Kept For Christ
Jude 17-25, “But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh. Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”
Jude is a Christian pastor, likely another name for Judas, Jesus’ brother. Jude is authoritative even if short! He is writing to “those who are called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ” (v. 1). Christians are supposed to remember the end goal of being presented to Christ to whom we belong. Implied in this is that we should be living accordingly in the meantime. (John 17:20-25—Jesus’ prayer that we will be with Him; 1 Cor. 6:19-20—we have been bought).
However, Jude gives an important warning that there will be people among the Christians who do not keep this in mind and will lead some astray. That is why they must “contend earnestly for the faith” (3). It is a fight (Paul encouraged Timothy to “fight the good fight of faith,” in the midst of people who will not hold onto “doctrine conforming to godliness”— 1 TIm. 6:3-12). Jude is reminding Christians to remember the words (teaching / doctrine) that was “spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ” (17).
v. 18—The words of the apostles were warnings of mockers in the last times. The Greek word for “mocking,” by implication, means a false teacher. They are one who takes the name of Christ but misses the spirit of the message, maligning the truth. They are more interested in their own gain (“lusts”). Part of this gain is getting a following —see verse 16.
The “mockers” being spoken about in Jude’s time were physically present among the believers. In our information age, we may see this in more indirect terms. (famous preachers, ideologies, etc.)
The Seriousness of the Charge
vs. 19—These mockers “cause divisions” are “worldly minded” and “devoid of the Spirit.”
vs. 20-21—“But you…” We are supposed to be different, but how? Unlike the mockers, we should be unified, heavenly-minded and full of the Spirit. Jude outlines some specifics which speak to those principles.
-“building yourselves up in on your most holy faith…” This is not just an individual exercise, but one we do in COMMUNITY. There is only one true faith—that which trusts fully in the grace of God in Christ Jesus—unlike those who “turn the grace of God into licentiousness and deny our only master and Lord, Jesus Christ…” (vs. 4). To build ourselves up means to strengthen our resolve to love and obey the Lord in everything. If we do that, we will not have any divisions, but experience true unity!
-“praying in the Holy Spirit…” We can only do that through the spiritual discipline of prayer. He has given us power to overcome our flesh and worldly influences. We must have our mind set on understanding God’s will. This speaks to our individual devotion—our relationship with the Lord—which informs us how to build up others.
-“keep yourselves in the love of God…” Christ’s love is the source of our life. He is our identity—nothing in this world. I must remember His love constantly and seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance on how to more fully experience his love, sharing it with others.
-“waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.” This speaks to Christ’s return and our full experience of the eternal life we have already been given. This is a certain promise which we need to remember. If I am anxious for the return of Christ, then I am not content with this world!
Again, we are being Kept for Christ. Is this what is on my mind most? Jude’s exhortation is to not be distracted by anything that would cause me to forget Christ’s finished work. Rather, we should be proactive in reminding one another to live out our faith—holiness unto the Lord.
Kept for Christ, Build Up One Another
As I meditated on these verses, an illustration came to mind. WHITEWATER RAFTING. Having gone rafting a few times, I can speak to the adventure, thrill, fear and triumph of the experience. First, there is a raging river with various dangers to be avoided. There is a raft which a guide takes us on. We each have a PFD, a helmet and a paddle. The guide gives us instructions beforehand and gives orders while on the raft. Sometimes one side of the raft has to paddle and the other has to stop in order to avoid rocks and strainers. We have to trust the guide’s instructions. One of the instructions is to keep both hands on the paddle. if we don’t do that, we could lose it or misuse it by hitting someone accidentally! If we don’t use the paddle at all, we can fall off the raft more easily. The best way to stay balanced is to keep cutting through the water with the paddle.
The raging river is this life. There is an end destination but we have to stay in the raft to get there intact. The raft is the love of Christ which we are to keep ourselves in. The Guide is the Holy Spirit. We must follow His instructions. The paddles are the Word of God. We must put it to use—and properly. Keeping both hands on is a picture of our faith. If we lack “most holy faith,” we can misuse the Word of God and inflict harm on others. If we lack faith, we miss the love of Christ, and actually fall into worldly patterns, like falling off the raft into the river. You can see why Jude so strongly encourages believers to “Contend earnestly for the faith!”
