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.
Written to people who need to know Christ, the gospel of John is clear about God’s initiating love towards each of us. John desires for us to understand God’s amazing love so we would surrender our hearts to Him as Lord and Savior.
We are studying some areas where God has grown us as a church body over the past few years. Last week, we looked at our identity and how we must view each other first as children of God and not any other label. There will be harmony in the church when we maintain unity.
Why do senseless killings happen? What does God’s Word say we can do as believers?
John 20:11-18 tells of Mary Magdalene encountering the risen Jesus. In this account, we see Jesus' consoling love that is simple and profound.
Psalm 50 describes a courtroom drama, where the setting includes a judge, defendant, prosecution, witnesses, and defense. This and similar Old Testament passages are called covenant lawsuits. God is bringing charges against the nation of Israel.
The god of this world seeks to eliminate Christ's influence, which causes even more feelings of crisis and pressure for Christians. Believers are citizens of a greater country, and they walk according to its mission. This can cause conflict with the world.
C.H. Spurgeon wrote in Lectures to My Students, "Cautious hesitancy is, in 9 cases out of 10, cowardly betrayal. The best policy is never to be diplomatic but to proclaim every atom of the truth of God's Word so far as God has taught it to you."
Paul continues to protect the Corinthian church with humility and transparency, pouring himself out so they will avoid spiritual relapse. He does not want them to entertain those seeking to pull them away from the sufficiency of Christ.
Remember that this whole section of 2 Corinthians 8-9 is bookended by grace. In 2 Corinthians 9:6-8, God is mentioned repeatedly, and His work is cause for rejoicing. When God is at the controls of our lives, He will care for those who share resources because they care for His cause. If we want to know the full capability of God's grace, we will meditate on Christ's riches generously shared with us. His divine reciprocity was given for a cause.
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.
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.
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.
Paul is writing the young pastor Titus to help his ministry in Crete. The first 2 chapters of his letter are about structure and relationships within the church (Titus 1-2). Chapter 3 begins with addressing a Christian's attitude toward those in authority (verse 1) and how to relate to those who don’t know Christ (verse 2). Titus 3:3-11 instruct us how to function among those who don’t know Christ, both outside the church and inside. Sadly, there will always be those even in the church who profess Christ but do not truly know Him.
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 Paul continues to write according to his theme of ministry integrity, he turns to the quality of Christian relationships. This is one way people can suffer in a local church. When they are persuaded that Jesus is not enough, their relationships inside the church struggle, and they don't know how to develop redemptive relationships in the community. When unsure of the permanence of their relationship with God, then people have no foundation from which to build other relationships and no message of how the Gospel changed them.
2 Corinthians 3:4-6 compares a life lived under the Law with a life lived under grace. Paul knew the Corinthians had begun to lose their Gospel influence when they began embracing the false message of the Judaizers. The Law, even though divinely given, could not transform a person. No standard can change a heart. Its splendor is to convict.
The only way to minister with integrity is to have relationships continually maintained by God's Word. This must include forgiving those who have offended us.
Spiritual togetherness is another way to say "unity." Believers will be spiritually one as we understand who God is and who we are in Christ. We should not want to live life alone.
Page 1 of 3
Audio recordings are available for all regular worship services, as well as many special events. View our recording guidelines
If you're looking for audio from a special service and you can't find it here, try the Audio Request Form.
Subscribe to our podcast to get the latest sermons on your phone, tablet, or PC automatically.
Get it on iTunes
Podcast RSS Feed