God’s Great Secret, Part 1

God’s Great Secret, Part 6

Your connection to the local church defines and reveals the nature of your relationship to the whole church of Jesus Christ. In other words, your connection to the church reveals whether or not you truly understand God’s great secret.

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Christ made Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians one in Christ. He did so by breaking down the wall that divided them: the ceremonial part of Mosaic Law.

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Our culture is trending in the wrong direction on all the moral questions of our times because of its fundamental departure from and dismissal of God.

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The social justice movement does not use traditional definitions in their arguments. It is critical to establish biblical definitions when dealing with this issue.

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The Bible teaches that God glorifies Himself in a variety of ways in our world today. As believers we must embrace these realities during our prayers.

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Christians must rely upon the grace of God to provide everything necessary for this life. At the same time, believers are supposed to work hard and be diligent with what God provides.

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The Olivet discourse is one of the most difficult passages to interpret in all of Scripture. Therefore, as we begin, we must understand why the disciples are asking Jesus about the future.

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In the Olivet Discourse Jesus addresses three particular issues:
1) The destruction of the temple in Jerusalem,
2) the signs of Jesus’ return, and
3) the signs of the end of the age.

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The New Testament identifies and defines two categories of spiritual gifts. The first category is miraculous sign gifts.

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The New Testament identifies and defines two categories spiritual gifts. The second category is permanent, edifying gifts.

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In order for Christians to determine their spiritual gifts they must read and study the Scripture, and pray for God’s leading and direction.

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The gift of prophecy was God’s way of communicating His revelation through the apostles to the people of the church.

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Every believer has a unique blending of spiritual gifts that are to be used in the local church for the glory of God.

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Jesus explains how the scribes and Pharisees misinterpreted and misrepresented the Old Testament teaching on “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.”

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Jesus isn’t teaching that Christians should retaliate. Rather, He is teaching a foundational principle for the just legal system: the punishment must fit the crime.

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To seek personal revenge is either to desire to act, or actually to act, to inflict harm on someone because of a past insult or injury.

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God is infinitely worthy to sit on the universe’s throne and to judge its treacherous rebellion against Him, and He will delegate that judgment to the Son.

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The 24 elders around God’s throne are representatives of redeemed humans, specifically of both Old Testament and New Testament believers.

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Revelation 4 describes a distinct class of angelic beings not mentioned elsewhere in Scripture—they are the exalted guardians of God’s throne.

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In the great hymn at the end of Revelation 4 God is described as the Creator God who has the right to redeem His creation and to judge it.

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In Revelation 5 God holds a mysterious scroll that becomes the centerpiece for the entire book of Revelation.

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God’s scroll is most likely a title deed to the entire earth. The scroll’s seals are the judgments our Lord will unleash on the earth to redeem it from its curse and restore it to its rightful owner.

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Revelation 5 describes the Lamb, our Lord Jesus Christ, as being enthroned with God the Father and being the One who is worthy of breaking the seven seals on the scroll.

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By His sacrificial death the Lamb has taken control of the course of history and guaranteed its future. He alone is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll.

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Jesus is the only Savior of this world, and His satisfaction of God’s wrath at the cross is the only propitiation for all people everywhere. There is no other way for God’s wrath to be satisfied than by the person and work of Jesus.

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Jesus’ and Paul’s warnings about false teachers are just as crucial for us to understand as they were in the first century. False teachers always exist and they must be identified.

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In their attempts to keep people from breaking God’s Law, the Pharisees put fences between the people and God’s Law. They created an artificial system of rules and regulations that had almost nothing to do with God’s commandments.

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Christians must be careful not to distort or twist the meaning of Scripture—that is exactly what happened with the Pharisees of the first century.

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The Pharisees were the superficially religious leaders of the day. In fact, Jesus called them hypocrites because they were pretending to be something they were not.

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First-century Judaism had become completely worthless because the religious leaders had truly abandoned the authoritative Word of God.

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Legalism and human tradition ultimately lead to the view that salvation can only be received through works and human righteousness.

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Those who teach false systems of religion and enslave others in them receive the most extreme condemnation from our Lord Jesus Christ.

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God demonstrates Himself to be a Savior by restoring the land from drought and famine to food production, by restoring Naomi from sin to repentance, and by converting Ruth from idolatry to salvation.

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The providence of God is greatly manifested in the series of events that unfold in the book of Ruth. In fact, God’s providence is one of the major themes of this book.

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Boaz does what God commands righteous people to do in His word: he looks out for those in need and he cares for those who find themselves in difficulty. That’s how God met Naomi and Ruth’s needs.

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Naomi urged Ruth to be obedient to the Scripture and then patiently wait for God to fulfill His plans. This type of timeless counsel and response ought to be modeled by every Christian.

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The book of Ruth reminds believers of the spiritual and eternal way God rescues His people—through the one Redeemer He has appointed, the ultimate descendant of Boaz and Ruth, His Son, Jesus the Messiah.

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Although abortion is a horrible sin, it is not unforgivable. The gospel of Jesus Christ offers forgiveness of sins and salvation for all those who repent and believe in Him.

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There are several methods that doctors and medical staff use to facilitate an abortion. But behind such wicked acts is Satan himself, who was a murderer from the beginning. He is the one who is ultimately behind the abortion movement.

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There are several biblical arguments against abortion that all Christians need to fully understand. Because believers live in a culture that overwhelmingly supports abortion, we must know how to respond from the word of God.

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Since the war between God and Satan takes place in the minds of men, the war focuses on thoughts and ideas. These things need to be brought under the power of the word of God and the Spirit of God.

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In Ephesians 6 the metaphor Paul uses to describe Christians is ‘soldiers in the Lord’s army.’ As soldiers we have been given very specific orders to follow and fulfill.

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Regardless of how old or young you are, how long or short a time you’ve been a Christian, how spiritually immature or mature you are, if you’re a Christian then you are in a spiritual war for your entire lifetime.

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Sadly, most Christians think that the Christian life is all a matter of ‘my will power, my decisions, and my expending the right amount of human effort.’ Paul rejects that idea and teaches that Christians must put on God’s armor.

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The armor of God is built upon objective truths about who God is and what God does. In addition, the armor is directly related to what God has done in and through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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Daniel desired for God’s people to be truly restored to Him—his prayer ultimately sought to bring glory to God. Likewise, Christians should pray with the goal of God’s glory in mind.

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The Corinthians had so corrupted the Lord’s Table that the apostle Paul had to intervene in order to save them from God’s judgment, and to redirect their spiritual life.

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The two elements that are used in the Lord’s Table are to remind God’s people of their spiritual rescue from slavery to sin and God’s holy wrath.

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Paul wants every Christian to understand that the Lord’s Table is a crucial part of the corporate worship of the church because our Lord Himself commanded it. Therefore, every Christian must understand what this ordinance actually means.

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The Lord’s Table is a confession of the Christian faith, a means of spiritual nourishment, and a symbol of our fellowship with other believers in Christ. Most importantly, it is a remembrance of the person and work of Jesus Christ.

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If you have never confessed Jesus as Lord, if you have never repented of your sins and put your confidence in Christ and His work alone, these two verses describe exactly what God will say to you on the day of judgment—this will be His verdict on your life and the conclusion to your story.

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Every human being is responsible to keep every one of God’s commandments in order to be right with Him. Because this is impossible, you must trust in the Lord Jesus Christ who perfectly kept all of God’s commands.

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The purpose of God’s law is to remind all mankind that we are guilty before Him and that we have no legitimate defense. This understanding of mankind’s legal status before God should drive us to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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If you are willing to repent of your sin and embrace Jesus Christ as Lord, God will forgive your sin and save you from His just wrath to come. It is only through Christ’s life, death, and resurrection that salvation can be yours.