There are different types of rafters:
—The Faithful…listen to the Guide and build others up—Know and Show Christ
—The Doubter…misuse God’s word, inflict harm on self and others
—The Swimmer…fallen into patterns of this world / sin
—The Self-er…don’t identify with Christ OR they serve in self-strength
The Call for the Faithful
1) Mercifully and gently help and correct those who doubt in various ways. (KEEP YOURSELF IN THE LOVE OF CHRIST). Most who misuse God’s Word don’t do so knowingly. The false teachers and teachings have them in their grasp. God has promised a full experience of eternal life. FIX YOUR HOPE ON HIM.
2) Seek to save those who are worldly—INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE CHURCH. But BE CAUTIOUS. We should not join them in their activity, but lovingly show them a different way to live.
—IT CAN FEEL GOOD to be in fellowship with these people. “Bad company corrupts good morals”
—As those who experience the love of Christ, point people to HIM—NOT YOU.
TAKE HOLD OF THE WORD OF GOD AND THE LOVE OF CHRIST. By the Power of the Holy Spirit, go to work with your faith.
REMEMBER WHO CHRIST IS
If I am truly holding onto Christ and His promises, I will realize the power of His salvation, past, present and future. That is the truth punctuated by verses 24-25, and it is all wrapped up in who HE is!
T.R.A.I.N. Your Minds For Action
This message on 1 Peter 1:13-16 gives some practical steps and a helpful word picture to better focus on God's work in your life.
Romans 12 and 13 get into some specific application of Paul's theological argument in the first 11 chapters.
Chapter 12 addresses our individual and corporate worship and how, in the unity we experience in the Body of Christ, we can overcome the world in Christ's love.
Chapter 13 speaks specifically about how we respond to earthly authorities in that love by taking refuge in Christ who has ultimate authority.
This post is going to be long. In an effort to have a cohesive flow of thought, the outlines from Bible studies in Romans from recent months is given here. Each study starts with a new section, clearly marked, with points of application along the way.
A Brief Summary: Paul’s benediction which concludes his theological argument for one new redeemed humanity of God’s chosen people in Romans 1-11 reads, “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen” (Rom. 11:36). “From Him” is the gift of a righteous life in Christ (Rom. 1:16-17) and the hope of the “redemption of our bodies” in which we share in His glory (Rom. 8:23, 30). “Through Him” and His covenant with Abraham, we can overcome the Flesh by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 2:29; 4:9-12; 7:21–8:2; 8:16-17, 26-27). “To Him are all things” implies that we should simply present ourselves to Him (Rom. 6:19; 12:1-2) to become like Him—the only good (Rom. 8:28-30).
Contextualization in Missions
Contextualization is the effort to present my unique Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, through the eyes of those He seeks to save. In Scott Hildreth’s article, “Contextualization and Great Commission Faithfulness,” the author addresses the tension between making the gospel message for those in various contexts “both orthodox and understandable.” He cautions against obscurantism in which the missionary neglects the perspective of those he might reach and against syncretism which compromises the truth and power of the message for the sake of identifying with those same people. Hildreth’s observation is astute: “obedience to the Great Commission requires contextualizing the Christian message for and with the people in a ministry field” (emphasis mine). He develops this thought well, especially toward the end of the article where he suggests a specific process for contextualization.
Hildreth points out the two orientations for contextualized theology, but I would take the stance they should be a dual orientation. The first is “creation centered,” which is along the lines of general revelation—God revealing Himself in daily life. The second is “redemption centered,” which carries the conviction that all of life—including culture—needs transformed. This is more along the lines of special revelation in which God has revealed Himself historically in the person of Jesus of Nazareth in clear fulfillment of His Scriptures given throughout history,
which continued through the work of the apostles. According to Scripture such as Acts 17:22-28, these two orientations should be considered simultaneously. Paul addressed the people in Athens pointing out their altar “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD,” making the connection that the one true God revealed in Jesus is this God which they once did not know.
