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Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

 

August 2022


August 7, 2022 "The Essence of Faith" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

July 2022


July 24, 2022 "God's Goodness, Part 4: The Judge Who Shows Mercy" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 17, 2022  "God's Goodness, Part 3: The Covenant Partner Who Blesses" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 10, 2022 "God's Goodness, Part 2: The Law-giver Who Prospers" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

June 2022


June 19, 2022 "Words from the Wise: Gamaliel" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

June 12, 2022 "The Trinity: The Holy Spirit" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

June 5, 2022  "The Day the Universe Changed" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

May 2022


May 29, 2022  "Easter Discipleship, Part 5: Waiting with Joy" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 22, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 4: Trust in My Healing Grace" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 15, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 3: Love One Another (as I Have Loved You)" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 8, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 2: Follow My Voice" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 1, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 1: Feed My Sheep" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 2022


April 17, 2022 "New Life, or an Idle Tale?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 10, 2022 "The Deeper Meaning" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

March 2022


March 13, 2022  "Images of Jesus- Part II: Friend of the Cross" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

February 2022


February 13, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part III: The Life of Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2022


January 30, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part I:  Acts of Love" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2, 2022  "Jesus Draws a Crowd" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 2021


December 19, 2021 "Advent Anticipation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 5, 2021 "Advent 2: Wilderness Preparation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 2021


November 14, 2021 "How It All Ends, Part 2: Resurrection" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 7, 2021 "How It All Ends, Part 1: Return" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 2021


October 31, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 5: Steward God's Gifts" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 24, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 4: Nurture Relationships" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 17, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 3: Share Hospitality by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 10, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 2: Show Compassion" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 3, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 1: Glorify God" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 2021


September 19, 2021  "Gentle Wisdom, or Worldly Ways?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 12, 2021  "Prophetic Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 5, 2021  "A Vision of Our Future" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

August 2021


August 15, 2021  "Wise Living" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 2021


July 4, 2021  "Humility Over Hubris" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

June 2021


June 27, 2021  "Faith Over Fear" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 2021


May 30, 2021  "The Spirit, Part 3: :Life and Peace" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 23, 2021  "The Spirit, Part 2: The Life of Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 16, 2021  "The Spirit, Part I: Wisdom and Revelation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 9, 2021  "Love Actually, Part 4: Love and Christ" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 2, 2021  "Love Actually, Part 3: Love and God" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 2021


April 25, 2021  "Love Actually, Part II: Love in Action" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 18, 2021  "Love Actually, Part I: Love and Family" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

Easter, April 4, 2021  "How Does It End?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

March 2021


March 28, 2021  "The King We Weren't Expecting" by Rev. Don Wahlig

March 14, 2021  "The Cure for Snake Bite" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

February 2021


February 28, 2021  "Are you Kidding, God?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 14, 2021  "Premature Joy" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 7, 2021  "Need a Liftt?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

 

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

June 19, 2022

“Words from the Wise: Gamaliel”  
Second Sunday in Pentecost
The Rev. Lisa Strong Chase  
June 19, 2022
Silver Spring Presbyterian Church, Mechanicsburg, PA
All Rights Reserved.

I would like to begin today’s message wishing all the men in our congregation a Happy Father’s Day. Whether you have children (or not), you are certainly a role model, a father, to those individuals who look up to you. Thank you for that.

In honor of this special day, today’s message focuses on a little-known individual in our faith history and in the early church, whose introduction in Acts changes the circumstances for Peter and the disciples as they were conducting Jesus’s mission in Jerusalem. When I first encountered Gamaliel, a highly respected leader in the Jewish Council, his words of warning to his fellow leaders are what saved Peter’s and the disciples’ lives, so that they could carry out their work. I realized that I had never heard anything of him – not a sermon, read about him in those exhaustive and thorough Community Bible Studies I participated in before Seminary. When Don asked me what I thought about preaching a series on Acts, I jumped at the chance, knowing who and what I would include.

