Exiles: Living as Sojourners in this World

Living in Hope

November 13, 2016

Do you ever feel like an exile? Like you just don’t fit into this old world? Do you feel a little out of sync? Do you ever lose hope as things often seem to be getting worse? How should we live as Christians when the dominant cultural appears at odds with our faith? The apostle Peter’s first letter says that we should live as exiles. In fact, he refers to the first century Christians as exiles three times in his letter.

In Peter’s first letter, he told believers who were living as exiles in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) that they could live with great hope in Jesus Christ. We too are living as exiles in a hopeless world and can experience a life of hope through Jesus Christ. In today’s text we will see three ways to live in hope in a hopeless world.

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Stand Firm: An Exposition of 2 Thessalonians

Standing Firm in God’s Work

November 6, 2016

Work. Many of us consider work something we have to do in order to pay for the things we really want to have and to buy the time to do the things we really want to do. Americans have made play a higher goal than work. But that’s a low view of work. It diminishes it to an activity that we have to put up with, rather than a fulfilling and meaningful purpose for living. We place such a high value on entertainment and recreation that it has become a kind of idolatry. We celebrate idleness over work. We have made an idol of idleness!

God has a much higher view of work. As Jesus said, “My Father is always working, and so am I” (John 5:17). As soon as God made man, He gave him a job to do. And He has a job, a purpose for your life too! In the apostle Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, he told them to stand firm in doing the work to which God had called them. We can stand firm in the work that God has given us to do. The text gives three ways to stand firm in God’s work.

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Standing Firm in God’s Word

October 30, 2016

Where are you feeling discouraged today? Where do you feel you are failing or falling behind? Paul wrote to give comfort, confidence and help establish his flock. He encouraged them to stand firm. Paul told the Thessalonian believers that they could stand firm in the Word of God that he had taught them. We can stand firm in God’s Word. The text give three imperatives for standing firm in God’s Word.

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Standing Firm Against False Teaching

October 23, 2016

Perhaps you’ve been alarmed and shaken by today’s headlines. How are we supposed to face these things? The apostle Paul told the believers in Thessalonica not to be shaken by the false teaching that they were hearing concerning Christ’s return, but instead to continue to stand firm. We can stand firm against false teaching about Christ’s return. The text gives three “do nots” on how to stand firm against false teaching about Christ’s return.

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Standing Firm in Suffering

October 16, 2016

Suffering often causes a theological problem for us. We put our trust in God, yet bad stuff still happens. We pray for healing, yet a loved one dies. We pray for reconciliation in marriage, but it ends in divorce. We share our faith with a neighbor, and they reject both our message and our friendship. Suffering tests our faith! Are you going through a time of suffering today? The apostle Paul told the believers in Thessalonica that they could stand firm in their faith in Christ Jesus during times of suffering.

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Worship and Witness

Worship and Witness is … Reproducible

October 2, 2016

Do you ever wonder what sort of legacy you are leaving? Do you wonder if people will remember you the way you want to be remembered or some other way? Do you think about what it is that you are really passing on to your kids or your friends or coworkers? We all really want to leave a good lasting impression, but many of us feel like we are far from doing it. Don’t you want to leave behind something that is really worth having? Don’t you want to share a great legacy with future generations? So what sort of legacy would be really worth sharing?

In the book of 2 Timothy, Paul tells his disciple Timothy that the grace of Christ can be shared to future generations. Paul teaches that the worship and witness of Jesus Christ is reproducible. We too can share the grace of Jesus with future generations. Our text gives three ways that we can make our worship and witness reproducible.

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Worship and Witness is … Missional

September 25, 2016

Do you tend to separate worshiping and witnessing into two different categories? Yet, I’ve noticed something, those that don’t participate in worship, don’t usually witness either. And those that love to worship, not just at church, but every day of the week, tend to be way of life witnesses. In other words, right worship leads to witness.

In the 96th Psalm, the Psalmist wrote that the nation of Israel should worship and bear witness to the glory of God so that all the earth would join in. The mission of that nation was to let their worship of God be a witness among the nations. We too can be missional through our worship and witness. The text gives three ways that our worship and witness is to be missional.

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Worship and Witness is … Relational

September 18, 2016

God is personal. He has personality–– will, emotion and intellect. God is relational. He has eternally existed in communion in the Trinity as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. According to Genesis, God made us in His own image. He made us personal. And He created us so that we might have a relationship with Him. He spoke all of creation into existence, but not so with humanity. He leaned in and “formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen. 2:7). Then, He took a rib from Adam and fashioned Eve. He walked in the cool of the garden of paradise and fellowshipped with Adam and Eve.

Unfortunately sin fractured their relationship with God and as a result we are born with a hunger for a relationship with God, but no way to accomplish it in our own power. So, we fill our lives with other things trying to satisfy this desire for knowing God, this emptiness in our souls that can’t be filled. And this relational brokenness affects not only our spiritual life, but it leads to broken relationships with others.

Why is there divorce, murder, war…? Why are we relational broken? Our sin has separated us from God. We need to be relationally restored. We need to be reconciled to God and with others.

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Worship and Witness is … Transformational

September 11, 2016

In the book of Romans, Paul appeals to his fellow believers that they would become living sacrifices as worship before God. He tells the believers in Rome that their worship of Jesus will transform their life. We too can be transformed by our worship and witness of Jesus. The text gives us three ways to be transformed.

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Worship and Witness is … Foundational

September 4, 2016

“Without worship, we go about miserable.” – A. W. Tozer

We are all worshipping, but sadly many are worshipping pointless things which leave us lacking or feeling empty. We put our hopes and dreams and affections in things that neither help us nor ground us in anything. Right worship puts the foundation in our lives. Some of us put worship on this specific day or in this particular box, we put our witness in this box, but the call to Christ is a completely decompartmentalized life of worship.

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