John 3:16 expresses the depth of God's great love for us. The holy self-existent God who holds us accountable loved the world: all of humanity. In love He gave His Son, Emmanuel, God with us, to die as a substitutionary sacrifice and pay the penalty for our sins. Jesus calls us to trust and believe in Him so that we might not perish but find everlasting life.
Hebrews 3:3 reminds us to pray for out persecuted brothers and sisters. Continue to remember those in prison, as if you were together with them prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Here are a few ways we can pray:
- Pray that the persecuted church (and we as well) will be unafraid and faithful (Revelation 2:8-11).
- Pray for God to fill them with the Holy Spirit and enable them to speak and act boldly with clarity, wisdom, and courage (Acts 4:31).
- Pray that they will be joyful, rejoicing that Jesus and His name are worthy of any cost (Acts 5:41).
Faith alone is the key to forgiveness and salvation. We all know and feel our guilt and brokenness before a holy God. Jesus Christ alone must be the object of our faith that brings justification and peace with God. Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit, not a feeling. It can be increased through prayer and the study scripture. Faith is not a work, but spurs us on to good works as we serve as the representatives of Christ.
It is impossible to live a life of Christian holiness without the filling of the Holy Spirit. This is accomplished by letting God's Word saturate our lives (cf. Colossians 3:16-27) and by asking the Spirit to control us. Lives filled with the Holy Spirit are characterized by worship form the heart, gratitude for God's presence, and sovereignty, and submission to one another out of reverence for Christ.
What does it mean to grieve the Holy Spirit? Ephesians 4:25-32 gives examples of how believers can grieve the Hoy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, co-equal with God in Deity and in love for us. Whenever a person participates in lies, sinful anger, stealing, corrupt speech, and animosity we fail to live up to our confession of faith and we grieve the Holy Spirit. Instead, let us pursue truthfulness, generosity, encouragement and compassion.
The Holy Spirit is a person, not a vague spiritual force, co-equal with God in the Trinity. The Holy Spirit lives in believers, a forever present Helper who reveals the truths of Scripture to us. It is important to follow the command of Jesus to ask the Father for the Holy Spirit to increasingly fill us and work in our lives.
How often do you pray and don't receive the answer you desire? Pastor Becker explains how we can understand another great promise that Jesus gave the disciples during the Upper Room Discourse, "If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it." He helps us understand what it means to pray in Jesus' name and what it means that God is glorified.
In the verse above Jesus makes this promise to all believers that not only will we carry on His work, but we will do His work in a greater way than He did. What could this possibly mean that we could do greater works? Pastor Gregory breaks down this verse for us and shows us how the work of spreading the gospel to reach others is an even greater work.
The only way that we accurately know the Father is through knowing Jesus. God the Father and Jesus share one divine essence – "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30). God's character and nature are on full display in Jesus. Jesus makes the Father known by His words and by His mighty works.
Jesus plainly claims to be the exclusive path to the Father. In scripture: "I am" is the sacred name of the eternal, self-existing God (Exodus 3:14). "The way" is a path that begins under God's judgement and ends in the presence of God in His house. The only path is Jesus, our sin-bearing substitute. "The truth",Jesus came to bear witness to the truth that brings us freedom. (John 8:32) "The life" Those who believe in Christ Have crossed over from death to life! (John 5:24)
On the eve of His crucifixion, Jesus took on the lowly task of washing the disciples' feet. Jesus "showed the full extent of His love," not only by washing their feet, but by dying for the sins of all. Although He possessed sovereign authority as Emmanuel, God with us -- He stooped to serve. May we make the specific choice to cultivate humility (1Peter 5:5).
Are we living out our faith in such a way that we bear the repercussions of living and sharing the Gospel? Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown in jail, but they were able to worship and praise God because they expected to suffer persecution, and they knew that their situation and served to advance the cause of Christ. Their concern for the new believers at Philippi and their commitment to the advance of the Gospel was the outpouring of a life tuned to the will of Christ.
In John 14, Jesus comforts His disciples and explains to them how to live for his glory in this world. He encourages them to believe in Him and to trust in the promise of heaven. Heaven is a real place, available to all who believe in the Gospel. It is our eternal home, a place filled with joy and love. There we will be with Jesus "...at home with the Lord."
The story of Daniel's life is the story of how to survive and thrive in a hostile spiritual environment. Daniel and his three friends developed daily habits and attitudes that prepared them for intense challenges. Daniel relied on the sovereignty of God. He resolved not to defile himself and acted with humility, prudence, and discretion. Finally, he refused to worship and and serve false gods.
Psalm 96 was written for the day of celebration when the Ark of the Covenant was returned to Jerusalem. David expresses exuberant joy that is based on the knowledge of God and repudiates the idols of the surrounding nations. He worships in awe and longs for others to become worshippers in the same way. When we give to the Lord, we acknowledge that all we have is already God's, honor Him with exuberant joy, and give back to God for the sake of the nations.