Archive for the ‘Bible’ Category

Living By The Spirit!

Full Message:


Watch On YouTube (Video Compliments: Scott Pendergraft via Vimeo)

Main Bible Verse: Ephesians 1: 13 – 14


Introduction:

How are we supposed to be living our lives in these times?

Scripture reminds us that we are sealed with the Holy Spirit who is the guarantee of our inheritance. “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1: 13-14

Theological Theme:

These times bring insecurity but God’s [Father, Son and Holy Spirit] great desire for His people is that we feel secure in His love and power. Therefore, the perspective we have of this life should not change as the Spirit leads us to Jesus Christ.  

God wants us to have an abundant life but we need to ask “what is our TRUE inheritance and what are we supposed to learn?’ Everything in this life may be unstable – We live in some very unstable times in our society but we are to live by The Spirit and not by our own ways.

Christ Connection:

John 3: 16 – God so LOVED US that he gave us JESUS. He is so passionate to having a people for His own possession that He gave us Jesus/His Son so we can be His possession, who live forever for the praise of His glory.

“By giving us the Holy Spirit, God seals or stamps us as his own at our conversion. And then the Holy Spirit continues to testify, authenticating the reality of this relationship by making us more and more like Jesus. The God who has thus authenticated this relationship will most certainly protect his people through trials and difficulties.” – Erik Raymond

Missional Application:

God sends us His Holy Spirit as a preserving seal to lock in our faith – as an authenticating seal to validate our son-ship, and as a protective seal to keep us out of destructive forces. God wants us to feel secure and safe in His love and power.

Conclusion:

If we are having insecurity issues in understanding that we are to LIVE BY THE SPIRIT and WALK ACCORDINGLY, then we need to read scripture and remind ourselves, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.”Acts 14: 22    and we need be in fellowship “strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith….”John 6: 63

Circumstances will dictate other thoughts and you can forget who you are in Christ, what The Father did through His Son, and what that means for YOU but no matter how hard you are on yourself we have to be reminded that God has CHOSEN YOU and has REDEEMED YOU!

“To be sealed with the Holy Spirit is the gracious gift of God, whereby he demonstrates the authenticity of the believer’s relationship with him and his authority, ownership, and commitment to his people.” – Erik Raymond

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Toward An Enduring Identity!

Part A:

Part B:

Full Message:


Watch On YouTube (via Zoom)

Main Bible Verses: 1 Peter 2: 1-17


Introduction:

We are each a part of the body of Christ. Chosen by God, receivers of great mercy, we have been given a new identity that we are to work out in our lives. With Christ as our foundation and example, we’ve also been given a new purpose and calling to be set apart for the work and glory of God.

Theological Theme:

The church is a sign and instrument of the kingdom of God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, constituted and commissioned by Jesus Christ.

Each of the four preceding descriptions of the church—a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and a people for God’s possession— reminds us that we are fundamentally different from the world. We are, as Peter put it, strangers and exiles in this world. This is our new identity in Christ, and it is from this identity that our changed behavior should flow. Who we are should always be the root of our behavior.

Christ Connection:

The early Christians faced persecution and experienced suffering for their faith in Christ. Peter reminded them of their identity as God’s people—formed by Christ and sent out on His mission. United to Christ, the One who suffered for us on the cross, Christians can expect God to use suffering to make us into the image of His Son.

God has graciously provided a solid foundation for us to experience His goodness for eternity. That foundation was laid through Christ’s obedient life, sinless sacrifice, and powerful resurrection, and by faith in Him, we can stand firm on it……Peter teaches about the enduring, living hope we have through Christ. He records glorious truth after glorious truth about the gospel—the work of Christ on our behalf so that we might enter into a permanent relationship with God…..Since the great mercy of God has rescued us and given us a living hope and an imperishable inheritance, therefore, we take action. It’s important to understand that if the sole purpose of salvation were to rescue you from eternal damnation, there would be no reason for you to continue to exist in this world. Our lives are about more than our individual deliverance. We remain on this earth to be stones of grateful testimony who declare the salvation of our glorious Lord to every one who will hear.

Missional Application:

God, through his Holy Spirit calls us to be an otherworldly people for the good of this world, to stand against the world for the sake of the world.

One key to living out our new identity and purpose is to understand our new citizenship. We cannot live out the call to be holy with one foot immersed in the patterns and conduct of the world and another in the lifestyle of Christianity. This is a false reality for the two are incongruent with one another. Even the goodness of the world and the social norms that might jive with our biblical worldview cannot be our goal. The world does good in order to be seen as good. The Christian does good in order to point to our good God.

“Advance in the Christian life comes not by the work of the Holy Spirit alone, nor by our work alone, but by our responding to the grace the Holy Spirit initiates and sustains.” –Donald S. Whitney

Conclusion:

We have been saved with a great purpose. Yes, we personally benefit from the rescue we’ve received, but ultimately, our salvation is not about you and me. The glorious reality of our redemption is to be proclaimed for the sake of those who still yet need it, all for the glory of our Redeemer. Therefore, we must take seriously our calling to live an otherworldly life. With our feet firmly planted on the bedrock of Christ’s character and provision, we get to live out our calling as a child of God, with all the hope of an eternal future with our glorious King.