This is indeed along the lines with Hildreth’s citation of VanRheenen which states that “images, metaphors, rituals, and words that are current in the culture are used to make the message both understandable and impactful.” I did this when I preached for the first time at my church this past summer after being hired. Expositing 1 Peter 1:3-9, the Lord gave me a picture of an abandoned warehouse being transformed into a palace which would be meaningful to a community of many working-class individuals. What Hildreth describes next is simply good inductive Bible study in which the missionary helps people observe, interpret and apply Scripture: “Reaffirmation of the faith once for all delivered to the saints. [Re-articulation] of this faith with forms, symbols, and language that communicate the message as it was intended to be understood. Re-application of Christian living in a way that is culturally appropriate.” If the missionary who wants to not only teach but also train others to study and teach follows this general procedure, the truths in Scripture will be preserved and the people will have a real encounter with God by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Hildreth’s discussion of the Great Commission texts is helpful when considering how to accomplish this. He says, “the Great Commission is not only important in the historical development of missions; it is also a key text for biblical interpretation.” In the article, Hildreth emphasizes the Gospel of Matthew. Much like Matthew 28:19-20 helps us understand the message of Matthew as a whole, John 20:31 does the same for the Gospel of John, “...these have
been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” “LIFE IN HIS NAME” should be the goal of all missions efforts, as Scripture makes clear.
Certain sociological elements can be considered through the lens of scriptural truth when seeking to contextualize the gospel message. Hildreth discusses making cross-cultural workers, and I would like to take his ideas further, with perhaps a different thrust. He asks the question, “what should the outsider do in order to both participate in contextualization as part of making disciples while at the same time releasing nationals to do theology.” It is clear given Scripture and the Christian experience that it is important to develop and deploy locals so the missionary can move on. In the pastoral epistles to Titus and Timothy in particular, Paul instructs these men to set up elders in every city who can exercise ministry of the Word with the people in their given context. This is done through modeling a godly lifestyle and practice of spiritual disciplines, being a life imparted—not simply information imported. The authority of Scripture in the life of one submitted to the power of the Holy Spirit will accomplish much. Paul says, “And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5). Indeed, perhaps this is the only way to carry on God’s mission.
Still, Paul did approach the gospel message using the Corinthians’ terms—their pursuit of wisdom (1 Cor. 1:22-23).
Christ is supreme, and we know Him through Scripture. Hildreth cautions, “the missionary is fulfilling the mandate of the Great Commission in making disciples of Jesus, not Western culture or himself.” I would go further to add we should not make disciples of our denomination or particular doctrinal stances. God may choose to work differently in these bodies of believers in matters of spiritual gifts, for example. While some groups may be cessationist, and justifiably so if they are a homogenous group, God may still have people speak in “tongues” in the context of preaching the gospel to unreached people groups of different cultures and languages. The importance of local expression could not be understated. The Christian message is universal, and it is able to address local concerns for any person on Earth. This works to the end that all would commit to an “obedience of the faith” (Romans 1:5) and a “simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3). It is easy to teach our culture and have people copy us in our behaviors and rote knowledge. It is harder to impart a life in which we are modeling the obedience and simple, pure devotion to Christ. This takes time and relationship-building, the latter of which requires some contextualization.
Article cited: "Contextualization and Great Commission Faithfulness"
by Scott Hildreth
Pub. in the Contemporary Practice section www.globalmissiology.org, Oct. 2010
The Great Commission: Comparing and Contrasting the Gospel Accounts to Set a Missional Trajectory for the Church
To understand the mission of the Church it is helpful to study Jesus’ last words in all four Gospels which together give a complete picture of Jesus’ expectations and empowering of the Church for its most important task. Even though only the three synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke give an explicit account of Jesus’ commission to his disciples, John’s account is just as instructive for understanding the Great Commission. Acts also gives a continuation of Luke’s account in particular.
