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Why Christians Struggle with Confidence

Friday, November 16, 2018

Why Christians Struggle with Confidence

The New Testament writers were strongly devoted to helping Christians gain assurance. We can know the truth. 1 John 3.19 says that that knowledge will lead us to reassurance. In other words, we can be persuaded confidently that we belong to God. 

Assurance is a spiritual reality that we should enjoy. God wants us to love and enjoy our new life. We can be confident of our future (Philippians 1.6), our access (Hebrews 6.18b-20), and our ability to approach God during a time of need (Hebrews 2.18). God never wants you to go through life worrying or wondering if you belong to Him. 

But yet, there are still those who lack assurance. Why is that?

On Sunday we’ll discuss five reasons why people struggle with assurance:

  1. Strong preaching
  2. Difficulty accepting forgiveness
  3. Failure to grasp the doctrine of justification 
  4. The battle with the flesh
  5. Failure to see God in trials

As you get ready for worship, be thinking about these things:

  • Why are we often fearful of self-examination?
  • If someone asked you to explain the gospel, could you do it succinctly?
  • What happened in your justification?
  • Why are our heavenly and spiritual affections of such importance?
  • What are some things you can do in order to see God working during a trial?

Sunday Song Leader: Jim Rutter

Sunday Scripture Reading: Jason Schofield

TEXT: Colossians 2.1-3

Decrease Self. Increase Christ.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Put off your old self, ...and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self. Ephesians 4.22-23

How can we become more successful in conquering the flesh and our selfish wants and desires?

Cease to make excuses. The moment that some defense mechanism comes into play, recognize it, and ask yourself: Why am I letting this upset me?

Practice self-examination. For a moment, reflect on how self enters into everything you do. It influences your actions, work, conduct, dress, appearance,..everything! Do you need to increase your personal discipline and moments of self-examination? In writing about himself, Paul said, I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified, 1 Corinthians 9.27. We must realize how much misery is traced back to the love of self. Recall your moments of unhappiness and irritability. Self is the main cause of unhappiness in this life.

Measure yourself against Christ’s standard. Philippians 2.5-7 teaches that Jesus “emptied” Himself. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. How did Jesus “make himself nothing?” Jesus told those who follow Him, I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me, John 5.30. He was totally concerned with serving His Father. Let that be the case for yourself.

Perhaps no greater example of Jesus’ commitment to the interests of others over that of himself is seen while He was on the cross. While suspended in air—spikes driven through His hands and feet—he prayed Father, forgive them for they know not what they do, Luke 23.34. Peter said, For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.  He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, 1 Peter 2.21-24. Jesus set the standard that we are to follow. How are you doing? Make the commitment to decrease self and increase Christ. Have you put the wishes of the Savior above your own?

- Matthew Allen

Jesus: The Horn of Salvation

Friday, November 09, 2018

Jesus: The Horn of Salvation

In Jeremiah 29.11 God said he wanted to give Israel a future and a hope. This is not talking so much of earthly prosperity or success, but primarily of their spiritual relationship. God was looking forward to a time when the barrier of sin would be totally removed.

God is strongly committed to reuniting us with Him … for all eternity. God is completely devoted to your salvation. His work for that didn’t just stop at the cross. God partners with us for salvation. He is always at work. In our surrender to Him, there is complete submission and cooperation. It is a continual yielding. As we do that, He promises an eternal inheritance. How much do you trust God and the promises of assurances He makes? 

On Sunday I want to share with you something out of Luke 1 that will go even farther in helping you become more confident in the fact that God is continually working toward your salvation - long after you’ve gone forward from the baptismal. We’ll learn about salvation through the prophecy of Zechariah. What four things will we discover?

  1. The 9 month period Zechariah endured in silence and solitude.
  2. Zechariah’s prophecy.
  3. The way Zechariah describes Jesus as the horn of salvation.
  4. Conclude by asking what you will do with Jesus

As you get ready for worship, be thinking about these things:

  • Read Luke 1.62 - what clues do we have that Zechariah may have been deaf?
  • Read 1.68. How certain were the events in this verse to happen?
  • What kind of imagery do you think of when you hear horn of salvation?
  • Read 1.74-75. What is the twofold goal of redemption?
  • Why is it important to take God at His word?

Sunday Song Leader: Russ Robins

Sunday Scripture Reading: Josh Dickey

TEXT: Luke 1.67-79

The Importance of the Burnt Offering and Christ

Monday, November 05, 2018

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” Mark 12:30

 

In the Jewish burn offering, the head referred to the thoughts, the legs the emblem of the walk, the inwards the symbol of the feelings and the affections of the heart.  The fat probably does not represent any one limb or faculty, but the general health and vigor of the whole.

In Jesus, these were all surrendered, and all without spot and blemish.   Had there been one thought in the mind of Jesus which was not perfectly given to God, had there been but one affection in the heart of Jesus which was not yielded to His Father’s Will, had there been but one step in the walk of Jesus taken for His own pleasure and not for the glory of God, then He could not have offered Himself or been accepted as a “whole burnt offering to Jehovah”.  But Jesus gave up all; He reserved nothing.  All was consumed upon the altar.

So, to a Christian today, it must be the whole surrender of self to God in everything.  We cannot reserve one sin to ourselves.  We must give up all for the glory of God.

-Jaime Restrepo

God's Good Pleasure

Friday, November 02, 2018

God’s Good Pleasure

During November, we’ll be wrapping up our focus on God’s Plan for You. It’s been a great year. We’ve focused on God’s plans for a future and our welfare (Jeremiah 29.11). While some in the world associate these promises with earthly gain, we’ve discovered this year that God’s primary concern is our spending eternity with Him. He has done, is doing, and will do everything possible to bring us home. His promises are repeated through the New Testament: We can live with confidence and assurance that we will receive what He has promised.

But yet, many of us experience fear. It can be paralyzing. Our text in Luke 12 identifies four things men and women commonly fear. We fear death, public shame, and a lack of physical necessities. Verse 32 identifies that we may sometimes fear whether or not God will supply us with our reward. The message of the chapter is that God is the kind of God whose people need not fear. God wants to be generous and helpful. He never begrudges the benefits of His grace.

Our plan of study on Sunday will cover Luke 12.32. We’ll talk about:

  1. God’s good pleasure.
  2. He is our Father.
  3. We are part of His flock.
  4. He has given us the Kingdom.

As you get ready for worship, be thinking about these things:

  • What fears do you battle in life? Do you ever have fear over whether you are really saved?
  • What does good pleasure mean in Luke 12.32?
  • What does it mean to you that God identifies Himself as your Father?
  • Why is it important to understand we are given the kingdom?
  • How does little flock signify affection and care?

Sunday Song Leader: Roy Pyle

Sunday Scripture Reading: Matt Ringle

TEXT: Luke 12.31-34

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