 In our series, we have celebrated the birth of the church at Pentecost, and we have learned more about the Trinity – the Holy Spirit, in particular.

Up to today’s reading of Acts, Chapter 5, here is a concise list of events that have occurred in Acts:

  • The promise of the Holy Spirit
  • Jesus’s ascension into Heaven
  • The Coming of the Holy Spirit,
  • The great conversion of 3,000 people
  • How the early Christians lived (pooling resources)
  • Many miraculous healings

The apostles are proclaiming the Good News about Jesus Christ  in the temple and everywhere!

Peter and the disciples have prepared for the Christian Mission – the telling of the  Good News of Jesus Christ, and now, in Chapter 5, we read about one of many challenges Peter and the disciples encountered.

Our scripture passage today comes right after Peter and the disciples are thrown into prison. An angel of the Lord breaks the chains that bound them and unlocks the doors of the prison, setting them free. Peter and the disciples, fueled by the Spirit, and the desire to make Jesus Christ known to all, are healing, preaching, and proclaiming in the temple…

And then they are arrested again, and brought back to the Sanhedrin, who have now threatened to kill them.

Listen now for the word of the Lord.

27 When they had brought them, they had them stand before the council. The high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,[b] yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you are determined to bring this man’s blood on us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than any human authority.[c] 30 The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”

33 When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them. 34 But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, respected by all the people, stood up and ordered the men to be put outside for a short time. 35 Then he said to them, “Fellow Israelites,[d] consider carefully what you propose to do to these men. 36 For some time ago Theudas rose, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him, but he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and disappeared. 37 After him Judas the Galilean rose up at the time of the census and got people to follow him; he also perished, and all who followed him were scattered. 38 So in the present case, I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, because if this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them—in that case you may even be found fighting against God!”

The word of the Lord. Amen.

But if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them—in that case you may even be found fighting against God!”

In our biblical heritage, Gamaliel is a little-known religious leader and scholar, but his words to the Jewish Council, saved Peter’s and the disciples’ lives. Peter, then Paul, would go on to build the early church. While both of these men were martyred for the cause of Christ, their work had created a firm foundation for the early church. Thanks, in much part, I think, to Gamaliel. His wise counsel to the other religious leaders,  helped propel the growth of the early church.

The New Testament (Acts 5:34–39) relates that Gamaliel intervened on behalf of the Apostles of Jesus when they had been seized and brought to the Sanhedrin, and another passage (Acts 22:3) tells how the apostle Paul, in a speech to the Jews, tried to influence them by stating that he had been a student of Gamaliel (“I am a Jew, . . . brought up . . . at the feet of Gamaliel”).

In my research, I learned that Gamaliel established many progressive ordinances laws affecting women and non-Jews. Of his teaching, only one saying is preserved in the Talmud; it enjoins the duties of study and scrupulous observance of religious ordinances. Gamaliel’s renown is summed up in the words recorded in the Talmud: “When Rabba Gamaliel the Elder died, regard for the Torah [Jewish Law] ceased, and purity and piety died.”

Reputation is everything. How many of us can recount a time where the remarks from someone highly respected got us out of a tough bind?

Here is a summary of Gamaliel:

  • Gamaliel was considered the most highly respected religious leader of his time.
  • The apostle Paul studied under him.
  • Because of his caution to the other pharisees, the early church would grow.
  • An early Christian legend contends he was converted to Christianity and martyred for the cause of Christ.
  • Gamaliel was canonized as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

It may seem remis on my part to not preach a sermon about Paul today, as a key father of the church, and his conversion story on the Road to Damascus is indeed one of the most amazing ones (God calls whom God will call to serve!) We will learn more about him next week when we consider major themes in Acts and why it is such an important book in the New Testament.

Acts is the story of every church that has been established in the most difficult circumstances - and has flourished.

