The Journey Continues

1 Corinthians 1:1-9 I, Paul, have been called and sent by Jesus, the Messiah, according to God’s plan, along with my friend Sosthenes. I send this letter to you in God’s church at Corinth, Christians cleaned up by Jesus and set apart for a God–filled life. I include in my greeting all who call out to Jesus, wherever they live. He’s their Master as well as ours! May all the gifts and benefits that come from God our Father, and the Master, Jesus Christ, be yours. Every time I think of you – and I think of you often! – I thank God for your lives of free and open access to God, given by Jesus. There’s no end to what has happened in you – it’s beyond speech, beyond knowledge. The evidence of Christ has been clearly verified in your lives. Just think – you don’t need a thing, you’ve got it all! All God’s gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master Jesus to arrive on the scene for the Finale. And not only that, but God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus. God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that. (The Message Version)

God’s plan

Saul was a Pharisee BUT God had another plan for his life

On the road to the city of Damascus to persecute the disciples of Jesus Saul encountered the living God

Jesus appeared to Him, spoke to Him and revealed the plan that God had for his life

Saul the persecutor became a believer and then a leader – and the writer of almost half of the New Testament

We know him as Paul the apostle

God has a plan for your life, as well…

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

God has a plan for New Hope Christian Church as a community of disciples loving Jesus with our whole heart – passionate for His cause and His Kingdom

He does not keep these plans a secret … The Holy Spirit reveals them to us one step at a time … for your life, for your church

Often we can see the big picture – Personal mission / purpose…

Through a still small voice – God’s whisper

Through Bible reading and study

Through prophecy

But He reveals the details only as we need to know them – walk of faith

The fullness of His plan for your life will always include walking with others and building solid, in-depth, real, vulnerable, transparent relationships (next point)

along with my friend Sosthenes

Jesus worked with teams

Jesus and the 120

Jesus and the 70

Jesus and the 12

Jesus and the 3

Jesus sent them out two by two

Paul always worked in teams

Paul and Sosthenes

Paul and Timothy

Paul and Barnabas

Paul and Titus

You cannot be a disciple of Jesus and be isolated from others

No such thing as a solo Christian – detached from quality in-depth relationships

A Christian cannot survive if not connected to the Church – local church

‘member’ of the body – 1 Corinthians 12:12-26

1 Corinthians 12:25a “The way God designed our (physical) bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part…”

A true disciple of Jesus is in quality relationships with other Christians

Interdependent

God’s church at Corinth

In Bible days there was one church in a city … meeting in small house churches on a regular basis – each with their own personality

Often gathering monthly for larger meetings when not being persecuted

One church … not United Church, Anglican Church, Baptist Church, Pentecostal Church

So, God’s Church in the city of Corinth – with many different and unique expressions of it scattered throughout the city of Corinth

God’s Church in the town of Oxbow – in the Souris River Valley

The Church was God’s idea

Matthew 16:18 “…I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it..”

The Church is “ekklesia”

Two Greek words

1> Assembly (like parliament)

2> Called out ones

So, called out by God from the way of the world to live as His people under the authority of Jesus Christ in the world

Ephesians 1:22-23 “And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”

The Church’s purpose – at Corinth and here in Oxbow:

1> Gathers together to be encouraged and equipped to minister

2> Scatters to tell others of the Gospel of the Kingdom and God’s love

Christians cleaned up by Jesus and set apart for a God–filled life 

The Church – here at New Hope and elsewhere – is made up of those who are born again

Cleaned up by Jesus AND set apart for a God-filled life

To be a Christian – Disciple – Believer …

You have to believe in Jesus

Believe = Trust totally with everything

Heart issue and not just knowing in your head

You have to follow Jesus and live a God-filled life

Disciple = Apprentice of the Master

Head and hand … learning “how to” and “why” and then doing it

Peter, the apostle, states it this way:

1 Peter 2:9-10 “But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work (ministry), chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night–and–day difference he made for you–– from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.” 

May all the gifts and benefits that come from God our Father, and the Master, Jesus Christ, be yours. 

The gifts:

Motivational gifts (Romans 12:4-6)

Charismatic gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4-11)

Ministry gifts (Ephesians 4:11-12)

The benefits:

1> Going to Heaven and not to Hell when you die

2> An assurance of His love

3> Total forgiveness for everything – past, present, future

4> Absolute acceptance regardless

5> A personal in-depth relationship with the Living God

… so many more

Often we, as disciples, live below our potential

So … your lives of free and open access to God, given by Jesus

Foundational: Romans 6:23b and John 17:3 

Gift – benefit – privilege – honour

There’s no end to what has happened in you – it’s beyond speech, beyond knowledge.

