There is no authority other than God himself, yet in that authority God displayed amazing grace as He laid down His life before wicked and faithless men for those wicked and faithless people He loved.
Text: John 19:7-12
Love is not an expression or feeling, but it is deeper. It is a bond that transcends hardship and hopelessness and transcends time itself.
In Christ we are given a peace unshakable, a peace of God's presence and promise. Jesus secured this peace both at the cross and through conquering death. And this peace is ours through faith, as without this faith we will remain in fear and hopelessness in this world.
The world seeks to unravel and destroy the things of God, exalting man and worldly things above God. We even fight this in our flesh. But Jesus ever prays for us, and lifts us up before our Father that would guard and protect us, so that we would be united in walking and proclaiming His love and His truth.
People do not come to faith in Jesus, to a life transformed by His Word, through superior thinking or even response to crisis. People come to faith in Jesus as God reveals it to them as Truth. And this Truth - eternal life and peace in Jesus.
The local church is a people consumed with the message of Jesus as the Christ. This is not the result of a Sunday-only faith, but a life lived out in daily, public, and private proclamation of Jesus.
The local church is a body of followers of Jesus Christ who are unified in love, mission, and care for one another in proclaiming the name of Jesus to all who will believe.
The local church is identified as those who have cast off the love of self and this world, and turned in faith to love Christ and others; those whom God has called to Himself and now who walk by the Spirit in obedience to Him and in love.
Suffering and hardship are a reality in this world. But stand courageously, for in Jesus we have peace in this world and a certain hope.
Worship is about ascribing worth to God in all that we do - both individually and corporately - such that God is glorified, the Church is edified, and the gospel is magnified for the world to see.
Real and enduring joy is rooted in certain hope. Sorrow and suffering are turned into joy, not through problems being solved in this world, rather through hitching your hope on the promises of God and on Jesus.
The Spirit of truth, under the authority of the Father and the Son, uniquely guided the disciples of Jesus Christ into all the truth, such that we now have the infallible truth of God in our Bibles. Rather than looking outside the Bible for truth, or seeking to alter the truth, we should look to the Spirit's guidance, that he might illuminate the glorious truth of Jesus Christ in our hearts and minds as we read his Word.
In John 15 and 16, we are warned of the inevitable hatred and persecution that accompanies the life of the Christian. In the midst of these warnings, however, Jesus points us to the Divine Helper who bears witness about Jesus both to us and through us, and who strengthens us to live all to the glory of God even when it hurts.
In contrast to the greatest love, Christ also brings out the greatest hate. There is no greater hate than the rejection and hate of Jesus, for He stands in opposition to the desires of this world. Therefore, believers who openly declare Christ in their actions and words can expect rejection and hatred.
The greatest love of all, a love that followers of Christ are called upon to show, is the love that Jesus showed in laying down His life to see people set right with God through the Gospel.