People often refer to themselves or others as “God-fearing,” perhaps without really thinking about what that means. Jonah 1 shows us what it means to truly fear the Lord, but the example doesn't come to us from the Israelite prophet, Jonah; it comes from a group of pagan sailors, who take seriously God's majesty, his mercy and his mission.
After reviewing all the great doctrines of the faith, the very first exhortation Paul makes to the Ephesians is to preserve the unity of the Church. With practical guidance and biblical footing, he shows how and why to seek this goal-a goal we seek as well through the grace of Jesus Christ.
The doxology we sing on Sunday morning is not intended to be a solitary event but the beginning of an entire week of giving praise to God. The words we sing together as His church propel us into a week filled with many moments of stopping to praise Him. But how should we do this? The apostle Paul provides an inspired example of how to stop and give glory to the One who has given us all things through the grace of His Son, Jesus Christ.
As Luke’s faith-building account of Jesus’ person and ministry continues to unfold, he interweaves the theme of opposition with the theme of popularity. Even as Jesus’ fame spreads, he experiences criticism from the religious establishment. This criticism quickly builds to outright hostility as the leaders of the nation conspire to eliminate the threat posed by Jesus.
In the Bible, the heart is not just the source of our emotions. It is the command center of our entire being that directs all of our thoughts, words, and actions. Among many important things to pray for, Paul understood that praying for the hearts of his hearers was his greatest pastoral priority. Only hearts that are increasingly transformed by the indwelling love of Christ will grow, serve, and multiply as God intends. God calls us to know the depth of His love for us in Christ and to pray that others might know it as well.
There were many “mystery religions” in Paul’s day that claimed to have secret knowledge available only to a select few. Their job was to keep hidden what they had learned. Paul said his job was to make known the revelation of Jesus Christ as broadly and clearly as possible. Such is the commission of every believer who has known the grace of Christ: to not only know Him but to make Him known!
The damage sin causes to our relationships is beyond mere patching and mending. Our deep-seated, heart-originated hostility toward one another must be demolished through the cross of Christ so that we may be rebuilt as His holy Church. Whether in a marriage, a family, or a church, only Jesus can reconcile us to God and to one another as we look to Him for grace.
In this passage from Luke we will look at several important vignettes from Jesus’ opening public ministry phase where he relocates to Galilee. These early stages of his public ministry are characterized by powerful words and deeds, which demonstrate a power and authority never before seen by the people there. This results in early and growing popularity, but also early opposition, which Luke juxtaposes throughout Jesus’ life.
Forgetting where we come from is not just a social danger; it is a spiritual danger as well. We easily forget the grace we have been shown in Christ, becoming prideful before God, combative with one another, and despondent within ourselves. But God reminds us of the grace He has shown us through the blood of Christ so that we might once again rejoice in His mercy and live for His glory.
We were made to boast. That’s why it is so hard to resist! The problem is that sin has warped our boasting, causing us to boast in ourselves rather than in God. But God’s grace redeems our boasting. It removes our selfish pride and redirects our adoration to the Savior who supremely humbled Himself for our salvation, Jesus Christ.