Our Father’s Hope For All: In Jesus’ Reconciliation! pt. 5

Part 5A:

Part 5B:

Full Message:


Main Bible Verse: 2 Corinthians 5: 1-21


Introduction:

Celebrating Jesus as Our Resurrection

“Our Father’s Hope For All” emphasizes what Jesus’ reconciliation is for all, what it accomplished for all and how we, by the Grace of the Holy Spirit shared with us, can participate in what Jesus has done for all to the glory of God our Father.

According to T.F. Torrance (1992): “As our Representative and Substitute, Jesus Christ is our human response to God.’- T.F. Torrance: Union with Christ through the Communion of the Spirit

Theological Theme:

God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, sent Jesus Christ to humanity so that whomever believes in him, trusts and receives Him, would not perish due to trusting in Jesus and in His power by The Holy Spirit. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3: 16

“God loves you so utterly and completely that he has given himself for you in Jesus Christ his beloved Son, and has thereby pledged his very being as God for your salvation. In Jesus Christ God has actualised his unconditional love for you in your human nature in such a once for all way, that he cannot go back upon it without undoing the Incarnation and the Cross and thereby denying himself. Jesus Christ died for you precisely because you are sinful and utterly unworthy of him, and has thereby already made you his own before and apart from your ever believing in him. He has bound you to himself by his love in a way that he will never let you go, for even if you refuse him and damn yourself in hell his love will never cease. Therefore, repent and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.”- (T. F. Torrance, “The Mediation of Christ,” 94)

Christ Connection:

Jesus Christ is “The Center Of The Center (of everything in Creation).” He is the world’s Lord and Savior. When you want to understand the central purpose for everything, you must look to Jesus Christ because, apart from Him, we can’t know anything as it should be known. We can’t know His Father, and we can’t know anything about his Holy Spirit, and we can’t even really know anything about ourselves or Creation.

Jesus is the Mediator between God and man. He is the One who mediates our humanity to God and who mediates God to fallen man. In total dependence we look to Him, look at life through Him, and receive along with Him His Father in the Spirit. Empowered by Him we look with Him beyond our own self-centeredness first to his Father and then in that love to our neighbors – loving them as we love ourselves and with the very love with which Jesus has loved us.

What Jesus did and does as The Resurrection is so that we might have a share in HIS LIFE, HIs Resurrection.

A life first filled with Jesus’s relationship with His Father in the Spirit. And then a life filled with his love for everyone and everything else.

Our identity lies only in Jesus Christ who has taken up our cause, our humanity, our human nature and Who alone has put us right before God, sending His Spirit that we might trust Him as the one and only source of life. JESUS – the center and core of our personal identity!

We are being encouraged by Jesus Christ, The Resurrection, to receive our new humanity in these feeble bodies now, while also looking with hope to the complete renewal of our human bodies in the future at His return. We are encouraged by our Father to prepare for the resurrected life in which we will be even more gloriously and fully human, in a human body, just like Jesus.

Jesus judged sin in sinful flesh. He killed sin thoroughly and by his life, suffering, death and resurrection. On the third day he raised up a new human nature and a new body in His resurrection. It is a humanity that is totally responsive to The Father in The Holy Spirit. This is what it really means to be a human being; what Jesus did, how He lives and responds in His human flesh.

Torrance (1986) writes: “Jesus Christ… embodies in himself what he mediates, for what he mediates and what he is are one and the same. He himself in the wholeness of his Person, Word and Act, is the content and reality of divine Reconciliation. He is the Propitiation for our sins; he is our Redemption; he is our Justification. It is in this identity between Mediator and Mediation that the living heart of the Gospel is to be found.” (pp. 475, 476)

Missional Application:

Every human everywhere has a great need for The Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the actual bond of love between the Father and the Son through whom it is possible for us to share in the love of the Father and Son. The Holy Spirit is also God of God and He is the One who makes Jesus and The Father known to us. He is the One who enables each person and all of us to trust Jesus. He is the One who empowers us to live with Jesus and to love our neighbors. In this time period where we can’t see Jesus, Jesus sends his Spirit to us to be an Advocate for us, to teach us what Jesus is doing so we can participate with Jesus, share in His power, and live transformed. We not only receive the Spirit personally, but encourage everyone else to do the same, for God desires all to be saved and to share in his love and life!

Conclusion:

When we declare that ALL are included, we are affirming:

Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior of ALL humanity.

Jesus Christ died to redeem ALL. He has atoned for the sin of EVERY single person. Through what He did God reconciled ALL people to Himself in Christ.

Jesus Christ is The Mediator between God and humanity.

Jesus Christ has made ALL His own by virtue of His redeeming work. He is for ALL and against NONE.

Jesus is The Judge of ALL so that none might experience the condemnation. His saving is done on behalf of ALL and that work includes His Holy and righteous responses to The Father in The Spirit. Responses characterized by repentance, faith, hope, love, praise, prayer, worship and obedience.

Jesus is in Himself EVERYONE’S justification and sanctification.

Jesus is EVERYONE’S substitute and representative.

Jesus is EVERYONE’S hope and life including eternal life.

Jesus is EVERYONE’S profit, priest and king.

ALL PEOPLE have been included in God’s love and life in and through Jesus Christ by The Holy Spirit.

