As we come to a close on this series, Pastor Doug teaches that our nature as Christians is to be set free on the world. We will have to get out of our comfort zones, but we will fulfill our reason for being in our current place and time.
This week, Pastor Ben wraps up 1 Thessalonians by mentioning that Paul's challenge for the church to avoid complacency. The Thessalonian church did not have sin issues that Paul had brought up in the letter. Likewise, we need to be careful that we do not stop growing and striving for Christ.
After Saul's conversion on the road to Damascus, he went to the home of Ananias and scales fell from his eyes so that he could see again. This week, Josh Knipple challenges us to ask that the Lord removes the scales from our own eyes. We need to start by seeing our need for Christ in our lives. Along with that, we need to see the needs of others. Who is the Holy Spirit bringing into our lives on a daily basis? How can we look into the communities around us and bring change into the lives of those who may need it most?
Once we come to a personal and saving knowledge of Christ, the next step we are told to take is to share this knowledge with others. This is what it means to be involved in ministry. Many people may think of ministry as a formal program, but this week, Pastor Ben tells us that most ministry occurs as part of our day-to-day lives. We need to look for what Jesus is doing in the world around us, take part in His mission, and invite others to join with us to spread His glory.
After a few weeks away from the Beatitudes, Pastor Ben looks at the idea of being persecuted. While this can be an uncomfortable idea, it is important to realize that persecution for Christ can still be felt in the world. It is important to remember that not all persecution is for the sake of righteousness, and we should be careful to examine ourselves during difficult seasons. If we stay true to Christ, we can expect to stand out in a world that persecutes those who are different.
As we wrap up the neighbor about loving our neighbors, Pastor Ben teaches us to be patient in seeing results. Jesus can command thousands of demons with just His word. We simply need to make sure that we are keeping Christ involved when we are showing His love to others.
As the people of Israel enter the Promised Land, God commands them to be strong and courageous. He will be with them as they remember the Law that He had given to them. Even one of the people of Jericho remind Israel what God had done for them already. As an object of God's wrath, Jericho was completely destroyed. We need to understand God's wrath in order to better recognize His grace.
Popular culture has many ideas regarding Satan. Most of these have no basis in the Scripture. This week, we look at what the Bible has to say about who our enemy is, what he wants, and how to stand strong against him.