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Since the church is rooted in Jesus she must speak the truth in love, that is, she is not only obligated to do this but also will do it. In order for the church collectively and the Christian individually to understand this duty and accomplish it the apostle Paul alerts us to its source and goal. Its source is the exalted and empowering Christ and its goal is the maturation of the church so that it attains to the fullness of Christ. This means, among other things, that the church's unity is doctrinal. Contrary to the Protestant Liberal theologians of the 19th and 20th centuries who were unified around their dogmatic confession of "doctrine divides and mission unites," the Bible teaches us that the unity that does mark the church and that the church is to grow in understanding is a doctrinal unity that can be summarized as speaking the truth in love. Such doctrinal unity means that the church experiences two kinds of growth--quantitative numerical growth and qualitative internal growth. God's word calls the church and the individual Christian to be preoccupied with qualitative internal growth, or maturation, and through this the quantitative numerical growth results. Both kinds of growth are under the sovereign control of God, because he is the source and goal of both.
Putting Jesus first means walking in the truth of who I am in Christ!
Discover Paul’s examples of mature prayer for others and how we can better pray for believers and non-believers alike.
How passionate are you when it comes to the truth of God? Does truth matter? When George Whitefield was preaching at Edinburgh some would get up at 5:00 in the morning to hear him preach and one young fellow on his way to the Tabernacle saw David Hume walking toward the church which surprised him. Hume was a well-known Scottish philosopher; a skeptic; an atheist and the young fellow said "Mr. Hume I didn't know that you believed the gospel?" and Hume said, "I don't, but he sure does" talking about Whitefield. Even those who did not agree with him were impressed by his passion for divinely revealed truth. Our text this morning is one of the most intimate and most passionate pleas found within the various epistles that came thru the apostle Paul.
These last few verses in 1 Peter close out the letter encouraging the readers to stand firm in the true grace of God. As our final sermon on 1 Peter, we take a look back at the letter to remember what Peter is calling us to stand firm in as well as why we can have peace in Christ.
I have heard lots of reasons why people aren't members in a local church. 'I don't like organize religion.' 'I follow Jesus, I don't need a pastor.' 'I have my bible, I read it all time and I don't need a church.' 'The bible says wherever two or more gather, Jesus is present, so my wife and I have church together at home.' The truth is that many of those rebuttals to the local church are said from pain, fear and/or pride. But if we listen to Jesus and read the bible, we find that they both tell us that we are to be part of a local church, for obedience, protection, growth, purpose, community and pastoral care. In this sermon from 1 Peter 5:1-11 we find Peter telling the elders to shepherd the flock among them, and telling the flock to be subject to their elders. In telling elders to shepherd the flock, Peter is reaching back to words that Jesus had said to him, 'I am the good shepherd... I lay my life down for the flock... I protect the flock' and later, before Jesus goes to the cross He tells Peter, 'Feed my sheep.' In this text we see the call to be part of a local church body, to have shepherds that oversee it and a flock that submits to it's shepherds, and that both all are to clothe themselves in humility to make it work.
When we encounter suffering, many of us can tend to ask three questions 1) Why is this happening to me? Is there a purpose in my suffering? 2) Am I alone in this? and 3) Has God forgotten me? In this sermon from 1 Peter 4:12-19 we read from Peter that even in suffering, there is purpose, that we are not alone and that God has not forgotten us.
Many people say that because suffering exist, God doesn't love us. But in reality, God shows his love for us through Christ, who enters into our suffering. And then through his suffering, he defeats sin for us on the cross. The scriptures teach that as Christians, followers of Jesus Christ, we are no longer bound to sin. But as followers of Christ we follow Jesus in our suffering, in the defeat of sin that still lingers. The path of Christ was suffering that defeated sin's controlling power. Our path is suffering which appropriates our freedom in fighting lingering sin and the enemies works. This leads us from me-centered lives, to Christ centered hearts and minds, leading to 'other-centered' lives to the glory of Christ. In his life and on the cross, Christ displays God's love for us as the ultimate 'other-centered' person, with his own glory in view.