Looking for Jesus Christ's return motivates us to live in a proper manner. Faithful living is personal and characterized by a loving disposition and moral behavior. God is faithful to enable you to grow on your own, but He also wants you to be helped by others in a local church family. This interdependence will have a supernatural influence inside and outside the church.
We long to see people we love. Christians love Jesus Christ because of all He has done for us, and we can't wait to see Him. Our anticipation of Christ motivates us to live in a way that pleases Him.
Transparent spiritual relationships in the local church take hard work, but they are worth it. These relationships are more meaningful than checking off the number of times you attend church services. Christians cannot live the Christian life without each other.
Our theme for 2019 will be "Looking and Living." The expectation of seeing our Lord Jesus Christ is always attached to our living (Titus 2:11-15).
1 Thessalonians speaks often of the New Testament believer's hope of seeing Jesus. We eagerly await Christ's return. This anticipation only grows as we get older.
The longer you walk with the Lord as your Savior, the more you long to see Him face to face. This was true of both Simeon and Anna in Luke 2.
Love is talked about often during the Christmas season. The love of God in our hearts produces hope (Romans 5:5). The Holy Spirit instructs us about God's love. The gifts given by the Holy Spirit are to be lived out in love (1 Corinthians 13:1-13 and 1 Peter 4:9-11). It is God Himself who teaches us to love (1 Thessalonians 4:9-10).
Romans 16:25-27 may not be a song, but these are glorious words spoken about God. They encapsulate our focus as we end our study of this book. While we live out the Gospel, our singular goal is to bring glory to God.
Setting goals and achieving them is a reflection of God's image in humans. Focusing on one thing has proven to produce great success for many entrepreneurs, although their achievements are only temporal. The ultimate goal of the Gospel is to spiritually and positionally restore us in Jesus Christ back to our original spiritual condition and purpose in the eyes of our Creator. The Westminster Shorter Catechism puts it this way: "the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." How is this done?
Psalm 12 expresses how David felt when he had been abandoned by godly friends. In Psalm 13, David is so alone, he feels he has been abandoned by God Himself. This feeling is prompted by the length of his suffering. Perseverance in a long time of difficulty is perhaps the most trying to our minds and hearts.
David's struggle will feel familiar to many people of God. In a marathon of trust, we often ask similar questions. Is God one who abandons? Through David's wrestling, we will learn that God's character and work confessed in prayer sustains us during long, drawn-out periods of suffering.
Paul includes two unusual elements at the end of his letter to the Roman Christians. He gives a final instruction about protecting the health of a good church and closes with a 3-verse doxology. (He normally ends his letters with a prayer of benediction.) Though danger was not present in the Roman church yet, spiritual danger is always imminent. He warned the church in Rome so they would be ready.
As we finish Paul's list of greetings for those who are "in Christ," consider which description you identify with. What is your role in the pursuit of Gospel progress?
In the first century, names were given with significant thought. In the longest list of names found in Paul's epistles, however, it is not the names themselves that are the most important. It is the fact that these people are "in Christ" and "in the Lord," which is repeated 11 times in 23 verses. Some of the people in this list were slaves with no formal names aside from the household they served. Slave or free, when they were saved, these believers were given a greater identity in their Savior.
We can learn a lot from Paul's list of greetings in Romans 16. In this longest list of names in Paul's letters, he repeats the phrases "in Christ" or "in the Lord." All 26 people named had been redeemed and transformed by Jesus Christ.
How do we know the Gospel is real? It evokes more than an emotional response. It changes the whole person. Many know the facts of the Gospel and are emotionally moved, but they still feel empty. They can't break their bad habits, because they are still governed by their old selves. Jesus gave His life to redeem us. The appropriate response is to give all of ourselves to be completely His.
Where do we find real success and real help in our evangelistic efforts? No Gospel outreach is ever effective unless it is underpinned with the fervent prayer of God's people.
The Gospel will advance from a healthy church. There is nothing sensational or extraordinary about it. It is actually abnormal for a church not to realize Gospel advancement according to Acts 1:8. Rome was not the largest church in the first century, but they enjoyed Gospel influence because they were healthy and unified.
We have been studying Paul's instructions on weak and strong Christians. (See previous sermons on this chapter.) Romans 14:13-23 gives guidelines for considerate people within a church that is unified, healthy, and growing.This is how we maintain unity among Spirit-filled people.
Paul talks about two categories of Christians in Romans 14, the strong and the weak. Every believer falls under one category or the other. Both are assumed to be reverent and growing. Both are instructed to keep themselves in the love of God.
How do groups of believers who are growing at different rates remain considerate of each other in the body of Christ? This is imperative if we are to display the love of a unified family to a watching world!
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!
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