The purpose of friendship is to both introduce those who don’t know God to Jesus and to reach those who don’t know Christ alongside of those who do.  To truly act in love, there must eventually be an intentional “turning of the corner” for us all.  This is where the friendship between Paul, Aquila, Priscilla, Silas and Timothy found eternal significance and meaning.

On the cross, Jesus expressed the greatest level of friendship by laying down his life for the world that he loves.  As we come to Jesus in faith and repentance, he then gives us a family of fellow travelers, his church through whom we find eternal friendships.  Not only does Christ give us family, but in those friendships, purpose, value and meaning as we advance the Kingdom of God together.  

John 15:12-17 
12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

Second City Church - Chicago Fire - Pastor Rollan Fisher 2019

Chicago Fire - Jesus and a Church that Practices the Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Chicago Fire

Pentecost Sunday

God raises up multiple types of leadership within the church with gifts of the Holy Spirit to both strengthen and build it. 

Acts 15:22-33, 35-41
Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers, with the following letter: “The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings. Since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.” So when they were sent off, they went down to Antioch, and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words. And after they had spent some time, they were sent off in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them. But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also. And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

Sometimes, when you have spent a long time rejecting the gifts of the Spirit and come to believe in them, you almost feel as if you are being born again. You feel as if you have a whole new Bible. By that latter statement I mean that the Gospels and Acts come alive for you in a way that they never have before. Things that you had relegated to the first century now become a possibility for today's church.
- Jack Deere, Surprised by the Power of the Spirit: Discovering How God Speaks and Heals Today

1 Timothy 4:12-16 
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Fathers and mothers in the faith, operating in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, are often taken for granted but provide stability.  They are the ones that drive true change. 

Some people have a warped idea of living the Christian life. Seeing talented, successful Christians, they attempt to imitate them. For them, the grass on the other side of the fence is always greener. But when they discover that their own gifts are different or their contributions are more modest (or even invisible), they collapse in discouragement and overlook genuine opportunities that are open to them. They have forgotten that they are here to serve Christ, not themselves.
- Billy Graham, Hope for Each Day: Words of Wisdom and Faith
God's glory is most majestically displayed not through you or through me, but through US. God raises up the Church, and says to all Creation in the heavens, on the Earth, and under the Earth, this is the bride and body of My Son, bought and purchased by His blood to be My people and receive My power, and enjoy My presence, and declare My praise forever and ever.
- David Platt, Follow Me: A Call to Die. A Call to Live. 

Second City Church: Chicago Fire Sermon Series 2017

Chicago Fire - Jesus and a Church That Speaks Effectively

Chicago Fire

Learning to Speak Effectively

Acts 14:1-7
Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. But the people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews and some with the apostles. When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them, they learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country, and there they continued to preach the gospel.

Know Who Needs To Speak

Fear of man is a snare.  We are paralyzed by the thought of rejection or people's reactions assuming that we live in a city that is hostile to the thought of God.  However, people are suffocating and want to breathe. Always remember that the gospel is good news!

Hebrews 5:11-6:3
About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.  Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.

“If a man were to sow a field, he could not excuse his neglect by saying that it would be useless to sow unless God caused the seed to grow. He would not be justified in neglecting tillage because the secret energy of God alone can create a harvest. No one is hindered in the ordinary pursuits of life by the fact that unless the Lord build the house they labor in vain that build it.”
- Charles H. Spurgeon, All of Grace

We believe someone else will do speak. You are uniquely designed to reach the people who surround you in your world. 

“Introverted seekers need introverted evangelists. It's not that extroverts can't communicate the gospel, either verbally or nonverbally, in ways that introverts find appealing, it's that introverted seekers need to know and see that it's possible to lead the Christian life as themselves. It's imperative for them to understand that becoming a Christian is not tantamount with becoming an extrovert.” 
- Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture

Know What You Need To Speak

Either we do not truly understand what we say we believe or we believe that we are not qualified. We feel condemned by our sin or lack the confidence in our ability to effectively explain the message.  If you haven't truly encountered Jesus Christ, there is not much to tell.  However, when you have literally met and been transformed by the risen King, there is nothing that can hold you back from telling the world!  We lack boldness because we lack real encounters with Christ.  Yet in a moment like this, this is what he intends to rectify.  You need a story of his transforming and saving love so that you can tell his story!

“Have you no wish for others to be saved?  Then you're not saved yourself, be sure of that!” 
- Charles H. Spurgeon

This is one of the unique purposes of our Purple Book that we encourage everyone to complete.  Work through it not only to be exposed, but to learn to articulate what you have come to believe.

“Let eloquence be flung to the dogs rather than souls be lost. What we want is to win souls. They are not won by flowery speeches.”
- Charles H. Spurgeon

Know Why You Need To Speak

We always believe we'll have more time when we don't. 

Story of DL Moody and the Great Chicago Fire

Second City Church: Chicago Fire Sermon Series 2017