God’s nature is unity (Deuteronomy 6:4). When we are baptized into Christ, we are one with Him and with each other spiritually (John 17:11, 20-22). David and Solomon both praised the importance of unity among God’s people (Psalm 133:1, Proverbs 6:17-19). Anyone who dismisses the unity God has created and spreads strife unnecessarily is considered an abomination. The job of believers in the church is to maintain the unity of the Spirit in peace (Ephesians 4:3, Philippians 4:2). God’s people love what God has provided and persevere in unity.
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.
Among a remnant in Corinth, a disrespect for Paul was growing because of religious people who taught that one needed to do religious works to be saved. As a result, the Corinthians distrusted Paul and his behavior and plans for ministry.
There have always been religious intruders in the church who seek to dethrone the sufficiency of Jesus. Beware of anyone who undermines the sufficiency of Christ in salvation and spiritual growth or who undermines a messenger of Christ’s sufficiency.
As we continue to study 2 Corinthians 1, we will see what Paul's ministry meant to interdependent relationships within the church. All the promises of God for personal relationships in the church are presented, received, and fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, Christian relationships can and should thrive in Him. This does not mean there will be no struggle; but healing and progress can always be found in the Gospel. The unwavering nature of the Gospel message helps us regain spiritual confidence after conflict.
On Memorial Day, we reflect on the sobering love that gives one's life for a cause. As God's people, we must also value the service of saints in community of God, no less than we do those who serve our country. There is no greater cause than global Gospel evangelism. Sacrifices for our national freedom are great and honorable, but they are not of infinite salvific value.
Our theme for the year is not just a slogan; it is a practice of our faith. Our church's One Legacy goals for the year are things we have to do together, because that is how God designed the body of Christ to work.
We will take our church theme for 2017 from Romans 1:16-17: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith.’”
Virtually every Christian faces fear and hesitance in sharing the Gospel. What is the pathway to personal confidence in sharing Christ? The Bible teaches that an ingathering of souls is always predicated by prayer. The book of Acts is replete with instances of the miraculous salvation of souls on the heels of intercession by God’s people.
In ministry and in life, there are many necessary and noble things but fewer primary things. If your child is in the emergency room with a broken arm, you understand when a person with a heart attack is treated first. In the church, there are major ministries and lesser ministries. All need to be addressed. 1 Timothy 5 outlines in detail how the church is to care for widows faithfully and comprehensively in order to please God. The purpose of this ministry, in the context of the whole book, is to protect the church and further the Gospel.
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.
Theme: Genuine spiritual growth comes only as the Holy Spirit applies the Word of God to people’s hearts. This week concludes our detailed look at Grace Church of Mentor’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.” Church should not be about appealing to the greatest number of people through style and programs. The Spirit must draw souls to His church. Our promotions must not focus on what we do more than who we are. Church must first and foremost be about understanding and applying the Word of God.
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