It is worth celebrating the tenure of someone or something good. The long-lasting nature of something good means it was established on virtue which has been nurtured. All this year, Grace Church will be celebrating that which is virtuous in a spiritual sense and how we nurture it going forward. Those things which endure have been established on core principles and carefully maintained, and this is also true of the church. Jesus said that upon this rock (Him) He would build His church; and the gates of hell would not prevail against it (Matt. 16:18). The church endures because Jesus ensures that it will.
2 Corinthians 8:7-8 discusses the position of a believer. As they are grown by grace, they will exhibit a series of virtues, of which giving is the last that Paul lists. These virtues work together and are only the result of God's work. Paul compliments the Corinthians and assumes they will keep growing.
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."
Paul continues to address Pastor Timothy directly, yet there is still something for every Christian to learn from his words. Instructions to pastors affect the whole church, because a flock naturally becomes like its pastor.
A pastoral candidate was asked, “What do you have to offer our church?” His answer was only, “my weakness.” It’s an excellent answer. We only minister by God’s strength and His grace. Supernatural humility helps us overcome natural timidity. Someone once said, “Anxiety is the absence of humility, and humility is the absence of anxiety.”
Understanding the minutiae of Timothy’s life will help us understand the letters Paul wrote to help him oversee the pastor-shepherds of Ephesus. Timothy knew the Scriptures and came to Christ early in his life (2 Timothy 1:5, 3:15). From what we see in Scripture, Timothy was always a timid man. But his life teaches us that timidity is never an excuse not to minister. Everyone experiences a degree of fear when giving the Gospel or ministering publically. We must not let it keep us from obeying God.
Our theme for the year is Living Worship-Filled Lives. Romans 12:1-2 exhorts us to present our whole selves to God as a logical act of worship. This includes times of corporate worship and personal worship in prayer and reading God’s Word. But we also worship as we go about our lives, showing the fruit of what we’ve learned. The integrity of our lives should mirror how we worship on the Lord’s Day.
As we prepare to study the Pastoral Epistles, we’ll begin by learning about Timothy, to whom Paul wrote two letters. Understanding Timothy’s character helps us understand the content of the letters written to him.
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