Dr. Tony Evans is the founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, founder and president of The Urban Alternative and author of over 100 books, booklets and Bible studies. The first African American to earn a doctorate of theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, he has been named one of the 12 Most Effective Preachers in the English-Speaking World by Baylor University. Dr. Evans holds the honor of writing and publishing the first full-Bible commentary and study Bible by an African American. His radio broadcast, The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, can be heard on over 1,400 radio outlets daily and in more than 130 countries. Dr. Evans’ sermons are also streamed and downloaded over 20,000,000 times annually.

philippians chapter 2

verses 9 through 11

at the name of jesus

every knee should bow

and every tongue should confess

that jesus is lord to the glory of the

father so excuse me

if i stick with jesus

excuse me if i stick with the truth

excuse me if i speak it to the church

because he is

the mystery of godliness and he deserves

our undivided and undiminished praise






a repository is a container it’s a


the repository for our

our medicine is the pharmacy it is the

place we go

that houses

that which we need for health and


you go to the records building downtown

which is a repository of

information about people and locations


history you

you have a repository

god has a repository

a storehouse if you will

a community location

for your

spiritual well-being

a place

where you’re supposed to be able to go

to get good food

a place where you’re supposed to go be

able to go and eat


he has a place

scattered throughout every community

for health healing and well-being not

only of the people who attend but

because of its location

for the people who live

in surrounding vicinity

it is the repository of truth

and god’s repository of truth

is called the church

the church is that place he has singled


that does not find its first obligation

in the culture that does not find its

first obligation to a person’s racial

identity cultural identity gender


where the commitment is not first to who

you are how you were raised or how you


where you live

it is a repository

that is supposed to give you good food

not rotten fruit

because it is committed to one


and that is the declaration of the truth

the church is god’s spiritual grocery



this is what paul says to timothy his

son in ministry in first timothy chapter


verse 14 i am writing these things to

you hoping to come to you soon but in

case i am delayed

i write

so that you will know how one ought to

conduct himself

in the household of god which is the

church of the living god the pillar and

support of the truth

timothy is located in a very secular

city the creme de la creme site

of asia minor called ephesus

a church has been established there

we’ll give it a name ephesus bible


and timothy is the pastor there and paul

his spiritual head writes him

and he says young man i want to make


that when people come to your grocery

store they’re coming to the truth

ephesus is of secular culture

it is full of idolatry you can read it

all in acts chapter 19 it is full of

materialism it is full of witchcraft uh

it is full of

errant theology errant teaching and

social decay even though it is an

influential marketplace of ideas

and he says and all the stuff

that the folks are hearing timothy and

all the

the ideas ideologies idiosyncratic

perspectives that they are

imbuing into their minds in spite of

what the kids are being taught in school

or the young adults are being taught in

college in spite of what they’re hearing

in corporate america in spite of what

they’re hearing in the governmental

regimes in spite of all of that you make

sure when they shop at this store

they’re getting the truth

now we’ve defined the word truth

each week and let’s define it again

truth is god’s absolute absolute

standard by which reality is measured

truth sits outside of you it is not

dependent on you

you don’t have to feel it like it or

agree with it

for it to be true

it just has to be what god says then

it’s true

and you and i we have to adjust

we live in a world that doesn’t want

god’s viewpoint therefore it doesn’t

want the truth because it doesn’t want

the truth what we wind up with is

cultural consequences in our personal

lives family lives church lives and in

our civic


and yet god wants to speak truth into

all of those issues personally

economically socially racially


he wants to speak the truth and so

he tells timothy in a number of places

you make sure this grocery store is well


with truth

he tells him in

chapter one verse three i urge you

because some folks are gonna come with

strange doctrines

he tells them in chapter

3 verse 9 verse 9

holding the mystery of the faith

with a clear


why because chapter 4 verse 1 they are

deceitful spirits and demons

verse 3

who don’t know the truth

we’re living in a duped society

we have been


and because we are living

duped lives in a duped world with deep


we’re living in a chaotic environment

he says at this grocery store timothy

you make sure that when they go shopping

when they show up

we can’t change everything in society

but you make sure they’re hearing the


meaning god’s view on whatever the

subject matter happens to be

the first thing we need to remind you of

since the church is the gross restore of

the truth

we need to remind us all what the church

is it’s not a fraternity or sorority

yes it has those relational components

in fact it’s called the family in first

timothy chapter five verses one and two

he says treat the older men like fathers

the older women like mothers the younger

women like sisters the younger men like

brothers he says yeah it is a familial


but it is a familiar environment to

equip people with god’s point of view

the bible knows nothing of an unchurched


there’s no such thing

a person says well i don’t have to go to

church to be a christian you’re

absolutely right

you become a christian

by faith alone in christ alone

to be part of the church is a commitment

to be identified and dynamically

involved with

a local body of believers who are

