Every generation has a part to play within the community of faith. The pull of the world is strong but, when we truly love God, we will encourage one another not to fall in love with the things of the world but, rather, to fall in love with God who gives us everything we need.
The message of Jesus is not an abolition of the law, but rather, an invitation into the perfect law of the Kingdom of God. The way of Jesus doesn't save us, but His way is the fullness of life that comes to our life after salvation. The apple tree can only produce apples, and the life of Jesus can only come from the light of Jesus within us.
The gospel orients our lives around what's truly important. The community of faith plays a vital role in how we respond to the distractions of the world. Healthy connection helps us gain perspective and stay focused on the main thing.
Grace should drive us to holiness. Too often, we view grace as a license for sin instead of an incentive for holy living. Jesus' invitation isn't simply to a life that is cleansed but to a life that is redeemed and given purpose. We are invited into the restoration plan of Jesus for all of creation, and that begins as we engage in one another's lives.
It's a humbling thought when we recognize that each of us are someone that others look up to! We are called to intentionally choose those whom we will model our lives after and to live imperfect lives that, through both our action and repentance, are worthy of emulation.
We never qualify for the grace of Jesus based on our work, nor do our works disqualify us. However, both the evidence and the trajectory of our lives are clear indicators of the foundation on which our lives are built. We live in a broken world, but through Christ, we have the opportunity to see that world through the lens of redemption.
The specific calling on the life of Paul provides a model for the calling that we each have on our lives. Modeling faith and teaching truth are the right response from those who have received the gift of life through Jesus. Intentional connection always leads to gospel multiplication.
Being connected to one another isn't simply a nice way to live or a built-in support structure in case of difficulty. Connection to the faith community is one of the key aspects of our spiritual formation journey. We are always being formed—intentionally or unintentionally. Connection takes many forms, but is a vital aspect of the transformation process.
There is no podcast this week due to the sensitivity of the sermon.
As followers of Jesus we have been called to a life together in community. The upcoming series will highlight the biblical importance of belonging to each other.
The promise of the desert is that, when Jesus calls us there, we will stop relating to Him simply in religious terms but as our loving Father and Husband. The empty grave means that we no longer need to approach God on the basis of religion, but we can always approach Him on the basis of His finished work.
While in the desert, success and affirmation can easily detract us from the heart of God that He develops in us. However, by regularly retreating to His presence, we are able to come back to the core calling of our lives.
Temptation is rarely about the sin itself, but rather, about the heart that is ready to engage that sin. Jesus, after having His identity affirmed by the Father, has that identity challenged. Through the temptations to be relevant, popular, and powerful, Jesus affirms that He is indeed who God says that He is.
We live in a world where our identity is determined by what we've accomplished. Jesus's model is the opposite: His declaration of love for us happens prior to anything we do and is never based on our performance. Rather, who we are is based solely on who He's made us to be.
It's only when we are emptied of ourselves that we can be filled with the Spirit of God. As long as we have the option of trusting in our own strength, most of us will. While we long for God to meet us in the dramatic and the miraculous, the majority of the Christian life is lived in the midst of the ordinary.
There are times in our lives when we feel like we're completely lost. Sometimes it can even seem like God Himself is lost. However, there are times that He leads us the long way around on purpose because His detours are always formational. As we journey in the desert, God is shaping us into His people and is preparing us for the portions of the journey that still lie ahead.
During the times that God calls us into the desert, we discover that these journeys have several commonalities: God is the Author of them, we don't know the destination ahead of time, and part of the goal is our blessing and the subsequent blessing of the world. The journey into the desert is a call to trust Him.
The Christian life can often seem like a long list of rules and expectations. However, Jesus never called us to change our behavior through our own effort. Instead, He's called us to remain in His presence and then promised that our lives would bear fruit.
All followers of Jesus are sent into the world just as the Father sent Jesus into the world. The story that they are living out is characterized by joy because the resurrection of Jesus has assured them of eternal life available for all who will surrender to Jesus. They also rejoice because the Holy Spirit empowers them to accomplish the mission no matter the difficulties or complications they will encounter.