Scripture: 1 Peter 2:9-12 Christ is the center of the gospel, but that in no way makes the church unimportant or optional. Fellowship is a word frequently used to describe the special bond that exists between us, God and each other. The Greek word translated “fellowship” (koinonia) refers to what it is that we have in common that makes the church a special community. The idea of community suggests the closeness of relationships and the life of many members acting in community, rather than the simple faithfulness of an individual Christian.
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 Is being a “new creation” a metaphor, or is it a literal reality? Whichever it is, it is the result of the death and resurrection of Jesus. On the cross, Jesus dealt with our sin problem and gave us an eternal hope. Oddly, Paul doesn’t deny that the troubled Corinthian church was made up of “new creation” people, but he encourages them to have a better grasp on what it means to be reconciled to God. He doesn’t call us to be good enough to become a new creation, but calls us to live out the new life that God has granted to those who die with Christ in baptism, and rise with him to live a new, forgiven life.
Scripture: Matthew 18:15-20 Sometimes we have a passage of Scripture all wrong. In Matthew 18:15-20, Jesus taught us how to encourage repentance and seek reconciliation when a brother (or sister) has sinned against us. He was not teaching about “church discipline” or disfellowship. He calls for unexpected, and unpleasant, action when attempts to reconcile fail. On both points, traditional explanations of this passage miss the mark.
James 5:11 One can easily and quickly point to things in the Bible that seem to contradict James’ assertion that God’s purposes are “compassionate and merciful” (James 5:11). This lesson will consider the larger Biblical story and explore how it reveals God’s compassion and mercy and how the things it reveals should fine expression within our lives.
Scripture: Matthew 6:19-24 We can claim that our “heart” is in heaven, but our treasure might tell a different story. The Bible helps us identify what qualifies as real treasure. If we have fake treasure, we have reason to be concerned, and we will have eternal regrets. Real treasure is a more about faith than sight.
AM Sermon: Joy, Gentleness & Peace Scripture: Philippians 4:4-9 Philippians is not a textbook on theology, but an inspired apostle writing a letter to help “dear brethren” learn to enjoy God’s blessings to the fullest. Christians are challenged to rise above the troubles of this earth and rejoice in the Lord who has better things planned. We don’t “have it all together,” but we have tools that only God’s people have. Our troubles are temporary, but our joy is eternal.
Numbers 6: 24-26
Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” But other passages explicitly and implicitly call us to make judgments of people and of actions (e.g., right or wrong, sin or not sin). How are we to “judge” when it is good to judge and when it is not? Do purpose and intent make a difference? Acts 3:13 Acts 4:19 Acts 13:27 Acts 26:8 Luke 6:37 1 Corinthians 5:11-13 Galatians 6:1-5 Matthew 23:4
Scripture: Philippians 3:12-16 For as long as we live on earth, we will struggle to see how much better is the greatness of heaven than the attractions of earth. Paul’s accomplishments as a young Jewish man were impressive, and were not evil things, but they couldn’t match the reward that God had reserved for him in heaven. So Paul pressed on – reached forward – and pressed toward the prize of the upward call of God. He was (as are all Christians) a citizen of heaven living as a foreigner on earth. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 Philippians 3:4-6 Philippians 3:7-11 Philippians 3:20 Philippians 3:21
Luke 4:18-19 Jesus was raised in Nazareth, a community of God-fearing people. This was nothing to be ashamed of. Yet, God-fearing does not mean immune to doubting what one believes. In Luke 4, Jesus returned to his own people. Despite making a good impression through His wisdom, power and use of Scripture, this homecoming ends in anger, frustration and violence. Jesus’ attempts to help his hometown see God’s truth, but they choose to reject Jesus as God’s Messiah. Doubt does not have to end in disbelief. We can be faithful in uncertainty. We can also accept the challenge of aligning our beliefs with what is true and pleasing to God.
Scripture: Nehemiah 6:1-9 Rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem was a task opposed by an incredible series of internal and external obstacles. A foreign king had to authorize and finance this seemingly rebellious project. Local enemies had to be confronted with courage and clear thinking. Israelites had to take on a task that was monumental in the best of circumstances, and good circumstances were conspicuously lacking. Nehemiah had to be a leader of great integrity who would not be diverted from his goal. Miracles would not be available to facilitate the project.
Scripture: Philippians 1:27-30 City culture was never sympathetic to faithful Christian living in the city of Philippi. Paul was beaten and jailed. Several years later, Christians were still marginalized and opposed. Survival and mission called for unity, humility, and exemplary lives that let the light of salvation shine in the darkness of paganism.
Scripture: James 1:12-18 We deceive ourselves if we think that fatal, salvation-losing sin could never happen to us. Spiritual death is the outcome of a progression of desire, enticement, and the increasing grip of sin. Seldom is sin an isolated act. It often follows a period of carelessness, of failure to take precautions against temptations, and neglect of God-given tools that would have kept us spiritually strong enough to resist the temptations.
Scripture: Philippians 1:19-26 Paul was in prison and some people, even Christians, were happy to hear it. Like us, Paul had plans & dreams. He wanted to be free & healthy to travel and preach throughout the region, but he didn’t always get what he wanted. From his perspective, what mattered most was not the circumstances (pleasant or unpleasant), but living through the circumstances in a way that “exalted” Christ. Even though he knew death would take him to heaven, he was happy to continue on earth if that would serve the cause of Christ.
Timothy 3:16-17 This lesson considers some of the features of God’s Bible that make it an unexpected book and explores how those features play a role in shaping our understanding and application of its contents.
This lesson explores the Bible’s presentation of righteousness and justice, which refer to an ethic of human relationships based on God’s character, and offers specific applications for our relationships based on Jesus’ revelation of God’s character. Genesis 18:19
Bible Class on Isaiah Chapter 1 with Joshua Hartwigsen.
Scripture: Psalm 23 Our culture pushes us to application. We want to get through the principles quickly so that we can get to the practical application. But some passages are meant to be pondered at length before we rush to do something about it. Many passages of Scripture have great impact with no direct command to do anything.
Scripture: Philippians 1:3-11 We know that fellowship among Christians is important, and many passages teach about it. However, Philippians 1 gives a very personal description of it. Paul cared deeply for the Christians in Philippi, and the closeness and love of their relationship shows in this passage. In all his prayers for them, he could pray with joy and thanksgiving. Paul’s in an example to be imitated. Additional Referenced Scripture: Acts 16:15-16, 20-21 Philippians 1:3 Philippians 1:4-5 Philippians 1:6 Philippians 1:7-8 Philippians 1:9-11