Gamaliel’s words to his fellow Pharisees echoed through the study and preparation of this sermon: If these men are from God and there is nothing you can do to stop them. I wanted to highlight some key Christian leaders throughout our history, who molded the church and our theology. There is an exhaustive list; I am only mentioning a few.

The Apostle Paul

In his own day, although he was a major figure within the small Christian movement, Paul also had enemies and detractors. Because of the tone of his letters, his contemporaries did not give Paul as much respect as they gave Peter and James. Paul  struggled to establish his own worth and authority. His letters (which make up most of the New Testament), however, have had enormous influence on Christianity, and secure his place as one of the greatest religious leaders of all time.

Augustine of Hippo

Augustine is considered the most significant Christian thinker after Paul. Living a hedonistic lifestyle, he converted to Christianity and was baptized in 386. He believed that the  grace of Jesus Christ was critical to human freedom and helped to formulate the doctrine of original sin. A prolific writer, his most important works are Confessions, The City of God, and On the Trinity. The segment of the Church that adhered to the concept of the Trinity as defined by the  Council of Nicaea and the Council of  Constantinople closely identified with Augustine’s On the Trinity.

Martin Luther

Embattled by the Catholic Church, after posting the 95 theses on the Wittenberg Chapel calling for reforms within the church, Dr. Luther was excommunicated from a church he loved. He is known as the catalyst for the Protestant reformation, and his belief that we are saved by God’s Grace through Jesus Christ, and not by good works, has helped sustain our own faith journeys.

 Because God’s Grace is something we could never earn…yet it is freely given.

John Calvin

Jean Calvin - we know him as John Calvin - was a French Protestant Reformer, and the most important figure in the second generation of the Protestant Reformation, (Martin Luther was in the first generation).

His work, Institutes of the Christian Religion, and the institutional and civic patterns he developed for Geneva, affected Protestantism in Europe and in North America. Historians say that the Calvinist form of Protestantism had a major impact on the formation of society and civics as we understand them today. Presbyterian polity comes from John Calvin, and John Knox, the  Founder of the Scottish Reformation, and the Scottish Presbyterian Church.

Charles Sheldon

Charles Sheldon a congregationalist minister, wrote In His Steps, which introduced “What Would Jesus Do?” (WWJD). This was an important approach to Christian Theology around the turn of the 20th Century, and which had a rebirth in popularity 100 years later.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Baptist minister and social activist who led the civil rights movement in the United States from the mid -1950s until his premature death by assassination in 1968. His leadership was fundamental to that movement’s success in ending the segregation of African Americans in the South and other parts of the United States. Dr. King rose to national prominence as head of the  Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which promoted nonviolent tactics, such as the massive March on  Washington (1963) . Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

Billy Graham, America’s Preacher

Famous for his evangelistic campaigns, Dr. Billy Graham conducted 417 crusades in 185 countries and six continents between 1947 and 2005, bringing millions to Christ. He provided pastoral guidance to the U.S. Presidents in office, from Harry Truman to Donald Trump.

            The story of the early church fathers and their encounters with Jewish leaders such as Gamaliel, pose the questions: Who is the next person that God is raising up to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ? And will we encourage them? Will we pray for them?

As we reflect on our faith history, within ourselves, and the churches we have attended, and our congregational life here at Silver Spring Presbyterian, isn’t it wonderful that the Grace of God has brought us this far? Think of the people who made an impact on our faith journeys – our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, Sunday school teachers, ministers, friends. In their own way, their presence in our lives have sheltered us, nurtured us, helped us mature in our faith, like a loving father.

And whose wise words have provided caution to us, protecting us.

            It takes all of us to help sustain and grow the church. As we are moving out of the threat of COVID, and the world has opened up, let us come back to church, be together worshipping together, so that we can be Christian companions for one another, helping each other grow in our faith journeys, stand up for those in need, be a voice of warning to those who wish to silence us and others as we proclaim the Good News of Jesus.

