Archive for the ‘GCI Baltimore’ Tag

The Most Important Priority For Everyone Everywhere! Part 3 (Our Christian/Biblical Worldview)

Part 3A:

Part 3B:

Full Message:


Bible Verses: Colossians 1: 15 – 29 Colossians 3: 5


Introduction: Developing, then living out an ethic that is God-centered rather than human-centered is a great challenge. Why? Because the worldview (mindset) prevalent in our modern/postmodern West is fundamentally human-centered, leading to an ethic that is largely pragmatic, utilitarian and even hedonistic. So how do we as Christians, in this cultural setting, develop, then live out a truly theological ethic?

In this sermon we draw on scripture and insights from theologian Dr. Gary Deddo as a help in considering the crucial issues at play regarding our participation with Jesus in worshipping His Father in the Spirit!

Theological Theme:

According to Jesus, these two commands summarize the will of God for humankind as presented in Holy Scripture:

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matt. 22:35-40, NRSV)

Christ Connection:

Jesus came to seek worshipers of the Father (see John 4, the account of the woman at the well). He came so that we could share in his true worship of the Father in Spirit and Truth (see the book of Hebrews). That meant he came so that we might love God as He loved God, with all he had and all he was — heart, soul, mind and strength. That worship included Jesus absolutely trusting in and lovingly obeying the Father — in our place and on our behalf. We are to serve no other Master, Jesus tells us. He came to take us to the Father and to send us his Spirit.
As Jesus tells us, eternal life is to know the Father through him (John 17:3). Jesus’ central mission was to reconcile God’s own sons and daughters to him through his atoning death and to destroy the source of all rivalry to the worship of God alone. Evil is represented by the Satan, the deceiver. Jesus is our great High priest, our Leitourgos (leader of liturgy/worship), our one true worship leader. He came to enable us to be true worshipers of the Father in the Spirit through him, the Son.

Missional Application:

In participation with Jesus we share the Gospel in word and deed with our neighbors, teaching them what Jesus is teaching us:

Though Jesus speaks of two great commandments, they are not equal. One cannot be collapsed into the other, especially the first into the second. Why? Because God is not my neighbor and my neighbor is not God. The command to love God is unique, applying to no one and nothing else. We are to love God with all that we are and all that we have — body and soul, mind and heart. There is nothing that is a part of a human’s existence that is not to be devoted to loving God.

Photo Compliments: Dr. Gary Deddo

The Most Important Priority For Everyone Everywhere! Part 2 (Our Christian/Biblical Worldview)

Part 2A:

Part 2B:

Full Message:


Bible Verses: Colossians ( Various Scriptures)


Introduction:

In a world:

Where people, including those in the Church, are still fighting over the various shades of color of skin,

Where people are seeking to live life in their own made up identities and pushing politicians to identify mainly with their cause,

Where people are exalting their own independence and individualism at the complete cost of their neighbors suffering,

Where the ultimate innocents and vulnerable among us are being aborted at an alarmingly high rate, and,

Where one of the scariest places in all the world to be is a nursing home, and,

Where, in our cities, the murder rate is not only high, but where research shows that most murders are meant to kill…

What hope do we Christians have to share with the world?

Theological Theme:

According to our Christian Hope shared through our Christian Calendar (following the events of God in History), we have entered the season of Advent where we celebrate the fact, specifically, that the Father’s Son came among us as Jesus 2000 years ago, as promised in scripture, and has come and is here again after his resurrection (in the Spirit), and is anticipated to come to earth again, bodily, at his Final Appearing! What does the word Advent mean? It is a word that means “The Coming and the Arrival of something great and important!” For us Christians it means the Coming of Some-One Who is The Greatest and The Most Important Someone, and that Some-One is the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God the Father, Filled with the Love, Communion and Power of the Holy Spirit!