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Our Father’s Hope For All: In The Resurrection Relationship! pt 4

Part 4A:

Part 4B:

Full Message:


Main Bible Verse: 1 Corinthians 15: 1-34


Introduction:

God The Father so loved the world that He gave His Son to us as Jesus (God in the flesh) that whoever believes in Jesus (The God Man) by the power of The Holy Spirit will not perish but will have eternal life. God’s life – the Life He talks about by which we will not perish but live and thrive – is life knowing The Father, and Son intimately in The Holy Spirit. That is Who and what Life and Resurrection is and is about.

Theological Theme:

All truly are included in God’s [Father, Son and Spirit] love and life. It doesn’t have so much to do with a decision we make but has something to do with a decision God made prior to any decision we can make and which is the basis for our decision. That decision is the Person of Jesus Christ, Who is God for us from within our humanity. The gospel is not primarily about us receiving God into our life. The gospel is primarily about the tremendous grace of God, through Jesus, receiving us into His life.

Largely it is relationship with The Father, Son and Holy Spirit by Whom you are guided about how you think about life, what you do, what you receive, and what you reject.

Christ Connection:

Resurrection means relationship with Christ and being reconciled to the Father in and through Jesus Christ. Being reconciled means being in relationship with The Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Forgiveness means reconciliation with God and it means the restoration of relationship with God. Forgiveness of sin doesn’t just mean that sin ends but salvation means that we are saved INTO the restoration of relationship with God, where new relationship begins!

Missional Application:

God the Father Himself IS your Salvation. Sharing with Jesus in His relationship with His Father IS Salvation. Sharing friendship with Jesus IS Salvation. Intimacy with The Holy Spirit IS Salvation. The Holy Spirit comes upon you to reveal Christ to you, to mediate Christ to you. You respond by receiving and believing what The Holy Spirit has to say and, as God directs, witnessing to others about Him.

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Lessons From The Storm!

Full Message:


Main Bible Verses: Matthew 8: 23-27


Introduction:

During the storm,

  • have you allowed the Spirit to shake you out of your spiritual lethargy and comfort?
  • have you dared to live a life of real faith and real hope?
  • have you learned to hear the voice of a loving Lord and Savior say “Look at Me, Look at Me!”

Lessons 1:

When we’re in the storms of life we must follow Jesus. To do this, we must get to know Jesus. The disciples knew who Jesus was. Jeremiah 9: 23-24 In the middle of the storm, Jesus is able to find rest because he knows who his Father is. When we follow Jesus, we find rest.

Lesson 2:

In the storm we have to call on Jesus. Psalm 91: 14-16

Lesson 3:

In the storm we have to have faith in Jesus – Build our house of faith on the rock (Jesus) who gives us our faith. Matthew 7: 24-27

“In the storm, Jesus is giving us His faith and He is nurturing His faith within us.” ―Richard Andrews

Lesson 4:

In the storm, we have to be amazed at who Jesus is and what he can do.

Theological Theme:

We have to read the word of God-Father-Son-and-Holy Spirit to know who Jesus is. If we want to know what Jesus did, if we want to know what Jesus taught, if we want to know what Jesus proclaims, if we want to know what Jesus pointed to, we have to read the word of God. We have to listen for Him with intention. We have to reflect and meditate on what God has done and is doing in our lives.

Christ Connection:

Whatever the storm may be, we must remember it’s not about the storm, it’s about Jesus. We follow Him in the storm, we call upon His name in the storm, we have faith in Him in the storm and we should always remain in awe of Him in the storm.  This is the only way we will have a relationship with Him in the storm.

Missional Application:

“Jesus is Lord of the ages and is always with his own, even when things are difficult, and will abide with us, ―through The Holy Spirit; ―that is our comfort. If tribulation and anxiety come upon us, Jesus is with us and leads us over into God’s eternal kingdom.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Marriage: Profound Mystery About Christ And The Church! pt. 4

Part 4A:

Part 4B:

Full Message:


Main Bible Verses: John 14: 6 Ephesians 5 I Corinthians 6: 17


This Message Series:

Living Into This Challenging Christian Life With Jesus! #15

Introduction:

The gospel can be summarized as participation with Jesus Christ. There’s nothing we have to make-up, or anything apart from Jesus, but only something that Jesus gives to us as a gracious gift as we walk with Him while He lives and does His life in and through us.

In light of Jesus and what has revealed to us about himself and who we are, the Christian life is a life of repentance. We are in a season of Lent –which means we remember our need to be in “dust and ashes” about the way we thought life was apart from Christ. Lent, then, is about something all Christians do and that is, REPENT. To turn from our way of thinking and receive what God has to say about us.

(SIDE-NOTE: Scripture: Job 42: 16Lent has to do with ashes because throughout the Old and New Testament ashes means humility and repentance.)

In this series, we’re coming into repentance about marriage because we think marriage is primarily about a husband and wife, our humanity, our own subjective marriages, but Paul is causing us to take more seriously that marriage is primarily about Jesus Christ (The Bridegroom) and His Bride (The Church). That is what marriage is really about. All our marriages are really signs pointing away from themselves to Christ, so we should not see our marriages here as ideal but see them as a real and true participation with Christ on earth as a sign. A sign that JESUS is really present in our marriages to lead them into their ultimate fulfillment in Him.

“Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.”― C.S. Lewis

John 14: 1- 6

Theological Theme:

The primary goal of Jesus as The Way, The Truth and The Life is to be in relationship His Father (God-Father-Son-and-Holy Spirit). Jesus wants us to know His Father and His Father’s heart as He has always known and will know His Father so that we may be more in union with Him and the Father in the Spirit. When we see Jesus, we see the Father at work and repent of forgetting the Father and the Spirit, but rather remember God in His distinction and relationship.

Christ Connection:

1 Corinthians 8: 6

We were created in, through and by for Jesus Christ. Being a Christian means to be in Christ, in union with Christ by the Spirit. God is One in Being and Three in Person so when we talk about marriage relationships we are ultimately referring to union with God, and getting our definition of love from Who God is revealed to be. Love is a WHO, not a what.

SIDE-NOTE: 1 Cor 6: 13-17 Ephesians 5: 29. These set of passages are to remind us that we are in union with Jesus Christ (with God in Him!)

God – Father-Son and Holy Spirit’s true image in flesh is Jesus Christ, not us or our marriages. We are made in the image of God’s Image (Jesus!) as man and woman together. Jesus is the Father’s Son, (not just The Son), in The Spirit. Jesus is The Mediator between God and man. Jesus is the true humanity. Jesus is the Bridegroom, so marriage, scripturally, has something more to do with the relationship of Jesus to His Body to His Church, more than it does us to each other in our distinct marriages. JESUS is THE TRUE SUBMISSIVE HUMAN BEING AND HEAD OF HIS BODY. HE is THE RESPECTFUL ONE. WE participate with Him in HIS submission and respect of the other by the Spirit.

THE OBJECTIVE GOSPEL:

Diagram From Sermon:

What’s true of everyone in Jesus Christ:

God took on ONE human nature that was the same human nature of every human. Jesus became sin for us, without sinning to deliver us and our nature from sin.

The three qualities of God:

  1. God is distinct – Father, Son and Holy Spirit
  2. God is equal – No one is above the other. No specific roles.
  3. God is Unity – Act as one. Can’t break them apart.

God made marriage and love to reflect His relationship in The Trinity. (The Father-Son-and-Spirit relationship)

What we are founded on:

Before everything was created, God had already decided that He would pay the cost and be crucified and resurrected in Christ for our sins.

  • Jesus is our wisdom for marriage and dating relationships.
  • Jesus is our Repentance – The great cost of forgiveness has already been anticipated in God’s mind. God is not counting our trespasses against us because of Jesus, so repentance is possible by The Spirit.
  • Jesus is our sanctification – He is the one who has made everything clean and clear again.
  • Jesus is God’s costly Grace – Suffering is included in inclusion.
  • Jesus is God’s unconditional love in your marriages.
  • Jesus is your Righteousness. – Our right relationships. God’s grace is greater that greatest sin that can occur in you marriages. Ephesians 2

Missional Application:

BASIC OVERVIEW:

What we know about God – Father-Son and-Holy Spirit is that there are two ways to be whole as human beings and to live in that relationship.

  1. Married person – which points to the relationship Jesus is going to have with His Father when He is married to the bridegroom (Church)
  2. To live as Jesus did; as a single person.

Life in God’s image as human beings is FEMALE and MALE. As we all draw closer to The Father through Christ and by the Spirit as male and female, we get closer to each other.

Marriages and relationships between male and female are a witness and a sign to Father, Son and Spirit so you must be in relationship with the opposite sex in order to be a human person in the glory of God. We are not required to be in an intimate sexual relationship with the opposite sex to be in the image of God, or to be fully human, but we must be in relation with the opposite sex, like Jesus also was, to be in the image of Jesus and to glorify God as one.

Male and female relationships are a witness and sign to the relationship between The Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is what it means to be a human individual (one in relationship with the opposite sex) – That is what love is.

Marriage is also a witness and a sign of the relationship between The Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Marriage includes sexual intimacy, and childbearing. Sex in this relationship points to the fact that God is not only One but He indwells the other without becoming the other.

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Marriage: Profound Mystery About Christ And The Church! pt. 3

Part 3A:

Part 3B:

Full Message:


Main Bible Verses: John 14: 6 Ephesians 5 I Corinthians 6: 17


This Message Series:

Living Into This Challenging Christian Life With Jesus! #14

Introduction:

Your life is challenging because of Jesus Christ. Whether you are a Christian or not, whether you realize it or not, The Son of God in flesh affected the whole world and set everyone and everything on a whole new basis.

Marriage is really something about God in Christ in union with His Church. Marriage is not our idea. It is God’s. Marriage is the profound mystery of The Father’s great will that we know Him and she in union and communion with Him, through Jesus and The Holy Spirit.

Foundational Scriptures to understand the mystery of marriage:

  1. John 14: 6 – Jesus is the Way, Truth and Life of our humanity, and therefore also of marriage. We are encouraged to believe, receive and be renewed in Him as men and women.
  2. 1 Cor 6: 17 – Union with Christ. Anyone who is joined to Christ is one spirit with Him. In the Spirit we participate with Jesus in the way HE lives life and share in what He is being and doing to glorify His Father.
  3. Ephesians 5: 31-32 – Marriage is primarily something about Jesus Christ and His own marriage which is going to take place in the new creation. If we don’t allow Christ to remain at the center of our lives, to teach us what marriage is, then we cannot really understand what our marriage is about.

