How God Saves Us

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Scripture Passages: Mark 5:21-42.

The purpose of today’s message was to help answer the question,  “how can we know we are saved?”

Read the passage again.

  1. The grace of salvation.

The woman who approached Jesus hadn’t been able to worship at the temple for 12 years because she was unclean, had spent all of her money trying to get better, and Jesus was now her only option. We as people are desperate for the grace of God.

  1. The faith of salvation.

We have to believe that God is who he says he is and will do what he says he will do.  We can look to Scripture to see that belief and faith in Jesus is key. Scripture to look at: John 14:6, Hebrews 11:6, Romans 10:9-10

  1. The life of salvation.

We are saved FOR something. The power of Jesus is that he makes unclean things clean. He is the only one who has the power to do that. Jesus looks at us liked he looked at the little girl and said, “arise.”

Personal Application:

  • Do you know the saving love and grace of Jesus? What does salvation mean to you?
  • What are you hoping that Jesus will do for you this weekend?
  • Is there someone in your life you who you are burdened for that doesn’t know Jesus? How can you love them in the Gospel? Pray for them.

Gospel Prayer - Gospel Impact

Scripture Passage: Acts 4: 23-31

What is the spiritual disciple that is most practiced when we have “defining moments” in our lives?

Prayer is an intimacy with God that leads to the fulfillment of His purposes.

Jesus provides the pattern for our prayers in Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:1-4:
• Reverence (Upward)
• Response (Downward)
• Request (Inward)
• Readiness (Outward)

What happened in Acts 4:13-22?

How did the disciples respond? Acts 4:23-31

Scripture-fed, Spirit-led, Worship-based Prayer
• Verse 24 – began to worship in prayer

• Verses 25-27 – Prayed out of Scripture
How does this relate to Jesus’ pattern of prayer?

• Verse 28 – surrendered to His Word and His will
How does this relate to Jesus’ pattern of prayer?

• Verses 29-30 – trusted Him for their immediate need
How does this relate to Jesus’ pattern of prayer?

• Verse 31 – went out in the power of the Spirit to share the Gospel
How does this relate to Jesus’ pattern of prayer?

PERSONAL APPLICATION:
• How should we pray as a couple?
• How would this kind of prayer empower my prayer life?
• How could this make our family prayer time more effective?

Kingdom Living

kingdom+living

Scripture: After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near.  Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:14-15).

  1. The Reality of the Kingdom.

The word kingdom means the domain in which one rules and reigns.  The Gospels teach us that God’s Kingdom is coming and that God’s Kingdom is already here.

  1. The Location of the Kingdom.

The Kingdom of God is everywhere God rules and reigns. As King, God allows us to choose if we are going to seek Him and His Kingdom in our lives.

  1. The invitation of the Kingdom.

We are invited to “repent and believe the good news” of God’s Kingdom (vs. 15) for our salvation and invite others into God’s Kingdom by sharing the good news with others (Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:18-20).

Questions to pray about and talk about as a family:

  1. Consider your own life.What do you need to release to God so that more of His Kingdom rules and reigns in your life? (examples: things from your past, fears, struggles, pride, lies from the enemy, sins). Take time to pray and ask for God’s Kingdom come into those areas of your life.
  2. Ask God to put one person on your heart each month to invite into His Kingdom.  This may involve one or more of the following areas of your life.

Heart– ask someone about their story or share your story

Home – invite someone into your home for coffee or a meal

Gather– invite someone to worship with you or to your Community   Group

Beyond– go beyond your comfort zone by reaching out to  someone outside your personal comfort zone to share the Gospel.

Reset Your Regret

Scripture Passage: Philippians 3:13-14

Each of us have regrets. According to Forbes magazine, the top three regrets of 2018 are…
• Working too much at the expense of family and friendships
• Spending too much time on my phone or computer
• Taking life too seriously

The Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians teaches us how to address our regrets.

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.”

1. Silence the Accuser
Satan, our accuser, can be overcome “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony (Revelation 12:11).”

Through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross we now have power over sin. As believers in Jesus Christ, God’s grace is sufficient for us in all matters.

We also silence Satan by the sharing of our testimony. There is power in telling our story. Turn your regret over to Christ, and share your story.

2. Reconcile and Repent
If it within our power then God expects us to resolve the regret we have — for example, apologizing to someone we’ve hurt or wronged, or restoring a relationship, or other ways that the Holy Spirit prompts us. Then, we must repent; ask God’s forgiveness.

3. Move Forward
To move forward requires that we turn loose of past regrets and then move toward Jesus, allowing Him to do His work through us.

• Discuss and think about these things:
Share a regret. Talk about how you might implement God’s plan for you to reset that regret. Encourage others in your family to share, too.