Matthew 28:18-20 is the first statement of the Great Commission, given in canonical order. In Matthew’s account, the disciples went up to the mountain in Galilee after Jesus’ resurrection, as instructed. They worshiped Him, “but some were doubtful” (vs. 17). Undoubtedly in response to their doubt, Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (vs. 18). Jesus was indeed who he had told them he was. Because Jesus was the risen Messiah, the disciples were to “go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (vs. 19). Jesus is sharing His authority with the disciples which empowers them to make still more disciples who will learn “to observe all that [Jesus] commanded [them]” (vs. 20). The ultimate comfort and empowerment to overcome doubt is the fact that Jesus will always be with us (vs. 20).
Mark affirms this, though with different verbiage. Mark says, “And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed” (vs. 20). We see Mark take the narrative further along in history as the disciples had a present experience of Jesus’ presence in the time that followed after he ascended (vs. 19). The ascension is key to understanding the disciples overcoming their fear and doubt. That was even further proof that the resurrected Lord has the authority which he claimed in Matthew’s account! Mark’s account emphasizes the experience of the Lord through signs of the authority given (vs. 17-18) and the response to “preaching to all creation”—baptism of those who would believe (vs. 15-16). The new life accepted and the old life put to death, which baptism symbolizes, was to be clearly demonstrated in supernatural ways by the disciples. Mark also emphasizes the disciples overcoming their fear, as they had retreated to the safety of someone’s home (vs. 14).
Luke gives some insight about the exact source of the authority given and the sudden empowerment of the disciples. He also explains how the Lord could work in the midst of the disciples after the Ascension. After his resurrection, Jesus “explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures” (Luke 24:27). He also revealed Himself on the basis of His sincere fellowship with them—a sharing in His life (24:28-32). Luke takes this further in Acts on the basis of believers’ sincere fellowship with one another (Acts 2:41-47). It is on the basis of this fellowship that the Great Commission began to be carried out as those who came to believe as disciples (“learners”) “were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42). While Luke makes it clear that the aim of Christian fellowship should be devotion to living out Scripture, he also explains the power behind that fellowship—the Holy Spirit. What Jesus promised in Luke 24:49, that they would be “clothed with power from on high,” was fulfilled as described in Acts 2:4, “and they were filled by with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.” This pattern of speaking in other languages as seen in Acts is always in the context of sharing the gospel with unreached people groups—clearly a fulfillment of the Great Commission. This is what Jesus meant in Acts 1:6-8, that they would be his witnesses in an increasingly larger geographical area—really in relation to the people groups themselves. Thus, we see the gospel being spread by the power of the Holy Spirit through translation of the Word of God, found in Scripture and experience of the risen Christ.
With this in mind, the Gospel of John is equally as instructive in understanding the Great Commission. Jesus was the original translation of God and His will. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1, 14). Jesus became a man—the Word of God in our midst. He lived a different life as the light in the midst of darkness to show us God’s glory (John 3:19). He showed us a way to have eternal life, really fellowship with our Creator (John 14:6). This ministry has continued by the power of the Holy Spirit, who has been given as our counselor and Helper to live according to God’s Word (John 14:15-17, 24). This is all to God’s glory (15:8) in which we will someday share (John 17:20-24).
Much like the consecutive Gospels went further back in time at the start of their accounts, each consecutive Gospel also carries the narrative farther along in the ministry of the Church as an extension of Christ himself. Jesus, as the Word of God who has always been preached (Rom. 1:20; 10:14-18), fulfilled all prophecy, to include Jeremiah 31:33, “ ‘But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,’ declares the LORD, ‘I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’ “ Jesus now “dwells in our hearts through faith,” which is a true experience and source of our mission to see many “made alive together with Him” (Ephesians 3:17; 2:4-5). The hope we have of dwelling with Him in His eternal kingdom should be the source of our joy (John 15:11) and what drives us to be faithful to God’s Word by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Action Steps. A missional trajectory for a Great Commission Church will be characterized by:
The Great “Co-Mission” is carried out with God through submission, directed by Him, empowered by him, and accomplished by Him!
