1 Timothy 1:12-17
Left to ourselves, we are all bad, but God is greater. He displays this in His transforming of the vile and strengthening of the weak, to do what only He can do.
The raising of Lazarus from the dead is a well-known and precious text from the earthly ministry of Jesus. Examining the setting, the theme, and the purpose of this account, we see a far-reaching and decisive response to the age-old problem of evil, and a response to our suffering that takes place under the power of a sovereign God.
For those with eyes to see it, the scriptures referral the threads of God working out his purposes, in history and in human lives. While we usually see this clearly only in retrospect, the knowledge that he works good for his people in the worst of circumstances (as seen most clearly in the cross of Christ) servers to strengthen our ability to trust in him looking forward.
(With thanks to the artist Propaganda for his album, Crimson Cord)
At what we call Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, just days before his crucifixion, everyone involved had their own agenda for Jesus. Jesus, however, will not be had on mere fallen human terms. In love, he sovereignly insists, now as then, that those who would have him must accept him on his own terms.
Acts 17:16 – 18:1
In Athens, Paul was confronted with a sophisticated culture full of ideas and thinkers, full of religious worship, and utterly biblically illiterate. Examining the apostle’s response is of increasing relevance to us today, as he biblically responded to their lostness, to lead them from what truth they had, into the most important truths that they lacked.
In Romans 12, Luke 6, and elsewhere, Christians are directed to bless those who curse us, pray for those who hate us, and so on. In this message, we examine just some of the reasons the scriptures give for this.
1 Peter 3:9-18
A faithfully biblical theology of suffering can go off the rails, veering into triumphalism on the one hand, or masochism on the other. However, our text in 1 Peter, not to mention the whole of the letter, plus the whole counsel of the Bible argue against either set of errors. As Peter continues to flesh out for us the subject of suffering as a believer, we are brought once again to God’s marvelous and gracious designs in history, as He makes Himself known to us and in us and through us, for the glory of His name.
1 Peter 3:8-12; 4:7-11
Peter begins to wrap up his instructions to submit to all human institutions for the sake of our witness to the world. Having drawn this out in relation to many relationships common to all, he now turns his focus to one unique to believers – the church. So we will see that it is not only vital how we respond when the world sins against us, but it is perhaps more important how we respond when we sin against each other. The response called for is as radical as it is glorious, impossible but for the character and power of God as he dwells within his redeemed people.