The Truth about Adoption

Truth Book of James

James 1:27-2:1: “Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained from the world. My brothers and sisters, do not show favoritism as you hold on to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.”

In this passage, James is saying that part of believing and embracing the love of Jesus is that we are automatically going to have a desire to extend that love to others.

3 Aspects of Adoption 

  1. Adoption’s History
    It is important to understand that the people who first read the words of James lived on a different continent, spoke a different language, and had different norms and practices from us.
  1. Adoption’s Significance
  • Adoption is one of those incredible pictures God has given us in family life that helps us understand what He has done for us and how He sees us.
  • God doesn’t just save us, but He takes us into His family as children and heirs (J.I. Packer)
  • If you have placed your faith in Jesus, God has not only said that you are forgiven. He has also said, “I love you. You are my child, and I want you to share in my inheritance.”
  1. Adoption’s Response
  • Respond by extending love to those who feel disconnected from the love of God
  • Respond in a direct way by literally caring for orphans
  • Respond by really embracing the adoption that we have received in Jesus Christ

Be encouraged today that we are co-heirs with Christ and our position as adopted sons and daughters of the living God of heaven is unshakable and irrevocable.

Discussion Questions

  1. Even though we have faith in Jesus, why do we sometimes show favoritism?
  2. How do you know that God loves you?
  3. Why do we struggle to believe and accept God’s love for us?
  4. How do we extend love to those who feel disconnected from the love of God?
  5. How is God calling you to have a role in adoption?

Politics and the Christian

Scripture Passage: Mark 12:13-17

Mark tells the story of an occasion when the Pharisees and the Herodians tried to get Jesus to align with a political system. Rather than giving them the answer they wanted, Jesus challenged them to render to Caesar what belonged to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.

As Christians we should keep in mind three things when considering the political landscape and how to engage with those with whom we disagree. As we engage with others when should demonstrate humility and listen to others.

Three Rules for Political Activity as a Christian

1. Acknowledge the complexity of political issues.
We cannot pledge allegiance to a political party.
There are often many issues we all care deeply about.
We must listen to other people and their perspective.

2. Don’t worship the government.
The government is not responsible to uphold our faith.
There is no perfect political candidate.

3. Remember your King.
Jesus is King, not a political candidate.
Our greatest need is not an external need, it is internal and only solvable by our King.

Think About It
• Have you ever thought about the complexity of political issues? How can you better grow in understanding of those complexities?

• Have you ever found yourself indirectly worshiping the government or a political candidate as the solution to problems?

• Which kingdom keeps you awake at night and do you talk most about?

• How well do you listen to other Christ followers with different views? How can you better respect and love those who may see differently on political issues?

Jesus and the End Times

Scripture Passage: Matthew 24

According to the Scriptures, Christ will return. Prophecy is an often talked about topic and often looked at incorrectly.

When is the return of Christ? This is a question we all would like to have answered.

When will He return?  Scripture doesn’t tell us the day but it does give us some signs that point us to the return of Christ.

The Bible points of signs that indicate the season of Christ’s return.

  1. Cults | There have always been cults that easily deceive people and turn them away from Christ. The explosion of cults has taken place in the 20th Century.
  2. World Politics | Wars and Rumors of wars. Kingdom against Kingdom. During the 20th Century over 100 million people have died in wars.
  3. Natural Disasters | The Bible says there will be earthquakes, famine, floods, plaques. These have happened for years but the intensity has increased year after year.
  4. Christian Persecution | over 200,000 people annually suffer for their faith in Christ. Persecution of Christians is rampant around the world.
  5. Apostasy | The church is declining around the world. Never would we have thought that churches would accept homosexual ministers, same sex marriages.
  6. Breakdown of Society | America has become the moral polluter of the world. For example the movie “Gone with the Wind” was held up because the movie had a curse word in it. Recently a movie from Hollywood, “The Wolf of Wall Street” has one particular curse word 506 Times!
  7. Proclamation of the Gospel | Finally some good news. In all the horrific signs of His coming there will be the proclamation of the Gospel. Never before has the Gospel been proclaimed to so many people. Over 90% of all the people in the world have access to the Bible in their language.

He is coming again!  Are you ready?

The Truth About Mercy

Truth Book of James

Scripture Passage: James 2:8-12

We each receive an invitation from God to have a personal relationship with Him. Pastor Ryan spoke from James 2:8-12 about some reasons people don’t accept this invitation.

1. “I don’t trust the source.” – Is the Bible true? The reliability of the Bible is proven true over and over. We are encouraged to do some homework on our own to understand how we know it is true.

