‘Decree’ literally means to order something that comes to pass. Christianity rests on the truth about God’s eternal decrees concerning the salvation of men, and controlling all that happens in this universe. Everything is predestined by God. As R.C Sproul once said – “What predestination means, in its most elementary form, is that our final destination, heaven or hell, is decided by God not only before we get there, but before we are even born. It teaches that our ultimate destiny is in the hands of God.” In this sermon, we meditate on the doctrine of God’s Sovereign and unconditional election which was decreed much before the world began.
We live in a culture which promotes freedom from accountability, regulations, rules etc. But in Christianity, the church cannot be sustained without certain organisational structure. The Lord has instituted His church with certain structure, operated through pastors, elders and deacons to counsel, guide, correct, rebuke and restore the congregation or an individual towards righteousness. This function is often referred to as Church Discipline. It is one of those essential marks of a healthy church. In this passage, we learn the nature of Church Discipline and why Christians need it.
Christianity’s message about the gospel of hope, forgiveness and eternal life is also effective when Christians maintain their integrity and uprightness. The gospel witness and our testimony is at stake when we are double-minded people who don’t live as per our profession of faith in Christ. In this passage, we learn the ways in which we can maintain our integrity so that the world would see Christ in us and glorify Him.
Elisabeth Elliot on suffering once said ― “Whatever is in the cup that God is offering to me, whether it be pain and sorrow and suffering and grief along with the many more joys, I’m willing to take it because I trust Him.” This needs to be the response of every Christian in times of suffering, because hardships are inevitable in this life. In this passage, we learn how suffering should enable us to trust in God, an expression of our humility and dependency on Him alone.
Suffering is a universal experience and an inevitable part of our lives. The world suggests us to flee suffering at all costs, so we are provided with millions of solutions everyday to get rid of suffering. However, according to the Bible, God doesn’t want us to avoid or flee from suffering but to embrace it for the greater purpose. In this passage, we learn the purpose of suffering in Christian life, and how God uses it in the lives of others so that ultimately He is glorified in and through our suffering.
“God is goodness itself, in whom all goodness is involved. If therefore we love other things for the goodness which we see in them, why do we not love God, in whom is all goodness? All other things are but sparks of that fire, and drops of that sea. If you see any good in the creature, remember there is much more in the Creator. Leave therefore the streams, and go to the fountainhead of comfort.” These are the words by puritan Richard Sibbes beautifully portraying the goodness of God toward mankind. In this sermon, we meditate on God’s goodness and our response to that glorious truth.
We live in the world of injustice. What we see is evil, murder, abuse, corruption, partiality, discrimination, rape and the list goes on…We can all sense the injustice around us because we are made in the image of God, we have been given the ability to do Justice. The other sad reality is that we’re not just the recipients or victims of injustice, but also the perpetrators of injustice (even if it’s done in small ways). So how does a just and righteous God deal with injustice around us and injustice because of us? What does God expect from us? Listen to the sermon to find out.
In our Society, the affinity towards people of similar language, social status, culture or ethnicity is very high. We’re often seen associating with people who look like us in every way. Sadly, this is a similar practice that is seen even among churches. But this does not reflect the oneness or the unity that God has designed to reflect in the society, especially when Christians fail to display love and unity among themselves. Jesus Christ died for the sins of not just one particular culture, but for the sins of every culture, tribe and tongue in this world, so that we may all be one in Christ. In this passage, we learn how we should practice Christian Fellowship in a loving and sacrificial way, especially with those who are very different from us.
We start helping out each other and show acts of mercy during natural disasters, calamities and famine. This is a natural response of human beings because we are all made in the image of God; we still exhibit certain character traits that display kindness, sacrifice and generosity during difficult times. But the struggle to survive is not just against physical powers but also spiritual. There is sin in all of us that we need to fight against. So, what kind of character traits should a christian show forth in the church and in the world especially in times of spiritual adversity? Listen to the sermon to learn the marks of a healthy Christian.
Most churches are often led by full time pastors and leaders. Which means, they’re primarily called to be the servants of God in extending His kingdom through regular preaching of the Word, administering the sacraments, exercising church disciplines and be involved in discipleship. Their source of income is mostly by the congregation’s faithful and generous giving. In this passage, we learn certain responsibilities the congregation i.e the church has toward the servants of God in a local church, and also other servants who are involved in the mission work elsewhere.