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Reset on Mission

Three times in Ephesians 1:3-14, Paul writes that our salvation is all about the glory of God. He writes that our salvation is “to the praise of his glorious grace…” “to the praise of his glory…” “to the praise of His glory!” And as you read through this passage you see that God has chosen and adopted us for His glory, redeemed and forgiven us for His glory, and sealed and secured us for His glory. Our salvation is all about His glory.

And as His chosen and adopted, redeemed and forgiven, sealed and secured sons and daughters, He’s saved us to show the world His glory! And since Christ has not yet come and we’ve not yet come into possession of our inheritance, we know that God’s not done saving people, so our mission is for His glory!

That means evangelism is telling the world, your family, neighbor, co-worker, teammate, friends what great things God has done for our salvation. God is glorified when His mighty works of grace are made known.

Now, as God’s people in the Ahwatukee Foothills, we want to spread the news of His glory and grace to everyone we know. We want to pray for people to know Him, invite them to come and hear of Him, and share the gospel with them!

Scripture: Ephesians 1:3-14; Psalm 93:6; 1 Peter 2:9; Ephesians 2

Reset with Prayer

The new year is a predictable time when we think about resetting certain rhythms in our lives, when we take stock of how we’ve invested our time, our money, our passions and where we want to be this time next year.

2020 has pushed on all of us – hard. It’s time we reset, and not just individually, but together as a church family. But we don’t need a new method or technique, we don’t need something novel to reset our spiritual lives. Rather, we need to lean into the ancient means God’s given us to grow and become the people He’s recreated us to be in Christ.

Today, we’re talking about doing that with prayer. And we’ll learn that while Jesus taught us a framework for prayer, He also taught us that the kind of people who pray fit a certain stereotype and know who God is and who we are in relationship to Him in a way that fuels their prayers.

Scripture: Luke 11:1-13; Galatians 4:4-7

Reset with God’s Word

God has designed humans and the world around us to experience new beginnings, new mornings, new seasons, and new years. In 2021 at Foothills, we are pushing the “reset” button to re-engage one another and our neighborhoods with the gospel. This means applying old truths to the new year.

Scripture: Psalm 119:129-136

Agents of God’s Lovingkindness

God’s lovingkindness is oftentimes granted to us through agents of His grace.

Scripture: Ruth 2

A Prayer and a Promise for Unfinished People

Paul brings his first and deeply affirming, encouraging letter to the Thessalonians to a close. He prays that their sanctification, God’s will for them, will be finished and through at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. And he promises them that their faithful, heavenly Father, the God of peace, will surely do it!

In the midst of all the rigor of this call to walk in a way that pleases God more and more, in the face of opposition that seems unrelenting, he urges them on through his prayer and his promise.

As followers of Jesus in a world broken by sin and pressing hard against our faith in Christ, and in this life with its temptations pulling on our flesh, we often feel the discouragement and a kind of futility in living this life to which we’ve been called. We feel very unfinished, with the finish line nowhere in sight. But through his prayer and promise, Paul urges them and us, not to lose heart today because on that day He (our faithful Father) will make what’s unfinished glorious!

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:23-28; Romans 8:29; Hebrews 2:11

How to be the Family of God

What does it look like to be a family of believers headed to forever together? That’s the question Paul is answering in this text. He’s calling the believers in Thessalonica to walk in a way that pleases God more and more. He’s told them that it’s God’s will for them to be sanctified. And as he finishes his letter, he gives them 17 commands that we’ve grouped under three headings – think of them as three core values for the family of God:

Humbly submit to those who lead us (12-13)

Do good to those around us (14-15)

Trust and Obey the God who saves us (16-22)

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22; Ephesians 2:20, 3:4, 4:11; Matthew 7:15-16; 1 John 4:1

The Day of the Lord

The Day of the Lord seems to be a fundamental teaching for believers. Jesus Himself spoke of it as “the coming of the Son of Man.” The Apostles of Christ taught the early church about it, Peter wrote of it in 2 Peter 3, John wrote about it in Revelation, and Paul writes about it here.

Notice that in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Paul has to inform the believers about what would happen to the dead in Christ at His return. But in 5:1-11 he says they are already “fully aware” about the Day of the Lord.

So, why was it so important? Because the Day of the Lord was then, and is now, the goal all of history is rushing toward! Paul knows that what the Thessalonians believe about the Day of the Lord should inform how they live. So he describes what it is, and how they should live in light of it’s coming.

The big idea for the message is this: The coming Day of the Lord is a call to spiritual sobriety today.

The Day of the Lord is certain, sudden, and brings inescapable destruction. Therefore we should remember our identity, walk in sobriety, anticipate our destiny, and participate in community.

Scripture: 2 Thessalonians 1:7b-9; Luke 17:26-27; Revelation 6:15-17; Luke 21:34

No One Left Behind: Hope and Comfort in the Face of Death

Christians ought to be indistinguishable from others in society in many ways. And yet, our lives should be extraordinarily different in particular ways. Death is a universal human experience, but for the Christian, it should be very different.

Death had forced the believers in Thessalonica to say goodbye to some of their loved ones. They were grieving and they had questions: “When Jesus returns, will my loved one be left behind, left out?” “When Christ returns, will they miss it?”

Paul writes to fill in the gaps about what they know and to tell them that when death forces you to say goodbye to a loved one in Christ, grieve with a sure hope and comfort one another with this truth: because Jesus is risen, He will leave no one behind at His return.

For Christians, there’s a difference: a different death, a complex grief, and a sure hope. There are four reasons why no one is left behind: Return, Resurrection, Rapture, and Reunion. So how will you respond?

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5; James 2; Philippians 1; Genesis 50:11; John 11:35; Mark 13:26-27; 1 Corinthians 15:50-57; Ephesians 2:1-2; John 14:1-3

An Honorable Reputation

God desires for His people to love excessively and aspire to live uniquely for the sake of having an honorable reputation.

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12

Sexual Purity

We live in a sexualized society. And while we’re 2,000 years removed from Paul’s letter to the new followers of Christ in the church of Thessalonica, our cultural situation is very similar. They came to faith out of a culture that deified sex. People lived to please themselves, but Paul is calling these new believers to walk and live in a way that pleased God more and more.

How do we live that kind of life in a culture that’s saturated with sexualized images, messages, and beliefs? We cling to three important things in this text: We have a calling from God, a warning from God and a Helper from God.

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8; Ezekiel 36:26-27