• Summary

  • The ministry of Lechem Panim is centered around bringing ourselves and leading others into the life-giving presence of God in and through Bible study, prayer, and ministering to a world that is in desperate need of the healing touch of Jesus Christ.
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  • May 15 2022
    Hello and welcome to Lechem Panim. It is good to have you with us today as we seek the Lord Jesus Christ (our Bread and our Life) in His Word today. “In the hole he goes”— Just recently I read of [Three small siblings {who} had a pet sparrow, which, to everyone’s disappointment, died. The children were very sad, and they decided to give the dead bird a really good burial service. Their families were faithful members of the church, so the children had some ideas of how to go about it. The first step was to dig the grave in a carefully chosen spot in a corner of the yard. Then they solemnly prepared for the actual interment. One child held the sparrow over the grave, and another recited, “In the name of the Father, the Son, and in the hole he goes.”] Now sadly, I’m sorry to say, the knowledge of many people regarding the Holy Ghost (or Holy Spirit) often does not rise too much above this child’s understanding. We Don’t Talk About…— Every week, my family has movie night on Fridays. And not long ago we watched one of the new Disney movies, Encanto. And it was very fun and entertaining. And the music is very memorable. And one of the songs is “We Don’t Talk About Bruno”. And that is the refrain that you hear over and over again, “We don’t talk about Bruno, no no no no”. It’s quite catchy, no matter how much you might want to “Let it Go!, Let it Go!” But in thinking about it, I feel that if you were to replace the word “Bruno” with “Holy Spirit” or “Holy Ghost”, the song would fairly accurate. “We don’t talk about the Holy Ghost, no no no no." And I wonder why that is. I think for many of us, we just don’t understand the Holy Spirit. We get the Father (at least we think we do; though I think our understanding of Him is also very warped at times; we think we get the Son (though honestly, if you don’t understand the Father, you won’t understand the Son either, who came to reveal to us the Father); but the Holy Spirit is the one I feel we understand the least. What or who is the Holy Spirit? What role does the Holy Spirit have to play in our day-to-day lives? Those are questions I hope to be able to at least scratch the surface in answering today. And our passage today provides the perfect opportunity to do so. Because here in Acts 19, verses 1-7, we find Paul (now on his third missionary journey) coming back to Ephesus and encountering a group of men who (through him) receive the Holy Spirit. It says in… Acts 19:1a (ESV)— 1 And it happened that while Apollos {(whom we talked about last week)} was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. Ephesus— Now [Ephesus was the capital and leading business center of the Roman province of Asia (part of present-day Turkey). {It was} A hub of of sea and land transportation, {and} it ranked with Antioch in Syria and Alexandria in Egypt as one of the great cities on the Mediterranean Sea.] And it is here that Paul would be staying for a little over two years and would write his first letter to the Corinthians in order to help to counter several problems the church in Corinth was facing. And we will see later that during his imprisonment in Rome, Paul will write a letter to the Ephesian church (the book of Ephesians). And so we see that Paul kept his promise to return to the Ephesian church that he had made back in 18:21. When he had left them, they had been spiritually hungry to hear more; and now that he is returning he is hoping that the Jews will still be eager to hear. And when he arrives, it says in the rest of verse 1… Acts 19:1b-2a (ESV)— There he found some disciples. 2 And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” Now the answer to this question is absolutely critical because it is the Holy Spirit who marks us believers in Christ. Paul in fact writes to the Ephesians, saying in… Ephesians 1:13-14 (ESV)— 13 In him {(Jesus)} you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. Our Sanctifier— But the Holy Spirit also has another role. Not only does He mark us as believers and children of God, but He is the One who sanctifies us, re-molding and re-shaping us into the very image of Jesus, leading us out of the old way of the flesh into the new way of the Spirit. Paul writes of this clearly in… Galatians 5:16-25 (ESV)— 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual ...