Christ Connection:

Because of Who Jesus is not only as God, but also as Man, His ministry and comings not only have something to do with His Body the Church, but with all of creation. He is Creator, Reconciler, and Redeemer of All Things spiritual and physical within creation. In His Person and Work He holds all things together, uniting all things as they should be united and giving His entire creation His peace, all evil and destruction having been overcome in His Life, Death and Resurrection to a Life of New Creation!

Biblically this is spelled out in summary form in Colossians 1:

1He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.
16 For everything was created by him,
in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions
or rulers or authorities—

all things have been created through him and for him.
17 He is before all things,
and by him all things hold together.
18 He is also the head of the body, the church;
he is the beginning,
the firstborn from the dead,
so that he might come to have
first place in everything.

19 For God was pleased to have
all his fullness dwell in him,
20 and through him to reconcile
everything to himself,
whether things on earth or things in heaven,
by making peace
through his blood, shed on the cross.

Missional Application:

Like the Apostle Paul, the Church is now eager to share this Good News with the world that it might have its hope and faith in the love of God-Father-Son-Holy-Spirit, also! We encourage the world, and share with all who will listen, that it should repent of its sin and sinful perspective about God, creation and itself, and receive the gift of a new relationship with the Father, in the Spirit and through Jesus Christ, Lord of all Creation:

Colossians 1:

21 Once you were alienated and hostile in your minds as expressed in your evil actions. 22 But now he has reconciled you by his physical body through his death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before him— 23 if indeed you remain grounded and steadfast in the faith and are not shifted away from the hope of the gospel that you heard. This gospel has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and I, Paul, have become a servant of it. 24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I am completing in my flesh what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for his body, that is, the church. 25 I have become its servant, according to God’s commission that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 God wanted to make known among the Gentiles the glorious wealth of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 We proclaim him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 I labor for this, striving with his strength that works powerfully in me.”

Photo Compliments: Dr. Gary Deddo

Grace To A Runaway Slave!

Part A:

Part B:

Full Message:


Bible Verse: Philemon 8-22


Introduction:

In his short letter to Philemon, Paul made an appeal for oneness and unity in Jesus Christ. He placed himself in the middle of a broken relationship between Philemon, a slave master, and Onesimus, a runaway slave. Contained within this story of reconciliation, grace, and de-exaltation is the gospel itself. A slave himself, Paul urged Philemon to consider love—not law, duty, or obligation. His instruction to receive Onesimus as a brother, not a slave, challenges us to evaluate our pride and align our perspectives of others with Christ’s perspective. In this letter, Paul helps us reflect on the racial, radical, and redemptive reconciliation Christ offers.

“The salvation secured by Christ in the gospel is more comprehensive than justification alone: it brings repentance, wholeness, love for brothers and sisters in the Christian community.” –D. A. Carson

Outline:

1. Appealing to Love, Not Obligation (Philem. 8-14)

Like Philemon, love is to be our motivation for obeying God in all things. We can easily fall into the trap of obeying God primarily out of obligation. We obey because we have to. We know we should. While this is certainly true—God has given us commands, not suggestions in Scripture— obligation cannot be what prompts our obedience. Love must be.

Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commands (John 14:15). Love fuels obedience; obedience verifies love. A steady diet of love fattens obedience, but obligation will starve it at some point. This is why Jesus fused the two together. Our love for God produces obedience that pleases Him and also brings Him glory as the world around us sees us joyfully obey.

2. Accepting a Brother, Not a Slave (Philem. 15-17)

Love all men, even your personal enemies, not because they are brothers but in order that they may be brothers, in order that you may always burn with brotherly love, whether for one already become a brother or for an enemy so that by [your] loving he may become a brother.” –Augustine

3. Anticipating Grace, Not Duty (Philem. 18-22)

If we as Christians only obey God out of a sense of obligation or duty, then we commit the sin of the Pharisee: righteousness without right-heartedness. God desires that our obedience come from the heart.

