Jesus, Light to the Nations

As we continued our series “Power in Preparation” this past weekend at Eastbrook Church my good friend and colleague here at Eastbrook, Pastor Femi Ibitoye, explored Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness in Matthew 4:12-17. I appreciated the insights that Femi shared in this message, as well as the personal testimony he shared from his life about Jesus being the light.

You can view the message video and outline below. You can follow along with the entire series here and the devotional that accompanies the series here. You could always join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


“The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” (Matthew 4:16)

Jesus, light of the world to the nations

  • Jesus is light to the gentiles
  • Jesus is the Light that overcomes the darkness (Matthew 4:16)
  • Jesus is King in this Kingdom (Isaiah 9:7)
  • All people (including the Gentiles) are invited into this Kingdom
  • All have sinned and must repent to enter it (Matthew 4:17)

What does the Light of Christ do?

  • It gives life
  • It sets people free from fear, darkness and death
  • It exposes sin and brings healing
  • It illuminates (provides wisdom and knowledge)
  • It provides direction and guidance

What should our response

  • Pray-Repent
  • Worship God- Like the Magi, 1 Peter 2:9, like Jesus mentioned in his temptation in Matthew 4:10, Deuteronomy 6:13
  • Reflect the light of Jesus. Matthew 5:16
  • Let the Word of God be a priority (Matthew 4:4, Psalm 119:105

The Way of the Wilderness

As we continued our series “Power in Preparation” this past weekend at Eastbrook Church my good friend, Will Branch, explored Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness in Matthew 4:1-11. I appreciated the insights that Will shared in this message, and I hope you are encouraged by it as well.

You can view the message video and outline below. You can follow along with the entire series here and the devotional that accompanies the series here. You could always join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”
Matthew 4:1

The Wilderness: Where will my provision come from?

The Wilderness: Where will my protection come from?

The Wilderness: Where will my praise go?

Baptized with Water and Spirit

As we continued our series “Power in Preparation” this past weekend at Eastbrook Church we explored the brief but highly significant episode of Jesus’ baptism by John in Matthew 3:13-17. This passage caused a lot of debate in the early church, primarily around the question: why did Jesus, who was without sin, need to be baptized with John’s baptism of repentance? While I do address that question in this message, my focus moves from four key theological truths of Jesus’ baptism toward application of that truth for a baptismal spirituality for our life with God.

You can view the message video and outline below. You can follow along with the entire series here and the devotional that accompanies the series here. You could always join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


“Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.”  (Matthew 3:13)

Facts of Jesus’ Baptism

  • timing
  • setting

Theological Truths of Jesus’ Baptism

  • Representative Messiah: John’s hesitation and Jesus’ purpose
  • The Descent of the Dove: the coming of the Holy Spirit
  • Jesus the Unique Son of God: The declaration of the Father
  • The Triune God Revealed: The Son’s baptism, the Spirit’s descent, the Father’s declaration

Spiritual Implications of Jesus’ Baptism

  • The pattern of dying and rising in baptism and the spiritual life (Romans 6:1-14)
  • The call to suffering in baptism and the spiritual life (Mark 10:38-40)
  • The joy of God’s delight in baptism and the spiritual life (Matthew 3:17; Acts 2:38)

Dig Deeper

This week dig deeper into the significance of Jesus’ baptism in one or more of the following ways:

  • Memorize the Father’s declaration over Jesus in Matthew 3:17
  • Set aside some time this week to read Matthew 3:13-17 again. Then write, draw, paint, or pray aloud your own response to this series of events in Jesus’ life.
  • Explore the theme of baptism in the New Testament through these Scripture readings:
    • Matthew 21:23-27
    • Mark 10:35-45
    • Luke 12:49-53
    • Acts 19:3-6
    • Romans 6:1-14
    • Colossians 2:9-12
  • Although it is drawn from the Gospel of Luke, you may enjoy watching “The Baptism of Jesus” by the Bible Project

What Happens When the Church is Activated on Mission?

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

In the book of Acts we see the Holy Spirit set the early believers ablaze for the work of God. We encounter Peter, who steps forth with boldness to preach the good news and thousands come to believe Jesus is the Messiah. We see bold people like Stephen, who speaks of Christ and it costs him his life, and Philip, who shares across cultural and religious barriers to bring the Samaritans to Jesus. We see an enemy of Christ, Saul of Tarsus, become a passionate evangelist and bold church planter, the Apostle Paul.