After reading and reflecting on these verses, I read Ryan King’s article, “The Great Commission: Fulfilled by the Churches and for the Churches.” His initial observation that “a primarily individualistic application of this command is more a product of our Western culture than from a natural reading of the text” resonates with readings we have done the last few weeks. The emphasis on personal conversion and experience came about prominently with the Reformation, in due response to the Catholic Church’s centralization of power. Even so, perhaps the reformers were slightly misguided in this emphasis which a pure reading of the Scripture—particularly the book of Acts—might illuminate. It is clear just in the Great Commission texts that it is all about a corporate, shared life in Christ as disciples grow then share with the world. I read a book a while back by Alan Snyder, Community of the King, in which he said something to the effect of “the gospel is not just more clearly perceived in the context of Christian community, it is the basis for that community.”
What follows, then, is that each church should have a clear focus on missions in which everyone plays a part. King describes two pitfalls in the Western approach to a focus on missions. One is the idea that the rest of the world is dependent on us, and us alone, to “go.” In this, we forget our foreign brothers and sisters doing the work of the gospel. A missionary friend from India who plants indigenous house churches said once that what they pray for most is revival in America! The second pitfall King describes is more on the opposite end of the spectrum: that perhaps more workers are not needed because of all who are already out in the missions fields. His conclusion in this section is right on. The Universal Church’s mission has not ended; therefore, we should see active participation and cooperation between churches in both local and global contexts.
I could not agree more with King’s last section, as my conclusion just based on the texts above shows. Healthy churches multiply and split. The problem I see in America is a prevailing attractional model for churches who think we need to be bigger and better (which may or may not include giving to missions efforts) in order to see more souls saved. This focus on numbers also often forgets the second half of the Great Commission of intentional teaching and learning. Hopefully, some of the suggestions I made here are helpful.
Wonder, Worship, Witness
Message for Centre Union Church
An exposition of John 3:16.
Will we wonder at God's amazing love and gift of eternal life, worship Him with all our hearts, and witness His eternal life, even now?
Message for Centre Union Church, July 25, 2021
1 Peter 1:3-9
The outcome of spiritual rebirth and life lived by faith is the salvation of my soul.
—Starts with God’s mercy accepted. Every day should start with God’s mercy accepted! (Lamentations 3:22-24)
—The resurrected life of Christ is in me now. I have a living faith to one day be fully resurrected. There is a certain way I should be living in light of this
—“So walk in Him…” (Colossians 2:6-7)
—Because of this inheritance being kept for me, I rejoice, despite trials
What are the trials? They are connected to residing as aliens and strangers (see vss. 1-2) and obeying Christ.
—John 3:8…We’ll be misunderstood by other people as Christians. We also will not know where we are going, or at least the exact course each of our lives are going to take. Trials help me come to grips with this.
—Philippians 3:18-21…citizens of heaven should not have their minds on earthly things
Trials prove genuine faith, with the goal of maturing us believers. The mature recognize everything comes from God. Proven faith —> maturity —> complete reliance on the Lord —> results in praise, glory and honor at the revealing of Christ (
Revelation 7:9-17…those who submitted to God and relied on Him for everything during their time on earth will glorify him all the more as they partake of his eternal, everlasting provision—His very presence! A real estate investor once saw a property with much potential, and he went to scope it out. On this property was an old warehouse—dark, dank, cold—that had long been abandoned. He saw it and said, “I am going to pay everything I have to buy this.” All his friends thought he was insane and could not understand why he would pay everything he had for a building that was condemned.
After he bought it, he walked inside. He shone his light in every corner of the building. The light could be seen from outside through the dusty, half-broken windows and on the inside it revealed a cavernous space—empty except for the scattered moldy boxes, trash, cobwebs, and rusty, now useless machines.
“I have a lot of work to do,” the man said, so he got to work. He cleaned the warehouse from the floor to the staircases, balconies, windows and ceiling. He took out all the moldy boxes, trash, and rusty machines. Some time later, he called his friends who had been very curious about the work being done in that building. “We heard a lot of sound,” they said, “We saw a lot of light, but we could not understand what was going on.”
