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.
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.
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.
Christianity is the only religion or a worldview which teaches us that people who take refuge in Christ, people who believe that He is the only Savior of their lives, will overcome death and sin. These are two of the most powerful evils in our life which are inescapable, they’re very part of our existence. But God promises that He will deliver His people on the last day when Christ returns. In this passage, we learn that Christians will have victory over death and sin when Christ returns to take them home (heaven), but we also learn what Christians are required to do until that day comes.
Christianity rests on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is this doctrine, that confirms and seals the salvation of the sinners redeemed by Christ. Not only that, but it also ascertains bodily resurrection of the redeemed people. But how does that happen? What faculties of our bodies will be restored, and in what condition? And how does this doctrine of the resurrection of the dead help us here and now, practically? This sermon tries to provide answers to those perplexing, yet important questions.
Christianity stands or falls on the doctrine of Christ’s resurrection; you take away resurrection, and you’ll lose Christianity. It is this truth that seals believer’s faith firmly and gives hope of life after death precisely because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. It indeed shows us that Jesus Christ is the Son of God came to die for sinners, to purchase the forgiveness for their sins. In this passage, we learn how unrealistic, illogical and hopeless it is to disbelieve in Christ’s resurrection, and what blessings the truth of resurrection entails for those who trust in Him.
Christianity is based on historically verifiable facts. It is not a myth. Jesus Christ’s death on the cross as a substitute for sinners, His burial, and His resurrection prove that He was indeed the Son of God came to this world to save the sinners. His resurrection has been confirmed by many people throughout generations including secular scholars today. In this passage, we learn that a Christian is called to hold fast to this truth, because on this historically verifiable truth that his hope and faith in Christ sustains.