Acts is an active book where we see the church activated on mission. What does it look like when individual believers and church communities are activated by God for His work? Suffice it to say that things happen.

But let’s look at something we could miss here. Acts is an active book but we also see two things in Acts that Christianity is not about.

Christianity—following Jesus—does not leave us much space for being boring or apathetic. Sometimes in the midst of the world, with all the needs, all the challenges, all the serious situations, we can become overwhelmed by the needs. This sometimes leads us to turn away from the needs of the world, focusing on our own lives and challenges. Essentially, we become apathetic. But activated churches and Christians are not apathetic or boring. They are engaged with the needs of the world because God cares about people and the needs of the world. God is an active, giving missionary God.

At the same time, even though Acts is an active book, it is not a busy book. In fact, there is a big difference between being busy and being active. The early church was activated by the Holy Spirit to join in with God in a focused way for God’s mission. But the early church was not meaninglessly busy. Some of us, when we become Christians, think that we are to become busy for the kingdom. But there is not a lot of space for busyness in the activated church. Some of us need to remember that God is not all that interested in uncommanded work. He wants us to join in with His kingdom mission but not to be aimlessly rushing around with whatever captures our attention in the moment. In fact, what captures our attention may lead us away from the activated mission God has for us. As a wise mentor once shared with me: we may need to consider whether we are more in love with the work of the Lord than we are in love with the Lord of the work.

Activated Christianity is not about being boring and neither is it about being busy. Activated Christianity is not about apathy to the world’s need nor is it about frenzied activity. The book of Acts shows us that the church is activated by the power of the Holy Spirit for the mission of God in the world.

The Kingdom of God and the Kingdoms of This World

This past weekend at Eastbrook Church we continued our series, “The Kingdom of God” by exploring the ways in which our citizenship in the kingdom interfaces with our earthly citizenship. I proposed that we need to live by the power of the Holy Spirit as exiles in and for the world, concluding with five practices that may help us live this out.

You can view the message video and outline for the message is below. You can follow along with the entire series here and the devotional that accompanies the series here. You could always join us for weekend worship in-person or remotely via Eastbrook at Home.


“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

“Jesus is Lord!”

  • The closeness of the kingdom and responding to Jesus (Mark 1:15)
  • The fundamental declaration of faith (Romans 10:9)
  • Everything is subject to Christ and God’s kingdom (Philippians 2:10-11)

Kingdom Citizens: Recognizing our Dual Citizenship

  • We are citizens of God’s kingdom (Philippians 3:20)
  • We are citizens of earthly kingdoms

Living by the Spirit as Exiles in the World

  • Remember God’s kingdom is a different sort of kingdom (John 18:33-36)
  • Remember we are a holy nation established by God in Christ (1 Peter 2:9-10)
  • Remembering we are exiles scattered in the world (1 Peter 1:1-2; 2:11-12)
  • Remember God has delegated authority to earthly rulers and kingdoms (John 19:10-11; Romans 13:1-2)

Living by the Spirit as Exiles for the World

  • Living as exiles for the blessing of the places we are scattered by God (Jeremiah 29:4-7)
  • Living as good citizens within the structures as established by God (Romans 13:1-7)
  • Living in Christian service in relation to the needs of the world (Matthew 25:31-46)
  • Living prophetically in relation to the powers and authorities (Acts 4:8-20)

Five Practices of Kingdom Citizens amidst Earthly Kingdoms

  • Hold to our primary citizenship
  • Discern the times and agendas
  • Walk by the Spirit
  • Maintain perspective
  • Live in the tension of hope

Dig Deeper

This week dig deeper into the theme of the kingdom of God in one or more of the following ways:

  • Memorize Romans 10:9 or Philippians 3:20.
  • Take time to meditate on Jesus’ encounter with Pontius Pilate in John 18:33-36; 19:10-11. Respond to the passage by drawing, painting, journaling, or going for a walk to pray.
  • Based on this message and study guide, talk with a friend or journal on your own about what it means to live in the tension of hope as a citizen of the kingdom of God and a citizen of an earthly kingdom.
  • Join us for the Leadership Community with Dr. Vince Bacote on Monday, September 28, at 7 PM, as he speaks on “The Political Disciple: A Theology of Public Life.”