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.
The content of Psalm 14 is repeated three times in the Old and New Testament, once with commentary. (See also Psalm 53, Romans 3, and Romans 1.) How should we respond to increasing moral corruption?
Solomon has several concluding chapters as he shares wisdom on enduring the margin of mystery. The theme is similar to 1 Peter 4:19: When life is hard to understand, stay active doing good things.
Psalm 6 meditates on a difficult Christian endeavor: responding while under the disciplinary hand of the Lord. This endeavor is the sole property of people who have been transformed by Jesus into the often-uncomfortable condition of being lifelong learners, lovers, and worshipers. The joy of learning often includes the negative experience of shame, stifling our own pride, and enduring the consequences of our sin.
At first reading, Ecclesiastes 7:15-18 seems to advocate being a little bit wicked. But this interpretation would not fit with the rest of Scripture. Instead, Solomon is showing that excessively applying righteousness and piling on wickedness are both dangerous. We should not come to conclusions about a person's character too quickly.
Christ is coming back, and as the Head of the Church, He will be looking to see His people bringing the Gospel to others (Romans 1:16). Jesus is building His church in Mentor as He has been since the beginning of the church. He was building His church through the local body of believers in Rome. This was a healthy church made up of all different kinds of people, which we will see in Romans 16. That diversity of people being saved and united in Christ is the result of living out the commission of love that Paul wrote about in Romans 12:17-21.
The question posed in Psalm 11:3 addresses a human need. The wickedness around David, the writer of this Psalm, threatened to undermine the foundations of the nation of Israel, God's people. In our day, it seems that the foundations of our country are being threatened as well. The foundations of the church are undermined when many Protestant denominations deny the authority of Scripture, the sanctity of marriage, and the sacred nature of human sexuality as God defines it. Personally, at times it seems that the foundations of one's life are being destroyed by loss of health, financial security, or valued relationships.
In such uncertain times, the righteous take refuge in the Lord! David unpacks 4 activities that the righteous practice in order to take refuge in the Lord.
Romans 12:9-16’s list of responsibilities may seem to have no rhyme or reason to their order, but they fit into the chapter context perfectly. Romans 12 begins the practical portion of the book as we seek to live God’s glorious gospel outlined in Romans 1-11. If the chapter is a 3-story house, verses 1-2 are the foundation. Verses 3-8 are the first floor named Community. The second floor, verses 9-16, is about Compassion. Verses 17-21 address our Commission.
Pop culture is filled with voices talking about love. Our culture is obsessed with the concept, but their understanding of love is greatly limited because they don't know the truth. Mere interest in a subject doesn't make one an authoritative voice on it. Who will you listen to when determining the character of true love?
Last week we learned from 2 John that the truth makes true love possible. Outside truth, there is no love. This week, 3 John teaches us that actions make true love identifiable.
In the second half of 1 Timothy 5, Paul teaches Timothy and the Ephesian churches how to obtain quality leadership. We have already looked at how pastors are to be compensatedand how to handle an unrepentant pastor. Paul reminds Timothy that that shepherding God's people is a sober undertaking done "in the presence of God." Next, Paul instructs Timothy how to choose church leaders so he can avoid dealing with the same issues in the future.
Why do guests return to a church? What keeps people coming back? Churches can do many good, practical things to welcome and care for their people. These are all the fruit of a stable spiritual reality that begins with the character of church leaders.
Content and disposition are both important in communication and leadership. Saying the right thing in the wrong way can hurt more than help. When Jesus spoke, He only scolded religious unbelief. He reserved harshness for those who should have known better.
The human authors that God used to pen the Bible each wrote with their own disposition and personality. We must read each of their books understanding their unique style. Paul gave Timothy essential information to govern God's church, assuming that Timothy was ready to embrace his instruction.
As a poet said, the things that matter most must never be put at the mercy of things that matter least. When Paul writes the qualifications for pastors, a leader's character is what matters most. If local churches are to perpetuate Gospel influence, character must always be held above any gimmicky attempts to make the church popular or the Bible "relevant."
Three Greek words are used interchangeably to describe one position of leadership in the church. In English, these are translated as pastor, teacher, overseer or elder. 1 Timothy 3 describes the character that should exist among leadership families.
All Scripture is God’s Word, and is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). It’s our natural tendency to apply principles that we know from the New Testament to Old Testament stories. But remember, a text taken out of context leaves just a con. So don’t judge Jacob too harshly. His family did not have the written Bible, but they did have the oral Word of God which they were responsible for.
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