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Jesus commands us to pray, encourages us that our prayers will be answered, and gives us His Spirit to help us pray. But before any of those, Jesus set the example of how to pray. For Christ, prayer was a habit, and expression of His loving relationship with the Father, and a necessity in order for the work of God to be accomplished. Like Christ, let us “pray without ceasing.”
The first chapter of Mark focuses on the identity of Jesus. Jesus is revealed to be the Christ, the Son of God, the Lord, and the King. In verses 21-28, Christ’s power and authority is demonstrated as He preaches truth and exorcises an evil spirit. The enemy is no match for the Almighty God.
Jesus calls His disciples to make a deliberate choice to follow Him personally, closely, humbly, courageously, daily, and publicly. He will enable us to make Him known to others, telling them of His grace.
Mark 1:14-15 marks a turning point in history when Jesus proclaims, “The time has come.” Israel had been waiting for the Messiah for thousands of years, the Promised One who would suffer and die for our sins and bring deliverance from sin. Our response to the sacrificial death of Christ on our behalf should be one of repentance and faith, awe and worship.
Mark 1:9-11 describes the baptism of Jesus in specific fulfillment of prophecy (Isaiah 53:10, Isaiah 64:1, Isaiah 61:l-2, and Isaiah 42:1-4). Each member of the Trinity is present at this baptism. Jesus enters the water, the Father affirms that Jesus is His eternal Son, and the Holy Spirit descends to authenticate and empower Christ. In a similar way each member of the Trinity is intimately, personally, redemptively working for you and your salvation every day.
John the Baptist was the prophet who ushered in the new era of the Messiah. His message was a call to genuine repentance that leads to a changed life. He was humble before the almighty Christ. John foretold that Jesus the Messiah would give the Holy Spirit to His followers to enable them to walk in His ways.
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Mark 1:1 (ESV) Why do we want to study the Gospel of Mark? Let’s study the book of Mark to know the Lord Jesus better, to be drawn into a closer relationship with Him, to have a deepening love for Him.
At Christmas, we celebrate the arrival of Emmanuel, God with us. The shepherds responded to this good news delivered by the angels by believing the message and acting on it. Mary worshipped and pondered in her heart all that had been told to her about Jesus. Let us celebrate Christ’s birth by first coming to faith in Christ. Then let us tell others the Good News of salvation, meditate on Jesus and treasure Hime, and praise God for sending our Savior.
The first people to hear the Advent message were shepherds, a group considered in the culture of that day to be untrustworthy outcasts. The shepherds were terrified as they saw a glimpse of divine holiness and might. But the angel spoke with the reassuring message, “Fear not.” The good news for all people presented by the angel is a message of forgiveness and great joy. The High King of Heaven came into our world to bring grace. He is Emmanuel, God with us.
The account of the birth of Jesus in Luke 2:1-7 reveals much about three attributes and the character of God. God is sovereign: the mighty emperor of the Roman empire became the unwitting servant of God to fulfill prophecy (Micah 5:2). God is faithful: every detail foretold concerning the birth of the Messiah came to pass. God is humble: Christ came to our world, to seek and save the lost.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15 (ESV) We are reminded often to be thankful in Colossians. Although God does not need our thanks, we benefit from being thankful. It is important to remember our own helplessness and dependence on God for everything that we have, especially the salvation which we have received as an unearned gift.
Colossians 3:15-17 sets forth how we can live Christ-centered, Christ-exalting lives in Christian community. We should live in peace with one another because we have been reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. God’s Word is to dwell in our hearts, and we should teach, encourage and exhort one another. All that we do should honor the name of Christ.
Spiritual clothing matters—we are to clothe ourselves with the virtues listed in Colossians 3:12-14 imitating the character of Jesus Christ before a watching world. We do this because of who we are in Christ: “God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved,” enabled by the Holy Spirit. Our position in Christ serves both as a motivation to display these virtues and also as a source of hopefulness that we will be able to follow Jesus in this way.
Colossians 4:5-6 reminds us to be wise in our lifestyle before a watching world, truly caring for others and honoring the Lord in all things. This type of admirable, attractive conduct should lead to opportunities for outreach. Pray for such opportunities and for wisdom to share our convictions graciously and with respect.
Prayer should be like a constantly flowing river— a natural undercurrent in our lives. We are to be devoted (standing at the ready), watchful (vigilant), and thankful (recognizing all things come from God). Prayer and outreach are connected so remember that “prayer is the primary work of God’s people.” and pray for open doors and clarity of speech.
As believers, we are to be sin killers, putting to death evil desires, and sinful actions with the aid of the Holy Spirit. If we do not fully obey the Lord, this is the same as making a truce with our sins. Sin can rip our lives apart, hurt others, and bring serious consequences. We must have a steady resolve to acknowledge our sin, face it, see its ugliness, and eradicate it from our lives.
Grace is undeserved, unearned redeeming love and forgiveness. God’s forgiving grace is eternal and irreversible.
All believers in Christ are “with the Lord” even as we live on Earth because of our vital connection with Him. Christ is our victory, our security, and our destiny. Therefore, in light of Christ’s preeminence and lordship, let us set our hearts and minds on things above.
Why should we memorize scripture, in particular Colossians 3? Scripture is the objective recorded Word of truth from God. It is able to move our hearts and shape our lives so that we can resist sinning against God (Psalm 119:11). Colossians 3:1-17 is an all-encompassing passage which concerns how to glorify God by crushing our vices, cultivating virtues, and becoming preoccupied with Christ.
Pastor Gregory steps away from the series on Colossians to remind us of the faithfulness of God during Hurricane Florence. No one ever trusted God in vain. God is faithful, perfectly trustworthy to all generations. In the passage above, God renews His promise to Abram at a time when Abram’s faith is wavering. Let us lean on God, remembering that He will fulfill His promises in His own timing.