After committing adultery with Bathsheba, David discovered, “The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. You will not despise a broken and humbled heart, God” (Ps. 51:16-17). God cannot overlook a broken heart. He collects them, tends and mends them. Duty is a harsh master, but through the cracks of a broken spirit, the Holy Spirit enters into us and distributes grace to every limb. Paul had a broken heart when he penned his letter—a heart that Philemon could heal by demonstrating the grace of Christ to Onesimus. “Refresh my heart in Christ,” he instructed (Philem. 20).

Theological Theme:

Christian reconciliation models the cross of Christ.

Contained within this story of reconciliation, grace, and de-exaltation is the gospel itself – a gospel that regardless of background, skin color, class, or cultural difference unites God’s [Father-Son-Holy Spirit] family members and demonstrates the reconciling power of the cross. Christian unity is not about sameness; it’s about oneness.

Christ Connection:

When Paul appealed to Philemon on behalf of the runaway slave Onesimus, he placed himself in the middle of their broken relationship. In order to make peace, he volunteered to pay Onesimus’ debt. Through this action, Paul modeled Jesus Christ, who is the peacemaker between God and sinful humanity. By volunteering to pay our debt, Jesus reconciled us to God and to each other.

Missional Application:

God, through his Holy Spirit, calls us to live as peacemakers who reflect the heart of our crucified Savior.

Conclusion:

Jesus once promised that He would “go away and prepare a place for you” (John 14:3).

After the toils of life are over, God will declare your emancipation also. Like Paul, you will escape “this body of death” (Rom. 7:24) and abscond to your mansion in glory—a home where “neither moth nor rust destroys” and “where thieves don’t break in and steal” (Matt. 6:20). This future home is what should motivate us today. Because we anticipate entering Christ’s presence and basking in His love and grace as His brothers and sisters, we give to others today what we will receive then. It is the least we, all former slaves to sin who are now one family in Christ, can do for one another.

“We have but one leading aim, to which it is our deliberate and unreserved desire that every thing else in which we are concerned may be subordinate and subservient—in a word, that we are devoted to the Lord, and have by grace been enabled to choose him, and to yield ourselves to him, so as to place our happiness in his favor, and to make his glory and will the ultimate scope of all our actions.” –John Newton

Photo Compliments:

http://www.upperclydeparish.blogspot

The Preeminence Of Jesus Christ!

Part A:

Part B:

Full Message:


Bible Verses: Colossians 1:15-24 2: 3


Introduction:

What is the outlook you have in your life? Do you see Jesus?

How and what we see is so important for the life we live today, the relationships we have, and to the words we speak today. Our outlook/view is so important to our walk, ministry and testimony.

“We should be focused on The Father, Son and Holy Spirit and The God who is revealed in Jesus”

“We should be (given the context of the lives that we live today, given all things that we’re going through, through the tears, celebration, through the relationships, through the work and through the worry) focused on Jesus, who is supreme, who is central, and who is sufficient in and for all things, and for all times.”

Paul wrote the letter to the church at Colossae when he learned through Epaphras that heretical teachings were running through the church. Paul’s letter pointed the church to the person and work of Jesus Christ. The cross of Christ is not merely a theory for theologians to ponder; it’s a real-life, realtime reality that heals, restores, and reconciles. Through the cross, Christ reconciled us to the Father, reconciles all things in Himself, and reconciles us to one another.

Paul focuses on the reconciling work of Jesus and focuses our attention on reconciling in 3 different areas in our lives:

1. Christ is preeminent in His reconciling all things. (Col. 1:15-20).

2. Christ is preeminent in His reconciling us to God. (Col. 1:21-23).

3. Christ is preeminent in His reconciling us to one another. (Col. 1:24–2:3).

Theological Theme:

Through His work on the cross, Christ is restoring the world and reconciling us to God [Father-Son-Holy Spirit] and to one another.

Christ Connection:

Jesus is the preeminent one. Growth and maturity are firmly established on that precept.