            All while living out our values of: 

  • Glorifying God
  • Showing Compassion
  • Sharing Hospitality
  • Nurturing Relationships
  • Stewarding God’s Gifts

While we bring God’s Love and Christ’s Mission to a world that needs desperately the Good News of Jesus Christ.

And may it be so. Amen.

 

 

Bibliography

      Attridge, Harold W. General Editor (1989), The HarperCollins Study Bible. San Francisco:     
      HarperOne,

Gonzalez, Justo R. (2010), The Story of Christianity, Vol. II: The Reformation to the Present Day. New York: Harper Collins.

Johnson, Luke Timothy (1992), The Acts of the Apostles, Sacra Paigina Series, Vol. 5. Daniel J. Harrington, S.J., Editor. Collegeville (Minn.): The Liturgical Press.

Parsons, Mikeal C. (2008) Paideia Commentaries on the New Testament: Acts. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic.

Last Published: June 27, 2022 3:36 PM
Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

 

August 2022


August 7, 2022 "The Essence of Faith" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

July 2022


July 24, 2022 "God's Goodness, Part 4: The Judge Who Shows Mercy" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 17, 2022  "God's Goodness, Part 3: The Covenant Partner Who Blesses" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 10, 2022 "God's Goodness, Part 2: The Law-giver Who Prospers" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

June 2022


June 19, 2022 "Words from the Wise: Gamaliel" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

June 12, 2022 "The Trinity: The Holy Spirit" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

June 5, 2022  "The Day the Universe Changed" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

May 2022


May 29, 2022  "Easter Discipleship, Part 5: Waiting with Joy" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 22, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 4: Trust in My Healing Grace" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 15, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 3: Love One Another (as I Have Loved You)" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 8, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 2: Follow My Voice" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 1, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 1: Feed My Sheep" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 2022


April 17, 2022 "New Life, or an Idle Tale?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 10, 2022 "The Deeper Meaning" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

March 2022


March 13, 2022  "Images of Jesus- Part II: Friend of the Cross" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

February 2022


February 13, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part III: The Life of Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2022


January 30, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part I:  Acts of Love" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2, 2022  "Jesus Draws a Crowd" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 2021


December 19, 2021 "Advent Anticipation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 5, 2021 "Advent 2: Wilderness Preparation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 2021


November 14, 2021 "How It All Ends, Part 2: Resurrection" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 7, 2021 "How It All Ends, Part 1: Return" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 2021


October 31, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 5: Steward God's Gifts" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 24, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 4: Nurture Relationships" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 17, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 3: Share Hospitality by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 10, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 2: Show Compassion" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 3, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 1: Glorify God" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 2021


September 19, 2021  "Gentle Wisdom, or Worldly Ways?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 12, 2021  "Prophetic Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 5, 2021  "A Vision of Our Future" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

August 2021


August 15, 2021  "Wise Living" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 2021


July 4, 2021  "Humility Over Hubris" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

June 2021


June 27, 2021  "Faith Over Fear" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 2021


May 30, 2021  "The Spirit, Part 3: :Life and Peace" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 23, 2021  "The Spirit, Part 2: The Life of Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 16, 2021  "The Spirit, Part I: Wisdom and Revelation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 9, 2021  "Love Actually, Part 4: Love and Christ" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 2, 2021  "Love Actually, Part 3: Love and God" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 2021


April 25, 2021  "Love Actually, Part II: Love in Action" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 18, 2021  "Love Actually, Part I: Love and Family" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

Easter, April 4, 2021  "How Does It End?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

March 2021


March 28, 2021  "The King We Weren't Expecting" by Rev. Don Wahlig

March 14, 2021  "The Cure for Snake Bite" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

February 2021


February 28, 2021  "Are you Kidding, God?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 14, 2021  "Premature Joy" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 7, 2021  "Need a Liftt?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

 

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

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