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In this sermon Jesus gives a profound statement regarding the character and nature of Scripture: it is without error. Theologians call this attribute of Scripture inerrancy. This simply means that the original autographs of Scripture were written without error.

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Jesus did not hesitate to rebuke others for not studying and understanding Scripture. This ought to encourage Christians to be faithful in reading and studying the entire Scripture, with the intent of knowing exactly what God has revealed in His word.

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There are many ways in which Christians can downplay the priority and importance of Scripture. Every follower of Christ must be careful to treat Scripture just as Jesus treated it. This is all the more reason why Christians must be diligent to rightly divide the word of truth.

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Jesus exposes the fatally flawed righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees to show that no man can enter the kingdom of God based on personal merit or human righteousness. Only the righteousness of Jesus Christ can provide eternal life to the one that repents of their sins.

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In order to get into the kingdom of God you must have a righteousness that exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees. This simply means that you must have a true, authentic righteousness that comes directly from the Lord Jesus Christ.

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By the providential direction of God, the magi visited Jesus during the time of His birth to fulfill the unique duty of anointing future kings. Because Jesus is a king, the magi play a prominent role in the birth story of Jesus.

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The magi had come to Jerusalem because they were convinced that Israel’s divine Messiah, the one who had been promised in the Old Testament, the one who would eventually rule the world, had been born into this world.

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Most people are unaware of their true spiritual condition. Unfortunately, they remain indifferent to the only One who can rescue them. During the time of our Lord’s birth, people responded with settled indifference toward Him, our rightful King.

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The story of the magi is a story of sovereign grace. Ultimately, it is not a story of their seeking Jesus; it is a story of God sovereignly seeking them. God reached down into their hearts and called them to Himself.

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The good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ must begin with bad news: all people by nature are dead in their trespasses and sins. Understanding the spiritual deadness of man is key to understanding what it means to be made alive in Christ.

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The apostle Paul teaches that sinful man does not have the ability, nor does he even desire, to come to Christ for salvation. Because of this reality only divine intervention can bring a sinner to salvation.

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Paul teaches that unrepentant sinners have never been on the path of righteousness. Not only is every person born into this world with a fallen nature (Rom. 5:12–21), but every person willingly sins against God’s law and rebels against Him.

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Unbelievers are not only controlled by the sinful desires of their flesh, but they follow after the course of this world. In other words, unbelievers don’t participate in the things of God; rather, they adhere to a worldview that is shaped by the culture.

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According to God Himself, before a person becomes a Christian, he lives his life not only in lockstep with the thinking of his age, but also in step with, or influenced by, the devil himself.

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Satan earnestly desires to corrupt the true gospel and distort the true Jesus. Satan is not just into paganism and idolatry, although he does thrive in those areas. But he is also involved in distorting and perverting the worship associated with the true God of the Bible.

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Paul teaches that all unrepentant sinners—those who have not bowed the knee to Christ—live in active disobedience against God, their Creator. This means that all unbelievers are rebels against a holy God.

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There is power in the gospel of Jesus Christ to free people from the controlling, dominating and enslaving power of sin. Such power brings people out of the darkness of their sin and into the light of eternal life found only in Jesus Christ.

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The gospel of Jesus Christ operates under a divine initiative. In other words, salvation, from beginning to end, is solely a work of God in the heart of wretched sinners. Only a sovereign act of grace will ever bring a sinner to Christ.

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God, in His grace, has made a way for sinners to escape His wrath and the eternal punishment that He promises will come. Such a way of salvation has been offered through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

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The grace and mercy of the Almighty God are who He is by nature. According to Scripture, God loves showing His grace and mercy towards those who will come to him in repentance and faith—He will in no wise cast them out!

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The apostle Paul teaches that not only are all Christians connected to Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection, but also His ascension and exaltation. This means that Christ is our continual representative before God, and he will continue to be so throughout all eternity.

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God determined to save sinners from their sin in order to display His own glory. This means that salvation is primarily about the glory of God and the exaltation of His Son, Jesus Christ. This perspective towards salvation helps Christians rightly understand God’s main priority: His glory.

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Not only does God save sinners for His glory, but also for the entire world to see. God manifests His saving grace in order that all created beings would marvel at His plan of salvation that He has carried out in Christ.

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Not only is salvation a past event orchestrated by the hand of God, but it also has continual results that are ever present in the life of every believer. But it is important to note that all aspects of salvation, from justification to glorification, are all of the grace of God.

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There are several flawed views of salvation that are promoted in our world today. What is true about every flawed view is that each one incorporates man’s works and merits into the means of salvation. But the true gospel of Jesus Christ is salvation by grace alone through faith alone.

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Because of the salvation that has been brought to every believer in Christ, all Christians are new creations in Christ. According to the apostle Paul, Christians are “His workmanship.”

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God had a particular design in mind when He determined to save someone from their sin. That design includes being conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. This includes living a life that is consistent with Jesus’ life and with the whole teaching of Scripture.

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If you have a right understanding of salvation then you have a right understanding of the gospel. And it is only the gospel of Jesus Christ that saves people from their sin. On a personal level, if you are not in Christ, you need to understand that only God can accomplish salvation for you—only He can give you a new heart.

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Jesus and the apostles both upheld the Old Testament as the word of God, which was to be read, studied and applied by the people of God. In our passage, Christ uses the Old Testament Law as the starting point to His presentation of the gospel, in order to expose the darkness of the rich, young ruler’s heart.

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When Jesus presents the gospel to the rich, young ruler in Mark 10, He says nothing of a works- or merit-based system. Rather, He calls for the young man to forsake his own life, repent of his sins, and trust in Him alone.

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The beauty of Scripture is that it presents eternal, unchanging truths about God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. And, for Christians, it also provides practical ways to live out such truths in the life of your local church…and in the world around you.

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In Romans 9–10 Paul gives several reasons why Israel, God’s chosen people, have rejected the Lord Jesus Christ and the gospel. One of those reasons is that they did not take personal responsibility to obey the words of the Old Testament and the words of our Lord Jesus Christ. They refused to obey the message of the gospel which is to repent and believe. Paul’s message is still applicable today.

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Romans 9–10 teaches that Christians are in right standing with God not because we ourselves have earned any right standing through good works or merit, but solely based on the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

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Many individuals think they are religious, but in fact have only a superficial connection to the Bible, church and Christianity. They most likely are trusting in their own good works to earn a right standing with God. But in Romans 9 the apostle Paul explains that Jesus Christ is a “stumbling block” for everyone seeking salvation by their own effort and works.

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As Christians we need to understand that Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of our lives. Our life’s desire ought to be shaped and measured against Christ and His word. We want to think like He thinks, to walk like He walks, and to please our Heavenly Father just has He pleased His Father.

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All religions provide two basic options to obtain this necessary righteousness: 1) You can try to establish your own righteousness before God by personal efforts, good works, or religiosity, or 2) You can receive righteousness as a free gift through faith in Jesus Christ. In Romans 9 and 10 the apostle Paul explains how faith in Christ is the only legitimate option.

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Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the apostle Paul wrote the letter to the Romans to explain the “Gospel of God” and the fact that man cannot obtain righteousness apart from Jesus Christ. How should we as Christians then live? By championing this truth and being willing to share such good news with our friends, family, co-workers and all who do not know Christ.

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In Romans 10 the apostle Paul teaches that all people must come to Christ on these terms—and we as Christians have embraced this truth by faith. In today’s message, the apostle Paul shows that the gospel message isn’t merely words, but a commitment from the heart to a life centered upon Jesus Christ as Lord.