“For everywhere He is first; above first; in the Church first; for He is the Head; in the Resurrection first.” –John Chrysostom

In prison, Paul encouraged God’s people by proclaiming the magnificence of Christ—His identity as God’s Son and His work on the cross to reconcile us to God. Christian growth and maturity does not take place through moving beyond the gospel to other Bible teaching but through continually refocusing our attention on Christ—who is the focus of the Scriptures and the head of the church

Missional Application:

God, through His Holy Spirit, calls us, as those who have been reconciled to God, to be heralds of reconciliation to the world.

Conclusion:

Just as Christ is preeminent in His reconciling creation, He is preeminent in His reconciling us to God, which He accomplished through taking on flesh and then laying His life down on our behalf. Because of the blood He shed on the cross, we are no longer alienated, hostile, and evil. That is the old person who has been put to death with Christ on the cross. In that person’s place, we have received new life, new identity, in Christ. And it is this new person who has been declared holy, faultless, and blameless whom Christ presents to the Father. This is the fundamental change of Christ’s reconciliation. He has undone sin’s curse. He has restored that which was broken. He has made right that which was wrong. He, not us, has accomplished this work of reconciliation. And this is why He receives all the glory of our salvation.

By the cross, Christians enter into a personal relationship with the Man of Nazareth who, being fully God and fully man, suffered with us, suffered for us, and suffers through us as we “weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15). The beams of the cross point us upward (Christ), downward (grounded in the faith), and outward (loving others). Be careful to keep those three beams together, for if we become deficient in one, the others will fall apart. May we proclaim a whole redemption through a whole Christ to a world that is not yet whole.

Photo Compliments:

http://www.crosswalk.com

The Most Important Priority For Everyone Everywhere! Part 1 (Our Christian/Biblical Worldview)

Part 1A:

Part 1B:

Full Message:


Bible Verses: Colossians ( Various Scriptures)


Introduction:

Over the past few Gospel messages we’ve been sharing in the mind of Jesus Christ by reading through the book of Colossians and seeking to grasp all that the Father inspired to be written for the Christians living there under His leading! We have been beholding the complexity of the Father, Son and Spirit’s oversight and purpose for everything, everywhere! Understanding His loving care and concern for our faith, hope and love in Him!  Trusting Him for His loving care and concern for His Church, His Kingdom, and the World at large. Receiving His loving care and concern for all created things as Reconciler and Redeemer of each and all of us who have been negatively impacted by evil and are in a state of recovery from the Fall in Christ our Lord!

We’ve been seeking to understand and have God’s view of what it means to live in and amongst all this complexity, even as the Colossian church members were, too! We are hearing the call of the Lord to continue to let the Truth of our Being (Jesus Christ!) be the Way of our Being, participating with him in his earthly historical life!

Theological Theme:

In Astounding and Inclusive Love the Father has sent and given humanity His Son and Word (Jesus), and gives us His Holy Spirit, that all of humanity might share in His Fellowship as Father, Son and Spirit! How do we receive, trust and live out this relationship in the complex situation going on around us? How do we honor and love God and neighbor while we are still in a becoming state of being more like Jesus? In Colossae, and like us, they were believers who are seeking to relate with Jesus and seeking to understand the Jewish/Christian connections of faith in Jesus Christ! At the same time they are also working, living, and breathing in a particular secular culture that had businesses, educational institutions, gossip, industry, various religions, and therefore various idols and powerful influences that threatened to attack and undermine their faith and trust in Christ!

“Human beings are fallen and therefore subject to temptation and being deceived by evil influences. Fallen, we are also inveterate self-justifiers seeking to maintain our own autonomous righteousness (ethics) apart from the gift of God received by repentance and faith upon hearing the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by the ministry of the Holy Spirit.” – Dr. Gary Deddo.

Abba, Father, help and save us through this tension through our Lord Jesus Christ, by Your Spirit!

