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.
We live in the most informed generation possibly of all time. We have an enormous amount of information available to us, whether it is legitimate or not. Thomas Jefferson used the phrase "knowledge is power" in his letters at least four times, each time regarding the establishment of a state university in Virginia. He also believed in the power of knowledge to bring safety and happiness.
Despite the amount of knowledge acquired by all generations leading to ours, we still have not curbed societal ills of hatred, violence, immorality, and addiction. Knowledge cannot control our passions. It cannot change the human condition.
There is only one kind of knowledge that can permanently change a person. "Only intelligent commitment of a life in light of God's gift of salvation can curb the human condition" (Bennett). Only God receives the glory for changing a human being and sustaining that transformation (Romans 11:36). Sinful people need to hear of Christ and surrender their hearts to His authority.
In extreme circumstances, our needs become very clear. When you are tired, hungry, and poor, what do you need more than sleep, money, and food? The Word of God is more necessary than any physical need. It is sufficient at all times (2 Peter 1:3). A desire for God's Word nourishes the spirit.
The classic passage on the "blessed hope" of Christians is Titus 2:11-15. Paul is instructing Titus as his apostolic delegate in Crete and Corinth. He trusts and depends on Titus to teach sound doctrine and the importance of adorning it with one's pattern of life.
Paul refers to two phases of future history in verse 13. The "blessed hope" is the rapture of believers to meet Christ in the air. The "glorious appearing" is when Christ comes again to establish His millennial kingdom.
Our theme this year is "A Zeal for the Church." We at Grace Church want to have an all-consuming desire for this local body to succeed spiritually. Anyone God has saved, He has a plan to use in the church. Our heart, soul, mind, and strength are to be utilized in living for His purposes. Paul calls this being sanctified "entirely" or completely.
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