The Church that Lasts

We face questions in life that are different at every stage. But after 20+ years of building a career or family, there is one question that keeps you up at night. “Will it last?” That is Paul’s question about the work he and his team started in Thessalonica, about the Church that was born over those three short weeks.

In this text, we see Paul write more emotionally and vulnerably than anywhere else. And it’s clear that the church that lasts has four characteristics: It is loved by her leaders; stabilized by personal ministry; tested through afflictions; and lasts by faith.

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 2:17, 3:5; Hebrews 13:7; John 16:33; Revelation 7:15-17

Evidences of Grace

The “Nones” are the fastest growing part of our population in the US. They’re the people who check the box “None” on survey’s asking, Which religion do you most closely identify with? They’re not closed to faith, they’re “spiritual, but not religious.” They want to know what you believe and why, so they’ll have the conversation. But they also want to see your faith lived out in your life.

In the first century, there was a group of believers who were models of what authentic Christian faith looks like. Paul wrote them a letter we know as 1 Thessalonians. In chapter 1:1-3, Paul points out their “work of faith, labor of love, and steadfastness of hope” are three evidences of God’s grace transforming their lives.

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-3, Acts 17:1-7; James 2:14-17

The Glorious King

Isaiah gives hope to God’s people by describing a Glorious King who would usher in a Kingdom that would provide a glorious rest.

Scripture: Isaiah 11:1-10

God Is Omniscient and Omnipresent

Omniscience and omnipresence are not words that we use in casual conversation. They are reserved, with few exceptions, to discussions related to the study of the Person of God. The reason that we infrequently use these terms is that nothing else in our world is omniscient or omnipresent. These are attributes of God alone.

Omniscience means that God knows everything that He desires to know. He has complete awareness of the past, with all of its intricacies and mystery. He knows exactly what is going on at this moment, including everything, everywhere. Finally, He has no questions about the future; He knows what will happen. Omniscience is a double-edged sword. On the one side, we can’t get by with anything. God knows. On the other hand, because He loves us, we can see that He holds our futures and has promised to help us.

God knew every doubt that you would suffer, the sin you would commit, and failure that would come in your life. Still, He chose to save you. So, we can say with accuracy that our salvation is not based upon our performance.

Likewise, omnipresent is another God-centered word. Where is God right now? He is in heaven. But there is more to it than that; God is everywhere at the same time.

Again, this attribute has two sides. On the one side, you cannot run away from Him, no matter how much you try. At the same time, we understand that He will never forsake us.

Scripture: Psalm 139:1-4; Jonah 1:1-9

The Commitment to Bless Despite Sin!

God hasn’t forgotten you. You don’t fight alone. You don’t go out into this crazy world alone. You will never be alone (a lie from the enemy). No matter how desperate and alone you feel, no matter how much opposition you face, no matter how precarious your circumstances become, no matter the difficulty and physical suffering, He has said, “I will be with you.”

Scripture: Genesis 5:1-6:8

The Nature of Our Resurrection

Is heaven a real place? Or is it merely symbolic? Wayne Grudem writes, “Stephen did not see mere symbols… It was rather that his eyes were opened to see a spiritual dimension of reality which God has hidden from us in this present age, a dimension which nonetheless really does exist in our space/time universe, and within which Jesus now lives in his physical resurrected body, waiting even now for a time when he will return to earth.”

Scripture: Revelation 6:9-11; 1 Corinthians 15:42-49

The Call to Be Heavenly Minded

The man who is about to sail for Australia or New Zealand as a settler is naturally anxious to know something about his future home, its climate, its employment, its inhabitants, its ways, its customs. All these are subjects of deep interest to him. You are leaving the land of your nativity, you are going to spend the rest of your life in a new hemisphere. It would be strange indeed if you did not desire information about your new abode. Now surely, if we hope to dwell forever in that “better country, even a heavenly one,” we ought to seek all the knowledge we can get about it. Before we go to our eternal home we should try to become acquainted with it. -J.C. Ryle.

Scripture: Luke 16:19-31; Philippians 1:21; Colossians 3:1

Jesus Is Our Great High Priest

Jesus is our great high priest who offers Himself for our atonement, which means He steps in on our behalf and pays the penalty and consequence for our sin.

As our great high priest we 1) hold fast our confession of Jesus as the prophet, priest and king and 2) we draw near to Him. Jesus sympathizes with us in our weakness and our prayers, efforts are met with kindness and compassion.

He’s Not Here! A Theology of Remembrance

Harvard Professor Ernest Wright said this: in biblical faith everything depends upon whether the central events actually occurred or not.

In Luke 24:1-12 we see one of the central truths of the message of Christianity: the empty tomb!

Scripture: Luke 24:1-12

The Fame of the Crucified King

Calvin Miller said, “It’s difficult to look at a naked, beaten man and see anything kingly about him. How odd that in the fullness of time, Herod would be remembered a tyrant but the naked, beaten man he studied would rule the hearts of millions.”

Let’s look at Luke 23 and see how the Crucified One became the Famous One.

Scripture: Luke 23;36-56; John 18:37