Christ Connection:

The Good News of the Gospel is that Christ has already overcome this tension, and our fallenness, through his obedience to His Father by the Spirit, from inside our broken human nature. He has turned our human nature around and back to the Father! From his place of Ascension as a glorified human being he now sends, and we receive freely, the Holy Spirit he sends from the Father, giving us a share in his overcoming power through his very own faith and trust poured out in us!

“For the Lord touched all parts of creation, and freed and undeceived them all from every deceit.”
― St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation

Missional Application:

Jesus is the only hope for all, not just Christians! As Jesus encounters and empowers us believers in our relationship with him, we call upon pre-believers to place their faith and trust in Jesus by the Spirit – calling on them to repent, be baptized, deny themselves and pick up their cross, following Jesus!

“The problem of pursing a life of moral faithfulness is not simply a matter of discerning what God’s will is—as if simply knowing it, figuring it out, takes care of it. The barriers are much greater. No earnest pursuit of moral faithfulness to Jesus Christ will come to fruition unless the Holy Spirit in conjunction with the Word of God, breaks down our resistance to the Word and the Spirit and kills our self-justifying pride that resists repentance and faith in Jesus Christ and his Word.” – Dr. Gary Deddo

Photo Compliments:

http://www.thegospelcoalition.org

Becoming An Ethically Responsible Christian Disciple! Part 4 (Our Christian/ Biblical Worldview)

Part 4A:

Part 4B:

Full Message:


Bible Verses: Colossians (various scriptures)


Introduction:

In Jesus, God’s Elect One, you and every other person you know have been elected/chosen to be at the highest place of honor and privilege possible for a human being, participating with Jesus in his union and relationship with His Father, in the Holy Spirit. In fact, all of what it means to be truly and fully human is seated, truly and mysteriously, with the Father, and in Jesus who share in our humanity. Jesus represents and substitutes for each and all of us human beings before the Father not so we don’t have to participate but so that we can, with him!

Theological Theme:

Because of the Reality of Jesus in our humanity, now glorified, we are invited and urged to share more deeply in in the humanity of Christ by the Spirit Christ than in the divided humanity of those who reject God! In the worshipful and relational way of Jesus, we who trust and believe in him, prioritize and live out the Great Command to love God with our all, first, and then, at His direction and lead in the Spirit, to love our neighbors as ourselves.

As the late George MacDonald has written: “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

Christ Connection:

There is a call from the Father for us to be different and to be transformed in Christ in the Holy Spirit; to begin and keep becoming and growing up in Him, right here and right now! To keep sharing in the mind of Christ about our world, that we are forever going to be relating with and oversee with Jesus in a larger more fulfilling way! We’re not in a pretend mode right now just because everything here on earth will one day be transformed! In believers, and by the Holy Spirit, Jesus has an earthly body that still resides in our present history, interacting with his Father and our neighbors in love. Obeying Jesus right now is as vital as it was vital when he actually walked the earth in his distinct human body because he is the Risen Lord and still has an ongoing and present ministry!

Missional Application:

Jesus, being our Great Ethic, has pointed out what it means to participate with him in relation to God and our neighbor:

A lawyer asked [Jesus] a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matt. 22:35-40, NRSV)

As Dr. Gary Deddo points out in his article “Theological Ethics”:

“When we love God with all we are and have, there shines forth a reflection of it towards those who are not God. We love God because God first loved us (1 John 4:19). Our love for God is a response, the right and appropriate response, to God’s love for us. We first receive God’s love and we first love God. When we love the neighbor in the way God would have us, then like Jesus, we are passing on to others what we have received from God. Think of the offering of the Lord’s Supper and Paul’s words: “For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you” (1 Cor. 11:23). In God’s economy, we can pass on only what we have first received. First things must remain first, otherwise, as C.S. Lewis reminds us, we will lose both the first and the second things.”