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If you truly believe in the person and work of Jesus Christ, then you will respond in humility and obedience to Him. If you’re a follower of Christ, rest assured and take comfort if you’ve made that confession and have experienced the spiritual rescue that comes only through the person and work of Jesus Christ.

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In Romans 10, after Paul describes every man’s responsibility to believe in the gospel, he explains that such a truth finds its foundation in Scripture. Paul is simply saying that the entire Bible teaches that God only has one way of salvation: through Christ alone and by faith alone.

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The Bible often speaks about calling on God’s name: sometimes for confessing that God is the true God; sometimes for praying to Him; other times it is used for praising Him. But in Romans 10 Paul uses “calling upon the name of the Lord” in a gospel sense: you must call upon Him for the forgiveness of sins. And since our God is a merciful God, the wonderful reality is that He will graciously respond to all who call on Him.

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According to the apostle Paul in Romans 10, God has ordained a normal course by which people come to saving faith: through the preaching and teaching of God’s word. We as Christians have experienced that truth. Whether by the preaching of God’s word or through evangelistic efforts, we have come to realize our sinful condition and the need for the sinless Savior, Jesus Christ, to stand in our behalf.

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In Romans 10 the apostle Paul describes the chronological order of a sinner coming to faith in Jesus Christ. We as Christians often don’t think of the gospel in chronological terms, but Paul shows how important it is to understand the order that God uses bring people to salvation. But as you’ll see, as matter of personal application this reality should motivate you to carry the gospel of Christ to the ends of the earth

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The Bible makes clear that God commands all people everywhere to repent and believe. It is every person’s responsibility to accept God’s way of salvation, which He has provided in the Jesus of the Bible. The sad truth is that there are many who will disobey God at this point and refuse to believe in the only way of salvation. As believers, however, we have obeyed God, embraced the gospel, and received the forgiveness of sins through Christ.

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Romans chapter 10 describes the gospel of Jesus Christ as an invitation to become part of God’s family, as well as a command to obey the God of the universe. The person who does can rest in the wonderful and blessed assurance that they are no longer God’s enemy and no longer under His wrath, but rather a son or daughter adopted into His family.

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The truth is there isn’t a single person in this world that can escape the temptation to lie. In Jesus’ most famous sermon, He demands that every Christian pursue radical truthfulness in speech. According to Jesus, if you’re one of His true followers, your life will be characterized by truthful speech.

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Christians ought to reflect the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. That means more than just external conformity to His words. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches that you must obey His words from the heart—including your speech.

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In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls His disciples to a higher standard of living, one that pursues a greater righteousness than the Pharisees’ hypocritical righteousness. Christ teaches you that if you’re His disciple, you must be characterized by speaking truthfully, including making oaths and vows.

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Although Jesus commands His disciples to be committed to radical truthfulness, this does not mean that Christians should do this in an unbiblical manner. Scripture contains several warnings signs that believers should be aware of in order to avoid committing other sins while speaking truthfully.

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The legacy of the Christian church is that the expository preaching of the Old and New Testaments is the biblical pattern. Moses preached sequential expositions; Old Testament priests taught verse-by-verse from the Scripture; Jesus Himself was an expository preacher; and the New Testament church taught verse-by-verse through the Scripture.

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Our Lord Jesus Christ was an expository preacher because He believed every word of Scripture to be the very word of God. Therefore, when He taught the word, His custom was to read the text, explain the text, and apply the text.

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We live in a day and age where Christian music is more widely produced and more accessible now than ever before. But is the music being played inside churches biblical? Sadly, a biblical philosophy of music has been lost in churches around the world, so it is critical to go back to the Bible to see what it teaches about music in worship.

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The second commandment teaches that God alone has the right to prescribe how His people are to worship Him. This very much includes the music we play and sing at church. We as Christians must follow the biblical pattern of singing songs that have God-centered lyrics that bring praise and honor to Him.

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The Bible teaches that there are three primary purposes for music in worship: personal, horizontal and vertical. Personally, in the sense that we as Christians must be actively engaged in remembering the truths of Scripture. Horizontally, as Colossians 3 and Ephesians 5 teach, we must sing biblical truths to one another. And vertically—most importantly—we must express our hearts to God.

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Should churches sing traditional or contemporary songs? Is it ok to sing both? Sadly, music style has becoming increasingly divisive in the church, mainly because of a misunderstanding about what the Bible teaches about “styles” of music. But both the Old and New Testaments give clear teaching about styles of music and what is appropriate for the worship of God.

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God not only commands that music and singing be part of worship, He also prescribes several resources that enrich and support music in worship. This includes various musical instruments, orchestras, choirs, vocalists, music directors, and congregational singing.

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The New Testament teaches that true worship is that which flows out of the heart of every believer. As Christians, when we sing to the Lord on Sunday mornings, we must not only do so audibly, but also from the heart—it should be wholehearted, focused singing. And second, we must direct our music and singing to our Lord Jesus Christ—we have to intentionally direct our worship to Him.

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The culture outside of Christianity has many ideas about truth—they teach it is relative; that there is no absolute truth; that if there was truth who could ever know it. Sadly, such ideas have crept into the Christian church. But the Bible claims to be truth, the objective standard of truth that was given directly by God Himself.

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Jesus Christ believed in absolute truth. In fact, He affirmed the Old Testament to be the truth, His own teaching to be true, and He pre-authenticated the authors of the New Testament to write the truth. At the same time, Jesus affirmed that truth can be comprehended. In other words, Jesus believed in a standard of truth, and He was fully confident that people would be able to understand it.

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It is absolutely critical for us as Christians to understand a biblical model for church leadership. Sadly, many leaders oversee their churches like businesses instead of the “household of God.” But the Bible presents a clear pattern of leadership that is built on a plurality of godly men.

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The New Testament provides several compelling arguments that call churches and church leaders to install biblically qualified elders to govern their churches.

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In 1 John the apostle John is teaching us that believing the right things about Jesus and His gospel, simply believing those facts to be true, does not prove that anyone is a Christian. But rather, genuine Christians also demonstrate a pattern of obedience to Christ in the way that they live: Christians deny sin and pursue righteousness.

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Many people in our world today believe that Christianity teaches that you are simply required to be the best person you can possibly be. In other words, the heart of Christianity is that your good deeds must outweigh the bad ones. Such a belief completely misrepresents what Christianity actually teaches. The Christian faith involves a radical transformation that is characterized by righteous living and obedience to the word of God.

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The Bible teaches that Christians have been adopted into the family of God as either a son or daughter. Theologians call this spiritual concept the doctrine of adoption. The truth is, God the Father has set His love upon a particular people and He has determined to adopt them into His family by His grace.

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God is love. And God’s love consists of both words and deeds. He put His love on display by sending His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for the sins everyone who would ever believe in Him. That is how deep and wide God’s love is for His family.

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The Bible teaches that adoption is a legal declaration that takes place at the moment of salvation, when God places every Christian into His family. This means that we as Christians enjoy and experience the full rights and privileges of sons and daughters of our heavenly Father.

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The doctrine of adoption is more than a theological concept to be studied; it is a doctrine that comes with many privileges. The New Testament describes several privileges that we as Christians experience here in this life.

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We, as Christians, embrace the doctrine of adoption because we understand that God Himself has brought us into His family. We were dead in trespasses and sins, but now we are alive in Christ. We are members of a new spiritual family, and we have new spiritual DNA. Now that we are part of God’s family, we must stand firm in Christ as we live for Him in an unbelieving world.