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    18 mins
  • May 8 2022
    Hello and welcome to Lechem Panim. So glad you could join us today as we study the Word of God together; specifically in the book of Acts. Last week we found in our study of the book of Acts chapter 18 that Paul has now begun his third missionary journey. And he had come to the city of Ephesus. Now with him were Priscilla and Aquila (a Jewish couple who were companions of his in ministry). Now Paul had to leave in order to make it to Jerusalem for Pentecost, where he wanted to complete his vow. And he leaves Priscilla and Aquila to carry on the work of building up the Church there. And he promises to return. But meanwhile, while Priscilla and Aquila are there, a Jewish man from Alexandria, Egypt by the name of Apollos comes to Ephesus. And it says… Acts 18:24b (ESV)— He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. γραφή— And while it may be obvious to some, I want to make sure it is clear that we are talking about the Old Testament scriptures, not the New. The word “scriptures” that is used here is the Greek word γραφή. And whenever that word occurs in the New Testament, it always is referring to the Old Testament. Apollos is an Old Testament scholar who is skilled at teaching Old Testament scripture. But all of that eloquence and knowledge and giftedness (which we expounded upon last week) was based on his natural ability, not on his having the Gifts of the Holy Spirit; because he was not yet a Christian. Now of course every gift comes from God, but Apollos did not yet have the fruit or gifts of the Holy Spirit because he had not yet come to faith in Jesus Christ. Now some say he was a Christian because of the very next phrase, which says of Apollos… Acts 18:25a (ESV)— 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. “instructed in the way of the Lord”— That has led some to conclude that (because Jesus is Lord) that Apollos had already been instructed in the Christian faith; and his knowledge simply was not yet as full as it needed to be. However, many who take that interpretation fail to take into account the fact that that phrase the way of the Lord is not a new phrase coined by Christians. No, it is a phrase used throughout the Old Testament beginning all the way back in the book of Genesis, the very first book of the Bible. It is a very broad, general term for Old Testament instruction in the things of God; the standards that God has set for people to follow. There is no reason to infer from that phrase that Apollos was a Christian. It is way too general a phrase. κατηχέω— Plus look at the word that precedes the phrase the way of the Lord; the word “instructed”.  This may help us to understand what kind of knowledge Apollos had. The Greek word is κατηχέω. And κατηχέω means to teach orally by repetition. By the way, what word does κατηχέω sound like? Catechism. And what is a catechism? It’s a method of teaching in which you learn orally by repetition; you read a line (the question) and then you read the answer. And then you go on to the next. It is something you repeat over and over again until you have it ingrained in your brain. And so this is how Apollos learned the way of the Lord. Now having said all this, we do see that phrase the way of the Lord funnel in and become more focused in… Isaiah 40:3 (ESV)— 3 A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. A Fruit of John’s Ministry— Now who is that a prophecy of? John the Baptist, who came to prepare the way for Jesus Christ. That is where the knowledge of Apollos had stopped. He did know at least something about Jesus, which we will see in a minute. And that may be because of the ministry of John the Baptist; it is possible that (because Alexandria was such a center of learning) that some of John the Baptist’s disciples came there during Jesus’ earthly ministry and proclaimed that He was the Messiah. It is even believed by some that Apollos may have been a disciple of John the Baptist. We don’t know. But he apparently had learned at least a little bit about Jesus and His teachings because it says in… Acts 18:25b (ESV)— And being fervent in spirit,[a] he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. An Incomplete Knowledge— And so while Apollos may have known some of the basic facts about Jesus he may not have yet known about Jesus' atoning work on the cross, His resurrection, or the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. But whatever the case, his knowledge was incomplete. Now everything he said was true, but he did not yet have the rest of the picture. A New Map— I remember once Tanya and I were on our way to visit my parents in Kentucky. And we had been following GPS; not on our phones but on an actual GPS unit that (in the good old days) you bought as a separate unit. Ours was a TomTom; and I ...
