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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
Many who have reached the latter stage of life feel entitled to spiritual retirement, thinking that along with retirement from their occupation, their work for the Lord is done as well. Others feel the sting of a culture that increasingly prefers to discard the elderly, as if they have timed out in their usefulness. But God says older Christian men and women are treasure troves of truth and wisdom who are not only to continue their pursuit of godliness, but to intentionally invest themselves in the young.
[fusion_button link="https://firmfoundationpv.org/wp-content/uploads/sermons/2022/02/SG-2022.2.27-The-Power-of-a-Transformed-Church-Titus-2.1-15.pdf" target="_blank" link_attributes="" alignment_medium="" alignment_small="" alignment="" modal="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" sticky_display="normal,sticky" class="" id="" color="default" button_gradient_top_color="" hue="" saturation="" lightness="" alpha="" button_gradient_bottom_color="" button_gradient_top_color_hover="" button_gradient_bottom_color_hover="" gradient_start_position="" gradient_end_position="" gradient_type="" radial_direction="" linear_angle="180" accent_color="" accent_hover_color="" type="" bevel_color="" bevel_color_hover="" border_top="" border_right="" border_bottom="" border_left="" border_radius_top_left="" border_radius_top_right="" border_radius_bottom_right="" border_radius_bottom_left="" border_color="" border_hover_color="" size="medium" padding_top="" padding_right="" padding_bottom="" padding_left="" fusion_font_family_button_font="" fusion_font_variant_button_font="" font_size="" line_height="" letter_spacing="" text_transform="" stretch="default" margin_top="" margin_right="" margin_bottom="40px" margin_left="" icon="fa-file-pdf far" icon_position="left" icon_divider="no" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.3" animation_offset=""]Download Sermon Study Guide[/fusion_button] How Shall We Then Live? In the midst of a culture that is in rapid moral decline, Christians are tempted to embrace false ideologies under the guise of gospel terminology or to follow those who seek to rally believers in the pursuit of saving the culture through social and political activism. But the Apostle Paul, who served in a culture that was just as godless-even worse-instead called Christians to be zealous in helping one another to grow in Christlikeness in whatever stage or station of life they found themselves, and through this to shine the life-transforming light of the gospel into a dark and lost world.
Are you feeling spiritually sluggish and seemingly unable to break out of it? Are you frustrated at the fact that you're not growing? Perhaps you are misunderstanding God's clearly defined plan for your sanctification, or the process of spiritual growth.