learning to live

kingdom lives under the lordship of

jesus christ

it’s identity and involvement

it’s not just sitting soaking and

sorrowing it’s

it’s serving a king and his kingdom like

our servicemen and servants women serve

the kingdom of the united states of an

army whatever branch they’re in we serve

the king of kings and the lord of lords

as his church

jesus said in matthew chapter 16 verses

18 and 19 i will build my church and the

gates of hell shall not prevail against

it and i will give the church the keys

to the kingdom

god doesn’t skip the church house to fix

the white house

he doesn’t skip his grocery store

if the culture wants to eat right

and so he says i will give the i will

give the church in matthew 18 the keys

to the kingdom

he says i’m going to give the church the

keys that’s access to me have keith of

the kingdom of heaven and if they use my

keys i will give them my authority

whatever you bind on earth will be bound

in heaven whatever you loose on earth

will be loosed in heaven he says

i am going to give you my authority on

earth because you’re using the keys that

belong to me in heaven so how can we

have all these churches on all these

corners with all these programs all

these members all these leaders all

these preachers and still have all this

mess there’s a dead monkey on the line


how can you have 11 o’clock on sunday

morning being the most segregated hour

in america

and people still using jesus’s name and

calling themselves the church


well because we’re using wrong keys

we got cultural keys racial keys

gender keys

what we don’t use are kingdom keys

he says and the way you know you’re

being the church

is the gates of hell shall not prevail

against you

hell can’t stop

you so you know hell can’t stop you

humans can’t stop you

because you’re using keys that belong to

a whole nother order

and those keys have to do with god’s

view on the whatever the subject happens

to be


he says

that we are to represent him as his

kingdom people

over and over again in the new testament

ephesians chapter 1 verse 22 and 23

jesus is head of the church and we are

his body to carry his viewpoint he says

to fill everything

that’s why we want each of you to become

a kingdom disciple who is a kingdom

servant that makes a kingdom impact

he says in ephesians chapter 3 verse 10

he says god checks with the church

before he deals with the principalities

and the powers

so if you’re trying to deal with the

principalities and powers

and god says i’m not going to skip you

to help them i’m going to start with you

because if i can’t get you straight they

sure not going to listen to me

and so he says to timothy timothy

you make sure the people who come to

this grocery store


food place spiritually

a people

who understand the church

that you’re not just showing up for

a service once a week or twice a week

you’re learning how to live out

a divine frame of reference in all of


and how do you do it

well he says

the church

how one ought to conduct himself

because that has to do with how you’re


in the household of god he calls the

church a family a household and then he

says which is the living the church of

the living god i hope everybody

understands god is alive okay the church

of the living god so we we’re not just

out here talking smack and talking up in

never never land and fairy dust

he is the living god and then he says

the church of the living god which is

the pillar and support of the truth


now you have to understand what’s going

on here remember i told you

timothy is pastoring ephesus bible


if you were to living in biblical days

and you went

to ephesus

everybody would be talking about one


because located in in ephesus

was one of the seven wonders of the


it was called the temple

of artemis

or the temple of diana

it was one of the seven wonders of the

then known world people came from all

around the world to see this

massive tribute and statue

to the goddess of all gods diana or


when you read acts chapter 19 you will

see they built a whole economy around

artemis because that was that was like

you know going on vacation to some some

awesome like people going to italy to

the leaning tower pisa and they got all

the artifacts surrounding it and people

would buy and sell it became a place of

economic development and economic impact

so it was it was it was a beast that’s

why you went there


in the temple of diana

they had

a hundred pillars

you know the pillar in the building you

know it’s holding up the roof it comes

from the from the floor and holds up the

roof it this thing was so massive it had

a hundred pillars

sitting on the foundation to carry it up

to the rooftop

so paul didn’t just choose that word

he’s talking to timothy in ephesus

and he says

they got pillars to a lie

read acts 19. they got they they believe

in the wrong thing

and are giving it worship

they worshipping the wrong thing

and this hot mess we didn’t got

ourselves into as a nation it’s because

we got folk worshipping the wrong thing

and building pillars to it

it’s a hundred pillars and everybody’s

coming out of us and he says no no no no

you build a pillar in the church

to the truth

he says the pillar and foundation you

lay the groundwork for the truth and you

build up

people’s lives the pillar of their life

the pillar of their family the pillar of

their culture the pillar of their

society you build up things based on the


not based on the pursuit of a lie

it is the ground he says and the pillar


the truth

he says because we want men to operate

differently the conduct he says that men

know how to conduct themselves

guess what god calls all of creation

god’s house


because all of creation the earth is the

lord the fullness thereof the world and

all they that dwell in it

see this whole thing is god’s house

now if you go out and create your own


you can do your own thing

but the moment you insist

that your rules operate in my house

we’re gonna be in conflict

you’re gonna be in conflict because

your rules and my rules don’t they not

they not agreeing we are going to be in

conflict we are living in a world in

conflict with god

and so people are in conflict with one

another because folk are in conflict

