A church can only be as strong as her members. This lesson looks at 7 things that we each need to work on to help make the church strong.
It is always good to have a little evidence that a promise will be fulfilled. We like a down payment on something we are selling, an earnest check on a house sale, free taste tests of foods before we buy, a try it before you buy it, and many other things like that. It should come as no surprise, then, that we would really like something to help us trust some of God’s promises, too. He has promised many things in the past that came to pass already, but we still wonder about the future promises sometimes.
God has promised eternal life. He has promised that even if we die he will raise us back to life. Does he give us a free sample to help encourage us? Yes, he has. He raised Jesus from the dead to show us that he has the power and the desire to raise us as well. Jesus being raised from the dead is referred to as the “firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” in 1 Corinthians 15:20. Now if y’all have read your Bibles then y’all know that Jesus was not the first person to come back from the dead. There were even people in the Old Testament that were brought back to life hundreds of years before Jesus was on Earth. Jesus even during his ministry raised some people from the dead, so why is he the firstfruits instead of any of them? The simple answer is that there is something unique about his resurrection.
All of the people in the Bible who rose from the grave died again, except Jesus, who rose to never die again. That is why his resurrection is so much more important than the others and that is why we can trust God when he promises us resurrection and eternal life. Jesus’ resurrection is the free taste test. His is the down payment. Rom 8:11 “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”
His resurrection is also a promise of Judgment day. Act 17:31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
Are you ready to be raised like Jesus at the last day?
Have you ever stood on unstable ground? Maybe the sand that washes away from your feet in the ocean, or mud that you sink down into, or maybe slippery ice or gravel on the side of a hill, or maybe you have been in an earthquake where the solid ground wasn’t solid anymore. In any of those cases people wish they had something solid and safe on which to put their feet. The Psalmist felt this way spiritually. He says in Psalm 73:2 “But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped.” A solid spiritual foundation is even more important that a physical one, because our eternity depends on it.
If we tried to make our own foundation it wouldn’t be very trustworthy, so it’s a good thing for us that God didn’t leave it to chance or to us. He provided the best foundation that we could have. Now when we talk about our foundation, sometimes we are talking about the truths that are spoken in the scriptures and how believing and knowing them gives us something to build our lives on. We see this kind of idea when we are told to add to our faith, virtue and then knowledge, etc.
But most important is what those scriptures tell us our faith is to be built upon and the church is to be built upon. Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God and Jesus praised him for that statement of truth and explained that this fact was the rock on which he would build his church, Matthew 16:16-18. Paul drives this point home in 1 Corinthians 3:11 where he says, “For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Our foundation for life, faith, the church, salvation, and eternal life in Heaven must be built on this solid foundation of Jesus or it will crumble.
Is your foundation Jesus? Is he the one that is holding up everything you are building in this life and for the life to come? No other foundation will hold up, build on the only eternal foundation, Jesus.
Friendship is one of the greatest things that a human being can experience. Good friends help us, support us, listen to us, encourage us, correct us, push and pull us, share with us, and confide in us as we do in them. For many people their friends are more important to them than their flesh and blood families in spite of the old saying about blood being thicker than water.
Even the Bible emphasizes the special nature of this relationship. Jonathan and David had a friendship that was defined as a love that was greater than the love they had for women. Jonathan even risked his life to protect David from King Saul, Jonathan’s own father. Jonathan also supported David even though it would mean missing out on being king himself. Solomon also spoke of friends in Proverbs: friend loves at all times (17:17), Don’t forsake your friend (27:10), and there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (18:24). Some people even think that Jesus is the friend being spoken of in the last verse.
In John 15 Jesus describes how he is changing the status of their relationship. Beginning in verse 11 he says that he wants them to be full of joy. Then he says that they are to love each other just like he loves them. After that he explains how great his love for them is. The greatest love is to die for your friends and that is what Jesus did for them and for us. He assures them that they are his friends if they will obey him and that he is not calling them servants anymore, but friends.
Most of us have never had a friend who died for us, but we do in Christ. Let’s show our love for him by obeying him and loving each other as he commanded us. Truly Jesus is a friend that is closer than a brother.
No audio for Jesus and Personal Evangelism, but the main points from John 4 are in the slideshow below.
In Hebrews 12:2 we are told to look to Jesus. We are also told that he is the author (some translations say leader, head, or founder) of our faith. (We have already looked at this description of Christ.) In addition to this we are told that he is the finisher or perfecter or completer of our faith. Notice how this easy to read version puts it: “We must never stop looking to Jesus. He is the leader of our faith, and he is the one who makes our faith complete. He suffered death on a cross. But he accepted the shame of the cross as if it were nothing because of the joy he could see waiting for him. And now he is sitting at the right side of God's throne.” He makes our faith complete. He finishes what he started.
I don’t know about you, but I have not finished everything I have started in my life. I try to with the important things, but there are many unfinished projects on my computer and in my garage and more in my mind that I started there but never moved out of my thoughts into reality. Chances are you can empathize. What condition would we be in if Jesus had started but never finished when it came to the faith that we need to know to be saved? What if he was a quitter like I have been on so many projects? Of course we know exactly where we would be, lost, but praise be to the Lord he was not a quitter.
When Jesus found obstacles in his way he continued pushing through and he pushed through all the way to the cross. Then when he faced the cross the stress of it nearly killed him. His sweat was mixed with blood, but he prayed and he was heard and angels strengthened him. Then as he hung on the cross he didn’t say, “I quit!” No, on the contrary, he said, “It is finished!”
He finished it and he did it perfectly! He wants that faith to be perfected in your life, too. Won’t you let him finish what he has started in you? Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Articles from our bulletin. Mostly written by James Pasley our preacher and Sunday's Sermons.