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 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.
The Bible says “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts”. It doesn’t describe in the same way about His love, mercy, or justice. Why is there such a description about God’s holiness unlike any of His other attributes? Well, that’s because holiness captures the perfections of all the other attributes of God. Which means, His mercy, justice and love can also be understood as His holy justice, Holy love, and His Holy mercy. To be Holy also means to be set apart or to be separate, which implies that God cannot withstand nor exhibit anything that is unholy. How then does He allow sinners like us to come to Him despite our sinfulness? Listen to the sermon to find out.
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.
Spiritual gifts are primarily given to Christians for the benefit and the edification of the church, so that the church might be blessed with all the necessary resources through the gifts of God’s people. But it is possible for Christians to boast about themselves and their gifts and not serve others through their gifts. It is possible to make the gifts an end in themselves and not have a greater purpose. In this passage, we learn that spiritual gifts only serve to strengthen others and love people because the gifts are temporary but Love is not.
Christians are called to reflect the character of God. This passage lists out various characteristics which believers need to exhibit. In the last part of this section, we see how love does not rejoice in wrongdoing but in truth. Love also forebears all things when someone sins against us, because God has been forbearing towards us when we sin against Him. Gospel becomes the foundation on which we relate to other people in love.
There are many ways we can be rude to others, for example when we’re not grateful to others for the service they have rendered, or we interrupt people when they’re speaking to us, or we ignore someone when they approach us. We can also irritate or hurt people when we say insensitive things. We often talk about love in radical and heroic terms and how we fail in those areas, but our failure to love can also be seen in small ways as mentioned earlier. In this passage, we learn how rudeness, self-obsession, and being provocative hinders us from loving others.
Jealousy is unhealthy craving of those things which the other person has, but envy is being astonished and feeling bitter towards a person who possesses something which you badly want. These two emotions are just two sides of the same coin. In this passage, we learn how envy, covetousness and pride poisons us and hinders our fellowship with God and His people.
Nominal Christians are those people whose life is not characterized by repentance, obedience and faith in Christ, but they’re found in the church gatherings just to maintain their religious status. It is necessary to examine our lives and see if our professed love for God stretch into action and showcase Christlike character. In this passage, we learn how we can forsake nominal Christianity and continue to walk faithfully in the path that Christ has called us.