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    16 mins
  • May 1 2022
    Hello and welcome to Lechem Panim. So glad you could join us today as we study the Word of God together. You know, I don’t know how you are in the are of gratitude, but I have had the Lord point out to me numerous times how poor I often am in this area. I don’t usually forget to thank people. But for some reason I do often forget to thank God for both answered prayers, but also even just the everyday blessings. You know, devout Jews thank God every morning for the gift of life. And lately I have been trying to change the way I start my day; to thank God for His gift of life and acknowledge my dependence on Him the moment I wake up in the morning. Now I mention this because when it comes to the life of Paul, I am amazed how much he always managed to live in that grateful orientation of heart. Here in Acts chapter 18 we find him leaving the city of Corinth for Syria (where Palestine is). And he does so with his companions Pricilla and Aquila. But when they reach Cenchrea (the port town of Corinth) Paul has his hair cut on account of the fact that he had taken a Nazirite vow, which was a vow of special devotion to God that Jews would sometimes take as a symbol of thanksgiving to God for a special blessing they had received from Him. And Paul had received a special blessing; the fulfillment of God’s promise to both protect him and bless his ministry in Corinth. But now that his vow has been completed, he has his hair ceremonially cut and will eventually complete the ceremony (where you would burn the hair) when he eventually arrives at Jerusalem. But what is remarkable to me is that, as he’s moving around from place to place now, he is carrying around this lump of hair with him (a symbol of his thanksgiving towards God) which he hopes to be able to offer at the temple in Jerusalem. And this week that caused me to stop and ask myself what symbols there are in your life and in mine to remind us to live in constant awareness and thanksgiving for what God has done for us. Something to think about. Now in verse 19 it says… Acts 18:19a (NKJV)— 19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there; Dropped Off— Left who there? Priscilla and Aquila. It’s funny how Paul always seems to be dropping people off. It must’ve been such an adventure to follow Paul, because you never knew where he might place you. He’s dropping off Timothy and Silas here and there; and Priscilla and Aquila are getting dropped off places and then picked back up later. You never knew where you were going to be when you were with Paul and where Paul might place you and then leave you to carry on the work. And here he places them in Ephesus. It is about the year 52 and its not until year 57 that they appear again in Rome. So they could have remained here as long as five years. But what is awesome to see is that Paul writes back to the Corinthians, saying, “The church has been established in their house.” So once again, we see how effective Paul’s ministry strategy was. Now while Paul is here in Ephesus, it says… Acts 18:19b-23 (NKJV)— but he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to stay a longer time with them, he did not consent, 21 but took leave of them, saying, “I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; {(and now we know why Paul is in such a hurry to get back to Jerusalem. There is a festival in Jerusalem; during which he wants to complete his vow as an expression of thanks to God. We don’t know what feast it was; very possibly the Feast of Pentecost, which would be extraordinarily significant because it was also during Pentecost that the Holy Spirit had been given, who would empower all Christians to live in such a way that the Nazirite vow only anticipated. But whatever feast it was, Paul no doubt turns these new Ephesian converts over to Priscilla and Aquila for further discipleship and then says)} but I will return again to you, God willing.” {And he leaves. But he does keep that promise to return, which we will see later. But for now it says:} And he sailed from Ephesus. 22 And when he had landed at Caesarea {(that’s the Mediterranean seaport west and just a little north of Jerusalem)}, and gone up and greeted the church {by which Luke means “the church in Jerusalem”, because you always go up to Jerusalem because of how much higher it is than everything around it. You don’t have to mention the city; the preposition gives it away. And it is here in Jerusalem that Paul no doubt went through all the rituals related to his vow, after which it says}, he went down to Antioch. 23 After he had spent some time there, he departed and went over the region of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples. Paul's 3rd Missionary Journey— And what this means is that Paul has now started his third missionary journey. Where did he go? All the places he went on his second missionary journey? Where were those places? ...
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    16 mins

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