Theological Theme:

Our marriages/relationships are made to live in alignment with Who God-Father-Son-and-Holy Spirit is. If you are in union with The Lord then it is actually the Lord submitting to your spouse as you yield to Him. Col 3: 18.

The insight for what’s going on in marriage relationships can be seen in the Transfiguration of Jesus (Luke 9: 28). Jesus Christ revealed in His Transfiguration what was hidden for all of us, even on this side. The gospel is about something that is not only future but something that is going on right now, real and present though hidden.

Those united to Jesus are actually the fiancé of Jesus Christ and, even though you can’t see it, there is something that is taking place in Jesus Christ on your behalf as He represents you before the Father so that what the Father sees about your marriage is more glorious and beautiful than you can conceive!

Christ Connection:

In His person and vicarious substitution and representation of our human nature, Jesus is our ethical behavior! The way He is living life toward his neighbor and continues to live it is what it means for us to live responsibly ethical toward our neighbors and our spouse, as He directs us by the Spirit and from His Father,. HE is our righteousness, HE is our wisdom, HE is our sanctification.

We are called to participate in Jesus’ spiritual union with His Father as His bride and to be in marital union with Him whether we are young or old, male or female, single or married. As we begin to look away from ourselves and only to Jesus, in the power of the Spirit we become His bride through spiritual union.

There is no ideal marriage. Our marriages are only signs of the real true marriage we will someday have with Christ. The ultimate marital union is coming as we join Jesus as His bride. Our Father has worked it all out in Christ. Jesus has entered the flesh and Jesus has been transfigured in the flesh so there is hope for all marriages. There is also hope in remaining single here because when you are in union with Him you are still headed toward the best marriage ever as the Bride of Christ, participating in His wedding feast!

Missional Application:

“Marriage is a gift given by God. Its special purpose is to reflect God’s covenant relationship with humanity, which in turn reflects the internal and eternal relationship of love among the members of the Trinity. Human marriage grounded in covenant love witnesses to the truth of the relationship of God through Jesus Christ to his bride, the church. Through it we are directed in a unique way to God’s covenant relationship with all humanity. Covenant marriage between a man and woman has a unique moral and spiritual meaning by which we can glorify the Triune God. The special form of agape (holy or covenant love) exhibited in marriage is to be life-long because it is to bear witness to God’s unbreakable covenant love and faithfulness to humanity.- Dr. Gary Deddo titled “What Christian Revelation Understands About Reality and Relationships (that secular culture does not).”

Conclusion:

“ God can no more than an earthly parent be content to have only children: he must have sons and daughters—children of his soul, of his spirit, of his love—not merely in the sense that he loves them, or even that they love him, but in the sense that they love like him, love as he loves. For this he does not adopt them; he dies to give them himself, thereby to raise his own to his heart; he gives them a birth from above; they are born again out of himself and into himself.” ― George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons, Series I., II., and III.

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Toward Unity In Christ!

Part A:

Part B:

Full Message:


Scripture: 1 Cor 1:10-31


“Faithfulness in the gospel necessitates a unity and fellowship of the body,”—Pastor Richard Andrews

Introduction:

“Unity in the church is vital to the success of the mission God has called us to. That is why Paul says: “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one person for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27).” —Ted Johnston

The Bible tells us that we have an adversary in Satan, who prowls about like a lion seeking someone to devour (1 Pet. 5:8). Satan loves to attack the body of Christ—the church—because he knows if he can get us isolated from the “herd,” he can take us down, making our moments unproductive for the movement of the kingdom of God.

God has commissioned the church to take the message of the gospel to the nations. We are to live out the gospel so that His glory is clear and undeniable. He has purposed to use us—you and me, as part of the local church—to build the kingdom. When we are united through the cross, we stand as an undeniable force for the gospel. But if we are divided, at best, we become ineffective at carrying the message of the cross to the lost world around us. At worst, we steal the glory meant to be given to our King.

God’s heart for us is to be a unified, powerful front against the schemes of the evil one. Not only is unity a critical line of defense, it is also crucial to our offense of carrying the gospel to the nations.

“Satan always hates Christian fellowship. It is his policy to keep Christians apart. He delights in anything that can divide saints from one another. He attaches far more importance to godly relationships than we do. Since unity is strength, he does his best to promote separation.” –Charles H. Spurgeon

Theological Theme:

Unity in the church must be grounded in truth, by the cross of Christ, and for the glory of God—[Father-Son-Holy Spirit].

“We can’t think of relationship and unity unless we think of who The Father, The Son and The holy Spirit are and how they have always existed in perfect harmony and unity forever….that means as the adopted ones who have been called into this relationship, that we have been called to unity with The Father, The Son and The Spirit forever.”—Pastor Richard Andrews

“Only at the cross do we see the love of God without ambiguity. Here is God’s farthest reach, His most ambitious rescue effort. God personally came to our side of the chasm, willing to suffer for us and with us. At the cross His love burst upon the world with unmistakable clarity. Here at last we have found solid reasons to believe that there was a genuine connection between God and man.” –Erwin W. Lutzer

Christ Connection:

Paul addressed divisions in the Corinthian church by reminding believers that the gospel overturns human expectations and robs us of any ability to boast in our salvation. Jesus is our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; therefore, selfish boasting and divisions have no place among God’s people.

