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.
If anyone owns the word "new," the church does. Those who have been transformed by the Gospel and have been given a new nature know the true meaning of the word. In a new year when much is uncertain, we know the Lord is still on the throne, and we are qualified and equipped for whatever may come our way.
We are familiar with Psalm 66:18: "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." We need to understand it in its context. Often, this verse makes us question whether God hears our prayers; however, the following verses show that the psalmist had assurance that God heard his prayer because he was not one who cherished sin in his heart. The main emphasis of this psalm is the need to give praise to God. In fact, 14 different ways to praise God are mentioned in this psalm. We can be assured that if God would hear our prayer, then He must hear our praise.
Opinions on finding happiness are not hard to find. In the Bible, true happiness is an effect, not a cause. It is the product of making God-honoring choices in critical areas of life. Psalm 32 shows the watershed which divides true happiness from unhappiness. The transformative nature of God’s forgiveness sets us firmly on the path of true happiness. The psalmist gives us 4 reasons why.
The psalmbook of Israel was divided into 5 sections. Book 5 contains many anonymous psalms and some by David. A common theme of these authors is deriving hope from the guaranteed future for the nation of Israel. Their eschatological message is, "it's going to be okay."
David's life was highly dramatic, but he didn't get caught up in it. What gave him balance, stability, and reference for his direction? Psalm 138 shows us 3 components to the "gyroscope" of David's life.
Psalm 6 meditates on a difficult Christian endeavor: responding while under the disciplinary hand of the Lord. This endeavor is the sole property of people who have been transformed by Jesus into the often-uncomfortable condition of being lifelong learners, lovers, and worshipers. The joy of learning often includes the negative experience of shame, stifling our own pride, and enduring the consequences of our sin.
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.
The question posed in Psalm 11:3 addresses a human need. The wickedness around David, the writer of this Psalm, threatened to undermine the foundations of the nation of Israel, God's people. In our day, it seems that the foundations of our country are being threatened as well. The foundations of the church are undermined when many Protestant denominations deny the authority of Scripture, the sanctity of marriage, and the sacred nature of human sexuality as God defines it. Personally, at times it seems that the foundations of one's life are being destroyed by loss of health, financial security, or valued relationships.
In such uncertain times, the righteous take refuge in the Lord! David unpacks 4 activities that the righteous practice in order to take refuge in the Lord.
On Palm Sunday, the crowd shouted "Hosanna" as Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem. The word means "Save now!" They certainly wanted a conquering king to overpower Rome at that time. But this was not God's plan. His plan of salvation went beyond human wisdom.
The issue of salvation really comes down to a question of authority. Who will I believe? By what wisdom will I live my life? King David gives his recommendation in Psalm 36. This wisdom psalm reveals secrets of life to help us navigate life as God intended. David was the king over the nation of Israel, with a powerful army at his command and many wise advisors. Furthermore, he had a privileged place in salvation history – the promised Messiah would come through his line. Yet he directs the people of Israel to look to the Lord for wisdom.
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.
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