When you are born again you begin a “journey with Jesus” which never ends

Eternity will see you continuing to walk with Him…

We can know more and more about Him – know Him better and better as we journey with Him

And, a direct result of knowing Him on a deeper level is that we come to know ourselves better

Who we are and what He has called us to become involved in for the sake of His Kingdom

As we discover more about Him … and there is always more to know because He is God

As we come to know ourselves better … a direct result of walking with Him

Hard to share what we are discovering when we first find something new inside us

it’s beyond speech

Hard to even immediately grab hold of what we are discovering as it is so new and so precious

beyond knowledge

Because there is “no end to what has happened in you” keep walking in your journey

Keep digging for more and better and healthier

Keep discovering

The evidence of Christ has been clearly verified in your lives

People will see the different – the night-and-day difference – that Jesus has and is making in your life

More loving

More joyful

More peaceful

More patience….

Paul is saying to the Christians in Corinth:

There is absolutely no doubt that you have been born again and are followers of Jesus

People can look at your lives and see how they have changed since you came to know Jesus – clearly verified

You have come a long way baby … and the difference can be seen by others

you don’t need a thing, you’ve got it all! All God’s gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master Jesus to arrive on the scene for the Finale.

Individually and as a church we have what we need to live life according to God’s will

God’s plan and purpose…

The Bible states that:

2 Peter 1:3 “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.”

The more we know Him as we walk with Him – – – the more we can unwrap “all things”

OUR FOCUS:

We have the Holy Spirit…

He convicted us of sin, righteousness and judgement – leading to salvation (John 16:8-10)

He brought us to new birth “born again of the Spirit” (John 3:5)

He lives inside us (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

He has sealed us with God’s stamp of approval and ownership (Ephesians 1:13-14)

He baptizes us into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13)

He baptizes us with power (Acts 1:5, Acts 1:8)

He controls our lives – if we let Him (Ephesians 5:18)

He leads and guides us daily in the details (Galatians 5:16-18)

He gives us 9 supernatural gifts to use in ministering to the lost (1 Corinthians 12:4-11)

He places in us the very character and nature of Jesus – the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)

So, as we “wait expectantly” for the return of Jesus ( do we “wait expectantly?)

Expect the Holy Spirit to continue to work in us as He leads and guides us on this journey of personal self-discovery

God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus

He is walking along side of us … and so “steady of you go” and He will guide your steps

Psalm 37:23a “The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way…”

No fear that you will miss Him or the plan that He has for your life … our life together

IF – BIG IF – “…We delight in His ways”

God has His hand on each of us – and on this church – and he will keep us moving in the right direction until Jesus comes and “wraps it all up.”

God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure

Again, let me emphasis that we are on a “journey” … ‘adventure’

He got us started on this adventure …

He sent His Son to rescue us from ourselves and the spiritual darkness we were living in (Romans 5:8) even when we were unaware that we were in spiritual darkness

He initiated and we responded to His love…

That was the start of this “spiritual adventure” which continues to this day

It is a “journey” and not a ‘destination’

When you were born again it was not the end – it was the beginning

It was the start of your “personal spiritual journey”

Be careful that you are not living with “destination disease” thinking you have arrived and that you are thus “good to go”

It is absolutely a continuing adventure of growth, discovery, and change

It is an “adventure” so if your Christian experience is boring and dry … warning signs that something is wrong and adjustment is needed

Walking in a personal relationship with God is always an amazing “adventure”

shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus

This life is the light we are to shine so that others will come out of the spiritual darkness

John 1:4-5 “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

The “life” in Jesus was the “light” that drew people to Him and to God the Father

Matthew 5:14a ““You are the light of the world…”

That ‘life’ has been shared with us and now we are the ‘light’ that shines into the spiritual darkness

Note however that this is only true if we have made Jesus “Master”

Not just Saviour – but Lord and Saviour

He will never give up on you. Never forget that

Always remember – He is on your side and He never gives up on you – NEVER

1 Corinthians 1:1-9 I, Paul, have been called and sent by Jesus, the Messiah, according to God’s plan, along with my friend Sosthenes. I send this letter to you in God’s church at Corinth, Christians cleaned up by Jesus and set apart for a God–filled life. I include in my greeting all who call out to Jesus, wherever they live. He’s their Master as well as ours! May all the gifts and benefits that come from God our Father, and the Master, Jesus Christ, be yours. Every time I think of you – and I think of you often! – I thank God for your lives of free and open access to God, given by Jesus. There’s no end to what has happened in you – it’s beyond speech, beyond knowledge. The evidence of Christ has been clearly verified in your lives. Just think – you don’t need a thing, you’ve got it all! All God’s gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master Jesus to arrive on the scene for the Finale. And not only that, but God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus. God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that. (The Message Version)

So, wherever you are right now in your spiritual journey …

See it as the next step in a never ending adventure with Jesus

Whatever you are currently facing or going through … this too shall pass … and you will find yourself in another season – taking another step on your journey

In a God-filled life – there is always another step, another adventure, another discovery

Sometimes we cry out like Moses and say: “How long, O Lord, how long…”

But each step we take is only for a season and we will find ourself moving on in the journey to another step, another part of the adventure, another discovery

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