Photo Compliments: https://www.quoteslyfe.com

Becoming An Ethically Responsible Christian Disciple! Part 3 (Our Christian/ Biblical Worldview)

Part 3A:

Part 3B:

Full Message:


Bible Verses: Colossians (various scriptures)


Introduction:

“How Do I Become An Ethically Responsible Christian Disciple?” That is the question this series is trying to answer as it lays the foundations of this sermon firmly on THE Foundation of Jesus Christ, Himself, in his Person and Work. As we face the “waves and pounding surf” of the bad philosophies and false ideas and ideologies of this world, we need not be shaken because our house is built upon a rock, THE Rock, Jesus Christ! We are encouraged by the Lord Jesus to be careful how we build. The Lord Jesus Christ in calling you to Himself in His relationship with His Father does so that you might know Him and, incredibly, share in his very mind with him! NOT sharing in a mind like his, but sharing in his very own mind, in the Spirit!

Theological Theme:

“Ethics” is a way of understanding how we are to relate to our neighbors, horizontally, in the light of Who Jesus is and Who we are in Him, as we seek to glorify the Father with Jesus! As those who trust him, Jesus Christ is our Ethic! When we are directly relating to God, that’s worship. When we are relating directly to our neighbor for God’s sake, that is ethics, or witnessing to and participating with the God we worship in His love toward others.

Christ Connection:

In one paradoxical way of putting it, Christian ethics are really the end of ethics as we once thought of them! We’re no longer centered on proclaiming a nice, neatly-packaged system of rule-keeping, laws or instructions, as if that is what the bible/Christian life primarily is. We’re now centered solely on the Rule-Keeper, the Law-Giver, and THE Loving Instructor – Jesus Christ, Himself! He is our Ethic! In an intimate relationship with Him he guides and leads us by the Holy Spirit, even in the minutiae of everyday living, that we might participate with Him in glorifying His Father in a human way! In Jesus we are becoming a repetition of Jesus and His Father in an earthly way by the Spirit!

Missional Application:

The Father sent his Son Jesus into the world because of his great love for the world. John 3:16. This love for the world is what we seek to participate in both within and outside the Church in participation with Jesus and the Father. This quote from Henri Nouwen is written with just this kind of love for others in mind:

“For Jesus, there are no countries to be conquered, no ideologies to be imposed, no people to be dominated. There are only children, women and men to be loved.” — Henri Nouwen

Photo Compliments:

http://www.amazinglovehawaii.com

Becoming An Ethically Responsible Christian Disciple! Part 2 (Our Christian/ Biblical Worldview)

Part 2A:

Part 2B:

Full Message:


Bible Verses: Colossians (various scriptures)


Introduction:

Because Jesus Himself is our Ethic (our humanity living properly among his neighbors and glorifying the Father), ethics is the free gift of God given to us in Jesus Christ. Christian ethics are not a way to earn God’s love or a way to earn salvation through human works and achievements. It is the gift of participating with Jesus in his human life by Grace! Jesus is God’s Grace to us! Ethics is what it means to participate with Jesus in living his life in this world by the Spirit!

Theological Theme:

You begin life as a child but only so you can grow up into an adult. Similarly, through your union and participation with Jesus, by the Spirit, you are in the state of growing up and becoming a little Christ who glorifies the Father.

Christ Connection:

Jesus is the One Who stands in our human place and lives life in this world with our human nature and on our behalf in a renewing way that brings and gives us revitalized human life, destroying sin completely. He Himself, then, is our Ethic. He is the way we are called to live! Jesus is our proper human response to God and our neighbor! He is the only true Learner of God, and the only human fully obedient to the Father, AND he was and is this so that we might participate with him, glorifying the Father!

Missional Application:

As members of Christ and as people in this world, Christians have a dual citizenship. We have a complex responsibility – the response-ability of Christ, by the Spirit, to be equipped for the works of Christ’s service in the spheres of the Church, the Kingdom, and the State. The goal and mandate is to prioritize our relationship with God, and then, at his direction and under his authority over all, to love everyone, pointing them, through his mission, to him that they too may be in union and participation with him.

