Text: John 2:13-25; John 20:30-31
John the Baptist was the first prophet to speak God's word for hundreds of years. This providential delay in revelation heightened anticipation among the Jews for the coming Messiah. John the Baptist broke the silence with a powerful, influential, successful voice, because God determined it to be so. He preached a message of repentance and led a simple life.
God is light. When Jesus came to earth, He shone as a bright contrast to the dark world of sin and sadness. Divinity had to take on humanity to fulfill God's purposes. Incarnation was appropriate, necessary, and is a non-negotiable doctrine of Christianity.
On Sunday evening, we commemorated our Savior's death through song, Scripture reading, and observing the Lord's Table.
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.
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.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 teach us about the power, boldness, and freedom we have in Christ to grow in Christ-likeness.
Luke 1:67-80 occurs just before the birth of Jesus, after the birth of his cousin John the Baptist. Zechariah is holding his newborn son and speaks promises inspired by the Holy Spirit. He answers the question, how can we be sure of Jesus' ability to save us from our sins?
We can trust in Jesus because God says we can. His Word is enough, because His promise will always come true. What He says, He will do.
Solomon offers more wisdom principles as he concludes the book of Ecclesiastes. He urges us to embrace good, simple things as we have them. As we discipline ourselves to use our energy to enjoy God's good gifts, we will be a joyful people!
The best way to proclaim that you're redeemed is by the way you live. The Gospel makes a transformative change in our lives that should be noticeable to those around us. Faith comes by hearing, but hearing the Word of God does not come primarily from a pulpit. It comes from believers living with disciple-making intentions in the natural rhythms of life. Your character and joyful disposition should prompt conversations!
Alva J. McClain said, "the person who knows well the first 11 chapters of the book of Romans knows more about the philosophy of human history than all the wisest historians that the world has ever seen. There is a philosophy of history here that is unmatched. It makes the historians on the earth appear like children playing with their toys." This passage simplifies what man has complicated. Paul reflects on the beauty of simplicity in salvation: humanity is composed of 2 groups of people, who both have 1 Savior. God has given our biggest difficulty the simplest solution in 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).
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.
We live in a culture of self-indulgence. Because of the pervasive influence of sin, humanity can't help but ruin ourselves even if we intend to do right. Titus 1:10-16 illustrates that Paul was writing to a pastor ministering in a similar society. False religious teachers in Crete had head knowledge of God without true heart knowledge, so their actions were ungodly. Both religious and irreligious people miss the mark because they seek to do things their own way.
Humanity left to itself always brings its own ruin personally and corporately. Paul's letter to Titus presents the solution: a body of true believers led by a good pastor-shepherd and sound doctrine taught by older examples.
Christian parents often tell their children, "There is nothing you can do to change my love for you." How much greater is God's infinite love! There is nothing we can do to change God's love for us. God the Father keeps us eternally secure in Jesus Christ, omnipotently held by the Holy Spirit. These truths provide hope for us throughout this earthly journey regardless of our circumstances.
Romans 5:12-21 concludes the first major section of this book. Alva J. McClain said about these verses, "A constant reading of this passage, under the leadership of the Spirit of God, never fails to bear fruit." It is a refrain of the blessings of justification in Paul's presentation of the Gospel.
Knowing intellectual data about Jesus is not enough to save a person. Nicodemus was a learned Jewish teacher, but he still did not possess saving faith until he knew what it meant to be born again (John 3:1-21). The longest 18 inches is the distance from the head to the heart, from knowing about Jesus to placing our full faith in and submitting to Christ.
Prayer is crucial to our spiritual development. Jesus' prayer in John 17 explains the purpose of Christ's life, which should be mirrored in the purpose of our lives. In this last section, we will seek to understand His passion for God's glory, which is His holiness and purity as demonstrated in His Son, God in flesh, who came to give His life as a ransom for all.
The book of Matthew was written to a Jewish audience to convince readers that Jesus is the promised Messiah. Our passage immediately follows Jesus' coronation (His baptism by John) and His testing by God. Unlike any other king, Jesus performed perfectly under the test. He resisted the tempter, commanded his worship, and finally banished him.
What will the reign of this King be like? Matthew 4:12-25 shows the first three acts of King Jesus which set the tone for His rule.
The Christian life is a battle for the mind. Many minds in our culture seek to convince people to think like them. But there is no mind that can compare to the mind of Christ. Every Christian who has made Christ their Lord and Savior has the mind of Christ! We are commanded to let His mind continually be operational in us.
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