The character of the Church must be patterned after the life and teaching of Christ and the character of any given church is shaped by conduct of her people. In these verses Paul provides instruction as to how God’s people should relate to one another with a specific emphasis on what are often some of the most challenging: Our relationships with those in authority and our relationships with those who require us to dig a little deeper to love well. Through Paul's instruction we will see that each one of us has an opportunity to contribute significantly to the Christlike character of the church.
These verses are an exhortation to this young church–who are doing well spiritually–to continue to increase in the kind of conduct that pleases God in the areas of sexual conduct and brotherly love. While the cultural context and circumstances may differ significantly from our own, there is still much here for the church today.
The laws found in Deuteronomy 21:15-23:14 cover a wide range of specific topics and many of these laws seem quite strange to modern ears. As a result we are sometimes prone to disengage from the text. As we study these verses we will see that through these laws God was reminding Israel of His lovingkindness and holiness and through obedience to these laws Israel would reflect God's character more accurately to the peoples around them. Perhaps most importantly we will see that these laws were always pointing to Jesus: The perfect reflection of God's lovingkindness and holiness.
In these verses we see the new Christian community in Jerusalem struggling with the Gentiles new-found reconciliation to God apart from adhering to Jewish ritual purity laws. Peter recounts how he came to a fuller understanding of the new means by which a sinful people are now able to stand in God's presence - by grace, through faith. As we head into a new year, may our time reflecting on this truth encourage us to cultivate a daily closeness to God that accurately reflects the extraordinary reality of our relationship with Him through Christ Jesus.
In these verses John presents us with two very portraits: One of Jesus moving resolutely towards the cross to give his life a sacrifice for sinners and another of Peter, a faithful follower of Christ at an all time spiritual low. These verses stand to serve as a source of great hope and encouragement for imperfect followers of Christ as we are reminded not only of the magnitude of what Christ did for each of but also the kind of people he did it for.
In Acts 2:42-47 we are provided with our first summary glimpse at the interior life of the early church. While not an exhaustive description of the local church these verses do provide us with a wonderful vision of vibrant, loving and hospitable Christian community - the kind of community that all Christians should strive to see realized in their own churches, homes and neighborhoods.
In 1 Corinthians 9:15-24 Paul uses the example of his own style of ministry to exhort the young church to cultivate habits of personal discipline and self control. Paul's hope for the Corinthians is that they might utilize their new found Christian liberty as a powerful tool for gospel progress. In our present culture - one where personal autonomy and authority is held in near idolatrous esteem - we stand to learn much from Paul's example as well.
In 1 Corinthians Chapter 2 we see how and why the mind and thoughts of the believer must necessarily and fundamentally be different than those outside the church if we are to grow in our sanctification and live in keeping with our high calling as sons and daughters of God.
Proverbs has much to teach us regarding how to be wise in the way use our words. Oftentimes however, the areas where we struggle to keep our speech pure have far more to do with our hearts than our mouths.
In Psalm 110 David presents a vivd prophetic vision of a triumphant messianic king who would one day come be the ultimate deliverer of God’s people. In this sermon we explore a message of future -and ultimate- hope for God’s people. A hope rooted not in any earthy king but in someone and something far greater.