In our study of how to please God through our whole life, we are beginning with the spirit – the part of us that is being renewed against the effects of sin. Those who are born again have a new nature that is fed through our devotion to prayer and reading God's Word.
One writer said, "Whatever causes us to pray is a good thing." The Bible is chock-full of examples of God's people praying to Him. In John 17, we read an example of Jesus Himself praying. Christ relied heavily on prayer to sustain His life and ministry. His prayer in this passage shows the purpose of His life. We too can find particular purpose for our lives by studying this prayer and praying similarly.
The whole person includes a spirit, soul, and body. Our summer study seeks to understand each part and apply biblical principles to how we grow in each aspect. This will give us confidence that we are doing what we can to please the Lord.
The spirit is the image of God in a person (Genesis 2:7). It is what makes us an individual. This includes our moral ability, our rationality, our spirituality, and our personality. All of these can be pleasing to God. Jesus said we must worship with our spirit (John 4:23-24), and Paul personally worshiped God in his spirit (Romans 1:9). The development of our spirit is a necessity (Malachi 2:15).
Jesus the King defines the terms of being His disciple.
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.
"Who is the Son of Man?" Jesus asked His disciples this most important question in a unique setting at Caesarea Philippi. What is your answer?
The hippie movement promoted the idea of "free love" without guardrail or principles. This has trickled down to our society's popular advice to "follow your heart." Some Christians even say it doesn't matter what you believe, as long as you love people. Our world does not understand the truth about love.
The apostle John wrote about the relationship between love and truth in three letters. 2 John is a study in the doctrine of love and truth; 3 John explores their practice; and 1 John applies these principles to our understanding of salvation and assurance.
The classic passage on the "blessed hope" of Christians is Titus 2:11-15. Paul is instructing Titus as his apostolic delegate in Crete and Corinth. He trusts and depends on Titus to teach sound doctrine and the importance of adorning it with one's pattern of life.
Paul refers to two phases of future history in verse 13. The "blessed hope" is the rapture of believers to meet Christ in the air. The "glorious appearing" is when Christ comes again to establish His millennial kingdom.
On days of remembrance, the reality is especially poignant that our freedom is never free. In the history of this country, God has not primarily used religious or political leaders to safeguard liberty; He uses the sacrifices of men and women in the armed forces to secure our freedom.
Spiritual liberty, too, was bought at a high price. Jesus Christ paid his life for our eternal freedom.
Our theme this year is "A Zeal for the Church." We at Grace Church want to have an all-consuming desire for this local body to succeed spiritually. Anyone God has saved, He has a plan to use in the church. Our heart, soul, mind, and strength are to be utilized in living for His purposes. Paul calls this being sanctified "entirely" or completely.
God has ordained that the Christian life is to be lived not in isolation, but in conjunction with the community of saints. So how is it that Christians, particularly here in America, have become used to amputating limbs off of the body of Christ (which is the local church)? In 1 Corinthians 12:12-26, the Apostle Paul refers to the Corinthian believers as being eyes and ears and noses—body parts. This is the same kind of language that Paul uses in Romans 12:5 when he writes that we are members one of another.
The Bible teaches that Christians are to be mutually reliant upon each other. This doctrine is incredibly important and should be a major heading in our ecclesiology (doctrine of the church). However, it has been almost entirely lost in American evangelicalism. Possible reasons include the American way of life that emphasizes independence and the rejection of denominationalism. American Christianity has become a complex collection of isolated congregations and an even more divided and isolated collection of Christians.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 forms the conclusion to Paul's letter to the churches in the prosperous city of Ephesus. These verses can be divided in three sections: disposition, anticipation, and participation. Our disposition must be a humble one that does not try to out-think God's plan for our lives or the mission of the church. Our hope is not in the American dream that could disappear overnight. We place our hope in God's unchanging promises and blessings.
Quick wealth often destroys. We don't have to look hard or far in our culture to find examples of this reality. At the end of his letter, Paul gives Timothy instructions for Christians "who are rich in this present world" (1 Timothy 6:17-19). This passage is widely preached out of context. The main point of these two verses is this: Prosperity should never devour mission. Prosperity should underpin mission.
Believers will have one of two reactions when Christ returns: we will either be confident or ashamed. Paul gives directives to Timothy so that he will be found faithful at Christ's second coming. In 1 Timothy 6:15-16, Paul rehearses several character traits of God which will motivate Timothy's obedience.
We are wrapping up our look at Paul's instructions to Timothy. Each imperative Paul gives his protege applies to all believers, because all are to be involved in discipleship.
Displays of spiritual power are found throughout the Bible. Today, people search for spiritual power in many ways and from various sources. Christians seek power in prayer and spiritual warfare. In the salvation era, power must be understood in light of Jesus' bodily resurrection. We must not substitute the historical form of spiritual power for its continuing substance.
The pastoral epistles are often said to be about the structure and governance of the church. This may sound dry and unappealing to the average Christian in the pew, until you realize that the church cannot be structured or governed without people! Paul's letter to Timothy is instructive not just for pastors but for every group in the church.
Before leaving earth, Christ left a task for each believer in the church: to make disciples as a way of life (Matthew 28:19). Last week, we saw three requirements of disciple-makers from the life of Barnabas. This week, we will look at four expectations in the discipleship process.
Before leaving earth, Christ left a task for each believer in the church: to make disciples as a way of life (Matthew 28:19). We flesh out what it means to love God and others through disciple-making. As we exercise our own spiritual gift, each believer is also to be teaching truth from God's Word.
Anyone familiar with organizing groups of children knows that success depends on keeping them on schedule. Whether the setting is school or summer camp, the bell is the key to keeping everyone on track. Paul continues to call Timothy and the believers under his care back to one clear message: We don't live for the temporal world but eternal purposes.
In 1 Timothy 6, Pastor Timothy is called to take action. As he lives out godliness, the churches will follow and mimic his example. Timothy is to separate from worldly influences and pursue biblical virtue (verse 11). In verse 12, he is told to contend for the truth of God's Word.
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