It is fitting end to 2020 to come and receive a message of hope from God’s Word. Hope is what every one of us needs. This year has been a difficult and dark year. And the gospel and all of its implications, is good news; the good news we need not just this year, but every year. When the gospel is understood, received and delighted in, it produces hope in us. Hope that is strong, hope that is able to hold us up under the weight of affliction, hope that literally changes the way we live.
As summer winds down, we resume specific rhythms in our church's life, one of which is gathering together in Community Groups. This week, we remind ourselves of how God is calling us to live with and relate to one another. God's plan and design for every believer is be a part of the family of God, the church. His purposes and plans for his people are beautiful and for our good. God is calling us to warmth and affection for one another and for our relationships to be growing in devotion and love.
This week Bill Sullivan preached on God's power through suffering from Romans 5:1-5.
We all need hope. Without hope we despair. So we will instinctively seek out people or things to hope in, a relationship, our health, job security, but eventually, all of these things will fail us. None of them can stand up under the crushing weight of our hope. Our God is a God of hope. A God who keeps his Word, a God who is trustworthy and powerful, fully capable to accomplish all He has said He will do. And the incarnation of Jesus is proof of this. Through Jesus, the promises of God come to fruition. And it is by believing in Jesus and his resurrection that we can have hope, hope that can withstand any earthly trial or affliction.
Prayer is vital and central to the Christian life. Prayer is a unique privilege in which we draw near through the work of Jesus, to God our Father to intentionally convey a message to God. In prayer we engage and encounter God.
The wondrous and joy giving truth of the gospel is that while we were enemies of God, He sent Jesus to die for the ungodly. We are totally undeserving, weak and unable to save ourselves. But God has demonstrated his love for us and His holiness in sending Jesus to die for sinners. It is only through Jesus' death and life that we receive reconciliation to God.
As we celebrated our national freedom this weekend, this week's sermon focused on our spiritual freedom in Jesus. Far more liberating and wonderful is our freedom from the law of sin and death. For God has done what we could not in that he has set us free through Jesus. This week's message exposits Romans 8:1-11 and the very heart of the gospel.