As a child, were you fascinated by small wonders like lightning bugs? G.K. Chesterton said, "What is wonderful about childhood is that anything in it was a wonder. It was not merely a world full of miracles; it was a miraculous world.”
As Christians, God has placed us in a miraculous world of wonder. He calls it Christ's body, the church. As we move into the practical portion of the book, Romans 12:3-8 gives us the first practical aspect of our salvation.
The local church is characterized by believers who love one another and are excited to serve together. This delights God's heart. We serve not merely to be busy but to build each other up and be light in the culture. Our influence in the community is only as strong as our relationships with one another in the local church.
"Many a little makes a mickle." This Scottish proverb illustrates how many small things can add up. The local church is made up of many people with Spirit-given special abilities. The combination of these gifts working together is one of the most significant influences in the world.
Paul gives Timothy eight imperatives for living at the end of 1 Timothy 4. These instructions to a pastor are useful for every believer to live a well-disciplined life that shows progress in Christ-likeness step by step.
In 1 Timothy 3, Paul writes Timothy about the qualifications for leadership in the church. His comments raise two questions: Do you aspire to be a leader? Do you qualify? This particular section is addressed to men, but all people in the church should aspire to have character that mirrors their leaders.
1 Timothy 1 is all about ministry balance. Paul emphasizes three things necessary for Timothy's ministry and every local church:
Every member must take responsibility for all three. A congregation that only teaches sound doctrine or only evangelizes will know success for a while, but a flock where each saint embraces the challenge of learning to defend the body of faith entrusted to them will know the eternal blessing of God.
As Timothy accompanied Paul, Luke and Silas on their second missionary journey, he had a lot to learn. His role was an observer as he followed his spiritual leader. He saw what great things God can do through a few gifted people.
From Genesis 42, we can learn about wise stewardship, political leadership, and the fact that sin will always find you out. But the main focus of this chapter is a servant leader who lives faithfully wherever God puts him because he knows he has a divine purpose.
As Joseph waited in prison, God still had not brought to pass the dream He gave Joseph when he was 17 years old (Gen. 37). Joseph was now 30 years old and had spent over half of his life waiting for God to fulfill His promise that he would rule over his brothers. Meanwhile, he has been faithful with what God has given him, both position and promises. From his youth, Joseph was faithful to God’s Word, even when it got him in trouble. And in His own timing, God would exalt him.
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.
Theme: We have adequate, divine resources to fulfill Christ’s mission in a way that honors Him. Paul continues discussing the resources available to Christians in service of the “mystery.” What was not formerly understood by everyone is now revealed: God offers the Gospel to all the world. Paul’s focus shifts back to his person for these verses – but he is also describing you! All members of the new, unified Christian family have a responsibility to carry out the mission.
Theme: Investigating our Eternal Foundation, part 1 Why is the church glorious? Because she has a glorious head, foundation, and shepherd – Jesus Christ. When the church is promoted as a marketing tool of social good and philanthropy, she is robbed of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ and His power to save. God’s grace is what makes the church glorious.
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