In whatever change we seek, God seeks to change us.
Knowing our history and considering the future both bring us closer to each other and the Lord.
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.
The next portion of Romans 8 compares temporary suffering to eternal glory. All Christians experience suffering in varying degrees: Some faithfully serve despite chronic illness; others grieve over a straying child, unsaved spouse or parent; some persevere after losing a faithful spouse; and many are waiting to see friends they love come to Christ.
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.
We cannot be saved by grace and grown by the law. Trying to grow ourselves or others by the law is setting up any external standard of holiness by which to measure one's spiritual growth. Whether the standard is given by God or man, it can never produce spiritual growth.
Romans 6-7 are all about how a Christian becomes more Christ-like after he or she comes to know Jesus. Chapter 6 takes a positive approach, while chapter 7 takes a negative approach.
God's Word has tremendous protective value in the development of our spirit. Many places in Scripture affirm its transformative power and stress the importance of memorizing and applying the Bible.
The context of Hebrews is the superiority of Jesus Christ. The writer pauses to give a parenthesis of warning in Hebrews 5:11-6:3. He assumes that his audience is saved, but has instruction to give regarding how they handle the Word of God. We can learn five aspects of growth from this passage.
The whole person includes a spirit, soul, and body. Our summer study seeks to understand each part and apply biblical principles to how we grow in each aspect. This will give us confidence that we are doing what we can to please the Lord.
The spirit is the image of God in a person (Genesis 2:7). It is what makes us an individual. This includes our moral ability, our rationality, our spirituality, and our personality. All of these can be pleasing to God. Jesus said we must worship with our spirit (John 4:23-24), and Paul personally worshiped God in his spirit (Romans 1:9). The development of our spirit is a necessity (Malachi 2:15).
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.
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.
At worst, the doctrine of legalism teaches we can save ourselves. At best, it teaches what we can do ourselves to gain favor with God. Either way, the source is one of darkness. Those who know the Lord Jesus as their Savior no longer have to worry about pleasing God. Because of our position in Christ, pleasing God becomes natural to us.
In 1 Timothy 4:1-5, Paul has explained legalism's attempts to earn approval with God. Next, he outlines the contrasting virtues of godly servants.
Paul wrote the book of 1 Timothy to encourage the believers at Ephesus, then instruct them about the structure of the church so they could make spiritual progress. First he had to encourage their leader, his "true son in the faith," Pastor Timothy. Paul was Timothy's spiritual father. He had mentored Timothy in personal growth and in ministry. What fruits did Paul desire to see in his spiritual son -- and what should we pray to see in our spiritual children?
We continue to follow Timothy's journey as he learns how God builds His church. The normative pattern we see in the book of Acts is not churches being grown around programs or a person. God's primary way to grow a church is through people getting saved as a result of believers interacting with the unsaved. A church grown around the Bible will have the desire to plant other churches, then network together to reach even more regions in the world.
This passage shows the spiritual change of three individuals – Jacob, Judah, and Joseph. Two of them had made significant mistakes in their younger years, yet God showed patience with them. By His grace, they progressed in their maturity and now show virtues of obedience. This can encourage us not to measure spiritual growth by hours, a day, or even a month of a person’s life. Instead, look at big-picture growth. Do you know God more than you did a year ago? Are you more Christ-like?
Along the path of Christian growth, sometimes we can feel like we’re stuck in a traffic jam on a one-lane highway. The pace slows sometimes with trials and afflictions, and other times it speeds up. The Lord determines the pace.
As Genesis 32 begins, Jacob’s pace is picking up. He’s reminded that divine help always goes with him along the way. Likewise, Christians have angelic forces that minister to us, always working to help us be more like Christ.
In God’s providence, the next chapter of Genesis fits perfectly with a Father’s Day theme. The Lord provides for every need of His people’s hearts when preaching through the whole Word of God.
The American evangelical culture can view God as an activity director on a cruise ship. We expect Him to be blessing us every moment, or He is not doing His job. This passage corrects that understanding. Faith is cultivated through trials.
Theme: The enjoyment of unseen spiritual realities prepares our hearts for unified daily living in God’s glorious church. This week, we finish up the doctrinal teaching portion of Ephesians. Paul’s main point can be summarized in 1 sentence: God desires to take every soul on the globe, from various cultures and backgrounds, and blend them into one family in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. This pinnacle passage takes the form of a prayer, preparing us for the practical instructions to come in chapters 4-6. Last week we discussed God’s Enablement and Indwelling. Remember that these four aspects flow into one another as a natural Spirit-given progression. If we’re governed by the Spirit, Christ will feel at home in our hearts. As Christ is at home in our hearts, we will know the infinite measure of love God has given to us in His Son Jesus Christ. As we know that love, we will know increasing maturity over time.
Paul continues to pray for believers’ understanding of who they are in Christ to increase. As we pray the same for each other, it will be answered because it is the revealed will of God! God is very proud of His Son. He loves and longs for people to know more about His Son, and to keep learning more of Him forever.
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