with god because we do not want to

accept his truth

and and while the world can do that out

there he says believers those who named

jesus christ

he comes now to his final point

he says timothy

you make sure when they show up they

hear the truth

they hear it with clarity they hear it

with love

but they hear the truth

and then he says in verse 16

by common confession


is the mystery

of godliness

say that again

he says by common confession

something we all agree on common

confession this is something everybody

should be saying


is the mystery

of godliness

now that that statement didn’t come out

of nowhere when you read acts 19

verse 28

the people who had come to see artemis



is artemis

that’s what they say in acts chapter

19 verse 28

paul picks that up

and says oh yeah that’s something great

but it ain’t her

he says timothy

when the people gather at the grocery

store of truth


should be saying great is the mystery of


so let me talk about the word mystery

in the bible the word mystery refers

to something that was concealed in the

old testament that was revealed in the

new testament


and it’s called a mystery that word is

used throughout the new testament to

refer to something that was either

unknown or unclear in the old testament

that has been now made clear in the new

testament when he says the word great is

the mystery this is a shout


is the mystery

of godline it was a confession he says

it was something they blurted out and

they said it at one time great is the

mystery of godliness

it was a shout and then they sang a song

because the rest of verse 16 is a hymn

it was a hymn that they would sing after

they cheered and shouted

he says


confession will make you want to shout

great is the mystery i haven’t even told

it to you yet and i feel like sheldon


is the mystery what was

concealed in the old testament that

wasn’t clear or fully revealed in the

sacrifices fully revealed in the worship

fully revealed in the jewish laws fully

revealed in the books of the old

testament has now


been made clear so the question is what

is the mystery

he says let’s sing a song

and he recites to him

let’s look at the verses

the first verse

he was revealed in the flesh

that’s called incarnation

no he wasn’t

beginning in the flesh he was revealed

in the flesh

because unto us a child was born but

unto us a son is given the son existed

before the child was born it’s called

the incarnation god becoming a man in


it’s called the virgin birth

see what god did was he was in heaven

and went click click took a selfie

and up pops jesus christ in a manger

impregnated mary by the holy spirit so

that he’s fully god fully man and one

person and that leads him to want to


great is this mystery in the incarnation

he goes to the next verse was vindicated

in the spirit

so he goes from incarnation to


what vindicated jesus why do we not make

jesus ordinary and we make jesus

extraordinary well the virgin birth is

not enough but in case you didn’t get it

he proved to be who he said he was and

the way he proved to be

what he said he was is by a sinless life

by his miracles and by his resurrection

so even if you didn’t believe what he


you could see what he did

so he moved from incarnation to

vindication let’s go to the next verse

seen by angels that’s visualization

the angel showed up at his birth angels

showed up in his temptation angel showed

up in his death angels showed up in his

resurrection and whenever he ran into

demons they shook

so the spiritual world couldn’t ignore

him and vindicated that he was who he

declared himself to be

let’s go to the next verse

proclaimed among the nations that’s


that there’s nowhere you can go where

his name is not held in high honor

where jesus the christ is not given

the props that are due him

as the king of kings the lord of lords

the eternal son of god he goes to the

next verse he says believed on in the


that’s confession

you’ll hear people confessing the name

of jesus on every continent

you’ll find him in every hole you will

find him in the most inconspicuous of

places why because of who he was god has

made sure that people know and give

a testing to the uniqueness of jesus


then he gives the final verse

of the song

song he says

taken up to glory

that’s the ascension after the


after jesus rose from the dead 40 days

later he stepped on a cloud in his

glorified body

an angel showed up again and said why do

you men stand here gazing up into the

heavens this same jesus that’s gone is

going to return

i don’t know about you

but that makes a man want to shout

what is the mystery of godliness it is

the uniqueness of jesus christ

it has god become a man in the person of

christ so don’t you apologize for jesus


don’t you be ashamed of jesus christ

don’t you hide him behind a bush just

because his person is offensive

anybody who gave his life for you died

for you rose for you ascended for you

coming back for you you don’t apologize

for it

you give honor to his name

he’s king of kings and lord of lords and

that is a common confession


who comes to church ought to confess i

don’t just believe in god that’s generic

i recognize his son

because the bible says in 1st

corinthians 1

truth is in jesus

because philippians chapter 2

verses 9 through 11

at the name of jesus

every knee should bow

and every tongue should confess

that jesus is lord to the glory of the

father so excuse me

if i stick with jesus

excuse me if i stick with the truth

excuse me if i speak it to the church

because he is

the mystery of godliness and he deserves

our undivided

and undiminished praise somebody stand

and give him a common confession






god has a central location

that he has created and designed

to hold the truth

and deposit it in the lives of people

and that central location is the church

when the church is being what god

created the church to be

it lays a foundation where people can

know they can hear the voice of god

accurately proclaim so that they can

inculcate it into their lives for good

and for the benefit of others

when you go to church you should be

going to a location that’s not going to

give you

what men or society has to say but what

god has to say on every subject