God’s nature is unity (Deuteronomy 6:4). When we are baptized into Christ, we are one with Him and with each other spiritually (John 17:11, 20-22). David and Solomon both praised the importance of unity among God’s people (Psalm 133:1, Proverbs 6:17-19). Anyone who dismisses the unity God has created and spreads strife unnecessarily is considered an abomination. The job of believers in the church is to maintain the unity of the Spirit in peace (Ephesians 4:3, Philippians 4:2). God’s people love what God has provided and persevere in unity.
As we continue to study 2 Corinthians 1, we will see what Paul's ministry meant to interdependent relationships within the church. All the promises of God for personal relationships in the church are presented, received, and fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, Christian relationships can and should thrive in Him. This does not mean there will be no struggle; but healing and progress can always be found in the Gospel. The unwavering nature of the Gospel message helps us regain spiritual confidence after conflict.
2 Corinthians finds its author, Paul, defending his mission against threats to Gospel progress. His goal with the Corinthian believers to whom he was writing was to remain ministry partners even through relational difficulty while enjoying mutual comfort from God. Their unity in Christ was greater than anything that would divide them.
God places us in each of our specific contexts for an eternal purpose (1 Corinthians 12:18, Matthew 28:19-20).
Unity in Christ's body is maintained by more than individual behavior and relationships. It is maintained by having a unified mission.
Humans need to be together and to celebrate something bigger than themselves. We also need to be together as God's people. We prepare to be with each other, and we enjoy being with our Christian family. Our unity is based on our position in Christ and our disposition produced by the fruit of the Spirit.
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.
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