  • Unity is NOT in human personality.

As Christians, we have unity and purpose in Christ. (1 Cor. 1:10-17)

  • Unity is NOT found in human wisdom.

Our hope is in Him (Jesus Christ) and NOT in ourselves. 1Cor 1: 18-25 Proverbs 26: 12 ESV

The world’s wisdom sees the cross as foolishness, but God made the world’s wisdom foolish through the cross. The cross was God’s plan to provide forgiveness for sinners who could not find forgiveness on their own. It is through faith in what is preached about the cross—Christ crucified—that people can be saved. True wisdom is to recognize this and trust in Christ. True foolishness is to reject the cross.

  • Unity is NOT found in human accomplishments.

“Jesus is our everything. We are made strong by Christ in our weakness. In Him we accomplish and in Him we achieve.” —Pastor Richard Andrews 1Cor 1: 30

Gratitude and humility drive us toward unity together. When we truly grasp the depth of our sin and the breadth of God’s love for us, we will see people through the lens of this same love. When we rally around the work of Christ at the cross—an act of glorious grace from God—there is absolutely no room for boasting in anyone but God. Pride in any part of us is an act of forgetfulness. We cannot glorify God and ourselves at the same time. 1Cor 1- 26-31

“By the Father’s doing, believers have an identification ‘in Christ’. Because of this they possess the wisdom of God—Christ crucified, the very essence of wisdom. Through this wisdom, believers have justification at God’s court, sanctification that allows their entrance into his presence, and ultimate redemption.”  –F. Alan Tomlinson

Missional Application:

“God’s people are a diverse group. We come from varied backgrounds, races and economic and educational levels. We have different tastes, preferences and needs. How can such a diverse group have unity? By God’s Spirit that binds us together.” —Ted Johnston

God, through His Holy Spirit calls us to strive for unity in the church in order to showcase the beauty of the cross and the truth that Christ alone is the source of our salvation.

Too often we approach the body of Christ to be served by it. We’re tired and weary. Sad and lonely. Needy for refreshment and encouragement, significance and affirmation. The church does serve as the hands and feet of Jesus, and we should receive such ministry and love from the church, but if our mind-set is mostly about what we can get from the people of God instead of holding on to a humble heart of service, we have it all backward. Jesus Himself came not to be served but to serve (Mark 10:45), and this example of humility is what begins to unify us. So when we’re tempted to demand our own way and assert our preferences to serve our own needs, we miss the unifying purpose of the church: to glorify God and make known the name of His Son, Jesus, through a lifetime of Spirit-filled living.

Conclusion:

“It is hard to imagine, but Christians can actually find themselves doing things in the name of the gospel that are absolutely contrary to the gospel. Many Corinthian believers had fallen into such a predicament. They had aligned themselves against one another, using human wisdom and persuasive powers to support their divisive ways. Paul’s response to this situation cut straight to the heart of the matter. To divide the church on the basis of human wisdom is to oppose the gospel of Christ. The true gospel does not rely on human wisdom, but on the power of God received through faith in the death and resurrection of Christ.” –Richard L. Pratt Jr.

In 1 Corinthians 1:10-31 we are given direction and truth to guide our hearts and conduct toward unity. Our unity must be grounded in biblical convictions, not popular personalities. The wisdom and power this world has to offer cannot stand against the wisdom and power displayed at the cross, which shows us that our unity is furthered as we boast only in the wisdom and power of our glorious Lord.

Though we are loved, cherished, and highly valued through the sacrifice of Jesus, Christ walked obediently to the cross to glorify His Father first and foremost. We too must follow in the footsteps of Christ and walk in purposeful obedience to glorify the Father in our daily lives.

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Marriage: Profound Mystery About Christ And The Church! pt.2

Part 2A:

Part 2B:

Full Message:


Main Bible Verses: John 14:6 I Corinthians6: 17 Ephesians 5


This Message Series:

Living Into This Challenging Christian Life With Jesus! #13

Introduction:

Our context is always Jesus Christ. We find new life in Jesus Christ.

“Jesus is the gospel. He is our salvation. We receive all the benefits of who he is as we trust in him and cast aside (repent of) all rival objects of trust. We then enjoy union and communion with Jesus as our Lord and God. Our lives are united to him and we share in his life, participating with him in all he is doing and will do in our relationship of trust (faith)”

“Grasping the truth of our relationship to Christ calls for the renewing of our minds so that we begin to think differently about what makes us who we are. In the end, we even have to approach reading Scripture differently. The challenge becomes not so much taking the Bible literally, but taking it realistically. When Paul declares that we are seated with Christ in the heavenlies (Ephesians 2: 6), we have warrant, despite our Aristotelian philosophical training, to grasp this realistically. The good news is that we as Christians are united to Christ in such a way that all that is ours is his and all that is his is ours. Paul refers to this reality when he states, “Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).” —Gary Deddo

Theologial Theme:

The great epiphany/revelation of God —[Father, Son and Holy Spirit] comes only when we see Jesus Christ because when Jesus came, He unveiled what life/God is really like. It is the only way that God has shown up in flesh.

