After much prayer, seeking, and waiting for the Lord, Pastor Marvin Sanders announced our 2013 theme: “Power for Living” based on Acts 1:8.
There are some who believe the Christian life does not require dedication, discipline, or sacrifice. There are some who believe the Great Sacrifice of Christ gives them permission to “sin now and ask forgiveness later.” Additionally, they convince others to believe the same things. There is no biblical support for such beliefs.
In God‘s Word, we’re called to live a life of sanctification, honor, and holiness. We are called to live a new life, a transformed life, a Christ-centered and Spirit-led life. However, it is impossible for us to live such a life on a continuous basis. Because of the sin nature that dwells within us all, we will fall short from time to time. Yet, God has not set us up to fail. God wants us to live powerfully, effectively, and victoriously. Therefore, He has provided His Spirit and His Word to equip us with all things that pertain to life and godly living.
It’s a tragedy that so many Christians lives powerless and unproductive lives. We are children of the King, ambassadors for His Kingdom, and representatives of His power. Surely, we should reflect the power that exists within Him. So throughout 2013, we will bring you several posts based on teaching we are receiving from our pastor. We are determined to live a life of power and to help you do the same.
Notes from Pastoral Teaching 10-30-12
For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
(1 Corinthians 2:2-5)
The foundation of our faith is Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Everything that we say and do is centered around the fact that Jesus came into the world to die for our sins, rose from the dead, and is soon to return for a church without spot or blemish (see Ephesians 5:27).
When people look at our lives, they should see Christ. When we are not mindful to live in a way reflecting the attributes and character of Christ, we will either be a hindrance to others or we will rob ourselves of the benefits that come from living a Spirit-filled, Christ-centered life.
Each of us has spiritual gifts and talents. However, these things are for Christ’s glory. It is important that we adopt a spirit of humility and that we do not boast of these accomplishments and talents. We can do nothing apart from him, therefore, we should allow the power of God to lead us in all that we do. As the prophet Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 9:23-24, “Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.”
We know [absolutely] that anyone born of God does not [deliberately and knowingly] practice committing sin, but the One Who was begotten of God carefully watches over and protects him [Christ’s divine presence within him preserves him against the evil], and the wicked one does not lay hold (get a grip) on him or touch [him]. (1 John 5:18)
We are bombarded by sin on every occasion. True, we could lock ourselves away and pretend to be hermits, but I don’t believe that would help us to carry out the Master’s Great Commission (See Matthew 28:18-20). So what do we do?
We have to come to realize that we are free from sin and that we have victory over sin. Most times, however, the battle against sin is not an external battle, but an internal battle. Our biggest enemy is the “inner me.” Yet, we do not have to fight the battle alone. We have One that watches over us and gives us the wisdom and strength to stand against sin in our lives.
When I am faced with temptation, the scripture that often comes to mind is 1 Corinthians 10:13,
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
When temptation comes and it is overbearing, ask God to provide a way of escape. I am a living witness that He will provide the way of escape. Yet, there remains one obstacle that each of us must face:
Will I take the way of escape?
We already have the victory; it is our responsibility to maintain our position and stand our ground.
Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation). (Ephesians 2:5)
God takes great care in reaching down to the lowest pits of sin to redeem us and make us new creatures in Christ. How often have we taken time to realize who, what, and where we were before the King of Kings rescued us from the clutches of the Prince of Darkness? Personally, I was a hot mess before Christ came into my life. Maybe you, dear reader, did not have such an intimate relationship with the world and sin as I have had, but either way, we were all incomplete, lost, and dead in sin before Christ came into our lives.
Not only does Christ rescue us, further, He invites us into a warm, welcoming fellowship with Himself and the Father. He knows what we were then, who we are now, and what we will become. Yet, He still desires to commune with us as we seek after godliness and righteousness. He raises us up from the clutches of sin and death. Then, He gives us the power to live a victorious life against sin, death, the devil, and the world.
The thing that amazes me is not that we accepted His invitation, but that He desires our company.
- In Christ (tomakechristknown.wordpress.com)
- Are You Walking Responsively? (compassiondave.wordpress.com)
- Embracing our new birthright (ilifejourney.wordpress.com)
From the Shiloh Review from April 2011….
When Paul says to present our bodies as “a living sacrifice,” he is telling us to live a life of service to Christ. As servants, we learn to submit ourselves to Him and to align our wills with His. Being a servant of Christ is not a simple or easy task. At some point in our lives, each of us will be asked to give up something for Christ. We may be asked to sacrifice relationships, jobs, homes, etc. for His glory. As we deny ourselves (Matthew 16:24), we may experience suffering, persecution, or some other hardship. This happens because we have made a decision to live a godly life (2 Timothy 3:12 & Psalm 34:19). Although it may appear to be difficult and unfair, everything that we do for Christ is in our best interest. Remember: we are reaching for the higher call of Christ. We are pressing towards heavenly goals. And if we endure these hardships, we will reign with Christ in eternity (2 Timothy 2:12).
Today is Sweet Psalm Monday. Today’s scripture is found in Psalm 41:11, which reads as follows:
“By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me.”
You can search the scriptures from Genesis to Revelation and you won’t find one scripture that says, “followers of the Almighty God are exempt from suffering, pain, and hardships.” If you find one, I am open to correction. Instead, as we search scripture, we find the opposite to be true:
- Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery
- Moses was criticized by the people he led
- David‘s life was threatened over and over again
- David’s daughter was raped by her own brother
- Jesus was unjustly murdered
The Christian life does not have a forecast of sunshine and clear skies. Au contraire… We can expect to experience rain and storms as well. But even as expect to experience misfortune, pain, and loss, we can confidently hold on to our hope in Christ. Psalm 41 lets us know that we will come out on top in the end. Our circumstances will not overcome us. We will not be defeated by the enemy of our souls. We don’t have to feel discouraged or disappointed so long as we know that God is walking with us and sustaining us in the midst of the storm.
A few words on the Sunday School Lesson for February 12, 2012
“Works in Progress”
We all have room to grow. We all have some area where we could stand to be a little better or do a little more. We all make mistakes. Although we are saved, we are still flawed human beings. And God knows this. For that reason, we all are “works in progress.”
Therefore, it is important to live out each day in faith, trusting in God to lead and guide us moment by moment, day by day. Each day, we will encounter various tests and temptations. Fortunately, we have the Spirit of God living within us and He is willing and able to help us stand in the midst of trying situations.
We are all being remade in the image of Christ. The journey from imperfection to perfection can be awfully long, but we shall come to our expected with the help of the Holy Spirit as we live out each day by faith.
- Sunday School: It Ain’t Enough (shilohtemplecogic.wordpress.com)
- Sunday School: God Preserves a Remnant (shilohtemplecogic.wordpress.com)
- Welcome MVBC and Friends (slaveforchrist.wordpress.com)
- Sunday School: Out of Egypt (shilohtemplecogic.wordpress.com)