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The biblical teaching on adoption has several key implications for the life of every true believer here on this earth. But adoption also has several key implications for every brother and sister in Christ in the life to come, in the new heaven and earth.

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In 1 John 3 the apostle John teaches that the doctrines of adoption and glorification should motivate a believer to become more and more like Christ. This is known as the doctrine of sanctification.

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There are many flawed views of sanctification in the evangelical world today. Sadly, these flawed views hinder true believers from becoming more like Christ. It is critical for us as Christians to understand the biblical process for sanctification, so we can spend the rest of our lives pursing Christlikeness.

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Sadly, for a variety of reasons, many Christians refuse to take time to read, study, and understand the book of Revelation. But God never intended that to be so. In fact, in Revelation1:3 it says “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.”

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Many Christians believe that the book of Revelation does not apply to them today. But such a conviction couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, the description of the four seals and the four horsemen in Revelation chapter 6 provides Christians with several lessons that are applicable today.

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In Revelation chapter 6 Jesus Christ initiates the seven-year tribulation by breaking the first six seals on the scroll that is the title deed to the earth. These seven seals describe a series of sequential divine judgments that God will pour out on this rebellious earth at an appointed time in the future.

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When our Lord Jesus Christ breaks the sixth seal on the scroll there will be a series of six catastrophic disasters unleashed upon the earth: a worldwide earthquake; the sun will be blackened; the moon will be like blood; the stars will fall; the atmosphere will be damaged; and the earth’s tectonic plates will shift.

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Exodus 33 provides a graphic illustration of the great chasm that exists between every sinner and God. Where there is sin there is always separation. This is a reminder that where there is unconfessed, unrepentant sin in our lives, there is a real separation between us and God, just as there was between the Israelites who lived in the camp and God who was outside the camp.

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In light of the idolatry and sinfulness of God’s people while they worshiped the golden calf, Moses assumed a mediatorial role on behalf of the people to God. He humbly approached God and made three audacious requests, and God graciously responds to each one! The amazing reality is that we as Christians personally experience all three of God’s answers to Moses!

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The essence of idolatry is to think of God as less than He is, and to consider Him as nothing more than a glorified human being. Your view of God is absolutely foundational to your life. In fact, the most important thing about you is what comes to your mind when you think of the God of the Bible. For us as believers, most of our failures in practical Christian living can be traced to inadequate and defective thoughts about God.

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During the interaction between God and Moses after the golden-calf incident, God provides several glimpses into His own greatness—all of which put his amazing character on display for His people to see. He reveals that He is willing to interact with mankind, He reveals His own unique name, and He expresses that He has all power.

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In the Garden of Eden Satan tempted Eve to believe that God was intentionally withholding something good from her. Unfortunately, Satan’s strategy worked and both Adam and Eve sinned. Attacking the goodness of God is still one of Satan’s most effective weapons. There are many Christians who live with a distorted view of God, born out of a misunderstanding of His goodness. But God’s self-revelation in Exodus 33–34 destroys all inadequate and idolatrous views of God.

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During God’s interaction with Moses he describes two groups of people that exist in this world. The first group consists of those who love God, and they are described as guilty ones who have repented of their sins and sought His forgiveness—they are true believers. The second group consists of those who are guilty yet remain unrepentant. They refuse to turn from their sins and plead for His grace and forgiveness—they are unbelievers.

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Our world and culture have flawed views of justice, especially as it relates to God. We as Christians must be careful not to allow these distorted views to be applied to the God of the Bible. God’s self-revelation in Exodus 34 destroys all inadequate, idolatrous views of God, especially those that promote wrong views of His justice.

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In an exclusive event on Sinai after the atrocity of the golden calf, God revealed Himself to Moses. God made known certain attributes that brought attention to His unique character. This interaction shows that the only reasonable response to a glimpse of God and His self-revelation is to praise and worship God. Moses’ response to God provides a pattern for how we as Christians should respond to a glimpse of the glory of God in His Word.

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There are several crucial details that we as Christians must understand about the life of Jesus Christ in order to know Him better—details such as His commitment to the Old Testament, His daily practice as a carpenter, and His family life.

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For 3 ½ years Jesus went from town to town in Palestine, preaching and teaching the gospel: that man must repent of his sin and put his trust in Christ as the only way of salvation. Jesus also validated His claims by performing many miracles throughout the land.

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The four gospel accounts are the only four books that are a God-breathed, Spirit-inspired record of the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the gospels God has given us everything we need to know about Christ’s life, from His conception to His resurrection.

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We as Christians need to understand that Daniel 10 teaches us that our Lord God is always with His people, especially in their most difficult times. Every believer is going through or will go through difficult circumstances in this life—that is an unavoidable reality in a fallen world.

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The book of Daniel testifies to the fact that God is sovereign over all of human history. There hasn’t been a moment in time when God has been subservient to any kings, rulers, or empires. He rules from His throne from eternity past to eternity future.

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The Bible teaches that there are spiritual beings that operate throughout the universe, in this world, and in each of our lives—this is true of both holy angels and fallen angels, or demons. Daniel 10 describes the activity of angels and demons as it relates to their involvement with influencing the leaders and empires of the world.

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As Christians our confidence is in the fact the word of God teaches that Christ will return to this earth and will crush all His enemies beneath His feet. And God will use this world and the spiritual beings behind it to accomplish that very purpose.

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The Bible teaches that true, authentic faith demands abandoning one’s own life in order to wholeheartedly follow Christ. Paul uses Abraham as an illustration of this kind of faith.

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One of Paul’s primary points in Romans 4 is that true, authentic faith is not merely intellectual assent to the facts of the gospel. Those facts are necessary, but the facts alone do not save anyone. Rather, you have to have knowledge of the gospel, you have to be convinced that that knowledge is in fact the truth, and you have to trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.

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The Bible teaches that justifying faith is deeply rooted in the character of God. In fact, it is God alone who not only has the power to give spiritual life to spiritually dead sinners, but He also desires to do so. His merciful and gracious character towards sinners is displayed through the person and work His Son, Jesus Christ.

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In Romans 4 Paul uses the Old Testament character, Abraham, as an illustration of what it means to be justified by faith before God: Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.

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The Bible often connects justification, or salvation, with the grace of God—that attribute of God by which He desires to be gracious to those people who deserve the exact opposite. As he uses Abraham as an illustration of true, saving faith in Romans chapter 4, Paul says that a mark or quality of that faith is that it is a gift of God’s grace.

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In Romans 4 Paul uses Abraham as an illustration, or portrait, of true, saving faith—the fact that Abraham believed the promises of God and was justified by faith alone. God’s gracious interaction with Abraham is the template for justification by grace alone.

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In Romans 4 Paul uses an Old Testament character, Abraham, to illustrate several qualities that are true regarding the great doctrine of justification. One of those qualities is that even though we as Christians have weaknesses, true saving faith focuses on God’s promises and on God’s power to keep us saved. This was true of Abraham and it is true of every Christian.

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In Romans 4 Paul uses a financial term to describe that amazing transaction that takes place in the important doctrine of justification. That term is “credit.” It is a legal decision of God as Judge in which He credits the believing sinner’s sins to Christ on the cross, and then He credits to the sinner the merits of Christ’s perfect life—His righteousness. This entire transaction is born out of God’s grace alone and it is of faith alone.

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Christians must choose to think biblically in all matters, phases, and circumstances of life. We must cling to the Word of God and pray for the work of the Spirit to cultivate this mindset.

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Authentic saving faith is only found in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Faith in the biblical Jesus and the biblical gospel is the only faith that offers true forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

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This story captures the heart of Jesus’ ministry: that He has compassion on sinners who are willing to turn from their sins and put their faith and trust in Him. When Jesus encountered a demon-possessed boy, the boy’s father knew he could only trust in Christ to handle the situation.