Jesus Christ is the radical unveiling of God to us (John 14:6). I (GOD) am THE WAY, THE TRUTH and THE LIFE but Jesus Christ is also the unveiling/revelation of man, of what it really means to be a human being shown only to you by God to know and receive. Jesus Christ is the way of a human being, the truth of a human being and the life of a human being. He is NOT the way of any one race over another. Jesus is the revelation of what it means to be a human being –who you are in Christ – and that is what’s PRIMARY about your identity. Race, color, gender etc. are secondary. Which means EACH contributes and can’t be denied and each should be brought up to the level of Jesus Christ to avoid the imbalances of thinking, because Jesus is to dominate. It is never about subordination.

Three crucial things about understanding who

God-[Father-Son-Holy Spirit] is:

  • God is ONE – The Father, Son and Spirit have the same heart, mind, and characteristics. He is One in Being. He is UNITY in Trinity.
  • God is THREE PERSONS – God is a relationship. God is not alone. He is Three Persons. He is TRINITY in Unity.
  • God (The Father, Son and Spirit) are EQUAL – The Son and The Holy Spirit have always been ONE with The Father. There is no subordination in The Trinity, where One is lesser then the Other. Each Person is Fully God in Himself, and All are the One God.

Christ Connection:

“When we don’t see people as they are in Jesus Christ, we de-humanize them. You cannot put anyone (not even self) into a category other than a category where YOUR IDENTITY IS FIRMLY UPHELD AS A HUMAN BEING IN JESUS CHRIST. We are all unique people in Jesus Christ. It doesn’t erase the distinctions/ differences, rather it magnifies them. Jesus Christ came as a unique Man but He came as a Male not to represent males but to represent a distinction in creation. Therefore ALL DISTINCTIONS MATTER! – White, black, male, female, child, adult and every person in Jesus Christ is lifted up to a new life in Him, and called to this new life in Him, so that we no longer have the barriers that have plagued us in our sin.” – Pastor Timothy Brassell  

There is a mysterious union that ALL human beings have with Jesus Christ because He took on the human nature of every person, male, female, black, white, etc. and in HIM – All have been forgiven, all have been justified in Jesus Christ Romans 3: 22-24. Our adoption takes place by The Spirit, in Whom we actually share in The Son’s relationship with The Father when personally believe and receive Him (Ephesians 1). We read in Ephesians 2 that He put to death the hostility that was in and against man, by dying himself.

There is an attack upon the church and it must be fought and for this reason in Ephesians 6 we read “Take up the full armor of God”

Missional Application:

If you belong to God, you are called to Christian marriage in Jesus Christ by The Holy Spirit.

God has embodied Himself in humanity and He is the only one that can live like a human being so, what we are REALLY seeing in scripture is how JESUS CHRIST lives as a human being. Ephesians 4: 1-2 ”Live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” We mistakenly think God starts things and we finish but it is Christ’s doing, and our participating with Christ in His doing, by the Holy Spirit.

Be imitators of God. Ephesians 5 “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

The question is: Are you participating with Jesus Christ in HIS SUBMISSION to the other? Ephesians 4:9-17

“What marriage talks about is Jesus Christ giving HIMSELF for the other in and through YOU, and NOT you giving yourself for your spouse. Christ is the wisdom of God. Since there is NO subordination in The Trinity, submission in the scriptures is a Godly term, (the way Jesus lives before The Father) not first and foremost a human term. Therefore submission has to do with freedom, NOT force.  Jesus submits to the Father freely out of godliness and love for His Father and His Father submits freely to the Son out of love for His Son.” —Pastor Timothy Brassell

Submission is NOT subordination of one human being over another. Submission in the scriptures is JESUS’ submission to His Father through His fellow human beings. Therefore, to understand submission, you are going to have to be in a relationship with God The Father, through Jesus and in the Holy Spirit; and if you want to grow in your marriage you will need to draw close to God—[Father-Son-Holy Spirit] so that HE MIGHT LIVE IN AND THROUGH YOU as HE is seeking to do.

“Everything we receive from God we pass on to others to contribute to God’s universe-wide purposes. This is especially true in our relationships. We receive forgiveness of sins—renewing grace to start again with hope. We receive God’s generosity, providing us all the fruit of the Spirit. We receive comfort, love, transforming power, purpose and direction in life to be a sign and witness to the grace and goodness of God. We become witnesses to the truth and holy loving character of God. All these things point to eternal life—life with God as his beloved children in holy, loving unity.” —Gary Deddo

Conclusion:

This Gospel Message explains what it means to live out and walk out this justification, this forgiveness and this adoption that is ours in Jesus Christ through The Holy Spirit, and so it is also crucial for single people for these reasons:

  • It is a message about Christ. All male and female relations and not just marriage relations are in the image of God.
  • Even though human marriage will end in the Kingdom, singles and all who are united to Christ will have marital union with Jesus Christ. This message teaches that marriages are pointing away from self and pointing to something that is ultimately going to happen with all of us in Christ. We are going to be one with Christ.
  • God is clear about when and where sex should take place, so whatever it means to be truly human in male and female relationships, it doesn’t mean crossing boundaries that are warned by God NOT to cross. (1Cor 4:14) This is what God’s love is doing. It is warning you, but only so that you can know and share in the blessing of how you are made.
  • Whenever we are talking about Christ, it is important to realize that we are all called to grow up in the qualities of Christ. (Luke 2:52) You should be growing as a wise person, growing in stature, and in favor with God and man.

