Solomon's examination of the apparent anomalies and contradictions that confront our lives every day continues in Ecclesiastes 4. Walter Kaiser describes the progression of thought from chapter 3 to chapter 4 as follows:
A desire to do God's will is another assurance for a child of God.
Romans 8:26 is another often-quoted verse from this chapter. Remember that its truth must be understood in the context of the spiritual security and assurance of the believer.
At his death in 1902, Cecil Rhodes left 6 million pounds to Oxford University to establish the Rhodes scholarships. As great as a material inheritance can be, Christians value a spiritual heritage more than any earthly treasures (Colossians 3:1-2). The Holy Spirit ensures countless resources for the believer as a result of our adoption.
Romans 8:14-17 describes how God comes to our aid in our greatest time of spiritual need. These verses come in the midst of a passage describing the activities of the Godhead, specifically in keeping the believer eternally secure. The Holy Spirit's activities of giving life and now of adoption give great solace, comfort, and peace in times of personal loss. At every time, we are being kept safe by God.
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.
Our human fascination with the science of preservation, mummification, and time travel fiction reveal a deep desire to live beyond our earthly lifespan. Yet no human will ever be able to preserve life for eternity. Romans 8 teaches us how God preserves eternal life for His people.
Romans 6-7 tells believers how we daily become more like God. God's grace allows us to understand and apply God's Word. We can reflect God's character in our lives only to the extent that we know His Word.
Last week's sermon discussed the three parts of a person: body, soul, and spirit. These parts are evident from the creation of man in Genesis 2:7. God formed Adam's physical body and breathed in a living spirit, forming the individual soul that He named Adam. Each part of the human person has a responsibility to God. Those who look to you as an example need to see you following the Lord with the whole of your being.
Displays of spiritual power are found throughout the Bible. Today, people search for spiritual power in many ways and from various sources. Christians seek power in prayer and spiritual warfare. In the salvation era, power must be understood in light of Jesus' bodily resurrection. We must not substitute the historical form of spiritual power for its continuing substance.
Before leaving earth, Christ left a task for each believer in the church: to make disciples as a way of life (Matthew 28:19). Last week, we saw three requirements of disciple-makers from the life of Barnabas. This week, we will look at four expectations in the discipleship process.
Before leaving earth, Christ left a task for each believer in the church: to make disciples as a way of life (Matthew 28:19). We flesh out what it means to love God and others through disciple-making. As we exercise our own spiritual gift, each believer is also to be teaching truth from God's Word.
Fire drills and tornado drills can seem redundant, but they are necessary for collective safety. Paul drills Timothy on defending the faith in 1 Timothy 4:1-5. His words tie back to the instruction in chapter 1 on addressing falsehood in the church. Pragmatism or legalism is addressed through rehearsing the Gospel and individual believers' testimonies. Falsehood does not encourage outreach because it has no message to share outside the church. It works inside and divides the flock. Genuine believers embrace the Gospel and seek to take it outside the walls of the church.
After the high excitement of Easter, a natural question arises: What now? After the resurrection, what does Jesus want His church to focus on until He comes back? He has clearly laid out our mission and given us the resources to determine the specific way to fulfill it. How does the church discern God’s personal will for a local body of believers?
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