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In this remarkable story, a young boy and His father experience the power of darkness and of Satan, yet at the same time they find themselves face to face with God Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ. And in an act of divine sovereignty, Jesus brings the father from weak faith to saving faith.

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In Mark 9 Jesus wanted the demon-possessed boy’s father to see that there is no problem that is too great for Him to fix. And the same is true of Jesus Christ today—He is willing to show compassion and grace, and to help those who come to Him.

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When Jesus encounters the demon-possessed boy in Mark 9, the people present responded differently as relates to faith: The scribes had no faith; the father of the boy had weak faith; Jesus’ twelve disciples manifested little faith.

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The one true God has determined to reveal Himself to people in general revelation—that is an amazing reality, and we should praise God for it!

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King David says that God has revealed Himself to all humanity through that which has been seen—creation. This wonderful truth, however, is intended to be used for more than just theological discussions. It should motivate us as Christians to honor and worship God because He has graciously revealed His wonderful character to us.

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In addition to God’s general revelation which has been made known to all people, God has uniquely revealed Himself in the Bible—special revelation. And it is that revelation that gives us the truth about Jesus Christ and the gospel, which can radically transform lives.

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Psalm 19 teaches that God’s special revelation to us in the Scripture is to be desired more than gold, and is sweeter than fine honey. The truth is, like the psalmist, the words of Scripture must consume our hearts, helping us to live righteously for the Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel.

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The book of Malachi helps set our thinking straight—that we can be confident of who God is and that He will fulfill all the promises He has made in His Word. This should give us great confidence that God has a good and perfect plan for His people.

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At times, we as Christians can doubt God’s goodness and we can fail to trust Him and His Word. But the prophet Malachi reveals that we can trust God, knowing that He loves His people and will always keep His promises.

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The parable of the four soils provides amazing insight into Who is ultimately in control of salvation—God. Our responsibility as Christians is to faithfully present the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who do not know Him, and we are simply called to trust and rely on God for the results of that gospel invitation.

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The central focus of Jesus’ parable of the soils is the soil into which the seed falls. This parable is absolutely crucial for us as Christians to understand as, according to Jesus, understanding this parable is foundational to understanding the rest of His parables.

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In this parable, the four human hearts react differently to the truth of the gospel message concerning Jesus Christ. In every situation the seed, or the gospel message, is identical. But whether someone believe the message depends on the condition of their human heart.

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The parable of the soils provides a theological grid for how Christians are to understand why people reject or believe the gospel. The issue isn’t Jesus or the gospel message, but the heart (or soil) of the one who hears the gospel.

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If Jesus is your Lord, the Bible teaches that such a confession must be public, expressed through baptism. Of course baptism doesn’t save you, but it demonstrates that you have been saved and radically changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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There are several misunderstandings of baptism in the world today. So an important distinction has to be made as it relates to believers’ baptism: baptism is not the cause of salvation; it is a public profession of salvation.

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God has clearly told us in His Word how husbands should love their wives—according to Eph. 5, “…just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her…” Husbands must love like our Lord did, where we lay aside our desires and our preferences and sacrificially love and serve our wives.

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The Lord Jesus Christ is the greatest example of self-sacrificial love our world has ever seen. The eternal Son of God took to Himself human flesh so that He might die, not for His sins, because He had none, but for the sins of all those who would ever believe in Him.

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The Bible not only calls husbands to love their wives sacrificially, but they must also demonstrate a love that sanctifies. This simply means that a husband’s love for his wife must be deeply concerned with her spiritual progress in the Christian life.

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In Ephesians 5 the apostle Paul teaches that all believing husbands must love their wives like Christ has loved the church. But in order for husbands to love in this way, they must actively purse biblical sanctification in their own lives.

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In this great passage, after the apostle Paul lays the groundwork for a husband’s love for his wife—that it must be sacrificial and sanctifying—he goes on to describe that that love ought to be like the love and care he shows for his own body.

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The Bible teaches that husbands are supposed to cherish their wives and show them honor and respect. In Ephesians 5 the apostle Paul empathically makes this point. A biblical husband is one who appreciates and values his wife and never humiliates or intimidates her.

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As the apostle Paul continues to explain how husbands should love their wives, he quotes from Genesis chapter 2, which teaches that a man and a woman have become one flesh in marriage.

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The Bible teaches that in God’s infinite wisdom He has created and determined what marriage is to be like. Not only has He defined it as a union between one man and one woman, He has said that it is a picture of how Christ loves His church.

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Romans 7 is a powerful reminder of our own sinfulness, and Paul helps us put into words the very feeling of our soul when we sin. We should never take sin lightly, and this passage makes that clear. Paul’s words in Romans 7 should also help us express how grateful we are to God for sending His only Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to save sinners.

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In Romans chapter 7 the apostle Paul describes his ongoing personal battle against sin. Although he had been forgiven of his sins and was a new creation in Jesus Christ, Paul understood the need to wage war against the dark guest, as he calls his flesh.

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In Romans 7 Paul describes the struggle that all believers have with sin. Although every true Christian has been born again, we are currently growing in our sanctification and holiness before the Lord. This simply means that as time passes Christians experience a decreasing pattern of sin and an increasing pattern of righteousness in their own lives.

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In one of the most controversial passages in the New Testament, Romans 7, the apostle Paul describes the battle that exists between Christians and their own remaining sin. Even though as Christians we are washed and renewed in Christ and desire to obey God’s good and perfect law, we cannot escape the reality of sin.

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In Romans 7 the apostle Paul makes it clear that all true Christians will wage war against their own personal sin. Paul’s words aren’t meant to be an indictment against Christians and their walk with Christ, but to encourage them to be mindful of their own sin and to take extreme measures to deal with it. At the same time, Paul wants believers to know that it is normal to experience struggles with sin, but that is never to be used as a license to sin.

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As the apostle Paul finishes describing every Christian’s battle against their sinful flesh, he recalls a key component of the gospel—that Jesus Christ is Lord. What Paul means is that only the Lord Jesus Christ can deliver people from sin, and He is the only one who ultimately deals with sin, finally and forever.

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In the beatitudes Jesus gives us a series of powerful statements that describe every true subject in His spiritual kingdom—that is, every true Christian. If you have repented of your sins and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, then the beatitudes and the specific qualities that Jesus describes will characterize your life.

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Jesus begins His most famous sermon by describing characteristics that are present in the life of every true follower of Jesus Christ. If you are saved and are in Christ’s spiritual kingdom, Jesus says that these characteristics, or beatitudes, are manifested in your life.

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Jesus begins the Sermon on the Mount by saying that every true subject of His kingdom, that is, every true Christian, is characterized by being poor in spirit. At first glance, it seems that such an interesting expression is an odd way for Jesus to begin a sermon in front of a large crowd. But as we’ll discover together, the starting point for being part of Jesus’ kingdom is to come to Him like a spiritual beggar, depending only on God’s grace for salvation.

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At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus describes that in order to be in His kingdom you have to come to terms with your spiritual poverty—that only Christ can bring you out of spiritual bankruptcy.

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As Jesus begins the Sermon on the Mount He describes several qualities that mark every true Christian. The second quality is that you must mourn over your own spiritual poverty. But what Jesus is saying is actually a paradox—He really means “Blessed are those who are unhappy.” You see, every true subject of Jesus’ spiritual kingdom understands the daily battle of sin.

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Do you profess to be a Christian? If so, then the qualities that Jesus describes at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount in the beatitudes should characterize your life. One of those qualities is that every Christian genuinely mourns over their sin. This means they recognize their spiritual poverty and that their sin offends a holy God, and they plead for His grace and forgiveness.