2. “I don’t need a Savior.” – People often think they are “good enough” on their own. Verse 10 and I John 3:4 make it clear that even one sin is enough to separate us from a holy God. So what is sin?

  • Breaking God’s Law
  • Not Doing What You Should Be Doing (Omission)
  • Not Living By Faith
  • Our Lack of Belief

3. “I’m not worried about God’s judgement” – All sin requires punishment. God IS a loving God and He offers mercy to everyone, but we must choose to accept it.

4. “I’m not worthy of God’s love.” – Verse 13 tells us that mercy triumphs over judgment. God loves us no matter what we’ve done.

Salvation and freedom from sin are free gifts God offers each of us. Have you accepted his grace, mercy and forgiveness?

Discussion:

  • Share your salvation story.
  • Can you think of any other reasons people might turn away from God?

The Truth about Temper

Truth Book of James

Scripture Passage: James 1:19-20

An NBC News poll conducted recently among a national sample of 3,257 indicated that Americans are basically all furious about something. 68% of us are either angry once a day or multiple times a day.

Were you furious about something this week? Did you lose your temper or hold it in? Have you had an argument with someone more than once in the last month? The reality is that all of us deal with anger. Today’s Bible passage shows us how to deal with conflict and anger in a healthy way.

1. Attentive Listening

Am I giving my full attention? Even when we are multi-tasking we can still only devote our full attention to one thing at a time.
Am I seeking the whole story? If we take the time to really hear where others are coming from, you’ll have more credibility when you bring your thoughts to the table.

2. Responsive Speaking

Ryan and his wife Lana shared “The Seven C’s” to keep in mind when dealing with conflict:

  • Don’t Confuse – Address one issue at a time
  • Don’t Compare – “Why can’t you be like ____?”
  • Don’t Condemn – Beware of absolutes like “You always…” or “You never…”
  • Don’t Command – Don’t end by force
  • Don’t Condescend – Passive aggressive comments just provoke
  • Don’t Challenge
    • “Just try that and see what happens!”
    • “I Dare You!”
    • “I’ll show you what a bad husband looks like!”
  • Don’t Continue
    • Don’t burry hurts (showing avoidance)
    • Don’t store up hurts to bring up later

3. Honest Assessment

We do in reality have the ability to limit our anger, but often the solution is more than just faking that we’re not mad. When we allow God to search our hearts, we will often find some deeper underlying stresses or hurts that are expressing themselves in anger.

Discussion Questions:

  • Describe how you felt the last time you were speaking with someone and it felt like they weren’t listening.
  • Which one of “The Seven C’s” do you struggle with the most?
  • Share a time when God has healed a wound or hurt in your life and how it affected your interaction with others.

The Truth about the Truth

Truth Book of James

Scripture Passage: James 1:21-25

This morning, we continued our James study by looking at James 1:21-25. Pastor Rush stated, “For all of life, there are right ways and wrong ways to use things. To make the most of what you have you need to use it the right way. Otherwise you’re missing out on the total benefits and may even find yourself getting frustrated because something isn’t working quite right. “

Here were three ways we can become not just a hearer of the Word, but a doer of the Word.

  1. “Put On” the Word (“Take Off” the World)

James calls us to take off the old sinful ways – those “nasty clothes” – and clothe ourselves with Jesus. Pastor Rush said, “the only way we can recognize those old ways is through the truth of the Word.”

  1. “Take In” the Word

The Bible is like food. Again, Pastor Rush stated, “If we are going to be doers of the Word we have got to start seeing this as our source of life. That if we go without consuming this food we are going to starve. This is not just the vegetables I need to eat cause they’re good for me. This is a full course Banquet meal.”What this means is we must meditate on God’s Word, bring it into our hears and consume it.

  1. “Live Out” the Word

It’s interesting that James uses the analogy of the “mirror” in this passage. Pastor Rush mentioned, “So now James brings in this image of a mirror where we see our reflection. But this mirror of God’s word works differently than a regular mirror. We don’t just see our reflection as we ARE – we also see our refection as we SHOULD BE. The Bible has the power to do both at the same time. If you treat the Bible correctly, not only will you read the Bible; the Bible will read you!”

Let’s not make it a “hobby” to simply listen to sermons or read God’s Word and have no intention of being a doer of God’s Word.

Discussion Questions:

  • What about today’s sermon from Pastor Rush stuck out to you?
  • Which of the three points from today’s message is most difficult for you to do? Why?
  • What does salvation have to do with this passage in James? Why did James talk about salvation in this passage? Is there anything you need to be reminded of regarding your salvation?
  • Would you say you lean more towards being a hearer of the Word only or a more towards being an actual doer of the Word? Why?
  • What is one small step you can take today to become more of a doer of God’s Word than just a hearer?