Luke presents Jesus as the Son of Man, rejected by Israel, offered to the Gentiles. In this presentation, Jesus is seen as a universal Savior. The second book written by Luke, Acts is about the ministry of Jesus’ disciples after Jesus rose from the dead and went back to Heaven. In Acts we see the Gospel of Jesus spread from Jerusalem in Israel all the way to the ends of the known world.
Paul is writing the young pastor Titus to help his ministry in Crete. The first 2 chapters of his letter are about structure and relationships within the church (Titus 1-2). Chapter 3 begins with addressing a Christian's attitude toward those in authority (verse 1) and how to relate to those who don’t know Christ (verse 2). Titus 3:3-11 instruct us how to function among those who don’t know Christ, both outside the church and inside. Sadly, there will always be those even in the church who profess Christ but do not truly know Him.
Paul's discussion of ministry with integrity permeates 2 Corinthians through chapter 7. 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 can be divided into 5 sections which we will study over a couple weeks.
Christians minister and serve because of Christ is resurrected and assures us of our own.
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).
Love is talked about often during the Christmas season. The love of God in our hearts produces hope (Romans 5:5). The Holy Spirit instructs us about God's love. The gifts given by the Holy Spirit are to be lived out in love (1 Corinthians 13:1-13 and 1 Peter 4:9-11). It is God Himself who teaches us to love (1 Thessalonians 4:9-10).
As we finish Paul's list of greetings for those who are "in Christ," consider which description you identify with. What is your role in the pursuit of Gospel progress?
In this section of Romans, Paul has been working through his sorrow and grief at the unbelief of his fellow Jews (Romans 9:1). He reminds and comforts his heart that God saves faithfully, mercifully, and righteously. His deep prayer and desire is that they would understand and accept salvation through Christ (Romans 10:1). Religious people misunderstand the righteousness of Jesus and the grace of God. In Romans 11, Paul dwells on God's mercy to both Jews and Gentiles.
Psalm 3 and 4 show us David's struggle to find peace in threatening circumstances. Psalm 3 is his prayer about the physical threat of his son Absalom's coup. Psalm 4 is likely connected and addresses the threat of permanent harm to David's reputation. David's prayer, perspective, and poise are an example of how we can find peace regardless of our circumstances.
1 Timothy 6 directly addresses four different groups in the church: those in the work force, teachers of unhealthy doctrine, Timothy and future pastors, and those who are wealthy. The way Christians behave in the workplace has a direct impact on their Gospel influence.
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.
As we study the final three qualifications for pastor-teachers, remember that all of the qualities in this list (except skill in teaching) are ones that all believers are told to emulate elsewhere in Scripture. Pastors are to set the example for everyone in the church.
New birth is the best defense against unbelief. A simple salvation testimony and evidence of a changed life shows that Jesus is enough. No rule or creative idea can change a person's life. Legalism and pragmatism simply do not agree with the Gospel.
Every believer has been born again of a supernatural cause. Paul gives his testimony in the first chapter of his letter to Timothy to remind him that spiritual new birth is what keeps the church revived, refreshed, and protected. A healthy church is one that sees people being saved, discipled, and serving. This is the natural progression that God uses to build His church. One person who walks with the Lord can have a spiritual influence so great that only the Lord knows its true extent.
The church in Ephesus had been unsettled by the false teaching of unbelievers in their midst. Even young pastor Timothy was anxious. Paul knew the flock at Ephesus well from teaching in their houses for over three years. His heart was that no soul would be left behind, and he wrote to settle the Ephesian believers. They needed to be encouraged and settled, so they could then learn proper structure and function in the church, then go on to make spiritual progress. Paul was an example to Timothy in discipleship and pastoral ministry.
Paul wrote the book of 1 Timothy as a mentor to his tutor. Pastor Timothy oversaw the largest of the first-century churches. This letter was a tool in Timothy's continued discipleship by Paul. No church is strengthened without disciple-making. It is a work of the church that every member must be involved in, not just the pastors.
Genesis 23 shows Abraham going through the most extreme trial of an aged Christian’s life. He loses his wife Sarah, whom he had been married to for 100 years or more! How Abraham endures this agony is a great lesson to us.
There are no more happy people on earth than those who know and do the will of God! God’s will is found as we study His Word. We are responsible to what we know of the Scriptures.
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