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As Jesus continues to describe the qualities of true Christians, He says that they are gentle people. This doesn’t mean that Christians are weak and severely lacking in courage. But rather, Jesus is teaching His people that they are to be both outwardly and inwardly gentle people. And this should be the consistent pattern of their lives towards God and other people.

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In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus says that His true disciples are consistently characterized by meekness and gentleness. Because this quality is not inherent to human beings, you must be a follower of Jesus Christ and be under the power of the Holy Spirit to produce it. And if meekness is a reality in your life, Jesus says that you will partake in the new heaven and earth in the future.

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At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, as Jesus describes the qualities of every true Christian, He says that God’s people will hunger and thirst for righteousness. In the same way that every person depends on food and water for life, every Christian must desire to live righteously before God, both positionally and morally and ethically, according to what has been written in God’s Word.

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The Bible teaches that Jesus is the only place where spiritual hunger and thirst can be met. This is one of Jesus’ main points in the beatitudes at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. He is the only one who gives His own righteousness to sinners who repent and believe in Him. And He is the only one who works true righteousness, or holy living, in those who are saved.

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At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus essentially gives a checklist of eight qualities that define every true Christian. One of those qualities is being merciful. But what does the Bible teach about mercy? The Old Testament teaches that mercy or compassion is an attribute of God, meaning that He is a gracious God who desires to extend His mercy to sinners.

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In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus says that those who belong to His spiritual kingdom are those who have experienced God’s mercy in salvation and those who manifest that reality by extending mercy to others. He then says of every Christian who extends mercy that they will stand before God someday, and there, on the day of judgment, they will experience God’s everlasting mercy.

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In the Old Testament God gave several laws that governed cleanliness and uncleanliness. This was simply to display that God Himself required that He be approached in a specific way. Jesus makes the same point in the beatitudes at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Friend, let me ask you: Are you pure in heart?

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At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus describes qualities that characterize every person who has repented of their sins and put their faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus then goes on to promise that every true believer will see God. But if God is spirit, how will we as Christians see Him?

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Human conflict not only characterizes world history, but it is ever present in our world today. Because all humanity is sinful and we live in a sin-cursed world, conflict is inevitable. But as Christians, in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus calls us to a higher standard. He says that all His followers, all those who are subjects of His kingdom, will be characterized by being peacemakers.

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The Bible teaches that God is a God of peace; that is one of His many attributes. The Bible also teaches that Jesus came into this world on a rescue mission to make peace between a holy God and sinful people. But in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus calls every one of His followers to be peacemakers. But what exactly does this mean for us as Christians?

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Jesus begins His most famous sermon, the Sermon on the Mount, by identifying several qualities that should be present in the life of every Christian. For those who profess to be followers of the biblical Jesus Christ, these qualities should be pursued on a daily basis. Therefore, we as Christians must be dedicated to reading, meditating on, and reviewing the beatitudes as part of our walk with Christ.

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Those who are in Jesus’ spiritual kingdom by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone will consistently manifest the beatitudes that Jesus speaks of at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. For us as Christians, it is critical to understand the beatitudes, because they are the entry point to understanding and living out the rest of Jesus’ sermon, which focuses on living for His kingdom right here and now.

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During Jesus’ life and ministry He made it clear that all those who are willing to be His followers will suffer persecution—Jesus said to His disciples that if they persecute me, they will persecute you. In fact, that is the teaching of the entire Bible. All those who desire to live godly as part of Christ’s kingdom will suffer and will face persecution.

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It is very common today for Christians to misunderstand God’s purposes for allowing His people to be persecuted. Although God is not the author of sin and persecution, He ultimately uses them for His purposes. Not only was this true of Joseph in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament, but it is also true of every believer at all times.

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This passage teaches that God is sovereign over history in its entirety and down to the smallest detail. At the same time, this chapter is a call for Christians to trust our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who is the King of Kings.

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Daniel wrote to the Jewish nation and let them know that God is sovereign and that He would be with them during the trials and sufferings that were to come. The same is true for us Christians today, for we serve a God who is sovereign, who controls all things, and who will never leave or forsake us. Rather, He will accomplish all His plans for His great glory and our good.

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The Bible teaches that God’s people will face persecution in this life. Thankfully, in God’s kindness, His Word reveals how we as Christians are called to deal with and respond to opposition and upheaval. Daniel chapter 8 serves as a blueprint–one that warns Christians that persecution and hostility are inevitable, and that our only response should be to trust our sovereign God and remain faithful to His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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In this magnificent chapter, God issues, through the prophet Daniel, a message of comfort and hope to His people. God informs them about a coming period of intense persecution and then promises that He will ultimately destroy their enemies and that His people, the Jews, will survive this intense persecution. For us as Christians today, this chapter gives us confidence that our great God rules from heaven over all human history, and we can trust him with our lives.

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Daniel chapter 8 is a fascinating chapter that highlights either explicitly or implicitly many of God’s attributes: We are shown that God is omniscient–that He knows all things. We learn that He is sovereign–that He controls all things. And we learn that He is a good God–He is loving, gracious, and full of compassion. But these attributes aren’t limited to Daniel and the times he was writing about. These attributes of God are still true of Him today.

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Daniel 8 is a powerful message that depicts God’s perfect attributes, and it is also a message of hope and comfort for all of those who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ. Even in the trials, difficulties, and sufferings of this life, we as Christians can rest in the character of God and the person and work of Jesus Christ for comfort.

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The Old Testament anticipates the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, who would eventually come into this world to redeem a people chosen by God from eternity past. The Old Testament tells of a Savior to come Who is able to forever deal with sin, Who will establish an earthly kingdom and eternally reign in a new heaven and earth. Christians cannot neglect the Old Testament because it is part of our story of redemption.

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The book of Genesis is crucial as it establishes God as the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. In fact, Genesis records that God, by His very word, spoke everything into existence out of nothing—theologians call this “ex-nihilo,” which is Latin for “out of nothing.” This important doctrine sets the stage for the rest of Scripture.

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It is common for Christians today to focus on the apologetic aspects of the book of Genesis in its defence of creation, marriage, the sanctity of life, and other issues. But at its heart, Genesis begins the story of a coming Redeemer who will crush the head of the serpent and establish His reign and rule over the world forever.

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The book of Exodus is the amazing story of God raising up of Moses to deliver His people, the nation of Israel, from slavery in Egypt and bring them to the Promised Land. But the task was not easy. Moses had to go up against Pharoah, the king of Egypt, to demand that he let God’s people go. In God’s providence, Pharoah’s stubborn refusal put God’s power on display and made His name known in Egypt and among the Israelites.

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The Book of Exodus records God’s interactions with Moses on Mount Sinai, which became the foundation and framework for life as the people of God. It was on Sinai that God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, His Law, and the sacrificial system. For the next two thousand years, the people of Israel would be intimately involved with God’s Law as the means to honor and worship Him and live separate from the pagan cultures around them.

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In one of the most remarkable scenes in the Old Testament, God gave His Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai. But these commandments are more than just external rules for God’s people to follow–they are internal, spiritual commands that every follower of God is required to obey from the heart.

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The Old Testament books of Joshua and Judges record the highs and lows of the nation of Israel. On one hand, Joshua tells of God’s people finally entering the Promised Land, the land God covenanted to give to Abraham and his descendants forever. But soon after the conquest, Judges records that the people of Israel chose abandon God’s Law and do what was right in their own eyes.