“Come in,” said the man, smiling. They came in and saw that the warehouse had been transformed into a palace, with marble columns and staircases. The floor was pure gold—so pure it was clear as crystal. The fireplace roared as the feast was brought out to the guests dressed in their finest linen—all the people who were guests of the king.
1 Peter 1:3-9
The outcome of our faith is our sanctification and the salvation of our souls.
—Faith: Starts with spiritual rebirth. Everything in the Christian life starts with God’s mercy. Every day should start with God’s mercy accepted! (Lamentations 3:22-24). We are born again to live a new life.
—The resurrected life of Christ is in me now. I have a living faith to one day be fully resurrected. That is the “salvation ready to be revealed.” “Living Hope” implies a way I should be living in light of this (1 Peter 1:13-16)
—“Holy”—or set apart for God—no longer living for “former lusts.” (expound) This is Sanctification.
—Because of this inheritance being kept for me, I rejoice, despite trials. Our inheritance is eternal life—the very life of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself! Communion with God again. That is worth suffering through anything on earth. Our trials are what God uses to clean us out. It can be hard to let go of those old moldy boxes and rusted machines—we think they are of value! (Letting go of not just what I have, but ways of thinking, doing, what I value, WHAT I OBEY)
What are the trials? They are connected to residing as aliens and strangers (see vss. 1-2) and obeying Christ. This is part of the Holy Spirit’s work of sanctifying—or setting us apart for Him. Are we holding onto our moldy boxes and useless, rusted machines?
—John 3:8…We’ll be misunderstood by other people as Christians. We also will not know where we are going, or at least the exact course each of our lives are going to take. Trials help me come to grips with this.
—Philippians 3:18-21…citizens of heaven should not have their minds on earthly things
Trials prove genuine faith, with the goal of maturing us believers. The mature recognize everything comes from God. Proven faith —> maturity —> complete reliance on the Lord —> results in praise, glory and honor at the revealing of Christ! We will fully see our King in His amazing palace!
Revelation 7:9-17…those who submitted to God and relied on Him for everything during their time on earth will glorify him all the more as they partake of his eternal, everlasting provision—His very presence!
The warehouse is us. We had lost our worth and our usefulness, but the Lord shone His light in us—He gave us His life through His resurrection and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Now we are in the process of being cleaned up and prepared for a feast. It is the wedding feast of the Lord—of the Lamb—which we will see at the consummation of everything He has promised. The people are all those who accepted the invitation to come in to the Life of Christ, despite the unseemly appearance. Now they know eternal life—experienced now and forever. Praise the LORD! The Outcome of Faith is our Sanctification and Salvation of Our Souls.
Jesus didn’t just save us from something, He saved us to something. Yes, He saved us from Hell, condemnation, and experience of God’s wrath, but He also saved us to an eternal life lived now and forever.
We cannot save ourselves. It is all God’s mercy. The evidence of one being saved is sanctification—a changed life now—as God prepares us for the glories to come.
What are we holding onto which keeps us from understanding God’s will?
Do I see change in my life—knowing and becoming like Jesus?
Is being with my Lord and Savior—my King—what I desire the most? Do I have a self-centered view of God and heaven?
(1 Peter 1:7) The proof of our faith will result in praise, honor, and glory to Jesus as we enjoy His presence forever.
The “fires” of testing, trials, and suffering of various forms are worth enduring.
If we are not experiencing these things with inexpressible joy for the sake of Christ, we need to seriously reflect on our present walk with the Lord. Let’s let go of our old, moldy boxes and useless machines which were used for useless ventures. As we live out our salvation, we will realize that our former life before Christ and things of this world have no eternal value.
Christ's Coming: Help and Hope
Message for Centre Union Church, Dec. 26, 2021
"Christ's Coming: Help and Hope."
Text: Isaiah 9:1-7.
This is the blog of Tyler Shepard, the Associate Pastor for Centre Union Church in Yeagertown, PA.
I hope you are encouraged and challenged to walk more closely with Jesus Christ!