“He is Lord and Savior over every aspect of human life and has a purpose for every dimension of our existence. It is all to be a channel of his blessing to us and through us to others. All of it, every relationship, is meant to lead to life and life abundantly. Even our eating and drinking is to reflect the glory of our life-giving God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Every relationship is to be a fruitful gift exchange that contributes to a fullness of life and a fullness of love.” —Gary Deddo

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Marriage: Profound Mystery About Christ And The Church! pt.1

Part 1A:

Part 1B:

Full message:


Scripture: John 14:6 1 Cor 6:17 Ephesians 5:31-32


This Message Series:

Living Into This Challenging Christian Life With Jesus! #12

Introduction:

 “Paul’s governing insight was that all relationships between persons or groups of persons are to be informed, moved and regulated and so disciplined by God’s agapē love, provided as a gift of grace to his people. This love purifies and cleanses and repurposes the natural loves: family love, marital love and friendships. That love is first demonstrated in the relationship between the Triune Persons, seen concretely in Jesus in his relationship with the Father. Secondly, it is seen in Jesus’ words and deeds towards all he came in contact with. That love culminated in Jesus giving his life for us in his crucifixion and resurrection, ascension and promised return. So, every word and act of the members of his body in relationship to each other are to be moved and measured by conformity to and even sharing in God’s kind of love……it is only as we share in and live out of our relationship to Christ and his love that we are able to relate to one another in ways that bring about a fruitful unity and diversity in loving relationship, fellowship and communion.” —Gary Deddo

Theological Theme:

“Christian marriage is grounded in God‘s [Father, Son and Holy Spirit] own creative activity. The basic unit of creation is not the individual human being, male or female, but Man and Woman as one Man, one flesh. ln marriage God completes His creative act. in making man and woman one flesh and through them creating new life. When a man and woman marry they partake of God‘s creative completion of their being. and so in marriage man and woman do not have to do only with one another, but have to do with their Creator. “—T. F. Torrance

Christ connection:

“Jesus Christ is the one Word of God in, by and for whom humanity is constituted. He alone reveals God’s will for human life and flourishing. Consequently, marriage ought primarily to be understood christologically. The Church therefore rejects as false all efforts to ground its doctrine and ethics in sources apart from and besides this one Word of God. Such efforts threaten to turn an institution or relationship into an idol, an anti-Christ.”Jason Goroncy

When it comes to identity, you are not the sinful acts you perform. Your identity is firmly grounded in Christ. In Christ, you are a true person and human being. That is who you REALLY are. The attacks we experience in our day are not just on us and our family, on nature, on creation, on the universe or on the church. It is an attack on Jesus Christ, the Lord of heaven and earth. When we have received the Spirit of God, we’re in union with Jesus Christ and have been sealed with the Holy Spirit so, by nature of that union, that attack is coming at us too.

Therefore, when we talk about ANY challenge of life, Jesus is the answer and because HE is also the LIGHT, and the WAY, we MUST talk about ALL subjects, more specifically, Marriage, Singleness and Sexuality only in the light of HIM. 

Missional Application:

As Christians we worship the Father, through the Son, in the power of the Spirit. We then witness to him that all may turn to Him, receive his Spirit and live in union and communion with Him. We seek in His power to glorify Him in every part of our nature and in every relationship!

“This ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit is essential for our participation in relationship with God on the basis of Christ’s ministry. The Spirit is the one who, in the proclamation and our hearing of the Word, gives us freedom to respond, who delivers to us the desire and willingness to repent, believe and trust Christ, and thus to receive the forgiveness God has, in Christ, already extended to us, and to receive the power to become and live as the adopted children of God that believers are….

Most particularly, life in the Spirit of Christ looks like a joyful, free “obedience of faith” in God through Christ that works itself out in following the many commands, imperatives and exhortations and correctives addressed to the church found throughout the New Testament. It involves a deliberate and purposeful participation in ministry as worship and witness that follows the patterns and priorities set out in the New Testament as enabled and gifted by the Holy Spirit. We can summarize all this under the heading of the Great Commandments of love for God (with all we are and have) and love for our neighbors (as God’s representatives)” —Gary Deddo

Conclusion:

1) Christian Marriage has to do with both people worshipping The Lord in a covenant.

2) A marriage is not just about the marriage itself- “the happening”.

In the Bible, marriage is placed within the structure of the Covenant between God and man in which God revealed the inner basis and purpose of the creation. Marriage involves people in a way of life that is rooted beyond itself in the eternal Will and Truth of God and because in the sexual union of man and woman in marriage they are concerned with God‘s act, sexual acts outside that union are a sin against the Lord. Those who indulge in them are playing with God, and prostituting to their own selfish ends God’s creative act which constitutes the basic unity of man.” – T.F. Torrance

Psalm 51: 4 “Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just.”

Sin is sin against The Lord who created it the way HE wanted it to run, as a mirror image of HIM. If you indulge in something against the way of The Lord you are adhering to your own selfish ends and going against God’s creative acts which constitute the basic unity of man.

The way God designed creation it is what brings people together and holds us together and makes us whole. To do anything contrary to that is to destroy one another and to destroy the unity which we are seeking to have in Christ.

Photo Compliments: Faithlife Sermons

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