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.
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.
As Paul continues to write according to his theme of ministry integrity, he turns to the quality of Christian relationships. This is one way people can suffer in a local church. When they are persuaded that Jesus is not enough, their relationships inside the church struggle, and they don't know how to develop redemptive relationships in the community. When unsure of the permanence of their relationship with God, then people have no foundation from which to build other relationships and no message of how the Gospel changed them.
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.
God created the moon to be the lesser light of the night sky and the sun to rule the day (Genesis 1:16). When the sun comes up, the light of the moon no longer seems bright. Paul makes a similar comparison between the Old and New Covenant in 2 Corinthians 3:7-11, using a typical rabbinical comparison of the lesser to the greater.
The best way to protect the church from religious racketeers is to compare the nature and practice of the false and genuine.
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.
Christians minister and serve because of Christ is resurrected and assures us of our own.
There is profundity in simplicity. Our world is complicated, but God's plan to lead us back to Himself is simple. Human ways to God only lead to destruction.
The church today does not and cannot celebrate Palm Sunday in the same way the original participants did. When the crowds cried, "Hosanna, save now," they were crying out for immediate deliverance from the Romans. The church celebrates Jesus' unique identity which was magnified that day. Palm Sunday gave a window into the hearts of those around Jesus as they responded to who He was.
Observe any living thing, and you will see that God designs His creatures to partner with others. They are not created to exist alone. Birds are always in a flock. Marriage was instituted because "it is not good for man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18). A singer's performance is greatly enhanced by a good accompanist. Those in the trades or any career seek to replicate themselves in an apprentice. Living things do not function well alone.
Romans 16:25-27 may not be a song, but these are glorious words spoken about God. They encapsulate our focus as we end our study of this book. While we live out the Gospel, our singular goal is to bring glory to God.
The Gospel will advance from a healthy church. There is nothing sensational or extraordinary about it. It is actually abnormal for a church not to realize Gospel advancement according to Acts 1:8. Rome was not the largest church in the first century, but they enjoyed Gospel influence because they were healthy and unified.
Romans 11:33-36 is so rich, we are going to study it in small portions. This week, we focus on verse 33 as preparation for the rest of the passage. Paul's doxology is a hymn of praise for what God has done in salvation history. This is a natural response of a Spirit-filled, born-again Christian.
Philippians 3:10 expresses the Apostle Paul's desire to "know Him [Christ] and the power of His resurrection." In the Bible, the word "to know" usually means to share one's life. We share life with those who are closest to us, spouses, family, and close friends. We share in Christ's life when we know Him as our Savior.
Grasping the meaning and context of Romans 10:14-17 will ensure a church's existence for years to come and a spiritual progeny until Jesus returns. The incorrect preaching of this passage will bring decline and demise to a church.
Christians long to have confidence in sharing the Gospel. Paul provides a model for an effective gospel witness. Paul could say that he was not ashamed of the Gospel because he lived out the Gospel. It was something that he not only professed with words, but possessed in his daily life.
An authentic, bold gospel confidence is preceded by personal spiritual integrity. Integrity is characterized by being undivided. Paul was wholeheartedly submitted to the Gospel and the Person at the heart of the Gospel, Jesus Christ.
The theme of the book of Romans is the righteousness of God as revealed in the Gospel. We should never cease to wonder that God's mercy and power were enough to save sinners like us!
The best way to develop a burden for the lost is to pray for them. Christ himself gave us an example of this in John 17:20-26. Evangelism is a key part of disciple-making living, which governs every part of our lives as Christians. Without this eternal purpose, life would be pretty mundane!
Sometimes, Bible verses like Proverbs 1:14-19, James 4:4, and 1 Peter 3:15 are mistakenly used to deter Christians from forming friendships with unsaved people. But we must have friendships of integrity in order to be a testimony in a dark world. A burden for the lost helps keep the church pure.
Timothy’s life is instructive as we learn to live worship-filled lives in 2015. He certainly demonstrates a worship-filled life even though we have not yet seen him in a formal worship setting!
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