The local church is the physical representation of the larger body of Christ in a particular place at a particular time. It is the nexus of the Christian life; the place where the means of grace for sanctification are found. God's design for His people is that we do life together, and we can't be fully obedient to Him unless we're connected with His people. Church discipline is one of the means of grace He has provided for the preservation of His people and the purity of His church, and it is one of the corporate duties we fulfil in the context of our commitment to one another.
The church of Jesus Christ is commanded to take sin seriously because we are called to be holy. We do this by covenanting together in a local church and committing to following our Lord's instructions concerning how to deal with sin within the context of that community. Christ has provided a universal, step-by-step set of instructions for how to do this which is commonly referred to as church discipline. When we embrace these divine directions in obedience and seek to rightly understand and apply them, we will find that discipline is a means of grace for His church.
Many Christians think discipleship is defined by two or more people doing a study together. This certainly is an aspect of discipleship, but certainly not all the task entails. What are the indispensable elements of spiritual leadership without which discipleship is impossible?
Many Christians think discipleship is defined by two or more people doing a study together. This certainly is an aspect of discipleship, but certainly not all the task entails. What are the indispensable elements of spiritual leadership without which discipleship is impossible?
Pride is the underlying disease that affects each and every one of us and colors everything we think, do, and say. How do we address it? As a skilled physician of the soul, the Apostle Paul shows us by example what it looks like to deny ourselves and to take up our cross and follow Jesus.
Our natural tendency is to think too highly of ourselves and too lowly of others. We somehow deceive ourselves into thinking that our own wisdom, talents, and accomplishments are to our own credit, and set ourselves up as judges of others. But the word of the cross calls us to recognize that we have nothing we did not receive, and when we die to ourselves and embrace the reality of being in Christ, we find that all things belong to us by virtue of belonging to Him. This changes everything, beginning with how we think about ourselves and others.
The local church is sacred to the Lord, for His Spirit dwells within His people. There is coming a Day when He will test the work we did to build His church on the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets. Did we build according to His Word or according to human wisdom?
Many Christians believe spiritual leaders are the movers and shakers of the church who make things happen through their charisma and insight. But God says they are merely servants on assignment from Him and can accomplish nothing of eternal value without Him.
Why do some Christians never seem to grow? Is there such a thing as a 'carnal Christian,' or is perpetual immaturity an anomaly? Are spiritual people Christians who have reached a higher plane of knowledge and maturity? What exactly is the measure of spiritual maturity, anyway, and how do we grow in Christ?
What do we mean when we say the Bible is the Word of God? What makes it unique among all the writings in the world? How did it come to us, and why do so many people reject it or misunderstand it? The Apostle Paul answers these questions and shows us how God has graciously revealed His plan of redemption to us in His Word.
Christians all too often view the gospel as the entrance into the kingdom, but soon after leave it behind in pursuit of some greater knowledge or ecstatic experience. But Jesus Christ and Him crucified is the theme of all God's revelation.
Across our land and across the world, people have been led to believe that preaching should be evaluated by how engaging or polished or cool or funny the preacher is. Sermons should never be too long, and always on a topic that is "relevant." But What if this is all wrong? What if it's the reason why the church is so weak and why it is so prone to follow the trends of culture rather than the truths of God's Word? What does the Bible actually say about preaching?
The world prizes status, achievement, and human wisdom. Were the world to compose the church, it would fill it with the rich and famous. But God has intentionally chosen those who, in the eyes of the world, are nobodies to shame the wise so that no one may boast in His presence, and that the redeemed would boast only in Him.
People are always desiring to have their ears tickled at the expense of the truth (2 Tim. 4:3), and preachers who are willing to cater to that desire abound in our narcissistic, entertainment driven culture. When we tamper with the truth of God's Word, we empty the gospel of its divine power because the wisdom of this world and the true wisdom of God are diametrically opposed.
Unity in the local church is of utmost importance to the Lord Jesus. Because Christians are united to Him, they are united to one another. Yet sadly, due to our pride, we fail to behave in a way that is consistent with this blessed identity and strife and division run rampant. How can we guard ourselves against disunity?
"Every good and perfect gift is from above..." Yet we are so prone to think that we are responsible for our successes, and look to point the finger of blame when things don't go our way. Through his example of thankfulness, the Apostle Paul directs our attention to the bountiful blessings that are ours in Christ which should cause us to always give thanks to God, and therefore to be humble.
Christians enjoy a blessed position of holiness before God by no merit of our own. Through our union with Christ we have been sanctified once for all, yet we are called to live that position out practically. Practical change begins in the heart, and holiness comes through humility.