Paul says we are God’s workmanship created for good works (Ephesians 2:10). The Bible is clear that salvation is never through our good works but through Christ alone, the lamb of God sacrificed on the cross for the sins of the world (Titus 3:4-7). Scripture is also clear that our faith in Christ is put on display through good works, the divine acts of love done by God’s redeemed. These good works allow others to learn more about our Savior, Jesus Christ. James teaches that we show our faith by our works which are inseparable from saving faith. Faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26).
Peter says it is exciting to look up, for the end of all things is near (1 Peter 4:7)! Christians in crisis spend more time in prayer. When we are in a difficult time, 1 Peter 4:7-11 says we must find our way by God’s grace to do these things:
There are two things common to all of us of faith: Jesus Christ and daily struggle. If you are in Christ, you struggle in the most unique and difficult ways. This is the reality of following Jesus. In 1 Peter 4:10-11, we see that a common Christ and a common struggle causes us to embrace a common encouragement in all of its varied and wonderful forms.
This will be true until Christ comes. This purpose is reflected in our church's mission statement: "Grace Church of Mentor exists to glorify God by evangelizing the lost and equipping the saints with the goal of Christ-likeness." Every Bible-believing church has been given this Gospel mission. Our Savior intends us to live His life, and His disciples demonstrated this. Both men and women tremendously affected Gospel progress in their areas in the New Testament.
A vulnerable person is defined as someone in need of special care, support, or protection because of innate disability or risk of abuse. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians addressed issues of sin and carnality in the church and prescribed corrective paths. The believers there received this rebuke and began to change. Then came another threat to their growth: false ones within the church. In this second letter, Paul has redirected their hearts to the comfort of God, his own integrity and love for them, intentional gospel ministry, and the greater glory of New Covenant. Next he rehearses how wonderful God’s transforming grace is to them on a personal level.
Spiritual togetherness is another way to say "unity." Believers will be spiritually one as we understand who God is and who we are in Christ. We should not want to live life alone.
Last week, we learned 4 spiritual anchors that children need from their moms, and spiritual progeny need from their mentors, after salvation. This week, we will see what those 4 principles look like in developing effective servants of the local church.
The investment of a mother or grandmother has far-reaching spiritual results. Though this message is oriented towards Mother's Day, every believer can learn from godly ladies. The best gift a mother can give is an introduction to the Savior, Jesus Christ. This fills the primary need of any child. 2 Timothy 1:3-14 shows four spiritual anchors that children need from their moms after salvation. The quality of our children's future depends on our understanding of these principles (whether biological children, adopted, or spiritual).
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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