Children who grow up without a father suffer various negative repercussions. The presence and approval of a father is a natural need. Spiritually, every person has been estranged from the Heavenly Father of our own choice. Through sin, God's children have abandoned Him and His natural affection for them. Various religions and efforts of good works try to devise ways back to God, but there is only one way that relationship can be restored.
Even noble human pursuits distract from the greatness of Christ’s salvation.
The Christmas season brings our attention to when God became man. God was made manifest and shown publicly through the person of Jesus Christ. Romans 3:21-26 is one passage that highlights the importance and reality of the Incarnation.
God is a God of second chances for those who have been redeemed. Though they fall, believers are always welcome back to fellowship with God and ministry service. Psalm 146 rehearses many truths to make sure we walk with God faithfully.
All Christians know the experience of sinning after we've been saved and the guilt that accompanies it. Some even know what it's like to doubt their salvation after falling into sin. What a joyful relief to remember that God's love never changes! Psalm 146 is a thankful song of God's people when they are given another chance. Most Bible scholars attribute its composition to Haggai or Zechariah, prophets who preached to God's people when they were returning to the land of Israel from Babylonian exile. This is one of the "hallelujah" psalms, the last 5 chapters of the book of Psalms, each of which starts and ends with the same wording: "Praise the Lord!"
In Daniel 6:26-27, the pagan king Darius gave praise to the Lord of Israel because of the testimony of Daniel. Daniel's life demonstrates the fact that God will honor those who stand for Him in the most trying times. Even as a teenager, Daniel demonstrated godly courage, loyalty, humility, and integrity. He lived up to his name, meaning "God is my judge," and gained the trust and affection of his superiors.
Every person was created by God in a body. Those who have been born again are indwelt by the Holy Spirit; their bodies are sacred and owned by Jesus Christ. In a culture that declares themselves free to do whatever they want with their bodies, we are able to do with our bodies what is pleasing to the Lord.
Americans spend an astounding amount of money every year to take care of our bodies, whether that involves medical costs, fitness, or weight loss. God cares about the body as well. He determined to redeem and resurrect our human bodies before Creation. The Mosaic law shows great care for the physical body. The Israelites took Joseph's body with them when they left Egypt, and God Himself buried Moses' body when he died. Jesus healed the human body multiple times in His earthly ministry. Jesus was resurrected bodily, and so will we be.
Pastors can be hesitant to talk about the proper use of possessions. But if all of us belongs to God, then everything we are and have should be used to glorify Him. Every area of our life is sacred.
The New Testament contains 126 instructions for our use of material possessions. We will summarize all these under 8-9 categories to learn how God wants us to use what He's given us for the edification of the church and the advancement of the Gospel.
What is the true center of global outreach? Are Christian training institutions central to Gospel work? Is the height of global influence found in evangelistic parachurch organizations? God intended individual believers in the local church to be the true center of global outreach. The front line of Gospel advancement is you!
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.
An infinite God created a finite world in Genesis 1. God exists in the eternal present, but humanity lives within the bounds of time. What is the proper use of a Christian's time and resources? The first three questions in the Westminster Catechism give simple answers to biblically appropriate questions about the purpose of mankind.
“Are we there yet?” Children have no concept of time. How much greater is the gap between our understanding of time and God's. Our lives are as brief as a vapor compared to God’s eternality (James 4:14). What should we do with the time we are given?
As we study how to glorify God with every part of our being, we turn next to training our soul for Christ-likeness.
God's Word has tremendous protective value in the development of our spirit. Many places in Scripture affirm its transformative power and stress the importance of memorizing and applying the Bible.
The context of Hebrews is the superiority of Jesus Christ. The writer pauses to give a parenthesis of warning in Hebrews 5:11-6:3. He assumes that his audience is saved, but has instruction to give regarding how they handle the Word of God. We can learn five aspects of growth from this passage.
In extreme circumstances, our needs become very clear. When you are tired, hungry, and poor, what do you need more than sleep, money, and food? The Word of God is more necessary than any physical need. It is sufficient at all times (2 Peter 1:3). A desire for God's Word nourishes the spirit.
Prayer is crucial to our spiritual development. Jesus' prayer in John 17 explains the purpose of Christ's life, which should be mirrored in the purpose of our lives. In this last section, we will seek to understand His passion for God's glory, which is His holiness and purity as demonstrated in His Son, God in flesh, who came to give His life as a ransom for all.
Prayer and Bible study are essential to the development of our spirit, that part of us that communicates with God. We are studying Jesus' prayer in John 17 to find the purpose of His life and how we can imitate it. In the second section, Jesus prays for His disciples at that time. His specific request in verse 11 is that they would be kept in the Father's name.
We are studying how to become more like Christ through prayer and reading God's Word. Jesus' prayer in John 17 shows His life's purpose and the influence He had. We can draw insight about our own purpose and influence from His prayer.
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