Our theme for the year will be "Doing Divine Things Together."
The book of Matthew has 5 discourses and 5 narrative sections presenting Christ as the King. Our passage today is part of the Sermon on the Mount, which is not new information. As one author described, "It is the wisdom of God inviting all of us through faith to orient our vision, values, and habits from the ways of external righteousness to wholeheartedness towards God. Jesus' method of teaching uses thematic structures, images, and poetic language to allow His listeners more simple ways to remember, meditate on, and memorize Christ's heart on how to live every day."
At first reading, Ecclesiastes 7:15-18 seems to advocate being a little bit wicked. But this interpretation would not fit with the rest of Scripture. Instead, Solomon is showing that excessively applying righteousness and piling on wickedness are both dangerous. We should not come to conclusions about a person's character too quickly.
Looking for Jesus Christ's return motivates us to live in a proper manner. Faithful living is personal and characterized by a loving disposition and moral behavior. God is faithful to enable you to grow on your own, but He also wants you to be helped by others in a local church family. This interdependence will have a supernatural influence inside and outside the church.
As we finish Paul's list of greetings for those who are "in Christ," consider which description you identify with. What is your role in the pursuit of Gospel progress?
Knowing our history and considering the future both bring us closer to each other and the Lord.
The Great Commission, found in Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8, is God's assignment for the church. The task of reaching the world with the name of Christ is bigger than any individual. It is even bigger than the collective group of believers. This task requires the power of God. Thankfully, that which God calls us to, He also empowers us to do. As we continue to grow spiritually, God does the work to accomplish His eternal mission.
Good coaches emphasize the fundamentals because they are essential for success. At the end of chapter 3, Paul gives a parenthetical reminder to Timothy. If the churches that Timothy oversees at Ephesus are to have spiritual success, they must stay focused on their mission.
Three Greek words are used interchangeably to describe one position of leadership in the church. In English, these are translated as pastor, teacher, overseer or elder. 1 Timothy 3 describes the character that should exist among leadership families.
In 1 Timothy 2, Paul moves from philosophy to practical instruction for Timothy and the Ephesian churches. What would you say is the most important thing for a new church? Paul says the number-one priority for the church is prayer, with a primarily evangelistic focus. Our responsibility to the state is to pray for the salvation of our leaders.
Carbon fiber is ten times as strong as steel and one third the weight. Because of these properties, the airplane industry is using it to make more lightweight, durable jets. Likewise, the church is much stronger and can move forward with much less burden when it is well-taught and holds to proper doctrine. The Christian life can be hard, but it would be much more difficult if we didn't preach a proper Gospel.
We continue to follow Timothy's journey as he learns how God builds His church. The normative pattern we see in the book of Acts is not churches being grown around programs or a person. God's primary way to grow a church is through people getting saved as a result of believers interacting with the unsaved. A church grown around the Bible will have the desire to plant other churches, then network together to reach even more regions in the world.
As Timothy accompanied Paul, Luke and Silas on their second missionary journey, he had a lot to learn. His role was an observer as he followed his spiritual leader. He saw what great things God can do through a few gifted people.
The end of Genesis 11 records the descendants of Shem and focuses in on a man named Terah. We see that godly people were still alive at the time of the Tower of Babel as a small remnant. God provides salvation to His people and grace to persevere regardless of how dark a culture is.
Genesis 12 begins the “Regeneration” section of Genesis and the Patriarchal period of Bible history. God had doled out judgment on those who didn’t steward His Word, and is about to give more revelation.
Theme: We have adequate, divine resources to fulfill Christ’s mission in a way that honors Him. Paul continues discussing the resources available to Christians in service of the “mystery.” What was not formerly understood by everyone is now revealed: God offers the Gospel to all the world. Paul’s focus shifts back to his person for these verses – but he is also describing you! All members of the new, unified Christian family have a responsibility to carry out the mission.
Theme: We have adequate, divine resources to fulfill Christ’s mission in a way that honors Him. Ephesians 3:1-13 is a “parenthesis” in Paul’s letter that redefines the content of 2:11-22. It clarifies what we’ve been given in the mystery of God. This mystery is essentially taking two separate entities, Jew and Gentile, and making one family out of all who own Jesus Christ as their Lord (1 Peter 2:9). The single purpose of this one family is to let the whole world know about Jesus (John 17:20-21).
Theme: We have adequate, divine resources to fulfill Christ’s mission in a way that honors Him. Just as a soldier’s backpack contains everything they need for survival and execution of their mission, Christians have been given adequate resources by God Himself. As God’s soldiers, we are properly prepared to survive in the field of Christian service.
Theme: From Alienation to Restoration In this passage, Paul applies the truths from verses 1-10 to a specific problem in the church he wrote to: disunity among those who were already made one in Christ.
Paul continues to pray for believers’ understanding of who they are in Christ to increase. As we pray the same for each other, it will be answered because it is the revealed will of God! God is very proud of His Son. He loves and longs for people to know more about His Son, and to keep learning more of Him forever.
Theme: Our Eternal Foundation, Part 4 – Every Spiritual Blessing is In Christ Paul continues his prayer that we started looking at in verses 15-16. In these verses, his prayer turns from thanksgiving to request for the Ephesian believers, that they would continually understand more of all they were given in Jesus Christ the moment they were saved. This morning, we looked at 2 of the 3 things that Paul wanted the Ephesian believers to understand:
Theme: Our Eternal Foundation, Part 3 – Every Spiritual Blessing is in Christ As the introduction to the last section of chapter 1, these verses mentions two practical ways that our riches in Christ are most vividly displayed. This passage is a prayer of praise offered personally by Paul in response to the testimony of the Ephesians.
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