On Sunday evening, we commemorated our Savior's death through song, Scripture reading, and observing the Lord's Table.
Parables of Discipleship
1 Corinthians is a letter to a church that found itself in the most influential and cosmopolitan city of its day. Yet this was a troubled church. The church received the gospel, but it was not governed by it. In many practical ways, the church was governed by culturally-derived mottos rather than mature reflection on the gospel and its implications for life.
At Christmas time, it is fitting to turn our minds to prophetic truths concerning Jesus the Messiah. The books of the prophets are usually the first to come to mind, and the literal fulfillment of the circumstantial facts they predicted hundreds of years prior to Jesus’ coming is nothing short of miraculous. Another prophetic witness is found in the Messianic Psalms. In total, twenty-five different psalms (one out of six) include at least one Messianic prophecy. Messianic psalms are quoted in eleven New Testament books.
These psalms are prophetic in a special way: in the words and feelings of the Psalmist were found the very words and feelings of the Messiah. (See Hebrews 2:12.) The Psalmist knew that the coming Messiah would “fill out” the emotional and physical suffering he was experiencing by experiencing them in a way he never could. The pain he spoke of figuratively, the Messiah would know literally.
It is often observed that rulers' degree of success depends on who they listen to. The people behind the man in an elevated position often matter just as much.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 teach us about the power, boldness, and freedom we have in Christ to grow in Christ-likeness.
We can receive comfort from others in dark times. This is one of God's good gifts to us. But there is only one place to find soul rest. Jesus is the exclusive source of ultimate comfort.
Three Gospel writers record the narrative found in Mark 6:45-52. Mark writes with his theme in mind: Jesus as servant (Mark 10:45).
Christmas is when God became man. This is the meaning of "incarnation." But why did God become man? The whole Bible is the answer; this morning, we look at Hebrews 2 for part of the answer.
Remembering is an essential discipline of living.
There is profundity in simplicity. Our world is complicated, but God's plan to lead us back to Himself is simple. Human ways to God only lead to destruction.
The church today does not and cannot celebrate Palm Sunday in the same way the original participants did. When the crowds cried, "Hosanna, save now," they were crying out for immediate deliverance from the Romans. The church celebrates Jesus' unique identity which was magnified that day. Palm Sunday gave a window into the hearts of those around Jesus as they responded to who He was.
The longer you walk with the Lord as your Savior, the more you long to see Him face to face. This was true of both Simeon and Anna in Luke 2.
God created human beings to know Him. Though we fell into sin, which separates us from Him, God has prepared a way for every person to return to a relationship with Him. The image of God can still be seen in people's moral, rational, spiritual, and personal components. Fallen nature tries to work its way back to friendship and reconciliation with God. This is the essence of religion. However, the Bible teaches that the only way back to God is through His Son, Jesus Christ.
When religious people hear the Gospel, they respond to it sincerely from a heart that has been trained religiously. They generally reject God's free offer of grace without knowing so as they continue to work for God's favor. God never intended people to work for salvation; it is impossible! In fact, "religious good works shipwreck grace." God offers the free gift of eternal life only through His Son (Romans 6:23).
In Romans 9, Paul explained how God sovereignly saves. In chapter 10, he discusses how people respond. God saves faithfully, mercifully, and particularly. The righteousness of Christ has changed you and me! This settles our heart when distressed over those yet to be saved.
Using proper names is very important at announcements of significant life events. When the angels announced Jesus' birth to the shepherds in Luke 2:10-14, the titles they used had intentional significance.
The second chapter of John's Gospel shows the beginning of Jesus' public ministry – His first miracle, His first appearance at the Temple, His first Passover and His first cleansing of the Temple. The central verse of this section is John 2:17. All these events were the Messianic fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. We can study this passage to ask, "What is the activity and fruit of a life consumed with properly worshiping the Lord?"
A disciple is simply someone who follows Christ. Luke 9:57-62 and a parallel passage in Matthew 8:18-22 tell of Jesus' interaction with three different disciples. It is easy to follow Jesus when doing so is popular, but many disciples leave when things become difficult (John 6:66). Jesus' response to each disciple highlights the question of who they will follow first. Each one's heart attitude is revealed in what the Lord says to him.
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