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Many Christians know that David wrote roughly half of the psalms recorded in the Old Testament. And most also know that David committed wretched sins that he repented of before the Lord. But fewer understand how the life, ministry, and kingship of David play a vital role in the story of the coming Messiah that unfolds in the Old Testament. The Scriptures teach that the Messiah would be a descendent of David and that He will reign forever on his throne.

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The Old Testament books of 1 and 2 Kings record the nation of Israel’s consistent disobedience toward God and His law and their repeated violation of the Mosaic Covenant that had been given on Mount Sinai. Because of their rebellion, the people faced many challenges and hardships, experiencing firsthand the curses God had promised for disobedience. But at their heart, 1 & 2 Kings describe a faithful and loyal God who desires to be gracious to sinners and to offer repentance, restoration, and salvation for all who come to Him.

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The prophets played a critical role in the Old Testament narrative and in the overarching story of the Bible, which is that God is redeeming a people by His Son for His Son’s glory. The prophets were appointed by God to speak on His behalf with a message of judgment against sin and the call to look to Him in repentance and faith for salvation. Several of the prophets wrote the Old Testament Scripture, giving us God’s very own words to describe and communicate His plan to save sinners through Jesus Christ.

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The wisdom literature, or poetical books, of the Old Testament don’t advance the story or narrative. Rather, they are highly instructive books that teach God’s people how to respond to God’s sovereignty in the midst of suffering, how to worship Him, and how to live wisely, lovingly and joyfully in a fallen world.

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The book of Ecclesiastes is often either misunderstood or neglected entirely because of its difficult and challenging subject matter. But at its heart, Ecclesiastes is King Solomon’s memoir of the life that he lived “under the sun,” or on this earth. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Solomon wrote about a philosophy of life that centers around two major propositions: first, that life is a gift from God to be enjoyed, but also that life is mysterious and will eventually come to an end. Friend, do you understand life from God’s perspective?

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One of the major movements in Old Testament history begins with Israel’s exile at the hands of the Assyrians in 722 BC. It was during that time that the northern ten tribes of Israel were destroyed. Several decades later, the prophet Jeremiah prophesied that the southern two tribes of Judah and Benjamin would also be taken into captivity by the Babylonians. Their exile would last for 70 years, but in the midst of this difficult time, God remained faithful, pleading with HIs people to turn from their wicked ways and believe in Him.

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In the final movement of Old Testament history, God sovereignly and providentially worked among His people, calling them to repentance and directing them to carefully obey His word. After the people of Israel had spent so much of their history doing what was right in their own eyes, they finally submitted to God’s Word under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah.

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The book of Revelation reveals not only God’s justice but, surprisingly, it showcases His mercy and grace. Until the end of time, God reaches out to call sinners to repent and trust in His Son Jesus Christ for salvation.

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During the seven-year tribulation period, God will use 144,000 believing Jews to ignite one of the greatest revivals in human history, demonstrating His desire for sinners to come to a saving knowledge of the truth.

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During the future seven-year tribulation period described in Revelation 7, the apostle John calls our attention to a multitude of believers in heaven–a multitude so great that no one can count them. This group represents every nation on earth—of all ethnicities and languages.

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The book of Revelation teaches that God has an eternal plan and that He is working out that plan according to His great purposes. Every event described in Revelation has a purpose–and so does everything that happens to us as Christians today.

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Revelation 8 starts by highlighting the truth that God hears the prayers of those redeemed through Christ during the tribulation. This is a powerful reminder that our great God hears the prayers of His people, no matter the situation.

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Revelation 8–9 describes God’s judgment and wrath being poured out on the earth during the second half of the Tribulation. And it will fall in direct response to the prayers of God’s people. These amazing chapters teach us that God hears the prayers of His people and is eager to respond according to His will.

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The trumpet judgments described in Revelation 8–9 are a series of judgments God will unleash on the unbelieving world during the future seven-year tribulation period. These judgments are similar to the 10 plagues in Egypt during the time of Moses, and they are described by many Old Testament prophets.

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In these profound chapters, the apostle John describes several judgments of God unleashed on the unbelieving world during the seven-year tribulation period. As these inevitable realities unfold, God continues to show His unmatched holiness and perfect justice. At the same time, His mercy continues with the gracious invitation to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and salvation.

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Since the beginning of time in the Garden of Eden, Satan has opposed God’s plan and His people. In the future, according to the book of Revelation, his murderous desires will escalate as he seeks to blind people from the truth of the gospel and keep them enslaved in their sin.

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The Bible teaches that God is not the source of evil, nor does He tempt or force anyone to do evil. This is a critical doctrine to understand, because in the book of Revelation, the apostle John describes how wickedness and evil will run rampant during the future tribulation period.

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At an appointed time in the future, Satan, his demons, and the unbelieving world will magnify their hatred and rejection of God as they continue to freely sin against Him. But such a dark and unthinkable time provides every generation of Christians with many timeless truths about God and the urgency to preach the gospel to our lost world.

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As Christians, we must always ask, “What does the Bible say?” And what the Bible teaches about divorce must be our belief and practice. In this series, Tom explains from Scripture that God hates divorce and will not allow it among His people, with only two exceptions—we’ll discover those exceptions in this series

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As Jesus taught His disciples about divorce, He not only wanted them to understand God’s view of divorce but also how that view would be completely counter-cultural. For those who profess Christ, our view of divorce will be very different from those who advocate for divorce on demand.

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Sadly, many professing Christians haven’t been adequately taught from Scripture on the topic of divorce, and many churches have neglected to equip their people to deal with this difficult but relevant issue. When Jesus taught His disciples about divorce, He set a precedent as it relates to God and His Word: we must believe what He has said and also obey it. And this applies to the issue of divorce.

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Jesus demonstrates that God established marriage and gave it a prominent place in His creation—this is clear in Genesis 1–2. God also established the parameters of marriage: male and female, and only two: one man and one woman. And he established the priority of marriage—you are to make that the highest human relationship in life. Finally, God established the permanence of marriage—the two becoming one indivisibly and inseparably.

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In this powerful passage, Jesus Christ teaches that God hates divorce and will not allow it among His people, with only two exceptions. But it was common during Jesus’ day for the emphasis to be placed on the exceptions in order to get out of a marriage rather on its solidarity and importance as an institution before God. Jesus seeks to clear the air, sharing God’s heart for marriage, divorce, and even remarriage.

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As we continue to live in a culture that devalues and is even hostile toward marriage while promoting divorce, it is critical for us to be confident in God and His Word. We can be confident that He has equipped us to uphold the truth and defend the institution of marriage.

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As followers of Jesus Christ, we must constantly acknowledge and joyfully accept God’s sovereignty over our lives, no matter the circumstances that this life may bring. Such a profound doctrine ensures us that nothing that happens in our lives is accidental and that God intends to use it for His glory and our good.

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In the book of James, James calls us as believers to constantly acknowledge God’s control over every facet of our lives. To live the Christian life to the fullest, we must embrace this crucial truth. But closely related to God’s sovereignty is His providence—that is, how God works everything out according to His will and our good.

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The sovereignty of God is a profound doctrine that is taught all throughout Scripture. One of the key passages that teaches this truth is James 4, where James encourages Christians to rest in God’s sovereignty at all times.

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James urges his readers and us today not to merely understand the truth about God and His sovereignty but to apply that truth daily in the detailed circumstances of our lives—and even as we anticipate the future.

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The Bible repeatedly acknowledges the reality of false teachers. This was true in the Old Testament, when false prophets arose among the people. The same is true in the New Testament, as false teachers in the first century sought to undermine the biblical Jesus and the biblical gospel. It is important to know that Scripture calls God’s people to recognize, identify, and avoid false teachers.

