On Memorial Day, we often hear the phrase, “All gave some; some gave all.” Scripture also says that the greatest love that can be shown is giving one’s life for another (John 15:13). The ultimate example of this is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf.
What is invaluable to you? Usually the greatest blessings in our life are given to us without being earned or deserved. As treasured as some possessions are to us, no material gift can change a heart and mind forever. This is something that God's grace does, and only it can do.
The occasion for Paul’s writing this and other letters to the Corinthians was to address a sin issue. His secondary purpose was to restore their relationships. All this was for the ultimate purpose of enabling Gospel progress to continue. There is no Gospel progress unless Christians are right with the Lord and each other in the local church.
This will be true until Christ comes. This purpose is reflected in our church's mission statement: "Grace Church of Mentor exists to glorify God by evangelizing the lost and equipping the saints with the goal of Christ-likeness." Every Bible-believing church has been given this Gospel mission. Our Savior intends us to live His life, and His disciples demonstrated this. Both men and women tremendously affected Gospel progress in their areas in the New Testament.
The healing process takes time. The Corinthian church was healing, and Paul urges them to return to their mission. The overall focus in this chapter is pleasing God and living for redemptive purposes.
2 Corinthians 5:11-13
The aspiration of the believer is to please God, whether here on earth or in His presence in Heaven. The Spirit compels us to become more like the Son every day.
The world's allurements and performance-based external religion distract us from Gospel productivity. Paul instructs the Corinthians to enjoy working together in Gospel living and focus on their confident hope so they will avoid distraction, find renewal, and keep being spiritually productive.
Last week, we studied the believer's reality of possessing great spiritual treasure (2 Corinthians 4:7). The rest of our passage describes further realities that believers are assumed to enjoy.
God places us in each of our specific contexts for an eternal purpose (1 Corinthians 12:18, Matthew 28:19-20).
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."
We are learning from Solomon how to live simply in the margin of mystery created by the unpredictability of life. Ecclesiastes 9:11-18 warns us not to trust our personal ability or opportunities.
We are studying the third section of Ecclesiastes, which instructs us on how to rejoice in hard times. Joy is the reality of the believer who lives in the blessed will of God (Ecclesiastes 8:15). With the proper perspective, believers can enjoy all God's good gifts, but if distracted from eternal purpose, we will doubt the integrity of God and His providence.
Life is a gift from God to be lived on purpose with joy. Our joy must be connected to living according to God’s Word (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
In Ecclesiastes 6:1-9, Solomon applies wisdom to apparent injustices that can cause roadblocks in our lives. It is common to find people who seem to have everything but are not satisfied. Solomon gives two examples: a single man and a married man. Ultimately, we will see what it means for a believer to embrace the good material possessions God has given us.
Ecclesiastes 5:8-17 show that God is comfortable talking about politics and finance. These topics often cause tension, but we can converse confidently about what God says about each of these areas of human life.
The next section of Ecclesiastes we will preach illustrates the importance of companionship where isolation reigns.
God has a personal plan for each person within His larger plan. Sometimes this truth is hard to believe when we go through confusing or difficult circumstances. Just as there is a purpose for each piece within a large model of a plane or ship, there is purpose in every aspect of your life.
Ecclesiastes 1:3-11 could be interpreted quite negatively. If the purpose of the book is to help us know how to live with joy, this cannot be the ultimate interpretation. This passage exemplifies 4 thought patterns that can rob our joy. Unbelievers can approach these negatively or positively. How should believers respond to these thoughts?
Psalm 3 and 4 show us David's struggle to find peace in threatening circumstances. Psalm 3 is his prayer about the physical threat of his son Absalom's coup. Psalm 4 is likely connected and addresses the threat of permanent harm to David's reputation. David's prayer, perspective, and poise are an example of how we can find peace regardless of our circumstances.
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