In any time, there are always many reasons to wonder whether Christianity can survive much farther into the future. Yet, regardless of the challenges, Christians can rest assured that the Church will survive the worst her enemies can muster. This confidence rests squarely upon Jesus's promise to Peter, "I will build my church," (Matt. 16:18).
2 Corinthians 5:7
How can we have confidence that it will go well for us when we "stand before the judgment seat of Christ" after all is said and done?
In this message from guest preacher Mark Collins, of Durango, CO, we are encouraged to rest our fate in the righteousness of Jesus, and to devote our own lives to living God's way according to Jesus.
Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43
In the Parable of the Weeds, Jesus teaches that God plans to leave the wicked in his world until the righteous have fully matured. The Parable promises divine resources for Christians to stand tall to the glory of God.
Many Christians join their neighbors in their communities in celebrating the arrival of a New Year. Yet, "New Year's Day" has never been a Christian holiday. What reasons might Christians have for celebrating a time when the earth begins another trip around the sun? As we listen to God's word answering this question, we are reminded of some of the most profound teachings from God.
Genesis 3:8; 2 Corinthians 5:17
There was a time in God's special garden in Eden that man and woman took walks with God in the cool of the evening. Apparently, God drew near in the form of a human body in order to enjoy this garden time with them. The man and woman's sin ruined all of that, corrupting human nature itself. Now the human life would be marked by Death in many forms of experience.
At just the right time, God took human form again, but in a very unique way. God united his own being to the corrupt human being in the man, Jesus. By sacrificing this human life for our sins, God renewed human nature in Jesus Christ. Now, we have God's promise that in Jesus we will someday enjoy the fullness of that new humanity. Someday, we will take walks with God again in his special garden.
Some of the followers of John the Baptist are puzzled that Jesus does not lead his disciples to fast in preparation for the Kingdom of God. Instead, Jesus is feasting with Matthew and other tax collectors and sinners. Jesus explains why he feasts by reminding John's followers that Jesus is the "bridegroom" whose presence means the Kingdom feast is about to begin. For Christians, this means we always have the joy of hope no matter if it is a time of fasting or a time of feasting.
Jesus's resurrection proves the reality of the Christian hope for eternal life beyond death. It also demonstrates the divine power available to help Christians live Jesus' way now. Jesus calls Christians to store up treasures in heaven, because that is where our hearts will be. We also hear him saying that our hearts will have immense resources to serve God faithfully and to love others well. We need to be sure that we are investing out devotion, our time, and our money in that eternal hope.
Matthew shows us that the beginning of Jesus' ministry fulfills an ancient promise to the lands of Galilee for light and blessing from God. This reminds disciples of the focus of our service in the Lord.
In the light of the Bible's use of the "reaper" metaphor for Death, Christians understand that there is good news even in the midst of a pandemic.