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In 1 John 4, the apostle John warns first-century Christians about false teachers and the dangerous and damning influence they have. At the same time, his warning is every bit as vital for us as Christians today. Scripture insists that we be informed and stay alert for this constant danger lurking across the entire world.

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The passage of Scripture that we are examining together in this series reveals that there are two competing versions of the Christian faith. There is a true Christian faith and a false or distorted Christian faith.

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1 John chapter 4 contains several verses to help Christians identify and distinguish the true teachers of the Christian faith from the false ones. Moreover, John stresses that if you have a biblical view of God, then you understand the Christian faith.

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In this great text, John demands that all of us who are true followers of Jesus Christ diligently apply several biblical tests and that we apply those tests to every spiritual idea and every spiritual message in order to distinguish genuine teachers who teach God’s saving truth from false teachers who teach damning error.

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In this section of 1 John, the apostle John teaches that if any preacher or teacher teaches anything other than the biblical Jesus, they are false teachers. Therefore, they are not empowered by the Holy Spirit; they are empowered by demons, and their version of the Christian faith is not the true saving faith, but it is a false damning substitute.

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In 1 John 4, the apostle John, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, says that you must believe in the biblical Jesus in order to be saved—you have to believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God, the Messiah, who has come in the flesh.

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In 1 John 4, the apostle John helps Christians understand how to differentiate between true and false teachers, true and false views of God, true and false views of Jesus Christ, and true and false views of the gospel.

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In this passage, John the Apostle, and ultimately our Lord Jesus Himself, is demanding that each of us diligently apply several biblical tests to every spiritual idea and every spiritual message to distinguish genuine teachers from false teachers. But it is important to recognize that false teachers will, in fact, use the Bible in their messages.

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As the apostle John continues to help Christians identify true and false teachers, he teaches that all true Christians recognize the Scripture as God’s authoritative Word.

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In 1 John 4, the apostle John describes how all true believers recognize the truthfulness of God’s Word and long to put themselves under its authority—to believe it and obey it. However, false believers, that is, those who claim to know Christ but really don’t, refuse to put themselves under the authority of the Word of God.

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A common characteristic of false teachers is that they subtly distort God’s Word by either undermining its truth or finding ways to add to it—either by supposed new revelation or intuition. Rather than preaching and teaching the Word of God for what it is—the word of God—they promote views that are contrary to what Scripture says about itself.

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In Scripture, there are several commands to love someone, but in the Sermon on the Mount, our Lord chooses the most difficult of all—love your enemies. And He commands us to must pray for them, bless them, and even do good to them. As professing Christians, we must obey Christ in all areas of our lives, including loving our enemies.

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In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls all believers to love one another, including those who would be considered enemies. Since God is characterized by self-giving affection for all of humanity that He created in His image, we too should imitate His love. God Himself has concern for their welfare and well-being, so we as Christians should be marked by the way we love others

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In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus sought to correct some of the bad teaching and theology of the Pharisees. In particular, they had distorted the Old Testament teaching on loving your enemies, so Jesus corrects them and offers His disciples the right interpretation and understanding.

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In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches that all His true subjects, His true disciples, will demonstrate a genuine love for their friends as well as a genuine love for their enemies. For us as Christians, we must examine our own hearts and ask ourselves, “Do I truly love my enemies?” You see, being a Christian is more than a mere profession; it is a way of life.

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Psalm 92, which celebrates the greatness of God’s work, specifically His sovereign rule of the moral universe, a rule that manifests itself in both the destruction of the wicked and the prosperity and final triumph of the righteous. This psalm also describes how it is good for the people of God to give thanks and to sing praises to the Lord.

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The book of Psalms not only reveals the character of God, but it also provides God’s people with a manual for how to worship Him in ways that are acceptable to Him. In Psalm 92, the psalmist writes about the steadfast love of God and the fact that He continues to be faithful to His character and His people.

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God has not left us in the dark about how to make decisions regarding Christian liberties. He has provided us with two resources to guide us as we make decisions about such matters: our conscience and His eternal Word.

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Every Christian is faced with making decisions about issues and topics that the Bible either doesn’t mention at all or that, if it does, are not entirely definitive. The challenge for Christians is to exercise their liberties in such a way that glorifies God and is in the best interest of other brothers and sisters in Christ.

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So far in this series, we’ve considered the fact that we, as Christians, should expect legitimate differences on issues of conscience. This was true of the apostle Paul and the church in Rome in the first century—that is why he wrote this portion of Romans. But the Holy Spirit not only intended to help that church but also used the same principles to help Christians and churches today.

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The Bible teaches that every Christian will have to make decisions about issues and topics that the Bible either doesn’t mention at all or that, if it does, are not entirely definitive. In his letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul emphasizes that such liberties or issues of conscience must not be divisive or detrimental.

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In the first century, there were two primary issues on which there was huge disagreement in the Roman churches: the first was eating unclean foods, and the second was observing Jewish holy days that are listed in the Old Testament. As the apostle Paul sought to shepherd those Christians and those churches, he laid out several biblical principles to help them navigate through those situations, and those same principles apply today.

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Every generation of Christians will face having to make decisions about issues and topics that the Bible either doesn’t mention at all or that, if it does, are not entirely definitive. So, God, through the pen of the apostle Paul, provides Christians with several principles to navigate these types of situations. At the same time, Paul warns Christians that they must not sit in judgment of other Christians because of their convictions about certain Christian liberties.

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All of Scripture teaches that every single moral decision every Christian will make can be divided into one of three categories. First, the Bible explicitly commands it, and there is a chapter and verse to support it. Second, the Bible explicitly forbids it, and there is a chapter and verse that forbid it. Or third, it is an issue of conscience or Christian liberty, where there is no explicit verse that commands or forbids it.

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In every age, Christians will have to navigate making decisions about issues and topics that the Bible doesn’t mention at all or is not entirely definitive. This was a major challenge for first-century Christians and one of the reasons the apostle Paul wrote the great letter to the Romans.

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All Christians have to make decisions about issues and topics that the Bible either doesn’t mention at all or that, if it does, are not entirely definitive. In Romans 14–15, Paul deals with these issues, which have come to be known as Christian liberties or issues of conscience. These issues can be defined as the God-given freedom to make moral decisions not explicitly addressed in Scripture.

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Scripture teaches that all Christians will have to make decisions about topics that the Bible doesn’t explicitly address. Some common examples of this are the style of worship music that a church implements; consuming alcoholic drinks; what type of education or school a family should participate in; and entertainment choices.

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The Christian life includes making decisions about issues and topics that the Bible either doesn’t mention at all or that, if it does, are not entirely definitive. This is a reality that we, as Christians, cannot escape. But in God’s providence, He has given us in His Word key principles to help us navigate through these decisions and to do so primarily for the glory of God.

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As Christians, it is guaranteed in this life that we will have to make decisions about issues and topics that the Bible doesn’t specifically address. Yet, in Romans, the apostle Paul outlines several key principles to ensure that Christians navigate their Christian liberties for the glory of God and for the sake of other Christians.

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Christians are inevitably faced with having to make decisions about issues and topics that the Bible specifically doesn’t address. And the apostle Paul dedicates almost two chapters in the book of Romans to address this very issue. But towards the end of his instruction, Paul begins to pray to God the Father that his people wouldn’t have disunity regarding Christian liberties but that they would be of the same mind and heart because of their unity in Christ.

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The Bible teaches that the Christian life consists of making decisions about certain things that the Bible doesn’t explicitly speak about. But through the writing of the apostle Paul to the Romans, God gives his instructions for making these decisions in a way that honors His name and edifies those who have repented of their sins and believed in Christ.