Photo Compliments: www. justbetweenus.org

Once Faithless, Now Faith-Filled!

Part A:

Part B:

Full Message:


Bible Verse: Hebrews 11: 1-12


Sermon Summary:

Are we living by faith? How do we live our lives as righteous people by faith? Romans 1: 17

“If we’re living our lives faith-filled, then we’re living out who we really are and understanding what we’ve been given in the newness of the life we’ve been given (in Christ) – We’ve been given reconciliation!”

“Our circumstances don’t dictate God’s love towards us and that’s what we’ve been clothed with – HIS LOVE! THAT is who we really are. So despite our circumstances we can really walk in this faith-filled life because of Jesus and who HE is. So we have to understand who he is and know who we are in him.”

“By faith, believers can live a life of sacrifice and consider mistreatment, torture and abuse from the world as worth suffering for Christ’s sake. Faith in Christ does not guarantee a carefree life but a life that is full of trouble and includes many demands to leave behind worldly pleasures and walk with God according to his will.”  –Tesfaye Kassa

  • We have to know WHAT faith is. – “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”- Hebrews 11: 1-3(CSB)

“Faith is the connecting power into the spiritual realm, which links us with God and makes Him become a tangible reality to the sense perceptions of a person. Faith is the basic ingredient to begin a relationship with God.

Faith is the assurance that the things revealed and promised in the Word are true, even though unseen, and gives the believer a conviction that what he expects in faith, will come to pass. Faith is the tangible essence of what is hoped for – so tangible that the faith itself, is the evidence/reality of those things that are not yet visible. In other words, it becomes so tangible that you now possess it. It becomes a reality in the spiritual realm.” – Wikibooks

  • When it comes to faith, we have to know HOW to find it. – Romans 10: 17(CSB)

”Are you hearing about Christ? Faith comes by hearing the message about Christ!”

When we understand the WHO, WHAT and HOW of faith, then we can begin to LIVE by the faith of Jesus Christ! – Hebrews 11: 4-12

Theological Theme:

“By defining faith…as ‘assurance’ and ‘conviction,’ the author indicates that biblical faith is not a vague hope grounded in imaginary, wishful thinking. Instead, faith is a settled confidence that something in the future—something that is not yet seen but has been promised by God—will actually come to pass because God will bring it about. Thus biblical faith is not blind trust in the face of contrary evidence, not an unknowable ‘leap in the dark’; rather, biblical faith is a confident trust in the eternal God who is all-powerful, infinitely wise, eternally trustworthy—the God who has revealed himself in his word and in the person of Jesus Christ, whose promises have proven true from generation to generation, and who will ‘never leave nor forsake’ his own”–David W. Chapman

Jesus is the source and perfecter of our faith. “We can’t be anchored in anything or anyone else. God [Father-Son-Holy Spirit] IS THE SOLD ROCK – an immovable foundation!”

Christ Connection:

To the author of Hebrews, faith is the “reality” and “proof” of the existence of something that at the moment cannot be seen. This is why in Romans 4, Paul said that the Old Testament patriarchs were justified by their faith in the promise—a promise that was yet to be seen. These Old Testament saints hadn’t seen the object of their salvation (yet), but they trusted in God’s promise to one day provide it, which He did in Jesus Christ.

All the examples of faith in Scripture pale in comparison to the life of Jesus Christ, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame. Because of His work, the faith and hope of all who have gone before us will be fulfilled when He returns. We have assurance of the reliability of God’s promises.

While we find encouragement from this cloud of witnesses, we ultimately find that the pinnacle of enduring faith belongs to Christ Jesus, and we should emulate Him.

