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.
God has been gracious to reveal Himself to us, not only through the skies, but through the Scriptures. It is only in the pages of the Bible that we find who He is, who we are, and what He has done to reconcile us to Himself. When we rightly respond to this revelation, His glory is revealed in us!
God has not left Himself without a witness. The heavens declare His glory in a general sense, and His Word is His special revelation that tells us not only who He is, but who we are, and what He has done to redeem a people for Himself. As a reflection of who He is, God's Word is His powerful and sufficient means both to save and to sanctify His own.
Life is oftentimes hard, and sometimes it seems almost unbearable. It is at these times we are prone to spiral downward into despondency and doubt. How do we reconcile the fact that God is good with the overwhelming circumstances we face?
The biblical concept of repentance includes an acknowledgment of sin and the need to turn away from it and to turn to Christ for forgiveness and cleansing. When repentance is genuine, it brings about a resolve in the soul to no longer live for oneself, but for the Lord, understanding that God is not interested in outward change that does not flow first from a heart that has been transformed by the gospel.
Psalm 51 provides five basic aspects of genuine repentance. As King David pours out his heart to the Lord, he takes us by the hand, as it were, and walks us through what repentance looks like in shoe leather.
The 1689 Baptist Confession states that, "although there is no sin so small but it deserves damnation, yet there is no sin so great that it shall bring damnation to them that repent, which makes the constant preaching of repentance necessary." Psalm 51 is a divine primer for penitents; a guidebook to help those who have come to understand their helplessness in applying themselves to genuine repentance.
The Bible teaches that God not only hates sin, but that by His very nature he can have no fellowship with it (Is. 59:2). If everyone has sinned—and they have (Rom. 3:23)—how is anyone going to stand before the Lord?
If you could sum up the Christian life, what would it look like? The Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, answers that question with a closing summary of his letter to Titus: believers are to be devoted to good works, God's word, and God's people.
These three words ring sweetly in the ears of those who have experienced this indescribable gift. But how are we saved? And what motivated God to save us? Meditating on the answers to these questions will make all the difference in how we work out what God has called us to do in response to His amazing grace.
Christians are often prone to see the unbelieving world as an oppressive adversary rather than a mission field. But when we remember that God saved us, not by any goodness of our own, but by His sovereign grace, we are motivated to be what He has called us to be in relation to them as we seek to win them to Christ.
Christians are to be different from the world, and yet engaged with the world, or as it is often said, to be in the world but not of it. We must move out of our "holy huddle" and to proclaim Christ not only with our words but with our attitudes and actions.
God's grace transforms us into the likeness of Christ, and we are to work that transformation out in practical ways not only in the community of the church, but in the larger community of the world around us. Despite the authorities over us or the way we may be treated, we are to apply ourselves to showing all people the character of our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Salvation is a work of God's grace from start to finish. The gospel of God's grace-the good news that Jesus died for our sins and rose again-not only saves us from the penalty of sin, but removes the power of sin and trains us to be transformed into the likeness of Christ as we wait for the fullness of our transformation at His second coming when we will be finally freed from the presence of sin.
Each and every one of us has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. There is none good, not even one. Even if we won't admit that there is a God to whom we are accountable, we can't escape His law that is written on our hearts and the conscience He placed within us that burdens us with the weight of the real guilt we carry. We are helpless to do anything about it, but the wonderful news of the gospel is that God has done what we could not. This is what Christians celebrate and commemorate on Good Friday.
If slaves are commanded to have the proper attitude, action, and aim concerning their work, how much more do employees? While the workplace can be a challenging environment, simple obedience to God's divine directives for workers makes the gospel attractive to a lost world.