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.
For all who trust in Christ, God is both the source and sustainer of that faith. If we desire to see our faith grow then our knowledge and understanding of who God is and what he has done for all believers must increase. Like Paul, may none of us cease asking God to grant us greater revelation and knowledge of Him.
Our text this week paints a picture of what Christian community ought to look like and how we can achieve it. Colossians 3:12-17 points to our motivation and model for right conduct within the family of God and also shows us the only means by which we can hope to grow into the kind of community God desires.