Missional Application:

Once we are in Christ, we are not finished with faith. Faith is not just the key to unlock the door of salvation; it is how we continue to work out our salvation so God [Father-Son-Holy Spirit] can produce in us and through us the good works He has planned for us. Living by faith is difficult, but God has called us to look at the examples of faith in Scripture—most notably that of Jesus— and draw courage from them as we focus on Christ and fulfill His will for our lives.

Just as it is grace through faith that saves us from top to bottom, it is grace through faith that sustains us beginning to end. We do not start anew in Christ by faith and then embark on a great “good works” selfimprovement project. No, we “walk by faith”

God, through his Holy Spirit, calls us to draw courage from the example of the faithful through the centuries as we fulfill God’s will and focus on Christ.

Conclusion:

Do we see God as the author and finisher of our lives?

Do we see him as the one who directs our steps and says “go left and go right”?

Do we see him as the captain of our ships – the navigator?

Do we see faith, active in our lives despite the obstacles that seem insurmountable in our own lives?

Do we hear God’s “Yes” and God saying “Do” as something that is tangible in our lives to really mandate how we live in our lives?

We must keep our eyes on Jesus. Every good work must be submitted to the glory of Jesus. Every spiritual discipline must be conducted as a means of deepening our friendship with Jesus. Every religious book read, every theological idea explored, every biblical doctrine studied must have as its aim a stirring of our affections for Jesus. It is only by focusing on Jesus that we will be able to endure in the Christian life and have a faith that lasts to the finish line….Jesus gave us the greatest example of enduring faith when He trusted in the Father during His journey to the cross. Jesus trusted in the Father throughout the greatest evil, the greatest hardship, ever. And He did so with the joy that lay before Him—the joy of obeying the Father and glorifying Him. Ultimately, it is Jesus who is able to present us blameless before God’s glory without stumbling. Let us fix our eyes on Him to the very end.

 “The foundation of the Christian life is repentance and faith. You never move on from that, but you do want to build on it.” –Matt Fuller

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Becoming An Ethically Responsible Christian Disciple! Part 1 (Our Christian/ Biblical Worldview)

Part 1A:

Part 1B

Full Message:


Bible Verses: Colossians 2, Colossians 3: 17, 23


Introduction:

This messages proclaims Jesus and clarifies the Christian Worldview as given to us by Jesus through his Apostles in scripture. It seeks to help us have a “pair of glasses” that we might, in the Father’s grace, know how we ought to see, be and act in participation with Christ by His Divine Commands shared with us in the Holy Spirit.

Theological Theme:

As members of of the Body of Christ and people in this world, the Church has a dual citizenship! We are participants of the Kingdom of Heaven and citizens of the human family on earth.

Christ Connection:

In the Person and Work of Jesus, our human nature lives out its human life in a full and proper response to the Father by the Spirit. In Jesus we are also graciously given how it is we are to love our neighbors as ourselves as we minister to the Father in the Spirit.

Every Christian has a complex responsibility – the response-ability of Christ by the Spirit – through which we are equipped by Jesus through His Church for the works of his service to His Father, on behalf of the world!

We live, move and have our being in relation to the FSS in these three spheres:

  • As participants in the sphere of the Church, with Faith in Jesus! (the Church is NOT the Kingdom)
  • As participants in the sphere of the Kingdom, in Hope for its fullness! (the Kingdom is NOT the Church)
  • As participants in the world, with the Love Jesus shares! We all live in and participate in the sphere of Human Authority – Government, State, Jobs (seeking to love our neighbor with Christ and at his direction and inspiration)

Missional Application:

Our life in the World is primarily one of Love – not as defined by Santa Clause, but defined by Jesus Christ – self-giving, other-centered, and self-sacrificing toward God, first, and, at his direction, toward others! We are to teach others and disciple them the way Jesus teaches and disciples us. The way Jesus loved the world in the scriptures is the same way He still loves the world in and through His people who trust him, to the glory of His Father in the Holy Spirit!

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